Security forces operating in ten Naxal-affected states have been asked to maintain a high degree of “alert” in view of violent counter-offensive launched by the left wing extremists, which led to the killing of seven Chhattisgarh policemen on Saturday.
Official sources said the Naxals had launched their Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) in late March in these areas.
The offensive has now been heralded with the first big attack on security forces as they killed seven STF policemen and injured about a dozen others in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on Saturday.
The TCOC is the about 3-4 months time period beginning March-April when armed Naxal cadres undertake special violent action against security forces and others to gain ground, re-group and strategise their plan of action before the onset of summer.
“The forces were put on alert in March when the annual TCOC begins. But, with this major attack on forces in Chhattisgarh yesterday, the alert has been re-issued and reinforced to the forces,” sources in the security establishment said.
CRPF Special Director General (Operations) K Durga Prasad on Sunday rushed to Chhattisgarh’s capital Raipur to review security arrangements.
They said under the new instructions, the Central Reserve Police Force, other paramilitary forces and state police units have been asked to deploy better and clever strategies to ensure that the Naxals are not able to spring any surprise.
“It includes fortifying security forces’ camps, undertaking special intelligence-based operations and ensuring covert tactics while operations are undertaken in the ten Naxal affected states of the country,” they said.
The forces have also been asked not to deploy large contingents in the forests as during summers the jungles get de-defoliated and hence they are visible from a long distance, inviting attacks.
Under the latest instructions, the CRPF and other state police forces have been asked to take the help of the newly operationalised Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) base from Bhilai in Chhattisgarh to conduct reconnaissance of target areas.
Saturday, seven policemen were killed and a dozen injured when Naxals ambushed them, triggering a gun battle in the dense forests of Naxal hotbed of Sukma district in Chhattisgarh.
The two-hour gun battle took place in the worst-affected Pidmel-Polampalli area of the district when a squad of state police Special Task Force (STF) was out for operations.