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BackYou are here: NewsIndia 500 army men to train in Chhattisgarh's red zone in a bid to injure Maoists' morale


500 army men to train in Chhattisgarh's red zone in a bid to injure Maoists' morale

Thursday, June 2, 2011, IANS

Raipur: Over 500 army personnel have arrived in the heart of a Maoist insurgency-hit area in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region for training, a move security experts say will psychologically hit the rebels.

The contingent of the army's central command in Lucknow descended for the first time on the Maoist nerve centre of Abujhmad, around 300km from Raipur. Most of the area falls in Narayanpur district of Bastar.

The Chhattisgarh government has agreed to hand over a huge forested terrain of up to 750 sq km to the army for training in jungle warfare. The army men arrived Tuesday and Wednesday.


The army has made it clear that it has stepped into Maoist territory only for "jungle warfare training not for anti-Maoist operation".

However, police officers and counter-terrorism experts say it will make a major psychological impact on Maoists.
"Maoists will feel the heat of the army's entry in their terrain because the insurgents will have a feeling all the time that tigers (armymen) have been positioned just outside their den," said retired brigadier B.K. Ponwar.

Ponwar is now director of the Bastar-region based Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College instituted by the Chhattisgarh government in 2005 to impart training to policemen to "fight a guerrilla like a guerrilla".

"The army's entry into the red zone will give a huge psychological advantage over Maoists who were freely roaming in the sprawling area though the army's role will be restricted in Bastar," Ponwar told IANS.

"The presence of the army is going to be highly significant."

The soldiers will undergo jungle warfare training in the Abujhmad forest area in Bastar region, considered a nerve centre of Maoist militants since the late 1980s.

"The jawans' training will be held right under the nose of Maoists. The men will not carry out any anti-Maoist operation but will fire at Maoists in self-defence if attacked," a military source claimed.

The army's training base will be very close to the area where top leaders of the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) are believed to have been holed up for years.

Brigadier Amrik Singh, the Chhattisgarh and Orissa sub-area commander, declared in Raipur Tuesday that soldiers had come to Bastar for receiving training in a difficult forested terrain.

This is the same area from where rebels have carried out a series of attacks on police, paramilitary forces and civilians since 2005, including the massacre of 76 policemen in a single attack in April last year.

"They (Maoists) have been on a killing spree since 2005 in Bastar, they have significantly increased their command areas in the past five to six years by recruiting minors in thousands plus paid fighters who have access to rocket launchers and mortars. But the army's entry into their zone will create a lot of tension for them," said a senior police.