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Chhattisgarh DGP scripts ‘battle song’

Raipur, March 16: Entangled in a seemingly losing battle against the Maoists, Chhattisgarh's Director General of Police O P Rathore is working on a unique strategy. For the past few weeks, he has been busy composing a marching song to motivate his embattled troops.

Being the police chief of a state that is combating Naxalism in a major part of its territory and also has one of the highest casualty figures in the country — 65 police personnel have been killed in Naxal attacks during the past 12 months, apart from over 450 civilians — the DGP feels this may be the answer to boost the morale of his men. However, the move has come under severe criticism from several of his own senior officers and former police officers. Few of them have even questioned as to how the DGP of a state which has the highest casualty figures in the country in Naxal attacks can "indulge" himself like this.

"With his troops engaged in a constant battle against extremists how does the DGP find time to do such things? This shows that the entire police force is out of focus, and even senior police officers are busy doing work that is not in their job profile," said a senior police officer.

But unfazed, the Chhattisgarh Police plans to distribute cassettes of the song to all police stations once the music is composed, so that its personnel can learn and practise marching on the song. Rathore himself too sees nothing wrong in his composing a song for his troops. "While most state police forces in the country march to almost similar songs, they also have some special compositions which are relevant and seek to invoke and involve local population," he told The Indian Express.

"The song calls on the troops to battle the enemies of the state (in this case Naxalites) and to remove them from forests and cities of the state. It also calls on the Chhattisgarhi ethos to fill the police ranks with patriotic soldiers. How can this be termed as something wrong?" he asks.

The music for the song is expected to be composed within the next few weeks after which the police band is likely to perform the song before Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh. However, even the move to unveil the song in front of the Chief Minister is facing criticism from several quarters.

"Dr Singh and Home Minister Ramvichar Netam already suffered at the hands of some over-enthusiastic police officers during the Naxal surrender episode which was enacted in front of them earlier this year.

Some officers had tried to gain the limelight without checking the antecedents of the people who were being made to surrender before the Chief Minister," said a senior official. Indian Express

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posted by Resistance 3/17/2007 11:54:00 AM,


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