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Delhi acts against growing Maoist threat
A further 10,000 troops and 10 UAVs to be deployedPolice officials in Maoist-hit Jharkhand state (file photo)
- Swati Deb, New Delhi
- November 1, 2012
NTRO, the country's specialized National Technical Research Organisation, Â has set up its first base in the Maoist hotbed of Chhattisgarh state in central India, with the help of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the leading anti-Maoist force.
The government will also deploy an additional 10,000 personnel to intensify operations against the insurgents, which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described as the â€śsingle biggest internal security challenge.â€ť
The NTRO base will acquire and pass on satellite data on Maoist moments to direct ground patrols andÂ at least 10 unmanned aerial vehicles, senior security officials in New Delhi said.
"The challenge for us is to work in the areas which are Maoist strongholds,â€ť said Pranay Sahay, the combat force's newly appointed chief.
An estimated 75,000 CRPF and Border Security Force personnel are already deployed in various Maoist-hit areas, spread over the states of Maharashtra in western India to Jharkhand and Orissa in the east.
Many parts of far-flung and inaccessible areas in Chhattisgarh's Narayanpur district are virtually caught between â€śthe Maoistsâ€™ guns and the authority of the state,â€ť official sources in the federal Home Ministry said.
â€śThe overall operations against Maoists have yielded results especially inWest Bengalâ€™s jungle mahal [forest] areas. The crackdown in these areas against rebels has raised high hopes,â€ť said Sishir Adhikari, a key leader of the ruling Trinamool [grassroots] Congress in the state.
However, some skeptics among the political class say that the battle is far from over.
â€śI am concerned that there are constant complaints that the poor tribal villagers are falling prey during the gun battles between the paramilitary forces and armed Maoists,â€ť said senior politician Sharad Yadav of the opposition Janata Dal-U (United Peopleâ€™s Party).
He alleged that the growing unemployment problem and the recent reform measures undertaken by the government could trigger unrest and lead many youths towards the Maoist fold.
State seeks help in Maoist areas