Battling Naxalite attacks, CRPF remains headless for 2 months

The paramilitary force of 2 lakh personnel is now manned by an officiating DG Sudeep Lakhtakiya who will hold the fort till a DG is appointed.

CRPF (Central Reserved Police Force), which is the lead anti-Naxal operations force of the country, is fighting 'red terror' without a head after its Director General Durga Prasad retired in February this year.

Since then the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has failed to appoint a director general for the country's largest paramilitary force that has lost 37 personnel in line of duty in two major ambushes during the period including today's attack which took the lives of 25 CRPF men in Sukma.

Sources said that the MHA is still awaiting a report of Bheji ambush in which 12 soldiers of CRPF were martyred by Naxalites. The Ministry had asked CRPF to do an analysis of the incident and submit its report to them.

CRPF sources said they were yet to complete the enquiry, hence the report has not been submitted.

The force of 2 lakh personnel is now manned by an officiating DG Sudeep Lakhtakiya. He will hold the fort till a DG is appointed.

Former BSF's director general Prakash Singh said, "MHA should be hauled up for not appointing a DG of such a big force. They know when the retirement of an officer is due, there is no reason, the organisation should remain headless."

Criticising the ministry he also said the officers make suggestion emphasising on quality training and better intelligence, but bureaucrats in the ministry do not often pay attention to soldiers reporting from the ground.

This even as Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir claimed that Maoist violence had dipped to lowest levels compared to the past few years.