Despite the spurt in extremist activities in Bihar in the last fortnight, two key posts of the Special Task Force (STF) continue to be vacant.
The state's elite force, which was constituted to spearhead anti-Naxal operations, has been rendered headless following the transfer of Vinit Vinayak to Khagaria in the recent administrative reshuffle. The post of the DIG, STF has been lying vacant for the last three years.
There are two sanctioned posts of SP in the STF---SP (operations) and SP (Training)---but both of them are lying vacant. Before the posting of Vinit Vinayak, a 1995 batch IPS officer of Sikkim cadre, as SP (Operation), Satyendra Prasad Singh was holding the charge. Now, Singh has been promoted to the rank of DIG. No officer has been posted as DIG, STF after the return of Binay Kumar Singh to his parent cadre (Andhra Pradesh).
The stepped up Naxal activities in the recent past have set the alarm bells ringing in the Union Home Ministry. Home Secretary Afzal Amanullah said a high-level is scheduled to be held in Patna to discuss the issue of Naxal problems in the state.
A high-level Coordination Group headed by the Union Home Secretary would also meet on April 21-22 to review the situation closely. Chief secretaries of all the Naxal-infested states would attend it.
The meeting is likely to seriously discuss reports that Naxalites are trying to increase their sphere of influence and activities in parts of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Uttarakhand and also in new areas in some of the already affected states.
The latest attack was reported in Gaya in the state in which Naxalites attacked para-military forces. The ultras also attacked Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel in a passenger train in Jamui district, killing two constables in broad daylight and looting five firearms.
Prior to this, Maoists carried out a major operation at Righa in Sitamarhi district, killing a Special Auxiliary Police (SAP) jawan. A home guard jawan and a bank official were wounded in the attack. Earlier, they had looted 10 police rifles from a police station in Buxar district.
A senior official of the Home Department said the government has decided to relocate the para-military forces in Naxal hit areas in view of Maoists' attack. He said that the number of Naxal attacks has gone up but the deaths are less as compared to the previous year. Additional Director General (Headquarters) Abhayanand said, "We are looking into the reason behind the spurt in Naxal activities. We are alert."
RPF commandant RP Roopnawar said that the strength of RPF escort parties had been increased to 15 from 11 after the Jamui incident. Each escort party will have at least 11 policemen. Besides, one section of RPSF had been deployed at Jhajha. One section of RPSF is already deployed at Jehanabad, he said adding that special attention was being paid to trans passing through Kiul-Gaya section.