Government itching to go after Maoists, says top cop

New Delhi, Nov 24 ( The central government is determined to launch a massive operation against Maoist guerrillas but is waiting for the Jharkhand elections to get over Dec 18, a top police officer said Tuesday.

“There is definitely pressure on starting the operations at the earliest. But there is no pressure on our functioning,” Vijay Raman, Special Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), said here.

“The schedule has been worked out and we are working on the logistics and infrastructure. We are deploying more people to strengthen the infrastructure,” Raman told reporters.

A celebrated police officer, Raman has been appointed by the home ministry as coordinator of the anti-Maoist operations.

“I am myself itching to go. But the infrastructure has to be in place first,” he said, adding they would soon take on the Maoist guerrillas who have been described by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the country’s biggest internal security threat.

CRPF Director General A.S. Gill said an offensive was already under way for some time.

“We have to wait for the Jharkhand polls as it is very important. Then we will start our operations,” he said.

Jharkhand will elect a new assembly in staggered elections starting Wednesday and ending Dec 18. The results will be declared Dec 23.

Gill said the crackdown on Maoists, who now operate in several states with Jharkhand being a stronghold, would be coordinated with the state police and other central paramilitary forces.

Asked about the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for surveillance of Maoist zones, he said: “Whatever equipment available in the country would be fully utilised.”

He said the CRPF was raising 10 commando battalions, of which six would come up this year and the rest next year.

The CRPF would also raise its own intelligence wing, which will start functioning from January next year.

The force has also designed exclusive training theaters to train its men in specific operations in insurgency-hit northeast and areas where Maoists operate.

“Theater specific training has been introduced for the first time so as to enhance specific capabilities in fighting the problems of militancy and insurgency,” he said.

“We are also upgrading our equipment and will soon have the best equipment available in the world.”