Naxals attack patrolling force, one jawan injured
Khallari (Dhamtari District, Chhattisgarh), June 5 (ANI): Naxals continue to target security forces. Recently, they attacked a patrolling team in the forests of Khallari in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh. A jawan identified as Jeetendra Yadav was injured in the incident. Vijay Katre, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Dhamtari, said: “At around 1.30 p.m., while the joint forces were patrolling in the Khallari forest, Naxals opened fire and a gunman was injured.
His condition is said to stable now.” The recent attack on security forces comes just few days after the gruesome Naxal attack on May 25 in Bastar district in which 28 people were killed, including state Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel, and a senior Congress leader and founder of Salwa Judum, Mahendra Karma. The Naxals are an internal security threat to the country and are responsible for human rights violations. At a recent summit on internal security, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that Naxal violence has no place in a democracy. He also said that the government is ready to talk with the extremist group to find an amicable solution the problem. (ANI)
Madhya Pradesh wants more money to fight Naxals
The State plans to include nine more districts for reimbursements of SRE At the conference of Chief Ministers on internal security, in New Delhi on Wednesday, Madhya Pradesh will reiterate its demand to include nine more of its districts for reimbursements of Security Related Expenditure (SRE) for Left Wing Extremist (LWE) districts. The scheme includes 103 districts in the country of which one district— Balaghat, bordering Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra — is in Madhya Pradesh.
It was in this district that Likhiram Kawre, the then Transport Minister of undivided Madhya Pradesh, was assassinated by the erstwhile Communist Party of India (Marxist- Leninist)- People’s War in 1999. A 17-year-old alleged Maoist cadre, Garjan Singh, was arrested on Tuesday in Balaghat with two country-made firearms. Police sources claimed that Mr. Singh, a resident of Kauwa Behra in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon, was a member of a small action team of the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army of the CPI (Maoist). Shivraj Chouhan, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, accompanied by Chief Secretary R. Parasuram and DGP Nandan Dube, would be demanding that nine other districts — currently under the Integrated Action Plan for backward districts — also be included under the SRE scheme.
This includes six districts bordering Chhattisgarh and two bordering Maharashtra. In the eastern part of the State, these districts have large tribal population and forests. “We can prevent any Naxal activity from developing if we get funds now to modernise our police stations and equipment. We have intelligence that Maoists have surveyed the area. We have reports of Dalam [armed squad] movements in Singrauli, Sidhi, Mandla and Dindori districts. Rather than try and chase them later on, it is better we modernise now and take action,” Mr. Dube told The Hindu. He said so far the Maoists have not been able to recruit local tribal youth.
“They (the Maoists) offered them Rs. 3,000 a month, but there were no takers… They are more successful in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra because the forests are thicker there. Here they risk getting killed, which is a big setback,” he added. Last year, a woman Maoist was killed in a gun battle with the police in Balaghat’s Bamni forests. During the previous fiscal, more than Rs. 170 crore were released to the 103 LWE- affected districts. Balaghat got approximately Rs. 65 lakh. Madhya Pradesh is yet to frame a comprehensive rehabilitation policy for surrendered Naxals like Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Surendra Pandey, Additional DG (Anti Naxal Operations) said levels of violence were not the sole criteria to ask for these funds.
“This is preventive in nature. The government has sanctioned many additional posts, including those in the intelligence system to combat this menace. These funds will be used for special training and psychological operations (State propaganda),” he explained.
Green panel gives nod to mine in the Naxal affected Saranda
Economic Times reported that the government’s efforts to counter Maoists not withstanding, a key environment ministry panel has been proactive in recommending that mining be allowed in the Naxal affected Saranda forests of Jharkhand. West Singbhum district, home to the Saranda forests, is among 26 districts identified by the central government as most highly Left wing extremism affected districts with 80% violence in the last 3 years. Tribal Affairs Minister Mr V Kishore Chandra Deo and Rural Development Minister Mr Jairam Ramesh have consistently argued that renewed mining activity in tribal lands would make it difficult to counter Naxal influence in the region.
For the fourth time this year, the statutory forest clearance panel, Forest Advisory Committee, has green signaled a mining project in the area, this time it is an iron ore for Rungta Mines. The forest panel has suggested that 99 hectares, of which 90 hectares is virgin forest, be diverted for iron ore mining. In January, the Forest Advisory Committee recommended the diversion of 1,500 hectares to allow JSW Steel and Jindal Power and Steel mine iron ore and manganese. A month later, the statutory panel advised the ministry to permit Sail to mine iron ore in 242 hectare of Saranda forests in the Jhillingburu division.
The panel’s recommendation to allow mining in some 1,800 hectares of forests presents a serious challenge to the government’s efforts to counter Maoist influence through basic developmental activity. The Saranda Development Plan, which is being spearheaded by Ramesh, attempts to dovetail para military action and development activities. The 855 square kilometer area of dense sal forest had been under Maoist control for more than a decade. Between 2000 and August 2011, the area was under the administrative control of the Maoists’ Kishan Karntikari Samiti and the Nari Mukti Sangh. During this period, the official Indian administrative machinery has been non existent. The core area of Saranda Forests is home to 56 villages with a tribal population of about 36,500.
Cops smell Red in scholars’ meet on Law College Road
Against the backdrop of recent Naxal attack in Sukma district, a meeting of around 70 scholars from Naxal-affected areas of the state on the premises of Lokayat Building on Law College Road in the last two days has raised the eyebrows of Maharashtra police and the central agencies. Acting on intelligence inputs, a team from Deccan Gymkhana police station, and officers of the State Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the special branch visited the venue and attempted to ascertain what was being discussing in the meeting. However, a group of attendees objected to the cops’ presence and asked them to leave the premises claiming it to be a private meeting being held to discuss “wedding ceremonies”.
When Mirror spoke to Alka Joshi, a member of the Lokayat, she said the hall has been rented to All India Forum to Right to Education and that the participants had come from across the state to discuss privatisation of the schools and universities in the state. “It is not fair on the part of the police to term them as a meeting of Naxal sympathisers. We have submitted our objection to the Deccan Gymkhana police station. The police have unnecessarily conducted a video shooting of the gathering,” Joshi said. She added, “Initially, the police had come to enquire. On seeing a closed door meeting, they grew suspicious.
Things were further complicated as we refused to give the names of the participants.” Joshi denied that it was a Naxal related movement. “I have made it very clear to the police and other officers that it was not a meeting of Naxal sympathisers,” she added. While the cops termed the participants as Naxal sympathisers, the latter claimed that the police illegally attempted to barge into their meeting and threatened to shoot them. A special branch officer told Mirror that a detailed report has been prepared and sent it to the State government. Police claimed the meeting was attended by scholars from Naxal-affected areas like Nagpur, Bhandara, Gadchiroli, Nanded and parts of Marathwada. According to the report, around 50 to 70 people, including women, attended the meeting and discussed the recent Naxal activities in the country, including the Chhattisgarh incident in which senior Congress leaders and 23 others were killed.
A hardcore Maoist was arrested on Tuesday night in naxal-hit Bihar’s Sheohar district, police said.
Acting on a tip off, a team of Pariyari police station raided a house in Auramalikana village of the district and nabbed Bharat Thakur, Superintendent of Police Himanshu Shankar Trivedi said. Thakur, self-styled commander of the banned outfit, has been active in the district and has participated in various incidents in Sheohar, the SP said.
Universities in Hyderabad come under scanner
Hyderabad: Universities are again under the scanner for extremist links and for spreading radical ideology among students, especially those hailing from economically weak backgrounds. After the incidents of a former Hyderabad Central University student being arrested at Khammam for escorting a top Maoist’s wife and the recent plastering of posters at Osmania University urging Naxal- like war, authorities are alert. The OU campus is suspected to be a home for 8 to 10 Maoist sympathisers. Sources revealed that a few research scholars living in the OU hostels have been engaging in spreading extreme Leftist ideas on the campus.
However, no radical activities have been reported on the campus. Though they officially belong to a recognised student union, they operate unnamed, small secret unions. They are generally against any social cause taken up in the University, and stay away from developments. Going by history, in the year 1970, the Radical Students’ Union (which is banned now) used to have a very strong hold over the OU campus. In 1984, a few weapons were also found near Arts College. However, later the union was banned and other unions took over. In 2008, near Amrabad, Achampet mandal of Mahbubnagar district, five OU students, who were alleged to be Maoist sympathisers, were arrested, among them were one Jagan and Ramulu.
It is suspected that they are from the Radical Students’ Union. When contacted, P. Ashok, inspector, Osmania police station said, “In the light of the arrest of the ex-HCU student and the poster issue, a team of officials will keep a constant vigil on student activities on the campus and on students who are suspected to be sympathisers. So far, we have noticed activities linked to the Maoists in the OU area, and the pasting of posters by pseudo naxalites, who have already been arrested.”
14-day remand for former HCU student
Khammam: A court in Kothagudem on Tuesday sent a top woman Maoist leader and another extremist who were nabbed on Monday after a dramatic chase, to 14-day judicial custody. Kursu Mothibai, 40, alias Radha or Madhavi, who carried a Rs 5 lakh reward on her head, and Ankala Prithviraj alias Rambabu, 22, a fresh recruit of the Sukhdev dalam (team), were taken into custody near Paloncha in Khammam district on Monday.
Mothibai, who hails from Adilabad district, worked in several capacities of the Maoist ranks. In 1985, she joined Sirpur dalam and was elevated to Chennur commander before shifting to Indravelli dalam. In 1993, she married to Chandranna, zonal committee secretary of North Telangana. Later, she became the member of District Committee Cadre. She was also the divisional secretary for Dand-akaranyam forest area in South and West Bastar in Chhattisgarh.
Mothibai, whose education was minimal, was allegedly involved in 10 murders, 20 arsons and 15 encounters, according to police. Prithviraj, said to be dropout of Hyderabad Central University and a native of Vijayawada, has been allegedly working with Sukhdev dalam in Dandakaranyam forest. It is learnt that Prithviraj, who befriended a Ph.D. student Udayabhanu in Hyderabad Central University a couple of years ago, had been active earlier with Telangana Students Association and Telangana Vidyarthi Vedika. Inspired by Udaybhanu, he, along with More Ravi, joined the Sukhdev dalam in 2011
After meeting Chandranna early this year, they met Sukhdev in Cherla forest region. The police didn’t register a case against Dharmaraju, a railway employee, as they found that he had no Maoist links. However, he has been put under a bond for appearance in future by the police. Dharmaraju and Prithviraj had picked up Mothibai, who is said to be unwell, from Bhadrachalam and were going to Vijayawada for treatment, when the police intercepted them near Paloncha. The police also seized Rs 75,000 in cash from Pridhvi on Monday.
Pregnant ‘Maoist sympathiser’ denied bail
A SEWREE fast track court Tuesday rejected radical musical group Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) activist Sheetal Sathe’s bail application. After being underground for over two years, Sathe (27), who is eight months pregnant, surfaced outside Mantralaya in April along with her husband Sachin Mali (27) and had courted arrest. They were declared absconding accused in a case registered in 2011 against 15 persons for their alleged role in supporting and funding Naxal activities in the state. Sathe and Mali are facing charges under several sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for their alleged involvement with the banned organisation Communist Party of India (Maoist).
While seven persons were arrested in 2010, Sathe, Mali and six others were declared absconding accused. Her lawyer Vijay Hiremath had moved the bail application on humanitarian grounds soon after her arrest. Sathe and Mali had gone underground in the wake of arrests of other KKM members in 2010. However, following their release on bail, the couple courted arrest. They were arrested on April 2 by Maharashtra ATS. A month later, two more KKM members courted arrest. “Sympathy for Maoist philosophy with a likelihood to indulge in various violent activities is not sufficient ground to conclude that the accused are presently active members of the terrorist organization,” the Bombay High Court had held while granting bail to four KKM members last year.
Cops to trail Maoists in forests
The state police have launched a combing operation in the forest areas of Bejjur, Kotapally, Vemanpally and Sirpur and the banks of river Pranahita in this district in a bid to nab or kill Maoists, following intelligence reports that several of them are hiding there after their recent killing of several Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh. According to sources, the police are also conducting grama sabhas in the villages in the naxal-affected areas to persuade villagers not to support the desperadoes and also to gather information from them.
At the behest of the state home department, the district police recently submitted a report to the government stating that 26 top Maoist leaders were based in the district. Of them, 21 were presently operating in Chhattisgarh, one in Maharashtra and four in Andhra Pradesh.Different state governments have announced rewards totalling Rs. 2.3 cr for the capture or killing of these Maoist leaders. These include the Rs. 40-lakh reward announced by the Chhattisgarh government for the arrest or killing of Maoists’ Central committee regional secretary Katakam Sudershan, presently operating in that state, and the AP government’s reward of Rs 20 lakh for the arrest or killing of the state committee member of the outfit Shetwaji alias Sudhakar.
Balaghat: 17-year-old boy suspected to be a Naxalite arrested
A 17-year-old youth, suspected to be a naxalite, was on Wednesday detained here, police said. The youth was taken into custody from Sulsuli police station limit which falls on the border adjoining Chhattisgarh, police said. A gun was recovered from him, they added. The youth is a resident of Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district, police said, adding that preliminary investigation revealed that he had worked for the Korchi Dalam of naxalites.
Maoist backers in Bengal poll fray
KOLKATA: Maoists who denounce politics are planning to field ‘sympathisers’ in the July panchayat elections in West Bengal’s Jangalmahal district, according to an intelligence source. The sympathisers will be fielded as independent candidates in certain pockets of Jangalmahal. If some of them win, they may try to work as per directives of the Maoists while carrying out ‘development work’. By getting well-wishers to contest the rural polls, Maoists plan to strengthen their base in pockets of Jangalmahal.
Recently, some key Maoist leaders from Jharkhand held a meeting at Kharagpur, in West Midnapore district, attended by sympathisers from the area. The source said that the meeting was to identify close supporters who may be ready to contest the local elections. Maoist sympathisers may contest in Baghmundi, Bandwan, Jhalda, Begunkodor and Ayodhaya Hills in Purulia district and Lalgarh, Salboni and Belpahari in West Midnapore district. In Bankura,
Maoists plan to field candidates at Barikul and other pockets. Based on intelligence inputs, the police of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura have urged the state to seal the borders with Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha to block Maoists entry before the local elections. Filing nominations for the first two rounds of rural polls, on July 2 and 6, have started. “We will know the details about independent candidates after the last dates for scrutiny and withdrawal of papers”, said a senior official of the state election commission.
Push for crack anti-Maoist force
Guwahati, June 4: An Assam police task force, formed to study Maoist activities in the state, has recommended converting the commando battalion of the police into “a well-knit offensive unit” to counter the growing presence of Maoists in the state. It has also suggested setting up of border outposts on the lines of Andhra Pradesh. The state government had constituted the task force, headed by additional director-general of police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, last year. It had submitted its report — a copy of its summary is now available with The Telegraph — to the government earlier this year.
The task force, which has identified at least 170 Maoists in Assam, has recommended that the Assam police commando battalion be converted into an offensive unit called the Assam Police Commando Organisation which will control and use three of its specialised forces — Black Panthers, Assam Police Rangers and Veerangana, the all-women commando force. “All the three units will require specialised training which will have to be conducted in the commando organisation location itself. The Black Panthers will have to be groomed strictly on the lines of the Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh,” the report says.
The Assam Police commando battalion was raised in 1996. Of its three units, the Black Panthers are a specialised force for jungle warfare and VIP security, the Assam Police Rangers are used in small team operations while the Veerangana, comprising about 100 women commandos, was raised last year to tackle crimes against women. Stressing the need to improve security arrangements to counter Maoists, the task force suggested that police stations and border outposts in the state should be constructed as in Andhra Pradesh.
“It includes an 8ft-high boundary wall that encloses a double-storey building with sentry posts (structures where security personnel stand) in the front and on top of the building. In the first phase, all the border outposts in the district borders of Assam and all the police outposts in Sadiya, Majuli and Jonai sub-divisions of Tinsukia, Jorhat and Dhemaji districts should be constructed on this model,” the report says. It also recommends review of government assistance schemes for police personnel facing life-threatening situations while on duty, including cash on extremist-induced deaths and motivational allowance for special operations units.
Assam offers Rs 5 lakh while Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan offer Rs 45 lakh in case of deaths. The state gives 15 per cent of the salary as motivational allowance to members of special operations units compared to 60 per cent by Andhra Pradesh and 50 per cent by both Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. The task force has also recommended steps to ensure that Assam police have cross-border operational rights at least 10km inside neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh, where Maoists have a presence.
The task force had identified eight districts — Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Golaghat, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Kamrup and Goalpara — as Maoist-infested. The police later found growing Maoist activities in Cachar district in Barak Valley too. A parliamentary committee constituted by the Centre recently expressed concern over Maoist activities in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
Change in Maoist strategy makes life difficult for cops
KOLKATA: Tracking cellphone towers has been one of the most effective means to zero in on the Maoists so far. The use of phones has spelled doom for top-notch Maoist leaders like Kishenji and Azad. Realising that cellphones are turning out to be their Achilles’ heel, the rebels have now resorted to the ancient mode of communication – letters written in code words. The move has posed a major hurdle for the police since the cops are now finding it difficult to access the movement of the red brigade.
Though the security forces are not ready to divulge details of the words they have been successful in decoding, a top-level CIF ( Counter Insurgency Force) officer said the Maoist use words like ‘ilish maach’ (hisha fish) for human target and ‘trainer awaz’ (sound of the train) to indicate firing by the security forces. “The use ‘tiffin baksha’ (tiffin box) is used to hint at landmines and ‘dhulo’ (dust) to identify gunpowder.
After the death of Kishenji, the Maoists have become very cautious. They are not only lying low – avoiding any kind of interaction with the media – they are frequently changing their codes and strategy. ‘Ilish maach’ three months back meant ‘human target’. But now the same word might stand for something else. These frequent changes are not letting the security forces gather enough information on the rebels,” the officer said. “Initially, the letters seemed very irrelevant but gradually we came to understand that all the letters are written in code languages. We could decode some of them,” an officer involved in anti-Maoist operation said.
Speaking on the strategies adopted by the Maoists in recent times, he added: “They are evolving their tactics and every time they are coming out with surprise moves. It is really difficult to understand their tactics and by the time we get hold of any clue, they develop a new method.” When asked about recent position of the rebels in Bengal after the Chhattisgarh massacre, a senior officer said: “Undoubtedly, there are some movements in Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore but the movements are not that strong. In fact, they are more into building organisation than countering the state force now. They are trying to avoid any kind of confrontation unless they are forced to do so.
Naveen seeks additional forces to tackle Maoists
Noting that heavy deployment of security forces in neighbouring Chhattisgarh was driving Maoists to his state, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday demanded two additional CRPF battalions and a military chopper to “effectively” tackle the extremists. Referring to the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Mr. Patnaik said no direct or indirect interference in the state’s autonomy will be “tolerated” and federal rights should be “respected and protected.” Participating in a conference of chief ministers on internal security, Mr. Patnaik said heavy deployment of security forces across the border in Chhatisgarh was pushing Maoists into the state and two additional battalions should be provided to match the deployment in Nuapada, Baragarh and Balangir districts.
The Chief Minister also sought a dedicated M-17 helicopter to “add more precision to the ongoing anti-Maoist activities” in the state especially in southern and Western Odisha. Besides, he demanded a one-time assistance from the Centre for strengthening the security infrastructure in the western districts in view of the present level of Maoist build up in these places. “I would like to reiterate that Left Wing extremism poses a serious threat to the national security. The menace has to be crushed firmly to uphold the dignity of democracy and rule of law. My government is seriously working to deal with the problem and I hope that a combined effort will help in this endeavour,” he said.
The Odisha CM asked the Centre for early reimbursement under the security related expenditure scheme under which Rs. 135.41 crore has been spent between 2005-06 and 2011-12 in 19 earmarked districts. He also sought the Centre’s nod for fortification of police stations and outpost in the troubled areas along with the creation of a few new police stations as per requirement. While the Centre has sanctioned 70 new fortified police stations in the affected areas, the state government has created 76 new stations in 2009 covering all the extremist areas. Mr. Patnaik, who had earlier opposed the proposed NCTC, said though the Central government made “some changes suggested by us in the proposed NCTC, all the issues have still not been addressed.”