Impose curfew, fine on villagers for helping Naxals: Mumbai CP
NEW DELHI: Imposing curfew, slapping collective fine and taking to task sarpanch and elders in villages found to be giving food and shelter to Maoists are some of the measures suggested by Mumbai Commissioner of Police Satyapal Singh to cripple the Naxal menace. Calling Maoists ‘snakes’ for declaring a war against the state, he said, “They ( Naxals) need to be searched, driven out or neutralised” by putting “collective responsibility” on villagers as even “passive neutrality” of locals is advantageous to the Maoists and an obstacle for security agencies.
In the latest issue of the Indian Police Journal ( IPJ), a compendium of thoughts and comments of senior police and intelligence community officers brought out by the BPRD, the 1980-batch Maharashtra cadre police officer was critical about the state of affairs in dealing with Naxal violence, termed as the biggest threat to the internal security of the country. He wrote that as far as anti-Maoist strategy in the country is concerned, the coordination among government agencies exists “mainly on paper”. He said it was time to admit that the locals are not with the administration despite building roads, bridges and other infrastructure and it has led to little improvement in their quality of life.
The Commissioner, in the topic “Fire in forest: Tackling Maoist menace”, said the Maoist movement needs to be restricted “both physically and psychologically from the general population”. “To further this, extremist and public movements should be regulated through the institution of collective responsibility meaning thereby that hosting the extremists by one in the village, attending the meeting of extremists, providing them food, etc., blocking the roads by felling trees should hold the entire village responsible.
“A collective fine for all village residents or curfew for two days may be thought of. Alternatively, the village Sarpanch, police patil and other village-elders should be punished.” He said every member of a village, above 12 years of age, must be registered with the district administration and be issued an identity card. “For all regulatory measures, government should consider the enactment of an appropriate law,” Singh wrote in his 20-page piece.
Cops, forest and government officials feel insecure in Gadchiroli: HC
NAGPUR: Despite getting extra remuneration and perks, government and police officers are always reluctant to join their services in the tribal district of Gadchiroli, primarily due to Naxal activities. Now, even the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has endorsed their stand. “Any police, forest or government official who wants to openly identify himself, feel insecure to have free movement and to perform his official duty, due to the clandestinely armed and dangerous group activities by criminals and extortionists in Naxal infested areas. This is harsh ground reality which cannot be ignored,” a single-judge bench of Justice Ashok Bhangale observed while declining an anticipatory bail plea of Gadchiroli Zilla Parishad president and local NCP leader Bandopant Mallelwar.
Mallelwar moved the high court after the Gadchiroli Sessions Court rejected his anticipatory bail application on July 19. After the high court’s denial, he surrendered before the police last week and his police custody was extended till August 23 by the Aheri judicial magistrate on Friday. Gadchiroli police had registered a case against Mallelwar, his brother Narendra and a medical officer at the Porla primary health centre (PHC) Dr Ravindra Karpe (who later got bail) on June 21, after explosives and ammunition, allegedly meant for Naxals, were found in an ambulance belonging to the PHC. Offences were registered under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, Explosives Substances Act, and Section 120B of IPC.
Justice Bhangale further observed that Naxalite activities have posed serious menace to law and order situation, not only in Maharashtra, but also in neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal among others. “Poor inmates of forest are impressed upon to assist the outlaws to provide shelter, food, etc under influence of money or threats. Unlawful activities by criminal groups or gangs do prevent the free movement of the law abiding citizens in such areas and also pose menace for the orderly administration along with growth and development in such areas,” the judge stated.
Considering prima facie evidence, the judge said there was ground to believe Mallelwar’s involvement in the serious offences. “Since the investigation is at preliminary stages, the custodial interrogation of the applicant may yield more valuable and material information in respect of the unlawful activities of the Naxalite groups which are required to be exposed and sternly dealt with. All their unlawful activities need to be prevented in future in the interest of maintaining law and order in the society, and for welfare and safety of people in the Naxal infested areas of the state,” the court stated before rejecting his criminal application.
Dandapani Mohanty on hunger strike
Berhampur: The hunger strike launched by DandapaniMohanty, convener of Jana AdhikarManch (JAM), inside Paralakhemundi sub-jail entered its third day on Saturday. Mohanty, 62, who was arrested on charges of Maoist activities from Berhampur six months back, launched the strike from Independence Day alleging that he and his son Sangram were implicated in false cases.
“He was not taking food since the last three days but is drinking water and taking medicines. The doctors examined him and found him in good health on Saturday,” said sub-assistant jailor of Paralakhemundi Binod Padhy. Dandapani was arrested from his residence here on February 8 and his son Sangram from Gajapati’s Kamalapur on December 5, 2012. Sangram, charged with Maoist activities, is presently housed in the Berhampur circle jail. Dandapani who mediated twice between the state government and Maoists, had launched a hunger strike inside the R Udayagiri sub-jail, just a day after his arrest in protest. He called it off after a week.
Police have registered 19 different Maoist-related cases against him. It includes burning of four buses by state-owned Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) at Raipanka in February 2009, mobile tower blast at Raipanka, Birikote and Aliganda, assaulting a sweeper at Nalaghata on Gajapati-Rayagada border, murder of a person, Dinabandhu Mantri at Katamma on May 2010, present during the exchange of fire between Maoist and police at Gopinathpur, extortion in the name of Maoists, among others. The co-accused in some of these incidents have already been acquitted, said Upendra Nayak, one of the advocates of Dandapani. Arati Majhi was one of them, he said.