Maoists go on rampage in Chhattisgarh panchayat polls
Maoists went on a rampage in Chhattisgarh on Wednesday during the first phase of panchayat polls which have already seen around 50% of the candidates elected unopposed in rebel-dominated Bastar, officials said. Rebels looted ballot boxes from around 30 booths in Sukma, Dantewada and Kanker in Bastar, considered the hotbed of left wing extremism in the country, the officials added. Besides, rebels also fired at a polling party in Kanker district. “No injury or causality was reported in the incident,” PTI quoted inspector general of police (intelligence wing) Deepanshu Kabra as saying. The polls were held amidst tight security in view of a boycott call given by the outlawed CPI (Maoist).
According to state election commission sources, 12,524 panch, sarpanch and janpad panchayat members have been elected unopposed out of 24,611 posts in the seven districts of Bastar. Last week, rebels had killed a sarpanch candidate in Dantewada district. “The impact of Maoist terror can’t be denied and risk factor remains in areas having rebel presence,” state election commissioner PC Dalai said. Dalai added that no polling staff was sent to places where candidates were elected unopposed. Hit hard by a wave of surrender by cadres amidst sustained operations by security forces, Maoists have been attempting to regain lost ground by holding village meetings before the panchayat polls, sources said. Police did not rule out the possibility of Maoist supporters contesting the polls.
“It is, however, not possible to distinguish who are Maoist sympathisers or supporters contesting the panchayat elections,” said RK Vij, the additional director general of police in-charge of anti-Maoist operations. Former state election commissioner Sushil Trivedi said that since the rebels are only interested in economic gains, Maoists may have propped up candidates to “grab a lion’s share from funds earmarked for panchayats.”
Jharkhand: Maoist leader arrested
Garhwa: A Maoist self-styled ‘zonal commander’ was on Wednesday arrested in Garhwa district of Jharkhand, police said. Superintendent of Police Sudhir Kumar Jha said that the rebel, identified as Jagdish Budhayadav, was nabbed from Kulhi village in Bandharia police station following a tip-off. The Maoist carried a reward, the SP said. He, however, did not specify the reward amount. A country-made pistol, four bullets and Rs 1.34 lakh cash were recovered from his possession, Jha said.
Lower Court Rejects Bail Plea of ‘Maoists’
PALAKKAD: The Palakkad Principal Sessions Court rejected the bail application of the duo, suspected to have Maoist links, arrested for attacking a multi-national food joint here, on Tuesday. The court observed that providing bail will adversely affect the ongoing investigation and it was due to this the bail was rejected. The counsel appearing for the accused informed that they will challenge the order in the High Court. “Being the preliminary stage of investigation the court observed that chances are high to affect the case if the accused go out on bail.
The court also observed that despite the duo were arrested there is no end to the thriving Maoist presence in Kerala. The evidence collected also showed the link of the accused with Maoists. By taking all this into account the court rejected bail,” said advocate Sreeprakash, counsel for the accused. On December 22 the duo, Arun Balan, a BEd student, and Srikanth Prabhakaran, a journalism student, were arrested for attacking a KFC Restaurant here . They were presented before the court on December 23. Later, the court released them for nine days in police custody.
Maoists kill civilian in Odisha
The Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres allegedly killed a civilian, identified as Vanthala Bhaskara Rao, in Malkangiri District on January 25, reports The Hindu. The Maoists alleged that Rao was a Police informer. Meanwhile, the Maoists hoisted black flags near Rollagedda in Malkangiri District on January 25 and the ‘east division committee’ of the CPI-Maoist gave a bandh (shut down strike) on Republic Day (January 26) along the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha border, reports The Hindu. Further, the Maoists also cut a pipeline of Essar company near Rollagedda in Malkangiri District on January 25, reports The Hindu.