'Bastariya' battalion, comprising recruits from Naxal-hit districts of Chhattisgarh, commissioned into service

CRPF's 'Bastariya' 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.

'Bastariya' battalion, comprising recruits from Naxal-hit districts of Chhattisgarh, commissioned into service
Pic courtesy: PIB

Ambikapur: CRPF's 'Bastariya' battalion - comprising recruits from Naxal-hit districts in the state - was commissioned into service on Monday. The battalion is named 'Bastariya' as its members are from the Bastar region in southern Chhattisgarh, bordering Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana.

Speaking at the passing out parade, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the life of a jawan cannot be compensated with money, but as a token of gratitude, the government has decided that not less than Rs 1 crore should be given to the family of a martyred personnel. "Naxalism and extremism are a challenge, but I want to say that this menace is now shrinking and losing ground," he said.

Singh said the decision to set up the specialised battalion was taken in view of the courage and valour shown by the tribal people to take on any tough challenge. Praising the new battalion, he said recruits have shown that "talent, ability and calibre are not just confined to big cities and urban areas but also exist in the people of Bastar."

The Home Minister also said that establishing the Bastariya battalion was a well thought out decision of the Centre as the government knows that people from the Schedule Tribes have an "immense sense of patriotism and national pride".

Chief Minister Raman Singh, CRPF Director General RR Bhatangar, Chhattisgarh Director General of Police A N Upadhyay were among those present at the event. 

About Bastariya  battalion: 

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 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 was quoted as saying by PTI. The recruits have been trained for about 44 weeks in jungle warfare, weapons firing, map reading, police laws and unarmed combat, he added.

The Centre had sanctioned the battalion in July 2018. 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 a 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 PTI inputs)

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