Maoists call Bihar-Jharkhand bandh from Monday
RANCHI: CPI (Maoist) has given a call for two-day Bihar-Jharkhand bandh beginning on Monday to protest against the killing of Bihar Jharkhand North Chhatisgarh Special Area Committee member Sarita Ganjhu in an encounter with security forces on Jharkhand-Bihar border on May 17. The bandh will start from Sunday midnight and continue for 48 hours. A Maoist spokesperson Paramjitji, belonging to a CPI Maoist sub zonal committee, has issued posters in areas along the inter-state border announcing the bandh.
“Military action would be taken against those trying to defy the bandh. All shops should remain closed during the bandh,” a poster quoted Paramjitji. Ambulance and essential services have been kept out of the preview of the bandh. The Maoists have urged police to stop harassing innocent villagers in the name of Maoists and stop ongoing combing operations (against the extremists). CRPF IG Jharkhand sector Rakesh Kumar Mishra said the loss of Sarita Ganjhu was massive for the Maoists because she has worked as guide for several extremists. He said all units of the CRPF deployed along Bihar border and other parts of the state have been put on high alert.
“We will dominate the core areas of the Maoists and detect IEDs (improvised explosive devices) to ensure road safety,” Mishra said. A police officer said Sarita’s death has foiled Maoists plans to re-dominate CPI (Maoist) west sub zone covering Hazaribag, Chatra, Ramgarh and Koderma in Jharkhand. In the past few years Maoists have become weak in the zone. The vacuum led to the rise of Maoist rivals groups like Jharkhand Prastuti Committee and Tritiya Prastuti Committee (in the west sub zone). A group of three Maoist leaders with a 100-member central committee company was sent recently to to re-dominate the zone when Sarita was killed. ADG (operations) and state police spokesperson S N Pradhan said all districts have been put on high alert ahead of the bandh. “The district police are conducting preemptive operations to avoid any untoward incident during the bandh,” Pradhan said.
Anti-Maoist event postponed due to Naxal threat
Salwa Judum offshoot Vikas Sangharsh Samiti will have to wait to unveil its first mega event so as not to put villagers at risk. The first mega event of Vikas Sangharsh Samiti, an anti-Maoist group formed by the leaders of erstwhile anti-Maoist militia Salwa Judum, has been postponed due to the “Naxal threat” and “indifference” from the Congress party. “We have received inputs that the Maoists are threatening people against participating in our anti-Maoist movement. We can’t afford to put the villagers at risk so we have decided to postpone the first mega event that was slated to take place in Faraspal village of Dantewada on the second death anniversary of my father,” Salwa Judum founder Mahendra Karma’s son and VSS convener Chhavindra Karma told The Hindu. However, preparations are being made for a big event at Faraspal on May 25 and all the Judum leaders from different parts of Bastar will be present during the event, said a Judum leader. “People will gather in Faraspal on May 25 in remembrance of my father on his death anniversary. He was a popular leader in Bastar with a large mass following. But the event has got nothing to do with our Samiti,” said Mr.Karma.
Sources in Chhattisgarh Congress said Chhavindra Karma was called to Raipur two days ago by senior State Congress leaders, who expressed their “apprehensions” over his initiative. State Congress president Bhupesh Baghel, senior leader T.S.Singh Deo and Ajit Jogi have already announced that the Congress party would not support Mr. Karma’s initiative. The announcement of the formation of VSS, which is being perceived as the second edition of Salwa Judum earlier this month, met with criticism from rights groups, political parties and activists. The Maoists also threatened “violent backlash” and appealed to the people of Bastar to oppose Chhavindra Karma’s initiative.
Former naxal commander arrested in north Chhattisgarh
BILASPUR: A former Naxal commander, who entered Chhattisgarh from the neighboring Jharkhand, was arrested in a joint operation by Balrampur police and CRPF. The accused, identified as Sumanji alias Mirchai had entered Chhattisgarh with an intention of reorganizing his group and extortion in the region. The arrest was made on Friday evening following an IB input. Speaking to TOI, Balrampur SP Sadanand Kumar informed that Sumanji has about 17 cases registered against him, out of which three are registered in Chhhattisgarh and 14 in various police stations of Jharkhand. Kumar further said that Sumanji had been active in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand since 2003.
His recent attempt to enter Chhattisgarh was aimed at reorganizing his group in Balrampur district, where naxal activities have been totally uprooted. He wanted to recruit afresh in the area and generate funds through extortion. Kumar said that one a few days prior to his arrest, Sumanji had pasted a threatening letter in HINDALCO office demanding money. Just a couple of days ago he received an IB alert regarding movement of a suspected naxalite in Balrampur area, said Kumar, adding that on May 22 police received a tip off that Sumanji was seen in Samripaath police station area. A police and CRPF team led by Samripaath police station in-charge Saurabh Singh was sent on a search mission. When the team was moving from Rajendra Nagar to Aamtahi, thhey saw a man who upon seeing the police team tried to flee. The team arrested the man.
Reds kill ex-SPO, warn against joining police in Gadchiroli
NAGPUR: The brutality of top Naxalite leader of south Gadchiroli Ashok Pendam, alias Aitu, claimed the life of former special police officer (SPO) 25-year-old Ravindra Sunkri at Kamlapur village. The rebels said his killing was the decision of People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) as he was a ‘traitor’. Ravindra’s father Shankar, the local police warden, intriguingly was known for his proximity to the rebels whose son’s killing now has irked the security forces. The Naxalites, who had abducted Ravindra four days ago, brought him back to Kamlapur village and gunned him down in the wee hours of Thursday. The rebels, through their pamphlets distributed in the village, issued threats to the youngsters serving as SPOs.
The rebels also warned youngsters against preparing for police recruitment saying such jobs in the department were against the interest of the masses. The Naxals claimed government was to be blamed for unemployment. The latest murder also underlined the aggressive decision of Aitu who has already played key role in five civilian killings this year. Ravindra was the second SPO to be eliminated by Aitu this year after one near Aheri. It is reliably learnt that Ravindra’s father Shankar, a former Naxal sympathizer, had tried to free his son by offering himself in the rebel’s captivity a day before his cold-blooded murder. Sources stated the Naxals had an exchange of fire near Kamlapur with a patrolling party of C-60 commandos who had launched a search operation to free Ravindra.
Naxals are learnt to have killed Ravindra in retaliation holding him responsible for bringing the commandos to their den. Building on public resentment over Ravindra’s murder, police have vowed to take on Aitu and his men, who have been targeting civilians, through intensified action. Aitu, mostly using the Aheri Local Organizational Squad (LOS), Company 10 and Sironcha LOS formations of Naxalites, has been dominating the south Gadchiroli after being sent back to Maharashtra from Dandakaranya in Central India.
Police secure custody of Roopesh, Shyna
Their counsel to be present during interrogation The Ernakulam Additional District and Sessions Court on Wednesday sent Roopesh and his wife, Shyna, alleged Maoist operatives, to police custody till June 2. Considering a petition by the Internal Security Investigation Team (ISIT) of the State police, the court directed the police to permit the couple’s counsel to be present during interrogation. Further, it also asked the agency to take steps to protect the constitutional rights of the couple and extend medical assistance to them. On Friday, the couple’s counsel, Tushar Nirmal Saradhy, sought permission to meet his clients once daily while they were in police custody to prevent possible custodial torture.
The police sought the couple’s custody for 15 days for the witnesses to identify them and for gathering evidence in connection with a case in which they allegedly harboured Maoist central committee member Malla Raja Reddy and his wife, Beecha Jagana, in a rented house at Kanjirakkattu, near Perumbavoor. After the arrest of Malla Raja Reddy and wife by the Andhra police, Roopesh and Shyna allegedly broke into the house and destroyed several crucial documents including a computer.
In this connection, the police booked the couple under Section 212 of the IPC for harbouring a Maoist leader. They were also arraigned under Sections 10 (13)(A) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sections 419, 121 (A), 212, and 34 of the IPC. Earlier, the court had remanded them in judicial custody for 20 days, till June 10. Following their arrest with three other suspected operatives in Coimbatore on May 4, they were brought to Kochi on May 20 on the basis of a production warrant issued by the court here.
Paramilitary’s Presence in Tribal Areas Draws Flak
COIMBATORE: Following the arrest of the five Maoists in Karumathampatty earlier this month, Naxal Special Division (NSD) forces have stepped up patrol and combing operations in tribal hamlets. However, activists have criticised the presence of the armed division, which they feel, without proper regulation, could lead to police excesses in the tribal belts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The NSD team, which was formed a couple of months ago to deal with the “spread” of naxalism, is an armed paramilitary force involved in gathering intelligence about alleged Maoist movement in the tribal belt. According to a resident of Thoovaipathy village near Anaikatty, teams visit villages regularly and ask for information about “suspicious movements of strangers” in the region.
However, tribal rights activists have spoken out against the setting up of such armed divisions in tribal hamlets, as they feel it unjustly criminalises tribal population living along the belt. Speaking to Express, P A Pouren of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in Kerala, pointed out that tribal hamlets extended between Nilambur and Agali in Kerala and alleged that forest department, in collusion with police were preventing tribals from collecting forest produce, grazing, and fishing, under the garb of preventing poaching. He added that commandos from Kerala Thunderbolts — a paramilitary wing, as well as the CRPF and forest department were also preventing the entry of journalists, activists and civil liberties groups into the tribal hamlets.
Despite the Salwa Judum, an armed militia which was outlawed by Supreme Court in 2011, Pouren said the current Kerala Home Minister, Ramesh Chennithala had announced that 200 tribals would be recruited directly to the ranks of police, which he said was akin to the arming of local militia. He said this could cause a division between tribal communities and lead to increased violence in these areas. Echoing his views, lawyer and activist D Nagasaila said rather than instituting armed police divisions to combat left-wing radicalism, the core issues surrounding tribal welfare such as implementation of Forest Rights Act need to be resolved.
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures Within Successes – Analysis
It is a curious cocktail of bravery, success, and also operational paralysis. Like most incidents reported from the theatres affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE), the 16 May 2015 incident in Chhattisgarh also has a twist in the tale. In the end, the big picture that emerges from the incident merely reinforces the oft-repeated assertion that a victory over the reds is improbable in the near future.
In the early hours of 16 May 2015, an encounter took place near Ponjed in Bijapur district, between the Special Task Force (STF) and the District Reserve Guard personnel of the Chhattisgarh police (who were conducting an anti-LWE operation) and the extremists. A prolonged exchange of fire resulted in the death of three police personnel and two Maoists. Notwithstanding the loss of lives of its three men, the police establishment projected the incident as one of their “best battle[s].”…