Saturday, February 06, 2010

Maoists move fighters from Bastar to nearby States

K. SRINIVAS REDDY

Even as security forces intensified their efforts to push into the rebel-controlled Abuz Maad area in the Bastar forests of southern Chhattisgarh, the Maoist leadership is believed to have moved the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) fighters into Orissa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Intelligence officers monitoring the Left Wing Extremist (LWE) activity believe that there are five companies (each with a strength of 100) of the PLGA, which has a strong presence in Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

NAXALS FAN OUT

Informed sources said two companies were moved to Orissa, one to Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh, one to Gadchiroli in Maharashtra and another to Jharkhand. Interestingly, all these areas abut Chhattisgarh. The idea behind the PLGA fighters spreading out was to avoid the possibility of being encircled by security forces in Abuz Maad, believed to be the operational command centre of the CPI (Maoist).

With the Union government liberally sanctioning paramilitary forces for the Maoist-affected States, the offensive, codenamed “Operation Greenhunt” had begun in varying degrees of intensity in different States. Apparently, the focal point of the operation in Chhattisgarh is to gain control over the nearly 4000 sq. km. of the Abuz Maad forest area and this is where skirmishes between rebels and the security forces are being reported with unfailing regularity.

TROOPS ZEROING IN

The security forces are able to inch their way into the heavily-mined areas of Abuz Maad since the battle-hardened PLGA rebels have moved out and the resistance being offered is by members of the people’s militia, 4,000 tribals trained in guerrilla warfare by Maoists. “The current operations, though not in full swing, would be useful for the paramilitary forces as they would get some knowledge of the difficult terrain,” said a senior officer involved in anti-extremist operations.

However, contrary to the impression given about “Operation Greenhunt,” the offensive is yet to begin in Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal, while Chhattisgarh has started making some strategic moves. Force deployment is continuing in these places, while Jharkhand appears to be trying to persuade Maoists to come to the negotiating table.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI (Maoist) has expressed its concern over the killing and arrest of senior Maoist leaders. In a review of the naxalite movement in 2009 on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the formation of the outfit, it cautioned the party “to take serious steps to stop the continuous loss of leadership comrades at all levels” and counter the “enemy’s” [the State’s] “attempts to isolate us and build vast united fronts against reactionary forces.”

Terming “Operation Greenhunt” a “multi-pronged fascist offensive of ruling classes,” the Polit Bureau asked the leaders to study the concrete steps taken by the government in “our respective areas of operation.”

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