Security forces surround 250 Naxals in Jharkhand
In a massive operation against the Naxals, security forces have laid siege to a hill in Jharkhand, entrapping nearly 250 guerrillas by cutting their supply lines, police said here on Friday. The ‘Jaal Char’ operation has been jointly launched by the state police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Latehar district, around 145 km from the state capital Ranchi. “The operation was launched 10 days ago in a well planned manner with around 2,000 security personnel now surrounding the hill.
Gun battles took place at least on five days. We have cut the Maoist supply lines by deploying forces at Kumadih railway station,” a police officer involved in the operation told the news agency. Police claim to have killed at least eight rebels, destroyed one camp, seized landmines, explosives, mobile phones, medicines and other materials in the last 10 days of the operation. The hill is spread around 17 sq km. With more than 15 villages located in the area, the security forces are gradually closing upon the guerrillas, a police officer said. According to sources at the police headquarters here, the union home ministry has been informed about the operation. Earlier on Thursday, Jharkhand police chief Rajiv Kumar, who is monitoring the entire operation, said the Naxalites should either surrender or be prepared to face bullets.
Special forces for Red bastions soon
The first batch of the anti-naxal special force for four affected states is likely to be ready by the year end. The home ministry has this week cleared the decks for the first group of police officers to be trained at Andhra Pradesh’s training facility for its commando force, Greyhound. The first course for police trainers from Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh will begin in the third week of July, a government official said on Thursday.
Over the next few weeks, Greyhound trainers will teach the commando trainers how to survive in jungles and hostile environment, intercept Maoists and neutralise them if necessary. These trainers will then go back to their respective states to retrain the commandos in a three-month crash course. By next July, the home ministry expects the four states to have the full complement of the special force ready to take naxals head on.
“These 8,000 members of the special forces in these four states will be the nucleus of the anti-Maoist offensive, collecting intelligence and conducting surgical operations against Maoist leaders,” a home ministry official said, conceding that the Greyhound in AP — and the special forces elsewhere — were only one component of the central offensive
Security blind spot in Santhal Pargana – Maoist slaughter of Pakur cops jolts state, talks on for full-time CRPF presence
Ranchi, July 4: Caught off-guard by the daylight Maoist ambush in Dumka that killed Pakur SP Amarjit Balihar and five other policemen, the state is considering mounting pressure on the Union home ministry to strengthen security in Santhal Pargana. In an obvious oversight, the six-district tribal hinterland doesn’t deploy CRPF permanently despite the area’s increasing Maoist footprint. “The area has no permanent deployment of CRPF, though deliberations are on. After the Kathikund firing, we have assembled CRPF personnel from other areas for combing operations,” CRPF inspector-general (operations) M.V. Rao told The Telegraph.
The state will take the final decision on approaching the Union home ministry in consultation with principal home secretary N.N. Pandey and director-general of police Rajeev Kumar. Also, only three districts — Deoghar, Godda and Pakur — are covered under the Centre’s Integrated Action Plan (IAP), while Dumka, Sahebganj and Jamtara are not. Sahebganj is not even deemed worthy of Union home ministry’s SRE (security-related expenditure) funds for Naxalite-hit districts.
The examples suggest Santhal Pargana is not on the focus of state and Centre as far as effective curbing of rebel threat is concerned. CRPF has three operational areas — Chaibasa (West Singhbhum), Ranchi and Hazaribagh — and an equal number of officers in the rank of deputy inspector general (operations). Zone Chaibasa takes care of West Singhbhum, East Singhbhum, Seraikela-Kharsawan and Khunti districts. Ranchi monitors Ranchi, Khunti, Simdega, Gumla and the critical Palamau division comprises Latehar, Palamau and Garhwa. Hazaribagh takes care of Hazaribagh, Bokaro, Giridih, Chatra and Dhanbad. Santhal Pargana is out of the loop even though senior officers say this is a big mistake. “CRPF should be deployed in Santhal Pargana and a discussions to this effect should be taken up at the highest level.
The mere presence of CRPF boosts the morale of the district police,” said a senior CRPF official not wishing to be named. Senior IPS Arun Oraon, who heads the police force of six districts of Santhal Pargana commissionary as an inspector-general based in Dumka, provided details on the status of other central security-cum-development schemes in the region. “The IAP scheme has been launched in only three districts. Schemes under SRE are implemented in five districts of the commissionary but not Sahebganj,” he told The Telegraph. IAP and SRE include development projects such as all-weather roads, civic action programmes of the security forces, fortified camps for police personnel in Naxalite-hit areas.
Jharkhand Maoist attack: Police corner mastermind of Dumka ambush
RANCHI: Security forces on Thursday said they have surrounded the Maoists, including the mastermind, involved in the Dumka ambush in which Pakur superintendent of police Amarjit Balihar was killed along with four other cops. In a late night operation, CoBRA jawans cordoned off all exit points at Kumundih jungle in Latehar, 200km from here, where Dumka ambush mastermind and several other Maoists are hiding.
Security forces also forbade villagers’ movement outside the Kumundih forests without extensive checks and frisking, building more than 20 such points in the jungle. A senior IPS officer, coordinating the anti-Maoist operation, said several companies of CoBRA, CRPF, Jharkhand Jaguars and district police have been deployed around Kumundih. “The Maoists will have to either surrender or face death,” said DGP Rajiv Kumar on phone from Kumundih forest, which has three police stations around it: Barbadih, Garu and Manika. “The head of the CPI(Maoist) in Jharkhand, Arvindji alias Nishantji with 200 rebels are hiding in Kumundih.
A member of the powerful Bihar Jharkhand Special Area Committee (BJSAC) of the CPI(Maoist), Arvindji is suspected to have helped rebels ambush the SP,” said a police source. The Dumka ambush was carried out under the direct guidance of Arvindji, who had arranged for the Maoists “central military commission” guerrillas for the attack. Dumka DIG Priya Dubey said Arvindji’s guidance was definitely behind Tuesday’s ambush. The government on Wednesday vowed to forcefully retaliate against the Maoists in the wake of the Dumka attack. Sources said two companies of CoBRA, five of CRPF and six of Jharkhand Jaguar were rushed to Kumundih in the aftermath of Dumka incident, in which Pakur SP and five security personnel were killed.
A Maoist founder who never wore a uniform, never went underground
Badri Rai is possibly one of the humblest men around. Dumka and Pakur police say he was one of the founding members of the CPI (Maoist) in the Santhal Pargana zone and was a sub-zonal commander. The 57-year-old man sitting outside his house in Dumka’s Sahruapani village smiles and shrugs. After being in jail from 2007 to April 2012, Rai, whose village is within the Kathikund block, now calls himself a farmer. His sons have moved up to replace their father: zonal commander Ramlal Rai, about 30 years old, is now in jail after being arrested in February. Shahdev Rai, 35, is commander of one of the three sub-zones that comprise the SP zone.
It is being widely speculated that Shahdev, along with zonal commander Praveerda, planned the July 2 attack on Pakur SP Amarjit Balihar to avenge his brother’s arrest. “They were forced into joining the party,” said Rai, and it was the only time he became emotional during a 45-minute interview. “The police would trouble my children so much during my time in jail, they had no option but to run away and join the party. Shahdev was leading a normal life in the village, he had a grocery shop here,” he said. Rai claims he was jailed for an incident for which he was not responsible. “The police wanted me in, so they charged me in a case where some dumpers were set on fire. I was not even around that day. The case was finally thrown out,” he said. Rai said he joined what was then the Maoist Communist Centre in 2003-04 and never went underground.
He claims he never got arms training and that he was active only in the Maoist frontal organisation Kisan Committee, involved in mobilising farmers against money lenders. “The party was started here in 2001 by people who came from Giridih district and Bihar’s Bhagalpur. Most of my time was spent doing groundwork. I never wore a uniform,” he said. He laughs heartily when asked about being a sub-zonal commander: “The party was too small to be divided into sub-zones back then.” Police say armed squads were formed in 2005, but Rai claims arms training and levy collection began during his time in jail.
Rai refuses to talk about the party after his incarceration, but agrees that the SP zone has entered into a new phase after the killing of Balihar. “There cannot be any more grassroots work to grow the party now. Most workers will have to go underground,” he said. Rai was with the Communist Party of India in the 1980s and was in the Dumka district committee. He left after the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha swallowed most of their organisation: “We supported Shibu Soren for one election and he left with most of our cadre,” he said. Rai may have left the party, but is excited by its growth. He talks of how Soren came to the region as chief minister to inaugurate an industrial project and talked of the growing Maoist influence. “The state had just been created, and he talked about Jharkhand turning into Lalkhand. Soon, in 2004-05, we were growing rapidly, as JMM betrayed the people by supporting huge industrial projects. What they don’t seem to realise is that wherever there are mines, Maoism will grow,” Rai said.
Maoists appear to be training cadres to shoot down copters
Documents seized by security forces in Maoist-hit Koraput district reveal that the rebels appear to have started training cadres to gun down helicopters used in ferrying security personnel for counter-insurgency operations. This came to light after security forces recovered certain documents listing techniques to shoot down choppers and other aircraft from Maoist camps in Naranga forest of Narayanpatna two days ago.
“We suspect the Red rebels are being trained in it (bringing down choppers),” said DIG (BSF) Sumer Singh. “As the documents are in Telugu, we are taking the help of a translator,” he added. As Maoists frequently attack security personnel by planting landmines and ambushing patrolling teams, security forces prefer the aerial route. This has prompted Maoists to learn techniques to target helicopters, Singh said. He said if the Maoists get the technology and arms to shoot down choppers, the security personnel would face tough challenges while executing anti-extremist operations. “Top officials of security forces go to Maoist-hit areas in helicopters to assess the situation. If the Red outlaws succeed in targetting choppers, a major mishap might take place,” he said.
However, police believe that with the arms they have, the Maoists cannot target helicopters. “Generally Maoists try to fire at copters carrying security forces at the time of landing and take-off. But they have never been successful as around 2 to 3 km radius around the helipad is sanitized,” said SP (Malkangiri) Akhileshwar Singh. “All necessary precautionary measures will be taken to ensure the Maoists never get a chance to target choppers ferrying security forces,” he added.
Security tightened in Red zones of Bokaro
BOKARO: District police on Thursday beefed up security arrangements in Maoist-hit areas in Bokaro. This arrangement has been made following the recent rebel attack in Dumka district in which Pakur SP Amarjit Balihar was killed along with five other policemen. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) deployed in the Red zones is also on alert. CRPF personnel are cautious and are avoiding movement in and around the area other than the patrolling and operations they are carrying out.
The security in the bordering areas of Purulia ( West Bengal), Giridih and Hazaribagh districts have also been intensified. Police in Jhumra hills in Gomia and the Upperghat of Nawadih block are , sensitive areas under the Bermo sub-division. SP, Bokaro Kuldeep Dwivedi said each police station have been directed to tighten security arrangements in their areas. Police personnel equipped with hi-tech weapons can be seen guarding different points in Red-hit areas. Checkpoints on roads are also well-guarded and checking made stricter. Political leaders were asked not to take out rallies in remote areas. SP said they are also concerned about the security of political leaders in the area. They have asked MLAs and MPs to avoid visiting any interior areas of their constituencies for functions and meetings and also inform police if they do so.