Anil Deshmukh is probably the first home minister in the recent past to celebrate Diwali in remote Patagudam village of Gadchiroli district. Patagudam, considered to be a Naxal stronghold, is 300 km from Gadchiroli, on the Maharashtra-Chhatisgarh border. According to reports, Naxalites from bothMaharashtra
and Chhatisgarh take shelter in Patagudam and there have been several attacks on police personnel in the border area.
Deshmukh had taken along with him key police officials to study the ground situation and one of the main takeaways was the plight of SRPF personnel posted there. SRPF personnel from Daund and Kolhapur have been deployed in Patagudam for the safety and security of villagers. It was found that while SRPF companies have been posted there since several years, they are still staying in barracks amid abysmal living conditions. There are hardly any facilities for their children too. Police personnel posted in Naxalite-infested areas had been given an assurance that they would be deployed there for a fixed tenure and, after completion, they would be given a posting of their choice. However, their main grouse is the assurance has remained on paper. Police personnel were happy to have a personal meeting with the home minister, but they remain sceptical if the issues raised by them will be resolved in a time-bound period.