Ahead of polls, spike in IED seizures in Ch­hat­tis­garh

Their in­creas­ing use points to chang­ing Maoist tac­tics

The Hindu - - FRONT PAGE - Vi­jaita Singh

There has been a 100 % in­crease in the num­ber of Im­pro­vised Ex­plo­sive De­vices (IED) re­cov­ered in Ch­hat­tis­garh in 2018 com­pared to 2013, when the State last went to the polls.

While as many as 57 IEDs were re­cov­ered in 2013, 116 have been found this year, with 84 re­cov­er­ies in Oc­to­ber and 23 in Novem­ber alone.

The num­ber of Maoistre­lated in­ci­dents in the Left Wing Ex­trem­ism-af­fected dis­tricts has also seen an in­crease from 76 in the months of Oc­to­ber-Novem­ber 2013 to 107 in­ci­dents in the same pe­riod this year.

Shrink­ing in­flu­ence

An of­fi­cial said that since the area un­der the in­flu­ence of the Maoists is shrink­ing — with the open­ing of new camps by the se­cu­rity forces — plant­ing IEDs is an eas­ier way to in­flict the max­i­mum ca­su­alty on the per­son­nel.

“The num­ber of Maoistre­lated in­ci­dents has in­creased as the elec­tion ap­proaches. Over­all, there has been a re­mark­able de­crease in such in­ci­dents in the past decade,” said the of­fi­cial.

Eigh­teen con­stituen­cies in eight Maoist-af­fected dis­tricts — Bas­tar, Kanker, Sukma, Bi­japur, Dan­te­wada, Narayan­pur, Konda­gaon and Ra­j­nandgaon — will vote in the first phase of the Assem­bly elec­tion on Novem­ber 12.

Fewer civil­ian deaths

How­ever, there has been a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in the num­ber of civil­ians killed in 2018. While 76 civil­ians were killed in the months lead­ing up to the elec­tion in 2013, the num­ber has dropped to 11 this year. Nine se­cu­rity per­son­nel though have been killed this year, com­pared to five in 2013.

A se­nior govern­ment of­fi­cial said the Maoists had mo­bil­i­sa­tion of man­power and in­tri­cate plan­ning. Smaller teams don’t come un­der scru­tiny eas­ily,” he said.

An­other of­fi­cial said the at­tack on a Do­or­dar­shan team re­cently, in which 34year-old video jour­nal­ist Achyu­tananda Sahu was killed, was a case in point.

San­i­ta­tion drive

“The num­ber of Maoists who at­tacked the DD team was not more than 20-25. They de­camped with his cam­era. In a sani­ti­sa­tion drive, two IEDs were re­cov­ered from Nil­vaya vil­lage, where the team was headed to cover a polling booth that had been set up after 20 years. They wanted to in­flict ca­su­al­ties,” said the of­fi­cial.

The of­fi­cial also claimed that this time the Maoists were warn­ing vil­lagers of dire con­se­quences if they cast their vote.

Strate­gic shift: With more se­cu­rity camps opened, Maoists see IEDs as an eas­ier way to in­flict max­i­mum ca­su­al­ties.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.