Big blow for Maoists in Bihar-Jharkhand bastion
Even more than the body count, Wednesday’s heavy battle between members of the CPI (Maoist) and its offshoot the Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) in Jharkhand’s Chatra district is a battle for the turf and comes as a heavy blow for the Maoists in the Bihar-Jharkhand belt, once a declared Maoist bastion. “The fight between the two groups has resulted in the killing of senior Maoist leaders like Lalesh Yadav and Praful. It is also a sign of the deep incursion of the TPC into the Gaya-Palamu area,” said a senior government official, while admitting that it is yet too early to negate Maoist influence in the area which still has leaders like Sandeep in their ranks and who operates with impunity in the area.
While latest reports say at least 17 Maoists have been killed, about 22 surrendered to the TPC, and who will in all probability be released after strict warnings by the TPC not to rejoin the CPI (Maoist). A sizeable quantity of weapons including 15 SLRs have also been taken away by the TPC which is not known to indulge in ruthless acts but is known to be carrying on extortion with gusto. The CPI (M) was at the peak of its power in the area in 2008-08 after which it has suffered serious reverses in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar and large parts of Orissa.
About half of the 35-40 members who comprise the Central Committee, the supreme Maoist political body, have either been eliminated or have been put behind bars. The TPC is a breakaway faction of the erstwhile Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), which combined with the Peoples War Group (PWG) in 2004 to form the CPI (M).
It is believed that among other ideological issues that led to the MCC-TPC split IN 2002, the dominance of Yadavs led to the formation of the TPC by non-Yadavs chiefly the Mahtos, Ghanjus, Bhokta, Oraon and Kherwars among others. There are also rumours that TPC was started by Nirmala Chatterjee, wife of front ranking Maoist leader Sagar Chatterjee, who was gunned down in Aurangabad in 1992.
Top woman Maoist commander held
The Wyra police on Thursday announced the arrest of Orissa-based Maoist commander Vimala alias Navya alias Kumari on Thursday night. Kalimela Area Committee secretary Vimala, the wife of the recently arrested Maoist Andhra-Orissa Border Special Zonal Committee member Sudarshan alias Sriramulu Srinivas, had given police the slip near Wyra, five days ago. According to the police, Vimala was nabbed from the premises of the railway station here on Wednesday night.
Two others including Tirupati, a contractor, and Birsu alias Biswas, a driver, were also apprehended along with her. Sudarshan, who is presently lodged in the district sub-jail, was remanded in police custody for six days by the local court on Thursday. According to sources, the court asked the police to ensure proper medical care for him during the remand period.
Vimalakka, 2 others arrested
The police arrested Maoist leader Vimalakka alias Navya at the railway station here on Wednesday. She is the wife of Sriramula Srinivas, a Maoist leader who was arrested on March 23. The police also arrested two others _ Tirupati, a contractor and friend of Srnivas, and Brisu alias Biswas, the driver of the vehicle _ along with Vimmalaka. Vimalakka and others escaped from the police during a vehicle checking at Wyra on March 22.
While the police arrested the Srnivas on the following day, they could not trace Vimalakka. A press note released by the SP office here on Thursday said that Wyra DSP Sattibabu nabbed Vimalakka who was working as the AOB areas secretary- Kalimeli in the party. The arrested were produced in a local court, the note said.
Centre limits Special Ops teams to few naxal-hit states
The government could next week clear a Rs. 373 crore plan to create special forces to carry out targeted strikes on Maoists in four states including Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. But this time, state governments too will have to chip in. The home ministry has slashed funding under its scheme for special infrastructure for naxal-hit states by one-third – from the original estimate of Rs. 750 crore to Rs. 280 crore – to stay within the red lines drawn by the UPA to keep the fiscal deficit under check.
“It will no longer be a 100% centrally funded scheme… states will have to contribute 25% share, about Rs. 93 crore over the next five years,” a government source told HT. Home ministry officials said Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha only would be targeted in the initial period due to fund constraints under this scheme.
West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh will also receive funding to a lesser extent but Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have been left out this time, a senior official said. Government sources said the Special Forces – to be raised on the lines of the Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh that has neutralised Maoists to a large extent – would be an important ingredient of the anti-Maoist offensive over the next few years.
“Some of the states do have commando teams but their numbers, weaponry and training standards could do with a lot of improvement to be effective,” a senior home ministry official said. Home secretary RK Singh had recently told a meeting of police chiefs of naxal-affected states about the central initiative and budged them to “reorient” their tactics. Singh told them to create substantial number of specially trained commandos who would be able to go on an offensive deep inside the dense jungles rather than just retaliate when under fire.
Ten senior Naxals cadres killed in Jharkhand shoot-out
NEW DELHI: Factional rivalry between two groups of Maoists led to a shoot-out between them in Jharkhand late on Wednesday night which has led to 10 senior Naxal cadres being killed. A cache of looted arms and the bodies were later recovered from the spot by the security forces.
Among those killed is Lalesh Yadav, alias Prashant, the secretary of the central zone of special area committee of the CPI (Maoist), who was suspected to be the man who surgically implanted bombs inside the bodies of CRPF men after an encounter in January. He was said to be the right-hand man of the Maoist leader in Jharkhand, Arvind, who led the encounter against CRPF men in January in Latehar that had left nine CRPF men dead.
Arvind however could not be traced at the site of the fire-fight between the two Maoist factions when a joint team of the CRPF and Jharkhand Police reached the spot in Chatra district early morning today. They however recovered bodies of ten killed Naxal cadres and rifles looted from the security forces during the January encounter. A combing operation has been launched. Home Ministry officials said tension had been simmering between CPI (Maoist) outfit in Jharkhand and another local extremist outfit, the Tritya Prastuti Committee (TPC) which is a tribal-dominated outfit.
The TPC is said to have been against the upper-caste dominance in the CPI (Maoist) unit in Jharkhand. While TPC lost just one man in the fire-fight, the CPI (Maoist) lost nine, including Lalesh Yadav and senior military commanders named Jai Kumar Yadav, Praful Yadav and Dharmendra Yadav. “This is a very positive development in Jharkhand, which is under President’s Rule as it shows deep differences and rivalry between Maoist units,” a Home Ministry official said.