NEW DELHI : Security forces are bracing for increased attacks by Naxalites across the Red Corridor in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, following intelligence inputs that 250 cadres have joined the central military commission, the main fighting unit of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), headed by Nambala Kesava Rao, alias Basavaraj.

The security forces are preparing for increased attacks between November 2019 and April 2020, according to the Union home ministry. “During this period, Naxalites launch their tactical counter offensive campaign, wherein they conduct the maximum strikes. The months prior to that, they usually recruit more people who are trained in the months between June and September," said a senior official of the home ministry requesting anonymity.

The aim of the Naxalites to expand and train armed cadres across Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand has added to the concerns this year, according to intelligence officials.

“Basavaraj is known to be aggressive and has, therefore, expanded the armed cadres because there were some specific attacks this year, such as those on Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Bhima Mandavi and the attack in Gadchiroli, which were all masterminded by him. Their training usually takes place in Abhujmaad in Chhattisgarh because that is their nerve centre," said a security agency official based in Chhattisgarh, requesting anonymity.

In May, 40 Naxalites in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli area had killed 15 soldiers and a driver using an improvised explosive device. The Naxalites also torched machinery and vehicles.

The attack followed the assassination of Mandavi in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada, just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in April.

The group’s stronghold remains concentrated in the Red Corridor, including districts in Chhattisgarh’s south Bastar, but the Union home ministry said troops across all Naxalites zones have been put on alert.

“The government has taken steps to enhance sharing of intelligence and improving coordination between the agencies concerned. The ministry of home affairs (MHA) is also supporting the state governments extensively by way of deployment of paramilitary forces, provision of helicopters and sanction of India Reserve battalions and special India Reserve battalions," another MHA official added, also on the condition of anonymity.

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