Centre alert on Maoist attack during the proposed economic blockade
Sunday, June 24, 2007
NEW DELHI: With Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and other development projects being on Maoists' hit-list across the country, the Centre has warned states to gear up their machinery to check the Red ultras' onslaught during their proposed two-day "economic blockade" from June 26.
The Union home ministry has sent special instructions to states, including Haryana and Punjab, asking them for better coordination among the police, civil supplies department, state electricity board, railways and Border Road Organisation (BRO) as the security agencies fear major naxal attacks on infrastructure projects during the proposed blockade.
Officials here believe that the blockade has been planned by the CPI (Maoists) to oppose the formation of SEZs. Though the security agencies have so far not come across any statement of the Red ultras' Central Committee announcing the blockade, a number of posters have been seized from the border areas of Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal indicating the naxals' plan not only in these states but also in Haryana and Punjab where their presence is not significant.
Referring to the Maoists' recent ninth congress, held in the forests bordering Jharkhand and Orissa, a senior home ministry official said the naxals had tried to justify their opposition to SEZs terming the very concept of economic zone as a modern version of the old 'zamindari' system. The minutes of the meeting are available with the home ministry. They show the Maoists' plan to arm locals where SEZs are proposed. They have also planned and subsequently worked on it to transform their current 'guerilla' units into 'mobile wings' which can strike in various parts of the country and then disappear. These units had, in fact, also looked for new recruits among debt-ridden farmers in Maharashtra and Punjab during the last three months.
"Maoists have already been trying to focus on people who have either lost their land or are on the verge of losing it to SEZs and other developmental projects. Since it is an emotive issue, people who lost their land would certainly listen to the Red ultras in these areas," said the official.
Taking note of the Maoists' strategy — which may be experimented by them as a 'test drive' during their proposed "economic blockade" — the official said that special attention would be paid to areas where a number of development projects were being taken up by both private and public sector companies as the ultras had identified them as their "targets" during their ninth congress.
According to the Maoists' final report, the projects, which the naxals identified as on their hit-list, also included the bauxite mining project of the Jindals in Visakhapatnam, the Polavaram irrigation project, steel plants proposed by Tatas, Essar and Jindals in Chhattisgarh, the Centre's proposed railway line in the Rajhara-Raighat-Jagdalpur sector, Posco's steel plants (under construction) in Orissa, power plants proposed by Reliance in Uttar Pradesh and the Kosi irrigation project in northern Bihar.
posted by Resistance 6/24/2007 01:31:00 PM,