Union home ministry calls two-day meeting on Naxal strategy
NEW DELHI: The Union home ministry has called police chiefs of 27 districts worst affected by left-wing violence for a special two-day interactive session in Delhi. The ministry has also chosen Mohd Suvez Haque, superintendent of police in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district, to brief the gathering on the innovative methods adopted by him to tackle leftwing extremism. Home Secretary Anil Goswami, Director of Intelligence Bureau Asif Ibrahim and inspector-generals in-charge of operations in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Orissa will also attend the conference beginning on August 26.
The meeting follows the July 3 killing of Amarjit Balihar, who was superintendent of police in Jharkhand’s Pakur district, by suspected Maoists. A senior home ministry official said Haque has been chosen to give a presentation at the meeting on the methods adopted by him to take on the Maoists. Haque, a 34-year-old officer of the Indian Police Service’s 2005 batch, is a qualified chemical engineer and is counted among the country’s best SPs when it comes to countering left-wing violence.
“We have asked Haque to share his experiences with the other SPs in-charge of the worst naxal-affected districts in the country so that anti-naxal operations can be heightened and better focused in their areas,” the official said. Haque is said to have done commendable work in his district since his posting there on June 25, 2012. He has led aggressive operations against the Maoists in the jungles in Gadchiroli, resulting in the killing of several prominent Maoists.
Naxal convictions: A case again to revisit Act
The recent conviction of eight persons for spreading Naxalism in urban areas of Chhattisgarh again underlines a paradox in the functioning of investigation and prosecution wings of the police. Though the state has consistently topped the chart of Maoist violence across the country, it is yet to secure a single conviction in assault cases. In fact, all the accused even in a high-profile incident like the Tadmetla ambush, in which 76 cops were killed, were acquitted.
However, in cases where the charge is merely of being a ‘Maoist supporter’, the conviction record stands tall, including several activists, businessmen and writers. Is it because such cases are easier to prosecute as the nature of evidence here is relaxed, courtesy the Chhattisgarh Public Security Act that was enacted to check Maoists but has been misused against ordinary citizens?
The Act makes any activity that “interferes or tends to interfere with maintenance of public order” unlawful, makes any outfit that indulges in such activities “unlawful”, and declares that anyone, even without being its member, contributes to or aids such an outfit can be punished. A person who may be completely unaware that he is ‘contributing’ to such an outfit can be punished as the onus to prove his innocence lies on him.
On the contrary, the Act does not make intention or knowledge an ingredient of crime. While some of the convicts in the recent case have substantial evidence against them, the evidence falls short in at least three cases — that of two Bilaspur-based cloth merchants, Naresh and Ramesh Khubwani, and a tailor, Dayaram Sahu. The Khubwanis, the prosecution says, took orders from a top Maoist to stitch uniforms for security guards. Sahu was then hired by the merchants to stitch the clothes.
The three have been convicted despite the police also admitting that this top Maoist had hidden his identity while placing the order, claiming to be a person who hires security guards. Their logic is that any cloth merchant who took such largescale orders for stitching ‘military uniforms’ must have known the identity of his clients. As the state police celebrates its success in securing eight convictions, the maximum in any Maoist case so far in Chhattisgarh, it should perhaps be reviewing the law that tramples over the rights the Constitution mandates for its citizens.
20 bags of explosives recovered in Maoist-infested Koderma
Koderma, July 12 (ANI): Acting on a tip off, police recovered 20 bags of explosives in Koderma districr of Jharkhand. Police seized the explosives on a vehicle, which was transporting Ammonium Nitrate to Hazaribagh district. So far nobody has been arrested, as the driver and his associate are on the run. Investigations are underway even as police are not ruling out a Maoist link.