National

Newly raised Anti-naxal ‘Bastariya’ battalion of CRPF to be commissioned tomorrow

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will tomorrow attend the commissioning of the much talked-about ‘Bastariya’ battalion of the CRPF, created for the first-time with more than 534 tribal youths from Chhattisgarh, here.

Singh reached the Ambikapur-based camp of the Central Reserve Police Force in the state this evening after attending an event in Satna district in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.

The squad that will pass out tomorrow has 33 per cent representation of women combatants with 189 ‘mahila’ constables.

It was first reported on May 17 about the squad set to getting operational. The new battalion has been numbered 241.

Singh will award the best performers of the new unit after they present him with a guard of honour and a military parade.

The hardcore, localised battalion of the young combatants will be immediately deployed for anti-naxal operations in some of the worst Left Wing Extremism-hit areas such as Sukma, Dantewada and Bijapur, a senior official said.

The unique battalion – recruited from Sukma, Dantewada, Narayanpur and Bijapur districts of undivided Bastar – has been raised with a specific purpose to strengthen security forces’ operations in areas where they have witnessed maximum reverses for a few years owing to a lack of concrete intelligence and familiarisation with locals, and the topography.

The battalion is named ‘Bastariya’ as its members are from the Bastar region in southern Chhattisgarh, bordering Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana, the official said.

The 534 troops will get their ranks of constables and take up arms against the naxals tomorrow. The recruits have been trained for about 44 weeks in jungle warfare, weapons firing, map reading, police laws and unarmed combat, the official said.

“These jawans, after the PoP (Passing Out Parade), will be deployed in core areas of Chhattisgarh to fight naxals alongside the normal CRPF and CoBRA battalions,” a CRPF statement said.

After the event, the home minister is expected to hold an LWE review meeting in the state capital Raipur before returning to Delhi.

Seven Chhattisgarh police jawans were today killed when naxals triggered an improvised explosive device and ambushed their vehicle in Dantewada district of the state.

The Centre had sanctioned the battalion in July last year. The concept to raise the team was mooted with the aim that the recruits, mostly tribals, will help address local issues such as unemployment, provide tactical advantage to CRPF in operations, intelligence collection and language benefits.

The CRPF is the lead anti-naxal operation force and has deployed over 35,000 personnel in Chhattisgarh.

By: ET

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