MUMBAI: Data relating to the death of personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) serving in Naxal areas has thrown up a disturbing trend: Heart attacks have killed more jawans (642) than the extremists have (323) in the last five years. At 228, even suicides account for a substantial number of deaths.
Congress politician Motilal Vora had sought information on the number of CRPF personnel killed in Naxal-infested areas between January 2009 and December 2014 and the measures the government plans to boost the morale of jawans working in such conditions.
Minister of state for home Haribhai Chaudhary informed Vora that while 323 jawans were killed in various Naxalite attacks, 108 died on account of malaria, 642 after a heart attack and 228 were cases of depression-driven suicide.
Chaudhary also listed the various steps taken to bolster the self-confidence of the security personnel.
Chaudhary said leave applications submitted by CRPF personnel were disposed of within a stipulated period, field officers were instructed to encourage their men to open up about their problems and grievances, and infrastructure was set up to provide for recreational activities.
He said a welfare and rehabilitation board was also established. Chaudhary said the condition of 10 years’ qualifying service was removed for award of pension and lump sum ex-gratia compensation was extended to disabled personnel besides the regular ex-gratia compensation given to families of martyred personnel. He said that under the Prime Minister’s scholarship scheme, a scholarship of Rs 2,000 per month for boys and Rs 2,250 for girls is released to the wards of former CRPF personnel and in-service personnel for the purpose of professional degree courses.
A senior IPS officer said the Maharashtra government should draft an action plan for ‘the state police personnel’ deployed in Naxal areas. “We feel that the efforts of the state government are grossly inadequate. Hence, many officials are reluctant to take up assignment in the Red belt,” he said, adding, “A transfer to such areas should not be considered a punishment posting. Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis should ensure that if an IPS officer has not worked in districts affected by left-wing insurgency, then he/she should not be considered for posting in Mumbai,” he said.