Friday, June 05, 2009

DGP defensive on Naxal crisis

;Statesman News Service
BHUBANESWAR, 5 JUNE: Admitting that fighting Red rebels in 17 of the 30 districts in Orissa has become tough due to lack of infrastructure, state police today unveiled a special action plan to combat the menace in areas severely hit by the Maoists.
Of the 17 Maoist-infested districts, Malkangiri and Rayagada would be covered under the special plan, fund for which would be provided by the Centre.

The rapidly deteriorating situation on the Naxal front prompted state DGP, Mr Manmohan Praharaj to assert that Malkangiri has not gone out of hand.
“We are facing difficulties in training security-men to fight Maoists in jungles and difficult terrain of Malkangiri and other places,” Mr Praharaj told reporters.
He rejected suggestions that Maoists rule over entire Malkangiri, but admitted that “a small part of Malkangiri” close to Andhra Pradesh and Chhattishgarh borders is a difficult spot for the security personnel.

“Some places in Malkangiri remain under control of the ultras,” Mr Praharaj said.
He sought to gloss over a barrage of questions on increased Maoist activities and lawlessness by repeatedly taking recourse to the need for capacity building, training etc at a Press conference here today.

While drawing comparison with bordering Chhatisgarh to claim that elections were held with less number of incidents in Malkangiri district, Mr Praharaj asked reporters not to draw comparison with the improved situation in Andhra Pradesh.
"They (Andhra Pradesh) have been preparing anti-Naxal operations since the eighties whereas our preparations, on a serious level, began only in 2003-04," Mr Praharaj said.

Mr Praharaj’s plea of capacity building and training exposed the fact that the state government and the home department in particular had failed in respect of prospective man power planning for over a decade if not more.

Apparently, the series of killings in Malkangiri and Koraput district coupled with a few gang rapes and murders in other parts of the state which had put the police administration in the dock, had prompted the DGP to "explain and put things in the right perspective".

"We lost sixty policemen in Malkangiri district alone last year," he said, while listing out the initiatives taken by the government to tackle the menace. Mr Praharaj also claimed that Orissa police had an excellent record as far as human rights related issues are concerned. Presently there are four CRPF battalions posted in Malkangiri and one more is being moved to the area. "In a few years, the tribal youths recruited as special policemen will complete their training," he said.
A special action plan for Malkangiri district has been submitted to the Central government. It involves laying roads to connect inaccessible pockets, set up helipads, create security hubs and mobile camps, he said.
Interestingly, Mr Praharaj, who spent a long tenure in the Intelligence wing, refused to concede that Intelligence gathering and network had failed to pre-empt Naxal strikes or even Naxal postering in districts.
It may be noted that the Naxals have been issuing threats and posting leaflets, they have also travelled in hundreds and great distances to carry out daring strikes without the police getting a clue of their movements.
With regards to the situation in Kandhmal and the recent threat to newly elected BJP legislator Mr Manoj Pradhan, the DGP said that four companies of paramilitary force has been stationed in the troubled district. Five hundred tribal youth police officers are being trained for deployment in the district. "Of the 827 riot cases registered, charge sheets have been submitted in 473 cases," he said.
Mr Praharaj underlined the point that hard-core Maoists involved in the killing of Swami Laxmananada Swaraswati had been arrested. "Thirteen of the accused in the case have been nabbed including Udaya alias DP Rao, the one who pulled the trigger," he added.
Meanwhile suspected Maoists eliminated Tukuna Sahu at Sagadapata village here accusing him of being a police informer. Police sources said three armed men had dragged Tukuna from his house late last night. He was shot dead and his body found today. Involvement of Left wing extremists cannot be ruled out said police sources while maintaining that investigations were on.

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