Maoist attacks feared during fairs, Chhattigarh police on alert

By Sandeep Pauranik

Raipur, Amid increasing mobilisation of Maoists in Chhattigarh, sources said that the Maoists might plan a big attack during various fairs organised in the state in February and March.

Sources said that the police received information about increasing mobilisation of Maoists in areas such as Dantewada, Narayanpur where they have started a tactical counter offensive campaign so as to plan for a big attack. They have even set up some camps in far-flung areas.

While talking to IANS, Inspector General of Police P. Sundar Raj said, “Maoists usually run a tactical counter offensive campaign to attack the police forces during summer. As of now, we don’t have proper information, yet we are alert and keeping an eye on various fairs being organised.”

Security has been beefed up at the 3-day ‘Mavli fair’ of Abujhmadia tribes started from Wednesday in Narayanpur, where around 1,000 people participate and several public representatives are also expected to turn up.

Sources said in view of the increase in Maoist activities, extra security has been deployed at crowded places and frisking as well as patrolling have been increased.

On May 25, 2013, a convoy of Congress leaders was attacked by Maoists in the Jhiram valley area in which 32 people, including several Congress leaders and Mahendra Karma were killed. The Maoists had been targeting Karma’s family constantly. A fair was going on in Karma’s hometown Farsapal and a large number of tourists were present.

Security for Karma’s family has also been beefed up.

Dantewada Superintendent of Police Abhishek Pallava told IANS, “The police are always vigilant about the mela etc. as the public representatives are attending these events. As of now, they have not received any information about any Maoist campaign.”

As per government reports, 166 incidents of Maoist-police encounters were reported in 2018 whereas in 2019, 112 incidents were reported.
Thus, a decrease of 32.53 per cent was registered. In the encounters, 124 Maoists were killed in 2018 and 77 in 2019.

In various Maoist attacks, 89 civilians died in 2018 and 46 in 2019. The number of civilian casualties decreased by 48.31 per cent. Similarly in 2019, a total of 19 policemen were martyred, while in 2018 the figure was 53.

The state witnessed a 46.75 per cent downfall in incidents of IED blasts as 77 incidents were reported in 2018, compared to 41 incidents 2019.