Friday, November 27, 2009

Central forces prepare for January assault on Maoists

Aman Sharma
New Delhi, November 28, 2009

A coordinated offensive by paramilitary forces and the state governments against Naxalites will be launched from January next year.

Raman Singh, the Central Reserve Police Force ( CRPF) special director- general ( DG), who has been appointed national coordinator for the anti- Naxalite offensive, confirmed that specific intelligence- based operations will start from January.

CRPF director general A. S. Gill said the offensive would start " soon after Jharkhand polls get over on December 18". Another senior CRPF official said the action could be initially concentrated to Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

"Simultaneous operations to isolate the Naxalites on a much bigger scale in the tri- junctions of Orissa, Maharashtra and Bihar are only possible from March 2010, when we will have four additional CoBRA commando battalions ( roughly 4,500 men),"
the official said. " At present, we have only two CoBRA battalions which are insufficient for a simultaneously offensive in five states." The Chhattisgarh Police have started preparing the ground for the offensive and are asking tribals to move out of the areas where action is expected soon.

Home minister P. Chidambaram, too, gave an indication of the contours of the anti- Naxalite offensive at the CRPF's 70th Raising Day Function on Friday.

"While we should be firm, decisive and unrelenting in dealing with the Naxalites, a great degree of sensitivity, patience and maturity will have to be exhibited for the tribals," he said.

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