The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will soon have its own intelligence wing.
“We have started the process,” said A.S. Gill, CRPF Director-General, confirming the decision.
The para military force, expected to begin playing a enhanced role in countering the Maoist threat, will have 10 intelligence officers per battalion, attached to 150 of its battalions.
The CRPF currently relies on state and central agencies for intelligence inputs.
The home ministry has also approved a proposal to add 38 new battalions -- or more than 38,000 men and women -- to the 60-year-old CRPF, which is already the country’s largest paramilitary force with 2.7 lakh personnel.
In the revamp planned, the CRPF, which earlier worked to supplement the state police and took directions from the latter, will now do so at an equal footing with the state police in Maoist dominated states. “A coordinated offensive is needed to clear the areas where left wing extremists have built their bases,” said Gill.
The Maoists have killed 249 security personnel in the last six months, more than eight times the number killed by militants in Jammu and Kashmir.
The CRPF counts the flushing out of Maoists from Lalgarh in West Bengal as one of its major successes. “We have arrested 34 listed Naxals in the past one and half months of operations being jointly carried out by the CRPF, the BSF and the West Bengal police,” Gill added.