Naxals seek mass support, promoting youth
Nagpur: To counter mounting pressure from security forces, the Naxals are shifting focus to consolidating their base in villages in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli, Gondia and surrounding districts like Rajnandgaon, Kanker and Baster in Chhattisgarh, which were earlier their strongholds. The rebels’ vision includes formation of Revolutionary People’s Council (RPC), which will function parallel to local civic bodies like panchayat samities and zilla parishads, by following ideologies of the banned outfit Communist Party of India (Maoist).
The Naxals want to strengthen their political base at grassroots level and improve its strength by recruiting young cadets. The interrogation of a senior Naxal cadre, arrested by Gadchiroli police last week, underlines the fact that the rebels are now striving hard to create active supporters in at least every family residing in their zone of operations. The rebels are aiming to revive their lost support base in villages instead of engaging in armed conflicts with security forces which not only have better firepower but are deployed in large numbers in different locations in Central India. A senior police official stated that Naxals are promoting young leaders who have better skills to connect with the masses rather than depending on old warhorses.
“The Naxals seemed to have realized that they are in no position to fight and further lose manpower in lopsided combats with security forces in guerrilla zones. Several senior cadres have been either killed in police firing or have got arrested or surrendered leading to a void in the movement in the last two years,” said the senior official. “The Naxals are ruthlessly sidelining their old horses and promoting more aggressive younger generation of leaders who have no qualms in targeting civilians on the pretext of eliminating police informers and destroying public and private properties to spread terror,” the cop added.
The security forces have dealt a severe blow to the Naxal movement through encounters of senior cadres in the last couple of years. Forces killed 13 Naxals in 2013 and 27 in 2014. Police’s growing intelligence base has also led to arrests of senior cadres. State government too has started giving cash rewards to civilians for sharing inputs regarding Naxals. Around 18 Naxals have been arrested, including two top cadres of divisional committee member rank, since August 2014 when the reward policy was announced. Government also managed to increase surrender by Naxals by hiking compensation for cadres returning to the mainstream.
2 CRPF jawans killed, 10 injured as Maoists blow up mini-bus in Bihar
GAYA: Two CRPF jawans were killed and 10 injured, three of them critically, when Maoists blew up a mini-bus carrying them in here yesterday evening. Bihar Director General of Police PK Thakur said that the ultras planted a landmine on the route taken by the security personnel, police and CRPF, in Imamganj-Dumaria area during anti-Naxal operation. He said, the landmine exploded when the mini-bus came over it. Inspector General of Police (Operations) Sushil Khopde said two CRPF jawans belong to elite CoBRA battalion, were killed and ten wounded in the attack. The condition of five injured is stated to be critical. While four of the five seriously wounded were taken to Ranchi, another was flown to Patna. Mr Khopde said, 30 lakh rupees will be given to each of the families of the deceased jawans.
Naxal beats up foresters on charges of corruption
GADCHIROLI: A forest guard and round officer were thrashed by senior Naxal cadres to protest alleged corruption by their department. Senior Naxal cadre Vikas took an aggressive stance against foresters at Yedaskuhi village in north Gadchiroli to convey their dissent against the department. Sources stated that the Naxals were trying to mount pressure on foresters and also on the local population for dominance during the forthcoming Tendu leaves picking season in the district which is a multi-crore seasonal industry. Naxals aim to collect substantial party funds from foresters, tendu contractors and transporters during this tendu season. The rebels also collect donations for the party from the tribal population who engages in picking tendu.
A senior police official stated that Naxals targeting foresters is nothing unusual on various issues, ranging from corruption to exploitation of tribals. “Intelligence agencies have underlined the fact that a section of Naxals are trying to capitalize on the wrath of the tribal against foresters and are also trying to incite them to target the grassroots level personnel like forest guards and round officers,” said a senior officer. He added that Naxals are targeting foresters on local issues like bamboo cutting and transportation, auction of tendu, allotment of stretches for farming and trading of the local forest produce. According to a reliable source, Naxals manhandled the two foresters protesting corruption in allotting solar powered pump machines to tribals for farming.
It’s also learnt that some goof-ups related to allotment of compartments led to destruction of substantial stacks of bamboo in Khobramenda. The tribal population was deprived of daily wages too as the work allotment had come under scanner leading to major public loss, it was learnt. The incident has left the senior Naxal cadre angry too. Police also stated that surrendered Naxal cadre Gopi, once a senior leader in the party, has also informed that top forest officials extended monetary favours to Naxals through their messengers. The revelation has also tarnished image of the rebels, leading to their wrath. Sources said that Naxals are also targeting foresters for being hand-in-glove with teakwood smugglers in south Gadchiroli. The rebels are learnt to be unhappy with foresters for allowing contractors to misuse sand and gravel from the forest and riverbeds for construction of roads and undertaking other activities.
THE RISING CIVILIAN COSTS OF STATE-VS-EXTREMISTS CONFLICT – ANALYSIS
In 1956, the British authorities fighting the Communist insurgents in Malay granted a lump sum of M$12,000 to a former member of the Min Yuen, the supply organisation of the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA). The information provided by the renegade member cum police informer led to a successful ambush in which three insurgents were killed. The reward was a substantial sum, amounting to almost seven times the then average annual Malayan income. Disbursement of such generous rewards was part the psy war launched by the British against the Communists – that successfully helped cultivate large numbers of informants, ultimately leading to the decimation of the Communist insurgency.
In comparison, Korsa Jagaram alias Shivaji, who played a similar role of a facilitator in India’s fight against left-wing extremism died in penury. On 1 January, Jagaram, a former cadre of the CPI-Maoist, who had risen to be a member of the outfit’s West Bastar Division Committee, was attacked by a group of ten Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres and killed in Kottapal, his native village in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district. Jagaram had surrendered in May 2013. According to the prevailing surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy, Jagaram was entitled to a job and other benefits. Instead, he was recruited as a gopaniya sainik (covert operative) of the Chhattisgarh police’s state auxiliary force.
According to the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Maoists have killed 1169 alleged ‘police informers’ between 2008 and 2013, accounting for 41 per cent of the 2850 civilian fatalities during the period. While a number of these informers have acted as active agents of the police establishments, those killed also include civilians whose contribution to the security force operation is only incidental.
Bihar court acquits 14 accused in 1998 upper-caste massacre
A Bihar court Wednesday acquitted 14 people accused of the 1998 massacre of seven upper-caste members, citing lack of evidence, a government lawyer said. A bench of the Patna High Court acquitted all the 14 accused, saying there was insufficient evidence against them in the chargesheet filed by police. Those acquitted were sentenced to life imprisonment two years ago by the additional district and sessions judge of Jehanabad (52-km from here) district. A group of armed guerrillas belonging to a Maoist outfit killed seven upper-caste people in Rampur village in Jehanabad. The victims were considered close to the outlawed Ranvir Sena, a private militia of the landed upper-castes.
CPI-Maoist posters found in Telangana
Wall posters bearing the name of Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) Venkatapuram ‘area committee’ opposing Polavaram project, the “third phase of Operation Green Hunt”, “anti-tribal and pro-corporate policies” were spotted in Charla mandal (administrative unit) in Khammam District on February 20, reports The Hindu.