Manipur Maoist calls general strike from December 21
IMPHAL, December 14: Unless food grains are provided to the people under the Public Distribution System (Food Security Act) under the Food and Civil Supplies bby December 20, the Maoist Communist Party, Manipur is all set to announce a 12 hour general strike on November 21. Conveying it in a press release, the Manipur Maoist mentioned that December-January used to be a prosperous time in the past. Now there is no such prosperity, it observed. It is also observed that distributions of PDS items are not witnessed in the hill districts of Ukhrul, Tamenglong, Churchandpur, Sadar Hills, Chandel and Senapati.
Further mentioning in this regard, it is further said that the distribution of PDS items was done in the past few months due the pressure from the people, but it has been stopped now as the pressures withers. The Manipur Maoist is now ready to take it up along with pressuring for the provision of health care at minimum rate at the health institutes including RIMS, it said. The general strike will be called off if the said condition is fulfilled before the deadline but in case the condition is not fulfilled, then the general strike must be imposed at any cost, it warned.
Asaram’s Aurangabad ashram under Naxal attack threat
After routinely targeting security forces and the railways, Maoists in Bihar’s Aurangabad district on Sunday threatened to attack the ashram of Asaram Bapu, jailed controversial spiritual leader charged with rape, police said. A district police official said a group of armed Maoists ransacked the wire fencing of Asaram’s ashram, and hoisted red flags within the premises two days ago. “The threat from the Maoists is clear. They have demanded that the ashram be shifted out of the town. If it does not shift, it could be attacked,” police officials said. Many other ashrams in the state too have felt ripples of fear and panic, ever since the threat by the Maoists.
“We live in fear. The diktat of the Maoists carries more weight here than that of security people,” said a staff member of the ashram in Aurangabad to IANS on phone, on condition of anonymity. Aurangabad, considered a stronghold of the Maoists, is one of the districts worst-affected by violence in Bihar. District administration has beefed up security for the ashram in view of the threat. There are over a dozen Asaram Bapu ashrams in Bihar. Asaram Bapu, 72, is currently under trial in a case relating to sexual assault of a minor girl. He is lodged in Jodhpur Central Jail in Rajasthan.
Four, including PSO, injured in Naxal blast
NAGPUR: Naxal violence returned to Gadchiroli after a lull on Saturday when four district police personnel, including police outpost in-charge of Halwada in Etapalli tehsil, were injured in a blast triggered by the rebels. The four did not receive shrapnel injuries and escaped with burns.
The incident is being viewed as a well-planned move to make an impact during the ongoing winter session of the state legislature in Nagpur. The explosion is learnt to have taken place at a time when the jawans from the bomb detection and disposal squad (BDDS) had nearly diffused the landmine. Sub-inspector VB Chavan, an officer of the 2011 batch, is among the injured along with constables Manoj Bhoyar, Kirtidar Kunghadkar and Mangesh Dhamande. While Chavan is posted as police station in-charge of Halewada outpost, the rest three are part of BDDS team of Aheri headquarters.
The injured have been shifted to Kunal Hospital in Nagpur where Deputy inspector general of police, Naxal range, Ravindra Kadam rushed to ensure the treatment of the injured jawans. The doctors have claimed the personnel to be out of danger. The BDDS from Aheri was summoned to Halewada after local police from the outpost were informed about two mines at a distance of around 200 meters from each other. One of the mines was planted within 200 metres of the outpost. It was learnt that another mine was planed outside the village at a spot which police often use as their strategic location.
Varavara: Will move against ‘fake encounter’ of Kishenji
Poet and Maoist sympathiser P Varavara Rao said they would move court against the “fake encounter” of Kishenji, just like they had done in the case of Naxalite leader Azad. “We are waiting for the forensic reports in the case which are yet to arrive. Once they will arrive, we will move court in Kishenji’s case as well,” he said on the sidelines of the second conference of Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP).
He said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee came to power with the promise that all political prisoners would be freed but she has failed to keep that promise. “Now we see that the doctor who had treated Kishenji had been arrested. Nobody is a Naxalite or a terrorist for a doctor. For a doctor, they are all patients. If he had treated Kishenji as a patient, how is that a crime?” he said. “She (Mamata) is ruling like a fascist, just like it was during the Left Front term.” CRPP president SAR Geelani spoke likewise. “When we talk about political prisoners, we don’t talk about a particular region. We talk about prisoners throughout the world. Anybody who works for the betterment of society, no matter what means he or she uses, and if that person is caught and put behind bars for his political ideas or struggle, he or she is a political prisoner,” he said.
Members of the group said that as against official papers that said there were 65 political prisoners, there are at least 270 political prisoners in the state. “The present government came to power with this aim and promise that they will release all. They have not kept their word, in fact, there are more political prisoners now,” Geelani said. Referring to the recent amendment to the West Bengal Correctional Services Act, 1992, he said, “The amendment is deceiving people.” CRPP vice-president Sujato Bhadro said that in spite of an interim report placed in December 2011 and a full report in 2012 by the review committee on political prisoners, no step has been taken by Mamata for the release of political prisoners. “There are 40 SIMI activists, 60 others convicted, 14,00 GMM activists about whom the government is not making its stand clear,” Bhadro said and added that if political prisoners, including Chhatradhar Mahato, were released, true peace would return to Junglemahals.
Maoists regrouping in Bengal: Varavara
KOLKATA: People’s movement led by Maoists in Jangalmahal area in West Bengal is gaining ground once again after CPI (Maoist) military strategist Koteswara Rao’s death, said Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao on Saturday. In Kolkata to attend the second conference of the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners, the poet and activist accused the government of not keeping the promise of releasing political prisoners after assuming power. “Certainly there will be resurgence of people’s movement in West Bengal led by Maoist groups. They will regroup themselves. I am already seeing signs of that,’ he said. Drawing a parallel with the YSR government in Andhra Pradesh, Varavara came down heavily upon the Mamata Banerjee government. “Opposing Operation Green Hunt was Mamata Banerjee’s pretension to come to power. It happened in a similar way in AP. Mamata exploited the situation in the same way YSR in Andhra exploited it.
She dislodged the CPM government from the state but the situation has gone from bad to worse,” Rao said. In a recent article titled ‘Killing of Kishanji and Peace Talks’, Rao has written that while the late YSR Reddy took some measures conducive to talks like calling back Greyhounds from combing operations and stopping encounter killings, Mamata Banerjee has not shown any inclination to withdraw the joint forces. “Instead she declared that she would arm ten thousand adivasis to fight Maoists in Jangalmahal,” he wrote. “I came here after Kishanji was killed. For the last two years it was difficult for me to come as there was no solidarity of the different wings active here,” he said. Criticizing the government’s tendency to brand any dissenting voice as Maoist, he said that a few days ago, Samir Biswas, the doctor who treated Kishanji, was arrested for being a Maoist.
‘Four Maoists held in East Champaran
MOTIHARI: The police, on a tip-off, arrested four Maoists including Baidyanath Paswan alias Baidya on Friday night at Pachpakari near Dhaka in East Champaran district and recovered threatening letters for levy, Maoist literature, cellphones and cash from their possession. According to police sources, the arrested Baidyanath is a native of Sheohar district and presently in-charge of levy collection under Pakaridayal sub-division of the district. The other three Maoists, who are being interrogated, belong to Patahi police station. ASP Sanjay Kumar Singh said that on December 6, too, four Maoists were arrested with the collected levy amount of Rs 5 lakh and the police have got vital clues from the documents recovered from the Maoists.
The police swung into action after it acquired confidential information that Baidyanath Paswan had reached Pachpakari with his associates to collect levy from some persons. However, one Maoist escaped from the scene. The police have launched combing operation under Sikrahna and Pakaridayal sub-divisions of the district to arrest him. According to police sources, Baidyanath Paswan was wanted in 14 cases of violence, loot, arson and extortion in East Champaran, Sheohar, Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur districts and was evading arrest for long. The police of these districts have been asked to interrogate him.
Red zone hots up over land
Aurangabad, Dec. 14: The recent spurt in Maoist attacks in this rebel hotbed of south Bihar has its roots in the struggle for control over land in the region. Buoyed by the improving law and order conditions, landowners have been making quiet efforts to reclaim their farmland that have captured under the “economic blockade” programme of the Naxalites for over two decades. The Maoists, in turn, are intensifying their drive to keep their “writ” intact on the lands.
Locked in a fierce war with the landowners through much of the 1980s and 1990s, the Naxalites imposed what they termed an “economic blockade” on the landowners’ farmlands. It effectively meant dispossessing the actual owners from the lands, often at gunpoint, and letting their supporters or cadres to cultivate them as their own. The police in those years of the bloody battle earned the wrath of the Maoists for they invariably sided with the landlords. With the Nitish Kumar government generating confidence among the people by restoring the “rule of law”, the landowners gained in confidence to reclaim the farmland caught in the “economic blockade” for decades.
The CPI(Maoist), according to insiders in the rebel outfit, has put in place a “well-planned” mechanism to strike at the security forces who are lending giving confidence to landowners to regain their “legitimate” claim over their plots. “The economic blockade was like a time bomb ticking for years. It is now exploding,” said a CPI(Maoist) leader. He said the landlords had “unlawfully” acquired far more land than the ceiling in the hinterland, keeping the Dalits and the lower strata of society landless for centuries. “We had actually enforced justice by dispossessing the landlords who were enjoying prosperity over their ceiling surplus lands and distributed them among the landless people,” the rebel leader said.
It is as hard to officially justify the claim of the Maoists as to assess the quantum of land lying under the economic blockade. But the officials dealing with land-related issues estimated that at least 200 acres of farmland in Goh, Nabinagar, Kudumba, Dev, Madanpur and Rafiganj — all rebel-dominated blocks in Aurangabad district — have been captured by the Maoists. “Goh alone has over 30 acres of farmland under the economic blockade for two-and-a-half decades,” a block official told The Telegraph. Security sources said the Maoists had adopted two-pronged strategies — on one hand, they are “terrorising” the upper and middle level farmers against any “thought” of going back to their land, and on the other, they are targeting police personnel with alarming regularity to send the message that their lives were at the mercy of the Naxalites. The Maoists have carried out three major attacks on police personnel in the past five months, claiming the lives of at least 11 security personnel, including a station house officer.
The last two strikes — one in Nabinagar and another in Obra — were more ferocious in nature. The latest spell of Maoist raids has altogether cost 20 lives. Panic has gripped Aurangabad district, particularly the areas where armed guerrillas in uniform are seen moving freely. The fear among the men-in-uniform can be gauged from the fact that they prefer to move in private and public vehicles instead of in police patrol cars. Travel in non-police vehicles is considered safe in the region as Maoists seldom target them. Maoist sources revealed they were simmering in anger against some big landowners who have started farming on agriculture land “confiscated” under the economic blockade programme.
This theory has found some sympathy in the state’s political class. Independent MLA from Obra, Som Prakash, said: “Obra in particular and Aurangabad district in general have been a saga of inequitable distribution of land, fostering inequality in society for centuries. The actual solution lies in equitable distribution of land rather than some sort of knee-jerk reaction.” Several places in Aurangabad district have, of late, witnessed skirmishes between rebels and landlords mustering muscle and courage to reclaim their farmland in Goh, Nabinagar, Obra and Madanpur blocks. Recently a landowner, Ram Niwas Singh (50) of Azan village, faced the wrath of the rebels. Hundreds of people armed with batons, spears, axes and hatchets invaded the eight-acre plot, which Ram Niwas tried to recapture with the help of the police. Ram Niwas and the police forces retreated in a hurry when they saw the rebels advancing menacingly. Similar was the saga of Ram Sagar Yadav (32) of Nizamatpur and Pramod Yadav (42) of Azan village.
They were forced to forfeit their ownership over 18 acres and 22 acres of land respectively. The Maoists seized the land under the “economic blockade” programme and distributed them among the landless people. The two farmers tried to regain control over their land on the “assurance” from the local police picket officials. Ram Sagar said that in July, the Maoists pasted pamphlets on his house commanding him not to set foot on the piece of land.
“They came to my house around midnight, pasted pamphlets and left after raising slogans. But they didn’t harm any member of the family,” he said, adding that the local policemen showed no urgency when informed about the episode. Some landowners under the cover of anonymity revealed that even Goh MLA Ran Vijay Singh has been a “victim” of economic blockade. “Not to speak of others, even a ruling party MLA has to bow before the firepower of the Naxalites. The MLA has been on good terms with some top ranking leaders of the outfit,” a farmer said, adding that the legislator managed to till a few acres of land after using his contacts with the Maoists and also with the help of the police. Ran Vijay Singh admitted that he facilitated setting up of a police picket at his native village.
He also conceded that his agriculture land in his ancestral village had been “captured” by the Naxalites. Talks with a cross-section of the people revealed that the recent Maoist attacks were aimed at creating panic among the general masses. “Before July, the Maoists were defensive after the police arrested several senior leaders,” they said. After July 2013, the Maoists stepped up their activities and carried out major operations to keep the influential farmers away from their native places so that they could not interfere into their affairs. Most of the big landlords of the district have shifted either to Patna or the district headquarters town of Aurangabad out of fear of Maoist reprisals, the residents said.