C’garh Naxals less dramatic, more lethal now
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Even as focus shifted to Orissa with the Maoist military wing People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) carrying out two major attacks in Malkangiri recently, the Naxalites in Chhattisgarh are terrorising the state in less dramatic but lethal attacks. They have mostly stepped up attacks against Salwa Judum leaders — a controversial anti-Naxalite campaign launched by the locals in June 2005 as well as elected representatives of panchayat bodies in Bastar district.
Though no major attack has taken place during the last three months, at least 18 people associated with Salwa Judum were killed during this period in separate incidents in Maoist-infested Dantewada and Bijapur districts in tribal Bastar. The rebels have also killed a dozen security personnel and looted their weapons while attacking them at weekly markets in these remote areas. Maoist posters have also surfaced in a few villages of Bijapur threatening to eliminate activists of Salwa Judum.
These security personnel have been in increasing peril since they were deployed in local haats. They have become soft targets for rebels who, in the guise of civilians, attack them.
"The new strategy of the rebels is to split into smaller groups and target panchayat members, mainly those directly associated with Salwa Judum. And it's a Herculean task for the police to provide separate security cover to all of them," a senior official involved in anti-Naxalite operations said.
Police sources said the Communist Party of India (Maoist) had very recently formed new Divisional Committees in Bastar and Darba as well as a number of other Area Committees in order to spread their activities in the region.
"Salwa Judum leaders and other civilians have been targets of Maoists ever since the movement began in Bastar. But these killings are not getting highlighted, as no major incidents are taking place because of the pressure mounted by the security forces," said state Director General of Police Vishwaranjan.
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