Jharkhand: Top Naxal Commander Killed
In a pre-dawn operation, security forces today killed a prominent Naxal commander operating in Jharkhand in the forests of Khunti district of the state. According to preliminary information reaching the headquarters here, the Naxal commander Vishal alias Tulsi alias Tadit, also the Special Committee member of CPI (Maoists), was gunned down by security forces in the jungles of Limba-Sosokutti village in the district. Officials said the operation was led by P R Mishra, a five-time gallantry award winner of the CRPF and at present Additional SP (Operations) of the district along with commandos of the elite CoBRA unit and district police.
A heavy exchange of fire took place between the two sides for close to an hour after which the Naxals retreated leading to the killing of the Maoist commander. Security forces recovered an AK series rifle, 150 bullets, few magazines, a grenade and two mobile phones after the operation which ended at 4 AM. “This is an important hit against the Maoists by security forces. Additional reinforcements are on-spot to check other Naxals in the area,” a senior official said.
An Assistant Commandant rank officer of the CoBRA unit was shot under the eye in the operation and has been shifted to a hospital in the state capital, the official said. Jharkhand Chief Secretary Sajal Chakraborty and Director General of Police Rajeev Kumar told reporters in Khunti that Vishal was said to be the ‘right- hand man’ of wanted Maoist Kundan Pahan. Vishal, who was carrying an award of Rs three lakh on his head, was wanted in connection with several Naxal-related cases, including the beheading of special branch officer Francis Indwar some years ago. Of the award, Rs two lakh was today distributed among the district and CRPF police personnel, they said.
The encounter took place near Lemba under Adki police station at Khunti district, they said. A top Naxal commander and aide of dreaded Maoist leader Kundan Pahan was today killed by security forces in a pre-dawn encounter in the forests of Khunti district of Jharkhand. According to security officials, the executed Naxal commander Vishal alias Tulsi alias Tadit, also the Special Committee member of CPI (Maoists) was gunned down by security forces drawn from two districts of the state, CRPF and CoBRA in the jungles of village Limba-Sosokutti under Adki police station area in the district. Jharkhand Chief Secretary Sajal Chakraborty and Director General of Police Rajeev Kumar told reporters that Vishal was said to be the ‘right hand man’ of dreaded Maoist Kundan Pahan who heads activities of armed Maoist cadres in the state and along its borders.
Vishal was carrying an award of Rs 3 lakh and was wanted in connection with several naxal violence-related cases including the beheading of special branch officer Francis Indwar some years ago and the 2009 killing of five Central Reserve Police Force troops in Khunti. Officials said the operation was led by P R Mishra, a five-time gallantry award winning officer of CRPF and at present Additional SP (Operations) of Khunti, the Addl. SP of Ranchi along with commandos of the elite CoBRA unit of CRPF. A heavy exchange of fire took place between the two sides, amidst heavy rains, for close to an hour after which the Naxal squad present with Vishal retreated leading to the killing of the Maoist commander.
“The Naxal commander later took refuge in an abandoned house just below a hill in the forests and he was killed there. He sustained three bullet injuries,” the officials said. Security forces recovered an AK-47 rifle, 150 bullets, five magazines, a grenade, two active mobile phones and a walkie-talkie set from the spot. The operation, based on intelligence inputs, began at 2 AM and ended two hours later, the officials said. “This is an important hit against the Maoists by security forces.
Additional reinforcements are at the spot to check other Naxals in the area,” they said. An Assistant Commandant rank officer of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) has been shot under the eye in the operation and has been shifted to a hospital in the state capital, the official said. The commando officer Manoj Yadav is now stable, the official added. Of the award, Rs two lakh was today distributed equally among the district police and CRPF and CoBRA personnel, he said.
Govt says 1,922 people killed in Naxal violence in last 3 years
New Delhi: A total of 1,922 people, including 1,179 civilians, were killed due to the Naxal violence in the last three years, Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday. Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju said 142 security personnel, 469 civilians and 99 Naxals were killed in 2011 due to the violence perpetrated by the Maoists. Altogether 114 security personnel, 301 civilians and 74 Naxals were killed in 2012 and 115 security men, 282 civilians and 100 Naxals were killed in such violence in 2013. Rijiju said 61 security personnel, 127 civilians and 38 Naxals were killed till 11 July, this year.
Maoists blow up rail track in Bihar, pilot engine of Rajdhani derails
A portion of a railway track between Ismailpur and Rafiganj section in Bihar was blasted by Maoists on Tuesday and it led to derailment of a pilot engine running ahead of the Bhubaneshwar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express. Deputy Inspector General of Police, Magadh range, P.K. Shrivastava, said that the blast took place late Tuesday night but it did not injure anyone. In Patna, Chief Public Relations Officer, East Central Railway, Arvind Kumar Rajak said the advance pilot engine running ahead of Bhubaneshwar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express derailed due to the incident.
The incident has delayed nearly one dozen mail and Express trains including three Rajdhani Express trains. The Maoists caused the blast during a one-day bandh call called by them to protest police firing in Aurangabad and Rohtas districts. The blast damaged around three meter of the track. It also caused damage to the electric wire overhead. The DIG said that the impact of the blast was so strong that it created a four-feet deep crater.
Mobile networks in Naxal-hit areas in 15 months, says Telecom Minister
Mobile networks are likely to be set up in the Naxal-affected areas in 15 months under the Universal Service Obligation Fund scheme, Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Monday. “Mobile networks under the USOF scheme are likely to be set up in 15 months. Phase VII expansion of BSNL in the states affected by LWE (Left Wing Extremism) is likely to be completed by April 2015,” he said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
Saying that the government is concerned about the coverage and quality of telecommunication services in LWE-affected areas, he added that the government has approved installation of mobile towers at 1,836 locations in the states affected by LWE with funding from USOF. The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has already installed mobile towers at 363 locations. According to the minister, the project cost calculated by the BSNL “through transparent, open tender process is Rs.3,567.58 crore”.
Mass support for Naxals behind Bihar stir?
The Aurangabad SP and DM’s report said that villagers were suspected of sheltering Maoists Substantial public support for Maoists is suspected to be the root cause behind the sudden unrest in Bihar’s Aurangabad that led to police firing on a large crowd of violent agitators on July 19 in which a woman and a child died and five others were injured. This being the second police firing in Bihar a fortnight, the first being in Rohtas on July 8 in which two people died and nine others were injured, Bihar’s JD(U) government and the Opposition BJP are locked in a war of words over the government’s alleged loss of control on the police force’s activities.
But, even as a probe is currently on, the suspected Maoist connection in the Aurangabad incident has caused massive disagreements between the government and the Opposition. Top police sources pointed out that villagers in Maoist-affected Aurangabad turned against the police and the district administration so violently, indulging in arson and rioting, because they were angry about the intense, weeklong joint combing operation carried out in the area by the state police and the CRPF in search of some leftwing rebels reportedly hiding there. The Aurangabad SP and DM’s preliminary report on the incident, tabled in the state Assembly on Monday, also said that villagers were suspected of sheltering armed Maoists in their homes.
“The entire area was experiencing tension ever since the security forces began conducting raids in Deo and Madanpur to flush out Maoists camping in the area for a fortnight. The security forces also had an encounter with the Maoists at Devagaha village in Deo on July 11,” said water resources minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary in the Assembly during a three-hour debate on the issue on Monday.
Maoists using fake ID to get SIM cards
RANCHI: Maoist rebels in Jharkhand are using fake identity proofs — voter cards, driving license and PAN cards — to obtain SIM cards and make extortion calls. During recent anti-Naxalite operations, police in Lohardaga, Gumla, Khunti, Ranchi and Simdega came across several cases where SIM cards were obtained through fake ID proofs. In Jharkhand, Maoists and its splinter groups make around Rs 50 crore a year through extortion from various industries and construction companies operating in the state, a report prepared by police last year said. DIG (Ranchi range) Praveen Singh has called a meeting of mobile service providers from Khunti, Gumla, Ranchi, Lohardaga and Simdega districts on July 25 to discuss the issue. Police have also decided to crack down on the gangs making these fake ID cards.
“In one case, one Maoist in Khunti managed to obtain more than half a dozen SIM cards through one ID proof, which was found to be fake,” said Singh. Trai guidelines say that one person can obtain only five SIM cards through one identity proof. Police have obtained information that the chief of People’s Liberation Front of India Dinesh Gope has obtained more than 10 SIM cards through fake ID cards. “These days, mobile towers are situated in deep forest areas as well. Rebels make a call to a contractor and use the SIM card till they get the levy. If things go awry – like the contractor going to the police – the Maoists throw away the SIM and use a different one to make calls to the same person,” said Singh. Ranchi SP (rural) S K Jha said:
“Every time we conduct raids and arrest Maoists or make seizures, we recover mobile phones and several SIM cards of different mobile service providers. We have already alerted our police stations against such SIM card dealers, but I think a more serious step is required to deal with the situation,” he said. In the past, various district police had held meetings with mobile service providers. “Now I will tell the mobile service providers that police will make them accused in cases where we find that SIM cards were issued to the extremists on the basis of fake ID,” said Singh.
Prisoner ends hunger strike after a week in Kolkata
He was demanding only a political prisoner status, says civil rights activist After fasting for more than a week to get a writ petition filed in Calcutta High Court, alleged Maoist leader Anup Roy ended his hunger strike at Presidency Correctional Centre here on Tuesday, confirmed prison superintendent Nabin Kumar Saha. Mr. Roy was detained under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in January this year.
According to civil rights activist Ranjit Sur, Mr. Roy started a fast on July 10 to demand a political prisoner status and to get a writ petition challenging an amendment to the West Bengal Correctional Services Act, 1992, passed in Calcutta High Court. The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government introduced an amendment in November 2013, which curbed the rights of prospective political prisoners.
The amendment stated that a person found having links with any terrorist organisation would be denied the rights of a political prisoner. “The amendment was aimed at Maoists and Islamic outfits. The amendment is unconstitutional. Political prisoners, who were lodged in jails before the amendment was passed, were also denied their status. This was an illegal move. Mr. Roy sought to change this,” said Mr. Sur. Mr. Roy’s demand to file the writ petition was being denied by jail authorities, Mr. Sur said.
“Mr. Roy has still not been proven accused. Therefore he is not guilty in the eyes of law and is free to file a petition like any other citizen, ” Mr. Sur said. When contacted, Mr. Saha denied that Mr. Roy had started his fast to demand the rights of a political prisoner. Refusing to divulge the details of the writ petition that Mr. Roy sought to file, Mr. Saha said it was a highly confidential matter. “Mr. Roy started his hunger strike to demand that the writ petition be filed in the court. He ended his fast on Tuesday,” he said.
Three Naxals Held in Chhattisgarh
Raipur: Security forces today apprehended three suspected Naxals from the Maoist hotbed of Sukma district in Chhattisgarh. The three were nabbed under an operation led by central paramilitary CRPF in the Hamirgargh-Tongpal axis of this south Bastar district. The three suspects have been indetified as Handram, Deva Ram and Bheema Ram, the officials said. They have been handed over to the local police for further interrogation, the police added.