Jharkhand : Maoist Target Elections
With elections to the 81 member assembly in Jharkhand slated in five phases from November 30 to December 23, the Maoists have increased their activity in the state launching ambushes, IEDs and attacks on public and private infrastructure.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during election campaigning in Jharkhand warned left-wing extremists in Latehar and Palamau districts in which four policemen and two persons, including a local BJP leader, were killed that the BJP government will come down heavily to curb violence. “I have seen a couple of incidents happening in Jharkhand. You should be rest assured that the BJP governments at the Centre and the state will not allow anybody use guns. A befitting reply will be given to them,” Singh said at a poll meeting at Pandu under Bishrampur constituency.
This action comes even as Maoists set ablaze nine vehicles and machines in the mining region of the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) in Danetwada district on 24 November. “A total of nine vehicles were set ablaze in Kirandul mining area of the NMDC on Bailadila hills by Maoists. They have torched six dumper trucks, two JCB machines and a machine engaged in work related to the construction of Screening Plant no. 3 of NMDC,” IG BastarSunderaj P told Hindustan Times
The spike in violence in Jharkhand is on expected lines and is likely to be sustained over the month till the polls are completed. This period also coincides with the normal campaigning season, thus a complete review of the counter naxal security grid in Jharkhand and enhancements where essential are recommended on priority. Only minimum essential travel be carried out in the affected zone while night movement be avoided as rebels are now undertaking attacks even on the National Highway passing through the State.
The elections to the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly are scheduled in five phases starting from November 30 and the counting will take place on December 23.
While partly related to the elections in Jharkhand there are other trends as well such as beginning of the campaigning season that is providing Maoists greater impetus to launch strikes.
While there has been a general reduction in the area under the control of the Left Wing Extremists also known as Naxals and Maoists, there are concerns over expanding nature of their capabilities with drones and acquisition of sniper rifles flagged in various media reports. This is likely to pose a major challenge to the security forces operating in Central India.