Bengal Police need proper training to face Maoists: Centre
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Last Updated: Tuesday, February 16, 2010, 21:31
New Delhi: "Unprofessionalism" in the West Bengal Police was responsible for the slaying of 24 of its men by Maoists in a surprise attack on "adequately staffed" camp in West Midnapore, Home Ministry officials said.

A Central team will visit West Bengal, probably on Thursday, to review with the state government the security situation there.

After a review meeting, the Home Ministry today sought a report from the West Bengal government on attack on the camp of the Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) in Shilda in West Midnapore district.

Home Ministry officials felt the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to maintain a camp of securitymen was not followed by the policemen posted there.

"There was no proper guard, the camp was not adequately barricaded, jawans were neither keeping arms with them nor had they kept them at a place easily available and even the toilets were used by general public. All these were against basic police norms," an official said.

The officials feel the West Bengal Police urgently needed adequate training in order to face the Maoists' challenge and come up to the occasion through "professionalism".

"They need proper training and acclimatisation as they are not on a routine duty. The response of securitymen present at the camp was not adequate," the official said.

The Central government officials feel the EFR personnel did not anticipate the attack on such a scale and thus could be easily overpowered by Maoists, showing that securitymen were not prepared for such an ambush.

The Centre is now preparing four states -- West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa and Bihar -- for a major coordinated offensive to flush out Naxals from their hideouts.

"We need 10,000 to 15,000 additional para-military personnel for deployment in the four states," the official said.

The Home Ministry was exploring options from where the Central forces could be withdrawn and sent for the offensive against Maoists.


First Published: Tuesday, February 16, 2010, 21:31

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