Naxal prisoners on hunger strike
NAGPUR: Around 49 Naxals, lodged in Nagpur Central Jail, would observe a day’s hunger strike on Saturday. The prisoners have decided to participate in the hunger strike to protest thrashing of another Naxal inmate Anil Gawande by jail officials. Gawande was manhandled by the officials for refusing a body search. Gawade and two others, after returning from Gadchiroli following their hearing, were told by the jail authorities to go for a body search before entering the jail premises.
While two others allowed, Gawade disagreed to disrobe before the jail officials who wanted to conduct a thorough search. Sources informed that the enraged jail officials badly thrashed Gawade who was later admitted in the prison hospital with injuries. After learning about Gawade, the other Naxal prisoners, including 10 women, decided to observe a hunger strike.
One of the women killed in Gadchiroli encounter was not a Naxalite, claim villagers
The villagers of Bhatpar village in Bhamragad division of Gadchiroli have claimed that one girl, of eight Naxalites gunned down by Gadchiroli police on Thursday morning, was never a Naxal cadre. The Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police (SP), Mohd. Suvej Huque, had told The Hindu on Thursday that the police had recovered five bodies, of which two were women. Mr. Huque had identified the two women as Ritu, the deputy commander of Platoon No.7 of Naxals and the other one as Sarita of village Jambia Gatta in Aheri. But Kumma Badga Tado of Bhatpar village, near which the encounter took place, has claimed that his daughter Sunita (17) was one of the two women whose body was recovered by the police.
According to villagers, a team of Naxals visited the village the night before the encounter and they could have taken Sunita with them to help cook their food. “My sister was never a Naxal. We had no idea when she went with the Naxals on that night,” said Vinu Kamma Tado, Sunita’s brother. Sunita’s sisters Shanti and Kari said that on Thursday morning Sunita had worn a blue gown, but the photo issued by the police showed her in a shirt of Military green colour (the Naxal uniform) and a white cloth wrapped below her waist.
Villagers claimed that the Naxal shirt may have been put on her body by the police, but the SP denied it. “Many Naxals had removed their clothes and jumped into the river when the firing started. We could not have shown naked bodies so some clothes were put on their bodies and then they were photographed” said Mr. Huque. Villagers suspected that some of the Naxals may have removed their clothes before jumping into Indravati River and when Sunita was killed, police may have put one of the shirts lying there on her.
“We accept that our girl went with them. But at least now the police should return her body to us,” one villager told The Hindu. Villagers also claimed that Dinkar Timma and Ramu Kuduyam, two commanders of the special anti-Naxal force C-60 of Maharashtra police, accepted that the girl killed in Thursday’s encounter was Sunita, when her family showed some of her photos to them. When asked about the claim of the villagers, Mr. Huque said “If the family of the girl comes out and identifies her, we have no objection in giving the body to them.”
MHA wants to reduce CRPF units in Bihar
NEW DELHI: The home ministry has ordered withdrawal of two of the five CRPF battalions stationed in Bihar for anti-Naxal operations as it feels the state police is not keen on going after Maoists. The home ministry’s unfavourable decision against the state government comes at a time when the Centre is trying its best to woo Nitish Kumar by promising to review the criteria for granting special status to Bihar.
The move to withdraw 40% of central forces from Bihar was approved by home secretary RK Singh, a Bihar-cadre officer, after the home ministry seemed convinced that Bihar DGP Abhayanand was apparently not on board to launch operations against Maoists.
A senior Bihar Police official on the condition of anonymity said the state had a good record against the Naxalites and pointed out that MHA’s own records show Bihar arrested 422 Maoists last year, more than any other state while number of violent strikes by Naxals in Bihar had dropped drastically from 316 in 2011 to 166 in 2012. A Bihar government source also pointed out that deployment of CRPF “does not come free” and Bihar has to spend nearly.`250 crore every year for CRPF.
Maoists blow up railway tracks in Bihar
Maoists blew up a railway track between Hajipur and Sarai stations on Saturday, hitting trains services in Bihar. The blast was part of their two-day bandh. Several trains were delayed for a few hours early in the morning. The track was restored around 9.30 a.m., Amitabh Prabhakar, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of the East Central Railway, told The Hindu. “The supposed blast occurred about five km from Hajipur. The damage was not much as the track had a 10 mm gap. One sleeper and 10 Pandrol clips were damaged.
In view of the bandh, all drivers and guards were asked to be alert and move at a speed not more than 65 kmph. In a show of exemplary foresight, the driver of the Luchnow-Barauni Express stopped the train before the suspected bomb blast and informed all concerned,” the CPRO said.
Day after bloodbath, Gumla wears a deserted look
GUMLA: A day after the Maoists struck at a police patrolling party killing five men in khaki, the residents of Chainpur block headquarters chose to keep themselves indoors as roads, bus stand and markets wore a deserted look on Friday. Many had witnessed the rebel attack on Thursday when two Maoists had run towards the police patrolling jeep, which slowed down its to start pumping bullets into the cops sitting inside. while two more Maoists reached there soon.
Police recovered two bombs and Maoist posters from a bag left behind by the rebels during a search on Friday. “This is the first response to the Chatra incident,” the poster read. “The rebels were in four to five groups at different locations of the block headquarters and the striking squad had kept their AK-47 riffles in big bags near the passenger shed at the bus stand and fled towards Hukra Pahar after the incident,” said police inspector T N Singh.
“Those who used motorcycle fled towards Prem Nagar locality of the block headquarters.” DGP Rajiv Kumar described the incident as an act of cowardice as they attacked the police party from behind. “During the past few days, the Maoists had to suffer severe jolts and they were desperate.
After reviewing the incident, police will chalk out fresh strategy against the rebels.” Other top officers took the bodies of the slain cops from Chainpur to the district headquarters. Floral tributes were paid by top cops and members of the policemen’s association at the Gumla police lines.
State on alert for ‘Red’ attack on jails
RANCHI: Central and state intelligence agencies have alerted police and jail administration in all districts of Jharkhand of a possible attack by Maoists on jails and prison vans. The alert was sounded at a time when the outfit is facing difficulties in keeping its flock together at lower levels as most of the state’s senior Maoists – including central committee members Rajesh Sinha alias Uday, Nune Narsimha Reddy alias Rahul and Ravi Sharma – have been behind bars for the past three to four years. Sources said apart from the top 20 leaders, around 200 other rebels were also lodged in various prisons, including central jails in Ranchi and Hazaribag.
The sources in the state home and police department confirmed that an alert had been sounded by intelligence agencies. Last year, Maoists had ambushed a prison van in Giridih and freed eight of their members, of whom six, including a member of the Bihar-Jharkhand special area committee and a zonal commander, are still at large.
“There is a possibility of an attack on jail and prison vehicles because the Maoists are desperate to free their leaders and revive their base at the grassroots level through propaganda about failure of the government and repression by security forces deployed in villages across the state. This will not be possible till these leaders, who are also good orators, are behind bars,” said a source.
Refusing to elaborate on the alert, additional director general of police, DK Pandey confirmed that security forces are on high alert in the wake of the two-day bandh called by CPI (Maoist) from Friday midnight and also for the urban civic body elections scheduled to take place in several places on Sunday.
The Maoists have called the bandh to protest against the killing of their senior leaders in Chatra on March 28. “Necessary instructions have been issued and forces are keeping an eye on every movement to prevent any untoward incident during the bandh and to ensure peaceful elections,” said Pandey.
Rights panel asks for police report on inmates beating Maoist
THE state Human Rights Commission on Friday ordered Kolkata Police Commissioner to submit a report within three week about Maoist leader Abhishek Mukherjee “being beaten up by inmates in the court lock up” at Sealdah on Tuesday. A team of APDR, a non-government rights group, on Friday met the the commission’s chief and submitted a complaint about Maoist leader being beaten up.
According to APDR, Mukherjee and three other Maoists were beaten up by inmates in front of police when they were brought to the court lock-up. “We don’t know why the Maoists were beaten up and why the police did not try to stop them,” saud an official.
‘Maoist’ posters: Cong MLC demands action from govt
Almost a fortnight after alleged Maoist posters were found at various prominent parts of the city, Congress MLC Mohan Joshi from Pune on Friday raised the issue in the state legislative council. Newsline was the first to report about the posters suspected to have been placed strategically by the sleeper cell of the Maharashtra State Committee of CPI (Maoist) on March 23, 2013, at various prominent and strategic spots in the city, including the entrance of Patrakar Bhavan in Navi Peth.
Footage captured on CCTV cameras of the Patrakar Bhavan, shows posters being placed by three youths, who arrived on a motorcycle around 11 pm on March 23. Joshi brought this issue to the notice of the government through point of order in the state legislative council, on Friday.
He demanded that the government take urgent action against the Naxals before their ‘movement’ strengthens any further. The posters had called the “saptah” (week) between March 23 and March 29 as a commemoration of their ‘movement’, demanding rights for their fellow comrades or “revolutionaries” lodged in jails, on the occasion of the martyrdom of “Comrade Shahid Bhagat Singh”.
Maoists are also suspected to have placed similar posters across the city last year around the same period, calling for a bandh and demanding unconditional release of Kobad Ghandy, Vijay, Vikram, Madanlal, Mahesh, Bhanu and Anjela Sontakke. The state ATS had arrested Angela, along with six other suspects, including two Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) members in this case between April and May, 2011, under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Security intensified along Howrah-Mumbai rail route
JAMSHEDPUR: The Chakradharpur division of South Eastern Railway ( SER) has pulled out all stops to ensure security of the passengers and railway property amid intelligence inputs that trains could be targeted by Maoist rebels during the 48-hour Jharkhand-Bihar bandh from Friday midnight. Maoists have called the bandh in protest against the killing of 10 of their members by splinter group Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) in Chatra recently.
Railway Protection Force (RPF) have taken precautionary measures in close coordination with the Government Railway Police (GRP) and district police of the three districts of Kolhan division namely, Seraikela-Kharswan and East and West Singhbhum. According to railway authorities, the number of armed railway special protection force (RSPF) personnel has been enhanced in all long distance superfast and express trains originating or crossing various junctions of Chakradharpur division. Besides, GRP and RPF personnel will also be deployed at major stations and strategic junctions until April 7 morning.
“Four light engines will run as pilot engines ahead of the long-distance passenger trains from Chakuliya up to Rourkela (on the Howrah-Mumbai main line),” said a GRP officer. CRPF personnel have also been deployed at specific stations in Jaraikela, Goelkera, Sonuwa, Lotapahar, Posaita and Bhalulata in the insurgency-affected West Singhbhum district to ensure smooth movement of trains.
Railways has also asked drivers of superfast, express and mail trains to run the locomotive at 65-70kmph, about 35kmph lesser than normal speed, at night while crossing through the Chakradharpur division. RPF senior commandant A K Chaurasiya, who has asked the police superintendents of all the three districts to cooperate during the bandh, said Chakradharpur division has installed adequate security arrangements for the 48-hour strike period. “RPF and GRP are working closely on security management and adequate measures are in place,” he said.
Forces deployed at polling booths
RANCHI: The state election commission and other authorities have made elaborate arrangements to ensure safe and peaceful polling during the civic elections beginning Sunday. The first day of the elections, during which votes will be cast to elect 26 chairmen of municipal councils and notified area committee and 515 ward councillors, coincides with the second day of the two-day bandh called by Maoists.
Thirty-four companies of security forces and 28,617 policemen of the district armed police have been deployed at the 1,413 locations (buildings) where polling will take place. Addressing mediapersons here on Friday, D K Pandey, ADG law and order, said at least one section of armed police will be depoyed at every polling station along with one officer. “Apart from the armed forces, two unarmed constables will also be deployed,” he added.
Though the elections in Ranchi will be conducted on Monday, after the bandh is called off, special arrangements have been made for the district on the lines of Hazaribag and Seraikela. For Ranchi, three additional companies of armed forces have been kept in reserve to handle any emergency whereas for the other three districts, a squad of sniffer dogs and bomb disposal have been pressed into service.
Apart from 3,129 police officers of the district armed police and 19,718 policemen, 2,050 new recruits and 3,720 homeguards will assist six assault groups of Jharkhand Jaguar (JJ), four companies of Rapid Action Police (RAP), two companies of special auxiliary police (SAP) and 22 companies of Jharkhand armed police (JAP). While one assault group of the JJ has been deployed in Hazaribag and Seraikela each; two assault groups of JJ and three companies of RAP have been deployed in Ranchi.
Pandey said besides the regular deployment on polling stations, separate patrolling has been arranged in the urban localities with specific briefing about erecting checkposts and conducting vehicle searches. “Owing to the Maoist bandh, all 17 battalions of CRPF, two battalions of CoBRA and two battalions of SSB along with 15 assault groups of Jharkhand Jaguar have already been pressed into operations,” Pandey said adding that the neighbouring states have been requested to seal the borders to check infiltration of extremists into the state.