BJP plans to stamp out Maoists in Bastar

December 18th, 2008 - 2:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyRaipur, Dec 18 (IANS) After an unprecedented win in the Maoist bastion Bastar in Chhattisgarh’s southern half, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has been returned to power in state assembly elections now plans to launch a decisive battle against the rebels and “stamp out insurgents holing up in thick forests”, a party leader said Thursday.Voters in the nearly 40,000 sq km Bastar region, hit by Maoist violence since the early 1980s, have for the first time given an overwhelming support to the BJP, which won 11 out of the 12 assembly seats in the region in the November polls.

In Konta, the one Bastar seat the party lost, it trailed the winner by a bare 192 votes.

“Can you imagine BJP can produce such a stunning performance in Bastar, a stronghold of Congress for decades? The party views the voters’ support as a mandate to stamp out insurgents who are holing up in thick forests for about three decades,” a former minister who is likely to retain his cabinet berth next week told IANS.

“We will honour the Bastar peoples’ mandate and carry out deadly attacks on Abujhmad forests where rebels have terror infrastructure and from where they export Maoist terrorism to at least 13 states,” the leader said.

He said that the Bastar mandate for the BJP was for the expansion of Salwa Judum, a government backed controversial anti-Maoist vigilante group launched in June 2005. But party leaders will soon take a call on whether the party should give a push to the movement.

Thousands of Maoists, several armed with rocket launchers and mortars, run a de facto administration in Bastar interiors since the 1980s. They have killed over 1,100 people, including 726 civilians, in the state since 2004.

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