Ex-cops in Jharkhand suggest measures against Maoists

The Jharkhand police is battling at least six different ultra outfits, including Maoists in 18 of 24 districts in the state.

Ranchi: Proper training, continuous operations, the message to policemen that they were targets and the ability to operate in jungles, were needed to tackle Maoists effectively, former Jharkhand top cops feel.
The Jharkhand police is battling at least six different ultra outfits, including Maoists in 18 of 24 districts in the state in the backdrop of losing 26 of its personnel since December three last year.
"Naxalites are entrenched in six pockets spread over Parasnath in Giridih, Bokaro’s Jhumra hills, Chatra’s border areas with Bihar and Saranda Forests in West Singhbhum," Neyaz Ahmed, who retired as Jharkhand police chief last year, said.

"Anti-Naxal operations therefore should be a continuous process till the ultras are driven out," he said.

Stating that most of Jharkhand’s bordering states were also Maoist-affected, which helped inter-state movement by the ultras, Ahmed said, official level meetings were not of much consequence as sustained joint operations by states.

He also said that police constables to officers should be made aware that the Maoists were killers who would not hesitate to eliminate them.

They should also have proper drills in negotiating areas where landmines were suspected to have been planted by Maoists, he said.

Ahmed also felt that personnel should be posted outside their native districts and have a taste of jungle warfare for which proper training were necessary.

"Though Jharkhand has modern weapons and ammunition, it would be ineffective without proper training."

Stating that Jharkhand had two good training centres at Padma and Netarhat, he said "What is lacking is training. Policemen should be trained properly."

JB Mahapatra, who retired as DGP a few years ago, said unless the administration reached out to the people in villages, the Maoist menace would continue to grow.

Stating that the Maoists targetted victims of mafia and middlemen, he said, political leaders and government functionaries should go to villages and ensure implementation of development projects and make their presence felt.

"We should also keep a watch on destruction of government properties. In some instances, contractors themselves blow up half-constructed structures and blame it on extremists in order to take full payment. Such incidents don’t help the villages, and cause a loss of government money," he said.

He said that people filing FIR against middlemen and mafia should be entertained and complaints investigated to prevent instances of justice by kangaroo courts by the ultras.

Another former DGP, VD Ram, said illiteracy, unemployment and under development were some of the reasons behind the growth of Maoists in the state.

"The Maoists are thriving through extortion to buy arms. We have to stop this. The Centre is very much concerned about containing the Maoists, but political will to fight the menace varies from state to state," he said.