NEW DELHI: The security of the CRPF personnel who will facilitate the conduct of elections in violence-hit Manipur on Saturday may be compromised as the paramilitary directorate here has not provided Mine Protected Vehicles (MPVs) and Bullet-Proof Vehicles (BPVs) for the force deployed in the poll-bound State.
The Manipur & Nagaland sector of the CRPF had projected a requirement of as many as 10 MPVs and about 20 BPVs but none have reached the sensitive State, insiders in the paramilitary said.
The requirements for MPVs and other gadgets were projected after Intelligence inputs indicated infiltration of insurgent groups from Myanmar and other areas to attack security forces and disrupt the election process
To buttress its demand for MPVs, the M & N Sector of the CRPF had alerted the CRPF Directorate here that “the insurgent groups in Manipur have developed the expertise in making and triggering IEDs and cases of IEDs/Grenade detection and explosions have been reported every month.” The Sector had also clearly mentioned that the requirements of the specialised vehicles, communication equipment and other gadgets like satellite phones projected on the basis of threat perception, security scenario and location of the polling stations in far-flung areas.
The Sector had projected a demand of 10 MPVs preferably those fitted with electronic counter measure device like initiator and jammers for deployment in critical and vulnerable areas.
Officials said the CRPF headquarters could not provide the MPVs due to large-scale shortage of these specialised vehicles. The paramilitary does not have a long-term planning for procurement of critical equipment for the safety of the personnel and no MPV has been procured in the last five years, officials from the ground said in condition of anonymity, adding the Union Home Ministry has not even provided a dedicated helicopter for meeting exigencies during the polls.
They said CRPF will be deployed in most sensitive areas of Ukhrul, Churachandpur and Senapati besides the bordering areas of the State where there is high degree of possibility that the insurgent groups might target the convoys of vehicles carrying security force;s personnel.
The security situation in the Northeast remains volatile and the insurgent groups have intermittently targeted the security forces in Manipur with over 200 IED blasts reported from the region in the last over seven years. The security forces have recovered over 5,000 IEDs during the period, a senior official said.
Recently, two CRPF troops were injured when the insurgent groups attacked the Force in Imphal West district of Manipur.
On December 3 last year, the terrorists hit a convoy of Assam Rifles along the Indo-Mynamar border in Arunachal Pradesh in which two personnel of the paramilitary including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) was killed.
On November 19 last year, three Army jawans were killed and four others injured in an encounter with suspected ULFA insurgents near Digboi in Tinsukia district of Assam. On May 22, 2016, six personnel of Assam Rifles were killed by the insurgents in a brutal attack on the Force. Likewise, in an incident of ambush/blast on June 4, 2015, the insurgents killed 18 troops of the Army and injured 11 others.
Officials said MPVs help in safe and secure mobility of troops from one place to the other. Every convoy of Army/ Assam Rifles comprise two to three MPVs/Casspier vehicles, another official said, adding this should be the norm for CRPF as well.
As many as seven battalions (7000 personnel) of the CRPF have been deployed in violence-hit Manipur for poll-related duties.
Inspector General of M & N Sector of CRPF Vikram Sehgal refused to talk on the issue citing operational constraints. In-charge spokesperson and DIG (Intelligence) Dhinakaran also did not respond to queries from the Express.