Monday, August 29, 2005

Help tribals, keep Naxals at bay

Monday August 29 2005 12:56 IST

ROURKELA: After the Andhra Pradesh Government imposed ban on Maoist outfits, pressure mounted on security forces in Orissa and red alert was sounded in southern and western parts of the State.

Police and intelligence officials were on their toes due to apprehension that the Naxal influx would go up with the Andhra Pradesh launching operation against the radicals.

But in Sundargarh, it was a different story. Even when the higher authorities were planning to intensify the anti-Naxal drive, they decided to transfer SP Y K Jethwa, who has played an important role during his stint in checking Naxalism in this part of the State.

His transfer is considered as a major setback to the anti-Naxal drive.

Jethwa, who had joined as Sundargarh SP in 2002, had effectively restricted the activities of the Maoists even when violence had increased manifold in neighbouring Sambalpur district and Jharkhand.

During his tenure, about 40 ultras had been arrested and 15 had surrendered.

A senior police official said one of the main reasons for the success of anti-Naxal drive was administration’s rapport with the vulnerable tribals. Due to awareness campaign, the tribals could be kept away from the Naxals, he said.

Besides, several innovative ideas like organising sports events between tribals and policemen were implemented, he pointed out.

Under the circumstances, Jethwa should have been transferred either to Deogarh or Sambalpur, which are witnessing a spurt in Naxal activities, the officer maintained.

On what should be future plan of security forces to combat rising Naxal menace, Jethwa said rural development and good relationship with the ignorant tribals can be a sound strategy.

“The strong intelligence network and co-ordination of Sundargarh police with the district administration and their Jharkhand counterparts can also help keeping the Naxals at bay,” Jethwa informed.

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