Maha Govt announces Rs 1 cr bounty for Naxal chief
Ganapathy In an unprecedented move, Maharashtra Government has announced a cash reward of Rs one crore to anyone giving crucial information leading to arrest of chief of CPI (Maoist) Muppala Lakshman Rao alias Ganapathy. Rs 60 lakh will also be given to the person who provides any information about any Politburo and central committee member of the Naxal group, which has been creating a reign of terror across nine states.
Official sources said the reward will be given by the Maharashtra government as per a latest policy. 65-year-old Ganapathy is one of country’s most wanted persons. Different states have announced different rewards for any information on him. Apart from the CPI (Maoist) chief, about a dozen Politburo and central committee members have been evading police arrest for long.
Cabinet Approves Mobile Towers in Naxal Belts at Cost of Rs. 3,216 Crore to the Exchequer
The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the long-pending proposal to install mobile towers in nine naxal-affected states by BSNL at cost Rs. 3,216 crore that will be borne by the government. “The Cabinet has approved setting up of 1,836 new base transmission towers (BTS) in Left Wing Extremist affected districts. People in these areas and security forces have asked to improve the mobile connectivity in these districts,”
Govt to acquire mine detectors for use in Naxal-hit states
Land mine detectors, similar to those used by the US forces in Afghanistan, will be acquired by the Government for use in Naxal-hit states as two-third of the casualty of security forces is due to IED explosions. As per a new action plan formulated by the Home Ministry to deal with Maoists, the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) which has a low intensity conflict division, will be asked to contribute much more to find solutions to the problem of Left Wing Extremism.
The Home Ministry has come to the conclusion that IED threats accounts for two-third casualty and hence it requires to obtain latest technology to defeat mines planted by the Maoists. The Ministry has zeroed in mine detector gadget- L3 Cy Terra- which is said to have been used in Afghanistan by the US and other western forces in their fight against Taliban. According to the action plan, a monitoring committee, comprising officers from state government, state police, central armed police force and Home Ministry, will be set up in each of the nine Naxal-affected states to review the progress of state-level anti-Maoist operations every month.
Out of the 106 Left Wing Extremism affected districts, security forces will focus on 35-40 “most red” districts where more funds will be allocated and IAS and IPS officers who have done well in the four years of their postings will be be rewarded with preferential postings, foreign deputations or foreign courses. Citing a model that was successful against terrorists in Punjab, the Home Ministry suggested that one IGP or DIG should be vested with the command of both state and central forces in operations against Maoists.
Maoist Insurgency Still Simmers in Modi’s India
Two Indian police officers were injured over the weekend when Maoist insurgents detonated a landmine below their convoy. In an email interview, P.V. Ramana, a research fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, discussed the insurgency of Maoist groups, also known as Naxalites, and the Modi administration’s response.
WPR: What is the current status of the Naxalite insurgency in India?
P.V. Ramana: The Communist Party of India (Maoist) was banned in 2009 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967. The Maoist insurgents have a presence to varying degree—intense to negligible—in 182 districts across 20 states. However, of the 182 districts where they have a presence, only 76 districts have witnessed violence. The states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha account for an overwhelming majority of the violence committed by the Maoist insurgents. Not a day passes without some act of Maoist violence reported from one part of the country or the other, given their geographic spread. Nevertheless, there has been a perceptible decline in Maoist violence over the past four years, though their pan-India influence may not have been drastically reduced. Over the past year, the Maoists have not staged any massive attack.
This is, in part, because the security forces have maintained constant pressure on the rebels. The Maoists have been completely driven away from their flagship guerrilla zone, North Telangana in South India, and have merely a negligible presence in the northern-most pockets of what is now the state of Andhra Pradesh. Similarly, several Central Committee members of the Communist Party have been either arrested or killed in encounters with the police over the past seven years.
WPR: What is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy toward the Maoists and does it represent a shift from that of the previous administration?
Ramana: According to Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju*, “the government believes a combination of calibrated police action, focused developmental efforts and improvement in governance are effective instrumentalities” in dealing with the Maoist insurgency. Prime Minister Modi himself asked the Maoists to shun the path of violence and join the national mainstream. During his Independence Day address on Aug. 15, Modi called upon “misguided youth who had taken to terrorism or Maoism to give up violence and return to the national mainstream.” Before his election as prime minister, Modi said at an election rally, “Don’t arm the gullible youth with guns . . . Instead, pick up the plough and distribute it among youngsters for you need to feed scores of people who sleep hungry in this country. Also ensure the youth picks up the pen as only education can lead to progress and development in the villages.” However, the Maoist insurgency was not a major issue in the recent general elections of 2014.
WPR: Does the election of Modi change the Maoists’ view of the Indian government and are the Maoists likely to adapt their insurgency in light of the new administration?
Ramana: The Maoists have consistently held that elections are a sham and have never participated in any election at any level of government. Their avowed objective is the armed seizure of political power. These twin aspects of their ideology have never changed and will never change irrespective of which political party heads the government. The Maoists are quick to adapt their strategy and tactics depending upon the government’s policies and actions. Presently, they are adopting a wait-and-see strategy before planning their next moves. Hence, there is a certain stalemate in the insurgency and counterinsurgency operations.
NIA files supplementary chargesheet on links between northeast terror organizations and Maoists
KOLKATA: Two years after the National Investigating Agency filed a chargesheet against northeast terror organization PLA’s external affairs department chief N Dilip Singh alias Wangba and two other members from his outfit — identified as Senjam Dhiren Singh alias Raghu and Arnold Singh alias Becon — exposing the PLA-Maoists nexus in 2011, the NIA has now gone ahead and filed its supplementary chargesheet in the case.
The NIA has now named two new persons in the chargesheet. “Two accused persons namely Amit Bagch alias Alok and G Jiteshwar Sharma alias Gypsy has been charged under several sections of the IPC and UA (P). Bagchi is the central committee member of CPI (Maoist), while the accused Sharma is the senior member of RPF-PLA, a proscribed terrorist organization of Manipur. The NIA claimed to have established that the ‘nexus’ had taken root way back in 2006 and the two banned outfits held a number of meetings in Delhi, West Bengal, Assam, Mizoram, Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh for delivery of ‘consignments’ and ‘cash’ since then.
“The PLA used to provide the CPI (Maoist) arms, ammunition and communication devices – procured through a network of smugglers in China and Myanmar. The Red ultras, in turn, used to provide ammonium nitrate (explosive) and cash to the northeast outfit,” an NIA official said. He said the PLA had set up a base in Kolkata mainly to receive money, to coordinate meetings between the two groups and supplying arms, ammunition and communication devices. Leaders of both the groups used to meet in different states and also in the national Capital in order to avoid detection of the law enforcement agency, the official added.
The NIA had on July 11, 2011 registered a case on the basis of reliable information that PLA had links with CPI (Maoist). Its subsequent investigation in coordination with Delhi Police, Kolkata Police and central intelligence agencies resulted in the arrest of the three. “The case relates to a criminal conspiracy hatched by senior leadership of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and CPl(Maoist) to collaborate with each other in their struggle against the Government. The PLA and the CPI (Maoist) have been declared as terrorist organizations as per schedule I of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 (as amended),” a NIA spokesperson said.
Tribals’ Protest Rally against Decision on Bauxite Mining
VISAKHAPATNAM: The tribals of Agency areas in the district have launched a massive protest against the Telugu Desam government’s decision on the bauxite reserves. Thousands of tribals from various villages in GK Veedhi mandal, including Darakonda, Duppilavada and Gummarevula, took out rallies against chief minister N Chandrbabu Naidu’s announcement to lift the bauxite reserves. The tribals also observed a day-long bandh in the villages. The Maoists, who are eagerly waiting for a chance to win the confidence of the tribals, have announced that they would support any agitation against bauxite mining. Interestingly, tribals in the GK Veedhi mandal said that they welcome the support of any organisation including the Maoist part to their agitation against bauxite mining. The tribals raised slogans against the government’s decision and warned that they would never allow any mining activity to lift the bauxite reserves.
They pointed out that participating in the International Tribal Day celebrations, chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced an anti-tribal and anti-environmental activity. The tribals also pointed out that there was no difference between the Congress and the TDP government which were trying to kill the green environment in the Eastern Ghats and causing harm to lakhs of tribal lives. During his recent two-day visit to the district, the CM announced that the bauxite reserves would be lifted by involving the tribals in the project. In fact, during Chandrababu Naidu’s tenure between 1995 and 2004, the bauxite mining proposals were raised but were severely opposed by all political parties, NGOs and several other national-level environmentalists. The Congress government, led by late YS Rajasekhara Reddy in 2007, signed an MoU with two companies – AnRak and Jindal.
The government, while entering into an MoU, assured the two major players – Jindal South West Aluminium Limited and Anrak Aluminium Limited – that bauxite will be supplied through AP Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC). “The government has not consulted the Public Sector Unit NALCO which has shown much interest in setting up alumina refineries. According to the MoUs signed with AnRak and Jindal, neither the government nor the local tribal community stand to gain from the deal. It is true that both the companies will loot bauxite and leave the much-polluted mud here,” a senior IAS officer said, and wondered why the state government was not consulting NALCO and why it was inviting private companies.
Protesting against the CM’s announcement, the Left parties and NGOs have already warned that they would launch a massive agitation against bauxite mining. In the past two days, a large number of tribals, led by local leaders, staged dharnas and took out rallies. “When the TDP was in the opposition earlier, it had assured us that it would support the agitation against former chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy’s action against bauxite mining. After coming to power, Naidu is eyeing the bauxite mines. We are thankful to former Union minister Kishore Chandra Deo who had educated us on the issue. The agreements with AnRak and Jindal companies are illegal. We shall go ahead with our agitation come what may,” some sarpanches in GK Veedhi mandal warned.