Gaya: Khaki, olive green and black – these are the dominant colours in the landscape of south and central Bihar ahead of the polls. On the eve of the first phase of polling the entire Maoist belt – ‘The Red Corridor’ from Banka to Kaimur – has virtually turned into a war zone with the presence of contingents of the state police, and Central Armed Para-military Forces (CAPFs). Fifteen Maoist-affected districts of the state go to polls in the first two phases of polling – 12 October and 16 October. The role of CAPFs has increased after the Election Commission of India’s (EC) new diktat – a first of its kind—that each and every polling booth in the state should be in command of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
“Considering the gravity of the ground situation in Bihar during elections, especially in the Maoist infested districts, the EC has ordered for the first time that all the 62779 polling stations in the state should be under the command of the CRPF. For this, 250 companies of CAPFs have been deployed. The first two phases of polling are crucial as both will be in Bihar’s most sensitive region. If this experiment becomes successful, the EC will replicate it in future elections,” Inspector General, CRPF, Bihar, Arun Kumar told Firstpost. The CAPFs comprise CRPF, Border Security Force (BSF), Rapid Action Force (RAF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB).
In view of the repeated Naxal threats and the call to boycott the polls, the security cover across the Red Corridor has been scaled-up. Out of 38 districts, 33 are affected by Maoists. “Due to Maoist threat, 47 polling booths have been shifted in consultation with political parties and EC. Because in these areas the Naxals will try to cause maximum damage to poll parties and security forces through landmine blasts. We’ve already recovered a large number of landmines and IEDs. The islands in the riverine belt are also safe haven for the Maoists and to track them, we’re using UAVs. We’re constantly changing our operational tactics. This election will witness one of the largest mobilizations of central para-military forces (more than 60,000) in Bihar. We’re engaged in multiple roles, from protecting the booths and voters to the polling staff as well,” added Arun Kumar, who’s also Force Coordinator (Bihar) for CAPFs. The CAPFs in collaboration with Bihar Police, Bihar Military Police, Special Action Force and Special Task Force have chalked out an elaborate strategy to counter and nullify the possible Maoist attack during the polls.
Godda attack indicates Maoist movement during polls
RANCHI: The Maoist attack in Godda, which killed two security personnels, indicates that the Maoists are out to try to disrupt Bihar polls, said police spokesperson S N Pradhan. The Maoist team which attacked the police was a small team comprising 20 extremists. The small teams find it easy to manage to dodge police. The Maoist team consisted of members from Maoists army wing People’s Liberation Guerilla Squad and they reportedly overpowered the security forces. Godda, a north-eastern district, shares border with Banka and Bhagalpur districts where elections will take place on October 12. Banka’s Dhoraiya and Banka assembly constituencies and Bhagalpur’s Pirpainti assembly segment have entry points from Godda.
“The Maoists were checked before they could make their way into Banka. The Maoists planned to go to Bihar,” DGP D K Pandey told reporters. After the encounter state police sealed Godda’s border with the two Bihar districts and asked police officials to keep a check on cross country (through the forest) movement. “It is a local group of the rebels led by commander Shahdeo Rai alias Tala Da. He is a local commander,” police spokesperson S N Pradhan said.
According to intelligence reports Maoists movement has increased in Bihar Jharkhand border ahead of polls in Bihar. The Jharkhand and Bihar police have held two coordination meetings to ensure effective policing in the border. In the wake of Godda ambush, the state police issued fresh directives to SPs of Sahebganj, Dumka and Deoghar, Giridih and Koderma (all bordering Bihar where first phase of elections will be held on Monday) to beef up security to check Maoist movement. Pradhan said CoBRA, JAP and SSB, the security forces specially trained to fight Maoists have been deployed in Godda. “It is an old tactics of the Maoist to use border area during polls. The border is dotted with river, hills and forests which make the habitation easy for them,” he said.