Naxal fear haunts forest guards in Gadchiroli
Nagpur: The thrashing of three forest guards on Wednesday by Naxals near Kawande nullah on Chhattisgarh-Maharashtra border between Nelgonda and Laheri in Gadchiroli has instilled fear among the forest guards and foresters who have to patrol the deep forests. The incident has revived fear of Naxalites in the district where the rebels have launched ‘anti-displacement’ stir from May 1 to 30 targeting government machinery.
The three forest guards, identified as CG Gurnule, DM Devkarte and RD Hichami, were beaten by four women Naxal cadres who warned them of dire consequences if they were spotted again in the forests. The Naxals also took away cell phones of the forest guards, who belonged to the Bhamragarh division, and deleted data from the handset. It is learnt the Naxals expressed their disapproval of forest guards and foresters patrolling deeper in their strongholds suspecting them of relaying information to security forces regarding the presence and movement of the dalams.
It is learnt this was the second time that Gurnule had been targeted. The forest guards, consulting their association, lodged a formal complaint at the Dhondraj Armed outpost. The forest guards, through their association Maharashtra Vanrakshak Vanpal Sanghathna, Nagpur, has also appealed to the Naxalites to spare forest staff. “We are deployed to ensure the forest is maintained and protected. There is no connection between us and any security agency,” said district president of the association Yogesh Sherekar. He said Naxalites should understand that senior officers were compelling them to go deep into the forest without considering heightened threat prevailing there. “We have no security or safety but are forced to do our duties in helpless and defenceless manner,” said Sherekar.
Mohan Khobragade, range forest officer, Bhamragarh, said forest guards and foresters were risking lives to attend duties but we could not equip them with arms as that would make them even more vulnerable. “The zone is Naxal affected and so there are certain threats that come along with the place itself. The only strong remedy seems to be to practice caution,” he said.
Rebels block Sironcha-Gadchiroli Road
Traffic was disrupted after Naxalites, who are observing two days Bandh in region they call Dandakaranya, blocked the Sironcha-Gadchiroli road for several hours on Thursday. The rebels also put up several banners across the district appealing to make their ‘anti-displacement’ agitation stronger against the corporate giants who want to carry out mining and other activities in the district.
The Naxals claimed in a statement that their attack on former MLA Deepak Atram’s bodyguard was to loot his firearms and had nothing to do with ideology of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar as projected by police against them. The Naxals had gunned down Atram’s police guard before fleeing with his assault rifle on the day of Ambedkar jayanti.
Cops Geared to Thwart Naxal Threat
KOZHIKODE: As Kerala heads for one of its most fiercely fought Assembly elections among three fronts — LDF, UDF and NDA — for the first time, the Kerala Police are busy devising strategies to counter any possible attempt by CPI (Maoist) to disrupt the election process.
Intelligence agencies have upped surveillance, specifically in tribal belts of Nilambur, and interior areas of Wayanad and Kannur after a latest Ministry of Home Affairs report warning that the CPI(Maoist) are trying to open a new region for military operations in the tri-junction of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
“The CPI (Maoist) is not only undertaking organisational restructuring to consolidate its position in the existing areas but also trying to carve out a base for themselves in the tri-junction of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Though the outfit has not achieved much success on this front due to implementation of a well-formulated action plan, its efforts to open a new theatre in South India is cause for serious concern. The Government of India is closely monitoring the situation and sensitising the governments of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to keep a check on the activities of the CPI (Maoist),” said the latest MHA report for 2015-16.
According to DGP (Intelligence) A Hemachandran, Maoists have been trying to establish a southern operational centre in the dense forests of the area for the past three years but have not been able to accomplish it due to tight surveillance and lack of support from tribals.
“Their own internal reports reveal police and government machinery are not unpopular among tribals and this is one of the main reasons for their failure in setting up base,” Hemachandran said. The state intelligence has already apprised the MHA of activities of urban action team combatants led by Western Ghats Special Zonal Committee (WGSZC) of the CPI (Maoist) in the state. “There has been some action, though not serious. Between 2014 and 2015, 13 left wing extremism-related incidents of violence were recorded in the state,” a police officer said. The most significant among them was the attack on the Nitta Gelatin office in Kochi, which was carried out as part of a politico military campaign.
“Posters have started appearing in a few tribal colonies asking them to boycott the polls. We have taken precautionary measures, and adequate police force will be deployed to ensure law and order,” said ADGP (North) Nitin Agarwal. Intelligence officers say there were similar calls by Maoists to boycott the last local body and Lok Sabha polls, but the police were able to ensure peaceful elections.
Boycott Calls in Tribal Areas
“Posters have started appearing in a few tribal colonies asking them to boycott the polls. We have taken precautionary measures, and adequate police force will be deployed to ensure law and order,” said ADGP (North) Nitin Agarwal.
Naxals threaten police officer on encounter claim
Naxals have threatened a senior police officer in Madhya Pradesh with dire consequences for allegedly making “false claims” that an ultra was injured in an encounter with the security personnel last month. In the pamphlets recently circulated by CPI (Maoists) Gondia ‘Divisional Committee’, North Gadchiroli, the ultras had threatened Balaghat District Superintendent of Police Gaurav Tiwari to be “prepared to face punishment“.
“The SP is making false claims regarding the police encounter with Naxals of April 7, 2016 and they are winning false praise,” the pamphlets have alleged. “The SP and his stooges should be prepared to face punishment,” the pamphlets said. Tiwari, however, on Friday said that he was undeterred by such threats.
“I too have come to know that the Naxals have thrown some pamphlets at Navi area under Malanjkhand police station limits,” he told PTI. The Naxals had recently held meetings in villages and told people that they are not going to spare the SP, as per intelligence inputs. “I am undeterred by their threat. I am camping in jungles and holding meeting with village folk to end Naxal menace,” Tiwari said. Following an encounter with the Naxals on April 7 in the forest of Chhukkatola village in Balaghat, the police had claimed to have injured a rebel, but did not get hold of him. In the gun battle, about 200 rounds were fired between the police and the ultras. Police claimed that the Naxals had taken away their injured cadre.
Kin of Maoist seek judicial probe
The family members of slain Maoist leader Azad on Thursday demanded a judicial inquiry into the alleged exchange of fire in the forest area of Palasamudram area in Visakhapatnam Agency. Azad along with two other Maoists, including a woman, were killed in the Wednesday’s exchange of fire.
Azad’s father Lakshman Rao and his sister Jhanshi, both former Maoists said that they were demanding a judicial enquiry into the incident, as they have no faith in the police claim, it is learnt. The relatives of Azad alleged that the Maoist was not killed in an encounter but murdered in a pre-planned manner by the police, and they demanded that district administration should perform the post-mortem on Azad and the two others under CCTV camera coverage.
Encounter Victim Azad Was Maoist Area Commander, Say Police
VISAKHAPATNAM: The police on Thursday identified Galikonda Area Commander and Divisional Committee member of the East Division as Gopal alias Azad who was shot dead in the exchange of fire that took place at Palasamudram village of Koyyuru mandal in Visakhapatnam agency on Wednesday. Two other Maoists, one a woman, who were killed also killed in the encounter are yet to be identified and they were suspected to be body guards of Azad.
According to sources, around 30 Maoists were on the spot during the encounter that took place between the Maoists and Greyhounds, AP Special Police and local police. The police noticed small shelters built by the Maoists for temporary shelter to rest, said a source. Many managed to flee from the spot. The police recovered one loaded AK 47 assault rifle, two SLRs and kit bags from the spot. Narsipatnam officer on special duty (OSD) Attada Babujee along with other police personnel visited the spot on Thursday and retrieved the bodies. The bodies are likely to reach Narsipatnam area hospital by Thursday night. The police also recovered a landmine near the spot.
It’s a Pre-planned Murder, Says Family
Azad’s father Lakshman Rao and his sister Jhanshi, both ex-Maoists, demanded judicial probe into the encounter and said that they did not have faith in the police claim. The kin of Azad alleged that it was a pre-planned murder. They wanted postmortem of Azad be conducted under the CCTV surveillance.