Forces explode Naxal mine, save polling officials
ETAPALLI (GADCHIROLI): Alert security forces exploded a land mine near Yelchil village, between Etapalli and Alapalli in south Gadchiroli, minutes before buses carrying polling officials were supposed to pass the stretch potentially saving several lives. Security forces also recovered land mines at Pendri and Aldandi in Etapalli taluka of Aheri constituency. After repeated exchange of fire near Tadpalli forest in Etapalli taluka during Wednesday’s polling, Naxals once again targeted the forces on Thursday as road opening exercise was underway near Gatta for polling officials from the interiors returning in buses.
The firing in Gatta, also in Etapalli taluka, is learnt to have lasted around half-an-hour. Naxals had been trying to trigger blast shifting from their routine ambushes realizing their inability to match the huge deployment of district police and central paramilitary forces with sophisticated arms. District administration and security forces had also been airlifting the EVMs and officials from interiors keeping the threat in mind.
Massive road opening operations were undertaken across the district to ensure returning polling officials in buses were also safe. In general elections, Naxals had targeted one such party while returning in a bus inflicting casualties. Police sources stated Naxals tried to utilize their mines planted earlier to disrupt the polling. After sniffing the improvised explosive devices (IED) at Pendhri and Aldandi Etapalli taluka, police had to explode the one planted under the road at Yelchil to ensure the safe passages of the polling officials. Another section of the presiding officials from around 16 booths of interiors of Etapalli taluka had been airlifted to the base camp at Aheri. C-60 commandos of district police and Central paramilitary forces are learnt to have traced the wire along the road. The explosive underneath the road was then tracked down by bomb detecting gadget.
Under supervision of senior officials, the bomb was exploded after halting the traffic on either side. The road developed a two-and-half feet deep crater after the explosion. The police party recovered a tin container from the crater in which the explosives were packed. A senior official stated the mine was planted not very long ago. Inspector general of police, Nagpur and Naxal range, Ravindra Kadam stated Naxals were desperate to target polling officials or police parties after failing to disrupt the poll. “Security forces were prepared for the challenge knowing well that Naxals were desperate,” he said.
“The Naxals who were supposed to trigger the blast likely fled on seeing police parties starting the road opening operations. It generally takes one or two members to connect the wire and complete the circuit,” said Kadam. Sources claimed the police also arrested a senior Naxal cadre and three others while they were trying to plant mines to target Sursundi polling booth in Dhanora tehsil.
“No naxal presence in TN, yet vigil stepped up on border”
The focus was now on development of the tribals living in the border areas through special schemes of the respective State governments to ensure that they were not mislead. There is no known presence of naxalites in Tamil Nadu, yet the Special Task Force (STF) has enhanced vigil on the inter-border where they are prone to operate, said K. Vijay Kumar, Senior Security Advisor, Ministry of Home Affairs, on Thursday.
Talking to mediapersons, Mr. Vijay Kumar said he had visited the border areas and impressed upon the Chief Ministers and the Director Generals of Police of Kerala and Karnataka the need for coordinated action to step up vigilance in the forest areas abutting Malapuram and Wayanad districts. Discussions were held for joint intelligence, planning and operations. Likewise, vigilance has been stepped up in the Vellore, Tirupathur, Theni, Kodaikanal hills, Gudalur and Anaimalai forests to prevent presence of Maoists.
Four Naxals held in Chhattisgarh
Raipur, Oct 17 (PTI) Four Naxals were arrested at separate places in Chhattisgarh’s Maoist-hit Bastar region, police said today. Two cadres – Vijay Uikey (38) and Samru Mahavir Uikey (45) – were apprehended by a joint squad of Border Security Force and district force during a search operation in the restive forests under Kiskoda police station limits last evening, Kanker Superintendent of Police RN Dash told PTI. They were involved in various crimes, including murder and loot, in the region, he said.