Naxal killed in encounter in Chhattisgarh
A Naxalite was today killed in an encounter with security personnel in Maoist-hit Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh. The face-off between the ultras and the security forces took place in the forests of Malingwar village, Narayanpur Additional Superintendent of Police OP Sharma said. A joint party of DRG (district reserve group) of state police and district force was on a combing operation in restive Benoor region, located over 300 kms from the state capital Raipur, since early morning. “When the police party reached near Malingwar forests, rebels opened indiscriminate firing on them following which they launched a retaliatory attack leaving a Naxal dead,” he said.
Soon after getting news of the incident, additional forces were rushed to the spot, he said, adding the identity of the rebel killed in the operation was yet to be ascertained. A 9 mm pistol, a country made pistol, live cartridges and items of daily use were also recovered from the spot, he added.
Naxals ‘press units’ in forests to spread propaganda
NAGPUR: The banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) has cells dedicated to reaching out to the masses through media. The media cells, which Naxals call press units, visit the local organisational squads (LOS) and dalams in forested regions to gather information. They are usually led by a regional level spokesperson. These details were revealed during the interrogation of an arrested cadre in Vidarbha. Naxalites, like any other socio-political outfit, ensure that the masses remain updated about their movements, agenda, military exploits, heroism and sacrifices through press releases meant for popular media and also their own publications.
Naxals also regularly issue press releases with their own version of events after encounters or civilian or police killings. Apart from projecting their point of view, the Naxals press releases frequently counter the version given by the police. A senior officer in the anti-Naxal operations said, on condition of anonymity, that even police often wait for the press releases and publications from the rebels to find out their side of the story.
“We often depend on Naxal literature to find out the names of cadres killed in encounters, as the rebels do not leave the bodies or injured behind, but drag them away. They hail these cadres as martyrs and highlight their work in the party literature after their death,” said the officer. “We compare our intelligence reports with Naxal literature and fill in the information gaps,” he said. It is also learnt that Milind Teltumbde, secretary of Maharashtra State Rajya Committee, operating in North Gadchiroli-Gondia Balaghat division, pens the outfit’s press release in Marathi under the pseudonym ‘Sahyadri’. Senior cadre Gopi too releases press notes for the outfit. Sriniwas, whose actual name is Aitu, releases press notes for Western regional committee of South Gadchiroli division, which is part of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC).
Gudsa Usendi acts as spokesperson for DKSZC. Azad was the spokesperson for entire party in India until his death in an encounter, along with a freelance journalist, with the Andhra Pradesh police a couple of years ago. After the death of the media-savvy Azad and Kishanji, Naxals have started avoiding the media, presuming that police would reach them using the mobile phone signals of scribes. The rebels also suspect that a section of the ‘capitalist’ media is actually working for the government and could be police informers. Intelligence agencies claim the Naxals nurture their own trusted media men, like Prashant Rahi, to spread their ideologies.
Only people like Rahi are allowed access to top cadres. An official of Rajnandgaon police in Chhattisgarh said that their raid on a Naxal camp suggested how the rebels have been printing literature, including press releases, in the jungles. “We had nearly got Teltumbde at a Naxal camp site on Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border, where they were preparing some press releases. We recovered portable printers, scanners, laptops, batteries, pen drives and a lot of printed material. It was almost a small printing press,” said a senior official.
* People’s March: This magazine, in English, is regarding party’s stand on various issues, central committee’s decisions, views, agenda and several other issues. According to interrogation report of an arrested Naxal, Delhi professor GN Saibaba was behind this magazine.
* Pahat: This magazine in Marathi, published from jungle hideouts, is related to activities of Maharashtra State Rajya Committee.
* Prabhat: This is a political magazine in Hindi published by Maharashtra State Rajya Committee.
* Jung Ki Abam: This magazine, published from Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee, is related to military training and exploits of the rebels.
* Chingari: This magazine, also in Hindi, is published by the state level committee for its divisional level outfits in Maharashtra.
* The Naxals also have a magazine in Hindi where they publish their songs, women’s issues, political articles and other sides. Culture and women issues basically get the most importance in it.
* The Naxals also publish their thoughts through blogs like ‘vanguard’ and there are different websites like ‘bannedthought.net’, countercurrents.org and such portals which they use to propagate their thoughts and ideologies.
Maoists attempting to spread in Kerala
New Delhi: Maoists are making serious attempts to expand their activities in Kerala, official sources said on Wednesday. Intelligence in this regard has been shared by the Centre with the state government, the sources said. They, however, said that the situation is not yet worrisome and the state authorities have also been informed about the necessary mechanism to counter the naxal activities.
Poll staff to be airlifted to tribal Bastar due to security concerns
RAIPUR: Polling parties would be airlifted to the remote and inaccessible areas in tribal Bastar division due to huge security and logistical challenge in the region which goes to the polls in first phase of elections in Chhattisgarh. Election authorities have decided to airlift the polling parties for which proposals have been sent to the Election Commission, Sunil Kujur, chief electoral officer (CEO) told TOI. He said that about a dozen helicopters would be requisitioned from the air-force for deployment during the polls. “It would be strictly for the poll staff. I can’t disclose the number or location and whereabouts of the helicopters or the polling parties for security reasons,” Kujur said.
It is expected that about a dozen helicopters would be deployed for airlifting of polling parties and election officials for shifting of voting machines, election materials to the required centres as well as to airlift parties for sensitive interior areas. Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region has a history of attacks and disturbance created by Maoists during election and polling day. There were incidents of Maoists snatching away electronic voting machines (EVMs) and other polling material being carried to booths by the cadres.
‘Polling booths in Maoist strongholds to be shifted’
RAIPUR: Polling stations located in the hyper-sensitive areas where there is a possibility of 0% voting due to Maoist threat will be shifted to ‘safer’ places within a radius of 25 kilometers in tribal Bastar region in the coming assembly polls in Chhattisgarh. Talking to TOI, state chief electoral officer, (CEO), Sunil Kujur said, “Few auxiliary polling booths would be set up about 25 kilometers away from the sensitive areas, especially at those places where there is a history of 0% voting.
Though he refused to identify the locations which had 0% polling in the past , he said, “it would be wrong to generalize by naming them, as it completely depends upon the threat or the risks the locals feel they carry.” Kujur said that the Systematic Voter Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) Wing will help create awareness among people about importance of casting votes, which would help increasing the number of voters. According to figures in the last assembly election 2008, at least 50 polling booths of four constituencies in Maoist hot-bed of Bastar witnessed 0% voting. “There were more than a hundred which received less than 70 votes.
During the elections, Maoists ask the locals in large to boycott elections. Terrified by the rebels, people in many parts of Bastar do not step out of their houses on polling day,” an official said on condition of anonymity. The official said that Narayanpur, Antagarh, Konta, Chitrakoot, Dantewada in Bastar division are the most affected of 0% voting. “Besides, the long distance and absence of conveyance to reach the polling booth is another reason for less number of casting votes,” the official said adding that it is also expected that the voting in these areas would be started early and winded up before evening keeping in view the safety aspects. Other areas majorly affected of zero voting are Murdanda, Saavnar, Sagmeta, Pusnarag, Mungveli in Bijapur constituency.