The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Relief to rebels as jawans ‘retreat’

Raipur, July 23: Maoists have a reason to smile — the Naga police battalion has finally moved out of the state.

After a short stint of two years, the battalion of Nagaland Armed Police (NAP) left Chhattisgarh yesterday after their term of deployment expired. The rebels have been demanding the removal of Naga jawans from Bastar since they stepped into the Maoist territory in May 2005.

On the request of he Chhattisgarh government, the Centre sent a battalion of NAP for anti-Maoist operations. The Naga jawans’ expertise in jungle warfare soon started bearing results and they managed to storm into the territories that the Naxalites had been claiming theirs.

“The Naga boys did a commendable job and succeeded in putting the rebels into defensive mode for the first time,” said inspector-general of police (headquarters) Girdhari Nayak. He said the state government had started efforts to bring the Naga battalion back for another term.

In a secret move, the NAP personnel reached here last evening from Bsatar in more than 50 vehicles with all their equipment and resources. They would head to Nagaland in a special train.

“Since it is a movement of an entire battalion, the details of onward journey cannot be leaked,” Nayak said.

At present, the state has a battalion of Mizoram Armed Police from the Northeast. But the imprint left by the Naga jawans was unmatchable.

“The Naga jawans were energetic and acted on lightning speed,” said Bastar superintendent of police G.P. Singh.

On many occasions, he specially invited the Naga troops to storm into Maoists’ camps. During its two-year stay in Chhattisgarh, Naga jawans wreaked havoc on the rebels’ camp.

About 24 jawans lost lives during operations. Ten NAP personnel died on the spot when rebels triggered a powerful landmine explosion in Dantewada on February 6 last year. The blast blew up the vehicle the jawans were travelling in.

The Maoists had been demanding the removal of Naga force from Chhattisgarh from time to time. Besides issuing notes to the local media, the rebels had organised bandh in Bastar a couple of times in support of their demand to send back NAP battalion.

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