Connect with us

Chhattisgarh

Revival Long Away, Maoists Fighting For Their Survival In Chhattisgarh

The red terrorists are fighting a battle for their very existence now; major incidents are necessary for revival.

Published

on

On March 21, 2020, Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres ambushed a Police party in the dense forests of Elmaguda close to Kasalpad and Minpa villages in the Chintagufa area in the Sukma District of Chhattisgarh, killing 17 security personnel [12 District Reserve Guards, DRG, and five Special Task Force, STF], and injuring another 15.

The Maoists also looted at least 15 weapons from the possession of the slain personnel – 12 AK 47 assault rifles, one Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL), one INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) assault rifle and one Excalibur, the upgraded variant of the INSAS rifle.

Though the Police claimed that a considerable number of Maoists are believed to have been killed in the encounter, only one body of a Maoist cadre has been recovered during search operations in the area.


Chhattisgarh Director General of Police (DGP), D.M. Awasthi, disclosed that a joint team of DRG, STF, and the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), a specialised unit of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) proficient in guerrilla tactics and jungle warfare, had launched an operation from Chintagufa, Burkapal and Timelwada camps, based on information about the presence of ultras near Elmagunda.

Intelligence inputs indicated a substantial “Maoist presence in the area”.

The operation failed to track down the Maoists. However, the rebels triggered Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and opened fire at the returning SFs, leading to an exchange of fire, in which the SF casualties occurred.


An unnamed senior intelligence official disclosed:

“They (Naxals) have been re-grouping for a long time now under Basavaraj, who is highly trained in guerrilla warfare and improvised explosive device (IEDs) and ambushes. We acted well on time, but our men were highly outnumbered with 300-350 Naxals being involved in the ambush.”

Further, a senior official of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) on condition of anonymity, stated:

“During this period, Naxalites usually launch their tactical counter-offensive campaign, wherein they conduct the maximum strikes. The months prior to that, from the onset of the monsoons, they had been recruiting more people who were trained between June and September 2019.”

Unsurprisingly, routine condemnations followed:


“Strongly condemn the Maoist attack in Sukma, Chhattisgarh. My tributes to the security personnel martyred in the attack. Their valour will never be forgotten. Condolences to the bereaved families. I pray for a quick recovery of those injured.
– Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 22, 2020.”

In the annals of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) and major LWE attacks in Chhattisgarh, the debacle at Chintalnad, nor far from the location of the present attack, on April 6, 2010, [75 dead of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and one State Policeman] had demonstrated the primordial brutality of war – of cunning, deceit, possibly betrayal, but also of tactical superiority.

Since then, despite the “efficient strategy in place” and the massive and largely successful anti-Maoist operations, SFs in Chhattisgarh have come under repeated and major Maoist attacks (each involving three or more casualties). According to partial data collated by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), 119 major attacks, resulting in 856 fatalities – 136 civilians, 383 SF personnel, and 337 Maoists – have been recorded since April 6, 2010, in Chhattisgarh (data till March 22, 2020).

Significantly, the number stands at 315 such incidents, resulting in 2,028 fatalities (492 civilians, 624 SF personnel, 897 Maoists, and 15 unspecified) across the country, over the same period.

The Bastar Division the core of the residual Maoist problem not only in Chhattisgarh but in the entire so-called ‘Red Corridor’ region, comprises seven densely forested Districts sprawling across 40,000 square kilometres, including Sukma, the location of the current attack.

The other six Districts – Bastar, Bijapur, Dantewada, Kanker, Kondagaon, and Narayanpur – in the southernmost region of the State, along with Sukma, share their borders with the other Maoist-afflicted States, including Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Telangana.

According to the SATP database, Sukma has accounted for at least 25 Maoist-related deaths (three civilians, 19 SF personnel, three Maoists) during the current year so far (data till March 22, 2020). Out of the six Districts in Chhattisgarh from where Maoist-linked fatalities have been reported in 2020, Sukma recorded the highest number of killings, at 25. Bijapur District is second, with six fatalities (one civilian, three troopers, two Maoists); followed by Dantewada, three (two civilians, one Maoist); two fatalities each in Bastar (two SF personnel) and Narayanpur (one civilian, one Maoist); and one fatality (civilian) in Kanker. Significantly, since January 16, 2012, the day Sukma was carved out of Dantewada as a separate District, a total of 420 fatalities (including 97 civilians, 160 SF personnel, 163 Maoists) have been recorded in the District.

According to a February 19, 2020, report, as many as 38 Maoist leaders and top functionaries of CPI-Maoist and its frontal organisations, with bounties worth over INR 140 million, are on Chhattisgarh’s most-wanted list. Of these 38, 21 are office bearers and members of the CPI-Maoist ‘politburo’, the outfit’s highest decision-making body and ‘central committee (CC)’, the second-highest rung in the hierarchy.

The remaining 17 are members and managers of the organisation’s Dandakaranya Zonal Special Committee (DKZSC) and its State-level frontal bodies, mainly active in Naxal-hit areas of the State, which has an approximately 32 per cent tribal population.


Interestingly, according to two unnamed senior Police and intelligence officials in the State, these wanted Maoists are still supervising activities in the 13 Naxal-hit Districts of the State, as well as in other affected States, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha.

Further, a January 29, 2020, report, revealed that the Maoists had reinstated the CC of the CPI-Maoist, with 21 members, 10 of whom are from Telangana, four from Jharkhand, two each from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal, and one from Bihar. Nambala Keshava Rao aka Basava Raju (65), hailing from Srikakulam, was elected ‘general secretary’ of the CC. Rao is also the ‘politburo’ and ‘Central Military Commission, CMC’ member, and the current ‘chief’ of CPI-Maoist. He took over the reins of the Maoist party two years ago from Muppala Lakshmana Rao aka Ganapathi.

The Maoists are choosing to orchestrate tactical attacks in their campaign to engineer a potential resurrection. Despite decades of fighting the Maoists, SFs remain vulnerable to surprise attacks, as well as the elaborate traps the Maoists lay out, as in the case of the March 21, 2020, incident.

The rebels are fighting a battle for their very existence now, and such major incidents are a necessary element of their strategy for revival. The most extraordinary care will be necessary on the part of the SFs to ensure that their losses are minimized, even as the operational initiative remains on the side of the State’s Forces.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Published with permission from South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

Deepak Kumar Nayak

Deepak Kumar Nayak is a research assistant at Institute for Conflict Management and is involved in research and documentation of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) and insurgency in Northeast of India.

Continue Reading
Comments

Chhattisgarh

Red Terror: Miles To Go Before Chhattisgarh Relaxes

But, despite all odds and deficits, the LWE menace in Chhattisgarh has been progressively contained.

Published

on

On February 28, 2020, Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres killed Muchaki Hidma, accusing him of being a ‘police informer’ in Kolomkonta village under Tengapal Police Station limits in Sukma District. After executing the incident, the Maoists also allegedly assaulted Hidma’s wife, as well as some villagers who went to save the woman.

On the same day, in another incident, CPI-Maoist cadres killed Madvi Urra, a former Maoist, branding him a ‘police informer’, in Mukram village under Chintalnar Police Station limits in Sukma District.

On February 21, 2020, CPI-Maoist cadres killed a supervisor of a construction company, identified as Jaggu Mandal, at Katgaon village in the Koyalibeda Block (administrative unit) under Pakhanjur Tehsil (revenue unit) in Kanker District. The company was involved in the construction of a road between Partapur and Koyalibeda under Partapur Police Station limits. In a letter left near the dead body, Maoists ‘urged’ contractors not to become enemies of the people and warned that those engaged in road and bridge works in the region would have to face serious consequences.


On February 19, 2020, one CPI-Maoist cadre was killed in an exchange of fire between a team of the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and the Maoists in the forest area along the Chintagufa-Chintalnar junction in Sukma District. The identity of the slain Maoist is yet to be ascertained.

On the same day, in another incident, an unidentified CPI-Maoist cadre was shot dead in an encounter with the Security Forces (SFs) near Ikul village in the Abujhmaad area of Narayanpur District.

On February 18, 2020, a commando of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), a specialised unit of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) proficient in guerrilla tactics and jungle warfare, was killed and another was injured in an exchange of fire with CPI-Maoist cadres in a forested area near Palodi village under Kistaram Police Station limits in Sukma District. Acting on a tip-off about the presence of the Maoists, the commandos were sent to the Pamed area of Bijapur District. The team was attacked by the Maoists while they were on their way to the area.


According to partial data collated by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), since the beginning of 2020, at least 14 incidents of killing, resulting in 16 fatalities (seven civilians, four SF personnel, and five Maoists), have already been registered in Left Wing Extremism (LWE), related violence in Chhattisgarh, thus far (data till March 1). During the corresponding period of 2019, four incidents of killing, resulting in four fatalities (two civilians and two Maoists) were recorded. There is, thus, a significant surge in LWE-linked violence in the State in the current year.

However, the State had recorded a steep overall decline in LWE-linked violence in 2019. Chhattisgarh accounted for a total of 72 incidents of killing, resulting in 122 fatalities (30 civilians, 19 SF personnel, and 73 Maoists) in 2019, as against a total of 134 incidents of killing, resulting in 248 fatalities (59 civilians, 57 SF personnel, and 132 Maoists), through 2018. In 2019, total fatalities thus fell by 50.8 per cent and the State recorded the lowest number of fatalities since 2015, at 115. A peak of 368 fatalities was registered in 2007.

More importantly, fatalities among civilians in 2019, at 30, declined by 49.15 per cent, as compared to 2018, at 59. The 30 civilian fatalities in 2019 were the lowest recorded in this category since 2014, at 25. A peak of 184 civilian fatalities was recorded in 2006.

Fatalities among SFs also witnessed a sharp reduction, from 57 in 2018 to 19 in 2019 (66.66 per cent). This was the lowest number of fatalities recorded in this category since 2004, when a lone trooper was killed through the year. A peak of 198 SF fatalities was recorded in 2007.

Though fatalities in Maoist category also declined, SF successes were sharply reflected in the improved kill ratio against the Maoists in 2019, at 1:3.84 as against 1:2.31 registered in 2018. The ratio has been in favour of SFs since 2016, when it was 1:3.85. Since the formation of the CPI-Maoist on September 21, 2004, the ratio has been in favour of SFs for 10 years, with the best ratio recorded in 2004, at 1:20.


Meanwhile, at least 134 Maoists were arrested in 2019, in addition to 357 such arrests in 2018. At least 377 Maoists were arrested in 2017, 438 in 2016, and 230 in 2015. Mounting SF pressure also resulted in the surrender of 231 Maoists in 2019, in addition to 358 such surrenders in 2018. There were 327 surrenders in 2017, 1,232 in 2016, and 282 in 2015.

One of the vital parameters of violence, incidents of killing, indicates an improvement in the security situation in the State.  Incidents of killing fell from 134 in 2018 to 72 in 2019, a decline of 46.26 per cent. There was a total of 136 incidents of killing in 2016, the maximum recorded during the course of year, since March 6, 2000, when SATP started compiling data on Left Wing Extremism. It is useful to recall here, however, that the intensity of the violence was at its peak in Chhattisgarh during 2007-11, and it was among the worst affected States even after this period.

Significantly, other parameters of violence demonstrated a significant decline in Maoist capabilities in Chhattisgarh. 250 Maoist-linked incidents were reported in 2019, as compared to 328 such incidents in 2018.  The number of major incidents (each involving three or more fatalities) decreased to 10 in 2019, from 17 in 2018. 13 incidents of arson were reported in 2019 as compared to 19 such incidents in 2018. Further, the Maoists orchestrated at least 24 incidents of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blasts in 2019, compared to 29 such incidents in 2018.

The number of Districts from where killings were reported declined in 2019, as compared to 2018. Out of a total of 28 Districts in Chhattisgarh, fatalities were reported from nine in 2019: Sukma (33); Dantewada (23); Bijapur (20); Kanker (15); Bastar (nine); Rajnandgaon (eight); Narayanpur (seven); Dhamtari (six); and Kabirdham (one). By comparison, 13 Districts recorded such fatalities in 2018 – Sukma (89); Bijapur (69); Dantewada (33); Narayanpur (16); Rajnandgaon (15); Kanker (11); Bastar (four); Kondagaon and Gariyaband (three each); Kabirdham (two); Balarampur, Dhamtari, and Koriya (one each).

Violence in the Bastar Division which remained the principal challenge for the State in particular and the country at large, also registered a decline of 52.44 per cent (from 225 incidents in 2018 to 107 in 2019). The Division currently comprises seven Districts – Bastar, Bijapur, Dantewada, Kanker, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, and Sukma – in the southernmost region in the State.

On January 2, 2020, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Bastar Division, P. Sundarraj disclosed that the Division had witnessed a decline of LWE-related incidents by 40 per cent in 2019. He further stated there was a decline in loss of security personnel lives in different incidents by 55 per cent and loss of civilian lives in CPI-Maoist attacks by 45 per cent.

Indeed, the LWE movement in the State continued to suffer through 2019. In a major setback to the CPI-Maoist, ‘Central Committee’ member and ‘secretary’ of the ‘Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC)’, Ravula Srinivas aka Ramanna, died on December 9, 2019. Ramanna was in-charge of Maoist activity  in the ‘Bastar Division’ and carried a total cash reward of over INR 20 million. Ramanna was instrumental in prominent attacks on SFs, including the killing of 15 SF personnel (and one civilian) on March 11, 2014, and 25 CRPF personnel on April 24, 2017.

A December 19, 2019, report thus noted:

The Maoists have been finding it difficult to recruit new people in their fighting ranks. The size of their fighting unit is said to have declined from 6,000 armed insurgents in 2017 to little over 3,500 in 2019. Most of these recruitments were being done by Ramanna, who is now dead.”


Nevertheless, based on assessments of underground and over-ground activities of the Maoists in the State, according to SATP data for 2019, at least four Districts – Bijapur, Dantewada, Kanker, and Sukma – remained highly-affected; another five Districts – Bastar, Dhamtari, Kabirdham, Narayanpur, and Rajnandgaon – were moderately affected; while two Districts – Gariyaband and Kondagaon – remained marginally affected.

Meanwhile, on February 5, 2019, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) identified 14 Districts of Chhattisgarh – Balod, Balrampur, Bastar, Bijapur, Dantewada, Dhamtari, Gariyaband, Kabirdham, Kanker, Kondagaon, Mahasamund, Narayanpur, Rajnandgaon, and Sukma – among the 90 LWE-affected Districts in 11 States across the country. Eight of these Districts of Chhattisgarh – Bastar, Bijapur, Dantewada, Kanker, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, Rajnandgaon, Sukma – were also included in the list of 30 Most Affected Districts from seven States across India, released by UMHA on August 1, 2018.

The Maoists are choosing to maintain a tactical silence, avoiding face-offs with the SFs, even as they revamp their strategies. According to an October 7, 2019, report, drone-like objects were spotted flying over the airspace of highly secured CRPF base camps in the Kistaram and Palodi areas of Sukma. CRPF spokesperson B.C. Patra disclosed:

Such sighting of lights (of suspected drone) during the night hours has never been reported earlier in and around the CRPF base camps across the Maoist-affected Bastar region. It was sighted for three days and we have sent an alert to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB). Though it’s not yet confirmed, there remains a suspicion that these flying objects might be Maoist drones. It was seen flying over the CRPF camps of Palodi and Kistaram separated by an aerial distance of 5 km. It’s under investigation.

Meanwhile, in addition to several measures adopted in the past, some new efforts were made during the course of 2019 to strengthen the security apparatus in the State. On January 2, 2020, P. Sundarraj, IGP, Bastar Division, stated that seven security camps had been established at Chhindnar, Chikpal and Potali of Dantewada District; Khodgaon in Narayanpur District; Pusnar and Bodli of Bijapur District and Sureli in Kanker District.

Regrettably, however, Chhattisgarh continues to suffer significant deficits in the strength and quality of the State Police Force, which constitutes the first line of defence against any kind of internal threat. According to the latest Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) data, there was a vacancy of 16.61 per cent in the State Police Force, as on January 1, 2019. Moreover, of a sanctioned strength of 142 apex Indian Police Service (IPS) Officers in the State, 36 posts, i.e., 25.35 per cent remained vacant, considerably weakening executive direction of the Force. As against a sanctioned strength of 462 Police Stations, there were 446 Police Stations in the State, and at least 21 of them had no telephones.

According to a January 25, 2020, report, the Chhattisgarh Government, among eight States attending the ‘High Powered Committee (HPC)’ meet held at State capital Raipur, put forth their proposals for sophisticated weapons, ultra-modern forensic labs and highly-developed software analysis system. State Police officials and forensic experts also stressed the need for cybercrime investigation took kits, thermal imagers, internet evidence finders, tower servers and firing simulators. Meanwhile, Vivek Bharadwaj, the Additional Secretary, UMHA (Police Modernisation), assured the States that their essential requirements for modernisation of their Police Forces would be looked into and the proposals would be approved as early as possible.

Despite all odds and deficits, the LWE menace in Chhattisgarh has been progressively contained, and there is visible improvement in the ground situation. Nonetheless, several challenges remain to be, and both the State and Central Governments need to ensure that capacities are augmented so that the remaining stretches of territory afflicted by Maoist violence can be brought back to normalcy.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Published with permission from South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

Deepak Kumar Nayak

Deepak Kumar Nayak is a research assistant at Institute for Conflict Management and is involved in research and documentation of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) and insurgency in Northeast of India.

Continue Reading

Chhattisgarh

ITBP Jawan Masudul Rehman Kills Five Colleagues, Shoots Self In Chhattisgarh

The ITBP personnel were deployed here to provide security for the road construction work in this area.

Published

on

NARAYANPUR (Chhattisgarh): At least five personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) were killed and three others injured when an ITBP jawan allegedly fired at his colleagues with his service weapon in Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh Wednesday morning, police said.

The incident took place at the Kadenar camp of ITBP’s 45th battalion in Narayanpur, located around 350 km from state capital Raipur, according to IG (Bastar range) P. Sundarraj. The injured soldiers have been referred to Raipur by helicopter.

The Kadenar camp lies in Maoist-affected area of Narayanpur district of tribal Bastar region.


The injured were referred to Raipur by helicopter. However, during treatment, another jawan died. SP Mohit Garg has confirmed the incident.

Details About the Jawans:

  1. Constable Masudul Rehman resident Nadia, West Bengal (ACCUSED)
  2. Head Constable Mahendra Singh resident Sandiyar, Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh
  3. Constable Surjit Sarkar resident North Shrirampur, Burdwan, West Bengal
  4. Head Constable Daljit Singh resident Jagpur, Ludhiana, Punjab
  5. Constable Bishwarup Mahato resident Khukrampura, Purulia, West Bengal
  6. Constable Begish A.C. Resident Eravattur, Kozhikode, Kerala

Jawans constable Ullas SB Resident Pulimath, Thiruvandrapuram, Kerala, and Constable Sitaram Doon resident Nayabas, Nagaur, Rajasthan have been injured.


As per the sources, a dispute was brewing among ITBP personnel for the last couple of days but it turned violent today and a Jawan opened fire with AK 47 assault rifles at his colleagues. These Jawans belonged to the B company of 45th battalion of ITBP.

The ITBP personnel were deployed here to provide security for the road construction work in this area.

After the incident, IG, SP and other senior police officers rushed to the camp. A helicopter is being sent to ITBP camp for airlifting the injured.

Continue Reading

Chhattisgarh

SC Stays Criminal Trial Against Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel In Alleged Sex CD Case

The CBI had registered a case against Baghel in September last year, then Chhattisgarh Congress president

Published

on

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today stayed the ongoing criminal trial in the alleged sex CD case involving Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel as an accused.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer also issued a notice to Baghel on a plea of CBI seeking transfer of the criminal case out of Chhattisgarh on grounds including that the Chief Minister has been allegedly threatening the witnesses in the case.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI said that two prosecution witnesses have lodged complaints with the probe agency that they have been threatened at the behest of accused of giving statement against the chief minister in the case.


The CBI had registered a case against Baghel in September last year, then Chhattisgarh Congress president on a complaint that he had allegedly tried to frame the then state PWD minister and BJP leader Rajesh Munat in the fake sex CD case.

Continue Reading

Most Read This Month

error: Content on this news portal is protected!