Maoist threat: Kannur range IG’s security tightened
Kannur: In the backdrop of the intelligence report that there is life threat to Kannur range IG Suresh Rajpurohit, who oversees the anti-Maoist operations in the state, the police have strengthened his security. According to highly placed sources, his escort will be strengthened even during his travel from the residence to office and vice versa and pilot vehicles will be provided during his trips outside. Moreover, his travel plans will not be disclosed to anybody.
Also, the office and residence of the IG will be brought under the surveillance of CCTV camera so that any suspicious movement can be tracked, said the source. According to the intelligence department there were pamphlets being circulated against the IG who was termed as the ‘blood-thirsty officer who carried out Muthanga operations’. What apparently irked the Maoists was that it was Purohit, who was then the commandant at the Kerala Armed Police Battalion at Mangattuparamba, who led the police operation in Muthanga on February 19, 2003 in which a tribal man and a police officer were killed.
“Even after years, the Maoists have that grudge towards the officer and since their presence in the region has been regularly reported from the northern part of the state, we have to be doubly cautious, especially because the Muthanga Day is just six days away,” said an intelligence source. According to police, there were 56 instances of Maoist sightings in the northern Kerala, of which 11 each were in Kannur and Wayanad while 28 instances were in Malappuram. However, not even once the police could not reach anywhere near them thus raising doubt about the preparedness on the part of the police in handling the Maoist menace.
CPI-Maoist ranked fourth among top ten insurgent groups
The Communist Party of India (Maoist) has been ranked fourth among the top ten most active non-state armed groups in 2013, according to study released this week by a major defence and business risk think-tank. According to the IHS Jane’s latest ‘Global Terrorism and Insurgency Attack Index,’ a total of 258 attacks were claimed by, or attributed to, the CPI(Maoist), even though this represented a 29 per cent decrease from the 362 attacks recorded in 2012.
In a note to The Hindu, Matthew Henman, Manager of IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre explained that the decrease in CPI(Maoist) attacks not only came amid a wider 16 per cent decrease in attacks nationwide, but also a 19 per cent decrease in the number of recorded counter-terrorism operations. “As such, despite progress in the counter-insurgency against the CPI(Maoist), the fall in attacks was also likely somewhat attributable to authorities challenging the group less in its extensive area of operations in the so-called ‘Red Belt’ States,” he added.
After mass hunger-strike in jails, Jharkhand to free 53 lifers
1100-1500 prisoners, led by Maoists, went on fast in Palamu, Hazaribagh, Garhwa
After simultaneous hunger strikes by 1,100-1,500 prisoners across central and district jails in Palamu, Hazaribagh and Garhwa districts last week, the Jharkhand Sentence Review Board has recommended the release of 53 lifers who have completed 14 years. In the protests, led by jailed Maoists, the prisoners refused food, demanding that the board, which had not met in a year, convene a meeting to consider remitting sentences of those serving life terms, said prison officials. In the Palamu jail, from where eight had applied for release, 410 prisoners went on fast. “On January 31, eight prisoners called a fast.
The next day 20 more joined them. They refused food, taking only water or lemon juice and water. By February 6, 410 of 817 prisoners were on strike led by Naveenji, a Maoist prisoner, and Satish,” said a senior official in the Palamu central jail on condition of anonymity. Jail Superintendent Uday Khushwaha said the prisoners’ blood pressure was monitored and saline drip was administered to those who refused to eat for days.
“In my 28 years here, I had not seen prisoners going on a mass fast before,” he said. While it was mostly prisoners in central jails, where all those serving life terms are kept, who went on fast, in some instances prisoners in district jails too joined the protest in large numbers. Bandi Sangharsh Samitis — prison committees — led by Maoist prisoners have been active in the Garhwa district jail for several years.
“The sangathan members [Maoists] imprisoned here have led a fast several times. But this time, 515 of the total 640 prisoners — the largest number — went on a fast for four days, Superintendent K. Paswan. None of the prisoners in the Garhwa jail had directly applied for remission, he added. Officials of the Hazaribagh jail put the number of prisoners who went on strike there at over 250. The CPI (Maoist) called a bandh on February 7 in support of the striking prisoners.
While there is no official estimate of the total number of prisoners serving life sentences in the State, the Additional Advocate-General, in a status report to the Jharkhand High Court, said 152 petitions for remission of life sentence were pending before the review board and of these 106 were considered. “Of 106, we approved the release of 53 prisoners. These will now be considered by Chief Minister Hemant Soren. He has approved these already in his capacity as Home Minister,” said Inspector- General (Prisons) Shailendra Bhushan.