Maoists reject talks offer as terror shadows Chhattisgarh (Intro Roundup)May 19th, 2010 - 1:06 am ICT by IANS
Raipur/New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) Fear stalked large parts of Chhattisgarh as police totted the toll of the Maoist massacre the day before, and disheartened security forces Tuesday stayed in their camps as a shutdown called by the guerrillas hit four other states. The central government made a fresh offer of talks, but the rebels turned it down.
The shutdown called by the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) began — a day after 31 people were killed when the guerrillas blasted a bus in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district — amid fears of fresh attacks and crippled life in Bastar region as well as parts of Rajnandgaon and the rural areas of Raipur and Dhamtari districts.
Traffic was also disrupted in Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand where trains were diverted or cancelled and buses stayed off the roads in many areas as the Maoist strike to protest a government offensive against them came into effect.
Life was affected in the Maoist strongholds of these states. Police were on alert though no untoward incident was reported.
In Chhattisgarh, however, the second deadly attack in Dantewada in 40 days spread fear and terror.
Police officials said 31 bodies, including 16 of security men, have been recovered and that the toll could rise with 15 of the injured in very critical condition.
“In Bastar, an absolute terror-like situation is prevailing. Forces are hardly moving due to fears of Maoist attacks… they are feeling terrorised at their base camps,” said a senior official based in Jagdalpur in Bastar region, the sprawling 40,000 sq km area comprising five districts.
A policeman posted within five kilometres from the blast site at the Gadiras police station admitted that he and his colleagues were demoralised.
“I admit that forces in the interiors of Bastar have gone on the defensive. Neither state police nor paramilitary forces are ready with heart and mind to go after the Maoists in the thickly forested areas.”
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, Governor Shekhar Dutt, Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar and Director General of Police Vishwa Ranjan visited Dantewada to condole the deaths and meet the injured.
Ranjan spelt out the challenges ahead.
“Up to 25,000 sq km of Bastar’s 40,000 sq km is intensively mined and the big problem is that we have no technology and resources to de-mine the massive forested pockets. There is no technology to detect mines buried more than four feet deep inside.
“The massive Bastar region has turned into a minefield with landmines buried even up to 10 feet below the ground. Without taking out the landmines it’s literally impossible for forces to go after the Maoists freely in the thickly forested areas as the rebels are always ready with a booby trap.”
It was stocktaking time in New Delhi too.
While Home Minister P. Chidmabaram made a fresh offer of talks saying that talks could start if the guerrillas abjured violence for even 72 hours, security officials discussed changes in anti-Maoist strategy.
“The Maoists should say we will suspend violence, and actually suspend violence from any day they fix for 72 horus. Within 72 hours, we’ll get the chief ministers’ support and we will respond,” Chidambaram told a television channel.
But the offer was turned down hours later by Ramanna, a top Maoist leader based in Chhattisgarh.
“There is a massive forces build-up and talks are not possible till they (forces) are withdrawn,” Ramanna told a news channel from an undisclosed forested location in the restive Bastar region.
“There is no question of giving up arms, the forces atrocities are on the rise day by day and we hit the bus Monday to target the police force who were mixed up with civilians in the bus. I regret the killing of civilians but we will continue hitting policemen all over the country,” the rebel leader said.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the time had come for some concrete action and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to spell out if his government favoured a soft or hard line against Maoist guerrillas.
“We need to know if the government will wage only half a battle (against the Maoists) or an all out offensive,” said BJP leader Arun Jaitley.
At the other end of the poltical spectrum, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said in a statement: “The attack on the private passenger bus by the Maoists only highlights their bankrupt policies of attacking ordinary citizens in various parts of the country including tribals who refuse to accept their dictates.”
- Fearful in Chhattisgarh day after Maoist strike (Lead) - May 18, 2010
- Landmines recovered in Chhattisgarh - Apr 28, 2011
- Day after massacre, terror stalks Chhattisgarh (Second Lead) - May 18, 2010
- New Delhi offers Maoists talks as terror shadows Chhattisgarh (Roundup) - May 18, 2010
- 'Who rules Chhattisgarh's Bastar, certainly not the government' - May 17, 2010
- Maoist leader rejects Chidambaram's talks offer - May 19, 2010
- Maoists blow up CRPF vehicle, kill trooper in Chhattisgarh - Aug 06, 2012
- Chhattisgarh on high alert after Kishanji's killing - Nov 25, 2011
- Shutdown begins in Chhattisgarh amid fears of more attacks - May 18, 2010
- Has right to education fallen victim in Maoist-hit Bastar? - May 26, 2010
- 25 kg landmine defused in Chhattisgarh - May 10, 2011
- Maoists block highway, damage rail track in Chhattisgarh - Dec 05, 2011
- After attack, Chhattisgarh hunts for Maoists - Oct 22, 2011
- Maoists have massively mined Chhattisgarh forests: Police - May 09, 2010
- Maoists torch resthouse in Chhattisgarh - Jun 06, 2010
Tags: absolute terror, base camps, communist party of india, critical condition, fresh attacks, guerrillas, heart and mind, jagdalpur, jharkhand, maois, maoist, maoists, orissa, paramilitary forces, police officials, security men, strongholds, terror police, untoward incident, west bengal