Police in a bind over lost explosives

April 1st, 2008 - 2:55 pm ICT by admin  

Raipur, April 1 (IANS) Police in Chhattisgarh have almost given up hopes of recovering the 1.75 tonnes of explosives Maoist guerrillas seized from a public sector mine in the state. About 100 heavily armed rebels raided an iron ore mine of the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) in Durg district March 27 and made off with the explosives used to blast rocks and surfaces in mining.

The Maoists had also abducted six SAIL and state government officials whom they later released unharmed.

The Mahamaya mine, some 170 km from here, feeds SAIL’s flagship unit - the Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) - in Durg district.

“We are losing hopes of making any headway… The intelligence inputs suggest that the insurgents have moved into their safest den, a forested stretch in Narayanpur district cordoned off by landmines,” a senior official of the police headquarters here told IANS.

But Dipanshu Kabra, Durg’s district superintendent of police, was still hopeful.

“Explosives are not carried away to much deeper forests… They are probably kept either in Kanker district or in Rajnandgaon district. We are following the insurgents in the forests,” Kabra told IANS over telephone.

He said the explosives were a mix of ammonium nitrate and sulphur that together make a devastating combination.

Officials at the police headquarters here claimed that the looted explosives included gelatine that could be used to make land mines.

The latest loss parallels a similar incident in February 2006.

The police then had unsuccessfully combed a massive stretch of the Bastar forest after the rebels snatched 20 tonnes of explosives from an explosives store of the National Mineral Development Corp (NMDC) in Dantewada district.

The guerrillas had also killed eight Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel guarding the store.

“Despite an all-out attempt in 2006 in which CRPF personnel assisted the state police, we had no success although the rebels would have faced problems carrying away such a huge quantity of explosives to their interior bases,” a source in the police intelligence wing observed.

The officer went on: “For me, it’s all over. They (Maoists) have surely reached safer locations. But it does not mean the police should write off the issue. Our recovery attempts will continue.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |