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How Maoists stunned India on polling day

April 17, 2009
Krishnakumar P reports on how Thursday's attacks revealed that the Maoists have far better military training and superior firepower than believed earlier.

• Rebels used people's militia comprising well-trained youngsters from the forests and border districts for Thursday's attacks.

• Security forces did not have enough time to change tactics employed with great success in November and thus lost the edge to the rebels.

Yet to recover from the spectacular attacks by the Maoists during the first phase of polling, security agencies have identified two key reasons for the setback.

Most of Thursday's attacks showed that the Maoists had far better military training and superior firepower than was estimated till now, top police and intelligence officers from various Maoist-hit states told on Friday.

The second reason was that the Maoists had thoroughly studied the security forces and their tactics during the November 2008 assembly election in Chhattisgarh (which is widely seen as a stupendous success for the security forces) and were better prepared to be able to strike with clockwork precision and greater intensity thus inflicting devastating losses.

Image: An injured policeman is rushed to a hospital in Ranchi, after he was injured in a landmine explosion triggered by Maoists in Lathehar, about 140 km from Ranchi, Jharkhand. Photograph: Rajesh Kumar Sen/Reuters

Also see: Images: India goes to polls | Coverage: India Votes 2009

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