Mutiny among Indian counter-insurgency troops
Posted by Mike E on September 22, 2011
Articles have appeared in the Indian press documenting a revolt among the soldiers (Jawans) of the the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB). The mutiny is (apparently) over their terrible conditions. As Maoists say “It is no fun being a running dog.” And, at the same time, it is a positive thing for the Indian revolutionaries and people if the Indian high command face demoralization and revolt within the ranks.
Thanks to Sidhartha S.
State unit jawans fast to protest posting
from the Telegraph
Midnapore, Sept. 21: Over 300 India Reserve Battalion (IRB) jawans deployed in the Maoist-affected areas of West Midnapore and Bankura have gone on a hunger strike from last night protesting prolonged posting in a “high-risk zone”, lack of leaves and the dilapidated condition of barracks.
The constables of eight camps have locked the main gates of the bases from inside so that their superiors can’t enter. The seniors — inspectors and sub-inspectors — were asked to leave the camps last night.
The jawans want their demands, including granting of leaves, postings in low-risk zones and allotment of adequate uniforms, to be met immediately.
“The jawans launched their agitation simultaneously. It appears that they had communicated with each other and planned the hunger strike. They have stopped performing their duties, which is a gross violation of the service code,” said an official of the IRB, a state force, in West Midnapore’s Binpur.
The camps where the fast is being organised are in West Midnapore’s Shilda, Lalgarh, Salboni, Jhargram, Keshpur, Garbeta and Majugeria, and Bankura’s Sarenga.
The jawans at the IRB camp in Shilda, where Maoists had killed 26 Eastern Frontier Rifles jawans in February last year, allegedly threw stones at officers from the nearby Binpur police station when they went to pacify them last night. “We were also not allowed to enter,” an officer said.
When The Telegraph visited the Shilda camp this morning, some constables were sitting inside the barracks while the others were guarding the gate. The jawans showed the correspondents the unhygienic condition of the kitchen and the dilapidated barracks. “We live in hell. None of us was granted leave in the past year. We are given only one set of uniforms every year even though we are entitled to two,” a jawan said.
“We are posted in camps located in high-risk zones. We are never posted at our Durgapur headquarters. Our superiors know about this but have done nothing,” he added.
He said rules were flouted while sending the jawans to patrol Maoist-affected areas. “According to the rule, a team sent on routine patrolling in Maoist-hit areas has to consist of 27 constables. But in reality, only seven to 10 of us are sent. This makes us more vulnerable to Maoist attacks,” the jawan said.
He alleged a group of 10 IRB constables are sent every night to guard the CRPF camp in Binpur since Maoists triggered a blast there a few days ago. “The central force at the Binpur camp can guard their own unit. There is no point sending us there at night. Besides, it is not safe for us to travel 12km at night through a jungle stretch to reach the CRPF camp,” the jawan added.
Another constable alleged: “We are not allowed to go home even when our family members fall sick. Letters written by our family members never reach us.”
The IRB jawans said they would continue with the protest unless the superiors “assure us that our demands will be addressed immediately”.
The additional director-general of police (law and order), Surajit Kar Purakayastha, said: “The commandant of the IRB will be sent to Jungle Mahal to look into the problems of the jawans. We are trying to sort out the matter as soon as possible.”
IRB jawans protest against apathy by seniors
21 September 2011 statesman news service
DURGAPUR, 21 SEPT: Hundreds of jawans with the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB), assigned to shoulder counter insurgency operations against the Maoist, have exploded in protest against alleged apathy by their superiors.
The kawans posted in places like Silda in West Midnapore and Barikul, Ranibandh and Sarenga in Bankura have put down their guns and started
fasting in front of their respective camps and have demanded chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee’s immediate intervention in the crisis.
The IRB jawans, for the first time since the battalion was raised in 2002, have come out in protest against their deployment in junglemahal. The IRB’s headquarters in Durgapur has taken a serious note of the unruly gesture of the jawans and the Commandant, Mr P K Mallik, accompanied by two DSP’s ~ Mr Uttam Roy and Mr S K Dey, has rushed to Silda as the mutiny-like situation has started spreading in neighbouring deployments like Majhgeria in Barikul area in Bankura and its two counterparts in Ranibandh and Sarenga.
Mr Mallik was not allowed by the jawans to enter into the camp premises till the evening hours. The jawans shouted before the Commandant saying: “Today you have woke up! But, you didn’t come when our colleague Aloke Mondal was shot dead last year. We sent several SOS to the headquarters but you preferred to stay back in Kolkata.” Mondal was killed in a combat operation in Pirakata near Silda. The jawans alleged: “There are at least five dozen jawans who haven’t stayed with their families for the three or four years. We are treated as beasts. We cannot afford staying here as nobody’s child.” In Majhgeria Camp, 52 IRB jawans are posted since 2005 after a Maoist raid killed the OC, Barikul and two CPI-M cadres on 9 July 2005. The jawans said: “We have been left here for years though we are part of state police. We are victim of apathy by the superiors. We are not transferred to other places though our juniors in district police are being shifted to safe zones time to time and are getting promotions accordingly.” The jawans today put down their guns and were seen sloganeering in front of the Majhgeria Camp.
The jawans said: “We have started hunger strike following the movement of our counterparts in neighbouring Silda Camp where jawans have started non-cooperation since yesterday.
“The police compel us to perform night patrolling and also assign us to deal with local disputes which has no link with the insurgency.”
The district police however had little to do with the demonstration by the IRB jawans. SP, Bankura, Dr Pranab Kumar said: “I am not fully aware about the mutiny. I was informed that they have gone without their lunch today.” The Commandant, Mr Mallik was left embarrassed and was trying to convince the agitating jawans in Silda. He refused to comment on the unprecedented developments in the IRB camps today.