Thursday, October 11, 2007

Naxalites kill three in a week

Anupam Dasgupta
Thursday, October 11, 2007 04:30 IST

In a renewal of targeted killings, Naxalites in Maharashtra have killed three people, including a would-be-policeman, in the past one week.

A source in the state Anti-Naxalite Operations Wing confirmed that all the killings occurred at Gadchiroli, on the Chhattisgarh-Maharashtra border. Security officials believe the sudden surge in violence may be a direct fall-out of the arrests of alleged Naxalites Sridhar Srinivasan and Vernon Gonsalves in Mumbai in August.

“By resorting to planned murders, the Naxalites may be trying to send out a signal to the government that they will not be made powerless by the arrests of their senior ideologues,” said Pankaj Gupta, additional director general of police and state anti-Naxalite operations unit chief.

The Naxalites have also issued a diktat across Gadchiroli, Chandrapur and Gondia, warning villagers against joining the police force. The killings are also significant as the state had initiated some development projects in the violence-affected areas. “The programmes are part of an overall effort to make the government visible in remote parts of the state,” said a state home department official.

Another point worrying security forces is the possible Naxalite alliance with inter-state criminals for mutual benefit like facilitating the flow of raw materials meant for explosives and weapons.

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