Congress-Ruled Chhattisgarh Said ‘Talks, Not Bullets’ Will Solve Maoist Problem; Now, It Wants Additional CRPF Battalions
This comes just months after the Chief Minister of the state, Bhupesh Baghel, said he was not interested in the ‘figures of encounters and body counts of Naxals’ but in dialogue with all stakeholders.
Bastar region in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh is witnessing a “spike” in left-wing terror activities, a report in the Indian Express says.
According to the report, Maoist terrorists have killed at least six people in the state’s Bijapur district in a fortnight and have forced two families to leave a village in Sukma district for allegedly helping the security forces.
This development comes just months after the Chief Minister of the state, Bhupesh Baghel, said he was 'not interested' in the 'figures of encounters and body counts of Naxals' but in 'dialogue' with all stakeholders.
“If this problem was to be solved by blazing guns, it would have been solved during Raman Singh's 15-year rule. The policy of bullet-for-bullet has failed miserably and it's time to give a new thought to the issue,” Baghel told the Times of India less than a week after assuming office as Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister, the Times of India said in the same report, believes that the three-decades-old Maoist insurgency is a “socio-economic and political issue”.
In what was seen as an effort to play down the disastrous effects of left-wing terror in the state, especially in the Bastar division, the Chief Minister had said in August 2019 that malnutrition was a bigger threat than the Maoists.
However, earlier this month, Baghel wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah seeking deployment of seven battalions of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the state’s left-wing terror-affected areas.
He also requested the Centre to organise an Army recruitment rally in Bastar and to form ‘Bastaria Battalion’ of the CRPF.
“I have learnt that 10 CRPF battalions have been removed from J&K. In this case, providing the seven allocated battalions to Chhattisgarh immediately will help in effective implementation of an anti-Naxal drive,” Baghel wrote.
According to Baghel, the state government has now adopted a three-dimensional programme involving “trust, development, and security” to deal with the Maoist insurgency. ‘Talks’ are missing from the formula.
The change in his approach comes after a spike in left-wing terror activities in the state under his watch over the last few months.
“On 4 September, two men were killed by Maoists on the Dantewada-Bijapur border for allegedly helping the police. The next day, three villagers from Pusnar and one from Metapal were killed in the forest of Dumri-Palnar. On 11 September, a forest range officer was killed by Maoists while he had gone to...Bijapur to pay wages to villagers for road work,” the Indian Express says.
“In Sukma district, a jan militia court asked 12 members of two families to leave their village — Palamadgu — last week after accusing one family of being police informants and the other of having family members working with the police.
While the families have been given temporary shelter by district authorities, they are worried over returning to their village,” the report in the newspaper reads.
In March this year,17 security personnel were killed and at least 15 were critically injured in a Maoist ambush in the state’s Bastar region.
A report in the Deccan Herald in March said Chhattisgarh accounts for over 41 per cent of the total Maoist incidents since 2016, and around 68 per cent of the security personnel killed in such incidents.
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