Intensive operation against Maoists in Chhattisgarh

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Jagdalpur, May 11 (UNI) Security forces have started five-day intensive combing operation to flush out the Maoists rebels in the tribal Bastar region of Chhattisgarh.

Police sources said the state police, para military forces including Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and India Reserve Battalion (IRB), launched the campaign yesterday.

While top police officials refused to neither confirm nor deny that such an operation was being carried out in Naxal infested South Bastar region, spread over in Dantewada, Bijapur and Narayanpur districts, sources said simultaneous raids and combing operations were being carried out to chase and hunt down the Maoist rebels.

The intensive operation began a day before Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil's visit to Bastar region to take stock of the conflict situation that has so far forced more than 50,000 people to stay in relief camps set up by the state government. During his last visit to the state, Mr Patil had hinted at establishing a joint command to effectively tackle the Naxalites.

Meanwhile, the district administration sources said Mr. Patil, accompanied by State Governor E S L Narasimhan, Chief Minister Raman Singh, senior police and administrative officials have reached Aranpur in Dantewada district. Later, they will visit Pamed, one of the worst Naxalite infested region, bordering Andhra Pradesh.

Mr Patil's visit to the region also assumes significance in view of the recent Supreme Court observation about 'Salwa Judum'-- the ongoing anti-naxalite movement in Bastar-- and divergent views among political parties over the campaign. The Congress party is also divided over the manner in which 'Salwa Judum' movement is being carried out with a group opposing it and another actively participating in it.


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