In a first disciplinary action of its kind, the CRPF has suspended 17 of its men for allegedly deserting their martyred colleagues during a Maoist ambush in Chhattisgarh in March this year.
The force may also award gallantry medals on ten other troopers for showing exemplary courage during the same encounter.
“We have suspended 17 men, including four junior officers, following a court of inquiry that was instituted after the March 11 ambush in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district in which 16 of our troopers and one civilian died, said a senior CRPF official requesting anonymity. “A squad of 48 men came under attack from Maoists at Jeerum Nallah. But the inquiry also found that 10 of them showed exemplary courage and retaliated with requisite bravery resulting in killing of more than a dozen Maoists. These 10 men, some of whom lost their lives in the attack, have been recommended for gallantry medals,” said the official.
The court of inquiry found that the suspended personnel allegedly displayed lack of action and did not show satisfactory counter action to save their fellow troopers, choosing instead to run for their safety.
The Inspector General Chhattisgarh has placed them under suspension. An inquiry will take place at the headquarter level to decide their punishment and also on the recommendation of gallantry awards.
Out of the 17 suspended personnel, 14 are constables and others are subordinate officers in the rank of Inspector and Assistant sub-inspectors.
The inquiry found that it clear cut case of violation of standard operating procedures and soldier skills.