Varanasi, January 17 The recovery of three improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from the Naxal-affected Sonebhadra district on Wednesday has put security forces in a state of high alert, Inspector General (Varanasi Zone) Kashmir Singh told The Indian Express on Thursday. Extensive combing operations have also been started, he said.
"A major mishap has been averted by alert CRPF and state police personnel. If the IEDs were not detected in time the entire convoy could have been affected," Singh, who heads Naxal operations in the state, said today.
The explosives were attached to electronic detonators and were planted on the Maholi-Banswari route, through which Singh's convoy was to pass a few hours later.
"The area under the Machi police station area of Sonebhadra falls near the borders of UP, Bihar and Jharkhand, and is treated by Naxalites as their liberated zone. Out of 11 new police outposts coming up in three Naxal affected districts, two are located in Maholi and Banswari, which prompted the Naxals to plant the explosives on our route," Singh said.
Plans to establish the outposts - five in Chandauli, four in Sonebhadra and two in Mirzapur - will go ahead despite the recovery of explosives, he added.
Meanwhile, SP (Sonebhadra) Ram Kumar said special operations camps of the CRPF and UP Police were underway at Maholi and Banswari and the IG's convoy was slated to return to Maholi from Banswari through the same route. The explosives were recovered during a preventive exercise before the convoy was to arrive. "The high powered explosives were packed with iron rods, which in the event of a blast would have acted like bullets," he added.
"The Naxalites want us to shelve our plans of setting up police outposts in the area where three state boundaries meet, which they consider to be their liberated zone," the SP said.
In November 2004, 14 policemen were killed when their convoy was blown up in an IED blast in Hinauta Ghat, under the Naugarh police station area, of Chandauli district.