India’s fight against the Maoist insurgency in some of the worst-affected areas is about to get a shot in the arm. For the first time, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has raised a battalion from Maoist-affected tribal region in Bastar. The move aims to enhance combat capabilities in Maoist strongholds in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh.
The paramilitary force will commission 540 tribal youth for the effort. Home Minister Rajnath Singh will attend the passing out parade of the 543 young recruits, including 189 women combatants at the CRPF training centre at Ambikapur on Monday.
CRPF officials say that this powerful and localised battalion of these young combatants will be immediately deployed for anti-Maoist operations. “It will give us an edge as they are aware of topography of the land. They would be deputed in some of the worst Left Wing Extremism-hit areas like Sukma, Dantewada and Bijapur,” a senior official told NDTV.
According to him, the battalion is named “Bastariya” as its members are from the Bastar region that falls in the southern part of Chhattisgarh, bordering Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana.
One of the unique characters of the 241 Bastariya Battalion is representation of 33 per cent female candidates.
To give a fair chance to the aspirants, the Home Ministry relaxed physical standards such as height and weight for both men and women.
“The initial phase of training focused on increasing the physical fitness of the recruits to meet the rigours training in successive semesters,” said an officer in-charge of training of the battalion.
According to him, female trainees were given special training and all of them graduated to the level of fitness at par with their male counterparts.
The troops are going to be deployed in Chhattisgarh to fight Maoists alongside the regular and Cobra battalions.