Rapid action teams to tackle Maoists
Hazaribag: Two small action teams (SAT) were constituted in the district on Friday to contain Naxalite activities in the district on the advice of the governor’s adviser Vijay Kumar, SP Manoj Kaushik said. These teams will be developed on the lines of Grey Hounds of Andhra Pradesh government for combating Red menace and minimizing dependence on CRPF and other paramilitary forces.
The SP said the team would be selected on the basis of their fitness and provided training in jungle warfare and firing skills so that they could deal on self-supporting operations, continuous operations and could chase the Naxalites continuously. Their area of operation will be in the deep forest areas, the hideouts of the rebels. “We have provided some privileges for the SAT teams in terms of additional components and relief so that they can get accommodation facilities on priority basis at the police lines. Besides, they will be given skilled training for handling the latest and sophisticated arms and weapons during the operation in the dense forests on the basis of their field of interest.” The SAT will be equipped with ammunition and security equipment, Kaushik said.
“They will also be trained in a manner so that they can be ready for operations at 15 minutes’ notice. The teams will be used or deployed only for specific purpose of combating Naxalites. They will only be shifted whenever latest training on skill development are required.
‘Lax coordination among agencies in Maoist areas’
“Don’t snipe at us. This is not the way to function. All agencies have to work together as a team and pull in one direction,” IAF chief Air Marshal NAK Browne said in a sharp reaction to the home ministry’s objections raised after an injured police officer was abandoned by IAF men during a anti-naxal operation recently. But the fact is that various agencies working in naxal-hit states are at odds. Several states and the paramilitary have complained about the air force’s reluctance in transporting troops and in the critical area of casualty evacuation. HT has important documentation relating to another instance, where the home ministry was forced to chase the NTRO and the IAF for gathering intelligence through UAVs. For the past two years, the ministry has been at loggerheads with the NTRO and the IAF, trying to shift the air force base – out of Begumpet, Hyderabad to Chhattisgarh -because the worst-hit districts are not being covered.
In April last year, then home minister P Chidambaram had directed that a UAV base be set up in Nandini Bhilai near Raipur in “less than two months”. But 10 months later, meetings continue to be held between MHA, NTRO and the IAF. A senior official, present at these meetings, told HT that yet another meeting was held at home secretary RK Singh’s office a fortnight ago, but nothing was resolved. Singh noted that the all-important security issue had not been given due priority by the NTRO under whose command the IAF operates.
Singh also noted that “being a scare resource, optimisation of UAV effort for operations against left wing extremists is a critical need.” He also said, “more delays will not be tolerated.” The IAF, in a written reply, said, “The IAF provides assistance in the form of training and augmented specialist manpower for operations at whichever base the NTRO operates from. The IAF recommends and is fully supportive of the move to operating bases closer to the affected areas.” Two years have lapsed and now the issue is with the national security advisor.
Security audit in Red-hit districts ordered
PATNA: The Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) has issued a letter to all the Naxalite-affected states to conduct a security audit, especially in the jails where Maoist prisoners are lodged. In pursuance to this letter, the state home (prisons) department has ordered all the SPs of the Maoist-hit districts, including Patna, to audit the available security arrangements and to enhance the security wherever necessary. According to intelligence inputs, Naxalites strike the most in February and March; so the security forces are on high alert to prevent Red violence.
With the onset of summer, the extremists desert camps in hill areas and head for home as soaring temperature makes life miserable in the forests. “It is also difficult to execute attacks during monsoon. After rains, they hold training camps, prepare blueprints of major attacks and execute them between February and April. R K Singh, home secretary, Government of India, in his letter to the state home department, recommended that the district SPs could request the district judge in the interest of security to conduct the trial of undertrial Maoist prisoners through videoconferencing.
Their lawyers should represent them during the trial proceedings and in case of lack of technological facilities, the Maoist prisoners should be transported in separate vehicles with adequate security. The incidents of Maoist prisoners using mobile phones from the prison premises have increased in recent time. To prohibit such malpractices, surprise inspections in prisons should be conducted regularly, the letter said.
The prison staff should be held responsible if mobile phones are recovered from the possession of jail inmates. Anand Kishore, IG, prisons and correctional services, said, “During surprise inspections, the cops seize mobile phones from the prison premises. They even recover many 3G phones from the jail premises. About 550 mobile phones seized from the Beur central model jail were auctioned in December last year. But the problem is the seized mobile phones are always unclaimed and it is difficult to hold any staff accountable for this.”
Talking about mobile phone jammers, Kishore said, “Technology is the major challenge for us. It takes between Rs 20 crore and 25 crore to install jammers. On an average, we have to install around 20 mobile phone jammers at each of the prison, but with the advancement in cellphone technology all the money goes in vain. So we are trying to make the jail administration strict to avoid such problems.” Incidentally, a group of Maoists, including some women, had attacked the jail van on November 9 last year and freed the Maoist prisoners who were being taken from Giridih court (in Jharkhand) to jail. Three policemen and an undertrial prisoner were killed in the attack.
Naxalites spotted in Kodagu, combing ops begins
MADIKERI: Mangalore and Kodagu police on Thursday began combing operations following suspicious movements of some persons in Perooru village in the limits of Napoklu police station, 20 km from Madikeri taluk. Mysore IGP Ramachandra Rao who is monitoring the situation said that three men and a woman in Naxal uniform went to some houses in Perooru village and introduced themselves as fighting for the upliftment of the poor. They also collected about 25 kg of rice from the villagers and disappeared into the Theethimali forest in the hilly region, he added.
Based on this report, the Mysore IGP Ramachandra Rao, Kodagu new superintendent of police Anucheth went to Perooru and have collected some sensitve informations. Reluctant to take chances, the combing operation is being done in Perooru, Theethmalai forest area and surrounding places jointly by Kodagu and Mangalore police. With elections round the corner, the IGP said that the department does not want to take any risks. The Naxals entered Kodagu in October 2012 and were spotted in Kaloor village, 8 km from here. The ANF combed Hethur-Valnur forest area, 35 km from here.