Day after attack, NIA takes over probe
National Investigation Agency (NIA) suspects the involvement of 28 CPI(Maoist) cadres — who formed the inner cordon during an attack on a Congress convoy in May last year — in Tuesday’s attack in which 15 security men were killed. Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has ordered transfer of the probe into Tuesday’s attack to NIA, which has sent a team to Chhattisgarh. A Home Ministry team that visited the state along with Shinde on Wednesday said there were lapses on part of security forces in following standard operating procedure (SoP). A senior Home Ministry official said there were specific inputs about movement of Naxals from state and central intelligence agencies.
Naxals planned bigger attack, claims report
New Delhi: Tuesday’s lethal Naxal attack in which 16 persons were killed in Jiram Ghati in Bastar could have been much worse as the Maoists adopted a new modus operandi this time around of launching simultaneous attacks on security forces at multiple locations. The attacks were to be carried out at three locations at the same time at Jiram Ghati and police camps in Burkapal and Dornapal. Fortunately, due to the lack of complete co-ordination between the different Naxal groups, the simultaneous attacks could not be carried out. The police camps in Burkapal and Dornapal were hit only in the evening. These attacks were not very lethal.
These details have been elaborated in a Situation Report submitted by the IB to home minister on Wednesday. According to the report, the attack was part of a meticulous planning that took about a month to strategise as is revealed by the fact that the Naxals had cordoned off nearly a kilometre wide area to inflict maximum damage. “It seems the thick vegetation on both sides of the NH 30 in which the Naxals were hiding was allowed to grow deliberately to provide cover. Thus, the Naxals managed to fire on the security personnel from very close range. Fortunately about a dozen IEDs could not detonate,” the report states. It also said that women maoists played a crucial role in the operation.
Govt fears big attacks in Bihar, Jharkhand
NEW DELHI: Despite a massive attack in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday, the anti-Naxal establishment is more worried about Maoist attacks in Bihar and Jharkhand in the coming elections. Ministry of home affairs (MHA) is more concerned about polls in these two states allegedly due to the reluctance on part of the state governments in Bihar and Jharkhand to tame Naxals ahead of general elections. Chhattisgarh has appeared relatively more committed to that end, sources said. MHA even shot off letters to the two governments in the past few months indicating lack of intent on their part to deal with the Naxal menace as there was evidence of the situation having worsened in the past six months.
Security forces have faced serious reverses in both states and anti-Naxal operations have almost died down as elections approach, said sources. In Jharkhand, sources said, following the formation of a new government, a series of transfers has affected security, and state police has virtually pulled out of anti-Naxal operations. The state government has failed to even release the Rs 16.5 crore granted to the state for anti-Naxal operations to the executing agency.
This is in the face of IB inputs about Maoists having “identified leaders belonging to Congress, BJP and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha for targeting.” The input says, “Plans include targeting of vehicles engaged in electioneering, selective elimination and abduction of political leaders, besides ambushing police and security force teams.” “Only central forces are conducting operations in these two states at the moment. During central rule, forces almost pushed Maoists to the edge in Jharkhand with state leader Arvindji seriously cornered. All that ground has been lost now,” said an MHA official.
The year 2013 saw Bihar as the only state that registered an increase in Naxal violence. In December home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde shot off a letter to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar asking the state to change its strategy against the Naxals and have relook at its strategy. The letter even chided the state for a breakdown in coordination of the state police and CRPF even as it called the state an easy ground for snatching weapons. A similar letter sent to Jharkhand in January says: “The absence of a pro-active intent and action on part of the district superintendents of police is a cause for concern. Further, Jharkhand does not have a credible and institutionalised regime for the surrender and rehabilitation of LWE cadres.”
Forces fear Sukma attack may be precursor to more such attacks
NEW DELHI: Tuesday’s Naxal attack on security forces in Chhattisgarh has heralded the beginning of CPI (Maoist)’s annual Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC), posing a big challenge for the security forces in the election season. TCOC, military term for the time for most violent operations of Naxal cadres, is usually noticed in the summer months between February to June and security forces are on their maximum vigil during this period as they anticipate audacious attacks by the Maoists. MHA sources said Tuesday’s attack on security forces is the fourth such attempt by Naxals in TCOC with previous three remaining unsuccessful.
Sources said in the past two days, Naxals have laid traps to ambush security forces in Bijapur (Chhattisgarh), Gadchiroli (Maharashtra) and Khammam (Telangana). In all these places, Naxals allegedly killed a local (alleged by Maoists to be a police informer) by slitting his throat and throwing his body on the road. They then sat there waiting for security forces to arrive in order to ambush them. “In Bijapur there was also an encounter with Maoists with no casualties on either side.
In the other two cases security forces tactically approached the spot from jungle routes and so avoided an ambush,” said an MHA official. The official said the TCOC timing is a big challenge for the security forces as it would put all its strength to disrupt polls. In a February 17 note sent to Naxal-affected states, Intelligence Bureau has warned that “in South Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, the outfit (CPI Maoist) has come to notice for launching its propaganda campaign against elections.
In Sukma district, CPI (Maoist) cadres have been observed threatening villagers against voting”. The input has also elaborated on plans by Maoists to target political leaders and security forces by taking advantage of the thinly spread out forces during parliamentary elections. Keeping this in mind, MHA is also planning a massive counter-offensive against Maoists in the next few weeks with precisions strikes based on intelligence inputs. As a long-term plan, the government is also preparing to infuse more strength into the core Naxal areas of Chhattisgarh as even with around 200 companies deployed in the state, the forces have too much ground to cover given the length and breadth of Bastar forests. “It would take us two years at least to fill that gap if all goes well,” said an MHA official.
IB alerts Maharashtra regarding Sukma-like attack
GADCHIROLI: Security forces in Naxal-affected Gadchiroli and Gondia have stepped up vigilance following an alert from Intelligence Bureau (IB) regarding a possible rebel attack. The red rebels detonated a power IED device in the dense jungles of Sukma in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday, killing 15 security personnel and a civilian. District police of Gadchiroli and Gondia, which had already kick-started their poll preparation and laying down the security plans, are now learnt to have intensified their area domination exercises with special operations along the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh borders.
Gun battle between security forces, Naxals in Jharkhand; 3 injured
Ranchi: Two days after fifteen security men and a civilian were killed in a deadly Maoist ambush in Chhattisgarh, yet another fierce gun battle between the security forces and Naxals was reported from Latehar district of Jharkhand on Thursday. Three security personnel, including a CRPF assistant commander, were injured in the gun battle, which lasted for nearly an hour. Superintendent of Police Michael S Raj told reporters here that apart from the CRPF assistant commander, a Jharkhand Jaguar jawan and another personnel were injured during the nearly hour-long encounter near the forests at Kuku village, a PTI report said.
Post Maoist ambush, Chhattisgarh to seek more forces for polls
RAIPUR: A day after the bloody massacre of 15 security personnel in Sukma, Jagdalpur, law enforcing agencies in Chhattisgarh are a worried lot, as Election Commission (EC) has sanctioned only 50 additional companies of paramilitary forces, to the existing 200 companies, for ensuing Lok Sabha polls in state. The 250-odd companies of paramilitary forces, slated to be deputed for general elections is way less than 564 companies that were deployed during November assembly elections.
The heavy security bandobast during assembly polls had instilled a lot of confidence among voters, who turned out in record numbers despite Maoist threats. According to sources, state authorities had requested EC for 400 additional companies but due to pressure of providing security all across country, only 50 additional companies were sanctioned. When contacted, state’s chief electoral officer Sunil Kujur refused to comment on security arrangements on the plea that he was under instructions from CEC for not disclosing any details. “I will not disclose the number of forces being deployed for this or any of previous elections,” he said. However, when contacted, ADG (Naxal operations) RK Vij admitted that additional forces sanctioned by EC were way less than what they had sought.
Maoist Held in Bihar
A Maoist ultra was arrested today from a village under Nauhatta police station in Bihar’s Rohtas district, Superintendent of Police Vikas Barman said. Acting on a tip off, the police raided a house in Pipardih village and arrested the ultra, identify as Ajay Rajbhar who he had gone to visit his in-laws. Rajbhar was wanted in at least six cases of naxal violence in the district, Barman said.
Special action teams to tackle Maoists: DGP
VISAKHAPATNAM: Andhra Pradesh director general of police B Prasada Rao on Wednesday said that his department would deploy counter action teams in the Maoist affected districts, apart from the regular combing by Greyhounds and special parties, for the protection of the polling staff and the public. Political functionaries in the Agency areas would also be provided necessary security following intelligence inputs about suspected activities by action teams of the CPI Maoists.
Police step up vigil
Garhwa: In the aftermath of Chhattisgarh Maoist ambush incident of Tuesday, Garhwa police sounded high alert, sealing all border areas of the district.
War against Maoists hit by complacency
VARANASI: Non-utilisation of funds has hampered efforts to check Maoist menace in Chandauli, Mirzapur and Sonbhadra. The Chandauli police have failed to utilise even 50% of the fund meant for community policing and strengthening village security committees. Even the fund meant for publicity of government schemes and programmes is lying unutilised.
Maoist Camp Busted during Encounter
Maoists had an encounter with the security forces in Sukhakani Barhahad forest near Dangteka village of the district in the wee hours of Wednesday. The security forces busted a Maoist camp and recovered various materials. The camp was meant to accommodate 15 to 20 cadres and the security forces are on look out for more camps. Combing operation has been intensified and the details will be revealed after the security forces reach Sambalpur.
However, no casualty has been reported. The operation was based on specific intelligence report that the Maoists were trying to develop a corridor which would unite the Left ultras from Jharkhand with their Chattisgarh counterparts. The Maoists also wanted to reorganise their base in the district. The group is led by secretary of Dakshin Chhotanagpur zonal committee and hard core Maoist Samarji alias Anmol Hembram.
He had gone underground in the bordering areas of Jharkhand and Sundargarh for more than a year. He is supported by old Maoist hand Kunu Dehuri of Tampersingha village in Meghpal gram panchayat in Jujumura block of the district and Badal, originally from Jagatsinghpur district. Both of them played a major role in the growth of Maoists in the district. Around 100 Maoists entered the district from Gurundia in Sundargarh district from Saranda forest in bordering Jharkhand which houses the headquarters of eastern regional bureau of the banned Left outfit. They are heavily armed with sophisticated firearms and weapons and the security forces are trying to chase them back to Sundargarh.
Modern Gadgets Seized from Maoist Suspect
Modern communication equipment were recovered from a suspected Maoist near a high school in Kalimela on Wednesday. The BSF personnel recovered ultra high frequency (UHF) hand held radio sets, 60 feet cable, antenna, charger and battery from his possession. Acting on a tip-off, a group of elite Central forces intercepted a man riding a motorcycle with an air bag. The security personnel chased him for some distance but could not nab him. Finally he escaped but the bag carried by him fell on the way.
Sukma incident suggests that police have failed to quell Maoists
The Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday was just a replay of the many that have taken place since the most deadly ambush in April four years ago. For the past few years it is direct attack that has been more resorted to in targeting the security forces. This is particularly worrying because it shows an increase in the number of guerrilla fighters who are ready to take up the cause of bringing about a revolution through violent means.
This has been evident particularly since June 2008, when the red brigade attacked a boat on the Balimera reservoir on the Andhra-Odisha border, and killed 38 elite Greyhound troopers. Twelve CRPF jawans died in landmine blasts in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, in March 2012.
Five injured while removing IED in Jharkhand
One police official, three Central Reserve Police Force personnel, and a villager acting as a Special Police Officer (SPO) suffered injuries when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was triggered while they were trying to remove it in Chatra district in Jharkhand on Thursday afternoon.
Top cops of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha meet over poll security
Jamshedpur: Against the backdrop of the recent Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh, senior police and paramilitary officers of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha states today met to discuss strategies on ensuring free and fair Lok Sabha polls slated next month. Briefing reporters after the meeting, DIG (Kolhan) Md Nihal said the officers of bordering states discussed strategies to ensure peaceful and fair elections and inculcate confidence among the electorate.