Fearing attacks by Naxals, govt reschedules meet of SPs
Apprehending Naxal attacks against police officers during their travel, Home Ministry has rescheduled a meeting of the top cops of the 27 worst Maoist- hit districts convened here as the dates have been leaked. The two-day meeting of the Superintendents of Police and commandants of paramilitary forces deployed in the 27 districts was convened in the wake of the July 3 killing of Amarjit Balihar, the SP of Jharkhand’s Pakur district, by Maoists.
The meeting scheduled to be held on July 26-27 has been postponed following a request by CRPF which thought that leak of dates could make the officers vulnerable to being targeted by Maoists during their journey to the national capital, sources said. Maoists are known for brutal attacks on convoy of police and paramilitary forces and even on political parties when they travel through their strongholds.
Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami, Director of Intelligence Bureau Asif Ibrahim, Inspector Generals in-charge of operations in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha will attend the conference whose new dates have been kept secret. The meeting is expected to review the anti-Naxal strategy, the success and reverses received so far and the methodology taken by the Maoists to carry out their attacks as well as how to face the new challenges on the ground.
The Home Ministry has chosen Mohd Suvez Haque, SP of Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district, to brief the gathering on the innovative methods adopted by him to tackle Left wing extremism. Haque has been chosen to give a presentation at the meeting on the methods adopted by him to take on the Maoists, the sources said. Haque, 34, is an officer of the 2005 batch of Indian Police Service. He is a chemical engineer and is considered to be very efficient in dealing with Left wing violence.
Naxal held in Chhattisgarh
Raipur, July 18 (PTI) A Naxal was arrested by the security personnel today in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh, police said. Rahul alias Rajendra, the arrested Naxal, was nabbed during a joint combing operation by Border Security Force and district police at village Kursel, they said. Rahul was allegedly involved in several cases of loot, attack and other serious crimes, police added.
Three Maoists killed in encounter in Odisha
Rayagada SP Rajesh Pandit said firing continued till Friday morning. Three Maoists were killed and many others injured in an encounter with security forces in a forest area of Odisha’s Rayagada district on Thursday night. Police suspected that at least six Maoists were killed in the encounter near Turei Ghati area under Kurum Dunguri forest in Rayagada district. However, only three bodies were recovered. The encounter took place during a combing operation by the District Voluntary Force and Special Operation Group on Thursday night, DIG South Western Range S Devadatta Singh said. Rayagada SP Rajesh Pandit said firing continued till Friday morning.
A joint team of District Voluntary Force and Odisha’s elite anti-Maoist Special Operation Group was carrying out combing operation in the forest when the armed Maoists challenged them. As the security personnel retaliated, a fierce exchange of fire took place with the Maoists, the SP said. Bodies of three Maoists were found after the encounter, he said, adding that some arms and ammunition were also found at the spot.
A massive combing operation was conducted in the forest after the encounter to nab the fleeing Maoists, the police said. This area is close to Niyamgiri where the state government and Vedanta Aluminium Ltd were in agreement to extract bauxite for latter’s Lanjigarh factory. For this project, state government is organising Gram Sabha in 12 Niyamgiri villages under the Supreme Court guidance.
Hardcore Maoist wanted in four cases arrested
A hard-core CPI (Maoists) ultra was on Thursday arrested in Porahat jungle in Naxal-hit West Singhbhum district. Superintendent of Police Pankaj Kamboj said Ishaq Kandula, who was wanted by the police in over four Naxal related cases including encounter with the security personnel, was nabbed in a raid conducted following a tip-off.
The security personnel have recovered a pen drive, a hard disk, a laptop, over 250 cartridges and other articles from his possession. A resident of Pandua under Sonua Police station, Kandula, his father and brother were all attached to the ultra outfit but the family members were at large, the SP said.
Maoists spend Rs. 140 cr annually to fight bloody wars
Maoist guerrillas spend nearly Rs. 140 crore annually to fight its bloody wars across eight states that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calls the country’s single biggest internal security challenge, the first government-commissioned study on Maoist finances has estimated. The estimate – thrown up after extensive analysis of Maoist documents and interrogation reports – is much lower than the earlier estimates of the Maoist extortion industry ranging from Rs. 200 crore to Rs. 2,000 crore.
“The Maoists have been collecting not less than Rs. 140 crore annually from a variety of sources,” said the draft report prepared for the government, counting the mining industry, public works and collection of tendu leaves as the biggest sources of their income. This is the first time that an attempt has been made to closely study how the guerrillas fund their insurgency, spend the money and keep track of its expenditure.
“The Maoists have a meticulous system of accounting and are very good at book-keeping… (They) have also issued guidelines on financial discipline and how to avoid wasteful (non-proletarian) expenditure,” said the document prepared for the government by a security think-tank. A police officer said this could explain how the Maoists were able to run their war machinery on a shoe-string budget. It does need to spend a considerable amount on acquiring weapons because it is not easy to rob the police of its weapons any more.
A home ministry source said the Maoist attack on policemen in Bihar’s Aurangabad was an exception, not the rule. Maoists had looted 29 weapons including Insas and AK-47 rifles from the policemen after killing five police and private security guards on Wednesday evening.
Spurt in Maoist violence likely
Additional armed personnel have been deputed to Kumbariput in Maoist hit Narayanpatna area on Thursday following murder of a contractor by Maoists. Sources said Maoists had gunned down the contractor, Balaram Dalai, who was staying away from his Kumbariput village for quite sometime. Over 2,000 armed personnel are camping in Narayanpatna and Bandhguma. As soon as the news of Dalai’s murder reached police headquarters, armed police were sent to the spot to launch combing operation in the area.
Senior police officials including Koraput DIG, SP took stock of the situation on Thursday. Dalai’s murder has again challenged police who have been on a manhunt in the two pockets and had been successful on a number of occasions in last three months. Meanwhile, intelligence agencies have alerted that hundreds of Maoists are camping in Narayanpatna jungle and may resort to violent incidents on Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border.
Candidates canvass in groups as Red threat looms over polls
KOYYURU (VISAKHAPATNAM): Haunted by the Maoists’ threats, candidates contesting the upcoming panchayat elections in the Visakha Agency area have struck upon a novel method to evade the Red rebels. Many of the candidates are taking to canvassing in large groups during the day and hiding in safe zones in areas in the plains like Narsipatnam and Chodavaram during the night. In many panchayats in Koyyuru, Chintapalli, G Madugula, Munchingput, Pedabayalu and GK Veedhi mandal in the Agency areas, the candidates have to visit interior villages on foot for 10 to 15 kms.
Fearing for their life, the candidates try return to the mandal headquarters by 4pm after canvassing to avoid any interruption by members of the banned outfit, sources said. “Candidates in the fray are not staying in their houses for fear of being kidnapped or beaten up by Maoists. During the evenings they head by bus or jeeps to areas in the plains to avoid any possibility of bumping into Naxals,” CPM leader P Padal told TOI.
The latest ploy of the candidates comes even as the police have warned politicians on the Maoist hit-list to stay in safe zones and keep the nearest police station informed about their whereabouts. Meanwhile, the Maoist menace ensured that no nominations were filed in six panchayats, while candidates in five panchayats, Galikonda and Gummurevula panchayats in GK Veedhi mandal, withdrew their nominations and Maoists took away nomination papers in six panchayats, including Jamiguda and Ginnelakota panchayats in Pedabayalu mandal on Wednesday.
Of course, the extensive combing taken up by the security forces has given the candidates some respite as the ultras are yet to reach many panchayats in Koyyuru, Paderu, Munchingput and some other mandals. This has ensured that candidates in Budaralla, U Cheedipalem, Matham Bhimavaram and other panchayats in Koyyuru mandal did not withdraw their nominations. Despite the large presence of security personnel as part of area domination exercise, the Maoists’ PLGA Company led by Kudumula Venkata Rao alias Ravi, who is a tribal from Visakha Agency, is allegedly moving around in the interior pockets. This has sent many candidates, who filed their nominations but did not dare visit villages for canvassing, on run.
No more political prisoners from outlawed outfits?
KOLKATA: The Mamata Banerjee government has drafted an amendment to the West Bengal Correctional Services Act, 1992, to deny members of banned organizations – such as Maoists – the status of “political prisoners. As the act stands now, terrorists – those who have been charged with waging war against the state – qualify to be treated as “political prisoners”. The proposed amendment will delete certain clauses to deny members of banned organizations this status.
Political prisoners are accorded several privileges and more freedom than others: a separate cell, access to homemade food, newspapers, books and other reading material. They are also given more relaxation while meeting relatives and lawyers. The bill may be tabled in the forthcoming Assembly session in August. “Quite a number of bills are scheduled to be passed during the monsoon session. The list of bills has not been finalized yet.
We shall convene an all-party meeting to fix the dates for passing them in August,” said speaker Biman Banerjee. A senior official of the correctional services department said: “After the amendment was mentioned in the state cabinet in April, we drafted a proposal and sent it to the law department so that the bill could be passed in the monsoon session of the Assembly.” All banned organizations have been included in the bar, on the basis of recommendations made by the city police commissioner last year, a source said. So, if members of banned organizations will not be treated as political prisoners, who then would be given that status after the bill is passed?
It’s a bit sketchy at the moment. “We are not going into those details right now,” the official said. A Calcutta high court order last August, passed under the West Bengal Correctional Services Act, had rattled the security establishment when it declared eight suspected Maoists, including Maoist Telegu Dipak and Maoist-backed People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) convener Chhatradhar Mahato “political prisoners”.
A flummoxed Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) subsequently wrote to the state government to amend the law and move Supreme Court against order. Proving the ministry’s apprehensions right, American Center attacker Aftab Ansari petitioned the court demanding the same status. An MHA letter to the state home department read: “The status provides grist to the CPI (Maoist) propaganda machine… and has serious “pan-India” security implications”.
According to the original act, all those charged with offences such as “waging war against the state”, “collecting weapons with the intention of waging war against the state”, “aiding escape of, rescuing or harbouring prisoners who are suspected of waging war against the state” should be treated as “political prisoners”. It also includes anyone who had committed an offence, including murder, during a political or democratic movement, with a political objective, free from personal greed or motive.
Reds apologize for killing five cops in Bihar
RANCHI: A unit of the CPI(Maoist) claimed responsibility for the attack on security camp near a construction site at Goh in Bihar’sAurangabad district on Wednesday. Five security personnel were killed in the attack. Members of the Bihar Jharkhand North Chhattisgarh Special Area Committee (BJNCSAC), however, expressed grief over the death of security personnel. Issuing a press statement on Thursday, BJNCSAC spokesperson Gopalji said their aim was to snatch firearms from security personnel. so that they can equip common man with weapons and carry on their fight against the ongoing operation green hunt.
“We were not targeting police personnel or security guards but they were killed in the cross-firing,” he said, adding that none of the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) activist was injured. Criticizing the Congress-led UPA government for continuing with operation Green Hunt in the Maoist-affected states, Gopalji said the rebels identified the PLGA action as operation Green Hunt break-II. “Villages in Bhabhua, Munger, Jamui, Aurangabad and West Champaran have been turned into police camps with massive deployment of Central paramilitary forces making villagers’ life miserable,” he said accusing Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of supporting the Centre’s anti-Maoist agenda.
Gopalji said the PLGA troop was successful in snatching a dozen SLRs, three AK-47 and 15-Insas rifle from the jawans of special auxiliary police and private security guards. “During the operation, we have also confiscated 2,500 cartridges,” he added. The Maoists have once again asked police personnel and security guards to come forward to support their movement instead of working for the ‘imperialist and capitalist’ forces. “We want people to protest against operation Green Hunt, Policemen should not come in between. Then only will they be able to avoid bloodbath,” Gopalji said.