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Chhattisgarh Is More Dangerous Than J&K: CRPF Jawan

Naxalism is one of the major issues of developing India that tackled by the CRPF jawans of India

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It was about to rain and I hurried towards the Pune railway station. The train to my hometown was not some minutes away to arrive. Cutting the crowd amid all the ongoing announcements, I reached the platform to see a wow moment. There were several CRPFs, could see a very few numbers of civilians. I thought maybe they were deployed to handle the ongoing Agnipath Scheme protests, but soon I noticed no arms but a ton of heavy luggage that belonged to them. They were also the travellers!

As soon as the train arrived at the platform, all rushed to get themselves and their luggage to set on their seats, though they decently left the way for the civilian passengers. The bogie where my seat was allowed and was majorly reserved for the CRPF jawans.

Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is India's largest and oldest paramilitary force that functions under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs. It's pride to see the country saviours dressed in that camouflaged uniform. "Hello sister, where are you travelling?", in no time, one of the personnel offered their hand for introduction. Samarth Ray, I read his name tag attached to his uniform. In talks, I came to know, that there were more than 250 CRPF jawans on the train going to their home on a 15-day vacation. It was the Assam Battalion!

Their accommodative nature took the journey to be more delightful. We discussed their duty and several ongoing incidents in the nation. Meanwhile, the topic of Naxalism was raised. When asked about their next posting post-vacation, the CRPF personnel said it could be in one among Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh or Jammu & Kashmir.

Samarth Ray said, "If it's Jammu & Kashmir, it's okay than Chhattisgarh."

Naxalism in India

Among the major issues of developing India, one is the Naxalite-Maoist insurgency which is also termed as Left Wing Extremism (LWE). It began in West Bengal in the late 1960s. The Maoist or Communist Party of India (CPI) was formed in the 1920s, later the group split into two gaining the name of the extremist movement as Naxalism.

Ray said that earlier Naxalites were created to claim rights from the government on behalf of the general public. They demanded the needs of people in a revolutionary way. They had common weapons like axe, swords, knives, etc. But with the passing days, there had been some disturbing objects of the society (mainly politicians) who began using Naxalism against government and governmental moves. "Now they don't stand for the citizens, they stand for the leaders and their benefit", he added.

Although there had been Naxal and Mao activity in many states of India, the most affected regions in the recent times have been Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Maharashtra. Ray said the major number of CRPFs are deployed in Jammu & Kashmir as compared to other states.

The battle between the internal forces and Naxalites/Maoists has been a long run. 'Operation Green Hunt' was started from India's Red Corridor in 2009 and is still active. In the past several years there have been regular anti-Naxal operations in the states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. As Jharkhand now sees less activity of Naxalites and Maoists, Chhattisgarh still has to battle more.

The MoS of Home informed in February 2022 that the geographical influence of Maoists contracted to 46 Naxal-affected districts in the country in 2021, a sharp reduction from 96 such districts in 10 states in 2010.

How do Naxalites get weapons?

When I asked them this question, Vivek Dulal, one of the CRPF personnel said, "Through illegal funding!" He explained that sometimes Naxalites-Maoists are funded by political leaders, mafias or the underworld so that they can spread anarchy around the country. This assists them to buy weapons. Apart from that, sometimes it happens that the extremists blackmail the owners of the mines to get the materials to make explosives. This is how they also have bombs and explosives with them.

Do the CRP Forces need some more assistance from the Government?

Samarth Ray said many of the CRPF jawans die in the battle with the extremists. It's an uncertain situation that who would attack from where. I asked whether they need more assistance from the government. He said that the weapons are the most essential during a clash, so a good quality arm would be a huge help.

"Do you get bullet-proof jackets?", I asked. He said, "Yes but most of us don't wear it." When the reason was asked, Ray said that they are provided with a bullet-proof vest weighing 18 kg. We have to carry other weapons along with bags full of essentials, with that, an 18-kgs jacket becomes too heavy and uncomfortable to handle during a training or deployment. Countries like the USA, and Russia use light-weighted, good-quality bullet-proof jackets for their soldiers, so it is maintainable during wars.

Then after I asked Ray why did he say that Jammu & Kashmir is okay than Chhattisgarh for their deployment? He replied, "There's always a gun-firing when there's a clash between CRPF and extremists in J&K, but in Chhattisgarh, the Naxalites use land mines while we go on hunt for them." In J&K a personnel could be injured by bullets, but here there's no chance to escape the RDX blasts. This leads to the death of many of our jawans. That's why I think, Chhattisgarh is more dangerous than J&K, he said.