Regional (M.P & C.G)

Toll Rises to 6 in Maoist Blast; Centre Plans to Flush them out

Death toll in Sunday’s Maoist blast triggered in the state’s restive Dantewada district has gone up to six with four more bodies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) being found. In the meanwhile, there are reports to check naxalism by the central government in three states, one of which Chhattisgarh.

Some more than two dozen CRPF personnel belonging to the 111th battalion were in two vehicles late Sunday when the powerful landmine blast hit one of them in Dantewada district, situated 350 kms from Raipur.

According to reports, six injured CRPF men were taken to a government-run hospital in district headquarters Dantewada, where two of them succumbed to their injuries Sunday night.

“The police squads have recovered four more bodies of the CRPF men early Monday. The bodies were found strewn within a 20-metre radius of the blast site,” Amresh Mishra, district superintendent of police, Dantewada, is quoted as saying by IANS.

He informed that troopers in the other vehicle fired at the heavily armed guerrillas who returned fire for a while before disappearing into nearby forests.

Forces have been put on high alert in the entire Dantewada district that has witnessed a string of deadly attacks in recent years.

In the meanwhile, sources said that the is planning to flush out Maoists from the three states, including Chhattisgarh.

Sources close to the Union Home Ministry told Express that Operation Lalgarh, launched recently in West Bengal to drive away Naxalites, could well be repeated in the border areas of the three Naxal-hit States.

More than 23 CRPF battalions are likely to be moved to Chhattisgarh and Orissa soon after the Amarnath Yatra, the sources said.

The Union Home Ministry has already decided to shift the CRPF battalions and is giving final touches to the operational plans, the sources said.

Home Minister P Chidambaram, they said, is particularly upset over the complete breakdown of government in large tracts of land, especially in Chhattisgarh and some parts of Orissa on the Andhra Pradesh border. Hence, the massive flush-out operations, the sources said.

As of now, more than four districts in Chhattisgarh are more or less under the control of Maoists. Bijapur, Dantewada, Rajnandgoan and Narayanpur districts are home to a number of Maoists and their sympathisers.

It is believed that more than 80 hard core Naxalites, including their chief Muppala Laxamana Rao alias Ganapthi, are taking shelter in Chhattisgarh.

If Chidambaram’s plans materialise, the Maoists would be heavily outnumbered. Each CRPF battalion consists of roughly a thousand men.

As it is, there are about 12 battalions in Chhattisgarh and four in Orissa.

The proposed reinforcements in Chhattisgarh and Orissa would be in the ratio of 3:1.

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