‘Thunder bolt’ starts combing for Maoists
Kozhikode: Police started massive combing operations in the forests of Wayanad, Kannur, Malappuram and Kasargod districts on Thursday to locate Maoist groups, with the involvement of forest department personnel.
Men of the specially trained ‘Thunder Bolt Kerala’ commando force were conducting the search operations named Operation Brahmagiri at the Tirunelli jungles of the North Wayanad forest division bordering Karnataka on Thursday afternoon.
The team is headed by assistant commandant L. Solomon and includes, among others, the SP, A.V. George, DySP A.R. Premkumar, and divisional forest officer A. Shanawas.
Police said a plan was already on the anvil. The Maoist groups were located by locals in an estate bordering Karnataka jungles on February 1.
Kerala on Maoist radar
Thiruvananthapuram: Nine months ago, the Ministry of Home Affairs had warned that CPI Maoists were trying to revive activities deep in the south, especially in Karnataka,Tamil Nadu and Kerala. And if the latest reports on suspected Maoists movement in areas bordering Karnataka are to be believed, the MHA seems to be close to the mark.
Security agencies have all along claimed that Maoists were trying to expand their activities under South West Regional Bureau (SWRB) and their main task was to link the Western Ghats to the Eastern Ghats. Their idea was to set up a base on the Kerala-Karnataka border by creating a forest route from Wayanad to Mysore .
Police officials say the Western Ghats stretch in Karnataka has some of the widest and deepest forests which are considered ideal for Maoist operations. Naxals are expanding their activities in Kerala, Nilgiris and Krishnagiri districts of Tamil Nadu besides Kodagu, Hassan and Chamarajanagar in Karnataka with an aim to link the two ghats.
If the reports that plantation workers came across 26 armed Maoists are true, then there is reason for security agencies to worry. The presence of armed militia indicates that the Maoist activities have reached a higher level. “As of now we don’t have any concrete information about Maoist presence. Combing operations by the Thunderbolt Commando force are progressing in our forest area. We have also tightened security around 15 police stations and forest offices’’, said Wayanad SP A.V. George.
Kannur range IG, Jose George and Kannur SP Rahul R.Nair are coordinating the anti-Naxal operations. Even though the combing operation has not been able to trace any Maoist presence so far, the fact that plantation workers had encountered the group of suspected armed Maoists including a Malayali has set alarm bells ringing for the state police.
“The plantation workers’ statement seems to be true. We are in the process of collecting more details from them to trace their location with the help of Karnataka counterparts. But there are no fresh leads as of now’’, said N.Sankar Reddy, ADGP North Zone.
There has been no major Naxal activity in the state since the 1970s. But top Maoist leaders reportedly use the state as a safe haven. In December 2007, cops nabbed Malla Raji Reddy alias Sattenna, a top Naxal leader, from Angamaly. In fact former DGP Jacob Punnose had pointed to the presence of extremists in the state’s forests. But the police had no evidence regarding any extremist activity.
“We had carried out combing operations earlier also. There were reports regarding their activities in the forest areas of Wayanad, especially places bordering Karnataka’’, he said.
But a section of human rights activists say the reports regarding Naxal presence are engineered. “The police, the media and the government want such stories for obvious reasons. The government wants to divert the attention of people from the real issues while the media wants to sell it for increasing revenue’’, said Civic Chandran.
He said Naxalites lost Kerala in the 1970s and there was no question of their revival. “We are a post-Maoist society. Even the tribals and Dalits have their own strong movements which were proved during the Muthanga and Chengara struggle. There is no space for Maoists in the state’s political sphere’’, he added.
But the police is not ready to buy the theory. Top police officials say the South Western Regional Bureau of Naxals was making forays into the south to expand the Red Corridor and only a coordinated effort from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka can foil their designs, they point out.
MHA convenes meeting of Naxal-affected states
NEW DELHI: The home ministry has convened a meeting of top police and civil officials of Maoist-affected states next Wednesday to review anti-Naxal operations and improve the efficacy of the strategies.
Chief Secretaries and Director Generals of Police of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh will take part in the meeting during which in-depth deliberations will be held on the security situation in the ‘Red Corridor’.
Sources said the meeting would deliberate on the issue of coordination among state police and central police forces and decide on a strategy to tackle Naxals who are known to flee from one state to another after committing a crime.
The meeting will also review the development programmes being carried out in Naxal-hit districts and ways to speed them up to reach the maximum number of people.
Naxal violence has been reported in areas falling under 270 police stations in 64 districts in these states.
Maoist carrying Rs 5 lakh reward among 6 arrested
A Maoist with a Rs five lakh reward on his head for killing a mining company executive and a police officer was among six ultras arrested from Dumka and Jamtara districts today, police said.
Self-styled Maoist zonal commander of the Santhal Parganas, 21-year-old Ram Lal Rai, his 22-year-old Maoist wife Panmuni Murmu, and Panchanan Mandal, were nabbed from a car intercepted by the police at Kathijoria village under Muffasil police station, Superintendent of Police Hemant Toppo told reporters.
After his arrest, Rai guided the police to neighbouring Jamtara district where three other Maoists, Rekha, Tara Pujhar and Gopal Pujhar, were arrested, he said.
“Rai and his wife were accused of perpetrating the murders of B Sharan, an executive with the Panem Coal Mines Limited in 2010 in Pakur district, and the officer-in-charge of Jama police station in Dumka,” he said.
A pistol and three rounds of ammunition were seized from them, he added.
A ten-member police team from West Bengal’s Birbhum also arrived to interrogate them in connection with some other cases, the police official said.
Maoist involved in IAS officer’s kidnapping arrested
Two hardcore Maoists, including a woman, who were allegedly involved in the abduction of IAS officer R Vineel Krishna in 2011, have been arrested in Odisha’s Malkangiri district, police said on Friday.
The two ultras were nabbed during a combing operation by personnel ofthe elite special operation group (SOG) and district voluntary force (DVF) in a forest of Chitrakonda last evening, superintendent of police, Akhileswar Singh said.
“One of rebels is a woman Maoist from Andhra-Odisha border area committee. She was identified as Bhagya alias Satyabati (40) and had been working under Korkunda Maoist dal for the last about 12 years”, he said.
The other ultra was identified as Undaliam Bangaraya (50), a hardcore Maoist working under Korkunda Maoist Dal in the region, he said.
The two hardcore Maoists were involved in the abduction of the then Malkangiri district Collector R Vineel Krishna in 2011, attacks on pipiline of a private steel company and on the police force, police said.
Andhra Pradesh government had announced Rs. 4 lakh as reward on the head of the woman Maoist, a senior police officer said.
Maoists escape police raid in Heso
RANCHI: District police on Thursday busted a Red camp in Heso locality in Namkum. Senior rebels of the Maoist group, Ram Mohan dasta had gathered at the camp where a feast was underway when police arrived and seized utensils along with food, boosters, and other things. “The Maoists were successful in escaping from the site which is situated amid thick forests. The rebels took advantage of the forests,” said SSP Saket Kumar Singh.
Mohan is the area commander of Gautam Dhara Area Committee of the Maoists. He is suspected to have killed one special police officer in Rahe and injured another recently. Mohan has been entrusted with carrying out Maoist activities in Bundu, Tamar, Sonahatu, Rahe and Arki (Khunti) areas of the South Chotanagpur zone commander Kundan Pahan.
Recently, police arrested two rebels and found a huge cache of arms and ammunition from the rebels from Bundu and Tamar area. It has forced the Reds to try to regroup. The camp in Heso locality is likely to be one such meeting, said a policeman.
A total of 15kg rice, large quantities of vegetables, two improvised magazine container, five chargers and charger convertors, battery clips with wires, and some boosters were recovered from the site.