Maoist big shots on govt hit list

Recovering from the shocking attack on a Congress convoy in Chhattisgarh that left 28 people dead, the government has given the go-ahead to a massive counteroffensive against the Maoists with focus on eliminating top rebel leaders.

NEW DELHI: The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has prepared a hit list of 25 senior Maoist commanders responsible for masterminding deadly attacks, and got the approval of the Union home ministry to go after them.

“The idea is to target individuals and finish their top leadership. Getting hold of ground- level cadres has not worked,” an official source said.</p><p> The CRPF, the primary force responsible for anti- Maoist operations in the ‘Red’ corridor, is expected to follow the new strategy with the help of state forces.

Official sources said the Naxalites who attacked the Congress convoy in Bastar on May 25 had split into smaller groups after the incident. “ We have information that they are moving in batches of 20- 30 people and have scattered in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh,” said a CRPF officer.

Security forces are now preparing to strike deep into the ‘ Red’ zone to flush out top Maoist leaders. “ Based on ground intelligence, we have identified the top commanders and have also been following their whereabouts,” the officer said, adding the list has already been shared with the home ministry.

The recent incidents of Maoist violence have busted the claims made by security forces that the outlaws were feeling the heat as the number of casualties on their side had been increasing.

“We were able to neutralise a large number of them. The arrests also had gone up giving an impression that their activi- ties are under control. But the recent incidents has shattered that theory,” said a home ministry official, adding that the only way to curb the menace is to target their leadership.

To step up the offensive, the CRPF deployment in the Naxalhit areas has been increased.

Currently, there are 80 battalions of the paramilitary force — which means close to 80,000 troops — on ground.

Till last year, this number was around 65,000. The focus is on Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh with nearly 70 battalions deployed in these two states. Five additional battalions were rushed to the two red bastions after the May 25 attack.

Besides CRPF, a few battalions of the Border Security Force and the Indo Tibetan Border Police have also been deployed in these areas.

The home ministry has also planned to upgrade special forces in the states hit by the Left- wing extremism. It is proposed that 80 per cent of the cost incurred for setting up such units will be incurred by the home ministry. Sources said the ministry is stressing on these states to set up such a force without any delay.

Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.


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