Union home minister Rajnath Singh has approved a proposal to raise a special battalion of the Central Reserve Police Forces consisting only of tribals to deal with the Maoists in Chhattisgarh. Singh's approval included relaxing the recruitment norms of height and weight for tribal applicants.
According to a senior home ministry official, the new battalion will be named after Chhattisgarh's Bastar region, a centre of Maoist activity, says The Economic Times.
"The battalion being raised will be permanently stationed for five years in Chhattisgarh and will be called "Bastariya battalion," said the official.
Jawans and officers for the tribal battalion will be recruited from areas which see the most Maoist activity, including Narayanpur, Bijapur, Sukhma and Dantewada. Recruitment to the battalion will be via advertisement, and training will begin next year, said the official.
The CRPF believes a tribal battalion will not only provide employment but also help with intelligence gathering.
However, whether recruitment will be entirely successful is moot, since Maoists have warned of stern punishment to any local person who joins the state's forces against them.