For the first time, a contingent comprising 11 companies of the Nagaland Armed Police Force, totaling 800 well-trained personnel, was deployed across Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected regions during the Kerala polls on Friday, 25 April. The team, headed by Additional SP Shouka Kakheto, was stationed in LWE-affected areas in Kasaragod, Kannur city, rural, and Kozhikode rural police districts, according to Times of India.

It’s noteworthy that while Kerala has witnessed armed confrontations between state police and LWE cadres in the past, the violence levels have not reached the intensity witnessed in regions like Bastar in Chhattisgarh and Purulia in West Bengal. The presence of LWE in Kerala has primarily been confirmed through sightings and occasional visits by Maoist cadres to tribal colonies seeking food and rations.

The question arises: why was this police team, trained in counter-insurgency operations and adept at handling large-scale unrest, deployed in LWE-affected areas of Kerala to ensure security during the polls?

According to Kakheto, “The force has expertise in managing violent mobs, counter-insurgency measures, jungle warfare, and operations in LWE-affected areas like Bastar and Purulia.”

Meanwhile, DIG (CID) of Nagaland police KPA Ilyas, speaking to TOI over the phone from Kohima, explained that this deployment was due to “The Nagaland police force’s hands-on experience in dealing with insurgencies of massive scale and degree. Their training modules are designed to handle the toughest situations.”

Kakheto was quoted by TOI as saying, “The situation back in our state and this part of the country is totally different. Coming from the hills, our boys are fit besides being well-trained in weapons and tactics. We also find that this state is totally peaceful.”

Nonetheless, the polling booths in areas categorized as LWE-affected by the Ministry of Home Affairs were placed under the protection of the Nagaland armed police cadres, along with other central forces.

The team traveled from Madurai to the state after completing poll duty in Tamil Nadu.

MTNews Desk

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