The demand for the cover has been made by the commander of the CRPF in Jharkhand -- Inspector General (operations) D K Pandey-- during a top-level conference on operational matters of the force in New Delhi.
"In the present system, the Jharkhand police is requisitioning the CRPF for providing troops for anti-Naxal operations. The CRPF is not in a position to launch any operation of its own. Therefore, our achievement is subject to proactive approach of state police. Hence, the CRPF should be given (cover under) the Armed Forces Special Power Act for at least six months," the IG said in his conference submission last month.
This is the first time that a security force, deployed in Naxal-affected states, has demanded for such a cover.
The IG also suggested that if the entire state cannot be brought under the umbrella of the Act, some selected areas can be chosen. "If this is not possible in the entire state, then at least selective pockets in the areas be chosen for AFSPA," he said.
The request by the IG, who commands 16 battalions (16,000 personnel) of the CRPF in Jharkhand, has been made to the force headquarters and, according to sources, no decision has been taken on the issue as of now.
The CRPF had lost 10 personnel while 77 were injured during 2011 in Jharkhand and the state has been the most challenging zone for the force after Chhattisgarh in the anti-Naxal operations.
The continuance of AFSPA has been under debate in both political and military circles especially in reference to its operation in Jammu and Kashmir and the north eastern states.