Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Maoist bandh today, state on alert Cops ready for eclipse

OUR CORRESPONDENT

Policemen keep guard on NH-33 on Tuesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Jamshedpur, July 21: The East Singhbhum district administration has beefed up security at Ghatshila and other Naxalite strongholds such as Chakulia, Dhalbhumgarh, Potka and Patamda blocks in the wake of tomorrow’s bandh called by the CPI(Maoist).

The Maoists have called a bandh in Jharkhand, Bengal and Orissa to protest against the rising prices of foodgrain and other essential commodities.

As the bandh will coincide with solar eclipse, police patrol teams will be equipped with night-vision gadgets.

Speaking about security arrangements, East Singhbhum superintendent of police (SP) Naveen Kumar Singh said that policemen and paramilitary forces had already been deployed at key locations, including the NH-33, railway stations and state offices under the Ghatshila sub-division.

Besides, security personnel will escort commercial vehicles, particularly trucks, trailers and long-distance passenger buses, plying on NH-33. The police escort party will be equipped with anti-landmine vehicles and bullet-proof patrolling jeeps, the SP added.

Intelligence sources said that chances are high that the rebels would come out in the open tomorrow to make the bandh effective as they are protesting against an issue close to people’s hearts.

But the men in uniform are also ready to tackle any eventuality.

With about 10 companies of paramilitary forces, including the Indian Reserved Forces, Central Reserved Police Forces and Jharkhand Armed Police deployed in the district, the district police are in a strong position to corner the rebels. Meanwhile, a section of residents at Patamda criticised the CPI(Maoist) for calling a bandh on the price rise issue.

Dharnidhar Mahto of Bodam village claimed the rebels themselves were responsible for the crisis. “They prevent development work, such as road and dams in rural areas. They pocket a portion of the project cost in the form of levy,” said Mahto.

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