By Harinder Baweja
April 22, 2012
Helicopters were kept on standby for casualty evacuation; targets were chosen with care after studying satellite images and the troops were warned — the encounters would be fierce and the naxals could be in the hundreds, even thousands. After weeks of planning, security forces armed with automatic rifles, satellite phones and Swedish Carl Gustav rocket launchers made their very first foray into the dense Abujhmad jungle, straddling the two states of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. Abujhmad, or ‘unknown hill’ — 6,000 sq km of thick forest — has not been surveyed since the British.
As part of the operation, security forces had zoomed in on a map of the area with the help of Google Earth, on to a couple of structures they identified as a ‘naxal camp’. A plan was prepared to go in and take out the naxalites. The mission had a second aim — the stronghold had to be psychologically breached, since it is as much home to the naxals as it is a zone ‘liberated’ of all government control. Read the rest of this entry »