Naxals can escalate attacks during poll season: Report
The senior security official has also said that the Naxals are trying to prove their muscle during the upcoming general elections after their previous appeals to boycott the Chhattisgarh assembly elections failed last year. Meanwhile, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has announced that the government would leave no stones unturned in dealing strictly with Naxal terror. The Home Ministry on 17th February had sent letters to director generals and chief secretaries of the nine Naxal-hit states, alerting them about possible terror attacks before the upcoming elections.
The nine Naxal-hit states include Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The security agencies on February 2 had obtained documents from Jamui district in Bihar. The documents had a blue print of the Naxal plan to boycott upcoming elections. In one of the documents titled ‘Election Boycott’, all the regional commanders of the Naxals were ordered to increase attacks on security forces and political leaders, which would result in a situation of complete chaos, ultimately stopping people from reaching polling stations out of fear.
Over 12,000 killed in Naxal violence in past 20 years
Over 12,000 people, including security force personnel, have been killed by Naxals in nine Left Wing Extremism-hit states in the past 20 years. Of the total 12,183 people killed, 9,471 were civilians and 2,712 central and state security force personnel, the Home Ministry said in reply to an RTI query. The killings were reported in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
About 468 people were killed by Naxals in 1993, 376 in 1994, 396 in 1995, 541 in 1996, 583 in 1997, 489 in 1998, 595 in 1999, 548 in 2000, 564 in 2001, 481 in 2002 and 515 in 2003 in these nine states, it said. As many as 565 people lost their lives due to Naxal violence in 2004, 659 in 2005, 678 in 2006, 691 in 2007, 717 in 2008, 908 in 2009 and a huge 1,005 during 2010, the Home Ministry said. Besides, 608 people (466 civilians and 142 security force personnel), were killed in the nine states by Naxals in 2011, 415 (301 civilians and 114 security force personnel) in 2012 and 381 (267 civilians and 114 security force personnel) between January and December 15, last year, it said.
Maoists had on Tuesday ambushed a security patrol killing 16 people, including 11 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, in Naxal-hit Sukma district of Chhattisgarh. The attack was carried out barely five km from the area where top Congress leaders of Chhattisgarh were killed in a Maoist attack in May last year. Mahendra Karma, who started anti-Naxal movement Salwa Judum, Nand Kumar Patel, Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee chief and his son Dinesh were among 25 others who were killed in the attack carried out by Naxals on May 25, 2013 in Darbha Valley of the state.
Veteran Congress leader Vidya Charan Shukla, who was also injured in the attack, later succumbed to his injuries in a Gurgaon hospital. As many as 75 CRPF personnel and a Chhattisgarh Police official were killed in a Naxal attack in Dantewada district on April 6, 2010. A total of 90 battalions (90,000 men) of central security force personnel and one Indian Reserve Naga Battalion (1,000 personnel) have been deployed for anti-Naxal operations in the nine Naxal-hit states, the reply said.
CPI(M) condemns killing of security personnel in Naxal attack
NEW DELHI: CPI(M) today condemned the killing of 15 security personnel and a civilian in a Naxal ambush in Chhattisgarh, saying it highlighted the “inadequacies” of the security strategy. “This brazen ambush in a region which has seen repeated Maoist attacks highlights the inadequacies of the security strategy meant to deal with the Maoist violence,” the party Politburo said in a statement here.
Naxal threat looming in poll-bound Andhra Pradesh, but cops alert: DGP
HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh has sought a 20 per cent increase in deployment of Central paramilitary forces over 2009 elections for the peaceful conduct of simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls to thwart Naxal bid to infiltrate and disrupt the electoral process. “Our main endeavour is to arrest the infiltration of Maoist dalams (squads) from across the bordering states of Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra into Andhra Pradesh…
Attack on CRPF part of Naxal call for poll boycott: Centre
Killing of 16 security personnel by Naxals in Chhattisgarh today seem to have been a well coordinated plan of CPI-Maoist which called for boycott of Lok Sabha polls as well as threatened to target leaders of Congress and BJP. The plan was conveyed to chief secretaries and DGPs of nine Naxal-affected states in two separate letters by the Centre in the past two months. Quoting Intelligence inputs, the Home Ministry had said that during a raid, security forces recovered from a Maoist hideout a document called ‘Chunao Bahiskar’ (election boycott) which spelt out details of their two-pronged strategy to disrupt forthcoming Parliamentary elections. The CPI (Maoist) plans to organise meetings, rallies, torch-light processions and cultural programmes to spread the message of poll boycott besides taking disciplinary action against its own cadres found indulging in electioneering.
“On the military front, the outfit plans to target political leaders and security forces. It has directed its cadres to make all logistic arrangements, including collecting explosives for the proposed acts of violence. “It has particularly identified leaders belonging to Congress, BJP and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha for targeting. Plans include targeting of vehicles engaged in electioneering, selective elimination and abduction of political leaders besides ambushing police and security force teams,” one of the letters said. Besides, a surrendered Naxal leader has also disclosed the group’s plans to take advantage of the rather thin and dispersed deployment of the security forces during the Lok Sabha polls, it said.
Reds eye political targets
CHINTAPALLI (VISAKHAPATNAM): With poll fever catching on, the Andhra Orissa Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC) has put in place as many as eight action teams to go after high-profile targets, including politicians on their hit-list. The Visakha Agency has been put on high alert after four persons suspected of helping these action teams conduct reconnaissance missions were taken into custody at the ZP Guest House by the police on Tuesday. The cops are, however, not revealing the particulars of the arrested persons. The Reds have already scored a hit with the slaying of the sarpanch of Balapam panchayat in Chintapalli mandal of Visakha agency last month.
The deceased was a former militia commander, who was allegedly acting as a police informer. He has contested the panchayat elections and got elected unanimously despite the Maoist call for a poll boycott. It is the general practice of the Maoists to give a boycott call before every election and indulge in violence. The police bosses suspect that this time too the Naxalites have drawn up a plan to create terror among the people. Even four days before the Balapam sarpanch murder, the Visakha rural cops had got inputs from state intelligence wing higher-ups that Maoists were planning to carry out strikes before the elections to terrorize voters in the Agency areas.
The Additional DGP (intelligence) had alerted the Visakha district cops that an action team led by Commander Naveen had been formed to eliminate persons in their hit-list, sources said. Recent inputs now indicate that the Maoists are in a desperate mood to make their presence felt in the Agency area, for which they may resort to violence. Naveen, who was the Korukonda area committee commander, has been conducting recce missions in the Agency with intelligence cops gathering information about his movement at Meduru, Chintapalli, G Madugula and other places in the Visakha agency a couple of weeks ago.
Another action team headed by Anand has been conducting recce at Paderu, Pedabayalu, G Madugula areas, sources said. According to sources, the red guerillas had conducted meetings at Korukonda on February 18 and at Cheruvuru on February 20 and took a decision to show their presence in the Agency area once again by carrying out strikes. After learning of this, the cops warned all the political leaders, in particular ruling party representatives and those on the Naxalite hit-list, to take precautionary measures and go to safer places for the time being.
They also asked all persons in the Maoist hit-list to keep them posted about their whereabouts for safety reasons. Cops suspect that the Naxalites may would strike once again in the Agency in the next couple of weeks as they have been targeting Soma Raju, the brother of deceased Balapam sarpanch Sinderi Karla, Prem Singh and Sobhan, all from Rallagedda in Balapam Panchayat, as well as Gemmeli Sanjeeva Rao of Veeravaram, besides some other targets in the Agency.
Visakha Rural SP Vikram Jeet Duggal told TOI that the banned outfit may strike at any time as the cops are busy in preparing for elections. “We have information about the action teams and the movement of suspected persons in some of the vulnerable areas of the Agency. We are taking all the necessary precautions,” he said. Chintapalli DSP Ashok Kumar said they have been conducting Nakabandi and vehicle checks in various parts of Chintapalli, at interstate borders and inter-district borders as well. “We have intensified our checks at various shandies (weekly markets) and main junctions in the Agency also,” he added.
Odisha seeks 25 CPMF companies, three choppers for polls
Bhubaneswar: In the wake of an ambush by Maoists in neighbouring Chhattisgarh, Odisha Chief Electoral Officer, on Tuesday sought an extra 25 companies of para-military force and three helicopters for free and fair elections in Naxalite-hit areas. “We have sought 25 more companies of CPMF and three choppers,” Additional CEO NK Nayak said.
A company comprises around 100 personnel. Sources in home department said an alert has been issued in all the bordering districts to ensure that no influx of rebels takes place after the Chhattisgarh incident. Though the state has 89 companies of CPMF, it requires an additional 25 companies as many districts, mainly bordering Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, are severely hit by Naxalite menace. Officials feel that choppers are essential due to inaccessibility and remoteness of areas in districts like Malkangiri, Koraput, Bolangir, Nuaparra, Kalahandi, Rayagada and Gajapati districts.
There is no mobile network in many places due to hilly terrain which impeded officials from conducting election works. Senior officials apprehend that the red rebels might sneak into Odisha as combing operations have been intensified on the other side of the border. “Division of Andhra Pradesh is also another problem for Odisha. The rebels may take advantage of that situation,” said Odisha’s former Director General of Police Gopal Nanda.
Centre pushes CoBRA and STF to revenge Maoist killing
Rattled by the Maoists attack in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, the Centre has asked the CRPF and state police to press in units of CoBRA (commando battalion for resolute action) and special task force (STF) to inflict casualties on the adversary, especially on the unit involved in the attack.
In addition, the Centre has already asked the national technical research organisation (NTRO) to press UAVs in the region to get possible leads of the Maoists involved in the attack through aerial imagery. Late in the evening, after releasing a book ‘The Prime Minister’ by journalist Dr Anil Singh, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who turned up an hour late at the venue as he was “held back at the PMO”, said, “We will ruthlessly stamp out the Maoist menace.”
Intel inputs failed to prevent Maoist strike
An alert was communicated to the authorities in Bastar region on three specific occasions this month, a senior officer of the special intelligence bureau (SIB) has claimed. “On March 6, 8 and 10, we sent alerts to the CRPF and all district superintendents of police in south Bastar and communicated that Maoists were moving in from Odisha. Despite this, our people were ambushed. We need to find out how it happened,” DIG (SIB) Dipanshu Kabra told Hindustan Times. He said the SIB had “concrete inputs” from villagers about the presence of Maoists in the region. “It is for this reason that the Sukma district SP decided to enhance the strength of forces to be deployed for road opening operation on Tuesday,” he stated.
State police officer Subhash Chand, who led the road-opening operation, was among those killed. Soon after the ambush, massive reinforcements — comprising the special task force (STF) and Chhattisgarh armed forces (CAF) personnel — were rushed to the nearby forested terrain. Their mandate was to intercept the rebels who had carried out the attack. Senior police officials view the attack as “astutely planned” by the Left-wing extremists. “The CPI (Maoists) carried out their tactical counter-offensive campaign (TCOC) as they were desperate to regain their military strength and infuse confidence among their cadre. This attack was also aimed at denting the morale of security forces,” Kabra said.
AP to deploy Grey Hounds to prevent Maoist attacks
Following the attack on a CRPF search party by Maoists in neighbouring Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh Police said the elite Grey Hounds strike force will be deployed in the bordering areas with Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. The state is facing a four layered election programme from March 30 to May 7. Explaining the need for the deployment, DGP B Prasada Rao told reporters here that a meeting with the Superintendents of Police from Telangana and Coastal AP districts was held and the situation was discussed.
New strategies to deal with the Maoist attacks have been given to the officers. “There could be efforts by the Maoists to stop the process of elections in desperation. We will have to stop the Maoist action teams,” he said, adding that so far the police have not found any movement of Dalams, but are worried that the Maoists could also target politicians and movement of ballot boxes or EVMs. “For this purpose we are also deploying helicopters. They will be stationed at Visakhapatnam, Bhadrachalam and Khammam,” he added.
Exchange of fire between police, Maoists
An exchange of fire took place between the police and the Maoists inside the Meghpal reserve forest under Jujumara block in Sambalpur district this morning, police sources said. According to the sources, a platoon of armed police force began combing operation inside the forest this morning following information that a group of Maoists have set up a camp inside the forest.
They were joined by another platoon of police from Jarang camp inside the forest. However, when the police closed in on the camp the Maoists opened fire and that led to an exchange of fire, the sources said, adding, although firing had stopped, combing operation continuing till last reports came in.
Malkangiri on alert post-Chhattisgarh attack
KORAPUT: Security forces are on high alert in Malkangiri, which shares boundary with Chhattisgarh, to stop possible influx of Maoists. This follows lethal Red attack on a convoy of security personnel at Tongpal ghati in the neighbouring district on Tuesday. Police said the place of incident is 50 km from last police outpost of Malkangiri and 10 km from border under Mathili police limits. Security forces for counter-insurgency operations have been deployed at Mathili.
“We are unaware of ultras’ retreat plan. But, our forces have intensified vigil as Maoists may try to sneak into Odisha to avoid police operation in Chhattisgarh. A red alert has been sounded and we are not leaving anything to chance,” said SP (Malkangiri) Akhileswar Singh.