In shift from guerrilla strategy, Maoists raise 2 new battalions
The People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) of the CPI(Maoist) has moved on to being a conventional fighting force in at least two locations and has raised two battalions, sources in the state police and Ministry of Home Affairs say. This is a major shift from the Maoists’ guerrilla strategy: it has always maintained that the “principal and central task” of PLGA is to transform itself “into a fully developed People’s Liberation Army.”
The Maoists insist on establishment of Revolutionary Base Areas as a precondition for transformation of the PLGA: this move is probably an indication that the CPI-Maoist considers itself sufficiently entrenched in certain locations to stop calling them Guerrilla Areas. This has resulted in the raising of battalions by the Naxal Central Military Commission, with about 250-300 fighters in each. Two such battalions have been reportedly raised, at least partially — in Jharkhand’s Latehar district and along the Orissa — Chhattisgarh border. These are an upgrade from PLGA companies and platoons, which have 40-45 and 8-10 fighters each, respectively.
A conventional fighting unit would have about 1000 personnel in a battalion. There have been rumours PLGA would soon be upgraded. “They have been calling themselves PLA in some areas since the end of 2012 or beginning of this year. We have encountered battalion formations since the Katia encounter,” said an officer of the state police. “Maoists claim to have raised battalions in the Orissa-Chhattisgarh border, too,” said an MHA official. “Maoists seem to be implementing a new strategy, Vikendrikaran. This is decentralisation. In the face of a larger enemy, they split and melt away,” said the officer.
K Vijay Kumar, a Security Advisor at MHA, said the upgrade to PLA is part of the flexibility conventional fighting forces cannot afford. “This is why we call it an asymmetric battle: such flexibility is adversely loaded against even the strongest government. They exist outside rule of law; they can do things we cannot, like change squad strengths at will. PLA is considered the ultimate and third level of their strategy. However, it is easy for them to go back to the second stage without problems,” he said.
Union minister praises Maharashtra for anti-Naxal operations
NAGPUR: Union minister of state of home affairs RPN Singh, who was in city on Sunday, lauded the efforts of Maharashtra for its success in tackling Naxalism. The Congress minister has also expressed his satisfaction with the efforts undertaken by other states like West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh in countering the guerrilla movement. Singh, whose day’s programme included meeting with top Central Reserve Police Force officials at Hingna, also said that the central government has decided to increase the budget in developing infrastructure in the remote regions affected by the rebel movement. The minister stated that central government would not only sanction budget but also supervise the ongoing work.
Singh also underlined the fact that centre is keen to equip the security forces and police department of Naxal-affected regions with sophisticated arms, weapons and gadgets. The minister stated that security forces have been toiling hard in the inhospitable and difficult terrains in the anti-Naxal operations. “Government would try to ensure that forces are provided with such gadgets that would make their operations in remote places easier,” he said. Highlighting the success of Maharashtra, WB and AP, Singh said that other states should follow their footsteps. “It is of utmost importance that the Naxal-affected states work in close co-ordination,’ said Singh.
Police quiz two for Naxal links
NAGPUR: City police’s Special branch (SB) intercepted two persons for their alleged Naxal links on Saturday. The two, who had come to attend a date in Gadchiroli court from Pune, were allowed to go after quizzing. The cops confiscated their luggage having literature connected to Ambedkerite movement. The duo, Siddharth Bhosale and Jyoti Chorge, were set to board a train to Mumbai when a joint team of State Government railway police (GRP) and city police’s SB nabbed them.
They were taken to GRP ‘thana’ on Nagpur railway station and quizzed for a couple of hours. Cops allowed them to go on the condition that they would appear before them for questioning on the following day. Bhosale and Chorge were arrested by State Anti-Terrorist squad (ATS) from Pune in 2011. Chorge was arrested along with Naxal’s Maharashtra state committee secretary Milind Teltumbde’s wife Angela Sontakke from Pune. Bhosale was also arrested from Pune.
The two were charged for being part of the banned outfit of Communist Party of India (Maoist) or Naxals. It’s reliably learnt that Bhosale and Chorge, also implicated in a case of Purada police station of Gadchiroli, were required to remain present at the local court. They were supposed to return to Pune via Mumbai. The city cops learnt to have brought them for questioning on the grounds that they were ferrying Naxal literature. Though the duo was quizzed by the officials from SB, it was not clear as to which agency would inquire the matter further. A senior SB official claimed that the further inquiry would be conducted by the Government Railway Police (GRP). A senior official of the GRP, however, stated that SB had not involved them in the operations and so the city police would be taking the matter further.
Four Maoist arrested in Kanker district
RAIPUR: Four Maoists were arrested during a search operation in Kanker district on Sunday, by a joint team of Border Security Force (BSF) and local police. The search operation was underway in the forests of Siksod region for the last three days in Chhindbhat forest area. Acting on a tip off, forces rounded up the Maoists. Those held have confessed their involvement in the Maoist activities. The arrested are Meghnath Dhruv, 27, Piyar, 23, Suklal, 24 and Ramuram Usendi, 30, police said. They were wanted in several cases under Arms Act, Explosive Substances Act, destroying public property and many other offences. They were being interrogated, said police.
No serious threat from Maoists in Barak Valley: Cachar SP
SILCHAR: Cachar superintendent of police Diganta Bora said although some Maoist elements are active in the Barak Valley area of Assam, as of now, they do not pose any threat to the law and order situation in this region. Talking to mediapersons here on Saturday, Bora said the demographic make-up of the valley provides an edge to the Maoists. Barak Valley is dotted with tea estates and the Maoists are trying to spread their presence among the youth of the tea tribe. “We have come to understand that some Maoist activists come here to spread their ideology among a section of the youth, in the tea belt in particular. However, they are yet to make any dent among the masses. Moreover, the Maoists active in the valley are unarmed,” said the SP.
Bora said as the Maoists have posed a serious threat in various parts of the country, there is concern over their reported activities in Barak Valley too. However, police have been keeping a watch over them and there is no reason for alarm at present, said Bora. On May 9, Andhra Pradesh Police, in cooperation with their Assam counterpart, had arrested CPI (Maoist) central committee member and a key leader of the northeast chapter of the outfit, Anukul Chandra Naskar alias Paresh Da (65), from Silchar. Naskar, a native of Balia village in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district, was arrested following interrogation to two top Maoist leaders – Aklanta Rabha (41) alias Maheshji, a central committee leader and head of the northeast operations of CPI (Maoist), and Siraj Rabha (35) alias Bijoy Rabha alias Suraj – who were arrested from the Jorabat area on the outskirts of Guwahati on April 26. Naskar was active in the tea belt of Barak Valley for quite some time.
Besides spreading the ideology of the outfit, he was engaged in recruiting youths of the tea community for armed training, reports said. This development had raised an alarm about the Maoist threat in Barak Valley bordering Bangladesh, sources said.
Three Maoists arrested in Odisha
Koraput: Three Maoists, including an armed woman, were arrested by security personnel in two separate operations in Odisha’s Koraput district, police said on Sunday. In a joint operation, a team of BSF and Odisha police today arrested two Maoists, identified as Samuru Miniaka and Dalu Madingi, from a forest area under Naraynpatna police limits, Koraput Superintendent of Police Awinash Kumar said. “During interrogation the duo revealed that they were entrusted with the task of finding out vulnerable points to plant Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) to attack security men patrolling the area. We have recovered a country-made gun from them,” the SP said.
Police said the duo had initially joined Maoist backed Chasi Muliya Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) and subsequently got arms training before joining Srikakulam-Koraput divisional committee of CPI(Maoist). They were closely associated with Maoist leaders like Daya, Aruna and Sarita. “Apart from participating in various loot and arson cases, the duo had played active role during bandhs called by the red rebels. They were also involved in blasting mobile towers,” the SP said.
In another operation, a woman Maoist cadre allegedly involved in several offences was arrested from a forest near Muslimunda village in Narayanpatna area yesterday, he said. “The 27-year-old woman ultra, identified as Jurka Praska, was a member of the group of Maoists that murdered Siba Madingi of Jogi Palur on August 11, 2012, and Sukra Huika of Odiapenta village on June 12, 2012,” he said, adding a country-made gun was recovered from her.
AK-47 assault rifle, 127 pipe bombs recovered from Maoist hideouts
GAYA: In a major haul, joint teams of the district police and state level Special Task Force recovered one AK 47 assault rifle, 127 pipe bombs, one country-made rifle and one double-barrel gun from different Maoist hideouts in the Maoist-affected Dumaria, Imamganj and Banke Bazar police station areas of Gaya district. Two boxes of ‘codex’ used to ignite landmines were also recovered. The recoveries were made during a special operation launched by the police to unearth Maoist armoury.
Confirming the recovery, Gaya SSP Nishant Tiwari said the operation against the Maoists will continue in the Maoist-affected Sherghati sub-division of the district. According to the SSP, the pipe bombs recovered during the operation was used for landmining purpose. However, members of the PLGA ( People’s Liberation Guerilla Army), the fighting wing of the Maoists and end users of the recovered weapons, managed to escape from the hideouts raided by policemen.
Police arrest ‘Maoist’ couple in Garhwa
GARHWA: A married Maoist couple was arrested by Bhandaria police late on Friday from Kheeratand village in Hesatu forest under Bhandaria police station. Sohan Korwa alias Upendarji alias Manasji and his wife Meena Korwa were arrested, around 85 km from the district headquarters. Police also found two country-made rifles from their possession, said Garhwa SP Mayur Patel at a press conference on Saturday. While Sohan served as section commander of the Maoist, Meena was an active member of the armed squad of a Maoist leader Arvindji alias Nishant.
Sohan and Meena got married in July 2012. The SP told mediapersons that police were tipped-off about some Maoists staying in Kheeratand village. A police team led by Ranka DSP Vishwanath Prasad, along with CRPF jawans, raided a house at the village and nabbed the Red couple along with arms, the SP added. The SP also said Sohan was involved in several major encounters with the police including Kumundih encounter in Latehar where a bomb was planted inside a dead security person’s body.
He was also involved in the Tehri encounter in 2010 and responsible for the attack on the scot party of Chatra MP Inder Singh Namdhari in November 2011. He was also present at Lalmatia village under Salo forest area in Bhandaria where the Maoists triggered a landmine blast killing 13 security personnel including the Bhandaria OC Rajbali Chaudhary on January 22, 2012. The SP said Sohan is an expert in bomb making and planting them into dead bodies. He was wanted by the Latehar and Chainpur (Gumla), Palamu and Garhwa police for the past many years, added the SP.
Ageing Maoist woman commander, never photographed, ‘key link’ to Gadchiroli arrests
An AK-47 slung around her tiny frame, she walks with a stoop, it is said. The 50-something Narmada Ekka (Ekka means elder sister in Gondi language) is one of the most dreaded woman Maoist commanders in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli, one of the 27 districts in the country worst affected by left-wing extremism. The arrests of JNU student Hem Mishra and former journalist Prashant Rahi, alleged couriers for Maoists, were linked to her, say Gadchiroli police. Narmada is said to have arranged for other couriers to bring Mishra and Rahi to Abujhmaad in Chhattisgarh, where the top Maoist leadership is reportedly hiding.
Police claimed Mishra and Rahi were carrying coded information for Maoist chief Ganapathy as the leadership tries to hold a major meeting of cadres. The last such meeting was held in 2009. “The two men arrested with Mishra have confessed before a magistrate that Narmada sent them to receive the JNU student. She is a crucial link,” said Suvez Haque, Superintendent of Police (Gadchiroli). “Narmada Ekka has risen in Maoist ranks. She is one of the seniormost members of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DSZC) comprising nine divisions spread over eastern Maharashtra and south Chhattisgarh. She used to head the military wing of DSZC but now, due to poor health and age, she has been given the task of recruiting tribal women. She has high blood pressure and is a diabetic. She heads Dandakaranya Krantikari Adivasi Sangathan,” said a senior police officer in Gadchiroli.
He said Narmada can speak around 12 languages, including Gondi, Oriya, Telugu and English. Said to be a postgraduate, she belongs to Guntur in Andhra Pradesh , like most CPI (Maoist) central committee members. She has been an active Maoist since 1985 but no security agency has her photograph. The description they have from surrendered and arrested Maoists includes the fact that she has spots on her face and body. Her husband, Kiran, who is in his sixties, is head of the publication wing of DSZC. Though she belongs to Andhra Pradesh, she is said to have a lot of influence on Maoists in Gadchiroli. “They tell us she is soft-spoken but brutal. As she headed the military wing one can imagine her abilities. She is the seniormost of the 23-24 DSZC members. Like other leaders, she does not live in Gadchiroli but operates from Abujhmaad,” said the officer.
CPI cries cop excesses
KORAPUT: The Koraput wing of the Communist Party of India (CPI) has accused police of assaulting one of its activists on charges of being a Maoist sympathizer and confining him to Jeypore sadar police station for 15 days before releasing him on Friday. He was identified as Samara Kirsani, 26, of Kebada Antal village. Talking to media on Sunday, Kirsani said two persons reached his place on September 13 and sought his help to find a motorcycle stolen from Malkangiri.
He accompanied them to Boipariguda police station. “Police found two guns from their possession. They arrested me along with the duo, who police said were Maoists. I was kept in the hazat while the other two were taken to the inspector-in-charge,” he said. According to Kirsani, he was then brought to Jeypore Sadar police station, about 22 km from Boipariguda, and grilled on charges of being a Maoist supporter. “They beat me continuously for three hours. When I feel ill, they gave me some medicine,” he said.
Secretary of the CPI Koraput unit Judhistar Raul said, “Kirsani is a marginal farmer and police picked him in a pre-planned manner. We will approach the human rights commission and demonstrate before the sub-collector office at Jeypore in protest against police excesses on October 5.”