Saturday, April 5, 2008

Cops ready to thwart red raids

Ranchi, April 4: The Maoists have been restricted to their guerrilla warfare strategy, believe the state police.

“The Maoists will bounce back after facing a series of reversals. But we are ready to foil their big operations,” director-general of police (DGP) Vishnu Dayal Ram told The Telegraph. The DGP added that the areas vulnerable to the red attack have been identified for preventive measures. “But the Naxalites can go beyond our imagination,” he warned.

The Naxalites on Wednesday had retaliated, killing four persons in Khunti and exploding a landmine in Hazaribagh, injuring 13 police personnel.

Deputy inspector-general (DIG) Raj Kumar Mallick said the Jharkhand police had succeeded in not allowing the Maoists to make a transition to mobile war from their guerrilla tactics.

“They had tried twice, first by attacking a police picket in Simdega and then making a bid for the Netarhat hills. But they were forced to retreat,” said Mallick, the spokesperson for the state police.

“We have been able to shatter the myth that extremists are invincible. We are forcing them to roll back to the original guerrilla warfare, which we cannot fully stop given the terrain and dense forests of Jharkhand. Wednesday’s incident was just a part of their old strategy,” he asserted, adding that the gestation period for the modernisation of the force was over and it was fully equipped and highly motivated to strike.

The pledge to turn guerrilla war into mobile attacks was part of the Maoist roadmap adopted at the ninth congress of the CPI (Maoist) held in the state in February, 2007 after a gap of 37 years. To accomplish it, they had also decided to convert the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) into People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and vowed to advance in the urban areas.

Senior police officers, however, said it was no time to be complacent. “Naxalites are known to strategically lie low and strike the places where we are weak. Our first duty should be to identify the weak areas and take preventive measures,” an officer said.

The DGP said the police were taking steps to bring rebels back to the mainstream. “I hope the new surrender policy should be cleared within a week, giving us a strong weapon to counter the Naxalite propaganda,” he said.

Naxalite watchdogs, however, think “the Maoists are demoralised after a number of top extremists were put behind bars”. The developments in other parts of the world, too, have had their adverse affect on the Maoist movement, they said.

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