Massive combing and search operation underway against Maoists
Munger (Bihar): A day after Maoists shot dead three BMP jawans and injured two others in a running train, security forces today launched a massive combing and search operation to nab the perpetrators reportedly hiding in the forests of Bihar’s Munger district, a police officer said. Security forces comprising CRPF, STF, SAP and the district police have launched combing and search operations in Kanani, Rajasarai, Rishikund forests under Bhimbundh sanctuary since early this morning to nab those who carried out the fatal attack on the five BMP jawans near Jamalpur railway station last evening, Munger’s Superintendent of Police Naveen Chandra Jha said. We have specific inputs about the Maoists hiding in the forests of Bhimbundh sanctuary, he said, adding that ambush teams have been deployed at sensitive points to confront the ultras. The Munger Range DIG, Sudhansu Kumar, was commanding the security forces, while he and SP (Operations) Naveen Kumar were part of the security forces conducting combing operation against the Maoists, Jha said.
BSNL may soon select vendors to set up towers in naxal areas
NEW DELHI: State-owned telecom firm BSNL is likely to open within 10-12 days the financial bids for the tender to set up mobile towers in the states affected by naxal violence. BSNL had floated the tender in August for supply, installation, testing, operation and maintenance for five years of 1,315 sites of 2G GSM network in left wing extremist (LWE) areas of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal.
Top pilots quit Pawan Hans, refuse to fly to Naxal areas
Five top officials of Pawan Hans Helicopters, a public sector undertaking, put in their papers on Saturday to protest against flying to Naxal-hit areas without due security cover. All five helicopter pilots are of the rank of deputy general manager and have been with the organisation for over 15 years.
Their en masse resignation has badly hit the country’s largest helicopter operator. In an email sent to both the CMD and the GM of Pawan Hans, the five pilots who have been serving in Naxal affected areas of Gadchiroli, Chattisgarh and Giridh and Palamu for the last five years, have argued that operating under constant stress is now impossible for them. They have also pointed out that since they have neither any background in military and paramilitary operations nor are their flying machines equipped with guns, they fear they could be sitting ducks.
Despite taking 2 bullets, cop battles Naxals in Gadchiroli
NAGPUR: A head constable, attached to Jarawandi police station in Etapalli tehsil in south Gadchiroli, was hurt in a brief gun battle with Naxals on Friday evening. A profusely bleeding Murari Gedam, 42, who was hit in the left thigh and abdomen, fought until the Naxals retreated. Preliminary inquiry suggested that the Naxals could be part of Kasansur Local Organizational Squad (LOS). Superintendent of police, Gadchiroli, Mohd Suvez Haque said that a combing operation has been launched in the area after the incident.
“A Naxal formation could have come to put up banners or posters or distribute pamphlets for the forthcoming People’s Liberation Guerilla Army week from December 2-8. We were already planning massive operations to flush out the Naxals,” said Haque. He said Gedam is now out of danger. Sources in Gadchiroli police stated that Gedam was part of the combined patrolling team of local cops and paramilitary forces. Four such teams were formed for area domination exercises. Gedam’s team was headed to a village when the Naxals opened fire about a kilometre away from the police station.
Maoists Go On Inflation Control Mode
In normal circumstances, political powers-that-be would have been more than happy. After all, someone was making an effort to keep prices of essential commodities in check, that too in rural areas. But these are far from normal times. A Chhattisgarh-based Maoist committee has issued a price list of 53 commodities to “control inflation” in tribal dominated areas, where their word is law. However, onions are missing from the list, indicating that even the armed rebels have little control over the vegetable which has the potential to make or break elected governments. According to officials, Maoists dominate the forest produce market and merchants give in to their demands fearing reprisal. “They collect protection money from shopkeepers and middlemen to finance terror operations. Earlier, they used to target big contractors but now they are desperate to gain people’s support and money as they are losing ground,” an official said.
An intelligence officer involved in anti-Maoist operations said the latest theatrics of fixing prices is a damage control and face saving strategy after they failed to disrupt recent elections in Chhattisgarh despite assembling armed cadres from other states. However, the officer admitted that administrative vacuum in certain areas of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra was the main reason behind such arm-twisting tactics of the Maoists. The unique price list reveals that Mahua has been priced at `30 per kg while several vegetables are priced between `10 and 15. Staple potato can only be sold for `10. Wheat and rice distributed through PDS by the state government is also missing from the price list. The Maoists have also ensured that products made by tribals command better prices in the market.
Wholesalers will have to pay `30 for one broom made with forest grass. Raw cow skin will command `300, while price for buffalo skin has been fixed at `500. A source said security agencies will look into this latest price circular issued by the Maoists. However, he confirmed that the Centre is already working on a plan to remove middlemen from Naxal areas to crackdown on profiteering on forest produce. He said the move was planned to check the extortion money collected by Maoists. “All Naxalite affected states have been asked to rope in own agencies to buy forest produce directly from the villagers.”
Odisha, Chhattisgarh intensify combing
Odisha and Chhattisgarh police have launched a joint search operation along the border after two security personnel were killed in an ambush by left wing extremists in Nuapada district. The incident occurred on Friday evening when 12 bike-borne security personnel were returning to their base camp in Sunabeda forest. However, two personnel – Debendra Dharua of District Voluntary Force and Prakash Rout, a special police officer – lagged behind. A group of naxalites took advantage of the situation and ambushed the party at Dhekunpani village.
“Our men fought valiantly. The two persons, however, sustained grievous bullet injuries. We don’t have any information about casualties on the part of naxalites,” said Uma Shankar Das, Nuapada Superintendent of Police. Naxalites had taken away one AK-47 assault rifle and an INSAS rifle from the force. From early morning on Saturday, personnel of Central Reserve Police Force, Special Operation Group, CoBRA battalion, Nuapada district police and Chhattisgarh police came together and started the combing operation. “We have intensified our search. As of now, we have not come across any group of naxalites inside Sunabeda forest,” said Mr. Das.
The incident took place a couple of days after villagers in Nuapada announced their plan to take on naxalites alleging that ultras were killing innocent people by branding them as police informers. Sunabeda forest which separates Odisha and Chhattisgarh has become a safe haven for naxalites during the past few years. Since 2009 when the first death in naxal violence was reported, around 20 people including police and forest personnel, people’s representative and tribal youths have been killed by the extremists.
Jharkhand: Maoist Attempt to Blow Up Bridge Foiled
The security personnel today foiled ultra outfit CPI (Maoists)’s attempt to blow up a road bridge and recovered eight detonators from under a bridge in the Naxal-affected Palamau district, police said. Acting on a tip-off, the security personnel comprising of District Armed Police rushed to the spot near Pipra village and recovered the explosives kept under the bridge in a polythene bag, said Superintendent of Police Nagrendra Kumar Singh. The bridge was situated on National Highway 75 and the ultras wanted to blow it up, he claimed. Meanwhile, the security personnel launched a combing operation in the area to trace the ultras.
Three Suspected Red Rebels Held
Jeypore: Three suspected Maoists were arrested by Raigarh police from the bordering Jhunkipar village under Menapur divisional committee of Chhattisgarh. On a tip off, police raided the areas and nabbed the trio. Two revolvers, five cartridges and electrical wires were seized from their possession. Police are interrogating them for their alleged involvement in different Maoist-related cases. In another incident, security forces found two country-made guns and gun making materials, hidden in Litiput forest.
Mullappally offers help to tackle Maoist threat
Union Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran has said that the Union Home Ministry will provide all assistance to tackle the Maoist threat in the State. He was talking to presspersons at Mananthavady in the district on Saturday. Mr. Ramachandran said he had discussed the issue with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and promised all assistance from the Union Ministry in this regard.
A senior official of the Union Home Ministry had discussed the issue with the Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and would hold talks with the State Home Department in the coming days, Mr. Ramachandran said. Joint operation The State government was yet to seek a joint combing operation of the Central forces and the Thunderbolt commandos, he said. The Karnataka government had issued a shoot-at-sight order to tackle the Maoist menace, but the Kerala government was yet to issue such an order, Mr. Ramachandran said. Such an order would be executed by the Kerala government, if necessary, he said.