CRPF turns to basics to counter Maoists

By Indo Asian News Service | Sunday, September 24, 2006 | 8:24:06 AM IST (+05:30 GMT) Comment 0 Comment

New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) India's largest paramilitary force is going back to basics, like using the old-fashioned Morse code, to overcome communication problems it faces when it goes after Maoists in forests, especially in Chhattisgarh.

New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) India's largest paramilitary force is going back to basics, like using the old-fashioned Morse code, to overcome communication problems it faces when it goes after Maoists in forests, especially in Chhattisgarh.

Although Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officers are armed with mobile telephones and wireless systems, the personnel on the ground use the old-fashioned Morse code to communicate as other means of communication often fail due to territorial difficulties.

'We consider it the most dependable means of communication as it never fails and messages are easily sent across to seniors,' said an official leading the anti-Maoist operation in Chhattisgarh.

He said that hardly any modern infrastructure existed in the jungles and backward areas of Chhattisgarh but the Morse code worked without any problems.

'The personnel may be camping in the middle of a jungle but this system never fails,' the officer said, adding that the Morse code is also favoured because it can be converted into talking mode without much difficulty.

Although the force needs prior clearance from the Department of Communication Police Wireless (DCPW) to convert a high frequency device into talking mode, personnel combating Maoists in the jungles have been asked to convert without the clearance order.

'Some units who are posted in the affected areas have already started using this communication system,' the official said.

'We have applied to the home ministry for permission to convert these high frequency systems into talk modes and we hope it will be granted soon,' said the official.

CRPF personnel are also to be trained in using the global positioning system (GPS) for communication.

'Though our men have been given these devices, not all of them are able to use it effectively due to lack of training and knowledge,' the official added.

The CRPF, along with the Chhattisgarh police, is to soon start a joint communication centre in Jagdalpur, one of the worst affected areas in the state because of unending Maoist violence.

'Our stress is to strengthen communication and intelligence in the interior areas of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand where the Maoists are most active,' said J.K. Sinha, the director general of CRPF.

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