Well planned and executed operation
C-60 commandos of Gadchiroli police are in the limelight for having eliminated 26 Maoist cadres on 12-13 Nov 21 in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district. C 60 commandos carried out a very well planned and equally well executed intelligence based operations in the thick forest of Gadchiroli.The leadership was of high quality, excellent minor tactics and field craft was displayed. Fire discipline was exemplary. The commandos displayed their fighting spirit by fighting for over 9 hours .This is an outstanding success which needs to be replicated by other states and the central armed police forces deployed in Maoist affected areas.
Formed From Indigenous Tribal Population
C-60 commandos have several unique characteristics that separate them from other forces engaged in combating the left wing terrorists in the country.
It is a district-level force in the country formed out of indigenous tribal population. Others, like Greyhounds of Telangana and AP and Special Operations Groups of few states, are state-level units.
The unit, having a tagline ‘Veerbhogya Vasundhara’ or (The Brave Rule the World)-originally tag line of Rajputana Rifles regiment of Indian army), owe their name to the fact that there were only 60 commandos when it was formed. They are well-acquainted with the local terrain and also speak local language. This gives them an upper hand over the Maoists of Gadchiroli, most of which are led by Andhra or Telangana-based leaders. As per SP Gadchiroli police presently almost 40% of the Maoists cadre is from outside Maharashtra.
Formed with the idea of using local populations of the remote district to take on Maoists cadres, who also are tribals , the C-60 commandos unit began functioning with 15 teams. It now has 24 teams divided between Gadchiroli and Aheri’s Pranhita.
Few parties of C-60 commandos are stationed in adjoining district of Gondia where some parts are affected by the rebel movement.
The commandos’ latest act of having gunned down 26 Maoists in a single encounter was no fluke. The unit has evolved from a raw force to being more advanced commandos trained to handle and manage latest weaponry and gadgets.
It also has exposure to best practices of other states’ units in addition to their own well-conceived skills. The commandos also organize several civic programmes, bridge gap between locals and police, and motivate local population to have faith in the government.
They are tenacious, knowledgeable about the terrain, and aggressive.
If the Maoists can thrive for days in forest without proper food and water, move around tactically and skillfully in dense woods and also consume local produce for survival(LIVING OF THE LAND), so can the C-60 commandos. In rains or in summer heat, with shoes on or barefoot, they can climb up and down from rocks and wade through nullahs, rivers still fight fearlessly .
Gaining actionable intelligence
C-60 collects, collates and analyzes information and also engages in operations. Several veteran C-60 commandos had been summoned from different units to help in collecting information and assist in the operations. They are local tribals ,who can forge strong bonds with local population. They cultivate sources of information which is being developed using sophisticated technologies leading to pinpointed inputs about presence and movement of Maoist cadres.
Innovative Recruitment process
The commandos are chosen after they pass tests devised to gauge their calibre, mentality, capacity, tenacity and other parameters.
C-60 is the only force whose squads are known by the names of their commanders such as Motiram Madavi party, Chinnaventa Party and so on.
Commanders are chosen from each region and then allowed to form their own teams. They select persons who they feel are fit to work with them. Then they are trained to build a cohesive and well-knit team.
In C-60 , one need not become an officer to lead the squad. Those who lead are also part of the constabulary. After a successful stint, they are rewarded with accelerated promotions.
Motiram Madavi, a veteran of several successful encounters, was awarded rank of sub-inspector. C-60 commandos had surpassed the more celebrated units like Greyhounds. Their feat has been lauded by many.
Training From Elite Training Establishments
The C-60 is qualified for combat in difficult battlegrounds, such as dense forests and hilly terrain. The commandos are trained in the country’s elite institutions, including the National Security Guard campus, Manesar, the Police Training Centre, Hazaribagh, the Jungle Warfare College, Kanker, and the Unconventional Operation Training Center, Nagpur.
They receive specialized training to enable them to be physically and mentally cope with the challenges of night and day in remote mountainous areas.
Physical exercises, team games are conducted every morning to keep the C-60 teams physically fit while they are reserve at the headquarters. They are also updated about Maoists tactics from time to time. The training imparted is of such a high quality that they develop faith in themselves, their colleagues and their leadership.
Apart from actual combat, the C-60’s task also includes facilitating Maoists to surrender and join the mainstream. For this, members of the unit meet the families of Maoists to apprise them of government schemes made for ex-Maoists.
Countering Constant Threat From Maoists
C-60 commandos had been such serious challenge for the Maoists. Maoists last year directed their propaganda towards the commandos saying they were acting against their own tribal brethren who were fighting to save local population from exploitation. The commandos responded by further intensifying their operations.
There were several families in the district having one cousin in C-60 unit while the other had joined Maoists. Casualties occur when you are constantly in operations. They need to be provided best medical treatment. Their families have to be protected from Maoists reprisals. Innovative methods have to be used to protect them during non-operational times.
What else should be done
Just because C 60 commandos have produced outstanding results does not mean that they should be launched into operations repeatedly .After each operation they should be given adequate rest. The other police and Central armed police forces deployed in Maoist affected areas have to carry out offensive operations especially against the administrative/ training camps located in the Jungles of Abujmad. They are far too defensive in their approach. Only then will we be able to tackle the Left Wing Terrorism .