No lingering presence of Maoists in Saranda division but state needs more forces in Saranda to entirely secure the region, says Jharkhand operations top cop
Burnt road construction machinery at Ushariya, where Maoists attacked on November 26. The construction work was part of the Saranda Development Plan
The Saranda Development Plan (SDP) was mounted after security successes against the Maoists in the monsoon of 2011. The state wanted to quickly consolidate its hold in the area and 13 new paramilitary camps of the central reserve police force (CRPF), the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) apart from the state police and Jharkhand Jaguars (trained in jungle patrolling) were proposed.
But one year on, only six such camps have come up at different locations in Saranda division of the forest.
So, after the launch of a new combing mission, Operation Anaconda 2, Governance Now caught up with inspector-general (operations) of the state police, SN Pradhan, to get a security perspective on the Saranda Development Plan.
One of the first things that Pradhan mentioned was the state police’s unease with the claim that ultra-Left rebels had been cleared out of the region. “Of course, there is no lingering presence of the Maoists in Saranda division. Their hold has dealt a debilitating blow since last year’s operations,” he said. “But we need more forces in Saranda to entirely secure the region. We haven’t been able to do so because a chunk of the state police is now engaged at the border with Bihar because of an ongoing operation.
“In a few days, we will be able to deploy some of them in Saranda. Besides, the set-up in Saranda needs more central police personnel. We have asked the Centre for that.”
On the incident in Ushariya, where Maoists torched machinery involved in road construction work under SDP on November 26, and the timing of the launch of Operation Anaconda-2 (on December 7-8), the senior officer said the launch had been planned for earlier. “We were to start on November 16. It might seem like this is on the heels of the Ushariya incident but we couldn’t launch it then because we didn’t have adequate forces, considering the major force commitments we had,” he said.