Maoists oppose establishment of an Army training centre in Chhattisgarh

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Raipur, Feb 1 (ANI): The Communist Party of India (Maoist) has opposed the establishment of an Army training centre in Chhattisgarh's Narayanpur District.

The Maoists are worried that the establishment of the training centre would weaken their hold in the area.

The Army established a sub-area command in Chhattisgarh, and unveiled plans to set up a jungle warfare training college, a school for special forces and para-commandos, and a training area in Narayanpur (between 600 sq km and 900 sq km) in 2010.

Narayanpur, which is one of Chhattisgarh's most troubled and sensitive districts, borders the 4.000 sq km Abujmard area, a dense un-surveyed forest claimed by the guerrilla forces of the CPI (Maoist).

The Army has categorically stated that all its facilities in the state are for training purposes only.

Earlier on January 22, Maoist spokesperson Guda Usendi said that the Union Government was preparing to use the Army to wage war on its own people.

The Maoists allege that the deployment of the Army would result in the imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Chhattisgarh and lead to a "civil war" in central India.

Army Chief General V.K. Singh, however, on January 14 said the Army was "neither operating in the area, nor seeking protection under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

The Maoists questioned the right of the government to hand over tribal land to the Army and called upon people's organisations and civil society to oppose the force's presence in Chhattisgarh, but stopped short of stating if the Maoists would attack Army installations.

In December last year, the Army revealed that it had written to the Home Ministry to seek clarifications on the rules of engagement and the right of retaliation in the event that their forces are attacked by the Maoists.

The proximity of the training facility and rebel bases has lead to fears that a Maoist attack on soldiers could draw the Army into the protracted insurgency. (ANI)

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