Chidambaram defends CRPF battalion in Dantewada attack

Chidambaram defends CRPF battalion in Dantewada attack

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram taking salute during the Valour Day function of the Central Reserve Police Force in New Delhi on Friday. PTI

Refuting certain media reports that the CRPF men killed in Dantewada were not well-equipped or trained, the Home Minister said, "much has been written in the last few days. Some of it has pleased me, some of it has pained me.

"For example, it is been written that the companies of the 62nd Battalion (the men from which laid down their lives two days ago) were poorly trained, poorly equipped and they did not arrive with preparedness," he said at the "Shourya Diwas" (Valour day) memorial of the CRPF here.

Army chief General V K Singh, while suggesting a failure on the part of the para-military men during the attack, had yesterday said, "this (Dantewada attack) is a matter of concern... in what has happened, there were some internal deficiencies, which may be in their training or some other things and they (paramilitary forces) are thinking over it."Singh also said the 62nd batallion of the force-- whose part was the CRPF company which almost got eliminated-- was not trained by the Army.

CRPF's Special Director General (North) N K Tripathi joined issues saying he does not agree with the view that there was lack of training in the force and that the particular company which was attacked in Dantewada had not been given the required training.
"The men were trained and were given all the weaponry available," Tripathi said.
All trainings, including jungle warfare training, were provided, he said while talking to reporters on the sidelines of the event.

Chidambaram also expressed his anguish over due recognition not being granted to the CRPF men as he said, "very little is written about the valour, very little is written about the bravery. Very little is written about that even when they came in the ambush, the companies managed to kill eight Naxalites as intelligence reports and other reports tell us today."

"I ask everyone humbly, respectfully that even if you cannot hold the front line and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our brave jawans, please do not be disrespectful to the jawans. Please do not be disrespectful to our forces." "It is also written that the police forces that are deployed in these areas kill indiscriminately, rape women. Anyone who puts pen to paper, writes these words certainly has no heart and no conscience," Chidambaram said in his speech to gallantry award winners of the force attended by a strong presence of the media.

He said he knew his responsibilities well and it was to "see that we have a well-paid, well-fed, well-housed, well-trained, well-equipped and well-motivated police force."
Stressing that para-military forces under him are undertaking training as an essential component, Chidambaram said, "When I took over, a handful of companies were under training.
"Today as I speak to you, out of the 186 executive battalions (of CRPF), 186 companies are under training. We have made it a rule that one company in any Battalion shall at any time be under training and be given rest and recuperation.""I am proud of the innumerable duties the CRPF is called upon to perform. I salute all those who laid down their lives and my heart goes out to their families," Chidambaram said.

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