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Maoists plan fewer attacks with bigger impact in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar

Documents of a recent meeting of top Maoist commanders, accessed by HT, say the extremist group is focussing on more training and plugging gaps in its internal intelligence gathering.

india Updated: Aug 31, 2017 07:16 IST
Ritesh  Mishra
Ritesh Mishra
Raipur, Hindustan Times
Maoists,Chhattisgarh,Bastar
Sources say Maoists are concerned about the “strengthened intelligence” of security forces.(HT File)

Maoists are planning bigger but fewer attacks in their stronghold of Bastar in Chhattisgarh to ensure better-planned strikes and stave off mounting government efforts to gain human intelligence in one of India’s most impregnable regions.

Documents of a recent meeting of top Maoist commanders in the regions Darbha division between July 5 and 7, accessed by HT, show the rebels are concerned about the “strengthened intelligence” of security forces. The documents also say the extremist group is focussing on more training and plugging gaps in its internal intelligence gathering.

“The security forces are distributing mobile phones among school children in Maoist hotbeds for facilitating tip-offs. The use of phones should be discouraged,” the document in Gondi dialect read. Darbha division comprises Jagdalpur, Sukma and Dantewada, where major attacks on security forces have taken place in 2017. The documents were accessed via sources in the state police and couldn’t be independently verified.

The meeting comes months after two back-to-back ambushes on security personnel in the region’s Burkapal and Bheji – the first in March and the next in April – that left nearly 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel dead. “The minutes confirmed that their new planning at least has prevented their casualties in last few months. I think Maoists are planning for fewer but bigger attacks,” said a senior officer involved in the region’s anti-Maoist operations.

The meeting discussed how the twin attacks were “successful” because security forces lacked human intelligence in a thickly forested region where the inhospitable terrain makes policing difficult. It was after these two strikes that the security forces started focusing on human intelligence. Fifty Maoists have been killed by the security forces of region since.

The meeting raised concerns about the ‘growing’ presence of vigilante groups, comprising many surrendered Maoists, and the apparent lack of discipline among part-time Maoist cadre.

“The santries (cadre) sleep at night in houses instead of forests. They consume alcohol and indulge in immoral activities and travel to Andhra Pradesh for work without informing the leaders,” the meeting discussed.

The “headless” military intelligence wing of Maoists in Darbha division and ‘poor intelligence collection’ on the part of Maoists also featured in the meeting, according to the minutes.

Maoists have planned a 10 -day military training for LOS (Local Operation Squad) / LGS ( Local Guerrilla Squad on four subjects -- immediate action drill, basic position, basic military course and air defence.

First Published: Aug 31, 2017 07:16 IST