Naxals fly drones in Bastar, shoot-at-sight ordered
New Delhi: Shoot-at-sight orders have been issued to security forces deployed across Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected states after a 'serious and new' threat of possession and operation of drones by Maoist cadres came to light recently, officials said on Sunday.
The latest directive by a unified command of security and intelligence agencies at the Centre comes in the wake of a maiden incident where drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were seen hovering over a strategically important Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp in the worst Naxal-violence affected district of Sukma in Chhattisgarh's south Bastar region.
As per official communication shared by ground forces, official sources said, 'Small red and white light emitting drones' were seen flying near the camp in Kistaram and Pallodi last month at least four times in three days. The drones emitted a 'low whizzing sound' that drew attention of camp guards after which offensive position was taken by troops and an alert sounded across all the nearby camps anticipating possible trouble by Naxals.
However, sources said, the mini-UAVs soon disappeared from the sky above the CRPF camps even before they could be aimed at and shot. The development rang alarm bells in the security establishment leading intelligence agencies to a vendor in Mumbai who is suspected to have sold the drones to some unidentified persons, possibly Naxal cadres.
Agencies are particularly concerned as the two camps where these drones were spotted are located deep inside the Naxal hotbed, do not have proper road connectivity and witness regular movements of armed Maoist cadres as the area shares border with Odisha, Maharashtra and leads to the jungle corridor of Andhra Pradesh.
'This development is a serious concern. It has been anticipated by security agencies for long. The issue has now surfaced,' an official said.