Sunday, 14 February 2016

Andhra Pradesh border unguarded : Forced out from Chhattisgarh and Odisha, Maoists enter Andhra Pradesh

By Udumula Sudhakar Reddy
AP is facing a serious threat from Maoists in a 40-km zone in the Visakhapatnam Agency area — along the Odisha border — where are no base camps of security forces.

Maoists were pushed into the unguarded AP area from Odisha and Chhattisgarh due to pressure built up by the base camps set up within a 10-km radius by the Border Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force.
A file photograph of a CRPF personnel keeping a vigil in a Maoist affected village in Andhra Pradesh. (Photo: DC)
A file photograph of a CRPF
personnel keeping a vigil in a
Maoist affected village in Andhra Pradesh
The AP police now wants the BSF and CRPF to set up permanent camps within 10 km of the border from Odisha like on the other side. It had sought the Centre’s help for more paramilitary forces. With the Centre twice rejecting the plea of the AP police, director general of police J.V. Ramudu is currently in New Delhi to meet officials of the Union home ministry.
AP wants to gain domination over the 40-km zone as it has come to light that a battalion of Maoists, numbering up to 300, along with militia members, had entered the Vizag Agency area.

A top police official involved in anti-Naxal operations said, “Greyhounds commandos go to the AOB area and carry out combing operations for three days and come back to the Vizag base. They can’t sustain an operation for more than three days due to logistics as well as the possibility of an ambush like the Balimela attack.”

He said that the Greyhounds operations were target and information-based. “There are no police stations in this zone close to Andhra-Odisha border. Neither are there any base camps in this zone. Maoists consider this as a safe zone for them,” he said.

Maoists have a better information network in this zone of Vizag and in the East Godavari district Agency area than the police.
AP needs up to Rs 3 crore for setting up base camps with fencing on over four to five  hectare area with floodlights and other protection measures.

“Odisha has eight battalions of BSF and eight battalions of CRPF. One Cobra battalion is involved in anti-Maoist operations. But we have only two battalions of CRPF. We have asked the Centre for CRPF and BFSF forces but there has been no positive reply. If AP sets up base camps near the border then the Greyhounds’ operations can be intensified so that they can come back to the base quickly and move again,” said a top intelligence official of AP police.

Mr Ramudu said, “Regarding the Maoist threat, I have reviewed the situation during my visit to Vizag recently. Now I am in Delhi.”
The CRPF too has said that the Maoists had lost ground in southern Odisha bordering AP and were either moving in the Vizag Agency area or in western Odisha.

CRPF director general Prakash Mishra, who arrived in Odisha’s Rourkela on Thursday to review anti-Maoist operations, said that the rebels were regrouping and consolidating their positions in Kandhamal and some western Odisha districts. He claimed that the rebels were losing strength in southern Odisha bordering Andhra Pradesh.

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