Saturday, July 19, 2008

Alert state cops manage to keep naxals in check

NAGPUR: Maoist offensives have caused major setback in several neighbouring states like Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh but the red rebels have bit the dust against police in Maharashtra in the recent past.

Though there has been no major incident of naxal violence in the state since 2006, the state Anti-Naxal Operation Cell, taking cognizance of the situation, has already sounded a high alert in the naxal-affected areas prompting high security. An early warning has been communicated to all the unit heads, senior officers, police stations, sub-police stations and armed police outposts of the naxal-affected districts from ANO chief additional director general of police Pankaj Gupta's office after the attack in Orissa on Wednesday.

Naxals have tasted blood against highly successful squads like Greyhounds in the recent past, killing almost 36 trained commandoes. After their attack in Nayagarh in February earlier this year, Naxals once again left police bastion red-faced in Orissa through a landmine attack on a Mine Protected Vehicle on Wednesday that left 21 policemen dead in Malkangiri district.

After two attempts on MPV in March and April, Naxals attempted to gut down a locomotive near Darekasa towards the end of the year 2006. “No one can stop them (Naxals) from attacking in whatever way or form that they want to. Even if a very strong intelligence network would not help, if there is any slackness. Prompt response and steely composure are the two key factors that can save, even if there is any surprise attack by the naxals,” said Gupta. “There is no fixed target. If the naxals have blasted MPV in Orissa, they may target police stations or any armed outposts in Maharashtra. The form, strategy and intensity of the attack can be totally different but casualty could be same if caution is not practiced. Here in Maharashtra, one has to visualize the situation with the threat perception in the backdrop,” said Gupta. “We have fine-tuned all the forewarnings and practiced the responses repeatedly,” he said.

“Naxals have dedicated literature (Jung Magazine) which specifies the modalities to blast MPV. We had also nabbed some of the experts who frame their combative strategies. Learning from the arrests of the naxals, we have went on to add the security features in our armoury” said Gupta.

“We must practice number of precautionary measures while using MPVs and not take them as a sure protection from the blasts. Those measures need to be followed and practiced otherwise even a MPV cannot be termed safe. Apart from that, one must research and fine tune the findings of the standard operating procedures to avoid the same mistakes. It is very important not to make crucial tactical mistakes in the naxal affected areas,” said Gupta.

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