Maoist bandh hits life in Odisha district
BHUBANESWAR, OCT 5, 2013, DHNS: Normal life was hit on Saturday in Odisha’s Maoist-infested Malkangiri district because of a bandh by extremists operating in the area. The bandh call was given to protest against the killing of 13 of their cadres in a recent police encounter in the same backward tribal-dominated district. People, particularly those who were to travel to different areas from the district headquarters town of Malkangiri had a tough time as the passenger buses were off the road. The strike, however, was by and large violence-free.
On the eve of the bandh, Poonam Chand, a prominent member of the Malkangiri divisional committee of the CPI(Maoists), had issued an audio tape to the local media appealing to the people to cooperate with them during the bandh. In the tape, she had also warned that the Maoist organisation will take revenge on the police for the encounter . The local police and security forces deployed in the district for anti-Maoist drive, intensified combing operations in view of the bandh call.
Bastar aftermath: Aerial surveillance during poll campaign in Chhattisgarh, says DGP
RAIPUR: Aerial surveillance during campaigning and polling will be part of the massive security umbrella to be thrown over the Maoist areas going to the first phase of polling in Chhattisgarh in the wake of Naxalite ambush on a Congress convoy that killed frontline Congress on May 25. A sense of fear is palpable in entire Bastar region and in some parts of Rajnandgaon, which are going to polls in the first phase on November 11, after the rebels for the first time targeted a political event in Bastar. Maoists are hyper-active in all the seven districts of tribal Bastar region and they have a strong presence in some pockets of Rajnandgaon, close to the inter-state border with Gadchiroli in neighbouring Maharashtra.
Director General of state police Ramniwas told TOI “There will aerial surveillance during campaigning and even on the polling day. But aerial surveillance has its own limitations and one can’t solely depend on it.” “We are not leaving anything to chance. Maoist attack on Congress convoy has definitely caused a sense of fear among the people”, he admitted adding that these areas have a history of Maoist trouble during every election. “Security forces also anticipate such threats as the Maoists do not want democratic process to go smoothly and they try to create trouble during elections. We are geared up to handle such situation and have planned strategies accordingly”, he added.
To a question about the requirement of central para-military forces, the DGP said the state already have about 60,000 security personnel drawn from Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tiebtan Border Police (ITBP) besides Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) and others. “Since these forces have been deployed in specific areas in different parts of the state, we have suggested the Election Commission for deployment of additional 1200 companies during polling”.
“We already had a series of meetings with the Election Commission (EC) and the state administration to impress upon them about the requirement of para-military forces. We hope that the state would get 1000 companies of forces”, he added. During the 2008 assembly polls, Ramniwas said, the state had sought 850 companies of para-military forces but the requirement would be much more this time in the wake of recent incidents of Maoist attacks and encounters with the rebels in the tribal areas. Asked about providing security to individual candidate, Ramniwas said that depending upon the sensitivity of the area and threat perception, the scale of security would be decided.
Similarly security at the polling booths would also vary on the basis of requirement. While a polling booth in Bastar’s could have more than 1000 men, Raipur’s booth would hardly have 500,” he said. However, the DGP hastened to add that “each candidate and others participating in electioneering are supposed to behave responsibly towards self-security. “The report of Justice Verma Commission after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, suggests the VIPs and VVIPs to be equally responsible for self-security. Copy of the report is being circulated in all the departments and would be forwarded to the candidates once, their names are declared”, he added.
DGP said all candidates and citizens would be advised to remain alert and to get in touch with the police immediately in case of emergency or even in case of getting any information indicating the possibility of an untoward incident. “All the phone numbers and email ids would be circulated across the state for the public in a day or two so that they may contact security forces at any given point of time”, he added.