(G.N.S) Dt. 22
Since 2010, the Karnataka government inducted 1,127 police officers of the rank of assistant sub-inspector or above and hired 1,540 head constables and constables. At present, the ANF has relieved 2,263 staffers, leaving the unit with 432 members. The personnel drafted for the force are paid more allowance —Rs 1,000 to Rs 8,000 per head — besides a daily food allowance of Rs 130. The government has so far spent Rs 19.7 crore on ANF.
Almost 20 crore spent, 3,000 staff including officers inducted, 1.70 lakh bullets fired – this is the investment of the Karnataka government on the Anti Naxal Force (ANF) since 2010. However, the ANF hasn’t caught a single Naxal alive in the last seven years. On the contrary, in 2011, it killed one of its own jawan believing him to be a naxal.
Media had sought answers from the ANF under RTI Act and the response received leaves an impression that staff in the ANF has been on a long paid vacation. Except media reports of a few naxal sightings and the subsequent combing operations, nothing concrete seems to have been achieved by the unit in the recent past.
Since 2010, the government inducted 1,127 officers of the rank of ASI and above while it hired 1.540 head constables and constables. During the said period, there were 25 followers and two ministerial staff. However, of these, the ANF has now relieved 2,263 staff leaving the unit with 432 members. They are paid an enhanced rate of special allowance/consolidated special allowance of Rs 1,000 – Rs 8,000 per head. The total amount spent on the ANF since 2010 is pegged at a whopping Rs 19,74,22,979. In addition, each member gets a daily food allowance of Rs 130.
According to sources in the ANF, there are only five suspected naxals currently operating in the state – Vikas Gowda, B G Krishnamurthy, Mundagaru Latha, Vanajakshi and Angadi Pradeep. Their hideout is either not known or not being revealed. Giving an view, a source in the police department said Gowda and Krishnamurthy have shifted their based to Kerala long ago.
Noor Zulfikar aka Sridhar, a former top naxal leader, said naxals firmly believes Karnataka have shifted their base.
“There are hardly any naxals in Karnataka. They have consciously shifted their activities to Wayand and Karnataka-Kerala-TamilNadu tri-junction so that all three factions from the three states come together and put up a show of strength. That is a strategic move, but they will not succeed,” Noor Sridhar, who is apparently striving to reunite the fragmented alternate political parties after joining the mainstream of the society in December 2014, told.
According to him, many naxals have realised that their cause for social justice cannot be served by fighting from jungles and hence many have surrendered. As many as 13 naxals in the state have surrendered since 2010.
Interestingly, the ANF, which hadn’t heard of naxal movement in Dakshina Kannada – considered to be a hub – since 2012, launched a combing operation in the first week of January citing the presence of three suspected naxals at Shiradi in Uppinangady. However, no naxal was found during the operation.
In June last year, three suspected naxals, Kanyakumari, Suma, and Shivu, surrendered before the Chikkamagaluru police. After this incident – believed to be the last surrender till date – K Annamalai, Chikkamagaluru SP, went on record to say fresh recruitment to naxalism in the state had been stopped.
B M Lakshmi Prasad, superintendent of police, ANF, Karkala, however, justified the investment on the unit. “It is only because of our presence that the naxal movement in the state has reduced. They will come back strong if the ANF is weakened,” he said.
According to an official in the ANF, there are 14 ANF camps across the state and the 15th one is being setup at Gundlupet in Chamarajnagar. A proposal has also been sent to the government to set up a camp in either Belthangady or Sullia.
It may be recalled that the ANF had killed one of its constable, Mahadev Mane, on the intervening night of October 8 and October 9, 2011. Suspecting the presence of naxals during a combing operation, the men started indiscriminate firing and a bullet ricocheted into Mane killing him on the spot in Manjal forest near Belthangady.
(G.N.S) Dt. 22