Monday, April 13, 2009

Security forces taking pro-active measures in naxal-affected areas

18:36 IST
The CPI (Maoist) and other naxal groups, as a part of their agenda to prevent democratic and development processes, have, as in the past, been propagating boycott of the ensuing general elections. With a view to vitiating the atmosphere, they 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, including causing damage to and destruction of various infrastructure facilities like schools, hospital buildings and telecom towers.

Keeping in view such possibilities, the Government of India had alerted all the States to take firm measures to prevent such activities and, in close coordination with the Election Commission, a substantial number of Central Para Military Forces have also been deployed to assist the State Governments. The forces so deployed, together with the State Police, have been taking pro-active measures by way of intensified patrolling, etc., in the affected areas. As a result of this pro-active thrust of the security forces, particularly in the remote areas, there have been large number of recoveries of explosives, landmines and IEDs, apprehensions of naxal elements, and a series of encounters have also taken place, particularly in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa, in the recent days. In these incidents at least 19 naxals have been neutralized in the past week and weapons and communication equipment recovered from them. In a particular incident on 10th April, when a party of the CRPF and State Police were on patrol duty, it was ambushed near village Minpa (PS Chintagufa, District Dantewada, Chhattisgarh) by a group of several hundred naxalites. In the determined action that followed, although 10 security force personnel sacrificed their lives, a large number of naxalites are also reported to have been neutralized; dead bodies of three along with an AK 47 rifle and wireless sets were recovered, and the bodies of the others (numbering more than 25 according to unverified reports) appear to have been taken away, as has been their strategy in the past. In another incident on 12th April, several hundred naxalites attacked a magazine of NALCO in Damanjodi (District Koraput, Orissa). After a fierce encounter, lasting through the night, 10 CISF jawans, on security duty, laid down their lives. Four dead bodies of naxalites, along with two SLRs and a .303 rifle, have been recovered; it is expected that a substantially larger number of the naxalites would have been killed or injured, going by the pools of blood and other signs found at the site. Search and combing operations are continuing in the area.

The Government of India has been sharing detailed inputs with the concerned authorities of the State Governments from time to time, and is maintaining close and continuous contact and coordination with them. Apart from the deployment of Central Para Military Forces, assistance is also being provided to the State Governments for logistics and operational support by way of deployment of helicopters in the naxal affected areas. The State Governments have also been urged to take measures for boosting the confidence of the electorate, including steps to counter the propaganda campaign launched by the naxals in their bid to deprive the people of their democratic rights. The Government is determined to foil the nefarious designs of the naxals to disrupt the polls, and to ensure free and fair elections.

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