Maoists raising new armed group: official

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Home Ministry official says the group aims to divert attention from Bastar

A senior Home Ministry official said on Monday that there were reports that Maoists were attempting to raise a new armed group along the Madhya Pradesh-Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh trijunction as they continue to face the heat at their stronghold in Bastar.The official said the new unit, ‘Vistara platoon,’ was trying to gain a foothold at the tri-junction, which has lesser deployment of security forces than the seven districts in the Bastar division of Chhattisgarh, said to be one of the last Maoist bastions.

“There are multiple reports about Maoists trying to expand at the tri-junction. In the past, there has not been much Maoist activity in this area. This is possibly a strategy, so that security forces lower their guard in Bastar and concentrate on this area instead,” the official added.

New camps opened

An official of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) said the forces had opened new camps in the once-inaccessible Bastar region to “squeeze out” the militants.

“Our focus is on the South Bastar-Sukma region and Dantewad and Bastar districts. In the past few months, we have opened three new camps, which would help us in planning operations better and return the same night. With an ability to strike much faster and with an element of surprise,” the official said.There are more than 1.6 lakh CRPF personnel deployed in Chhattisgarh, of which 1.3 lakh concentrate on a 40,000 sq. km. area in Bastar, known for rich mineral deposits of iron ore, granite, tin and corundum.

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