Friday, April 27, 2007

Brakes on public meets

Jamshedpur, April 26: Apprehending Maoist attack on administrative officers, politicians and police, the government has asked the police to be extra cautious on conducting janata darbars in Naxalite-hit areas.

According to a senior police officer, the seriousness of the government’s instruction could be assessed from the fact that within 24 hours of the notice top officials of Singhbhum-Kolhan took part in an emergency meeting at the office of East Singhbhum superintendent of police.

The meeting, which lasted for over three hours, was chaired by deputy inspector-general of police (Kolhan) Ram Lakhan Prasad. Commandant of CRPF and West Singhbhum superintendent of police were also present.

The DIG declined to divulge the details of the meeting and the contents of the letter, but an officer present in the meeting said: “The letter which was received by the DIG had categorically mentioned that the police should reduce the number of janata darbars. If at all such meetings are organised they should be extra cautious,” said an officer present in the meeting.

The officer revealed that the government, based on intelligence reports, has informed the DIG that Naxalites were taking part in large numbers in all the janata darbars.

“The home ministry apprehends that the Naxalites might use these janata darbars to attack government officials and politicians,” the officer added.

He pointed out that the letter from the home ministry assumes more significance because the JMM MP Sunil Mahto was assassinated during the final of a football match.

“Since the letter is from the home ministry and referred to an intelligence report, everyone present in the meeting took it very seriously. Keeping in mind the ill effects of not holding janata darbars it was decided that its number would be reduced and the venues would be not deep inside Naxalite-dominated zone,” the officers added.

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