Gadchiroli: A storm is coming

Intelligence reports say an unspecified number of cadres of Maoist have entered the Chhattisgarh district.

 |  4-minute read |   17-10-2014
  • ---
    Total Shares

With a large map of the district on his office wall, a senior police officer posted here, pointed to four red pointers. "These are infiltration routes and here is where the great wall of Gadchiroli needs to be erected if we are to crush this menace," he said. From north to south, the four western tehsils in the troubled district also share borders with Chhattisgarh's Narayanpur and Dantewada districts.

Intelligence reports say an unspecified number of cadres of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) CPI (M) have entered Gadchiroli using these routes recently. Ominous signs.

Though on the backfoot following a spate of losses and surrenders, Maoists retain the initiative owing to their strategy of hit and run. Police data also points to this urgency. Joint patrolling operations are undertaken when paramilitary forces and police from the bordering states are roped in for coordinated operations. The frequency has shot up. From six operations between January and July, 79 have been conducted in the last two months.

The police is actively pursuing whatever leads it can get on the movement of the Maoists. It has also got additional manpower in the form of paramilitary forces, specifically for the elections. "We had nearly 70 per cent polling in the Lok Sabha polls held on April 10 and we hope to improve the count further," said collector Gadchiroli Ranjeet Kumar.

Pulapaka Elkurthy and Samakka Gangula live near Ankisa village at the southernmost tip of Gadchiroli. A decade ago, both their sons were killed by the police in an encounter. Speaking in Telugu, Pulapaka said, "My son had gone to the forest to pick up medicinal herbs for our cattle. He never came back. Days later the police showed us his body. Because I was too shocked I did not want to even see the body." As a result she does not even have her son's death certificate. Nobody, said Samakka, has helped them. "There are many like us here. We too are victims. Some help from the government is all we want," she said.

Meanwhile, the candidates, while going to the people, did not even mention the insurgency, far less talk about ways to tackle or help people like Pulapaka and Samakka. Political activity for the three seats, all reserved Scheduled Tribe (ST) seats, is still largely taking place along the roads. Most are talking about issues such as job creation, irrigation and statehood for Vidarbha.

Three time minister and NCP candidate from Aheri, Dharamraobaba Atram admitted to this situation, "We are talking about getting jobs and industries here, if that happens it will automatically solve the problem."

His nephew who is contesting on a BJP ticket, Ambrishrao Atram said, "People have to live here. They are already sandwiched between the police and them." When visited, partymen in offices of BJP and Shiv Sena spoke about everything but the insurgency. "This is a problem of the centre. We shall see," is what a BJP office bearer said.

Gadchiroli SP Sandeep Patil said, "They can be targeted since they are directly challenging the Maoists who oppose elections."

Gadchiroli

  • Gadchiroli in numbers      
  • 893 polling stations    
  • 4500 polling staff     
  • Seats - Gadchiroli, Aheri and Armorio      
  • Total voters - 7,31,105

Violence level in Gadchiroli-Gondia region                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Year

Security Personnel Killed       

Civilians Killed       

Maoists killed

Ambushes by Maoists     

IEDs exploded

2009   

52

41     

07 

2276

01

2010                 

10 

34

02   

1081

04

2011

08     

40     

05

1129 

04

2012 

14     

25 

04

1884

03

2013 

06

09 

26     

1029   

07

2014 (Till Sep 30)     

11

08 

13 

597

06

 (The article was filed on October 12, three days before Maharashtra went to the polls.)

Writer

Jugal R Purohit Jugal R Purohit @jrpur

The writer is a senior special correspondent for India Today TV.

Like DailyO Facebook page to know what's trending.