COBRA BATTALION REFUSED TO ESCORT POLLING PARTIES
The tunning between local police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Gadchiroli shattered after a nasty showdown between a senior police official and personnel of Cobra battalion soon after the attack on returning poll parties in Tondelphata forest area near Ashagaon in Jimulgatta subdivision on Friday.
A C-60 jawan was killed and five others injured when Naxalites ambushed the polling parties returning to base station on Friday. Personnel of Cobra, an arm of the CRPF, are learnt to have refused to escort the returning polling parties in south Gadchiroli. Senior district police officials and CRPF have refused comment on the incident but the discord is learnt to have created a rift with each side blaming the other. After April 7 a party of C-60 commandos, which is a part of Gadchiroli police, was also deployed in the area for road opening and area domination to ensure smooth voting and safety to polling parties.
After the polling the district police, which had information about Naxal presence, had requested Cobra forces to accompany with them. However, the better equipped Cobra personnel flatly refused to help the district police and left early. Sources said polling parties from Ashagaon, Mandra, Damrancha and Bangarapetha had assembled at Nainagudam village from where they were supposed to be escorted to Reponpalli base station. However, the sources claimed, Cobra forces reached Reponpalli at 10.30am leaving Nainagudam before the polling parties moved towards Damrancha. The CRPF personnel remained with the district police as usual. Thus the C-60 commandos were left to face the risk of escorting the polling parties through the critical stretch along with a handful of CRPF jawans.
Deputy inspector general of CRPF AK Singh, refused to comment on the issue, stating that civil police would respond to it. He was reluctant to clarify even the move of the COBRA forces which is under his command. Superintendent of police, Gadchiroli, Mohd Suvez Haque stated that he would look into the matter.