Raipur:Maoists, who have failed to carry out any major attack in the past six months in Chhattisgarh, are instead running for cover in the Abujhmad forest area which is termed as the safest zone in the country for the guerrillas, say police.
For the first time, the state police and paramilitary forces stormed deep into the thick forest of Abujhmad in the southern tip of the state where earlier neither police nor outsiders were allowed entry by the Maoists.
“I just concluded a major operation in Abujhmad that went on for several days, roughly 3,000 jawans (troopers) of state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) went up to 80 km insides the forest and demolished a dozen hideouts,” state police chief Anil M. Navaney told reporters Tuesday.
He termed the operation “the first ever major offensive by police in Abujhmad” which is spread over about 4,000 sq km area and is known as the nerve centre of leftist terrorism as the forests have hideouts of almost all the top-ranked Maoist leaders.
“It was a bold and courageous decision of the police to storm into Maoists safest bastion. We apprehended 13 Maoists and demolished their hideouts at extremely difficult terrains such as Mardapal, Chhote Dongar and Bhatpal areas which were out of the police reach since the leftist insurgency reached the jungles of the state in late 1980s,” said Navaney.
The successful operation in Abujhmad came at a time when factionalism among various Maoist groups is reportedly at the highest level in the state.
Narayanpur’s Superintendent of Police Mayank Srivastava, who actively participated in the operation in Abujhmad, said: “Maoists are struggling to hold on to their base in the forests. They are now running for cover as local support is fast drifting away.”
Sources here at the police headquarters claim that the state is witnessing an unusual prolonged period of peace because the state’s restive Bastar-based Maoists have refused to blindly act under neighbouring Andhra Maoists who have been providing leadership to local insurgents who are mostly low-ranked cadres.
The problems are mainly related to issues like leadership and distribution of funds.
Chhattisgarh has witnessed the killings of over 2,000 policemen and civilians since the state came into existence in November 2000.