Naxal-affected Sukma likely to be brought under IAP
NEW DELHI: The Naxal-affected district of Sukma in Chhattisgarh is likely to be brought under the centrally-sponsored Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for Maoist-hit districts once the government completes its review of the programme. The government has classified Sukma as one of the 26 worst affected districts by the Naxal menace, and the area has reported 80% violence in the past three years.
Sukma, which made headlines last April after its district collector Alex Paul Menon was abducted by Maoists, was not among the districts included in the Planning Commission-managed Integrated Action Plan last year. As part of an effort to improve administrative efficiency, Sukma was carved out of the Dantewada district in January last year.
While Dantewada has been an IAP district since the inception of the programme, Sukma was not included in the scheme. In June last year, the Cabinet approved the expansion of the scheme to include Singrauli, Sitamarhi, West Champaran and even Chhindwara, which had not reported any Maoist activity.
Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, who has been spearheading the development-based response to combat the Naxal influence, has been calling for Sukma’s inclusion into this programme. Ramesh had even taken up the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia in July last year. In a letter dated April 11, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth informed the rural development minister that the “case of Sukma as a separate district will be considered after completion of the review”.
Till then, Sukma will be designated as part of IAP, and the government will provide the district with its share of IAP funds from that allocated for the undivided Dantewada district. All relaxations offered to Left wing extremism-affected districts will be applicable to Sukma as well. IAP was designed to give a boost to development and basic infrastructure schemes in tribal and backward regions, which are mostly affected by Naxal violence.Being designated as an IAP district, gives it an access to an yearly assistance of 30 crore to plug infrastructure gaps.
Red corridor is new Maoist threat
In bad news for security forces, Maoists have managed to form a Red corridor that gives them easy movement and safe passage through three states – Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand. The term Red corridor has so far been used for the entire naxal-infested region in India that includes the three states as well as parts of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Maharashtra.
But recent interrogation of arrested cadre has revealed it now literally means a narrow but contiguous strip that runs from the southern tip of Chhattisgarh to central Jharkhand – the two key theatres of naxal violence. Such a corridor would be crucial to the Maoist strategy of enabling free and safe movement of its military companies from one battlefield to another. Government sources told HT that Maoists arrested in recent weeks, including a courier, had confirmed the corridor was now in use.
“A corridor is essentially a question of support structures. In recent times, they have strengthened themselves in Odisha’s heavily-forested Naupada district,” a home ministry official said. This means Maoists have managed to build a reasonable support base among the local population along the Chhattisgarh-Odisha border, right up to Jharkhand’s Gumla district. HT had in January 2011 reported intelligence inputs about Maoists’ attempts to create the corridor. In October last year, the IB had sounded another alert on the same.
“The Maoist idea of mobile warfare is that better trained military companies should be able to operate from anywhere,” a senior police officer said. The closest the rebels have come to this is in and around Jharkhand, in areas under the charge of Dev Kumar Singh, who heads the Bihar Jharkhand North Chhattisgarh Special Area. This 300-strong team operates in Gaya, Aurangabad Chatra, Gumla, Palamu, Gadwa and Latehar districts. “Today, this is the strongest naxal belt,” he said.
CPI accuses Gadchiroli police of illegal arrest of tribals
Gadchiroli: The Communist Party of India (CPI) on Sunday alleged that local police illegally arrested four tribals, including three women, from the district in a bid to project them as surrendered naxals, a charge denied by police.
“Police picked up Sunita Dhondu Kumoti (20) from Kurkheda village last night, besides Jaywanta Dhaniram Kerami (25), Sukaro Hagru Tulavi (18) and Zituram Dinu Madavi (21)–all residents of Lavhari village, in violation of rules”, said Mahesh Kopulwar, District Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI) in a press conference here on Sunday.
He alleged that police kept the family members of all the four tribals in the dark about their arrest and also made them run from one police station to another when they approached them for information on their whereabouts. “Police action was illegal. How can any citizen be arrested without assigning any reason?…The district police want to project these tribals as surrendered naxalites to embellish their record”, Kopulwar said while demanding immediate release of the tribals.
Maoist create link between units of Chhattisgarh, Odisha
Ranchi: The Maoists were able to create a ‘corridor’ between jurisdictions of two of their committees by penetrating into three districts of eastern Chhattisgarh and consolidating in as many districts of western Odisha, according to an official document. The Maoists have formed the Chhattisgarh-Odisha Border State Committee with three divisions to operate in eastern Chhattisgarh districts of Mahasamund, Gariaband and Dhamtari and western Odisha districts of Bolangir, Bargarh and Nuapada.
This was revealed in a letter sent to 13 states, including Jharkhand, by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Maoists’ efforts to expand in new areas of various states. “This has helped create a corridor between the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee area on the one hand, and Bihar-Jharkhand-North Chhattisgarh Special Area Committee area on the other,” the letter said. It pointed out that the heightened Maoist activities in western Odisha could be gauged from 30 incidents that had occurred in Bolangir district last year.
This level of Maoist activity can be comparable to that in Malkangiri district situated in southern Odisha, a stronghold area of the rebels. “From virtually non-existent levels of violence in 2011, there has been a considerable increase in violence in Bolangir, and to a lesser extent in Bargarh district (in 2012),” the letter said. The Maoist consolidation in this area was needed “to be closely monitored in view of the party’s (CPI-Maoist) plans to convert Sunabeda forest area in Nuapada district (in western Odisha) into a base area,” the letter said. The letter is based on an intelligence assessment as on March 8 on the Maoists effort at expansion.