The CRPF has decided to replace about 12,000 of its aged troops with young and freshly inducted recruits to bring agility and renewed strength in its anti-Naxal operations in the LWE-hit areas of Chhattisgarh. The paramilitary, designated as the lead force against Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in the country, has recently recruited and trained about 20,000 fresh troops and has now planned to deploy the ‘young blood’ in these strenuous operations that require personnel to be out in jungles for days together, in harsh climatic conditions.
The first-time measure, a senior official told PTI, is part of the forces’ strategy to bring renewed vigour in its operations by posting young and motivated personnel and having the least amount of causalities and injuries on its side. “About 12,000 freshly trained young recruits, in the age group of 18-21 years, will be deployed in Chhattisgarh soon by replacing their older colleagues who are in the age-group of 45-50 years.” the official said. The aim of the exercise is to keep the combat profile of the force young, he said, adding the move has been approved by CRPF Director General (DG) R R Bhatnagar.
An analysis of casualties in the force, both fatal and non-fatal, in the past encounters reflect that a number of aged troops were victims. “There can be no doubt that a young age profile for a fighting force will result in better successes. The older age profile of troopers will be taken out from this LWE affected region and deployed in other locations where the battle is not that tough and demanding,” the official said.
Another official deployed in the anti-Naxal operations grid of the force said while this first lot of young troops will go to Chhattisgarh, especially the south Bastar region that comprises districts of Sukma and Dantewada, the next batches could be sent to other states affected by LWE violence like Jharkhand and Odisha. “Some of these young personnel would also be sent to the Kashmir valley which is another important theatre of operations for the CRPF,” the second official said.
The about 12,000 new personnel will be deployed in such a fashion, across various units of the CRPF in Chhattisgarh, that the overall profile of the battalion remains experienced and conversant with the area they are operating in and at the same time fighting fit, the officials said. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has about 31 battalions deployed in the central Indian state for these operations including special teams of its jungle warfare squad — CoBRA. Each battalion has over 1,000 personnel. Last year, the CRPF lost 37 men in two Naxal ambushes in the state while 9 men were killed this year when the Maoists blew off their mine protected vehicle (MPV) in Sukma district last month.