Raipur, April 8: Maoists have given a call for 'Dandakaranya Bandh' on April 15, opposing the recent air-to-ground firing exercise carried out by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Chhattisgarh's south Bastar region.
"The pamphlets in which the outlawed CPI (Maoist) has opposed the aerial firing practice by IAF commandos have been recovered from the restive places of Bijapur, Sukma and Kanker districts," a senior police official involved in anti-Maoist operations said.
The IAF's Garuda commandos had conducted a special air-to- ground firing exercise in the insurgency-hit Sukma district of the state on April 1. A similar aerial firing practice was done in Bijapur last year. The pamphlets, released in Naxal's Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC) official representative Vikalp's name, have appealed to make the bandh successful.
DKSZC oversees Maoist activities in Bastar and some parts of Maharashtra and Telangana. The pamphlets carry messages that "since last six months aircraft (are) blasting bombs in the area of south Bastar, Sukma, Dantewada and Bijapur districts, it means airforce planes may attack Maoists anywhere at any moment".
"Security forces are conducting fake encounters and arresting innocent personnel in fake cases. They said helicopters are only being used for assistance work and firing on Maoists only in self-defence. But the fact is that as part of the Green Hunt operation, the government has given full authority to the air force to attack Maoists," the pamphlets read.
Maoists have, however, announced relaxation for medical and educational institutions from the bandh. The police official clarified that they had already said IAF will retaliate in self-defence only. "IAF is basically tasked with carrying out rescue operations and provides logistical support to police and the central paramilitary forces in the Naxal-affected regions of the state. They will continue to do so," the official said.
"However, keeping in view that choppers are often attacked and fired on by Maoists during its operation in the insurgency areas, it has been decided to fire only in self defence by IAF," he said.
The official further said that as far as bandh call is concerned, the security forces have been put on alert. "Anti-Maoist operations are already underway in several forest pockets of Bastar. Keeping in mind the bandh call, they have been asked to be extra cautious," he said.