4 suspected Maoists arrested
Four suspected Maoists, including a minor, were arrested today at Gariyaband district in connection with a blast last month in which three policemen including a senior officer were injured, police said. “Four Maoist sympathisers were arrested for their involvement in blocking the road by felling trees and keeping explosives in a bag near Dabnai rivulet in Mainpur area where the explosion took place during the wee hours January 6,” SP Ramgopal Garg said.
The arrested have been identified as Gopal Nagesh (48), husband of Jarandi village sarpanch, Ramnath Shori (21), Santosh Patel (25) and a minor, he said. “They were nabbed from Jarandi village under Mainpur police station limits of the district,” he said. An additional superintendent of police and two constables were injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) planted inside a bag by Maoists exploded after they tried to open a zippered canvas bag found near the road.
Gopal Nagesh accepted that he had provided wire, switch, bag and rations to Maoists before the incident, while a muzzle loading gun was recovered from the area, he said. Maoist banners were recovered from the possession of Ramanth Sori, who is reported to be a Maoist Jan Militia member, while Santosh and the minor had helped Maoists block the road by feeling trees, he said. The arrested have been sent to judicial remand.
Small teams, big hits:
Forces plan new anti-Naxal move
Advisor to Governor K Vijay Kumar has fired the first salvo to stem the steady increase in Maoist influence in Jharkhand. On his instructions, the State police are gearing up to form small squads. These will be put on the trail of the Naxals in order to strengthen the striking power at the district level. Sub-Inspectors will be specially deployed on the job. “To utilise newly-appointed officers, the advisor had asked us to form small police teams at the district level which could be used for operations as and when required,” said police spokesperson, IG (Operations) SN Pradhan.
A total of 260 Sub-Inspectors are currently doing course at the Police Training Centre in Hazaribagh. The idea behind the strategy is to hit the Maoists where it hurts as soon as they are identified. Smaller teams will be ready to take the rebels head on without giving them time to reorganise into larger groups. The plan has been welcomed by district police officials. According to a senior CRPF official, a small team is always more effective at the grassroots level as its targets small groups on a day-to-day basis, yielding more results, causing steady damage to the Naxals, and demoralising them.
“As there is a general feeling among the people that the CRPF has stopped involving itself in smaller action, focussing only on larger operations, this will prove to be very effective in anti-Maoist areas in the State,” said the CRPF official on conditions of anonymity. “Earlier, we worked with this strategy in Jharkhand, but the idea was dumped due to the unknown reasons,” he added.
“The strategy to put a small police team on the job to control the Maoist menace had netted 82 extremists in Garhwa last year and 62 in Ranchi in 2010,” the official pointed out. “Given the fact that Maoists too have a good networking, in the time we take to gather ourselves in bigger groups, they easily leave the area without giving us any results,” said the CRPF man.
According to him, “This strategy also needs an effective policing with operational activities from time to time to damage the Maoists’ networking slowly at the lower level. Once the lower level cadre are hurt, the higher level itself becomes ineffective. Bigger operations also take a lot of time and create havoc among the villagers, alerting Maoists from before in most cases. Operation should be combined with an effective policing back-up.”
Besides, there is also a chance of casualties of security forces in bigger operations as rebels get time to prepare themselves for ambush in their strongholds, as was witnessed in Latehar. Fifteen lives were lost, including 11 security personnel and four civilians, as 17 policemen were injured on January 8. The Red rebels ambushed a group of over 100 CRPF personnel returning from an operation early in the morning. Latehar SP G Kranti Kumar said, “We are doing normal ground work for strengthening the police force at the district level for fast results.” Latehar Police will also identify hardcore Maoists in the district. “We are zeroing on hardcore Maoists so they can be dealt with separately,” he added.
Admitting the presence of Naxals in small pockets of the district, the SP denied that there was any plan to launch an operation on a large scale against them. “Anti-Maoist operation is an ongoing process which is conducted as and when required,” he insisted. Anti-Naxal operations are being conducted in several districts, including Khunti, Latehar, Palamau, Gumla and Simdega.