Maoist leader killed in Narayanpatna
A hardcore Maoist was killed in an exchange of fire at Narayanpatna in Koraput district of Odisha at around midnight of Sunday. Speaking to The Hindu, Koraput Superintendent of Police (SP) Awinash Kumar said the slain leftist extremist was identified as Purna Hulka, an area commander of Srikakulam-Koraput division of Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC) of outlawed CPI (Maoist) organisation.
Odisha government had declared one lakh rupees reward on his head. Two country-made guns and a revolver were seized from the spot of encounter along with other Maoist materials, the SP said. Purna hailed from Basanapur area of Narayanpatna block and was said to be active in Narayanpatna and Bandhugaon blocks of Koraput district. He had several cases of Maoist violence, including murder charges, pending against him. According to sources, police personnel of Koraput district and District Voluntary Force (DVF) had acted upon intelligence reports that Purna, along with some Maoist compatriots, was trying some violent mischief in Narayanpatna area.
When the security personnel directed the Maoists to surrender, the ultras opened fire, and the forces retaliated. In this exchange of fire, Purna was killed on the spot while his associates were suspected to have escaped taking advantage of darkness. Following this encounter, intense search operation has been launched in the area to track down associates of Purna. It may be noted that polling was peaceful in Narayanpatna area on April 10, despite the Maoists boycotting the elections.
In yet another incident, a woman Maoist was killed in an exchange of fire between security personnel and Maoists inside Sunabeda sanctuary in Nuapada district of Odisha on Monday. According to Inspector General of Police (IGP), south-western range, Yashwant Jethwa, this encounter occurred during an operation by personnel of Special Operation Group (SOG) inside the Sunabeda sanctuary which borders Chhattisgarh. The security personnel have recovered body of the Maoist from the spot of the encounter, said the IGP. One .303 rifle was also recovered from the spot. Details were awaited as this anti-Maoist operation was still continuing in the area, he added.
IG sees local help, IEDs buried deep
The twin IED blasts in Bastar on Saturday, security forces believe, were made possible by the support of road contractors and locals. The IEDs were laid at least 4 feet deep into the ground and could only have been buried in when the road was being laid several months ago. “Such IEDs are planted months, years ago when roads are being constructed. It’s not possible without the support of locals and those involved in road construction,” Bastar IG AD Gautam told The Indian Express. “The contractor himself might be involved, but it needs to be established by a probe.”
Chhattisgarh: Maoists issue apology for killing 7
Two days after massacring seven poll officials in Bastar in Chhattisgarh, the outlawed CPI(Maoist) on Monday issued a public apology, saying the killings were a case of “mistaken identity”. In a two-page statement e-mailed to HT, Maoist spokesperson Gudsa Usendi regretted the killing of the poll officials — six schoolteachers and one from the forest department — and expressed the rebel outfit’s “sympathy” to their families.
The seven polling officials and five CRPF personnel were among 14 killed as Maoists struck twice in less than an hour in Bastar on Saturday. The attacks came two days after peaceful elections in the region witnessed 58% turnout despite the CPI(Maoist) call for poll boycott. In the first attack, the Maoists triggered a landmine blast to target a passenger bus, carrying 12 poll staff, at Ketulnar in Bijapur district and sprayed bullets on it.
“Our People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) command that led the offensive misunderstood, assuming the poll staff as the police (in the bus)”, said the statement. “It appears the big mistake was due to the misconstrued assessment from our side,” the release said. Usendi said police strategies such as changing of vehicles, use of civil transport in the strife-torn region were to blame for the error. “They (poll officials) were not our enemy. We will investigate how this lapse occurred, at what level, and take steps to prevent such incidents.”
Bombay HC Rejects Bail Pleas of Three in Naxal Funding Case
The Bombay High Court has rejected the bail pleas of three members of radical music group Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), arrested for their alleged role in supporting and funding Naxal activities in the state. Justice A R Joshi on April 11 rejected the bail applications of Sachin Mali, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor. The trio was arrested along with another member Sheetal Sathe in April last year after they courted arrest outside the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
They were booked under the stringent provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and various sections of the Indian Penal Code including criminal conspiracy. A case was registered in 2011 against 15 persons including KKM members for alleged involvement with the banned organisation Communist Party of India (Maoist). While seven persons were arrested in 2010, Mali, Gorkhe, Gaichor and others were declared absconding accused. According to the trio, they are cultural activists who take up social causes like poverty, corruption, superstition, gender discrimination and so on.
Security forces explore mobile network
Naxals used for Darba attack Security agencies probing the Saturday Naxal attack in Darba were exploring the network coverage of mobile service providers that helped rebels to activate powerful mines within few minutes. Besides five jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), a driver and the medical technical of emergency ambulance service 108 Sanjeevani Express were killed in Darba when Naxalites detonated a powerful land mine and blew up the vehicle.
In another attack in Bijapur, rebels blew up a bus and killed 7 polling staff a few minutes before Darba attack. The preliminary investigation carried by the security agencies suggested that the mines were activated within a short notice and probably a strong communication system was used. The landmine that was detonated in Darba was planted about 10 years ago with rebels, as practice, leaving connecting wire in the forest.
Aerial lessons for poll twin in blast toll
New Delhi/ Ranchi, April 13: Hours after Maoist landmines in Chhattisgarh yesterday killed 14 persons, including CRPF personnel and poll officials, EC in rebel-scarred Jharkhand has decided not to trust roads, choosing to airdrop officials to Naxalite areas set for April 17 elections. Cautioning paramilitary forces not to get complacent after Jharkhand’s first day of “peaceful and reasonably successful polls” on April 10 across four seats in Maoist strongholds, state chief electoral officer P.K. Jajoria warned Day Two on April 17 presented “challenges” across six constituencies. The bulk of Jharkhand — Giridih, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Singhbhum (ST), Khunti (ST) and Hazaribagh — will vote on April 17. Campaigning for these seats ends on April 15 (Tuesday) afternoon.