MHA permits Chhattisgarh to use helicopters to target Naxals: sources
New Delhi: In a major change of operational strategy, the Union Home Ministry approved the use of helicopters in offensive operations against Naxals in Chhattisgarh, sources said on Monday. So far, helicopters were used only for relief and rescue missions during anti-Naxal operations. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh met Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the national capital and also demanded more helicopters reportedly one squadron which would be about 16 flying machines.
The Home Ministry assured that the demand will be viewed sympathetically. Currently the state government has 4 IAF and paramilitary helicopters for use during anti-Naxal operations. During the meeting Raman Singh argued that Kashmir Valley is one-third of Bastar area but more forces are deployed there. In the meeting, it was also decided to provide multi-skilled 2,000 personnel for carrying out development work in Chhattisgarh which has been worst-hit by Naxal violence. “Two technical battalions (about 2,000 men) comprising engineers have been sought for construction projects in Chhattisgarh,” Raman Singh said after the two-hour meeting. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) had been involved in various projects in Chhattisgarh till 2010. However, it started withdrawing after the then UPA government decided to strengthen road network along India-China border for which BRO is the first choice. The Centre had recently cleared additional 10 battalions (about 10,000 personnel) for maintaining law and order in the state.
Maoist commander held in Kondagaon district of Chhattisgarh
A Maoist deputy commander was arrested from Kondagaon district of Chhattisgarh, the police said here today. The Maoist cadre was nabbed by a local police team from the forest of Mardapal police station limits last night, Kondagaon Additional Superintendent of Police Surjit Atri told PTI. During a combing operation in the Mardapal region, located around 300 kms away from the Chhattisgarh state capital Raipur, security personnel received a tip-off about the movement of a hardcore Maoist rebel near Hadeli and Nelwad forests. After reaching the spot, security forces rounded him up, the ASP said.
The arrested Maoist was identified as Mandu alias Malesh, a member of the Hadeli Janmilitia group and a former deputy commander of Hadeli Local Operations Squad of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), he said. He was involved in various incidents of crime, including attacks on police parties, looting of ballot boxes during panchayat polls, destruction of schools, murder and others, the ASP said. Mandu was produced before a local Bastar court, which sent him to Jagdalpur Central Jail on judicial remand, the ASP said. He is being interrogated, the ASP said.
Odisha court convicts Maoist leader Ghasi
The Additional District Judge court here today convicted hardcore Maoist Chenda Bhusanam alias Ghasi alias Katru on two counts –for keeping firearms and attacking police personnel on duty in Odisha, said sources. The court will however pronounce its sentences on Tuesday, sources added. Koraput police had arrested Ghasi in April, 2011. Ghasi was the commander of the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoist) and was carrying a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head. Ghasi, considered one of the dreaded Maoist leaders, allegedly used to extort Rs 10 to 20 lakh a month from traders, contractors, corporate houses and politiciansn in Odisha.
Ex-RAW chief favours talks with Maoists
NEW DELHI: In contrast to the “zero tolerance” approach of PM Narendra Modi towards Maoists, former RAW chief P K Hormis Tharakan has said that India must talk to Maoists. Tharakan, who was a prominent RAW officer in Nepal through the 1990s and later played a major role in the Nepal peace process, said if the government at that time was ready to talk to Nepal Maoists, there was no reason why it should not engage with Indian Maoists.
The former spy, who headed Research and Analysis Wing from 2005 to 2007, said this at the launch of Kathmandu-born journalist Prashant Jha’s book ‘Battles of the New Republic’ on Saturday. Talking in context of the book that tracks Nepal’s political transition in recent decades and critically analyzes India’s role in it, Tharakan said, “We must talk to Maoists in our own country. How are we going to resolve any conflict if we are not ready to talk?” Tharakan said this in answer to a question by journalist Karan Thapar. Thapar had asked why the government was reluctant to speak to Maoists in India whereas it readily opened channels with Nepal Maoists in the run up to the political revolution in the country and even had several Maoist leaders staying in India during the time.