Pro-police insurgents continue killing innocents in Jharkhand
In her two-room thatched hut, daily wage labourer Mantu Devi is inconsolable. It has been over three months since her 18-year-old son, Bhola Gosain, an intermediate student who used to double up as daily wage labourer, was brutally killed, but the perpetrators are yet to be booked. It was a cold, windy December evening last year and Bhola after a hard day’s work in a nearby brick kiln, went home, took a shower and walked to a nearby a temple where he generally meets his friends. A while Bolero van with tinted glass stopped, five men got down, forced Bhola into the vehicle and zoomed away at breakneck speed. “We looked for him all over the place, all the way to Ranchi, but he was nowhere to be found.
When we approached the police, they did nothing but kept asking us in turn whether we suspected anyone or any group. Naming the group we suspected would have risked all our lives as their members enjoy full police patronage,” said the mother, whose pain of losing an adolescent son was impalpable. Almost one-and-a-half months later, courtesy a vegetable vendor, the family located Bhola’s grave, exhumed his body and conducted last rites.
Mantu Devi said the culprits were moving freely in the town but that the police were turning a blind eye. “Kalpai Kalpai ke mor beta ke jaan lei rahe. Garib ke chhauva ke koee bachai ke na rahe (They brutally tortured my son to death. There was none to save the poor man’s son),” she said in chaste Kudukh language, fishing out a photograph of her slain son from a torn bag, the only memory his family has of him, now. This family, hailing from Gumla’s Ghagra block around 120 km west of capital Ranchi, is traditionally into farming, but post monsoon when the fields go dry they take up odd, menial jobs on daily wages for survival. “My brother had no connection with any group. He hardly had any friends. They broke all his limbs and buried him while he was still breathing. Police did not show any seriousness to solve the murder mystery” said Shankar Gosain, Bhola’s elder brother, who also works in a brick kiln in another state.
Locals said the pro-police and anti-Maoist ultra-outfit, Jharkhand Jan Mukti Parishad (JJMP) had carried out Bhola’s abduction and murder. A day before Bhola’s abduction, suspected Maoists had killed a JJMP cadre, Rupesh Singh, in the town. The rebels suspected Bhola to be a Maoist sympathizer. Nathpur, the place where Bhola’s body was recovered, happens to be JJMP’s stronghold. “We haven’t got any evidence against JJMP in the murder,” Ghagra police station office in-charge, Rajendra Rajak said, assuring action against the culprits if they were caught. Ghagra residents mocked Rajak’s ‘fake’ assurance, alleging that JJMP cadres sleep in police barracks and abuse human rights with impunity under their patronage. In a state where security forces are fuelling the growth of terror gangs to counter Maoist insurgency, commoners find themselves trapped among enemies on all sides with no one to listen to their grievances.
JJMP cadres are at the frontline of all combat operations against Maoists, launched by the forces. In return, they get free land and take the law into their hands if their interests are vitiated by any individual or group. Last year, a senior ADG rank police officer stirred a wider debate when he condemned the use of terror gangs like JJMP in anti-Maoists operations, but he was silenced as the government put him in a non-field post. DGP D K Pandey and his officers declined using any terror group in the war against the Maoists.
Three Maoists killed in Chhattisgarh encounter
Three members of the outlawed outfit were killed in a gunbattle with the police in Narayanpur district of south Chhattisgarh on Tuesday.
Three members of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) were killed in a gunbattle with the police in Narayanpur district of south Chhattisgarh on Tuesday, the police claimed. “A joint operation, with forces numbering around 700 comprising the District Reserve Guard, the Special Task Force, the Indo-Tibetan Border Force and the Chhattisgarh Armed Force, was planned in Narayanpur district today (Tuesday) morning. At around 9.30 am, when the parties were searching their target areas in Sulenga Tirkanar forest under Dhaurai police station limits, the Maoists opened heavy firing on them.
Our men took a position and retaliated with heavy fire and forced the Maoists to flee from the spot. Our parties followed the Maoists up to three kilometers inside the forest but the ultras managed to run away taking advantage of thick forest. Three dead bodies of uniformed Maoists were found after searching the area,” Bastar range Inspector General of Police, Mr.SRP Kalluri said in a statement. “It is estimated that four to five more Maoists have been injured in the encounter and our parties are still searching deep inside the forest for them. All our parties are safe. One INSAS rifle, one 315 rifle and three country-made weapons were also recovered from the spot of the encounter,” added Mr. Kalluri.
Fear among scribes in Bastar: Editors Guild of India
New Delhi, Mar 29 (PTI)
In the backdrop of reports of intimidation of mediapersons in Naxal-hit Bastar district of Chhattsigarh, a fact-finding team of Editors Guild of India, after visiting the area, has concluded that “there is a sense of fear among journalists there.” The three-member fact-finding team of the Guild, in its report “Challenges to Journalism in Bastar”, has also said in its report that newspaper organisations should take care while appointing stringers and give them adequate protection. “Instead, they disown them because they see them as liability beyond a point,” it said. “There is a sense of fear in Bastar. Every journalist who is working in Bastar feels that he/she is not safe.
On one hand, they have to deal with Maoists who are becomming more and more sensitive about the reports appearing in the media and on the other hand, the police wants the media to report as and what they want,” the team said. “There is a general feeling (in government) in Chhattisgarh that a large section of the national media is pro-Maoists,” it said quoting a senior editor. The report also quoted another editor as saying “if you wish to analyse anything independently then you can be judged whether you are with the government or with the Maoists. The democratic space for journalism is shrinking.” On Santosh Yadav arrested by Chhattisgarh police since September last under Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the committee said he is a journalist writing for two newspapers and senior journalists of the area have said he is a “victim of cicumstances and be given benefit of doubt.”
The team also said “it is clear from the on record statements made by the authorities that the administration was not comfortable with the reports (journalist) Malini Subramaniam was sending” and she was “compelled” to leave the city and the state. About Alok Putul, the team said he was there to gather news for BBC when police officers questioned his credentials and nationalism and he had to leave fearing for his security when some people came looking for him. The team has also stated that newspapers and other media houses are appointing journalists as stringers in remote areas without any formalities, who survive on commissions from advertisements and distribution of newspapers and rely on other professions.
Maoist violence declining, claims Naveen Patnaik
Annual incidents of violence related to the left wing extremism have remained below 100 during the last four consecutive years in Odisha. Since 2013, the number of Naxal violence reported from different districts has come down below 80 per year in sharp contrast over 100 incidents of violence each in preceding four years, said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik furnishing a written reply in response to a query here on Monday. During the past 12 years, 919 cases of violence have claimed lives of 184 security personnel and 259 common people while 152 ultras have been killed, Mr. Patnaik pointed out. The year 2009 was the worst year in terms of numbers of violence. In that year, 148 such cases were reported while the following year (2010) too witnessed large incidents of violence.
But in last three years, 2015, 2014 and 2013, numbers of violence in each year remained between 70 and 80. Till February 29 this year, there has been report of 26 such cases. Security forces have managed to neutralise over 20 ultras in a year on four occasions. The Chief Minister said since 2014 as many as 171 Maoist rebels had surrendered before the State government. But out of 171, only 68 ultras surrendered and joined the rehabilitation policy.
Two of these surrendered Naxalites were members of Central Committee and State Committee. At present, 19 districts of Odisha are affected by the Naxal violence while there are recent reports of Maoist activities in Boudh and Angul districts. To combat left wing extremism, 17 battalions (9 CRPF and 8 BSF battalions) of central armed police force are supporting the State police. Odisha has received Rs.2,955.79 crore under the Integrated Action Plan, Security Related Expenditure Scheme, Special Infrastructure Scheme, Construction and Strengthening of Fortified Police Scheme and Modernisation of Police Forces Scheme.
Exchange of fire between Maoists and security personnel
An exchange of fire occurred between the Maoists and security forces inside the forest near Ladapadar under Gochhapada police station limits of Kandhamal district in Odisha on Monday morning. This exchange of fire occurred while personnel of Special Operation Group (SOG) were involved in an anti-Naxalite operation in the area. The jawans had stumbled upon a temporary transit hide-out of Maoists and the ultras had started firing indiscriminately at them, which was retaliated by the SOG jawans, said Kandhamal Superintendent of Police Kunwar Vishal Singh.
The exchange of fire continued for 15 to 20 minutes. The ultras managed to escape from the spot and no injury was reported from either side. The security personnel seized goods of day-to-day use of Maoists from the spot. Meanwhile combing operation has been intensified in the area to track down the escaped Maoists. The Maoists managed to escape, no injury reported from either side: police
Two Maoists Killed In Sundergarh
Bhubaneswar: Two Maoists were gunned down in separate encounters between ultras and security personnel in Odisha’s Sundergarh district. “A top ranking Naxalite were killed today in an operation jointly launched by Odisha Police and CRPF jawans in the forest range area of the district,” Director General of Police (DGP) K B Singh told reporters here. He was working as a self-styled platoon commander of CPI (Maoist), under Saranda division in Jharkhand, the official said. Three units of SOG (special operation group), one unit of CRPF and District Voluntary Force (DVF) participated in the operation, the DGP said. Another Maoist, yet to be identified, was killed yesterday in another part of forest range of Sundergarh district, the official added.
The DGP said four 304 rifles, 284 rounds of bullets, four grenades, gelatine sticks, Maoist literature and camping materials were also seized. The DGP described the incident as a major success for the Odisha Police. Singh said Maoists in groups of about 20 to 25 persons sneaked into the Odisha border from Jharkhand and fired at the security personnel who were already conducting operation. Intelligence reports said a Maoist camp was operating in Daldali hill which was unearthed by the security personnel. Police and CRPF intensified combing operation in the area.
EC seeks three choppers for polls in Jangalmahal
As a part of its security arrangements for Jangalmahal in the poll-bound West Bengal, the Election Commission has sent a requisition for three helicopters to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for aerial surveillance in the sprawling forest area. “We (the Commission) are having security arrangements for Jangalmahal area and for that we have sent a requisition to the MHA for three helicopters …We are yet to get a confirmation from them though they (the Ministry) has briefly committed for it,” Additional Chief Electoral Officer Dibyendu Sarkar said on Monday.
“We have briefed the Ministry the reason behind the need of the helicopters and they will be used to oversee the security arrangements in Jangalmahal,” Mr.Sarkar added. On the number of central forces required in Jangalmahal, which was earlier considered a hotbed of Maoist activities, the election officer said the calculation was still on and the picture would be clear within a few days. He said there was a high-level video-conference on inter-border security between West Bengal and Assam and the State’s “critical borders” with Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha.
“There was a discussion on where the naka points were erected and at which other places it was required. There were talks on the inter-border movements of miscreants and possible movements of weapons from one State to another,” Mr.Sarkar said. Bengal chief secretary, home secretary, chief electoral officer, excise commissioner, senior MHA and state police officers participated in the video conference, he said. Top officers from Odisha, Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand also attended the video-conference.
..The EC also held a video conference with the DMs of Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore – where polls will be held on April 4 – and with officials of the neighbouring Maoists-affected states of Bihar, Odissa and Jharkhand to increase vigilance on Maoist activities. , as the first phase polls will be in the three districts where Maoists are proactive.
Maoists kill two villagers in Maharashtra
The Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres have killed two persons in separate incidents in Gadchiroli District on March 27, reports The Hindu. The victims were identified as Suryabhan Tembhurne (38), resident of Wako village, and Panchamsingh Koreti (65), resident of Sonpur village.
Six Maoists arrested in Chhattisgarh
Six suspected Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres were arrested during a joint search operation in Sukma District, reports NDTV on March 29.