Even as allegations of lack of coordination between Central Forces and the State Police has pitted the State Government against the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the allegation is not unfounded.
Lack of coordination between local administration, police and CRPF stationed in Sambalpur to combat the growing Maoist menace has, in the past, forced the CRPF not to launch an offensive against Maoists. While the administration was then tight-lipped about the entire issue,? interacting with the CRPF jawans posted at Sambalpur and Deogarh clearly exposed their frustration in the absence of cooperation from the local police. There is no change in the situation since then.
Ever since the Maoists surfaced in this part of Odisha, the 32nd Bn of CRPF was headquartered here. While five units are stationed in Sambalpur, one is in Deogarh and two have been posted in Gajapati. The 32nd Bn is headed by a Commandant and their prime job is to launch offensive. Since they are not well-versed in the local dialect and the terrain, they are supposed to be led by local police be it for combing operation or confidence-building measures.
However, interaction with villagers and a tour of the Maoist-infested areas like Jujomora, Naktideul, Kisinda, Rairakhol, Tamparsingha, Meghpal, Burda revealed that while the CRPF managed to win confidence of villagers since their arrival in 2000, the people are sceptical about the local police.
The cops police are looked down upon as oppressors though they move around in plain clothes and have removed the beacon lights atop their vehicles.
Under such circumstances, the local police refuse to accompany the CRPF in operations, revealed CRPF jawans. This has also left the CRPF personnel at the base camps in various villages handicapped as they are forced to spend their time in the camp.
“If we pressurise them, pat comes the reply, you will leave but we will stay here and hence would not like to risk our lives,” the jawans said after much coaxing.