Naxal bandh peaceful in Kolhan
Jamshedpur : The five day naxal bandh evoked an effective response in Kolhan on its second day today. The paramilitary forces had removed the posters during patrolling the area. Shops and business establishments were closed in Ghatshila and other townships under Ghatshila sub-division of East Singhbhum district since the morning. The operators of commercial vehicles, including the passenger carriers kept themselves away from the road, commercial organisations, including bank and ATM counters remained close.
The banned outfit, CPIMaoist, had given a call for five Jharkhand, Bengal, Odisha bandh At the naxalinfested Patamda, the bandh evoked complete response, making the life of the area paralysed. Despite the troops of paramilitary forces, CRPF patrolling on the roads, no commercial vehicle was seen in Patamda since morning. The work in crusher plants and also small-scale industrial units there remained closed in response to the bandh call. The bandh was also effective in Chaibasa, Chakradharpur. Railway police are taking up necessary security measures in view of the bandh. The railway protection force officials had pressed sniffer dogs at the railway track and also in train for detecting explosives and random search of the suspects at the platform and also other railway installation is on.
“We are taking all important steps to ensure the Kolhan remains peaceful during the naxal bandh. Adequate forces have been deployed in the strategic locations, including the NH-33 in East Singhbhum,”said an official. Barring Ghatshila and its periphery the three districts of the division namely East and West Singhbhum and Seraikela Kharswan remained incident free. However, the police establishment of the division was on high alert with security forces hitting the streets in the Maoist den of Goilkera and Manoharpur in the West Singhbhum and Chandil block in Seraikela Kharswan.
In the East Singhbhum, the mobility of the security forces including CRPF personnel was paced up on the National Highway-33 stretching from Ghatsial to Chandil. “The district administration has deputed 17 magistrates across strategic locations of the district to oversee the security affairs in the wake of Maoists bandh,” informed a senior official. The Chakradharpur division of the South Eastern Railway too, has made elaborate security arrangement in the light of Maoists bandh however; there is no alteration either in the movement of the trains or its departure timing. The long route private buses plying on the two end of the NH-33, Tata-Ranchi and Tata-West Bengal has felt the pinch with few of the buses staying off the roads nonetheless, the government buses heading for different destinations to Bihar in particular are running in full strenght. “We have pulled some of our buses off the road for the first day and will watch out for tomorrow,” said Jitendra, manager of the Konark bus.
Security step up in Kolhan, additional forces deployed
Jamshedpur : The rebel outfit CPI-Maoist has given a six-day Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh and Odisha bandh call to be effective from April 25 to protest the alleged atrocities on the villagers and forcible surrender. According to senior police officials, additional personnel have been deployed in Naxal-affected and bordering areas of the State. Police teams have been deployed at railway stations, bus stands and other crowded places. Besides, vehicles are being searched to avoid any untoward incident, they said.
Anti-landmine vehicle will be patrolling through the NH 33 area along with deployment of forces of CRPF and RAF. All police stations in the Naxal-infested areas of the district have been put on maximum alert. Extra security attention was being paid to protect vital installations, including property of railways, in the divisions. He went on to add that strict vigil on the bordering areas of Orissa and Bengal is being kept. Security forces have been deployed in large numbers at naxal-infested areas.
Police patrolling on the Maoist infested areas of the Ghatsila sub division have also been increased. Since in the past Railways have been the target of the ultras special focus is on to ensure strict security arrangements for Railways establishments. Railway authorities have sounded alert in Railway stations of CKP division. Special squads of RPF jawans and gangmen would be press into service to trace out landmines along railway tracks in the vulnerable division. Pilot engines would also lead the trains running through naxal infested areas. All the police stations in the three districts of the division including East and West Singhbhum and Seraikela Kharswan are on alert and patrolling has been intensified. Deputy inspector general of police, Kolhan, RK Dhan said they are taking all necessary precautionary measures in the twin-districts of Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan district in view of the rebel-sponsored bandh.
The railway police have also tightened the security arrangement in view of the six-day naxal bandh to be effective from April 24 midnight. ” We will intensify the track patrolling and keep strict vigilance on the passengers movement at all the railway stations including Tatanagar, Ghatshila, Ranchi, Chakradharpur, Hatia, Muri and Chandil,” said superintendent of railway police, Tatanagar, Mrityunjay Kishore. Kishore said that the railway police will be working in close co-ordination with the railway protection force and local police for maintaining vigilance at the railway track and also the railway stations beside other railway installations during the bandh.
Police vs Maoists: Are Indian Security Forces Strong Against Naxals?
It was a bloody Saturday for the Special Task Force’s (STF) Platoon Commander Shankar Rao when his 61-personnel team, armed and prepared for anti-Naxal operations, was caught in an open triangle ambush near Pidmel-Polampalli area of Sukma district in Chhattisgarh on April 11. Surprised by the attack from three flanks, the STF jawans did their best to come out of the ambush; ultras, however, were able to inflict heavy damages, by killing seven jawans, including Rao, and injuring 11. This was just the beginning. For the next three days, Maoists, considered the biggest internal security threat, carried out four deadly attacks, killing four more policemen and a BSF jawan in the state. It was a tragic reminder that Naxalites still retain striking capabilities and can hit at will—despite our daily political rhetoric.
The attacks in Chhattisgarh triggered a raging debate in security establishments on whether anti-Naxal offensives have been a massive failure. And whether a combined force of state police and Central paramilitary is in a position to tackle the insurgents, operating in 76 districts across 10 states. Let us face the facts. The government data in the past decade (2005-2015) throws horrific figures about the state of India’s anti-Naxal operations: 4,510 people—1,753 jawans and 2,757 civilians—were killed by Naxalites. During the same period, however, security forces killed 2,193 Naxalites.
This means that on an average, the Naxalites killed about two persons for every one they lost in the battlefield. They also snatched away 536 sophisticated weapons from the security forces. Now, what is worrisome is the ruthless killing of police informers. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in the first three months of 2015, around 19 informers, responsible for gathering and disseminating human intelligence (HUMINT), were killed. Between 2010 and 2014, the figure was 879. The data is self-explanatory and raises a pertinent question: Has the nation made any dent on the Naxal movement?
A senior IPS officer in his book notes: “We are fighting the war on their (Naxalites) terms, not our terms.” Pointing out the reasons for anti-Naxal operations not producing any worthwhile results in spite of huge investments and heavy deployment, he says, “The tragedy is that vast resources have been placed at the disposal of those who are simply not fit to command—who do not have slightest idea of combat.” Although anti-Naxal operations are coordinated efforts of Central and state police forces, the former has deployed over 108 battalions (134,667 personnel approx.)—83 battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 15 battalions of the Border Security Force (BSF), five battalions each of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) in the Naxal-hit areas. The states have deployed an estimated 30,000 police personnel. If we combine the total strength, 164,667 pair of boots are on the ground to crush an estimated 10,000-15,000 armed Naxalites—10 jawans to kill one Naxalite…
The curse of Bastar: Tribals caught in the war against Red terror
On the night of November 25, 2014, adivasis in Dantewada’s Jangampal village, about 400 km south of Raipur, capital of Chhattisgarh, noticed a battalion of security personnel appearing on the hillock overlooking their village. By dawn, their worst fear had come true. For about 30 minutes, the 150 armed security personnel, who had descended on the village, hauled up the men and beat the women and children. At the end of the operation, 26 men from Jangampal and the neighbouring villages of Chhota Tongpal and Chuleras had been picked up. They were told that they would be released after being questioned. Fellow villagers feared they would be taken away, branded Maoists and killed. Madka Ram Sodi, former village head of Jangampal, narrates what took place at the Kukanar police station, where he and 25 others were taken. “They made me sign a document stating that I was a witness to seizure and had seen the men participating in Maoist activities,” he says.
Out of 26 men, 11 were released after questioning. Charges were framed against 15, who got acquitted this month. The disturbing Jangampal incident is a typical example of how, every time Maoist activity intensifies in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar division, adivasis are picked up and framed as Maoists or sympathisers who aid them in anti-state activities. While some of these villagers are released after preliminary enquiries, most waste away in prisons for years unaware even of the charges against them. Prisons in Bastar are the most over-crowded in the country with occupancy rates exceeding 400 per cent in jails in the Kanker and Dantewada districts in 2012. The high acquittal rate (96 per cent between 2005 & 2012 in Dantewada’s district and sessions court) suggests that most of the accused are eventually set free.
However, acquittal comes only after the accused have been subjected to unusually long trials – a clearly appalling case of justice delayed being justice denied. Documents related to four cases including the Jangampal one (see side stories), copies of which are with HT, point to flimsy charges, forced confessions and shoddy investigations. Then, there are specific social factors that set apart under-trials in this region from those in the rest of the country. “Many men and women here have the same name. As a result, the wrong person may get picked up,” says lawyer Shalini Gera, who provides voluntary legal aid to adivasis in Bastar.
Naxals call for ‘protest week’
Nagpur: The Naxals have appealed to the masses in their strongholds of Central India’s hinterlands to observe ‘protest week’ between April 25 and May 1 against the land acquisition bill. The rebels have claimed that there would be violent opposition if government compels farmers to surrender land. The communist Party of India (Maoist) has appealed for agitation issuing a press note. Dandakaranya special zonal committee (DKSZC), a potent wing of the CPI (Maoist) in Central India’ Gadchiroli and parts of Chhattisgarh, has urged the people to organize various forms of protests including road blockade and agitating at government offices against the land acquisition bill.
The rebels, in their press release, have lambasted prime minister Narendra Modi and his government for trying to enforce an anti-peasant enactment to usurp their ancestral properties on the pretext of development. The guerrilla rebels have also stated that Modi is trying to hand over country’s resources to the foreign corporate companies under various schemes.
Maoists on rampage in Jharkhand
Around 70 to 80 armed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres, stormed into Pasiya village under Chak panchayat (village level local self government institution) in Manatu block in Palamu District on April 25 and set ablaze the equipment of a cell phone tower, reports The Pioneer. The Maoists also set ablaze a tractor–cum–trolley and assaulted the driver of the tractor Dineshwar Ram. Palamu District Superintendent of Police (SP) Patel Mayur K Lal confirmed the incident and claimed that the Maoists did this to hog limelight.
Maoists set ablaze vehicles, machines in Chhattisgarh
Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres set ablaze vehicles and machines deployed in construction of road from Godalbay to Kamar Bhaudi village under Piparchedi Police Station limits in Gariaband District on April 25, reports The Pioneer. According to Police, the incident happened under Piparchedi Police Station limits when some armed ultras reached the spot and set ablaze a JCB machine, water tanker and road roller deployed in the construction work. Soon after the incident the Maoists ran away from the spot threatening not to resume construction work, Police said. No casualty or injury incident was reported and a case was registered with Piparchedi Police Station in this connection.
Three RDF leaders held under UAPA in Kerala
Three leaders of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), a pro- Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) organisation, have been arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in Thiruvananthapuram District on April 23-24, after they were found distributing pamphlets, titled ‘Maoism is not terrorism’, reports Indian Express. While two persons, identified as RDF state secretary Mannur Ajayakumar and state committee member Karivaloor Ramakrishnan, were arrested from Iritty in Kannur, another, identified as T Sugathan, state president of RDF, was arrested by Police from the Kozhikode Press Club on April 24, where he had gone to hold a press conference to protest against the arrest of his colleagues.