The government’s determined effort to root out the menace of Left-wing terror is showing definitive results. More than 63 Maoist commanders have been killed in 2017 alone, which is almost eight times higher than those killed by the security forces in 2016.
Operation Prahar-II, with a message – finish those who oppose the path of development set by the Centre and the state government – is now forcing the rebels to flee as the latest offensive is all about 'killing their top commanders in their dens'. Last year, only eight Maoist leaders were killed, and there had been barely one or two deaths before that. All that has changed as security forces in Chhattisgarh are on an all-out offensive against Maoists.
“It's fight to finish. We can't fight anymore from the periphery. It was unfortunate that after being on a high in 2016 and again in the beginning of 2017, we lost a lot of our men in two back-to-back Maoist attacks in March and April. Now it's a head-on collision in their very dens,” Chhattisgarh Police Special Director General for anti-Maoist operations D M Awasthi said.
This comes as the message from the top was clear. According to reports, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had ‘instructed’ security forces to target the leadership of Maoists after losing 37 Cental Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in April.
“We regrouped, strategised and planned our first big offensive exactly after a month in May in Prahar-I and then followed it with Prahar-II on 6 November and fought a nearly five-day battle against Maoists which ended Friday evening,” Awasthi said and added that the numbers of commanders killed this year will rise as nearly 50 days are still left in this year.
As part of Prahar-I and Prahar-II operations, for the first time in Chhattisgarh’s fight against the Left-wing extremism, the state police and CRPF entered Maoist dens like Sukma, Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Kanker, Bastar, Rajnandgaon and Kodagaon and achieved significant success.
Moreover, the Maoist recruitments have also dropped by 70-80 per cent in the last two years. “This year, it has been just about 123 new Maoists getting recruited as against usual 400-500 in previous years. Also, it is learnt that the top cadre strength has come down to nearly 1,000 as compared to 4,000 and more about three years ago,”Awasthi said.
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