Monday, April 09, 2007

Naxals evade 'intelligence' net

Naxals evade 'intelligence' net

PATNA: Outlawed they may be, but Maoists operating in Bihar and Jharkhand appear to be more "intelligent" than the law-enforcing agencies of the two states.

The failure of state intelligence agencies to get even an inkling of the Maoist operations in recent times is a pointer to this grim reality.

Sample this: Of the 40,000-odd police officers and regular forces comprising the Jharkhand police, 1,100 have been posted with its intelligence wing, Special Branch.

And 1,700 of the 80,000-plus forces of the Bihar police work exclusively for intelligence gathering. In both states, the Special Branch is headed by an ADGP-rank officer.

Yet not even a single individual had any information before 1,000 men and women, heavily armed and equipped with walkie-talkies, attacked Madhuban town in Bihar's East Champaran district in June 2005; or when more than 500 Naxalites raided Jehanabad jail in Bihar in November 2005 and freed all the prisoners; or, for that matter, when over 400 descended on the state's Riga town in March this year.

Similarly, the number of Naxalites participating in operations in Jharkhand has also not been less than 100 each time.

They were more than 100 when they hijacked the Barkakana-Barwadih train near Barkakana in March 2006 and kept the passengers hostage for the whole night. As many as 300 of them attacked the CISF camp at Bokaro last Friday.

And not these operations were executed suddenly."They must have been pre-planned and well-coordinated as each operation involved participation of hundreds of armed activists," said a Naxal watcher.

CPI (Maoist) sub-zonal commander Bhagirath Mahto's statement to Jharkhand police also suggests this. Mahto, arrested from Hazaribagh district in February this year, is learnt to have told the police that Maoist squads have been asked for quite sometime by their central committee to"kill" politicians and policemen and"loot arms" in order to boost the morale of its cadres.

"What intelligence? So many people move around with arms and the police come to know about it after the attackers pull their triggers," a retired police officer said. Even Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar was on record having termed"intelligence" as"zero".

As for the arrest of Maoists after the operations, Jharkhand Special Branch ADGP Neyaz Ahmed admitted that Naxalites moving in groups of hundreds are difficult to be identified and trapped."But based on inputs from police sources in villages, we do arrest a few of them," he added.

However, sceptics doubt the police claims. "Don't go by the number of arrest being given by the police... Ask the police how come the sophisticated arms that are used in the Naxal operations are not recovered from the possession of those arrested," said the Naxal watcher.

Toiletpaper of India

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