Naxal posters: Three years on, cops still look for clues
Several persons from Pune have been arrested for their alleged Maoist links in the last few years, but investigators have not been able to get any clue about the persons who put up the posters of the banned Naxal outfit Communist Party of India (CPI – Maoist) in the city on March 23, for two consecutive years, in 2012 and 2013. Investigators suspect that underground operatives of CPI-Maoist are active in the city. March 23 is remembered as ‘Shahid Din’ to mark the martyrdom of freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev and the CPI-Maoist marks this day.
The Maoist posters were found at prominent and strategic spots in the city including the entrance of Patrakar Bhavan in Navi Peth, Garware College, S P College, Shramik Bhavan, Swargate junction, Shaniwar Wada, Balgandharva and Shivajinagar court. The posters in 2013 mentioned that the period between March 23 and March 29 should be marked as a “saptah” (week) in support of the movement, demanding rights for “revolutionaries” lodged in jails, on the occasion of martyrdom of “Comrade Shahid Bhagat Singh”. The posters also mentioned six demands regarding the rights that should be given to fellow comrades lodged in jails. Posters found in 2012 called for a bandh and demanded unconditional release of comrades Kobad Ghandy, Vijay, Vikram, Madanlal, Mahesh, Bhanu and Anjela Sontakke.
The state ATS had arrested Angela, alleged secretary of Golden Corridor committee of CPI- Maoists, along with her aides, including Kabir Kala Manch artistes, between April-May 2011, under sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Angela allegedly operated from a house in Paud area of Pune. ATS claimed that the suspects were allegedly spreading the Maoist ideology of armed struggle against the government through their activities among different sections of the society.
While no case was registered for putting up posters in 2012, in the 2013 case, police registered an offense under the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act. CCTV footage from Patrakar Bhavan showed three young men arriving on a motorcycle and putting up posters on March 23, 2013. But the trio have not been identified and traced yet. Police said the Golden Corridor committee of CPI- Maoists is aimed at recruiting youths from urban areas of Pune, Mumbai, Thane, Nashik and Ahmedabad.
After Angela’s arrest, alleged Maoist couple Arun Bhelke and his wife Kanchan Nanaware, both hailing from Chandrapur, were handed over the responsibility of the Golden Corridor committee. The ATS managed to arrest Bhelke and and Kanchan in September 2014. Their interrogation revealed how Maoists were allegedly trying to indoctrinate youths particularly the Dalits, minorities from slum areas and other weaker sections.
Hardcore Naxal arrested in Pakur
Pakur: A hard-core naxal, David Marandi wanted in over half a dozen naxal related incidents, was on Tuesday arrested from Amrapara police station limits in Pakur district, police said. A country-made pistol, a live cartridge, mobile phone and a motorcycle were recovered from his possession, Superintendent of Police, Anup Birtheray said. Marandi was the active member of naxal squad headed by Prabir da and Tala da but remained inactive for sometime in the past, he said adding that Marandi, however, was having links with active naxals and used to work as informer for them. He was involved in over half a dozen naxal related cases including loot of fire arms in Maheshpur, Gopikandar, Kathikund and Amrapara police station area of Dumka and Pakur district. Birtheray said Marandi’s arrest would help police to take action against other Maoists active in the district. He said combing operation in the bordering area of Pakur-Dumka would be intensified following the arrest of Marandi.
…Meanwhile, Bokaro police arrested two Maoists in raids conducted at two different places in Gomia and Petarwar blocks of the district in the past 24 hours. Police have also found Rs 60,000 cash from the possession of one, which is most likely levy money collected by him from the people of the area. SP A Vijaylaxmi said police first arrested Rati Ram Manjhi when he had gone to collect levy from businessmen in Petarwar. He was a resident of Mahuataad area of Gomia. Later, police jointly with CRPF nabbed another Maoist Tulsi Marandi in Mahuataad area.
Angul Police Gears up to Check Maoist Menace
ANGUL: As the Maoists plan to include Angul district in their corridor plan, police administration has geared up to foil their attempt. SP Rajesh Pandit Uttam Rao, who was earlier posted in Maoist-infested Rayagada district, said, “Intelligence inputs mention that the Maoists are planning to make inroads into Angul to make it one of their key corridors to link Kandhamal and Nuapada with Deogarh and beyond. The Red ultras, who used Sambalpur route, now abandoned that area due to the presence of Central forces there.” He called upon the policemen to be extra alert and not give the Maoists any space, said Rao. “The areas under Thakurgarh, Handappa, Chhendipada and Pallahara police limits are most vulnerable as Maoist presence has been established in these pockets in the last few months,” the SP said.
The security forces were engaged in a combat with armed Maoists in hilly areas near Chhendipada last year. Rao said combing operation by special forces is being conducted in sensitive belts to flush out undesired elements and police are on their toes in the wake of this fresh menace. Meanwhile, reports on movement of some armed cadres in Laxmipur forest under Handappa police limits in Sambalpur district are being verified. The area is linked with Satkosia, Hemamura and Batrakhole forests. A year back, some Maoist cadres were spotted by the villagers in this area, he informed.
CRPF Constable Injured in Maoist Bomb Blast in Chhattisgarh
A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) constable was injured in a pressure bomb blast engineered by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Bijapur district, a senior police official said today. The incident occurred near Mordunda village when a road opening party was working under the Awapalli police station area, Bijapur Additional Superintendent of Police Indira Kalyan Elesela told PTI. The securitymen accidentally treaded on the bomb planted by Maoists which went off between Awapalli and Mordunda injuring constable R B V Giri of CRPF’s 168th battalion, he said. Reinforcements were rushed to the spot while the injured CRPF man is being brought to the Bijapur district hospital for treatment, the ASP said. A combing operation is on in the region, he said.
Shahdeo girls armed to fight Reds
RANCHI: Frequent attacks by Maoists on members of the Shahdeo family, which once ruled erstwhile Chotanagpur and is still one of the richest and landed families here, have brought their women out of their homes to practise sharp shooting so that they too are able to give the rebels a fitting reply, if and when required. These women have mastered the art of shooting now and tales of their valour is on the lips of many village men and women in rural Lohardaga and Latehar. At least 40% women of the Shahdeo family have licensed automatic guns. The bravery of 40-year-old Anita Shahdeo, who has a licensed N P Bore rifle, inspires many in Latehar’s Sikni village. A group of 300-odd Maoists had surrounded her palatial house in Sikni on May 1, 2000 and opened indiscriminate firing.
“Three women and four men were present at home. We thought it was our last day. As the bullets continued non-stop on the house I picked up a rifle and went to the watch tower to retaliate,” Anita recalled. All three women and four men went to different watch towers and opened fire at the Maoists. The encounter continued for around one hour after which the Maoists retreated. At that time Maoists were poorly armed and could not stand in face of bullets coming from all sides. A newly married bahu, Anita was just 25 years old then. “It was too tough for me to put up the fight, but my family members were too precious,” she said. Anita’s husband Lal Ranjan Nath Shahdeo said she has applied for license for a revolver.
“She wants to keep two guns for emergencies,” Ranjan, who was shot at by extremists at his Ranchi residence on May 7, 2013, said. Ranjan’s 20-year-old daughter pursuing MBA at Central University of Jharkhand also shoots, and practises firing with other women at a make-shift firing range in the village. A Maoist’s platoon had attacked 40-year-old Beenu Shahdeo’s SUV in 2006 when she was returning from Lohardaga to Ranchi with her husband. “I aimed my rifle at the extremists while the driver sped away with the car from the Red-hit area. Soon we were beyond the range of their bullets. The need to fire did not arise,” Beenu Shahdeo said. Lal Sanjay Nath Shahdeo from Lohardaga, one of the worst Maoist-hit districts, said:
“In almost every Shahdeo family when the bahu comes, she is taught how to shoot. They see other women of the family operating guns and get used to it.” A daughter-in-law of Ratu Maharaja family, Rachna Shahdeo, said when there is persistent threat to one’s life, there is no option but to learn various nuances of self-defence. The 45-year-old Namrata Shahdeo still shivers when she recalls the fateful night of 2002 when she chased a group of 20-odd Maoists with a rifle in Opa village of Lohardaga.
“I was watching a cricket match when the glass window panes of my house came crashing down. I realized that extremists were hurling bombs at my house. I was alone at home with three little children and my father-in-law. I locked the children in a safe room, gave a rifle to my father-in-law and took one myself. It was dark and visibility was too low to shoot, but blindly I opened fire at the extremists. It frightened them and they fled,” Namrata said. Lal Balmukund Nath Shahdeo, whose two brothers and a nephew were killed by Maoists on Saturday, said: “All women in my family know how to shoot. The district administration should issue arms licenses to them.” Descendent of Ratu Maharaja Jayant Nath Shahdeo said Shahdeo family believes in women empowerment.
BJP leader Ajay Nath Shahdeo finds it shocking that women of this family are forced to take up arms to keep their family safe. “Most of the Shahdeo families have left their palatial houses in Lohardaga due to Maoists. It is impossible for them to spend fearless nights at their palatial homes. They visit their ancestral homes in the day and return to the state capital in the evening.” Congress spokesperson Lal Kishore Nath Shahdeo (also of Shahdeo family) said the valour tales are annoying. “It exposes the condition of law and order in Jharkhand. The government has failed and left women to defend their families,” Kishore said. DGP D K Pandey said the animosity between Shahdeo family and Maoists are over 25 years old. “The police are committed to protecting the family. After Saturday’s incident we have intensified combing operations in the area,” Pandey said.
CPI-Maoist kill Civilian and Policeman in Chhattisgarh
Suspected Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres killed a person, identified as Yalam Abaiya (45), near the Pujaripara area of Anganpalli village in Bijapur District on March 24, reports The Hindu. Separately, the Maoists killed Constable Krishnalal Dhurtlahare in Dantewada District on March 24, reports The Hindu. Elsewhere, suspected Maoists attacked a vehicle carrying rations for Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel posted in Sukma District on March 24 near Burkapal area of the District, reported The Hindu. The Maoists took away the entire rations.