Express News Service

NEW DELHI: With the rains coming to an end, and the visibility in the densely forested jungles increasing, the forces are ready to resume their two-pronged strategy against Naxals – penetrating deeper into Naxal strongholds and setting up security camps.

Sources in the Home Ministry also told The New Indian Express that “big” anti-Naxal operations could be on the cards in states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha, where the red extremists are still present in substantial numbers.

Forces are eyeing a target of setting up as many as 24 Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), including ten in Chhattisgarh, seven in Maharashtra, six in Jharkhand and one in Odisha, before the year-end.

Besides these 24 camps, the government is also mulling a few more camps in Jharkhand and Odisha, a senior government functionary said, adding that the idea is to corner Maoists by opening up new police and paramilitary camps to cut down the area of Maoist influence to a minimum and then go out after big Maoist leaders.

“CoBRA, CRPF’s anti-Naxal specialized wing, in coordination with various state police forces is closely monitoring the movement of Maoists especially the senior rank holders. The strategy is to tighten the noose around Maoists by expanding the network of security camps, especially in core Naxal areas. With the rains now over, the work on security camps has already been expedited. Big anti-Naxal operations would follow thereafter,” said a senior CRPF official who is deployed in Chhattisgarh.

A senior intelligence official in New Delhi said that wanted Maoist leader Madvi Hidma, along with about dozen armed Maoists was seen near Sulenga and Grda villages in Dantewada district around two weeks ago.

After the 2017 Burkapal encounter, security forces are employing various strategies to counter the influence and movement of Maoists. There has been a steep decline in violence levels as well as the geographical spread of Left-wing extremism in the country over the past decade.

The number of affected districts identified under the security-related expenditure (SRE) scheme came down to 70 in July 2021 from 126 in April 2018. Even the most-affected districts declined to 25 in July 2021 from 35 prior to April 2018 with these districts accounting for 85% of the Naxal violence in the country.