India to battle Maoists with more mobiles
The Indian government is looking to build nearly 3,000 mobile towers in areas across the country without coverage, in a Rs. 30 billion (£358m) bid to tackle left wing extremism. The mobile infrastructure project will cover 2,199 locations in nine states where militant Maoists known as Naxals are prevalent.
Naxals are seen by the government as significant destabilising force in the country. In a written reply to a question in parliament, IT minister Killi Kruparani said: “In the 12th Plan period, all villages which presently do not have mobile coverage will be provided with connectivity under a scheme funded by the USOF [Universal Service Obligation Fund].” The USOF has already enabled the building of hundreds of mobile towers in Naxal strongholds around the country, thanks to its Shared Mobile Infrastructure Scheme (SMIS) – an initiative begun in 2007 to subsidise construction and management costs.
However, the current plans are being pushed through by the Department of Telecommunications and Ministry of Home Affairs with one eye on India’s general elections next year, according to The Hindu. A senior MHA official told the paper that the project would not only help development of the impoverished tribal areas in which Left Wing Extremists have historically based been strongest, but also aid state paramilitary and police in their long running battle against militant Naxals.
It’s unclear exactly what kind of strategic advantage mobile coverage would give the government security forces, given that switching on a signal would surely also benefit the Maoists. One potential angle is the authorities would be able to monitor communications, using its newly installed Central Monitoring System (CMS).
Encounter with Maoists on in Jharkhand
An encounter was on between security personnel and Maoists in a forest in Seraikela-Kharswan district of Jharkhand. Superintendent of Police Upendra Kumar said the encounter was continuing at a place between Kalerango and Chatnibeda villages under naxal-affected Kuchai police station.
Acting on an information that Maoists were assembling in the forest, security personnel comprising personnel of Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA), CRPF and district police went to the spot to, Kumar told PTI. The Maoists fired on seeing the securitymen and they retaliated triggering the gunfight, he said. Kumar has reached the spot.
Former Salwa Judum leader’s brother killed by Naxals
Raipur: Brother of a former Salwa Judum leader was killed by suspected Naxalites in Maoist-hit Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, police said on Monday. Banshilal Gota (40), elder brother of Chinnaram Gota, who was a leader of the erstwhile anti-Naxalite movement Salwa Judum, was killed by suspected ultras in Somanpali village under Farsegarh police station, around 350 km away from the state capital, a senior official told a news agency over phone.
Security forces were immediately dispatched to the spot, the official said, adding, Bashilal’s body was brought to Farsegarh police station. “Prima facie it appears that the victim was strangled to death, but the exact cause of death would be ascertained only after the autopsy,” the official added.
According to villagers, a group of naxalities stormed into the victim’s house last night and dragged him out of his home. He was then thrashed with lathis and was taken away. However, he was found dead in the morning, the official said, adding, Banshilal was not associated with the movement.
Maoist leader held in Ranchi
RANCHI: A CPI(Maoist) leader, suspected of having played an important role in the Latehar encounter in January that killed 11 security personnel, and a female friend were arrested in Ranchi on Monday. Yogendra Ganjhu alias Pawan Ganjhu alias Ashimanand is the secretary of the outfit’s North Latehar sub-zone.
His 20-year-old friend Sanjida alias Khusboo Khatoon alias Shaira Kumari is an active member of the CPI(Maoist). Police recovered a laptop, a gun and three bullets during their joint raid with state intelligence department. Police suspect Ganjhu’s role in the January 7 encounter in Latehar where 14 people including civilians were killed.
The Latehar encounter is important as the rebels planted IEDs in the bodies of two jawans. “Being a commander, Ganjhu might have played an influential role in the encounter. I have not been able to interrogate him enough so far,” said Ranchi SSP Saket Kumar Singh. From Latehar, Ganjhu left his cattle-grazing business in 2005 to join the outfit.
“Within four years, he became a zonal commander, which is a rare feat,” said a police officer. The Latehar success made him an even important member and the Bihar Regional Committee of the CPI(Maoist) decided to elevate Ganjhu, in his thirties, to the central committee. “A couple of months ago, he asked his girlfriend to learn computers and sent her to Ranchi. He also arranged a rented accommodation for her in a posh area. Ganjhu himself is not a literate person,” said a police officer on condition of anonymity. SSP Singh said police were watching her for a long time and were recently informed about Ganjhu’s visit.
A team surrounded her house on Sunday night and arrested them on Monday. “Ganjhu is wanted in more than 24 cases,” said SSP Singh, adding that he carried a reward of Rs 2 lakh.
Maoist expansion plan targets poor NE villages
Adhering to Mao Tse-Tung’s guerrilla warfare style of surrounding urban centres from the countryside, Communist Party of India (Maoist) has unleashed a long-term grand plan of expansion. Their target is the restive northeast where they plan to build their presence steadily in villages.
“The plan is five-pronged and is centred on building up support networks in the villages of Assam and Tripura as of now. Then it will move up to the block level, district level and then the urban centres,” Dr L Bishnoi, IGP, (Central Western Region), Assam Police told HT. Based on the interrogation of several CPI (Maoist) central committee members including Aklanta Rabha, the police officer said: “Rabha, who was arrested on April 25, has confessed that one of their initial efforts comprises setting up a training camp in the Arunachal jungles to train and raise a peoples’ guerrilla army.”
On Thursday, police nabbed Anukul Naskar alias Paresh Da, a central committee member from Guwahati. His arrest came two weeks after the arrest of another central committee member, Maheshji, who was a key operative in Maoist operations in NE. In a meeting in Jharkhand held in 2012-end, the top Maoist leadership had asked Rabha to develop close relationships with other insurgent groups in the NE and coordinate with them to form an umbrella outfit comprising Maoists and the region’s leading insurgent groups.
An Assam Police task force report on the growing Maoist problem in the state has named 181 full-time cadres in the state backed by hundreds of sympathisers and supporters. The Maoists are also anxious to ramp up a strong presence in the NE to ensure a route for regular weapons’ supply.
Maoists blast coffee godown
A group of about 15 armed members of CPI (Maoist)’s Galikonda area committee blasted a coffee godown of the AP Forest Development Corporation at Pedavalasa in GK Veedhi mandal on Saturday night. The roof of one room of the godown was blown off and walls were damaged due to the blast. Some implements for coffee collection and furniture were also damaged. Coffee seeds were not stored in the godown as picking up of seeds was stopped some time ago following a warning from the Maoist party.
The target set for 156 hectares of coffee plantation at Pedavalasa was 100 tons of seeds but collection was stopped after 15 tons were picked up from the plants. The attack on the coffee godown took place several hours after Superintendent of Police G. Srinivas and other officials conducted the Satbhavana Yatra at Rallagedda, a Maoist stronghold, which is about 16 km from Pedavalasa.
Two pamphlets left by the Galikonda area committee and the Adivasi Rytu Coolie Sangham and Viplava Mahila Sangham at Bodidemullu temple, one km away from the coffee godown urged the people to boycott the “fake” Panchayat elections (expected to be conducted in a few months) and demanded the government to stop the Operation Green Hunt; attacks against the Girijans by the “hired” forces of the government; harassment of the Girijans after branding them as Maoist sympathisers; illegal arrests and fake encounters after raiding the villages at midnight.
The organisations said the Congress leaders were responsible for the arrests and fake encounters and demanded that they should protect the Girijans, their natural wealth and properties. According to information received here, Krishna, an important member of the Galikonda area committee, was among those who blasted the coffee godown.
The group first tried breaking into a bigger room of the godown but as they could not break the iron doors, they entered an adjacent room by breaking open its doors. They set off a mine in that room, which blew away the roof, damaged the walls, farm implements, furniture, etc. in the room.
Thunderbolt team begins hunt for Maoists in Western Ghats
A 30-member Thunderbolt commando team of the state police, which reached Thrissur on Sunday, took out massive combing operations at Vellikulangara and Pariyaram forest ranges in search of suspected Maoists on Monday. The operations were carried out with the assistance of the local police and Forest officials following the intelligence reports about possible Maoist presence in the Western Ghats.
Though the team could not find anything amiss in the forest during the operation, the Forest officials and police personnel have asked the Tribals in the forest to inform them if they find any unfamiliar people in their locality. “The forest guards, along with a 30-member team of the Kerala Thunderbolts, an elite group of commandos specially trained for tackling possible terror strikes in the state, carried out search operations at Choolakadavu, Mullapana, Koramala, Karikkadavu and Anapandam forest areas,” said K Abdul Rasaqu, Deputy Range Officer, Pariyram Forest Range.
“No evidence could be traced about the suspected militant movement in the area. But, we used the occasion to sensitise the Tribals living in the fringe areas about the looming threat,” K Abdul Rasaqu said. “The search operations concluded around 2.30 pm. However, the team will continue the search operation in Varanadarapilly and Athirappilly forest ranges on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively,” said A Sumesh, Kodakara Circle Inspector, who took part in the operation.
A week ago, some media houses had received a letter undersigned by suspected Maoist leader Jogi, spoke person of the Western Ghats special zonal committee of CPI (Maoist), declaring that the Maoists have formed guerrilla squads in the Western Ghat areas in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states and have started training camps and operations.
In the letter, they also urged the oppressed people to join guerrilla squads with them in order to create a new democratic India after waging war against the semi-feudal structures and invasive forces in society.
2 jawans injured in Red encounter
RANCHI: CPI (Maoist) rebels engaged security forces in a fierce gun battle in Kuchai jungles in Saraikela Kharsawa district, 130km from here, and injured two CoBRA jawans on Monday. The development comes on the eve of the visit of Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde to Jharkhand who is scheduled to review security scenario in worst Red-hit state.
Two Maoists were also killed in the encounter, police claimed. The injured jawans were rushed to the Tata Main Hospital, Jamshedpur. The gun battle continued till late in the evening in which police claimed to have killed two rebels. Saraikela SP Upendra Kumar said the forces recovered the body of one rebel with one SLR and huge haul of ammunition.
“A search operation has been launched in the area for more arms and the body of the second rebel,” the SP said. The Maoist whose body was recovered has not been identified as yet, said the SP. tnn Sources said that the search operation was slightly halted due to darkness. The district police launched a massive operation involving several companies of CoBRA, CRPF and Jharkhand police jawans on Monday afternoon after they received an intelligence tip.
Police refused to disclose the number of rebels or the name of the group. The rebels opened indiscriminate firing on the forces when they (security forces) were combing in the jungled between Kalerango and Chatnibeda villages under Kuchai police station. Sources said the gun battle continued for over five hours.
Security personnel seize pistol, cartridges
Security personnel today seized a pistol, some cartridges and explosive materials during a joint operation at Pakari village under Kotgarh police station area in Odisha’s Kandhamal district. The raid was conducted by personnel of CRPF, DVF and local police, Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Balliguda Arjun Barik told reporter.
The police seized one pair of Maoist uniform, one 9 MM Pistol with 25 live cartridges, one steel tiffin with 1.5 IED explosive, one BP jacket, one Dragger, one nylon Belt, Gun powder 150 grams, iron splinter 200 grams, sources said.