Saturday, August 30, 2008

6 CRPF men killed in Maoist landmine hit

Aug. 29: The Maoists in Chattisgarh on Friday gave the first open indication of their "urban push" by triggering a landmine blast on a state highway in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur district.

The CRPF vehicle carrying a team of six CRPF personnel, including an inspector identified as R.S. Kang, was blown up in the explosion. Earlier a senior state police officer, in a telephonic conversation with this newspaper, said that the Maoists, who had declared a "parallel government" some time back, were now trying to move from the jungles to the urban areas.

The attack, which is seen by security agencies as a first attempt by the Maoists to push into urban areas, coincides with the Centre announcing the setting up of a Central force to counter Maoists. The Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA), comprising a 10,000-strong special anti-Naxal force, will get training on the lines of the Andhra Greyhounds, in order to launch counter-operations in Maoist strongholds of Chattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand.

Friday’s incident occurred on the state highway when the CRPF team was proceeding for an anti-naxalite operation from Konda to Narayanpur at around 11 am, CRPF spokesman Ajay Chaturvedi said. In the meantime, CRPF sources said that security agencies have begun intensive counter-operations against Maoists in the region to track down Maoists involved in the attack. The CRPF has despatched deputy inspector-general of police R.S.S Sahota to Narayanpur for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.

The creation of the special armed force, CoBRA, headed by inspector-general K. Durga Prasad, who was responsible for the success of the Andhra Greyhounds in crushing the Maoists in Andhra Pradesh, is being viewed as a first major step to tackle Left-wing extremism.

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