Not a single person turned up to vote in 15 polling booths in Odisha during the first phase of India’s election
- Election officials from 15 polling booths in Odisha returned empty handed as five panchayats did not show up to vote on the first day of the general election in India.
- In the run up to the election, Maoist poster campaigns surfaced asking people not to vote.
- But some villages reported that their reasons to not vote had nothing to do with the perceived left wing extremism.
The first phase of the Indian general elections was marred by violent clashes in Andhra Pradesh and improvised explosive devices going off in Maharashtra, but in Odisha — 15 polling booths remained silent waiting for voters than would never show.
State administration has confirmed that in Malkangiri district, which consists of two separate constituencies — Malkangiri and Chitrakonda — zero polling was registered as voters from five panchayats (formalised local self-governance at a village level) did not show up to participate.
Fifty four officers on election duty were specially airlifted on Wednesday to these areas to make sure that the booths would be operational. But they all returned empty handed once the polling booths closed in the evening at four.
In the run up to the election, Maoist posters began to surface — asking people to ‘boycott the polls’ because real benefits can only be derived from armed struggle, not votes.
Even so, voters from one of the villages, Temurupalli, claim that the reason they did not go to vote wasn’t because of the perceived left wing extremism, but because the booths were just too far. And, people from the village of Tamasaput say they boycotted the election because no development work was conducted in their area.
The polling booths are Andrapali, Jantri, Sanyasiguda, Handikhalo, Panasaput, Singhai, Gorasetu and Jodamba were also desolate.
Aside from Odisha, Maharashtra also had to bear the brunt of Naxalite activity, which is a more extreme form of Maoism. Four polling stations will re-poll in the coming phases of the elections because polling teams were unable to reach the designated sites.
Despite 15 booths lying bare on election day, Odisha still witnessed an overall 68% voter turnout during the first phase of the general election. The majority of Maoist-hit areas will be covered in the first three phases.
Indian police said Maoist rebels were behind a deadly attack on an election convoy in a restive central state on Tuesday, April 9, just two days before voting starts in the country’s phased general election.
“At the moment we are ascertaining the number of dead,” Girdhari Nayak, a senior officer from Chhattisgarh state, where the attack occurred, told AFP.
“According to our preliminary investigation, five people have died” in the attack, the state’s police deputy inspector general, P. Sundar Raj, told reporters.
Some reports put the death toll at six.
The improvised explosive device attack took place at Nakulnar in Dantewada district, the Indian Express reported.
Nayak said the rebels, who have been waging an armed insurgency against the state for decades, detonated a roadside bomb before firing on the convoy carrying officials from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
“It was a massive blast … The vehicle was blown apart,” he said. “Immediately after the blast, the Maoists opened indiscriminate firing. One bullet hit the local lawmaker. Firing is underway. Bodies are mutilated.”
BJP state legislator Bhima Mandavi, was in the convoy when it was attacked, the BBC reported, later reporting police as saying that Mandavi, the only BJP MLA out of the 12 that represent the region, was killed in the attack.
Chhattisgarh: BJP convoy attacked by Naxals in Dantewada. BJP MLA Bheema Mandavi was also in the convoy, further details awaited.
Police said the explosion occurred at around 4.30 p.m., the Times of India reported.
The rebels often call for a boycott of elections as part of their campaign against the Indian state.
The vote in Chhattisgarh is due on April 11, in the first phase of the general election which will only finish on May 19.
The Maoist insurgency began in the 1960s, inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, and has cost thousands of lives in almost daily incidents of violence.
Thousands of armed men and women – also known as naxals – have fought authorities in the so-called “Red Corridor” that stretches through central and eastern India.
They say they are fighting for the rights of the indigenous tribal people, including the right to land, resources and jobs.
Maoists are believed to be present in at least 20 Indian states but are most active in forested resource-rich areas in the states of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.
With reporting from AFP
Maoist call to boycott General Elections 2019
Posters appear in different places asking people to boycott elections to counter militarisation of the country.
A lyrical poster in the eastern state of Odisha
Maoists blow up ex-MLC’s house in Bihar’s Gaya, call for poll boycott
INDIAUpdated: Mar 28, 2019 13:39 IST
Hindustan Times, Gaya
Maoists blew up the house of a former member of the Bihar Legislative Council (MLC) and BJP leader Anuj Kumar Singh in the state’s Gaya district late on Wednesday as they called for the boycott of Lok Sabha election 2019, police said on Thursday.
Singh’s uncle and his family member were beaten up during the attack in Bodhibigha village, about 80km away from the district headquarters, according to police.
An armed squad of the outlawed CPI(Maoist) also urged the villagers to ensure a total boycott of the Lok Sabha election 2019 across the Magadh division of the state. Their campaign at the village under the Dumaria police station continued for two hours.
They threw handbills and pamphlets calling for a boycott of the Lok Sabha election 2019 and raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Maoists also urged the village’s youth to stay away from the ongoing election campaigns of the political parties.
Gaya’s senior superintendent of police Rajeev Mishra confirmed the incident and said that police teams reached the spot early on Thursday morning and investigation is still on. The local police will lodge an FIR with this regard after their preliminary investigation.
When asked about the Maoists posters and handbills dropped in the village, Mishra said police have recovered some papers which were being circulated by the Maoists calling for a poll boycott.
This is not the first time that Maoists have struck the former MLC’s house at his ancestral village of Bodhibigha. They had attacked the house in 2007 and threw bombs. They had also blown up the house of Singh’s personal assistant and beaten him up him in public.
The former MLC has been on the hit list of the Maoists since 2006 for his continuous campaign against the Maoists across Magadh division.
Mishra, however, said that there is no infrastructure in the village and the police station there would not be viable. There have been adequate forces in Dumaria-Imamganj areas to control the situation, he said.
Maoists have carried out their anti-election campaign in the past as well. Last month, the they had torched a government middle school which was turned into a police camp for the election.
Maoists call for arrest of killers of C.P. Jaleel
The police have tightened security as Maoist posters appeared in many places in Thrissur city.
The posters, which were found on Sunday morning, demand the arrest of killers of C.P. Jaleel, who was killed in an alleged encounter with the police in Wayanad recently.
The posters also demand that the Thunderbolt, the commando force created to counter possible terror strikes, be dispersed.
The posters were found near the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Town Hall, and Swaraj Round. Two mobile phone numbers have also been given on the posters, appeared in the name of Purogamana Prasthanam. The posters carry photographs of Jaleel and acknowledge him a martyr.
Based on a news item from The Hindu, KALPETTA, MARCH 25, 2019 20:50 IST
They say they will avenge planned murder of Comrade Jaleel
With Maoists being sighted again in Wayanad, the police and the district administration may face a big headache in the days to come.
Jaleel, a Maoist who was killed on March 7 in an alleged encounter with the commandos of Thunderbolt, at a private resort at Lakkidi in the district.
Five armed persons, including two women, reached Makkimala town near Thalappuzha around 8 p.m. on Sunday, introducing themselves as Maoists, police department sources said.
They spent nearly 30 minutes in the town by shouting slogans and pasted posters on walls of the town. They interacted with nearly 15 villagers who were present in the town, the sources said.
They shook hands with the villagers but not allowed to take photographs on mobile phones.
The militants told them that they were the Kabani Dalam members of the Communist Party of India (Maoists) Western Ghats committee.
They said they would retaliate against the planned murder of Jaleel. The encounter was fake and the incident was fabricated by the police with the support of some traitors of the resort, they added.
The Maoists left the town after procuring provisions like egg and bread from a grocery shop and paid ₹100 to its owner.
They also distributed the March edition of the ‘Kattu Thee’ a monthly publication of the organisation published by Mandakini, on behalf of the Kabani Dalam.
The pamphlet started with offering hundreds of red salutes to the martyr, Jaleel. It also asked the public to take revenge against the murder. Though the Thalappuzha police reached spot at once they could not trace any evidence of the militants.
Maoist leader martyred in alleged encounter with Kerala Police
Thunderbolt, which is an Anti-Maoist Force under Kerala Police, killed a Maoist leader, after indulging in a fire-exchange in a forest district of Kerala
A Moist leader, CP Jaleel was killed on Wednesday, March 7 in an encounter with the Anti Maoist Force, also known as Thunderbolt. The incident took place in Vaythiri, Wayanad district of Kerala. It is a forest district that has been the hotbed of Maoist activities in the state.
According to the police, a group of armed Maoists approached a resort in Vythiri, on Wednesday night, to seek some food and money. On receiving the information, the Thunderbolt team reached the spot. After a gunfight, one Maoist leader was killed. Other intruders fled into the nearby forest region.
Following the incident, the Thunderbolt had launched a search operation and cordoned off the area.
Police sources said that the forces will be on high alert and the search operations will continue until the remaining Maoists are traced.
Note: For a background see ‘Kabani is not just a river’
Maoists call for India-wide General Strike (Bharat bandh) on 31st January 2019
Heavy forces deployed in view of Maoists’ bandh call
Bhubaneswar: Maoists are today observing ‘Bharat Bandh’ on the last day of their Martyrs’ Week and have resorted to road blockade in some places of Odisha.
The red rebels blocked Kotagarh-Muniguda road near Bandapipili and Baliguda-Daringbadi road near Pakaladami ghat in Kandhamal district by cutting down trees.
The extremists also put up posters and leaflets at the spot urging people to extend their support towards the bandh call.
Effect of the bandh was also evident in Malkangiri as vehicular movement in the district, especially on Malkangiri-Jeypore road, came to a grinding halt.
In Kalahandi, the Maoists blocked road at Kendhu ghat in a similar way and torched a excavator, which was engaged in road construction work.
Similarly, in Rayagada, the Maoists blocked road at Chatikana and put up posters in the village.
Andhra-Odissa border region
Phulbani/Malkangiri/Bhawanipatna: Life came to a grinding halt in three South Odisha districts of Kandhamal, Malkangiri and Kalahandi districts following a 12-hour Bharat Bandh by the outlawed CPI (Maoist) on Thursday.
Vehicular movement was disrupted in Kandhamal district with Baliguda-Daringbadi Road being blocked by felling trees at Pakaladami Ghat. The ultras also blocked Kotagada-Muniguda Road at Satanalia and put up posters opposing the Green Hunt operation being jointly carried out by Central para-military forces, district voluntary force (DVF) and Special Operation Group (SOG).
Similar blockade was seen on Phikarakupa-Dhepaguda road in Kalahandi district, while no government bus plied in Malkangiri.
Informing the media, Malkangiri SP, Abhishek Meena said a joint combing operation by the BSF, SOG and DVF has been intensified in the remote and sensitive areas in the district.
Besides, the district police are in touch with their counterparts in Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to share the intelligence network and track the movement of the Maoists along the border areas, he added.
Notably, the Maoists had observed the Protest Week from January 25 in which they had conducted several meetings with the villagers in the remote areas of Maoist-prone districts of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand. The Left-wing extremists have given the Bharat Bandh call on the last day of the Protest Week on Thursday.
Maoists in Kerala take up local issues
New Indian Express : 18th December 2018 02:21 AM | Last Updated: 18th December 2018 02:56 AM | A+A A-
KOCHI: Giving a tough challenge to the Kerala Government, Maoists in Kerala have called for active involvement in local issues to connect with the public and garner their support. Considering the gravity of this strategy mooted by Maoists, a high-level meeting was held in Kozhikode on Monday attended by Chief Secretary Tom Jose, State Police Chief Loknath Behera and other senior officers.
The meeting decided to immediately take necessary measures to prevent the Maoists from strengthening their influence among the locals.
Two days back, a five-member armed group of Maoists visited Thalappuzha in Wayanad demanding legal action against the persons responsible in connection with alleged suicide of Thavinjal Service Cooperative bank employee P M Anilkumar. The group also threatened with public execution of those involved if justice was not delivered. The group also interacted with the public and pasted posters demanding action against former bank president P Vasu. “We have already formed special teams to nab the accused in connection with the alleged suicide of Anilkumar. As per our investigation, he is absconding and we have taken necessary steps to nab him,” Balram Kumar Upadhyay added.
According to a senior police officer, the decision of Maoists to interfere in local issues is a matter of big concern for the state government. “They are trying to play with the sentiments of the common man who always feel that justice is served only for the wealthy and powerful. If people start accepting the doctrines of the Maoists, situation is going to be really hard for the police as locals will start supporting them,” the officer said.
The state has been wary of Maoist groups taking up local and public issues as part of their strategy to connect with the people after a gang of nine suspected Maoists vandalized the corporate office of Nitta Gelatin India Limited (NGIL) at Panampilly Nagar in November 2014 to protest against the company’s plant which allegedly polluted Chalakudy river.
Police of Kerala Government led by the self-styled ‘Communist Party of India (Marxist)’ comes up with ‘Operation Anaconda’ to flush out Maoists.
Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala police have intensified anti-Maoist operations in forest areas along the tri-junction corridor between Kannur and Palakkad. Search operations under the special drive christened ‘Operation Anaconda’ have been carried out by the security forces led by Thunderbolts — the elite paramilitary commando unit of the Kerala Police – anti-Naxal squad, and Armed Reserve Battalion in coordination with the local police, quotes Manorama.
Following reports of armed persons attached to the banned Communist Party of India (Maoists) being sighted in many parts of the region recently, the combing operations were stepped up.
As per reports a large posse of police personnel and commandos have been camping in the forest for the past two days.
Naxals to Expand Base at Tri-Junction of Kerala, Karnataka & Tamil Nadu states
According to an India government intelligence report, “in a few years Naxalism will have a consolidated front in Western Ghats and tri-junction area.”
New Delhi: Naxals are on the verge of creating a ‘consolidated front’ on the Western Ghats.
The tri-junction being the dense forests of the region where the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala meet.
Naxals are expanding at an alarming rate in this region because of three main reasons.
— First is the nature of area that Naxals are exploiting—places which have least government penetration and consequently maximum dissatisfaction against the state.
The Naxal division working specifically on this region, being squeezed by forces on all sides in Bastar area, is Western Ghats Special Zonal Committee (WGSZC).
Over the past few weeks, the report states, “most number of Naxal sightings were from Wayannad, Mallapuram, Kannur, Kozhikode and Palakkad districts of Kerala and in terms of human development indicators these districts lie at the bottom, thus, constituting perspective area for naxal growth and operation.”
— The other problem is that Naxals have set their bases up in, as the report states, the “unexplored jungles” in the tri-junction region. This is the area that was under firm control of the brigand Veerappan.
So while “Tamil Nadu police and Karnataka police had a firsthand experience of the jungle in their respective states due to the forest brigand Veerappan,” Kerala still has very little knowledge about the topography, which has resulted in a rapid expansion by Naxals in this area.
According to intelligence shared by police departments of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka with central agencies, Naxals are also getting familiarised and trained according to the terrain. Arms training is regularly being undertaken in dense jungles of Wayanad.
Due to the frequent operations by Anti-naxal Force and the special task forces of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu Naxals were forced to flee towards the jungle areas of Kerala, the intel report adds.
“But for Kerala, combing operation is new to them and requires assistance. Kerala has vast jungle areas that are left unexplored.”
— There is yet another hurdle for the forces to deal with in order to counter the growing influence of Naxals in the tri-junction area—since in the dense forests there is no way to mark boundaries, problems of jurisdiction arise. These problems can only be dealt with a coordinating agency for conducting anti-Naxal operations for all the three states. Such an authority does not exist so far.
All these issues have come together to fuel activities of Naxal fronts that have “increased considerably” in places like Erode, which lies in Tamil Nadu, but is close to both Karnataka and Kerala.
Senior officers say that the Kerala has been identified to be “vulnerable” due to less manpower and inadequate weaponry. This has caused the three states to demand deployment of central troops just as is the case in the Dandakaranya zone which includes parts of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Naxals regrouping in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka: Police
In a first since 2005, there have been sightings of Maoist groups in the Western Ghats, says an intelligence report
Wayanad (Kerala): The Kerala and Karnataka Police as well as intelligence agencies say there has been a strong Maoist resurgence in the Kerala-Karnataka-Tamil Nadu (KKT) region, in what could deal a blow to the Union government’s efforts to contain Left-wing extremism (LWE) in the country,
After a hiatus of nearly 12 years following the 2005 killing of Saketh, a Karnataka state committee member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the group has started making a comeback in the KKT tri-junction, according to an intelligence report reviewed by Mint.
“Currently the Western Ghat zonal committee is run by B.G Krishnamurthy and militarily supported by Vikram Gowda. Their main recruitment is from Karnataka and Chhattisgarh, but they prefer to stay in Kerala parts of Western Ghats. There have been sightings and four groups are operating in the Kerala side of Western Ghats,” the report said.
“In September 2017, five armed Maoist cadres forced their way into a house at Parappanpara in Kerala’s Kozhikode district. Having robbed the owner of basic supplies and food, they warned him against contacting the police, and fled. The next day, the Kerala Police embarked on a massive combing and search operation against the group in the nearby forest areas, only to find that the group had escaped without a trace,” said a senior Kerala Police official, seeking anonymity.
Though they could not be located, the team of Maoists (of that particular group) was led by Soman, who hails from Wayanad and is also a former leader of another Maoist front organization, the official added.
While the Kannadiga cadre of the Maoists has suffered a decline because of the gradual shift to Kerala, senior state police officials said that the southern tip of Karnataka, overlapping with Kerala and Tamil Nadu had become a safe haven for the CPI (Maoist) cadres who had begun to retreat from their current strongholds in the Andhra-Odisha border.
“To strengthen themselves, they are planning to develop morally, militarily and their organization capabilities. They are planning to train uneducated cadres by giving them both tactical and political education,” the aforementioned report said.
On 21 April 2017, the Kerala Police conducted another round of combing operations in the Nilambur Forest in Malappuram district after receiving reports of a Maoist group camping inside the forest and intelligence units in the state confirmed “that the group had planted landmines around their camp near the Mancheeri Tribal Colony, in an apparent bid to prevent police raids. A group of armed cadres had also warned the Mancheeri Colony residents of landmines and had asked them not to enter their camp area.”
Experts said that state borders were more porous, given lower levels of policing.
“State borders are less policed and so Naxal movement is easy there. But there needs to be more specific intelligence on their movement and where they will hit next,” said Gurmeet Kanwal, defence analyst at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi.
Basavraj takes Over from Ganpathy as New Chief of CPI (Maoist) and India’s ‘Most Wanted’ Man
In his over three-and-a-half-decade association with the organisation, Basavaraj has served as the chief of Central Military Commission of CPI(Maoist).
In his over three-and-a-half-decade association with the organisation, Basavaraj has served as the chief of Central Military Commission (CMC). Intelligence sources had a few weeks ago attributed the rise in the number of incidents against security forces in Bastar to his promotion.
Basavaraj is known for being an expert in explosives and military tactics. He has been underground for the last 28 years. Little is known about his past except that he graduated from Regional Engineering College (REC) in Warangal, now renamed the National Institute of Technology (NIT). He was often arrested in Srikakulam for his agitations and protests led in student days.
“Every offensive against the security forces in the area you can think of, from Dantewada 2010 attack [in which 76 CRPF soldiers were killed], the Jeeram Ghati attack [in which 27 people, including former state minister and leader of Salwa Judum – Mahendra Karma, and Chhattigarh Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel, were killed], have been planned and ordered directly by him,” an intelligence officer told News18.
The officer said Basavaraj is the brain behind the organisation’s attacks against security personnel and his elevation may see a spike in such incidents.
For past several months, there have been speculations in Bastar about Ganpathy’s failing health. It was reported that the Naxal leader, who has a Rs 2.5 crore bounty on his head, was suffering from liver problems and had to be carried around.
The press release issued by the CPI (Maoist) makes an almost obituarial reference to Ganpathy, mentioning the illness he’s suffering from thrice, and recounting his 25-year tenure as the head of the People’s War Group, which then merged into CPI (Maoist) and took the shape of outfit that is today active in Bastar, parts of Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand.
* In a future article we will discuss the history of peasants uprisings in these places – the heartland of such struggles in India.
Define The Term ‘Urban Naxal’, Historian Romila Thapar Asks India Government
Talking on the house arrests of five activists, she said these are the people who are fighting against social injustice.
NEW DELHI: Eminent historian Romila Thapar, who petitioned the Supreme Court against the house arrest of five Left-leaning activists, has asked government to define the phrase ‘urban Naxal’, saying either they do not understand the meaning of the term or the activists like her do not.
Talking on the house arrests of five activists Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha, she said these are the people who are fighting against social injustice.
“We were all born Indians, lived as Indians all our lives. These activists are fighting for good causes and terming them urban Naxal is a political move,” she said.
“Do they even know what urban Naxal means, first ask the government to define the term urban Naxal and then tell us how we fall into this category. It is very easy to call us urban Naxal. And also tell us how we have become urban Naxal, either the government does not understand the meaning of urban Naxal or we don’t understand the meaning of the term,” Ms Thapar told PTI.
She was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference held by the petitioners after the Supreme Court judgement on Friday refused to interfere with the arrest of the five rights activists in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence case and declined to appoint a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe their arrests.
The five activists have been under house arrest since August 29.
Politicians like Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis have often referred to the five activists as “urban Naxals”.
Many social media users have enlisted themselves as “urban Naxals” in a show of solidarity with the arrested Leftwing activists as ‘MeTooUrbanNaxal’ hashtag trended on Twitter.
They countered that the term ‘urban Naxal’ was a mere creation of some sections to brand everyone as Naxalites (so that they can be arrested) who have an anti-establishment stance.
Ms Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociology professor Satish Deshpande and human rights lawyer Maja Daruwala were the petitioners who filed a case in the Supreme Court after the five lawyers, journalists and civil rights activists were arrested across the country on August 28 and charged with abetting acts of terror under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
“Any democratic institution cannot take law into its hands. It has to go through a certain procedure. Arrests are the last step of a probe it is not the first step of an investigation,” she said.
“Arbitrary arrests on implausible charges means the police can walk into our homes and arrest us – either without a warrant or a warrant written in a language we don’t understand and then accuse us of activities about which we know nothing,” she said.
Woman Maoist Commander Killed In Chhattisgarh’s Sukma
From: Press Trust of India
Updated:November 22, 2018
Raipur: A brave Maoist woman commander, who was carrying a reward of Rs 8 lakh (£8800) on her head, was gunned down by security forces in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on Wednesday, police said.
The skirmish took place in the evening in a forest near Chitalnar and Dondipadar villages under Pushpal police station limits, in which Military Platoon Commander Jyothi Muriyami of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army was killed, state’s Deputy Inspector General (anti-naxal operations) Sundarraj P told Press Trust of India..
“A team of state’s District Reserve Guard (DRG) that was out on an anti-Naxal operation, reached the forest of Chitalnar and Dondipadar, located around 500 km away from the capital Raipur when it came under heavy fire from a group of ultras that led to a gun-battle,” he said.
After the exchange of fire ended, the body of the woman Naxal cadre was recovered from the spot, the DIG said.
Muriyami was active as a commander of Peoples’ Liberation Guerrilla Army platoon no. 31 of Maoists and was carrying a reward of Rs 8 lakh on her head, he added.
“She was a hardcore cadre in Kanger Valley area along the Chhattisgarh-Odisha border area and has been instrumental in executing several deadly incidents,” he said.
Further details are awaited as the search operation was still underway in the region, he added
Red salute to comrade Muriyami!
Discovery of pen gun from slain Maoists alarms security forces
For the first time since the emergence of Naxalism, a country-made pen gun has been found in the possession of one of the eight suspected Maoists, who were killed in encounter on the hills of Bailadila in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh on Thursday. The discovery has surprised the security forces.
According to police sources, two rifles, along with some other weapons, were recovered from Maoists, but the most surprising find was a pen gun. Local media, quoting jawans who were part of the encounter, said the pen gun was recovered from the lady Naxal commander, Jaini, who was among those killed in the encounter.
The small, country-made weapon was made from a nine-inch long metal pipe with nine mm bullets to be used in it.
The pen gun, which resembles a flute, has a range of 15 to 20 metres, according to locals. It is mainly used by the Maoist cadre in emergency situations when they lose their main attack weapons—AK47s and INSAS rifles.
Most of the weapons used by Maoist guerrillas are those that are normally used by police and para-military forces. They often loot the arms carried by the security forces whenever they ambush patrolling parties. According to an estimate, over the last 20 years, nearly 4,000 weapons have been stolen or snatched from police forces by Naxals.
The discovery of indigenous pen gun from Maoists has alarmed the police who will have to rethink about their security strategy as the small weapons may pose threat to important people in the election year.
Over the last two years, Chhattisgarh police has launched a major offensive against the Naxals in Bastar zone. Thursday’s encounter saw eight Naxals being killed, while earlier this year, 18 Naxals were killed in two separate encounters in south Bastar.
Thursday’s encounter is considered important as Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh called up Chief Minister Raman Singh to congratulate him over the same. Later, a statement was released by government saying the home minister congratulated state for the successful operation.
‘URBAN MAOISTS’: IN MODI’S INDIA, IF YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT YOU MUST BE ON THE LEFT
Nationwide police raids on human rights advocates come at a time of rising discontent and anger against the ruling BJP government