New Delhi, May 3 (IANS): With growing number of deaths of its troopers in blasts – a new strategy adopted by Maoists – in the last few years, the CRPF is in the process of upgrading their Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detection equipment and Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) unit to avoid casualties of their troopers in the Maoist-affected areas.
These equipment are very sensitive detectors and are capable of tracing hidden analogue and digital signals which are frequently used for ignition of IEDs and land mines, a source close to the anti-Maoist operations in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region told IANS.
The equipment, with light in their size, have a crystal detection sensor for detecting conducted circuits commonly found in IEDs and radio transmitted wireless devices, he said. "The can capture frequency possible even through solid materials such as walls, bricks, glass, plastic, concrete and wood."
Up to a distance of 120 cm, the equipment are able to detect the IEDs which offers an increased level of safety, said the officer, adding they are also designed to detect waves of mechanical count-down timers and cell phones in improvised explosive devices such as mechanical timing devices.
According to the official, an integrated display at the detection head of the equipment show the results found during the operation.
"These equipment are an essential device for police, military and special forces for application at airports, check points, government buildings, police and military zones. They have the working capacity of 24 hours. Stereo headphone attached to these equipment are high-sensitive in catching frequency range."
Besides, the CRPF is upgrading its BDS units that includes sniffer dogs, said the official.
He said the BDS team is being trained with new ways of planing IEDs and the number of sniffer dogs are being increased.
"Maoists have changed their strategy and they are using IEDs to attack security personnel in place of direct confrontation. We are upgrading IED detection equipment and our BDS units."
Apart from these steps, another CRPF officer, requesting anonymity, said the troopers of the 3.5 lakh strong paramilitary force have been specifically instructed to go on foot during their combing operations and other movements.
"They have also been asked to use two-wheelers when necessary."
The CRPF's move comes in the wake of two big Maoist attacks this month – one in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli on May 1 in which 15 C-60 force troopers were killed along with a driver and the Dantewada attack on April 9 which claimed lives of one Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Bhima Mandavi and four police personnel.
As per records, CRPF Deputy Inspector General M. Dinakaran told IANS, a total of 22 out of 28 security personnel lost their lives in IED blasts this year while 41 of 67 troopers were killed in such explosions in 2018.
At least seven security personnel among 74 were killed in IED blasts in 2017, he said.
"So, we can say that Maoists are focusing on IED and avoiding direct confrontation to minimize own casualties."
According to official data, the CRPF has recovered a total of 1,296 IEDs from Maoist-affected areas in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana and West Bengal between January 1, 2017 and April 30, 2019.
Of the total, 71 IEDs were recovered in 2019, 429 in 2018 and 796 in 2017.
Maximum number of IEDs have been recovered from Jharkhand (654) followed by Chhattisgarh (419), Bihar (118), Odisha (40) , Maharashtra (24), Telangana (16), Andhra Pradesh (11), West Bengal (7) and Kerala (4).