The Interview Times had the privilege of interacting with the Inspector General (IG) of one of the most dedicated forces of the country Border Security Forces (BSF).
In the dense forests and challenging terrains of Odisha’s Koraput, Kandhamal, and Malkangiri districts, a silent yet powerful force has been diligently working to restore peace and stability to regions once plagued by Naxal insurgency. The Border Security Forces (BSF) of Odisha, particularly the Frontier Special Operations, have been instrumental in curbing Naxal activity, fostering development, and building trust among local communities.
Frontier Special Operations: The Vanguard Against Naxalism
Naxalism, a long-standing challenge to India’s internal security, found fertile ground in the remote districts of Odisha. The Frontier Special Operations was established to counter the Naxal threat head-on, with its headquarters strategically located in Bangalore. Comprising nine specialized units, this force shoulders the critical responsibility of curtailing Naxal activities and fostering an environment conducive to progress.
Among these units, eight are dedicated to tackling Left Wing Extremist (LWE) activities, employing intelligence-driven strategies, surveillance, and targeted operations to neutralize threats. The remaining unit, the DG Reserve Battalion, plays a pivotal role in safeguarding internal security during significant events such as elections and summits.
From Strife to Stability: Evolution of BSF’s Role
BSF’s journey in Odisha commenced in April 2010, focusing initially on the Koraput and Malkangiri districts. Over time, their presence expanded, with the force growing from five units in 2013 to the current strength of nine units. This evolution has been a testament to the effectiveness of BSF’s operations and their contribution to the significant turnaround in the security landscape.
The results are indeed remarkable. The once-troubled Malkangiri and Koraput districts have seen a transformation, with not a single Naxal-related activity reported in the last four years. The credit for this success is attributed to a collaborative effort involving local communities, administrators, the police, the Special Operation Group (SOG), and other intelligence agencies.
Unity in Action: BSF and Development Initiatives
The success story of BSF’s operations extends beyond mere security measures. Both the central and state governments have played an active role in ensuring the comprehensive development of Naxal-affected areas. Central funds allocated for security-related initiatives have been skillfully utilized by the state government for a range of activities, including road construction, mobile tower installation, and setting up new operational bases.
The good governance demonstrated by the state government has been pivotal in winning the trust and support of local communities. This partnership has not only deterred Naxal youths from pursuing extremist ideologies but has also resulted in their surrender, thanks to well-crafted rehabilitation policies.
Empowering Locals, Ensuring Progress
BSF’s strategic establishment of Complete Operating Bases (COBs) has not only provided a platform for local police and SOG to conduct operations but has also paved the way for significant developmental activities. This approach has created an atmosphere conducive to the execution of projects aimed at improving the lives of the local population.
In addition to fostering development, BSF actively engages in disaster management and relief efforts, further solidifying its role as a multifaceted force that goes beyond traditional security responsibilities.
From Cut-off to Swabhiman Anchal: A Transformational Journey
One of the most striking achievements of BSF’s efforts is the transformation of the “cut-off” area along the Andhra-Odisha border into Swabhiman Anchal, or the Pride Zone. This region, once under the influence of Naxals, now stands as a symbol of resilience and progress. The successful conduct of elections and the enthusiastic participation of locals in the democratic process underscore the BSF’s contribution to redefining the area’s destiny.
In Swabhiman Anchal, BSF remains an invisible yet potent force, consistently working towards peace, prosperity, and stability.
Conclusion: A Force for Positive Change
The Border Security Forces’ Frontier Special Operations in Odisha have emerged as a beacon of hope and progress in regions marred by Naxalism. Through their unwavering commitment, strategic operations, and collaborative approach, BSF has successfully curtailed Naxal activities and ignited a wave of development. Their partnership with local communities and government agencies has not only neutralized extremism but has also laid the foundation for lasting peace and prosperity.
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