The outgoing DG CRPF K. Vijay Kumar looks back at his tenure
Dilip Kumar Mekala
New Delhi: Two years as the director general (DG) of the country’s largest paramilitary force, K. Vijay Kumar’s tenure has been considerably remarkable. He had taken over the top Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) post just after the incident that killed 76 police personnel in a Maoist attack at Dantewada in April 2010. Two years later, he retired on 30 September 2012. In his last press conference on September 28, cautious of not speaking on anything that is even remotely controversial, he avoided making remarks on Bijapur encounter and the extension of the tenure that was not accepted by the Ministry of Home Affairs. However, he gave a brief account of the current state of the naxal movement and the areas recovered by the CRPF.
Vijay Kumar said that the CRPF is gradually reducing its footprint from Jammu and Kashmir. “Slowly and steadily the number of the forces is reducing. It is a solid and positive indicator,” he said. After the Subramaniam committee report, CRPF had been given the counter insurgency role in the Kashmir valley. The force has also been given the role to guard the sensitive national institutions. CRPF is actively involved in election duties, and is also a major contributor to the Amarnath Yatra. Due to all these duties given to it in the Jammu and Kashmir sector, the CRPF deployed 77 of it battalions in the past. Currently, it has 70 battalions in Jammu and Kashmir, but is planning to further reduce it to 66.
He also said that the year 2010 had been challenging for CRPF in Jammu and Kashmir as there were “a large number of protests” in the valley. “We are undertaking joint training with the state police, and 2011 has been fairly successful for us.”
Speaking about the current situation in West Bengal, he said that the security and political initiatives have helped the CRPF in fighting Left Wing Extremism (LWE) successfully. “Things almost turned around in West Bengal not only because of the security forces, but the political vacuum is getting filled, and the development initiatives have been started. Nine out of 10 things are getting done (in the state),” he said.
According to the DG, though there was significant progress in Bihar, some more work was expected. Citing the examples of two of the core Maoist areas in Southern Bihar- Gaya and Jamui, he said, “In Gaya we have made considerable progress and some more work needs to be done. In Jamui, things are not as good as they can be, and we are focussing on that.”
The scenario in Jharkhand is a little more complex for the CRPF where 23 districts had become home to Maoist violence. Vijay Kumar said that the CRPF had successfully conducted operations and gained control of some areas in Saranda forests in Jharkhand. He also said that they are working extensively to take full control of areas like Gaaru in Latehar district and areas close to Burra Pahad in Rohtas which were once training ground for the Maoists.
Vijay Kumar said that there are some areas where there is a lot of work to be done such as Gadchiroli in Maharashtra, southern part of Chhattisgarh and southern part of Orissa around Malkangiri district due to the complex terrain and large activity of naxal cadres.
Speaking about Abujmarh, he said that the security forces have to be competent and development has to be rapid to be able to win Chhattisgarh. “The condition in these areas is far worse than anywhere else in the country. An entire generation has grown up with the Maoists as their governors. To win Chhattisgarh, we will need to make space in the hearts of these people. It is just a matter of time”, he said.