Top sources said the CRPF-led operation was conducted in the early hours of Friday deep inside Bastar's southern area, with drones used as weapons

In the early morning of Friday, a massive anti-Naxal operation was carried out by security forces, initiated by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), top sources told News18. The crackdown was conducted with the help of sophisticated drones that were used to initiate and conclude the operation, they added. In fact, the drones were used as weapons against the Naxals, said the sources.

The operation was conducted deep inside Bastar’s southern area, they added.

According to the sources in the national security grid, the exercise was monitored by top security officials in Delhi and, after its completion, senior officers of the CRPF also went to Chhattisgarh.

The outcome of the operation and the damage caused to the guerrillas were not clear, though some sources claimed that there have been massive casualties on the Naxals’ side. But security agencies are confirming that Madvi Hidma, the most-wanted Naxal leader, is still alive.

Drones were used to carry out the operation which took place around 1am on Friday, said the sources.

The Naxal or Maoist movement dates back to 1967 when armed peasants revolted in Naxalbari and later the “red" cadres of the CPI (Maoist) led the agitation claiming legitimate socio-economic rights for tribal and locals. Security personnel have been fighting bloody battles with the guerrillas around the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, which comprises remote districts like Sukma, Bijapur, Kondagaon, Kanker, Narayanpur, Bijapur, Dantewada, and Jagdalpur.

Officials also confirmed that in a few minutes of the crackdown on the hideouts of the Naxals, security forces aggressively attacked and bombarded the area.

The operation was not conducted in a hurry but came after almost two months of preparations, they said.

Multiple agencies were working together and the union home ministry was also monitoring the operation directly, revealed sources.

Top officials including home ministry advisor K Vijay Kumar were involved in finalising the plan, they added.

The details were gathered in the last 40-50 days and, after confirming the location, security forces led by CRPF initiated the operation, officials said.

The security forces deployed in various Naxal-affected areas have been put on high alert as, sources said, the insurgents may retaliate.