Security forces are strategically closing in on major Maoist hideouts in parts of Chhattisgarh and Odisha, where inter-State operations are on in coordination with the local police, Director General of Police, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), K.Vijay Kumar said on Tuesday.

“We will eventually uproot and take over their dens in southern parts of Odisha and Chhattisgarh. The trend of kidnappings will pay no dividends… even today an Assistant Sub-Inspector of Nuapada district police (Odisha) was kidnapped and shot dead. By resorting to such heinous crimes in desperation, Maoists are only antagonising the people,” he said.

Speaking to this correspondent over the phone, Mr. Vijay Kumar said the Maoists were steadily losing momentum and the public mood was completely against them. When under pressure from security forces, the Maoists either trigger explosions or resort to kidnapping VIPs or police personnel.

“When surrounded by police from all corners in Andhra Pradesh during 1992-93, they went on a kidnapping spree. This is a knee-jerk reaction and a frantic effort to scuttle police operations. Such loosely planned short-term tactics won't work… they only expose the true colours of the Maoists,” he said.

Suggesting that VIPs take basic precautions such as not staying at one place for too long and changing travel routes often, Mr. Vijay Kumar said elected representatives or officials had to be in constant touch with the people. “They can follow some kind of a Standard Operating Procedure… there has to be an element of surprise in their movements. When visiting vulnerable zones, they can take a few more security guards along with them.”

On reports that some top Maoist leaders had visited a few southern States in recent weeks, the CRPF chief said the Western Ghats that provided a tri-junction of three States (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala) was geographically a favourable location for the Maoists to set up their South Western Command base.

However, the State police along the borders of these three States were maintaining a high level of alertness, preventing the extremists from making an entry.

“Despite the proximity to places like Chittoor (Andhra Pradesh), they could not make an inroad into the Western Ghats,” he said.

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