New IB Chief in Chhattisgarh on Top Secret Mission
NEW DELHI: Barely days after taking over as chief of Intelligence Bureau Dineshwar Sharma is on a top mission to Chhattisgarh to work out plans for containing Naxalism. Sources said the newly-appointed IB chief reached the Naxal-affected state on Wednesday, indicating that Left-wing Extremism (LWE) dominates the intelligence agency’s agenda. As many as 25 civilians and 55 security personnel were killed in Naxal violence in Chhattisgarh in 2014 alone.
The paramilitary forces operating in Maoist strongholds have often complained about lack of actionable intelligence during anti-Naxal operations. Several Maoists had surrendered to the authorities in the last two years. However, the recent ambushes carried out by the extremists expose the loopholes in the anti-naxal operation. “The IB chief will assess the ground reality with the senior officials. Lack of human intelligence is a major challenge for the forces involved in the operations and it is evident from the past several incidents that forces have not found the Naxalites, but in fact, they found us and mounted ambush in the most treacherous terrain,” sources said, adding that the discussions would be mainly on overhauling the strategies and tactics of counter-insurgency operations and the standard operating procedures (SOP) developed by some of the best forces in the world. Sources also said the new leadership is keen on critical analysis of the current policies to find out its applicability and relevance given the complex jungle terrain and to examine if there is any need for changing the tactics.
Stop Operation Greenhunt, Maoist leader tells Odisha govt
Condemning the atrocities on the innocent tribals arrested by the BSF after being branded as Maoists, a top Maoist leader has asked the Odisha government to stop Operation Greenhunt with immediate effect. In a release to the media on Wednesday, secretary of Malkangiri Divisional Committee Poonam Chand, while protesting against forcible induction of the innocent tribals in the state police force, called on the tribal youths to join the Maoist outfit instead of serving as special police officers (SPOs) under the state government.
The Maoist leader also said that while the state police have been compelling the tribals to provide information about Maoist activity in their area, the Maoists, on the other hand, have been forcing them to give details about the police. “Because of their failure to comply with their order, the tribals are being killed,” the Maoist leader pointed out.
Tribals caught in crossfire in cops hunt for Maoists
KANNUR Kurichiyas, a strong and formidable tribal sect in Wayanad, Kerala, has the history of fighting against British colonialism during the freedom struggle. Their warriors fought with Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja against the Britishers. The dried leaves and the springs in the Kannavom forest bordering Kannur-Wayanad and Kozhikode districts, the area of Kurichiyas, always had a hidden surprise for any visitor in the form of blood-sucking leeches. The travel to some of the tribal colonies, close on the heels of attack by suspected outlawed Maoists at a stone crusher unit near Nedumpoyil in Kannur on January 2, unfolded a new reality. Suspected Maoist gang had attacked a stone crusher unit after locking up two watchmen of the unit in the early hours of Friday.
The attackers escaped after sticking posters saying that the bureaucrats and politicians helping the quarry mafia would be the next target. Though the police have confirmed that several people were engaged in the attack, only five, including a woman escaped into the forest while others used a vehicle which is reported to have gone towards Wayanad. Kurichiyas in the forest are living between devil and the sea. On one side there are armed Maoists and on the other the police and the Thunderbolt Commandos. Life has become an excruciatingly painful experience for the people of the jungle, who unlike other tribes preferred security and solace of forest even while sending their kids to attend schools and having sufficient contacts with people outside the forest.
N Sushanth, president of the Kannur Kuruchiya Munnetta Samithi (KKMS), and his friends told Oman Tribune that life has become a real test following the invasion of armed people, who claim themselves as Maoists. “So far, they have not attacked us. But with the commandos getting ready for a hunt, we are afraid of our safety. Our friends outside and the police say the Maoists might use us as human shields in case of a fight between them and the commandos. We do not know what is awaiting us,” said Sushanth and his friends. Sushanth said those claim themselves as members of the Maoist gang often visit the tribal settlements inside the Kannavom forest. “They had visited some of our colonies during the past months. They befriended our people but never harmed us,” they said adding that the police are after the KKMS as it was the organisation that first voiced concern about the stone crusher unit attacked by suspected Maoists as the unit was posing threat to the peaceful atmosphere of Kurichiya houses at the nearby Chekkiyad colony.
That does not mean that we are with the Maoists,” said Sushanth. He said that the people living in other settlements like Parakkad, Koonapalla, Kolappa, Chappa and Kanjirakolly are living in fear since suspected Maoists invaded the forests. “The stone crusher and the quarries keep working in the night disturbing the sleep and study of our children. The issue had been brought to the notice of the collector and the ministers on several occasions. But there was no action,” said Sushanth adding that if the police and the Thunderbolt Commandos want to end the Maoist menace it should be at the cost of the lives of the Kurichiyas.
He said that the KKMS had sent an open letter to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Monday asking him to act immediately as the lives of Kurichiyas living in Kannavom forest is in danger. “The Maoists have not harmed us so far. But we fear that they might do it at any time,” he said. Police sources said similar situation prevailed in Wayanad, Nilambur in Malappuram and the Silent Valley forest region in Palakkad. “We really suspect that the Maoists have already won the confidence of tribal people. They get information about commando operations well in advance making it easy for finding escape routes,” sources said.