An all-out offensive against Naxals, with over 60,000 central security personnel in action, will commence from March next year, official sources said on Wednesday.
Security personnel drawn from the Central Reserve Police Force, Railway Protection Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Border Security Force, have already started reaching the respective areas of operation and are currently undergoing area familiarisation process.
The central security personnel, who have also been trained in new jungle warfare techniques, will be joined by the state police personnel, besides commandos of the newly raised ten-battalion strong Commando Battalion for Resolute Action. Sources said though the operation was scheduled to start by now, it got delayed primarily due to the Maharashtra [ Images ] and Jharkhand elections.
Security personnel have re-drawn their strategies keeping in mind that they would be entering areas and forests which security personnel have not ventured into so far. The Naxals too are re-stratagising and are reportedly improving their defence systems. Naxals are laying pressure bombs in the jungles, which are similar to landmines, besides constructing new pits with wooden spikes in order to sabotage the operations of the security personnel.
Even as the paramilitary and state police personnel prepare for the offensive, central security agencies and state intelligence agencies have been asked to keep a tab on the top-rung leaders of the Naxals. Sources said the strategy is to take on the top leadership to cripple the Naxals.
"If the leg is broken, you still can jump around but with the head gone, the body is lifeless. Even though the personnel will fight the foot soldiers of the Naxals, we will have to aim for the top honchos too," the sources said, adding that the recent arrest of Naxal politburo member Kobad Ghandy was a result of this endeavour.
As per an estimate, there are about 7000-10,000 armed Naxals operating in about 40,000 sq km area of the country. The security forces in-charge of maintaining internal security have suffered more casualties at the hands of the Naxals than in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] or the insurgency affected North-East.
Of the 65 CRPF personnel who lost their lives this year, 57 were killed in Maoist-hit states.