ANDHRA PRADESH

Landmines detected in agency area

VISAKHAPATNAM NOV. 24. A catastrophe was averted with a special police party defusing two landmines found between Vanchula and Kothapalem road in GK Veedhi mandal of Visakhapatnam district on Saturday.

Following reliable information, the police scanned the entire stretch of the newly-laid road in the agency area and recovered two landmines concealed in steel boxes. The detonators were connected to the fuse wire, a police spokesman said.

After detecting the landmines, the police started an inquiry to identify the persons involved in planting them by the side of the road. The road was laid just a month ago and the police suspect that the landmines were planted about 10 days after the completion of the road work.

According to senior police officials, the outlawed People's War (PW) was planning to target police vans crossing the road. The landmine search operation was carried out by the GK Veedhi Sub Inspector of Police, Ilias Ahmad, under the supervision of the Circle Inspector, Raghavendra Prasad.

The district rural police launched a massive campaign in the naxalite-infested GK Veedhi, Koyyuru, G Madugula, Chintapalle, Araku and other mandals to create awareness among the people against the activities of the PW. The Superintendent of Police, Atul Singh, said on Sunday that the response during the two-month-old drive was `quite encouraging'. The police have so far put up 10,000 posters and distributed 20,000 pamphlets listing out details on 16 top naxal leaders including Chada Bhaskar and Vinay. Chada Bhaskar is in most wanted list and carries a reward of Rs. 12 lakhs on his head. The pamphlets carry information on the incidents in which they were involved.

Following the sensational kidnapping of policemen and attack on Anakapalle and Chodavaram police stations about three months ago, the police have intensified combing operations in the PW strongholds in the district as well as areas bordering Orissa, particularly in the Dandakaranya forest area. During this period, the police and naxalites exchanged fire on three occasions though no one was killed in the encounters.