Chhattisgarh: Worry for CRPF, Maoists get drones

According to sources in the CRPF, drones appeared to be flying over CRPF camps in Kistaram and Palodi areas of south Bastar in Chhattisgarh during the night about a month ago. (File Photo)

In a worrying sign for security forces deployed in areas affected by Left-wing extremism (LWE), Maoists appear to have acquired aerial surveillance technology to keep track of the movement of forces. Until now, this technology was used by forces to keep track of Maoists’ movements in the jungles of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha.

According to sources in the CRPF, drones appeared to be flying over CRPF camps in Kistaram and Palodi areas of south Bastar in Chhattisgarh during the night about a month ago. The two camps are deep in the jungles of the Bastar region and saw Maoists target a CRPF vehicle with an IED blast leading to the death of nine security personnel last year.

“At least on three occasions, personnel have reported an unidentified object flying over the camps in the past one month. Because of its whirring sound and lights, it is suspected to be a Netra drone commonly used in weddings,” a CRPF officer said.

The CRPF brass has issued orders to shoot down such drones. “Deep in Chhattisgarh’s jungles, it can’t be anyone but Maoists flying these drones. They are perhaps trying to keep track of our movements at night,” another official said.

Maoists are known to rely on their informers among tribals to keep track of the movements of forces. They watch the movement of security forces in an area for days before mounting an attack. It is for this reason that forces are advised to largely make cross-country movement so as to avoid being blown up by IEDs. Their standard operating procedure also involves not being predictable in their movements. Forces rarely return through the same path. They are also not supposed to go to a spot at the same time everyday no matter what the nature of work may be.

Most ambush attacks carried out on security forces in the past have had an element of predictability about their movement.