High-level meeting discusses ways to tackle Naxals
Close coordination between Central and state forces fighting Naxals, construction of rural infrastructure in Maoist-hit areas are among the host of issues discussed threadbare at a high-level meeting held here on Wednesday. The meeting, chaired by Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary and attended by newly-appointed Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi besides others, discussed how to enhance cooperation among police forces of naxal affected states and central paramilitary forces tackling the Maoists.
A number of suggestions were given for implementation on the ground for better results, a senior official said. The meeting was also attended by top civil and police officials of five Naxal-hit states — Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and Maharashtra. Apart from operational issues, the Minister took stock of certain developmental issues such as roads, mobile towers and infrastructure in central paramilitary centres were reviewed, an official release said. Chaudhary asked the Directors General of central forces to adhere to the time-lines for appropriate utilisation of budget available with them.
MAOISTS UNDER FIRE REDEFINE TACTICS BY TARGETTING INFORMERS NOW?
The cadres of banned organisation Communist Party of India (Maoists) have reportedly redefined their tactics against anti-Naxal operation by targetting informers of police or paramilitary forces with the intention to weaken their intelligence network in Chhattisgarh’s red zones. This follows a series of setbacks including sudden surge in surrenders, arrest and elimination of rebels in insurgency-hit districts of Chhattisgarh and its adjoining insurgency-infested states. “To create terror among masses, insurgents are killing innocent people by branding them as ‘police informers’. Police will take necessary action to prevent killing of innocent people,” said Chhattisgarh’s Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) (anti-Naxal Operation) R K Vij.
Under this reported redefined tactic, “insurgents have killed as many as 22 police informers in LWE-affected states by April 15, 2015, of which 11 were brutally killed in Naxal-hit districts of Chhattisgarh,” informed a senior police officer, on the condition of anonymity. Besides, killing police informers, outlaws are also killing their fellow cadres on the suspicion of police being informer by conducting Jan Adalat (People’s Court). The objective behind this move is to create a terror ground among masses so that people may start maintaining distance from security personnel, explained the officer, recalling that rebels have recently killed their fellow cadres in Chhattisgarh.
With killing of 11 police informers (eight police informers in corresponding period of 2014) by ultras within first four months of this year, Chhattisgarh is leading other insurgency-hit states in the chart of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) whereas four informers were killed in Odisha (seven in corresponding period of 2014), four in Jharkhand (four), two in Maharashtra (two) and one in Bihar (two). As per available data, Maoists have killed 113 police informers in 2013 in LWE-affected state, of which 35 were killed in Jharkhand, 31 in Chhattisgarh, 25 in Odisha, eight in Maharashtra, seven in Bihar, four informers in Andhra Pradesh and three in Telangana. Slight reduction in killing of police informers was recorded in 2014 and during this period 91 informers killed, of which 24 were hacked to death in Chhattisgarh, 23 in Odisha, 22 in Jharkhand, eight in Maharashtra, six in Bihar, four in Andhra Pradesh and four in Telangana.
“Security personnel are taking every possible effort for safety of police informers, which are major source for intelligence gathering in Maoists-hit areas, and frequently conducting medical camps and other activities under civic action programme for developing healthy relationship with mass in Naxal infested regions and gain their support,” said a senior police officer. Notably, as many as 259 battalions of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) are currently deployed in Chhattisgarh’s Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected regions, officials stated. The deployment in other states is as follows- Andhra Pradesh ( 16), Telangana ( 12), Bihar (57), Chhattisagrh ( 259), Jharkhand ( 144), Madhya Pradesh ( 8), Maharashtra (34), Odisha ( 102), Uttar Pradesh ( 6), West Bengal (53). At present, a total of 691 battalions of CAPFs are deployed across the country in LWE areas, officials stated.
Bihar’s coalition politics puts Maoists in a spot
Ranchi: Changing political equations in Bihar has left the CPI (Maoist) confused about whom to support during the coming assembly election in the neighbouring state. Though they have been against parliamentary democracy and electoral politics, the tacit support to political parties is by now an open secret. The red outfit and RJD have shared a symbiotic relation in the past. As a result of this, when JD (U) came to power in Bihar during the last election in alliance with the BJP, several RJD leaders were categorically targeted by the state machinery for having a close association with the Maoists.
Way back in November 2012, CPI (Maoist) madhya zonal committee issued a long list of the RJD leaders and supporters in Dumaria and Gaya districts of Bihar, bordering Jharkhand who were targeted by the state police on allegations of being Maoist supporters. The then inspector general, Magadh Range of the Bihar Police Nayyar Hasnain Khan, had admitted that after receiving complaints from the villagers over the past couple of months, he went for a personal review of the cases and found at least five of them were false. “In the course of review, I was convinced that certain sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) or 17 Criminal Law Amendment Act (CLA) should not have been clamped in some of them and in the others there was lack of evidence,” he had said.
No wonder then, Maoists had made up their mind to teach a lesson to JD (U) local MLA and speaker of Bihar assembly, Uday Narayan Choudhary, a lesson in the next election in 2015. Three years down the line, political equations changed — RJD, known to be enjoying the tacit support of the Maoists joined hands with their identified enemy — the JD (U) creating a catch-22 situation for the red brigade.
Political prisoners on hunger strike
An indefinite hunger strike by undertrials at a Kolkata jail, who are demanding rights as political prisoners, is likely to spread to other jails in the city as undertrials facing similar charges have expressed their support. Rights activists said on Wednesday that a number of political prisoners in jails across West Bengal could join the protest. The hunger strike, which started with 30 political prisoners at the Presidency Jail on September 1, will get support from 12 others at Dum Dum Central Jail from Thursday.
Almost all the undertrials on hunger strike were those arrested over the last few years for having Maoist links and face charges of sedition and anti-national activities, including some booked under the dreaded Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. While jail authorities have refused to comment on the matter, rights activists alleged these inmates were not being allowed to meet family and friends, not being given newspapers or pen and paper to write letters. “They first sat for a token hunger strike on August 29. The strike will continue till authorities accept their demands,” said rights activist Sujato Bhadra. Bhadra further said the inmates have been confined to a cell since they went on hunger strike.
“Prison authorities insist there can be no discussion till the strike is withdrawn. The inmates have refused to end the strike till authorities pay heed to their demands. The protesters include alleged Maoist leaders Gaur Chakraborty and Sadanala Ramakrishna, both ailing and elderly,” he said.