Bihar ‘more or less’ freed of Reds: CRPF | India News

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NEW DELHI: Having “reclaimed” long-held CPI (Maoist) bastions like Bura Pahar in Jharkhand and Chakrabanda and Bheembandh in Bihar through sustained operations — Operation Bulbul, Operation Octopus and Operation Thunderstorm — this year and establishing forward operating bases of security forces there, CRPF director general Kuldiep Singh on Wednesday said a similar “decisive” battle is under way in Maoists’ “core area” of Dandkarenya in south Chhattisgarh and significant successes may follow in the next one year in terms of the forces making inroads and “softening” of the area.
“Fulfilling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Left wing extremism-free India and Union home minister Amit Shah’s zero-tolerance policy against terrorism, the ministry of home affairs has reached the final stage of its decisive battle against Left-wing extremism,” Singh said while announcing “ousting” of Maoists from Bura Pahar on Chhattisgarh-Jharkhand border and Chakrabandha and Bheembandh in Bihar, at a press conference here.
He said this was made possible with the Centre’s resources and funds push and Shah taking regular reviews to ensure prompt availability of modern equipment, helicopters, funds for modernisation of state police, training and tactical upgrade of the CRPF’s CoBRA force, intelligence push via multi-agency centre platform and launching NIA investigation into offences involving Maoists.
Shah on Wednesday took to Twitter to congratulate CRPF, security agencies and state police concerned for “achieving unparalleled success in the final battle against Left wing extremism”. Stating that 14 Maoists were killed and over 590 had either surrendered or were arrested, including leaders like Mithilesh Mahto who carried a Rs 1-crore reward, over the past few months, Singh tweeted: “Under the leadership of Narendra Modi, the fight against terror and LWE will continue and intensify in the time to come.”
Echoing the sentiment, CRPF DG said, “Bihar has more or less been freed of Left-wing extremists. No areas in Jharkhand or Bihar are now out-of-bounds of security forces. We have been softening the core area of Dandkarenya in Chhattisgarh too and have set up 19 forward operating bases there over the past two years.
The sustained offensive has had a positive impact on incidence of Naxal violence while shrinking the geographical area under the influence of Maoists. Between 2018 and 2022, incidents were down by 39%, fatalities of security forces down by 39%, and civilian fatalities down by 44%. The number of LWE-hit districts have fallen steadily from 61 in 2019 to 53 in 2021, 46 in 2021 and 39 in 2022, and the affected police stations too have declined from 251 in 2018 to 128 in 2022.
In the first half of this year, there have been 295 LWE-related incidents, in which 46 security personnel and 11 civilians were killed.
Maintaining that the counter-Naxal offensive had entered a decisive stage in Dandkarenya region of Chhattisgarh and would be stepped up as rain waters recede, Singh said, “Until 2-3 years ago, it was impossible to even enter these areas; but now security forces have made inroads and are undertaking operations. Five Maoists were killed in 2021 there and 7 in 2022; there have been many surrenders and arrests; 27 weapons and loads of ammunition were recovered. But there still exist some core areas here that the forces cannot enter without setting up camps”.
While Singh said Maoists in Chhattisgarh were using improvised and locally manufactured under-barrel grenade launchers (UBGL) to target security camps, sources told GLOBAL PRABHAT that the tech-savvy Naxalites are now also deploying drones — mostly ones available on e-commerce sites, like Phantom DJI — to watch the movements of the forces. Drone sightings have been reported from Bijapur and Sukma in Bihar, Gadchiroli in Maharashtra and also Chakrabanda in Bihar.
The CRPF DG pointed out how this year, the CPI (Maoist) tactical counter offensive campaign (TCOC) has failed to inflict a single casualty on the forces. “This points to softening of (hitherto Maoist-infested) areas and decline in Naxalites’ fighting capabilities. Taking the analogy of Bura Pahar and Chakrabanda, I can say that this area (Chhattisgarh) will also be cleared (of Maoists’ domination) in a year or so,” he said adding that top CPI (Maoist) leader Nambala Keshava Rao alias Basavaraj is their “target no. 1” as his capture will deal a body blow to Maoists. “Leaders like Prashant Bose, Sheela Marandi, Kanchan-da etc were caught just like that, unarmed,” he recalled.

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