The second phase Jharkhand polls on Tuesday is set to pose greater challenge for security forces as it is coinciding with the CPI-Maoists’ PLGA week (December 2-9), an annual event of the banned left wing extremist outfit to commemorate the foundation of their military wing.
People Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) is the frontal military wing that executes all the subversive plan of the underground organization. Though there are roughly 15,000-20,000 active PLGA guerillas with the outfit, they are highly trained fighter capable of taking on the best elite combat forces of the country.
During the PLGA week it has been tradition with the Maoists carry out strikes against security personnel to exhibit their strength and control in areas under their dominance.
In all 20 constituencies across seven Maoist hit districts are going to the polls on Tuesday. Senior Police officials in these districts are wary about the Maoists nefarious design and peaceful conduct of the poll.
“I have informed the government about the high possibilities of strikes by the rebels during this week,” West Singh suprindented of police Narendra Kumar Singh said.
The Saranda forest spread 820 sqkm and Maoists safest hideout in the country is in this district. It has always been an uphill task for the election commission to successfully hold fair and peaceful polls in the booths in this forest area.
“In addition to the 80 companies of central forces besides the home guards and district police deployed to successfully conduct the polls, we have also sent around 12 teams of the elite CoBRA and Jharkhand Jaguar forces, each team comprising 30 fighters, at various locations in the Saranda forest to carry out operation against the rebels.” Singh said.
Sharing borders with Odisha on the West and Bengal in East, the vulnerability of East Singhbhum district to Maoists’ strike is high during the PLGA week. “At least 319 polling booths in our district are sensitive to LWE strikes,” additional SP-cum-nodal officer for deployment of forces Shailendra Burnwal said.
Last night the Maoist had fired at unknown target in the Jhatijharna area along the West Bengal border. In Tamar, Ranchi district, Maoist had forced in several villages to abstain from polling in the 2009 polls.
Forces are extra vigilant to thwart their various plans for Tuesday. The menace that has spread to 22 out of the 24 Jharkhand districts has claimed 1300 lives including 507 security personnel since creation of Jharkhand in 2000. Most of the major strikes against the forces have occurred during or around the PLGA week.
At least 46 people mostly security personnel were killed in two major strikes by rebels at Bitkil Soi and Baliba in Saranda around the PLGA week.
Though bit concern the West Singhbhum SP said that they had increased the polling in Saranda from 39% in 2009 to 72% in 2014 parliamentary polls. “The PLGA week will not deter the enlightened voters from coming out and voting in large number”
Additional DGP Rezi Dungdung said they were aware of facing the situation and prepared to tackle it. “We have deployed adequate security personnel to tackle any eventuality,” he said.