Maoist terror stalls procurement
KORAPUT: Farmers of Padia block in Malkangiri district are feeling the heat of Maoist violence. Not a single agency has come forward to procure their paddy though the adminitartion opened mandis since December 26. “Over 10,000 bags of paddy are lying in the open at Padia’s mandi. We fear they may get damaged. With no one procuring our paddy, we are facing financial problems,” said Laxman Sarkar, a farmer of Padia.
Farmers of at least six panchayats sell their produce at the mandi. Civil supplies officer (Malkangiri) Raghunath Gamang attributed it to Maoist violence. A few weeks ago, the Reds blew up a bridge connecting Kalimela with Padia, disrupting movement of vehicular traffic. “We are unable to procure paddy as heavy vehicles are not plying to Padia. We have appealed to the district administration to repair the bridge at the earliest,” said Gamang. MP (Nabarangpur) Pradeep Majhi criticized the government for its ‘anti-farmer’ policy. “If heavy vehicles cannot ply to Padia, the administration can procure paddy and transport these through small vehicles for the benefit of farmers,” he said. Officials said against the targeted 3,60,000 quintal of paddy, only one quintal was procured till Monday.
Maoist kill villager, one injured in Koraput
Maoists killed one contractor and injured another person after branding them as police informers in Odisha’s Koraput district. The incident took place at Balipeta village last night. A group of ultras forcibly took Sarat Subudhi, the contractor from his house. They also lifted Upendra Pandu, a villager, from his house last night. “The suspected maoists slit their throat. While Subudhi died due to excess bleeding, Pandu was struggling for survival,” Koraput SP Abinash Kumar said. The miscreants also left a letter at the spot and claimed that they punished the contractor and Pandu for working as police informer. Kumar, however, said that the duo were not the police informers as claimed by maoists in the letter.
Maoist leader’s arrest reveals rebel network in UP
The arrest of a top Maoist commander in Uttar Pradesh has laid bare plans by the Leftist rebels to set up bases in the urban centres of the country’s most populous state.Chanarik Das alias Chandan, commander of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), central zone, was arrested by the Special Task Force (STF) from a bus station in Meerut on Monday. Chandan was involved in the October 19, 2012 attack on a police team in the Dumariya area of Gaya where he had managed to kill seven security personnel by triggering a landmine.
The Maoist leader was arrested two days after the district magistrate and superintendent of police of Mirzapur received identical letters, purportedly written by the rebel group threatening to blow up the district collectorate and other government establishments. After the letters were delivered on Saturday, security for both the officers has been beefed up. A senior Uttar Pradesh police officer said that the banned outfit was working towards expand its base in the urban centres of Uttar Pradesh after finding a foothold in the tribal-dominated areas of Sonbhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli. According to the officer, the bases in the towns and cities are planned to serve as “safe hideouts” for procuring arms and ammunition to run their war machine.
UP inspector general (law and order) Amarendra Kumar Sengar said that Chandan, a native of Salaitand village in Gaya district of Bihar, was hiding in Muzaffarnagar for several months. Police claimed that he was in touch with arms dealers for arranging weapons, explosives and cartridges for Maoists in Bihar. Interrogation of Chandan was continuing and police hope to gather more information on the Maoists’ plans in the state. In fact, Maoists have been active in the state for quite some time now, giving sleepless nights to security forces and intelligence agencies.
A couple of months ago, police had managed to arrest eleven members of the CPI (Maoists) from Allahabad, Kanpur and Gorakhpur. During interrogation, police officials found that the Maoists have established links with local arms supplier and were smuggling out arms and ammunition to cadres of the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) cadre in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. PLGA is the armed wing of the CPI (Maoists).
Around half-one-dozen arms dealers were also taken into custody. What has become a major worry for the government is the manner in which Maoists managed to “infiltrate” police armoury for weapons. On June 15 last year, the STF arrested three policemen in Hamirpur district involved in smuggling of firearms and cartridges. Two carbine, a rifle and cartridges were recovered from their possession. During investigation it was found that the policemen used to sale firearms and cartridges stocked in the armoury to Maoists in Uttar Pradesh and neighbouring states.
Tribal villagers resist attempts to deny them their forest rights
Coerced and threatened over the past year, they are fighting for their rights over forestland that is part of a coal-block allotted to Tata Steel In Latehar district’s Jala village, a hamlet of 250 tribal villagers has refused to make way for coal mining by Tata Steel and Adhunik Power and Natural Resource Limited (APNRL) till their forest rights are settled first. The villagers — predominantly Oraon tribal people — recounted that in the last 14 months, while they got little cooperation from local officials, they were threatened by the Tritiya Sammelan Prastuti Committee (TSPC), a left wing extremist group and the “company’s dalal [middlemen]” for opposing the mining project.
Representatives of both companies rubbished allegations that they pressurised the villagers and claimed that they got the villagers’ pending forest rights settled at a gram sabha the companies organised last March. Jala forms nearly the entire site of the 237ha Ganeshpur coal-block, allotted jointly to Tata Steel and APNRL in 2009. “We got a gram sabha conducted on March 15, 2013 and submitted video footage, documents to district officials,” said APNRL vice president Sanjay Jain, adding that it is necessary for the coal block to get clearances before they can scale up their 540MW power plant in Saraikela to 1,000MW. “We conducted two gram sabhas. One [held] last March was for settling the villagers’ pending forest rights claims. We have submitted a no-objection document from the villagers to district officials,” said Tata Steel spokesperson Ashish Kumar.
The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (FRA), 2006 says that the gram sabha has the authority to initiate and determine forest rights claims. The District Collector chairs the district-level committee on forest rights. In Jala’s case, Latehar Collector Aradhana Patnaik was not even aware of the gram sabha conducted at the two companies’ behest. “I found out only later that the companies had initiated the gram sabha. I received complaints from a section of the villagers, though a few said they had agreed to the project by then and had not claimed forest rights. I suggested the villagers hold a gram sabha as it suited them and then submit a fresh resolution,” she said. Last month, the Ministry of Environment (MoEF) proposed changes to the rules of the Forest Conservation Act (FCA), 1980.
A circular issued in 2009 required the Collector to certify that all forest rights have been settled and that the gram sabha has consented to the project in the land on which they hold forest rights before forestlands are diverted to industry. The FRA, 2006 does not place any time-limit for completing the process of settling rights. But the fresh changes proposed to FCA include setting a deadline of up to 40 to 60 days for district officials to certify that all FRA claims have been extinguished in the area allotted to industry. Jala villagersfirst submitted their community forest rights claims — to collect minor forest produce, to pastures, to fetch water from streams in the forest, and to two burial grounds — over the 456 hectares of forest in October 2011. The village passed a resolution against the mining project on August 18, 2012. They heard back on their claims for the first time only in March 2013, when the companies held the gram sabha. Most of the tribal villagers, who had voted against the project, stayed away.
The families who attended — a majority of whom are Yadavs from the nearby Barwa toil — agreed to settle for the one acre cremation ground in the village under their community rights. Soon after, the villagers alleged, they received threats from the TSPC., which split from the CPI (Maoist) 10 years back, allegedly over Yadav cadres dominating Dalits within the party. In recent years, it been reported to have supported the police in operations against the Maoists in Palamu, Chatra, and Latehar. “We had erected a board in the village against both the companies. TSPC men in camouflage, armed with guns came and broke the board. They took me and around 30 women from our village into the forest and kept us hostage there a few hours,” recounted Lalmani Oraon.
Reds put up posters in Narayanpur to protest assault bid on teen
RAIPUR: Maoists put up posters in Kutul village, Abujhmad area of Narayanpur district, prodding its residents to protest against alleged attempts of CRPF jawans and SPOs to outrage the modesty of a teenaged girl during a search operation last week. The posters alleged that the ‘goons’ of CRPF and SPOs had attempted to rape a 16-year-old girl and asked the villagers to strongly protest against it. The unsigned posters bear the name of MKP, Kutul area committee. District police have however denied that any such incident took place.
Manipur militants arrested
Guwahati, Jan 7: Five members of the Manipur-based militant outfit Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) were arrested from different locations in Assam’s main city Guwahati, police said. Senior Superintendent of Police A.P. Tiwary said the arrests were made Monday. Two of them were caught at two hotels in Guwahati. The other three were arrested later. He said all five have been handed over to Manipur Police.