Updated: February 20, 2016 1:40:27 am
Chhattisgarh Police on Friday said at least 31 bodies of Maoists have been recovered since the start of the year with nine alleged Maoists being killed in six big operations in the past three weeks alone.
Senior police officers said the number was achieved after a shift in strategy that has seen an increased use of District Reserve Group (DRG), a unit of the state police, that has among its recruits several surrendered Maoists.
Bastar Inspector General of Police SRP Kalluri said, “The turning point in Bastar has been the use of the DRG. I have no hesitation in saying that much of the credit goes to lower rung surrendered Maoist cadres, who have specific information. They never lose their abilities in a jungle, and they are motivated to see that Naxalism ends so that they can go back to their villages.”
Besides the number of dead, the police have also arrested 141 Maoists with 90 arrested from Sukma district alone so far this year. “There have been encounters and arrests. Now even SPs are heading operations,” said DM Awasthi, Special DG, Anti-Naxal operations.
When asked about the allegations that the police were putting pressure on landlords of Jagdalpur Legal Aid group and journalist Malini Subramaniam to force their tenants out of their homes, the IG said there was a general vitiation of atmosphere given the events at JNU and Delhi’s Patiala House Courts.
“The Jagdalpur Bar Association has said many of its lawyers are unemployed, while lawyers from outside take up cases. There is even the possibility of an attack. It is my job to tell the government about this.”
He also said that checks had been carried out on landlords based on orders from the district collector but denied that the police had any other involvement.
Meanwhile, both Subramaniam and Jagdalpur Legal Aid group lawyers Isha Khandelwal and Shalini Gera are preparing to leave Jagdalpur. Amnesty International on Friday released a statement calling for human rights lawyers in Bastar to be protected from threats from the police and non-state actors. The Special DG said he had spoken to the lawyers from Jagdalpur Legal Aid group, and had assured them of their safety and security.
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