Woman Naxal killed in face-off with security forces in C’garh
Raipur : A woman Naxal was today gunned down in an exchange of fire with security forces in a forest pocket of Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district, police said. “The skirmish took place between the ultras and a joint team of Special Task Force (STF) and District Reserve Group (DRG) in a forest near Gorkha village under Konta police station limits,” Sukma Superintendent of Police Indira Kalyan Elesela told PTI. The security personnel, while carrying out an anti-Naxal operation in the interiors of Konta forests, around 500 km from here, spotted a group of ultras following which an encounter broke out between the two sides.
However, Maoists soon fled taking the cover of dense forest, he said. Later, during search, the body of a woman Naxal was found and a muzzle loading gun seized from the spot, he said. The killed ultra was identified as Madkam Hidme, a member of Kistaram area platoon number 8 of Maoists, he said. The operation was still underway in the region, the SP added.
Concern mounts as Maoists switch to remote IEDs
On March 22, two suspected RCIED blasts were carried out in Timapur in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district, which did not cause any fatalities or injuries. Evidence has been found indicating Maoists have started using Radio Controlled IEDs (RCIEDs), detonated via remote devices. While the first proof that Maoists were attempting to improvise this technology came in 2010, after seizures made in Jharkhand, for the first time there have been three separate cases where RCIEDs are believed to have been used against security forces, killing two personnel and injuring two others, police said.
A note prepared by the CRPF Institute of IED Management Pune details that the first documented use of RCIEDs against security forces was in Orissa on January 8 this year, when Maoists targeted a motorcycle patrol of BSF personnel in Koraput’s Ramagiri area, in which two personnel were killed.
On March 22, two suspected RCIED blasts were carried out in Timapur in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district, which did not cause any fatalities or injuries. A week after that, on March 30, two more blasts in the Basaguda area of Bijapur caused injuries to two CRPF personnel.
Admitting the new challenge posed by RCIEDs, D M Awasthi, Special DG, Anti Naxal Operations, Chhattisgarh, told The Indian Express, “This is an important phenomenon. We have told all SPs and operation units that they must be aware of this.” Sharad Singh, who was the thana in-charge of the Basaguda police station when the two suspected RCIED explosions happened in March, said the forces have been unnerved by the discovery. “Till now, either it was a pressure IED, which exploded if a jawan or a vehicle pressed on it from above, or a trigger IED, when normally a thin wire was connected to the explosive, and taken to the fields or jungles and triggered. We have discovered many IEDs because of the discovery of this wire, or have been able to trace where the bomber was hiding. But with RCIEDs, our chances of discovery of the IED are reduced. There are also very few ways of identifying who the bomber is. He can easily pass the spot on a motorcycle, and trigger it as he goes past,” Singh said.
Another police officer said that while an RCIED requires more expertise to put together, once made, it is “dangerous in its simplicity”. “Anybody with a clear line of sight between the receiver and the transmitter on the device can use it. Earlier some expertise was needed in knowing how to pull the trigger. Now, all it needs is the push of a button,” he said. The analysis report from the Pune institute says that the success of the three recent RCIED blasts would have “bolstered Maoist confidence”. “The transformation from basic IEDs to sophisticated IEDs is going to pose a grave challenge. Though they will still show reliance on VOIEDs (Victim Operated IEDs) and CWIED (command wire)… above examples clearly indicate that RCIEDs may be their favourite mechanism in times to come,” the report said. The CRPF analysis also documents that “Naxals are planning to train their cadres in fabricating and using RCIEDs”.
13 focus areas identified in Jharkhand to check Maoist
Ranchi, June 13 (PTI) In a bid to check Maoist activities in certain pockets of Jharkhand, state police have identified 13 focus areas where several security measures and developmental initiatives have been taken, an official said. “We have identified 13 focus areas. These areas are being secured, cleared and developmental initiatives like bridges, fair price shops, electricity are being taken up besides efforts to generate employment,” Director General of Police D K Pandey told PTI.
The 13 focus areas are in the districts of Garhwa, Palamau, Chatra, Latehar, Gumla, Lohardaga, Bokaro, Giridih and the Santhal Pargana region.
“Parasnath Hills is one of the focus areas which we have succeeded in clearing before June. By the year end, we hope either they (Maoists) join the mainstream or surrender or we push them out of Jharkhand,” the DGP added. Development works are also on with a road being built till the top of Parasnath Hills. Three camps were set up to push the development work, the DGP said. The state, which had in 2013 witnessed 550 Maoist related incidents, has seen a decline, with 516 and 458 incidents taking place in 2014 and 2015 respectively. PTI PVR NN NSD LNS
Solar-powered cell towers to curb Maoist activities
KHAMMAM: In a bid to keep a tab on Maoist activities, the Union Home ministry is building solar-powered mobile phone network in the worst-affected border villages of Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. According to sources, development of mobile phone network will also help to improve coordination among forces involved in combing operations.
The Union home ministry has allocated `4 crore for installation of cell phone towers in Maoist-affected mandals Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The contract for installation of cell phone towers has been given to a private company and works are expected to be completed within 15 days. The towers will be handed over to BSNL after completing construction. BSNL will be responsible for maintenance of the towers.
These cell towers are solar-powered as providing power to towers in remote border villages is a big headache to the government. Signals from each cell tower will cover a radius of 3 to 4 km. Chattishgarh state government is also installing cell towers along the border areas. “Once these cell phone towers start functioning, we will be able to track the movements of Maoists effectively, said a police officer in Bhadrachalam.
He added that providing cell phone connectivity in the border areas will ensure better coordination among the forces.
Communication has been the biggest handicap for CRPF and other forces while conducting search operations in forest areas. At times, they were trapped in deep forest areas and were unable to seek help from higher officials and other battalions.