More Army soldiers reach Bastar for training



Raipur: The Maoists, who have virtually commandeered the jungles in Chhattisgarh's restive Bastar region since the late 1980s will feel the pressure as over 2,500 army soldiers have descended in their stronghold this week for training, police said Friday.

This is the second batch of soldiers after the return of the first batch in August that went through tough jungle warfare training in Bastar for several weeks. Bastar is spread over nearly 40,000 sq km.

Though the army has made it clear that the soldiers are in Bastar for jungle warfare training and not to take on Maoists, police say the insurgents will come under pressure.

"Tension is set to escalate as Maoists will try to step up attacks mainly on state police and civilians in a bid to pressurise the Indian government to call back the army men from Bastar because as long as the army men stay in their areas, the rebels will be under extreme pressure," a senior police officer posted in Bastar said.

He said thousands of policemen deployed in Bastar to take on Maoists have been asked to be extra alert.

A top counter-terrorism expert, Brigadier (retired) B.K. Ponwar, said: "Maoists will be under extreme pressure and feel the heat of the army's presence in their terrain."

Ponwar, who is director of the Bastar-region based Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College (CTJWC), said soldiers training in the Red zone will have a huge psychological advantage over Maoists.

IANS