Protest against ‘police threat’ to legal aid group
Police accuse NGOs of aiding and abetting Maoists
The People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) has condemned Chhattisgarh police’s “threat” of taking sever action against “certain” NGOs in Chhattisgarh for allegedly aiding and abetting the Maoists under guise of helping tribal people.
“At a recent press conference in Bastar, Inspector General of Police S.R. Kalluri said that many such organisations were under surveillance. The IGP’s list of suspicions activities included providing legal assistance to Naxalites — a thinly veiled reference to the Jagdalpur Legal Aid group, a small NGO working in Bastar to provide free legal aid to the Tribal people, many of whom are falsely implicated in cases of Naxal activities,” a PUDR statement said. “This warning [by police] comes on the heels of two recent incidents of illegal detention of tribal people in Bastar in which the Jagdalpur Legal Aid group actively intervened on behalf of the victims and highlighted police violations,” claimed the PUDR.
Need for legal aid
Highlighting the need for free legal aid to Bastar tribal people, the PUDR said that most of the tribal people arrested for alleged Maoist activities in Bastar , are victims of government’s false successes and fake surrenders. The organisations such as the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group are making their presence felt in a situation in Bastar in which on the one hand, a war is being waged by the state in the interests of large scale industry and the everyday persecution of local tribal people on the other, it added. .
“The State’s reaction of clamping down on all resistance by the tribal people as well as targeting activists and people’s lawyers in the name of fighting Naxalim, indicates the lengths to which it is prepared to go to silence all constitutional freedoms in Bastar,” the statement added. PUDR says most of the arrested tribal people are victims of government’s false successes
Dental, medical check up for woman Maoist
Shyna, one of the five Maoists arrested recently from city outskirts, today underwent a dental and medical check up at the government hospital, as directed by a sessions court and was later taken back into custody. Shyna and her husband Roopesh were among five Maoists arrested on May 4 at Karumathampatti, about 20 km from here. The court while granting Q branch police 10 days custody of the Maoists on May 6, had directed them to ensure that she be given proper treatment for her dental problem, before questioning.
Accordingly, she was taken to the hospital this morning, amid tight security. She was also treated for dysentry and then taken back into custody, police said. The said investigations revealed that the Maoist couple had been staying in a rented house in Tirupur for the last two and half years and that they never mingled with neighbours. Roopesh was taken to the same house in that town yesterday, from where some Maoist literature, a few cell phones and CDs were seized, they said.
Meanwhile security at the Q branch office, where the Maoists were questioned before being produced in court, has been tightened after five persons on two motorcycles barged into the office on Wednesday and threatened two constables on duty with dire consequences for arresting their leaders. They also took photographs of the office and fled the spot when the constables alerted the control after noting down the registration number of the bikes. Security at the Police Recruitment School, where the Maoists are presently being questioned, has also been tightened, they said. The five Maoists were arrested by Andhra police following a joint operation by that state, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu police.
Maoist couple found living in urban pocket of Tirupur for 2 years
COIMBATORE: In an embarrassment to the state police, it has emerged that R Roopesh, a most wanted Maoist leader, and his wife Shyna were living in Tirupur city for more than two years. On Thursday, the couple were taken to the rented house at M S Nagar in Tirupur where they were staying till the day of their arrest and grilled by Q Branch sleuths. The fact that two hardcore Maoists were staying in an urban pocket for such a long time without being detected by police has come as yet another blow for the intelligence apparatus of the state.
The police had all these days been maintaining that the Maoists were not staying in the state, but were nabbed during their travel to Karnataka. Q Branch police have seized a laptop, a tab, 50 DVDs and pamphlets from the house where Roopesh and Shyna were staying. He had told the neighbours he was a medical representative. “Shyna used to visit my grocery shop to buy vegetables and rice. But she won’t talk much with neighbours,” said K Rajapandi, owner of a shop in M S Nagar, a residential locality on the outskirts of Tirupur that houses middle class families who mostly work in textile units. The couple were paying a rent of 2,500 for the house. “The couple used to stay not more than eight days in a month in the house. Whenever they were here, they would leave the house in the morning and return only at night,” Rajapandi said.
If not for their daughters’ visit to the house a few days back, the Andhra Pradesh police would not have tracked Roopesh. “The AP police were keeping tabs on their daughters in Kerala. So when the daughters visited Tirupur two weeks ago, police followed them and found Roopesh. But they chose to wait till more Maoists walked into the net,” said a police officer. Rajapandi said the couple’s daughters Ami and Savera would visit the shop to buy snacks. The couple, along with three others, were arrested on Monday. S Geetha, a neighbour, told TOI that the two girls visited Tirupur in mid-April and stayed there for two weeks.
“They left about a week ago,” she said. Geetha said Roopesh would often be seen working on his laptop late in the night. Police said neither did Roopesh act in a manner that would raise suspicion among neighbours nor did he entertain any of his associates at his house. “He never had a visitor in all the two years, which was one reason he could not be found,” police said. Police had to barricade the street where the house was located as a large number of residents gathered to have a glimpse of the couple. The couple were taken from Police Recruits’ School in Coimbatore where they were kept after getting police custody to Tirupur around 5.30am. After a marathon interrogation session they were brought back to the city in the evening.
Kerala Police take measures to interrogate Roopesh
Thrissur/Kochi/Kannur/Tiruppur/Coimbatore: Kerala Police are taking steps to question arrested Maoist leader Roopesh in the custody of Tamil Nadu Q Branch. Four DYSPs working in the intelligence department have been assigned for this purpose. Roopesh will be questioned in the presence of Q Branch as his transfer could be delayed. State intelligence officers working in the anti-Maoist squad have met in Thrissur and prepared the questions for Roopesh, who is accused in many cases in Kerala. Of these, there are some cases in which his involvement is just a rumour or a hint. Further inquires will be made into his role in these cases. He will also be questioned in detail about Maoist activities in Kerala and in Western Ghats in particular.
The court will be petitioned to get Roopesh and his associates in custody once the custody period of Tamil Nadu gets over. Intelligence officers have said that Roopesh’s arrest is unlikely to trigger violent incidents in Kerala. The meeting was chaired by P. Vijayan, the DIG of intelligence. Since Maoist leaders Roopesh and Anoop have been arrested, Kochi city police expect new leads in the cases on explosion in Ernakulam collectorate complex and attack on Nitta Gelatin’s office.
Till now, the police have not cracked the case on collectorate explosion that took place in July 2009. Though Maoists had claimed responsibility of the attack on the corporate office of Nitta Gelatin in Panampilly Nagar in Kochi, no organisation has made such a claim about the collectorate explosion. A police team, led by the Iritty DYSP P. Sukumaran, will go to Coimbatore to take Roopesh into custody. There are three cases in Iritty sub-division against Roopesh, involving the attack on a quarry in Nidumpoyil and finding weapons in adivasi colonies in Kolappa and Chekyeri.
At the same time, it has been identified that it was a Maoist team led by Roopesh that had gone to Mankundi Estate in Karnataka forest, near Cherupuzha in Kannur district, in February 2013. Estate staff identified them after seeing their photos in media post their arrest. Police have also confirmed that Roopesh and Shyna had stayed in Tiruppur for two-and-a-half years. Radhakrishnan, a Tiruppur resident, has given a statement to police that he had given his house to them on rent. They had stayed on the upper floor of the house on MS Nagar-TMS Nagar street in Kongu Main Road area. When Radhakrishnan saw the photos of Roopesh and Shaina in newspapers and on TV, he informed police that they had stayed in his house.
Following this, the special investigation team led by DIG Eswaramurthy and DSP Sethupathy took them to the house to collect evidence. The questioning that started on Wednesday morning continued till 6 pm. To get Roopesh and his wife in custody, Kerala Police have to first register their arrest. Before this, an application with documents on the cases against them in Kerala has to be submitted in the concerned court in Coimbatore. To get a prison transit warrant to bring the accused to Kerala, an application has to be submitted in the courts in Kerala where cases against them have been filed. A. Anil Kumar, an SP of the internal security division of Kerala Police, said applications would be submitted in Ernakulam NIA court and other sessions courts. Once the application is received, the court will give orders to Coimbatore jail authorities to present the accused in the concerned court in Kerala. Since the Coimbatore district court has sent the accused in the custody of Tamil Nadu Police for 10 days, Kerala Police will have to wait till then.
Integrated Action Plan Projects Counter Maoist Call
BHAWANIPATNA: With Left Wing Extremists (LWEs) continuing their inroads into Kalahandi district taking advantage of its poor economy and lack of development, the Centre has given thrust to the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) to gain confidence of the people and dissuade them from going to Maoist fold. Ironically, despite its backwardness, Kalahandi was free from Maoist activities a few years back when its neighbouring districts like Nabarangpur, Nuapada and Rayagada and neighbouring State of Chhattisgarh were in strong grip of Maoists.
However, in past four years, Maoist cadres have gained foothold in the tribal dominated inaccessible pockets of Kalahandi causing security concerns. They have been targeting various development projects and have come face to face with security forces several times. The Red ultras have also allegedly murdered two persons during the period. With LWEs making their presence felt in nine out of 13 blocks, Kalahandi is now one of 18 Maoist affected districts of the State. The worst hit blocks are Lanjigarh, M Rampur, Th Rampur, Golamunda, Bhawanipatna, Junagarh and Koksara.
Top BSF Officials Take Stock after Intel Alert on Maoists
KORAPUT: In the wake of Intelligence inputs about possibility of Maoist attack on the camps of Border Security Force (BSF) in Maoist infested areas, top BSF officials on Wednesday paid a surprise visit to various camps to review security measures at the ground level. According to reports, security has been tightened after a meeting of top Maoist cadre was recently held in Narayanpatna forest on Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border. Senior Maoist leaders including Ramakrishna, known as RK, discussed a plan to counter the security forces by conducting guerrilla attack on BSF camps in different pockets.
They directed top Maoist cadre Prithvi, son of RK, to carry out the attack. Since then, Intelligence inputs have been alerting the BSF as well as district police administration about the possible attack on BSF camps by Maoists of Odisha-Andhra Pradesh Zonal Committee. On Wednesday, BSF ADG KK Sharma and DIG RK Sharma along with senior officials visited BSF camps in Lamataput, Machkund and Ankadeli to review security measures and asked the personnel to remain alert. Later, they held a close door meeting with Koraput SP CS Meena.
The team would soon submit a report to Ministry of Home Affairs on the activities undertaken by the BSF in the district. When Maoist activities were at their peak in the district two years back, BSF personnel were posted in Maoist hotbed of Narayanpatna, Bandhugam, Laxmipur, Boipariguda and Lamataput blocks. Due to coordinated efforts of BSF and district police, Maoist activities came down in the district.
Chhattisgarh: Maoists fell trees, appeal two-day ‘Mahabandh’ protesting Modi’s visit to Bastar
RAIPUR: A day before visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first to Maoist infested Dantewada in Bastar division on May 9, Maoists have yet again marked their presence in protest against PM’s visit by putting up banners and pasting pamphlets appealing people to witness two-day ‘Mahabandh’ in Sukma district on Friday morning. In the pamphlets pasted in large number Jagardunga-Dornapal region, rebels have boycotted PM’s visit and Chhattisgarh government’s ongoing Loksuraj Abhiyan (public meeting campaign).
Sukma SP D Shravan said that lots of pamphlets and posters were found in Jagargunda-Dornapal region against PM’s visit to Bastar but it was a common practice that Maoists follow to mark their presence during such grand events. “But roads in my jurisdiction are all clear without hindrance,” he added. Meanwhile, many trees were felled at Pakhanjur-Bhanupratappur route in Kanker, to disrupt traffic and movement of vehicles. Maoists have hanged two effigies of Modi and chief minister Raman Singh to one of the trees on the road they have blocked with trees.
In the banner put up at the spot, Maoists have appealed to protest the visit as it is only intended only to sign MoUs to sell natural resources of state to big corporate houses. Police said that the clearing work was yet to begin as there were chances that Maoists may have planted IEDs under the felled.
More forces sent to Khunti forest
RANCHI: Security forces launched a major search operation in Khunti on Thursday, a day after Maoists shot at a CoBRA jawan at Sikramba village in the district. Four teams of CoBRA jawans and some personnel from the elite Jharkhand Jaguar were deployed on Thursday morning to help the group of security personnel already at work in the Kuchai forest in Khunti district. “The combing operations started on Thursday morning and continued till evening during which the forces scanned the entire village but did not find any explosive or ammunition,” a police officer said.
Forces from Khunti, Seraikela-Kharsawan and West Singhbhum districts are engaged in the operations. A source in the police said a team of around 200 Maoists including top Maoist leaders Anal Da, Mishir Besra and Arvindji have been living in the area for around three days. The village where they are living is situated in the heart of the forest comprising dense trees, valleys and gorges. All the features of the forest make it difficult for the security personnel to reach the place and carry out operations.
The Sikramba village is situated on the borders of Khunti, Saraikela-Kharsawa and West Singhbhum districts. CRPF IG Rakesh Kumar Mishra said CRPF had launched anti-Maoist operation in the area a couple of days back. “The forces got close to the extremists on Wednesday when they opened fire at them. The forces were at a disadvantageous position as compared to the extremists and one jawan sustained injuries,” Mishra said. A police official who is not entitled to talk to the press said the security personnel forced Maoists to retreat despite operating in an extremely difficult terrain.