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In a first,UAV used to record gunfight with Naxals in C’garh

Officials claim footage shows Maoists using women,kids as human shield

Written by VijaitaSingh | New Delhi |
April 18, 2013 2:05:53 am

Security agencies for the first time used an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to record the Tuesday encounter in Chhattisgarh where nine Maoists,including five women,were allegedly killed.

An official said the footage from the UAV showed the Maoists fleeing the encounter site on a tractor and children and women of nearby villages being used as “human shield” to form a protective ring around the vehicle. It also showed women and children being held at gunpoint by the Maoists fleeing the encounter site,an official claimed.

“It is an old tactic adopted by the Maoists to use children and women as shields,but we have recorded this for the first time. The video shows them snatching women and children and holding them at gunpoint,” said a senior official on condition of anonymity.

The Maoists had increased recruitment of women cadres. The security forces have come to know that during operations when the group is attacked,the women cadres are pushed to the front. “It was the women who were leading the group and they fired the maximum at the security personnel,” said the official.

A group of around 40-50 Maoists belonging to the military platoon unit II,led by their leader Ramanna,had assembled in the area to discuss offensive plans. Based on an intelligence input from Andhra Pradesh Greyhounds,a combined security force,including CRPF and Chhattisgarh Police,started to move towards the area and took position on Monday night.

“Generally,during summers,the Maoists plan the tactical counter-offensive campaign and we had already sent an alert to the forces three months ago,” said the official.

Ramanna was elevated as the chief of Dandakaranya Special Zone Committee after its former leader Kadri Satyanarayan Rao alias Kosa was elevated to the central committee and sent to Bihar,Jharkhand and West Bengal region to replace Kishenji,who was killed in an encounter in 2011. It was Kosa and Ramanna who had planned the 2010 Dantewada massacre,in which 76 CRPF personnel were killed.

“Seven of the nine Maoists who were killed in the encounter belonged to Khammam-Karimnagar-Warangal divisional committee responsible for reviving the Maoist movement in north Telangana,” said an official.

Another official said the security agencies had started using UAVs since January but apart from stray footage of Maoist camps,it could never record an ongoing operation.

Naxals fire at chopper lifting cops

RAIPUR: A BSF helicopter involved in lifting commandos conducting anti-Naxal operations was fired at in south Bastar in Chhattisgarh Wednesday,officials said.

The Mi-17 helicopter was hit in cockpit area but landed safely with the last passenger load of Greyhound commandos in Khammam,Andhra Pradesh,officials said.

The helicopter was sent to evacuate the commandos involved in Tuesday’s shootout in Sukma,in which nine suspected rebels were killed.

The security forces had also thrown a ring around the helipad,yet the Maoists attempt to hit the chopper succeeded,the officials said.

Two Mi-17 helicopters of the Air Force were also part of the operation to transport the commandos from Chhattisgarh to Andhra Pradesh and they returned safely.

This is the second incident of Naxalites firing on security forces’ helicopters after an IAF chopper was hit in January in the same district. PTI

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