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Jharkhand: Troops Descend for Operation Green Hunt

Ranchi: A day after chief minister Shibu Soren cleared the air over his government's stand vis-à-vis Maoist rebels, a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) battalion comprising more than 1,200 personnel reached the state capital today for the proposed Operation Green Hunt.  The battalion arrived from Tripura and Assam where it was earlier deployed to fight separatist forces.

Speaking to The Telegraph, CRPF deputy inspector general Alok Raj said the entire battalion would be posted in Jharkhand till further orders.


"The arrangements have been made according to the directives of the Union home ministry. Now Salgadih in Tamar would be headquarters of the CRPF's 11th battalion," the DIG said.

The troops along with their arms, ammunition and other equipment reached Ranchi railway station by a special train in the morning. The station resembled a war zone as the men in uniform disembarked, prepared with all the logistics including sophisticated weapons and surprisingly, a number of bicycles. The cycles would probably be used to negotiate muddy village tracks often embedded with landmines during operations.

Raj, however, refused to specify whether the anti-Naxalite offensive would start from Bundu-Tamar region that is virtually a liberated zone now. It was in Tamar that the state police destroyed a bunker yesterday that was being used by Maoist rebels to store cartridge-making equipment.

A government-owned Industrial Training Institute (ITI) building in Tamar would be used to house the 11th battalion. The same ITI was supposed to be run and maintained by the Tata Group since last year, but the plan was delayed. The state government and Tata Steel had even signed an MoU in this regard.

The state now houses 11 battalions of central paramilitary forces, comprising about 7,000 personnel.

The battalion to arrive today is headed by commandant Gyanendra Kumar.

Raj said a crucial review meeting on anti-Naxalite operations to be held in Calcutta on February 9 would be a deciding step. The meeting is supposed to be attended by West Bengal, Orissa and Bihar as well. Raj added that two more Indian Air Force helicopters were also expected to arrive in the state capital soon.

Meanwhile, director-general of police Neyaz Ahmed and IG (provisions) S. N. Pradhan today returned from Delhi after taking part in yesterday's crucial meeting chaired by the Union home minister.

"We will see what we have to do next. It would not be wise to divulge anything at this juncture," Ahmed said.

The Telegraph, January 29, 2010