Maoist held guilty of Hindu leader’s killing
A court in Odisha Tuesday convicted a Maoist for the murder of a Hindu leader and four of his aides in 2008, a lawyer said. Seven other accused were convicted in the case the day before. Pulari Rama Rao alias Uday was held guilty by the special additional district sessions court at Phulbani, the headquarters of Kandhamal district, about 200 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, the lawyer told IANS.
A pistol used in the killing was recovered from Rao, police said. The court acquitted co-accused Somanatha Dandsena due to lack of evidence, the lawyer said. The same court Monday convicted seven people for killing Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and his aides at Jaleshpata in Kandhamal district Aug 23, 2008. They are Duryodhan Suna Majhi, Munda Bada Majhi, Sanatan Bada Majhi, Garnatha Chalanseth, Bijay Kumar Samseth, Bhaskar Suna Majhi and Budhadev Nayak.
Maoist presence suspected in Marayur
Marayur: The Tamil Nadu police have started searching for three strangers, suspected to be Maoists, in the Marayoor and nearby forest areas of Idukki district. The pictures showing three middle-aged people carrying sickles were captured by cameras placed at Thalinji, a place owned by Tamil Nadu Government, two weeks before.
The Tamil Nadu Home Ministry had ordered for an urgent inquiry then as the place is in the Maoist-suspected areas list of Tamil Nadu Q branch. However, the inquiry was extended to the Marayur area as the team couldn’t find out the trio in border villages of Tamil Nadu. Prima facie it is believed that they are either Maoists or robbers. At the same same time Kerala Forest Department took a lighter stance saying that there is no Maoist presence in Marayur.
To contain Maoists, SSB to move into Santhal Parganas
Jharkhand is about to move more central forces into Santhal Parganas, the region becoming a new theatre in the battle against Maoists. Dumka will be headquarters of a battalion of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), which will move into the region this month. The Maoists have been active in the area since 2001 and have ramped up activities since 2004-05. They call the region an expansion zone. “A battalion of SSB will be headquartered at Dumka so that we have 5-6 companies in the region at all times. The Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) and Jharkhand Armed Police (JAP) there will be largely withdrawn,” said Jharkhand police spokesperson and Additional Director General of Police S N Pradhan.
This will be a major opportunity for SSB, which is not involved in any major anti-Left Wing Extremism (LWE) offensive at the moment. “The SSB boys are quite new to anti-LWE operations, but Santhal Parganas, a relatively low-risk zone, is a good place to learn. Having the same battalion looking after the region will mean command and control will improve,” said Pradhan. Presence of IRB and JAP has not been effective.
Their numbers are not sufficient, either. “We have up to 10 times more forces in districts like Chhatra, Palamu and Latehar taken together, when compared to the combined strength of IRB and JAP in Santhal Parganas,” said Pradhan. The state has been slow in matching the Maoist initiative — shortstaffed, they preferred to concentrate on short-term firefighting in Chottanagpur plateau, trusting the cadre strength of the JMM to keep Maoists out of Dumka, Pakur, Godda, Jamtara, Deogarh and Sahibganj districts. It worked until recently, but on July 2 the Maoists announced their presence by killing Pakur SP Amarjit Balihar.