Miscreants set ablaze bank manager’s car
A bank manager’s car was set ablaze by some miscreants at Kallumukku, near Cheeral, on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border on Monday night. The car, owned by Thazhathoor Bhaskaran, manager of the Kalpetta branch of Kerala Gramin Bank, was parked on the premises of his house and the miscreants threw kerosene-soaked jute bag and torched it around 11.30 p.m. When Mr. Bhaskaran opened the door of the house after a hearing loud noise, the anti-social elements escaped on a motorbike, the Sulthan Bathery police said.
Later the family members doused the fire, the police added. The bonnet of the car was damaged in the incident. The miscreants pasted two posters on the walls near the gate of the house asking banks to stop anti-farmer policies and end police support to banks. Though the posters were on behalf of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), the police were yet to confirm whether the incident was a Maoist attack. When Mr. Bhaskaran was working as the manager of the Irulam branch of the bank a few months ago, he had initiated revenue recovery measures against a farmer there. The farmer had been imprisoned in a case relating to default on repayment of loan.
Special Correspondent writes from Kozhikode: Additional Director General of Police (north zone) Nitin Agarwal said that the police were still carrying out the investigation to ascertain whether the incident was actually case of Maoist attack. A case was registered at the Sulthan Bathery station. Meanwhile the Wayanad police have stepped up security in the region in the wake of the attack. A dog squad, scientific experts and members of the fingerprint bureau visited and collected samples from the site, the police said. The tri-junction bordering Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu under the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary has been a safe haven for CPI(Maoist). Earlier armed cadres had been sighted in this region and villagers had reported many of them visiting their hamlets. Exchange of fire had also occurred between the elite Thunderbolt commandos and Maoists in the forests on several occasions.
Security tightened along Kerala border
Security was stepped up along the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border in The Nilgiris from around 1 a.m. on Tuesday, following a suspected Maoist attack on the house of a bank manager at Sulthan Patheri in Wayanad district in Kerala at 12.30 a.m. It is learnt that two men riding a two-wheeler were involved in the attack. A car of the bank manager was set ablaze by some miscreants. With the place of attack being only about 15 km from the State’s border from Devala Sub Division in The Nilgiris, security was stepped up at seven check-posts in Devala and Gudalur sub divisions that are close to the district. Three quick response teams were deployed near three check-posts in Devala sub division with five armed personnel in each team.
“These teams were provided with a vehicle so that they could rush to a place upon receiving information on attacks or infiltration attempts,” Superintendent of Police (SP) of the district, Murali Rambha, told The Hindu . Security was also strengthened at police stations close to the State border with double police sentry at each station round the clock. Following a series of periodic attacks by Maoists in Kerala last year high compound walls were built around the police stations close to the border in The Nilgiris to secure them from possible attacks – like the attacks that took place at Palakkad, Wayanad, Silent Valley and in Malappuram districts.
Three Maoists arrested in Aurangabad dist
In a joint operation by CRPF jawans and the Aurangabad police, three hardcore Maoists were arrested on Tuesday evening. Aurangabad SP Babu Ram said, “The Maoists, identified as Awadhesh Yadav, Sanjay Yadav and Dukhi Singh Bhokta, were involved in several cases of Naxal violence and extortion. Two countrymade pistols and six live cartridges were recovered from their possession,” and added raids were being carried out at several places to nab other Maoists in the district.
A group of Maoists pasted pamphlets on walls at different places under the Deo and Dhibra police station areas two days ago, threatening to avenge the death of their four members who were killed in a police encounter recently.
Press freedom groups call for release of Indian journalists
A coalition of press freedom and human rights groups is calling for the release of two Indian journalists who have been detained for several months. Somaru Nag, who worked for the newspaper Patrika, was arrested on 16 July 2015 and accused of being a Maoist sympathiser who collaborated with villagers to sabotage road-building equipment. Nag, who covered rural issues such as access to water and electricity, faces charges of banditry, arson and criminal conspiracy.
Santosh Yadav, a freelance journalist who reported on allegations of human rights abuses by the police against tribal communities, was arrested on 29 September 29 2015. He is accused of rioting, criminal conspiracy, and attempted murder. Police also allege that he associated with a terrorist organisation and of “supporting and aiding terrorist groups”. Both men are represented by the same lawyer, Isha Khandelwal, who says they are innocent of all charges.
Both men were detained in Chhattisgarh, one of the fastest-developing states in India and a major source of electricity and steel for the country. The region has been the scene of attacks by Naxalite-Maoist insurgents of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). The coalition, headed by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), argues that journalists working in the state find themselves caught between the Maoists and government forces.
Woman Maoist ‘commander’ killed in Chhattisgarh
A woman Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) ‘commander’ identified as Zareena was killed in an encounter with Security Forces (SFs) personnel at Bayanar village under Bedre Police Station limits in Bijapur District on January 19, reports The Hindu. “An encounter took place between the Police and the Maoists between 12 to 12.45 pm today near Bayanar forest of Bijapur District. A woman Maoist commander was killed during the encounter and one 12-bore rifle, one locally made gun and heavy Maoist dumb was recovered from the spot of the encounter,” said a statement issued by the Police.