People’s War in India Clippings 22/9/2014

Maoist (1)

Naxal camp busted in Chattisgarh

Security forces have busted a ‘transit’ camp of Naxals following a gun-battle in Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Rajnandgaon district, police said today. A computer monitor, a three-in-one computer printer, a keyboard, a mouse, two radios, printer ink, pitthu (bags), two plastic tents, torches and batteries, medicines and commodities of daily use were recovered from the camping site in Katema forest under Bortalav police station limits last evening, Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Shukla told PTI. Based on specific inputs, a joint squad of the district police force and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police was carrying out a combing operation in the jungles of Bortalav bordering Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh at the time of the incident.

Security Beefed Up As UItras Observe Foundation Week in Chhattisgarh

Security in the Naxal-affected region of Chhattisgarh has been beefed up as CPI(Maoist) is observing a decade of its formation from today, police said. The Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) and People’s War Group (PWG) merged to form CPI(Maoist) on September 21, 2004, and since then they have been observing foundation week every year from September 21. As per intelligence sources, to mark the 10th year of its formation, Maoists have planned to hold several programmes throughout the week all over the country in their strongholds, to demonstrate their influence even after facing critical situations in several regions.

“We were already having inputs regarding Naxals’ plans to create disturbances to mark its decade of formation this September. So, necessary instructions have already been issued to police and para-military personnel to be extra cautious,” a senior police official said. As per instructions, security has been beefed up in the forest interiors of Naxal-hit districts, particularly in Bastar division. Combing operations have been intensified in the areas nearby police stations, check posts, security forces’ camps, government establishments, besides border areas in southern Chhattisgarh, the official said. No major Naxal incident was reported from Bastar region on the first day of the ‘foundation week’, except exchange of fire between security forces and ultras at a few places in the restive Sukma and Narayanpur districts, he said.

The Naxals had allegedly distributed pamphlets and put up posters in many pockets of the insurgency-hit Bastar division, comprising seven districts, appealing to its cadres to observe foundation day of CPI (Maoist) on September 21. The celebration has been planned for 7-10 days but they have decided to extend it, depending upon the conditions, the official said. Security personnel have been told to closely monitor public gathering reported to be organised during this period in remote areas, he said. The railways, too, have decided not to run passenger trains between Vishakhapatnam to Kirandul beyond Jagdalpur fearing Maoist attack in the region, thereby forcing commuters to travel by bus from Jagdalpur to Kirandul. “The passenger train will not go beyond Jagdalpur while goods rain will be run only during daytime,” a railway official said.

Security Beefed up as Maoist Foundation Week Begins

BERHAMPUR: Security has been beefed up in southern districts to prevent violence during the foundation week of CPI (Maoist). On the first day of the week on Saturday, a Maoist camp was busted in Kandhamal. The security arrangements have been tightened in Kandhamal, Gajapati, Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada and Nabarangpur districts under the supervision of IG (south-western range) Yashwant Jethwa.

The vehicles entering the districts were checked while a close watch was kept on the border areas. Sources said in the last fortnight, a couple of fire exchanges between police and Maoists took place in Malkangiri and Koraput districts. A dreaded Maoist leader was also killed in an encounter. On Sunday, Kandhamal SP K Vishal informed that a gun battle took place between police and the Maoists in the forest near Balandapada under Gochapada police limits. “During combing operation, Maoists opened fire indiscriminately at the police patrol party at around 10.30 am. The police retaliated and the fire exchange lasted for half an hour.

Though the ultras managed to flee, police recovered three country made pistols, a bag of medicine and tarpaulin,” the SP said. Maoist posters and literature were found in some places in the region. In Rayagada, posters were found pasted on walls of several school buildings and Anganwadi centres in Panimunda village. The ultras, through the posters, protested the expansion of Vedanta Refinery in Lanjigarh and appealed to the villagers to join their fight against the company. Similarly in Malkangiri, Maoist posters were found at several places which urged the locals to join their movement.



Maoists observe ‘Sthapna Diwas’, resort to poster campaign at Seraikela

Jamshedpur: The Maoists have resorted to a poster campaign at Chaliama under Nimdih police station area in adjoining Seraikela-Kharsawan district , about 30 kilometres away from here. The rebels had fixed as many as 40 posters in which they had called upon the local residents to join their outfit. “ We came to know about the act after we got a call from a local resident. On verification we found the information to be true. Soon we confiscated the posters. We are not sure if there is any other place where the campaign has been carried out,” said Seraikela-Kharsawan police official. “Such posters are common in our village but we are gripped with fear since the Maoists have asked us to not cooperate with the police. These posters have left us in state of fear though the local police are cooperating with us but still we are in panic,” said another villager.

Written in red ink, the posters had carried anti-CRPF rhetoric and the names of those who have been killed by the police or paramilitary forces. Some slogans, denouncing the CRPR alleged atrocity against the innocent villagers, especially the youngsters. A high alert has been sounded in the district in the wake of Maoists observing ‘Sthapna Diwas’ from Sunday. Banned outfit CPI-Maoist which came into existence after the merger of rebel outfit People’s War Group with another rebel outfit Maxist Communist Centre (MCC).

The merger had taken place on September 21, 2004 and ever since then the CPI-Maoist has been observing the establishment week every year beginning from September 21. Police said apart from ensuring deployment of addition police and paramilitary forces, the combing operations and patrolling has been intensified to check the possibility of entry of Maoists from neighbouring states. Officials said that the police have also intensified the efforts for strengthening security arrangements especially on the routes used by Maoists to enter the naxal infested areas. Deputy inspector general of police (Kolhan), Mohammed Nehal said that the police and para-military forces have been put on high alert in the twin districts of Singhbhum and also in Seraikela-Kharsawan districts in view of the Maoist rebels observing the establishment day. Superintendent railway police, Tatanagar, Mrityunjay Kishore said that the government railway police (GRP) in close co-operation of the railway protection force (RPF) has stepped up security of trains and also the railway track at the naxal belt.


Police arrest para-teacher for helping Naxalites, seize evidence

Seraikela: Seraikela-Kharsawan police today arrested one Bhuvneshwar Singh Munda, a resident of Murumdih under Kuchai police station area, for his alleged links with Naxalites. Superintendent of police, Seraikela-Kharsawan, Madan Mohan Lal, said the accused, a para teacher in a local school, was arrested on the basis of tip-off. He said the accused allegedly helped Naxalites in cash and kind. Munda, a graduate, has been posted as a para teacher in Silaghati School of Kuchai since the year 2005, he said.

The SP further said that Munda’s maternal uncle Amit Munda worked for Naxalite leader Maharaja Pramanik for a long time. “The accused has been helping the Naxalites by tipping them off about police action and movement. We have recovered Naxalite uniform and literature from his possession. We have also confiscated his mobile phone. We are trying to find out his phone call details,” said the SP. Police have lodged an FIR against Munda and begun a search for his associates on the basis of his interrogation.

Police on alert for CPI (Maoist) anniversary in Bastar

The banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) has started its 10th anniversary celebration in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh. On September 21, 2004, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People’s War and the Maoist Communist Centre of India merged to form the party. “We are taking all possible precautions to prevent any major Maoist strike during this period. Operations will be launched and the police will be on high alert in every part of Bastar,” Inspector-General of Police S.R. Kalluri said. “It [10th anniversary] will be celebrated in every village of Bastar with great enthusiasm,” read a banner put up by the rebels at Nerli in Dantewada district on Saturday night.

However, there was ambiguity over the duration of the celebrations as some posters said it would go on for a month and some said till September 28. “Develop the guerrilla warfare into a mobile war. Convert the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army into the People’s Liberation Army. Induct large number of youngsters in the PLGA,” read another banner in Sukma district of Bastar.

Police meeting after spurt in Maoist activities

KOLKATA/PURULIA: Senior police officers of Birbhum, Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore had a meeting following a spurt in Maoist activities in West Bengal. The meeting came after a CoBRA jawan was killed in an encounter three days back and the recovery of posters from Belpahari on Thursday. The incident became more significant because Maoists urged the people of ‘junglemahal’ to join People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Present at the Midnapore meeting were IG (Western Range), Siddhinath Gupta, DIG Birbhum-Bankura, Ajay Nanda, DIG (Midnapore Range) Vishal Garg and the SPs of the four districts. Gupta said, “A jawan was killed in an encounter with Maoists and we are trying to gather information about the ultras and prepare ourselves in a better way.”

According to police sources there has been regular Maoist movement in the bordering areas of West Mindapore, Purulia and Bankura. Meanwhile in Purulia, police have seized Maoist posters and banners near Nisirdih More on the Purulia-Arsa Road on Saturday morning. Purulia SP Neelkanth Sudhir said, “We have started a combing operation.” The posters and banners observing the tenth anniversary of the CPI (Maoists) — written in red ink — have urged common people for an armed resistance.

Maoist posters found in Purulia district

Five posters of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA), the armed wing of the CPI(Maoist), were found pasted in Purulia district today. Superintendent of Police Neelkanta Sudhir Kumar said all the 21 police stations and nine check posts of the district were alerted after the posters were found pasted on trees near Chhoto Urma railway station, about 30 km from Purulia town. In the posters, the PLGA urged people to join the organisation and denounced the central and state governments, the SP said. The police have taken the posters away.


Most wanted: Maoists beat terrorists in bounty stakes

Dawood Ibrahim is no longer India’s most wanted man. That title now belongs to top Maoist leader Ganapathy, whose Red army is spread across 10 states and is a virtual government unto itself in several large swathes. The difference between them: The CPI (Maoist) general secretary carries a Rs. 2.52-crore bounty on his head that is 10 times and above the Rs. 15 lakh offered for the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts accused.

The distinction doesn’t end with the two. Maoists, considered India’s biggest internal security threat, are miles ahead of gangsters like Dawood and even wanted terrorists when it comes to bounty. CPI (Maoist) politburo members Namabala Kesava Rao and Kishan Da alias Prashant Bose are worth Rs. 1.57 crore and Rs. 1.47 crore, respectively, while their colleague Deo Kumar Singh alias Arvindji, who holds sway in the Jharkhand-Bhihar region, is worth Rs. 1.32 crore. On the other hand, the Indian Mujahideen’s fugitive founder Riyaz Bhatkal — whose group carries out deadly attacks with alarming alacrity across the country — carries a prize of Rs. 25 lakh.

Maoists hold third meet in Visakha Agency

VISAKHAPATNAM: In the third meeting to be held by the banned CPI Maoists in the past month in the Visakha Agency region, the Reds put up a show of strength yet again by conducting a public meeting with tribals on Thursday and threatened the government with an armed struggle if it did not withdraw its plans to mine bauxite reserves. According to sources, nearly 400 to 500 people from 20 villages attended the meeting.

Sources said that though nearly 60 to 70 Maoists were present in the area during the meeting, only 15 to 20 armed cadre were visible at the venue close to the Odisha border. The nearly two and half hour meeting was addressed by a senior leader of the Galikonda area committee, who accused AP CM of trying to benefit MNCs through bauxite mining. The Maoist leader also alleged that it was not just TDP, but all political parties that were sailing in the same boat as far as bauxite mining was concerned but some of them had managed to mask their true intentions by conducting anti-bauxite agitations.

He also demanded that the government consider all revolutionary prisoners as political prisoners and release them unconditionally. He also accused security personnel of slapping illegal cases against innocent tribals by branding them as Maoists. “Cops are oppressing the rights of tribals. Due to the illegal arrests of tribals, especially family heads, many families have lost their livelihood,” he said. At the meeting, many victims elaborated on their miserable living conditions due to the arrests of the heads of their families and alleged that their men were even denied bail.

28 Trains To Bihar And Jharkhand Cancelled Over Maoist Threat

Twenty-eight passenger trains have been cancelled in Bihar and Jharkhand from September 21 to 27 fearing Maoist attack as the banned terror group is observing Foundation Day celebrations . “The East Central Railway has cancelled 28 passenger trains under its five division in view of Maoist threat,” said A K Razak, chief public relation officer of the ECR. Considering past experience of Maoists attacking trains during bandh and other activities, the Railway has decided to run long distance mail/Express trains in a controlled and piloting basis, Chief Public Relation Officer of East Central Railway Arvind Kumar Rajak said in a statement According to police officials, Maoists have announced they would celebrate their foundation day sometime between September 21-30.

Security has been tightened across Bihar following an intelligence report that Maoists are likely to target trains. Razak said in past trains were soft target during Maoists shutdown in the state. “We have taken this as a precautionary measure.” Razak said it was decided to run an engine ahead of Rajdhani Express trains passing through the state. Besides, special security deployment would be made on rail bridges and tracks. Railway authorities instructed a speed restriction on mail and express trains, including the Rajdhani, in the Maoist-hit areas.


In a written reply to a question the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) on July 22, 2014, stated, “The Left Wing Extremists groups, particularly the CPI (Maoist) [Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist)], are reported to extort ‘levy’ from industrialists, businessmen, contractors particularly Tendu patta (Diospyros melanoxylon leaf) contractors, transporters, Government servants and various illegal mining mafia groups in the LWE affected states.

Though an exact quantification is not possible, a study conducted by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), Delhi has assessed that the CPI(Maoist) party has been collecting not less than Rs. 140 crores [INR 1.4 billion] annually from a variety of sources”. Earlier, on February 12, 2014, the UMHA had also given a similarly worded reply. However, no further details about the various ‘levies’ imposed by the Maoists were available. Meanwhile, media reports quoting Chhattisgarh Police suggest that Chhattisgarh was the centre of Maoist extortion, with the rebels collecting nearly INR 1 billion from the State.

The June 22, 2014, report quoted an unnamed senior Police officer saying, “Numerous intelligence inputs suggested that Maoist have extorted money to the tune of Rs 80 – 100 crore [INR 800 million to INR 1 billion] from various sources, like contractors, businessmen, transporters and tendu patta contractors, every year in the state.” Senior Maoist leaders were primarily focusing on mineral-rich Chhattisgarh to extort money to run the CPI-Maoist organisation across the country. Details of accounts of money extorted by Maoists have been recovered by the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) in Chhattisgarh.

Giving details, an officer disclosed that the Maoists had been extorting money to the tune of INR 30 million annually from locals, INR 100 million from businessmen, INR 200 million from contractors, INR 100 million from transporters, about INR 200 million from tendu patta contractors, INR 150 million from timber contractors, INR 200 million from industrialists based in Naxal-hit areas and INR 200 million from employees and officers. About 20 per cent of total cost of any projects or development work undertaken in the Maoist-affected zones is extorted as “protection money”, to ensure the safety of the works and the people involved, a SIB document claimed. Moreover, mobile operators also pay protection money of INR 20,000 to the Maoists to ensure the safety of each mobile tower. From the locals, money is raised in the name of “revolutionary tax”, which ranges from INR 10 to INR 2,000.

Of course, these figures can, at best, be taken as ‘guesstimates’ given the significant variation in the totals and breakup given by various agencies. Thus, while the total is given as INR 800 million – 1000 million, the breakup exceeds the upper band of INR 1000 million by INR 180 million. The SIB document also revealed that the Central Committee of CPI-Maoist takes the final call on the amount to be extorted from different sources. The task of recovery is divided among the organisation’s segments, such as the zonal committee, area committee and local cadres. The spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC) Gudsa Usendi alias G.V.K. Prasad, who surrendered on January 8, 2014, in Andhra Pradesh, had revealed that the Maoists were involved in extorting large amounts of money from the Bastar (South Chhattisgarh) region. Earlier, the interrogation report (IR) of top Maoist Chandu alias Tella Anil Kumar, member of the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC) and intelligence-in-charge for the ‘Malkangiri Division’, ‘Koraput-Srikakulam Division’ and ‘East-Visakha Division’, arrested on February 1, 2014, had revealed that the Maoists demand at least five per cent of the total cost of road contracts from contractors.

While five per cent is the initial demand the Maoists are at times flexible, but do not accept anything less than three per cent. Significantly, in lieu of the ‘levy’, the Maoists demand walkie-talkie sets and tablet computers from the contractors involved in civil work in the areas. If the demand of communication equipment is not fulfilled, the Maoists ask for explosives. Lastly, money is accepted, if no other option is accepted. Kumar further disclosed that one per cent of the cost of total agricultural produce, such as tamarind, on the Andhra-Odisha border, is demanded by the Maoists. Chandu also revealed that the ‘One Rupee a kilogram rice’ scheme of the Odisha Government was being siphoned off by the Maoists, as gram panchayats (village level local self Government institutions) were required to withhold a proportion of this rice for the Maoists.

Significantly, Chandu also revealed that the CPI-Maoist has been facing a cash crunch in recent times. His interrogation report stated that, to cut expenditure, CPI-Maoist had decided to provide tea to the cadres only once a day, because prices of milk powder and tea had gone up. “If any cadre does not like tea, he is not encouraged to develop this habit. Also cadres are encouraged to give up the habit of ‘khaini’,” the IR said. Other austerity measures include provision of meat only once a month. However, women and sick cadres are given one kilogram of almonds per month for quick recuperation. Interestingly, an earlier estimate of financial strength of the Maoists in late 2009 suggested the ‘levy’ collected by the Maoists was up to INR 20 billion. Of course, Maoist violence peaked in 2010, and has, since, been in decline.

The CPI-Maoist Central Committee (CC), at its 4th Meet, sometime in April-May 2013, conceded, “the condition of our countrywide movement is critical”. However, if the earlier estimates, based on official sources, and the new estimates acknowledged by the UMHA, are accepted, the decline in ‘levy’ collection would be by far larger than the overall decline in the strength of the Maoists. This is difficult to explain. It is to be noted that in 2010, a total of 196 districts were under Maoist influence of which 96 districts witnessed violence, while in 2013, 182 districts were under Maoist influence of which 76 districts were violence-affected. Moreover, the estimated armed cadre strength of the CPI-Maoist in 2006 was around 7,200; by 2012, this had actually risen to 8,600. Further, if the INR 1.4 billion figure is accepted for the whole of the Maoist-affected areas, it is difficult to accept that the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh alone would contribute around or over INR 1 billion, while the combined total for all the remaining areas across the ‘Red Corridor’ would be barely INR 400 million.

Unless further details of these assessments are publicly available, it is impossible to confirm which of these figures is closer to reality. Aware that Maoists were extorting substantial sums, the Centre has expressed the opinion that the State Governments concerned should initiate legal action whenever such instances of extortion come to notice. Significantly, the Seventh Report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission had recommended the setting up of special anti-extortion and anti-money laundering cells by the State Police/ State Governments. The Union Ministry of Mines has disclosed that the State Governments have been advised to establish such cells to prevent the nexus between illegal mining/ forest contractors/ transporters and the extremists. Besides, LWE affected States have been advised to effect certain changes in policy with a view to curb the flow of funds to the Naxalites from tendu patta collection. Given the vast avenues of ‘levy’ collection available, it is a herculean task for state agencies to hurt the CPI-Maoist financially, as long as its armed strength survives. Nevertheless, any success in this regard would go a long way to damage Maoist military capabilities.



No Room for ‘Alternative Politics’ in TS

Hyderabad: Scores of rights activists, including revolutionary writer Varavara Rao and Jeetan Marandi, folk artiste from Jharkhand, were taken into preventive custody after they tried to hold a seminar here Sunday. Pratyamnaya Raajakeeya Vedika (Forum for Alternative Politics), a loose conglomeration of different mass organisations and individuals, wanted to mark the 10th anniversary of the formation of the CPI (Maoist) with a seminar at the Sundaraiah Vignana Kendram followed by a rally and a public meeting at the Indira Park in the city on Sunday. In a pre-emptive strike, the police arrested Varavara Rao, who heads the forum, and shifted him to the Kanchanbagh police station in the wee hours.

They also detained activists, coming in from different parts of the State and country to participate in the programmes, at railway and bus stations. DCP VB Kamalasan Reddy, defending the police action, pointed out that the Hyderabad High Court had denied permission for the forum’s meeting and seminar in the city. “The police imposed some restrictions and took into custody 180 activists as a preventive measure. The forum is a frontal organisation of the CPI (Maoist) and any activity of the outfit is illegal,” he said. The DCP also claimed, “There are reliable inputs that in the guise of participants, some underground cadres of the CPI (Maoist) are likely to reach Hyderabad.

Their very presence in Hyderabad poses a serious security threat.” Varavara Rao was initially placed under house arrest while writer Kalyan Rao was arrested late Saturday night itself at Macherla in Guntur district. Varavara Rao’s wife P Hemalatha, who visited the Kanchanbagh police station to meet him, said, “In the past 30 years, this is the first time that the State government has denied permission for a public meeting. The Telangana government is acting in an undemocratic manner by suppressing civil rights associations.” Varavara Rao’s family members had to argue with the police for half-an-hour to meet him.

The forum members said the police had arrested at least 500 activists. After the denial of permission for the rally and public meeting, the organisers wanted to go ahead with the seminar. A few hours before the seminar, there was an indication from the police that they would not allow even the seminar. Surprised at this, the organizers said, they had approached bigwigs in the government and the ruling TRS, including the Home Minister, and got an oral assurance that the seminar would be allowed without any hindrance. They alleged the assurances turned out to be false and the arrests so coordinated that not only the government of Telangana but also the government of Andhra Pradesh began intercepting and arresting people who were coming to Hyderabad. They termed it unconstitutional.

Three points raised by the Forum for Alternative Politics

Chief Minister and TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao time and again in the past openly said he would follow and implement the “Maoist agenda.” The forum wanted to hold the seminar just to discuss the Maoist agenda, not even follow or implement as he used to say.

KCR stirred a controversy when he was the Union minister in 2005 when he visited Varavara Rao in the Chanchalguda jail after the latter was arrested for being a Maoist interlocutor in 2004 talks between the Maoists and the government. He set aside the protocol to meet a Maoist representative in jail, but within nine years, Varavara Rao was arrested on the same charge and his visitor held the power to arrest him!

Repression of people’s movements in general and the Naxalite movement in particular is not new. But most of those whose rights were suppressed today were part of the Telangana movement and all through, its leaders were promising a ‘golden, free, just and peaceful Telangana’ that would respect democratic rights. Within no time, the government that emerged out of a people’s movement proved itself to be hindrance to people’s rights.

Maoists bid to revive dalams

Adilabad: Maoists are making efforts to revive their old groups (dalams) in Adilabad district. According to sources, they have revived Mangi and Indravelli dalams and are focusing on fresh recruitments. Maoists movements have been on the rise in the recent past and police claimed that they had exchanged fire with Maoists twice in a month in Mangi forest and its surrounding areas. In both instances, reportedly, Maoists escaped unhurt. Meanwhile, two Maoists of Chattisgarh surrendered to Adilabad district police. Karimnagar Range DIG R. Bheema Naik said: “Nearly eight Maoists are moving in the forests claiming themselves as members of Indravelli and Mangi dalams.

Police have intensified combing operations in the forests in the district and bordering areas to flush out Maoists.” However, he said there were no movements of Maoists till recent past. Maoist politburo member Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad’s alleged encounter at Srikepalli forests in Wankidi mandal on July 1, 2010 was the last encounter in Adilabad district. Before that, Chippakurthy Ravi alias Sudarshan and Alem Tirupati alias Prashanth were killed in another encounter at Rajulakonda forests in Kerameri mandal on December 2, 2009. After Azad’s encournter, there has been not much activity in the forest and it is said that Maoists have been using the district as a shelter and so, they are not indulging in any offence here. However, people in tribal hamlets in interior areas of Tiryani, Sirpur (U) and Kasipet mandals are in the grip of fear following the exchange of fire between police and Maoists recently. Till 2007, Mangi area used to be considered as Maoist den as their activity used to be high due to the geographical advantage of the place and thick forest.


Fear returns to Dharmapuri

On July 4, 2014, it would have been one year to the suicide of Dalit youth E Elavarasan, whose marriage to a girl belonging to the Vanniyar caste had triggered riots in Tamil Nadu’s Dharmapuri district two years ago. A few days before that, the Tamil Nadu Police began rounding up Dalit youths from villages in the district and charging them with being Naxals. In the three-and-a-half months since, cases have been registered against 50 youths. Except for six charged under the National Security Act (NSA) still in prison, others are out on bail. The youths, picked up from Kondampatti, Natham Colony and surrounding villages, have been accused of possessing arms and being “indoctrinated in extremism”. They have all been charged under the NSA or the Indian Arms and Explosives Act. The police have also claimed that these youth were planning to kill leaders of the Vanniyar community, a Most Backward Caste (MBC), and its political face, the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK). Apart from the “confessional statements”, allegedly acquired through torture, police have no other evidence against the youths. A CID report also found no basis for the allegations of the district police administration. Natham Colony lies tucked behind the bustling Dharmapuri town, 300 km from Chennai.

In November 2012, over 250 Dalit houses here had been damaged in attacks by the Vanniyars after Elavarasan had married Vanniyar girl Divyaa. Peace had returned to the area after Divyaa had come back to her parents’ house under community pressure and Elavarasan had committed suicide. That’s now shattered, with the arrests leaving the Dalits in fear. On June 27, the first six people were arrested. The same evening, when a crowd gathered at the Dharmapuri town police station seeking reasons for the arrests, more people were rounded up. Briefing the media, the police called it “the biggest case” involving Maoists in Tamil Nadu in recent years.

Dharmapuri had a strong Naxal presence during the 1970s and ’80s, and still receives massive funding for anti-Maoist operations. However, apart from a brutal crackdown in the 1990s and arrest of 30 youths in 2002 for organising “a study camp of Naxalism”, there have been no arrests of Maoists from this area. Among those arrested was Michael Raj, 26, a diploma holder and IAS aspirant, who was taken away at 4 am from his aunt’s house in Salem by a team of 30 police officials. Raj, now out on bail, claims he was tortured and forced to admit that he possessed weapons and had taken part in an arms training session. “I kept weeping. Pressing the revolver to the back of my head, an officer threatened me to comply. Another suggested that I be shot,” Raj says.

Three Maoists arrested in Jamui

MUNGER: The Jamui police arrested three Maoists and seized some explosives in a search operation launched in the forest areas of the district bordering Jharkhand on Saturday evening. One can bomb weighing about 10kg, one live cartridge of AK-47 rifle besides huge quantity of ammonium sulphate, three pieces of gelatine, two detonators, 25 pressure cookers meant for cooking food, one heavy battery, medicines, powder milk and syringes for injecting medicines were seized by the police team comprising four battalion of CRPF-215 and two companies of STF besides district police during the two-day operation.

Jamui SP Upendra Prasad Singh said the operation started in two villages – Pathakchak and Chhuchunariya under Khaira and Sikendra blocks in the district – after a tip-off that Maoists were celebrating the merger of two CPI (Maoist) faction with its top leaders. The police arrested Naresh Turi from village Khelai under Khaiara police station, where CRPF deputy commandant H N Jha was killed by Maoists, besides Behari Manjhi of village Janakpura and Lucas Khairbar, resident of village Karbatari.

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