Ex-Salwa Judum members face Maoist threat
Sitting in his barricaded house adjacent to the police station in Kuturu village in Bijapur district of South Bastar and surrounded by heavily-armed bodyguards, Madhukar Rao laughs when he says he is “waiting for death”. Mr. Rao was one of the founders of the anti-Maoist militia Salwa Judum in Bastar — “a people’s resistance movement” — which was begun under his leadership in Ambeli village. “If they can kill Mahendra Karma [another founder and face of the Salwa Judum in Bastar], then we are small players,” Mr. Rao said, pointing out that other Salwa Judum functionaries had either been killed by the Maoists or forced, like himself, to live under tight security.
“At times, police deploy Road Opening Parties (ROP) for me,” says Mr. Rao. Following allegations of human rights violations, the Supreme Court in 2011 declared the Salwa Judum illegal and unconstitutional and ordered that it be disbanded. Members of the outfit have been regularly targeted by Maoists for its “anti-tribal” actions. Mahendra Sadgul, who headed Salwa Judum in Bhopalpatnam area, was shot dead in 2008. Budhram Rana, another leader in Bijapur area, was killed some two kilometres away from his house. Chinaram Gota of Faresgad village was killed along with his bodyguards in 2011.
“But the biggest jolt to Salwa Judum was the killing of senior Congress leader Mahendra Karma last year,” says Ajay Singh, who headed the outfit in the Bairamgad area and has now been provided Z category security cover. Mr. Singh and another senior Judum leader Vikram Mandavi managed to escape from Jiramghati attack last year. “We threw away our mobiles and identity cards to escape identification, but we are named as the main targets in their meetings,” Mr. Singh told The Hindu.
30 arrested on way to Naxal training camp
About 30 persons, including six minor girls, were arrested while they were going to attend a naxal training camp in Saranda forest in adjoining naxal-hit West Singhbhum district today. The arrest was made near Pansua dam, about six kms from Sonua block head quarter, under Sonua police station. Acting on a tip off, security personnel carried a search operation and arrested 30 persons, including six girls, police said. Some of the girls and boys were in school uniforms and were being taken for naxal training in the forest to induct them in the squad of CPI (Maoists) headed by area commander Juel Kandolana. Kandolana had taken over as area commander of the ultra outfit in Porahat jungle following the arrest of area commander Chokra Chaki last month.
Installation of mobile towers in Naxal areas of Chhattisgarh to start soon
RAIPUR: The union telecom minister, Ravi Shanker Prasad, has assured the Chhattisgarh government that the work on installation of mobile towers in the Naxal infested areas of the state would commence within two months. The minister gave the assurance to Chief Minister, Dr Raman Singh, who met him in Delhi on Saturday.
Dr Singh apprised the minister of the delay in setting up of 146 mobile towers in Naxal-affected regions and said that these were of paramount importance for providing connectivity to security and administrative personnels posted in far-flung areas of Bastar. The chief minister told Prasad that the state government had already provided lands near police stations and camps for setting up the mobile towers. Prasad discussed the matter with the officials concerned and assured the chief minister that the construction work for these towers would likely to start in next two months.
High alert along Jharkhand-Bihar border after Naxal attack in Jamui
RANCHI: Police have sounded a high alert along the Jharkhand-Bihar border after CRPF deputy commandant H K Jha (7th battalion) was killed in a gunbattle with Maoist rebels in Lakhari village under Khaira police station in Bihar’s Jamui district on Friday morning. Hills and dense forests separate Bihar from Jharkhand and the zone is considered a haven for Maoists who are well acquainted with the topography and often take shelter there. Deoghar and Giridih districts in Jharkhand are next to Jamui, while Koderma borders Nawada district in Bihar.
A source said CRPF’s 7th battalion in Giridih received inputs that dozens of armed Maoists have gathered in the hills for a meeting. Jha verified the inputs and the CRPF planned a joint operation with Jharkhand and Bihar police. The deputy commandant with several companies of CRPF, CoBRA, Jharkhand Jaguar and Giridih police had left for Khaira area, 10km from Jharkhand’s border with Jamui. The forces continued to move throughout the night and surrounded Lakhari village early on Friday.
The forces started a search operation around 5.20am with Jha leading from the front. While they were approaching a house, bullets were fired on them. One bullet hit Jha on the face, killing him on the spot. Jharkhand DGP Rajiv Kumar said Giridih SP and other officers are providing all possible help to the forces across the border. “After the incident, reinforcements were sent in the form of additional forces from Jharkhand Jaguar, Giridih police and CRPF from Giridih,” he said. Giridih SP Kranti Kumar said the entire border with Jamui has been put under close vigil to ensure that no rebel sneaks into Jharkhand.