Forces in Chhattisgarh count more dead Naxals than ever
Security forces in Chhattisgarh have signalled a sharp increase in the number of “insurgents killed in operations” in the current month. Police statistics show that of the bodies of Naxals recovered after encounters this year, over 40 per cent — 18 out of 43 — have been found in November alone. “Usually, after an encounter, Naxals leave behind only those bodies they think it is too risky to drag into the jungles. So, the real number of those killed will be higher,” a senior officer said.
Railways to Fight Red Fright in Freight Corridor
BHUBANESWAR: As the Left Wing Extremists eye to disrupt economic services in their stronghold in eastern States of Chhattisgarh and Odisha, a major mineral bearing belt, the Indian Railways is busy chalking out strategies to thwart Naxal activities in Kirandul-Koraput line which earns it about `6000 crore in revenue annually. While Chhattisgarh Police has stepped up anti-Maoist operations with significant success on its side of the border, the Odisha Police too has gone after the Left ultras to match the pressure.
As a result, the security forces are anticipating increasing attacks by the Red rebels on communication infrastructure such as railway and roads. As the two States aggressively push flush-out operations, Maoist attack is anticipated to rise on Kirandul-Koraput line which is a major freight corridor. Sources said Chhattisgarh DGP AN Upadhyay had a meeting with Director General of Railway Protection Force RR Verma in this regard at New Delhi earlier this week which was followed by another round of meeting with Chief Security Commissioner (CRC) and IG of RPF, East Coast Railway Atul Pathak at Raipur.
Since double-lining work for Kirandul-Koraput line is being taken up in different phases after approval of the Centre, the security agencies are apprehensive that Naxals might resort to disruptive activities to stall the work. So far, Maoists have hit five economic targets this year, all of them in Chhattisgarh, while attacks on rail infrastructure are limited to Chhattisgarh and Odisha though 12 of 13 incidents have been reported in the neighbouring State alone.
The major thrust of anti-Maoist strategies to prevent attacks on railway infrastructure is focused on Dantewada and Jagadalpur – both located in Bastar Division – and neighbouring Koraput. Source said security agencies are assessing vulnerability in the region and the trends so that preventive measures can be put in place. “Although the Maoists have been lying low for now, it is part of their activity cycle. The rebels are known to strike after regrouping in newer pockets. We are keeping track of the Intelligence inputs on their movements and activities in the region,” sources pointed out.
India: Crumbling Bastions In Chhattisgarh – Analysis
A Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadre was killed by a joint squad of Security Forces (SFs), comprising of the 204th Battalion of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), District Reserve Group (DRG) and District Force, at Kurcholi village forest under the Basaguda Police Station limits in Bijapur District on November 25, 2015. Again, on November 24, the DRG had killed a CPI-Maoist ‘commander’ of military “Platoon Number 13”, identified as Padia, in an encounter near a weekly market at Faraspal in Dantewada District. His body was recovered along with a 303 rifle, nine rounds, a .315 bore revolver and six live rounds, while other Maoists fled into the forest.
In this encounter, SFs had disguised themselves as local villagers and waited for the Maoists. On November 22, four woman cadres of the CPI-Maoist were killed in an encounter with SFs in Sukma District. The encounter took place at Nagalguda Hills under Gadiras Police Station limits on the Sukma–Dantewada border. SFs also neutralized a camp of the Maoists’ Malangir ‘area committee’. Bastar Police recovered four bodies of uniformed Maoists, along with a .303 service rifle and two 12-bore rifles. Police also claimed that Ayatu, the ‘divisional committee’ member of the Maoists’ ‘Darbha division’, was shot from close range and sustained multiple bullet injuries during the encounter. However, he managed to flee, leaving behind a truck load of camp items at the spot.
In a separate incident on November 19, two CPI-Maoist cadres, including a woman ‘commander’, were killed in an encounter with a joint team of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the District Police near the Kolayiguda Forest in Sukma District. The two dead bodies were recovered from the encounter spot. The woman Maoist carried a reward of INR 500,000 on her head. In this incident the SFs led the Maoists into a trap, disguising themselves as tribals. Over the past 38 days, between October 23 and November 29, the Maoists also set ablaze 92 vehicles in the Bastar region.
SFs recovered three Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in two separate incidents in Sukma District on November 23. Meanwhile, two security personnel, one of them belonging to the CoBRA Force, were injured in a pressure bomb blast triggered by the Maoists in Bijapur District on November 24. Between November 3, 2015, and November 25, 2015, 16 Maoists have been killed in encounters in seven separate incidents in Chhattisgarh, while one civilian was killed by the Maoists in Narayanpur District. Significantly, there have been no SF casualties, so far, in November 2015.
According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), 112 people including 29 civilians, 40 SF personnel and 43 Maoists have been killed in LWE-related incidents in Chhattisgarh in 2015, as of November 29. Though a little over a month still remains in the year, Maoist fatalities have crossed last year’s figure, while SF fatalities have fallen to 40 as against 55 in 2014. Further, Maoist fatalities in Chhattisgarh are higher than any of the other States. At second rank, Jharkhand has had 35 LW extremists killed, including 27 from the CPI-Maoist, while the others are drawn from splinters such as People’s Liberation Front of India and Tritiya Prastuti Committee. On the SF fatalities index, Jharkhand is a distant second, with five fatalities. Chhattisgarh alone accounts for 40 of the total of 56 SF fatalities in LWE related incidents across the country.
Significantly, all major incidents that have occurred in Chhattisgarh this year have occurred in the Bastar Division – including the seven southern districts of the State – Bijapur, Sukma, Dantewada, Bastar, Kondagaon, Narayanpur and Kanker – of Chhattisgarh. Despite mounting SF successes in this region, Bastar continues to be the ‘mainstay’ of the Maoist movement, and it is here that the battle against the Maoists would be won or lost. The largest proportion of current violence is reported from just three Districts in Bastar – Sukma, Bijapur and Dantewada – which constitute the nucleus of the Maoist movement.
Of these, Sukma shares its border with Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, while Bijapur shares its border with Maharashtra and Telangana. Dantewada abuts Narayanpur, Bijapur, Sukma and Bastar. Interestingly, in 2015 all the eight major incidents (each involving three or more than three fatalities) in Chhattisgarh, have been reported from these three Districts. Across India, a total of 14 major LWE-linked incidents have been reported in 2015, as of November 29.
Police check hospitals on State border
The Tamil Nadu Police in Coimbatore and The Nilgiris have started a screening operation in hospitals located on the borders close to Kerala to see if any Maoist injured during the clash between the police and Maoists in Silent Valley near Agali in Palakkad district, Kerala, was brought here for treatment. Injured Inspector General of Police K. Shankar said that the chances for persons who were injured in the clash at a distance quite far from the inter-State border was remote as one would not be able to cover such a long distance through the dense forests on foot. However, the hospital checking was done by special teams as a precautionary measure. The hospitals had been asked to alert the police if anyone under suspicious circumstances was brought there for treatment.
The IG said that as part of the preparatory measures, the police had strengthened the check posts bordering the two States. The number of police personnel at the police stations located close to the border had also been increased. These were in addition to the measures such as equipping the bordering police stations, following the Maoist attack in the Palakkad in December 2014.
Kerala Police, Maoists Clash Near Mannarkad
PALAKKAD: Police and a group of Maoists exchanged fire on Sunday at Ambalapara Thiruvazhamkunnu near Mannarkad. Injuries have not been reported yet. The Thunderbolt personnel began combing the area after locals informed them about a four- member Maoist gang, including two women, collecting rice and provisions from the adivasi colony at Ambalapara. The members of the gang were reportedly speaking Tamil and Malayalam. Palakkad Superintendent of Police N Vijayakumar told Express that the exchange of fire took place around 6.30 p.m. in forests of Thiruvazhamkunnu, near the buffer zone of the Silent Valley.
Oct 17: Maoists and Agali police exchange fire at Kadakkumanna
Nov 22: Five-member armed gang approaches the Plantation Corporation labourers at Thenkara and collect rice and provisions
Nov 24: Police arrest Ayyappan, a tribal of Panniyurpeedika, the second accused in the Kadakumanna firing, before releasing him
Nov 28: A four-member gang comes to the Ambalapara adivasi colony collect rice
Nov 29: Police and Maoists fire at each other at Ambalapara, Thiruvazhamkunnu Vijayakumar said the local police personnel, who were standing below the hilltop, heard the gunshots from the forests and reported the matter at the district headquarters. Later, the Thunderbolt personnel furnished the details of the encounter with Maoists.
Caterpillar eyes defence sector
Caterpillar, global market leader in engineering and heavy equipment, is looking for a major foray into the Indian defence sector with its line of mine clearing vehicles, tank upgrades and power solutions. “India is one of our key major focus countries and we are engaged in discussion with officials in the Indian government regarding Caterpillar defence products,” said Leslie Paulson, General Manager for Industry Solutions, Caterpillar.
In addition to the central government, the company is also in talks with several state governments effected by Maoist violence for its new generation land mine sweepers to tackle the threat of improvised explosive devices.
Wanted Naxal commander nabbed in Chhattisgarh
A hardcore Naxal commander, carrying a reward of Rs 8 lakh on his head, was today arrested from Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, police said. The cadre, identified as Raghu alias Pungar Mandavi (30), was apprehended from Dantewada town by a small action team of the state’s District Reserve Group (DRG), Dantewada Superintendent of Police Kamlochan Kashyap told PTI. A native of Gangloor area of the neighbouring Bijapur district, Raghu was serving as a section commander of military platoon-II of Maoists as well as heading the west Bastar division action team of Naxals as a commander, Kashyap said.
Acting on a tip-off about his arrival in Dantewada to keep an eye on the recently surrendered cadres, a team of DRG, dressed as civilians, laid a trap in the area, he said. Upon identifying the rebel, the police personnel nabbed him, he said. After joining the outlawed Naxal movement in 2006, Mandavi served in different capacities within the banned outfit in south Bastar and became section commander in February this year. During this period, he was also the security guard of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC) secretary Ramanna who handles Maoist-activities in the entire Bastar region, from 2009 to 2011, the SP said.