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Chhattisgarh Police fudged data to project win against Naxals

RAIPUR, APRIL 23 : It now appears that fudged figures submitted by the police may be one of the reasons why Chhattisgarh is losing its battle against Maoist rebels.

A confidential internal report prepared by the Chhattisgarh Police says various police districts in the state have been over-reporting encounter deaths, while the weapons recovered during surrenders are practically unusable ones.

The report prepared under the guidance of Inspector General (Naxal Operations and Special Investigations Bureau) Girdhari Nayak and submitted to Director General of Police O P Rathore was commissioned to analyse each encounter in 2006, detailing the number of Naxals killed, weapons recovered, where and when the encounters took place and how the police reacted. However, it has ended up raising several questions about police conduct.

However, the report is unlikely to be put forth for government inspection as senior officers are said to be trying to cover up the findings. Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam, when contacted, said he won't be able to comment as he had not seen the report.

While the police claim to have carried out 325 encounters with the Leftist guerrillas in 2006, killing 250 Naxalites, the report points out that the security apparatus is not able to explain why only 69 bodies could be recovered. Apart from the 325 encounters, the police also says 1,582 Naxalites and Sangham members surrendered during the sm period. But the weapons they have deposited are far from sophisticated. The Chhattisgarh Police, in fact, was able to recover just one AK-47 rifle, three SLRs, one US Carbine, one stengun, one revolver, one mortar, 28 hand grenades and two wireless sets in the entire year.

An overwhelming number of recoveries shown after encounters and surrenders in fact comprised muzzle-loaded guns (86), 135 bore rifles (15), .12 bore rifles (14), .303 rifles (9), country-made pistols (9), various kinds of landmines, including pressure mines, tiffin bombs (345) and detonators (383). Even senior police officers have questioned the weapon recoveries. "If the police are to be believed, then the Leftist guerrillas are inflicting heavy casualties on security forces with outdated weapons. This is a ridiculous claim, proved wrong by last month's attack at Rani Bodli, where 55 security personnel were killed," a senior police officer said, pointing out that AK-47s, carbines, hand grenades, SLRs and IEDs were a few of the sophisticated weapons used by Naxals during the attack.

A senior police officer, who was part of the team that analysed the encounter data, also confirms that less than 10 per cent of the weapons recovered from anti-Naxal operations were in functional condition. Questions have also been raised about the high number of muzzle-loaded guns being recovered after such encounters. Interestingly, these muzzle-loaders are generally used by the tribal population living in Naxal-affected districts for hunting.

The highest number of encounters took place in Bijapur police district (160), followed by Dantewara (60), Narayanpur (35), Kanker (25), Bastar (16), Balrampur (14), Rajnandgaon (8), Jashpur (2), and Sarguja and Surajpur (one each).

Sources say the misrepresentation of facts—reporting higher number of Naxalites killed in encounters—are part of efforts by officials to secure gallantry medals or out-of-turn promotions. However, while the internal assessment has implicated the police department as a unit, it has failed to fix responsibility for such malpractices and misrepresentation of facts and not even a single officer has been named for departmental inquiry.

Despite repeated attempts, DGP Rathore was unavailable for comment. Chhattisgarh has the worst record in tackling Maoist insurgency in the country, with about 150 security personnel and over 300 civilians losing their lives last year alone. And this isn't the first time that allegations of fake encounters and surrenders have been levelled against the Chhattisgarh Police.


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posted by Resistance 4/25/2007 08:21:00 AM,


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