Enter the Greyhounds
The state police's intelligence wing has been separated from the police HQs and made an independent establishment reporting directly to the CM's Office. It does not have any rigid territorial restrictions and can follow up any leads. The intelligence setup has been provided with competent officers, ample funds, and necessary technical backup.
Next, most of the Armed Reserve Police Battalions have been converted into Commando Units and they come under the Greyhounds Grouping having a separate IG. All new police inductees have to spend their first four years of service in these Greyhound Units before getting their transfer to the district police establishments. Meritorious service with the Greyhound Units has been made a mandatory requirement to get accelerated promotions, including for filling up of Grade I Officer Posts selection vacancies in the State Cadre.
All Greyhound personnel serving in Maoist affected areas were given 50 per cent additional Commando Pay as incentive. The Greyhounds Training School was revamped and new training courses and methodologies introduced, which are conducted with strict devotion and supervision. Suitable training facilities have been built up at each Greyhounds Unit location for imparting refresher training.
The concept of keeping one Administrative and Security Duties Company and one Training Company at all times in the Battalion HQ has been strictly implemented. Most importantly the remaining six companies were deployed as three Joint Operational Bases (JOBs) consisting of two companies each. Experience proved that single company deployment was not giving optimum operational results nor providing the necessary nucleus for the civil administration to function safely and effectively in the Maoist affected regions.
These JOBs in the heart of Maoist affected areas were located within mutually supporting distances. It was normal for a complete Greyhounds Battalion to be deployed within 1-2 gravely Maoist affected Mandal (Taluk) areas, as then they could operate without fear of IEDs, ambushes etc. Each such Greyhound JOB also had two Home Guard Platoons who were recruited from amongst the locals.
Over a period of time, they acted as guides, interpreters etc, besides performing most of the routine garrison functions, thus freeing the Greyhounds for 'area domination' and 'seek encounter' patrolling operations. Each Greyhound JOB could send out upto four platoon strength patrols out, at any given time.
Hostel facilities were created within the JOB for the government officials of various rural development departments as well as for contractors and their staff to stay and work in total safety. Each Greyhound JOB always had a Dy SP/Asst SP ranked Class I Gazetted Officer as In Charge. This created a sea change in the environment and ensured accountability for maintaining sustained operations. Within a few months itself, the Maoists started feeling asphyxiated as their domination ended.
Image: Police personnel carry the coffin of Inspector M. Durgaprasad during a funeral procession in Hyderabad, on July 5, 2008. Durgaprasad was killed in an attack blamed on Maoists on June 29, 2008 at the Chitrakonda reservoir at the border between Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. Fifty-five elite police constables were on board a ship on the reservoir when the attack took place. (Photograph copyright AFP)