STF jawan killed in naxal encounter in Chhattisgarh
Raipur: A Special Task Force jawan was killedin an encounter between security forces and naxalsin Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Dantewada district on Thursday. The face-off between a joint team of security personnel and maoists took place in Dudhiras village under Gadiras police station limits, Dantewada Superintendent of Police, Kamlochan Kashyap said. A contingent ofSTF and district force was mobilised from Gadrias in the interiors forests, located around 400 km away from here. When they reached Dudhiras forests, after cordoning off some 18 km, a group of armed cadres opened indiscriminate firing on them leaving a jawan dead, the SP said.
BSNL to install 246 mobile towers in Naxal-affected areas
RAIPUR: Government-run telecom major BSNL would be installing 246 mobile towers in two phases in the Naxal-affected areas of Chhattisgarh to improve phone connectivity there, an official said. The decision was announced at a meeting of unified command for anti-Naxal operations, chaired by chief minister Raman Singh, at the new Mantralaya here today. Construction of roads, rail lines, and other essential infrastructure in the ‘left wing extremism’ (LWE) areas, anti-Naxal strategies, implementation of public welfare schemes, etc were discussed in the meeting.
It was attended by senior security adviser to the Ministry of Home Affairs K Vijay Kumar, state home minister Ramsewak Paikra, chief secretary Vivek Dhand, director general Central Reserve Police Force Prakash Mishra, additional chief secretary, home, N K Aswal, director general of police A N Upadhyay and other officials. “It was informed in the meeting that BSNL has a target of installing 146 mobile towers in the first phase. Around 80 towers will be erected by March this year and 40 of them will start operating soon thereafter,” the official said.
9 tehsils to be included in Naxal areas again
CHANDRAPUR: The nine tehsils that were removed from the list of Naxal-infested areas in the district are all set to be reinducted into that list. CM Devendra Fadnavis has assured finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar that the excluded tehsils would be back into the list soon. The nine tehsils, namely Chandrapur, Ballarpur, Gondpipri, Rajura, Korpana, Jiwti, Mul, Saoli and Pombhurna were earlier among the Naxal affected areas. They were removed from the list as per a GR dated December 26, 2014.
The decision had led to withdrawal of the 15% additional Naxal allowance given to government employees in these tehsils. Similarly, their share in the central government grants released for development of Naxal infested areas too was lost following the decision. Even police department has maintained that Chandrapur is not yet totally cleansed of Naxals. Though no major Naxal attack has been witnessed in the past decade in Chandrapur, cops have time and again exposed urban cells and front organizations working for Naxals in the district in recent years.
Mungantiwar, who had forced the previous Congress government to include these tehsils in Naxal infested areas, was facing severe criticism over BJP government’s decision in Chandrapur. Hence, Mungantiwar personally met CM Fadnavis and argued that elimination of these highly sensitive, tribal dominated and Naxal infested tehsils would not be appropriate. Sources in Mungantiwar camp claimed that CM Fadnavis has assured Mungantiwar to include these tehsils into the list of Naxal infested area. An announcement to this effect is likely to be made soon by the home department.
Forces raid Red arsenal dumps, seize explosives
GAYA: In what may be regarded as a major success for the forces engaged in anti-Maoist operations, particularly the CRPF, a huge cache of explosives and other items of destruction were seized from a Red dumping pit in Chakarbandha forest under Dumaria police station area of Gaya district. The recovery was made during an operation against the Red on Tuesday evening. As per available details, the recoveries include more than 100 IEDs of different dominations including can bombs and suitcase bombs, hand grenades and chemicals used for making explosive devices. The chemical has been identified as ammonium nitrate also used as a fertilizer in agriculture.
Confirming the recovery of weapons and explosives from the Maoists dumping pit, CRPF DIG Chiranjeev Prasad told TOI that a couple of IEDs weighed as much as 40kg. The recoveries have seriously dented the strike power of the Maoists, said the CRPF DIG. According to Prasad, the recovered items include three double barrel guns and two rifles of 315 make. Forces were determined to drive out the ultras from the area and deny them any foothold, said Prasad.
The Maoists, it may be recalled, regard the Dumaria-Imamganj areas of the district as ‘liberated zone’ implying that the Red rebels not the state machinery is in control of things in the area. Responding to the perception that there is definite slow down in anti-Naxal operations following the Aurangabad incident in which some villagers were killed and injured in police firing on a mob protesting the alleged harassment of innocent villagers by the police forces, the CRPF DIG said there is no let up in the anti-Maoist operations and the forces are well equipped to take on the ultras. Asked about the role of the district police on Tuesday’s operation, the CRPF officer said the district police are extending full cooperation to the CRPF in its anti-Maoist operations.
60 IEDs Found During Operation Against Maoists in Bihar
In a joint anti-Naxal operation by CRPF, STF and Bihar Police, 60 IEDs were today found in Bhimbandh forest in the state’s Munger district. SP Varun Kumar Sinha said the police had received information about a training programme being held by Maoists in the forest following which a joint operation was launched. One suspected Maoist identified as Murmur Koda was arrested during the operation, he said. The arrested Maoist was involved in killing of two CRPF personnel during Lok Sabha election last year, Sinha said. A woman cadre, however, managed to flee, he said.
Engine derails as Maoists damage railway track in Chhattisgarh
The outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) damaged a railway track near Kamalur station in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on Thursday, leading to the derailment of a goods train engine. The driver and helper of the engine suffered minor injuries in the accident. The Maoists have called for a ‘Dandakaranya Bandh’ on Friday in protest against the Polavaram Dam project and the “All-out war” by the Government of India to “flush out Maoists from Bastar.” “The Polavaram Dam project will displace 2.5 lakh Dorla Tribals from different parts of Bastar and Telangana. To oppose this project, our Central Regional Bureau has called for Dandakaranya Bandh on February 20. We appeal to the people of Telangana, Orrisa and Dandakaranya to observe strict bandh on February 20,” said Ganesh Uike, Secretary of the South Regional Committee (SRC) of the CPI (Maoist) in a statement sent to The Hindu.
In an effort to enforce the bandh, the ultras damaged the railway track. Accusing the State police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) of “oppressing and harassing” the Tribals of Bastar in the name of “anti-Maoist operations,” the Maoist leader also claimed that the police arrested three “workers” of the CPI(Maoist) on February 5 from Kotrapal village in Bijapur district. “Mallesh, Podyami Sukhram and Madavi Lachhu were picked up by police from their homes. All three are being tortured inhumanly in police custody and are being forced to join police as ‘Gopniya Sainik’ (secret agents). We demand that all three be produced before the court immediately,” the SRC secretary said.
The Maoist leader also accused the police of arresting two villagers from Bodali village in Bijapur and not disclosing it to the media. “Police and CRPF are going on rampage in many Bijapur villages. People from interior villages are scared to go to market places because common villagers are being arrested as ‘Warrantee Maoists’ and are being forced to surrender,” Ganesh Uike said while expressing solidarity with the teachers, laborers and Anganwadi workers of Chhattisgarh.
‘Maoist’ arrests: Families of accused allege denial of rights
KOCHI: The relatives of activists Thushar Nirmal Sarathy (36) and Jaison Cooper (37), booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for Maoist links, have accused police of highhandedness. Thushar’s wife Uma said she was barred from the district court premises on February 6, on orders from police officers, when the case was taken up. She was also not allowed to give some books to him, on the grounds that he could only read whatever was available at the prison library.
“The search and arrest itself were carried out without a proper warrant,” said Uma, who works in an IT firm. “I had to seek legal aid to remain on the court premises and give books to Thushar. His brother Sooraj was still not allowed to meet him. We are denied our rights and police are terrorizing us. Sooraj was treated like an accused at the circle inspector’s office, where he went to meet Thushar.” Police had arrested Thushar and Cooper, an employee with the state insurance department, on January 30 following the ‘Maoist’ attack on NHAI project office here. Thushar was arrested from Kozhikode after he addressed a news conference, condemning the police hunt, while Cooper was taken into custody from his office here.
The evidence cited against Thushar was that he possessed pro-Maoist literature and Sreekanth Prabhakaran, a student booked under the UAPA in December last, had called him over phone. Against Cooper, police had claimed possession of pro-Maoist literature and posting pro-Maoist messages on social networking sites. “The pamphlet that allegedly promotes Maoism was in fact a notice issued by the Janakeeya Manushyavakasa Prasthanam, a human rights group for which they worked,” Uma said. Police had claimed that they were not involved in Maoist attacks but were active in ‘front organizations’ of the movement. Cooper’s friend Prasanth Sarangadharan said: “They harassed him even before his arrest. They didn’t bother to inform friends and relatives when they were arrested. Our social networking accounts and calls are constantly monitored.” .
Why 1000 adivasis blocked a national highway in Chhattisgarh for 17 hours
For 17 hours over Monday and Tuesday, traffic on the national highway that connects Chhattisgarh to Andhra Pradesh came to a grinding halt. More than 1000 adivasis, both men and women, blocked the highway in protest against the arrest of Mutchaki Hadma, a primary school cook. The protestors brought food and utensils, pots and pans, and sat on the highway, determined to not budge till Hadma was released. The protest started gathering steam in late afternoon as people from eight villages clustered outside the Tongpal police station where Hadma had been detained. Not only did people come from the Chhindgarh block of Sukma district, where Tongpal is located, but also from the Darbha and Kuakonda blocks of Dantewada district, many walking more than 20 kilometres.
Sukma and Dantewada districts are part of the Bastar region in southern Chhattisgarh, where armed Maoist guerillas have been fighting a prolonged low intensity war against the Indian state for more than three decades. The last decade has seen a heavy influx of government security forces in the region. Viewing local people as agents and supporters of the insurgents, the police and paramilitary forces carry out searches and interrogations in the villages, which have created a heightened sense of anger and resentment.