Saturday, March 31, 2007

Maoists steal confidential govt war plan to sharpen strategy....

NEW DELHI: Security agencies battling Maoists have been rattled by the discovery that rebels have the details of confidential government meetings in their possession. The classified documents were recovered from a guerrilla force after an encounter in the jungles of Chhattisgarh.

The documents contained minutes of two meetings held last year in which anti-Maoist operations were discussed. One involved the deliberations of the Joint Operations Command (JOC), conducted on August 29 and chaired by Home Secretary VK Duggal. The other pertained to a session chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his residence on April 13. Attendees included chief ministers of states affected by Maoists, intelligence agencies, and paramilitary commanders.

“We were surprised to find the documents,” a senior officer said. “Our own officers who are actively involved in anti-Maoist operations do not know what was discussed at the meetings. But the Naxalites do.”
The officer said the agencies are attempting to ascertain how the Maoists secured the documents. “The leak is worrisome because highly confidential details were discussed at the meetings,” the officer said.
“These included the improvement of intelligence sharing between the Centre and affected states, use of aircraft in operations, and jungle-warfare training.”

The meetings also pondered over ways to curb Maoist operations in the border areas to disrupt rebel coordination. An increase in the number of security personnel in the affected states was also discussed.

“The seized documents were prepared by Maoists in the first week of October,” the officer said. He said the Maoists were able to come abreast of the government plans within weeks of their inception.

Security top brass is especially worried that the stolen intelligence will allow the rebels to formulate strategies to pre-empt government action.

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