The Central Reserve Police Force top boss on Thursday said he has asked his troops deployed in anti-Naxal operations to even go to the extent of "violating" the Standard Operating Procedures if such a diversion in rules is required for operational efficiency and safety of the men.
Dismissing suggestions that there was a contravention of set SOPs by his personnel during the March 11 Naxal ambush in Chhattiagarh's Sukma which killed 11 CRPF men and four others, CRPF Director General Dilip Trivedi told PTI that the incident will not deter the paramilitary, and the paramilitary force will be more "steadfast" in deploying their operational tactics in beating the Naxals.
"The top brass of the force cannot take away the initiative of the field commander. The commander on ground has to deploy his hunch and instinct while he is out in an operational area. I have told them that you can even violate the SOPs, provided that is in the interest of the operations and safety of troops," Trivedi said, a day after he returned to the national capital after touring the ambush area in south Bastar's Tongpal for an on-spot assessment.
He said the SOPs, in an operational area, are meant to be flexible keeping in mind the emerging and immediate threat and dynamic activity on the ground.
The CRPF chief said the force headquarters has issued some fresh directives to commanders while operating in the Naxal affected areas.
"I will not go into the details of our operational tactics but yes we have told our men and officers that we should break the monotonous drills while rendering routine duties like that of road opening and frequently visiting an area.
"We have told them to keep flexibility in their operations so that their movement remains unknown till the last moment," the DG said.
Terming the latest ambush a "planned attack" by close to 200 Naxals, Trivedi said the Naxals used an assortment of looted police weapons like LMGs and SLRs to inflict
causalities on the 45-personnel strong joint forces squad which was out early morning on Tuesday in one the most notorious Maoist violence affected areas of the state, which is in the 'Jeeram Ghati' area.
This is the same place where the ultras had killed the top leadership of state Congress last year in May.
The DG, talking about the ambush, said a strong squad of about 30 women Maoists was instrumental in looting close to 20 weapons like AK series rifles, SLRs and under barrel grenade launchers held by the troopers who were killed in the deadly trap.
Trivedi said there were not much options in taking a safe route for security forces like CRPF, who are deployed for securing the road work projects in the Naxal affected state.
"The roads are sign of development and normalcy in the Maoist affected areas and the Naxals are against this. But we will give full security to road construction workers despite we being at an disadvantage at certain places," the CRPF chief said.
Right after the March 11 ambush, the DG who flew to a company base in Jagdalpur said, I talked to my men and told them that Naxals are a "monster" and we have to take them on.
He said the CRPF and Chhattisgarh police squad that was trapped in the incident "fought valiantly and retaliated the Naxal squad after heavy firing was launched at them" from two sides of the 3-feet 'medh' (earthen wall) of the nearby fields.
"The squad stood their ground and retaliated for the entire one-hour time that the encounter happened. Our boys displayed intelligence in not stepping on pressure bombs which the Maoists had planted along the flanks of the road with a thought that shaken with their firing the security personnel will try to fall apart and abandon the road to take the dirt tracks," he said.
Trivedi, who is the top police official entrusted with the movement of forces during polls, said the security force will "give their best" in ensuring peaceful elections in Naxal violence hit areas.
He said the forces, in few states, will be mobilised from Friday and enough measures have been put in place to orient them for the task at hand.
Meanwhile, a senior official involved in anti-Naxal operations in the state, said there were intelligence inputs of Naxal movement in not only Sukma district but the entire southern part of the central Indian state and this was acted upon by both the state police and paramilitary forces.