Red Alert: pay pending NREGA wages or quit, Naxals warn MP sarpanches
After several years, the Maoists have reappeared in Madhya Pradesh. They recently abducted several sarpanches in Balaghat district, only to release them after an ultimatum: pay pending MGNREGA wages to poor labourers within 15 days or resign. The incident has rattled Panchayat leaders, despite the state administration assuring them of security. The Shivraj Singh Chouhan regime, however, is yet to decide whether to clear the pending wages or risk the Maoists’ threat.
The Maoists reportedly took the action after poor labourers employed under the MGNREGA in Balaghat complained that they had not been paid for over 10 months. According to sources, they approached the rebels after the state administration and the panchayats failed to address their grievances.
The rebels promptly sent a squad that kidnapped 15-20 sarpanches – including from Songudda, Nauvi, Bithali, Arodi, Songudda, Dabri, Gulapur, Rashimeta, Dullapur, Guddapar, Gungunwarda, Pathari and Darkasa – and took them to the jungles of Baihar, their stronghold in southern Balaghat.
There, they were questioned by a “Lok Adalat” about the delay in payment of wages. The sarpanches defended themselves by saying the government had not released the money. The “Lok Adalat” told them to settle the pending payments within a fortnight or quit their posts. If they fail to do so, the Maoists warned, they would all be shot dead.
As news of the abduction spread, it caused panic among the sarpanchs and their families across Balaghat and neighbouring districts.
It has also put the government in a dilemma: it’s reportedly “making all efforts to pay the pending wages without giving any indication of Naxal pressure”. The police, meanwhile, has sprung into action and is “keeping a close watch” on the situation”. Balaghat SP Gaurav Tiwari said his men searched the place where the Naxals held the meeting, but didn’t find anything. “We are on alert and are constantly sending information to the capital,” he added.
Staff at Gadchiroli police outposts too activated
Nagpur: The role of personnel posted at Naxalism-affected Gadchiroli district’s police outposts, who earlier attended only formal duties, has been undergoing a change. The police post parties are now expected to participate in combat and also launch operations. They have already engaged Naxalites in fire exchanges on nine out of 13 encounters seen in the district this year apart from recovering arms and explosives.
Gadchiroli police have also opened two more police posts in the two corners of the districts taking the total of such units to 57 following the latest policy of increasing presence covering every nook and corner of the combat zone. The posts at Katezari in north and Pattagudam in south have been opened in the last few days. At Katezari, a police party was already camping to cut off the supply line of Naxalites. It has been turned into a permanent post now. Pattagudam is considered a crucial location serving as a getaway for the Naxals from south towards Bastar region of Chhattisgarh.
Superintendent of police, Gadchiroli, Sandip Patil said an exercise of sending parties from police stations and outposts out for input-based and strategical operations had started in full fledged manner yielding encouraging outcomes. The responsibilities of launching operations earlier were entrusted mostly to the C-60 parties, paramilitary forces and squads like Special Action Group (SAG).
Patil said he had been regularly reviewing the functioning of the post incharges, a practice not diligently followed earlier. “Police post parties have been provided with sophisticated arms, weapons and bomb detection and disposal kits apart from motivation to go out for operations on their own,” said Patil. He also said that involving police parties in operations and such exercises were going to exert more pressure on the red rebels who earlier had to take on only the commandos of C-60 or paramilitary. “The police post parties can move out in less time following an input and reach the spot in earlier than the commandos who are being sent from the headquarters or other camps,” said SP Patil.
In one of the latest encounters, Patil said police post party from Gyrapatti tackled potent Company 4 at Wadgaon recovering 25 rucksacks (pittoos) with Naxal materials and literature. The Gyrapatti armed outpost party had taken the Naxals by surprise, said the SP. He also lauded the efforts of Laheri police post which managed to seize Claymore mines during operations.
Non-operational movements to be cut
Nagpur: Gadchiroli police, cautious after inputs of Naxalites attempting to use mines, have instructed their police posts, C60 squads and other paramilitary forces to cut down on non-operational movements like going to markets, visiting villages to meet kin and other social outings in the combat zone. The recent attack in Dantewada in Chattisgarh where Naxals exploded a mine killing seven paramilitary jawans has prompted Gadchiroli police to underline the danger posed by guerrilla mines.
Gadchiroli SP Sandip Patil said all police outposts were equipped with anti-mine and bomb detecting gadgets. “We are following utmost care before making movements for operations and such purposes to trace the planted mines and explosives. The main threat is during the non-operational movements that we have asked the personnel to cut down as much as possible,” he said.
Landmines found at block office in Odisha
Landmines planted by the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres were found near Kudumuluguma block office in Malkangiri District on April 8, reports prameyanews7. The landmines were neutralised by a bomb defuse team of the Border Security Force (BSF). A letter was too found from the spot in which Maoists wanted that the BSF personnel should leave the District at the earliest.