Activists speak of police torture
Arun Ferreira releases Colours Of The Cage: A Prison Memoir
Three political activists, arrested on different days from different parts of the country and lodged in separate jails, narrated how they were all subjected to similar methods of torture by the police. “The police took me to different parts of Mumbai after the arrest and threatened to bump me off,” said Vernon Gonsalves, a political activist who was arrested in 2007 from Mumbai and lodged in Nagpur jail. Mr Gonsalves’ experience was curiously similar to that of Piyush Guhas, a small entrepreneur . “After I was picked up from Raipur (in Chhattisgarh), police asked me about my ‘last wishes’ indicating that I will be bumped off sooner than later,” said Mr Guha. Acknowledging that he also was subjected to similar psychological torture, writer-activist Arun Ferreira gave graphic details of violence at multiple levels in police and judicial custody.
“The police pumped 20 millilitre of petrol in the rectum of one of the prisoners who kept discharging blood for two months, besides smelling of petrol when he belched,” said Mr Ferreira, who also was lodged in Nagpur prison. Mr Ferreira gave an account of Narco Analysis and Brain Mapping,” particularly on the Muslims who are arrested on terror related charges. “During Narco Analysis tests, the accused who is drugged could be asked a particular question and his or her answer is recorded. Later, the question is replaced thus making it appear that the accused has named others as co-accused… this is a clear distortion of facts,” said Mr Ferreira. All activists were arrested for their alleged connection with the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
Naxals set 14 vehicles on fire to stall road work
Nagpur: The rebels of banned outfit Communist party of India (Maoist), also known as Naxals, on Thursday set on fire around 14 vehicles of an Andhra Pradesh-based private company engaged in road construction in Dhanora tehsil of north Gadchiroli. This is the second such major incident in Dhanora tehsil within a year’s span. Naxals had torched around 27 vehicles, engaged in construction of road between Dhanora and Godalvahi via Pustola, in January last year. On Thursday, Naxals roughed up a few labourers and their supervisor when the work on the Gharanji-Pustola stretch was underway for connecting road between Edampayali and Korkoti. The road connects major market places in Naxal-hit tehsils Dhanora and Pendri.
It is learnt, eight tractors, two trucks, one road roller, couple of JCB machines and a pickup van were among the vehicles which were set on fire. Couple of bikes belonging to the workers too may have been damaged. The company is likely to have suffered a loss worth around a couple of crores. Gadchiroli police have not registered an offence even after 24 hours of the incident as neither the public works department (PWD) nor the private contractor came forward to lodge complaint at Dhanora police station.
The police department is contemplating registering the offence on behalf of the state government. Like last year, the latest incident has caused a setback to Central government assisted road repair project (RRP-1) in the district. Under phase I, work on 27 projects, mainly related to road and bridge construction in the interior parts of the tribal-dominated district, have been completed. The road between Edampayali and Korkoti is among nine projects, along with bridges on Godavari and Indravati, that are under construction in phase-I. Gadchiroli district collector Ranjit Kumar said the arson will slow down work on the affected stretch.
“District administration is trying to coordinate with the police department for stepping up security in the affected regions,” said Kumar. Police claimed that prima facie it appears that local organisational squad of Chatgaon or Kasansoor may have jointly perpetrated the arson following Naxals’ opposition to road construction. It is reliably learnt that the contractor had already paid certain amount to the Naxals but the rebels were upset as the cash did not reach them. The Naxals had also tried to trace the person who may have siphoned off the amount.
A source from intelligence security claimed that the same contractor had worked in south Gadchiroli after coordinating with the Naxals. Gadchiroli superintendent of police Sandip Patil stated that security forces have already launched operations and area domination activities at different locations considering threat on Republic Day. “We are ready to provide security to contractors or any other officials engaged in activities like road constructions,” the SP added.
Maoists rebuild base after combat ops
RAIPUR: Shaken by Chhattisgarh police’s intensive combat operations, Naxalites are trying to rebuild their base ahead of panchayat polls by threatening villagers to either support their candidate or boycott elections. According to police, Naxalites have been holding meetings in the interiors of Sukma, Dantewada, Bijapur and Narayanpur districts of Bastar division from last month following the declaration of four-phase panchayat polls in state scheduled to begin from January 28.
The cadres of outlawed CPI (Maoist) have scaled their visits to the villages and are holding meetings of villagers, including candidates, in areas where they had faced severe setback due to aggressive combat, patrol and surrender during past couple of months, police sources said. They are appealing to villagers to expand the base of ‘Janatana Sarkar’ (self-styled people’s government of Maoists) by helping their candidates in polls or refraining from taking part in the electoral process, a senior police official said on condition of anonymity.
They have also threatened villagers with dire consequences if they go against them. “Though Naxalites don’t have faith in the democratic process, they apparently feel that capturing seats of village head in the remote areas would certainly help them mobilise tribal masses in their favour,” the official said. “There are several factors which influence the local polls. However, we are aware of every situation (Naxalites holding meetings) and have beefed up operations to foil their evil bid,” ADGP (anti-Naxal operations) RK Vij said. During the previous panchayat polls in 2010, as many as 181 sarpanch (village head) and 10,980 panch were elected unopposed in Bastar division. The highest number of 63 sarpanch elected unopposed last time was in Dantewada (now divided into two districts Dantewada and Sukma). Security forces are also constantly trying to win the confidence of villagers by assuring them full security during polls and urging them to enthusiastically take part in electoral process.
Maoists kill girl suspecting her to be police informer
Suspected CPI (Maoist) ultras shot dead a 18-year-old girl near Ulihatu crossing under Murhu police station of Naxal-affected Khunti district, the police said today. The ultras tied her hand from behind and shot her dead last night suspecting her to be a police informer, Superintendent of Police Anis Gupta said. The woman has been identified as Birsi Kumari, a resident of Hedke village, he said adding that the body has been sent for post-mortem.
Maoists trigger IED blast on Visakhapatnam-Raipur railway line in Odisha
Rayagada (Odisha): Suspected Maoists triggered an explosion on Visakhapatnam-Raipur railway line in Rayagada district early on Saturday, injuring one person and blowing up a portion of track that led to disruption of train services on the route. The blast triggered in the wee hours by a low intensity improvised explosive device (IED) damaged about one metre of track at Munikhol near Muniguda Railway Station, Rayagada SP K Sibasubramani said. A railway gangman, identified as Hari Mirdha, sustained minor injury in the incident, a Railway Protection Force (RPF) official said.
Bomb disposal squad visited the site of the blast, suspected to have been carried out by Maoists, the SP said adding that investigation was on. Rail services on the route were disrupted for sometime and about half a dozen trains were stranded at Kesinga, Muniguda and Rayagada railway stations. In a banner found from the site, Vansadhara-Nagabali and Ghumusar division of banned CPI (Maoist) claimed responsibility for the blast saying they were opposed to the forthcoming India visit of US President Barack Obama, police officials said.
Land acquisition ordinance kicks up controversy
Anandram Rathore’s attempt to self-immolate would have become just a footnote in a country where suicides by farmers is common but for the circumstances surrounding the desperate act. The 45-year-old farmer from a nondescript Madhya Pradesh village had acted in protest against acquisition of his land for a private power plant. Around the same time a week ago, tribal farmers of 20 villages in Chhattisgarh adopted a resolution, protesting fresh allocation of coal blocks in forest land. In Rajasthan, too, farmers announced plans to hold a massive protest demonstration in Delhi against the Centre for “trampling” on their rights.
Maoist involvement in Bihar blast suspected, say Police
Following a bomb blast in Arrah’s Civil Court on January 23, where three persons were killed including a Police Constable and 16 injured, Police said that Communist Party of India-Maoist’s (CPI-Maoist) involvement in the blast cannot be ruled out, reports The Deccan Chronicle. According to one of the Police personal deployed said “A woman was seen talking on phone and when the prisoner van arrived she started to walk towards the van while still talking on her phone, blast occurred when the Police Constable tried to stop her”.
Taking advantage of the ruckus created by the blast two prisoners Lambu Sharma and Akhilesh Sharma fled from the court premises. The officials indicate that the entire exercise was carried out to help the prisoners escape. The source say that Lambu and his another associate Akhilesh has links with Maoists. “We cannot rule out hands of Maoists in the incident”, one of the Police official said.
India looks to US for lessons in teamwork to defuse the IED threat, says report
To effectively counter the menace of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), India may soon establish a joint programme to integrate counter-IED efforts of defence ministry, Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) and agencies involved in dealing with terror incidents, reports The Times of India on January 24. Report said that the idea is being seriously looked at by the Government following the recently concluded counter-IED meet between India and United States (US) in Washington. Sources said the four-day meet, which began on January 15, was an experience sharing exercise where officials from the internal security apparatus of both countries exchanged ideas on challenges in their respective countries, ways to counter them, nature of explosives and use of technology.