Saturday, December 08, 2007

Jharkhand police worried as Maoists use beacons on cars

Posted : Sat, 08 Dec 2007 07:59:01 GMT
Author : IANS

Ranchi, Dec 8 - Jharkhand police are facing a harrowing time as Maoist rebels have started moving around in vehicles fitted with red beacon lights, used only by ministers and senior government officials.State police chief V.D. Ram in a letter to police superintendents (SP) in 24 districts has advised them to keep a close watch on red beacon fitted vehicles. In his letter last week, Ram asked the officials to check such vehicles without any hesitation.'We have received reports that Maoist rebels use beacon-fitted vehicles to avoid police check. Police usually do not check beacon fitted vehicles,' a senior official told IANS Saturday.He said, 'The red and yellow light fitted vehicles are used by senior government officials and ministers, hence cops do not check those vehicles. It appears the Maoists now are taking advantage of this situation.'After Jharkhand state was created in November 2000, the number of beacon fitted vehicles increased many fold. According to an estimate, there are more than 1,100 beacon fitted vehicles in the state.What has compounded the problem is the use of new vehicles such as Tata Indigo, Tata Safari and Scorpio, by VIPs in place of traditional Ambassador cars. Even senior police officials use these vehicles, making it difficult for police to spot criminals.According to police, rebels use these beacon fitted vehicles to transport explosives and other materials. In the recent past, three Maoist leaders were arrested while moving around in red beacon fitted vehicles.Maoist rebels are active in Jharkhand's 18 of 24 districts. According to an official estimate, over 1,000 people have been killed in the last seven years in the state. Of the total, 645 were civilians and 290 security personnel.

(c) Indo-Asian News Service

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