Wednesday, February 03, 2010

RANCHI: CRPF top gun coming today

SUMAN K. SHRIVASTAVA
Ranchi, Feb. 2: CRPF special director-general (DG) and commander of the anti-Naxalite task force Vijay Raman is arriving here tomorrow to assess the state’s level of preparedness in launching Operation Green Hunt, setting the stage for what will be a decisive battle against the rebels.

Raman is scheduled to meet the state’s police and administrative top brass on Thursday to finalise the state’s anti-Naxalite strategy to be discussed at a meeting of chief ministers — Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand — convened by Union home minister P. Chidambaram in Calcutta on February 9.

Chidambaram invited Shibu Soren to the meeting after the chief minister made it clear there were no differences with the Centre on tackling Maoists.

Raman, who is in charge of the biggest anti-Naxalite offensive underway in the Maoist-hit states, told The Telegraph over phone from Raipur that his would be a preparatory visit to assess the state’s readiness in launching the offensive.

Raman, a 1975-batch IPS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, said they were fully prepared for the operation. “Though the operation against Naxalites is on, we want a green signal to expand it,” he explained.

CRPF director-general Vikram Srivastava had an hour-long meeting with Raman and other top officials on Sunday in New Delhi discussing the offensive.

A few days back, the CRPF had shifted a battalion stationed in Tripura to Tamar under Ranchi district to add to the 66 battalions of the central paramilitary forces that have been deployed in the state.

“This apart, five units of Cobra (Commando Battalions for Resolute Action), stationed in Barhi in Hazaribagh, are on an area familiarisation trip to Kiriburu in West Singhbhum,” a police source said.

Another Cobra battalion, to be stationed in Khunti, was undergoing training. Jharkhand got two Cobra battalions that had been specially raised under the CRPF to tackle Maoists.

State DGP Neyaz Ahmad iterated that a final strategy for the anti-Maoist offensive would be drawn up in Calcutta on February 9, before which there would be a preparatory meeting with the CRPG special DG here on Thursday.

According to sources, central paramilitary as well as state police forces were concentrating on possible Maoist escape routes between Orissa and Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa, Jharkhand and Bengal.

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