Special anti-Naxal commando (COBRA) force from October 2009

Crossing over boundaries of the State by armed members of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) will no longer be easy. From October, activities of Maoists operating in Bihar and Jharkhand will be under surveillance of the special anti-Naxal commando force, Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA).


The Central government decided to raise this dedicated battalion nearly two years ago to tackle Naxals. Currently, its first batch of commandos is undergoing training in various parts of the country. After training, which is likely to end by September 30, they will be deployed in four worst Naxal-hit states, including Bihar.


Sources said that initially one battalion of CoBRA, which has been raised on the pattern of Andhra Pradesh's Greyhounds, will be stationed at Gaya to check influx of Left wing extremists from Jharkhand into Bihar and vice-versa.


"The land for the battalion's base in Gaya has been acquired," said a senior police official. "Gaya has been selected as its base as it is a Naxal-hit area and provides a safe passage to Maoists to criss-cross the two neighbouring states, Jharkhand and Bihar. The base would start full-fledged operations by the end of this fiscal," he said.


While the headquarters of CoBRA battalions in Bihar will be at Gaya, the elite force would monitor its operations in Jharkhand from its Hazaribagh base.  


At present, the Bihar police have to depend either on the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) or Special Task Force (STF) to carry out operations in 16 Naxal-affected districts in the State. "Efforts are on to raise 10 more units of the STF for the purpose," the police official said.


The Ministry of Home Affairs has outlined the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for deployment of CoBRA under its Action Plan II.


HT / September 14, 2009