Camps of security forces in Maoist-hit areas giving push to development: Chhattisgarh govt

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Raipur, May 25 (PTI) The Chhattisgarh government on Tuesday claimed that its strategy of establishing camps of security forces in Maoist-hit areas of Bastar has pushed ultras to a very limited zone and facilitated development works in the region.

The state government's assertion came at a time when villagers have been staging protests against a newly established camp of security personnel near Silger village in Sukma district, which is part of the Bastar region. Three persons, who police claimed were linked to Naxals, were killed after being caught in the cross-fire between rebels and security forces near the camp last week.

“The strategy of establishing security camps in Naxal-affected areas in Bastar has pushed Naxals to a very limited area,” a statement issued by the state government said.

Most of the camps were set up in inaccessible and remote areas where development remained secluded. However, after setting up these camps, the recent construction of roads is widely visible, it said.

Taking on the Naxalites in their own style, security forces had decided to establish camps inside dense forests which were earlier unapproachable, the statement said.

'These camps have been set up after pursuing a carefully chalked out strategy where each camp can have access to others in time of distress. The establishment of these advanced camps has restricted movement of the Naxalites in these areas,' the government said.

These camps have facilitated construction of roads, bridges, culverts and other infrastructure in the areas dominated by tribals, thereby giving them access to development schemes, it said.

Frustrated with the establishment of camps, the Naxals often make futile attempts to target these infrastructure facilities, the release said.

Besides, the Naxals attempt to create misunderstanding among villagers and trick them to go against the security forces, it added.

New avenues of communication and dialogue are getting opened, leading to a constructive partnership between the villagers and the administration, the government said.

On May 17, amid protests by villagers in front of the Silger camp, three people were killed in the crossfire between security forces and ultras, police have said.

As per the police, Naxals hiding in a crowd of protesters opened fire first, and their retaliatory action killed three persons, whom officials later identified as members of front organizations of the outlawed CPI (Maoist).

However, villagers had claimed that those killed were local residents with no link to Naxals.

The camp, which houses personnel from the CRPF's 153rd and 168th battalions as well as the state police, was opened on May 12 and villagers had been demanding its removal since May 14. PTI TKP RSY RSY