The Centre’s decision to shift the 153rd Battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) from Motihari to Chhattisgarh has raised quite a few eyebrows.
On Thursday evening, thousands took to the streets in protest against the move of the ministry of home affairs (MHA).
The decision to shift the troops has come at a time when out of six sub-divisions of the district, Pakridayal, Sikrahana and Chakia have been badly hit by Maoist activities. Sources said the Naxalites have also established a stronghold in the eastern part of Motihari sub-division as well as in Raxaul and Areraj. The district, sharing border with Nepal, has already been identified as a conduit of several anti-national activities.
The 153rd Battalion had been stationed here since 2003 to curb the Naxalite menace in East Champaran and bordering districts like Sheohar and Sitamarhi. Sources said the presence of the troops not only instilled confidence among the people but there had been a decline in Maoist- related incidents in comparison to previous years. The troops have been given 25 days to shift.
“The allotment process to build a permanent headquarter of the battalion is almost in the final stage. The Centre’s step to shift the forces at this time is a riddle to us,” said an officer.
“This sudden development, especially when the MHA was considering assigning two battalions each for Jamui and Munger, the withdrawal order is baffling,” the official added.
“If the CRPF is removed, it would affect the security. Motihari Central Jail, the Police Lines, and the district armoury and treasury would become susceptible to Maoist attacks,” said LND College professor Ram Ekbal Tiwari.
According to Krishna Kant Singh of Dhaka, it is a deliberate attempt to destabilise this part of the state, including East Champaran, Sheohar and Sitamarhi.
“Operation Dhamaka at Madhuban in 2005 was a clear-cut indication of the Naxalite strength. Once the forces are shifted, the rebels could carry out a similar attack.” Two police personnel and seven Maoists were killed in the operation in West Champaran.