Police infrastructure will be boosted in western Odisha
In its bid to to counter the growing footfalls of Left Wing Extremists (LWE) in western parts of the State, the Odisha Government has decided to reinforce police infrastructure in the region. As a first measure, it has sanctioned upgradation of eight outposts to police stations and augmentation of 15 police stations across four Western districts. Bargarh, Balangir, Nuapada and Kalahandi are the districts where the augmentation and strengthening of police infrastructure would be carried out.
As per the sanction, Lathor and Larambha in Balangir district, Dharambandha, Lakhna and Beltukuri in Nuapada district, Jagdalpur in Bargarh and Bijepur and Ambapani in Kalahandi are slated for upgradation from outposts to police stations. Similarly, at least 15 police stations will be augmented. All six police stations of Nuapada, Thuamul Rampur under Kalahandi, Khaprakhol and Tureikela of Balangir and Ambabhana, Padampur, Paikmal, Jharbandh as well as Buden police stations of Bargarh will be covered under the augmentation plan.
The State Government has sanctioned as many as 313 posts for upgradation and augmentation, including posts of 17 Inspectors. Interestingly, such a systematic augmentation plan for Western Odisha districts has come almost after a decade or more. Way back in 2005-06, the State Government had sanctioned a major augmentation of infrastructure for Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Gajapati and Kandhamal which formed the axis of Naxal base.
“The fresh sanction is a welcome step as it will equip the district police to take on the Naxals. Upgradation and augmentation will mean SPs will have more resources at their disposal,” said Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) Abhay. The move comes even as all these four districts witness a growing presence of Naxals in the region. Balangir and Bargarh, in particular, have reported increasing sway of the Maoists prompting the State Government to mobilise more Central para military forces to keep the trend under check in the region.
The Sunabeda Sanctuary of Nuapada has been a haven for the Maoists because of its proximity to Chhattisgarh. There are about two battalions of Central para military forces deployed in the western districts. Last week, the security forces had gunned down a Maoist in Tureikela police station of Balangir. “We have been able to contain their activities through assistance of CPMF, but there are deeper and remote pockets where the presence of police needed strengthening. This sanction should help us,” said an SP of a western district.
Maoists kill Bihar farmer for not paying ‘tax’
Maoists struck in a gruesome manner near Hajipur town on Thursday morning, severing the limbs of a farmer and then shooting him dead for refusing to pay ‘tax’ to the banned organisation. The dismembered body of the farmer, 50-year-old Haresh Singh, was recovered–with two bullet wounds and a deep gash on the neck–on the busy Hajipur-Muzaffarpur highway, 8 kms north-east of Hajipur in Bihar. It led to such uproar and a massive blockade by local residents on NH-77 that thousands of vehicles on their way to Patna and other north Bihar districts were left stranded for over six hours. Police said that the Maoist operation was short and meticulously planned.
Police quoted eyewitnesses as saying that the Maoists, riding two motorcycles, tagged the victim and managed to corner him at Dhobighati pond when he was on a morning walk with a co-villager. They struck with knives, severing his hands and legs and then shot him dead even as he fell to the ground. Vaishali superintendent of police (SP) Suresh Prasad Choudhary said the victim had been on the target of CPI (Maoist) as his name had figured in the pamphlets of the organisation recently. Maoists regularly serve demand notes to farmers and businessmen, levying different rates of ‘taxes’ to fill their war coffers. Refusal to pay is often met with violent retribution but not before a few warnings.
“Prime facie, the police cannot rule out the Maoists, but investigations are needed to ascertain the facts,” he added. Police raided several villages under the Sadar police station even as the administration tried to get the blockade lifted from the busy highway. The road block was lifted late afternoon after much persuasion, but tension continued to simmer, forcing the administration to reinforce thanas around.
According to police sources, the victim was attacked twice earlier and in one incident, he was dashed by a vehicle and was rendered unconscious, but survived. District intelligence sources said the Maoists had slowly spread their tentacles in over two dozen villages of Vaishali district and had significant support in blocks of Patepur, Thathan, Kartanha, Jandaha and other remote areas. Some of these areas are simply off limits to the police, strongholds as they are of the Maoists. It was only recently that the Hajipur police together with the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) jawans ventured Thathan, the native place of a proclaimed Maoist offender, who is now serving a jail sentence.
Vaishali is one of 20 naxal-affected districts of state which was recently included in the hotlist of Maoist-affected districts of the country and designated for funds for development under security-related expenditure (SRE). While the Maoists regularly hold rallies of their front organisations and enforce bandhs while blowing up train tracks, this was only the fourth incident of selective killing since 2007. Vaishali’s proximity to active Maoist dens in East Champaran, Muzaffarpur and Sheohar also contributes much to the ‘red’ activity in this area. If police sources are believed, some 100 hardcore Maoists are active in the region. The posting of an ASP, especially for operations against them has not been able to stem their influence.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is mapping the journey of wireless set from Atlanta in the US to a naxal hideout in Odisha
“It is quite a journey and is turning out very difficult to track,” said an official source. In December, 2011, the Border Security Force (BSF) raided a naxal hideout in Koraput of Odisha and recovered some communication gadgets that included a wireless set purportedly manufactured by Motorola. Besides the wireless set, the BSF also found sophisticated arms and ammunition from the hideout. The recovery, particularly of the wireless set sent the security establishment into a tizzy and NIA was asked to probe the recovery.
“NIA got in touch with Motorola after taking over the probe. The company told the probe agency that the wireless set in question was made for civilian use. The company also said its manufacturing was outsourced to another company and the sets were being sold under the brand of Motorola. Since the wireless sets were for civilian use, the company doesn’t keep record of the end user,” said the source.
During investigation it was also found that the supply of military grade wireless communication equipments is always tracked with end-user certificates to ensure that they always land up with law-enforcement agencies. “Motorola also said the particular set was part of a lot that was sent to a dealer in Atlanta. Afterwards how it made its journey to the jungles of Odisha is still a mystery that the NIA is trying to unravel,” said the source.
NIA proposes body to track fugitives
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has proposed the setting up of a Fugitive Tracking Unit (FTU) on the lines of the US agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The NIA, which is riding high on the recent arrests of alleged Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, and Willy Naruenartwanich, who was wanted in the NSCN-IM arms case, has submitted the proposal to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
According to the proposal, the FTU will be set up across India in NIA branches and will focus on tracking the movements of suspects and wanted terrorists. The proposal is likely to be discussed during the upcoming Director General conference to be held in the last week of September, when views from top cops will be sought on the issue. Subsequently, the FTU can also assist state police in tracking criminals wanted by them, senior officials said.
Besides the setting up of the FTU, the Centre is also likely to lodge a complaint with DGPs from Naxal states regarding delays in sending information to the Home Ministry in scheduled offences cases that are covered under the NIA Act, 2008. Under the Act, the states are supposed to render the details of such cases to the Centre, which then decides in consultation with the NIA whether a case can be transferred to them. The Centre will also take up the issue of setting up special courts for trial of scheduled offences cases in states.