A high-level meeting of the Unified Command will be held this week in Chhattisgarh to chalk out a comprehensive strategy to hit Maoists, in the aftermath of recent ambushes that has killed over 35 CRPF troops in the worst-hit Sukma district. Chief Minister Raman Singh has called the meeting on May 5 in Raipur, officials said. The top brass of central paramilitary forces, the Chhattisgarh police, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and state government authorities responsible for the administration in Bastar and other Naxal-hit districts of the state will take part in the meeting, they said. The Unified Command was created in all the Maoist- affected states in the aftermath of the 2010 Dantewada attack where 75 CRPF personnel and a state policeman, were killed in a deadly ambush carried out by Naxals. The Command is chaired by the respective chief ministers.
Officials privy to the preparations for the meeting told PTI that the chief minister had asked security forces to prepare a list of all human and technical support and aid they need to conduct operations in these areas including the southern border of the state that touches Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
They said the forces have been also asked to prepare a list of police stations and camps of the Central Reserve Police Force, the Border Security Force and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) that require fortification and need other daily requirements for troops. It is also being planned to increase the manpower in some of the Chhattisgarh police ‘thanas’ in these areas by filling up their vacancies.
For the time being, a senior officer said, CRPF and CoBRA teams will occupy these police locations to carry out stealth operations. They said the meeting will have a special presentation by the CRPF officials and those from the technical surveillance wings including the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), that flies Unmanned Aerial Vehicles over dense forests and hills in the Bastar region to aid the troops on ground.
The joint security forces, they said, have already begun conducting special intelligence-based operations in these areas after the Naxalites massacred 25 CRPF men on April 24 and killed 12 on March 11 in the Sukma district.
They said the ‘tactical air and ground command centre’ in Jagdalpur is being supervised by Senior Security Advisor in the home ministry, K Vijay Kumar and Special Director General (anti-Naxal operations) of Chhattisgarh police, D M Awasthi, who are camping in the area to strategies operations and boost the morale of their men.
The troops, as part of the latest offensive action, are being serviced by at least four dedicated choppers that have been tasked to airlift troops and logistics for the next few days while the operations are being conducted in these areas. They said special teams of the CRPF’s jungle warfare guerilla force CoBRA have been asked to “disrupt” the Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) being undertaken by Naxal cadres to exert their influence in the area during summer.
Meanwhile, all security forces camps in Naxal-hit areas of Chhattisgarh have been asked to be extra vigilant against possible Maoist attacks, the officer said. “This is a routine word of caution issued to security forces,” he said.