New Delhi: Maoists' writ runs in large swathes of mineral-rich south Chhattisgarh, posing the "biggest challenge" for security forces deployed for anti-Naxal operations, the chief of CRPF, the largest paramilitary force tasked with the exercise, has said.
The area has become one of the deadliest as it sits on a four-way junction where Chhattisgarh shares its borders with three other Naxal-affected states of Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana.
"South Chhattisgarh continues to pose the biggest challenge for security forces where almost 11,000 sq kms has no presence of security forces which gives Maoists the liberty to unleash their free reign. However, it is only a matter of time before the void is filled," CRPF Director General Prakash Mishra told PTI in an interview.
The south Chhattisgarh region, also known as the Bastar belt, comprises the worst-hit Naxal districts of Bastar, Sukma, Bijapur and Dantewada, where the security forces have faced maximum reverses and suffered heavy loss of lives in the last five years. Two other districts-Kondagaon and Narayanpur- in the region too have reported Naxal violence off and on.
The area flagged most by the CRPF DG is the forest of 'Abujhmaad' where there is virtually no presence of security forces and other branches of administration owing to lack of basic amenities, difficult topography and thick vegetation.
The Maoists are known to take shelter in this region before and after conducting a raid or an ambush.
Talking about the Left Wing Extremism (LWE), Mishra said after the overall security situation in various affected states eased, the focus of CRPF and other security agencies has shifted to this area of the central Indian state.
"It is well known and admitted by various quarters that the situation has definitely improved in all LWE states in general. In a recent press release, ahead of the 11th foundation day of the CPI (Maoists), the party has admitted to the weaknesses that have crept into the movement and the need to rework on the basics as well as the strategies.
"By their own admission, during the past one year, the number of Maoists eliminated has exceeded the losses incurred by the security forces for the first time after 2007," the CRPF chief said.