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10th IR jawans in near revolt mood; DG accedes demands

(L) The jawans make a bonfire out of the rations, furniture and utensils meant for them at NAPTC Chumukedima, Saturday. Worn out ammunitions. (NP)
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, AUG 21 (NPN):
Published on 22 Aug. 2010 12:32 AM IST
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In a shocking incident, the advance companies of the 10th NAP (IRB), supposed to be deployed for anti-Naxal operations in Purulia West Bengal, staged a strong protest by creating a scene with bonfires and demanding for adequate and good condition weapons.
Media persons at the NAPTC witnessed for themselves some of the weapons which looked as is they were from vintage days when the Naga boys were supposed to face the well equipped and trained Naxalites.
The problem worsened and hit the boiling point during the bus ride from Kohima. When a tyre got punctured, the jawans were infuriated that there was no spare tyre for replacement.
On reaching Chumukedima, the IR jawans’s ire was further ignited when higher ups were caught unawares about their demands.
According to the jawans, a number of the SLRs were hardly in good shape, with some firing pins missing and magazines that could not be fitted in the rifles. They also complained that instead of the required nine LMGs, they were issued with only two.
Further, they complained about the shortage of officers and also demanded to know the amount of ex-gratia to be paid by the West Bengal government in case of death.
Some of the jawans told media persons that while the Centre allotted several crores of rupees for modernization, the money was misutilised elsewhere.
According to some jawans, they were not given proper briefing by their former C.O. months ahead unlike what was for the 9th IRB (NAP) before the latter left for Chhattisgarh.
They alleged that their former C.O. had also not properly briefed the higher ups about the state of affairs till the matter reach the boiling point. Some of the jawans said they would go all the way on foot to Purulia if they were given the serviceable weapons and also AKs.
Some disclosed that even the 1 NAP currently in New Delhi, was given six AKs but two were being used for security for the officers.
Top police brass that included the DGP, ADG (Ops) and senior officers tried to pacify the angry jawans and it was only due to the efforts of some officers that the situation was kept under control.
Later talking to media persons, DGP K Kire informed that all the necessary logistics arrangements have been made and all unserviceable weapons will be replaced. He also asserted that the jawans should maintain the weapons issued to them. The DG also admitted that no trainings on grenades were given to the jawans and that the force was still using 30-year old grenades due to non requisition.
Confirming the shortage of officers, Kire also added that six more officers have been deputed to the units.
When asked about the general discipline of the force, Kire confessed that Saturday’s incident was really unexpected and reflected a bad image of the force as a whole. He also further assured that a probe will be conducted to ascertain the facts.
Clearly, the entire issue was a shocking exposure of the way in which the government expected their jawans to be in the line of fire but not even providing them with the basic necessities which would make all the difference between life and death or victory and defeat.

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