Naxals devise new ways of comeback
Though cornered and forced out of their strongholds in Jangalmahal, the Maoists are plotting new ways of marking a comeback in the region and are in the process of floating new fronts to regain lost ground. In a clear bid to regain lost clout and acceptance among the locals, the rebels have reportedly tied up with some local political outfits, which couldn’t make much of an impression in the panchayat elections and are desperate to hold their own in the region.
Though peace has returned in Jangalmahal, there have lately been reports of a noticeable spurt in the movement of the outlaws in the region. On a day the Naxals took out four BSF jawans in a deadly landmine blast in the Koraput area of Odisha, top district and security officials in West Midnapore met to take stock of the prevailing scene in the Naxal hotbeds of Jangalmahal. While the police top brass held a high-level meeting to assess the prevailing security situation in the district, IG (western arrange) Siddhinath Gupta held talks with top CRPF officials over reports of a likely resurgence of the outlaws in the region.
“We reviewed the security situation in areas prone to Naxal attacks. While I can’t fully disclose what transpired at the meeting, we did take stock of the prevailing situation and put in our collective mind to drawing up a future course,” Gupta told Hindustan Times. Sources said the rebels have lately been spotted regrouping in pockets of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia, the three districts that make up the Jangalmahal region. There have even been reports of the ultras moving around in Birbhum, said sources. While the rebels have been on the back foot in the wake of the arrest and death of a clutch of top line leaders, including Kishenji, recent sightings of the ultras have spawned fears of a likely resurgence.
While several other top names in the Maoist ranks, including Jagari Baskey, Rajaram Soren and Suchitra Mahato, turned themselves over and have since been rehabilitated, the arrest of top commander Arnab Dam alias Bikram helped put an end to the Naxal upsurge in Jangalmahal. There have already been reports of Maoist killings in Birbhum. Amarjit Balihar, the SP of Pakur district in neighbouring Jharkhand, fell to a Maoist ambush strike on the Birbhum-Jharkhand border a couple of months back.
Keen to revive the insurgency in their former strongholds and mark a footprint in Birbhum, the Naxals have reportedly floated a rash of new front outfits and are in the process of building a nexus with a motley political crew in the area. A series of arms seizures also point to a likely resurgence of Maoists in Jangalmahal. “We have stepped up vigil and search operations are on to nab suspects. We won’t let the Maoists back in,” a security officer said.
ROURKELA: Security forces arrested a woman Maoist during a combing operation in Saranda forest under K Bolang police limits in Sundargarh district on Monday. She identified herself as Birish Munda alias Pramila,20.
Three Maoists arrested in Narayanpur district
RAIPUR: Three Naxalites were arrested on Tuesday, during a search operation in Maoist-hit Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh, police said. The cadres were apprehended by a team of local police in the forests of Pallamkasa village under Narayanpur police station limits, said, deputy superintendent of police (DSP) N K Sahu. The arrested have been identified as Somnath Dugga,30, Lasu Gavde, 26 and Dalsai Gavde,36, all members of Raoghat Dalam of outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist), he said.
The patrol team was on a combing operation since Monday in the Anjrela and Pallamkasa region, around 300km from Raipur. On getting a tip-off about the presence of Maoists in the region, the search team nabbed the trio, who were involved in incidents of attacks on police party and looting, the DSP said. They were produced in a local court which sent them to jail, he added.
Flowers of spring that failed to bloom in Karala
KOZHIKODE: Vasanthathile Pookkal (Flowers of Spring), the novel written by former state secretary of the CPI (Maoist) Roopesh, at best is a flight of fancy of an anxious Maoist, who had tried his best to make the presence of the movement felt in Kerala. The Maoist movement in state will complete nine years in September. During these years, the Maoists had tried in vain to infiltrate into some of the agitations of the people against displacement, eviction and police brutality. All their attempts to take roots in Kerala had miserably failed. The novel is a blend of the real and the imaginary – the real incidents that occurred in the recent past are mixed with imagined reactions.
Keralites woke up to the Maoist presence in the state after the arrest of CPI(Maoist) politburo member Malla Raji Reddy and his wife Suguna at Angamaly in December, 2007. But there were no protests, barring muffled voices here and there, in the state after the arrest. The novel, however, imagines a violent protest and stone pelting on the police by agitators. In the story, a forest station at Pooyamkutty is attacked by Maoist guerrillas in green uniforms on the next day of the arrest, in retaliation. Similarly, the novel imagines eruption of violence after the death of two migrant labourers in a mishap in Ernakulam. Scores of migrant workers clash with the police at the hospital compound where the bodies are kept.
Though many migrant labourers had died at workplaces in different parts of the state, there have been no violent protests engineered by the Maoists anywhere in the state. More than its literary quality, what attracts the observers of the Maoist movement in the state is the insights the novel provides into the projects the Maoists in Kerala had in mind – the plans that did not materialize till now.
Maoists train youths to crack police intercepts
RAIPUR: Based on the statement of two Maoists arrested from Raipur, officials in state Intelligence Bureau (SIB) suspect that Maoists are setting up communication centres in the forests of Bastar to intercept police communication and trace their movements. Maoists are training youths for the purpose for which they need raw materials. This indicates that the Maoists have a well oiled urban network that is providing back up support and information it. Babulal Sharma, a tendu leaf transporter and his partner Tarak Kundu, who were working as part of Maoists urban network, were arrested on Sunday.
Their arrest might help police in their investigation. Babulal Sharma in his statement revealed another shocking information stating that Maoists are planning to prepare a huge hand rocket for which they were told to purchase pipes, nut bolts and other raw materials. Sources said that had this transaction been suceeded, it would have triggered to another May 25 Jhiram Ghati attack. The quantity of explosives seized itself was enough to lead to a major attack. All the raw material was supposed to be delivered on the borders of Abujhmarh in Dantewada district SIB sources said that Maoists train youths to intercept communication between intelligence and police using wireless handsets. They need raw materials like copper wires, soldering machine, circuits used in wireless radios, chips and many such elements for making these handsets.
Raw materials have also been seized from the possession of the two accused arrested, said sources. “Raw materials seized from their possession include explosives, which indicate the possibility of Maoists planning another big attack,” SIB official said. He said, police have seized laptops, printers, hard disks and gadgets in Maoist camps several times, which shows that they are aware and technologically advanced.
After interrogation, Babulal revealed the working of Maoists on how they sent list of materials required, through an unknown person, who passed it on to him. He said that their urban network is actively working in parts of Jagdalpur, Dhamtari, Durg, Raipur, Bilaspur and Baloda Bazar, which provides them with arms and ammunition to medicines and others. Police are trying to trace others operatives like Babulal Sharma, who are working as part of urban network of Maoists. Urban network varies from a group of intellectuals to vegetable vendors, who are rarely aware about of the consequences of their information nor are about as to whom they are providing the information, said the SIB official.
Standard operating procedures under lens
BHUBANESWAR/ KORAPUT: Monday’s killing of four BSF personnel in a landmine blast has brought into focus the practicality of security personnel following the standard operating procedures (SOPs). The SOPs, which were debated upon in different quarters after the May 25 Maoist attack on a Congress convoy at Dharba Ghati in Chhattisgarh, are guidelines given to ensure maximum safety and operational efficiency for securitymen.
While some police officers feel the road opening party on foot should have gone prior to the BSF jawans, some others believe it is not practically possible to follow the SOPs during movement of troops. “It is not possible to follow SOPs for hundreds of kilometers,” a senior police officer said, noting, “The incident could have been avoided had the jawans been little more cautious.” Another top cop said in a battle zone, it is not possible to adhere to the SOPs always. “You cannot move if you stick to the guidelines. It’s easier to blame the jawans for not following the SOPs, but practically speaking it is not always possible to go by guidelines while on the move,” the cop said. That the Red guerillas could mount such a major offensive on the paramilitary men despite heavy deployment of security forces has left the state’s top police brass worried.
“After March, 2012, (when Maoists had kidnapped Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka and subsequently released him), the radicals had not been able to strike. We had been quite successful in containing and even eliminating them. But Monday’s attack has jolted us,” a cop engaged in anti-extremist operations said. With hilly terrain, thick forests and large water bodies, Koraput and Malkangiri districts, which share a boundary with Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, have over the years seen strong Maoist presence. The rebels have struck at securitymen at frequent intervals. Since August 21, they have stopped motor launch services to 151 villages in and around Balimela reservoir in Malkangiri. The Maoists’ writ runs large in about half of the 108 gram panchayats in Malkangiri. Collector (Malkangiri) M Muthu Kumar said, “It’s not true that the government has ceased in the cut-off area. We are devising ways and means to deal with the situation.”
Two Maoists nabbed in Janbai
Two Maoists were arrested in a joint combing operation at Janbai ghat in the cut-off region of the district on Tuesday. They are Ratan Saha and Purusottam Gonda and were close aides of Maoist leader Madhab alias Golla Ramullu who was killed in an encounter with the security forces near Chhiliba forest under Machhkund police limits on Friday. On a tip off, a joint team of BSF and SIG rushed to the Janbai ghat and arrested the two Maoists. DSP Pramod Kumar Bagh said besides helping Madhab in his activities, the two were involved in murder of Samiti member Kamululochan Ankum and attack on ESSAR plant in Chitrakonda in 2010.
Bengal passes bill denying political prisoner status to terror-linked
Kolkata, Aug 27 — Amid opposition protests, the West Bengal assembly Tuesday amended the Correctional Services Act to bar those with links to terror outfits from getting political prisoner status. The amendment also disallows those involved in regional, communal, linguistic and caste-based agitations from applying for the status. State Correctional Administration Minister Haider Aziz Safwi said the bill was being introduced as the government is “unable to distinguish between political and non-political prisoners”. “Those who are involved in terrorist activities, killing a number of people, claim themselves to be political prisoners, as if they are furthering a political objective,” said Safwi during the discussion for introducing the bill.
The opposition, the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led Left Front dubbed the amendment as a “black law passed to suit the government’s own interests”. Leader of the Opposition, Surjya Kanta Mishra, said the bill was reflective of the ruling Trinamool Congress’ “double standards”. “On the one hand, those responsible for killing people have joined the Trinamool and contested elections, on the other the government is now denying people the status of political prisoners.
This is nothing but double standard of the ruling party,” he said. State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said under the new regime, 188 life convicts and 56 political prisoners have been released in the state. The Calcutta High Court August last year had provided political prisoner status to seven top Maoist leaders, including Communist Party of India-Maoist spokesperson Gour Chakraborty and Venkateshwar Reddy, also known as Telugu Dipak. Following the court order, the union home ministry had written to the Mamata Banerjee government expressing concern over the issue, saying the move “can have significant security implications at the national level”.
At present, there are 62 political detainees in the state’s correctional homes. As a political prisoner, undertrials and convicts are entitled to get a chair, table, mattress, blankets, mosquito nets along with writing material and a newspaper.