Friday, June 12, 2009

Naxal Blast, Patrol team ignored thumb rule : DGP

KUMUD JENAMANI


Jamshedpur, June 11: A day after a blast triggered by Naxalites near Goelkera, West Singhbhum, killed 10 police and CRPF personnel, director-general of police (DGP) Vishnu Dayal Ram said the security forces had ignored rules of patrolling in rebel strongholds.

“The thumb rule is to avoid vehicles when patrolling difficult terrain. This was not done,” he said, after inspecting the blast site on Thursday.

Ram was accompanied by inspector-general (operations) D.K. Pandey, deputy inspector-general (Kolhan) M.K. Mishra and West Singhbhum superintendent of police), Sudhir Kumar Jha.

“The incident once again bares non-compliance with orders. Had the policemen followed patrolling guidelines to the letter, there would not have been bloodspill. They would not have fallen prey to traps laid by the rebels,” Ram told The Telegraph.

Security personnel who patrol Naxalite strongholds are directed to avoid using vehicles, which usually trigger off landmines and can bombs.

Anti-insurgency operations in the Saranda forest area that received a jolt yesterday resumed today. The DGP said the administration would now focus on upgrading the intelligence network and intensifying counter-insurgency operations in Saranda.

Meanwhile, soil samples were collected from the blast site and sent for forensic tests. “This is to ascertain what caused the explosion — a landmine, a pressure bomb or something else,” said an officer at the blast site.

About 40 empty cartridges were also found on the spot. The police are trying to find out whether they were fired from rifles belonging to the security personnel or the rebels.

It is learnt that the blast that ripped through a police SUV was triggered by the 39th platoon of the CPI(Maoist), which is active in the Saranda forest area bordering Sundergarh district of Orissa. Intelligence says that another Maoist platoon — number 22 — is also active in Saranda. However, no confirmation on the groups have been received yet.

The bodies of the slain police and CRPF personnel were, meanwhile, sent to their native places after a guard of honour in Chaibasa. Two of the police jawans killed in the blast were from Jamshedpur.

Constable Manmohan Pandey (28) was a resident of Kadma while constable Dhananjay Yadav (32) belonged to Kitadih. Both were members of the anti-Naxalite squad posted in West Singhbhum district.

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