Bring intel-based approach to combat Maoists: HM to CRPF

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The CRPF, a key force in anti-Naxal operations, will have to acquire an intelligence-based strategy to combat Maoists who have organised themselves as a 'regular fighting army', Home Minister P. Chidambaram said on Wednesday.

Chidambaram said this while inaugurating the first-ever intelligence training school for Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officers and personnel at its academy at Kadarpur here, adjacent to Delhi.

"Counter-insurgency and countering Left-wing extremists (LWE) require a very different strategy and approach. It's not intervening, setting things right in a few days and returning to your group centre or your headquarters. "It's remaining deployed for a long time to take on an adversary such as the CPI (Maoists) which is organised as a regular fighting army," the Home Minister said terming the training school as a 'milestone' in the force's history.

"All this has made new demands upon the CRPF. One has to develop intelligence about his adversary, one has to develop intelligence for operations, one has to work with the community and build confidence among the people in that area, undertake civic action programmes to win the support of the people," Chidambaram said.

"So, a lot of new activities have to be undertaken by the CRPF which is why it was felt that a small intelligence wing or a group in each battalion will be necessary (for CRPF)," he said.

The CRPF has deployed more than 70,000 troops for anti- Naxal operations in various states. CRPF Director General K Vijay Kumar said on the occasion that the new school and the recently sanctioned snoop wing is special as it will be "customised" for force's operational requirements.

The CRPF chief said what the force was missing till now was a structure for its intelligence apparatus.

"What we were lacking (till now) was a structure a super structure in which we can institutionalise and formalise a training and that's what is happening today. So, what we are getting is our intelligence school where we will be able to put our boys through the grind and it will be customised according to our needs and requirements which are very distinct from the needs of other organisations," Kumar said.

Chidambaram told young officers of the CRPF and the trainees that the force should aim at developing intelligence for its 'specific purposes'.

"We started modestly (in setting up the CRPF intelligence apparatus) and once we gained confidence that this was a right track to take, we sanctioned an intelligence training school and a large number of posts for building up that school, " Chidambaram said.

"I am happy that today we have reached a milestone and we are able to inaugurate the intelligence school of the CRPF. Obviously, intelligence collection for the purposes of the CRPF would be very different from intelligence collection generally, " he said.

"I don't think the intention is to build a parallel intelligence network. The task in intelligence collection falls on the Intelligence Bureau and the intelligence wings of state police forces. You have to gather intelligence that is necessary for your purposes," he said.

The Home Ministry has also recently sanctioned a total of 468 posts for the CRPF snoop unit, which is being raised and trained by a seasoned officer in this domain- Inspector General K Srinivasan, who is credited with developing a similar wing in the BSF.

Each CRPF battalion (about 1,000 personnel) has eight personnel dedicated for snoop duties. The wing functions under the overall command of the Additional Director General (Operations).

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