Raipur : The Chhattisgarh government has decided to resume Operation Green Hunt against Maoists, suspended after the rebels abducted Collector Alex Paul Menon in April, Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar has said.
"Police will soon launch an area domination drive to be called Operation Haanka while Operation Green Hunt will start afresh," Kanwar told IANS.
Under Operation Haanka, a major operation will be launched in Narayanpur, which is in Bastar region and is worst hit by Maoist violence.
During this drive, people will also be made aware of Maoist doublespeak, he said. Chief Minister Raman Singh agreed that the Maoists needed to be taught a lesson. "Action will be taken against Maoists instead of holding talks with them. Despite our peace overtures, there is no let up in Maoist violence," the chief minister told IANS.
He denied his government had reached any agreement with the Communist Party of India-Maoist to secure the release of Collector Menon. He pointed out that the talks with the Maoists were held by interlocutors of both sides. "The government was not engaged in the talks directly."
Earlier this month, Raman Singh had said in New Delhi in response to a question on Operation Green Hunt: "There was no such operation and it does not exist in state government s dictionary." Since the government halted its offensive after the kidnapping of Menon, the Maoists have been in an aggressive mode.
According to official sources, they have since killed nearly 15 people, including civilians, and injured scores. They have also been accused of destroying property worth crores of rupees by setting vehicles engaged in road construction and transporting tendu leaves in their bastion.
The two incidents that compelled the government to take the hard line included a daring attack on an NMDC plant at Kirandul in which six Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel were killed. In another incident, Maoists attacked the house of Chhattisgarh Sports and Women and Child Development Minister Lata Usendi at Kondagaon. Although the minister escaped, her security guard was killed.
In both instances, the Maoists took away the weapons of the slain men. As if the violence was not enough, Gudsa Usendi, a spokesman for the Dandakaranya Special Area Committee, has announced a weeklong protest from June 1 and a 24-hour Dandakaranya bandh June 7.