Counter-Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College, Kanker

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2019: attack from bears

Rashmi Drolia, August 5, 2019: The Times of India

Jungle Warfare College under attack from bears


Chhattisgarh’s Counter-Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College in Bastar trains its students to make themselves at home in the forest. But things have now gone really wild. A dozen lumbering bears have put the brakes on police and paramilitary personnel training for guerrilla warfare. Some even have scars to show for their encounters.

The college faces an invasion of wild bears. Sloth bears recently attacked a jawan who was on duty.

The animals also broke the glass-fronted doors of the dormitory of police personnel undergoing training in anti-Maoist operations.

‘Forest dept told about bear threat, but no action taken’

Brigadier B K Ponwar (Retd), director of the Jungle Warfare College in Kanker district of Bastar region, said he has informed the forest department several times of the urgency of shifting the approximately two dozen sloth bears to the forest but no action has followed.

Repeated attempts by TOI to contact the Kanker district forest officer went unanswered.

The Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College houses around 500 people, including jawans, staff and trainees who are vulnerable to bear attacks. At present, around 50 women commandos are being trained in counter-Naxalite operations and are residing in the Jungle Warfare college dormitory, while more than 200 other jawans are deployed on the campus, Brig Ponwar told TOI.

“It is a daily sight — sloth bears venturing onto the campus in search of food as they pick up the smell of cooked food. It’s getting scary as the bears have attacked a constable and broke the glass doors of the library and dormitory last Sunday,” Brig Ponwar said.

“We have written several letters to the forest department highlighting the issue and danger. We have asked for the bears to be shifted outside the premises. The forest department is yet to respond to several letters written over the past years,” Brig Ponwar added.

He said the bears often venture as close as a few metres from his residence. “I have suggested to the forest department that they put up cages and cameras to monitor the bears’ movements before neutralising or relocating them.”

The most recent letter, after the constable was mauled, was addressed to police headquarters and the forest department. A senior police officer assured that the issue would be brought to the notice of the Kanker SP for his intervention and that he would be asked to team up with the forest department to take cognisance of the matter.

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