How Bulbul, Octopus blocked funds, choked Naxal activities | India News

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NEW DELHI: As security forces consolidate their presence in parts of Jharkhand — Bura Pahar, Latehar, Gumla and Chakrabanda — that were in the grip of Maoists for the past several decades but have now been “reclaimed” through sustained anti-Naxal operations over the past one-and-half years, sources here attributed the “success story” to a major shift in strategy, including reorientation of the CRPF’s CoBRA battalions and choking of funds supply to Maoists from the local mining industry.
Sources said the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), the CRPF component specialising in jungle warfare, was put through a major overhaul to ensure successes in the counter-Naxal grid in Jharkhand and Bihar, where 23 and five Maoists were apprehended between March 1, 2021 and September 15, 2022. Also, two Maoists were killed in Jharkhand and four in Bihar. Two operations stood out over this period — ‘Operation Bulbul’ in Lohardagga that lasted 18 days in February this year and focused on cutting off Maoist funding from mining areas; and ‘Operation Octopus’ that “completed” the reclaiming of Bura Pahar area from Maoists this month.
“The forces have entered almost all Maoist strongholds in Bihar and Jharkhand. Probably, only some area in south Jharkhand may still be under Maoist control,” a senior CRPF officer told GLOBAL PRABHAT.
The officer said as part of reorientation of CoBRA over the past couple of years or so, the vacant positions in the commando unit were filled up and the training made more rigorous. Regular reviews of the sustained operations were undertaken by Amit Shah.
A big contributor to the forces’ recent successes in areas like Lohardagga and Gumla in Jharkhand, was the ‘Double Bull’ operation. The mines area was cleared of Naxals by unleashing a dozen encounters in February 2022, which deprived them of funds and logistics. Around 14-15 arrests of zonal and sub-zonal commanders and the presence of forces in the area made Maoists less menacing to miners.
“There is no area in Jharkhand now where forces cannot enter and operate. We have set up camps. Fortunately, the local villagers have welcomed us and are extending us support. The forces too are ensuring that the locals are engaged by giving them work. Development works will follow in due course,” an officer told GLOBAL PRABHAT.
The officer said the arrests of Maoists and huge seizures of arms and ammunition have gone a long way in demoralising the Naxal cadres and discouraged recruitment of youngsters into Maoist ranks.
Asked if a similar change in strategy is under implementation in south Bastar, Chhattisgarh, a CRPF officer said, “What works in Jharkhand may not necessarily work in Chhattisgarh. In Chhattisgarh, the jan militia operates, ensuring a strong local informer network. We are accordingly reorienting our strategy there.”

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