Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Chhattisgarh steps up anti-Maoist operations

(Source: IANS)

Published: Tue, 08 Sep 2009 at 12:54 ISTF Prev Next LRaipur: Chhattisgarh has stepped up its anti-Maoist operations in the forests of Rajnandgaon district on the Maharashtra border after an attack by the guerrillas in the region killed a top police officer in July.

"Our anti-Maoist operation has so far been focussed in the 40,000 sq km in southern portion of the Bastar region, considered the stronghold of the ultras since the late 1980s but now we have turned the heat on the rebels in the western region bordering Maharashtra," a senior police officer, who oversees the anti-Maoist operation in the state, told IANS.

He said the rebels had grown stronger in the vast forested stretch of Rajnandgaon near Maharashtra's restive Gadchiroli district in recent years, evident in the repeated strikes by Maoists in the district, included the deadly attack on the police force July 12 in which an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer was killed.

The outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist's (CPI-Maoist) military wing, People's Liberation Guerrillas Army (PLGA), had shaken the state's police with the July 12 attack that killed 29 policemen, including Rajnandgaon district police chief V.K. Choubey.

"The July 12 attack had alarmed we have begun hitting the bases of the guerrillas in Rajnandgaon in coordination with Maharashtra police to ensure that rebels do not cross the state border and escape," the police official said.

Due to the fear of Maoists in Rajnandgaon, 13 policemen trained in jungle warfare skills refused to fight against the rebels in the district last month, forcing the home department to dismiss them.

Chhattisgarh, which was carved out from Madhya Pradesh in November 2000, has witnessed over 1,600 deaths in Maoist-related violence so far.

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