File photo of CRPF jawans.
New Delhi: A group of 59 commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force’s (CRPF) elite anti-Naxal force Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) allegedly bunked duty earlier this month.
The jungle warfare and counter-Naxal squad went missing from their train, just before they were to report for duty in Naxal-hit areas of Bihar as part of their first deployment.
The incident has set off a scare of mass desertion but subsequent enquiry by the paramilitary force has established this as an alleged case of ‘mass bunking.’
A group of 600 commandoes had finished the first part of their training and these 59 jawans were going to Gaya to finish 24 weeks of further training in anti-naxal operations, said a source. At Mugalsarai the group headed by a head constable was supposed to get off Jammu-Sealdah Express and take another train to Gaya. It is here that they reportedly told the Head Constable that they were going home for the weekend. “The head constable tried to dissuade them but the group left. The head constable then informed the headquarters,” a top officer of CRPF said.
“These boys were supposed to join work in Gaya battalion on 7th of February. They were travelling on 4th and since a weekend fell in between, they decided to go home for 2-3 days without informing the battalion headquarters,” DG CRPF K Durga Prasad told CNN-news18.
“This is a serious matter. We have managed to establish contact. The group is joining back on 7th of February. A DIG level officer is conducting enquiry into the incident. Strict action will be taken,” IG Cobra Raju Bharghava told CNN news18.
However, the CRPF on Monday told CNN-News18, “The jawans were returning to their unit after completion of their 6 months training at Recruitment Training Centre, Srinagar and had their return reservations from Jammu to Gaya on February 5, 2017 in Shealdah Express. Due to inclement weather and road blockade, these personnel were sent to Jammu on February 1, 2017 and decided to board an early train on 2nd February. Since, they were early as per their scheduled programme, they decided on their own to avail on Saturday and Sunday to visit their home without prior permission from competent authority. These personnel have committed a misconduct for which they will be dealt departmentally.”