Home Minister Rajnath Singh hailed the formation of the Bastariya Battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and said that the boundary of Left Wing Extremism has shrunk to around 40-45 per cent.
Speaking in Ambikapur in Chhattisgarh on the occasion of the passing out parade of the 261 Bastariya Battalion, Singh also said that the casualties among security forces had gone down by almost 55 per cent.
“The constitution of Bastariya Battlion is a well considered decision. We have relaxed the several norms to induct young men and women from Bastar region into this Battalion,” the Home Minister said.
“People from Bastar region have a great sense of responsibility and patriotism,” Singh added.
While assuring that the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre and the BJP government in the state will unearth the ill-gotten wealth of LWE leaders, Singh said that the “casualties in security forces have declined almost 53 to 55 percent”.
His remarks came a day after seven Chhattisgarh police jawans were killed in an IED blast in Dantewada district of the state. “Your family is our family,” Singh told CRPF jawans, “We will stand by you in all odds.”
“We have decided that all those Left Wing Extremist leaders who have earned money by using poor people and manipulating their innocence, will be punished,” he said.
“Naxalism is a challenge but I want to say that this menace is now shrinking and is losing ground,” he claimed.
He also congratulated the state government led by Chief Minister Raman Singh and the CRPF for the numerous successes they achieved in the fight against Left Wing Extremism in Chhattisgarh.
“Naxal forces do not want these areas to develop as they very well know that if development takes place their sinister plan will never succeed,” he said.
What is the Bastariya Battalion?
Comprising 534 tribal youths from Sukma, Dantewada, Narayanpur and Bijapur districts of undivided Bastar, the unique battalion 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.
With 189 ‘mahila’ constables, the squad has a 33 per cent representation of women combatants. The battalion, numbered 241, will be operating in the hardcore Naxal zones in the very places the combatants hail from.
On Monday, the Home Minister inspected a guard of honour accorded to him by the battalion.
The recruits have been trained for about 44 weeks in jungle warfare, weapons firing, map reading, police laws and unarmed combat.
“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.