The Union home ministry on Friday told the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Border Security Force (BSF) to go all out on an offensive against Maoists ahead of the assembly elections in Chhattisgarh.
The central directive follows intelligence reports that the Maoists were preparing to raise the violence profile ahead of the elections and had tasked special teams to carry out attacks targeting security forces.
The directive is significant in the light of an analysis at the home ministry which indicated the central security forces were far too defensive and weren’t denting the Maoist capacity to attack. The ministry has warned that it would fix accountability for lapses due to poor planning.
Apart from the 162 companies of central police forces already in Chhattisgarh, the ministry and the Election Commission have decided to nearly double the number of central forces for Chhattisgarh.
“The MHA has agreed to deploy 500 companies of central forces,” a Chhattisgarh police officer —privy to a meeting convened by home secretary Anil Goswami to review preparations — told HT. Each company of a central force has a sanctioned strength of about 130 personnel.
Most of the additional central forces to be deployed are currently based elsewhere. The police officer said a profile of the central force personnel would be mapped out and units – that do not have adequate experience – would be deployed in relatively safer polling stations.
The Chhattisgarh police have already asked the election commission to shift 300 polling stations — that witness low polling — in the interiors closer to main road rather than unnecessarily risk lives of policemen.