IAF chief visits Bastar

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New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) IAF Chief B.S. Dhanoa on Monday visited the Maoist-affected Bastar area in Chhattisgarh and met security force personnel deployed there, an official statement said.

Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa visited the Anti-Naxalite (Maoist) Task Force in Raipur and Jagdalpur, and was briefed by local commanders of various paramilitary forces deployed in the Bastar area, it said.The IAF forms part of the Task Force in Jagdalpur, being involved in surveillance, troop and load transfer, as well as emergency evacuations and airlifting. The task force also provides training on slithering operations.

Reviewing the operational preparedness of forces deployed in the sector, he also interacted with personnel from various state agencies and air warriors to boost their morale, the statement said.

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Maoists operate in 60 districts in India, mainly in the states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal.

Chhattisgarh has been in the epicentre of the conflict, with Bastar being one of the worst-affected areas.

Data from the 2011 Census indicates a declining population trend in the Maoist-affected areas in Bastar.

In one of the biggest Maoist attacks in the past two years, 12 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed and four injured in an ambush by Maoists in Sukma district, a part of Bastar division, on March 11 when two companies of the force were providing security cover for road construction.



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