CRPF gears up to take on Maoists – Times of India

PATNA: The Bihar sector of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is gearing up for pinpoint strikes to neutralise Maoists active in the state.

CRPF Bihar sector IG M S Bhatia, while addressing a presser on the occasion of National Anti-Terrorism Day on Friday, said four Maoists have been gunned down in two such recent operations in the state.

“On March 8, four Maoists were neutralised in Nawada district by the CoBRA commandos in a pinpoint strike. On April 12, Maoists were forced to retreat in another such strike in Jamui district,” he said, adding the last week’s operation in Chattishgarh, in which 15 Maoists were killed deep inside the jungle, was also a pinpoint strike.

He said the CRPF is working on a plan to create a strong intelligence network in the state to carry out anti-Maoist strikes.

According to the data available with the state headquarters, 22 extremists have been killed in the state from 2014 to March 2017. During the same period, 310 cases of Maoist violence were reported in the state in which 51 civilians and 22 security personnel lost their lives. Altogether 1,484 Maoists were arrested and 472 firearms recovered during this period.

The IG said two more battalions are required in Bihar to tackle Maoist menace. “The issue was raised at the May 8 meeting between Union home minister Rajnath Singh and chief ministers of Maoist-hit states in New Delhi,” he said, adding five regular and two CoBRA battalions are already deployed in the state to fight the Maoists.

Coincidently, the 74th battalion, whose 25 personnel were martyred in an ambush in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma on April 24, and the 157th battalion of CRPF were to be deployed in Bihar in 2012. These two battalions, currently deployed in Kashmir, were on way to Bihar, but asked to leave for their present places following bureaucratic tussle between Patna and Delhi.

The IG said the long pending plan for positioning of a chopper either in Patna or Gaya for anti-Maoist operations was discussed with the state government officials at a meeting held in Patna last month. Once deployed, chopper requisition time during any operation will decrease by more than three hours. The need for positioning of a chopper was felt after 10 CoBRA commandos lost their lives in a Maoist attack in Aurangabad-Gaya border on July 19 last year.

The IG said the chopper would also act as a strategic asset for state police and Sashastra Seema Bal, whose three battalions are involved in anti-Maoist operations in the state. The Centre has twice has rejected Bihar’s chopper deployment proposal.

At present, four choppers are stationed in Ranchi for anti-Maoist operations in Bihar.

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