Offensive against Maoists continues along Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh border
The anti-Maoist offensive by the security forces along the borders of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh continued on Tuesday, with the joint team of the Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Jharkhand Jaguars (JJ) targeting dreaded left wing extremist Dev Kumar Singh aka Arvindji.
Additional director general of police (ADG) SN Pradhan and CRPF inspector general Sanjay Anand Latkar on Tuesday travelled to Badkaul, the command centre set up close to the Chhattisgarh border, and reviewed the progress of the ongoing offensive. Latehar superintended of police Anoop Birtharay, Palamu deputy inspector general Akhilesh Jha and Garhwa superintendent of police Priyadarshi Alok were also present.
Both sides began the clash on Monday, when the security forces were carrying out offensive against Arvindji, who had reportedly been hiding in the highly inaccessible hilly terrain sharing borders with Latehar and Garhwa districts of Jharkhand and Balrampur district of Chhattisgarh.
“The operation against Arvind in Burha Pahar area continues despite losing one of the boys a day earlier. We are determined to get him out. On previous occasions, the operation against the Maoists was closed when the security forces suffered any losses,” Birtharay said.
Over the past five years, the security forces have been trying to capture Burha Pahar and clashes with the Maoists have intensified over the past one year.
“Earlier, there used to be one operation in the Burha Pahar area in the entire year, but now we are conducting operations nearly every month,” the SP said. “The number of encounters with Arvind’s squad has also swelled in last one year.”
A search operation on Tuesday also yielded 18 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) of 5-10 kg each and a large amount of codex wires.
In Jharkhand, armed groups backed by the police to fight Maoists have turned on the people
Under the pretext of fighting Maoism, armed splinter factions fight among themselves, threaten villagers with extortion, beatings, and interfere in elections.
When panchayat elections were announced in Jharkhand in November, Nagmani Yadav, a former Maoist, supported his wife Anwari Devi, to contest from their village in Latehar district. Yadav was a member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) for 10 years till he was arrested in 2011. He was acquitted four years later after charges against him could not be proved in court.
Anwari Devi was up against Juleshwar Lohra, whose brother Pappu Lohra leads the Jharkhand Jan Mukti Parishad, an armed militia tacitly supported by the police, which is allegedly aimed at countering the Maoist influence in the area. Though Yadav received threats to ask his wife to withdraw from the contest, and was even beaten up by Jharkhand Jan Mukti Parishad cadres, he refused to ask her to do so.
Anwari Devi eventually lost the election. A few days later, Yadav, a clean-shaven youth with a wide smile, was back to living in the shadow of the gun.
Forced to take up arms
“I feared for my life,” said Yadav, dressed in camouflage, holding a carbine. “The Jharkhand Jan Mukti Parishad men had already attacked me once and they would have come after me again.” Yadav was seated on the ground in a forest clearing. Near him, a dozen men in olive combat gear rested on rocky outcrops in the shade of trees, while more armed young men kept watch at the edge of the clearing.
These men were cadres of the Tritiya Sangharsh Prastuti Committee, an armed Maoist splinter group of which Yadav is now an area commander.
Yadav contended that the Jharkhand police actually supports the Jharkhand Jan Mukti Parishad, which is another Maoist splinter group. He said after he was beaten by the militia, he went to the police. “I registered a complaint on December 3 against Pappu Lohra,” he said. “But the police took no action. Instead, the police supported Lohra’s brother in the election.”
While Yadav went back to the gun, there are many in Jharkhand’s villages who are powerless against the humiliations and threats they are subjected to at the hands of police-backed Maoist splinter groups…
AP DGP holds review meet on Naxals
Visakhapatnam: AP police chief DGP Jasti Venkata Ramudu reportedly conducted a review with the elite anti naxal wing, Greyhounds, at its base on the city outskirts. Sources said that he reviewed the ongoing anti naxal operations in the Visakhapatnam districts and neighbouring districts too. The DGP’s visit to the city was kept secret and the top cop had visited a school in Vizianaram too and attend a function there. He makes his night halt at greyhounds base and would leave the city on Wednesday.
Govt sees red in ‘Save Jal, Jungle, Jameen’ meeting
Ahmedabad: The meeting of human rights activists and Gandhians scheduled at Gujarat Vidyapith from July 16 to 18 to discuss issues related to land acquisition, and water and forest rights has the state home department worried. for a discussion to ‘Save Jal, Jungle and Jameen’ may lead to a Naxalite movement in Gujarat.
However, organizers of the meeting claim that the seminar has nothing to do with anti-government or Naxal activities but is merely intended to spread awareness among deprived communities about their rights. Muzahid Nafees, one of the organisers, said that the ‘National Convention for People’s Movement for Natural Resources’ will be held to discuss issues related to land acquisition, water and forests rights. Activists from across the country will take part in the convention, said Nafees.
“If the state government feels it is a Naxal movement, it should identify at least one activist who has been named for any Naxal activity. We initiated steps to hold this convention in January this year and, since then, we have made it public through social media also. There is nothing secret about it like a Naxal movement,” Nafees said. He further said that around 200 activists from organisations like National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) and Medha Patkar’s ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’ will be participating in the convention.
Sagar Rabari, a city-based activist who has been working for the rights of farmers, said that people from his NGO, ‘Gujarat Lok Samiti’, will participate in the convention. Rabari said that people who will be participating in the convention have been in public life for many years. “Many of them do have a leaning towards the left and the socialist movement but they are not left extremists. Is the state government and the Centre now calling Medha Patkar a Naxalite?” Rabari said. Sources claimed that the Maharashtra government had earlier intimated the Gujarat government about alleged Naxal activities by some of organisations. But sources in Gujarat police denied that they had received any specific message.