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J'khand polls: CRPF unit alleges 'animal-like treatment', claims given drinking water from water canon

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 09-12-2019 18:47 IST | Created: 09-12-2019 18:47 IST
J'khand polls: CRPF unit alleges 'animal-like treatment', claims given drinking water from water canon

A CRPF unit deployed for conducting Jharkhand Assembly polls has alleged that "animal-like treatment" was meted out to its troops and they were provided water from a water cannon for drinking and cooking purposes, officials sources said on Monday. An assistant commandant-rank company commander of 222nd battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has written to the state authorities and his headquarters in Delhi.

He claimed that the troops, who had finished duty of the second phase of polls on December 7, were not provided any local assistance and water when they reached Ranchi on Sunday after covering a distance of 200 km, including 17 km on foot. Jharkhand Police Additional Director General (operations) M L Meena, however, dismissed the allegations.

"Initially there were some issues, but they were resolved soon. There is a heavy movement of polling parties and security forces in the state so some initial problems do occur. "About 275 companies of security forces are moving in the state. This unit was in a transit camp and their problems were take care of," Meena, also the coordinator for the polls, told PTI.

The CRPF officer, who commands the 'Golf' company of about 100 CRPF troops, claimed that the administrative arrangements made by civil authorities were "highly deplorable and pathetic". In his communication, accessed by PTI, the commander said there was no arrangement for drinking or cooking water when his troops reached the Khelgaon complex in Ranchi on Sunday night and they were provided a water cannon after they "complained" to the superintendent of police (city).

This water, the officer wrote, is "generally used for fire fighting and ground maintenance". The CRPF commander added that the troops had no option but to use the same water to prepare dinner as it was getting late and they were hungry.

According to him, the unit could only prepare 'khichdi' and that too could only be served well past midnight. "Completely animal-like treatment with jawans. No regard for their dignity and honour," the officer stated in his complaint.

CRPF officials in Delhi said they have informed their Jharkhand counterparts about the complaint and they are "constantly" in touch with all election stakeholders to ensure best facilities for the troops even under strained resources. It was also alleged that a local police official, sent from Bokaro and tasked with liaising and helping the CRPF unit, was "completely ignorant about the route and other administrative arrangements".

Jharkhand Assembly polls are being held in five phases. Polling for the remaining three phases will be held on December 12, 16 and 20. The counting of votes will take place on December 23.

The CRPF has deployed over 40 companies of about 100 personnel each to ensure that the polls are conducted smoothly. Units drawn from other paramilitary or Central Armed Police Forces (CRPF) have also been deployed.


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