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Odisha: CRPF to probe into physical assault on government employees

 

Monday June 09, 2014

CRPF, Odisha Government, RWSS Employees, Physical Assault  
 
"In view of the incidents of alleged excesses by forces deployed to combat left wing extremism and restore peace in the conflict zones of Odisha, the bigger need is to put in place a clear operational guideline for CRPF and other armed forces camping in places of conflict. And, also, there must be provisions of strong punishment for armed force personnel engaged in terrorising people and in nuisances like the recent case of Deogarh in Odisha."  
HNF Correspondent  
 

At a time when the role of Central Reserve Police Force and other armed forces deployed in various places of conflict due to Left Wing Extremism is being repeatedly questioned by common people and various civil society bodies, a recent incident of CRPF attacking officials of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS), Deogarh Division, Odisha, has led to public discontentment in Odisha’s Deogarh. The incident occurred on 13 December 2012.

As per complaints, accompanied by two of his associates, an Assistant Commandant of CRPF came to the divisional office of RWSS and asked for the utilisation certificate (UC) of the fund deposited by the CRPF to set a tube well in the compound of Kansaratha High School under public welfare programmes.

 

As per a release issued by some RWSS staff members, the CRPF officer scolded the RWSS staff when they expressed their inability to do anything about the UC in the absence of the Executive Engineer and the accountant and then left the office. It’s only in half an hour that the Assistant Commandant along with six other Jawans came to the RWSS office again, terrorised and started beating the RWSS staff, said the release issued by three of RWSS staff.

Initially reluctant to register First Information Report (FIR) in this regard, local police had to do it after demonstration by the RWSS staff members and related associations. The state police, however, couldn’t initiate any action in this regard probably because its power to do so in case of CRPF personnel is limited.

As the RWSS staffs were on demonstration in front of the office and had threatened to expand it to the offices of Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), the Commandant of CRPF 12th Battalion in Sambalpur visited the office and appealed to withdraw the demonstration and join work with the promise that there would be a fair probe in this regard.

In a letter to the concerned officials, Commandant Sunil Kumar Yadav wrote, “The matter was discussed with you on 18.12.2012 and I assured that the incident occurred on 13.12.2012 will be inquired into very free and fare manner and the accused will be punished according to the act and rules of CRPF. In this connection an inquiry against the erring officials/ officer has been initiated vide this office order number P/VIII/1/2012-EC-2 dated 18.12.2012.”

The demonstration and its planned expansion have been conditionally postponed after the promise from CRPF Commandant S K Yadav.

It’s known from a source that an amount of about 74000 rupees was deposited by CRPF on November 6, 2012 with the RWSS office for the said tube well. However, the amount was deposited in the treasury, on November 21, as the tube well works couldn’t start immediately. While asking for the UC for the unutilised money deposited for the tube well raises questions, the incident also points at unwanted delay in implementing various welfare works in the LWE affected areas.

In view of the incidents of alleged excesses by forces deployed to combat left wing extremism and restore peace in the conflict zones of Odisha, general people cite at the need of putting in place a clear operational guideline for CRPF and other armed forces camping in places of conflict. "And, also, there must be provisions of strong punishment for armed force personnel engaged in terrorising people and in nuisances like the recent case of Deogarh. The armed force personnel must be educated through regular courses that they are empowered to fight the evils only and not to take law into hand in any case or harass innocent people in any way", opine many local people of Deogarh adding that "Regular sessions in the camps of various armed forces for moral education and self control would work better in this regard."

 
 

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