Friday, September 29, 2006

CRPF in Chhattisgarh launches monsoon thrust against Naxals

CRPF in Chhattisgarh launches monsoon thrust against Naxals

A brainchild of supercop K P S Gill, the operation is meant to recapture 'liberated' areas


New Delhi: The CRPF has launched a crackdown against Naxalites in insurgency-hit Bastar region of Chhattisgarh to recapture areas “liberated” by the rebels, a low-key but massive operation fine-tuned by former supercop K P S Gill.

The monsoon thrust, planned to surprise Naxalites who usually lie low during the rainy season, began towards the end of August and is progressing without much bloodshed, top officials of the force said.

The strategy is to conduct surprise raids on the basis of intelligence reports and the CRPF has so far apprehended over 100 rebels and killed two, besides seizing huge quantities of arms and ammunition.

Official figures show that there were 24 shootouts between CRPF personnel and Naxals in August and September, with the force losing only one jawan. Nine persons were injured during the operations.

The operation, planned by CRPF director general J K Sinha and Gill, was launched in the wake of a Naxal raid on a relief camp for displaced people in Dantewada district in July that left at least 29 people dead and over 80 injured.

Now, the CRPF has directed its troops to avoid schools and hospitals while moving forward, as they apprehend that such structures could be booby-trapped.

After the start of Salwa Judum on June 4 last year, over 300 villagers have been killed by insurgents and about 50,000 people from nearly 700 villages of Dantewada have taken shelter in relief camps run by the state government.

Sources said the force had opened a control room at Jagdalpur to oversee the operations and set up “repeater stations” in remote jungles to boost communications.

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