Security in and around key installations in the Chhattisgarh capital has been intensified following intelligence reports that Maoists with access to rocket launchers are keen to strike urban areas to halt operations against them in the sprawling Bastar region.
With over 40,000 police and paramilitary troopers combing guerrilla hideouts in the interiors of the 40,000 sq km Bastar region, the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) is desperate to take the battle to towns and cities, particularly Raipur, officials said citing intelligence reports.
"We have gathered enough intelligence inputs in recent days that say Maoists are keen to strike in urban areas of the state, including Raipur, at its key government installations to somehow halt the ongoing operation against them in their stronghold Bastar," a senior official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.
He added that security forces were set to intensify their operation and storm Maoist bases in the coming weeks to dismantle their decade-old terror infrastructure.
"Keeping in mind the serious threat to urban areas, a number of security measures have been taken in the past fortnight to counter any challenge. Anti-terrorism squads are on standby mode while security has been further boosted in and around key government buildings in Raipur such as the state secretariat, police headquarters, MLA rest house, CM House and ministers' bungalows," the official added.
Maoists have killed about 1,500 people in the state since 2004. On Sunday, too, police gunned down four rebels in three separate shootouts in Bastar while the guerrillas killed four Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF) men in a powerful landmine explosion in the region.