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Chhattisgarh forests death traps: Police
Maoists have laid landmines in most of these areas

Raipur, May 9
A day after eight paramilitary troopers were killed in a landmine blast by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district, a top police official said the guerrillas had massively mined the state’s forested areas and it was difficult to de-mine the vast stretches without the required technology.

“The big problem is we have no technology and resources to de-mine the massive forested pockets. Without taking out landmines it’s literally impossible to go after them freely in thickly forested areas where Maoists are always ready with a booby trap,” Director General of Police (Chhattisgarh) Vishwa Ranjan said today.

Eight CRPF troopers were killed yesterday when Maoists blew up their vehicle in Bijapur, around 480 km south of state capital Raipur.

The bulletproof vehicle was blown up in the Koretal forested stretch. A CRPF personnel and two civilians were injured in the blast.

The coffins of the eight slain CRPF men were brought to Raipur today. They were offered floral tributes and given gun salutes in the Mana area on the outskirts of the city after their post-mortem examination was completed at Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Government Hospital here.

Yesterday’s blast came just a month after 76 security personnel were massacred by the rebels in the same region in one of the deadliest attacks on April 6.

Both attacks took place in the Bastar region, spread over around 40,000 sq km area of which up to 25,000 sq km is intensively mined, Ranjan said.

A police officer said the two attacks had rattled the security forces.

“I admit that forces in the Bastar interiors have gone defensive. Neither the state police nor the paramilitary forces are ready with heart and mind to go after the Maoists in thickly forested areas that are heavily mined,” the officer said.

State Home Minister Nankiran Kanwar said he was in favour of the Army taking over the anti-Maoist operations. “I think the Army should take over the job to wipe out Maoists. I am saddened by the attacks coming one after another and the loss of lives of our brave soldiers,” Kanwar told reporters.

He described Saturday’s attack as “a gross neglect of guerrilla warfare rules and a complete intelligence failure”.

Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, comprising five districts of Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Bastar and Kanker has been the nerve centre of Maoist militancy since late 1980s. — IANS





Six Maoists killed

New Delhi, May 9
At least six Maoists were killed in a fierce gunbattle with security forces in Orissa’s Koraput district today, the police said.

Senior police officers engaged in the anti-Maoist operation in a forest of the Podapadar area in Narayanpatna said: “On the basis of indications from the encounter site...At least six Maoists have been killed.” The police, however, said it was yet to recover bodies.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said during the encounter “there were a number of injuries and perhaps some Maoists were also killed”.

“The exchange of fire that began last night between the rebels and the Orissa police, Greyhound and BSF in Podapadar forest, about 100 km from here, ended this morning after Maoists fled,” SP Koraput Anup Kumar Sahoo said. — PTI



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