The battle against Maoist groups is being won slowly but steadily,with security forces having gained control over more than 5,000 sq km area in the last two years,the outgoing chief of the Central Reserve Police Force K Vijay Kumar said Saturday.
However,another 6,000 square km of area,mostly in south Chhattisgarh and adjoining areas of Orissa,Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra,continue to remain almost completely out of bounds for the security forces,Kumar,who retires on Monday,told The Sunday Express.
Slowly but steadily we have been able to establish our presence in many areas that were previously being held by the Maoists. Saranda (in Jharkhand) is a very successful example. There have been encouraging results in Jharkhand,and parts of Bihar and Orissa as well. We are now in a position to hand over these areas to the local and state administrations so that development and other works can begin, said Kumar.
The biggest challenge now remains what is known as the Abujmaad area. South and southwest of Chhattisgarh,the adjoining Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra and Malkangiri area in Orissa are regions where the Naxal groups continue to have near total control. This together is around 6,000 square km of area where we have little presence, he said.
The CRPF made its first forays into the Abujmaad area in March this year,an operation that Kumar described as exploratory in nature. Since 1988,the people in this area have lived under these groups (Maoists). For almost 25 years now,they have not known what an actual government is all about. No one can be blamed. But we now have to re-establish the supremacy of the government, he said.
Apart from these areas,the influence of the Maoists is shrinking all over, he claimed.
Kumar said the governments two-pronged strategy against the Maoists,police action combined with development work,perhaps needs to be supplemented with another simultaneous effort revival of political activity in these areas.
This tripod has to be put in place in a balanced manner, he said.