In response to the Maoist attacks on a major portion of the South Eastern Railway’s stretch, the Union Railway Ministry has inducted 1500 specially trained commandos into its RPF. The commandos have been trained in jungle warfare by the army in its Lucknow camp and were primarily deployed in East Singhbhum and West Singhbhum in Jharkhand, Rourkela in Orissa and Bankura, Midnapur and Puruli-Jungle Mahal in West Bengal in March.
SE Railways’ IG Ajay Kumar Singh had expressed confidence in this move when he said “As the commandos are mentally and physically trained to use latest weapons, they will be able to provide security to passengers in any emergency situation”
To counter the Maoists’ automatic weapons, these soldiers are equipped with automatic weapons and bullet proof jackets unlike the obsolete 3.3 rifles carried by the Jawans of RPF. The troops were specially trained to carry out search and rescue operations in times of emergency along the Maoist infested 1200 Km of the 1500 Km SE railway stretch. A salon operates 24×7, to rush the commandos to ground zero.
This security measure came into effect as the number of Maoist attacks had been surmounting rapidly and 202 of the 292 SE railway’s stations are deemed “sensitive”. In a period of 2006-2008 alone, there were 54 attacks on the railway stations and 97 killed. From 2008-2011, the number of deceased escalated to 379, with the Jungle Mahal area being the site of 322 of these deaths.
Ranchi Divisional Superintendent AK Das said, “With these commandos, we can make our tracks and passengers more secure. Moreover, in times of rescue operations, we will not have to requisition the services of the Army”
A separate squad of woman commandos is also being raised for the same purpose.