October 1, 2013 12:52:55 am
Jharkhand is about to move more central forces into Santhal Parganas,the region becoming a new theatre in the battle against Maoists.
Dumka will be headquarters of a battalion of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB),which will move into the region this month. The Maoists have been active in the area since 2001 and have ramped up activities since 2004-05. They call the region an expansion zone.
A battalion of SSB will be headquartered at Dumka so that we have 5-6 companies in the region at all times. The Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) and Jharkhand Armed Police (JAP) there will be largely withdrawn, said Jharkhand police spokesperson and Additional Director General of Police S N Pradhan.
This will be a major opportunity for SSB,which is not involved in any major anti-Left Wing Extremism (LWE) offensive at the moment. The SSB boys are quite new to anti-LWE operations,but Santhal Parganas,a relatively low-risk zone,is a good place to learn. Having the same battalion looking after the region will mean command and control will improve, said Pradhan.
Presence of IRB and JAP has not been effective. Their numbers are not sufficient,either. We have up to 10 times more forces in districts like Chhatra,Palamu and Latehar taken together,when compared to the combined strength of IRB and JAP in Santhal Parganas, said Pradhan.
The state has been slow in matching the Maoist initiative shortstaffed,they preferred to concentrate on short-term firefighting in Chottanagpur plateau,trusting the cadre strength of the JMM to keep Maoists out of Dumka,Pakur,Godda,Jamtara,Deogarh and Sahibganj districts. It worked until recently,but on July 2 the Maoists announced their presence by killing Pakur SP Amarjit Balihar.
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