Police hit Maoist training zone in Chhattisgarh | india | Hindustan Times
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Police hit Maoist training zone in Chhattisgarh

State Home Minister Ramvichar Netam says this step is taken as Maoist rebels have crossed all limits.

india Updated: Dec 02, 2006 09:51 IST

Security forces have started "hitting" a 4,000 sq km area in Chhattisgarh that has long been a Maoist stronghold and been so inaccessible that it has no government presence, says state Home Minister Ramvichar Netam.

The thickly forested Abujhmad area in southern Chhattisgarh has been planted with landmines to prevent government officials, civilians and police from entering.

"Rebel activities in the state have crossed all limits. Now we have decided to take on militants in their den Abujhmad, which is sans police stations and the presence of government officials," said the minister.

"Camps and explosive units are mainly used for exporting terrorism and blast material to 13 states. We are determined to finish off their forested war camps to wipe out leftist militancy from India," Netam said in an interview.

According to the Chhattisgarh home department, rebels have major terror infrastructure facilities in Abujhmad and train militants in the region in thousands. The forests of Abujhmad are home to the guerrillas' most protected war camps and explosives units that supply to the 13 states hit hard by Maoist insurgency.

Civilians and police are banned from entering the area. Earlier this year, census staff deputed to count tribal population in the region returned to the capital Raipur after rebels denied them permission.

But things could soon be changing.

"About 400-500 paramilitary troopers in league with state police have just started hitting inaccessible Abujhmad to bust rebel hideouts. But after the raids, they immediately come out," Netam said.

"We plan to step up attacks in the interiors and seek the help of de-mining experts to remove the landmines."

The government has been investing millions in creating police facilities like setting up a police station and a base camp for troopers at Orchha, considered Abujhmad's entry point.

"Over 10,000 paramilitary troopers are deployed in the state's southern Bastar region that includes Abujhmad. We are working on a strategy to build forces just outside Abujhmad to dismantle rebel terror camps," Netam said.

Chhattisgarh has been hit worst by militancy with officials saying the death toll in Maoist violence in the state has touched 400 since January. This includes 321 civilian casualties.

Since June last year, when a government backed civil militia movement emerged in Bastar, about 50,000 poor tribal persons left their homes and settled in various government camps as refugees.

Maoists, who launched a violent movement in 1967 from a West Bengal village, claim to fight for the right of poor peasants and landless workers.