Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Security forces race to mop up booby traps from Jharkhand’s Maoist-affected areas
Booby traps placed by leftwing extremists (LWE) have posed a big threat to polling teams and security personnel during the earlier parliamentary elections in LWE-affected districts of Jharkhand.
Some of these worst-affected districts, such as Latehar, Palamu, Garhwa, Lohardaga, and Gumla are going to polls in the first phase of the parliamentary elections in Jharkhand on April 29, and the security personnel are on their toes, leaving no stone unturned in sanitising the routes and locations in the Maoist-hit regions.
In particular, the areas along the Jharkhand-Chhattisgarh border and the Jharkhand-Bihar border are more vulnerable. At these places, the security forces have unearthed improvised explosive devices (IEDs), arms and ammunitions from Maoist dumps at regular intervals since last year. Counting the haul over the past few years, the number is quite high. “Security forces have unearthed more than five thousand booby traps (ordinary-looking objects hiding a bomb, designed to detonate when touched) from Latehar and Palamu districts alone since August 2015,” said a senior Central Reserve Police Force officer, who has been engaged in anti-Maoist offensives in different capacities in the same region.
Recently, security forces unearthed land mines from two locations on Bihar-Jharkhand border in Palamu area and one location in Latehar area. During 2015 and 2016, more than 3,000 land mines were recovered from Latehar-Palamu border areas and nearly 1,000 from the Palamu area.
Palamu range deputy inspector general of police Vipul Shukla said, “Land mines have always been a big threat, but we have devised a strategy to handle this menace during the forthcoming parliamentary elections. Our teams have foiled [Maoist] designs by raiding their dumps.” The DIG added, “Now we’re getting regular tip-offs about Maoist dumps and this augurs well for us. Common people have approached the police with specific information about Maoist dumps in recent days. This is a welcome sign.”
Incidentally, eight persons — six civilian polling personnel and two policemen — were killed in a land mine explosion on the polling day in Dumka in April 2014.