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Chhattisgarh deploys women commandos to secure road in Maoist hotbed

Author: Ritesh Mishra
Publication: Hindustan Times
Date: January 16, 2018
URL:   http://m.hindustantimes.com/india-news/chhattisgarh-deploys-women-police-commandos-to-secure-road-in-maoist-hotbed/story-5qnG22dOU8t8ROYv6HmS1N_amp.html?__twitter_impression=true

For the first time, the Chhattisgarh Police have deployed women commandos to neutralise the Maoist threat in Sukma where a vital road is being built.

In the heart of Maoist stronghold of Bastar in south Chhattisgarh, a road opening party now comprises only women police commandos.

The Chhattisgarh police deployed 60 women commandos recently to guard the road in south Sukma, where 25 CRPF commandos were killed in a Maoists ambush last April. Around 60% of the rebels who participated in the raid were women.

“The women constables want to fight Maoists and therefore, we have trained them for 70 days in Sukma and deployed in hardcore Maoist area of south Sukma in road opening party (ROP),” said Sukma’s superintendent of police Abhishek Meena.

The woman commandos include surrendered Maoists and those who joined the police through the normal recruitment process.

A road opening party ensures safety of workers where a road is under construction and provides security to anyone travelling on the particular stretch.

Armed with automatic weapons, these commandos will guard one of most dangerous patches in south Sukma from Dornapal to Jagardonga, officials said. The road where the women commandos have been deployed is about 56 km and is under construction. There are 13 CRPF camps in this stretch of the road.

There have been 12 encounters between security forces and Maoists since the road’s construction began four years ago. A total of 32 security personnel have been killed in these encounters.

On Sunday, Maoists allegedly torched the only bus connecting about 50 villages in the remote Sukma district on the same road where the CRPF troopers had been ambushed. The bus service was reintroduced in May 2017 after 12 years.

After induction of the initial batch, the Sukma police are planning to train more women constables and deploy them in Sukma region to fight Maoists.

“They (women commandoes) are brave and well-trained,” special director general of police (anti-Maoist operations) DM Awasthi said. “They are also very effective to counter the propaganda of Maoists of rape charges against police personnel”.

Last year, the Bijapur police had trained 32 women for anti-Maoist operations but it is for the first time they have been deployed in a road opening party.
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