'Lack of training led to Dantewada slaughter'

Ambushed personnel also did not follow rules, says Brig. Ponwar


Prasanna Mohanty | April 6, 2010

How could the Maoists butcher 75 CRPF personnel in Dantewada so easily?
"They had no training."
That was the crisp response from Brigadier B K Ponwar.
He should know. For several years, Ponwar has been training the police and paramilitary forces to take on the Maoists at the Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College of Kanker in Chhattisgarh.

"And they did not follow the basic rules," he said when prodded further.
He went on to elaborate: "The roads are be avoided and not used for vehicles (carrying personnel). The approach should have been multi-directional. The roads should have been checked for explosive devices. The reinforcement should have avoided the same route. That is an old method of destroying reinforcement. And anti-mine vehicles should have been used that can withstand the thrust of 20 kg to 40 kg explosives. The one being used was meant for only 5 to 6 kg explosives."
Ponwar has trained 1200-strong Special Task Force (STF) set up to fight the Maoists in Chhattisgarh.

"None of the STF member has been killed," he said to drive home the point that training is of utmost significance. He has also trained paramilitary personnel belonging to the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) who have been deployed in the state.

For some strange reason, the CRPF personnel never passed through his training facility before landing in the jungle to take on the Maoists.

Ponwar also pointed out how another group of 150 CRPF personnel were in the vicinity when the ambush took place but it didn’t come to the rescue. "It was said at first that this group was missing, and then it surfaced. Apparently, there was a communication gap. This group could have manoeuvered its way to the fight. It was totally detached. And there was not a single counter fire from the CRPF party (which was ambushed). What kind of operation was it?” he wondered aloud.



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