The all-out first of its kind offensive by the Chhattisgarh police against the Maoists in the forest villages of south Bastar since September 18, abruptly withdrew the operation. This allowed the Left-wing extremists to regain their clout in the region, on Tuesday.
Over 30 naxalites and six police personnel, including two assistant commanders of the elite Commando Battalion for Resolute Act (CoBRA), an elite unit of the CRPF, were killed in a series of gun battles near Singhanmadgu village in Palachalma Reserve Forest area, some 300 kms from here on September 18 and 19.
The state police also busted the weapon-production unit of rebels and seized arms and ammunition. The naxalites were making weapons, including 12-bore guns, country-made guns and grenades by using a high-powered generator. What’s more shocking is that almost all the villagers of Singhanmadgu and four nearby villages--- Burglanka, Pamlur, Palachalma and Aitrajpada were provided arms by the naxalites.
It were the armed villagers of Singhanmadgu, who first put up a resistance to the police and para-military forces and provided a safe passage to senior naxalite leaders to flee.
Though the Maoist rebels received a major blow in the region as heavy casualties were inflicted on its cadres in the major police offensive as part of “operation red hunt,” the state police had to retreat its operation because of difficult terrain, non-availability of foods, water and communication network.
“We have withdrawn our forces from Singhanmadgu and the forces returned to their camps,” informs TJ Longkumer, Inspector General (IG) of police, Bastar region. He admitted that naxalites had the support from their AP counterparts and over 300 naxalites reached there to assist them.
Amrish Mishra, SP of Dantewada, who supervised the operation, said that it was not possible for the force to stay there for a longer duration without food, water and inhospitable conditions. Moreover, jawans had to walk over 30 kms for the encounter as the entire area is highly inaccessible. “This is the first time in the history that police entered the area and challenged the naxalites,” he added.