‘Naxal violence killed 170 people in last 6 months’
New Delhi: A total of 170 people have been killed in incidents of Naxal violence in the last six months, the government said on Tuesday. While 127 civilians were killed between the period August last year and January 2013, 43 security force personnel also were killed in the same period which saw 533 such incidents in various parts of the country. While 30 Maoists were killed, 871 were arrested, Minister of State for Home RPN Singh told Lok Sabha in a written reply. “The government is implemeting the Special Infrastrucutre Scheme (SIS) in Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected states with a view to cater to critical security infrastructure gaps.
“It is proposed to continue the scheme in 12th plan with an added objective of funding upgradation of special forces in some of the LWE-affected states in order to effectively combat the LWE,” Singh said. PTI
Kerala cops on naxal trail in Tami Nadu
Chennai: The Kerala police are on the lookout for two Naxal activists from Tamil Nadu, believed to be trying to establish contacts with underground activists in that state for the last few months. A senior police officer here disclosed that Pazhanivel, 36, of Salem, and Velmurugan, 38, from Theni, were missing in action in their home turf. It is possible that they could have gone to Kerala to work with ‘like-minded’ people.
According to sources here, the two were arrested earlier under POTA and indulged in Naxal activities in their native areas. “We believe that they are now on the Kerala–Karnataka border,” the official disclosed. Following a report about the possible presence of Maoists in Kerala, particularly in the Wayanad area bordering Kerala and Karnataka, the Tamil Nadu Special Task Force moved its personnel to the area 10 days back.
“That was to make sure that none of them shifts base to the Tamil Nadu forest. We had inputs of the possible presence of Naxal activists in Nilambur and Sulthanbatheri forests area, in Kerala, at that time. That is why we moved some of the STF men to the border areas,” the official said.
The Kerala police have started combing operations in the jungles bordering Karnataka after a report about the possibility of regrouping of Naxal activists in that state to renew the call for an armed struggle. The whole combing operation began after handbills started surfacing in the tribal villages. The pamphlets talked about the need for armed struggle in the name of the Western Ghats Special Zonal Committee of the Communist Party of India-Maoist.
State to use chopper in anti-Maoist operations
For the first time, the Andhra Pradesh police will use a helicopter in the anti-Naxalite operations. Director-general of police (DGP) V Dinesh Reddy launched unified command anti-Maoist operations at Mahadevpur in Karimnagar district on Monday. As part of the operation, the DGP, along with other senior police officials, conducted an aerial survey of the forest area.
The new chopper will be utilised for anti-Naxalite operations in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra and Bijapur of Chhattisgarh also as part of the drive against Naxalites of North Telangana. After conducting the aerial survey, the DGP told mediamen that the special operation would help the police keep track of extremist movements.
The state police will provide proper training to the Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh police in conducting combing operations and in preventing extremist activities in Naxalite-affected places. Stating that Karimnagar, Adilabad, Khammam, Warangal, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and East Godavari districts were Maoist-affected places in the state, the DGP said that they would launch the anti-Naxalite aerial operation near the Andhra-Odisha border shortly.
Hunt for Maoists: Cops grope in the dark in Kerala
Almost two weeks have passed since the start of the highly publicised hunt for armed Maoists in the Kerala’s jungles bordering Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, but heavily armed personnel belonging to the newly constituted Thunderbolt commando unit of the Kerala Police and anti-extremist forces of the two other States are still groping in the dark. The search had started in the forests of Wayanad bordering Karnataka on the basis of a report that local plantation workers at Mankundi in Kanamvayal had sighted armed Maoists on February 9 but till date the personnel have not been able to even make a clear guess on where they could have been holed up.
The inability of the police to produce any result in the search has strengthened the rumours that the hunt has not been intended for catching Maoists but for surveillance in the Adivasi regions where struggles for land is intensifying. The only result the police have so far produced is the arrest of some workers of the Naxalite group, Porattam, for distributing pamphlets. The two platoons of Thunderbolt commandos deployed originally in the jungles of Wayanad and Kannur districts have almost concluded their searches there and the focus is now on the Munderi forest near Nilambur in Malappuram district.
Top police sources said that they were still unconvinced about the Intelligence inputs that served as the basis of the hunt. Reports from Malappuram on Monday said that the commandos had come across a hearth prepared recently in the Munderi forest and it was said that this should have been done by the Maoists. However, sources said there were no clear Intelligence reports on the presence of Maoists in the region apart from the suspicion aired by two local women. “One story is that one of the Maoists who met the plantation workers at Mankundi introduced himself as Rupesh from Palakkad and asked for food.
I haven’t heard of extremists identifying themselves to locals to demand something. But the Karnataka Police is said to be certain about Maoist presence. It’s a bit surprising,” said a former senior police official. He said that the Maoists could be trying to extend the Red Corridor to the Western Ghats region but “I think our Intelligence people have got it all wrong”. He pointed out that even the Kerala Police was confirming the presence of Maoists in the region on the basis of circumstantial evidences which were nothing more than some stories told by panicked locals.
The Intelligence wing of the Karnataka Police have reportedly told their counterparts in Kerala that a 26-member Maoists group is presently camping in the jungles on the inter-state border. But the Kerala Police has not yet been able to confirm whether such a large group has entered into the State’s forest region. Maoists were first sighted at Mankundi on February 9. In less than a week, their presence was reported from an area some 30 kilometres away.
Within a few days, they were reportedly sighted in yet another far away area. Security experts say that it is virtually impossible for the reportedly starving extremists to move so quickly through jungles eluding the police.
For anti-terror hub, NCTC, a revamp to win states over
New Delhi: Days after the twin blasts in Hyderabad killed 16 people and injured more than 100, the government is determined to revive the controversial National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), which was abandoned last year after unequivocal criticism by state governments. To coalesce support, the government has re-diagrammed the anti-terror hub, stripping it off some of the powers that were described as an encroachment of state government turf.
The NCTC, as mapped by P Chidambaram when he was Home Minister, had the right to enter, search and arrest terror suspects in any part of the country, without being obliged to take the state government into confidence. But a new proposal makes it necessary for the NCTC to inform the state’s most senior police officer- the Director General of Police- before conducting an anti-terror operation.
Instead of reporting to the Intelligence Bureau, which is not accountable to parliament, the NCTC ‘s boss will be the Home Ministry, as suggested by senior opposition leaders. This revised map of the agency has been submitted to the Cabinet Committee on Security, which is headed by the Prime Minister. It is expected to be taken up soon for discussion by the union cabinet, after which Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde is expected to invite chief ministers to Delhi for consultations.
The government had originally wanted to allow the NCTC to have the right to operate, when necessary, without keeping states in the loop, to prevent information leaks. “This is a means to find a way out of the deadlock and further assure the states that the Centre won’t try to undermine their authority while increasing capacities to fight terror,” a senior official said.
Notice to Delhi Police on Kobad Ghandy’s bail plea
New Delhi, Feb 26 — The Delhi High Court Monday issued notice to Delhi Police on the bail plea of Kobad Ghandy who is facing trial under the anti-terror law. Justice G.P. Mittal sought response from police by May 2 on Ghandy’s bail plea filed on medical grounds. Ghandy, 65, an alumni of the Doon School in Dehradun in Uttarakhand, was said to be part Maoist leadership. Delhi Police Sep 20, 2009, arrested Ghandy for allegedly trying to set up a base in the city for the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist.
Ghandy moved the court asking it to consider his bail plea sympathetically due to his old age problems. “The bail application may be considered sympathetically since besides being a senior citizen, I suffer from multiple ailments, including urinary prostate problem, irritable bowel syndrome, heart problem, high blood pressure, arthritis and spondylitis for which I require constant care and consistent medical attention, which I cannot receive in jail,” he said.
Ghandy has been facing trial on the charges of being a member of a banned terror outfit and for his alleged involvement in activities in violation of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and also for alleged offences of impersonation, cheating and forgery.
Maoist leader R Sambi Reddy alias Prabhakar Reddy (44), died in an exchange of fire between the police and the Maoists in Gadchiroli forest area in Maharashtra on Monday, district SP SS Tripathi said here. He said the Maoist was a native of Madharam village in Tandur mandal of Adilabad district. He joined the Maoists in 1986 and carries a reward of Rs 5 lakh on his head, the SP said.
Police step up tribal officers for intelligence gathering in Wayanad
KOZHIKODE: The police have assigned special Tribal Intelligence Officers at all police stations in Wayanad to strengthen ground level intelligence gathering in the tribal colonies of Wayanad and thwart Maoist attempts to gain a foothold among the district’s tribal population. Personnel in the rank of senior civil police officer will visit the colonies assigned to them on a regular basis to develop a rapport with the tribal population.
Wayanad district police chief A V George told TOI that the department intends to bridge the gap between the tribal population and the police, and the department will play a proactive role in solving the problems faced by the tribals. Police will also undertake a detailed survey covering the entire tribal households and will compile a data of all tribal families in the district.
“The move would help us gain ground level intelligence and to keep tabs on the presence of outsiders, if any, in the 3,000 odd tribal colonies,” he added. The selected officers have completed their training and the team members will soon be supplied with motorcycles to undertake colony visits. George said, “the officers will help the people in the tribal colonies to avail various government schemes and benefits and would apprise various government departments of the difficulties and issues faced by the tribals.”
The new tribal intelligence officers team will be in addition to the existing special branch personnel. The move assumes significance in the light of the ongoing combing operations in the border districts of Wayanad, Kannur and Malappuram following reported Maoist presence in forest areas adjacent to the state’s borders. According to sources, winning the hearts of the tribal population and intelligence gathering at grassroots level are crucial for the success of any strategy to contain the Maoist threat.
Police and intelligence agencies view that Maoist groups are trying to broaden their influence among the tribals. In the notices distributed by the Maoists, while proclaiming the formation of the Western Ghats Special Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoist), they have dealt in detail the local level tribal and agrarian issues of Wayanad and Nilambur. In 2009, the crime branch had arrested Sinoj alias Ramesan, former Kerala state committee member of the CPI (Maoist), from Chekady tribal colony on charges of attempting to propagate Maoist ideology among tribals and distributing Maoist propaganda material.
It is suspected that a group of Malayalees, including Sinoj who later jumped bail and went underground, were behind the current Maoist movements on the Kerala-Karnataka border.