Operation Bajrang to flush out Naxals
RAIPUR: Five Naxal group members were killed and arms and ammunition were recovered during the search and combing operations conducted under Operation Bajrang in the Maoist areas in Rajnandgaon district. The operation was carried out by Chhattisgarh Police and 44th battalion of Indo-Tibetan Police Force for five days for area domination and to cut supplies to the rebels in the area, which borders with Gadchiroli in neighbouring Maharashtra.
“More than 1000 security personnel were part of the operation during which they seized huge quantities of Naxal literature, cameras, and arms and ammunitions,” said Y P Singh, who led the operation. Dilip Singh Judeo’s son dead: Senior BJP leader and former Union minister Dilip Singh Judeo’s son Shatrunjay Pratap Singh Judeo, who was the vice-president of Jashpur Municipal Council, died of brain haemorrhage at the civil hospital in Jashpur here on Thursday. Junior Judeo, 40, is survived by his wife and son. Reports from Jashpur said Shatrunjay was admitted to the hospital where he breathed his last.
‘LTTE training, police ammo strengthened Reds’
NEW DELHI: A new book offers fresh insights into the way the Maoists built their military prowess, starting with special training by the LTTE. Their first-ever professional military camp was held in the forests of Bastar in 1987, where they were trained by an LTTE leader named Suresh. Among those trained was Ganapathy, currently the man at the helm of CPI Maoist.
“The Indian army had trained Suresh at the Indian military academy in Dehradun while he was in the LTTE. Now, it was his turn to teach the Maoists to fight the Indian security forces. What goes around comes around,” writes Shubhranshu Choudhary, a former BBC journalist, in his book ‘Let’s Call Him Vasu’. The book is based on Choudhary’s forays in the jungles of Dandakaranya, the region at the tri-junction of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, where he met and interviewed dozens of Maoists including some of the senior-most figures in the rebel movement.
A Maoist leader told Choudhary that they bought their first AK-47 assault rifle in 1987. But as prices rose in the international arms market from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh per gun, they found they could no longer afford to buy weapons and they switched to manufacturing their own arms. “Now, we purchase only 5 per cent of our arms; around 15 per cent is looted from the police, and we make 80 per cent ourselves,” says Rajanna, identified as the man in-charge of the arms division of the CPI Maoist. But the Maoists do not manufacture automatic weapons. They were in the process of making and testing .303 rifles, sten guns and rocket launchers when their factories in Bhopal and Rourkela were busted.
However, they still have the ability to put together a formidable arsenal: single-shot rifles, improvised cannons, bombs and army-range grenades. As for the source of ammunition supply, Rajanna tells Choudhary it is none other than the police. “The police are very greedy, and such deals take place in every police station in India. Policemen at all levels, from the lowest ranks through the top, are involved,” he says. Rajanna also ruled out the possibility of peace talks with the government since the last Maoist Congress in 2007 had rejected it and only a fresh Congress can approve it. Unlike Nepal, where every guerilla fighter earns 100 rupees a month, in India, Maoists cadres do not earn salaries. But CPI Maoist takes care of their basic needs by supplying clothes, soap, oil, by spending an average of 450 rupees a month per fighter. While adivasis have risen to lead military companies in Dandakaranya – eleven of the twelve company commanders in the zone are adivasis – the political decision-making remains in the hands of the leaders from Andhra Pradesh.
Bihar govt stalls protest against Op Green Hunt
Leading civil rights activists and Maoist sympathisers on Thursday condemned the Bihar government’s withdrawal of permission for a major rally in Muzaffarpur scheduled for Friday to protest against the crackdown by the police and paramilitaries on the tribal people across the country. Eminent Telugu poet and Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) Varavara Rao and social activist B.D. Sharma, a former IAS officer who has worked as an interlocutor between the Maoists and the Chhattisgarh government, described the forestalling of the Muzaffarpur rally as “arrant stifling of democratic discussions on crucial national issues”. Both men had travelled from their homes in Hyderabad and Delhi respectively and reached Patna to speak in the rally organised by several people’s organisations in north Bihar. “We were granted permission on December 10 for the rally at Khudiram Bose stadium in Muzaffarpur, but the district magistrate withdrew the permission at the last minute today without citing any reason.
Thousands of people and eminent intellectuals who have reached for the event are very disappointed,” said Rajkishore Singh, general secretary of RDF. Efforts to have a response from the Muzaffarpur district administration for withdrawing permission were unsuccessful, but sources said officials, expecting “explicit, open glorification of the Maoist cause” at the rally, thought the event would have harmful impacts on the people. The police in Muzaffarpur had recently managed to get 27 Maoist leaders to surrender along with their weapons.
Some posters used for mobilising people for the rally are believed to have contributed to the authorities’ decision to revoke permission for the event. Photographs on posters, seeking to condemn Operation Green Hunt, depict top leaders, including PM Manmohan Singh, leading UPA ministers, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi as holding guns in their hands.
Two persons booked under POTA acquitted
A local court today acquitted two persons, who were arrested in 2002 under the erstwhile Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), on benefit of doubt. The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate acquitted Shyam Narayan and Lakhan Singh, who were arrested during raids in a forest in Palamau’s Bishrampur a decade ago. The police had charged them with participating in a meeting with Maoists, possessing Maoist literature and supplying arms to the rebels.