An official said that there was likely to be strong resistance from the Maoists against CRPF acquiring advanced locations

Accepting the demand of the Chhattisgarh government, the Union ministry of home will deploy five extra battalions of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Bastar region, officials said on Monday.

The officials said that Chhattisgarh chief minister, in September 2020, wrote a letter to Union home minister Amit Shah and urged him for deployment of seven battalions of (CRPF) in Bastar region-- sanctioned in 2018-- and also for installation of mobile towers.

“Taking cognisance of the demand, the union home minister has decided to send five battalions as soon as possible,” said a senior official privy to the development.

The official further stated that CM Baghel wrote a letter to home minister Amit Shah, on November 12, and thanked him for accepting the demand and also made some suggestions to eradicate Maoism from Bastar region.

“Out of the seven additional CRPF battalions allocated to the state in 2018, five battalions were immediately directed to be deployed in the Bastar region. As per the information I’ve received, a special recruitment rally for Indian Army is being considered in Bastar division in March 2021 to provide employment opportunities to the youth of Bastar while giving them a chance to render a national service. With your kind initiative on both of these subjects, we will reach a decisive edge in the anti-Naxal campaign,” Baghel stated in his letter.

The officials posted in Bastar claimed that the impact of the five newly-deployed battalions would be incumbent on the speed and safety with which Bastar police assist in their induction in the designated places.

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“Five battalions means 30 companies, which further means that more than 20 locations would be acquired. Most of these locations are in security vacuum areas considered core areas of the Maoists. There will be strong resistance from the Maoists against CRPF acquiring advanced locations,” said an IPS officer posted in the region.

Another intelligence officer deployed in the Bastar region said, “As all the five battalions are to be deployed in Sukma and Bijapur districts, the security forces in both districts would be tested.”

“It seems governments (both central and state) have decided to take the battle to the end and aggressive deployment of CRPF companies can be a game changer,” he said.