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Maoists train to face elite forces

The Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), a specialised paramilitary force raised to take on Maoists, could face stiff resistance from guerrillas of the outlawed CPI (Maoist). Ramashankar and Om Prakash report.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2009 00:05 IST
Ramashankar and Om Prakash

The Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), a specialised paramilitary force raised to take on Maoists, could face stiff resistance from guerrillas of the outlawed CPI (Maoist).

The Maoists have begun imparting specialised training to their cadre in the forests of Bihar’s Gaya and Aurangabad districts.

Armed with sophisticated weapons, instructors from Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Nepal are training members of the People’s Liberation for Guerrilla Army, said Amarjeet Advani, 35, a Maoist leader, in Aurangabad to participate in an event commemorating the fifth anniversary of the merger of the Maoist Communist Centre with People’s War.

CoBRA is a specialised unit of the Central Reserve Police Force, one of the best-equipped in the country.

Set up last year with a grant of Rs 1,300 crore from the government, CoBRA members are armed with light mortars, machine guns, rocket launchers, INSAS rifles, FN 35 and Glock pistols, Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine guns and Carl Gustav recoilless rifles.

Advani said retired personnel of the Indian Army and the central paramilitary force had been hired to train the recruits. “We have weapons like INSAS rifles, AK-47s and self-loading rifles, apart from a big cache of explosives and detonators. Most of these have been snatched from the police.”

The government had recently announced the deployment of one CoBRA company (of 130 soldiers) in Gaya, 100 km south of Patna, to check the growing Maoist influence in the state.

Maoist violence has claimed the lives of more than 200 security personnel this year in Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Maharashtra and West Bengal. Around 700 civilians have also been killed in the same period.

Aurangabad Superintendent of Police N.K. Tiwary said there were no training camps of the Maoists in the district.