CRPF to conduct ‘big sweep’ offensives against Maoists

Raipur/New Delhi: The recent CRPF encounter in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district is part of the latest plan of the force to conduct “big sweep” operations in uncharted Naxal hotbeds of the country in order to liberate them from the clutches of ‘red’ ultras.

The new blueprint of the paramilitary, which has deployed more than 80,000 personnel for conducting Anti-Naxal operations in various states, is to focus on such zones where the administrative and police machinery has not ventured in the last many years and hence they have become hotbeds and headquarters for Naxalite activities and operations.

The June 28-29 encounter in the uncharted Maoist zone between Jagargunda and Basaguda in Bijapur district of Bastar occurred when the force was en-route to launch a similar offensive in Silger, a 400sq km area in this district and devoid of the presence of any government machinery.

“The force plans to undertake more of such big sweep operations. The policy of the government is to complement Anti-Naxal operations with development work. So, it is essential that such areas are brought into the national mainstream again,” sources in the paramilitary said.

The plan, prepared under CRPF Director General K Vijay Kumar, is being implemented by the chief on operations (Inspectors General) of the force stationed in various states.

The CRPF has undertaken some of such successful operations recently which include the last year’s clearing of the Saranda (900sq kms) forests in Jharkhand and Sarju-Kone (2,500sq km) in Latehar district of the state where development work has now begun.

Similarly, in Chhattisgarh it undertook the much-talked operation in the 4,000sq kms forests of Abujhmaad (Bastar region) and Singhanmadu (Sukma district) to flush out Naxalites from these areas and dismantle their temporary training structures.

The plan envisages bringing together personnel of three-four CRPF battalions along with the elite CoBRA and providing them with the logistics to launch such operations.

While in Saranda and Sarju-Kone the state machinery has initiated plans of developing the area with CRPF security in tow, the force proposes to plan fresh offensives in Abujhmaad and other areas in Chhattisgarh to drive out Maoists and usher development activities.

CRPF sources said that while the specific areas where the force now plans to launch new offensives cannot be disclosed due to operational reasons, the intent of its activity is to achieve concrete results.

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is also taking help from the NTRO and other satellite based databases to obtain the topography of such areas before they launch reconnaissance missions and the final assaults.

“It’s of no use deploying the forces in such big numbers if there are no concrete results achieved. The CRPF being the lead force in such areas has decided to undertake this task in coordination with state police forces who know their respective areas better that a central paramilitary force,” they said.

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