The CRPF has for the first time set up three permanent camps in the Maoist hotbed of Abujhmadh forests in Chhattisgarh to launch ‘surgical’ operations against the ultras, a year after it lost 37 personnel in two ambushes. The paramilitary force, along with contingents of the state police, has set up three bases in the dense and remote jungles of the 4,000 sq km region which essentially means ‘abujh’ (unknown) and ‘madh’ (hill). Till now, the security forces used to undertake patrols inside the Abujhmadh jungle area in the Bastar region, camp there for few days and come back as they had no support system to stay in the jungle for long. To make their presence felt in the area, the first camp, identified as ‘P’, has been established in close vicinity of the Indravati river.
Officials privy to the development said the strength of each camp was about 100 personnel. The camps have been created as part of the ‘Operation Madh’ (Abujhmadh) being carried out by the CRPF and other security forces for the last few years to target Naxal cadres who hide or move in this area.
Last year, the CRPF lost 37 personnel in two ambushes (March-April) in the Sukma district and since then it was decided to intensify the operations by entering into unchartered territories of the Naxal violence-hit areas, the sources said. The three permanent camps are located in the areas that connect Narayanpur, Bijapur and Basroor regions to the Abujhmadh forest, they said.
The exact location and names of the camps have not been disclosed due to security reasons. Officials said a good amount of arms and ammunition, mini-Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for reconnaissance, tonnes of ration and medicines have been made available at these camps so that the troops can sustain themselves independently for a few days and carry out operations.
The camps are being fortified with the help of the engineering and construction wing of the security forces, they said. Road and aerial links have been established with the nearest security camps and local police stations so that supplies and reinforcements can be sent to these three bases, they said.
“The idea is to launch surgical operations in the Abujhmadh area as due to its acute under-development, remoteness and dense forest cover it has become the hotbed for the stay and movement of Naxal cadres,” a senior officer said on the condition of anonymity. The main challenge for anti-Naxal operations now is the Bastar region, they said.
The Bastar region comprises the Sukma, Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur and Kondagon districts, and Abujhmadh is the common link. “Few encounters have taken place in the area since the camps were established. They (Naxals) know that we are here now. “The troops based in these camps are drawn from some of the best units of the CRPF and its jungle warfare squad CoBRA.
Good fighters from the state police and its commando teams are also in the contingent,” the officer said. Officials said the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the state government plan to create more such camps in this area so that not only quality operations are launched but also development works for the tribals and locals living in these forests can be ushered in.
The camps will also help the Chhattisgarh government in finishing its maiden revenue survey exercise, launched last year, to compile land holding data of the area, they said. As per official data, the Abujhmadh region has about 36 village panchayats in which 207 villages are populated while 30 others are deserted. The region is about 350 km from state capital Raipur and has been largely unexplored for all these years.
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