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15 Maoists, 3 jawans killed in 4-day Bastar offensive

LiveMint logoLiveMint 27-06-2017 Shaswati Das

New Delhi: At least 15 Maoists and three security personnel were killed in a four-day operation in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region that concluded on Monday.

The Central Reserve Police Force’s (CRPF), COBRA unit (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action), District Reserve Guards (DRG) and the Special Task Force (STF) of the state police in Sukma’s Chintagufa participated in the action, a CRPF official said on condition of anonymity.

The offensive—Operation Prahar—was launched in the Maoist strongholds of Sukma, Bijapur and Dantewada districts after receiving intelligence about their presence in hideouts in Sukma district’s Tonda Marka, Bade Kedwal and Chintagufa areas, the official said.

“We launched the offensive after gathering intelligence about Naxal presence and camps in these areas. We have to be very careful because the villagers in these areas—which are core Naxal areas—are strong Naxal sympathizers. So, we had to act with caution so as avoid being ambushed by the Naxals,” said the CRPF official. The assault caused heavy damage to the Naxals, he said.

“The Indian Air Force was also on standby, ready to give us chopper assistance when needed. When we launched the operation, a heavy gunbattle took place between the forces and the Naxals, following which we killed at least 10-15 Naxals. However, three DRG personnel were martyred because of heavy gunfire,” the CRPF official added.

“January to June is the period when there are maximum armed attacks by them (Naxals). The most offensive operations are conducted by them during this period and it is also the time when they task their military companies in target-based ops,” said Dinesh Pratap Upadhyay, deputy inspector general (ops), CRPF, Dantewada district, said in an interview.

Between July and December, Naxals recruit and train cadres to form platoons, companies, self-defence squads and armed militia. This is when security forces launch combing operations.

“The Naxals have started targeting young girls. They scout villages where children are unattended by their parents and they abduct them and induct them into their cadres. The recruitment process has shifted from voluntary to brutal and that needs to be curbed at any cost,” Upadhyay added.

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