Operation Green Hunt
|Operation Green Hunt|
|Part of Naxalite-Maoist insurgency|
|Government of India||Communist Party of India (Maoist)|
• Paramilitary personnel: 100,000 + 10,000 + 10,000 |
• Indian Reserve Battalions: Naga Battalions' 2,000 personnel
• State Armed Police Forces' personnel: 200,000
• Special Operation Group
• Indian Air Force: MI-17 and MI-17V5 helicopters (and drones)
• People's Liberation Guerrilla Army: 8,000 – 9,000 (September 2013) |
• People's Militia (armed with bows, arrows, and machetes): 38,000
|Casualties and losses|
285 killed (2010) |
142 killed (2011)
94 killed (2012)
82 killed (till 15 September 2013)
220 killed (2009) |
172 killed (2010)
99 killed (2011)
74 killed (2012)
|+ 1597 (2009 – 2013)|
Operation Green Hunt was the name used by the Indian media to describe the "all-out offensive" by government of India's paramilitary forces and the state's forces against the Naxalites. The operation is believed to have begun in November 2009 along five states in the "Red Corridor."
The term was coined by the Chhattisgarh police officials to describe one successful drive against the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in the state. It was erroneously used by the media to describe the wider anti-Naxalite operations; the government of India does not use the term "Operation Green Hunt" to describe its anti-Naxalite offensive.
Planning and implementation
In October 2009, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) announced that it was in the final stages of planning the offensive and had received approval from the Union-led government. The Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) would take the lead in the operations against Maoist insurgents. But in September 2009, the media had already reported a "massive 3 day joint operation" by the CoBRA and Chhattisgarh police against the Maoists in Dantewada.
At the beginning of November 2009, the first phase of the operation began in Gadchiroli district. As many as 18 companies of the central paramilitary forces were moved into the area in anticipation of the operation.
In April 2010, Mark Sofer had a conversation with Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and M. K. Narayanan on the subject of the "Maoist extremism" and West Bengal's internal security, and offered assistance by Israel in the state's battle against the Maoists.
Initially in 2009, the government of India had decided to move 80,000 central paramilitary personnel to wage offensive against the Maoists, strengthened by a fleet of 10 armed helicopters from the Indian Air Force. According to the Daily Mail, by mid 2012, about 100,000 paramilitary personnel were deployed by the Indian government in its anti-Maoist operations from the CRPF, Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and CoBRA. On 3 January 2013, the government of India issued a statement that it is deploying 10,000 more central paramilitary personnel in Bastar, Odisha and some parts of Jharkhand. By May 2013, about 84,000 troops from the CRPF had been stationed in the Red corridor to beef up the offensive. Apart from the paramilitary personnel, the SAPF personnel deployed in operations against the Maoists are estimated to number around 200,000. In his analysis in March 2014, Gautam Navlakha has claimed that 286,200 CRPF personnel along with 100,000 personnel from other central paramilitary forces and the SAPF are now engaged in the offensive against the CPI (Maoist) in 10 states of India. On 8 June 2014, the Minister of Home Affairs officially approved the deployment of another 10,000 troops from the paramilitary forces to fight against the Maoists in Chhattisgarh.
To further boost the government's offensive, the Ministry of Home Affairs is looking forward to "clone" new commando units on the likes of Andhra Pradesh's Greyhounds and induce them in the ongoing anti-Maoist operations in five other states – Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharashtra and Odisha. The Times of India, in May 2013, stated that the Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to induce 10,000 more paramilitary personal to move "towards a fight to finish war against Maoists in Red Zone."
The Indian Army has also been stationed in the Red corridor, however, the Army claims that it is present there to train the paramilitary personnel to fight against the Maoists and denies its direct role in the offensive operations. The Chief of the Army Staff and the 7 army commanders in mid-2011 had assessed that, if required, about 60,000-65,000 troops from the Indian Army would need to be induced in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal to battle the Naxalites. On 30 May 2013, the Indian Air Force's Air Chief Marshal declared that apart from the currently operating MI-17 helicopters, the Indian Air Force is inducing a fleet of MI-17V5 helicopters to "provide full support to anti-Naxal operations."
Recently in August 2014, the Ministry of Home Affairs stated that it is "sending" 2,000 personnel from the Naga Battalions of the Nagaland's Indian Reserve Battalions (IRB) in Chhattisgarh's Bastar to attack the Maoists, which according to The Economic Times, would make Bastar "the most–militarised zone in India." The Naga Battalion personnel are being send to fight the Maoists for a second time, with having battled the Maoists once before in West Bengal.
The Indian armed forces' personnel use satellite phones and they also have access to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Security forces have been using UAVs in anti-Maoist operations for quite some time in Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Presently, the UAVs are being provided by the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) and Indian Air Force, but they have not been able to yield desired results for the armed forces. Hence, to further advance the offensive, the Defence Research and Development Organisation has taken an initiative to specially develop UAVs with "lower frequency radars" for the armed forces to "track down" the Maoists. The NTRO has specially imported 12 drones from Israel for aerial surveillance of Naxalites' activities in the forest region on Andhra Pradesh–Orissa–Chhattisgarh border.
The Ministry of Home Affairs says that from 2007 to 2012, the Indian armed forces have killed 905 Naxalites and arrested 12,008. According to an analysis of the news reports by the South Asia Terrorism Portal, 2111 Maoists, 2669 civilians, and 1695 armed forces' personnel have lost their lives in the battle since 2005.
As a response to the offensive, the insurgents launched several high-profile attacks on the Indian security forces:
- On 15 February 2010 at least 25 policemen died after Maoists overran a security camp in West Bengal state. Naxalite-Maoist leader Kishenji claimed responsibility for the attack. He was quoted as saying that, "We have attacked the camp and this is our answer to P. Chidambaram's [the Indian Minister of Internal Affairs] 'Operation Green Hunt' and unless the Centre stops this inhuman military operation we are going to answer this way only."
- On 6 April 2010, Maoist rebels killed 75 policemen/CRPF men in a jungle ambush in central India, the most security forces ever killed by the insurgents in a single conflict. On the same day, Gopal, a top Maoist leader, said the attack was a "direct consequence" of the government's Operation Green Hunt offensive. This raised some voices of use of Indian Air Force against Naxalites, which were however declined citing "We can't use oppressive force against our own people".
- On 29 June 2010, At least 26 policemen have been killed in a Maoist attack in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.
- On 11 March 2014, at least 16 people - including 11 CRPF personnel, 4 policemen and 1 civilian -were killed in an ambush in a thickly forested area of Gheeram Ghati in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.
- On 1 December 2014, 14 CRPF personnel, including 2 officers (Deputy commandant B.S Verma and Assistant commandant Rajesh Kauria), were killed in Sukma district of South Chhattisgarh in a Maoist ambush.
- On 11 March 2017, 15 CRPF police and a civilian were killed in a Naxalite attack on the border of Bastar and Sukma districts in Chhattisgarh.
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India's super-secret National Technical Reconnaissance organisation, or NTRO, operates a fleet of 12 Israeli-made Searcher tactical drones for surveillance of the vast forest tracts on the Andhra Pradesh-Orissa-Chhattisgarh border, home to the largest Maoist formations in the country. The expensive investment in remotely piloted reconnaissance assets has not, however, led to success in detecting hundreds-strong Maoist units.
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- Chidambaram says no, but troops believe ‘Green Hunt' exists, The Hindu
- "Deep Intelligence" in Bastar: Mapping The Maoists From The Skies
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- Security forces launch "Operation Abujhmad" in Chhattisgarh
- Staring at Defeat – Even the security forces know that every starving Indian is a potential Maoist insurgent, OPEN