People’s War in India Clippings 17/4/2015


Naxal banners in Agumbe

Naxal activities have resurfaced again in Agumbe after a gap of five to six years. The presence of banners and slogans on compound wall of government higher primary school at Hosagadde village near Agumbe has shocked people. According to the villagers, naxalites might have stepped into the school premises around 2:00am on April 16 and left the place after tying banners using the locally available wild creeper and writing slogans. The banner reads “Death is natural. Dying for self is as light as feather of a bird. But dying for people is as giant as Himalaya mountain.”

The naxals have put forth four demands in the banner hung up on school compound – withdrawal of Land Acquisition Bill, Kasturirangan panel report on Western Ghats, suspension of issuing eviction notice to bagair hukum cultivators by forest department and boycott of gram panchayat polls were written in red colour on compound wall of the school. Noticing this, villagers have informed Agubme police. Following this, police rushed to the spot and erased slogans written on wall and removed the banners.

Photo helped cops nab top Red leader

RANCHI: Jharkhand police produced senior Maoist leader Shiv Prasad Singh alias Rohitji alias Ritlal alias Pawanji before the media on Thursday evening, almost 26 hours after he was arrested from Patratu under Pithoria police station. Rohitji, known to be a member of CPI (Maoist)’s Bihar-Jharkhand Special Area Committee since its formation in 2004, carries a bounty of Rs 25 lakh in Jharkhand and is also learnt to be in the most wanted list of Bihar police with a separate cash reward of Rs 10 lakh. Earlier in the day, BJSAC spokesperson Gopalji had threatened to call a 24-hour bandh on Monday if their leader was not produced before the media or the court within 24 hours.

“We condemn the way Rohitji has been kidnapped by the police and if they do not produce him we are going to call for a bandh in Bihar and Jharkhand,” he had said. Sources said use of technology by the police and Maoists flouting their usual norms helped police nab the top Red leader. While photography of senior Maoist leaders is prohibited, Rohitji had recently got a photograph clicked with two bodyguards standing by his side. Police obtained a copy of the photograph circulated it on social media, which helped them gather intelligence and identify after he was taken into custody. Police sources said the weapon in the hands of those guarding the man on chair in the picture indicated that he must be an important leader within the outfit.

Ranchi Senior SP Prabhat Kumar said they received key intelligence inputs on Wednesday afternoon and formed a team under ASP (operations) Harshpal Singh to conduct a raid in the Nakari forests of Patratu, where Rohitji was going to meet his family members. “The team came across an elderly man with features resembling the person we were looking for. In the course of interrogation, he admitted that his name was Shiv Prasad Singh,” Kumar said. The person was immediately detained and taken to his Patratu residence where family members also identified him. Asked if police flouted norms while arresting Rohitji, Kumar said they delayed the confirmation of the arrest to be sure about the identity of the person.

“We also took him to the forests in Nakari, Beti and Harihartoli to conduct raids based on his information,” Kumar said. A native of Sevnan village under Karona police station of Jehanabad district in Bihar, Rohitji joined CPI party Unity in 1984 and became a state member of Kisan Sangram Committee in 1994. He has been a Special Area Committee member of the CPI (Maoist) since its formation in 2004, post-merger of Peoples War and Maoist Communist Centre.

He is wanted in a number of cases in Gumla, Chainpur Lohardaga, Latehar in Jharkhand and Aurangabad district of Bihar. “We are collecting information from Bihar police about his involvement in cases in Gaya and other bordering districts,” Kumar said. While Rohitji’s family members claimed that he suffered a fracture almost three years ago and had not been active in the Maoist movement, police claimed he was injured in the Chanpipat encounter on February 21 this year. Police admitted that after initial reluctance, Rohitji has been cooperative in interrogation and they are likely to come across some vital information in course of interrogation.

Maoists Free 11 Abducted Tribals

BHUBANESWAR/MALKANGIRI:Two days after they were abducted from a bordering village of Malkangiri, all the 11 tribals were released by Maoists on Thursday afternoon. The freed villagers, police said, have reached Kartanpalli under Mathili block but no direct contact could be established with any of them. In the morning, five villagers were freed by the Left Wing Extremists (LWEs) after they were reportedly tried in a Praja Court. Later, another six were released.

“We have information that all the 11 were released and they have reached Kartanpalli,” IG (South-Western) Range Y K Jethwa said. Sources said all the 11 faced trial in the kangaroo court at an unknown place near the Odisha-Chhattisgarh border and the decision to free them was almost immediate. However, since the Maoists had taken away the mobile phones of the abducted villagers, establishing contact with them was a problem. It was not immediately known why the Red rebels had abducted the 11 tribals in the first place but all of them have been warned against making any contact with the police or the local administration after their release. “They have been specifically asked not to cooperate with the police,” sources added.

Alleged female naxalite goes on hunger strike in Byculla jail, accuses authorities of installing CCTV in female barrack

Angela Harish Sontakke is a 45 year old political undertrial prisoner facing charges of being a Maoist party member who has been incarcerated since April 2011. Most of this period has been spent in Byculla Jail at Mumbai. Eight out of her 11 co-accused have been released on bail. Angela herself has been acquitted in 15 of the 16 additional cases foisted on her and has been granted bail in the 16thcase. She has been denied bail in Sessions Case No. 655 of 2011 under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (a law akin to the draconian TADA & POTA). A highly educated lady, she has a double M.A. and has taught in various schools and colleges in Maharashtra.

Angela requested an urgent mulaqat, so, Maharukh Adenwalla and Susan Abraham, both lawyers, visited Byculla Jail on April 08, 2015 at 12 noon. According to a press release by Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), during mulaqat Angela informed that on April 1, 2015, male jail staff arrived at Barrack No. 3, women’s barrack (where Angela was lodged) with cables. When the inmates made enquiries, they were informed that CCTV cameras were going to be installed inside their barracks. Angela and the other inmates protested that this would be a clear invasion of their privacy since women inmates change their clothes, apply medicines (as skin infections are rampant in the overcrowded condition of the jail) and in the height of summer without any fans, women use minimum clothes while sleeping in the barracks.

Angela also asked that they should be shown the notice allowing CCTVs inside the barracks. On 2nd April 2015, after bandhi, at around 6.30 p.m. about 10-12 jail staff came to Barrack No. 3 and took Angela away saying that she was being kept in a “separate” cell – obviously as punishment for opposing the CCTV installation. Angela protested by starting a hunger strike that evening itself.

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