The anti-Maoist offensive by the security forces along the borders of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh continued on Tuesday, with the joint team of the Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Jharkhand Jaguars (JJ) targeting dreaded left wing extremist Dev Kumar Singh aka Arvindji.
Additional director general of police (ADG) SN Pradhan and CRPF inspector general Sanjay Anand Latkar on Tuesday travelled to Badkaul, the command centre set up close to the Chhattisgarh border, and reviewed the progress of the ongoing offensive. Latehar superintended of police Anoop Birtharay, Palamu deputy inspector general Akhilesh Jha and Garhwa superintendent of police Priyadarshi Alok were also present.
Both sides began the clash on Monday, when the security forces were carrying out offensive against Arvindji, who had reportedly been hiding in the highly inaccessible hilly terrain sharing borders with Latehar and Garhwa districts of Jharkhand and Balrampur district of Chhattisgarh.
COBRA jawan Ajay Kumar was killed in an encounter with the Maoists in the Burha Pahar area of Latehar, but his death has failed to deter the morale of the security men engaged in the offensive.
“The operation against Arvind in Burha Pahar area continues despite losing one of the boys a day earlier. We are determined to get him out. On previous occasions, the operation against the Maoists was closed when the security forces suffered any losses,” Birtharay said.
Over the past five years, the security forces have been trying to capture Burha Pahar and clashes with the Maoists have intensified over the past one year.
“Earlier, there used to be one operation in the Burha Pahar area in the entire year, but now we are conducting operations nearly every month,” the SP said. “The number of encounters with Arvind’s squad has also swelled in last one year.”
A search operation on Tuesday also yielded 18 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) of 5-10 kg each and a large amount of codex wires.