Patna: The kidnapping of many people — mostly workers — by Maoists in Jamui district during the past one week and torturing to death of at least one of them, said to be a special police officer, is a grim reminder that Maoists may pose a threat to peaceful conduct of Lok Sabha polls in the state.
Jamui and five other Maoist-hit LS constituencies — Sasaram, Karakat, Aurangabad, Gaya and Nawada — are going to polls in the first phase on April 10.
Incidentally, it may be recalled here that at least two candidates had been murdered in the Gaya and Jehanabad jail break that had taken place during the 2005 assembly elections.
Naxalites are reportedly preparing to enforce their diktats in their strongholds, which include threatening the candidates and calling for poll boycott, said police sources and added that some documents seized recently indicated their designs.
About a dozen districts have remarkable presence of extremists belonging to CPI (Maoist), CPI (ML) Shanti Paul and CPI (ML) Janashakti groups. Currently they are more active in Jamui district, which has become a hotbed of Maoist mayhem.
Not only policemen and civil administration officials, even candidates in the fray in Jamui constituency are scared to venture into Reds’ territories. Bihar assembly Speaker Udai Narain Choudhary of JD(U) and Chirag Paswan of LJP are among a dozen candidates trying their luck in this reserved constituency. Other senior politicians in fray in the Red-hit constituencies include Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar of Congress (Sasaram) and former Kerala governor Nikhil Kumar of the same party in Aurangabad.
The Union home ministry had advised the Election Commission to conduct Lok Sabha polls in 33 Maoist-hit districts in the country in the first phase to ensure maximum security and minimum casualties. The ministry gave the statistics of violence in 33 districts in Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh where the highest numbers of incidents were reported in Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and 2009, and assembly polls in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013.
In Bihar, 69 people, including security personnel, lost their lives in 176 incidents of violence in 2013 while between 2004 and 2008, 452 people were killed in 215 violent incidents, which included poll-related violence in the state.
Under the circumstances, holding fair and violence-free poll in central and north Bihar districts is a big challenge for the police. However, DGP Abhayanand told TOI on Monday, “In each election, stray incidents of violence take place. It is not unusual. It is on expected lines. But we are prepared to counter the threat, if any, and working to ensure incident-free polling in the entire state.” He, however, declined to reveal police’s strategy.
Police sources said the Centre has provided 130 companies of central forces including CRPF, BSF and ITBP. Thirty-five companies of CRPF are already in Bihar, of which 25 companies are expected to be utilized during the election.