Central Chief Minister Baghel Vows Intense Fight Against Naxalism

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Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel declared on Thursday that the sacrifices made will not be in vain, as he pledged to escalate the fight against Naxalism.
Baghel made these remarks while attending the final salute ceremony for the DRG personnel and driver who were killed in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast carried out by Naxals on Wednesday. The 11 individuals were returning to the Dantewada district headquarters after an anti-Naxal operation when they were killed in the explosion on Aranpur road, around 50 km from the headquarters. The blast, using 40 to 50 kg of explosives, left a 20-foot-wide crater on the road, shattering the vehicle.
The final salute ceremony took place at the Karli police lines, where Baghel, along with other officials, carried the coffin of one of the jawans on his shoulders and placed it in an ambulance to be taken to his residence. The family members, including the wives and over a dozen children of the deceased jawans, were also present during the ceremony.
Baghel arrived in a helicopter with Home Minister Tamradhwaj Sahu. Senior police officials DGP Ashok Juneja, Additional DG for anti-Naxal operations Vivekanand, and Inspector General for Range Sundarraj P were present, along with other senior officials.
After the ceremony, Baghel told reporters, “Our men died fighting. Their sacrifice will not go in vain, and we will now intensify our fight against them (Naxals).”
Baghel stated that the police are entering deep inside the jungles of South Bastar, leaving the Maoists with no place to hide. He emphasized that the national park area is under the government’s control, and the Naxals have no safe places left in Dantewada, Sukma, and Bijapur.
The chief minister mentioned that the government is constructing small roads, police camps, Public Distribution System (PDS), schools, and Anganwadis, which has increased people’s trust in the government and pushed Naxals to a corner.
When asked about more police camps, Baghel said, “In these four years, we have established 75 police camps in core areas. We have demanded more resources from the Central Government, and if we get them, we will put up more camps.”
In response to a question about the government’s approach to ending Naxalism, Baghel highlighted the difference between then and now, stating that the current approach involves engaging with the Naxals, resulting in losses on their side as well.
When asked if Wednesday’s incident was a show of power by the Naxals ahead of elections, Baghel said, “This attack is not done from an election point of view. This is their Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) period.”
Following the incident, questions regarding the standard operating procedure (SOP), like conducting road clearance operations, are being raised. When asked whether the Road Opening Party followed the procedure before the troops moved out of the area, Baghel said, “It was a concrete or bitumen road. The ideal way for them was to come walking, but when the road is good, they took the risk and came in vehicles, and this incident took place. But last time they came on a motorbike, and a blast took place, and three jawans died.”
In response to a question about holding peace talks with Naxals, Baghel said, “First let them say they believe in the Indian Constitution and let them give up their weapons.”

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