Armed Maoists storm village, ask people to boycott polls
Calling for ‘people’s rule’, they urge villagers to drive out STF
About a dozen armed Maoists, including two women cadres, reportedly stormed a village along the Western Ghats close to the Kerala border in the Nilgiris district late on Friday night and addressed a gathering of about 150 tribals. According to police sources, the Maoists came to the Nedukal Kambai village in the Kolakombai police station limits around 9 p.m.
Asking the villagers to gather at a common place, a couple of them began addressing the gathering, while others took positions to guard. Making an appeal to the villagers to join the CPI (Maoist), they released a manifesto promising to restore land, water and forest rights to the people.During the hour-long meeting, the Maoists distributed pamphlets and pasted posters in the village, according to sources.
Calling for strengthening the ‘People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army’ to establish “people’s rule”, the Maoists urged the tribals, Dalits, students, women and educated youth to join the armed struggle.Vowing to render justice to the Munnar tea estate workers, they appealed to the people to reject the elections which “was the path of corrupt politicians” and drive away the Special Task Force (STF) from the forest area, the sources said.
As the news of the Maoists’ visit spread early on Saturday, a huge posse of policemen, including STF personnel, conducted combining operations in the area. Inspector-General of Police (West Zone) C. Sridhar visited the area.The incident comes months after senior Maoist leader Rupesh alias Jogi, who heads the Western Ghats Special Zonal Committee, his wife Shyna and three others were arrested near Tirupur based on intelligence shared by the Special Intelligence Branch of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh police.
The sporadic activities of Maoists along the Western Ghats are part of their agenda to establish a stronghold in the tri-junction of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, police sources added.When contacted, a senior police official said combing operations were on till late on Saturday and nothing could be confirmed on the movement of the Maoists. “We have some information that cannot be confirmed at this juncture,” he said.
Top Maoist leader arrested in Kolkata
The Special Task Force (STF) of the Kolkata police arrested top Maoist leader Vikas alias Manasharam Hembram and his wife Tara alias Thakurmani Hembram here on Saturday. Addressing the media, Joint Commissioner of Police (STF) Vishal Garg said that they were arrested near the Brigade Parade Ground under the Maiodan police station in Central Kolkata in the afternoon after receiving inputs from reliable sources.
“Vikas is the State Committee member of Maoists as well as the secretary of their State Military Commission. His wife Tara is the leader of their Salboni squad. They were involved in several Maoist- related incidents including those in Shilda and Goaltore,” said Mr. Garg. Twenty-four paramilitary personnel killed in a Maoist operation in Silda in Paschim Medinipur in 2010.
After interrogating them, police raided a house in the Mogra police station area in Hooghly district and seized an AK-47 rifle along with rounds of live ammunition, Maoist literature and some letters written in tribal language. Mr. Garg said that they came to Kolkata to meet a leader.
“They will be produced in court on Sunday and we will seek police remand. They have been charged with sedition, criminal conspiracy and the arms act,” he added.
Top Maoist leader, wife in police net
Kolkata: The Kolkata police’s STF has claimed to have arrested a top Maoist leader – the secretary of the state military commission and Bengal Maoist state committee member Mansaram Hembram – and his wife Tara from the Maidan area.
While Mansaram is known as Bikash in the red belt, Tara is also a member of the Madhepur-Salboni squad.
“Mansaram, known in the red belt as Bikash, is the son of the soil and knows the area very well. He was also the first Maoist to appear before the media during the height of the Lalgarh movement in 2009. This is a big catch,” said an officer, adding that Tara is also a member of the rebels’ Madhepur-Salboni squad.
Though the STF officers claimed that their informers tipped them off about the duo’s movement, a section in Lalbazar wondered if it was a surrender for tactical electoral gains engineered somewhere on the Bengal-Jharkhand border. The arrest, though, will cripple the Maoist resurgence in the area. after the party called for a boycott on the elections. The Trinamool Congress, already on the backfoot following the Narada sting and the flyover crash, immediately congratulated the force and claimed that their call that Jangalmahal was safe was not without reason.
Joint CP (STF) Vishal Garg said that the accused duo had arrived in the city around 12.10 pm on Saturday but refused to divulge the name of the “leader” they had come to meet. The cops claimed to have recovered a 7.62 pistol, two magazines, nine rounds of live cartridges and several “Maoist literature” in the form of magazines and books like Biplabi Yug, giri, Oitihashik Lalgarh Andolan and its likes. During questioning, the accused claimed that they have another hideout at Chaparui village near Hooghly’s Mogra from where cops recovered an AK-47 rifle.
Though Bikash is wanted in several cases, including attacks on central forces, police and villagers in Sankrail, Goaltore, Lalgarh and Sarenga, it is believed that the weapon could be one of the nine AK-47 and Insas rifles that went missing after the attack on at Silda when Maoists attacked Silda camp of Eastern Frontier Rifles. Twenty four personnel were also killed during the attack in February 2010. Bikash had been named as one of the main conspirators behind the attack.
Sleuths considered Bikash as one who was closest to slain Maoist leader Kishenji and was a top organizer from West Midnapore. He was charged with reorganising the organization in Lalgarh and adjoining forest areas, Intelligence Branch (IB) officials have said since 2012.
The IB claimed that the duo, along with the elusive Akash, regularly visited at least 15 villages in West Midnapore’s Lalgarh, Salboni and Goaltore telling residents how the government “ditched” the people of Jangalmahal and made “false promises”.
Maoist leaders had chosen to remain low key since the death of Kishenji in an encounter with security forces and rarely ventured out of their forest hideouts on the Bengal-Jharkhand border. Their only movement was to cross the Kangshabati river and entering Lalgarh and its adjoining areas at night.
So, their arrival to Kolkata and Hooghly with pseudo-names has baffled many. “We will ascertain if the Maoists have any plan for the upcoming polls. We are also investigating if they had come all the way to meet the city intelligentsia who might be still backing the Maoists,” said Garg.
IBT on West Bengal elections in “Maoist affected” areas
…The Election Commission of India (ECI) has identified 1,962 of the total polling stations as “critical” as it falls under the Maoist belt in the region. The voting process will end at 4 p.m. in the Maoist-affected areas, while at rest of the places it will be over by 6 p.m.
Central and state armed police forces, along with two choppers and a quick response team, will be deployed in the Jangalmahal area. An air ambulance will also be kept on stand-by mode in case of any medical emergency, according to PTI.
“There will be multiple layers of security comprising both central and state police forces. In Left wing extremism affected areas there will be a minimum of one section of force present in every polling station location while in other areas there will be at least half section force present,” an election commission official said.
Elections in West Bengal will be held in six phases. The first phase in Maoist-affected regions will be held in two parts, with second scheduled on April 11.
Chhattisgarh: BJYM president shot by Maoists in Bastar, airlifted to Raipur
Raipur: Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha district president of Bijapur was shot at by group of Maoists when he was sitting at a temple at Bhairamgarh in Bijapur district of Bastar region on Saturday evening.
Sepcial DG (Naxal operations) DM Awasthi told TOI that according to preliminary reports, the BJYM president Murlikrishna Naidu went to a Devi temple and was shot at from behind with two bullets. When the rebels tried to him with an axe, Naidu somehow escaped but sustained minor injuries due to the attack. Naidu was sitting on the premises of temple at around 8 pm when group of Maoists he was shot and was left profusely bleeding while the ultras escaped into forests.
“Although his condition was reportedly stable but we would be in position to comment about it only after treatment begins,” Awasthi said.
Naidu has sustained bullet injuries on his back and his condition and he was shifted to Bijapur district hospital for primary treatment and was later referred to Jagdalpur and is now being airlifted to Raipur.
A teacher Shiv Shankar Pandey reportedly accompanying him to temple was also wounded in the attack.
Naidu was closely working with forest minister Mahesh Gagda who also hails from Bastar.
Gagda told TOI that immediate arrangements to airlift him to Raipur were made and said that Naidu is a youth icon in Bijapur district who has been actively working in the region, his close association with me must have triggered Maoists to attack on him. “When Maoists fail to attack me, they target my close aids,” Gagda said.
Few months ago, Mahesh Gagda was threatened for life by the rebels and it was found that he was on their hit-list and faces risk after which state government tightened and made an expansion in minister’s security.
Naidu’s marriage is scheduled on April 19 and the wedding cards were also being distributed.
Ranchi: Maoist zonal commander, carrying Rs 10 lakh reward, arrested with two associates
A wanted Maoist Zonal Commander, Ram Mohan Singh Munda, and two of his associates have been arrested by the Jharkhand police. The arrested accused carried a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head. He had nearly 50 cases, including murder of a Deputy Superintendent of Police and an MLA, registered against him.
The police have recovered at least 25 can bombs, besides several rounds of ammunition and fire-arms at the instance of the accused.
Apart from Munda, the other two associates have been identified as Panchu Lohra, a resident of Baruhatu, and Sakra Lohra, a resident of Bundiyaru under Silli police station area of Ranchi.
The arrests were made on April 1, when the trio and some other associates were gathered at the house of Sakra Lohra. Two police teams from different directions had zeroed-in on them. Following a brief exchange of fire, the trio was arrested.
Sharing the details on Saturday, Ranchi Senior Superintendent of Police Kuldeep Dwivedi said: “Munda was the zonal commander of Chakdal-Chandil zone. He had cases registered against him in Ranchi, Ramgarh, Sararikela and Khunti. The can bombs, which have been diffused, were to be used against police and security forces. They were recovered from Kombo village in Khunti district.”
Munda, who was running the Maoists operations in at least 65 villages, was also involved in setting up units of the organisations in these areas by inducting young students. They would also target the People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI) cadre and oppose the community policing programmes.
The police said that there were at least 48 cases registered against Munda over the past seven to eight years. Prominent among them were the murder of Deputy Superintendent of Police Pramod Kumar in Tamar area of Ranchi in 2008. He had also murdered MLA Ramesh Singh Munda in Bundu area in the same year. Besides, he was involved in killing at least five villagers twice in different places in 2009.
The police had engaged him in encounters in various instances, but he had managed to escape. “He was involved in the encounter in Bundu area in February this year, where four Maoists were killed. But he had escaped,” said Dwivedi.
Munda has told the police that another top leader Kundan Pahan had left the organisation and formed his own group in 2013.
Maoist leader Roopesh’s wife arrested
Coimbatore: Close on the heels of Maoist leader Roopesh’s arrest on Wednesday, police on Saturday formally arrested his wife R Shyna, a Maoist suspect, and produced her before a judicial magistrate court on Saturday for buying SIM cards by submitting fake documents.
Police said Shyna had forged a document in Nanjundapuram and bought a SIM card in the name of Chandramani, wife of Perumal, in 2013.
Based on Chandramani’s compliant, Podanur police had registered a case against Shyna a few months back. She was produced before the judicial magistrate court-VII, which remanded her in judicial custody till April 15.
While she was escorted to the Coimbatore Central Prison from the court, Shyna told the media that police have registered fake cases against the Maoist suspects.
Maoist stir: ADGP Arun Ray visits Jharpara Jail
Bhubaneswar: Additional Director General of Prisons (ADGP) Arun Ray on Sunday visited the Jharapara Special Jail here , where some Maoist prisoners are fasting to press for their demands. Notably, the Odisha State Human Rights Commission had directed the Home Secretary and the ADGP to ensure the Maoists withdraw their fasting.
The Maoists are demanding expediting their trial process, producing them in court within three to six months of their arrest , stopping of re-arrest after being acquitted by the court of law or while they are on bail and granting them political prisoner status.
Maoist claims bomb attack at the official quarter of Medical Superintendent of RIMS
IMPHAL, Apr 2: The armed Maoist Communist Party, Manipur has owned up to the bomb attack at the official quarter of Medical Superintendent of Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) on April 1 night. The outfit in a statement signed by its Secretary Publicity and Propaganda Comrade Nonglen Meitei hailed its militias who carried out the daring bomb attack at the MS’s official quarter manned by security forces round the clock.
It said the outfit will not carry out attack in healthcare centres but will not spare those who run business in the name of healthcare.
Director, Deputy Director and Medical Superintendent of RIMS were declared as reactionaries by the outfit few days back for their involvement in corruption. The attack at the MS’s official quarter was not related to monetary demand but it was carried out as a warning against corruption, the statement said.
It reiterated that the outfit had already lobbed a hand grenade at the MS’s residence as a warning to make him accept his wrongdoings but instead of accepting his wrong deeds he shifted to his official quarter guarded by security forces.
Maoist posters found in Malkangiri’s Kalimera area
Bhubaneswar: In yet another incident, many Maoist posters were found at various placed under the Kalimela police station in Malkangiri district of Odisha on Sunday morning. According to information, posters were pasted on house walls and trees at various places. In the posters, the Maoists have opposed setting up of police camps and police firing on people at various places.
Maoists apologise for killing innocent civilians in Sukma
The outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) has apologised for causing the death of two innocent civilians in Sukma district of south Chhattisgarh last month.
An eight-year-old girl Muchaki Sunila from Muraliguda village and an elderly woman Muchaki Harme were killed in two different pressure IED blasts on March 18 and 19 in Sukma.
“Both incidents are extremely sad and painful. We never thought some civilians would come in contact with the pressure IEDs which were actually meant for the security forces,” said a statement issued by Konta area committee of the CPI (Maoist).
“Our People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLAGA) had planted the IEDs to target policemen. But it was a mistake on the part of the PLGA that they did not guard the area to prevent civilians from coming in contact with the pressure IED. We accept our PLGA’s mistake and seek forgiveness from the family members of the deceased and revolutionary masses,” the statement said.
Terming the incident “an accident”, the banned outfit refused to call the deaths as “killings.” “The family members of the deceased and revolutionary public should not be influenced by the police campaign of calling the accident as killings. Rather than calling it an accident, the State, and the police are making a big propaganda out of these two incidents. We are not terrorists and do not indulge in public killings. Our party has been leading a movement to provide just rights to the common public. We are fighting to build an equality based socialist society,” claimed the Maoist party.
The outfit had come under a lot of criticism after the IED blasts, especially after the eight-year old’s killing. The girl was blown into two pieces after she stepped on the IED near a tree. The Maoists’ statement repeatedly begged for forgiveness for the blasts.
Six Maoists nabbed by CPRF
All the six were wanted by the state police for various crimes and had warrants pending against them.Undeterred by the deadly Naxal attack that killed seven of their colleagues last week, troops of the 230th CRPF battalion have nabbed six Maoists from the worst Maoist violence-affected Sukma district of Chhattisgarh
Officials said a special squad from the unit apprehended the Naxals identified as Madvi Muka (22), Madkami Deva (24), Madkami Ganga (24), Chinga (25), Budram (30) and Sanna (28) from the Nelavaram and Chichor villages of Sukma, located on the southern-most tip of the forested Bastar area. They said all the six were wanted by the state police for various crimes and had warrants pending against them.
CPI (Maoist) calls for April 12th bandh in Ranchi, Palamau, Latehar, Hazaribagh and Chatra.
Ensure prisoners end fast: Rights body tells state govt
Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on Saturday asked the state government to take action in regard to a petition seeking speedy trial of 12 prisoners, who are in jail for Maoist related activities.
The 12 undertrial prisoners (UTPs) include seven lodged in Jharpada jail, Bhubaneswar and five in the sub-jail at Bhanjanagar.
The seven in Jharpada jail launched a hunger strike in protest against delay in their trials on March 30 while those in Bhanjanagar joined them a day later on March 31.
They are in jail ranging from three to eight years. There are five women among these undertrials.
Responding to a petition filed by human rights campaigners Biswapriya Kanungo and Narendra Mohanty, OHRC chairperson Bira Kishore Mishra directed forwarding of a copy of the petition to home secretary to take appropriate action in the matter.
The rights watchdog said the government must ensure that investigating officers and prosecution witnesses appear before the court on dates fixed and submit an action taken report within two weeks. It also asked the home secretary and DG (prisons) to ensure that the prisoners call off their hunger strike, which otherwise may have a cascading effect.
In their petition, the rights campaigners highlighted that speedy trial is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
They also cited a Orissa high court direction, which had asked the prosecution agencies to to cooperate for conclusion of the trial in cases of some of these prisoners by 2012.
The petitioners alleged that the prosecution witnesses were not produced on the date fixed for evidence by the trial courts.