Naxals Fire Improvised Grenade Launchers at CRPF Camps in Chhattisgarh: Officials

Some of the newly created CRPF camps in remote areas of south Bastar in Chhattisgarh are being attacked by naxals using crude grenade launchers, officials said on Wednesday. The improvised devices are called ‘barrel grenade launchers’ and as many as 100-150 of these explosives-filled devices have been fired at the camps of paramilitary over the last about six months.

“There have been few incidents of using these crude and improvised explosive devices to target the new security camps created in the Left Wing Extremism affected districts of Chhattisgarh. “Off late, the intensity of these attacks has increased,” a senior officer said. Such attacks have been reported in the past too by other central security forces like the BSF and the ITBP which are deployed in the Kanker and Rajnandgaon districts of the state, respectively.

The officer said the attacks have not caused much damage to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camps apart from a jawan suffering minor splinter injuries after one such rocket launcher exploded at a camp in Sukma district of the state sometime back. Some social activists based in Chhattisgarh have also reported to the local police after these launchers, with iron casing and fins on the tail side, being found at an anganwadi centre in one of the districts of south Bastar, the officer said.

The locally-made grenade launchers are being filled with explosives, but due to their poor manufacturing, they fail to explode many times, he added. Security officials say the attacks are being undertaken by maoists to deter the security forces from creating new camps deep into the naxal hotbed.

The CRPF, deployed extensively for conducting anti-naxal operations in Chhattisgarh, has been creating forward operating bases (FoBs) over the last few years as part of its push to further penetrate into deep and remote jungle areas frequented by armed maoist cadres. It has recently inducted about five battalions for this specific purpose in Chhattisgarh. There are already about 25 such CRPF units in the state.

A CRPF battalion has an operational strength of about 800-850 personnel. It has established about 11 FoBs in Chhattisgarh over the last two years time and plans to create about five more such bases in the state, a CRPF officer said.

“Instances of one-to-one battle between the forces and maoists have come down drastically. Probably, that is the reason naxals are now using these crude grenade launchers to attack their camps,” the paramilitary officer said. Security and intelligence agencies are working to find out the source of these devices and the explosive being used to trigger them for explosions, he said.

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