New Delhi: An in-principle decision appears to have been taken by the Centre to recruit over 35,000 personnel under the India Reserve (IR) battalion scheme for deployment in states affected by naxalite activity. The ministry of home affairs has apparently decided to rise from deep slumber with prime minister Manmohan Singh outlining a tough line to tackle left-wing extremism and terrorism at the conference of chief ministers last week.
The rise of left-wing terrorism, mainly through naxalite activity has been a cause of concern for well over a decade now, and security analysts have cried themselves hoarse over the issue only to find the central government mostly indifferent.
According to reports, these 35,000 security personnel will be in addition to the 26 such battalions (over 26,000 men) being currently raised by 10 states. The IR battalions are raised with central assistance with half the cost being met by the home ministry through grant and the remaining through loan.
The decision to raise 35 battalions has been taken with chief ministers revealing the fact there exist vacancies of one lakh police personnel in various states. The central government also took note of the fact that states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa, which reported relatively higher number of vacancies in the police force also witnessed maximum casualties through naxal-related violence over the past two years.
As per the earlier sanctioned plan, six IR battalions (over 6,000 personnel) are being raised in Andhra Pradesh followed by four in Chhattisgarh, three each in Bihar and Jharkhand, two in Maharashtra and one each in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Karnataka.
During the chief ministers conference held on December 20 it was mentioned that the Abujhmad area of Chhattisgarh for instance, which is considered a hive of naxal activity, alone would require about 10,000 security personnel to flush out red ultras from its forested interiors.