Naxals plan to target leaders during rallies: MHA
The Union Home Ministry has sounded an alert to governments in Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. Aiming to disrupt the forthcoming general elections, the Naxals plan extensive mining in their strongholds to target political leaders and security forces as a bounce-back strategy after their failure to execute poll-boycott plans in Chhattisgarh last November, according to an alert sounded by the Union Home Ministry.
The advisory documents purported revelations by a leader of the Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee indicating that the outfit plans to mine areas in the Narayanpatna, Bandhugaon and Laxmipur areas of Odisha. A two-pronged strategy devised by the Jharkhand Regional Committee of the CPI (Maoist) has come to light following the seizure of a document by security forces in the Jamui area of Bihar on February 2. Titled “Chunao Bahishkar (Boycott Elections)”, the paper purportedly outlines the plan to disrupt the Lok Sabha polls in certain districts of Bihar and Jharkhand through boycott campaigns coupled with attacks targeting security forces and political leaders, especially those belonging to the Congress, BJP and the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha.
The seized document reveals that the Naxal cadres have been instructed to arrange explosives to carry out strikes which may be in the form of targeting vehicles used in election campaigns, abducting or eliminating political leaders and ambushing security personnel. The outfit, at the political level, has formed a “Vote Bahishkar Committee” through which it aims to organise processions and cultural programmes to instigate inhabitants in the far-flung areas by raking up issues such as displacement, inflation and unemployment, besides the camps set up for the armed forces.
Intelligence agencies have already recorded instances of threats being issued to villagers in the South Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, whereas similar campaigns have been launched in the other naxal strongholds, including those located in Andhra Pradesh. Besides, alleged naxal leader Gudsa Usendi – who surrendered before the Andhra Police on January 7 – has also purportedly disclosed that plans are afoot to take advantage of the rather thin and diffused deployment of security personnel during the elections.
Maoists may repeat Darbha-like attack on politicians:
MHA alert to 5 states Ahead of Lok Sabha elections, Maoists have identified political leaders to be targeted and are hatching a plot to kidnap them, said a Home Ministry alert sent to Naxal affected Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. The threat perception was based on documents seized from Maoists during a raid early this month in Jharkhand, said officials. Security forces claimed to have seized documents titled “Chunao Bahiskar”, purportedly issued by the CPI (Maoist) planning a two-pronged strategy to disrupt elections. Alarm bells are ringing in the security establishment after seizure of documents as plans to target Congress and BJP leaders on the lines of the May 25 Darbha Ghati attack, in which local Congress leaders had died in Chhattisgarh. The advisory quoted revelations by surrendered Naxal leader Gudsa Usendi.
“The effort of the CPI (Maoist) has to be seen against the backdrop of its ‘failure’ to execute its poll boycott plans during the Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh. Naxals may target vehicles engaged in electioneering, selective elimination and abduction of political leaders,” states the MHA letter sent to states.
As per the seizures, CPI (Maoists) would organise meetings, rallies, torch-light processions and cultural events to spread the poll-boycott message besides taking disciplinary action against its cadres found electioneering. The Home Ministry has asked states “to conduct a thorough review of polling stations that witnessed violence in the previous elections besides stepping up anti-Naxal operations.”
25kg IED recovered in Jharkhand
New Delhi, Feb 19 (PTI) Security forces today seized a 25-kg IED during an anti-Naxal operation in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum district. CRPF personnel were combing the jungles of Kolotopo-Chotanagra in the district when they detected a large bomb placed inside a aluminium can. The 25kg Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was later defused, a senior official here said.
Hazaribag police start preparations
HAZARIBAG: The district police department on Tuesday began the process of identifying sensitive polling areas and gauging Maoist activities in Hazaribag for the upcoming Lok Sabha election. The move comes on the heels of a directive issued by the Election Commission. SP Manoj Kaushik on Tuesday convened a high-level meeting with DSPs, circle inspectors, OCs and other officials and asked them to visit booths and submit their report to the district police headquarters within a week.
The list of sensitive areas will be sent to the Election Commission for planning deployment of security personnel and central force. Kaushik directed police officials to find out the present status of extremist problem in Hazaribag district. A recent intelligence report submitted to EC showed Khunti, Gumla, Giridih, Latehar and Palamu as worst Maoist-affected places in Jharkhand.
Maoists operating from safe houses?
Repeated sighting of armed men in tribal colonies in Malabar
Suspected Maoists who have repeatedly appeared armed in tribal colonies in the forested areas of North Kerala since mid-2013 could be operating out of safe houses in nearby villages or towns, according to State Police Special Branch officials. They said their assumption was based on an analysis of the location, time, and date of the appearances of a six-member squad in forest settlements in Kozhikode, Kannur, and Wayanad. “Most of the tribal colonies the squad had visited on the pretext of seeking provisions were near roads or population centres. It was unlikely the group, which also included two women activists, had used forest routes to gain access to these localities. So far the police have found no evidence to suggest that the squad had pitched their camp inside the jungle,” an intelligence official said.
The group, which openly carried firearms and wore military fatigues, had distributed pamphlets calling for an armed uprising against the State. “Their recurrent appearance in the colonies seemed to be a tactic to wear the police out and blunt its response. The Maoists also coveted publicity for their political ends,” he said. The armed squad, more seriously, posed a threat to forest officials, mostly unarmed guards and watchers who routinely patrolled the jungle.
On July 27, 2013, three forest guards had reported that an armed group wearing military uniforms had fired a warning shot on spotting them at the Meppadi Adivasi colony near the Chembra peak in Wayanad district. On January 25 this year, forest watchers reported the sighting of a similar group near the Manadi tribal colony in the Kunjoom forest station limits. Forest guards again spotted the group near the Kombara Adivasi colony on February 6, 2014.
Wildlife enforcers said they suspected that the forest fire which ravaged 100 acres of desiccated undergrowth at Mandamala in Wayanad on February 10, 2014, was the handiwork of Maoists. Forest Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan told The Hindu that tackling Maoist presence was primarily a policing issue. The Forest Department’s role was limited to supporting the police. The security of forest officials was a matter of serious concern. He said he had recently attended a top-level meeting to address the issue. The Chief Minister and the Home Minister were also present. Senior police officers said the use of intrusion detection devices such as infra-red and heat triggered camera traps to detect the presence of “armed non-State actors” in the State’s forests were contemplated, but the effectiveness of such surveillance devices in a jungle environment was questionable.
The State police, on its part, wanted to avoid a fire-fight with the Maoists. But they were determined to deny the squad a base in Kerala. The government has contemplated various options, including long-term deployment of Central paramilitary forces experienced in combating Maoists and extending the neighbourhood watch scheme to forest settlements. It has also made a budgetary allocation for raising a commando battalion for jungle operations.
Three Maoist arms suppliers held in Bihar
Three persons accused of supplying arms to Maoists were arrested today from Bihar’s Munger district. An Insas rifles, which was looted from the police, besides arms and ammunition, were seized from their possession, IG (Operations) Amit Kumar said here. The arrested persons were identified as Mangal Khan Vardhe, Md. Laddu and Nandlal Mandal, all residents of the district, he said.