Sunday, November 15, 2009

‘Maoist attack could have been averted’

Express News Service
First Published : 15 Nov 2009 12:53:04 PM ISTLast Updated :

MALKANGIRI: THE killing of three CRPF personnel, including a deputy commandant in a Maoist triggered landmine blast near MPV-23 under Kalimela police limits yesterday has left many questions unanswered. Some of them are if any lapses were noted on the part of the security personnel in yesterday’s Maoist attack and how did the ultras come to know of movement of security personnel? According to reports, after consolidating their position in the rural and interior pockets of the region where government machinery rarely exists, the Maoists have been fast expanding their base to the urban areas with the support of their sympathisers. And the incident has once again brought to the fore non-adherence to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) being laid down by the Union Home Ministry.

Police personnel believe the incident could have been averted had the SOPs been followed. These procedures include asking the security personnel to tread on foot or cycles instead of vehicles in Maoist-infested forest routes to steer clear of landmines, avoid reinforcements during a Maoist attack for fear of subsequent ambushes, adopt multiple attack strategy, stick to guerilla warfare, use of different approach and return routes through a Maoist stronghold.

An IPS officer, on condition of anonymity, said with more armed police personnel invariably becoming victims of Maoist ambush, the security experts should strictly follow the SOPs to avert any untoward incident. On the other hand, security experts of the southern Orissa opined that it is practically not possible to follow all the guidelines laid down in SOPs in an underdeveloped region like Malkangiri because of its topography and hilly terrain with little communication facilities. An ex-IPS officer of the State said the decade-long Maoist movement is not a mere law and order problem but a political and socio-economic one and needs to be tackled on political front. “The development measures, coupled with a flexible, highly mobile and disciplined police force with human face that can quickly respond to real-time intelligence and other inputs, are the need of the hour to bring the rebels back to the mainstream,” he said. Sources said the number of Maoist cadres is on rise with the recruitment of more tribals over the years.

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