Raipur, Apr 12: Even as the Center works towards revamping its Anti-Maoists operation after the gruesome Dantewada massacre, the hundreds of policemen in the Chhattisgarh"s Maoists-hit Bastar region gear up to fight the red terror only with a 'lathi' for defence, media reports said.
Pitted against the Maoists, who are armed with guns, grenades, mortars and rocket launchers, the policemen prove to be sitting ducks waiting to be attacked.
“It"s a war you can describe as 'sticks versus mortars". In several jungle areas where police stations are vulnerable to Maoist attacks, the cops have access to either obsolete weapons or lathis. The basic thought is not to arm policemen as the Maoists can take off with their weapons," a police source said.
A senior police officer, who have been posted in the Maoist-infested areas for over 15 years, said that that the policemen are at the mercy of the Maoists as they are of no match to the well armed rebels.
“The Centre as well as the Chhattisgarh government have the will to crush the insurgents, but lack vision and strategy. This has left hundreds of policemen in the forested interiors at the mercy of the Maoists.
“The nation should know a bitter fact that several policemen of constable rank and mostly armed with lathis salute local Maoist leaders daily in the thickly forested and largely inaccessible areas to ensure they are alive. But, in Raipur and New Delhi, politicians and ministers claim that the days of the Maoists are numbered."
The recently released report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the government of Chhattisgarh for the year ended March 31, 2009 revealed the bitter truth about the dismal condition of the police department in the Naxal-hit state.
“The police department had a total of 49,143 units of weapons, of which 11,232 units (23 per cent) were obsolete such as .303 rifles, .410 muskets, .38 revolvers, .303 light machine guns (LMG) and grenade firing (GF) rifles. But they were still in use," the report said.
The report pointed out the Chhattisgarh was 20 percent short of the required weapons.
“Police headquarters had assessed a total requirement of 47,265 units (of weapons) under various categories, against which the availability was 37,911 units only. Therefore, there was an overall shortage of 9,354 units (20 per cent of the requirement) for the whole state," the CAG in the report noted.