Anti-Naxal ops:5,000 addl ITBP troops to be deployed in Chhattisgarh

Anti-Naxal ops:5,000 addl ITBP troops to be deployed in Chhattisgarh

 In order to give a boost to anti-Naxal operations in Chhattisgarh's worst affected areas, Centre has sanctioned additional deployment of 5,000 troops of mountain-warfare trained ITBP in the state.

Officials said five battalions of the Sino-India border guarding force will soon take positions in Bastar, Narayanpur, Rajnandgaon and Kondagaon districts of the state which have witnessed maximum violence in the recent past in the entire Left Wing Extremism (LWE) hit areas of the country.

With this, the total deployment of central security forces including CRPF and Border Security Force will come to about 40,000 personnel in the central Indian state.

According to the new blueprint for operations, officials said, two Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) units will be based in Narayanpur and one each in Rajnandgaon, Kondagaon and the notorious 'Keshkal' valley in Bastar district of the state.

All these districts are in the southern part of the Chhattisgarh and figure under the LWE affected regions.

"The fresh deployments have been sanctioned recently and the forces are expected to take position after monsoon. The new ITBP units will work to either bolster the forces already present in these areas or take over the task from CRPF like in the 'Keshkal' valley area," they said.

In Rajnandgaon, where the ITBP already has three battalions, the fresh unit will aid the existing ones and fan out deeper into jungles.

In Narayanpur, which has witnessed some deadly ambushes and attacks by armed Naxal cadres against security forces and civilians, the ITBP will take charge of the core areas in coordination with CRPF, officials said.

It is the first time that the special mountain-trained force is being deployed outside Rajnandgaon where the force has been holding fort against Maoists since 2009.

The force has one of the best operational records in the LWE affected areas of Chhattisgarh and hence, sources said, it was felt necessary to increase their numbers.

Operations in the Naxal grid in the state are primarily led by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) with ITBP and BSF in specific pockets of Rajnandgaon and Kanker respectively.

The decision to deploy ITBP in Chhattisgarh, sources said, was also facilitated by the fact that its five battalions earmarked for similar tasks in Maharashtra's Gandchiroli were later stopped from taking over the job from CRPF owing to operational difficulties.

"However, it will have to be seen that the logistical and administrative linkups with the ITBP units is established properly so that they are not isolated in the Maoist area," sources said.

The Union Home Ministry has been wanting to launch effective operations dove-tailed with development works in these areas and hence has put its increased focus in the south Bastar area of Chhattisgarh which borders Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and parts of Maharashtra.

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