Three Naxals held in Andhra forest
Khammam: Three suspected Naxal commanders were Friday apprehended by security forces after a raid in the Cherla forest in this Andhra Pradesh district. Two guns, nine live rounds of ammunition and other weapons have been recovered after the operation was conducted by a joint squad of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the state police, officials said. A search operation has been launched in the area for apprehending other suspects and the nabbed Maoists are being handed over to the police for further interrogation. PTI
Naxal attacks force steel into pipeline-building
KOLKATA: A spate of alleged Naxal attacks is forcing the country’s largest mining and steel companies to invest in building pipelines along national highways to prevent repeated terror attacks that disrupt ore movement from mines deep inside forest areas in Naxalite zones. NMDCBSE -1.22 % is building a 487-km pipeline at an investment of nearly Rs 3,000 crore to transport ore from some of India’s best quality mines located at Dantewada district in Chattisgarh. Similarly, Essar SteelBSE 0.41 % too is believed to be considering alternate supply chain options, including plans for building a pipeline along the highway.
Both companies have faced alleged Naxal attacks on their facilities in the area, the latest being the one on NMDC Bacheli mines last week. NMDC is building a slurry pipeline with a 15-million tonne capacity that will run between Kirandul in Chhattisgarh and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh . It will have two pelletisation units at Jagdalpur and Vizag. The latter part of the pipeline will be in joint venture with steel major, RINL. The pipeline , which will pass through Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, would be operational by 2017. “Compared to the forest route, the highway route will add nearly 200 km to the length of pipeline and also raise the project’s capex. But we have no other option,” said a top NMDC official who did not wish to be named. “This is one of the measures we are taking to prevent any loss or setback to production ,” he added.
Centre wants states to cripple Maoists
With Maoist guerrillas fighting a bloody battle across nine states conceding that their fighting abilities were getting severely dented, the Centre has asked police chiefs to redouble efforts to cripple the armed insurgency that has killed more than 7,000 people over the last decade. In the same breath, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde also asked states to guard against Maoists scaling up their offensives, particularly Chhattisgarh that goes to polls this year and Bihar that the home ministry accuses of playing spoilsport.
The meeting comes in the backdrop of seizure of CPI (Maoist) documents that indicated the guerrillas were under tremendous pressure from the security establishment that had launched a coordinated offensive in November 2009. Nearly 95 battalions of central forces are currently deployed across the naxal heartland besides thousands of state police personnel to restrict the movement of the Maoists. Home ministry sources said the offensive along inter-state borders, however, was still far below optimum levels with egos and commitment to the offensive standing in the way. At Wednesday’s meeting of the states, the home ministry also advised states to focus on accelerating developmental projects – particularly road building projects – in the naxal-affected areas. The Centre also called for targeting middle and senior Maoist leadership and dealing sternly with urban front organisations of Maoists.
The home ministry view – that states need to adopt a uniform strategy against Maoists – was also emphasised at the meeting. Else, it was pointed out in remarks targeted at Bihar, the Maoists would just shift out of areas where they are under pressure to quieter territory. As first reported by Hindustan Times on 19 August, home ministry had also sent a stinker to the Nitish Kumar government to nudge the state to pull up its socks last month. But the home ministry believes it hasn’t had any effect.
Maoists at the urban gates: Home Ministry reveals Naxal ‘front organisations’ are most active in Delhi and the NCR
Hardly a week after the news filtered in about the CPI(M) Central Committee admitting depletion of its organisational strength, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has brought out a report listing 128 ‘front organisations’ that are under the radar of intelligence agencies for their links with the Left ultras. What is serious is that while the Maoist movement may have hit a rough patch in tribal areas, the cadres have support from their ‘front organisations’ in urban centres across the country.
Other than left wing extremism (LWE)-hit states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, these outfits are also active in Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Kerala. And more alarming is the fact that the most active units are in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). Among the ‘front organisations’ operating from Delhi are Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), Committee for Release of Political Prisoners, Democratic Students Union, Nari Mukti Sangh, People Democratic Front of India, and Mehantkash Mazdoor Morcha. Many members of these organisations are said to be active in towns adjoining Delhi like Gurgaon and Ghaziabad. “The activities of these organisations are under scanner but it is difficult to nail them since they function under another garb,” a Home ministry official said. Intelligence reports suggest that many of these organisations are based in urban centres and provide logistical support to the Maoist movement.
“The front organisations ensure fusion between overground and underground activities. They are responsible for recruitment of educated youth who go to field areas to keep the movement alive and play the role of ideologues,” the intelligence report, accessed by Mail Today, said. “These organisations also gather funds, are part of misinformation campaigns and provide legal aid to Maoists,” it stated. Intelligence agencies had stumbled upon the Maoist strategy of setting urban bases in cities following the arrest of top Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy from Delhi in 2009. Last month, Hem Mishra, a student of Jawaharlal Nehru University, was arrested by the Maharashtra police for allegedly helping Maoists. His arrest followed a search at the residence of G N Saibaba, a professor in Delhi University, who also happens to be the joint secretary of RDF.
In a meeting attended by the police chiefs and chief secretaries of Naxal-hit states with Home ministry officials on Wednesday, it was decided that evidence needs to be gathered against these outfits and action must be taken. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde was present in the meeting. “Most of these organisations work as NGOs. We are trying to get evidence and expose them,” a Home ministry official said. Sources in the MHA said the activities of these ‘front organisations’ include making in-roads into workers’ groups, social forums, and unions in urban areas. Intelligence inputs indicate that these groups are working with an objective to infiltrate the cadres of workers associations, work from within and motivate them to carry out violent protests. The modus operandi of some of these groups is aimed at provoking violence.
Starting from distribution of pamphlets and other material related to Maoist ideology, holding rallies and finally penetrating into protests and triggering violence, the sources said. “Our organisation is not a front for any party. Linking us to Maoists is a campaign to discredit us and not allow us to work among people,” Saibaba told this reporter. Similarly, SAR Geelani, President of Committee for Release of Political Prisoners said naming his organisation as a Maoist front indicates the government’s “frustrations”. “It is an attempt to oppress dissenting voices in the country,” he asserted.