Two senior Maoist leaders arrested
Two senior Maoist leaders, belonging to Sabyasachi Panda’s Odisha Maoivadi Party (OMP), were arrested from the jungle area near Talapatnam village in Ganjam district, police said on Thursday. Some firearms, ammunition, explosives, detonators, fuse wires, a motorbike and Rs 3.99 lakh were seized from the ’Commander’ of OMP’s women wing, K Anita alias Kalari Majhi and Bikram Mallick after their arrest on Wednesday night, SP (Ganjam) Ashish Kumar Singh told reporters. Both were close associates of Panda and involved in several Maoist violence in Ganjam, Gajapati and Kandhamal districts, he said.
Maoist reprisals feared in red zones
New Delhi, April 3: The Centre and the security establishment fear fresh trouble in Bihar and Jharkhand for families of Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) whose men allegedly killed 10 Maoist leaders in Chatra district on 27 March. The incident at Lakarbanda village, where senior CPI(Maoist) leaders including a zonal secretary, two platoon commanders and a zonal commander were killed, also threatens to divide communities further in a caste-ridden region.
The slain Maoists belonged to Yadav community while the splinter group TPC is dominated by the Ganjhu caste. Since the likes of Lawlesh Yadav, secretary of the Madhya zonal regional committee, and platoon commanders Jai Kumar Yadav and Praful Yadav went down in Chatra, the are likely to retaliate in their areas of operation that comprises Chatra, Palamau, Hazaribagh and Garhwa districts in Jharkhand and Aurangabad and parts of Gaya in Bihar.
The government, ironically, is under attack for allegedly encouraging and even orchestrating clashes, a charge that it dismisses as plain “Maoist propaganda”. “We are not in favour of these internecine clashes, as we expect massacres of families by the CPI(Maoist) who will look for revenge,” said a senior government official here. It is perhaps to prevent reprisals that the TPC had held around 25 Maoists captive, including IED expert Chhoru Das and area commanders Sanjeet and Neeru Yadav. Sources said the rest were mostly Ganjhu clansmen sought to be defected and “absorbed” into the TPC fold.
TPC was formed in 2004 — the year of the merger of Maoist Communist Centre and CPI(Maoist) — by a group of primarily Ganjhu, Oraon and Bhokta communities opposed to the dominance of Yadavs first in the MCC and then in CPI(Maoist). Those “absorbed” in TPC are apparently Ganjhus, since the outfit is dominated by the scheduled caste. However, the seven Yadav members of the CPI(Maoist) have been kept alive and captive who might be used for a bargain later, sources in North Block said. There is reason though for the Maoists to respond: the incident has limited its capability to move towards Chakrabandha forest from Palamau.
Maoists blew up a panchayat building in Lohardaga on Tuesday night in protest against the killing of 10 of their cadres in Chatra last month. According to Lohardaga SP Jitendra Kumar, a 50-member squad sneaked in from neighbouring Latehar in the dead of night and detonated five explosive devices to blast the new building at Siram village, about 50km from the district headquarters in Jobang.
Manch as Maoist: Heed what Bombay High Court said
Kabir Kala Manch was started by Pune-based activist Amarnath Chandaliya after the Gujarat riots of 2002 as a cultural group spreading the message of unity and equality through songs and poetry. The group, two of whose members surrendered on Tuesday after over two years on the run following charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), has never been known to be involved in any violence.
Pune residents know it for the “shayiri (poetry) jalsas” and Vidrohi Kavita (protest poetry) sessions it would hold at slums, colleges and functions, drawing many students and social activists to it. What brought the Manch under a cloud were allegations of its members having “links” with Angela Sontakke, secretary of the Golden Corridor Committee of the banned CPI (Maoist), which particularly targeted urban areas in west Maharashtra for new recruits. She and two members of the Manch were arrested by the ATS in April-May 2011 under the UAPA, along with four others.
Six Manch members went absconding at the time, including the two who surrendered on Tuesday. While there are genuine fears that Naxals are trying to spread their base in the urban belt, prompting intelligence agencies to keep a close watch on groups like Kabir Kala Manch known for sympathy towards Maoist philosophy, as a Bombay High Court ruling recently said, that cannot be a ground to believe them to be active CPI (Maoist) members.
The High Court ruled this while granting bail to the six held under the UAPA in Pune in 2011, though not Angela. The High Court order stated that suspects could be “sympathisers of Maoist philosophy” but “none can be said to be active members of banned CPI (Maoist).” It is this order that encouraged the Manch’s absconding activists Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali to surrender. While the ATS is still trying to prove that Manch members were involved with the CPI (Maoist), it should take some cue from the High Court order.
“The basic apprehension of the state (ATS) is that in future they (suspects) were likely to indulge (in) various violent activities…,” said the court. “Certainly such apprehension cannot be said to be without basis… However… such possibility by itself would not be sufficient to conclude that the applicants are presently active members of the terrorist organisation.”
Two Maoist rebels held in jungles of west Singhbhum
RANCHI: Security forces achieved major success on Wednesday when they arrested two suspected CPI (Maoist) members who guided the rebels through jungles as they moved from Jhumra in Bokaro to Saranda in West Singhbhum. Police sources said they had been tipped off about presence of Maoists in the Garuapiri jungle.
A joint search operation was launched by district police and CRPF in jungles from where the duo was arrested. The two arrested rebels have been identified as Binu Munda and Ramchandra Munda and both were active in the organization for over 10 years. Ranchi SSP Saket Kumar Singh said the two rebels were involved in a large number of cases of extortion, loot and murder.
“The main role of these two rebels was to guide other members of the organization whenever they moved from Jhumra in Bokaro district to Saranda in West Singhbhum,” said Singh. The duo was aware of every part of the jungles and was capable of guiding the members even during night. After every major incident they were entrusted with the job to guide the members through the jungles and ensure safe exit either in West Bengal or Odisha.
Bihar: 3 cops killed in Maoist attack in Chainpur
Ranchi: Three policemen have been killed in the ongoing clashes between Maoist and police forces near Chainpur. Police said that two policemen are also reported to be in serious condition, adding that the injured have been taken to hospital for better treatment.
The Maoists have reportedly taken away the ammunitions that the deceased policemen were carrying. The gunfight began near the block headquarters. Villagers claimed that the Maoists were took shelter at the old block. They started firing as soon as they saw a police vehicle approaching them, resulting in retaliation by the police.
Activist couple with alleged Maoist links presented in court
ATS gets custody of husband Mali till 10th, wife Sheetal Sathe sent to judicial custody till 17th.
A day after Sachin Mali and wife Sheetal Sathe, members of the radical music group Kabir Kala Manch, were arrested by the anti-terror squad (ATS) for allegedly supporting and funding Maoist activities in the state, a metropolitan magistrate court Wednesday granted ATS custody of Mali till April 10.
Sathe was sent to judicial custody till April 17. Mali and the six months pregnant Sathe, both 27, were declared absconding accused in a case registered in 2011 against 15 persons for the alleged aforesaid offence. Special public prosecutor Rohini Salian said Mali should be remanded in police custody for 14 days, but did not press for custody of Sathe on compassionate ground.
Salian, however, sought permission to question her in judicial custody. “We are yet to examine the charges against the couple. They have been absconding for nearly two years. Their movement in this period needs to be investigated,” she said. The couple suddenly surfaced outside Vidhan Bhawan Tuesday and courted arrest, calling it a form of satyagraha to clear their names. The duo were produced before court at 1 pm Wednesday. Sathe’s mother Sandhya, who was present in the court, broke down on seeing her.
“For two years, I heard media and police say Sheetal is on the run. Today, I at least got to see her,” she said. Sandhya and some friends of the accused who had come from Pune said the decision to surface was discussed for a few months, but the date was not known to many besides a Kabir Kala Manch defence committee formed last year to fight court cases against the group. Between May and June 2011, ATS arrested seven people, including Anjela Sontakke, alleged secretary of the golden corridor committee of CPI (Maoist).
While Sontakke is behind bars, the others have been released on bail. The committee is mobilizing a legal team to seek bail for Sathe. “We will consult our lawyers,” said powada singer Sambhaji Bhagat. Mali and Sathe are facing charges under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for allegedly raising funds to carry out terrorist acts in Mumbai, Thane, Pune and other places in the state.
Gadchiroli: 7 naxals dead in police-naxal encounter
In a major crackdown by the state police, at least seven naxalites were killed and several others were injured in a fierce police-naxalite encounter in Bhatpar jungle near Nalgunda, bordering Chhattisgarh in Gadchiroli district, some 300 kms from Gadchiroli on Thursday morning.
According to reports reaching the divisional headquarters here, the incident occurred when around 100-armed naxalites were holding a secret meeting in Bhatpar jungle, a naxal hotbed. In a tip-off, three separate companies of C-60, an elite anti-naxal squad reached there early this morning and cordoned the jungle and challenged the naxalites. The red ultras immediately retaliated and the gun battle continued there for more than two hours. Bharat Thakur, the sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) of Aheri, who led the operation, suspected that more ultras were killed in the gun battle. “The naxalites have succeeded to take away some bodies during the battle,” he said.
He said that the police party found four bodies of the ultras from the spot. “We have already intensified coming operation in the area immediate after the encounter and the toll may rise,” he further said. The naxalite activisits who were killed in the encounter are yet to be identified.
This is considered a major success for the Gadchiroli police where they could gun down several naxalites while not a single police was neither killed nor seriously injured. Three police sustained minor injuries in the encounter. This is the biggest offensive by the security agencies in the naxal stronghold in Gadchiroli in 2013. Earlier, the Gadchiroli police killed six Maoists, including a divisional committee member and a dalam commander in January this year near Govindgaon in the district.
Chhattisgarh police nabs four Maoists
Raipur, Apr 3 (PTI) Four Maoists were arrested during a joint search operation in the Maoist-affected Kanker district of Chhattisgarh, police said today.
“Cadres of the Maoist ‘jan militia’ group were nabbed by the special task force from the hills of Kongepangur village under Bande police station area yesterday late night,” Deputy Superintendent of Police M Z Baig said here.
Red alert at Jharkhand-Bengal border
JAMSHEDPUR: Following the intelligence reports about Maoist rebels likely to cross the state borders from Bengal, the district police have beefed up security at the bordering villages, particularly in the Belpahari and Jambani areas of the Chakulia block in Ghatshila subdivision of the East Singbhum district.
Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel have been deployed to man the border area along with the CRPF and Jharkhand Armed Police (JAP). The decision to deploy armed SSB men was taken in view of the coming civic polls (April 7) in Chakuliya block, said sources in the police department.
However, a senior district police officer revealed on conditions of anonymity, “Police have reliable (intelligence) information about the ultras planning to cross over to the Jharkhand border ahead of the 48-hour Jharkhand-Bihar bandh on April 6 and 7 to protest against the killing of the 10 Maoist cadres in Chatra district.” The rebels are likely to cross through the Bengal border from Binpur, Belpahari and Jambani areas of the neighbouring state. Jambani is close to the Jhargram district of Bengal that is known to have a Maoist presence.
“The SSB and JAP personnel have been deployed to ensure adequate security in the Chakuliya block ahead of the proposed civic polls,” said SSP Akhilesh Jha. The Ghatshila subdivision of the district that was once known for rebel activities witnessed a sharp decline in such activities over the past three years.
In the wake of the Maoist sponsored 48-hour bandh, the district police is taking adequate measures to preempt any kind of Maoist violence in the area during the bandh.
57 gelatin sticks found in Jungle Mahal
Purulia (WB), Apr 4 (PTI) Security forces today seized 57 gelatin sticks and other materials required to manufacture explosives from a forest in Purulia district in Jungle Mahal region, Superintendent of Police C Sudhakar said. Besides the gelatin sticks, the security personnel seized five pipes needed to make landmines, one binocular, a wrist watch and maoist posters from Duarsini forest in Bandwan, near Jharkhand border.
Naxals abduct 3 civilians in Maharashtra
Naxals have abducted civilians Sabhash Gavade, Gagan Gawade and Vijay Madavi from Daldal Kuhi village under Salekasa tehsil in Gondia district of Maharashtra on April 1. Their families had not lodged a police complaint, fearing Naxal backlash. “Around 20 Naxals came to the village at 8 p.m. and forcibly took away the three persons,” Inspector of Salekasa Police Station Sabale told The Hindu over the phone.
“When we came to know about the incident, we took suo motu cognizance of it and filed a complaint on Tuesday,” said Mr. Sabale. Daldal Kuhi is hardly five km from Marartola village where Naxals and police had exchanged fire two weeks ago, resulting in serious injuries to two policemen. The police claimed that Salkasa Naxal Dalam commander Rakesh was seriously wounded in the encounter. Mr. Sabale did not rule out the possibility of a connection between the Marartola encounter and the Monday abductions.
Meanwhile, some Naxal activities were reported from Gondia’s neighbouring district Gadchiroli. No casualty Some Naxals reportedly opened fire on a police patrol team near Malewada village in Kurkheda division of Gadchiroli on Tuesday evening. The Gadchiroli police have confirmed the firing. There was no report of casualty from either side.