Ch'garh: Poll security suffers from malaria

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Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh), Oct 20: Elaborate security arrangements have been planned for the Assembly election in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region in view of the Maoist naxalites' call for poll boycott, but several security personnel deployed in the region were afflicted with malaria.

Several policemen deployed in anti-naxal operations in Dantewada and Bijapur districts were down with malaria and at least 25 security personnel had been admitted to different hospitals, while many others were being treated at their camps itself.

According to a senior police official, patrolling in the naxal-hit areas had been affected as many policemen were afflicted with malaria. At least 25 police personnel died of malaria in Bastar region last year alone, he said.

Chhattisgarh's borders with Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa have been sealed in anticipation of naxalite violence during electioneering, but requisitioned number of additional security personnel were yet to be posted, a senior police official said today.

Polling in Bastar is scheduled on November 14, while the state will have a second phase of polling on November 20 also.

Admitting the mosquitto menace in the forested region of Bastar, 55th Battalion Commandant C S Kattaith said mosquittoes were number one enemy than naxalites in Bastar forests.

Dantewada's Chief Medical Officer said entire Bastar region had already been declared ''high risk malaria zone''.

At present, Central Reserve Police Force, Chhattisgarh Special Armed Force and Cobra Force were deployed in anti-naxal operations in Bastar, Narayanpur, Kanker, Dantewada and Bijaspur districts in Bastar division.

More than 300 villages in Dantewada district wear a deserted look after the tribals fled their home as they were caught in the increased hostilities between the ultras on one side and security personnel and government-supported Salwa Judum activists on another side.

Many uprooted tribals had taken shelter in bordering districts of Andhra Pradesh, while nearly 50,000 people had been accommodated in government run relief camps. The Salwa Judum campaign was launched since June, 2005.

Many other districts in Sarguja and Raigarh areas were also hit by the ultras' activities. A Junfle Warfare School is planned in Bastar to rein in the Maoist rebels.

UNI

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