No Water, No Toilets: CRPF Jawans on Jharkhand Poll Duty Complain
This is what CRPF Assistant Commandant Rahul Solanki wrote in his letter to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora regarding “inhuman and pathetic conditions faced by CRPF Jawans” on Jharkhand Assembly election duty.
In the letter dated 23 November 2019, accessed by The Quint, Solanki points out the lack of basic amenities like food, water, hygiene, etc, ever since they started their journey to Jharkhand via train.
Speaking about the letter, a spokesperson for the CRPF said, “most of the issues have already been sorted out and other issues are being attended to make our troops living conditions comfortable.”
Not Sufficient Toilets
To find out whether the problems have actually been resolved, The Quint contacted the jawans, and to our surprise, we found that the CRPF has made a misleading statement.
The CRPF jawans were told to camp in a school at Madhyamik Vidyalaya Kuhkuhkala in Jharkhand. The co-ed school has more than 600 students, 280 boys and 320 girls but has only 2 toilets including the ones for teaching and non-teaching staff, says the letter.
Since two toilets were not sufficient for CRPF jawans, civil police made one toilet block by using bamboo and black polythene.
Solanki says, the makeshift toilets “can be anything but toilet.”
No Mattress, No Pillow, Not Enough Space to Rest
The Quint learnt from the jawans camping in the school in Jharkhand that though the location is clean, but not enough space has been provided to them.
Inedible Food Supplied By IRCTC
The CRPF jawans complained about the quality of lunch provided by IRCTC while they were at Bilaspur Railway Station, says the letter. Solanki points out that the IRCTC “food was non-edible.”
The jawans made a makeshift kitchen in the corridors of the school to prepare food. A jawan said that they carry enough of dry ration, hence they are not facing any food problem.
‘Local Drivers There Out of Fear of Cops’
For local movement in Jharkhand, the CRPF jawans were given 6 vehicles with 6 drivers. Solanki points out in the letter that the drivers were complaining about being put on such a duty but were compelled because of the “fear of police.”
CRPF personnel often face a lack of basic amenities and infrastructure, but they rarely speak up because of security concerns, a jawan told The Quint. Around two lakh CRPF personnel were deployed in the remotest places of the country to maintain peace, law and order during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Rarely do soldiers complain about their problems, but does that mean that the government can ignore their basic needs? How well can they do their job if they don’t even have access to basic amenities?
The Quint has written to the Election Commission for its response to Solanki’s letter. The article will be updated as and when we receive a reply.
(Make sure you don't miss fresh news updates from us. Click here to stay updated )