Two CRPF men killed in Aurangabad Maoist blast
Two jawans of the CRPF were killed Monday afternoon, when they were trying to diffuse a landmine planted by the Maoists in Aurangabad Lok Sabha constituency to disturb the first phase of elections on April 10. Seven other security personnel, including the station house officer of Dhibra police station, were injured in the incident.
One-third of booths in Kandhamal are in Maoist-affected areas
About one-third of the polling booths in Kandhamal district are in the Maoist-affected areas, Southern IG Yashwant Jethwa said today. Informing this at a press briefing following a review meeting with senior district officials here, Jethwa said, apart from the booths where there are perceptions of threat from the Maoist groups, 25 per cent of the remaining booths are sensitive for other reasons.
Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh, CRPF official injured
Maoists attacked a camp of paramilitary forces in insurgency-hit Sukma district in southern Chhattisgarh on Monday injuring a CRPF official. The incident took place at the camp of 150 battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force in the premises of Chintagufa police station early on Monday morning, Sukma Additional Superintendent of Police Neeraj Chandrakar said.
80% booths in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar LS seat categorized as critical
RAIPUR: Nearly 80 per cent of polling booths in the Maoist infested Bastar constituency, which goes to polls in the first phase on April 10, have been categorized as “critical” by the Election Commission. In a departure from its earlier classification of “sensitive” and “hypersensitive” booths, the ECI, in these polls, has used the term “critical” to define the nature of the perceived security threat to the polling stations.
Talking to newsmen here on Monday, Sunil Kujur, CEO, said of the 1797 booths in Bastar, 1407 booths are critical and all steps were being taken to ensure free and fearless polling. He said adequate number of security personnel had been deployed to reassure people about their safety and it is hoped that the polling percentage would be high, as was during the assembly elections. Kujur said 153 polling parties would be deployed through helicopters at various polling stations to ensure safety of the personnel and the material.
He said two air ambulances would also be at the disposal of the EC, from April 9 to 12, to handle any exigencies. Besides, four ambulances with advance life support systems would be stationed in the constituency on the polling day. He said the voting time for the all polling stations in the constituency would be from 7 am to 4 pm. Giving figures for the poll arrangements during the first phase, Kujur said that 58 web cameras and 176 digital/video cameras would be used on the polling day.
Manipur, Maoist claims locking schools
IMPHAL, April 6: The Maoist Communist Party, Manipur today divulged that it was responsible for locking down some schools functioning in Imphal during the past few days. A statement issued by Comrade Nonglen Meitei, secretary Publicity and Propaganda, of the outfit explained the steps was taken following the breach of an agreement by some schools authority which was agreed upon in 2011. It said altogether 12 schools were locked down on the night of April 4 including Tiny Tots, Little Master and Canchipur Catholic School. In an attempt to rectify the matter the schools were approached thrice but some totally failed to co-operate disregarding good gesture, it said.
The outfit was left with no choice but to resort to take some steps however strictly adhering to its stand the outfit deemed it fit to use minimum force like hurling of bomb, threats etc, it continued. If these schools choose to be adamant on their decision the outfit will not hesitate to use force against them, it warned stating that it will not be responsible for any unwanted fall out. The Maoist further warned the Political Party for defying its political protest imposed since April 4.
Maoists still able to disrupt polls in north Telangana
The police and politicians in Andhra Pradesh may dismiss the Maoist threat to elections in the undivided State, but a sense of fear and insecurity permeates the constituencies bordering Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. Though the Maoists have suffered a setback in north Telangana, the red brigade still calls the shots in the border areas of Khammam, agency areas of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and East Godavari. Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam, Visakhapatnam rural and Vizianagaram, on the radar of law-enforcement agencies, have 14 Assembly constituencies.
They may not be a Maoist stronghold as they used to be a decade ago, but heavily armed squads keep darting across the border to strike and scoot before the police move in. Despite the claims of the law-enforcement agencies that they are prepared to take on the Maoists and ensure peaceful elections, tension has been escalating with the rebels issuing a call for poll boycott. “It is true there is some concern, but the situation is not out of control. There could be stray instances of arson or attacks, but they [Maoists] do not have cadres to extend logistical support. They fear getting hit if they venture into our area,” says a senior police officer coordinating anti-extremist operations.
“There will be some tension in the border areas,” says D. Sreedhar Babu, a former Minister in the fray in the Manthani constituency of Karimnagar district. The completion of polling in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra on April 10 is a cause of concern and comfort for the police. The Telangana region will go to polls on April 30 and Seemandhra on May 7, providing ample time for movement of central forces into the border areas. But the Maoists also benefit from the time to regroup themselves in the interregnum, a police officer says. Though the rebels received a severe drubbing in relentless attacks by the police on the top cadres of the rebel party, they have never ceased their efforts to re-establish their Telangana base.
With the bifurcation of the State, the Maoists have intensified efforts to regroup themselves. The North Telangana special zonal committee, which was trying to revive the rebel movement in Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam districts, has been scrapped and in its place a Telangana State committee has been formed, bringing the rest of the districts into its fold. The killing of nine important leaders of the Karimnagar-Khammam-Warangal divisional committee in the Bastar forests last year was a stunning blow dealt by the police to the Maoists.
But the police estimate that more than 120 armed cadres still form part of the new committee, led by Pulluri Prasada Rao, alias Chandranna. Similarly, the Andhra-Orissa border special zonal committee operates in the agency areas of Visakhapatnam Rural, Vizianagaram and East Godavari. The Telangana State committee members are Bandi Prakash (DCS of Adilabad), Bade Chokka Rao (secretary of KKW divisional committee) and Yeruva Shivareddy (DCS of Khammam), the police believe.
Whispers only poll tool in Gadchiroli
In the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra — known as the hottest Maoist-dominated area in Western India — posters, banners and loudspeakers, the essential tools of electioneering, become a rarity. The reason: The CPI (Maoist) has threatened voters and candidates to stay away from the polls and not canvas for any candidates or party through posters and pamphlets. Of the six assembly segments in the Gadchiroli-Chimur constituency, Gadchiroli, Aheri, Armori and Amgaon are Maoist-affected areas.
Gadchiroli has witnessed several killings and abductions during the past elections – both local and national. And now, with less than a week before elections, both leaders and voters seem to be cagey. “how and where will the people exercise their franchise is a challenging question. Nobody wants to take a chance,” said BV Shekhar, a social activist from Allapalli in south Gadchiroli. The terror is such that three Zilla Parishad members of south Gadchiroli, including a woman, Madni Bogami, quit when the left extremists threatened them and their families a couple of years ago.
Bogami’s husband, a senior Congress leader and former Zilla Parishad president of Gadchiroli Malu, was kidnapped and killed in 2002 for defying the Maoist diktat of boycotting the 2002 assembly polls.
Naxals call for boycott of polling in Gadchiroli
GADCHIROLI: The Naxals have started pushing their rhetoric against the Lok Sabha polls through banners and posters. A Naxal banner, put up by Darekasa area committee under North Gadchiroli-Gondia division of Maharashtra state committee, was seized in Gondia district on Sunday. The rebels have called for boycott of the polls on April 10. Though the Naxals are known to oppose democratic systems in general, the rebel banner has specifically appealed to the masses to boycott polls in their stronghold, Gadchiroli Lok Sabha constituency, which also comprises Amgaon (Gondia) and Chimur (Chandrapur) assembly constituencies.
Amid such Naxal opposition, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan is slated to address rallies at Chamorshi in Gadchiroli and Amgaon in Gondia districts in support of Congress candidate Dr Namdeo Usendi on Monday. The development in the Naxal-affected Gondia district a day before the final review meet of the chief secretary in Gadchiroli is being viewed with much gravity by senior security officials.
Detonators recovered in Latehar
Security forces today recovered weapons and detonators during a search operation in Naxal-affected Latehar district, police said. Acting on a tip-off that detonators were stored in a house near Amvaticker village under Manika police station, the CRPF seized a rifle, 99 bullets, 12 detonators, and uniform, SP Michael S Raj said. There was no arrest as yet, he said, adding the owner of the house was identified as Kailu Oraon.