Ahead of the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has decided to deploy police and army commandos in the Naxal-affected Bastar district.
The CRPF plans to recruit locals, with a special emphasis on women for highly sensitive areas. The recruited "Mahila commandos" will undergo training before being deployed in districts such as Sukma, Bastar, Dantewada, and Bijapur.
Inspector-General of Police in the Bastar division, Sundarraj P, stated that women commandos would play a significant role in safely conducting elections in the region. Their local roots are expected to have a considerable impact.
Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh are conducted in multiple phases due to the threat of attacks in Naxal-sensitive districts. During the 2018 Assembly elections, Chhattisgarh experienced six Naxal attacks, resulting in 13 deaths, including one Doordarshan cameraperson.
According to reports, women commandos deployed in Dantewada and Sukma will be referred to as "Danteshwari fighters" and "Durga fighters," respectively. Approximately 50,000 personnel from the CRPF, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), and other central security forces are being deployed in the Bastar division. These personnel have received special training in Hyderabad.
Earlier this month, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the establishment of polling centres in 40 villages in the Naxal-affected Bastar division for the first time.
Sundarraj P stated that more than 63 security forces camps have been established over the past four years in the insurgency-hit Bastar division. "A total of 63 camps of security forces in the interior and forested areas of the Bastar region have been established in the last four years. Previously, the polling centres in these areas were moved to other locations. However, this year, our aim is to establish the maximum number of polling centres in these areas while also opening new ones, as it will strengthen democracy."