After losing over 100 personnel in two deadly attacks by the Naxals in Chhattisgarh since April, a beleaguered Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has raised concerns over the deployment of its forces by the state government at scattered locations - some of them 28-30 km away from each other.
This, the force feels is making them an easy target. The Centre has deployed 24,000 forces, including 14,000 from the CRPF, and 5,000 each from the BSF and ITBP in Chhattisgarh to assist the state police in its fight against the Naxals.
In its meeting after 27 CRPF men were killed by Naxals in Narayanpur on June 29, the Force's top brass disputed the state government's operational strategies and asked it to review the deployment of central forces.
It demanded that the distance between two CRPF camps not be more than five km.
"There is no point deploying the forces all around and keep getting ambushed. They attack only when they are sure the reinforcement cannot reach in time," said a top IPS officer who attended the meeting.
The CRPF also put across a proposal to deploy two companies (200 personnel) at each camp instead of 100 in view of 200-300 Naxals participating in attacks. It demanded the state deploy one battalion (1,000 forces) in 25 square km area.
Home Minister P Chidambaram, too, has echoed such views. He said there was a need to revisit anti-Maoist strategies.
Sources, however, said the CRPF proposals did not cut much ice with the state police which felt that the forces must be located in different places to assist the police stations in the Naxal-hit areas.
As the law and order is a state subject, the deployment of forces is the state government's responsibility.
A state police official said there have been differences between police and the CRPF on how the battle should be fought.
"Ever since the Centre deployed more forces in Naxal-hit states, the CRPF and the state police have exchanged angry letters and disagreed with each other in meetings," he added.