Woman Maoist held in AP, brought to Malkangiri
A hardcore woman Maoist, allegedly involved in several offences including an attack on Nalco’s bauxite mines, was arrested in Andhra Pradesh and brought to Odisha’s Malkangiri district today, police said. Potluri Kanti alias Bhabani alias Kavita (35), was arrested in Guntur district by a special police team from here with the assistance of Andhra Pradesh police yesterday and brought here today, they said.
The woman rebel, active in Maoist cadre since 2005, was involved in the attack on security force camp at R Udaygiri in 2008, said a senior police official associated with anti-naxal operation. She was also involved in the attack on aluminium major Nalco’s bauxite mines at Damanjodi in Koraput district in 2009 in which about 10 CISF jawans were killed, he said, adding the woman ultra had played a role in the killing of two persons in a Kalimela tribal village in 2011.
Involved in several other offences including abduction, the woman naxal was earlier arrested by Andhra police in 2011 and lodged in Vishakhapatnam jail. She was released on May 18, 2013. After getting information from Andhra police, a special squad of Malkangiri police went to Guntur and arrested her from her house.
Activists angry as Indian government targets foreign funding of nongovernmental organizations
NEW DELHI – An Indian activist group said Wednesday the government has frozen its bank account as part of a broader crackdown on rights groups that receive foreign funding and have criticized India’s policies. The New Delhi-based Indian Social Action Forum received a letter from the Home Ministry three weeks ago freezing the 6 million rupees ($109,000) in its bank account and describing its activities as “prejudicial and against (the) public interest,” said Ramesh Sharma, an official with the group. The forum is required to ask the ministry’s permission if it wants to spend its money, the letter said.
A home ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear of repercussions, denied targeting activists based on the opinions they express. The government was just acting against organizations that did not have the proper approvals for receiving foreign funding, the official said. Under two-year-old rules, Indian organizations are barred from getting donations from abroad without government permission. But many rights groups say the government has refused or ignored their requests to register to accept foreign funding. “We have fears that the government is creating a climate of intimidation to silence critics,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director of New York-based Human Rights Watch. Some activists believe they were targeted after visiting the controversial Koodankulam nuclear plant, even though they were not involved with protests there, Ganguly said.
The Indian Social Action Forum campaigns for indigenous peoples’ land rights and against nuclear energy, human rights violations and religious fundamentalism. Sharma said the group received nearly 10 million rupees ($180,000) a year from abroad, and that nearly 90 per cent of its funding comes from German nongovernmental organizations. Sharma said his organization has not violated any laws, though it has challenged the new foreign contribution rules in the Supreme Court. He said the group had no immediate financial trouble and will raise funds within India to offset the loss. Indian organizations have long received donations from both government and private institutions abroad, mainly from the United States, Britain and Germany.
Problems started mounting last year after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accused foreign groups of supporting anti-nuclear protests that delayed the commissioning of the Koodankulam plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The government had been hoping to use nuclear energy to help solve the country’s power crisis. Last year, the government shut down three aid groups, accusing U.S. and Scandinavian groups of supporting the anti-nuclear protesters and delaying implementation of government plans to commercialize genetically modified crops.
The government said it was cancelling the licenses of the organizations because they illegally diverted funds meant for helping disabled people and eradicating leprosy to anti-nuclear protests. The groups denied the claims. In April 2012, India ordered the deportation of 10 French citizens who police said illegally worked with an Indian advocacy group accused of supporting Maoist rebels in the eastern state of Bihar. The group, Ekta Parishad or Unity Forum, said it was working to protect the land and water rights of the poor and denied having rebel ties.