17000 more troops for anti-Naxal operations

19 December
NEW DELHI: With Jharkhand assembly polls coming to an end on Friday, the Centre is set to send an additional 17,000 paramilitary personnel to states to step up their anti-Naxalite operations under its plan of a “major offensive” against Red ultras in all affected states.

Though the operation is underway in Chhattisgarh, the idea is to extend it simultaneously at the junctions and tri-junctions of the affected states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal and Maharashtra. A senior home ministry official said the states already had 58,000 paramilitary personnel — drawn from CRPF, BSF, ITBP, SSB and CoBRA — at their command. The additional deployment would increase the strength of central forces for the anti-Naxalite operation to nearly 75,000.

Stating that there is nothing called a “Green Hunt” as such, which could have possibly been coined by some state police for some local operation, the official said the home ministry was already on track to pursue its plan of a “major offensive” against the ultras. The Jharkhand polls, which saw the deployment of nearly 40,000 paramilitary personnel, made the Centre postpone the simultaneous operation for a couple of months, but there was hardly any period when the forces were not after Naxals in one or the other affected state, he added.

“Operations are supposed to be launched secretly so that the forces can catch the ultras offguard. We are on the job and we will expand the area of operation gradually,” said a senior CRPF official, adding its a “long haul”.

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