Danteshwari Warriors’, the Chhattisgarh government's own team of women cops to carry out successful anti-Maoist operations in Naxal strongholds of Bastar division, has turned out to be a very effective squad.
The deployment of Danteshwari Warriors in all seven districts of Bastar division -- Dantewada, Sukma, Bijapur, Bastar, Kanker, Kondagaon, Narayanpur -- has not only increased the number of successful operations and surrenders but also improved policing and intelligence in the area.
The squad is named after the local powerful Goddess Danteshwari, said Bastar police. Danteswari Warriors have provided an edge to Bastar police in its fight against Maoists, because as of now 50% of the Maoist fighting force comprises women naxals. Absence of women cops in anti-naxal operations hindered police activities in hard core naxal areas as the police often faced allegations of atrocities against tribal women during operations. Such cases have drastically reduced.
Inspector General of Bastar police Sunderraj P said Danteshwari Warriors, which was constituted in 2019, comprises local women, surrendered naxals, and naxal-affected women. These women have been through rigorous training on anti-naxal operation and guerrilla warfare techniques.
At present, around 300 Danteshwari Warriors are deployed in Bastar, Sunderraj said.
As per the official figure, at least 500 Maoists surrendered between 2003 and 2020. Out of these, 212 were women naxals. While some of them joined the police forces, the rest opted for other departments, the IG said.