Naxal attacks doubled in 2009, Rlys lost Rs 500cr: Mamata
NEW DELHI: Incidents of Naxal attacks on railway property nearly doubled in 2009 and the Indian Railways lost over Rs 500 crore due to disruptions by Maoists, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee informed the Rajya Sabha today.
“Railways has become a target of Naxals,” she said replying to supplementaries during Question Hour.
“We have lost Rs 500 crore because of Naxal bandhs and obstructions,” she said adding incidents of attacks by Naxals nearly doubled to 58 in 2009 from 30 in the previous year. 56 incidents were reported in 2007, she said.
Banerjee said it was impossible to man every inch of the 65,000 km rail route. “Whatever we can do in our jurisdiction, we do,” she said.
“We appeal to all the state governments to take some precaution so that we can run trains,” she said emphasising that law and order was a state subject and railways could do very little with the limited Railway Protection Force it has.
During the period of naxal attacks, bandhs and rail roko, running of trains is badly affected. Attacks on trains happen mainly in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.
“There has been adverse impact on operations, freight loading and passenger traffic on a localised basis during bandh calls and other threats in vulnerable areas,” she said.
Zonal railways affected by naxal violence are Dhanbad, Mughalsarai, Danapur (East Central Railway), Asansol, Malda (Eastern Railway), Ranchi, Adra, Chakradharpur and Kharagpur (South Eastern Railway), Waltair, Sambalpur (East Coast Railway) and Guntakal, Secunderabad and Guntur (South Central Railway).
“Measures are taken for safety and security of trains like running of Rajdhani and other passenger trains,” she said. “However, there is no decision regarding capping the speed of all the Rajdhani and other super-fast trains.”
Former Customs officer arrested for training Naxals in Kerala
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Surat Surat police, which is probing the spread of Naxal influence in the state, has arrested Nagpur-based retired Customs Officer — Vishwanath Vardharajan Iyer (60) — for suspected Naxal links. According to the police, Iyer is among those who provided guerilla warfare training to a few from Gujarat in the jungles in Kerala, sometime in 2000.
The police are probing Iyer’s links with the Philippines Communist Party, which is believed to have conducted a guerilla warfare training camp in Kerala, in which 30 from India, including two from Gujarat — Bharat Puwar and Sulat Puwar — had reportedly participated.
The police said Iyer is one of the central committee members of CPI ML — Janshakti which is believed to have Naxal-Maoist links. His arrest follows that of two tribal activists from Dangs — Avinash Kulkarni and Bharat Puwar — who are now lodged in the Surat district jail.
A bachelor, residing with his sister, Iyer took voluntary retirement from the Customs Department in 1988 from Nagpur where he was last posted. He has a good service track record.
The police said Iyer belongs to Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu, and the family is known in the region for its strong classical music traditions.
Iyer’s father is a noted classical musician, while his uncle is known to have trained yesteryear film actor Vyjantimala in kathak, the police said. Iyer, according to the police, made his mark in the Customs Department by arresting big smugglers and recovering huge quantity of goods from them.
So far, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Surat police to probe Naxal links has arrested nine people and Iyer’s arrest follows their questioning.
The police said literature related to CPI ML — Janshakti, in
addition to incriminating CDs and DVDs have also been recovered.
Surat Range I G A K Singh said, “We have found some more leads.”
The police said Iyer regularly visited Gujarat and was on good terms with Kulkarni. Singh said the Gujarat Police is in touch with their Kerala counterparts for more details.
Pre-monsoon maoist moves on forces radar
NEW DELHI: Even as the Naxalites have launched a three-month-long tactical counter-offensive across the affected states ahead of monsoon, the intelligence agencies have begun encashing on the wider intelligence generated by increased movement of the Maoist cadres during this period to bust their hideouts and find their operational commanders.
The tactical counter-offensive is part of the Naxalites’ annual strategy to step up attacks on security forces and infrastructure such as railway tracks, communication and transmission towers to showcase their military might before the onset of monsoon forces them to retreat and put operations on hold.
“This year too, the tactical counter-offensive campaign started on April 15 and will continue over the next three months,” Chhattisgarh director general of police Vishwa Ranjan told ET. He said Naxalites would intensify attacks on public property to underline their nuisance value.
However, he added, the counter-Naxal forces were prepared to take on the challenge thrown up by the Maoists. The forces plan to use the increased movement of Maoists during the offensive to generate pinpointed intelligence on their anticipated hideouts. This would be immediately followed up by laying ambushes along the pre-judged routes and halts of the Naxalites.
“Our operations are going on across various Naxal-hit districts, be it Bijapur, Narayanpur, Dantewada & Kanker. We will try to correctly anticipate the movements of Naxalites and intercept them along the route,” said Mr Vishwa Ranjan.
Meanwhile, the CPI(Maoist) sub-committee on mass organisations has asked cadres to put pressure on the government to roll back its “offensive” against the Maoists.
Intelligence sources reveal militarisation of the CPI(Maoist)’s armed wing is continuing unabated. As compared to the guerrilla warfare, the mainstay of anti-Naxal operations thus far that required only 15-20 cadres for an attack, the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA), which will soon become the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), is now a more organised and militarised force comprising companies on the lines of the Army. Each company has 60-70 cadres and is allotted four LMGs each, besides automatic weapons and sniper rifles.
These companies are trained on military lines and well-versed in the field manoeuvres adopted by conventional armies. Attacks are usually launched by two companies (around 140 Maoists), who converge on the attack site often at a short notice.
This is part of the mobile warfare that has now become the backbone of Naxalite operations. Under mobile warfare, the stress is not on trying to hold bases, but on hitting at distant places. The movements of the cadres are flexible, usually around 400 people collect at a target, hit it and then disperse.
Incidentally, the next stage of the militarisation would be positional warfare when Naxalites will concentrate on holding positions and confronting the state forces like a conventional army.