Friday, June 12, 2009

Cops set to storm Naxal strongholds

13 Jun 2009, 0506 hrs IST, Soumittra S Bose, TNN

NAGPUR: Security forces fighting Naxalite rebels are likely to go full throttle against Naxal strongholds in affected districts like Gadchiroli. The
main focus of the forces would be ‘geographically inaccessible’ terrains like Abhujmarh on Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border that Naxals have made their base
, it is learnt.

Abhujmarh has been one of rebels’ formidable bases used for military training, manufacturing of arms, and sheltering senior cadres who provide supervision and directions to foot soldiers. On Friday, a meeting of the senior police officials and representatives from Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was held to fine-tune the operation and discuss co-ordination with Chhattisgarh. Officials from State and Central Reserve Police Forces were also present at the meeting held at the office of the state Anti-Naxal Operation (ANO) cell headed by Pankaj Gupta.

The Maoist guerrillas have killed 38 cops in the state since October last year. The latest assaults, including at Markegaon (01/02), Mungner, and Hatti Gota (21/05), that caused heavy casualties had affected the morale of the police. Around 15 policemen died at Markegaon while 16 personnel including women cops were eliminated at Hatti Gota.

Security forces had launched Operation Parakram after Markegaon’s incident. Parakram I and II had pushed the Naxals back but failed to inflict any heavy losses on them. The general elections in April, which Naxals failed to disrupt, was the only silver lining for the cops.

The recent reorganisation and change of tactics by Naxals, under the leadership of two most experienced leaders Diwakar and Rajesh Markham, have injected fresh lease of life into their operations. The insurgents use porous state borders to their advantage when one state launches operation against them.

Range IG Surinder Kumar said that efforts were being made to ensure better co-ordination between police forces of affected states to prevent this.

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