Maoists get miniscule collection from North Telangana region
BANGALORE: From having excess funds at the peak of their movement during 2001-03, the North Telangana region has become a place of miniscule collection point for Maoists, even as the Centre remains apprehensive about the Naxalites becoming more powerful. According to the ministry of home affairs (MHA) documents, North Telangana Special Zonal Committee (NTSZC) had an expenditure of Rs 4,42,51,256 between 2001-2003, while the income generated was Rs 6,20,48,500. NTSZC, is a special area committee Maoists formed like Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee, West Bengal State Committee and others to decentralize.
“They had a surplus budget with an excess of Rs 1,79,27,926 besides 562 gold biscuits valuing lakhs of rupees,” a document said. The data is from a paper the MHA had commissioned to external researchers, who have been closely studying the Maoist movement. But a senior Delhi-based researcher monitoring the movement for more than a decade, insisting anonymity, said: “…Right now, their annual collection is miniscule. It barely comes up to Rs 5-crore, and there seems to be no excess budget.”
The researcher allayed apprehensions about a possibility of a stronger Maoist group in the region. “As long as political parties do not have unholy alliances with the Maoists, effective policing should not be a problem, as the security agencies already have domain knowledge required for operations to curb the rise of Maoists.” The document points out to a well-conceived and efficient system, which allows Maoist cadres across the country to collect over Rs 140 crore annually.
It added they have a meticulous system of accounting, and are very good at book-keeping. A lot of money is got through extortion and the document reveals the target for such acts range from government servants, infrastructure and telecom companies, educational institutions, illegal miners, opium traders, et al. Other than this, money is also collected “as membership fees, from supporters and sympathizers, political leaders, etc”. There are apprehension that the Telangana creation would strengthen Maoists. “If there is a separate state, one should understand that the strength of the police force diminishes. With the basic problems plaguing the region remaining unchanged, there are all the indications that the movement will grow in strength,” said Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy, Naxal patriarch Kondapalli Seetharamaiah’s former chief courier. Reddy was part of the first batch top Naxal leader Mollajulla Koteswara Rao alias Kishenji, who was killed in an encounter in 2011, had trained. He had conducted operations in Bangalore, Mysore, Hyderabad and Madras.
Naxals readying to organise boycott of Chhattisgarh polls
Raipur: Naxals were gearing up to organise a boycott of the coming Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh and chalking out strategies for this, police said. Security forces recently recovered some documents from Maoist-hit Bijapur district after an encounter with ultras, which revealed that the Gangalur Area Committee of Communist Party of India (Maoist) had organised a meeting in this connection. Also, a Naxal who was arrested during the operation claimed that pamphlets and posters against polls had been prepared in large number. Chhattisgarh will see two-phased polling in November for its 90 constituencies.
The joint party of STF (special task force) and a team of local police arrested a Naxal cadre after a gun-battle with ultras in the hills of Hiroli village last week, a senior police officer said. The arrested Naxal, Sukhram Punem (19), revealed during interrogation that they had prepared pamphlets and posters to spread their propaganda against government and urge people not to take part in polling, the officer said. Punem was allegedly active as a member of Kurvish Militia Platoon since 2008-09 in the region, he added. The officer also said that security forces were fully prepared to tackle Naxal threat during the polls. “We are working on every measure to conduct the first phase of poll in 18 Naxal-affected constituencies of southern region on November 11 peacefully,” he added. The rest of the 72 constituencies will go to polls in the second phase on November 19.
Jharkhand’s Maoists paste posters inviting police constables to join ‘revolution’
BOKARO: After imploring every family in rural hinterland to send one child or youth to join CPM’s outfit, rebels are now inviting police to join their cadre. Local police have recovered several such posters appealing constables to join their outfit and desert the police organization from Gomia railway station, Gomia chowk, Bank Moad and other places. Maoists have also put up these posters in Upperghat areas under Nawadih Block, said sources. The Naxalites, in past few years, have lost their dominance in Gomia after many of their leaders and cadres were arrested. As a consequence, residents have started reposing their faith in the government.
Apparently through these posters, they want to once again register their presence in the area. SP, Kuldeep Dwivedi has alerted all nearby police stations falling in Maoist prone areas of the district to avert any untoward incident in view of the festive season. The police officials have been instructed to adopt preventive measures before going for raids and be on the guard against any Maoist menace. Dwivedi has asked police officials to strengthen their intelligence network apart from fortifying police stations.
The posters read, “Policemen keep away from the green hunt and try to be friends of poor. Police jawan, do not obey orders of the senior officials, instead join the people’s army.” Maoists also threatened them mentioning that the people’s army will also keep targeting them if they continue to obey the orders of their seniors. They asked policemen to support the downtrodden in a war between rich and poor. Officer in charge of Gomia police station, Laxmikant said police have recovered posters from Gomia Chowk and few other places under Indian Explosives Ltd police station.
Move to relocate polling booths in south Chhattisgarh opposed
While governments recommend it, CPI and police have objections
While the Central and State administration are recommending relocation of a few hundred polling stations to “safer places” in Chhattisgarh, there is, on the other hand, opposition to shifting of stations, including from one of the main political parties, the Communist Party of India (CPI). “Voters will have to walk 15-20 km (to cast their votes) and this is a violation of the Commission’s guideline,” said senior CPI leader Chittaranjan Bakshi. Senior police officers told The Hindu that they were “unhappy” with the ECI’s decision to conduct polls “deep inside” Maoist-controlled areas, without relocating the stations. “I hope they (ECI) will not stick to their decision,” an officer said. Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Kujur refused to accept that there is any triangular “tussle” between the ECI, the State administration and the political parties, regarding this issue stating that “the ECI is analysing opinions of all the sides”.
DIFFICULTY IN PROVIDING SECURITY
In Maoist-dominated south Chhattisgarh, 299 polling stations are marked as “hyper sensitive”. Over the last few months, officers of the ECI and the State and Central administration had been discussing ways to conduct a fair poll. Several ideas have been floated and rejected but finally, the Home Department recommended relocation of the stations to “safer areas”, close to paramilitary or police camps. “We identified 322 stations and they (ECI) have chosen 299, but our lists may not match,” a senior State official said. The police administration feels it is “nearly impossible” to provide security to every polling party — each team comprising four civilians — in all 299 polling stations.
This, they said, was explained to the ECI in clear terms. “Maoists are far more powerful in 2013 than they were in 2008; they have raised two battalions in five years. With the dates of the elections announced and the location of the polling stations known, the guerrillas can plan one or more massive ambushes on soft targets, if the stations are not shifted,” said a senior security official. “Regular meetings of senior Maoist leaders and massive cadre movements are taking place” in the forests of Bastar and the situation is “not conducive” for elections deep inside rebel-controlled territories, police officers said. Senior officials of both the State and Central police have conveyed their “official” objections to their respective departments. State-level election officials are also not keen on holding elections in these areas.
They have prepared a document of nearly 3,000 pages explaining their reservations and have sent it to the ECI for “consideration”. The number of relocated stations has gone up from zero to nearly 300 over the last five years in Maoist areas. While no stations were moved during the 2008 Assembly elections, 89 were relocated in 2009 during Lok Sabha elections. In the Bastar by-election of 2011, the number went up to 200. Now, when media reports suggest that the Maoists are “under pressure,” relocation of an unprecedented 299 booths has surprised many.
OPPOSITION FROM CPI
Tribal voters of Bastar will be “thoroughly inconvenienced” if the polling stations are removed from their villages, say senior CPI leaders. “The ECI says a voter will have to walk 15-20 km to vote. If governance exists in Bastar, a voter should not be walking so much,” said Mr. Bakshi and suggested that “helicopters (which are provided to polling parties) should be provided to poor tribal voters”. Officials argue that increasing the number of forces will ensure security but CPI leader Manish Kunjam disagrees.
“If paramilitary personnel do not escort civilian polling parties, Maoists may refrain (from violence). But if a massive force is dispatched (with the polling team) to protect their bastion, the rebels may counter-attack,” Mr Kunjam said. Police officials refused to buy Mr. Kunjam’s argument. “But who will give the guarantee of ceasefire?” asked an official, in reply to this argument.