Centre sends 6,000 paramilitary personnel to Naxal-hit states
New Delhi: In the wake of unabated violence by Naxals, more than 6,000 additional central paramilitary personnel have been sent to Maoist-hit states to beef up security and ensure peace during the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The forces are in addition to the 90,000 central security personnel currently engaged in anti-Naxal operations in nine states — Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Official sources said the additional forces have been sent mainly to Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Bihar. The decision has come after the Maoist killed 15 security personnel and a civilian in an ambush in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district. Apart from those engaged in the fight against the red rebels, the home ministry is also making available around two lakh central paramilitary personnel to ensure peaceful polling across the country. The polling for the nine-phased general election will commence on 7 April.
The Centre has identified 33 districts in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Odisha, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh as highly sensitive as the highest number of violent incidents involving Maoists were reported in Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and 2009 and assembly polls in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013 in these districts.
Telecom panel to discuss tower installation in Naxal areas by March-end
The Telecom Commission, an inter-ministerial panel, is likely to meet at the end of March to discuss the issue of installing mobile towers in naxal-affected areas in nine states. “The DoT committee studying the subject is expected to submit its report next week. The Telecom Commission should probably meet in last week of this month,” a Department of Telecommunications (DoT) official told PTI. http://gadgets.ndtv.com/telecom/news/telecom-panel-to-discuss-tower-installation-in-naxal-areas-by-march-end-497022
Maoist consumes poison while being taken to police station
A Maoist allegedly consumed poison while being taken to the police station by a police team in Chhattigarh’s Maoist-hit Kanker district here today. The incident took place in Antagarh region this afternoon after arrested Maoist cadre Jagesh Yadav asked for permission to attend the nature’s call, Antagarh Sub-Divisional Officer of Police (SDOP) Daulat Ram Porte told PTI. An accused in several cases of Maoist-related incidents, Jogesh was arrested from his native place Siksod, after which he was being taken to Antagarh police station, the SDOP said.
On the way, Jogesh requested policemen to stop since he wanted to go to the toilet. However, as soon as the police stopped the vehicle, he consumed some poisonous substance after moving some distance away from the police vehicles, he said. He was taken to a hospital in Antagarh and after primary treatment before being shifted to Kanker where his condition is said to be critical, he said. According to the SDOP, the accused had kept a poisonous substance hidden inside his clothes.
Maoists Renew Poll Boycott Call in Agency
After recently making a hit-list of people to be targeted during the elections, the Maoists on Monday renewed their call for boycott of polls, including those for MPTCs and ZPTCs in the agency pockets, throwing the aspirants into a state of uncertainty and panic. The Reds have even released letters and palmphlets to convey their message. The call, which comes weeks after the killing of Karla Sinderi, the sarpanch of Balapam panchayat of Chintapalle mandal, had instilled fear among the prospective contestants in the Maoist-dominated areas, especially in Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram districts.
The Balapam sarpanch was allegedly hacked to death by Maoists for contesting the panchayat polls ignoring their warning. Several MPTC and ZPTC aspirants in the agency areas of both the districts are now said to be not coming forward to file their nominations. In the latest letter addressed to the tribals of the North Andhra region, the Maoists called upon them not to contest the polls nor support anyone doing so.
The rebels have also reportedly been using their informer network in the tribal areas to convey their threats. Admitting that the Maoists of the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC) are still active in Visakhapatnam district and along the Andhra Odisha Border (AOB), the police have also acknowledged the poll boycott call issued by the reds. The police have already deployed special forces — counter-action teams, central paramilitary forces and AP Special Police — in the agency pockets in anticipation of Maoist strikes during the polls. About 130 people on the Maoist hit-list have been identified and alerted to be more cautious during the elections.
Police procure four ATVs for anti-Maoist operations
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Against the backdrop of the decision to equip themselves with the state-of-the-art technology — especially in the wake of Maoist threat — the Kerala police have added four Polaris all-terrain off-road vehicles (ATVs) to their armoury. The ATVs will be under the control of IG (Kannur range) Suresh Rajpurohit. He is also heading the anti-Maoist operations in the northern districts of Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode (rural) and Malappuram. “The ATVs have been purchased specifically for carrying out anti-Maoist operations.
The police department is also planning to organize a demonstration for people regarding the performance of the vehicles at a beach in Thiruvananthapuram,” said state police chief K S Balasubrahmanian. Sources said that while three of the vehicles will be transported to Kannur at the earliest, one will be retained here for a short period. The ATVs, fitted with large tyres, can be used for climbing difficult terrains. It can also be used for beach patrolling. The six-seater vehicle, which costs Rs 18 lakh each, will be used for patrolling in forest terrains, where Maoist threat is looming large. “The vehicles are powerful enough even to pull a heavy load attached to it. It can cruise to a speed of 100 km per hour in just five seconds,” police sources said.
As many as 12 drivers from the police department have been trained by the company authorities to familiarize them with the new vehicle. The government in April 2013 had sanctioned Rs 11.5 crore for purchasing several communication, protective equipment; weapons; vehicles and anti-sabotage equipment. Police have also acquired equipment including satellite phones, portable generators, sniper rifles, range finders, bullet-proof vests, combat body armours, bomb suppression blankets, deep search or underground detectors as part of the procurement in connection with the anti-Maoist operations.
Sixteen four-wheel drive vehicles have also been purchased and it will be given to 16 police stations, which are vulnerable to Maoist attacks. Meanwhile, fortification of select police stations in Maoist inflicted areas has not yet begun. Police cite unavailability of funds for not starting the work instructed by the government to be carried out on a war-footing in November. This includes setting up LMG firing points, constructing boundary walls, setting up generator facilities, and fortifying stations with sand bags.
Fear pervades Sunabeda in Odisha as polls near
Voters in this sanctuary area in Odisha have been caught in a violent conflict between security forces and Left-wing extremists
In Sunabeda, they are caught in the crossfire. On one side are the security forces and on the other, the Maoists. Caught in between, voters in the remote villages of the Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary area in the Nuapada Assembly constituency are apprehensive about exercising their franchise in the April 10 elections. The Nuapada district administration finds the conduct of the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls here challenging, with the difficult terrain along the Chhattisgarh border posing one hurdle more.
The Communist Party of India (Maoist) has not called for an election boycott in the area. But the people fear for their lives — many are identified as supporters of either the security forces or the rebels. “Not long ago, forest officials used to harass people. Later, Maoists and security forces replaced those officials. We have been living under suppression for years. We do not have much expectation from this election,” Biju Jhakar of Sanbeheli village says. In January, the people of Sunabeda, Gatibeda, Koked and Janpani inside the sanctuary, aided by security forces, dared the Maoists to enter their villages, vowing to confront them with bows and arrows. But in the Soseng gram panchayat limits, certain sections have been branded as rebel sympathisers and security forces closely monitor their movements.
As the elections near, these villagers find themselves in a tricky situation. Prior to the announcement of the elections, the Nuapada divisional committee of the CPI(Maoists) placed seven persons from the sanctuary area on its hit list. The Maoists warned officials against laying roads inside the sanctuary under the Integrated Action Plan scheme. The construction of roads could become a flashpoint, with work on six road projects and culverts going on in the forests.