Friday, September 08, 2006

800 Missile rockets seized from NAXALITE infested area

Over 800 Maoist rockets, launchers seized in Andhra

Hyderabad, Sep 8 (IANS) In one of the biggest arms haul in India in recent times, police in Andhra Pradesh state seized a huge cache of weapons consisting of 800 rocket shells, dozens of launchers and other arms and ammunition meant for Maoist extremists.

Police seized 600 shells, 15 launchers, 12 claymore mines and several rounds of 303 rifles in Mahabubnagar district late Thursday. In yet another haul Friday, police seized 275 rocket shells, two dozen launchers and 26 bags of rocket spares and ammunition in Prakasam district.

Police have claimed that the huge cache being sent through a transport company were meant for Maoist guerrillas in Nallamalla forests. The extremists had planned to use them for carrying out attacks on police forces.

The recovery also sent the alarm bells ringing in top echelons of police as it showed the kind of arms and sophistication the Maoists were trying to achieve.

"This is the largest number of rocket shells recovered in the country. It is the most significant recovery in our war against Maoists," said Director General of Police Swaranjit Sen, who inspected the seized arms at Mahabubnagar.

He said the seized rockets had the capacity to be fired from shoulder-mounted launchers with a range to hit targets at a distance of one kilometre. "Even a person on a motorcycle can launch these rockets," said Sen. All the rocket shells weighing more than 2000 kg, however, were without explosives.

Both the seizures were made from the warehouses of Kranti Motor Transport Company. Acting on the information provided by a person arrested following the seizure in Acchampet in Mahabubnagar district, police raided the transport company's branch in Giddalur in Prakasam district on Friday and found another huge haul of arms.

Police then began raids on more than 400 branches of the company throughout the state. Police teams are also checking the warehouses of the company in Vijayawada, where it has its headquarters.

Police believe the rockets were made in Tamil Nadu and the consignment to Acchampet was sent from Vijayawada while the one to Giddalur had come from Kadpa. They were meant for Maoists in Nallamalla forests, the stronghold of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist.

Many Maoists including top rebel leaders are believed to be hiding in the dense forests spread over five districts including Mahabubnagar and Prakasam.

Home Minister K. Jana Reddy described the recovery as "a huge success" for police and intelligence agencies.

"This shows that the intelligence and police have stepped up their vigilance," he said here.

The seizure follows the killing in July of a Maoist leader and seven guerrillas in the Nallamalla forests of Prakasam district.

Maoist violence has claimed more than 6,000 lives in the state over the last three decades including those of 2,500 civilians, policemen and politicians.


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