BSF got tip-off on Maoist group presence in Chhattisgarh: official

Since 2019, 250 security camps opened in Left Wing Extremism-affected States, including Chhattisgarh, says Amit Shah

Updated - April 17, 2024 09:13 pm IST

Published - April 17, 2024 04:26 pm IST - New Delhi

Security personnel who were involved in an encounter with Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district on April 16, 2024. Photo: X/@BSF_India via PTI

Security personnel who were involved in an encounter with Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district on April 16, 2024. Photo: X/@BSF_India via PTI

A day after 29 alleged Maoist cadres were killed in an operation by the security forces in Chhattisgarh, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Wednesday that since 2019 as many as 250 security camps had been opened in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected States, including Chhattisgarh.

On April 16, a joint team of the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Chhattisgarh Police killed the Maoist cadres, including 15 women in a forested area along the Kanker-Narayanpur district boundary in Chhattisgarh’s south Bastar, one of the worst LWE-affected regions. A government official said the April 16 operation was planned after the BSF got specific intelligence.

Top Maoist commander Shankar Rao was among the 29 killed during an encounter between the Maoists and the security personnel in a forested area along the Kanker-Narayanpur district boundary in Chhattisgarh’s south Bastar on April 16, 2024. Photo: X/@BSFChhattisgarh via ANI

Top Maoist commander Shankar Rao was among the 29 killed during an encounter between the Maoists and the security personnel in a forested area along the Kanker-Narayanpur district boundary in Chhattisgarh’s south Bastar on April 16, 2024. Photo: X/@BSFChhattisgarh via ANI

Mr. Shah said in a statement that after the BJP government was formed in in Chhattisgarh in 2023, the efforts against Naxalists “gained new energy.”

“We started setting up camps of security agencies in 2014. Since 2019, 250 such camps have been set up, ending the security vacuum. We have received thorough support from the Chhattisgarh police. Since the formation of the government in Chhattisgarh three months ago, more than 80 Naxals have been eliminated, more than 125 have been arrested, and more than 150 have surrendered,” Mr. Shah said.

He added that the operations would continue and “under the leadership of [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi, we will uproot Naxalism from our nation in a very short period of time.”

Geographical spread

In 2023, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) informed the Rajya Sabha that the geographical spread of the LWE violence had reduced and only 45 districts reported violence in 2021 as compared to 96 districts in 2010 in Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

A government official said Tuesday’s operation was planned after the BSF got specific intelligence from two sources.

“We got information from two different sources that a platoon of armed Maoist cadres, around 35-40 of them, are camped in the forest area. We had received grid reference of the location, which was more or less accurate. When the area was cordoned off, the BSF personnel and the Chhattisgarh police were fired upon. One jawan was injured and we could establish that the group were all trained cadres and a senior commander was also present,” said the official.

A note released by the MHA in February this year said “security forces shunned defensive strategy of the past and adopted offensive strategy” and “security forces have entangled Naxals with innovative methods.”

Around six battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were pulled out from other States and deployed in core LWE areas in the past four years and the security vacuum was reduced with the opening of new camps and 10 other joint task force camps.

The Ministry said that in the past eight years, 9,356 km of roads at a cost of over ₹10,000 crore were laid under two specific schemes for LWE areas. The Department of Posts opened 4,903 post offices in 90 LWE-affected districts during the period at a distance of every three km.

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