Police posts to secure ore-rich Surjagarh hills
NAGPUR: Iron ore mining in Surjagarh hills of Gadchiroli has remained a distant dream for private companies due to Naxal opposition to such activities in the heart of the tribal region. Though immediate solution does not seem in sight, aspirations of mining firms may come true in future when the region has fully operational police posts surrounding it. This is in line with the Modi government’s stress on reducing dependence on imports and boosting domestic production.
A highly placed source stated that Surjagarh hills in Etapalli tehsil have police posts on their three sides, except northern side. An armed police post (AOP) at Hedri, on the south-eastern side of Surjagarh, is coming up fast on Gatta-Etapalli road. This would be the closest from Surjagarh being only around three kilometers away from the mining zone. While this AOP has already started to function at an operational level, it has not been occupied by armed forces as the infrastructure is yet to be ready.
“Hedri AOP would be mid-way between Etapalli police station and Gatta AOP which were earlier separated by around 30-km stretch. Now, police presence in that highly affected stretch is available every 15 km which can be easily covered,” said a senior official. Another AOP is slated to come up at Yemli Burgi, south of Hedri, which would be 8-10 km away from Surjagarh. “This AOP has already been sanctioned. Forces are yet to be deployed at Yemli Burgi as infrastructure is not ready,” said the official.
Around 4km away on the eastern side from Surjagarh is Gatta Jambiya AOP which has been functional several years now. Gatta Jambiya AOP has been tackling the Naxal movement in the core zone of the guerillas and has been a target of the Naxals too. In the north-west of Surjagarh is Halewada AOP which has come up around couple of years ago. Halewada, around 5km from Surjagarh, too is known to be guarding one of the most affected corridor of the district marked by high Naxal violence. “This AOP too would be crucial for thwarting Naxal movement towards northern side of Surjagarh along with Kasansoor and Jarawandi sub-police stations,” said an experienced official.
It was also reliably learnt that police administration is also contemplating reviving Godsul AOP, which is on the northern side of the Surjagarh mining regions, to curtail Naxal movement from that direction. The western side of the Surjagarh mining region has Etapalli police station where a sizeable number of security forces is deployed. Inspector general of police, Nagpur and Naxal ranges, Ravindra Kadam argued that police posts have nothing specifically to do with security of Surjagarh mining region. “Our aim is to bring maximum area under police domination and intensify operations from the posts to flush out Naxals. If such intensified police activities secure mining then it would be only a bonus positive outcome,” said Kadam.
CRPF to shift focus to Abujmadh
NAGPUR: The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is set to leave Naxal-affected Gadchiroli after being deployed there for over half a decade. The CRPF troops are shifting to a more challenging Chhattisgarh, with special focus on busting the Naxal stronghold of Abujmadh. Five battalions of CRPF are deployed at 21 locations in Gadchiroli at present. They get a major share of the credit for the peaceful polling in the recently concluded state assembly elections, along with the Border Security Force (BSF) and Gadchiroli district police.
Additional CRPF and BSF forces deployed for election duty have already been called back. It is reliably learnt that all CRPF troops are set to leave the district by March next year, paving the way for Industrial Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) to take up positions by August 2015. Superintendent of police, Gadchiroli, Sandeep Patil said ITBP deployment is still not on paper. “There is a likelihood that ITBP may come, but no official communication has been received from union home ministry or the concerned unit,” said Patil.
A highly placed police source said the CRPF is likely to shift focus of its anti-Naxal operations to Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and other places. Regularly storming the Naxal bastion of Abujmadh, straddling Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, is learnt to be the main focus of the paramilitary force. Abujmadh, an almost inaccessible tribal region, is learnt to be serving as a haven for rebel guerrillas, with most central committee members sheltering there while controlling movements of cadre. Inspector general of police, Nagpur and Naxal range, Ravindra Kadam said that Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra police are already conducting operations in Abujmadh separately as well as jointly, but gradually CRPF would focus on the region more. “CRPF would be engaged in more intensified operations against guerrillas in Chhattisgarh,” he said.
Court asks Kerala police to explain crime of Swiss national who attended Maoist meet
While hearing the petition of Swiss national Jonathan Baud, seeking to quash the FIR registered against him on charges of attending a meeting to commemorate a suspected Maoist leader in July, the Kerala High Court said the police could not explain the crime committed by the Swiss national. Directing the state government to explain which condition of the visa regulations Baud had violated, Justice P Ubaid posted the petition for Tuesday.
Baud, a student of International Economic History at Paul Bairoch Institute of Economic History in Geneva, was arrested from Triprayar in Thrissur on July 28 after he attended a public meeting held to commemorate Maoist leader Sinoj. He had introduced himself in the meeting after the audience turned curious about the presence of a foreigner. As police couldn’t establish Maoist links, Baud was charged under Section 14 (b) of the Foreigners Act, which pertains to any act in violation of the conditions of the valid visa issued for entry and stay in India. Later, he was released on bail, but could not return to his native country as the case was pending in the court.
Subsequently, Baud has been fighting in the court to get the FIR quashed and file a closure report on his pending case. During several hearings, the court had asked the police to submit details about the case, including the Malayalam translation of his speech and its audio CD. After examining them, the judge on Monday observed that there was nothing objectionable in the speech that demands framing of the offence under section 14 (b) of the foreigners act.
The court asked the police explain what visa condition Baud had violated to attract the stated offence. The court directed the government to explain which visa condition Baud had violated while attending the meeting as a curious student of politics.
Maoist militia member held
A CPI (Maoist) militia member, carrying a reward of Rs one lakh on his head, was arrested from Visakhapatnam district today, police said. “Keesava Rao alias Balabadrudu was arrested by G K Veedi police,” said Vishal Gunni, Office on Special Duty (OSD), Narasipatnam. Rao was allegedly involved in more than 20 offences, including killing of tribals and damaging public and private properties in G K Veedi, he said. Rao, a native of G K Veedi mandal, is one of the senior members of the Maoist militia.