59 trainee CoBRA commandos go missing, top brass order probe into 'unauthorised absence'

NEW DELHI
6 Feb 2017

In an unusual case, 59 trainee CoBRA commandos of CRPF have gone missing from a train hours before they were to report for duty in Naxal-hit region of Bihar.

The incident occurred on Sunday when the commandos of Central Reserve Police Force's elite jungle warfare and counter-Naxal unit deboarded the Jammu-Sealdah Express at Mughalsarai, hours before their destination, Gaya. The Commandos were travelling to their first deployment after completion of a 5-week basic training at Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar. The commandos apparently decided to leave en masse to go to their homes or some undisclosed location. Importantly, the jawans were “not armed”.

As per reports, the jawans did not inform their contingent commander on board the train as they made their daring escape bid in the night. A shocked CRPF top brass has ordered for a Court of Inquiry into the incident, termed as a case of “unauthorised absence” by the force. Senior officials of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) and CRPF said the jawans were scheduled to report at the headquarters of the 205th CoBRA unit in Gaya in Bihar for their onward deployment for conducting special anti-Naxal operations in Bihar.

“A full Inquiry has been ordered by the force headquarters in Delhi. The trainers and the havildar who was accompanying these commandos have got in touch with some of those who vanished from the train without informing seniors. Some have promised to report by tomorrow,” senior officials said. Most of the commandos who were part of the ‘mass bunk’ hail from the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The CoBRA was raised in 2009 by the Union government under CRPF to act as a special guerrilla combat wing for tackling violence perpetrated by Naxalites as well as insurgents in the northeast with the aid of specific intelligence inputs.