M A I N   N E W S

Major offensive against Maoists in Bastar jungles
* 1,000 securitymen comb area
NIA team begins probe

Raipur, May 27
Two days after the deadly Maoist attack on the Congress ‘Parivartan rally’ in Chhattisgarh, over 1,000 security personnel have been sent into the jungles of the Maoist-dominated Bastar region for a major offensive against the Left extremists.

“Over a thousand securitymen are on a combing operation in the region (Bastar) after the attack on Congress leaders,” Director General of Police Ramniwas said today.

Heavily armed Maoists ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district on Saturday, killing 27 persons, including state Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel, senior leader Mahendra Karma and ex-MLA Uday Mudliyar, besides leaving 36 others injured, including former Union Minister VC Shukla.

Ramniwas said the police received a tip-off about the extremists who orchestrated the attack and promised an early action. “We have inputs about Maoist leaders involved in the attack and efforts are on to nab them,” he said.

On the missing security personnel, the DGP said, “A police jawan Pawan Kindro is missing and search is on for him in the jungles.”

Police sources said security forces have recovered 24 bodies from Jiram valley of Darbha block where the attack took place.

As reports emerged that Maoist politburo member Katakam Sudarshan, alias Anand, was the mastermind of the attack, the NIA team flew to Raipur on way to Darbha in Bastar district. The team, headed by Inspector General of Police Sanjiv Kumar Singh, will investigate the circumstances leading to the attack and find out those Maoists who were involved in it, official sources said.

The Central investigators have taken over the case registered in Darbha police station under various sections of the IPC, the Arms Act, the Explosive Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had announced yesterday that the NIA would conduct the investigation and the formal order of handing over the case to the probe agency was issued today. Minister of State for Home RPN Singh said investigation would be conducted to find out possible lapses on the part of the Central forces or the state government and action would be taken if anyone is found guilty.

“Any lapse on the part of the Central forces or the state government, buck will have to be stopped somewhere. We have to take action,” he said.

Union Home Secretary R K Singh, Director of Intelligence Bureau Syed Asif Ibrahim and other senior Central officials will visit Chhattisgarh tomorrow to review the situation there.

Sources said the team will hold meeting with state government officials how to engage the security forces in a better way to tackle the Maoists menace with the involvement of neighbouring states.

The Centre has already deployed 30 battalion (approximately 30,000 personnel) in Chhattisgarh to help the state government carry out anti-Naxal operations. — PTI

Defence Minister AK AntonyArmy won’t be deployed: Antony

Ruling out the possibility of deploying the Army in anti-Naxal operations, Defence Minister AK Antony on Monday said the answer lies in strengthening local and Central police forces. He said the Services have been extending full support to the police troops on the ground and the IAF was operating its helicopters during the night also in Naxal-hit areas.





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