Maiden anti-naxal ‘Bastariya’ battalion comes into force

SansadTV Bureau
File photo of CRPF personnel in a Naxal affected area.

File photo of CRPF personnel in a Naxal affected area.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday attended 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.

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. The squad has 33 per cent representation of women combatants with 189 ‘mahila’ constables.

‘Bastariya’ battalion draws its members from the Bastar region in southern Chhattisgarh, bordering Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana, the official said.

Rajnath Singh also awarded the best performers of the new unit after they present him with a guard of honour and a military parade. After the event, he is expected to hold an LWE review meeting in the state capital Raipur before returning to Delhi.

File photo of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh

File photo of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh

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 534 troops 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.

Seven Chhattisgarh police jawans killed on Sunday 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.

(With inputs from PTI)