Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Naxals using tunnels to escape

3 May 2009, 0139 hrs IST, Soumittra S Bose, TNN

NAGPUR: Recent analysis of Naxal's combat style has revealed new methods which could prove to be a dampner to the security forces. There has been
evidence of modern military techniques being used as well as sophisticated weapons. More interestingly, it's also come to the fore that the Naxals are using tunnels for quick exits and bunkers as temporary shelters in the jungles of Gadchiroli.

Two seized Naxal literature -- one believed to be a modern military manual and the other a booklet on proposals of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee's third meeting in September 2008 -- has given the police a fresh perspective to Naxal outlook.

This analysis formed the core of the debate in a recently concluded meeting of police officers from Maharashtra and Chhatisgarh, and the officials from Central government held at Jagdalpur.

The 332-page seized military manual (Buniyadi Sainik Pathyakram), published by Awami Jung Prakashan, has brought to the fore that Naxals may be gearing up to launch a full-fledged war on the government security forces. The manual, replete with military diagrams and illustrations, has detailed descriptions about aspects like principles of war zones, troupe formation, firing area, deployment, command, control, communication, identifying of targets and such aspects.

Security agencies feel that there might be manuals of further advanced warfare technique for Naxals which already has a central military commission (CMC) and state military commissions for grooming cadres into combat techniques.

According to a highly placed source in the police department, the recent Mungner encounter in Gadchiroli had laid the fact bare that the Naxals are shifting to military-trained positional warfare with sophisticated automatic assault weapons. They are fast distancing their traditional styles of shoot-and-scoot Guerrilla warfare as well as planned mobile warfare for positional warfare. Unlike in the past, black-uniform clad Naxals showed surprising tenacity in the Mungner encounter, where three commandoes were killed, to fight for more than two hours. The C-60 commandoes were pummelled relentlessly with sophisticated weapons.

The Naxals also displayed highly developed military skills and ferocity to take on the might of the mighty C-60 commandos. Nepali-looking fighters and their skills had also left the Naxals stunned. In fact, the Border Security Force chopper used to ferry polling parties was also hit by Naxal bullet during the recent election.

The seized literature, where the plan to have tunnels was found, fell into the hands of the security forces during an encounter at Gadchiroli during the recently concluded 'Operation Parakram'.

Destroying the tunnels and bunkers constructed by the Naxals is likely to be the main aim of the combined security forces during the forthcoming joint operations. Security forces are likely to renew their joint operation along Maharashtra-Chhatisgarh border soon.

During 'Operation Parakram' launched to flush out the Naxals from Gadchiroli jungles after their 01/02 Markegaon carnage that killed 15 cops, security forces were often left foxed by the sheer quickness with which the Naxals would be giving the forces a slip. In fact, senior officials had claimed that security forces have often failed to capitalize on opportunities to trap or eliminate Naxals on several locations even after reaching close to a victory.

Naxals not only have made safe exits from encounter spots but also managed to carry away the bodies of dead or injured. The chopper, used during Operation Parakram, too failed to trace the Naxals during its air-surveillances.

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