Government has decided to deploy nearly 10,000 CRPF personnel for anti-naxal operations in Maoist-affected states of the country.
The Central Reserve Police Force, which is the mainstay for anti-Maoist operations, has already deployed 75,000 personnel for the purpose apart from few battalions of other central forces like BSF and ITBP.
Top sources in the paramilitary force said the Union Home Ministry has asked the CRPF to deploy six additional battalions in naxal-violence hit areas after withdrawing them from Jammu and Kashmir while about four other units can be picked from the regular training contingents.
The force has initiated the process and the final inductions will take place in a phased manner, they said.
Currently, 65 battalions of CRPF are deployed in Jammu and Kashmir.
CRPF chief Pranay Sahay, who took over the charge of the country’s largest paramilitary a fortnight back, said the force will work to bring more areas into the mainstream which are considered liberated zones and have no presence of government machinery.
“The challenge for us is to work in the areas which are Naxal strongholds. We have identified a number of them and we are working to establish the governments presence in these areas,” Sahay said while interacting with journalists during the annual press conference here.
The about 3-lakh personnel strong force will celebrate its 73rd Raising Day on November 1.
CRPF DG Sahay identified Basuguda, Abujhmaad and Tulsi Dongri (Chhattisgarh), Buda Pahad and Saranda (Jharkhand), Chakarbanda (West Bengal) and parts of Gadchiroli in Maharashtra and few locations in Odisha as areas which are out of the reach of security forces and the administration.
In order to streamline the increasing workload of the force in anti-naxal operations, six new posts of Inspector General (IG) have also been created in the paramilitary.
Sahay said casualties due to IED (Improvised Explosive Device) blasts is a “big challenge” for the personnel and the force is procuring gadgets to counter these deadly traps in Naxal areas.
“Deaths due to IEDs are a big challenge for us…Two-third of our personnel deployed in Naxal-hit areas are dying because of this reason,” he said.
Sahay said he “would not deny” that Naxalites have links with terrorist organisations as such outfits keep sharing information among themselves.
The CRPF chief said they are also probing incidents of procurement of close to 50,000 faulty grenades which led to the death of few troopers during training.
“The grenades had a technical mistake…We have sent them back to the Ordnance factory where they were procured from,” he said.
The force, according to the DG, has also asked for the Home Ministry’s approval to hire two helicopters to ferry troops and rations in Naxal-affected states.
The DG said he will also attend a Unified Command meeting with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh later this month in order to chalk out better strategies for anti-Naxal operations and development works in the state.