Home minister K. Jana Reddy on Tuesday said that the Andhra Pradesh police would thwart any attempts of Maoists to attack jails and free their comrades.
The Special Intelligence Branch that deals with intelligence on Maoists had put out an alert that the extremists may resort to mass attacks in areas on the borders of Chhattisgarh and Orissa.
Reacting to the report, Mr Reddy said, "Not only jails, Maoists can strike at any place. We will give a fitting reply." Police had increased security at jails, particularly in Maoist-affected regions following mass attacks in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh last year. Mr Reddy told mediapersons after the passing out parade of jail warders, "We too have
information that Maoists are discussing attacks. We are concentrating on security at the borders."
He added, "We will be using intelligence alerts properly and there is no need to worry." The State has 123 sub-jails of which three have been closed due to lack of security. There are nine district jails and seven central prisons. After the attack on Jehanabad jail in Bihar, the State government shifted most of the Maoist prisoners to high security
A senior police official on condition of anonymity said, "Sub-jails are most vulnerable, particularly those in border districts like Khammam, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam. But there are no Maoists in the sub-jails. In district jails, there are only Maoists facing trial."
The Warangal central prison could be the most potential target as most Maoist leaders are lodged there, the official said. But "attacking central prisons is a difficult task. There is lot of difference between jails in Bihar and Chhattisgarh and our jails. We have more security. But we can’t rule out an attack," the official said. The State police is
studying the various jail attacks in Bihar, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.
"On November 13, 2005, about 1,000 Maoists and their supporters attacked Jehanabad jail in Bihar and released a large number of Naxal prisoners. On March 24 last year, at least 400 persons attacked a sub-jail in R. Udayagiri in Orissa and freed 40 prisoners. On April 15 they attacked the Narayanpur sub-jail in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh and exploded mines. We have learnt lessons from them. In Andhra Pradesh it will
not be easy," said a jail official.
"We are filling up vacant posts in the jails department. Jammers will be set up in jails to block mobile phone usage," he said. "The government was examining the file regarding grant of remission to eligible prisoners," he added. At least 253 warders passed out of their training on Tuesday. Director general of police M.A. Basith and prisons department Chief Jayachandra took part in the parade.