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Sunday, October 11, 2009

3 battalions in naxal-hit Gadchiroli

MUMBAI: The Centre, on Saturday, airlifted 18 companies (three battalions) of paramilitary forces from Jammu and Jalandhar to the naxal-hit Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra to assist in the peace-keeping operations on October 13, the day the state goes to vote.

Besides the local police, there are 35 companies of paramilitary forces in Gadchiroli. The recent Naxal encounter that saw the death of 17 policemen is the third big massacre in the district. And top police officials said the morale of the local police had gone down.

Chief Secretary Johny Joseph said the state government made an appeal to the Union home secretary and the defence secretary, following which they agreed to airlift the troops. He added that the men from the Central Reserve Police Force were airlifted from their bases at Jammu and Jalandhar by IAF planes and were taken to Nagpur. Two battalions arrived at Nagpur on Saturday evening; the third one is expected to land later in the night.

State chief electoral officer Debashish Chakrabarty, who has been updating Election Commission on all developments in the area, was also of the opinon that district needed more police force to ensure free, fair and above all safe elections.

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