Seven CRPF men killed in Chhattisgarh blast
Seven Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans were killed in an explosion triggered by Maoists in Dantewada district of south Chhattisgarh on Wednesday. “A vehicle of the CRPF’s 230th battalion was blown up by the Maoists near Malewara market on Dantewada-Sukma road at around 3 p.m. today. Seven CRPF jawans were killed in the blast,” Dinesh Pratap Upadhyay, Deputy Inspector General of the CRPF, Dantewada range told The Hindu. Mr. Upadhyay said it was an IED (Improvised Explosives Device) blast.
Officials said the landmine was planted under a black top road and the troops were travelling in a three-vehicle convoy. The vehicle and the troops were blown to pieces and a four-feet crater was created at the place were the blast took place, they said. According to some reports, the Maoists managed to take away the weapons of the CRPF men after the blast. A rescue operation was launched and the injured jawans were taken to a hospital in Kuwakonda.
‘Maoist’ banners found in K’taka village, experts find them ‘different’
Residents of a village in Chikmagalur district of Karnataka reportedly found banners of banned outfit, CPI (Maoist). The 10 banners which were found in Bukkadi Bailu village, near Sringeri taluk were addressed to the law makers and civic officials of the locality in relation to various land related issues. The Hindu reported that Chikmagalur police and Anti-Naxal Force personnel visited the village and collected details the banners were pasted on different structures in the village centre. However, T. Sunil Kumar, Additional Director-General of Police (Internal Security Division) told The Hindu, “The tone and tenor of the banners, allegedly put up by CPI (Maoist), are very different and conciliatory compared with the previous banners put up by them.”
Similar banners which appeared earlier this year asked the residents to boycott local polls. “These banners do not look like the ones put up by CPI (Maoist) activists,” Gowri Lankesh told The Hindu. She is a senior journalist and member of the State-level committee for overseeing rehabilitation policy for Left-wing extremists. Among the messages, there were demands to the lawmakers to grant land to the landless. The banners also asked the DC to remove waste dumped in Thyavani forest area.
..The banners were put up on different structures located on the main street in the village. The residents and the police suspect it to be an act of suspected Maoists. The text on the banners end with ‘CPI (Maoist)’, giving an impression that they were put by the Maoists. The text on the banners refers to many issues, including opposition to implementation of K. Kasturirangan committee report on the Western Ghats, and evicting farmers in the name of clearing encroachments. The banners also urge the elected representatives to take a decision to fight for grant of land to the landless.
In one banner, the Deputy Commissioner has been appealed to clear the waste dumped in Thyavani forest area. Chikkamagaluru police and Anti-Naxal Force personnel also visited the place and collected details. Earlier this year, a few posters appealing the public to boycott zilla panchayat and taluk panchayat elections, suspected to be put up by Maoists, were traced in the locality.
Maoist Azad to fast in jail from today
Bhubaneswar, March 29: Maoist D Keshav Rao alias Azad, lodged in Jharpada jail here since 2011, along with six others, will go on an indefinite hunger strike from Wednesday seeking speedy trial and recognition as political prisoners. It will be Azad’s fourth fast inside the jail in the past five years. The last one lasted for a week when his mother D Kamullama came from Srikakulam to persuade him to drop his strike. Former Khurda collector who had visited the jail assured Azad speedy justice. Azad, of Nalla Boddulur from Srikakulam district, had surrendered before the then DGP Arvinda Rao in Hyderabad May 18, 2011 after leading a Maoist life for 19 years. However, he was arrested May 28 after nine days’ interrogation by a joint team of AP and Orissa police.
Interestingly, Azad was arrested by Orissa police in connection with the murder of Swami Laxmanananda and Nayagarh Armoury loot case. But Andhra Pradesh government had given him `10 lakh as part of its rehabilitation policy. Azad and other inmates have put forth five demands before the state government. The demands are speedy trial, a halt to fresh foisting of charges, commencement of trial within three to six months’ of arrest, stoppage of trial of accused in absentia and provision of political prisoner status. The other inmates, arrested on charges of being Maoists, are: Kamlakant Sethi, Chandrabati Tukuruka, Ranjit Sana, Rabidulla, Kishore Kumar Jena and Ashutosh Sara.
The six have been lodged in Jharpada jail for nine years. Five cases were slapped against Azad after six months of his detention. After four years, police added four more cases against him, and then in 2015, another case was filed. In five years, 10 cases have been filed against Azad. Azad’s lawyer Kamesar Rao alleged the state prosecutors were delaying court proceedings intentionally. “Several witnesses do not attend cases and taking recourse to law and order, they withhold production of Azad before the court. Sometimes, they simply ask for further dates,” Kamesar told Orissa Post. Azad said during a meeting with this correspondent he has faith in the judiciary, though he said he regretted his surrender.