CRPG DG K Vijay Kumar
Ranchi, May 11: CRPF director-general K. Vijay Kumar today left for Latehar to review an anti-Naxalite operation code-named Octopus-II that met with no major success, as troopers began retreating to base camps this evening after spending over 45 days in forests along Jharkhand’s border with Chhattisgarh.
The mission, which deployed around 2,000 state police and CRPF jawans, is likely to remain suspended for a fortnight, sources said.
The forces were carrying out the operation in parts of Latehar and Garhwa in Jharkhand and the districts of Ambikapur and Balrampur in Chhattisgarh. The Burha Pahad area, which falls in the districts, is considered a safe haven for Maoists.
Latehar SP G. Kranti Kumar told The Telegraph that three days ago a team of CRPF and state police stumbled upon two claymore mines in a forest area in the district.
They began returning from Burha Pahad to the foothill camps today.
CRPF sources, however, termed the operation a success.
“The CRPF and state police visited forested areas that were earlier considered inaccessible. Many Naxalites have been killed in intermittent gun fight during the operation. The rebels had also targeted a BSF-owned Dhruv in Latehar on April 5, but the forces retaliated and escaped unhurt,” a source added.
The CRPF DG is touring Latehar for the second time within a month’s time.
“He will be visiting the CRPF base camps in the rebel-hit areas of Latehar and Garhwa. The DG will spend tonight with jawans in a camp to boost the morale of the forces who are fighting a long-drawn-out battle in a difficult territory,” said a top CRPF official requesting anonymity.
CRPF IG (headquarters) Ashutosh Shukla and IG (operations) in Jharkhand D.K. Pandey are accompanying Kumar.
The Telegraph had reported earlier that besides Abujh-Maad in Chhattisgarh, the Burha Pahad area along the Jharkhand-Chhattisgarh border is one of the few remaining territories that are still controlled by the rebels.
The DG, who arrived in Ranchi en route to Latehar, is expected to return to the state capital tomorrow. He is scheduled to hold a meeting with the state police top brass on the ongoing operations in the Latehar-Garhwa region and how to add to the strength of the forces.