Home Minister commissions anti-Naxal 'Bastariya' battalion
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on May 21, 2018 commissioned into service the 'Bastariya' battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), in Raipur.
The anti-Naxal battalion, created for the first-time with more than 534 tribal youth from Chhattisgarh, has 33 per cent representation of women combatants with 189 women constables.
The Passing out Parade will be held at a training centre at Ambikapur, a city in Surguja district of Chhattisgarh.
• The localised battalion of the young combatants will be immediately deployed for anti-Naxal operations in some of the worst Naxal-hit areas such as Sukma, Dantewada and Bijapur.
• The battalion was named 'Bastariya', as its members were recruited from Sukma, Dantewada, Narayanpur and Bijapur districts of undivided Bastar region in southern Chhattisgarh, bordering Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana.
• The new recruits were trained for about 44 weeks in jungle warfare, weapons firing, map reading, police laws and unarmed combat.The maiden anti-naxal force will be known as 241 battalion of CRPF.
• The troops will be given their ranks of constables and take up arms against the Naxals, like regular security forces personnel.
• Rajnath Singh would be awarding the best performers of the new unit after they present him with a guard of honour and a military parade.
The battalion has been raised with the aim of strengthening the security forces' operations in the areas where they have witnessed maximum fallouts for a few years owing to a lack of concrete intelligence, familiarisation with the locals and the topography.
The total strength of the 'Bastariya' battalion will be 743 personnel, as it will include some of the young but regular combat personnel besides officers to ensure a blend of both young blood and experience.
This new personnel will be deployed as small 'hit' teams, along with regular CRPF and CoBRA battalions, for operations and other duties in south Bastar.
The Centre had sanctioned the battalion in July 2017.
The concept to raise the team was taken forward with the aim that the recruits, mostly tribals, will help address local issues such as unemployment, provide a tactical advantage to CRPF in operations, intelligence collection and language benefits.
The CRPF is the leading anti-Naxal operations force of the country and has deployed over 35,000 personnel for these tasks in Chhattisgarh alone.