12 September 2006

More Weapons Seized In Andhra

Published: Monday, 11 September, 2006, 10:54 AM Doha Time

HYDERABAD: For the second successive day, police in Andhra Pradesh yesterday recovered consignments of arms and explosives from transport companies meant for Maoist guerrillas.

A day after seizing 875 rocket shells, 27 rocket launchers and other arms, the police Saturday recovered three bags full of gelatine sticks from Kranti transport company in Puttaparthi in Anantapur district.

The explosives were recovered during statewide raids being conducted by police on the offices and warehouses of Kranti and other transport companies. One Venkatrami Reddy, to whom the parcel was sent from Chityala in Nalgonda district, has been arrested. He is being interrogated.

Meanwhile, police in Guntur district have launched a hunt for two people who allegedly received consignments of rocket shells and launchers about two months ago. During the investigations launched after Friday’s seizures, police found that two parcels containing the arms were delivered to them in Macherla in Guntur district through Kranti transport.

A person who identified himself as Rami Reddy sent the consignments from Nellore district. He told the transport company that the bags contained electrical equipments. The consignments sent to one V Reddy were received several days later on his behalf by another person who identified himself as Aslam.

Police suspect that the rocket shells, launchers and other arms could have reached Maoists.

On Friday they seized the arms and ammunition from Mahabubanagar and Prakasam districts. Police chief Swaranjit Sen claimed that it was the single largest number of rockets recovered in the country.

The sophisticated rockets, sent from Tamil Nadu in May this year to Vijayawada, and from there to different places in Andhra Pradesh, were meant for Maoists in the Nallamalla forests.

Police claimed that with this seizure they had thwarted the Maoists’ plan to attack police stations and VIPs in five districts surrounding the dense forests. The Maoists could have hit targets, including moving targets like helicopters and VIP convoys from a distance of one kilometre with these weapons.

The police said the rocket missiles, which were ready to be filled with explosives, were meant to be transported to Nallamalla forests, the stronghold of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist. Many Maoists including their top leaders are believed to be hiding in the dense forests spread over five districts including Mahabubnagar.

The seizure follows the killing in July of a Maoist leader and seven other rebels in the Nallamalla forests of Prakasam district. Maoist violence has claimed over 6,000 lives in the state over the last three decades including those of 2,500 civilians, policemen and politicians.

Maoist had last year attacked the Durgi police station in Guntur district with rocket launchers. However, no one was injured in the attack. – Agencies

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