Maoist attack: Intel agencies say 'we told you so'

Maoist attack: Intel agencies say 'we told you so'

Anticipating attacks ahead of the Lok Sabha (LS) elections, intelligence agencies had warned nine of India’s left-wing extremist affected states of possible attacks.

Intelligence reports also suggested that Maoists had threatened tribals and villagers against voting in the LS polls. Agencies had also advised security forces to take counter offensive measures against Maoists.

Security forces seized a document titled ‘Chunao Bahiskar’ (Election Boycott) during a raid carried out in Gaibathan forest area of Jamui district of Bihar. The document is believed to have been issued by the Jharkhand Regional Committee of the banned CPI (Maoist). It details a two-pronged strategy to disrupt parliamentary polls, scheduled in the Chhattisgarh in three phases on April 10, 17 and 24.

Alerts of possible Maoist attacks were sent out to states on February 17.
To make security arrangements for elections, the home ministry had written to affected states and to the Election Commission in January, highlighting the need to make the security grid more effective and moving polling booths to safer zones.
In its advisory, the home ministry had cautioned that the window for Maoists to carry out attacks would be between February and first fortnight of March. Security forces were advised to launch operations against them so that they remain defensive throughout the elections.

Interestingly, similar to a political party, the Maoists have also prepared a manifesto. But this one lists reasons to boycott the polls. The plans include organising meetings, rallies, torch-lit processions and cultural programmes to spread the poll boycott message. There are warnings of action to be taken against the cadres if they are found to have participated in the polls.

The Maoist documents also emphasize the need to target leaders, as they did against state Congress leaders in Jeeram Ghati of Sukma last May. That attack killed 25 people before the assembly polls. The document says that the ultras have specifically indentified Congress, BJP and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha leaders for attack, to deter voters this time as well.

The intensity of Maoist activity comes in the backdrop of villagers disobeying commanders to boycott the Chhattisgarh elections held last November where the voting percentage went up in comparison to previous polls.

In the 2009 polls, 125 violent attacks were reported, leaving 24 dead. In 2004, there were 109 left-wing extremist cases, in which nine people died. 

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