Bihar’s forests under Naxal shadow

Posters on tree trunks inside Gaya’s forest reserve, allegedly put up by Naxals, warn of dire consequences for ‘trespassers’ including forest rangers
Naxal activity in Bihar has found a new breeding ground – the state’s only forest reserve, has fallen to the Naxals.

TIMES NOW has exclusive information that Naxals in Bihar are expanding base and encroaching on government land to make bunkers and training camps.

Naxals have targetted the forest reserve in Bihar’s Gaya district – the state’s only wildlife sanctuary the Gautam Buddha Sanctuary – as their training camp and have also made bunkers there. Out of the total area of the forest reserve, as much as 70% is under their influence. The area under question falls on the border between Bihar and Jharkhand, and is part of the infamous ‘Red Corridor’.

What is worse, the Government is aware of such illegal encroachments, but is just not equipped to doing anything about them. The sanctuary spans around 135 sq km, and has been in existence since 1979.

Forest rangers warned

The Naxals have such immense hold on the land here that they have stuck posters inside the sanctuary, warning commoners against trespassing. For the Forest Rangers, the warning is more severe. The rangers have been warned that if they tread inside the Naxal territory, they will be beheaded.

Chief Conservator of Forests (Magadh Range) U S Jha says, “We have limited resources and there is this Naxal menace which is affecting the mobility of officers.”

What makes matters worse for the forest rangers is that they cannot defend themselves as they do not have any sophisticated armoury.

Meanwhile Lal Bahadur, leader of the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) a Naxal group, has made the following statement : “We want to drive home the point that they (Naxals) can takeover anything, their high command decides on whether to use the forest land as training camp or for making bunkers.

Timesnow

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