Chhattisgarh cops surprised by home minister’s visit

May 10th, 2008 - 6:31 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Shivraj Patil

Raipur, May 10 (IANS) The Chhattisgarh police is surprised by central Home Minister Shivraj Patil’s sudden plan to visit the state’s Maoist heartland - Dantewada and Bijapur districts - Sunday. Patil is to visit the state’s southern restive Bastar region on a day-long trip to take stock of the Maoist situation.

The minister will interact with policemen and Central Reserve Police Force troopers deployed in counter-insurgency operations and also hold talks with villagers often caught in between the Maoists and the security forces.

Vishwa Ranjan, Chhattisgarh’s director general of police, said: “The union home minister has been offered three locations in Dantewada and Bijapur districts that he can visit, but now it’s up to him to choose the site where he wants to land.”

But a top police source said: “The police department has come to know only May 9 about the minister’s trip to the Maoist stronghold and is worried that it has not made sufficient security arrangements in areas that have witnessed repeated deadly attacks on police and civilians by leftists radicals in the past three years.”

As per latest official figures, 36,991 people from 201 villages in Dantewada district and 10,949 people from 275 villages in Bijapur district are living in 23 government-run makeshift relief camps due to Maoist threats.

Officials say 435 people including 200-odd policemen were killed in Maoist-related violence in Chhattisgarh in 2007.

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