General VK Singh visits Maoist heartland



Raipur: Army chief General VK Singh travelled to leftist insurgency-hit Chhattisgarh's Bastar region Saturday where the Army has a training camp in a jungle stretch, official sources said.

General Singh spent a few hours at Kondagaon area, some 220 km of from capital Raipur, and held discussions with jawans regarding the training facilities available to them in the region that has witnessed a string of deadly attacks by Maoists mainly since 2005.

Officials said that in his maiden visit as Army chief to the sprawling 40,000 sq km Bastar region where army has been conducting training since May-June last year, Singh expressed satisfaction over a series of civic training programmes that were being undertaken by the army in the region to establish direct rapport with the local population.

The army has made it clear repeatedly that it has stepped into Maoist (Naxal) territory in Chhattisgarh only for "jungle warfare training, not for anti-Maoist operation".

General Singh also paid a courtesy visit to Chief Minister Raman Singh here during his daylong visit to the state and held a detailed discussion on several issues, including the Leftist insurgency issue.

Sources at the chief minister's office said that Raman Singh briefed the army chief about the history of Maoist insurgency in Bastar region and also gave him details about the steps the state government had taken in recent years to restore peace in the troubled region.

General Singh also called on Governor Shekhar Dutt.

IANS