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CRPF raises 'Bastariya Battalion' to combat Naxals activities


The much-awaited "Bastariya" Battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) comprising recruits from naxal-hit districts in the state will be commissioned into service tomorrow, with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh attending its passing out parade in Ambikapur district.

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The new battalion, numbered 241, was named Bastariya because it included recruits from Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur, and Sukma districts, a CRPF official said today.

Another special feature of the battalion was the number of women recruits which, at 33 per cent, was according to the policy of the government, he said.

Rajnath Singh today arrived in Surguja district on a two-day visit to the state.

His chopper landed on Ambikapur PG College ground this evening from where he travelled to the CRPF Training Center in KP Ajirma village and took part in the Sainik Sammelan programme, the official said.

CRPF Director General RR Bhatnagar, CRPF IG (Raipur sector) Sanjay Arora and other senior paramilitary officials were present on the occasion.

The official said Singh would attend the passing out parade at 9 am before flying to state capital Raipur.

Singh would chair a review meeting on Left Wing Extremism (LWE) at Chief Minster Raman Singh's official residence with state officials in Raipur, he said.

The home minister would leave for Delhi at around 2:45 pm from the Swami Vivekanand airport in Raipur, the official added.

"The much-awaited Bastariya Battalion will be ready for anti-naxal operations in south Bastar after its commissioning into service tomorrow. It consists of recruits from Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur, and Sukma districts," he said.

This special unit had around 750 recruits, the official said, adding that another remarkable feature of the battalion was the representation of women according to the 33 per cent reservation policy of the government.

Though the sanctioned strength of the battalion is 743, a total of 739 candidates were selected in the first phase through a special recruitment drive held between October 2016 and January 2017 in the Bastar region.

"Finally, a total of 534 candidates, including 189 women recruits, underwent a specialised 44-week training at ATC Bilaspur and ATC Ambikapur spanning," he said.

These personnel would be deployed in the core areas of Chhattisgarh to fight Maoists alongside other units and CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) battalions to add more teeth to anti-Maoist operations, he said.

To give a fair chance to aspirants during the recruitment, certain parameters like height, chest (for men), and weight were relaxed, the official said.

Even though the battalion is set to be commissioned tomorrow, naxals struck today in Dantewada district blowing up a police vehicle. Seven police personnel were killed in the attack.

Police sources believe the attack was in retaliation to the recent encounters in Gadchiroli (Maharashtra), Malkangiri (Odisha) and Bijapur (Chhattisgarh), where Maoists suffered major casualties.


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