Jharkhand seeks ways to tackle Maoist menace
Jan. 29. — Maoist extremists’ blowing up of railway tracks during their bandh on Republic Day has caused an estimated damage of over Rs 10 crore in Jharkhand. The deaths of three police personnel and a Railway Protection Force (RPF) jawan have only added to their woes.
So, police have decided to look afresh at their multi-pronged approach to counter Maoist extremism in Jharkhand. According to Mr Ashok Kumar Sinha, IG (Railways), state police have been monitoring the entire situation and soon there will be a review meeting to look at the Maoist menace, afresh. “We are assessing the entire situation since Wednesday night. We will surely formulate a new comprehensive and better strategy to counter the Naxalites,” said Mr Sinha.
The state police’s knee-jerk reaction was also prompted by Union home ministry’s concerns over attacks on railway tracks. They felt the attacks were meticulously planned to destabilise the supply of coal to the power plants in north and central India.
“Major power plants in and around Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh primarily depend on Jharkhand for coal. The attack on railway tracks, mainly along the busy Coal India Chord link is of much concern to us,” said a senior state home department official.
Senior officers of the state police said, the DGP Mr Vishnu Dayal Ram had issued directives to formulate a fresh plan to check Maoist attacks. They also informed that Mr Ram was likely to meet railway officials to formulate changes in patrolling and monitoring aspects of railway tracks in Jharkhand.
“Central help could be sought to develop a dedicated communication channel through for railway staff to remain in constant touch with the local police stations,” said a police officer. “During the R-Day bandh call, we had focussed on the Barkakana-Garwah Road section. But the Maoists struck at so many locations that the police were in a fix about the counter offensive,” he said.
With vast stretch of railway tracks unmanned and no move to induct more personnel in the RPF, the task of state police to ensure safety seems all the more daunting.
Dipankar Bose in Ranchi, Statesman, Culcutta.