RANCHI: Security personnel have stepped up anti-Maoist operations in Burha-Pahar that links Jharkhand with Chhattisgarh following reports of a top rebel leader along with a group of fighters camping there for sometime.
Intelligence agencies said Dev Kumar Singh alias Arvind ji, who carries a bounty of Rs 1 crore on his head, had been spotted moving around in the forests of Burha-Pahar in Latehar district. Lying in the western parts of the state, Burha-Pahar runs from Jharkhand to north Chhattisgarh. For a long time, the Maoists have been using it as a safe passage to Chhattisgarh.
The agency said Sudhakaran, a rebel leader who was responsible for mobilising Maoist cadres in Andhra Pradesh, had shifted to Burha-Pahar to assist Arvind.
Indicating a possible full-fledged operation against the Communist rebels, sources in CoBRA said villagers have been shifted to safer places so that they don’t suffer any collateral damage in case of an encounter. They said such an operation, code named ‘annual fair’, takes place every year in areas where Maoists are active.
The sources said, “Such operations have been on since 2010. This time, security forces may use mortars. Keeping this in mind, villagers are being shifted to safe places.” They added two IAF choppers might also be used in future operations.
When asked about the possibility of an all-out campaign against the Maoists, additional DG (operations) RK Mallick declined to speak on the issue.
Mallick, however, said security forces would not violate the law in the event of any action against the Communist extremists. He added, “We are carrying out operations in many places. It will be wrong to say that we are focusing on one particular target.”
Security sources said personnel from CRPF, CoBRA, special task force (STF) and Jharkhand Police would co-ordinate with Chhattisgarh Police so that the Maoists do not sneak into the neighbouring state.