What made Maoists go back to the attack mode in Bihar after eight years? It was definitely not an attempt to loot weapons — they took away only three guns from the fallen railway security personnel. A close look at the state-versus-red war shows that there’s more to the attack on the Dhanbad-Patna Intercity Express in Jamui than what meets the eye. It was, in fact, a diversionary tactic by the rebels to regain their influence in the region. SK Bhardwaj, additional director general of police, law and order, confirmed:
“The train attack was to distract the security forces camping near the fortress-like Bhimbandh jungle in Jamui, a safe haven for the Maoists just 17 km away from the train attack site.” Jamui’s impregnable Bhimbandh area — the densest forest in Bihar leading through Jharkhand into Jangalmahal and Purulia regions of Bengal — has been a favourite haunt of the Maoists since the 1990s.
A day after the Jamui attack, HT received information that increased police pressure had slowly choked the Maoists’ escape routes and supply lines in the area. And the rebels’ grip over villages in the area was weakening. Chiranjeev Prasad, deputy inspector general of the CRPF, said, “The forces’ area domination exercises have made it more difficult for the Maoists to connect with their comrades operating in Munger as two CoBRA contingents have been established in the Bhimbandh jungle area.”
The land link between the Jamui area and Munger is important for the rebels, as they virtually rule over more than 300 sq km of the Munger diara lands — fertile landmass formed due to deposit of sand and silt over time in the riverine areas. Another reason for the greater Jamui-Gaya-Kaimur belt becoming the Maoists’ most favoured area is it covers four state borders. While Jamui is near the Bihar-Jharkhand border, Gaya borders Jharkhand and Bihar’s Rohtas area and Kaimur has easy access to Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh. In fact, the Maoists are using the Vindhya Range, which sticks into Bihar like a knife and breaks into Munger and Jamui regions through Giridih in Jharkhand, as their operational base.
One of the most important reasons why the Maoists couldn’t allow the area to slip away is that it could mean less influence over the surrounding villages, which means fewer cadres on the ground and less levy from the people they are supposed to be fighting for. So, they came back with blazing guns after eight years. The last Maoist strike in Bihar was in March 2005, when they tried to derail the Rajdhani Express on the Bihar-Jharkhand border in Aurangabad and followed it up with a strike on the Jehanabad jail, just 60 km south of Patna, freeing 398 prisoners and looting the entire armoury. Since then, Maoist strikes have been scattered, intermittent and undefined — the focus being on extorting levies from road-builders in select districts.
All this while, they carefully avoided frontal attacks on security encampments. Another factor that initially surprised the experts is that 60% of the Jamui attackers were women. Senior CRPF officials believe the Maoists will intensify their activities in Bihar in the coming days, and the Jamui attack was just a trailer. They expect the rebels to trigger the next attacks along the five districts on the Indo-Nepal border, since they can use their access to the facing Nepalese districts dominated by the Communist Party of Nepal.
Maoists destroy school building in Bihar
Jamui: Maoists triggered a blast in a school building in Bihar’s Jamui district, damaging the structure. A group of Maoists stormed the government school last night and detonated explosives in the building damaging it totally, Superintendent of Police Deepak Barnwal said on Saturday. The Maoists attacked the school building apparently in retaliation to intensified operation by the security forces against them, he said. A case has been registered in this connection and raids were being carried out to nab the ultras, Barnwal said.
Red glare on disputed belt- Maoist spills plan to gain border toehold
Jorhat, June 14: Police are keeping a “close watch” on the disputed Assam-Nagaland border in Golaghat district since recently arrested Maoist sympathiser Manjit Bora corroborated intelligence reports of a Maoist plan to expand base there. A top police source said intelligence reports indicate that Maoists have been eyeing the disputed area belt (DAB) along the inter-state border in the district since a couple of years.
Cadres from Naxal-hit areas have been visiting the area from time to time to recruit youths to exploit the sentiments of people in the backward areas and to convince them to join or support Maoist activities. “We are keeping a very close watch in the DAB area as we have been receiving information about Maoist linkmen being active there. Many persons are working overground and we are keeping an eye on them to collect hard evidence,” he added.
The source said the inter-state border, which was marked by hills and dense forests, suited insurgent activities. Naga insurgent groups, Ulfa and the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) have earlier set up hideouts in the area to escape the security dragnet. The CRPF was deployed along the entire 125km inter-state border in Golaghat district, which falls under the disputed area belt, as a neutral force after the 1985 attack by goons from Nagaland on the Assam side, leading to several deaths. The source said Manjit, who was arrested near Merapani, a border town in Golaghat, on Wednesday night had told interrogators that Maoists planned to build a network in the disputed area. Two cadres trained outside Assam had come to the area last year to recruit youths, who could do the groundwork after indoctrination.
Manjit, a resident of Baragharia village under Umriamghat police station in Dhansiri subdivision of Golaghat, another border area adjoining Merapani, was wanted by the police for allegedly providing shelter and guidance to two Maoist cadres, Moon Konwar and Gopi Das, last year. While Konwar and Das, who hail from Tinsukia and Lakhimpur districts in Assam, were arrested from his house in May last year, Manjit managed to flee. The two reportedly told the police that Manjit had provided them information on the border area and was guiding them to get a foothold there. Manjit was finally arrested from the house of Sangeeta Baruah, a Maoist linkperson, at Kasamari Uttar Negheri village. Sangeeta, who was wanted in a case related to alleged Maoist activity in Tinsukia district, was handed over to Tinsukia police.
After the arrest of Konwar and Das, two more persons were arrested last year. A National Investigation Agency team arrested the owner of Merapani Jatiya Vidayalay school, Pallab Borbora, a former office-bearer of an Assam-based human rights group, Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS), on charges of having links with Maoists while the police arrested Aditya Saikia, an office-bearer of a local organisation, on similar charges. Maoists had put up posters in Assamese on a large scale at Merapani and nearby Sarupathar towns in October last year, asking people to support the revolution.
Don’t start talks with Naxals without us in loop: Cops to industry
Close on the heels of killing of three persons including Lloyd Metal’s vice president two days ago by Naxals in Gadchiroli district, the local police has issued an advisory to industries, contractors and civilians not to approach Naxalites for any talks without keeping them in the loop. Gadchiroli district, which is affected due to the Naxal menace, houses mining, paper, paper pulp, rice mills and silk worm centres. Besides, the region is a major centre for the tendu leaves collection.
The police have warned the industries not to enter into any compromise through any mediator with Naxals as the entire exercise may boomerang on them. Deputy Inspector General of Police, who did not want to be named, told Business Standard “Preliminary investigations revealed that Jaspal Dhillon, vice president, Lloyds Metal, AP Mallikarjun, Hyderabad based sub contractor and Raju Sanmek, police patil of Surjagar village, who were killed on Wednesday night in the Etapalli forest by Naxals, had entered the Naxal dominated area without keeping the police and security forces in the know.
They were in constant touch with Naxals to reach an understanding. But the opposite happened.” Meanwhile, the state government is pursuing with the Centre to step up efforts for the establishment of mobile connectivity in Gadchiroli district. State government has recently called upon BSNL to set up transmission towers so that mobile connectivity will be available throughout the district. Besides, the state government was in the midst of installation of satellite phones.
Former Naxals arrested
Two persons, including a woman, have been arrested near here and pro-Naxal literature seized from them, police said today. Police said the two persons were found moving about suspiciously in Kadahathur area on Salem-Hosur road on Friday and when their bags were searched by the Naxal Special Duty wing police, pro-Naxal books and banners of the Centre Committee of Literary Arts Committee (Maoist) and CPI(ML), PWG were found.
The NSD team handed them over to Dharmapuri police. Investigations revealed that they were former Naxalites, S Duraisingavel (52) of Kundrathur in Chennai and C Bharathi alias Rahini (44) of Annanagar, Kundrathur, police said. The two were arrested in connection with the militant training camp cases at Uthangarai in Dharmapuri combined district in 2002 and detained under the POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002, which was repealed in 2004).
After they secured bail, they had started their propaganda work in rural areas, police said. A case under various IPC sections including 124 (A) (sedition) besides the Criminal Law Amendment Act has been registered, Inspector S Sampathkumar said. Both have been remanded to judicial custody for 15 days. Police are continuing combing operations to nab former Naxals, if any, found roaming in rural areas. Police are maintaining strict vigil in the wake of the May 25 attack by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar that left 27 people, including Congress leaders, dead.
Scared netas from Maoist-hit states plead for security cover
NEW DELHI: Requests have been pouring in from politicians of Maoist-hit states for upgrading their security cover in the wake of the May 25 Chhattisgarh incident that left 29 people, including Congress leaders, dead in the daring Naxal attack. So far, the Centre has received such requests from over a dozen politicians, including the new Congress chief of Chhattisgarh Charan Das Mahant, and family members of the slain party leader Mahendra Karma. Karma’s wife and four sons made their requests on Friday, when they met Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde here. Das, MP from Korba and Union minister of state for food processing and agriculture, may be considered for ‘Z+’ category of security, which is the highest category having 32 security personnel including house guards.
Similarly, security of former Jharkhand chief ministers Babulal Marandi and Arjun Munda may also be upgraded to ‘Z+’. MLAs and local leaders of Congress, BJP and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) are also among those who have formally requested Shinde for upgrading their security. All the requests had come in from Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha in the past fortnight. “Most of those who requested for security citing threats from Maoists have already in the list of respective state protectee, but their requests are being processed whether they actually need ‘upgraded’ security cover keeping in mind threat perception,” said a senior home ministry official.
He said the respective state governments had already taken decisions and upgraded security of local politicians. The home ministry is processing their requests and will extend such leaders the adequate cover when they visit the national Capital as well, he added. The West Bengal government has taken the lead in upgrading security cover of as many as six district-level leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress. All of them are now getting ‘Z’ category (having 22 security personnel, including house guards) as against the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ categories security that were given to them before the May 25 incident.
“The ongoing panchayat polls appears to have prompted the state government to quickly acted on such requests,” said an official here, adding other states too have paid heed to similar demands. Jharkhand, which is currently under the President’s rule, has moved a step forward by activating a special monitoring cell within the state police Special Branch to monitor the movement of leaders — irrespective of their political affiliations — in the Maoist-dominated areas. After meeting Shinde, Karma’s kin said they continued to receive threats from the Red ultras who asked them to leave their ancestral place and demanded security.
Accompanied by Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, Karma’s son Deepak said, “We want security. The Naxals asked us to leave our ancestral place in Bastar and warned of dire consequences if we do not follow their diktat….The home minister assured us that he would examine their demands sympathetically and do the needful as early as possible”. Union home secretary R K Singh and director of Intelligence Bureau (IB) Asif Ibrahim were also present during the meeting where Karma’s sons are learnt to have expressed their views on how to handle the Maoist menace in Chhattisgarh.
Six more companies of central forces for Jangalmahal
In view of the renewed Maoist activity in neighbouring Bihar, the Centre has decided to send six additional companies of central forces for deployment in tribal-dominated Jangalmahal in West Bengal. “The central government’s clearance for sending six additional companies of central forces for Jangalmahal has been obtained,” state’s home secretary Basudev Banerjee told reporters. At present, 39 companies of central forces are deployed in Jangalmahal.