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Spreading Tentacles of Left-Wing Extremism: Are we Failing in Police Training: A case study of Chhattisgarh

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  • January 09, 2009
    Fellows' Seminar
    Only by Invitation
    1030 to 1300 hrs

    Chair: Ved Marwah
    Discussants: G. D. Bakshi and K. M. Madhusudhanan

    Various case studies of Naxalite-related incidents have revealed that one of the prime reasons for recurring security forces casualties has been the inadequacy in training imparted to them. While the Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) have well developed integral infrastructure and resources for training, the police forces in most of the States are generally lagging behind. Police forces are generally capacity-deficient to fight the Naxalites effectively and need to be transformed into a combat-oriented force in Naxal-affected States. However, police training has been less than satisfactory. An adequate and efficient police training system, infrastructure and resources are required to be built up in the States to meet current training requirements.

    The vital question is whether the present police training facilities, resources and infrastructure available in the States are adequate to train personnel, including new recruits, within a short span of time. This paper attempts to assess the present police training system, infrastructure and resources in Naxal-affected States, discusses the role of the Central Government in general, and examines Chhattisgarh in particular. The paper also identifies corrective measures and makes relevant policy recommendations.

    Law and order being a state subject, the primary responsibility of building police training system, infrastructure and resources lies with State governments. However, the Central Government has been rendering support to States in the formulation of training policy, research, improving law enforcement, standardisation and modernisation through exchange of knowledge, coordination and budgetary allocation. The Centre as part of the Seventh Plan has recently taken the initiative and decided to set up 20 Counter insurgency and Anti-Terrorism training Centres in Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Orissa and Chhattisgarh. Also adequate funds have been allocated to Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) in the 7th plan for development of the police training system throughout the country. Modernisation of police forces has not brought about any visible improvement in the police training system so far in most of the States. A few States like Andhra Pradesh have however taken the lead.

    Presently, a huge gap exists between requirements and availability of police training infrastructure and resources in most of the States. Select numbers of police personnel are being trained in Army and CPMF training establishments. However, these establishments have their own commitments and cannot afford to regularly train State police personnel unless their infrastructure and resources are enhanced.

    Chhattisgarh State police personnel lack adequate training to effectively fight the Naxalites. The police training infrastructure and resources in this State are not commensurate with ground requirements. Also, the lack of coordination between CPMF and state police forces is evident given the absence of an operational ethos and gap in training.

    Chhattisgarh inherited a depleted police force and infrastructure when it was formed in the year 2001. A large number of reluctant officers and men from Madhya Pradesh were allotted Chhattisgarh State. Besides, many personnel, trained in instructional duties, managed to remain in Madhya Pradesh. The state inherited the worst Naxalite-hit areas, and the Chhattisgarh Police, at its inception, was capacity deficient. Given the state’s limited infrastructure, it also suffers from deficiency in training. Finances are a major constraint faced by the State police and are far below what is necessary to meet the requirements of manpower, mobility, infrastructure, communication, land, residential accommodation, etc.

    The state police has identified some key areas and steps are being taken to improve police training. These include: commando training; intelligence training; basic induction training; specialist training; improvement of training infrastructure and facilities; joint training with CPMF; joint/collective training with CPMF; and redressing resource deficiency. Also, the State has taken an initiative to establish a Counter Insurgency and Jungle warfare Training College which can train 3,600 police personnel each year. With limited training infrastructure, Chattisgarh will take at least 10 years to train its entire police manpower in counter-insurgency and jungle warfare.

    A positive environment and culture is lacking in the police set up in most of the States. Posting to a training institution is considered as punishment. Also there is little interest in undergoing training. There is no motivation and incentive for the trainers. Hence police forces lack good quality of instructors. Training is also not strictly linked with promotion. Training is therefore a neglected activity in the police. Excess commitment of police personnel is another reason for training to be neglected.

    Holistic development of the training system is required in the police set-up. The essence of police human resource development lies in training, and it cannot be neglected any longer. There is an urgent need to prioritise training at all levels including special pilot projects like dedicated allocation of budget for development of training infrastructure and resources to States. The Army and the CPMF have a large number of well-trained instructors whose services can be utilised in the police training academies of naxal-affected States.

    The paper’s recommendations were:

    • Prioritising police training at all levels especially in Naxalism- affected States.
    • Addressing budgetary constraints.
    • Addressing manpower and leadership problems.
    • Development of instructional staff.
    • Developing training infrastructure.
    • Developing a healthy training culture.
    • Improving operational understanding between State Police Forces and CPMF through joint training and inducting CPMF instructors and leadership in armed police battalions and police training institutions. Also utilisation of retired army personnel and officers in police training can be explored.

    Points raised during the Discussion:

    • The menace of Left Wing Extremism constitutes a considerable security threat for India’s internal peace and development.
    • Left Wing Extremism has socioeconomic roots.
    • Left Wing Extremism is a heartland insurgency; so the government relies on police and paramilitary forces.
    • The Andhra Pradesh model of tackling Left Wing Extremism has worked, and should be replicated elsewhere with adequate modifications to suit local conditions.
    • Left-wing extremism ultimately requires a political solution.
    • Police leadership have to change their attitude especially towards training, which needs to be prioritised.
    • The Army’s short-service officers may be reemployed for police training.
    • Army/paramilitary forces personnel may be deputed to the training Institutes and armed police battalions of States affected by Left Wing Extremism.
    • Human rights must be included in the police training curricula.

    Prepared by Dr. Amarjeet Singh, Research Assistant at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.