The Jharkhand police and the central armed forces are ready to take on the Maoists and prevent the rebels from disrupting the parliamentary polls in the sensitive areas of Jharkhand.
According to intelligence inputs, the Reds are planning to strike in a major way in Giridih, Dhanbad and Bokaro districts which are a part of Giridih parliamentary constituency.
Earlier, the ministry of home affairs had warned the state police headquarters that Maoists were planning attacks during the elections.
While speaking about police preparedness, Bokaro range inspector general of police Laxman Prasad Singh said, “We are equipped with sophisticated weapons and an adequate number of security forces to counter the Maoist offensive. Our main emphasis is ensuring maximum polling percentage across extremist strongholds. We are hopeful about increasing the poll percentage in sensitive areas which witnessed very low voter turnout during the last parliamentary elections.”
The trigger-happy Maoists have resolved to intensify their poll boycott campaign across several sensitive locations.
“They are bracing up for a showdown with the armed forces. As per our information, the extremists have already laid traps to counter the security forces, especially those planning to move across the remote locations of Paransnath, Topchanchi and Tundi,” a top police told the Hindustan Times.
Speaking about the recent Maoist activities, the Bokaro IG said, “Their evil intentions have already been exposed and now finding no other option, they are terrorising the villagers and hindering developmental activities.”
Besides distributing pamphlets and organising meetings with an end to boycott the polls, the Maoists are also trying to counter the security forces.
About a week ago, the security forces had recovered three can bombs planted inside a culvert at a remote location between Pandeydih and Khukhra under the Pirtand police station of Giridih.
The ultras had also torched a JCB machine and blown up two school buildings at Nakaniya village in Giridih recently.
Reds paste anti-poll posters, circulate handbills in villages.
Within 72 hours of a joint meeting conducted by Jharkhand and Bengal’s police officers over controlling Maoist activities during elections, the rebels have thrown down the gauntlet to the cops.
On Tuesday night, they pasted anti-poll posters and circulated handbills among people in over a dozen villages under Govindpur block around 15km away from district headquarters.
The Maoists’ action has spread panic among the voters in the region. The polls would be held here on April 24.
The posters and handbills that have been issued by the Jharkhand Regional Military Commission - CPI(ML) have directed the villagers to boycott the election and drive out the ‘fascist’ CPM, Congress and BJP from the election field.
In the posters, the Maoists have demanded release of their jailed leaders and workers, immediate ban on ‘Operation Green Hunt’, check on price rise, corruption and police atrocities on innocent villagers.
An eyewitness said that a group of 25-30 people stormed into the village on Tuesday night and pasted anti-poll posters on the walls of houses, school buildings and at public places. They also distributed handbills in every house, he added.
The Maoists pasted posters in Tilaiya, Gurga, Birajpur Chawk, Birajpur High School, Sadhobad, Barbadih, Kharni Vidyalaya, Aasbani, Yadavpur and Kharni More near GT Road.
Later, the local police removed the posters on Wednesday morning. But, the scared villagers refused to side the cops. Requesting anonymity, a villager said that they would not cast vote at the cost of their lives.
However, Bokaro IG Lakshaman Prasad Singh said the Maoists have done this to create panic as they have been completely wiped out from the region. “We have driven them out of this region and consistent long range patrolling (LRP) has restored confidence of the villagers about free and fearless polls,” he said.