Jharkhand will raise a dedicated police team for waging psychological warfare against Maoists, a top official said, indicating a proactive policy shift in the Raghubar Das government’s tactics against left-wing rebels.
Besides, the state will also set up special investigation teams (SITs) — both at state and district/range levels — for dealing with important extremism-related cases, according to an order issued by the state director general of police DK Pandey.
HT is in possession of a copy of the order issued on March 10.
Immediately after taking charge as the chief minister, Raghubar Das had announced his decision to go hard at the Maoist outfits, which are active in 21 of the state’s 24 districts.
The state has around 18 Maoist groups, many of which are rag-tag bands of criminals engaged in abduction and extortion. Several of them are also said to enjoy political patronage.
“We’re working to make the central SIT operational by the first week of April. This will be the prototype that we will share with SITs at district and range levels. The objective is to ensure effective and fast investigation, prosecution, attachment of properties of extremists and secure their conviction,” said Anil Palta, additional director general of police (operations), on Friday.
According to Patla, the psychological operation unit will counter extremist propaganda, ideology and instill confidence among the common people.
The government will also set up specialised wing under Jharkhand Jaguar Special Task Force for intelligence collection and creation of extremist database. Under the new system, the JJSTF and new SITs besides the psychological operation and intelligence wings will work under the additional director general of police (operations).
According to home ministry data, Jharkhand has seen 103 casualties in 384 Maoist-related incidents in 2014.
With the reported death of five rebels in an encounter on Friday in Gumla, the death toll this year now stands at 17.
“In most cases, extremists are going scot-free owing to delay in filing charge sheet and lack of attention in effective prosecution. Now these SITs will have well-trained dedicated law officers and will be tasked with in-depth investigation, use of forensic and scientific tools, attachment of proceeds of crime, detection of money-trails, arms, ammunition and explosives etc,” added Palta.
Currently, such cases are lodged at the police station level and supervised at the district, zone and range levels. Now identification such cases would be at the level of superintendent of police (SPs) at district, deputy inspector general at range and inspector general at zonal level.