The Chhattisgarh government is adding new armour in its battle against the outlawed CPI (Maoist). The state has started a large recruitment drive to enlist local youth as police constables specifically for the seven restive districts of the Bastar red zone.
The area-specific recruitment drive is unique in that a resident of Dantewada cannot apply for placement in adjoining Sukma district. The 10-day-long physical tests just ended and the written examination is slated for second week of August.
State police officials said they were happy with the enthusiastic response from local aspirants. The state government had approved the proposal to recruit only local youths in February this year.
“The initiative will assist the forces in a big way. Besides giving them employment, the local’s familiarity with the geographical terrain, knowledge of the region’s culture and language are going to prove beneficial for the police,” said ADG (CAF, STF & Training) Sanjay Pillay.
On one particular trial day, 12th class pass Gajju Karanga, 26, from Abujhmad region registered himself early in the morning along with other tribal youth at the Narayanpur district police ground.
A few hours later, he jumped with joy, “Yes! I did it”, as he cleared the high jump bar. Asked why he wanted to join the police, Karanga said, “I know what I am and where I want to go. I have seen the Maoist menace since my childhood days.”
All aspirants had to prove their physical fitness at the police grounds– the common venue in all the districts.
Similarly, Mandavi Eitu, 24, of Dantewada and Kumari Kaka Amita, 23, from Sukma, both matriculate pass, pointed out how the rebels remain influential in their areas. “We wish to live in a terror-free environment. Fear of the Maoists persists for everyone. But the entry into the police force diminishes that fear,” they explained.
Bharti Goyar (22), a 12th pass who had never ventured outside her district, was the only girl to clear the physical test from Dumartarai in Narayanpur. “Development is key to alleviate the problem,” she affirmed.
Police chiefs of the Maoist-affected districts were enthused with the response from remote tribal belts. “Such recruits will be very useful for our operations. The locals will connect more with the administration,” felt Kondagaon district SP Santosh Singh.
His Bijapur counterpart KL Dhruv, revealed that after spending a couple of years in the Maoist belt many policemen who are not from Bastar get desperate to shift out. “Now the ‘netagiri’ hassle on transfer of police personnel will be restricted,” he said.
While Narayanpur SP Abhishek Meena stressed that the recruitment is carried out in a transparent manner and recorded electronically, Dantewada SP Kamal Lochan Kashyap commended the physical endurance and strength of the tribal candidates.
The first phase of recruitment to select 740 constables for Bastar zone will be over by August end. A month later, another process will start to constitute four battalions of the Chhattisgarh Armed Forces (CAF) comprising 4,028 personnel. This will be separate from the proposed ‘Bastar Battalion’ that the Centre had recently given consent to.