Chhattisgarh HC reserves verdict on Naxal’s bail
Bilaspur: The Chhattisgarh High Court has reserved its judgement on the bail application of Malti alias K S Priya, who was convicted for her alleged involvement in Naxal activities. Earlier a lower court had awarded her 10 years imprisonment. “The single bench of Justice R S Sharma on Thursday reserved its judgement on the bail plea of Malti, who was arrested in 2008 for her alleged involvement in naxal activities,” her counsel Satish Verma said.
In 2006, Naxal literature and CDs were distributed at the MLA rest house in Raipur through courier. Around two years after the incident, police had busted an urban Naxal network and had arrested Malti along with three others – Surendra Kosaria, Siddharth Sharma and Pratik Jha – on February 22, 2008 in this connection. After hearing the case, a district court had convicted Malti and Surendra and sentenced them to 10 year in jail while two others were acquitted.
Challenging the decision of the district court, Malti later filed an appeal in the High Court along with an application for the suspension of the sentence and grant of bail. After hearing the arguments of Malti’s counsel, the court reserved its verdict. PTI
Jailed Naxal leader Kobad Gandhy moves Delhi HC for bail
Naxal leader Kobad Ghandy, who was arrested and jailed for allegedly setting up a base for the banned CPI(Maoist), has moved a an application at Delhi High Court seeking bail on the grounds that he has already been granted the same relief by Andhra Pradesh High Court in a case. Sixty five-year-old Ghandy, who was arrested on September 20, 2009 by the Special Cell of Delhi Police, filed a copy of the bail order delivered by the AP High Court before Justice Sunil Gaur.
The court, which had earlier issued a notice to Delhi Police on the bail application of Ghandy, on Thursday, however, deferred the hearing to May 16 after the counsel for the police said he was not prepared to argue. Ghandy’s advocate Rebecca John placed on record the order of the AP High Court, which granted him bail in a case of killing of nine persons, including senior Congress leader Chittem Narsi Reddy, in the southern state.
Reddy and eight others were allegedly killed by the Maoists in Narayanapet in Mahbubnagar on August 15, 2005. Ghandy has been booked by Delhi Police under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and IPC for a series of offences, which includes impersonation, cheating and forgery.
Beleaguered Maoists step up expansion programme
Maoists have stepped up their expansion drive in western Odisha and the trijunction of Karnataka-Tamil Nadu-Kerala, a latest assessment by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has revealed. “The sustained campaign against Naxals in their strongholds of Sukma, Bijapur and Narayanpur in Chhaittisgarh, Gadchiroli of Maharashtra and Saranada forest of Jharkhand has forced the Maoists to expand in new areas,” said a senior security officer.
According to the assessment, Maoists are pushing in the western Odisha districts of Bolangir, Bargarh, Naupada and Nabarangpur. They also held a large meeting in Pardarha village of Naupada, which was attended by their four central committee members. Besides Odisha, Maoists have been trying to new front in area around tri-junction of Karanataka-Kerala-Tamil Nadu for the last many years. The security forces have seen renewed Maoist activities in this region this year.
The MHA assessment also shows that in the first three months of the current year more Maoists have been killed in comparison to the security personnel than in the same period in last year. In the first three months of last year, 53 security personnel had been killed, while the figure for Naxals killed in clashes with the security forces and their own breakaway factions stood at 20.
But in 2013, in the first three months ending March 31, only 25 securitymen lost their lives in anti-Naxal operations whereas 30 Maoist were killed clashes with the security forces and breakaway factions like Tritiya Sammelan Prastuti Committee.
Suspected Maoist Sontakke is denied bail
Observing that even the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, specifically freedom of speech and expression and right to life and liberty, are subject to reasonable restrictions, the Bombay High Court recently rejected suspected Maoist Angela Sontakke’s bail application. Justice Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari also observed that Sontakke’s case cannot be held at par with her six co-accused, who have been granted bail by a different judge.
The case pertains to seven arrests made by Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad from Thane and Pune last April. It was alleged that the accused were part of Golden Corridor Committee, a group set up by the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), to spread its message in urban areas. Sontakke is suspected to be the secretary of this committee and her husband Milind Teltumbde, who is absconding, is said to be a top state CPI (Maoist) operative. ATS had allegedly recovered cash, CDs, pen drives and printed material supposedly used to spread the committee’s message.
Making prima facie observations against Sontakke, Justice Dharmadhikari noted in his order that she seemed to be an active member of the banned organisation. “She seems to be a member of the Regional Committee and also Golden Corridor Committee, both of which are part of the banned organisation. She is not just a nominal member,” observed the court.
Further, accepting Special Public Prosecutor Rohini Salian’s arguments, the court also observed, “She does not merely subscribe to the ideology but actively promotes and propounds it. Her acts would fall within the provisions relied upon by the prosecution and to be found in the provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.” Advocate Sudeep Pasbola, representing Sontakke, had argued that her case would not fall beyond mere passive membership of the banned organistation.
He submitted that even if the prosecution’s case is found to be true, Sontakke could be sentenced only under sections providing imprisonment of five to seven years. Pasbola also cited two bail orders of Sontakke’s six co-accused, both given by Justice Abhay Thipsay. Two of them were granted bail in October last year, when Justice Thipsay had observed that every person influenced by Maoist ideology cannot be treated as member of a terrorist organisation.
Four others were granted bail in January this year. Justice Thipsay had then observed that raising issues like “social inequality” was not banned and hence was not punishable. Justice Dharmadhikari overruled all these submissions. The court relied on confessional statement of one of the accused and yet another witness – a freelance journalist, cited by the prosecution. The freelance journalist had narrated his story about how he was taken to a forest area for three weeks and was shown around the activities of banned organisation in detail and was almost persuaded to join the organistation, but he chose not to.
Red terror camps in 7 Maoist-infested states worry government
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has raised concern over naxal terror training camps organised to impart military training for new recruits and planning of special operations against security forces in at least seven Maoist infested States. The banned outfit bastion in Dandakaranya forest region extending over an area of 92,300 sq.km had held maximum number of camps in the last one year.
The camps were organised in Sukma, Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur and Kanker district in Chhattisgarh and Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. “In 2012, 26 training camps were reportedly organised in these districts. During the current year, till April 15, six such training camps have been reportedly organised in these districts,” Minister of State for Home Affairs RPN Singh told Lok Sabha on Tuesday. Singh said these training camps were an important component of the overall military tactics of the CPI (Maoist).
Similar camps are organised in other left wing extremists affected states, including Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Maoists refer to the area as Compact Revolutionary Zone (CRZ) in their military literature. In the last one year, 14 training camps for ultras were organised in Jharkhand followed by 8 camps in Odisha. In order to dismantle Maoist military camps, State and paramilitary forces have launched intensified intelligence-based naxal operations.
Recently, on March 23, a special task force had busted a training camp in Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh. A total of 589 arms were recovered by security forces from various training camps in 2012. Maoists have established various temporary arms production units in the States of Andhra, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Bihar and Maharashtra. These mobile units are entrusted to manufacture artillery, rifle parts and booby traps. “The Central government, wherever required, assists States by providing Central Armed Police Forces and by sharing intelligence inputs in such matters,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, two Naxals were killed on Wednesday in an encounter with security forces in Maoist-hit Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh. The cadres of Daula Dalam of Maoists were gunned down by a joint team of COBRA battalion, CRPF and district force in the jungle of Kachora village in the wee hours, Narayanpur Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) NK Sahu said. In Raipur, two Naxals were killed in an encounter with security forces in Maoist-hit Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh, police said. The cadres of Daula Dalam of Maoists were gunned down by a joint team of COBRA battalion, CRPF and district force in the jungle of Kachora village in the wee hours, Narayanpur DSP NK Sahu said.
Maoists make Assam inroads
The CPI (Maoist) has succeeded in making strong inroads in Assam with security agencies confirming the presence of nearly 40 armed cadres who were trained in two separate training camps — first in Jharkhand and second in the frontier state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Disclosing that CPI (Maoist) has also roped in at least 150 overground hardcore workers, propagating Maoist ideology among the youths in Assam, authoritative security sources told this newspaper that Akalanta Rabha alias Maheshji who was arrested recently had also succeeded in establishing link with some Khasi youths in Meghalaya with the help of a woman activists. Asserting that security agencies have got concrete evidence on training camps of CPI (Maoist) cadres in Arunachal Pradesh, security sources said that Prakant Bose, heading the eastern bureau of CPI (Maoist) was looking after the activities of the outfit in the northeast from Jharkhand.
Pointing out that Maheshiji who hails from Goalpara in Assam was not active for quite some time and wanted his release from the organisation, security sources said that Prakant Bose motivated him to start recruitment of new cadres and assigned task of strengthening the organisation in Assam and Meghalaya.
Before joining the CPI (Maoist) in 1996-97, Maheshji was also the secretary of All Rabha Students Union in the state. Maheshji who was also getting salary from its central committee for himself and his supporting staff cadres, was also doing a business of direct trading of consumer products.
In the process he met a Khasi woman who not only got influenced by his ideology but also invited for a meeting with local youths in villages bordering Assam in Meghalaya. However, before his meeting, police arrested him. Security sources referring the investigation of the security agencies said that CPI (Maoist) had signed an agreement with Peoples Liberation Army of Manipur for arms supply but off late they had started targeting the sophisticated weapons in possession of other militant outfits in Assam.