175 personnel killed in 10 years: Why Bastar still remains a Maoist bastion

Since the 2010 Chintalnar massacre, the Dantewada-Sukma-Bijapur axis has claimed the lives of more than 175 security force personnel, besides several civilians. While the Chintalnar encounter saw 76 CRPF men killed, the latest encounter in Bijapur Saturday led to the death of 22 security personnel.

A look at the data on Maoist violence in Chhattisgarh shows that most attacks and casualties have happened between March and July. Sources say this is because the CPI (Maoist) usually launches its tactical counter-offensive campaign between February and the end of June. This campaign involves aggressive military operations against security forces before the monsoons—that make movement difficult—hit the region.

The key concern is that security forces are still struggling in this region, known as Bastar, despite the campaign against the Left-wing extremists starting around 15 years ago.

A host of factors—remoteness, jungle terrain, absence of administration and lack of political will—have been blamed for the slow progress there.

Sources in the security establishment say the eradication of the movement in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Odisha has led to a concentration of cadre and leaders in the Bastar region—which provides easy movement for the rebels across borders because of its proximity to other states.

Most, however, point to absence of roads, communication and proper administration as the main reason for Maoists continuing to hold the area. Some…

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