Seven Naxals killed in police encounter in Gadchiroli
In the biggest encounter in Gadchiroli’s history till date in terms of Naxal casualties, seven insurgents were killed in a late night swoop by Gondia police in Korchi tahsil of the district on Monday night. The deceased included some very senior members and two women. The encounter happened when the Naxals were walking away from Khursipaar village after burning a gram panchayat there on Sunday. In a Joint Gadchiroli-Gondia operation supervised by Inspector General of Police (Nagpur range) Ravindra Kadam, the police had positioned four teams in different directions after the incident.
“Around 10/30 pm on Monday night, a few kilometer away from the village, a team led by Assistant Police Inspector R P Tiwari of Chichgadh police station of Gondia spotted the Naxals. An encounter ensued in which all seven member of the gang were killed,” Kadam told The Indian Express. The deceased included some very senior members of the movement like Lalsu alias Bidal, 42 years, from Bastar, who was member of the North Gadchiroli-Gondia division of CPI (Maoist), Sunil Tadami, 28, Navin alais Sunil alias Durusingh Sttarsingh Tofa, 28, Veeru alias Vinay Dulesh Kunjilal Naitam, 40 and Rajesh Lalsu Soneray Tofa, 27. The deceased women Naxals were Lalsu’s wife Shamko alias Shanta Korcha, 26 and Veeru’s wife Punni Ratti Narote, 36, a press note issued by Gadchiroli police said. They had number of offences ranging between 26 to 48 registered against them.
The police recovered two AK-47, two SLR, one carbine, one .303, one 12-bore gun, a pistol and a walkie-talkie from the spot, along with a lot of other material. In Gadchiroli, maximum Naxal casualty figure in an encounter – six – was last year at Govindgaon, where five of the deceased were women.
‘Naxals planning attacks in run-up to general elections’
The Union Home Ministry has sounded an alert to governments in Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. Aiming to disrupt the forthcoming general elections, the Naxals plan extensive mining in their strongholds to target political leaders and security forces as a bounce-back strategy after their failure to execute poll-boycott plans in Chhattisgarh last November, according to an alert sounded by the Union Home Ministry.
The advisory documents purported revelations by a leader of the Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee indicating that the outfit plans to mine areas in the Narayanpatna, Bandhugaon and Laxmipur areas of Odisha. A two-pronged strategy devised by the Jharkhand Regional Committee of the CPI (Maoist) has come to light following the seizure of a document by security forces in the Jamui area of Bihar on February 2. Titled “Chunao Bahishkar (Boycott Elections)”, the paper purportedly outlines the plan to disrupt the Lok Sabha polls in certain districts of Bihar and Jharkhand through boycott campaigns coupled with attacks targeting security forces and political leaders, especially those belonging to the Congress, BJP and the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha. The seized document reveals that the Naxal cadres have been instructed to arrange explosives to carry out strikes which may be in the form of targeting vehicles used in election campaigns, abducting or eliminating political leaders and ambushing security personnel.
The outfit, at the political level, has formed a “Vote Bahishkar Committee” through which it aims to organise processions and cultural programmes to instigate inhabitants in the far-flung areas by raking up issues such as displacement, inflation and unemployment, besides the camps set up for the armed forces. Intelligence agencies have already recorded instances of threats being issued to villagers in the South Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, whereas similar campaigns have been launched in the other naxal strongholds, including those located in Andhra Pradesh. Besides, alleged naxal leader Gudsa Usendi – who surrendered before the Andhra Police on January 7 – has also purportedly disclosed that plans are afoot to take advantage of the rather thin and diffused deployment of security personnel during the elections.
Based on these inputs, the Union Home Ministry on Monday issued an advisory to the governments in Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh to take all necessary measures, including identification of vulnerable pockets, area domination exercises and anti-naxal operations, in view of the upcoming general elections.
11 helicopters deployed in Naxal-hit states
NEW DELHI: Eleven helicopters have been deployed by the government in Naxal-hit states to support the security forces tackling the extremists, Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday. Minister of state for home RPN Singh said the choppers, belonging to Indian Air Force and the Border Security Force, are available for use as per operational requirement in all Left Wing Extremism affected states. “In addition, the LWE affected states have been permitted to hire helicopter under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme on need basis,” he said in a written reply.
Under the SRE scheme, the Central government provides assistance to the 9 LWE affected states for security related expenditure. Under it, the expenditure is first incurred by the state government and thereafter reimbursed by the Central government after conducting audit in the respective states. A total of Rs 188.58 crore has been allocated to the nine states under the SRE in 2013-14, Rs 180.66 crore in 2012-13, Rs 187.48 crore in 2011-12 and Rs 299.06 crore in 2010-11.
Jharkhand: Senior Maoist commander nabbed
In a move that will severely hit the operational strength of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in Jharkhand’s most affected regions, the Latehar Police and 11 battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have nabbed a zonal commander who was involved in multiple killings in the region for over a decade. Narayan Yadav alias Kaushal (40) was nabbed early this morning when he was visiting his lover’s house Palleya village under the Manika Police Station in Latehar.
MAOISTS IN THE NORTHEAST: REALITY AND MYTH-MAKING – ANALYSIS
On 9 June 2013, just before the clock struck midnight, a police contingent in Assam’s Tinsukia district boarded the Chennai-Egmore Express, minutes before its three-day long journey, and pulled out 66 youths. A critical intelligence input received by the police had indicated that these youths from tea gardens, Ahom and Moran communities were going to join the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist). Following two days of interrogation and confirmation from the employers of the youths in Chennai, all were released. To cover up a major embarrassment, the police establishment forced the parents of the youths to sign undertakings that they would produce their wards before the police whenever asked for.
The incident in a way summed the mindset of the security establishment in Assam, which for the past couple of years, has been pursuing a non-existent enemy, invariably under political orders. Media reports on the alleged inroads made by the CPI-Maoist into the Northeast in general and Assam in particular have produced alarming narratives comprising encounters, arrests, shadowy extremist game plans, and a vision for taking over the region.
While few of these incidents are real, most, like the incident narrated earlier, are unsustainable. Arrested Maoist cadres identified as central committee members, training instructors, and key leaders of the outfit’s eastern wing have been found to be old men in the age group of 65 to 70 years, a clear departure from the mainstream Maoist movement whose leaders and cadres are much younger. Post-arrest, the so called high profile cadres like Aditya Bora have been given instant bail by the courts in view of the weak and unsubstantiated charges brought against them. The so called extortion notes recovered in upper Assam districts contain expressions such as ‘Maubadi 147’ and symbols of a rising sun, indicating the involvement of petty criminals posing as Maoists or even cadres of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), whose party symbol is the rising sun.
The ‘disappearance’ of 300 youths from various Assam districts has been described as a successful recruitment drive by the CPI-Maoist. The Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border region has been described as the new hotbed of Maoist activity. Hundreds of kilometres separate the area from the nearest Maoist area of activity in West Bengal, violates the principle of contiguity, which the CPI-Maoist steadfastly hold on to in its expansion drive. Such disquieting narratives, as a result, coexist with saner assessments, incidentally by some of the senior police officials in Assam.
They in fact, insist that there is no constituency in Assam which the Maoists can exploit to spread their ideology. In January 2014, Assam’s director general of police confirmed that “Maoists have also not yet been able to make strong inroads into Assam.” The purpose of this column here is not to argue that Maoists have no plans for the Northeast. They do. However, that is not a near or medium-term plan for sabotage, armed struggle and carving out of liberated zones in the region, but a more rational and realistic stratagem for using the region’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities for weapons procurement and services of the insurgent outfits for training purposes.
Arms, bombs found in Sonebhadra
VARANASI: The presence of suspected Maoist ultras was felt again in Sonebhadra district when the joint team of CRPF and police made a huge recovery of arms and ammunition during a combing operation in the jungles of Nalraja temple along the Karmnasha river under Pannuganj police station on Monday afternoon. IG (Varanasi zone) Prakash D said, “A joint team of CRPF and police were on a routine combing operation in the jungles along the Karmnasha near Nalraja Shiv temple in afternoon when they noticed a dump of arms and ammunition. Upon checking, one rifle, one single barrel gun, one revolver, one country-made revolver, live cartridges, two tiffin bombs and two electric detonators with fuse wires were recovered.”
Two naxals arrested in Chattisgarh
Raipur: Two naxals were arrested during a search operation in Maoist-hit Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, police said today. The cadres were nabbed while they were trying to flee into the forests under Gangalur police station limits last evening, Bijapur Deputy Superintendent of Police Sukhnandan Rathore said. A team of local police was on a combing operation in the Gangalur area, around 450 kms away from here, when it spotted the rebels in Peddapara village. Those nabbed were identified as Punem Aytu (29) and Paiku Punem (35), active members of Gangalur area committee, he said.
Malkangiri on high alert ahead of Naveen visit
KORAPUT: Security was beefed up in Malkangiri district on Tuesday ahead of chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s one-day visit. Naveen is scheduled to address a public meeting at Maoist-hit Chitrakonda and launch the 108 ambulance service in the district on Wednesday.
Around 20 platoons of security personnel, comprising BSF, SOG and police, will be deployed at Chitrakonda. “We have intensified anti-extremist operations and deployed additional forces at strategic locations to thwart any subversive activity,” said SP (Malkangiri) Akhileswar Singh. Vehicles entering the district are being checked and the meeting venue at Chitrakonda sanitized by sniffer dogs, the SP said.