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Reshuffle in CRPF ranks

Ranchi, Oct. 31: A reshuffle of senior CRPF officers is underway in Jharkhand, where as many as 17 battalions of the force is engaged in battling Naxalites along with the state police.

While inspector general (operations) D.K. Pandey will take over a new role in Lucknow after Diwali, the paramilitary force’s Chaibasa operational range deputy inspector general (DIG) Bhanu Pratap Singh was transferred to Lucknow on October 22. He assumed charge on October 29.

Sources said many new deputy commandants and commandants have recently been deputed in Jharkhand to head the battalions. Ashok Shanbyal was brought in as DIG of Palamau range on October 8, and was given additional charge of Chaibasa operational range after Singh’s transfer. Three other DIGs — Rajiv Rai (Ranchi), V. Toppo (Bokaro) and B.K. Sharma (headquarters) — have not been shifted.

Newly inducted IG in CRPF M.V. Rao will replace Pandey.

The likely impact of the recent changes on ongoing anti-Naxalite operations in the districts is being played down by the state police.

“It is the state police which plans and executes operations with the help of CRPF. People may come and go but there will not be any let up in the operations,” state police spokesperson S.N. Pradhan, who happens to be inspector general (operations and intelligence), said.

However, the recent violence in rural areas tells a different story. While PLFI rebels killed a 14-year-old school student in Murhu block of Khunti district yesterday in broad daylight during a weekly haat, alleged Maoists resorted to poster campaigns in West Singhbhum.

For the last two years, morale of CRPF personnel in the state had been high with former director-general K. Vijay Kumar and former special director general P.M. Nair visiting Jharkhand regularly. Kumar spent a night in Latehar while Nair was instrumental in opening vocational training programme for rural youths drawn from Naxalite-hit areas. Kumar retired recently while Nair has been deputed with National Disaster Response Force.