Peoples War in India Clippings 14/1/2013

Maoists on the run team up, make rockets, bombs

Hyderabad: CPI Maoists have rebuilt their tech team and arms manufacturing wing with leaders who had gone underground after jumping bail. After the arrest of Sadhanala Ramakrishna last year in Kolkata, sources in the state police department said that Ivvi Mohan Reddy was now leading the Maoists’ tech team to make rockets, grenades etc.

The Khammam police had arrested Maoist Central Technical Committee members Ivvi Mohan Reddy alias Umesh alias Mahesh alias Prakash and Jade Venkati alias Suresh alias Manganna in January 2007 at Bhadrachalam. “The duo got out on bail and went underground again. After the arrest of Tech Madhu and Sadhanala Ramakrishna consecutively in the past few years, our inputs say that Mohan Reddy is now leading the Central Technical Committee. Reddy was instrumental in setting up weapon units in Rourkela and other areas in Odisha. They were also playing an active role in Dandakaranya,” said the source.

Government Quells Maoist Rebellion in West Bengal

KOLKATA —Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has often called the conflict against the Communist Party of India (Maoist) the greatest internal security threat that India faces. With some 6,000 dead in India’s heartland since 2005 alone, it has certainly been one of the most violent. Mr. Singh’s lingering inability to quell the bloodshed through a “two-pronged strategy” of economic development and armed counterinsurgency has led to repeated howls of protest; from the left for human rights abuses committed by ill-trained troops, and from the right for not employing a heavier hand to crush the rebellion.

Traditionally protected by tribal populations, which have struggled to take part in India’s booming economic growth, the mobile Maoists evaded disjointed state-by-state responses while traversing India’s heavily forested central states. Recently the conflict took a particularly gruesome turn, when the body of a constable was discovered in Jharkhand, with a bomb sewn into the abdomen. But a surprising thing happened at the start of this decade. After years of feeling one step behind the insurgents, the conflict’s momentum has suddenly shifted to the government’s favor.

This was nowhere more evident than in the state of West Bengal. In 2010, more than 400 people died here as the state became the epicenter of the long-running insurgency. However, according to newly released figures collected by the Institute for Conflict Management, a research organization based in New Delhi, there were a mere four Maoist-related deaths in West Bengal in 2012 – a 99 percent drop in two years. While Maoist violence across India has fallen by more than 65 percent during the period, in West Bengal it has been all but eliminated. How did the state turn things around so dramatically – and so quickly? Inspector General Vivek Sahay, who leads the Central Reserve Police Force in West Bengal, is in charge of the state’s anti-Maoist operations.

Mr. Sahay believes that a greater number of officers available to combat the insurgency was essential to the turnaround. However, he said renewed attention to developing the building blocks of governance was just as important in causing the turning point as any military or strategic gains. By weakening the insurgency in West Bengal, the government has been able to re-establish a constructive presence in rural areas, something Mr. Sahay sees as crucial. “Our success can’t be judged merely by kills or arrests,” he said. “It should be judged by the ability of other (government) departments to spend, to ensure that there is no fresh escalation of violence.” Mr. Sahay is speaking about the second leg of the government’s strategy, highlighting the Central Reserve Police Force’s mandate to create an environment secure enough for rural development programs like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and other service-minded efforts to operate.

By directly engaging with citizens, the government hopes that programs like these are the key weapon in the battle to win rural hearts and minds. Meanwhile, members of Mr. Singh’s government are daring to project confidence for the first time, lauding the “two-pronged strategy” as central to its success. Still, backroom dealings may have also played a role. The Trinamool Congress, West Bengal’s current ruling party, has been repeatedly accused of aligning with the Maoists to gain rural support before the 2011 elections that brought it to power. The Trinamool Congress’s electoral rival, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), alleged that the chief minster of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, orchestrated a cease-fire deal with the Maoists before elections in exchange for rural support.

Ms.Banerjee denies the deal, but her colleague, Kabir Suman , recently gave the claims renewed validity, claiming that they would have lost several key rural constituencies (and perhaps even the election) without the Maoists’ help. Yet this alleged alliance may actually have served as the inadvertent breaking point of the insurgency. After the Maoists broke a cease-fire by assassinating several Trinamool Congress politicians, members of the Central Reserve Police Force used information gathered from pre-election mingling to kill the then-operational head of the Maoists, Kishenji. A combination of secret surrender packages and promises to other former Maoist leaders of government jobs – mainly spying on their former comrades – have decimated Maoist ranks, leaving few capable enough to lead guerilla battles.

Ms.Banerjee has cashed in on these victories, and in presiding over a populist government that has actively tried to extend development to its rural base, has made more concrete attempts to weaken the appeal of the Maoists than any West Bengal chief minister in a generation.

Latehar storm after Maoist lull

The audacity of the Latehar ambush, which ended with Maoists implanting explosive devices inside the corpses of CRPF men, comes amid security forces’ claims that the rebels are a declining force. What was probably the cruellest ever assault on security forces came at a time police in several states were praising themselves for having contained Maoists.

Over the last 14 months, Maoist violence had declined partly because they had lost a number of their top cadres (see box) to encounters — and road accidents, illness and even snakebite — and partly because security forces had made significant advances in several regions hitherto considered “liberated”. Rather than confront advancing forces, guerrillas preferred to retreat; CRPF men were lulled into a sense of security by the near-zero confrontation during their 10-day Abujhmaad march last year. It now turns out the Maoists had been regrouping while recovering from those setbacks.

Then home minister P Chidambaram had been cautious during his last visit to Chhattisgarh: “It can be considered that Naxal violence is going down, but it could also mean that security forces and Naxals are not engaging with each other.” On the other hand, several top officers of the police and security agencies, including Chhattisgarh DGP Ramniwas, had asserted the morale of the Maoists was down and the battle was in its last phase.

The Maoists themselves stress 2012 was a good year for them. “The various tactical counteroffensive campaigns and military actions by the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) in the past one year in various guerilla zones had a good political impact,” Deoji of the Central Military Commission of CPI (Maoist) said in a yearend statement to cadres. He listed a series of major ambushes in 2012, including the one on the elite CoBRA force in Gadchiroli that left 12 personnel dead. Deoji said 114 cops were killed last year, several of them in audacious attacks. The PLGA had been formed in 2000. The last two years have shown a drop in incidents involving Maoists —from 2,213 in 2010 to 1,760 in 2011 and 1,365 in 2012 — after the preceding few years had shown a successive increase — from 1,565 in 2007 to 1,591 in 2008 and 2,258 in 2009. The regrouping phase saw Maoists devising new strategies, the planting of IEDs inside corpses being the latest.

They have cited the Latehar attack as their response to the Saranda Development Plan, launched by Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh after advancing CRPF troops had cleared these forests in West Singhbhum district. Maoists describe the Sananda project as a plan to hand over mining resources to private companies. “The central government is trying to gain control over natural resources through such tactics. Our killings are in response to their designs,” Toofan, spokesperson for the Bihar-Jharkhand-North Chhattisgarh special area unit of the CPI (Maoist), said in an audio statement sent to The Indian Express.

He said the explosives they had stitched in was their response to similar tactics by the CRPF in the area. “The CRPF laid booby traps in the form of rocket launchers and grenades across Latehar and Palamu districts. They are also using children and villagers as human shields. We regret the deaths of innocent villagers in the incident.” The CRPF refused to comment on “such madness”. “Only saner comments and actions can be responded to,” said Jharkhand IG CRPF MV Pradhan. And Pankaj Kumar Singh, CRPF IG (Ops), said, “They are acting in desperation, trying to salvage whatever they can. We should continue with greater force.”

Maoist losses

An estimated 70 died during 2012, one reason for the relative lull. Some key deaths:

Harak alias Srikanth, 48:

Died of illness on February 26. A Dandakaranya special zonal committee member, he worked among Chhattisgarh activists and youths and was active culturally — he was an editorial board member in Prabhat, the outfit’s mouthpiece in the zone. Joined Dandankaranya’s Gadchiroli division in 1998, was elected into the special zonal committee in 2005.

Gundeti Sankar alias Seshanna, 47:

Died of snakebite on March 18. The North Telangana special zonal committee member was working to revive the North Telangana movement. In a 30-year career, he rose from a squad member to a state-level leader. He wrote literary pieces, worked in political and military wings, and engaged in propaganda work.

Mangu Paddam alias Sukku:

Killed in an encounter in Raigarh on January 27. A divisional committee member working for expansion of the movement in central India as part of Chhattisgarh-Orissa border state area group. Worked in north Bastar and PLGA for a long time.

Vijay Madkam, 45:

Died in a tractor accident on July 15. A member of the south regional committee and secretary of South Bastar division of Dandankaranya. Born in Sukma, he joined the movement in 1988 and played a crucial role in developing Janatana Sarkars to counter Salwa Judum forces. In divisional committee from 2000, in regional committee since 2009.

Siddharth Buragohain:

Killed in a May encounter in Assam along with three other Maoists. Was a member of the Asom leading committee. “These losses are severe for us due to the strategic significance of the revolutionary movement of the Northeast…,” said a Maoist release.

Ajay Ganju:

Killed in Kunda forests of Chhatra, Jharkhand. Was a Bihar-Jharkhand-North Chhattisgarh special area leader, involved in over 50 attacks on security forces.

Swaroopa alias Sunita:

Died of breast cancer in March 2012. She served in the technical field under the AP state committee and the central committee for nearly three decades years and also as a tailor in Dandankaranya in her last years.


Killed in police encounter in Mainpur division on May 31. Worked in Chhattisgarh-Orissa border area. Born in Andhra Pradesh, she worked in the protection platoon of the state committee. Became part of the Dandankaranya movement in 2009 and worked among women in East Bastar, later worked in Gobra in Mainpur and became an area committee secretary.

Ameela, Aruna:

Died in the encounter in which Sameera was killed. Ameela (left) was a performing artiste who helped organise cultural troops.

Other leaders:

Pramod, killed by the bodyguard of an assassination target, was West Bastar action team commander. Mitu, killed in an encounter, was area committee member in Orissa organising committee Ungal, killed in an accidental mine blast, was in central regional company. …and cadres: Nearly 30 lower cadres of Bihar-Jharkhand-North Chhattisgarh special area. Those killed include Yogendra Oraon, Pancham Paswan and Gulach Munda.

Palamu cops abort Maoist attack after 30-minute gunbattle

DALTONGANJ: Satbarwa police in Palamu was successful in aborting an attack by the Maoists on the Satbarwa police outpost. It is situated 28 km from Daltonganj and on the National Highway 75. The attack took place at 11 in the night on January 12 but after 30 minutes of intermittent firing the Maoists left the spot heading towards Lesliganj, sources from the police camp said.

The Maoists fired little over half a dozen shots which were equally returned by the Satbarwa police outpost. Deputy superintendent of police, Palamu Rajinder Rai said the cops were safe and ammunition intact. Rai also said the firing was started by the Maoists from behind the outpost and not from the NH 75 side. He added the Reds’ strike squad was small. He also informed that the Maoists exploded bombs far away from the outpost. Asked if the Reds showed enough aggression to carry on a long fight, Rai said it did not appear so as when the police retaliated the Maoists made a hasty retreat.

The attack was more in a jeering spirit as CRPF has suffered heavy casualties in the last week here in this police range. The Maoists launched this attack just before the two-day bandh called by them starting January 13 and ending on January 14 midnight in Palamu. This bandh is called in reaction to the arrest of two Ultras recently who were not presented before the law or media as alleged by the Reds.

Security forces mulling to launch massive anti-naxal operation

New Delhi: Security agencies are all set to begin anti-naxal operation in worst hit Sukma and Dantewada districts in Chhattisgarh. A senior official with anti-naxal operation said, “The security forces’ attempt to curb naxalite is showing positive results.

Naxal violence in 2012 has been reported at its lowest level during the last ten years. Seventy percent of the violence occurred in tribal dominated Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.” Security forces are fully concentrating on eliminating of naxals from the respective states. Security forces, therefore, have started their operations as soon as they got the information about naxals’ swelling in Latehar.

Security agencies are also aware of the congregation of naxals in the Latehar as well as Sukma. A sporadic battle has been going on between the security forces and the naxals for the last one week. Meanwhile, the security forces are planning to launch the massive anti-naxal operation.

Naxals torch 27 vehicles at Gadchiroli road construction site

NAGPUR: The Naxals sounded a wake-up call for Gadchiroli cops on Sunday afternoon by torching 27 vehicles at a road construction site near Lekha (Menda) village on Godalvahi-Dhanora road, some 6km from the state highway connecting Gadchiroli and Rajnandgaon. Sources in the district said a group of around 40 rebels, most likely to be members of Tippagarh dalam and a platoon dalam, chased away the site supervisors before setting the vehicles afire. Reports said 20 tractors, two JCB machines, a road roller, two water tankers and two bikes were set afire.

Seven more tractors were deployed at the site, but survived the arson because they had been used to take labourers to the base camp for lunch. There were no injuries or casualties in the incident. The arson came within a week of Naxals executing a blast on Dhanora-Heti road during a police sponsored community outreach programme in the vicinity. The latest violence, inflicting loss to the tune of almost a crore, has put both police and district administration on the backfoot. The torching of vehicles at construction sites is usually used by Naxals to show their strong anti-development stance, especially their opposition to road construction.

An official of public works department (PWD) said the latest incident has dealt a major blow to the morale of the agency, and private contractors are expected to back away from contracts in view of the huge loss. The vehicles torched on Sunday were working on a project being implemented by the Pune-based Ingoley Patil company. This company had suffered losses earlier too, when Naxals had set a couple of tractors and construction site equipment on fire at Potegaon last year. The present work was part of the Road Requirement Project (RRP-1), costing around Rs30 crore, funded by the central government.

The job was to construct a 28km road from Pustola to Godalvahi and Dhanora in north Gadchiroli. Around 14km of road already exists, and the work between Godalvahi and Pustola had been taken up by the company. The work had picked up pace only this year, said a source. He added that it would be difficult now to convince the contractor to restart and complete the work. Deputy inspector general of police (DIG), Gadchiroli range, Ravindra Kadam said the motive behind the large scale arson is as yet unclear. Police have already started an operation in the area.


Nagpur: The arson on Sunday on the Dhanora-Godalvahi road is the third major incident in the last fortnight. The Naxal’s action team fired on a bunch of cops sipping tea at a stall near Gatta Jambia Armed out post on December 28, 2012. A sub-inspector and constable were injured in the attack. The ongoing community outreach programmes of the security forces too came under Naxal attack last week when the rebels generated a low-intensity blast on Dhanora-Heti road. The blast happened close to the venue of the programme organized by the cops.

Jharkhand to get more anti-Maoist personnel

The Centre has decided to deploy more security forces to contain the Maoists menace. Following the Latehar in which the Maoists trapped and killed 10 CRPF and State police personnel on Monday, the Home Ministry has decided to deploy 10,000 security men in the Naxal affected districts of Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha. In Jharkhand, there are 18 CRPF battalions deployed for anti-Naxal operations.

“On previous occasions, we had sought bigger deployment of security forces. The men will arrive very soon. After dominating Saranda forest area we have moved to areas under Palamu division where Maoists are creating their base,” Jharkhand DGP GS Rath said. The State is expected to get five battalions including two of the COBRA force. The centre has expedited the deployment three CRPF battalions, 154, 157 and 158, on an immediate basis, which is likely to reach Jharkhand by the end of this month. The Centre is reportedly alarmed by the growing numbers of Maoist attacks on security personnel.


Uncertain Gains In Maharashtra – 

By Fakir Mohan Pradhan

The level of violence perpetrated by the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) in Maharashtra has decreased in 2012 in terms of fatalities, in comparison to 2011, returning to levels comparable with 2010. According to partial data collected by South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), the State witnessed a total of 40 fatalities – 21 civilians, 14 Security Force (SF) personnel and five Maoists – in Maoist-related violence in 2012, as against 69 fatalities – 34 civilians, 10 SF personnel and 25 Maoists – in 2011. The State reported just one major incident (involving three or more fatalities) in 2012, when Maoists detonated a landmine at Pustola village in Gadchiroli District on March 27, 2012, killing 13 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers (12 died in the incident and one trooper later succumbed to injuries in hospital), and injuring another 28. There were five major incidents in 2011.

Union Ministry of Home Affairs data indicate 45 fatalities in 2012 (as on November 30, 2012), including 27 civilians, 14 SF personnel and four Maoists; as against 57 fatalities – 44 civilians, 10 SF personnel and three Maoists – in the whole of 2011, in Maharashtra.

In 2012, incidents of killing were reported from three Districts – Gadchiroli, Gondia and Aurangabad – though Gadchiroli dominates overwhelmingly. As many as 37 of the 40 fatalities (18 civilians, 14 SF and five Maoists) in the State – were reported from Gadchiroli alone. Gondia had two civilian fatalities and Aurangabad had one. In 2011, fatalities had been reported from Gadchiroli (67), Gondia (1) and Nagpur (1).

Fatality figures of the last three years suggest that civilian and SF fatalities have remained relatively high, though wide variations have been recorded in Maoist fatalities. However, the high Maoist fatalities reported in 2011 may be misleading, as very few bodies of those allegedly killed were actually recovered. Police believe that the woman Maoist killed in a December 4, 2012, encounter was Narmada Akka, a senior Maoist leader, though the Maoists have issued no clarification in this regard.

SATP data indicates that there were at least 24 incidents of exchange of fire between SFs and Maoists in 2012, of which 22 were in Gadchiroli and two in Gondia. The frequency of encounters increased towards the end of the year, with 11 encounters reported in just the last three months of 2012. The encounters resulted in the killing of at least four Maoists.

The fifth Maoist’s buried dead body was recovered in Gadchiroli District, where he is believed to have been killed in an earlier encounter. Remarkably, the SFs did not suffer any fatalities in these encounters, though some troopers were injured. 13 of the 14 SF fatalities were the result of a single improvised explosive device (IED) attack, and the 14th was shot dead when he was accompanying an ailing colleague to the health centre at Fulbodi Gatta village in Dhanora tehsil of Gadchiroli District. Apart from the March 27 IED attack on the CRPF, the Maoists did not trigger any other landmine/IED blast. However, an officer of the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) was injured while defusing a land mine planted by the Maoists near Bhagvantrao School on the main road to Kamalpur village in Aheri sub-division of Gadchiroli District.

During search and combing operations, the SFs made recoveries of arms, ammunition and other articles in nine instances – five in Gadchiroli, two in Gondia, and one each in Chandrapur and Raigad. The Maoists engaged in at least seven incidents of arson through 2012 – five in Gadchiroli and two in Gondia – and one has already been recorded in 2013, in Gadchiroli. In one such incident a group of around 50 Maoists intercepted four tractors and three trolleys in the forest patch between Rajoli and Keshori in Gondia District and set them afire on April 12, 2012.

In another incident an estimated 150 Maoists set ablaze a forest depot near Jimalgatta village in Gadchiroli District on May 14, 2012. In the latest incident on January 13, 2013, a group of around 40 Maoists set ablaze 27 vehicles at a road construction site near Lekha (Menda) village on the Godalvahi-Dhanora road in Gadchiroli District, some six kilometers from the State highway connecting Gadchiroli and Rajnandgaon (Chhattisgarh). The Maoists abducted seven persons in four recorded incidents of abduction, three in Gadchiroli and one in Gondia.

In another eye-opener for the State, with inputs from the Andhra Pradesh Police, the Mumbai (Maharashtra) Police raided workshops near Mumbai, which were clandestinely manufacturing weapons for Maoists and seized several castings, believed to be intended for making hand grenades, rockets and other materials, and for fabricating Rocket Launchers (RLs). Police arrested four Maoists – Asim Kumar Bhattacharya (63), Dinesh Wankhede (30), Suman Gawde (40) and Paru Patel (40), from Dombivali, in this connection, and recovered over INR 2.3 million in cash, laptops, pen drives and books on manufacturing weapons. Police made a total of 40 arrests of Maoists cadres and sympathizers in the State in 2012 (SATP data), as against 56 in 2011.

Some of the significant arrests included the CPI-Maoist Chandrapur District in-charge, Pramod Godghate (30); and CPI-Maoist State Committee Member and Secretary of the Chandrapur Committee, Maruti Kurwatkar (31). Significantly, Police also arrested Venkatramma Reddy, a manager of Hyderabad’s Sushee Infrastructure Private Limited, which was engaged in the Pranhita-Chevella Irrigation Project, a Maharashtra – Andhra Pradesh joint venture, along with two other persons – Chinmaya Soyam, a former sarpanch (head of Gram Panchayat, village level local self Government institution)of a village in the neighbouring Adilabad District of Andhra Pradesh, and Suryanarayan Parpatwar, a local Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and the former chairman of Sironcha Panchayat Samiti [block level Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI)] – on December 22.

The trio was arrested in the Devalmari jungle of Gadchiroli while they were allegedly on a ‘clandestine mission’ to help Maoists in Gadchiroli District. Superintendent of Police Suvez Haque disclosed that the arrested persons “often brought aid for the Naxal dalam (squad) involved in Lankachen encounter”. Further, eight Maoists, including two ‘platoon commanders’, surrendered in Maharashtra through 2012, as against 22 in 2011. An analysis of reported incidents indicates that the Maoist have a very strong presence in Gadchiroli, a moderate presence in Gondia and Chandrapur, and a marginal presence in Pune, Thane, Mumbai, Raigad and Aurangabad Districts. A total of 92 Maoist-related incidents were reported from 11 Districts [Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Gondia, Mumbai Suburban, Nagpur, Nandurbar, Nashik, Pune, Thane, Wardha, and Yavatmal] in Maharashtra, through 2011; while a total of 51 such incidents were reported from seven Districts [Amravati, Bhandara, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Gondia, Mumbai City and Nagpur] in 2010.

Apart from the violence they perpetrated, the Maoists also stumped the administration when they subverted the democratic process in PRI in Gadchiroli. Threatening the PRI representatives through selective killings and abductions, the Maoists forced them to resign en mass between May and July, 2012. At least seven PRI representatives and one former PRI representative have been killed, and two former PRI members have been abducted. However, the situation has been maneuvered into a stalemate, with the State Government refusing to accept most of the resignations on the grounds that they were not in the prescribed format.

The resignations of only two Panchayat Samiti (block level PRI) members in Etapali and one Zilla Parishad (District level PRI) Member in Bhamragarh were accepted as valid, and the posts were filled up during by-elections later in the year. Nevertheless, the system of local governance was paralysed. For the District administration, the PRIs are very much in their posts; the PRIs, on the other hand, claim they have obeyed the Maoist diktat and refuse to function.

The Maoists have also been threatening members of various Self Help Groups (SHGs), village committees and forest management committees in Gadchiroli District, directing them to step down as well. Indeed, they have come out heavily even against Mohan Hirabai Hiralal, a Gandhian, who pioneered the Community Forest Right (CFR) model in Mendha-Lekha village, accusing him of “waylaying the tribals from the path of conflict (sic).” A press note released by CPI-Maoist ‘Gadchiroli divisional committee’ declared, “Hiralal is a follower of Vinoba Bhave, who had sought land from the rich.He is trying to cover up the violence by capitalists against the poor by professing non-violence.” Despite significant Police successes, the Maoists continue to struggle to consolidate their movement in the State. They have reportedly carved out a new zone for operations, comprising the northern Gadchiroli and Gondia areas of Maharashtra, and the Balaghat area of Madhya Pradesh.

The area has been brought under the direction of the newly appointed North Gadchiroli-Gondia-Balaghat Divisional Committee, which is now actively recruiting. The Committee is currently headed by Pahad Singh. The incoherence of State policy was reflected when the State Home Minister R.R. Patil ‘admitted’ in the Legislative Assembly, on July 13, 2012, that Maoist violence in the State had not witnessed a drop, despite ‘heavy presence’ of Security Forces. The CRPF has deployed six battalions in the State, including a battalion of the CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) Force.

Patil has, as usual, blamed the Maoists for sabotaging the developmental process in the Gadchiroli District. However, Government apathy, with persistent vacancies in key administrative posts, has emerged as a strong factor hindering development in the District and, indeed, in the wider and backward Vidharba region. Meanwhile, according to a December 14, 2012, report, following a severe reprimand by the Bombay High Court, the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, J.S. Banthia, issued a circular to fill up vacant posts in the Maoist-affected areas of the neglected Vidarbha region by December 31, 2012.

The deadline has likely been missed, but no follow up details are available. Maharashtra has a Police Population-ratio (number of Policemen per population of 100, 000) of 163 against an all-India average of 137, as on December 31, 2011 (National Crime Records Bureau data). While this ratio is better than most other Maoist-afflicted States, it is still considered well below the levels required.

The Mumbai city Police has constituted a Special Intelligence unit specifically to tackle the Maoist threat in the city. The decrease in Maoist violence level in Maharashtra in 2012, in terms of fatalities as well as spatial extension, provides little room for complacency. Indeed, evidence of Maoist intimidation – dramatically visible in the way the Maoists have brow-beaten the elected representatives of PRIs in Gadchiroli – and of continuing political mobilization and consolidation, remains strong, suggesting that the dip in violence, as in the past, is a tactical choice the Maoists have made, rather than a necessity that has been imposed on them. Fakir Mohan Pradhan Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

Centre issues advisory to states hit by Naxal violence

The Union home ministry has issued advisory to all Naxal violence affected states to beef up security prepardeness and response in view of anticipated escalation in Maoist activities in the coming summer months. The advisory has been issued in light of the Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) carried out by Naxalite cadres during summers in which security forces witness a lot of movement of these groups and an increased risk of attacks.

The advisory, according to official sources, has asked state police organisations and central forces like CRPF, ITBP and BSF to deploy additional intelligence measures and conduct result oriented anti-Naxal operations. According to experts, the TCOC is observed till the month of June while the Naxals begin their preparation around February. The advisory has also asked the forces to conduct intelligence based operations, inter-border offensives and area domination exercises in the Naxal affected states. The force should also deploy counter-attack and counter-intelligence measures during this time. The states that have been issued the advisory are Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

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