Bastar youth gearing up to fight Naxals

Dantewada (Chhattisgarh) [India], Oct. 9 : After the Centre gave its nod for the formation of 'Bastar Battalion', comprising tribal men and women living in the region, to combat Naxal activities in Chhattisgarh, the CRPF has started pre-test training camps for the aspirants.

The CRPF, which has been given the responsibility to raise the Battalion, has started the camps in four districts of Bastar division and the youth here are working hard to join the force in the fight against Naxals.

Most of these aspirants taking part in the pre-test training have arrived from far-flung tribal regions of Bastar and many of them have been the victims of Naxal violence.

The youth consider this as an opportunity to work for the development of their respective villages. The Battalion will have one-third women representation who will work on par with men. One of the major challenges being faced by the forces deployed against Naxals is that they do not understand the geography, language and culture of the natives, which at times causes problems in their operations.

At present, five different security forces, including the CRPF, have been deployed to fight Naxals but due to language and regional constraints they are unable to smoothly carry out their operations.

But once the 'Bastar Battalion' is ready, these problems can also be overcome. "The representation from Bastar in the CRPF is very low and we face many difficulties during our operations here.

Their language and culture are different, even the climate here is very different and our troops are not well versed with the region's geography.

So, if people from the region join the force, such difficulties will be overcomed," CRPF DIG D.P. Upadhyay told ANI. In these camps, the aspirants are being provided with free food and accommodation as well as books, stationary, clothes, shoes and other necessary materials.

They are being prepared for physical as well as academic tests. Ratan Lal, a student at the camp, said, "Our region is severely hit by Naxals. They killed my grandfather and my uncle in 2008, and in 2015, they killed my maternal uncle. I have already been a victim of their terror and want to now fight them, and thus, I am here. They make us run, do yoga, physical exercise. We are motivated by the fact that we would be able to help our villages once we become a part of the force." Mahesh Kumar also has a similar story to tell as his father, who was a 'sarpanch' and wanted development of his village, was killed by the ultras in 2014.

"Naxalites have highly terrorised my villagers; they kill people there. My family and the entire village is living under their terror and I want to improve this situation," said Nageshwari, another aspirant.

Source: ANI