Indian anti-insurgency forces clash among themselves in West Bengal

KOLKATA’ Indian forces deployed to combat ultra-Left Naxals insurgency in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal clashed among themselves over the past two weeks and many got injured, said official sources Saturday.

Counter Insurgency Force (CIF) personnel were removed Saturday from an Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) camp in West Bengal to ease tensions between their warring personnel, according to the sources.

The CIF men were also sent on a 15-day leave.

The decision came after 132 CIF men stationed at the EFR premises in Salua in West Midnapore refused to return to their barracks or take part in any counter insurgency operation unless they were shifted to another place, Indian media reported.

The two forces, stationed on the same campus, have been on a collision course after families of EFR personnel complained of sexual harassment by the CIF troopers.

While 20 troopers were injured Feb. 20 when they clashed for the first time, eight policemen, including officer Dipak Sarkar, sustained injuries following another battle between the two forces last Thursday.

More than 100 CIF jawans were forced to take refuge in a nearby air force installation after they were chased by armed EFR personnel and their family members.

“It would be suicidal to keep both forces together after what happened Thursday. Moreover the CIF men need to come out of the trauma they have gone through,” said a senior police officer.

Salua has been the headquarters of the EFR for more than seven decades. A large number of retired personnel have settled down in the adjoining areas while the CIF barrack was set up in 2010.

The EFR works under the state police while the CIF was raised by the state government on the lines of Greyhounds in Andhra Pradesh to combat Naxal rebels.
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