Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Insider role suspected in Nalco attack

14 Apr 2009, 0504 hrs IST, Vishwa Mohan, TNN


NEW DELHI: Security agencies suspect that the attack on Nalco's bauxite mine in Orissa's Koraput district on Sunday, where naxalites killed 10 CISF
jawans, could not have happened without `insider' information.

Agencies suspect that somebody in the company or local police might have passed information of movement of explosive laden vehicle -- meant for the mine -- to the Red ultras, leading to hundreds of heavily-armed naxalites attacking the site and looting huge quantity of explosives.

Home ministry officials wondered how such information could be leaked when the movement of vehicles carrying explosives was generally planned secretly considering the vulnerability of such consignment in naxal affected regions.

"CISF, which provides security to the mines, has been asked to probe the matter. Besides, the paramilitary force has also been asked to beef up its security at all PSUs which fall in Red zones," said a senior official.

CISF chief N R Das, meanwhile, rushed to Orissa to take stock of the situation. The home ministry, on its part, provided additional helicopters and other logistics to Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh for stepping up anti-naxal operations in all these states.

These three states have, of late, witnessed spurt in violence, leading to the killing of 28 security personnel (CRPF, CISF and state police) in the past one week — the highest casualties recorded by these forces in the last six months. Incidentally, all the naxal attacks took place in areas which will go to polls in the first phase on April 16.

Admitting that the attacks were planned by ultras to scare people from taking part in elections, home secretary Madhukar Gupta said, "With a view to vitiating the atmosphere, they (Maoists) have not only been holding meetings and putting up posters and banners in certain affected states, but have also indulged in wanton violence during the last couple of weeks."

Putting up a brave face following the reverses, Gupta said "pro-active approach" by paramilitary forces in the run-up to elections had led to spurt in Maoist violence. In these incidents, at least 19 naxals have been killed in the past week and weapons and communication equipment recovered from them, he added.

Meanwhile, keeping in view possibilities of naxal groups disrupting the poll process, the security establishment had alerted all states to take firm measures to prevent such activities.

"The states have been urged to take measures to boost the confidence of the electorate, including steps to counter the propaganda campaign launched by naxals in their bid to deprive people of their democratic rights," Gupta said.

Eighteen naxal-affected parliamentary constituencies will go to polls in the first phase. These constituencies are Khammam, Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar and Warangal in Andhra Pradesh; Chatra, Khunti, Palamau, Kodarma, Lohardaga and Hazaribagh in Jharkhand; Bhandara-Gondia and Gadchiroli-Chimur in Maharashtra; Gaya, Jahanabad and Aurangabad in Bihar; and Koraput, Sambalpur and Sundargarh in Orissa.

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