With the Centre’s declaration of one-third worst Maoist-affected districts (eight out of 23) being present in Jharkhand, the state police has got its work cut out for the upcoming general election. Jharkhand DGP Rajeev Kumar spoke to HT on the preparations.
Poll dates have been announced. How are the state police gearing up for the elections?
All the necessary steps have been taken by the police to conduct peaceful polls. The SPs have been asked to identify sensitive polling booths at the earliest. According to the sensitivity of the booths, we will deploy forces in both city and rural areas to ensure a fair and peaceful election.
How many extra forces would be needed to maintain order?
The state government on our request has requisitioned for 200 companies of central armed police forces (CAPF) to the ministry of home affairs (MHA). The request was based on the assumption that the polls would be conducted in two phases. However, as it would be conducted in three phases, we would need less additional force.
What plans are afoot to tackle the Maoist menace in the state?
Maoist incidents have steeply declined in the last few years. We have directed our SPs to point out the sensitive polling booths. Special combing and anti-insurgency operations are being conducted in the Maoist-hit districts. The bordering areas of the state are under close watch.
Centre has identified eight Maoist-hit districts out of a total 17 LWE districts in the state? Is this a matter of concern?
Of the 23 worst Maoist-hit districts in the country, the Centre has identified eight in the state namely Khunti, Latehar, Lohardaga, Gumla, Simdega, Palamu, West Singhbhum and Giridih. These are A category Maoist-sensitive districts as 80 to 90% of the total Maoist incidents in the state have occurred here. We have special operational plans for these districts.
Going by recent incidents, do you foresee increased aggression among the candidates and party workers in Jharkhand?
I don’t see any reflection of the aggression seen in Delhi by political parties in Jharkhand. We are keeping a continuous watch on the situation at strategic locations and sensitive areas.
Ramnavami is on April 8 and first phase poll on April 10. Are there any worries?
We have adequate local force to ensure a peaceful Ramnavami. Though Hazaribagh is a concern, this time we have CAPF too to maintain law and order.