IAS officers in crosshairs of Maoists

Documents recovered from encounter sites reveal disturbing trend, says J.V. Ramudu  

: With the security forces in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, improving their capabilities and the coordination among the various security agencies in the Maoist-affected States getting better, the left wing extremists are focussing on a different strategy to make an impact.

As per certain documents seized from Naxals killed in encounters, including the data retrieved from the laptop of Maoist leader Azad alias Gopal, who was killed in an encounter with a special police party near Palasamudram in Koyyuru mandal of Visakhapatnam district on May 4, the Maoists are planning to kidnap government officials, especially IAS officers who are posted in the Agency areas of Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and East Godavari districts. The new strategy of the Maoists was disclosed by Director General of Police (DGP) J.V. Ramudu recently at a meeting of Ministers and top officials, including the Chief Minister. Admitting that Maoists were active in the Agency areas of Visakhapatnam and East Godavari and their presence was improving in Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, West Godavari and areas bordering Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Telangana, the DGP pointed out the banned group was primarily focusing on two things: creating fear among the tribal people by eliminating police informers or killing innocents by branding them informers, and kidnapping officials.

This year, the Maoists have killed four Girijans in the Andhra-Odisha-Border region after branding them police informers.

Coming to the action from the police side, the security forces arrested one DCM cadre operator from Bhadrachalam (Sabari dalam), killed one DCM in an encounter in the same area and three ACM cadre Maoists were killed by the elite anti-naxal force Greyhounds in locate-and-chase operation in East Godavari and Visakha Agency areas.

The data retrieved from the laptops and other material indicate that the Maoists are low on explosives.

Low on explosives

According to a senior officer in the Intelligence Department, the left-wing extremists are facing a shortage of explosive material and they are scouring the markets for various chemicals and products.

Improvised Explosive Device (IED) has been the mainstay for the Maoists. They are still largely dependent on gelatine and fertilizers. Earlier, the dependence was on gelatine for the making of IEDs and the gateway was the mining contractors. With the government tightening the norms and other non-hazardous material available, the flow of gelatine has come down.

According to a senior police officer engaged in anti-Maoist operation, there is evidence to suggest that the left-wing extremists are desperate to replenish the explosive stockpile and have conducted tests on 15 different explosive substances such as ammonium nitrate, potassium dichromate, naphthalene balls, and petroleum jelly.

“In the recent times they have shown their dependence on ammonium nitrate, which they code-named as ‘sabudana.’ But there is a problem with ammonium nitrate. This fertilizer, which can be converted into explosive material, has a very short lifespan and loses its explosive character if not kept in a controlled environment or used quickly. And seized documents suggest that they are facing a storage problem and are on the lookout for an alternative,” said the officer.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 12:03:06 PM |

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