They are called Alpha Hawks, and they have been specially trained to fight Naxalites in their strongholds in Maharashtra.
The first batch of the specially formed and trained unit was quietly deployed in Gadchiroli, Gondia, Chandrapur and Bhandara less than a month ago.
“They are on the job,” KP Raghuvanshi, additional director general (law and order), told HT on Sunday.
The equivalent of the Grey Hound, the specialised anti-Naxalite commando unit that crippled the dreaded People’s War Group (PWG) in Andhra Pradesh, the Alpha Hawks is the second dedicated anti-Naxal commando unit in the country.
The team of 500 commandos, Raghuvanshi said, has been trained at the Unconventional Operations Training Centre (UOTC) in Nagpur. “They are highly trained and motivated,” he said.
The force’s main task will be to launch surprise ambush on Naxalite hideouts. For mobility, surveillance and attack, the group has adequate vehicles (armored personal carriers), communication gadgets and firepower.
To acclimatise with the dense vegetation of the operational areas, they have been trained at the Jungle Warfare Training School in Gadchiroli.
The commandos have been selected from the Special Action Group of the Nagpur police. The unit will be split into two and centrally stationed in Nagpur and Gadchiroli.
As an incentive for the high-risk job, unit members will get 150 per cent more the salary than their counterparts (constables) in the Maharashtra police. They are also heavily insured.