Chhattisgarh: 24 BJP leaders get X level CRPF cover in Bastar ahead of polls
As many as 70 persons including functionaries of the BJP, Congress and CPI besides social activists have security cover in Bastar
Bastar: The Union government has provided X category security to 24 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in the Maoist-hit Bastar area of Chhattisgarh ahead of the upcoming state assembly election.
The security was sanctioned in the backdrop of the Maoists allegedly killing four party leaders in 2023.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday announced the poll schedule for five states including Chhattisgarh where it will be held in two phases on November 7 and 17 with counting of votes scheduled for December 3, alongside Mizoram, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana.
Officials in Bastar said the home ministry issued the order to deploy personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to the 24 local BJP functionaries. The person to be protected is given a two-personnel security cover under the X category.
The leaders granted security are from Maoist-affected areas of Bijapur, Dantewada , Sukma and Kondagaon in Bastar.
“It appears that this decision was taken keeping in mind the forthcoming assembly elections in the Bastar region. Normally, categories (of security) are provided either by the state government or central government,” police officer posted in the Bastar region said.
The state government has already provided security to over 70 persons in Bastar including functionaries of the BJP, Congress and Communist Party of India ( CPI) besides social activists.
“Protection Review Committee of the state government makes an assessment of security threats to the individuals and provides security categories varying from Z +, Z, Y +, Y and X category. Z + being the highest and X category being the minimum,”said the officer, adding that the security personnel will be deployed in the next few days
Maoist rebels have frequently targetted BJP politicians this year.
Three leaders were killed in February including former sarpanch and BJP functionary Ramdhar Alami who was allegedly killed on suspicion of being a police informer. On February 10, BJP’s Narayanpur district vice-president Sagar Sahu was shot dead in Chhote Dongar, and on February 5, a local leader Neelkanth Kakkam was shot dead in Awapalli area of Bijapur district, HT had reported in February. A former BJP sarpanch in Bijapur district was killed by Maoists in June.
Following the multiple attacks in February, the Chhattisgarh police had written a letter to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), seeking a probe into the killing of the three BJP members by suspected Maoists.
A total of 555 Maoists surrendered in the state in 2022, the state government said in a statement in February.,