Two Naxalites killed in encounter with security forces in Chhattisgarh
Two suspected Naxalites were killed in an encounter with troops of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the State Police near Kachora vilalge in Chhote Donger police station area in Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh today. A spokesman for the CRPF said that, based on a specific intelligence input, a joint special operation was carried out in the area from 0030 hours today by troops of 39 Battalion of the CRPF, 201 CoBRA and State Police. At about 0530 hours, when the troops reached near Kachora village, a fierece encounter took place between the Naxalites and the security forces, he said.
According to him, the encounter lasted for nearly 20 minutes. When the firing stopped and the area was searched, two bodies of suspected Naxalites, in unform, were recovered from the site of the encounter. The security forces also seized four guns, three hand grenades, four country-made hand grenades, four improvised explosive devices (IEDs), one Ak 47 magazine, one SLR magazine, 19 rounds of AK 47 ammunition and seven rounds of SLR ammunition, he said.
“The presence of more Naxal groups in the area in large number has been reported. Troops are searching the area,” the spokesman added.
Maoist arrested in Odisha
Phulbani (Odisha): A Maoist, allegedly involved in several offences including bomb blasts, was arrested by the security forces in Odisha’s Kandhamal district on Wednesday, police said. Mathews Bedbaka was picked from his hideout in Meragudi village at Kotagarh area during a joint combing by CRPF, district voluntary force and local police, Baliguda sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Arjun Barik said.
Mathew, who hails from Rayagada district, had been active in Maoist activities and was suspected to be involved in an ambulance blast in Kandhamal in November 2010 in which five people were killed, police said. His involvement is also suspected in an explosion near Srirampur on January 5, 2012 in which three police personnel died, they said.
Maoist Communist Party, Manipur on May Day
IMPHAL, April 30: The proscribed outfit Maoist Communist Party, Manipur Central Head Quarter has conveyed its message on the occasion of the May Day in a press release. The release has wished for the growth of the “Manipur Proletarian Revolution”, the foundation of which was laid by Lamyanba Hijam Irabot in Manipur.
The statement said according to several intellectuals, the first rally of the workers and farmers in Manipur was led by Lamyanba Hijam Irabot on the May Day of 1939 from Moirangkhom which had also passed through the residence of Political agent Jimson. Counting since the first rally, the day has been observed 74 times the statement said and added there is still no development or improvement in the condition of the farmers and workers.
The red sign over Assam
Assam may not be among states fighting a stiff battle against left-wing extremism yet, but Maoists definitely have a strong footing in the state now. The latest evidence is the arrest of two important functionaries of the CPI (Maoist) party from state capital Guwahati, both from a tribal community. For over a year now, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has been telling the Centre that at least seven districts of the state have figured on the Maoist map.
Gogoi had also pleaded with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to include these seven districts in the Integrated Action Plan so that the growth of left-wing extremists could be contained before it became a menace. In December, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh too asked the Centre to declare at least two districts of Assam – Dibrugarh and Tinsukia – as Maoist-dominated. Central committee member Aklanta Rabha and Jharkhand “state trainer” Siraj Rabha — both from the Rabha community which had figured in the clashes in Goalpara — arrested last Friday, in fact are the latest among important Maoist functionaries held in the state over the past two years.
Others include Indranil Chanda, Ana-nd Kharwar, Pijush Kanti Acharjee and Aditya Bora, top names in the CPI (Maoist) hierarchy. Already fighting numerous insurgent and armed groups, Assam has been on the Maoist radar for a long time, with Kishenji having called for a cordial relationship with the Northeast outfits at least four years ago. Aklanta Rabha was once part of a now defunct group called the Rabha Protection Force that he had himself founded in 1991, and a sizeable section of the 180-odd Maoist cadres in Assam are said to have been with the ULFA or some other group before switching over to the CPI(Maoist). Most of these cadres, who also include several women, come from the backward districts of the state including those that share inter-state boundary with neighbouring states, with the common factor between the regions being disparities in development.
Soni Sori, Kodopi acquitted of murder charges
Soni Sori, the tribal school teacher accused of acting as a courier between Essar Steel and the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist), and Lingaram Kodopi, the activist-journalist trained in Delhi, have been acquitted in one more crucial case by Dantewada court. The case filed in 2010 by Dantewada police alleged that Ms Sori and Lingaram Kodopi are among several others involved in planning and executing an attack on local Congress leader, Avdesh Singh Gautam, in which two persons were killed.
15 others, including activists of various mainstream political parties, who were booked with Ms Sori were also acquitted. Congress leader Vijay Sodi, CPI leader Lala Ram Kunjam and a Panchayat member of Dantewada, Sannuram Mandawi are among the accused who got acquitted on Wednesday.
Soni Sori has now been acquitted in six out of eight cases filed against her. A FIR filed in Kuakonda police station in Dantewada court said that on 7 July, 2010 midnight, more than 150 Maoist soldiers attacked local Congress leader and contractor Avdesh Singh Gautam’s house. Mr Gautam’s brother in law, Sanjay Singh and house attendant Dharmendra were killed, while his son and a guard were injured. 17 accused, including Ms Sori and Mr Kodopi, were present at the scene of crime, said Mr Gautam, according to the FIR.
On basis of available evidences and witness’ statements several charges were brought against the accused under Indian Penal Code, Arms Act and Explosive Substance Act which includes criminal conspiracy, rioting, arson causing death, and attempt to murder, besides a host of other allegations. “Due to lack of enough and proper evidence additional sessions Judge Anita Dehariya acquitted Soni Sori, Lingaram Kodopi and others,” said Ms Sori’s lawyer in Dantewada K K Dubey on phone.
In February, this year, Ms. Sori was acquitted in two other cases. One in which, she was accused to have opened fire and used explosives to blow up vehicles of Essar Steel. In another, she was accused of firing on police near Essar Beneficiation Plant in Kirandul. “Witnesses could not confirm her involvement,” Mr. Dubey told The Hindu earlier. Last year, Ms. Sori was acquitted in two more cases. Two more cases against Ms Sori are still in court.
One of the allegations, pending in Bacheli court, accused Ms Sori of torching several vehicles. In the other case – the most crucial one – pending in Dantewada court, it is alleged that Ms Sori and Mr Kodopi were planning to hand over “protection money” from Essar Steel to the Maoists. D.V.C.S. Verma, the general manager at an Essar steel plant, and B.K. Lala, one of Essar’s contractors, were arrested in the same case, allegedly for disbursing money.
According to police, Mr. Kodopi and Ms. Sori were carrying the money to the rebels. While Ms Sori and Mr Kodopi are languishing in jail, like thousands of tribal under trials (UTs) of south Chhattisgarh, two of their co-accused, Mr Verma and Mr Lala, got bail soon within months after the arrest.
90 per cent cases against tribals are concocted
Ashok Jain, a senior lawyer of Dantewada, representing some of the accused, who got acquitted with Ms Sori, said Wednesday’s judgement proves how tribals are detained under “false charges.” “These tribals are detained under completely concocted charges, at least most of them. Their families get ruined as they spend several years as undertrials. Whenever the cases are followed well, like the case of Soni Sori, the accused gets acquitted,” Mr Jain said.
A battery of lawyers representing the high profile case of Ms Sori and other accused feel, while the case of Soni Sori or Dr Binayak Sen got enough “attention from all quarters,” cases of thousands of undertrial tribals are getting “absolutely no attention from media or civil society.” “Most of these cases are so flimsy that higher courts may not even admit those or the accused will get bail within hours of admission. But lack of financial and people’s support, keep these tribals behind bars for years,” said one of the lawyers.
“How can a poor tribal be arrested for just being a resident of an area controlled by the Maoists or sharing a lunch with the rebels, possibly under duress,” said another lawyer. Ms Sori’s lawyers, however, sounded optimistic and said they have moved a bail petition in Chhattisgarh High Court. “I hope, Ms Sori and others will get bail soon after this acquittal in a crucial case,” said Mr Dubey.