Lukewarm response to Maoist bandh
The police have arrested two suspected Naxals from Chowka in the adjoining Seraikela-Kharsawan district on Friday when the rebel outfit, CPI-Maoist had given a call for Jharkhand bandh. Those arrested have been identified as Yudhistir Mahto (35) and Goltu Das (19), both residents of Ghatdulmi village in Chowka. Superintendent of Police of Seraikela-Kharsawan, Upendra Kumar said that the two persons arrested were involved in supporting Naxal activities in Chowka area.
“As per our information, both Mahto and Das used to carry fire-arms as well as the foodgrains for the rebels in this region. We have arrested the duo on Friday after a prolonged interrogation,” said Kumar. Kumar informed that after the Naxal attack on the truckers and police at Chowka on Thursday, the police, Paramilitary forces and CRPF have started a long range patrolling (LRP) in the dense jungle of Chowka and adjoining Chandil area.
The Naxal-sponsored Jharkhand bandh on Friday, however, failed to evoke its response in Singhbhum. Except for Galudih and Dhalbhumgarh in Ghatshila sub-division of East Singhbhum district and Chowka in adjoining Seraikela-Kharsawan district, the life was completely normal in rest of the region. In Ghatshila sub-division, the bandh was complete. The urban areas of East Singhbhum remained unaffected though. Shops, hotels, banks, petrol pumps and business establishments in Ghatshila downed shutters. Shops and business establishments were closed in Ghatshila and other townships under Ghatshila sub-division of East Singhbhum district since the Friday morning.
The operators of commercial vehicles, including the passenger carriers kept themselves away from the road, commercial organisations, including bank and ATM counters remained close. Policemen escorted commercial vehicles, including long-route buses and trucks. In the East Singhbhum, the mobility of the security forces including CRPF personnel was paced up on the National Highway-33 stretching from Ghatshila to Chandil.
“The district administration has deputed 17 magistrates across strategic locations of the district to oversee the security affairs in the wake of Maoists bandh,” informed a senior official. The long route private buses plying on the two end of the NH-33, Tata-Ranchi and Tata-West Bengal has felt the pinch with few of the buses staying off the roads nonetheless, the Government buses heading for different destinations to Bihar in particular are running in full strength. East Singhbhum, District Superintendent of Police (rural) Rajiv Ranjan Singh said that no untoward incident was reported from any parts of the district during the bandh.
Despite 51 acquittals, cops set to arrest alleged Naxalite again
NAGPUR: There seems to be no respite for Ganpat, alias Vishwanath Kudmethe even after winning acquittals in 51 cases related to Naxal movement slapped on him by Maharashtra police over a period of eight years. The latest acquittal came a day before from a Gadchiroli court. But he is still not a free man. Despite a petition against repeated re-arrest from jail gate before the High court, the alleged Naxal’s ‘invisible’ release following the latest acquittal has surprised many. Senior officers claimed Kudmethe’s re-arrest was their ‘legal responsibility’ and was above human rights.
Even before Kudmethe’s release, there were police vehicles and cops in civil dresses waiting at Nagpur Central Jail on Friday to pounce upon him from the gate which is within the jail premises. “Court acquitted him but they are arresting him from the jail premises so where is the release?” asked a counsel waiting to receive Kudmethe. There was high drama outside the jail after his counsels returned empty handed from the gate following a prolonged wait. The prison authorities claimed they had released him at 6.20 pm, an act nobody present at the seen seemed to have noticed. His exact whereabouts and his status still remain a mystery.
Kudmethe was arrested in February 2004. His wife Jayakka, released last year, too was arrested shortly after her release. Since his arrest, Kudmethe has been re-arrested twice from jail gate. Ex-commander of Aheri dalam Jayakka is co-petitioner in the case along with husband Kudmethe. The couple has claimed damages to the tune of 15.80 lakh separately for illegal detention and vexatious prosecution. Kudmethe was slapped with about 30 cases after the first arrest but was acquitted in all as cops could produce no evidence. He was charged with 16 fresh cases after his re-arrest from jail gate in 2008.
Once again, the judiciary did not find any evidence against him. Kudmethe, who has made a claim of 8 lakh for illegal detention, was dumped in the jail with five more cases but has been acquitted in all of them again. “This is blatant violation of constitutional rights of a citizen and mockery of judiciary,” said senior counsel Surendra Gadling. Kudmethe and Sadhu Talandi were acquitted by the additional sessions judge in Gadchiroli from a case of attempt to murder and rioting, among other charges, registered at Damrancha police station in 2003.
As per the expectations of their lawyers Gadling and Jagdish Meshram, Talandi walked out of the prison in the afternoon but there was no sight of Kudmethe. The lawyers were stunned by the jail authorities who claimed that Kudmethe was released at 6.20 pm. The information was also confirmed to TOI by jail superintendent VV Sekdar. While a section of intelligence community claimed Kudmethe had sneaked away after his release, his counsels maintained he was not and he would be again delivered to security forces for more false cases.