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Police upper hand in red corridor

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By RAJ KUMAR in Ranchi
  • Published 14.03.08

Ranchi, March 13: At the receiving end of recent encounters, the police believe Naxalites are on the back- foot. And today’s Palamau bandh — their third in the last 30 days — was a giveaway that for the first time ever, Maoists were perhaps running out of ideas.

The spokesperson of the state police, deputy inspector-general Raj Kumar Mallick, claims the police now have the upper hand in the confrontation with the rebels.

“Recently, the police gunned down seven Maoists in Ghatshila. This apart, a few police jawans repulsed a Maoist attack at an outpost in Gumla district,” the deputy inspector-general added.

The superintendent of police in Palamau, Deepak Verma, senses that too.

“They (extremists) are calling bandhs. In last 30 days, they have called three bandhs to protest against arrests of their friends including a self-styled zonal commander Vinod Sharma,” said a colleague of the Palamau district police chief.

Since December 2007, 13 Naxalites have been killed in 29 encounters leading to a substantial recovery of arms and ammunition. As many as 105 Maoists have been arrested.

Consider some of the recent successes of security forces:

On February 8, the police repulsed a Maoist attack in Giridih. Two security personnel were killed in the attack and four policemen were injured.

On February 23, two Naxalites were killed in an encounter in the jungles of Bhengura village in Garhwa district.

On February 28 through- out the night, the police battled extremists in the Netarhat forests. Two Mao- ists were killed forcing the others to flee.

On March 10, the police recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition from a Naxalite hideout in Latehar district. The seizures include 17 rifles of .315 variety, one revolver, two flash guns, seven detonators, 22kg explosives and Naxalite literature.

On March 12, the police arrested area commander Raju Ghansi and recovered two bombs, each weighing 30kg, from Nawadih village in Palamau district.

Senior police are keeping their fingers crossed. But all agree that the deployment of young IPS officers in the Naxalite-hit districts of Garhwa, Giridih, Gumla and Palamau made the difference.

“They are at least challen- ging the rebels,” said a police officer.