Putting in place security arrangements for the upcoming polls in three states, the Union Home Ministry has ordered for the deployment of about 25,000 troops for election duties in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, a latest directive said. These paramilitary and state police personnel, part of the additional 250 companies to be sent in for the polls, have been asked to take position by October 15 in states assigned to them. While 50 fresh companies each have been marked to be sent to Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, an order accessed by PTI said, the highest of 150 such teams have been earmarked by the ministry to be sent to Chhattisgarh that has its southern part affected by a high-level threat of Maoist violence.
A single state police or Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) company has about 100 personnel. While dates for Assembly polls in these states are yet to be declared by the Election Commission (EC), the Home Ministry has asked the forces and respective state governments to get these units “inducted” by the first fortnight of this month for “area domination to ensure peaceful conduct of polls.” These 250 companies of the forces are in addition to paramilitary forces deployed in these states for conducting anti-Naxal operations and assisting in other law and order duties, a senior official said.
Chhattisgarh already has about 40 battalions (about 1,000 personnel in each) of the Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force and Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force deployed full-time to counter the LWE menace. The fresh 250 companies will have to be withdrawn from other duties and training and will be sent to the three states soon, the official said.
“The orders are to rush these additional companies and put them in position in the three states by October 15. Detailed deployment plan will be charted out once the EC announces polls dates and phases,” the official said. While the maximum manpower for the new units is being drawn from CAPFs like the CRPF, BSF, CISF, ITBP, SSB and RPF, special police battalions from Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana and Gujarat have also been requisitioned by the Home Ministry.
For the forces marked for Chhattisgarh, the ministry has issued specific directions that they should “carry their own night vision devices, communication equipments like satellite phones, bullet proof jackets, GPS systems and armoured vehicles as far as possible for safety and other operational requirements.”
This instruction is specific for fresh units going to Chhattisgarh as the battalions already deployed there are placed in thick of operations and they will not be able to spare their gadgets for new units coming in, the official explained. The three states are expected to go to polls sometime in late October and November.