One killed in Maoist attack on Bihar village
Aurangabad: A man was killed and another injured when a group of 40-50 armed Maoists attacked Chandpur village in Bihar’s Naxal-hit Aurangabad district. Ajit Kumar was killed and Umashankar received multiple splinter injuries when the Naxalites fired indiscriminately last night, the police said. They were chased away by villagers, but not before the extremists set fire to a jeep and five motorcycles. An anti-Naxal operation is on in the area, the police said.
Focus on leader of Maoists during encounters: Home Secy
Union Home Secretary R K Singh today advised paramilitary forces to focus on Maoist leaders in their operations. Singh, who inspected a CRPF camp at Chak village, said no stone would be left unturned in ending left-wing extremism. He also sought shoes, sweaters and uniforms used by the security forces in anti-Maoist operations for checking their quality.
The Commandant of the 134th Battalion of the CRPF, Anil Minz, gave a power point presentation to the union government officials. Singh expressed surprise at learning from villagers that the market at Chak was closed for about six months from October of 2009 following Maoist diktat, despite the presence of security personnel. Singh also sought to know from the villagers whether they have benefited from central welfare projects.
He laid the foundation stone for a 100 KV transformer at the Maoist-affected village. He was accompanied by CRPF DGP Pranay Sahay, Additional Secretary Rajesh Sharma (Naxal Management), Jharkhand police chief Rajeev Kumar and state Home Secretary J B Tubid.
Centre alert on rebel strikes
KOLKATA: The home ministry has alerted the state that during the panchayat polls, the Maoists might strike back, though at present the rebels are in a low key. The state has been asked to keep an eye on Midnapore (west), Bankura and Purulia. The missive stated that the Maoists are increasing their base in the three districts and they are also planning to raise their activities during the panchayat polls in some other remote districts.
“The Maoists, opposed to democratic system, can use coercive tactics to sabotage conducting panchayat polls,” the missive said and for that the state election commission (SEC) too has been alerted. An official of the SEC said that they are extra cautious for holding the polls in Jangalmahal and are looking for additional force. Already police reports has reached the Writers’ Buildings that a section of the panchayat leaders had been threatened by the Maoists not to contest polls and they had been asked to follow Maoist dictats.
So, the state administration had been warned that with the date of the panchayat polls likely to be declared this week, there can be increased violence in the Maoist belt. Earlier the Maoists had tried to use similar coercive means in Orissa to disrupt panchayat polls there. So, the home ministry is fearing that with the Maoists aiming to disrupt election process, their threats can prevent many candidates from contesting and thus in some seats people close to the Maoists can win uncontested.
Even the CM had been asked to be extra cautious while touring Jangalmahal. The police are also probing if there was any whisper campaign by Maoists asking the tribals not to attend CM’s rally. Maoists have also targeted some of the Trinamool leaders who were earlier with Adivasi Mulbasi Janaganer Committee, the report said. As these leaders were part of the Maoist organization, so their switching allegiance is being taken seriously and many of them are also involved in various corrupt practices while allocating jobs of MGNREGS. Moreover, some of these leaders had even organized surrender of several Maoists and for that these leaders with earlier Maoist links are on the run and many of them have left their own villages and are staying in distant towns.
Already the Maoists have started regrouping and making fresh recruits from educated youths, so the home ministry has asked the state government to increase vigil of the joint forces in the LWE belts. Sources said that in some areas joint forces do not patrol fearing Maoist attack. The new cadres are even from the families who were earlier attacked by the Maoists, but did not get any compensation from the compensation, a senior officer said.
Again the missive said that surrendered Maoists should be kept under close vigil, because some of them might still keep contacts with their old comrades. So, while posting the surrendered Maoists as home guards the government should be extra cautious and sensitive areas should be avoided, the missive stated. Recently the Maoists had tried to create terror in some parts of Midnapore (west) as they had attacked some tribal women inside forests. Moreover, with the court withdrawing UAPA charges against Chhatradhar Mahato, there are chances that his People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities might field candidates in the panchayat polls. Mahato had contested the 2011 Assembly polls from inside the jail.
Political Prisoner Status: Human Rights Body Slams WB CM
A human rights organisation today accused West Bengal government of trying to amend laws in order to deprive political inmates of political prisoner status which was a deviation from its election promise. “The government is trying to amend section 24 of the WBCSR (1992) which defies criteria for determining a distinguished class of prisoners to be called ‘political prisoners’, by putting up a lame excuse that it is the central government who wants that,” Association of Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) general secretary Dhiraj Sengupta alleged.
APDR also urged members of the state legislature to raise their voices against “autocratic tendencies” of the Trinamool Congress regime. “The present TMC government has moved away from its election promise of releasing the list of political prisoners, and they are also behaving indifferently in its treatment with the court cases against these prisoners,” Association of Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) general secretary Dhiraj Sengupta said.
The APDR also accused Trinamool regime of moving an SLP challenging the order and judgement of Kolkata High Court, where the petitioner Gaur Narayan Chakraborty along with Chatradhar Mahato, Sukhsanti Baske, Prasun Chatterjee, Smabhu Soren, Sagun Murmu and Venkatesh Reddy were granted the status of political prisoners.
The Mamata Banerjee government, after coming to power, had announced the release of 51 lifers, including political prisoners, and decided not to oppose the bail of ailing CPI (Maoist) politburo member Sushil Roy following a mass petition, he said. However it had also promised to review cases against the political prisoners but didn’t do it, he alleged.
Red sympathizers get jail terms
HAZARIBAG: RajkumarTuli, the district and sessions judge of Hazaribag civil court, on Thursday sentenced two sympathizers of the former Maoist Communist Centre now merged with the CPI (Maoist), RameshwarMahato and Ganesh Kumar Das, to 10 and three years of rigorous imprisonment respectively, under the Arms Act. They had provided shelter to the area commander of the then MCCSohanMunda along with arms way back in May 2000.
The court had earlier convicted them under the Arms Act and the quantum of punishment was fixed on Thursday. This is one of the rare cases in which the prosecution proved them guilty with proper evidence. Earlier, in most of the Maoist-related cases, the accused would be released for lack of evidence. According to the details of the judgement available, Rameshwar Mahato was convicted and given 10 years rigorous imprisonment (RI) with a fine of Rs 5000 under the Arms Act. In the additional verdict, Mahato has been sentenced to three years RI along with a fine of Rs 1000.
Both the sentences will run concurrently. If he fails to pay the fine, he’ll be punished further, said the judge in his verdict. Another accused, Das, was sentenced to three years RI under the Arms Act along with a fine of Rs 1000, failing which another one month sentence will be given to him. Following a tip off the then officer in charge of the Pelawal police station of Katkumsandi block had conducted a raid at the Marhand farm residence of Rameshwar Mahato to arrest the MCC area commander Sohan Munda who was hiding there along with sophisticated arms and ammunition.
But when police conducted the raids, the accused Mahato allowed the area commander and some other Maoists to escape from the backyard of his house through the dense forest in the dead of night. While fleeing, the Maoists left behind some arms in the house of the accused, which were seized by police. Police promptly arrested him along with the other accused. After thorough investigation, the Pelawal police chargesheeted both under the Arms Act as also for giving shelter to the MCC area commander.
Cops killed 2 women: Maoists
The Maoists have claimed that a team of policemen from Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh killed two women and raped five during a recent raid in the border villages of Bijapur district. At least 10 villagers were also injured in an encounter between the rebels and security forces on March 9, a statement issued by Dakshin Bastar Division Committee of the CPI(Maoist) said. The statement identified one of the slain women as Kunjam Deve of Kanchal. The injured included Madvi Kuchud, Kartam Guddi, Madkam Deva, Kunjam Kiske and Madvi Hidme. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/cops-killed-2-women-maoists/1091546/
BSNL to get subsidy for mobile services in Naxal-hit areas
Private sector telcos which share a part of their revenues with the government through the Universal Service Obligation (USO) fund, will soon indirectly finance the setting up and running of mobile services in key regions of nine states which are affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE). However these services will not be run by the private telcos, who don’t want to risk the lives of their employees, but by the state owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd which will be given a hefty subsidy by the government through the USO fund to ensure mobile services in the affected states.
A draft cabinet note has sought approval to use the USO Funds to award the work of setting up network and running mobile services to BSNL on a nomination basis, waiving the requirement for open bidding process. It has argued that considering the urgent requirement of the ministry of home affairs to implement mobile services in the effected areas, and the lack of commercial viability in the project, it was decided that the project be given to BSNL.
It has also proposed the payment of subsidy to the state owned telco on actual basis as per the claim submiited by them which would include the entire capital expenditure as well as operational expenses, after of course deducting revenues which are expected to be very low. According to estimates my the Ministry of Home Affairs, currently 56,000 inhabited villages are left uncovered by any service provider. Out of this 2199 locations in nine states—Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, which are affected by Left Wing Extremism.
The mobile services will be available to the general public as well as security personnel in these areas. BSNL will require about Rs 1,469.46 crore as capex to establish 1,836 towers and about Rs 1,576.67 crore as operating expenses for managing the sites for a period of five years. So, the total outgo from the USO Fund would be Rs 3,046.12 crore. recurring and non-recurring expenditures.
The USO Fund was set up taking a percentage from the revenue of all telecom operators to help in rural roll out and others. Till December 31, 2012, the Government has Rs 47,273.77 crore in the USO Fund, with annual accruals of about Rs 6,000 crore. The Government is also funding the National Optical Fibre Network from the USO Fund.
The project is estimated to cost about Rs 20,100 crore. The Government has so far allocated Rs 15,784.40 crore and has disbursed Rs 15,523.57 crore from the USO Fund. However, private operators aknowledge that they are not willing to take risk to work in these areas. Says Rajan Mathew, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), “Business can not be done at the cost of the lives of the employees. If BSNL can establish and manage these towers, we can always share the infrastructure to offer service. It’s the Government’s responsibility to ensure connectivity in these areas.”