Maoist leader dies
New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) Sushil Roy, a politburo member of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist, died here on Wednesday following prolonged illness, a party front said. Roy, 78, breathed his last at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) said in a statement. In line with his final wish, his body was donated to the AIIMS for medical research. According to RDF president Varavara Rao, Roy joined the then undivided Communist Party of India in 1963 before switching over to the CPI-M and, later, the Maoist ranks. After his arrest in 2005, Roy spent seven years in various jails. He was released for medical treatment on bail bond when it appeared that he had less than a year to live.
Maharashtra’s Naxal barrack lacks conviction
For lack of evidence, few among the 150 persons held for Maoist links in the last 7 years have been prosecuted Over the past seven years, as many as 150 persons have been arrested by Maharashtra over alleged Maoist links but have languished in custody for lack of legal prosecution, many subsequently even being acquitted. In 2008, the total strength of the “Naxal barrack” in Nagpur Central Jail, where the “Maoist prisoners” are held, was 168.
Today, however, “only 37 Naxal prisoners are left in the Naxal barrack”, according to advocate Surendra Gadling, who has been representing those accused of having Maoist links. Most of these people have been charged with involvement in “Maoist violence” in the State’s Gadchiroli-Gondia area and acting as “the urban front” for the Maoists. “Police slapped multiple cases on all these people, most of whom were activists fighting for Tribal or Dalit rights or against displacement. At times, the accused faced 60 to 70 cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UAPA] or for waging war against the state and sedition charges,” says Mr. Gadling.
In most of these cases, the accused persons were acquitted after police failed to establish their alleged Maoist connection. “We were targeted and victimised for holding a contrary opinion to that of the State,” claims Arun Ferreira, a social activist from Mumbai, who was acquitted in 14 Maoist-related cases and is out on bail in one case. According to Sudhir Dhawale, who was released from jail recently along with nine other persons accused of supporting Maoists, “The state is opposed to Dalits and labourers. Those who fight against displacement due to so-called development works are being labelled as Maoists and locked up in jail. It’s an attempt to stop the movements against state-imposed displacement”.
Advocate Gadling says the police knew even before arresting these people that there was no evidence against them. “That’s the reason they slap a number of cases [on the arrested persons]. There have been instances when an accused was acquitted in all the cases but was re-arrested at the gate of the Jail while being released and charged with more cases,” informs the advocate. ‘Lack of witnesses’ However, Ravindra Kadam, Special Inspector General (IG) of Police, Nagpur range, who has been in charge of the Maoist-affected Gadchiroli-Gondia area for many years, maintains that all the arrested persons were part of “the Communist Party of India (Maoist) urban wings”. “We have not been able to prosecute them because of the lack of evidence. Due to Maoist terror, no eye-witness dare to come out and testify and the court does not accept the witness of surrendered Maoists for being an ‘interested party’,” Mr. Kadam told The Hindu. In recent years, police could prosecute only two accused. Vernon Gonsalvis and Shridhar Srinivasan were convicted by a fast-track court in Nagpur under the Arms Act. However, the court acquitted both of them of the Maoist-related charges.
Police exchange fire with Maoists
JAMSHEDPUR: Security forces engaged in a gunfight with Maoist rebels for more than an hour at Tebo in West Singhbhum district late on Monday. No casualty has been reported so far. A team of CRPF battalion and district police officers raided the forest areas adjacent to the Halmad and Suimari villages after they were tipped-off about a possible Maoist gathering. As the battle ensued, the outlawed guerillas retreated into the forest taking advantage of the dark. The search operation that was stalled during the late hours on Monday resumed the following day with the break of dawn. However, no arrests have been made as yet, police said.
“We suspect Maoist leader Prasadjee alias Krishna and Jeevan Kandulan are hiding in the forest,” said West Singhbhum SP N K Singh. The rounds of firing exchanged between police and the Maoists and recovery of arms or explosives, if any, will be known after the forces return from the jungle. The forces have intensified its operation in the district following the recovery of arms and explosives from Porahat forest area in May this year. “There are reports of regular Maoist movements in Porahat forest. Senior functionaries of the banned outfit are charting their next course of action in the forest,” police said.
Three Naxals Arrested in Chhattisgarh
Three naxals including a woman were today arrested from separate places in Chhattisgarh’s Maoist-hit Bastar region, police said. Cadre Mandoram Tulahi (30), carrying a reward of Rs 3,000 on his head was apprehended by a joint team of security forces from Kodekurse police station limits of Kanker district, Kanker Superintendent of Police R N Dash told PTI. A joint team of Border Security Force (BSF) and district force was on a combing operation in the region when they rounded him up. Mandoram, a native of Rajnandgaon district, was involved in several incidents of crime, including loot, murder and attacks on police party in the region, he said.
In a separate incident, Sukmati (19) and her associate Jogo Madkami (20) were held from Bhairamgadh police station limits of Bijapur district yesterday, a police official said. On spotting a joint patrol of Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) and a team of local police near Ghuswad and Karremarka forests, the duo started fleeing into the forests. Later they were chased and nabbed, he said. During interrogation they admitted of their involvement in several offences in the region, he said.
Govt to provide 3,500 satellite phones to forces undertaking anti-Naxal operations
The satellite phones or Digital Satellite Phone Terminals (DSPTs) are being provided by the state-run BSNL after the Union Home Ministry made a request in this regard to the Telecom Ministry sometime back. “The DSPTs or satellite phones will be given to troops deployed in areas where there is no mobile connectivity as there are no cell phone towers. Till the time these areas are brought under cell phone connectivity network, these phones will be with the security forces,” a senior paramilitary officer said.
A maximum of 2,000 of these satellite phones have been provided to the forces deployed in the dense forests and border areas of North East states while close to 1,500 of these phones have been sanctioned for some of the worst Naxal-hit areas.