People’s War in India Clippings 5/7/2016

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Two suspected Maoists were arrested during different search operations carried out by security forces at insurgency-hit Kondagaon and Sukma districts of Bastar in Chhattisgarh.

A team of security personnel had started from Bayanar police station nabbed Jugdhar Salam (30) from a forested patch near Perampal Police station, Superintendent of Police (SP) Kondagaon Santosh Singh said. “Jugdhar was involved in incidents like planting bombs and also killing surrendered Naxals at Rajbeda village in year 2014,” the Superintendent of Police said.

In a similar incident, a lower cadre Naxal came in police net during search operation carried out by police personnel under the limits of Gadiras Police station. The ultra was identified as Kamlu Aayta alias Payka (30) resident of Badeshetti. He was arrested from a forested patch near Baddeshetti village, Superintendent of Police Sukma IKS Elsela said. Kamlu Aayta was involved in incidents like attempt to murder and arson, he added.

Maoist abduct policeman in Chhattisgarh

An assistance constable was abducted by Maoists in the insurgency-hit Sukma district of South Chhattisgarh on Monday. Maoists stopped vehicles running on Jagargunda-Donrapal road near Polampalli village on Monday evening and started searching them. Assistant constable Madkam Ganga, dressed in civilian clothes, was travelling in one of the vehicles. Sources said the Maoists tied his hands and took him along as they proceeded towards Arlampalli village of south Sukma.

Sukma district police officers confirmed the news, but they refused to divulge details. According to some police sources, around 40 “armed Maoists” were present at the abduction spot when Mr. Madkam Ganga was taken in to custody.


Caught between Maoists and government forces

It hasn’t been reported as much in mainstream media, but over the past one month, tribal people in Jharkhand have been killed with relentless regularity by Maoists. Over the weekend, reports came in from Giridih district in Jharkhand, of two tribals whose throats were slit. One was Deepak Hansda, 35, and reportedly a quack. The other was a traditional drum player named Dumka Murmu, 50. Both were killed by the local unit of Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) on July 2. Reason: they were allegedly police informers.

“On Saturday night, around 10 pm, they were picked from houses and were murdered five to seven kilometres away,” said a local journalist who requested anonymity. Hansda is survived by his wife, son and a daughter. Murmu lived with his wife, three sons and two daughters. Both the families are in a deep state of fear and shock. They are unwilling to speak to media. The two homes were in Pirtand Block, Giridih. Fearing another round of violence, villagers are opting to stay indoors, say locals.

The killing of Handsa and Murmu now brings the number of killing by Maoists to five in just the last one and a half months. Three villagers were killed on May 21, on the border of Bihar and Jharkhand in a similar manner by the same unit of CPI-Maoist. The killings were unreported in mainstream media. Three villagers were executed after ‘Jan Adalat’ (People’s Court) conducted by Maoists. It found them guilty of being moles of the local police.

This time, the scene was gory as the last. “The bodies were found from Kulhariya village,” Rukhshar Ahmad, Station House Officer (SHO) of Pirtand Police Station (PS) told Newslaundry. “We were informed about the killings in the morning. We removed the bodies along with the help of Madhuban Police station officials, at 10 am.” Though the crime spot falls under Madhuban police station, it was Pirtand police station that first got the information of the killings.

“Ladka humare thane kshetra ka hai, fir bhi hum unko jaante tak nahi to unke mukhbir hone ka koi sawal nahi hai,” Ramlal Uraw, SHO of Madhuban Police Station, told Newslaundry. (“Those murdered belonged to my police station area, yet I don’t know them. Hence, there is no possibility of them being police informers.”)

So why have the Maoists been on a killing spree?

The recent targeting of local tribals is being seen as a retaliation of Operation Hill Vijay, launched as a joint operation by five security forces in April this year to eliminate CPI-Maoist cadre dominating Parasnath hill range in Girdih. The hills and jungles of Parasnath provide an ideal hide out and have been used as one of the prime operational centre for CPI-Maoist. In April, the personnel from Central Reserve Police Force’s Commando Battalions for Resolute Action (CoBRA), Jharkhand Jaguar, Jharkhand Armed Police and district police from Dhanbad and Giridih came together to start Operation Hill Vijay. Jharkhand’s Deputy Inspector General of Police (Hazaribagh) Upendra Kumar had indicated that the state police intends to flush out Maoists from the area like they did in Saranda forests in West Singhbhum – an area that is yet to see basic infrastructure such as hospitals, schools and clean water.

On June 17, one jawan of CoBRA battalion was killed. Three days later, zonal commander of CPI-Maoist Pankaj Manjhi’s body was found in the jungle. “The security forces had recovered weapons and levy receipt from Manjhi,” said a journalist, who works with a leading Hindi daily and requested anonymity. He added that top leaders of the insurgent group that include Ajay Mahot, Ramdayal Mohto and Anal Da meet and operate from here, but also belong to villages nearby Parasnath. This makes the hills a strategic assault point for the forces.

The police denied possibilities of any link between the killings and the ongoing Operation Hill Vijay’. “After the operation was launched, the Maoists have fled to different areas,” Uraw told Newslaundry. “These villages are 15 kilometres from the hills where the combat is being carried out. They might be hiding and operating from these areas. Hence, they would have carried out the incident here.” However, local sources told Newslaundry that recent combats between the security forces and Maoists have also taken place in areas near Madhuban and Pirtand.

There’s a shortage of reliable information coming out of Jharkhand, and this becomes all the more worrying because few media outlets, like Indian Express in English and Hindustan in Hindi, have carried news from Giridih. For the locals, there are conflicting reports, fear-inducing rumours and little clarity on what’s happening around them. And dead bodies.

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