On the eve of Bihar polls, Maoist belt turns into war zone
Gaya: Khaki, olive green and black – these are the dominant colours in the landscape of south and central Bihar ahead of the polls. On the eve of the first phase of polling the entire Maoist belt – ‘The Red Corridor’ from Banka to Kaimur – has virtually turned into a war zone with the presence of contingents of the state police, and Central Armed Para-military Forces (CAPFs). Fifteen Maoist-affected districts of the state go to polls in the first two phases of polling – 12 October and 16 October. The role of CAPFs has increased after the Election Commission of India’s (EC) new diktat – a first of its kind—that each and every polling booth in the state should be in command of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
“Considering the gravity of the ground situation in Bihar during elections, especially in the Maoist infested districts, the EC has ordered for the first time that all the 62779 polling stations in the state should be under the command of the CRPF. For this, 250 companies of CAPFs have been deployed. The first two phases of polling are crucial as both will be in Bihar’s most sensitive region. If this experiment becomes successful, the EC will replicate it in future elections,” Inspector General, CRPF, Bihar, Arun Kumar told Firstpost. The CAPFs comprise CRPF, Border Security Force (BSF), Rapid Action Force (RAF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB).
In view of the repeated Naxal threats and the call to boycott the polls, the security cover across the Red Corridor has been scaled-up. Out of 38 districts, 33 are affected by Maoists. “Due to Maoist threat, 47 polling booths have been shifted in consultation with political parties and EC. Because in these areas the Naxals will try to cause maximum damage to poll parties and security forces through landmine blasts. We’ve already recovered a large number of landmines and IEDs. The islands in the riverine belt are also safe haven for the Maoists and to track them, we’re using UAVs. We’re constantly changing our operational tactics. This election will witness one of the largest mobilizations of central para-military forces (more than 60,000) in Bihar. We’re engaged in multiple roles, from protecting the booths and voters to the polling staff as well,” added Arun Kumar, who’s also Force Coordinator (Bihar) for CAPFs. The CAPFs in collaboration with Bihar Police, Bihar Military Police, Special Action Force and Special Task Force have chalked out an elaborate strategy to counter and nullify the possible Maoist attack during the polls.
Counter-offensive of central forces to nullify Maoists:
·First-time use of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) ‘Netra’ to monitor polling in deep sensitive interiors and riverine belt.
· Special bomb disposal squad.
· Use of dog squad, with new breed of Belgian Shepherd sniffer dogs to track landmines and IEDs.
· 27 Anti-mining vehicles deployed.
· Special training by experts from IED Institute, Pune on handling and diffusing explosives.
· The booths in Naxal-infested areas shall have Naxal police stations, with a strike team of 20 personnel armed with sophisticated weapons and anti-riot equipment.
· Air ambulances in vulnerable and high sensitive zones.
Amongst the Naxal infested districts, Jamui and Gaya are the most sensitive. Out of 250 CAPF companies, the highest number, 25, have been deployed in Gaya alone, followed by 20 in Jamui. Dhirendra Verma, Commandant, 159 Battalion of CRPF said, “Gaya is the most sensitive and volatile district in Bihar in terms of Maoist activities. It’ll go to polls in the second phase on 16 October, but we’re already on our toes and conducting regular combing operation to sanitize the polling station areas. As Gaya, Jamui, Banka, Nawada and Aurangabad are bordering with Jharkhand and the Palamau district, a stronghold of the Maoists, it makes these districts highly sensitive. We’ve already recovered IEDs (cylinder bombs) and landmines in Gaya district.”
Naxal Cadres Demoted Over ‘Love Affairs’, Say Seized Documents
RAIPUR:The outlawed CPI (Maoist) leadership has demoted some of its senior leaders for “falling in love” with women cadres, according to some documents of rebels seized recently by the police. As per the documents, Gajrala Ashok (42), a prominent member of Dandakarnya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC), has been demoted and given the rank of divisional committee member for falling in love with a woman leader. DKSZC controls Maoist activities in south Chhattisgarh and bordering area of neighbouring states — Telangana, Odisha and Maharashtra. “Ashok was demoted and given lower rank following complaints against him for having love affair with a woman cadre, as per the rebel documents,” Inspector General of Police (anti-Naxal operations) Deepanshu Kabra told PTI. Similarly, another DKSZC member Ingolapu was demoted as divisional committee member while Bejjarapu Kisan, who was a divisional committee member, was made an area committee member for the same reason, the IG said.
Godda attack indicates Maoist movement during polls
RANCHI: The Maoist attack in Godda, which killed two security personnels, indicates that the Maoists are out to try to disrupt Bihar polls, said police spokesperson S N Pradhan. The Maoist team which attacked the police was a small team comprising 20 extremists. The small teams find it easy to manage to dodge police. The Maoist team consisted of members from Maoists army wing People’s Liberation Guerilla Squad and they reportedly overpowered the security forces. Godda, a north-eastern district, shares border with Banka and Bhagalpur districts where elections will take place on October 12. Banka’s Dhoraiya and Banka assembly constituencies and Bhagalpur’s Pirpainti assembly segment have entry points from Godda.
“The Maoists were checked before they could make their way into Banka. The Maoists planned to go to Bihar,” DGP D K Pandey told reporters. After the encounter state police sealed Godda’s border with the two Bihar districts and asked police officials to keep a check on cross country (through the forest) movement. “It is a local group of the rebels led by commander Shahdeo Rai alias Tala Da. He is a local commander,” police spokesperson S N Pradhan said.
According to intelligence reports Maoists movement has increased in Bihar Jharkhand border ahead of polls in Bihar. The Jharkhand and Bihar police have held two coordination meetings to ensure effective policing in the border. In the wake of Godda ambush, the state police issued fresh directives to SPs of Sahebganj, Dumka and Deoghar, Giridih and Koderma (all bordering Bihar where first phase of elections will be held on Monday) to beef up security to check Maoist movement. Pradhan said CoBRA, JAP and SSB, the security forces specially trained to fight Maoists have been deployed in Godda. “It is an old tactics of the Maoist to use border area during polls. The border is dotted with river, hills and forests which make the habitation easy for them,” he said.
Satkosia turns into a Maoist sanctuary
Angul, Oct 11: Maoists have finally made Satkosia wild life sanctuary, located in the middle of the state, as one of their sanctuaries thanks to high density forest and complacency of Odisha police. Since September 31, more than 300 heavily armed cadres, consisting of some women fighters have been staying in the sanctuary and have been visiting village after village inside the sanctuary areas least caring police operations. However, police count the number of ultras within 50. Informed sources say that it is not the fact that police is caught off guard. Police was well aware of earlier stray instruction of the armed cadres for last some years into Satkosia although they use the boarder of the sanctuary as their one of the corridors.
But this time, Maoists believed to be of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand origin have made up their mind to stay in Satkosia permanently. Their attack on some forest department staff and burning of forest beat houses in initial days has made the forest department activities in sanctuary totally paralyzed. Their patrolling whatsoever was is now limited to day time only. The tourists flow has drastically down from the beginning of this month after the news of Maoist movements in Chutkei, Krushnachakragarh, Chuanri, Tuluka, Pampasar, Kulsore, Pukhunda and Manikjodi and other areas.
“It is wrong to say that the department is totally down in wake of the new development. We are patrolling the areas in daytime and most of the beat hoses apart from those affected areas are manned. Our senior officials visit to the sanctuary areas to boost the morale of our men. ”said the Regional chief conservator of forest of Angul Circle Anup Kumar Nayak. Meanwhile, massive combing operations are on jointly by state and central forces in affected areas to flush out the ultras. But despite the operation the Maoists seems to be undaunted. They are still visible in some villages just 40 to 50 km away from Angul city. They are reported taking the help of local poachers who are well versed with the road communication.
Police officials who are hopeful to flush out the Maoist like earlier are a bit worried this time. The deep resentment among the people of the sanctuary villages against the government for lack of developmental and welfare works as well as strict restriction on their livelihood by forest department may be cashed in by the ultras to win them over for their advantages. Now the people in entire Satkosia and adjoining Narasinghpur jungle are panicked. Senior police officials, meanwhile, are tightlipped about their course of plan and operations.
“We are out best to deal with the menace and doing all possible to take on those Maoists. We are hopeful to make breakthrough though the deep forest and inhospitable terrain are problematic for us,” said Angul superintendent of police Rajesh Pandit Uttam Rao. Experts believe that base in Satkosia by Maoists is considered as a strategic gain by the ultras as the area provides access to Narasinghpur, Dhenkanal jungles and industrial belt of Angul district.
Maoist Leader Nabbed at Angamaly
KOCHI:In a midnight raid, a senior commander of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) was arrested by the Ernakulam Rural Police from a hideout at Chembannur near Angamaly on Friday. The arrest followed an Intelligence Bureau (IB) tip-off that the Maoist leader was staying there for the last three years. The arrested was identified as Jitendar Oraon from Latehar District, Jharkhand. “According to the information we have received from the IB, Jitendar is an accused in an ambush case and there are cases against him under Section 307 (Attempt to Murder) of the IPC in Jharkhand,” said a senior police official.
He had been in constant touch with Bada Vikas, senior Maoist leader in Jharkhand, ever since he reached Chembannur three years ago. He had also purchased a large number of SIM cards of various telecom operators from a mobile shop run by migrant laboures in the Angamaly market. He passed the SIM cards on to the members of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army in Jharkhand for their use. “An investigation by the sleuths into the SIM cards used by the members of the Guerrilla Army in Jharkhand revealed the Kerala connections of the CPI (Maoist) and subsequent investigation based on the mobile tower led the officials to his hideout in Angamli,” said the officials.
Though the police took him into custody on Friday night, they recorded the arrest only by Saturday evening after the Jharkhand officials confirmed his identity and his role in Maoist operations there. “He was remanded in judicial custody and the police officials from Jharkhand are expected to reach here tomorrow (Sunday) to take him to that state for further interrogation after securing a transit warrant from a local court here,” the officials added. The IB officials refused to disclose the nature of the crimes he had committed. However, they confirmed that a Jharkhand court had issued an arrest warrant against him . The police recorded his arrest under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. During the interrogation, the police also found that he had brought his wife and children to Angamaly and they returned recently.
Maoists call for two-day Vizag Agency bandh
They demand that the government withdraw plans to take up bauxite mining The banned CPI (Maoist) has called for a bandh in the Agency areas of the district on October 12 and 13 demanding the Telugu Desam government withdraw move to mine bauxite in the Agency area. In a handwritten note sent to reporters in the Agency areas reportedly by CPI (Maoist) East Division secretary Kailasam, the Maoists said the Telugu Desam Party was solely responsible for the abduction of three Telugu Desam tribal leaders from GK Veedhi mandal. TDP mandal party president Mamidi Balayya Padal, senior leader Vandalam Balayya and district committee member Mukkala Mahesh were taken away from their homes at Kothaguda village in GK Veedhi mandal on last Monday evening by a group of Maoists. While charging the Maoists with using the bogey of bauxite mining the TDP government was trying to push through its MNC driven agenda of mining in the ecologically sensitive region, he said.
The Chief Minister and other leaders were making public statements that they would not take up any activity that was not supported by tribals and on the other hand suppressing all dissent. The government was not taking note of the series of protests by tribals on the bauxite mining issue. Worse, the police acting as stooges of its political masters were trying to muzzle the dissent by cutting off the public address system when a former legislator was speaking at a recent meeting in Koyyuru.
The police tried to stall another public meeting on the issue at Darakonda, the Maoist leader noted in his letter. The Maoists demanded that the government withdraw the moves by the AP Mineral Development Corporation to take up bauxite mining and shut its offices in the region. Earlier, Collector N Yuvaraj told media persons that the issue of abducted tribals was brought to the notice of the Chief Minister during his visit to the city. CM’s directive He said the Chief Minister had instructed the police to ensure the safety of the three persons abducted by Maoists. The government could respond only if there were some clear demands made for securing the release of the three tribal leaders, the CM is reported to have said.
At least 34 villagers detained on suspicion of being Maoists
As many as 34 villagers of Chitrakonda were today detained at the local police station for questioning on suspicion of their involvement in Maoist-related activities. The villagers are from Ralegada panchayat in the cut-off area of Malkangiri district. Police are interrogating the villagers separately and trying to establish their link with the violent incidents in the past. According to sources, a list of militia and cadre Maoists would be prepared after the screening process. After their involvement in the extremist activities is established, they would be forwarded to court today. The remaining villagers would be freed from detention after interrogation is over.