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Fresh police action from tomorrow

New Delhi, Jan. 14: Paramilitary forces and Jharkhand police will launch fresh operations from Wednesday in the Koel Sankh zone where 11 CRPF jawans were killed by Maoists who even stitched an IED into one of their bodies.

With the induction of 1,000 new troops in the area, the hilly forest zone spread across Palamau, Garhwa, Latehar adjoining Bihar and Chhattisgarh, the government has decided to “go after” the CPI(Maoists) in one of their last remaining bastions in Jharkhand.

“Most of the troops who were fighting in the past few weeks will be rested,” said a source. However, the fresh offensive is likely to be a blitzkrieg to neutralise a strong group of CPI(Maoist) cadres in the Latehar-Garhwa sector.

The brutal aftermath of the three-day shootout in Amuatikar forests of Latehar may have shaken up the establishment for a while, but analysis within North Block indicates these were desperate measures by a group that finds itself cornered.

Elsewhere, somewhere along the Odisha-Andhra-Chhattisgarh border, the Grey Hounds are likely to conduct operations with helicopter support from the Centre, putting pressure on Maoists on all fronts.

The current political situation in Jharkhand may have a bearing on the way the security establishment deals with Maoists. The Jharkhand governor has already written to the Centre recommending President’s Rule while keeping the Assembly in suspended animation.

If President’s Rule is imposed in the coming weeks, sources said, the operations could become even more incisive and focused with a central command.

Last week, the Centre sent an advisory to the DGPs of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, UP and Bengal on a tactical counter offensive campaign of the Maoists under the guidance of its central military commission.

“Like in previous years, the CPI(Maoist) may resort to a tactical counter offensive during the ensuing months,” the advisory, issued on January 10, said and asked the states to take adequate measures.

Every summer, CPI(Maoist) carries out intensive training of cadres, and to divert security forces, sends small teams to attack the paramilitary and police.

“A purely defensive approach may not be efficacious during counter offensives,” states have been told.