AP to give presentation on anti-Naxal operations in CMs meet
Andhra Pradesh will give a special presentation about its much-acclaimed model of anti-Naxal operations at the Chief Ministers conference scheduled to be held here on Wednesday. At the special session of nine Chief Ministers of Maoist-hit states, to be held on the sidelines of conference of Chief Ministers on internal security, officials of Andhra Pradesh will give a 20-minute presentation on its model of operations against Naxals which have been successful in wiping out the extremists from most parts of the state.
The intelligence gathering mechanism, role of local police stations, penetration in Maoist hierarchy and the active role played by special Greyhounds forces will be showcased to chief ministers of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N Kiran Kumar Reddy will also be present at the two-hour session. The Centre has already asked the Maoists-affected states to form the special forces on the lines of Greyhounds and promised funds.
In mouthpiece, CPI (Maoist) leader Sudarshan says Naxal ‘rule’ benefited tribals
The government move to win the hearts of tribals to tackle the Naxal issue may be gaining pace, but the Naxals too claim to have started their own development programmes. In an interview published in April 2013 issue of Pahat (Dawn), a mouthpiece of Maharashtra State Committee of CPI (Maoist), Katakam Sudarshan, secretary of Central Regional Bureau of Maoists and alleged mastermind of the Darbha Valley massacre in Chhattisgarh, says that lands of over 1,000 farmers were levelled and 50 new reservoirs and farm-bunds have been built in the “liberated” Dandakaranya zone.
The programme reportedly was launched in 2011 on the occasion of Bhumkal Diwas on February 10. It was on this day in 1910 that the tribals revolted against the British in Bhumkal, Bastar. Sudarshan has claimed that in the zone, that cover parts of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, houses have been built for 136 homeless. “Only one-third of the Rs 1.5 crore allotted by zonal government (Jantaana Sarkar) was spent on the works. Since the funds don’t get lapsed, the amount will be spent for further works,” he says. Sudarshan claims that over 1.2 lakh people participated in the three-week-long activity.
With this initiative, Sudarshan says, people are finding it less necessary to travel to adjoining states to fetch anything. Trying to emphasise that the villagers are participants in the armed conflict, he says, “And in such times, it has become possible for the people to unitedly fight police attacks.” The Maoist leader also expounded on industrial growth based on agriculture. “The current exploitative ruling classes are afraid that if this alternative model of development succeeds, it will pose a danger for their existence. So they are trying to crush it,” he said.
Rubbishing various Acts like the 1970 Land Ceiling Act and the 2006 Forest Rights Act, he says such laws have done no good to tribal farmers. Supporting the Telangana cause, he says, “Deceitful conspiracy by Nehru and Patel saw annexation of Telangana. Communists and Muslims continued to be massacred even after the Nizam surrendered. After creating Andhra Pradesh, people from coastal Andhra started exploiting poor Telangana farmers leading to agitation in 1969.” Marri Chenna Reddy rode the wave of dissent and won 11 Lok Sabha seats but he later ditched the Telangana people and joined the Congress, says Sudarshan. According to him even what Chandrashekhara Rao of TRS is doing is nothing beyond elections, resignations and lobbying. “We are supporting it since it is necessary for real people’s Telangana and prevent it from being reduced to the same state of affairs as other states,” he says in the interview.
Govt finally acts against Maoists menance, gives the go-ahead to eliminate top rebel leaders
Recovering from the shocking attack on a Congress convoy in Chhattisgarh that left 28 people dead, the government has given the go-ahead to a massive counteroffensive against the Maoists with focus on eliminating top rebel leaders. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has prepared a hit list of 25 senior Maoist commanders responsible for masterminding deadly attacks, and got the approval of the Union Home Ministry to go after them. “The idea is to target individuals and finish their top leadership. Getting hold of ground-level cadres has not worked,” an official source said.
The CRPF, the primary force responsible for anti-Maoist operations in the ‘Red’ corridor, is expected to follow the new strategy with the help of state forces. Official sources said the Maoists who attacked the Congress convoy in Bastar on May 25 had split into smaller groups after the incident. “We have information that they are moving in batches of 20-30 people and have scattered in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh,” said a CRPF officer. Security forces are now preparing to strike deep into the ‘Red’ zone to flush out top Maoist leaders. “Based on ground intelligence, we have identified the top commanders and have also been following their whereabouts,” the officer said, adding the list has already been shared with the Home Ministry. The recent incidents of Maoist violence have busted the claims made by security forces that the outlaws were feeling the heat as the number of casualties on their side had been increasing.
“We were able to neutralise a large number of them. The arrests also had gone up giving an impression that their activities are under control. But the recent incidents has shattered that theory,” said a home ministry official, adding that the only way to curb the menace is to target their leadership. To step up the offensive, the CRPF deployment in the Naxalhit areas has been increased. Currently, there are 80 battalions of the paramilitary force – which means close to 80,000 troops – on ground. Till last year, this number was around 65,000. The focus is on Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh with nearly 70 battalions deployed in these two states.
Five additional battalions were rushed to the two red bastions after the May 25 attack. Besides CRPF, a few battalions of the Border Security Force and the Indo Tibetan Border Police have also been deployed in these areas. The home ministry has also planned to upgrade special forces in the states hit by the Left-wing extremism. It is proposed that 80 per cent of the cost incurred for setting up such units will be incurred by the home ministry. Sources said the ministry is stressing on these states to set up such a force without any delay.
Military advisers in LWE states still on paper
Despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh describing the Maoist Left-wing insurgency as the country’s biggest internal security threat, the Congress-led UPA and the Opposition-ruled states of Chhattisgarh (BJP), Odisha (BJD), Jharkhand (till recently the BJP) and West Bengal (TMC)have been sitting on a 2010 proposal to have military advisers to coordinate the fight against the guerillas. The matter has come up ahead of a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the nine Maoist-hit states to be convened by Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Wednesday.
And the meeting,which will be held in the aftermath of the deadly May 25 Naxal ambush on a Congress contingent at Bastar in Chhattisgarh,is expected to chalk out a plan to tackle the menace. Meanwhile, the proposal to have military advisers was advocated by Shinde’s predecessor in the ministry, P Chidambaram. Under the plan, retired Army Major Generals were to be roped in as advisers in the four worst-hit states to guide the Central security forces and state police in offensive and defensive operations, military style.
Following a request from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA), which was first made in June 2010, the Army prepared a panel comprising the names of retired Major Generals vastly experienced in guerrilla warfare and counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern states and in Sri Lanka during the Indian Peace-Keeping Force (IPKF) campaign against the Tamil Tiger rebels (LTTE)there in the late eighties.
Although a similar request was made to the MHA on half-a-dozen occasions, it did not elicit a response from the ministry mandarins. “The list of names of Major Generals was last sent three-four months ago…that is, sometime early this year. We haven’t heard from either the MHA or the four state governments to the latest communication too,” a senior MoD official told Express. The proposal was clearly prompted by the dastardly attack carried out at Dantewada in April 2010, when 76 security personnel sent into the Chhattisgarh forests to fight the Maoists, were massacred by the heavily armed extremists in a well-planned ambush.
“The 2010 attack gave the policy-makers the insight that this fight is not going to be easy without a military angle in the anti-Maoist campaign in the states. That was when the proposal to have military advisers directing the operations and coordinating among the Centre, states and the security forces was mooted,” noted an MHA official, who chose not to be named. After Chidambaram moved out of the MHA in July 2012, the need to have a military approach in the security operations against the Maoists seem to have been put on the back-burner. “The four states too have not responded to the (proposal for) appointment of military advisers from the panel sent to them,” the official said, indicating that politics could have something to do with their cold-shouldering the MHA move. Interestingly, it was retired Lieutenant General Mukesh Sabharwal, a former Adjutant General and an officer with vast counter-insurgency (C-I) and guerrilla warfare experience, who emphasised the need to have military advisers to ensure an effective campaign against the Maoists.
“There are a number of problems plaguing the anti-Maoist operations of the Central and state police forces. These include poor command and control structures of the forces, inadequate equipment, and lack of leadership,” Sabharwal, who has commanded an Army Corps in the North-East, pointed out. “The Army is trained to function as a single unit during such operations. But the government thinks it is a numbers game and having a large number of policemen was enough to do the job. They focus on numbers instead of a cohesive unit. That’s where the Maoists, even in small numbers,outdo the security personnel,” he said.
Sabharwal had also drawn attention to the fact that the IPS officers, who normally handled law and order cases, were para-dropped to lead the C-I troopers but they lacked the knowledge of the men they were to command for the C-I operations. Though the Army has imparted training to nearly 80,000 Central and state police personnel in C-I operations and jungle warfare in the last decade, those provided training don’t get deployed in the anti-Maoist operations. “When an Army unit is deployed in a C-I operation, they go through specific package training ahead of their deployment before they begin any operation,” the former Lt General added.
Naxalites in south India building inter-state network
BANGALORE: Alarm bells are not exactly ringing in Karnataka’s anti-Naxalite establishment, notwithstanding the ambush by Maoists of a Congress cavalcade and killing of two top party leaders in Chhattisgarh on May 25. The anti-Naxalite force of Karnataka points out that Naxalites in the southern state are nowhere capable of carrying out a Chhattisgarh-like operation. The Karnataka Naxalites are still in the propaganda stage where they are trying to strike root among the masses and build a network of activists, senior intelligence officials said. Karnataka is among the southern states that have seen Naxalite activities.
Only a year ago, the anti-Naxalite force had raided a live camp in Belthangady in Western Ghats. This year, in February, there were reports of Naxalites, including some top leaders, moving from Karnataka to Kerala, through Madikeri. A massive combing operation was launched by commandos from Kerala and Karnataka, following these reports. Highly-placed intelligence sources said that unlike the Maoists of Chhattisgarh, Naxalites here are not arming themselves but are busy with propaganda activities.
“What we know is that there’s a movement of these Naxalite elements within the triangle of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu,” said a senior Karnataka intelligence officer. It was suspected that Naxalites crossed over to Kerala for a meeting of the cadre on the occasion of the death anniversary of Naxalite Varghese. “Naxalites here are trying to drop anchor in the overlapping border areas of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Their propaganda is geared to build support among locals in these regions,” the officer explained. A senior Kerala police official, too, shared the same view. He said that during raids conducted after the movement of Naxalites in February to Kerala, many propaganda pamphlets had been seized. The officers said as much as the combing operations, intelligence units of all three have intensified their operations and are cooperating with each other. ANF headless The anti-Naxalite force of the state is currently without a full-time head, following the reshuffe of top police officers. IGP Alok Kumar who headed ANF, was replaced by IGP Suneel Kumar earlier this year. Suneel Kumar was soon moved out, leaving the ANF headless. Currently, Bhaskar Rao, IGP (internal security), is holding additional charge of ANF. Commented a senior officer: “The ANF may be headless but the body is functioning.”
Stage set for anti-Red operations
PATNA: Police headquarters has once against sent armed forces to Chakarbanda forest on the border of Gaya and Aurangabad districts to take on the Maoists. IG (operations) Amit Kumar said, “The purpose is to dominate the Sherghati and Dumaria areas and weed out Maoists.” Two companies of CRPF, two companies of BMP and four companies of STF (nicknamed Cheetah) were pushed into the forest on Saturday to take on Maoists, who have been giving sleepless nights to the police off and on. The forces are equipped with latest weapons, night vision devices and anti- landmine and demining devices.
Following the Sukma village blast triggered by Maoists in Chhattisgarh, in which several top Congress leaders were eliminated, the Bihar police, ostensibly on the instructions of the Union ministry of home affairs, have decided to launch a concerted drive against the ultra-left organization. The forces would be stationed in the area on a permanent basis and in the near future, a new police station well equipped with arms and ammunitions would come up inside the forest to lodge cases against the members of ultra- left organizations.
Central armed forces had earlier been sent to the Chakarbanda forest on the Gaya side but were withdrawn after the Union ministry of home affairs issued an order directing the state government to release five companies of CRPF for deployment in Chhattisgarh. This had adversely affected the anti-Naxalite operations in Bihar. Recently, the central forces have been returned to the state. Once the area is dominated by the police forces, areas like Sherghati and Chakarbanda and villages like Lutwa and Sevra, which had witnessed frequent movement of Maoists till recently, are expected to see a return of peace.
‘UAV proves ineffective in anti-Maoist operations’
HYDERABAD: The much-hyped unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are proving ineffective in tracking the Maoists in the Andhra-Odisha and Andhra-Chhattisgarh borders. Intelligence officials claim that the drones have become a white elephant as the UAVs stationed miles away in Hyderabad hardly come handy in locating the movement of the Maoists after attacks in the thick forests on the border areas.
The UAV, operated by the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) from the Begumpet airport, is meant to be used for anti-Maoist intelligence gathering in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. The information gathered by the drone is meant to be shared with various security agencies. However, it is learnt that after the recent ambush on Congress leaders in Sukma district in Chhattisgarh, in which the Maoists killed 28 people, the UAV was of little use in locating the retreating Maoists.
A decision has been taken now to relocate the UAV from Hyderabad to Bhilai in Chhattisgarh. State police officials said Andhra Pradesh would get another drone at a later stage as a replacement. When the proposal of deploying the Israeli-made UAVs for anti-Maoist operations was first mooted, officials of various agencies felt it would be useful in tracking the extremists even during night time. “It is a fact that the UAV can be deployed to gather intelligence after an attack to quickly locate the retreating naxalites. Besides capturing images, it is also capable of picking up voices. It is also a fact that the available UAV has become a white elephant,” credible sources in the state police told TOI.
Though it has been over a year since the drone was stationed in the city, it was hardly used due to various reasons like its inability to distinguish between civilian and Maoist camps, fuel efficiency etc. A few months ago, based on a proposal by additional director-general (Intelligence) M Mahendar Reddy, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) permitted the state police to hire an MI-172 helicopter for anti-Maoist operations. The state has been using a BSF helicopter located in Chhattisgarh for any emergency in the Maoist-affected Visakha Agency areas.
Maoist arms dump found
ADILABAD: Police on Sunday found a Maoist dump in the forests of Rindha village of Bejjuru mandal in Adilabad district. The police team was on a combing operation when it found the arms and ammunition hidden underground by outlawed Maoists. Kagaznagar DSP A Suresh Babu said after a tip-off the police combed the forest area adjacent to the river Pranahita where they found the dump. The police received information at 7.30am when they were conducting a gram sabha in the village to improve relationship between the police and the people by ascertaining the problems of the villagers, the DSP added. The dump consisted of three country-made pistols, 15 bullets, and 25 detonators.
Bihar Sharif: Maoist nabbed in police raid
A Maoist was arrested on Monday from a village in Bihar’s Nalanda district, police said. Acting on a tip off, the police raided a house at Patanbigha village and nabbed the ultra, identified as Arvind Kumar Verma, the police said. The Maoist has been charged with demanding extortion from a construction company which was carrying out a road project worth rupees two crore between Sohjanna and Panchloha villages, they added.
Two Maoist cadres nabbed in Assam
Guwahati, June 2 (IBNS) : Security forces apprehended two Maoist cadres in Assam’s Dibrugarh district on Sunday, police said. Following a tip-off, police had launched operation at Tengakhat area in the upper Assam district and nabbed the left wing extremists. The nabbed militants were identified as Pradeep Dham alias Robert and Bijoy Bauri. ”The nabbed militants are the political wing members of the outfit,” a top police official said.
Assam police had arrested at least nine left wing extremists including two Maoist central committee members in the state in past five weeks. Recently, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that the left wing extremists had set up bases in nine districts of the state and continuing recruitment drive. In other hand, the Assam government has urged to the Union Home ministry to declare all the nine districts of the state as Maoist dominated districts.
7 new police stations sanctioned in Chhattisgarh
RAIPUR: Soon after the gruesome Maoist attack that took place on May 25, killing 30 persons including senior Congress leaders, the state police has sanctioned seven new police stations in several districts of Chhattisgarh to improve law and order situation. The proposal for new police stations, which was lingering since long was sanctioned by inspector general of police G P Singh on May 30. As per the orders, Kabirnagar and Sejabahar would get two police stations in Raipur while a new polic station would be at Akla Dongri in Dhamtari district.
Atarmara at Panduka block in Gariyaband district, Kurushnar in Maoist hot-bed of Narayanpur district, Gurgum at Jagdalpur district and Faraspal and Mahendra Karma’s native place in Dantewada district would have one new police station each. Police headquarter sources said that as per the sanctioned number, each police station is supposed to have a staff of at least 65 men with 50 constables, eight head constables, four ASIs, two sub-inspectors and one inspector.
“The procedure for recruitment and selection is already underway. In the wake of recent Maoist attack police is under immense pressure, therefore, the new police stations would come into life soon within a month’s time,” the official said. A police post at Pasta in Balrampur, another Maoist-hit region, would be upgraded to a police station and would have 29 policemen including 24 constables, two head constables, two assistant sub-inspectors and one SHO.
Digital cameras for closer look on secretariat visitors
RANCHI: To keep an eye on movement of every individual on the state secretariat, Jharkhand police are installing around 30 high resolution digital CCTV cameras. These cameras will be placed at strategic location, including the main gate, which will take picture even during rain and fog. At present there are some analog CCTV cameras are in place on the secretariat but pictures taken by them are not very clear.
The images are hazy when it rains or there is dense fog during winterThe number of cameras are also a few, sources in the police department said. “Since the state is sensitive because of Maoist presence in 18 of the 24 districts and a number of top politicians are on the hit list of the rebels, we expect that advance CCTV system will help us in proper monitor the place where thousands of people visit every day,” said a source.
Additional director general (modernization) S N Pradhan said the cameras were brought by the government at time of 34th National Games. The cameras are of high quality and take best pictures from a long distance. “Keeping in mind the need for upgrading security system on the secretariat premises where top decision-makes of the state sit, we have decided to install these cameras at all strategic points,” said Pradhan. The digital cameras will also help the monitoring officers keep an eye from a distant place unlike analogue cameras in which case they (the officers) have to be stationary at the control room. “The moment there is some suspicious movement on the premises even late at night, the officer can pass necessary instructions to the policemen on duty,” said a source.