Protest against police murders of Sruthi and Sagar in Hyderabad-Signalfire.
14 encounters with naxalites after Bihar poll notification issued
Security forces have engaged in 14 encounters with Left Wing insurgent groups operating in areas near Bihar-Jharkhand border and apprehended 50 alleged Naxals since the 2015 assembly elections notification was released early this month. According to officials, following the election notification, Naxalite groups based in Southern Bihar and Jharkhand have called for a statewide boycott of the 2015 polls due in October. Gauging the developments in the past two weeks and based on inputs from intelligence agencies, central government has further decided to increase security in Southern districts Bihar in order to produce a conducive environment for elections to be held.
Among the districts which will see an increase in deployment of security forces are Jamui, Jahanabad, Aurangabad and Gaya. A senior official of the Central Reserve Police Force while confirming the development stated that orders from the Ministry of Home Affairs have laid emphasis that a repetition of violence that was witnessed during the 2010 Bihar elections must not allowed this time around. In 2010, 10 officers of the security forces were killed in three improvised explosive device (IED) blasts that rocked Gaya and Sheohar districts of Bihar during the state elections.
While six officers were killed when a police vehicle carrying them was blasted by Maoists in Shayampur Baitha area of Sheohar district, four members of the bomb disposal squad were were killed in two separate incidents while trying to defuse IEDs planted in Banke Bazaar and Dumaria areas of Gaya district.
Official sources told dna that security arrangements this election will be more elaborate than the one in 2010. “The number of security officers will be more as compared to the previous elections,” the source said. The increase of deployment of personnel will be seen in the CRPF, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and Border Security Forces. “Ever since the elections were announced our forces have engaged in 14 encounters with Left Wing extremists.
During various area domination exercises we have been able to recover 60 IED’s ,55 ammunition and seven arms. 50 persons with Naxalite links have also been apprehend and the operation will mostly likely not end till the elections are conducted without Naxal group disrupting them,” said a senior security official posted in the area. The official added that the four districts that will see a heavy deployment of forces have seen some of the worst phases of both Maoist and Naxalite movement.” Among the districts which continue to show signs of Naxalism are Jamui and Jahanabad. But the threat extends to both Gaya and Aurangabad where we have witnessed violent incidents in the past,” added the official.
Jamui, where elections will be held in the first phase is the constituency of Lok Janshakti Party’s Dalit leader Ram Vilas Paswan. He was elected as member of 16th Lok Sabha after the 2014 general election from Hajipur constituency, while his son Chirag Paswan won from Jamui constituency. Aurangabad, which shares its border with Gaya district, has a predominant population from the landlord community, has also witnessed noticeable rise of Naxal movement. “We have received inputs of a movement against elections gaining momentum in these districts and necessary measure will be taken to counter the same,” said the official.
Security forces vs Naxal turf war in central Gadchiroli
Nagpur: The central part of the Naxal-affected Gadchiroli district has become a hotbed of action as security forces and rebel cadres are vying for supremacy in the crucial zone in the heartland of state’s guerrilla movement. A half-dozen encounters in the past few months have only underlined the fact that Naxals and security forces are in no mood to spare even an inch ground to each other. Security forces seem to have gained ground as the Gadchiroli police have opened a number of posts in the central region which was once a rebel stronghold.
The Naxal domination in the region had been such in the past that police and paramilitary forces would avoid the 35 square-kilometer stretch. Threats in the form of landmine and ambushes would often take cops by surprise. The region’s forest zones, mostly uncharted by the security forces till last year, also served as resting and meeting place for the Naxal leadership converging from south and north, and also neighbouring districts of Kanker and Narayanpur of Chattisgarh.
The region was earlier also labelled as the first stepping stone before venturing into the Naxal stronghold of Abujmadh which straddles Chattisgarh and Maharashtra. “The Naxal presence in the central region can be also viewed as their first line of defence before one can cross into Abujmadh,” said Ravindra Kadam, Nagpur IGP, Naxal range. The opening of the police posts, especially at Kotmi, in February this year has lent an edge to the police force.
Apart from a permanent police presence, it also dented the Naxal militia base here among the traditional supporters who had been under the influence of senior Naxal cadres for long. There had been 14 surrenders from Kotmi, including its militia commander, after the post opened at Kotmi. Naxals are now also trying to instill fear among the minds of the tribal by resorting to civilian killings. One of their first target was surrendered militia commander Madhao Podao. Gadchiroli SP Sandip Patil said Naxals are desperately trying to win back domination in the region as it serves as a link to adjoining districts of Chandrapur and also the state of Chhattisgarh. “There is a plan to open more armed outposts and ensure deeper police presence on a permanent basis,” he said.
Naxal camp busted in Chhattsigarh’s Kanker
Raipur: Security forces have unearthed a transit Naxal camp after a gun-battle with the ultras in insurgency-hit Kanker district, police said on Sunday. “The face off between a joint team of security personnel and rebels took place in restive Chalechur hills under Korar Police Station limits yesterday,” Kanker Superintendent of Police, Jitendra Singh Meena, said. Acting on a tip-off about the presence of rebels in Korar region, around 250 kms away from here, a joint squad of Border Security Force (BSF) and district force was dispatched.
While security forces were encircling the Chalechur hills to clamp down on Naxals, some armed rebels spotted them and opened indiscriminate firing, following which jawans retaliated, the SP said. The ensuring gun-fight lasted for around half-an-hour before ultras fled to the core forests, he said.
Naxals’ Writ Runs in South Chhattisgarh: CRPF DG
NEW DELHI: Maoists’ writ runs in large swathes of mineral-rich south Chhattisgarh, posing the “biggest challenge” for security forces deployed for anti-Naxal operations, the chief of CRPF, the largest paramilitary force tasked with the exercise, has said. The area has become one of the deadliest as it sits on a four-way junction where Chhattisgarh shares its borders with three other Naxal-affected states of Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana.
“South Chhattisgarh continues to pose the biggest challenge for security forces where almost 11,000 sq kms has no presence of security forces which gives Maoists the liberty to unleash their free reign. However, it is only a matter of time before the void is filled,” CRPF Director General Prakash Mishra told PTI in an interview.
Bauxite mining could spur a Maoist revival in tribal areas
Ignoring the groundswell of public opinion against a resumption of bauxite mining, the Andhra Pradesh government has been taking concrete steps to start mineral exploration in the Eastern Ghats. The Maoists have used this opportunity to try winning support of the tribals. Ever since the Communist Party of India (Maoist) [CPI (Maoist)] made a tactical retreat from the undivided Andhra Pradesh in 2004, engagements between the naxalites and the State police have been rare and unspectacular.
Though the Maoists retained a presence in the tribal Agency areas in north coastal Andhra, a sort of ceasefire has prevailed, with either side preferring not to cross the other’s path. But recent events indicate that the tribal hills of north Andhra are rumbling again. Three days ago, the naxalites abducted a sarpanch (village head). Last week, the Telangana police killed two Maoists in an alleged encounter in Warangal district. Just a few days later, three more extremists, including a top functionary of CPI (Maoist), were slain just beyond the inter-State border in Odisha. Given the extremely adversarial relationship between the two, it does not take much to resume the Danse Macabre.
However, a significant factor in the naxalites getting active again in the Agency areas of Visakhapatnam is the State government’s intent to resume bauxite mining in the tribal hills. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu declared this on World Tribal Day last year and repeated it this year too. Vulnerable areas along border Last week, the CPI (Maoist) celebrated its Foundation Week in Srikakulam district in north Andhra, the very place where the party’s precursor, People’s War, staged its first uprising in 1969.
On its part, the police are beginning to mobilise their own machinery to stop the naxalites from coming back to the plains areas of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. As many as eight places in the Srikakulam district along the thickly forested inter-State border have been identified as vulnerable and additional forces have been kept at strategic places along the Andhra-Odisha border. The government is going to establish an exclusive AP Special Police battalion in Srikakulam district due to its vulnerability to naxalite influence. “Stationing of extra forces is the need of the hour to curb Maoist activities along the AP-Odisha border,” said a senior officer. These efforts are in addition to the new battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the 198th Battalion, which was raised with headquarters in Visakhapatnam to cover the three north Andhra districts. As always, the police adopt good cop/bad cop tactics. In north Andhra, the police have been trying hard to get closer to the tribals with their community policing initiatives.
Though the tribals participate in such activities under pressure, there has been a significant shift away from the Maoists. Moves to resume mining are not popular among the tribal people. There is a groundswell opinion among them against bauxite mining, which they believe will only displace them while enriching the plainspeople. Opinion is so strong against mining that ‘bauxite’ is, for all purposes, a banned word in the Agency area. But, ignoring the public opinion, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government has been taking concrete steps to start mineral exploration in the Eastern Ghats. To sway public opinion, the AP Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) has hired some educated local people to act as ‘facilitators’, people who will sell the idea of bauxite mining to their communities. The Maoists have seen in all this an opportunity to win the favour of the tribals.
They have been organising opposition to mining, and staging coercive steps to deter people from supporting mining activities. The APMDC’s facilitators have been warned, and some of their houses even burnt down. They were immediately shifted away by APMDC. Many other moves of the TDP Government have further alienated the tribals and prepared the ground further for the Maoists. The government has given the Tribal Welfare portfolio to a non-tribal. The statutory Tribal Advisory Council has not been constituted even after more than a year of its coming to power. The Maoists, on the other hand, have used the bauxite issue to stage a comeback in the tribal hills. The CPI (Maoist) top leaders have reportedly been touring villages on the Andhra-Odisha border area to give a boost to the anti-bauxite agitation. Meetings with tribal leaders are reportedly being organised in the interior areas. The response is said to be good. The Agency area could see violence in the future if the government goes ahead with bauxite mining. In such a situation, it won’t be a surprise if the tribal people support the Maoists in their bid to stop mining.
The region, one thick with forests spread over hills and valleys, provides the perfect staging ground for guerrilla tactics of the Naxalites. In fact, at one stage, the naxalites had even declared a ‘liberated zone’ consisting of 300-400 villages of Visakha and East Godavari Agencies and the adjoining Odisha area. A full-scale resumption of hostilities between the police in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and the naxalites is the last thing Chief Minister Naidu needs right now. His government, in order to attract investment, wants to project residual Andhra Pradesh as a State free of issues relating to law and order. An atmosphere of frequent encounters’ and naxalite attacks on state property would not send the correct signals at this juncture.