Maoists fire at Gadchiroli cops
A week after targeting a Congress leaders’ convoy in Chhattisgarh in which 28 people were killed including Salwa Judum proponent Mahendra Karma and Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nandkumar Patel, the naxalites of CPI(Maoists) unleashed another attack on Friday – this time in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. The Red rebels fired indiscriminately at an anti-naxalite operations squad in the Nurgunda forests in Gadchiroli district.
According to reports reaching Nagpur, a group of armed Maoists opened fire on a team of C-60 commandos patrolling in Nurgunda jungle near Bhamragarh-Kothi road, bordering AP and Chhattisgarh, some 300 kms from Nagpur in south Gadchiroli, on Friday morning. The security forces retaliated and the exchange of fire continued for half an hour. Unable to put up resistance to the firepower of the security forces, the naxalites retreated into the jungles.
The district police suspect that at least a couple of naxalites are injured in the encounter. But before they could approach the naxalite camp, the Maoists fled to the core forest region, along with the bodies of their injured cadres. None of the security personnel was injured in the encounter, the reports said. “We have intensified the combing operations in the naxal-affected areas in the district after the Chhattisgarh incident,” informed the deputy inspector general of police, Ravindra Kadam.
The police have recovered huge arms and ammunition from the site. Meanwhile, the security of peoples’ representatives, particularly the local MLAs and zilla parishad members, has been beefed up. The district police, in a joint operation, along with para-military forces are patrolling and conducting nakabandi on the national and state highways and strategic points in the wake of Chhattisgarh incident.
Naxal attack: CRPF jawan killed in Dhantari district
A CRPF jawan was killed in an encounter with Naxals in Dhantari district of Chhattisgarh on Saturday, police said. The encounter took place in the jungle near Khallari village under Borai police station limits this afternoon, a senior police official told. The dead jawan was identified as Assistant Commander S K Das, of 211 battalion of CRPF. A CRPF team was carrying out a search operation in the area when it came under fire from Naxals. The ultras fled when CRPF retaliated, the official said. Additional forces have been rushed to the spot to retrieve the body of the slain jawan, the official added.
Police arrests alleged Maoist in Bihar
The Bihar police arrested alleged Maoist Jitendra Kumar from Doraha village in Arwal district on Friday night. Mr. Kumar is believed to be an area commander operating in and outside Arwal. He has four cases of murder and rioting, related to Naxal-violence, in Arwal since 1996. He had two warrants against him as he was wanted in these cases, District Superintendent of Police Anand Kumar Singh told The Hindu. The police arrested Mr. Kumar from his house in Doraha. Mr. Singh said he was pleading innocence during his interrogation. He has been sent to a jail in Jehanabad district.
Security jitters after ‘Ganapathy’ buzz
KOLKATA: An intelligence report by Jhargram SP Bharati Ghosh has put her bosses in a quandary. Ghosh has reported in a “coordination” meeting of top cops deployed in anti-Maoist ops in Bengal on Thursday that “one tall, lean and fair looking person called Ganapathy has been tasked by the Maoists for Bengal,” adding that “this person has been spotted off an abandoned airstrip in Jhargram’s Ghatsila where 500 armed cadres are being trained”.
The problem is, one Ganapathy is also the Maoist top gun – its general secretary whose real name is Muppalla Lakshmana Rao. But the revelation gives rise to some questions – why would a general secretary of a hardline communist party limit his role to one state? Or, for that matter, why should he come to Bengal where the Maoist footprints are limited to just 17 blocks? The SP was quizzed on it too. She insisted the name was “Ganapathy”, perhaps the person could be someone else.
ADG (CID) Shivaji Ghosh then directed that Ganapathy’s photograph be provided to Jhargram police to verify the input. The meeting included ADG (CID), SPs of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia, IGP (Western Range), IGP (CID), DIG (Midnapore Range) and DIG (CRPF) in Jhargram on Thursday. While a section of Trinamool leaders, including Purulia MLA and state minister Shantiram Mahato, had complained of regular Maoist ingressions in Ayodhya Hills, opposition parties have always raised the Maoist bogey. The state department then picked up the ADG (CID) to collate all intelligence inputs.
Landmine explodes near Trinamul leader’s house
PURULIA (WB), 1 JUNE: A landmine planted in front of the residence of a Trinamul Congress leader exploded early today at Barabazar in erstwhile Maoist-hit Purulia district. The police said nobody was injured in the blast at Rajapara village near the house of Aditya Singh Malla, the district secretary of Trinamul Congress. The landmine was planted by unknown persons at night, the police said. The police found leaflets written by a Maoist-backed organisation that threatened Mr Singh to quit Trinamul Congress.
Additional forces brought in for combing operations in Malkangiri
KORAPUT: Anti-Maoist operations were intensified along Odisha-Chhattisgarh border in Malkangiri and Koraput districts with deployment of additional security forces on Friday. “More forces have been sent to the border areas and combing operations, launched on Tuesday, intensified. Though the situation is under control, we are not taking any chance,” said SP (Malkangiri) Akhileswar Singh. Police said two more batches of BSF were sent to Mathili in Malkangiri district to strengthen the counter-insurgency operations and check possible infiltration of Maoists into Odisha after the carnage at Dharba ghat road in Chhattisgarh on May 25.
According to police, over 250 securitymen belonging to BSF, SOG and CoBRA battalions are carrying out combing operations at Kiang and Salmi in Malkangiri district and Ramagiri and Dandabadi of Koraput district. With the areas bordering Odisha and Chhattisgarh border dotted with hills and forest and surrounded by Kolab and Saptadhara rivers on the three sides, the security forces have a difficult terrain to cover.
Police suspects the Maoists, post May 25 attack, are hiding at Tulsi Dongor, which has a thick forest cover and no permanent security camp. While 90% of Tulsi Dongor is within Chhattisgarh, the remaining portion falls in Odisha. “Our operations are yet to yield any result. Tulsi Dongor being a much safer place, it is suspected that the ultras have preferred to stay put there instead of sneaking into Odisha,” the SP said.
US to supply IED detectors to India
The May 25 Maoist attack using a 25-kg explosive device in Darba has added impetus to the UPA government’s plan to acquire state-of-the-art ground penetration radars from the US to detect buried improvised explosive devices (IEDs ) in low-intensity conflict zones. The acquisition of ultra wide band microwave radars, which can detect a seven-feet underground IED, was discussed during the Indo-US homeland security dialogue last week, home ministry sources said.
“Washington is more than willing to sell the high-tech radars to New Delhi for use by security forces,” they added. Delegates to the meeting were led by home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and his American counterpart Janet Napolitano. While Indian para-military forces still use hand-held metal detectors or mine sweepers to open roads for traffic in insurgency-affected zones, the US radar — mounted on an IED-proof vehicle (like Husky or Stryker) — scans the road ahead, jams the device’s frequency and gives a 3D picture of the buried ordnance. The US GPR, developed after a billion-dollar research, has successfully tackled IEDs in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The GPR will be extremely effective in areas afflicted by the left-wing extremists as Maoists typically bury huge IEDs under the roads and trigger them off through remote or wire detonation. The IED used in the May 25 attack was made of ammonium nitrate and hidden under the road,” a senior ministry official said. It is learnt that New Delhi will acquire these radars through the foreign direct military sales route after the radar’s trials in Indian conditions. Two Virginia-based companies are market leaders in the segment and have supplied IED detection radars to the US Army.