Three Naxals held in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh
Raipur: Three Maoists were arrested in separate search operations in Naxal-affected Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, police said on Monday. “Two cadres were arrested by a joint contingent of district force and Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) from jungles of Kosalnar village under Jhara police station limits of Narayanpur district today,” DSP NK Sahu told PTI. Banu Korram and Kassu Korram (both 24) were arrested on Sunday during the joint patrol operation following a tip-off.
“They were active in Janatana Sarkar squad of Maoists and were working on membership drive for the movement,” Sahu said, adding the ultras were involved in several crimes in the region. In a separate incident, a suspected Naxal was nabbed from Basaguda police station area of Bijapur district in a joint operation by police and CRPF last night. “The patrol party rounded up Punem Somlu (33) on suspicion of forests of Hirapur village. He has admitted to his involvement in the Naxal movement as a Sangham member of Basaguda Area Committee,” Sahu added. PTI
Maharashtra: 6 women Naxals killed in police encounter
Gadchiroli: Six suspected Naxal were killed in an encounter by Maharashtra Police in Gadchiroli district on Sunday morning. The officials also succeeded in recovering arms and ammunition including 1 carbine, one 303 rifle, some country-made guns and grenades from the terror group. “One of the parties of the C-60 Commando Force was on Sunday conducting anti-naxal operation near Medhri village around 10 am, when the Naxals opened fire. The police team immediately retaliated, in which six naxals, all women, were killed,” Inspector General of Police (anti-naxal operations), Anup Kumar Singh, told reporters in Gadchiroli on Sunday night.
The C-60 Commando Force personnel and Cobra battalion had been conducting anti-naxal operations in the interior parts of the district since the past few days, he said. “They had inputs that the Maoists were hiding in Etapalli-Kasansur area,” Singh said. The bodies of the six Maoist women, who wore green uniforms, have been recovered, he said adding that a large cache of arms and ammunition was also found at the spot.
Police raids Dhamni village, arrest hardcore Maoist
Shambhu Yadav A hardcore Maoist was arrested on Monday from a village under Haspura police station area in Bihar’s Aurangabad district, a police officer said. Acting on a tip-off, the police raided Dhamni village and arrested the hardened Maoist, identified as Shambhu Yadav, even as his two other associates managed to escape on a motorcycle, Daudnagar’s Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Anwar Javed said.
A country-made pistol, ten live ammunitions and naxal literature were seized from the ultra, he said. A native of Seema village under Pauthu police station area, Yadav was wanted in several cases of naxal violence and was jailed three years after arrested in a case, Javed said. Raids were being carried out to nab Yadav’s two other associates, he said.
LWE-hit States fighting Maoists with depleted police force
Shortage of almost three lakh police personnel in nine Left wing extremism (LWE) affected States is jeopardising the fight against Maoists, who continue to target police and people with more lethality as recently seen in two attacks, the first in Chhattisgarh where senior State Congress leaders were gunned down and the killing of Pakur Superintendent of Police in Jharkhand. Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh had 2.5 lakh vacant positions of head constables and constables, while 50,000 posts of inspectors and sub-inspectors need to be filled.
Similarly, these States also need over 1,000 Additional Superintendents of Police and Deputy SPs. The highest number of shortage in police force is in Uttar Pradesh (1.8 lakh personnel), followed by Andhra Pradesh (30,000), West Bengal (29,000), Bihar (16,000), Chhattisgarh (13,000), Jharkhand (10,000), Madhya Pradesh (6,000) and Odisha (2,000). Notably, in Maharashtra, there are 379 various vacant positions in just two LWE-hit districts of Gadchiroli and Gondia.
At last month’s Chief Ministers’ conference on internal security, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told these States that they need to fill these vacancies and that the Centre cannot always fulfil their demands for increasing the deployment of paramilitary forces. Currently, over 80,000 personnel, mainly from the CRPF (66 battalions), the BSF (12 battalions) and the ITBP (five battalions), are deployed in the LWE-hit States.
A recent internal MHA note sent to these States says, “Huge vacancies in police administrative set-up and large scale absenteeism have been reported from the LWE-affected areas. These are indicative of poor presence of government machinery in these areas. This further alienates people and renders the entire exercise of countering futile. Therefore, all these vacancies especially of lower level functionaries need to be filled up on priority.” ‘Relax recruitment norms’ For speedy recruitment, the MHA told these States to relax certain recruitment norms and give preference to locals, who can be appointed on contract basis.
“Schemes for incentivising the officials posted in these difficult areas may be put in place at the earliest,” the note said. Further, the MHA asked these States to deploy their best officers to lead operations in the affected districts and also create the ‘special forces’ on the lines of the Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh and improve their intelligence wings. “The State governments need to ensure that the police should play a more proactive role in understanding intelligence-based anti-Naxal operations by special forces,” the MHA note said.
Asking all State governments to prepare plans of action to completely clear Naxals from less/moderately affected districts by 2013 end, the note added: “The best officers should be posted as SPs in the worst-affected districts. This aspect should be given the highest priority. The SPs should be the nodal points of operations. The resources should be optimally allocated for this purpose and district SPs made accountable to accomplish this task.”
One arrested in Jharkhand Naxal attack
Dumka: A Maoist, who is on bail, was arrested from Pokharia village in Dumka district in connection with the July-2 fatal attack on Pakur Superintendent of Police Amarjit Balihar and others at Kathikund. “Satan Besra has confessed after his arrest yesterday to have been involved in the attack on the SP convoy. He whistled to alert the Maoists when the cars approached,” Deputy Inspector General of Police (Dumka range) Priya Dubey told reporters here. Dubey said Besra revealed that the action squad from Giridih district of Jharkhand had perpetrated the crime.
The plot was set on July 1 and the Maoists attacked the police officer the following day, killing him and five other policemen, the DIG said. Besra was on bail since January last year after he was arrested in connection with a Maoist-related violence, Dubey said.
Cops recover cash, cellphones, pen drives during jail raids
RANCHI: The Jharkhand government conducted a thorough search operation in the state prisons after its intelligence sleuths received inputs that Maoists are operating from inside the jails and hatching plots with criminals outside. Cash, pen drives, mobile phones, SIM cards, CPI Maoist literature and drugs recovered in raids which started late last night. Including the state’s largest correctional home, Birsa Munda Central Jail, where former chief minister Madhu Koda is lodged, cops raided more than 10 jails in the state in the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday. The surprise raids started at midnight and continued till 3am, involving hundreds of police personnel across the state.
Sources in the Jharkhand home department said police had received specific information linked to the Dumka ambush, in which Pakur SP Amarjit Balihar and five other jawans were killed. A senior official in the department did not divulge details of the input. The department home secretary could not be contacted for comment. Inspector general (prison) Ashok Sharma confirmed the raids. “The raids began around 12am last night,” said Sharma.
The IG (prison), however, did not comment on the intelligence inputs. Ranchi SSP Saket Kumar Singh said a pen drive, six mobile phones, two mobile SIM cards, and one charger were recovered from the Birsa Munda Central Jail. The recovery of the pen drive from Birsa Munda jail has shocked the authorities. The DC and SP, including several other officers, participated in the raids. A source said five mobile phones were recovered from a jail in Gumla, seven from Simdega, two SIM cards were recovered from Khunti jail. Dumka IG Arun Oraon said all jails in the state’s largest Santhal Pargana division were raided.
“We recovered Rs 6000 cash from Jamtara jail. One mobile phone and two SIM cards were recovered from Sahebganj (Rajmahal sub divisional jail),” he added. In Bokaro’ Tenughat sub-divisional jail cops recovered Naxalite literature. In Jamshedpur, police recovered three pen drives and one mobile phone. Marijuana was recovered from Dhanbad jail. A source in police headquarter said all the 26 jails have been raided in the state and objectionable objects were found in several of them. All the SPs would send a detailed report of the raids to IG prisons, who would take necessary action against the jail authorities if required.
Jail raids in ambush aftermath
– Lens on 800-odd Maoists lodged in 26 state prisons; phones & money seized
In an unprecedented security mission, all the 26 jails across Jharkhand — including five high-security central prisons in Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Hazaribagh, Dumka and Daltonganj — were simultaneously raided in the small hours of Sunday. The haul in most cases may have been insignificant, but the quick-fix exercise was arguably aimed at plugging Maoist information conduits in the aftermath of the July 2 ambush in Kathikund, Dumka, that killed Pakur SP Amarjit Balihar and five other policemen. More than 800 rebels — at least one-fourth of them hardcore — are lodged in the state’s jails, most of which are overcrowded.
Though no prison official agreed to come on record about the extraordinary action piloted by deputy commissioners and superintendents of police in all the 24 districts, sources confirmed that the recent attack had spurred the high alert. The raids began between 12.30am and 5am, and continued for four to seven hours. “It is no secret that some hardcore rebels control their squads from within these porous jails. The objective of the simultaneous raids was to cleanse breeding grounds of illegal and subversive activities,” a prison official said, on the condition of anonymity. “Raids are conducted from time to time, but this collective exercise is one of its kind.We got orders from the DIG. All DIGs met recently in Ranchi after the Pakur incident,” added an officer of SP rank, not willing to be named. Birsa Munda Central Jail, currently, houses 2,500 prisoners.
Around 220 of them are either Naxalites or their sympathisers. At least a dozen are hardcore Maoists. Similarly, Ghaghidih Central Jail, on the outskirts of Jamshedpur, has around 1,275 prisoners. Around 13 are wanted rebels. Birsa jail superintendent D.K. Pradhan confirmed the raid. “It ended here around 4.30am. Except one unclaimed cellphone in the ward, nothing was found,” he said, relieved. He, however, added that the crackdown team would quiz jail staff in this regard. From Hazaribagh’s Jaiprakash Narayan Central Jail, too, the recovery wasn’t significant. “We just found a mobile battery.
Compared to earlier times, the security situation has improved a lot now,” said SP Manoj Kaushik. But, Ghaghidih spawned both cash and gadgets. SSP Richard Lakra’s seizure list included Rs 9,000 in cash, a mobile phone, a headphone, three pen drives, two microchips and some computer accessories. “We carried out the raid following an intelligence tip-off and instructions from the home department. It concluded around 7.30am,” he said, adding that they were anticipating an explosives haul but that did not happen. Lakra, who was accompanied by deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal, city SP Kartik S. and DSP (law and order) Kanhaiya Upadhyay in the raids on East Singhbhum prisons, maintained “no significant recovery” was made from Ghatshila Subdivisional Jail. Divisional jails in Chatra, Gumla, Jamtara and Seraikela-Kharsawan, however, yielded nine mobile phones, four SIM cards, two knives and wads of cash. Incidentally, the state prison department’s recruitment process has been stuck in a limbo for almost a decade.As a result, manpower crunch is an unfortunate reality in almost every jail in the state. This offers the leeway to criminals and rebel to guns lodged inside to communicate with their aides outside.
With inputs from Kumud Jenamani in Jamshedpur
Bastar: Abandoned to its fate after the Maoist mayhem
There has been no large scale violence, no high profile abduction, no gory killings and not even a murmur of a police campaign against the Maoists in Bastar Chhattisgarh for the last over one month. Bastar – larger than Kerala in size, home to one million tribals, ten thousand Maoists and one lakh para-military and police force and best quality iron ore, tin, forests and all – is in virtual mute mode. It has not been in news, barring one incident on June 21 when a potentially fatal, but failed, and hence less reported, attack on a Youth Congress convoy was saved from becoming national news by an advance road clearing anti-landmine vehicle.
The vehicle missed the booby trap by a few seconds but was fiercely fired upon by the Maoists. After hogging the limelight in the weeks following the deadly attack on the Congress leadership in May, Bastar along with its perpetually ongoing bloody conflict between the state and the Maoists, with the tribals sandwiched in between, has gone off the radar of the national consciousness. As Ashutosh Bharadwaj writes in the Indian Express no prominent English news channel has a correspondent in Chhattisgarh, the capital of the Maoist insurgency. After a major incidence, their crew flies in to put together a few primetime packages and goes back.
No gore – no news. If the administration, which along with most of the sarpanchs and panchayat secretaries (and the teachers and revenue and forest and health workers) was sucked into the perceived safety of the district and block headquarters following the Maoist attack on the Congress carcade on 25th May was pretending to make a buzz, that has fallen silent since July 5th when the state government employees went on an indefinite strike. They are demanding what they call “risk allowance” for being posted in this area. The central government gives them 25% of the salary as risk cover. The state government was to chip in its share of 20% which hasn’t come yet, hence the strike. The work, in whatever form was going on till now, has come to a standstill in the offices, hospitals and schools of block and district headquarters too.
The government has responded with an offer to post the lathi-yielding home guards – “security” in place a risk allowance – but the employees are not amused. Neither the chief minister or any other minister or leader of the ruling BJP has visited the area after the May attack. No Congress leader, including the party’s newly-appointed working president Charan Das Mahant has visited the area either. This has more significantly brought to the fore the glaring absence of a vibrant political milieu in the region. The chief minister started his highly publicised ‘Vikas Yatra’ on 6th May in Dantewada town in the area and traveled full one kilometer in the bus to reach the Circuit House from where he took off in the helicopter.
He hasn’t returned to Bastar since. The Congress had been making some efforts in the months preceding the May attack to raise the interest level in the masses. ‘Parivartan rally’ was a part of that campaign. It is ironical that the rally that was intended to be the curtain raiser for the political fight before the impending assembly elections later this year effectively put a curtain to whatever nascent activity was there till then. The ostensible reason – given by both the parties – is the rains. The MLAs have shifted their bases to towns further away from their constituencies. Their public appearances have virtually dried up.
So has the contact with their constituents – with perhaps one exception of that of the Jagdalpur MLA Santosh Bafna who has come out with a unique model. As the Hindi daily Deshbandhu reports he has pitched a tent in the lawns of his fortified residence in Jagdalpur town where his constituents, loaded on trucks, are brought to him to “meet” the representative. The ride comes with the promise of food and gifts as bonus.
In a small pocket in the south, the health and education services have been outsourced to the NGOs. In the rest, the state has simply put the shutter down. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which had been working in the area since 2010 was asked to leave last month when eyebrows were raised on realization that their services in the tribal villages were benefiting the Maoists too. The ICRC was ensuring that people have access to clean water and proper sanitation in two districts – Bijapur and Sukma of south Bastar. Another NGO -The Nobel Peace Prize winner Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) – popularly known as Doctors without Borders – is under scanner of the state government. That leaves only Ramkrishna Mission with a base in Narayanpur. The political activities have dried up.
The MLAs – both sitting and prospective – have virtually fled the scene, the offices are deserted as the employees have gone on strike, the school buildings are either destroyed or damaged, no teacher is to be found when the new academic session has started, no doctor is found in the season of what the department call “seasonal diseases”. A good part of the nation’s geography has been abandoned by the state, a good part of its population forgotten and this has failed to make headlines. Is it because the news does not carry gore?
Chhattisgarh high court rejects bail plea of Soni Sori
BILASPUR: Chhattisgarh high court on Monday rejected bail application of Soni Sori, a 36 year old tribal teacher, against whom the Bastar police had slapped a number of cases linking her with Maoist activities. The bench of Justice Prashant Mishra rejected the bail plea of Soni Sori and another accused Lingaram Kodopi after hearing their counsels. Rejecting the bail plea, the court observed that the allegations against them were of serious nature.
Earlier during the course of arguments on the bail plea, her counsel Shishir Dixit pointed out that the trial court in Dantewada had already acquitted Soni Sori from five out of eight cases registered against her by the police. Another accused Lingaram Kodopi was represented by his counsel Ranjit Singh Marhas. Sori was arrested on October 4, 2011 in New Delhi, when she was on the run on the allegations of being a Maoist sympathizer and acting as a conduit to extort Rs 1.5 million for the banned CPI (Maoist) from the Essar group.
She was handed over to the Chhattisgarh police despite her insistence that she was being framed by them. Later, civil society and human rights groups alleged that she was tortured in police custody. The Essar case and another case on Maoist attack on Congress leader Avdesh Singh Gautam are the two crucial cases still under trial. In the Essar case of payment of protection money to the banned CPI (Maoists), Essar General Manager D V C S Verma and contractor B K Lala are out on bail while Sori and her activist nephew Linga Kodopi are still in judicial custody.