Naxals focusing on strengthening cadre in Bastar
Naxals have focused more on strengthening their cadres instead of consolidating base in the Bastar region comprising seven districts of Kanker, Kondagaon, Bastar, Narayanpur, Bijapur, Dantewada and Sukma this year, according to experts. Spread around 40,000 sq km, tribal-dominated Bastar has witnessed a string of deadly attacks in past 10 years that has left about 2093 people including 710 security personnel dead, but the well-planned May 25 attack on the Congress convoy reflected a new strategy of rebels who were apparently enraged over frequent visits of politicians to their stronghold.
The current phase is also marked by a conscious attempt to militarise the armed component of the party – the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA)- with a view to launch attacks on the state apparatus, they said. Like every year in the recent past, the human loss due to Naxal-related incidents in Chhattisgarh reached close to the three digit mark in 2013. Till November, 97 people including 41 security personnel, two assistant constables, a homeguard and 53 civilians, were killed in Naxal-related incidents, as per official statistics. In 2012, the causalities were 108 including 41 security personnel, four assistant constables, a homeguard and 62 civilians.
On the other hand, 32 left wing guerrillas were killed in 138 encounters between security forces and Maoists this year in comparison to the previous year number of only 37. This year began with a setback for the state police when a court on January 7 acquitted for lack of evidence, all the 10 arrested accused in the 2010 Tadmetla Maoist attack case in which 75 CRPF personnel and a police jawan were killed in Dantewada district. Maoists also attempted to execute a major incident by unleashing a bullet attack on Indian Air Force helicopter, when it was on a casualty evacuation mission in restive Sukma forest.
A wireless operator was injured in the incident. Then April brought success in an anti-insurgency operation when the joint team of security forces from Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh gunned down ten Naxals in Sukma district. With no major Maoist disturbance reported until May first week, security forces were waiting for monsoon as Maoists scale down their activities in the rainy season. Then on May 12, three police personnel were killed in a Naxal attack at the Doordarshan relay centre in Bastar. In response, the security forces intensified their operations and after few days a major incident was reported from Bijapur where eight villagers, including suspected Naxals were killed in a gun-battle between security forces and rebels on May 18 night.
An elite Cobra battalion jawan also succumbed in the incident. This month was yet to see a major strike which occurred on May 25 that prompted the state machinery to immediately revamp its security measures in the Naxal dominated region and review its anti-naxal strategies. Maoists trapped a Congress convoy in Jiram valley stretch of Darbha after triggering a landmine blast and went on a killing spree using rifle and guns. Within an hour, atleast 28 people including PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel, his son Dinesh, senior Congress leader Mahendra Karma, ex-MLA Uday Mudaliyar and other Congressmen and security personnel lay dead in the inhospitable area. Injured in the incident, former Union Minster VC Shukla died at a hospital in Gurgaon later.
The reverberations of the shocking incident were felt well outside India too. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and state-constituted judicial commission are probing the incident. The year also saw another unusual move by Naxals, when they killed journalists in separate incidents in Bastar. Chhattisgarh Police have arrested 400 Naxals and recovered 175 arms from Maoist possession till November 2013.
Besides, 128 landmines were also seized during this period. Also, 27 Naxals have laid their arms before police. According to Professor Girishkant Pandey, Head, Department of Defence Studies in Government Science College, the Maoist base is squeezing due to heavy deployment of security forces in Bastar region connecting restive forests of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. “It seems red ultras are now involved more in recruiting heads particularly in their military wing in this region,” he added. The Naxals are trying hard to induct new recruit by mobilising women and children to join the movement in Dandakaranya region where they are running the anti-state rebellion since 1980s, enlisting support of the large number of impoverished tribals, a senior police official added.
Panel Recommends Higher Budget for Internal Security
The Union Home Ministry has informed the Parliamentary standing Committee on Home Affairs about the budgetary constraints in strengthening country’s law enforcement and security agencies citing the huge budget allocation of China to maintain Internal Security infrastructure. The panel has asked the Centre to consider higher budget allocation for country’s internal security apparatus battling Jehadi terrorism, regional conflict and anti-India forces across the border. The total allocation for India’s internal security in 2013-14 was approximately Rs. 59,241 crore. In its submission to the panel, Home Ministry said India’s internal security budget is one-tenth of China’s budget for internal security.
The neigbouring country spends around 123 billion dollars every year to strengthen its forces and law enforcement agencies. The panel agreed that India is facing internal disturbances on several counts and internal security challenges in India are much more complex than China. “There is a need for long term strategic planning for internal security of the country for which enhancement in the Budget is needed,” the panel recommended.
The committee, headed by BJP leader N Venkaiah Naidu, recommended that allocation for Crime and Criminal Tracking Network Systems (CCTNS) Modernisation of Police forces and Security Related Expenditure should be enhanced to the projected levels so as to improve internal security scenario in the country. The Committee has asked the union home ministry to take up the matter with the Planning Commission and the ministry of finance for enhanced budget allocation.
The Home Ministry is also reviewing shortfall in the major heads of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), Assam Rifles, Intelligence Bureau and National Investigation Agency (NIA) for which additional funds would be required. The Ministry is also looking at proposal for raising special marine police battalion on the pattern of Indian reserve battalion.
Three contractors held for collusion with Maoists
AURANGABAD: Three contractors were arrested on Thursday on charges of collusion with the Maoists from Madanpura-Kasma road under Salaiya police station area in Bihar’s naxal-hit Aurangabad district, a police officer said. Acting on a tip-off, the police intercepted a Bolero jeep and nabbed the three contractors of Power Grid Corporation, while they were on way to pay Rs 75,000 extortion money to the Maoists in lieu of being allowed to go ahead with construction works, superintendent of police (SP) Upendera Kumar Sharma said. A group of armed Maoists tried to foil the contractors arrest by firing on the cops who retaliated and in the ensuring exchange of fire the ultras managed to escape, Sharma added.
Explosives Seized from Maoist Camp
A huge cache of arms and ammunitions and other items was seized from a Maoist camp in Indragarh forest under Raikia police limits during a joint operation by Kandhamal and Ganjam police on Wednesday. Acting on information written in a diary that was recovered from 22-year-old Pratap Pradhan, who had been apprehended by police on charges of extorting money posing as a Maoist on Sunday, police raided the spot and made the seizure. Pradhan died of ill health on Monday. On Wednesday morning, the security personnel launched a combing operation in Indragarh forest and Karada. During the operation, there was an exchange of fire between the police and Maoists, said DIG, Southern Range, Amitav Thakur. Police fired 80 to 90 rounds during the encounter which continued for 30 minutes.
“Around 10 Maoists fired at us and left the camp,” said Ganjam SP Asish Singh who led the operation. No police official was injured in the incident. But the casualty among the Maoists cannot be ruled out, the SP said. Two rifles, 13 detonators, two high power explosives, 15 nine mm bullets, five SLR cartridges, a hand grenade, two land mines, VHF chargers, electric wires, food products, uniforms and literature, vegetable, medicines, syringes, polythene sheets, utensils, 39 CDs and other articles were found at the Maoist camp. The police sources said from primary investigation, it appeared that the camp was set up by Maoists of Ghumusar area.
Maoist arms dump detected in East Godavari forests
Andhra Pradesh police detected a Maoist arms dump in the deep forests of East Godavari district today, near Donkarai under Y Ramavaram police station limits (Rampachodavaram division) during regular combing operations. Officer on Special duty (OSD) Prakash Jadhav told reporters here today that the arms dump contained two country made guns, twelve rounds of ammunition, one generator and a lathe machine of the latest model. It was one of the major arms seizures in recent times, he said.