In the shadow of an upcoming iron ore mine in Chhattisgarh, people live in fear of the gun
Increased BSF presence and arbitrary arrests are muting the local resistance to the mining in Rowghat range of hills.
When Anup* of Albeda village was walking home at dusk one July evening, seven policemen approached him from behind and told him he was under arrest. He says he was beaten brutally and taken to the Kanker police station. No case was filed against him. For ten days he was made to squat on the floor and kept tied to a table. “I repeatedly pleaded with them to at least tell me why I was arrested,” he said. “But the police were mum.”
After ten days, he was summoned by the superintendent of police Jeetendra Singh Meena and forced to sign on a blank sheet of paper. “They said if I do not sign on the paper, I could not go home,” Anup said. While his family was tense about his whereabouts, they could not approach the police. They knew better. “Just weeks before my husband was arrested, our neighbour was picked up,” said Anup’s wife. “When his wife approached the police, she was harassed and sexually abused.” He was eventually set free after 28 days.
The superintendent of police was not available for a comment at the police station and has not responded to phone calls from Scroll.in. The residents of Albeda village in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district suspect the reason for Anup’s arrest was his close connections to the Rowghat Sangharsh Samiti, an organisation that has been opposing the Rowghat iron ore mines since the mid-1990s….
Armed Maoists set ablaze camp office of contractor in Koraput
Armed Maoists have set fire to several vehicles parked in the camp office of a contractor at Tuapadar, about 100 kms from here under Potangi block in Koraput district. Police today said nearly 30 to 40 armed Maoists, belonging to Srikakulum division, arrived at the camp of the contractor last night and asked the Supervisor and other workers to vacate the camp office.
The Red rebels then set ablaze six JCP machines, one tractor and two pumps of the camp office and fled the scene leaving some leaflets at the spot. Police said the Maoists had earlier threatened the Supervisor to stop the work of the Tuapadar-Tunia road as they apprehended that after the construction of the road work, a police camp office will be set up there to counter the Naxal activities.
Police start survey of 40 Maoist-affected villages in Balaghat
Madhya Pradesh police have started a house-to-house survey of 40 Naxalite-hit villages in Balaghat district to ensure sympathisers in the area are unable to hide rebel leaders who use them as hideouts, an official said on Sunday. The survey will also give police a fair idea about the requirements and needs of villagers so that they could benefit through various government initiatives to bridge the existing trust deficit, said Gaurav Tiwari, Balaghat superintendent of police.
“We have started surveys in 40 villages in Baihar and Lanji areas of the district where people are known to be Maoist sympathisers over the years… The rebels use these villages to hide when they are on the run from security forces in the neighbouring districts of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra,” he said. “Once they are in these villages they hide their weapons, and it is difficult to identify them. So this survey will help us to know the exact number of people in each household and village…,” Tiwari told Hindustan Times over phone.
Asked how the surveys were being conducted, he said police were taking the help of sarpanchs and other officials in the villages to ensure it was “as accurate as possible”. “Once the survey is complete, we will start various initiatives like providing vocational training to the women in the villages and help them in getting their children admitted to schools and provide scholarships to them,” he said. “We will hold medical camps in the villages. We will try to engage unemployed men in various government projects according to their skill sets. “…This way we will try to bridge the trust deficit and make them realise that they should not help the rebel leaders as the government was doing everything possible for them,” he said. “It may not happen overnight, but we are on the right track.”
On the Maoist presence in the district, he said the rebels use Balaghat area primarily as a transit point and as hideouts. “In Balaghat, there are two main Maoist dalams or local units of the rebels with more than 30 active members, who keep moving between the three states,” he said Asked about reports that said rebels had distributed pamphlets in Bilalkasa village of the district recently threatening that they would “punish” the superintendent of police (SP) and inspector general of police (IG) of Balaghat, he said police had found just one pamphlet with such a threat. “Generally they distribute many pamphlets. Just one pamphlet threatening the SP and IG could be the mischief of some local Maoist sympathizer,” he said.
Maoist held in construction co attack case
Aurangabad: Two years after the Maoists attacked MVL Construction Company at Jajapur under Goh police station, Aurangabad police on Saturday arrested one of the accused and hardcore Maoist Subhash Yadav. The arrested Maoist is a native of Temmura village under Rafiganj police station and was involved in Jajapur incident. SP Babu Ram said the arrested Maoist was planning to commit some crime with his associate Sashibhusan Sharma.
He said acting on a tip-off, a police team of Pouthu police station led by its SHO Arvind Kumar conducted raid at Temmura village and arrested Subhash while his associate managed to escape under the cover of darkness. A country-made pistol with four live cartridges and mobile phone was recovered from the possession of the arrested Maoists. The SP said he was also wanted in connection with torching of a heavy machine engaged in construction work in the district.
Maoists torch 8 vehicles of road construction firm in Saranda
Jamshedpur, Jan. 31: After inspecting the road construction work in Gua forest area under Saranda two months back, Kolhan Commissioner Arun Kumar and Jharkhand Director General of Police (DGP) R K Dhan had claimed said that Maoists have fled Saranda. Following this statement, villagers were living without fear and development work also picked momentum in the area. However, contrary to their belief and the claims by the two officials, suspected Maoists struck again and set ablaze eight vehicles engaged in a road construction work in Ghatkuri and adjacent Pipri Sai Village in Rowan under Gua police station area of West Singhbhum district in the wee hours, at around 1.30 a.m., of Sunday.
All the eight vehicles have been burnt to ashes and it is being told that Maoists are trying to interrupt the constriction work of the 28 km road from Gua to Salai. “We have received information that a group of CPI (Maoists) gathered at the construction sites at Ghatkuri and Rowan villages and torched four dumpers, one grading machine and three JCV about 2 a.m.,” West Singhbhum superintendent of police, Michael Raj S said today. Police said the guerrillas raided an office of a construction company in Ghatkuri village in West Singhbhum and set ablaze six dumpers and two excavators following the company’s refusal to pay levy.
The construction company was engaged in the road construction work in the villages for the past ten days, he said, adding that the security personnel have launched a search operation to track down the ultras. Naxals are also trying to show their dominancy in the Rowan area of the region. Jharkhand government through Ramkripal Construction Company has plans to build road from Nuiya to Rowan village, but this strike by the Maoists has blocked the construction work of the much needed road in the region.