Gaya: CRPF's elite Cobra battalion personnel brush with death, risking their lives and conducting combing operations in Naxal territory to fight Naxalism every day. CNN-IBN travelled with the CRPF's elite Cobra battalion to get a first hand account of what it is like for them to go into Naxal territory risking their lives and conducting combing operations.
Engaged in an anti-Naxal operation in the Chakarbanda forest in Gaya district of Bihar, the strategy of the CRPF personnel was to target Naxals in their hideouts, which are usually the homes of poor villagers, who have been driven out. "Naxals asked us to join the group, so we left farming and are now continuously moving from one place to other," said Pramod Kumal, a local, whose house was raided.
A CRPF camp, which is 100 km away from the Gaya town is the testimony of the government's aggressive anti-Naxal policy. The CRPF tries to tilt the balance of power in the forests, which were once the safest haven for Naxals. Naxals were the rulers of these forests where the police never dared to enter as it was like a liberated zone.
Naxals' impeccable intelligence network on the ground has made them carry out deadly attacks like the Chhattisgarh attack and Pakur attack. Their fire power is no match to that of the government. "CRPF is a force which has no territory of its own. So we have no understanding of the territory. That is very important," said Vivek Sahay, IG, CRPF.
For the CRPF, staying in the forests is the biggest challenge as the terrain is hostile and roads are dotted with land mines. The CRPF, which is fighting one of the toughest battle against Naxalism, is one of the elitist forces of India. The battleground is scary as the enemy is not identifiable by the uniform. With the little motivation at CRPF's side, the war of nerves continues, in a fierce battleground whereas the Naxals have many reasons to stay motivated, power and money is certainly one of them.