Badly beaten up by Maoists, abducted Odisha villagers return on slings
The eleven villagers of Mohupadar village in Kiang panchayat under Mathili block in Odisha’s Malkangiri district, who were abducted by the Maoists, were allegedly severely thrashed before by the Red rebels before being released. So severe was the beating that some of the abducted villagers could not walk and had to be carried home on slings by their relatives after their release. Others had to be carried on the backs of relatives to their homes in Mohupadar.
The abductees were severely beaten up by the Red Rebels in the presence of hundreds of people from nearby villages, including Mohupadar, and relatives of the abductees at a praja court (kangaroo court) held near Dandipadar village on the borders with neighbouring Chhattisgarh, sources said. Sources revealed that at the praja court, the commander of the Darba division of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) Sunadhar had charged the abductees with bing police informers. The abductees allegedly pleaded guilty to the charge after which each of them was severely beaten up by the Reds one after another.
Bowing to the pleading by villagers present at the praja court, who appealed to the Maoists to spare their lives, the Maoists let them off with a warning to refrain from working as police informers or warned them that they would be killed if they did. They were also warned against using mobile phones, the sources said. The incidents demolishes the security forces’ claim that Maoist activities were under control in the state and proves that jungle raj prevails in the remote areas and the State has no or little presence in these areas.
‘Kerala Police, Government Made Me a Maoist’
COIMBATORE: Uprooted and displaced because of police harassment, P A Shyna, wife of Maoist leader Roopesh, wrote a letter to the then Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthananthan in 2008 about how the repressive State mechanism and constant police harassment forced her to join the Maoist movement. In the email, which Express has access to, Shyna explained how she had to suddenly leave home one night, in order to escape arrest. She emotively recalls how she did not realise that she would never again sleep in the same house with her children. “My children had to leave behind their much-awaited first jackfruit and uniforms. We fled the place leaving behind all those whom we loved. That evening we learned that police had raided my house for a laptop which I did not have.” “I then went underground after ensuring safe passage for my kids to their grandparent’s house. I learned that police had raided my house without a warrant. I read in dailies that charges by the National Security Agency and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act would be slapped on me and my family,” she says in the mail.
Before going underground, Shyna was a clerk with the Kerala High Court. She says in her letter that because she expressed solidarity with labourers, and often was on the frontline with union leaders, be it protesting with labourers in the Cochin Economic Zone, or with tribal communities, her allowances and promotions were always denied to her by the government. She narrates how the police began harassing her soon afterwards and how, during a visit with a fact finding team to the Viyyur Central Prison, to visit Govindan Kutty, the editor of a leftist magazine, ‘People’s March’, police had tried to arrest her, claiming that she had tried to visit Kutty with a fake name.
However, the claims of the police were disproved through a press conferences called by Shyna and a student from Jawaharlal Nehru University, whose alias Shyna was accused of using to get into the prison. Two days later, she claims that police accused four visitors, who were holding press meets across Kerala over the violence at Nandigram, of being Maoists, and accused Shyna of harbouring them. “The Nandigram activists were manhandled by police. Cops undressed the activists while in lockup at the police station in Kalamaserry. My kids were forced to spend a night in jail,” she says. “We were forced to call a press conference after our release to prove that we were neither terrorists nor Maoists who had come for secret meetings.” While being treated for bronchitis, Shyna learned that she was to be arrested in connection with shielding Malla Raja Reddy and his wife. “I was told that if I do not flee with my children at the earliest, my fate will be no better than that of Govindan Kutty.”
“I have realised that my strong appreciation of the communist ideology made my government job highly insecure. I realised that the government machinery would hunt us down if we start asking the right questions. I understand that for a person who thinks and acts politically, there is no other way than to rebel. Your police and government have made me a Maoist,” Shyna signs off.
Maoists trying to regroup in Jungle Mahal
Maoists are regrouping in the Junglemahal area of West Bengal after being in hibernation for nearly four years, according to intelligence reports. “There has been a surge in their activities in the past six months. We have specific reports of their movements both individually and in small groups, especially in Binpur, Lalgarh, and parts of Purulia,” a senior CRPF officer, overseeing anti-Maoist operations in the state, told PTI. Joint forces of CRPF and West Bengal Police have been conducting raids in the Junglemahal, which comprises forested parts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts, to keep a tab on Maoist activities, the officer said on the condition of anonymity.
Maoist activities ebbed in the state after the ‘Operation Green Hunt’ was launched with the joint forces mounting attacks on the Left-wing rebels killing many including CPI (Maoist) politburo member Kishenji. Kishenji, who was leading the rebels’ activities in the state, was killed in an encounter with the joint forces on November 24, 2011. The state had witnessed a spurt in Maoist violence towards the end of 2008. “I can’t say that they are not regrouping. Because they have been making efforts to regroup for quite some time. But we are on high alert and there has been no instance of Maoist violence in Junglemahal area in last four years,” IG (CRPF) West Bengal sector Vivek Sahay told PTI.
The latest intelligence reports said the ultras were trying to form small groups in the area and rebuild their movement from the scratch. “In comparison to past three years, since last six months there has been a surge in their movements… Although it’s not too big but this time during Martyrs’ Day observed by the Maoists there has been a partial response in the areas,” a senior state Intelligence Bureau official said. According to officials, the squads of Maoist leaders Bikash in Lalgarh area (West Midnapore), Ranjit in Ayodha hills (Purulia), Madan Mahato in Jambani, Akash, and Jayanto are trying to regroup and recruit new people. Small Maoist groups were also reported in Kashi Jungle, Burishole, Salboni and other parts trying to regroup and regain public support.
The officials also stated that there are reports these leaders visit villages either individually or in small groups and are trying to rejuvenate sleeping cells and sympathisers of the red ultras. According to IB officials, for the first time in four years, Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA), an organisation backed by Maoists, and Maoist posters were found in Junglemahal area during the Martyrs’ Day observation. One reason why the Maoists are keen to come back to the area is the topography of the region, which with its dense forests and hilly terrains provide an ideal backdrop for their clandestine activity, IB officials said. Another factor which works in their favour is the ready source of cadres among the tribal people of the region which is underdeveloped in terms of job availability and infrastructure, the officials said. The terrain also suits their methods of guerrilla warfare while taking on the security forces and police personnel.
The area, which recorded 350 killings in 2010-11, witnessed not even one since 2012. Although IG (Western Range) of West Bengal Police S N Gupta said he had no specific information about Maoist trying to regroup, he conceded that the red ultras are making rounds of villages on the Bengal-Jharkhand border. “We don’t have specific inputs that Maoists are trying to regroup. But we had some info that Maoists ultras are making rounds of bordering villages of Bengal-Jharkhand border, on Jharkhand side,” Gupta told PTI. Although, the state administration denied to see much into the reports of Maoists movement, the central agencies feel that the partial response to the call of shutdown on May 25 is a wake up call.
Three hardcore Maoists held in Bihar
Bihar police today arrested three hardcore Maoists from Gaya, Nawada and Munger districts, police said. Acting on a tip off, a police team raided Shastri Nagar locality under Rampur police station in Gaya district and nabbed a hardcore Maoist, identified as Vikas alias Guruji, Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj said. The ultra, said to be an area commander of the banned CPI(Maoist), was carrying a reward of Rs 25,000 on his head.
Vikas was wanted in 15 cases related to Maoist violence in the district, including attack on Paraiya police station in 2003 in which four policemen were killed. Maoists had also looted arms and ammunitions from there, Maharaj said. In another catch, the police arrested ultra Nepali alias Sanjay Rajvanshi from Tehra village under Warsaliganj police station in Nawada district, Superintendent of Police Parvez Akhtar said. The Maoist ultra was wanted in a case related to kidnapping of three villagers recently, he said.
In Munger, Vijay Manjhi was nabbed from Amjhar locality under East Colony police station area, Additional Superintendent of Police, Operations, Navin Kumar said. “Manjhi served prison term for being involved in Left Wing Extremism activities. He came out of jail a few months ago and went to West Bengal to work at a brick kiln. He returned to Munger recently and revived his links,” Kumar said. The ASP said Manjhi, who could be involved in spreading the underground network by recruiting youths, was arrested following intelligence inputs.