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  Confusion Tops
  Despite being the largest Paramilitary force in India, CRPF remains an invisible force

 CRPF men during an operation                                            
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Participating in a television talk show on the day Maoist top gun Koteshwar Rao alias Kishenji was killed in a fierce gun-battle spanned over a couple of days on the West Bengal-Jharkhand border, former director general of West Bengal police, Bhupinder Singh, congratulated the state police for a great operation. As an afterthought, he said that it was a joint forces operation. Either he deliberately did not specify what the composition of the joint forces was, or he simply did not think it important enough.
For those who care, the joint forces were primarily the CRPF and its special unit COBRA (Combat Battalion for Resolute Action) with a sprinkling of West Bengal police, as is required by law. The police provided intelligence and subsequently guides; no doubt, two very crucial aspects for any successful operation. But, the numbers, the cordon and the punch, at least in this case, were provided by the CRPF and COBRA. Yet, instead of being called out by name for this major achievement, they were dismissed as ‘joint forces’ with plaudits going to the state police. While it is not the case that the state police should not get recognition, the argument is that the supporting Paramilitary should not be denied recognition. After all, the biggest morale booster for any force is its glorious history, the honours it’s won and the recognition it gets.
 
 
Despite being the largest Paramilitary force in India, with nearly 220 battalions, CRPF, for good part remains an invisible force in most of the theatres of its operations; which currently implies almost all the states of India. Perhaps, in the early post-Independent years this invisibility was desirable. To allay the insecurities of the fledgling states, the Centre did not want a central force, meant essentially for the aid of state police forces to have a character of its own. The idea probably was that the CRPF should be able to subsume itself completely into the force for whose assistance it has been sent to, with the command and control resting exclusively with the state police.  
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