Four naxals held in Chhattisgarh: Police
Raipur: Four suspected naxals were arrested during a joint search operation in Maoist-hit Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh on Monday. “The cadres were nabbed from the forests of Basaguda police station area by the joint contingent of district force and CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force),” a senior police official told PTI. Those arrested were identified as -? Nupu Bojja (20), Kunjam Dewa (30), Madvi Budhlal (25) and Dhodi Lakhmu (35), members of Jan militia group, the official said, adding that two knives and naxal literature were recovered from their possession. During a combing operation in Pisewada, Polampalli and Pusbaka villages, the patrol party rounded up the four on suspicion, the official said.
During interrogation, they allegedly admitted to their involvement in the naxal movement. They were wanted in several criminal cases including attempt to murder and stocking explosives in the region, the official added. PTI
Bihar gets 1,000 SSB personnel for anti-naxal operation
The Centre has sent a fresh battalion, comprising about 1,000 personnel, for undertaking anti-Naxal operations in Bihar as part of a strategy to combat Maoist violence in the state. The squad has been drawn from the paramilitary Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and will be deployed alongside the CRPF which is already present in the state. The unit has been trained in jungle warfare and counter-Naxal operations and after initial induction process in the state capital is over, it will be deployed in the interiors, a senior official said. Earlier this year, around 2,000 SSB personnel were deployed for the same task in Jharkhand.
The SSB, which is designated to guard the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders, used to be a part of anti-Maoist operations till October 2011 when they were withdrawn from Chhattisgarh. The force will be the fourth central paramilitary one after CRPF, BSF and Indo-Tibetan Border Police to be a part of this task in a full-fledged manner. The newly deployed battalion in the state will be under the operational command of the SSB frontier headquarter based in Patna.
With this induction, the total number of personnel committed by the central government for anti-Maoist operations has risen to more than one lakh. Each battalion comprises around 1,000 personnel. The CRPF has deployed about 82 battalions, BSF 11 battalions (five in Chhattisgarh and six in Odisha) and ITBP has deputed six battalions for such operations in various Naxal violence-hit states of the country.
Pro-naxalite bodies add fuel to Barasat rape agitation
Nine days after a 20-year-old college girl was brutally raped and killed bringing Barasat out on the streets, several bodies, all known to have strong Maoist leanings, reached the spot on Sunday, held demonstrations and pledged support to villagers in their future agitations. Around 30 representatives of various pro-Maoist organisations met the victim’s family, interacted with villagers, learnt about their problems, distributed leaflets and contact numbers for future correspondence and took out a rally in Kamduni that was attended by several women of the village.
Though leaders of all major political parties, different human rights and women’s groups and civil society representatives have visited Kamduni over the past few days, this was the first time Maoist sympathisers visited the area. Representatives of Matongini Mahila Samity (MMS) , Mazdoor Kranti Parishad (MKP), Krantikari Naujawan Sabha (KNS), United Students’ Democratic Front (USDF) and Progressive Democratic Students’ Front (PDSF) went to Kamduni, an indication that ultra-left organisations are willing to gain mileage out of the situation. “We discussed joint agitations in Kolkata and Barasat. We discussed ways to spread the agitation throughout the state. We distributed leaflets among the villagers and gave them our contact numbers for future correspondence,” said Himadri Bhattacharya, central committee treasurer of KNS.
Forces helpless in improving intelligence
NEW DELHI: Apart from apparent security lapses on the ground, it was glaring intelligence failure that led to the May 25 Darbha massacre in Chhattisgarh. Security forces, however, express helplessness in correcting this deficiency blaming it on tardy pace and misplaced focus of development in Naxalism-affected areas.Sources say that due to slow pace of development forces have not been able to move to new areas to make ground for state’s administrative influence and the development plan has focused largely on roads even as tribals value healthcare far more.
This strategic gap and mismatch in aspirations of the local people and government’s deliverance has led to lack of trust between anti-Naxalite forces and tribals leading to failure of human intelligence- the most important resource in fight against Maoists. “Maoists have better intelligence than us. Had the forces had a good network among locals in Bastar, the Darbha massacre would never have happened,” said a senior CRPF official.
Government has already accepted that most Naxalism affected states have failed to spend allocated funds for development. In Chhattisgarh, till 2012, only two of 30 road projects sanctioned in the affected areas had been completed. Close to half were pending while rest have not even been started, said sources. In Chhattisgarh the state has spent 35% of allocated central funds on roads but only 16% on healthcare. In several affected districts in the state spending has been nil due to various factors that includes reluctance of government doctors to work there.
“In Chhattisgarh’s interiors you don’t develop network by spending money. Tribals don’t take money. They see who is working for them. You give them medicines they will be yours. In most districts either NGOs or Maoists themselves provide healthcare through regular camps. So why should villagers give us information,” asks an officer posted in Chhattisgarh.
UAVs to log more hours to counter Maoist challenge
New bases being set up in worst Naxal-hit States Amid growing concerns over increasing casualties in the Naxal heartland, the Union Home Ministry has drawn ambitious plans to unleash the power of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to assist security forces fighting Maoists deep inside jungles and remote locations. To begin with, the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), which has been undertaking UAV operations from Begumpet airfield in Hyderabad to support State police and Central armed police forces fighting on the ground, will start executing UAV missions of duration of about 20 hours of flying by this month-end.
Another important tactical improvement to the anti-Naxal operations would be introduction of at least two more UAVs by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to the current strength of around 10 UAVs being operated by the NTRO. “Presently, UAV operations are limited to missions of 8-10 hours duration and restricted to areas up to a range of 450-500 km. But with the increase in flying time, they will be able to cover a larger area with more precision. These missions will cover much larger areas of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and Maharashtra … the plan is to focus on 26 worst Maoist-affected districts in these States,” a senior Ministry official said.
These UAVs would directly send real-time inputs to operation rooms in these States, from where security forces would be immediately alerted about the ground situation and movement of Maoists for swift action against them. Earlier, the UAVs were not being utilised properly as they had limited flying time and there was also delay in the relay of information, but now the UAVs would give extra edge to anti-Naxal operations, the official added. Noting that the increase in the operational hours of UAVs would invariably extend beyond ATC watch hours at Begumpet airfield, the official said:
“The NTRO has already taken up the issue with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India for requisite clearance for extending areas of operations and the need for extended watch hours for ATC Begumpet provided to Central armed police forces.” The NTRO recently set up its first base in Chhattisgarh which is linked to satellites to monitor UAVs’ operations. It has trained CRPF’s communication wing officials and deployed them at the Centre for smooth coordination with ground forces. “The five V-SAT terminals that have been activated by the NTRO would provide extra edge to our operations,” the official added.
Similarly, the CRPF has also decided to acquire 16 ‘Nishant’ UAVs from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), being developed in association with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which will operate in tandem with Israeli ‘Heron’ UAVs. While India’s biggest paramilitary force will get two UAVs soon, the DRDO has assured supply of remaining 14 ‘Nishants’ within a year. Efforts are also being made to set up another UAV base at Bhilai in Chhattisgarh.
Chinese role, ties with ULFA may boost Maoists in State
GUWAHATI, June 16 – The Chinese interest in causing problems in India will play an important role in the growth of Maoist rebels and the equations between the Maoists and the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) within the next 10 years. This was the observation made by the Task Force constituted by the Assam Government to study the growth of Maoists in the State and to recommend measures to deal with the same. Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the Task Force, headed by Additional Director General of Police, BJ Mahanta has already submitted its report with recommendations to the Government.
The Task Force observed that the Chinese agencies, by themselves, or through their agents like Norinko, TLC, Blackhouse and Wa United National Army would peruse an agenda of simultaneous secessionist struggle along with Maoist upsurge. The report admitted that Assam stands to face a stiff challenge of yet another armed movement, that is with the Maoists in the days to come and a comprehensive action plan needs to be implemented quickly to deal with the growth of the Maoist rebels in Assam and other parts of North East. Giving an account of the growth of Maoist rebels in Assam, the Task Force pointed out that the eastern regional bureau of the Maoists had been treating the North East region with curious discomfort for some time because of the presence of a number of major rebel outfits.
On the other hand, the Maoists are finding allies in the region in the form of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of Manipur. However, the Central leaders of the Maoists have been trying to mobilize Maoist upsurge in the region in the lines of mainland India. The second trend of Maoists’ growth is represented by strong advocacy against issues of governance, forest and land rights, construction of mega dams etc on the basis of which the Maoists are trying to organize people as per their scheme of things.
Though the KMSS has distanced itself from the Maoist ideology, another organization- Chah Janagusthi Sangharsh Samiti appears to share ideological thought process with the mainland Maoist leaders. However, lately, there have been inputs that the same organization has also developed differences with Aditya Bora’s method of hurrying through the armed movement without attending to the scientific progression to armed movement after successful mass movement. Aditya Bora, who was arrested in Jharkhand and later released on bail, is the main man of the Maoists in the State at present.
Arms parts seized in Dadar were meant to be supplied to Maoists
The weapons parts that were seized from the Dadar home of Alwyn D’Sa, the 80-year-old man who was arrested on May 1, were meant to be supplied to Maoists in seven different states, sources in the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad told this newspaper. Ravindra Singh, inspector, UP ATS, who was part of the raid on D’Sa’s house in May, said the Maoists were dealing with D’Sa through a Uttar Pradesh-based gang. Sources said the Maoists were impressed with the quality of the parts D’Sa was supplying them that they increased their order this year. They, however, doubted if D’Sa had any direct links with the Maoists.
The UP police had discovered a cache of gun parts, arms literature and diagrams at D’Sa’s Salvation Apartment home in Dadar. They had tracked D’Sa, a former maintenance engineer with Air India, based on information from two arms dealers from Unao and Kanpur. “Our investigation has now revealed that his goods were being supplied to the Maoists,” said Singh. “The gang for which D’Sa was working supplied arms to Maoists in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh. There was a great demand for spare parts for the Maoists, which is why the UP-based gang roped in D’Sa.” The UP police are also investigating two Mumbai-based ammunition suppliers who deal in cartridges and spare parts.
When contacted, Dhananjay Kulkarni, DCP, of Zone V, said, “We are in touch with the UP ATS and are also working on the Mumbai links of this gang.” Starting from April, Maoists launch what they call a Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign, where they launch attacks against security forces in the regions where they have a stronghold. This year, the UP ATS has zeroed in on as many as two dozen addresses in seven states from where the arms and spares were delivered allegedly to Maoist middlemen. “We have got addresses of this gang’s members in different states used exclusively for supplying arms to Maoists. We also have evidence to prove this gang’s links to the Maoists,” said Singh.
The UP police said they have call records to show that Mintu Sharma, a Maoist commander in Jharkhand, was in touch with the gang members. It was also revealed that D’Sa travelled to countries like Canada and Singapore and source most of his supplies from there. He also had some parts manufactured locally. Bail orders on D’Sa and five other accused in the case is kept reserved by an UP court.
Odisha: ‘Normalcy’ In Narayanpatna – Analysis
Kanhu Charan Madhi (25), a Special Police Officer (SPO) posted in the District headquarters town of Malkangiri, was shot dead by Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres at his home in Kattakonda village under the Kalimela Police Station area of the District on May 24, 2013. He was on the Maoist hit list for disobeying their diktat to quit his job and leave the village. While his visits home had become infrequent after the threat, he had gone to his village to meet his family and his wife, who had delivered a baby a few of days earlier, when he was killed.
The incident was the first Security Force (SF) fatality inflicted by the Maoists in 2013 in Odisha. Significantly, the CPI-Maoist has not suffered any casualty, thus far, in this year. The lone Left Wing Extremist (LWE) killed in the State in 2013 belonged to the Sabyasachi Panda-led Odisha Maobadi Party (OMP), which split from the CPI-Maoist in August 2012. The low fatalities in the SF and LWE categories indicate that both sides have been careful to avoid direct confrontations. Where an escalation was noticeable in 2008-09, moreover, the much higher SF fatalities suggest that an overwhelming proportion of attacks were initiated by the Maoists, and the SFs were on the receiving end of attacks. In 2013, eight of the 10 fatalities have been recorded in Malkangiri District (seven of the eight civilian fatalities and the only SF fatality).
Significantly, Koraput District has not witnessed a single fatality in LWE related violence this year. In 2012, by May, Koraput had seen at least nine fatalities – five civilians, two SF personnel and two Maoists. In 2012, the bulk of killings of civilians and SFs (30 out of 46), took place in Koraput and Malkangiri Districts. In fact, the Maoists were principally active in two clusters – Malkangiri, Koraput and Nabarangpur Districts in the Southern-Western part of the State; and Bargarh, Bolangir and Nuapada Districts in the Western part.
While Maoist violence appears to be following the regular pattern in Malkangiri, the silence in Koraput is unusual. Koraput has long been one of the Maoists’ strongholds, and was also the theatre in which they operated through their front, the Narayanpatna-based Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS). CMAS used to provide logistic and militia support, and served as an excellent cover for Maoist subversion. Some 150 CMAS supporter have been charged in different cases, including LWE violence, and its president, Nachika Linga, has been declared ‘most wanted’ by the State. It is an open secret that Nachika Linga is now under the direct protection of the Maoists.
Off late, however, many CMAS-Narayanpatna supporters have given their pledge to the Police that they would no longer support the Maoists. This promises only limited relief, since activities of CMAS-Narayanpatna were already on a decline, following the broader waning of Maoist violence in 2011 and 2012. On January 4, 2013, an armed Maoist cadre, Nachika Chamara alias Samara surrendered before Koraput Superintendent of Police, Avinash Kumar. He was part of the Srikakulam-Koraput division of the CPI-Maoist. Besides being a close associate of leaders of Srikakulam-Koraput division of Maoists like Daya, Aruna and Sarita, he was also moving around with Nachika Linga.
Samara belongs to the Bhaliaput area under Narayanpatna Police Station, the native place of Nachika Linga. Samara’s surrender was followed by the surrender of 15 supporters of CMAS from Bhaliaput village at the Narayanpatna Police Station. The surrendering cadres promised the Police that they would no longer be involved in the violent activities of CMAS or the Maoists. This story was then repeated with more and more supporters reaching the Police Station and making similar promises. According to partial data collected by SATP, at least 1,692 CMAS supporters have surrendered and pledged to abjure violence.
.Odisha Police sources claim that more than 2,400 CMAS supporters have, in fact, surrendered. It is, however, not clear how many of them were active Maoist cadres or how many of them have non-bailable offences registered against them. Among those who have surrendered, at least 150 are believed to be from Dumsil village, an important Maoist and CMAS stronghold in Narayanpatna block. According to Police sources, nearly a dozen of the top 20 CMAS leaders were from Dumsil village. The surrenders have boosted Police morale, with the administration arguing that this is a sure sign of the loss of Maoists influence over the area. Police sources claim that the unraveling of the CMAS network has enabled SFs to penetrate extremely ‘remote’ Maoist infected pockets of the area.
Further, it has resulted in the manifold increase of information about Maoist activities in the Narayanpatna. Some recent seizures made by SFs in the Narayanpatna area have been ascribed to information flows from villagers. This included the seizure of a Maoist welding unit from the Narikhilua Forest in Narayanpatna block, which was being used by the Maoists to manufacture claymore mines. The interrogation of Gameli China Mohan Rao (25) alias Santu, an area committee member of the Koraput-Srikakulam division of the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC), who was arrested in Rayagada District on May 7, 2013, reportedly suggests that the Maoist leadership are deeply concerned by the large number of CMAS supporters who have snapped links with CMAS and the Maoists.
It remains unclear how the villagers have found courage to challenge the Maoist writ in what has long been their stronghold. There are indications that the frequency of Maoist visits to the villages has declined drastically, and this has encouraged the villagers to open up. In fact, the activities of the Jhanjabati dalam (squad), which functions under Koraput-Srikakulam division of AOBSZC, have declined dramatically since the killing of Chitrakam Reddy alias Sitru (30), the dalam commander, on January 26, 2012, followed by the subsequent killing of his successor, Teli Kadraka alias Rajendra, on August 19, 2012. On April 9, 2013, moreover, four members of the Jhanjabati dalam surrendered before Deputy-Inspector-General of the Border Security Force (BSF) in Koraput town, indicating a collapse of morale.
Unconfirmed reports, however, suggest that the AOBSZC is in a transition phase and is not active to its full potential. Many of its senior leaders are suffering from various ailments, severely restricting their movement and efficacy, while new recruits are far from ready to step into leadership roles. The present AOBSZC chief, Gajarla Ravi alias Uday alias Ganesh alias Charcharla Ganesh, reportedly suffers from diabetes.
He was given the charge after his predecessor and Central Committee member Ramakrishna alias RK alias Saketh, was afflicted by severe spondylitis. Marpu Venkataramana alias Lenju alias Jagadeesh, another top leader of the AOBSZC, who was arrested on May 9, 2013, from Anakapalle in Visakhapatnam District, Andhra Pradesh, and carried a reward of INR 2 millions on his head, had developed a permanent limp due to a bullet injury he suffered in an encounter with SFs. Meanwhile, on May 18, 2013, another two companies of BSF were deployed in the Narayanpatna block, and one more was reportedly on its way. These three companies would be stationed at Tentulipadar, Bijaghart and Mankidi, three new BSF camps. Koraput and Malkangiri Districts already had five battalions of BSF, in addition to some troops of the State Police Force.
Clearly, things have not gone according to plan for the Maoists. Nevertheless, the potential for revival remains strong, and the residual capacities for violence are significant. On April 29, 2013, for instance, 63 Panchayati Raj (village self-government) institution (PRI) representatives [three Zilla Parishad (District Committee) members; 15 Sarpanches (village committee heads), 14 Samiti (village committee) members and 31 ward members] tendered their resignation in neighbouring Malkangiri District under pressure from the Maoists. The resignations were, however, rejected by the District administration on May 14, 2013, on technical grounds.
The Maoists are also in a process of reorganization as a result of the defection and subsequent decimation of the Sabsachi Panda faction in the neighbouring Ganjam, Kandhamal, Rayagada and Gajapati Districts. According to Police estimates, most CPI-Maoist cadres remained with the original outfit even after Panda’s expulsion. Panda was believed to have taken away no more than 25 to 30 cadres. However, the Maoists did suffer a reverse as a result of Panda’s expulsion on other issues, such as raising funds, sourcing explosives, maintaining secret communication lines, intelligence gathering, logistics, hide outs and training camps.
On May 12, 2013, for instance, Maoist leader Nikhil, who is now heading the CPI-Maoist Vansadhara Divisional Committee, accused his former boss and Odisha Maobadi Party chief Sabyasachi Panda of embezzling INR 10 million (INR 6 million in cash and other materials worth INR 4 million) from CPI-Maoist assets. Nikhil warned Panda to return the money or face ‘dire consequences’. Despite Panda’s continuing losses, the CPI-Maoist does not appear to have recovered lost ground in Panda’s area of domination. It remains to be seen whether the Maoists are able to engineer a recovery in Narayanpatna, to reverse the damage of the desertion of CMAS-Narayanpatna supporters. For the moment, however, an opportunity has opened up for the State Forces to interdict any efforts of revival in this troubled region.