New Delhi: The Maoists have acquired a new level of advanced technology to set off Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), which has left the security forces operating in the left-wing extremist areas worried. An alert sent by the Operations Directorate of the Border Security Force says that the Maoists have now got the know-how of using remote or combination of switches in IEDs that enables them to target security forces with utmost precision.
The BSF was alarmed by first such incident in January this year when an IED blast led to the death of its two personnel in Odisha’s Dandabari village, close to Chhattisgarh. About 20 BSF troops were returning on 10 motorcycles on the night of 7 January after tracking a group of Maoists when an IED set by Maoists blew up the first motorcycle carrying deputy commandant Sunil Behera and constable Sibasis Panda. After a thorough search of the site, the BSF troops found no wire on the either side of the road that is usually used by the Maoists to trigger off the IED from a safe distance.
After ten days, an operations party of the BSF conducted further searches in the area and recovered a black antenna unit normally used in two-wheeler’s anti-theft alarm system. The unit manufactured by a Coimbatore-based company, Roots Auto, was connected with two 6 volts battery on one side and with the IED on the other side. The recovery, says the alert, confirmed the use of remote along with combination of switches. The two switches are for “arming” and “firing”. In this case, the condition of the motorcycle suggested that the IED blasted when the motorcycle was exactly on top of the IED. The Maoists had switched the IED on by “arming” it with a remote just before the motorcycle arrived and the subsequent pressure led to the activation of “firing” switch, leading to the blast.
In another recovery, the BSF recovered a similar unit with number “128” on it, suggesting that many such switches had been assembled. The BSF alert has recommended that a special drive be conducted to train security forces about the new technology. It also says that while searching for IEDs, the troops should look out for antennas, especially those used in automobiles, toys and home appliances.
The achievement of new sophistication in IEDs acquires more significance in the wake of recent intelligence inputs that the Maoists have decided to target security forces through such blasts rather than using its cadre for guerrilla warfare. In the last three months in Bastar alone, the Maoists have carried out around three-dozen IED blasts. This change in the Maoist strategy has been attributed to increased security operations in left-wing extremist areas, leading to a significant reduction in the striking capability of the Maoists.