Friday, October 14, 2005

Chhattisgarh faces crunch as Gujarat withdraws cops

Saturday October 15 2005 00:00 IST


RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh, already facing a shortage of security personnel to deal with Maoist rebels, will face a further crunch as Gujarat pulls out 1,000 of its policemen.

The Gujarat government, which had sent one company of policemen six months ago, has withdrawn its forces to meet its own requirements.

"Gujarat has withdrawn forces as the state is holding local bodies polls," Director General of Police O.P. Rathor told IANS.

"We are short by 1,000 Gujarat police cops who were deployed in the Raipur and Bilaspur areas for law and order maintenance."

The pullout of Gujarat police is likely to seriously affect anti-Maoist operations in the Bastar region's forest comprising Dantewada, Kanker and Bastar districts. A total of 10,000 policemen are deployed in areas where Maoists hold sway.

Home Minister Ramvichar Netam said: "The Gujarat government's decision was unexpected. Gujarat police had helped Chhattisgarh step up offensives against Maoist rebels who dominate eight of the state's 16 districts."

A senior home department official said: "Now we have to cut the number of police personnel deployed in Maoist areas and deploy them in places vacated by Gujarat police for regular law and order maintenance."