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'Chhattisgarh Adivasis insecure': Failing to get mass support, Maoists go on rampage

By Harsh Thakor* 
A gun battle took place between security personnel and armed cadres of the CPI (Maoist) in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada  district,on January 28th. Several Maoists may have been injured during the skirmish, though no injured persons or bodies were found at the site of the encounter, a police official commented. The firefight took place on the same day when three CRPF personnel were killed and 15 others injured in a separate exchange of fire between security forces and cadres of the Maoist party on the borders of Sukma and Bijapur districts in the state.
On the 30th of January, Indian paramilitaries tried to plant  a new camp for their troops in the area. A few hours later they faced a jolt of an intense attack with improvised grenade launchers and with heavy machine-gun fire. The attack left three paramilitaries killed and another 15 injured. After this attack, a commander of the paramilitary forces stated that it “has taken many fatal and non-fatal casualties while creating forward operating bases called FOBs. This incident is an addition to that”. These actions of the Maoists were part of their People’s War strategy.
Ramesh Poyam from Bodga village of Bastar was killed by the bullets of the police and paramilitary on 30th January 2024 when he went to take bath in the nearby river. The Forces were reportedly returning from Abujhmad region after eradicating a 130-meter-long Maoist tunnel and razing to the ground a “Martyrs Memorial” of the Maoists when they met retaliation with the Maoist forces. After the firing stopped Ramesh went to take bath, and he was reportedly shot by the forces. The killing has been justified with the camouflage of “crossfire with Naxalites”. 
After the operation, the paramilitaries and the police declared that they undertook a search and attack operation against the Maoist guerrillas, but they did not recover the bodies and there is no evidence of their existence. The establishment of military, paramilitary and police camps, and frequent attacks are part of the usual actions in the Bastar region, considered a stronghold of the Maoists. 
This is the second time in less than two weeks that we have witnessed another wave of offensive actions challenging the security forces. Union Home Minister Amit Shah had declared that he planned to extinguish Maoism from the face of India in the next three years. Ironically, the beginning of 2024 has seen the Maoists' activity escalating. 

Inspector killed 

An Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast sparked by cadres of the CPI (Maoist) in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district on February 1st, a police official announced to a press conference. The blast occurred near Ghotia under Malewahi police station limits of the district when a joint team of the CRPF’s 195th battalion and local police were conducting   a road security operation.
A cadre of the CPI (Maoist) was killed in a gun battle with security personnel in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district on February 3rd, a police official announced. Earlier, an exchange of fire occurred in a forest between Nagaram and Pantabheji villages under Bheji police station limits when security forces were thirsty to liquidate the Maoists. 
The operation was launched with the aid of intelligence inputs on the presence of a member of the Konta Area Committee of the CPI (Maoist), Sodhi Gajendra, and other leaders of the Maoist party, along with 15-20 armed Maoist cadres in the forest. In the aftermath of the skirmish, the body of a Maoist, a 12 bore rifle, a pistol and Maoist-related materials were recovered from the site of the encounter, the official commented.
The identity of the slain Maoist has not yet been verified. Personnel belonging to the District Reserve Guard (DRG), Bastar Fighters, (both units of the state police), and the 219th battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were involved in the operation.
The newly formed BJP government in Chhattisgarh has opened some new police stations to extinguish the Maoist party. Similar steps are being adopted in other states like Maharashtra, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, Bihar, etc. The Central government has set out on a new military operation in the name of  Operation Kagaar (Final War). The objective of this military operation is said to be to seize control of the  Maad hills to eliminate the central leadership of the Maoist party and is to allow corporates to exploit the natural resources.
The tussle between security forces and Maoists is escalating, with the Adivasi peasants becoming easy victim. The  Indian state has used drones for aerial bombings in Mettaguda, Errapali and Bottethong which lie on the borders of Sukma-Bijapur districts in Chhattisgarh
The Maoists have tried to challenge to aerial bombings, Operation Kagar and Operation Samadhan-Prahar and sharpen their striking capacity. However, there is hardly any presence of people in the Maoists’ retaliatory actions.
---
*Freelance journalist

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