In first of its kind anti-Maoist operation, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) aided by other central paramilitary forces and state police forces has launched a massive five-day hunt across eight states aimed at striking at the root of Maoist formations and cadres.
The five-day coordinated operations, led by paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), were started at the crack of the dawn at 4am from Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha and bordering states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
Carried out under the leadership of CRPF, besides 10,000 fully armed personnel of central paramilitary forces including ITBP, BSF and SSB, the operation is aided by about 30,000 state police personnel to give as little as possible escape route to the Maoist guerrillas across state borders, CRPF officials said.
Winters are the best time suited to launch an operation as the foliage that gives blanket cover to the Maoists is minimal and gives better imagery through unmanned aerial vehicles, chances of soldiers getting hit by malaria are the least and weather allows soldiers to carry on without fatigue for several days at a stretch, a senior CRPF official said.
“The operation has begun and a huge deployment of joint forces has been made. The idea is to scramble all the forces at one time so that Naxals cannot flee into neighbouring territories if they feel pressure by the security forces in one area,” said Dilip Trivedi, director general of CRPF.
Officials said though the main concentration of operations is in four states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Maharashtra comprising Dandakaranya region, states of West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have been made a part of this maiden offensive.
CRPF sources said that the operations have met with reasonable successes at Maoist hotbeds of Khunti, Simdega and Singhbhum in Jharkhand where security forces busted a mini Gun factory and confiscated two generators, three lathe machines, more than 200 gun barrels, 13 bombs with timers and 30kg of liquid explosives.
However, at Metul in Bijapur, Chhattisgarh Maoists managed to counter attack killing one security personnel and injuring another. They also snatched two INSAS rifles from them.
The proposal of coordinated operations was mooted in a recent meeting of police chiefs of all the Naxal violence hit states and the results of the five-day operations will be analyzed threadbare and a decision to undertake such offensives in the future would be decided.
The forces, according to sources, have asked their senior commanders to be on ground and all the operations are coordinated not only at state police headquarters here but also at the CRPF directorate in New Delhi where DG Trivedi himself is keeping a tab on the progress.
“The idea is to inflict maximum damage on the Maoist leadership and infrastructure with least casualties to the security forces and tribal. A close eye is being kept on the operations with the help of helicopters and UAVs. The exact success of the operations will be known and analyzed once they end and all the forces reach their camps,” a senior CRPF official said.
However, officials in the intelligence establishment do not have much hopes from the operations as they feel that the Maoists have already retracted and are lying low because of pressure from the security forces.
“They would not like to react much during these operations and are awaiting formation of Telangana that would give them a safe haven to regroup,” said a source.