The Central Reserve Police Force on Saturday announced that it was suspending all road-opening duties for about two weeks in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region. This comes nearly a week after 25 CRPF troops were killed in a Maoist attack while guarding workers constructing a road in the Naxalite-heavy region’s Sukma district.
“For the next 10 days to a fortnight, we have stopped road-opening security parties all over Bastar. This has been done to ensure that for the next few days, they can concentrate on launching anti-Naxalilte operations,” Special Director General of Anti-Maoist Operations DM Awasthi told The Indian Express. “The focus for the time being is on ensuring that their confidence returns, and the way to do that is to launch operations.”
More than 5,000 to 7,000 CRPF soldiers are believed to be deployed for Road-Opening Party duties in Bastar daily. Some 30,000 of them are engaged in guarding workers constructing roads in seven districts of the Maoist-heavy region, according to ANI.
The April 24 Maoist attack in Burkapal village was carried out on a group of 90 CRPF troops. One of the injured soldiers had said that the Naxalites had first sent villagers to trace their location, after which the insurgents opened fire on the paramilitary force personnel.
Naxalites had carried out a similar strike on a CRPF party on March 11 this year – the dozen CRPF soldiers killed in Sukma had also been taking part in a road-opening exercise. The Chhattisgarh Police had said the attack had been planned and executed with “deadly accuracy”.