Two CRPF jawans injured in Naxal attack
Jagdalpur (C’garh): Two CRPF jawans were seriously injured in a Naxal attack on Saturday at Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, police said. Naxals opened indiscriminate fire at a joint team of CRPF and CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) battalion when it was patrolling the Chinaglur jungles under Basaguda police limits this morning, they said.
The security personnel also fired in retaliation but the Naxals managed to escape into the thick jungles. The critically injured jawans were air-lifted from the spot and admitted to a hospital here, from where they are likely to be shifted to Ramakrishna Hospital in Raipur, police said. PTI
Arms unit busted in Koraput; three districts naxal-affected
Maoists have been making use of the caves and remote pockets in the forbidden areas of Koraput forests for long. The latest, a gun manufacturing unit, was raided on Friday by the Border Security Force personnel at Surli Konda forest, some 6 km away from Padapadar village under Naryanpatna police limits in Koraput district. Incidentally, Koraput is one of the three districts of Odisha __ Malkangiri and Bolangir being the other two __ that has been identified by the Centre as most Naxal-prone in the country.
Huge quantities of arms manufacturing tools and explosives, Maoist dresses and literatures were found from a cave where the unit was being run for quite some time. Deputy Commandant Satya Ranjan Panda said the location of the unit was traced by BSF intelligence wing and the raid was conducted by the BSF operation wing with the assistance of local police. No Red rebel was present during the operation.
‘’We had intelligence inputs regarding the presence of the arms manufacturing unit of the Maoists in the forests and an operation was launched. A team of BSF personnel from Podapadar camp spotted the manufacturing unit,” Panda said. Among the seizures was a handbook of gun manufacturing. Sources said the Maoists probably knew of repairing Insas and AK 47. The forces also seized a lathe machine, one drilling machine, one mixer, an iron welding machine among other equipment.
‘’During investigation, it was found that the Naxals arms manufacturing unit was operating for the past few months. Apart from manufacturing arms, the Maoists also used to repair their various types of arms and weapons,’’ Koraput SP Awinash Kumar said. The Centre has, meanwhile, identified three Odisha districts __ Koraput, Malkangiri and Bolangir __ among the 26 across the country as highly Naxal-affected. About 80 per cent violence in the last three years has been reported from these areas.
Women’s groups condemn Chhattisgarh move to declare Soni Sori mentally unsound
The Chhattisgarh government has initiated an enquiry into the mental health of Adivasi teacher Soni Sori lodged in the Jagdalpur jail to ascertain whether she should be sent to the mental asylum in Agra, according to women’s rights groups. A legal team visiting Ms. Sori on March 15 after she failed to appear for a hearing the previous day, was informed by the jail superintendent that a psychiatrist from the Maharani Hospital in Jagdalpur had visited Soni.
In the conversation with the psychiatrist in the presence of the Superintendent, Ms. Soni was asked questions related to “anger” and advised not to complain all the time. Otherwise there was a good chance that she would be sent to Agra, according to a women’s rights activist. “This is a devious attempt to declare her mentally unsound and create doubts about the veracity of her complaints of sexual torture in police custody and subsequent harassment in jail,” said the rights groups.
Strongly condemning this act of the government, which comes on the back of a stray comment by Shamina Shafiq, member of the National Commission for Women (NCW), made to the press right after meeting Ms. Sori at the Raipur Central Jail on December 4 last year, the rights groups are demanding that the NCW make its report public. Annie Raja from the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), who, along with the NCW team had visited young girls branded as Maoists at the Raipur jail and spent two hours with Ms. Soni, condemned the non-serious attitude of NCW.
“Shamina should tell us on what basis she thought Soni needs psychological help. In fact, it was Shamina who asked Soni if she had any demands and gave her a paper to write them down.” In a handwritten letter of Ms. Soni to the NCW team, she had made seven demands.
Some of them were: “We should be taken to the court whenever we are summoned. We should be provided food when we go to court. Because of Naxal cases, we are not given timely medical treatment…. I need help for my children. In the fight between the Naxals and the government I have lost everything. While the Naxals were harassing my father, I have been branded a Naxal sympathiser even though I am innocent. I have a lot to say but my fight is going on in the court and hence I cannot speak any more. Only I should not be tortured as now I do not have the strength to bear torture. Whenever I have written or spoken the truth I have been punished. This should not happen in the future.” Ms. Raja asked how could somebody writing so lucidly be called mentally unsound?
“In case of sexual torture, victims undergo trauma and need counselling but that is in no way similar to being called unsound and being locked up in the Agra mental asylum,” said Sudha Sundararaman of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), calling the move objectionable.
Maoist goes missing from court premises
Hazaribagh (Jharkhand), Apr 13: A Maoist, who was on bail, went “missing” from the premises of Hazaribagh District and Session Court here, police said yesterday. Sohan Bhuiyan, who came to the court yesterday with his son following summons, went missing during the period when his son went to fetch water, Superintendent of Police Manoj Kaushik said here. While his son lodged a complaint with the police alleging his father had been kidnapped from the court premises, the SP said it was a case of missing and ruled out abduction by any rebel group.
Bhuiyan was the “sub-zonal commander” with the erstwhil Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) and accused of being involved in the killing of 19 members of the Gram Suraksha Samiti on April 19, 2001 at Beltu in Hazaribagh district. Along with the People’s War, the MCC later formed the CPI (Maoist), which is now a banned outfit. Bhuiyan was arrested in 2005 and remained in jail since then before getting bail five weeks ago.
He returned to his village in the district. The SP said the police have launched a drive to locate him and claimed his disappearance would have no impact in the spurt of Naxal violence.
NIA begins to probe Maoist plan to make grenades
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has begun probe into an alleged Maoist plan to manufacture grenades that, it claims, became known after the seizure of “cylindrical shaped components” from two suspected rebels arrested in West Bengal. Arjun Gunja and 61-year-old Mohan Vishwakarma, suspected to be members of the Central Technical Committee and the Technical Research and Arms Manufacturing Unit of CPI (Maoist), are said to be close to the top Maoist leadership. Vishwakarma, the NIA has alleged, was entrusted to procure arms and distribute them among the rebels.
Their interrogation led security forces to over 80 components of hand grenades stored in a workshop and a transport firm in Kolkata, the NIA has claimed in its FIR. The firm was to transport these parts to the rebels in the forests of Jharkhand and Chattishgarh where they would be assembled. West Bengal Police also allegedly busted hideouts on the outskirts of Kolkata that were being used by Maoists to assemble grenades.
The NIA claimed to have unearthed a funding network for procurement, manufacture and supply of arms in which top Maoist leader Mupalla Laksman Rao alias Ganpathy was a vital cog. The NIA will now seek remand of Gunja and Vishwakarma to confront them with Sadanula Ramakrishna, alleged Central Technical Committee head and brains behind the plan to transport grenade components to Maoist dominated areas of Jharkhand, Chattishgarh and Orissa. Ramakrishna was arrested in February 2012 for assembling rocket launchers and transporting them to Chattishgarh.
2200 mobile towers to dot red corridor
Kicking off the plan to install a web of mobile towers across the Maoist-affected districts, the Communications ministry has circulated a cabinet note for an Rs. 3,000 crore project to set up 2,200 mobile towers in these districts. The move aims to provide secured wireless communications lines between security units.
A government source said building the mobile towers was only half the challenge, the other and more important was ensuring that the towers in inaccessible locations were in working condition. “Only half of the total project cost will be incurred in setting up the towers. It will cost as much to maintain the towers over a five year period,” the official said. The lack of secure communication had been pinching the security forces that had moved into what is often referred to as the “Red Corridor” three years ago under the home ministry coordinated operations in end-2009.
The project will be funded through the Universal Service Obligation fund under the telecom department. The BSNL, which wanted to be given the order rather than bid in a tendering process, had earlier quoted more than Rs. 5,500 crore, had reworked the costing after opposition from the finance ministry.