Orissa Maoists Destroy Cellphone Tower, Disrupt Military Networks
Posted by Ka Frank on January 26, 2010
This article appeared on Yahoo! News India on January 24, 2010.
Armed Maoist rebels burn down cellphone tower, ransack sub-division office in Orissa
Koraput: In yet another incident of increasing Maoist menace, armed rebels burnt down a mobile phone tower and also ransacked the sub-Division office and burnt down records at Machkund in Orissa’s Koraput district. This attack by the Maoists took place in the midnight hours between Friday and Saturday (January 23).
Reportedly, around 100 armed rebels reached Machkund on Friday midnight and burnt the mobile phone tower of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and also torched the record room, thus disrupting the cellular telephone network in the area. They later ransacked the Tehsil office and even set it afire.
The rebels had also blocked roads by felling a couple of trees and put up warning letters asking locals to co-operate with them during their three-day economic blockade starting from Sunday (January 24).
“They have cut off trees and blocked the roads. They blew up the mobile towers and disrupted the networks. The situation here is getting worse day by day. We in Machkund are getting worried about these incidents. We do not know what to do now. We are now helping reconstruct the Tehsil (Sub-Division) office,” said K Vinod, a local on Saturday (January 23).
Simant Tupu, Revenue Officer of Machkund, said that the locals are helping restore the Tehsil office. “We saw around 4 a.m (local time) that the BSNL tower was on fire. The fire then spread to record room. It’s completely burnt down now. With the help of the villagers, we are now trying to retrieve the tools, records, files, etc.,” said Tupu, Revenue Officer, Machkund.
In 2009, Maoist rebels had blown up a police station in Machkund. It is seen that the rebels are targeting mobile towers to disrupt communication system in the Maoist dominated areas.
The Maoist violence-estimated to have caused 600 to 700 deaths annually and displaced 100,000 civilians-has spread to more than 180 of the country’s 602 districts and has been declared as the single biggest internal security threat.
The country’s estimated 22,000 Maoist combatants say they are fighting for the rights of poor and marginal farmers and landless labourers. They routinely call strikes, and attack railway lines and factories, aiming to cripple local economic activity.