.........BHUBANESWAR: With massive deployment of Central forces on the other side of Odisha border, the State Government has pressed the Ministry of Home Affairs for mobilisation of two more battalions of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to strengthen anti-Maoist operations.
Currently, 16 battalions of Central forces are present in the State. However, their number in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand is over 100 battalions which has created an imbalance of sorts.
Director General of Police KB Singh, who had a meeting with Special DG (Central Zone) of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Kuldeep Singh here on Thursday, also raised the matter and requested that two battalions be mobilised by the Centre for augmenting counter-Maoist operations in southern and western parts of the State.
Of the 16 battalions of Central forces deployed in the State, eight are from CRPF while one is a CoBRA unit.
Singh said the State Police has proposed joint operations with CoBRA battalions in areas bordering Chhattisgarh. ‘’We are re-evaluating the locations and planning to change the strategies of anti-Maoist operations as movement of Red rebels has been reported from newer areas, specially in Rayagada, Kalahandi and Koraput,’’ he said.
The rebels killed two tribals in a space of one week in Kalahandi and Rayagada districts and both were targeted because of their perceived proximity to police. The DGP said police are also looking to assess the areas which are potential targets of the Maoists so that security measures could be augmented. The meeting also discussed how civilian lives could be protected in Malkangiri, Rayagada and Kalahandi.
In Niyamgiri hills of Rayagada and Kalahandi, the CPI (Maoist) has killed at least six tribals in the last one year.The DGP also acknowledged that continued pressure from Central forces on the Maoists in neighbouring Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand has forced the rebels to seek haven in newer areas in Odisha. ‘’This is the reason why we have sought more forces so that the mismatch in deployment could be reduced,’’ Singh told this paper.
The meeting was attended by ADG (Intelligence) Sunil Roy, IG (Operations) RP Koche, IG CRPF KK Sharma, DIG, Special Intelligence Wing Narasingh Bhola and DIG, CRPF TN Khuntia.