Government ignores green and red considerations
The State Government’s decision to resume bauxite mining in the Jerrela block in the Agency area of Vizakhapatnam district is likely to run the gauntlet of opposition from tribal people of the area and environmentalists. Even more seriously for law and order in north coastal Andhra Pradesh, it is likely to be interpreted as a challenge by CPI (Maoist), which in recent months has been stoking resistance in the tribal hills to any such move by the Government. Government Order 97 issued on Thursday gives permission to the Forest Department to divert 1212 hectares of land in the Jerrela reserve forest to the AP Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) to mine the hills for bauxite.
The four mining blocks of Jerrela are estimated to yield is 3.85 million tons of the ore per year. The GO is based on the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest’s (MoEF’s) State II approval given in August. This clears the path for APMDC to begin mining operations. Important issues Environmentalists say the MoEF clearance had not bothered to consider three important issues, recommended by its own J.C. Kala Committee: firstly, the majority opinion of gram sabhas constituted under the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), 1996 would have to be taken; second, the resolution against bauxite mining passed by the Tribal Advisory Committee of AP headed by the then tribal welfare minister P. Balaraju would have to be considered; and third, tribals have the right to land under the Forest Rights Act.
The order comes at a time when the hills of Araku are bristling again with renewed Maoist activity, and the State police and the Central Reserve Police Force are gearing up to meet any challenge from the naxalites. Anticipating the Government’s intentions on bauxite mining, the naxalites have been organising meetings with tribal councils in the interior areas. Other typical Maoist acts have been reported such as summons to elected representatives to meetings in the forests, and threats to tribal people employed by APMDC. They almost brought matters to a head last month when they kidnapped three TDP leaders just a few days before Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu was to visit Araku. He cancelled his visit, and the captives were set free after a few days.
TDP in discomfort in Agency
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders and cadre have been in distress in Visakha Agency since Thursday when the GO was issued, paving way for exploitation of bauxite at Jerrela in Chintapalli mandal. This is because the banned CPI(Maoist), which had in the past warned TDP leaders to quit the party and party posts and join people’s agitation against bauxite mining, will not spare them if they stick to the party even after the GO is issued. Fear of Maoists is not only there for the TDP and people in general are afraid of violence once the bauxite mining process is on since the Girijans are strongly opposing the mining proposal for more than two decades.
On Friday, Telugu Desam party leaders and workers from the 11 Agency mandals sent a memorandum to Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, through the PO of ITDA, Paderu, requesting him to withdraw the GO. Former Minister M. Manikumari told The Hindu that the party would face troubles if the GO is not withdrawn. Tribal Welfare Minister R. Kishore Babu told the party leaders and workers to come down to Guntur to have a word with Mr. Naidu but the Agency TDP men wanted the Minister to come to Visakhapatnam for discussions, Ms. Manikumari said. Whether Mr. Kishore would come here or not, or whatever might be the outcome of his visit, the tension and fear among the TDP leaders and cadre is palpable.
“Whether to quit the party or start relay fasts in all Agency mandals from Saturday would be decided tomorrow. We are expecting the Chief Minister to respond by afternoon,” Ms. Manikumari who had faced the tragedy of her husband being shot by Maoists when she was TW Minister, said. But no one would remain in the party in the Agency if bauxite mining is allowed, she reiterated. Meanwhile, police and CRPF are reportedly bracing themselves up to face a violent reaction if any from the Maoists. IGs of CRPF of South Zone and Odisha area reportedly made an aerial survey.
Security forces raided naxal camp, recover arms and ammunition
The security forces today raided a Maoist camp at Attabira under Renzara gram panchayat during a joint combing operation and recovered arms and ammunition from the camp. Rourkela Superintendent of Police Anirudha Singh told mediapersons here that the CRPF, Special Operation group Jawan and the Rourkela police raided the camp during an intensive combing operation. However, about 15 to 20 Maoists belonging to Sanjaya group managed to escape from the camp leaving some arms and ammunitions in the camp.
The security forces recovered two 12 bore rifles, 11 ammunition and several lethal weapons from the camp. The naxalites, the SP said were in plain clothes and left the camp before the arrival of the security forces. Soon after the incident more security forces were mobilised and an intense combing operation launched in the area to flush out the Maoists from the area.The combing operation is still going on, sources said.
Maoist Communist Party Manipur boycotts bye election
IMPHAL, Nov 6: The Maoist Communist Party Manipur has announced to boycott the upcoming bye election of Thongju and Thangmeiband assembly constituency scheduled to be held on November 21 and also ban on any election related activities of the INC candidates. A statement issued by Nonglen Meitei, secretary publicity and propaganda of the outfit, said the outfit will continue to boycott any form of Indian election to protest against the ‘Electoral Politics’ of the country. The boycott is not just a mere boycott to oppose the colonial rule imposed upon the people of Manipur but also to declare a state of war against the INC that has been suppressing the people of Manipur for a long time.
Stating that the ban on the INC candidates will come into force starting from November 8, the Maoist said that it would declare the two INC candidates as anti-people and appealed the people not to take part in election campaign and meeting of the INC. Meanwhile, the Maoist also asked the BJP to declare its stance with regards to the Loktak Multi Million scam and convert it into action failing which it warned to give the BJP the same treatment like that of INC.
Two wanted Maoists nabbed
Two wanted Maoists were nabbed by the police from Pagharpani jungle under Raighar police station in Nabarangpur district of Odisha on Friday. The arrested Maoists were identified as Pundit Gond and Subedar Gond. Both hail from Tandapara village bordering Chhattisgarh under Kundei police station limits in Nabarangpur district. For the past several years, both were involved in many cases of violence in the district. Speaking to The Hindu , inspector-in-charge of Raighar police station, Rashmiranjan Das said these two were among the Maoists who had blasted the Kundei police station in July 2010. As per the police records, they were also involved in at least two murders.
According to sources, the arrested duo was operating under the Mainpur division of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) organisation. Maoists of Mainpur division, which operate from adjoining Chhattisgarh, are involved in several activities in Nabarangpur district including murder of BJD MLA of Umerkote Jagabandhu Majhi and his bodyguard during a public meeting at Gona village in Raighar block of Nabarangpur district on September 24, 2011.