The Central Reserve Police Force is India’s largest armed security forces. On the CRPF website, the mission of these CRPF Jawaans among many other things is “to preserve National Integrity & Promote Social Harmony and Development by upholding supremacy of the Constitution.” Make no mistake for the CRPF are known for their chest thumping as made evident by their Twitter feed which proudly displays patriotic and harmonious content as if the account were maintained by the lovechild of Subramanian Swamy and Shashi Tharoor.

So, Imagine my shock when I came across the same news story on various platforms. First, the Indian Express reported that a POCSO case has been filed against CRPF Jawaans. POCSO aka The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act means serious business. Soon, Hindustan Times, The Hindu and even Times of India played up similar headlines.

What Exactly Happened

In Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, CRPF took part in an event hoping to improve ties with the locals. Given that Dantewada is a Maoist stronghold, the CRPF was looking forward to bring the tribals on their side. What happened next can be gut-wrenching.

According to an FIR that was filed soon after, a group of schoolgirls are accusing some CRPF members of “indecent behaviour and molestation.” And, to cap it off, the unfortunate event happened inside the school’s premises where pictures of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru adorn the cracked walls, and a small tri-coloured flag flutters in the wind.

More information revealed that the CRPF was there as part of a Rakshabandhan programme. What a way to commemorate the innocent love between brothers and sisters, than with respected officers of the law groping and abusing young girls.

What Happens Next

Damage control is already in full swing. CRPF has either denied or ignored to comment on the issue, leading to multiple news outlets to throw around the word “alleged”. The incident took place on July 31 and a complaint was filed the very next day. The biggest problem that the CRPF can face is the blow in their attempt to maintain a good relationship with the tribals. CRPF also commemorated Rakshabandhan in other parts of the country including Jammu and Kashmir and Assam.