Hardcore Maoist held in Bihar
BANKA: A hardcore Maoist, carrying a reward of Rs. 50,000 on his head, has been arrested from a place under Belhar police station area in Bihar’s Banka district, police said today. Acting on a tip-off, a joint team of Banka and Jamui police nabbed the hardcore Maoist, identified as Rakesh Kumar alias Avinash, from Belahana locality last night where he was going to attend a marriage function, the Superintendent of Police (SP) Vikas Varman said. The ultra was wanted in over a dozen cases of naxal violence in Banka, Jamui and Munger districts, he said.
Centre fine tunes blueprint for anti-Red operations in four states
NEW DELHI: Staring at a fight-to-finish war against Red Ultras in the next two years, the Centre on Tuesday fine-tuned the scheme to create anti-Naxal special forces in four states – Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha – on the lines of Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh to fight Maoists and pitched for a deadline to deploy commandos on ground to step up operation. The specialized forces — capable of hot pursuit across inter-state borders — will be set up with personnel fully trained in guerilla warfare and required infrastructure within six months.
On Tuesday, the department of expenditure under the finance ministry approved Rs 280 crore for setting up these forces, where the Centre will spend 75% of the sum and the rest (25%) will be borne by the state concerned. The home ministry, which has already decided to deploy 10,000 more paramilitary personnel in Maoist-affected areas over the months, also set guidelines for the specialized force and decided to fund infrastructure, weaponry and equipment needed to fill the critical gap. An official said, “This step is being initiated in the background of the success achieved by the elite commando force of Andhra Pradesh. It is also decided to upgrade the Greyhounds under the existing Scheme for Special Infrastructure (SSI)”.
The official said that the special forces will be set up in such a manner that it will be capable of staying and operating in interior and inhospitable terrain\jungles for at least a week at a stretch with a view to take on extremists in their strongholds. Trained to reach inaccessible, remote forest areas throughout a state in the shortest possible time and conduct swift operations, the forces will have instructions to travel “mostly by road or on foot” to avoid landmines in the Red zones.
In order to ensure effectiveness of the scheme by adhering to set guidelines, the home ministry also put certain conditions before states like Chhattisgarh, Odisha Bihar which already have special force of its own to fight Maoists. In its notes to the states, the ministry said, “The special force of the state concerned has to be upgraded as per the approved guidelines on the lines of Greyhounds. Even if a special force has been raised in some form in states, they are required to be reoriented through the entire process mentioned in the guidelines”.
The ministry has asked states to give a “written undertaking” that they will strictly adhere to these guidelines. “Only states providing such an undertaking will be considered for funding under the scheme,” said the ministry. Besides, the states have been asked to raise a “highly professional, well trained and motivated Special Task Force (STF) – headed by an officer of the rank of additional director general or inspector general of police with adequate operational experience — to monitor training, infrastructure and induction of personnel as per guidelines. It will also ensure 60% special allowance to the commandos as incentive and rewards as well as out of turn promotions for conspicuous acts of bravery”.
Naxal arson continues
CHANDRAPUR: People in Dhanora tehsil of Gadchiroli are living in a state of fear as the Naxals are continuing their arson spree. There were reports of Naxalites torching three vehicles deployed at a construction site on Sawargaon-Gyrapatti road on Tuesday. However, the police department could not confirm the reports. Sources claimed that three vehicles belonging to a Hyderabad-based construction company were torched near Kosmi village in the afternoon.
A gang of over 30 armed Naxalites reached the construction site and torched a JCB, tractor and water tanker, with the help of fuel taken out from the same vehicles. There were no labourers present at the site, since work had been stopped for the Makar Sankranti holiday, when the incident took place, sources told. Police officials in Gadchiroli, however, could not confirm the reports. They claimed that there were rumours about such arson, but no official complaint has been received. Naxalites had burned three tractors and a JCB near Mirkal on January 9 and torched 26 vehicles deployed on road construction near Lekha (Mendha) in Gadchiroli on January 13.
Police fires at two tribal men in Orissa, critically injuring them
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received disturbing information from Khariar, Orissa state concerning police firing upon two members of the tribal community. The incident happened on 8 January at about 4 pm. It is reported that the officers from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), fired at the two men, when they were fishing. The police shot one person on his leg, whereas the other on his chest. It is reported that the local police is trying to portray the incident as one of firing by Naxals against the members of the tribal community and is threatening anyone who would report the true incident.
Mr. Hari Majhi and Mr. Hube Majhi are two tribal men residing at Khaliapada village near Tarbod police outpost within the jurisdiction of Komna Police Station of Nuapada district in Orissa. On 8 January, the two men reportedly went to the forest to lay traps to hunt rabbits and to catch fish from a nearby water body adjacent to their house.
After sometime, the family of the two men reported that they heard firing from the direction in which the two men had went. The brother of one of the men rushed to the place to inquire what has happened. The CRPF who were there informed this man that they were engaged in an encounter with the Naxals in the forest and that the Naxals shot the two men. ‘
Contrary to this version of the incident, the villagers claim that the CRPF were inside the forest undertaking a combing operation against the Naxals and fired at the two men, when the CRPF found the men inside the forest. Hari Majhi was shot on his left leg, whereas Hube Majhi, was shot on his chest and he fell. Hari Majhi tried to run towards the village, despite of being shot at.
But the police forced him down near the village and took him into custody, accusing both men as Naxalite operatives. It is reported that the police then took both men to the government hospital at Nuapada for treatment. Later the police, contrary to their actions alleged that the two men were shot by the Naxals and not by the police. Hube had to undergo a surgery to treat his injury and is believed to be critically injured from the injury he suffered from the high calibre projectile used to fire at him.
Hari on the other hand, though seriously injured, is not in a critical state of health. Since the incident, police officers started visiting the village and have demanded the victims’ families that they should inform everyone inquiring about the incident that their men were shot by the Naxals and not by the police. According to the statement given by the two victims, they have claimed that the police fired at them without provocation when they were sitting near the water body, waiting for the fish to be caught in the net they had cast.
2 alleged Maoists arrested in Bijapur
A joint team of District Force (DF) and Special Task Force (STF) arrested two alleged Maoists during a search operation from a dense forested area under Mader Police Station in violence-hit Bijapur district, on Monday. The Superintendent of Police (SP) Bijapur, Prashant Agrawal informed that a joint party of DF and STF was on a search operation in the jungles of Irmagunda under Gangalur Police Station.
“The joint party came six times under Naxal fire at separate places. However, no one was hurt in the incident,” said SP Agarwal. The team was on a search operation about 15 km from the Gangalur Police Station, which is a Maoist dominated area. The SP further informed that a joint team of DF and STF during a search operation had reached the jungles of Pegdapalli and Dhangol about 8 km from Madded Police station. They had received information about the presence of Maoists in the dense forested area, which turned out to be true.
Police have arrested Mandara Lingaiya (30) and Kunjam Nagiya (28), both residents of Dhangol. “Both of them were involved in Maoist related incidents,” claimed Agarwal. However, no arms were found with the alleged.