Friday, April 17, 2009

Naxalite attack on polling party foiled

18 Apr 2009, 0529 hrs IST, Soumittra S Bose & Mazhar Ali, TNN

NAGPUR: Security forces on Friday rescued a polling party that was target of a Naxalite attack in Gadchiroli district. The party was returning from
Michgaon village, that had seen a Naxal attempt even on Thursday, in Dhanora tehsil of Gadchiroli. The attack was neutralised by aggressive counter-assault by the escorting security forces.

The security forces also dug out a landmine from the road connecting Allapalli and Bhamragadh at Perimili in Aheri. The Bomb Detection and Disposal squad from Pranhita defused the mine recovering almost 15 kg of explosives on Friday. This was Naxals’ third attempt on the polling parties in Gadchiroli in last two days. The first attack had taken place when the security forces were escorting polling parties to Michgaon polling booth.

The voting officials were also ambushed near Darichi in Dhanora. The attack was repulsed but it did trigger some panic after two jawans of the paramilitary forces were found missing. The jawans, who had lost their way inside the jungle, later returned.

State Anti-Naxal Operations (ANO) chief Pankaj Gupta said that the security forces had successfully thwarted Naxal plans to disrupt polling. “The polling party had decided to halt at Michgaon Thursday night fearing an attack. It had faced an attack earlier. We sensed the danger and worked out a plan. A reinforcement of C-60 commandos was sent to help the escorting party,” said Gupta. “Around 120 Naxals tried to attack the polling party near Godalwahi village. The security forces retaliated fiercely compelling them to retreat. The frustrated Naxals then triggered a blast. In fact, we are sure they have lost a couple of their men,” said Gupta.

He planned the operation along with Surinder Kumar, the Nagpur range IG, and Rajesh Pradhan, superintendent of police, Gadchiroli. Kumar had led a mission to airlift a polling party from sensitive Gyrapatti to Dhanora base camp. “Most of the polling parties have returned safely. We have maintained the pressure and will keep the heat on,” said Kumar who was camping in Gadchiroli.

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