Weekly shanties caught in police Maoist crossfire
Khammam: Caught in the crossfire of the police and the Maoists, the ‘Weekly Shanties’ (weekly markets), said to be the lifeline that caters to the needs of people living in forest fringe tribal pockets abutting Chhattisgarh border, came to a grinding halt for the last few weeks. It’s not exaggeration to say that economic, social and cultural life revolves around weekly shanties for the thousands of tribal people. Adding to their woes, the security forces on either side of the Telangana-Chhattisgarh border has sounded a high alert in the region following the CPI-Maoists’ call to observe ‘Martyrs’ Week’, also known as ‘Janpituri Saptah’, from Tuesday to pay tributes to their slain leaders and cadres. Interestingly, both the police and the Maoists suspect each other of using the shanties to their own advantage.
As a result, the trade in the tribal shanties held in bordering districts of Chhattisgarh is at the mercy of both the police and the Maoists. While the police believe that there is a possibility of Maoists procuring the provisions in the shanties besides getting information about the police movement in the forest through their sympathisers mingled with the tribal population, the Maoists are of the opinion that the police could use the same shanties to their advantage by identifying their sympathisers and turning them into coverts. It’s learnt that the police are of the opinion that Maoists have no other go but to come out of thickets to procure the provisions if the shanties are closed. In this backdrop, it’s alleged that security forces on Chhattisgarh side are not allowing the shanties to run at Kistaram, Dharmapet, Boorulanka and other villages in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.
Speaking to The Hans India, Bhadrachalam ASP R Bhaskaran said, “There is no objection from our side for the traders to go and do business in Chhattisgarh shanties.” Talking on Martyrs’ Week, he said that routine exercise of combing operations and other activities to curb the Maoist movement in the region is on. While the shanties make Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh business every week, the Chintoor shanty (now in East Godavari district), is said to be the biggest in the region with an estimated trade of anywhere between Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh.
The weekly market at Konta (Chhattisgarh) is also prominent among the tribal shanties. Besides this, the security forces have increased combing operations ahead of Maoists’ call to observe Martyrs’ Week from Tuesday to foil any violence during the event. The CPI-Maoists in the name of Sabari Area Committee purportedly left pamphlets and placed cloth banners appealing to people to make Martyrs’ Week celebrations a big success at Bandirevu under Nellipaka mandal in East Godavari district and at several places in Dummugudem mandal of Khammam district. Speaking to The Hans India, a trader from Chintoor mandal said that of late they have been facing problems in carrying their business in weekly shanties. He said that they were seen suspiciously even though they have nothing to do with police or Maoists.
Moles in Maoists’ camps weaken rebels
The banned left wing extremist group, CPI (Maoists), currently active in all the 24 district of Jharkhand, is headed for tougher days ahead as security forces have succeeded to infiltrate the group. Joint forces comprising the state police and the central para military force have successfully managed to penetrate and plant its moles in the rebel group that was declared as the biggest internal security threat by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Over the past six months–ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has come to power–these well-placed moles or spies, have been helping and guiding the security forces to carry out several successful operations against the rebels.
The arrests of several top Maoist leaders, including the organisation’s technical chief Sanjay Ganjhu, zonal commander Prasad Lakra, and the death of its Bihar regional committee member Sylvestor alias Shivnandan Bhagat on Saturday, are proof enough that someone amongst the rebels is leaking information of their movements and whereabouts to the security forces. Apart from these three top leaders, at least a dozen sub-zonal commanders nabbed over the last six months were considered ‘pillars’ of the proscribed organisation. These fugitives who were either arrested or killed had joined the outlawed group more than two to three decades back and are credited of shaping and building the organization with their expertise and leadership skills.
Forget arresting them, security forces a couple of years back, neither had any clue of how the leaders looked like nor had any detail of their movements. The rebel leaders used to move freely in villages under their control and their intelligence network was considered better than that of the police. Cut to 2015 and the conditions have changed drastically for the ultras. Today, security forces have clear and discernible photographs of all the top Maoist leaders heading the various sub-zonal, zonal, regional committees in the state. It also has minute details on the movement of central committee members within the state boundaries. The forces are successful in keeping tabs on the rebels’ movement by tapping their phone, says a senior CRPF officer heading the anti-Naxal operations in Gumla, who requested not to be quoted as he is not authorized to speak to the media.
“All top Naxal leaders are currently on our radar and within our firing range,” he said. “We are waiting for the opportune moment and a firm order from the government to raid their hideouts and eliminate them.” Soon after taking oath, chief minister Raghubar Das had said that his government would eliminate the Maoists menace within six months. Director general of police DK Pandey said a firm action plan is in place and security forces are going all out to root out the menace once and for all. CRPF inspector general Rakesh Mishra said that of the 12 zones identified as Maoist-affected in the state, at least eight zones have been rebel-free. “As we get few more companies of central forces, we would spread our presence to those areas where we haven’t reached yet and push the last nails in Maoists’ coffins,” Mishra added.
The last press note issued by Maoists’ spokesperson Deenbandhu alias Sylvester, a fortnight before he was killed on Saturday, blamed splinter outfit JJMP for the arrests and killings of their leaders. “They are renegades who are currently working hand-in-gloves with (security) forces. We are punishing them regularly, but they don’t seem to mend their ways,” Sylvester had said in the press note. Though police have been denying the nexus, it is an established fact that the JJMP is leading the security forces to the Maoists’ hideouts and also fighting them. Reliable sources told Hindustan Times that a joint team of the JJMP and the CRPF’s Cobra unit had raided and killed Sylvester on Saturday morning. Unconfirmed reports said that Sylvester had in his possession more than Rs.10 lakh. The levy money was to be expended for a high-level meeting of the top Maoist leaders in Gumla shortly.
Rs 1 crore reward on four top Maoist leaders in Jharkhand
Taking its war against the banned left wing extremist (LWE) outfit forward, the Jharkhand government on Monday increased the cash rewards for information on four functionaries of CPI (Maoist) from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1 crore. The Maoist leaders carrying the cash reward Rs. 1 crore on their head include Arvindji alias Dev Kumar Singh, Misir Besra, Prashant Bose and Vivek Chandra Yadav.
Each of these rebels currently carries a cash reward of Rs. 25 lakh for information about their whereabouts. The rebel leaders also have cash rewards on their heads in neighbouring states, including Bihar, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. A resident of Aurangabad in Bihar, Arvindhji, 50, is the topmost Maoist leader in Jharkhand who plans and executes most of the group’s subversive activities in the state.
He has a cash reward of Rs. 5 lakh on his head in Bihar, Rs. 40 lakh each in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. Misir Besra alias Bhaskarji, 52, a resident of Jharkhand’s Giridih district has a cash reward of Rs. 50 lakh on his head in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra respectively. Similarly, Prashant Bose alias Kishanda, alias Nirbhayji alias Manishda, the oldest among the top Maoist functionaries is aged 61. A resident of West Bengal, he has a cash reward of Rs. 50 lakh each in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. Vivek Chandra Yadav alias Vikash Singh alias Sitaram Majhi, a resident of Jharkhand’s Dhanbad district has a cash reward of Rs.40 lakh on his head in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. Chief minister Raghubar Das has cleared the file recommending for increase in the cash reward on the heads of these four dreaded Maoist leaders and a notification in this regard will be released soon.
Martyrs’ week begins, East Godavari and Visakha Agency on red alert
VISAKHAPATNAM: Cops suspect Maoist attacks at many places in East Godavari and Visakha Agency in the coming days as Martyrs’ Week begins on Tuesday. Terror-struck tribals are not venturing out of their villages after Maoists released leaflets and tied banners at various areas in the two districts asking the villagers to observe Martyrs’ Week. According to sources, the leaflets were released at Etapaka area and Chintoor mandal in East Godavari.
The Malkangiri-Visakha-Koraput divisional committee secretary Venu also released a press statement on Sunday urging the people to observe Martyrs’ Week. Even as cops gird up for Maoist attacks, there have been no instances of violence have been reported during previous Martyrs’ Week, which is observed to pay tribute to naxal leaders and cadres who died in the struggle. Senior district rural police officers have asked all the 17 police stations in the Visakha Agency to be alert during the week.
Maoist Martyrs’ Week begins; tight security in Odisha dists
The Odisha government has sounded high alert in all Maoist-prone districts in view of the Martyrs’ Week observation by the Maoists which began today. In the posters and banners found in Bhulia Sikuan village under Khadial police station limits in Nuapada district, most parts in Nayaranpatna block and some villages in Niyamgiri area under Kalyansinghpur block in Koraput district, the CPI-Maoists Koraput-Srikakulam Division has urged the people to respect the Maoists who were killed during encounter with the police and Central forces, and make the Martyr’s Week successful . The Maoist outfit has also asked the state government to stop Operation Green Hunt against the Maoists and stop police atrocities on innocent tribals who have been indiscriminately arrested after being branded as Maoists.
“In view of the Martyrs’ Week observation, we have beefed up security. Each security post has been kept on high alert. Every security zone has been sensitized. Besides, regular motor vehicle checking and surprise checking are underway. Police, in coordination with the CRPF personnel has intensified intelligence-based operation. In the bordering areas, the DVF and SOG personnel have intensified combing operation,” Nuapada SP Pinak Mishra told the media today. Malkangiri SP Mitrabhanu Mohapatra said the police in coordination with the BSF personnel have intensified combing operation in the sensitive areas of the district to foil any violence by the Maoists during the period. Apart from this, elaborate security measures have been taken in all roads from Chhattisgarh, Bolangir, Bargarh and Kalahandi connecting Nuapada districts. Meanwhile, the state government has decided to stop plying of government buses in nine routes in the Maoist-prone districts. It may be mentioned that the Maoists observe the Martyrs’ Week from July 28 to August 3 every year.
Security Beefed up in Koraput
KORAPUT: Security has been beefed up in Maoist infested blocks of Koraput district in view of the Martyrs’ Week from July 28. Maoist cadres under Odisha and Andhra Pradesh Special Zonal Border Committee will organise meetings and unveil pylons constructed in memory of the dead Maoists during the week. Meanwhile, district police and BSF have intensified combing operation in Bandhugam, Narayanpatana, Pottangi, Laxmipur, Lamtaput, Boipariguda and Nandapur while vehicles entering the district are being checked at border posts. Maoist banners and posters found in Narayanpatana on Monday called upon the youths to join the extremist group to fight for justice.
High alert sounded in Vizag agency and Andhra-Orissa border
Security has been beefed up across the Visakhapatnam agency and along the Andhra Odisha Border (AOB) in light of the Maoist Martyrs’ Week being observed by the banned CPI (Maoist) from July 28 to August 3, police said here today. Superintendent of Police (Visakha Rural) Koya Praveen and ASP (Operations) Vishal Gunni said that vigil has been stepped up and combing operations in sensitive areas in G K Veedhi, Chintapalle, G Madugula, Munchangiput, Pedabayalu, Koyyuru, Paderu and few other hot beds of the Maoists in the agency.
The development comes in the wake of a recent exchange of fire as well as an encounter, in which a Maoist called Suryam from the Prakasam area was gunned down in the Gobrapada area under Munchangiput area in the district on June 20, the police officials said. The Maoist also killed one P Ramana of Gobrapada area after branding him a police informer, the police officials said. Observation of Martyrs’ Week is often fraught with violence since the rebels have attacked the police in the past due to which security has been beefed up in the Vizag agency area, the police officials said.
Meanwhile, the Maoists have put up banners and posters at several areas asking young people to celebrate Martyrs’ Week, which will begin on Tuesday morning, the police officials said. Maoists observe the event annually to remember their comrades who have fallen on police bullets calling them “martyrs”, the police officials said.
Security staff foil Presidency jail-break bid
KOLKATA: The security personnel of Presidency Correctional Home early on Monday foiled a jail-break attempt by Maoist Dipak Kumar alias Rajesh Shaw and dacoity accused Shamim Howladar, who tried to open the locks with a set of keys, which they fashioned out of wire, nails, paper and adhesive. The two reportedly fitted a mirror to an iron rod and poked it out of their cells so that they could have a better look into the keyhole. The rod-mirror innovation, however, go them caught.
`Reds` blow up panchayat building in Gomia
BOKARO: At a time when security forces were conducting combing operation in the jungles, Maoists blew up a panchayat bhavan in Pachmo on the foothills of Jhumra in Gomia block of the district on Monday. The bhavan used to be a police post earlier, but they left the place three months ago. Police said, “The attack was carried out by a group of 10 Maoists around 2am on Sunday. Three improvised explosive devises (IED) were used to blow up the building. The locals were shaken by the deafening sound of the blast.” This is the second such Maoist incident in the last four days.
Maoists erect memorials in Agency areas ahead of Martyrs’ Week
A day before the commencement of Martyrs’ Week being observed by the banned CPI (Maoist), memorials were given finishing touches in a part of Visakha Agency on Monday, even as some posters and banners were put up in Chintoor and its adjoining mandals in East Godavari Agency area. In spite of intensive combing operations by police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the Visakha Agency, the Maoists erected four permanent memorials (stupams) between G.K. Veedhi and Koyyuru.
The memorial near Kumkumpudi was reportedly very tall. All the four memorials were ready by Monday, apart from the final coat of paint. With the developments in the Visakha Agency, the locals were in the grip of fear. Only a few days ago, the Maoists killed a tribal belonging to Gobarpada in Munchingput mandal after giving a thrashing to two others and destroying a few houses. Maoists resorted to this violent act accompanied by a large group of militia members and sympathisers. In June, a Maoist was killed during an exchange of fire with police. Police said that the party had brought cadres from outside the State to commit arson as it had failed in getting support from the local tribals.