As security forces grapple with the ongoing battle against left-wing insurgents, formally recognised as Maoists or Naxals, the Border Security Force (BSF) emerges as a formidable presence in regions plagued by ultras.
While actively engaging in persistent counter-insurgency operations in the remote and unexplored terrains of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and adjoining areas, where BSF units are stationed, the personnel of the force have also made significant contributions to transforming the lives of local residents in these deep, secluded regions.
The BSF, tasked primarily with containing and suppressing extremist activities in insurgency-hit regions, concurrently runs diverse schemes and special programs. These initiatives aim to provide essential services, including health and educational tools, to the local populace, thereby fostering their active participation in the mainstream.
Various Civic Action Programmes aimed at providing health services, education
Recently, the Inspector General (IG) of FTR HQ (Special Ops), Odisha, inaugurated a free medical camp at the old age home in Kaligiri. The camp offered complimentary medical advice and distributed free medicines among the elderly residents. During the visit, the BSF’s IG also presented an RO plant to ensure the provision of quality drinking water in the old age home.
Sh DK Sharma, IG , Ftr HQ ( Spl Ops), BSF Odisha visited 65 Bn Pathegada and further visited kaligiri, where he brought smiles to the face of senior citizens of an Old Age home by gifting an RO plant to the old age home.#BSF #FirstLineofDefence #BSFOdisha pic.twitter.com/iahfzqlv0n
— BSF_ODISHA (@BSFODISHA) December 25, 2023
This visit was part of the ongoing ‘Civic Action Programme’ initiated by BSF troops in Maoist-affected regions of Odisha, including Swabhiman Anchal and nearby areas. Troops in these areas have been consistently organising free medical camps, and distributing medicines, clothes, utensils, and sports items.
In addition to these efforts, personnel have conducted blood donation camps in various districts. The comprehensive programs also involve distributing school bags, LED lights, and stationary materials to support students pursuing their studies in these remote terrains, which were previously dominated by insurgents.
Tribal Youth Exchange Programme
One of the flagship initiative being carried out by the BSF is the Tribal (Janjati/Vanvasi) Youth Exchange Programme (TYEP) under which selected youths from the remote regions of insurgency-hit districts are sent for an educational tour in separate cities such as Banglore, Bhopal etc.
In a recent development, a delegation of 20 tribal youths from the Maoist-infested Malkangiri district was sent to Bhopal as part of the 15th tribal youth exchange program in the 7th phase. This initiative aligns with the ongoing efforts of the government of Bharat to provide youths from the Janjati community in remote regions with exposure to the mainstream.
Impact of the Civic Programmes
The initiatives undertaken by the BSF, in conjunction with those implemented by the local administration, have emerged as a decisive force in rebuilding the trust of thousands of individuals who were once sympathetic to the insurgency, driven by either fear or choice.
After years of dedicated service and tireless efforts, the security personnel’s endeavors are now yielding positive outcomes. Thousands of people, previously aligned with insurgent causes, have not only surrendered but are also praising the outreach efforts of the paramilitary forces and local administration.
The impact has been remarkable, with over 12,000 sympathisers surrendering in the last two years alone. Additionally, the combined efforts of development projects and enhanced security measures have injected a sense of hope into the villagers who were previously left despondent in the remote terrains of Swabhiman Anchal. For them, it represents nothing short of a miracle, signifying a moment when they can finally embrace their true democratic identity.