Naxals Trying to Build Helicopters, Remote Controlled Explosives, Show Documents: Sources
GAYA, BIHAR: Documents recovered from top Naxal operatives arrested recently in Bihar’s Gaya region suggest attempts to manufacture a “microlight helicopter” using motorcycle engines and other sophisticated equipment, say sources in the Central Reserve Police Force or CRPF. In the last week, three such operatives were arrested and three were killed in CRPF operations. They had with them, said the sources, literature that throws light on Naxal strategy in Bihar and other parts of the country. The most startling, they said, are plans to manufacture a “helicopter” that can carry two people for extremely short flights, say between two hills, in areas where the Maoists operate.
This “helicopter” would reportedly use engines of Hero Honda motorcycles. The CRPF sources did not specify whether they have seized drawings or then papers which indicate that a prototype has been built. The documents allegedly also indicate that the Naxals are attempting to manufacture mortar shells and remote-controlled improvised explosives devices or IEDs. Security forces have unearthed similar plans before. Naxals had reportedly tried their hand at manufacturing a helicopter a few years ago, but it was too rudimentary and could not have flown, it was analysed. They had also earlier tried to manufacture rockets, most of which reportedly exploded, killing their own cadre.
Among other plans allegedly detailed in the documents seized this week, is a decision by the Naxals not to target railway tracks – except during bandhs – and schools or hospitals, as it is felt that the common public uses these services and attacks on them lead to a negative perception about the Maoists.
Chhattisgarh: 3 cops, 2 Maoists killed in gunbattle
Three policemen and two Maoists were killed in an encounter in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district on Sunday. The encounter took place early in the morning near Ponjed at Mirjur in Gangalur police station area where a team of STF and district police force was coducting an anti-Maoist operation. STF constable Sitaram Kunjam and assistant constable of the district force Moti Ram were killed on the spot. Another constable Payku Ram Poyam succumbed to his injuries while he was being taken to Jagdalpur. Among the Maoist killed was a senior guerilla fighter Hemla Masa alias Vijay, commander of Company 2 of West Bastar Division of CPI (Maoist).
R K Vij, ADG (Naxal Ops), said: “Fifteen rounds of AK-47, nine shells of Under Barrel Grenade Launcher, a 12 bore rifle and a wireless set were recovered from him.” R K Vij, ADG (Naxal Ops), said: “Fifteen rounds of AK-47, nine shells of Under Barrel Grenade Launcher, a 12 bore rifle and a wireless set were recovered from him.” Speaking on rebel presence in the area, Vij said the area was “highly-affected”. “Our team had gone for an operation when the Maoists opened fire at them. Our jawans retaliated. We have recovered bodies of two uniformed Maoists,” he added. The STF, which is specially trained for anti-Maoist operations, has faced its maximum casualties this year. As many as 11 STF personnel have already been killed in 2015. Last month, the STF lost its seven men in Sukma’s Pidmel area. This year is turning out to be a difficult year for security forces fighting Maoists in Chhattisgarh, with 30 casualties so far.
The last three years have witnessed deaths of 62, 43 and 52 personnel, respectively. Considering that the death count this year does not include a single personnel from CRPF, precisely because it has almost stopped sending its men to distant areas for operations, the casualty list also becomes worrisome for the Chhattisgarh police.
Maoists revive anti-bauxite committees in Agency areas
CHINTAPALLI (VISAKHAPATNAM): With their sights set on cashing in on the flare-up in the anti-bauxite agitation, the CPI Maoists have begun reviving their anti-bauxite committees as part of their efforts to beef up their rank and file in the bauxite reserves zone and unite tribals for anti-bauxite agitations. According to sources, Maoists have revived two of their anti-bauxite committees, which will be known as Bauxite Belt Area Committees, to create awareness among tribals about bauxite mining and its impact.
Around three-four anti-bauxite committees were formed nine years ago when late chief minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy made efforts to excavate bauxite reserves in the Agency areas to supply ore to Anrak Aluminium Limited and Jindal Steel through Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation. However, the committees lost purpose following the delays in clearances and permissions for excavation of bauxite from the central government and naxals losing their grip in the area after a series of encounters, arrests and surrenders. Maoist leader Ganesh initially led the bauxite belt area committees consisting of four to five members each when he was the area committee secretary. These committees worked actively for almost five years.
Now, the Reds under the guidance of senior leader Chalapati have revived two of the committees and plan to increase their number by merging them with various ground level committees, sources said. According to sources, the main committees would work under the direction of armed cadres by creating extensive propaganda about the impacts of bauxite mining and ask local people’s representatives to conduct protests. According to highly placed sources, the Red guerillas were focusing on Galikonda, where they lost ground almost one and a half years ago and were taking steps to strengthen the village level committees and militia network. “Galikonda, including GK Veedhi, Koyyuru and Chintapalli mandals, is the main pocket for Maoists to carry forward their anti-bauxite agitation as the area has huge bauxite reserves. At present, they have a stronghold in GK Veedhi and some parts of Chintapalli,” said a senior police officer working in the Visakha Agency.
Sources said that the Reds recently visited Palakajeedi, Balarevula, Pokalapalem, Kunukuru, Garimanda, Pedavalasa and other areas in Galikonda. The top naxal leadership has given the responsibility of conducting anti-bauxite agitations to Kudumula Venkata Rao alias Ravi, chief of the Central Regional Committee (CRC)-1, which is one of the military formations of the CPI Maoists in the Andhra-Odisha border area. Korukonda area commander Naveen has been conducting the meetings in Jerrela. “We have information about Maoist movement in Galikonda and will enhance combing operations there,” said Visakha Rural SP Koya Praveen. Meanwhile, sources said that the police department was chalking out plans to take up community policing programmes in the area and police officers deployed in the Agency areas would interact with heads of the villages to counter the Maoist threat.
Bihar border sealed after Gaya encounter with Reds
RANCHI: The Jharkhand Police on Sunday sealed the border that the state shares with Bihar in Chatra district following an encounter between Maoists and CoBRA jawans in Gaya on Sunday morning. Police said a woman cadre of the CPI(Maoist) was killed in the encounter that took place in a village that lies between Gaya’s Barachatti and Chatra’s Rajpur police stations. CRPF IG Jharkhand sector Rakesh Kumar Mishra said a joint operation with Bihar police was launched after receiving inputs that Maoists were meeting near the inter-state border. However, CRPF IG in Bihar Arun Kumar said Jharkhand police did not participate in the operation and it was just informed about the incident after the encounter was over.
A senior official said about 25 Maoists were trying to cross into Jharkhand from Bihar. This information put the state police on high alert. Security forces of 22 CRPF battalion from Hazaribag and 190 battalion from Chatra have already launched a search operation in the border area. Four additional companies of security forces are likely to be sent soon. Chatra, Palamu and Hazaribag districts have been alerted following Sunday’s incident. “The Maoists failed to carry out even a single incident during the Jharkhand assembly elections. We expect them to carry out such attacks during Bihar polls too,” CRPF IG Mishra said, adding that the security forces would not allow them to use Jharkhand’s soil to launch attacks in Bihar.
Chatra SP Surendra Kumar Jha is camping in Rajpur. Mishra also visited the area on Sunday where he took stock of the offensive launched against the invading Maoists. Another report from Bihar said eight Maoist activists, including a middle ranking commander, were arrested by the police under Konch police station in Gaya district. The arrests were made from the Punia Bigha hamlet. The arrested rebels, as per the police version, were involved in a number of Naxalite incidents in Gaya and Aurangabad districts including attack on the SAP camp under Goh police station in Aurangabad district and killing of a special police officer and several activists of the TPC, the rival Naxalite outfit. Police also decided to deploy four additional security forces in Chatra’s Rajpur police station area to stop Maoist infiltration.
Karnataka, Kerala courts send prisoner transit warrants for Roopesh
A Karnataka court has sent a warrant asking suspected Maoist leader Roopesh to be produced before the Penampet Court in Kodagu District on Monday (May 18). However, it is learnt that till late on Sunday evening he was not picked from the Coimbatore Central Prison by the Karnataka police. Courts in Karnataka and Kerala have sent prisoner transit warrants to the Coimbatore Central Prison asking Roopesh be produced before them in connection with alleged involvement in cases in those States.
These warrants have been sent immediately after Tamil Nadu police took custody of him and his four companions for 10 days, till Friday. A Kannur Court in Kerala has also sent a warrant asking Roopesh to be produced before it on Wednesday (May 20). Roopesh and his wife Shyna were among five persons who were arrested by ‘Q’ Branch Police at an eatery at Karumathampatty on May 4. Counsel of the arrested persons S. Balamurugan told The Hindu that police from the respective States should ensure safety of Roopesh as he and the others have raised the issue of threat to their lives from Kerala and Karnataka Police – when they were produced before the Coimbatore Court on Friday.
Claims of confession denied
The lawyer also denied claims that the Maoist had confessed to their role in any attacks, recalling that the five of them had mentioned this in the court. Counsel also said that it would be unfair on the part of the police to implicate all the unsolved cases on Roopesh and his companions.