Maoist working in Kovai unit held for killing 24 in West Bengal
Dreaded 26-year-old Maoist, Shyam Charan Tudu, masquerading as a worker in a foundry in Coimbatore, was arrested on Saturday night by a West Bengal police team, in an operation that has shaken the migrant workers’ community here. Police said Tudu was a member of the Naxal group that killed 24 paramilitary personnel during an ambush at the Silda camp near West Bengal’s Midnapore district on February 15, 2010.
The team arrested him from the foundry unit at 9.30 pm on Saturday. Unsuspecting employers of Nithya Industries, a medium-scale foundry unit at Thanneerpandal, about 3 km from the Coimbatore airport, had engaged Tudu in the motor parts’ casting unit in April 2012. The foundry has nearly 100 employees of whom 18 are migrants from Jharkhand and West Bengal. “Tudu had visited West Bengal early in February and returned to the city towards the end of February.
The West Bengal police were tracking his movements by monitoring his mobile phone signals and finally traced him here,” a senior police officer said. Coimbatore Deputy Commissioner of Police Pravesh Kumar, who interacted with the West Bengal police team headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police Vivek Kumar Verma, said Tudu hailing from Jhargram, was drawn to the Maoist movement in 2008.
Apart from the Silda ambush, his role is suspected in the murder of a CPM leader in West Bengal and other cases. The Tamil Nadu ‘Q’ Branch police and Coimbatore city police had extended logistical and technical support to the West Bengal team. Immediately after Tudu was picked up, he was taken to the Peelamedu Police Station (Crime) at Cheran Maa Nagar, where he was grilled by the three police teams.
A school dropout, Tudu had taken to armed struggle and carried out attacks, including the one at the Eastern Frontier Rifles camp at Silda, which was one of the largest ultra operations in recent years. He had joined Nithya Industries along with other migrants and had not spread Maoist ideology, the DCP added. Later in the day, the police produced Tudu at the house of Judicial Magistrate III Ramesh Babu, who remanded him in custody for a day.
Naxal taken to West Bengal by train
Shyamcharan Tudu, a suspected Naxalite, arrested on charges of involvement in the 2010 Silda paramilitary outpost attack in West Bengal that left 24 personnel dead, was taken to Kolkata from here by train today.
“Due to security reasons, we will not be able to divulge the details of the transit,” said Vivek Kumar Verma, Deputy Superintendent of Police, West Midnapore District, who along with seven other police personnel, is taking the accused by the Alleppey-Dhanbad Train.
“Anyhow, we have to produce the accused before the Court on April 11 and we have to reach there by then,” he said. One of the team members, however, said they would break the journey and get down at Chennai and from there move forward in available trains. “Being a high risk and rank accused, said to be second lieutenant to Maoist zonal leader Jayanto, his fellowmen and sympathisers would be watching the movement en route, as we have to cover nearly four states,” the officer said.
A police team from West Midnapore district of West Bengal arrested 26-year-old Tudu, who was working at a factory in Peelamedu area, near here yesterday. He was allegedly part of a 60-member group that attacked the Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) outpost on February 15.
Maoist’s arrest triggers panic among migrant workers
Coimbatore: The arrest of a suspected Maoist here seems to have triggered panic among some migrant workers, particularly from Bihar and Odisha, who are heading towards their hometowns, apprehending trouble. Even as suspected Maoist Shyamcharan Tudu was being taken to Kolkata by Alleppey-Dhanbad Express, workers in large numbers, particularly from Bihar, also boarded the train and some were waiting for trains to Chennai for their onward journey to their villages.
When contacted, a senior police official said the department has already formed 25 special teams, 10 for city and 15 for rural areas– to check whether any Maoist sympathisers were working in factories, foundries, brick kilns, textile mills and construction sector.
Though there was a circular that all industries and those who were letting out portions for rent should obtain related information from their prospective tenants and inform police, who if necessary would issue identify cards, it was not followed for the last few months, he said.
Some of the migrant workers, who were waiting at the railway station, said they were going to attend marriages in their villages. Some said being vacation time, many of their relatives would come to the villages and for one month there would be get-together and they wanted to join them. However, when asked about their ID cards, they claimed they were taken away by industries in which they were employed, and would be returned only after their return.
A senior official from Southern India Mills’ Association said migrant workers were not employed in the mills in large numbers and when the workers had migrated some six months ago, due to attacks on North East population, there was no migration from mill sector. Sources said though Tudu is said to have confessed that there were no Maoists working with him in the foundry, police are inquiring with industrialists on presence of workers with Maoist links.
“We will get full information in a couple of days as the exercise to identify such workers would go on for another one week,” the police official said, adding, workers with possible links with naxal movement might have moved out of the region, immediately after the arrest.
A police team from West Midnapore district of West Bengal arrested 26-year-old Tudu, who was working in a foundry at Peelamedu near here yesterday. He was arrested on charges of involvement in the 2010 Silda paramilitary outpost attack in West Bengal that left 24 personnel dead.
Naxal attack in Jharkhand-Bihar, railway track blown up
Maoists blew up railway tracks in Latehar district of Jharkhand and Vaishali district of Bihar today, the first day of a two-day Jharkhand-Bihar bandh called by them. Maoists blew up a stretch of railway track between Chhipadohar and Barwadih railway stations in Latehar district, Railway sources said. “The track has been blown up between Chhipadohar and Barwadih railway stations. Rajdhani Express is at Kumandih railway station in Latehar district,” Divisional Commander of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) Shashi Kumar told reporters over phone.
Earlier in the day, the Maoists blew up railway track on Muzaffarpur-Hajipur section under Sonepur division of the East-Central Railway (ECR) in Bihar’s Vaishali district, affecting train services on the route for several hours. A group of Maoists detonated explosives on the railway track near Ghoswar village under Sadar police station in the morning to disrupt railway traffic on Muzaffarpur-Hajipur section, railway sources said.
About half a foot long track got totally damaged in the Maoists’ attack, they said. 10 trains, including Avadh-Assam Express, Sabarmati Express, Amrapali Express, Lichchavi Express, Maurya Express, Samparkanti Express, Gwalior-Barauni Express, remained stranded at various destinations for several hours, the sources said.
Railway engineers later repaired the tracks to faciliate movement of trains on this route, they said. The Maoists have called a two-day bandh in Jharkhand and Bihar starting Saturday to protest killing of several of their top leaders in clash with another insurgent group in Chatra district of Jharkhand on March 28.
Three Naxals arrested in Chhattisgarh
Raipur: Three Naxals, including two women, were arrested in separate search operations in the Naxal-affected Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, police said on Monday. “Raimati Madiyam (21), a member of Bhairmagarh area committee of Maoists, was nabbed by joint contingent of district force and Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) from forest of Bodli village under Nelasnar police station area yesterday,” Bijapur Superintendent of Police Prashant Agrawal told a news agency.
She was carrying a reward of Rs 10,000 on her head. Punem Lakshmi (25) of Basaguda Area Committee of Maoists was arrested during an operation by district force, CAF and CRPF from Chipurbhatti village under Awapalli police station limits yesterday. In the third incident, a team of district force and CRPF arrested naxal Satish (45) from forest of Pamgal village under Modakpal police station area, the SP said. PTI
Maoists blow up power sub-station in Bihar
JAMUI: A power sub-station was blown up by armed Maoists in a village in Bihar’s naxal-infested Jamui district, police said. The Maoists, numbering over 100, stormed the power sub-station in Badigram village last midnight and blew it up with explosives, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Virendra Sahu said today.
A room of the power sub-station was totally wrecked in the explosion hitting power supply, Sahu said. Some employees at the sub-station managed to escape just in time, Sahu said. A case has been registered and a search for the Maoists was being made.
Four CRPF jawans injured while trying to defuse IED
Gaya: Four CRPF jawans, including an inspector, were injured today while trying to defuse an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Bihar’s naxal-affected Gaya district, police said.
The incident took place as the IED exploded injuring the CRPF’s CoBRA battalion inspector Dinesh Kumar, Sub-Inspector Rajiv Kumar, Hawaldar Rajeshwar and constable Ashok Kumar while they were trying to defuse it after removing the explosive planted underneath a culvert connecting Barha and Sevra villages, DIG (Magadh range) N Hasnain Khan said.
Three of the critically injured CRPF jawans were airlifted to Patna for treatment in a hospital, while another has been admitted in the Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College at Gaya, he said. The security forces had recovered 100 IEDs and six pressure cooker bombs from another place in Gaya district recently.
IAF flies double sorties and commandos to Naxalite areas
RAIPUR: The Indian Air Force (IAF), which faced flak after its personnel abandoned an injured policeman in a chopper crippled in Naxalite firing, has now begun flying double sorties to many areas and more commandos for its air support missions in anti-naxalism operations to prevent such incidents.
The sortie routes of the IAF helicopters are being sanitized by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in advance and it has doubled the strength of on-board ‘Garuda’ commandos to four every time its Mi-17 choppers fly in remote and forested areas of Naxalite violence affected states, official sources said. A senior official in the anti-Naxalite operations grid noted that the helicopters are under an increased threat from extremists.
The new operational procedures are being undertaken after the January 18 incident in Chhattisgarh’s Dantedwada district where Maoist gunfire had forced an IAF Mi-17 helicopter to make an emergency landing and the conduct of the on-board IAF men being probed. A court of inquiry is already underway to ascertain the role of the IAF men involved in this operation. In many cases two helicopters fly the same path, with one flying alongside the other in a secure formation, the sources said.
While two commandos man the light machine gun (LMG) mounted on-board the chopper, two others armed with sophisticated rifles secure the machine after landing. “The anti-naxalite operations are a dynamic state of affairs. There are regular intelligence inputs suggesting Naxalite tactics and the helicopter sorties are surely under an increased threat,” the official said.
The CRPF, which is the lead operations force against Maoists, is also deploying more men to secure the helipads during ascent and descent of helicopters that aid the operations by way of bringing in men and material besides evacuating casualties from conflict areas. The Union home ministry had sometime back asked the defence ministry to take action against the IAF men who had abandoned the injured policeman and the helicopter in Chhattisgarh, saying the incident was extremely disturbing.
The IAF and BSF ‘Dhruv’ helicopters fly from bases in Raipur, Jagdalpur and Ranchi for air support missions to forces undertaking anti-Naxal operations. They have a stipulated flying time of 80-hours a month thereby making their flying a precious and meticulously calculated decision by the hard pressed commanders of the forces who rationalise the limited sorties for more than 80,000 troops in Left Wing Extremism hit states. Agencies
India: Escalating Dangers In Jharkhand – Analysis
Even as the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) central committee member Arvind Singh alias Arvindji continued to fox the Security Forces (SFs) pursuing him in Jharkhand, the Maoists, in an attack in broad daylight on April 4, 2013, killed five personnel of the Jharkhand Armed Police (JAP) near a crowded bus shelter in Chainpur in Gumla District.
The place is hardly 400 yards from the Chainpur Police Station and it was a busy weekly market day. A six-member Police patrol party (including the driver) was returning from the bus stand at about noon when a group of 15 to 20 Maoists, dressed as civilians, opened fire with their AK-47s.
While three personnel died on the spot, two succumbed to injuries on the way to hospital. The Maoists decamped with three INSAS rifles, 600 rounds of ammunition and eight hand grenades. Jharkhand Director General of Police Rajeev Kumar, on his way to Gumla, disclosed, “The group of Maoists led by Arvindji has split into smaller groups and we believe this attack was carried out by one such group.”
It is significant that, after the Latehar encounter on January 7, 2013, SFs tracking Arvindji’s squad came close to his group in the Sivil-Roret and Luru regions in the Chainpur Police Station area, on March 13 and 14, and fighting continued intermittently for 24 hours. The Police, along with Jharkhand Jaguar (JJ), Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and JAP troops, took part in the operation.
One JJ trooper was killed in the encounter and another two sustained injuries. The intensity of the operation was so great that the SFs found it difficult to evacuate the injured and retrieve the killed trooper’s body. The April 4 Gumla attack followed the blowing up of the Sreeram Panchayat Secretariat building in Lohardaga in the night of April 2 by a group of some 25 to 30 Maoists.
The building was almost entirely destroyed, though no one was killed. Both the attacks are thought to be part of the Maoists’ ‘protest’ against the killing of 10 of their cadres, including senior leaders – such as Lalesh Yadav alias Prashant, ‘secretary’ of the Bihar Jharkhand North Chhattisgarh Special Area Committee (BJNCSAC), Jaikumar Yadav, ‘platoon commander’, Dharmendra Yadav alias Biru, ‘sub-zonal commander’ of Chatra Palamu, and Prafulla Yadav, ‘sub-zonal commander’ of the Koleswari area – by the Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC). TPC is a splinter group of the CPI-Maoist, and had engaged a Maoist contingent at Lakramanda Tola in the Kunda Block of Chatra District in a gun battle that started in the afternoon of March 27, 2013, and continued till early the next morning.
Alleging that SFs were backing TPC, the Maoists declared a ‘protest week’ commencing April 1, 2013, and gave a call for a Jharkhand and Bihar bandh (protest shutdown) on April 6 and 7. During the bandh, Maoists blew up railway tracks and Government buildings in Latehar, Gumla and Palamu Districts in Jharkhand, and railways tracks in the Vaishali District in Bihar.
The Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC), literally, the Third Preparatory Committee, was formed in 2002 after a number of cadres of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) in Jharkhand walked out of their parent outfit, complaining of the domination of the Yadav caste in the decision-making process of CPI-Maoist. The TPC cadres were mostly from the Dalit (Scheduled Caste) Bhokta, Turi, Badai, Oraon, and Ghanju castes.
The Maoists were taken completely by surprise in Chatra. Heavily armed TPC cadres suddenly surrounded a group of 35 to 45 Maoists led by Lalesh, when they were resting (on March 27) after taking lunch provided by the Lakramanda villagers. The ensuing gunbattle stopped when SFs reached the spot around 3:00 am the next morning and took control of the situation. Police recovered the bodies of slain Maoists and some arms and ammunition. While ‘retreating’ (after seeing the SFs), TPC abducted 25 of the surviving Maoists.
However, at least 23 of them were subsequently released. They were handed over to their family members after extracting a promise that they would dissociate themselves from the Maoists. The remaining two Maoists were not released because their family members failed to appear to receive their custody. Meanwhile, seven of the 10 slain Maoists have been identified, while the remaining three remain unknown. The Maoists have reportedly confirmed the killing of the four leaders.
It is widely believed that TPC was silently backed by the SFs in this operation; and that the group was even ‘allowed’ to take away a part of the sophisticated weapons seized from the Maoists. R.K. Mallick, Inspector General, Jharkhand Police, tacitly admitted this, stating, “If we know that a particular splinter group is looking for the Maoists in a region, we may decide not to venture out in the region for some time.”
He, however, clarified that no rebel group could ever be a friend of the Police. Media reports indicate the splinter groups like TPC and Jharkhand Jan Mukti Parished have been given some leeway to work against the Maoists in villages. Apart from the TPC’s role in this incident, what proved to be the undoing for the Lalesh Yadav-led group was that the Maoists were hounded relentlessly by the SFs through the forests, ultimately forcing them to take shelter in a TPC stronghold.
Maoist Central Committee (CC) member Arvindji, the mastermind of the Latehar encounter, who had been moving about with a 200-strong force, had asked his men split into smaller groups to evade the SFs. During the process, Sandeep, another senior leader and one of Arvindji’s close aides, was separated from the remaining force, and was holed up in Chatara, from where he was to be taken back to Bihar.
The contingent led by Lalesh had come from Gaya to Chatra to provide cover to Sandeep. En route, the group ran into a CoBRA team in the Dumaria area of Gaya on March 25, 2013, leading to a fierce gun battle that raged for hours. Though no casualties were reported, both sides expended a great deal of ammunition.
It is believed that some Maoists were injured in that encounter. The loss of ammunition and injuries to comrades, necessitating medical aid, ultimately proved fatal, when the group’s location was exposed while they sought medical aid. Insufficient ammunition also hindered their response when they came under TPC fire. It is still not clear what forced the Maoists to take shelter in a TPC stronghold.
It is evident is that the Maoists had little inkling of the changing loyalty of Lakramanda villagers. This fatal error of judgement reveals the changing conflict dynamics of the region. Lakramanda village, which has long served as a pit-stop for Bihar Maoists on their way to Saranda, has an extended history of association with the Maoists. Parasji, a Maoist ‘zonal commander’ and one of the few Ghanju caste leaders in the CPI-Maoist, hailed from the village. Parasji was killed in an encounter with SFs on July 21, 2012. Ghanju-dominated Lakramanda has since gradually allied itself with the Ganjhu-dominated TPC.
The debate over the implications of extending tacit support to anti-Maoist extremist groups by the SFs is not going to end soon. However, there are more urgent worries over the Maoists’ return to the Saranda Forest area in West Singhbhum District, which was purportedly ‘liberated’ from ‘Maoist control’ through ‘Operation Monsoon’ in August 2011.
Evidence of increasing Maoist activity in the area is now accumulating. The Maoists killed six villagers in a ‘Jan Adalat’ (‘people’s court’, an euphemism for a Maoist kangaroo court) at Manmaru village of the Bandgaon Block in West Singhbhum District on March 13, 2013. The area falls under Porahat Forest area. News reports indicate that this is part of the Saranda Forest area. However, it is certainly not part of the core Saranda area, where the Government’s Saranda Development Plan is being implemented since its ‘recovery’ after Operation Monsoon.
The killings were apparently intended to avenge the killing of the two suspected Maoist sympathizers – Somu Bodra and Hangera Hansa Munda, residents of Tetai village and Desai village, respectively, in the Gudri Block of the District. Police recovered the bodies of the victims of Jan Adalat executions on March 16, after an encounter with the Prasad Guru squad of the Maoists on March 15, 2013, at Kudabeda village in the Sonuwa area of the District.
Four Maoists were injured in the incident. One of the injured Maoists, identified as Dhanai, succumbed to injuries on way to the CRPF Lodhai camp. The SFs also recovered three sophisticated rifles and some ammunition from Kudabera, though the Police did not disclose the number of the arms. There are clear indications of a Maoist escalation in Jharkhand, and the SFs are looking for ways to rein them in.
Jharkhand has, thus far in 2013, left other Maoist-affected States far behind in terms of the visible intensity of Maoist violence. According to partial data collected by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), Jharkhand has already recorded a total of 58 Maoist-linked fatalities – more than half the total for the country – including 18 civilians, 18 SF personnel and 22 Left Wing Extremists (LWEs). Meanwhile, the Union Government has deployed two battalions of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) to step up anti-Maoist operations and lead development works in Jharkhand.
The State already has CRPF 16 battalions deployed for anti-Maoist operation, in addition to State Police Forces. After some indications of improvements – specifically, a continuous decline in fatalities since 2009 – it appears that matters are slated to take a turn for the worse in Jharkhand. At such a time, a temptation to short cuts – the reliance on and tacit patronage of Maoist splinter groups – is a natural temptation.
Such tactics have yielded short term gains in other theatres in the past, but have inevitably yielded to the larger detriment of the state, creating far more problems than they can ever be imagined to solve. The fight against the Maoists is an onerous burden which the state’s Forces must fully accept. It is not something that can be ‘outsourced’ to groups whose violence is not bound by any constraints of law, and whose activities are as much an assault against the authority of the state as those of the Maoists, who they are being used to attack.
Two Maoists nabbed
KORAPUT: Two rebels were arrested and huge cache of Maoist belongings seized from them during a combing operation in Malkangiri district on Saturday night. They were wanted in the murder of a sarpanch. Acting on a tip-off, (SOG) personnel nabbed the duo, Deba Sodhi and Budra Madhi, in a forest near Palliguda village under Kalimela police limits.
“They have confessed to their involvement in the murder of the sarpanch of Kumanur panchayat, Bhagaban Kirsani (55), on April 2,” said SP (Malkangiri) Akhileshwar Singh. The Maoists had killed the sarpanch suspecting him to be a police informer. Police said the arrested Maoists belong to Idikonda village under Kalimela police limits and had joined the outfit five years ago.
Besides taking part in offensives, they used to organize village meetings and mobilize people support for the outlawed organization. The seizure includes a pistol, two magazines, 19 bullets of 7.65 mm gun, a hand grenade, a tiffin bomb, around 60 metre of live wires, a camera flash, a country-made gun, medicines, Maoist uniforms and posters. “The duo had gone to dump the arms and other items in the forest for future use,” the SP added.
Reds blow up govt buildings, railway tracks in Jharkhand
RANCHI/GUMLA/DALTONGANJ: Chain of Maoist attacks, which started late on Saturday night, mostly targeted police stations and government buildings in different parts of the state. The two-day bandh called by the rebels to protest against the killing of 10 of their cadres on March 28 in Chatra will end on Sunday.
The Maoist attack began around 10pm on Saturday with a landmine blast that destroyed 10-15 m railway track between Barwadeeh and Chhipadohar and disrupted train services on Coal India Chord section in Latehar. Exactly one-and-a-half hours later, twin blasts shook Harihurganj, about 70 km from Palamu district headquarters. This time, the rebels targeted the BDO office and a godown that stored foodgrain and used cylinder bombs, said Palamu SP Anoop T Mathew.
“The blasts caused fire that gutted official documents,” Mathew said, adding that security forces were on guard in front of the BDO’s quarter in Harihurganj block. In Gumla, the Red rebels targeted Chainpur police station around midnight. However, they retreated when police personnel retaliated on time.
But the Maoists damaged the BDO office here before fleeing into the nearby forest around 1.30 am. Police sources said Maoists blew up the block office, around 50 km from the district headquarters and just 500 m from the local police station, and set other assets on fire. This is the second major attack by Maoists three days after they gunned down five police personnel in Chainpur.
A police officer, on condition of anonymity, told TOI that after Saturday’s attack the jawans’ morale has gone down. “There are only 60 JAP jawans and only one inspector rank officer in the police station to take on the rebels,” said the source.”Around 250-300 Maoists encircled Chainpur police station from all corners around 1.30 am on Sunday and started firing. Maoists are known to have hurled over 100 grenades and fired from 100-m distance.
They were also abusing police and were asking for surrender. The rebels who might have used trucks and bikes to reach Safi river near Chainpur were also raising slogans intermittently during the encounter,” said a source. “Police retaliated with 2,200 rounds during the encounter which lasted till 4.15 am,” said police inspector TN Singh. In Giridih, police defused a bomb planted by the rebels on a railway track between Chebro and Choudharybag on Sunday morning, said Giridih SP A V Homkar.
However, no casualty was reported from any part of the state in the attacks during the bandh, which is part of the protest week observed by the rebel outfit. Meanwhile, DGP Rajiv Kumar, CRPF IG MV Rao and IG MS Bhatiya reached Chainpur to take stock of situation arising out of the Maoists fresh attack.