Chhattisgarh Steps up Security during Maoist Protest Week

Raipur, Jun 3 (IANS): The Chhattisgarh government has beefed up security throughout the ‘Red Corridor’ and put paramilitary forces deployed in internal areas of Bastar region on maximum alert in view of stepped up violence by Maoist rebels during their protest week that began Friday. Special investigative teams of the police have also been asked to keep vigil on the activities of top Maoist leaders.

The Maoists have called the protest week against Operation Green Hunt, the deployment of the army and allocation of iron ore mines to business houses.

On Saturday, two hardcore women Maoist cadre were gunned down by security forces in a shootout near Dhamtari, while the rebels targeted a vehicle carrying jail inmates and the accompanying policemen at Kondagaon .

Elsewhere in the zone, the rebels obstructed vehicular traffic by digging up roads or blocking them with felled trees. In the internal areas, they distributed pamphlets asking tribals to protest against “deployment of army in Bastar in the name of providing them training in jungle warfare”.

Due to the protests, vehicular traffic remained completely off the road.

In Kondagaon, Maoists blew up a vehicle on National Highway NH-30 on Joba bridge at Bhanpuri in Kondagaon. All 26 people, including 19 jail inmates and 7 police personnel were seriously injured in the blast. A head constable succumbed to injuries while the others are in hospitals either at Jagdalpur or in Raipur.

Viewing the incident as a major intelligence failure, the government is planning to strengthen its information network in the ‘Red Corridor’ by activating special investigative teams which will not only keep tab on movements of Maoist cadre but even on their minor activities. The teams will directly work under their respective superintendents of police and their work will be reviewed by the IG of Bastar Range himself.

IG of Bastar division T.J. Langkumer said: ‘The special Investigative teams have been given the responsibility to keep a watch on the activities of top Maoist cadre active in all the seven districts of this division.”

Expressing his anguish over the Maoists blasting a vehicle at Kondagaon, state Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar told IANS Sunday morning “The attack on the vehicle carrying jail inmates exposes the senseless violence the rebels are indulging in. Now, the people of this state will soon teach them a lesson.”
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