Maoist strike spurs tight security for eclipse in Bihar
A tight security cover is in place in this small Bihar village in view of a strike called by Maoists on Wednesday, when hundreds of scientists and tourists from across the world will converge in Taregna to watch the century’s longest total solar eclipse.
The state government has handed over the security to the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in view of a strike called by Maoists in Bihar and four other states on Wednesday to protest the rising prices of fuel and essential commodities.
Scientists, researchers and astro-tourists from different parts of the world are expected to start arriving in the village, about 35 km from the state capital Patna, on Tuesday evening ahead of the total solar eclipse on Wednesday. These include scientists from US space agency NASA, Britain, Italy, Poland, Germany, France, as well as from the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research (TIFR) and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
“Watching a total solar eclipse at Taregna will not be free from the fear of Maoists because this area falls under the Maoist-affected Masaurih sub-division, a lawless area until a few years ago,” said Vinod Singh , a businessman at Masaurih bazaar.
And the government is taking the possibility of Maoist violence seriously.
“The government has made tight security arrangements to counter the Maoist threat,” said Patna District Magistrate Jitendra Kumar Sinha.
Patna Special Superintendent of Police R Mallar Vizhi told IANS that adequate security personnel have been deployed in Taregna to provide safety and security to scientists, researchers and tourists coming from outside.
“We will not take any chance. The CRPF deployed at Taregna will be assisted by Bihar Police Military Police and Special Auxiliary Police,” Vizhi said.
The official added that a four-tier security ring would be thrown around the area by Wednesday, admitting that Masaurih was a Maoist-affected area.
Intensive security arrangements were in place at a newly constructed referral hospital, where main arrangements are being made for scientists, experts and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to watch the eclipse.
“Limited number of passes have been provided by the district authorities to watch the total solar eclipse from the rooftop of the hospital along with scientists,” a district official said.
Security personnel have also been deployed on the road as well as along railway links between Patna and Taregna.
“We have alerted the railways to be on constant vigil on the Patna-Gaya rail section as well as police stations on the road link,” said Additional Director General of Police(police headquarters) Neelmani.
The total eclipse, starting a little after sunrise, is expected to last three minutes and 48 seconds at Taregna. According to the NASA forecast based on satellite imagery, the sky over the region is likely to be less cloudy than others along the path of the total solar eclipse. So it may offer one of the best views of the celestial phenomenon.
Taregna already has an ancient connection with astronomy, having been one of the two places used by 6th century Indian astronomer-mathematician Aryabhatta for his celestial studies. It is believed he was the first to announce that the earth revolves around the sun after his marathon research in an observatory at Taregna.
From Hindustan Times
Maoists kill abducted police officer
Rourkela, July 20 (PTI) The CPI (Maoist) has owned up responsibility for the killing of an abducted police officer in Sundergarh district of Orissa, arguing they were forced to commit the act to protest the Centre’s decision to ban the organisation.
In a message to the branch office of an Oriya daily here last night, the Chhotanagpur ‘zonal commander’ of the Maoists, Samarjee, owned up responsibility for the killing of sub-inspector Ajit Bardhan after abducting him from Champajharan in the district on July 16.
Arguing that they were compelled to commit the act to protest the Centre’s decision to proscribe the outfit, the front ranking Maoist leader alleged that draconian rules were being used against their cadre in states like Andhra Pradesh.
The Union government had declared the Maoists as a ‘terrorist organisation’ under pressures from the US, he alleged.
Maoist Strike Effects Three WB Districts
Kolkata, Jul 22 (PTI) Maoists’ call for a day’s strike affected several areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts of West Bengal today, but no untoward incident was reported.
Normal life was paralysed at Bandwan, Bagmundi, Baro bazar, Kotshila and Balarampur in Purulia, besides Jhargram Sadar sub-division in West Midnapore and south Bankura.
The 24-hour bandh was called to press for immediate withdrawal of joint security forces in the region, police said.
A Midnapore report said that the strike was partial at Salboni and Goaltore, but transport services were seriously affected. Schools and government offices did not function.
Reports from Bankura said that the Maoists’s strike call had wide-ranging impact on Ranibandh, Raipur, Taldanga, Simlipal and Khatoa.
Maoists killed CPM leader in West Midnapore
Maidnapore, July 22 (ANI): Maoist activists shot dead a CPM leader in West Bengal’s West Midnapore on Wednesday morning for violating a shut down call given by them.
According to police, Phagu Baskey, Secretary of CPM’s Belphari unit in the district for working on the day of shutdown. The banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) has called for a shutdown in various part of the county today.
Baskey was the sixth victim of Maoist violence in the district in the last one month.
In June Maoists had killed two CPM supporters Baren Mahato and Gurucharan Mahato of Sisri village, in Lalgarh.
Meanwhile, activists of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) blocked roads by felling trees at Bamal, Kadasole, Kantapahari and other places in the district. (ANI)
From Sindh Daily
Maoist couple surrenders in Rayagada
KORAPUT: A young Maoist couple has confessed to playing part in the killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati that triggered communal riots in
Kandhamal district last year. The rebels, both in their 20s, surrendered before Rayagada SP Asish Kumar Singh on Wednesday.
Police said Surendra alias Vasu and Jaya alias Rubi are both natives of Rayagada district. “Surendra had joined the rebel group in 2004 and Jaya in 2007. They have confessed to their involvement in the killing of Laxmanananda Saraswati at his Jalespeta ashram in Kandhamal district on August 23. Not only that, the Maosits also said they were part of the squad which carried out a series of attacks in Rayagada, Gajapati and Nayagarh districts. Now they have come to realize that what they were doing are no longer good for people so decided to lay down arms and join the mainstream,” the SP said.
“While Surendra was a Maoist leader and member of the powerful Special Action Team of the Red rebels responsible for many major violence, Jaya was a cadre of Jangudi Dalam. Both belong to Bansadhara division of CPI (Maoist).”
Police said the couple will be rehabilitated in accordance with state government policy. This will encourage more rebels to surrender.
On June 9, a Maoist couple, Ghasiram Majhi alias Akash and his wife, had surrendered before Rayagada police. Akash was second in the rank after Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda in Orissa. This was followed by the surrender of three Maoists, including a rebel leader, on July 6 in Rayagada district.
Police said 18 rebels have been arrested and huge cache of ammunition seized by raiding several Maoists hideouts in the district in past three months.
Meanwhile, the Maoists posters were spotted at several places in Koraput and Malkangiri districts on Wednesday. The Red rebels have asked people to cooperate with them during Martyr’s Week, which the extremists are going to celebrate from July 28 to August 3.