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Maoists’ new tactics to counter Operation Green Hunt

Times of India, October 10, 2010

Naxals’ new ploy: first blast, then bullets

NAGPUR: The lull in the Naxal-affected Gadchiroli district, ever since 17 cops were killed in Laheri in October 2009, was left shattered by the recent incidents of blasts in which seven security personnel were killed, nine others were left injured and four civilians, including three students of Sawargaon ashramshala, died in a blast on Friday morning.

Though guns rattled in a few exchanges in the jungle and the elimination of police informers by the rebels kept the security personnel busy so far, this year witnessed the first major jolt being delivered by the Naxals at Perimili on Monday, when they killed four cops in a blast. They followed up by injuring eight C60 commandos on the following day at Mirkal around 13 km away from Perimili.

The recent incidents are leaving clear indications that the rebels seem to be more inclined to first trigger the blast and then fire upon the panicked cops. This ploy was adopted by the rebels after sensing that security forces can now be difficult to tame in gun battles, especially after the reinforcement provided by the central government in the form of paramilitary forces.

Shifting from the preference of intense gunfight, as manifested by the rebels in 2009, the Naxals seem to have made a deviation in their strategy in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh to counter central government’s so-called Operation Green Hunt launched to flush out the rebels from the hinterlands.

Even the security agencies were aware of the paradigm shift in the rebel strategy. Intelligence agencies, it is learnt, had also alerted the cops about the new strategy.

The Naxals wanted to curtail the movements of the security deployment in the affected regions. They started planting mines under roads and waiting in ambush. Generally a large posse of cops wanted to attack the Naxals after the debacles of 2009. The rebels switched to landmines to cripple the movements of the cops in the jungles.

“They aim to take the security forces by surprise with altered techniques of attacks. Their guerrilla warfare is so unpredictable that the paramilitary forces falling easy preys to the Naxals,” said source from intelligence agency.

The year 2009 had witnessed unprecedented violence as Naxals, killing more than 51 cops. They had merged their several dalams to form a consolidated military dalam, often bringing reinforcement of fighter guerrillas from Chhattisgarh and Abujhmarh to ensure that cops were outnumbered by many in such encounters.

Changing tactics after the launch of Operation Green Hunt, rebels have started planting landmines this year. “The aim is to trigger more casualties with lesser manpower. Once the blast takes the cops by surprise and leaves them injured, rebels fire on the victims to increase the toll and also to curtail the chances of launching the counter,” said an experienced official.