Forces going deeper into Maoist strongholds with more sky and ground intelligence: CRPF DG

NEW DELHI: Aided by latest surveillance tools in the sky, security agencies are now going deeper into naxal strongholds as these new capabilities provide “real-time” information and guide the forces on “adversary” movements, CRPF chief A P Maheshwari has said.

He said the CRPF has procured latest unmanned aerial vehicles and thermal scanners and the lead anti-Maoist force was using these tools in combination with ground intelligence from multiple sources.

A new “synergy and collaboration” is being worked out between his force, state police units and intelligence agencies to end the Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) in near future, the CRPF director general said.

“There are certain intelligence agencies which are good at aerial survey and we have integrated those capabilities with the ground level troops and when we are conducting operations, those aerial surveys keep guiding us about the physical location and hideouts of the adversary (Maoists),” Maheshwari told PTI.

“Real-time observation from the sky and its integration with other inputs are the few major changes we have undertaken and that is one reason we recently were able to go deep into the stronghold of naxals in Chhattisgarh.”

Maheshwari, a 1984-batch Uttar Pradesh cadre IPS officer, said the in-roads made by his force and other agencies have broken the myth that security forces cannot reach interior naxal hotbeds.

He said the forces, led by the Central Reserve Police Force, have gained “more insight” into the Maoist terrain to undertake a “realistic” SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) analysis.

“We are getting good results and nothing succeeds like success,” he said, adding, “The war against naxals is now a war of perception and social integration”.

During his recent visit to Chhattisgarh, Maheshwari directed his units and other forces to hit the core naxal areas, such as the south Bastar region of the state.

Operating in a core area, at least 17 security personnel were killed in an encounter on Saturday. Their bodies were retrieved on Sunday, officials said.

The DG said CRPF field commanders have been directed to enhanced their rapport with state government authorities so that “joint and well-guided operations” against Maoists can be launched.

He said a “collaboration” is being established between the intelligence setup of the CRPF, Intelligence Bureau (IB) and state snoop agencies in order to obtain timely inputs.

“I have visited almost all the states (LWE hit) and I must say that all of them are equally interested in further mitigating this menace because states also want development process to be on and so is the intention of the central government and its auxiliary agencies,” he said.

“The forces are now further augmenting their capacities in terms of equipment, in terms of operational planning and assessment and in terms of intelligence inputs. I am quite positive and optimistic that in times to come the day is not far when we can further bring it (LWE menace) down to a negligible level,” the DG said.

He said it is being ensured that all steps are taken to keep the morale of the fighting troops high and that they are provided critical health care in the least possible time.

“We realised that the evacuation of troops injured in combat was taking time and couple of them lost their lives…they could have been saved had the chopper that came in to lift them possessed medical care facility on-board,” he said.

The force, recently on Maheshwari”s directions, has retro-fitted about a dozen choppers deployed in this combat theatre with medical care facilities like that in an air ambulance and it will be operated by a team of doctors and paramedics.

The about 3.25 lakh personnel strong CRPF has deployed over a lakh personnel in various LWE violence affected states and is designated as the lead force in this domain.

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