In the wake of intelligence inputs indicating a spurt in Naxal violence in the run-up to the general election, the Union Home Ministry has recommended to the Election Commission that polls in 33 districts be conducted in the first phase itself to facilitate maximum possible deployment of security forces in the rebel strongholds.
The Naxal-hit districts, listed in a letter to the EC, are in Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. “Inputs suggest that there is a likelihood of increased Naxal activities, particularly in Bihar and Jharkhand and accordingly, we have issued an alert to the respective governments,” said a Ministry official.
In Jharkhand, the districts identified by security agencies as vulnerable are Chatra, Palamu, Garhwa, Gumla, Lohardaga, Ranchi, Bokaro, West Singhbhum, Dumka, Latehar, Giridih and Simdega. Jamui, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Lakhisarai and Aurangabad districts of Bihar, besides Bolangir, Koraput, Malkangiri and Nuapada in Odisha are on the list.
Gadchiroli in Maharashtra, where seven suspected Naxals were recently killed in an encounter with the police, and Khammam and Visakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh were also included.
While about 1,000 companies of forces, apart from the local police, have already been deployed in different parts of the country ahead of the election, the Ministry plans to allocate 1,000 more companies in the insurgency-hit areas.
Earlier this week, the Ministry issued advisories to the governments in Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, stating Naxal cadres were planning to disrupt the general election.