Saturday, May 27, 2006

Salwa Judum's mobilisation of people against naxalites

The backlash

PURNIMA S. TRIPATHI
in Raipur

Salwa Judum's mobilisation of people against naxalites triggers large-scale violence and exodus of people in Chhattisgarh.

PICTURES: AKHILESHKUMAR


THE "RELIEF CAMP" at Dornapal for people who left their homes fearing naxalite attacks.

THE Chhattisgarh government has suspended Salwa Judum, launched as a people's awareness campaign to oppose naxalites, in the wake of the killing of several of its activists in Dantewada district and the spurt in naxalite attacks on civilians. The movement had become controversial after the exodus of tribal people from villages because of extremist.

The latest atrocity came to light on April 29, when dismembered bodies of 15 villagers were discovered on the main highway and jungle roads in the district. Most of those killed were special police officers who formed part of Salwa Judum. They were kidnapped, along with 37 others, from Manikonta village a week earlier. The villagers had been residing in a relief camp at Dornapal and had gone to their village to get their belongings and meet their family members. The freed villagers were tortured and warned not to join Salwa Judum.

Chief Minister Raman Singh told Frontline in an interview that the naxalite retaliation and the resultant exodus of villagers had become a matter of concern for the State government because providing protection and accommodation to the fleeing people was a difficult task. The Chief Minister said that Mahendra Karma, the Congress Leader of Opposition in the Assembly and the leader of the movement, had been told to "take it easy for the time being". Raman Singh said: "The large number of killings is unfortunate. We need to take a re-look at the security aspect of those involved in Salwa Judum. Now we realise that the modality needs to be changed. Villagers should not be exposed to naxalite attacks like this and for this we have asked Karma not to organise huge rallies and public meetings. We have asked him not to identify the villagers who are associated with Salwa Judum so that they do not become targets of naxalites. I have told Karma to organise the movement in such away that even while cooperating with us, the villagers would continue to stay in their villages and lead normal lives."



SPECIAL POLICE OFFICERS of Salwa Judum participating in arms training at a camp in Dantewada district.

The Chief Minister said that the government was surprised by the exodus of villagers, but added that it was a sign of their desperation. He said: "They are so terrorised by the naxalites that they prefer to live like refugees in camps rather than in their village homes. Now it is our duty to reassure them of protection and proper rehabilitation." Raman Singh said if people were now turning away from naxalites and looking up to the government for security and development, it was a positive signal. Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam agreed that Salwa Judum activists lacked security, which made them susceptible to naxalite attacks. "Once we have ensured adequate protection to the Salwa Judum activists, hopefully the people will resume the movement," he told Frontline. Netam said that in April alone 15,000 villagers had fled their homes in Dantewada district and taken shelter in relief camps. He said: "There were 45,000 villagers in 27 relief camps until a month ago, now there are 60,000 of them."

The exodus has put the government in a difficult situation as it is hardly equipped to provide full security to the villagers. "Tell me, how does one provide security to 5,000 to 10,000 people living like refugees in relief camps?" asks K.P.S. Gill, the newly appointed Security Adviser to the Chief Minister. Gill has been espe<147,2,1>cially brought in by the government to evolve a strategy to deal with the naxalite problem and "present the State's case before the Centre in a more credible manner", Raman Singh said. Although Gill is still studying the situation, he thinks it is the result of "years of criminal neglect of a problem that should have been handled with a firm hand in the beginning itself".


No one in Chhattisgarh, however, knows how the situation can be redeemed now. With 60,000 people having become refugees in their own homeland, a police force which is hardly equipped or trained to deal with the problem and lack of resources acting as a major handicap, it remains to be seen how the State government will handle the problem. Moreover, senior police officials claimed that the Centre's response was "lukewarm". "There have been times when we shouted for help, like when the NMDC [National Mineral Development Corporation] depot was looted. We kept shouting for air support to help track the naxalites, to no avail. We were left high and dry," said a senior police officer in charge of anti-naxalite operations. "We are a new State, we do not have the required resources. Although the Centre's attitude is positive, we still have a long way to go," said Netam.

This probably explains the near-total absence of State police personnel in the naxalite-affected areas. During a visit to Dantewada district, covering a distance of over 1,000 km, this correspondent did not see even a single State policeman on duty, though some Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were seen patrolling in the jungle. According to rough estimates, in order to police the naxalite-affected areas properly the State needs over one lakh police personnel, but has only 34,000 in all, of whom approximately 10,000 are deployed for anti-naxalite operations in the Bastar region. Director-General of Police (DGP) O.P. Rathore agreed that lack of personnel was a major handicap. He said: "We only have six battalions of the CRPF, one battalion of the Naga force and eight battalions of the State police to man an area of 1,35,000 sq km. Jammu and Kashmir has 144 battalions [70 of the CRPF, 20 of the Border Security Force and 54 of the Rashtriya Rifles] to man an area of 55,000 sq km, and Manipur has 48 battalions to man 22,000 sq km." He said: "But now we are taking some steps to motivate the forces, like giving the man insurance cover of Rs.10 lakhs for duty in naxalite-affected areas, besides an ex-gratia of Rs.5 lakhs and Rs.1 lakh from the benevolent fund." Then, he says, new recruitments have begun, jungle warfare training is being given to the police personnel, and developmental activities have been initiated in the naxalite-affected areas.

The DGP, who has participated in peace missions with United Nations forces in Bosnia, believes that policing alone will not be able to solve the problem. Socio-political initiatives have to be taken simultaneously, and in this people's movements such as Salwa Judum can play a positive role, he said. Rathore said: "Salwa Judum is the panacea for us. But having mobilised people against naxalites, now it is our duty to provide them protection and instil faith in them that the police force, which is the most visible arm of state power, is there to support them." Besides, he says, the naxalites need to be made to understand that killing innocent poor people cannot be justified by any ideology.



MAHENDRA KARMA, SALWA Judum leader and Opposition Leader in the Assembly.

But all this is easier said than done. A visit to the naxalite-affected areas makes it clear that the situation has gone out of the State government's control. It is becoming difficult for it to manage the huge mobilisation and the people are paying the price. Senior police officers in charge of anti-naxalite operations agree that in Dantewada district the Salwa Judum movement has peaked prematurely. "In their haste to take credit, those leading the movement rushed into mobilising huge crowds without realising the consequences and without checking whether the State police was ready to provide protection to them," said a senior police officer. The DGP agrees that at least in Dantewada, the movement was "premature" resulting in heavy casualties. But he added that it was good that people were now coming out openly against the naxalites, undeterred by the killings. "This is a good opportunity for us to win over people to our side and find a solution to the naxalite problem," Rathore said.

One, however, cannot help wondering whether the State government has made the unarmed villager a pawn in its fight against naxalism.

Maoists lift economic blockade in Purulia

Saturday, 27 May , 2006, 18:59

Purulia: A three-day economic blockade called by Maoists was withdrawn on the second day in Purulia district of West Bengal on Saturday.



The blockade, called in protest against the "loot of coal, minerals and forest by foreign and Indian monopoly houses" was withdrawn after a decision to lift the blockade was taken at a core-committee meeting in Hazaribagh on Thursday, Maoist sources said.

The economic blockade was called in Naxal-infested Bandwan, Joypur, Bagmundi, Jhalda, Manbazar and Boro blocks in Purulia district on Thursday affecting vehicular movement, trade and business.

Naxal presence hits tourism prospects

Sanjeev K Jha
[ Saturday, May 27, 2006 03:29:53 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]


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BHAGALPUR: Though state tourism secretary Ramashankar Tiwary had recently visited the dense forests in Haveli Kharagpur area for development of eco-tourism near the beautiful hot springs at Bhimbandh, the Thursday Naxal attack, in which the government inspection bungalow and cafeteria were blown up, indicate the prospects might get hindered.

The presence of hardcore Naxal outfits in this area is not a new phenomenon. "Can you ask the present Munger district superintendent of police that how many times he has visited this zone?

He wants to bring the derailed lot in the mainstream, by organising golf tournament, instead of popular games like soccer and volleyball.

We are at the mercy of the god as the police have never been effective in this area. If they can kill the SP in landmine blast, how we can resist them?" asked one Jawahar Singh of Kharagpur village, adding most of the people of this area are yet to see their SP.

Corroborating Jawahar's views, one Sanjay said that the emergence of Naxal outfits in Kharagpur area was the result of police double-standards.

He said police often describe a simple Naxal sympathiser a hardcore extremist. It has sullied the image of the police among the poor villagers.

If the district police are unable to save the existing constructions, how would they ensure the safety of new buildings proposed to be made under the new eco-tourism plan? he asked.

Inspector general of police (Bhagalpur zone) Rajiv Ranjan Verma denied that Thursday's incident was the result of police failure.

"It would be too early to draw such conclusion, as the report of the officials in this connection is still awaited. Due to ongoing panchayat elections, adequate number of forces could not be deployed in that area," he said.

Verma said: "We must have to check the cause first so that the gullible villagers can be saved from lure of the lucre. Then, we won't mind to crush those hardcore extremists, who want to call the shots in this zone."

Friday, May 26, 2006

When report cards are ready reckoners

When report cards are ready reckoners

The UPA government scores a ‘mixed’ report; will the PM hold a mirror to the faltering performers?

NK SINGH



This has been a week full of report cards and agitations. The UPA government’s completion of two years in office triggered independent surveys rating their performance, even as the government put out a laundry list of its achievements. Many of these are merely ongoing activities. The quota agitation has reopened old wounds in bringing out the inherent divisiveness of the polity. Hopefully, a middle ground would find acceptance before investors’ risk perceptions go up. Add to this the growing Naxalite violence in 165 out of a total of 602 districts. Risk perceptions are tough to quantify and though brave economists impute numbers, their intangible quality shapes our decisions.

How has the government performed? The Prime Minister has hesitated in writing a scorecard. A perceived decline in his standing in the survey conducted by Hindustan Times was contrary to the outcome of the NDTV survey. India Today assigned marks to ministers, benchmarking them against last year’s rating “based on popular perceptions.”

First and foremost, as we don’t have a foreign minister, success in foreign policy does not figure in these. Yet, improving relations with Asian countries, especially China, economic integration within Asia, and continued peace initiatives with Pakistan are no mean achievements. Above all, the likely Congressional approval on civil nuclear arrangements with the US, enabling access to civil nuclear energy and dual technology with a strategic partnership, invests the future with multiplier benefits. This would be the government’s single biggest achievement. It augurs well for FDI flows from the US and Japan, provided the domestic environment doesn’t deteriorate and infrastructure improves rapidly.

Second, on the economic front, there are no comparable gains. Chidambaram can draw comfort in withstanding pressures of fiscal profligacy or reversing tax reform and securing acceptance of Vat. But financial sector, pensions and insurance reforms and FDI liberalisation are mired in coalition politics. While he remains the most acceptable reform face of the government, it is not surprising that in the India Today rating, he is now slightly lower. His decline would have been faster, but for high expectations from his liberal pronouncements.

• UPA’s biggest achievement would be the civil nuclear agreement with the US
• FM can draw comfort on fiscal front, but reforms are stuck in coalition politics
• Aviation, railways get high grades, HRD & energy poor, much action yet to begin
Third, the opening of Indian skies has dramatically improved air connectivity. Competition in air fares and privatisation initiatives for Delhi and Mumbai airports, with a promise of replication, make Praful Patel a high performer. The agenda of reforms is, however, far from over. A policy to rationalise the burden on non-commercial routes has been on the anvil for over a year. A credible regulatory structure for a level playing field awaits legislative approval. Training and skill inculcation, particularly of regulators and traffic controllers in managing congested skies with high safety, remains a challenge.

Fourth, an energy policy combining long-term energy security with affordability remains elusive. Inability of states to reform their electricity sector stalls progress in reaping the benefits of the Electricity Act, 2003. The problems of the coal sector dent any effort for a coherent energy policy. The flip-flop on petroleum pricing causes confusion. The high oil prices are no transient aberrations. While revenue from this sector has been disproportionate, despite its inflationary impact, there’s no escape from passing on the burden to consumers. In the long run, this will conserve energy and incentivise investment in alternative energy forms. Murli Deora can improve his score in the survey, if, along with the oil diplomacy practised with great aplomb by his predecessor, he can tackle the politics and economics of oil pricing.

Fifth, Lalu Yadav’s performance in Railways has been rated high. Improving finances while protecting consumers through productivity increases in wagon loading and turnaround time reveals the scope for replication. In the long run, wear and tear of tracks, shift to lighter aluminium-based wagons, and safety can’t be overlooked. Changing technology paradigms offer infinite scope, but productivity improvements may run out of steam. The need for rate rebalancing, eliminating other subsidies and aggressive public private partnership can’t be obviated.

Sixth, the quota controversy overlooks the neglected, endemic problem of HRD. It is a pity the Knowledge Commission is now divided and may be dysfunctional. Primary education, teacher vacancies, dropout ratios, teaching quality particularly in maths and science, demand for secondary and higher education and challenges of faculty attraction and retention, coupled with autonomy in technical institutes are crucial issues. Regrettably, no roadmap is in sight. We are frittering away our greatest comparative advantage—a young demographic profile and fostering a knowledge hub.

There are other areas where action has scarcely begun, such as reforms of the judiciary or labour laws, or where initiatives have not yielded outcomes, like an integrated food law. The roads programme has suffered costly time overruns. Approvals pile up for environmental clearance. Maran is a bright spot, but it can’t be said for many allied partners. Naturally, in these areas, ministers have not figured favourably in the survey.

Finally, any government must encourage itself by propagating its achievements. The slogan of all-inclusive growth has resulted in initiatives of Bharat Nirman, the Employment Guarantee Scheme, the Urban Renewal Mission, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the Mid-day Meal programme. If implemented with sincerity through vastly improved public delivery system, particularly in states where governance has been weak, they can make a dramatic difference to rural prosperity. It is, however, premature to comment on their success.

The report presents a mixed picture. Like all report cards, it is also a ready reckoner of achievements, failures and expectations. Will the Prime Minister hold a mirror to the faltering performers?

6 Naxals killed in encounter with police

Mumbai, May 25 : At least six Naxalites are suspected to have been killed in a shootout with police near Kasampalli village in Gadchiroli, some 120 km from district headquarter, police said.

Naxalites numbering nearly 60 had camped at Kasampalli in south Gadchiroli when two groups of the C-60 commando units reached there yesterday and launched an offensive, Gadchiroli district superintendent of police, Shirish Jain told newspersons today.

The commandos after noticing the Naxalite camp fired two-inch mortar at the ultras, leading to a large number of casualties in the Naxalite group.

No one from the commando units was injured in the incident although Naxalites retaliated with heavy fire from automatic weapons, the Gadchiroli SP said. (Agencies)

Three CRPF jawans injured in Naxal attack

Saturday May 27 2006 00:00 IST

PTI

RAIPUR: Three CRPF personnel were injured in two separate naxal-related incidents in Bastar region of chattisgarh, police said on Friday.

"The maoists on Friday fired from locally developed rocket launchers at the CRPF camp at Kurusnar in Narayanpur police district, about 180 km from the state capital, injuring two Crpf jawans," Bastar range inspector general of police T J Long kumer told PTI over phone.

The stone splinters hit one constable and a cook when maoists fired four rockets from the nearby jungle, Long Kumer said, adding proper medical facilities were provided to the injured.

In another incident, the maoists and the CRPF had a gun battle near Pawrel village of Bijapur police district, about 550 km from the state capital on Thursday, during which CRPF jawan Kulwinder Singh sustained bullet injuries in his leg, the IGP said.

In a separate search operation, police party last night recovered a landmine weighing ten kg, detonator and electrical wires, planted by the naxalites in Bingidhar village of Pakhanjur police station area of Kanker district, about 175 km from the state capital.



Singur incident not to send wrong signal to investors: CPI(M) KOLKATA: A day after Tata motors officials faced angry farmers while scouting for land for the company's new plant in West Bengal, CPI(M) on Friday said that the incident would not send any wrong signal to investors in the state.

"Land inspection does not mean everything," CPI(M) State secretary Biman Bose said reacting to yesterday's farmers' agitation at Singur village in Hoogly district before a team of Tata motors officials.

"Industry can'T be set up in the Air," Bose said, adding that the project was final, but the interests of land owning farmers would have to be looked into.

He said land owners would get compensation as also a complete package.

Dismissing suggestions that the incident might sent wrong signals to prospective investors in the state, Bose said "industrialists are coming to West Bengal not out of their love for the state, but to make a profit."

Bose refused to comment on the former Chief Minister Jyoti Basu's criticism of the way the "entire issue" was handled in Singur.

US offers assistance to combat naxal menace

Raipur, May 26. (PTI): The United States on Thursday offered all assistance to naxal-infested Chhattisgarh to deal with the ultras in the state, a top official said here.

"The US has offered its services on de-mining, training of personnel and other security related matters to deal with naxal menace of the state," Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Bijay Kishore Sundar Ray said.

The American offer came during a high-level discussion between the ACS (Home) and two senior officials of the American Consulate Willium Inman and Kavin Green held here, he said.

CPI(M) concerned over C'garh govt welcoming US offer

NEW DELHI, MAY 26 (PTI)

The CPI(M) today expressed concern over Chhattisgarh government welcoming a US offer to assist in anti-Naxal operations and asked the Centre to warn the state government to desist from such a move.

"The US has no business in involving itself in internal security and law and order issues. The attitude of the BJP state government is condemnable as no state government has the right to involve foreign countries in internal security matters," the party Polit Bureau said in a statement.

Reports quoting a senior Chhattisgarh Home Department official had said that the state government had welcomed the offer, made during the visit of two American officials to Raipur, to fight naxalism.

The CPI(M) asked the Centre to immediately clarify the situation and ask the state government to desist from such activities.

"It should also convey to the US Embassy that such involvement in the politics and internal security matters of India is unacceptable", the party said.

The CPI(M) also condemned yesterday's terrorist attack on tourists in Jammu and Kashmir and said the state government and the administration "have been unable to take effective steps so far to check these attacks".

It also asked the Centre to assist the Jammu and Kashmir government to help security forces identify and crackdown on the terror network.

Maoists calls for economic blockade in Jharkhand

Ranchi: Communist Party of India (Maoist) has called for a three-day economic blockade in Jharkhand from today to ensure uninterrupted transportation of minerals produced in the state.

Comparing experience of Naxalite attacks during such economic blockades in the past, senior government officials said that authorities stressed that there should be a healthier co-ordination between para-military and railways forces in the mineral rich districts.

They said that security has been tightened up after the discovery of CPI (Maoist) blockade. Even extra forces have also been arranged at important mines.

Following the violence started off by the Naxalities, despite of government’s efforts, transporters in Lohardaga, famous for Bauxites, apprehended the presence of landmines.

According to exporters from the main coal belts like Dhanbad, Hazaribag, Chatra, Palamu, Latehar and Giridih, blockade might interrupt the work.

Transportation and mining activities in Bhabnapur, famous for Dolomite and lime stone and Sarguja district in neighbouring Chattisgarh might be affected in large due to economic blockade by the Naxalites.

Security has been beefed up in view of blockade but booking and carriage would be affected, railway sources said.

Gill crafts ultimate battle plan in Chhattisgarh

Gill crafts ultimate battle plan in Chhattisgarh: Hit Maoists hard, hit them sure

Pramod Kr Singh | New Delhi

Supercop KPS Gill, now the security adviser to Chhattisgarh Government, has outlined his plan of action to stamp out Maoists from the State. Gill, credited with winning the war on terrorism in Punjab, has already submitted his blueprint to the Home Ministry bosses.


The Gill doctrine is: Gather intelligence about the strength and capabilities of the Maoist groups active in Chhattisgarh, identify their hideouts, train and modernise the State Police, then hit them hard in a sudden and well-coordinated attack.


Gill also wants helicopters for aerial reconnaissance and forces paradropped in Maoist strongholds.


The thrust of the Gill doctrine is to launch a swift offensive giving little time to Maoist guerrillas to regroup and retaliate.


The supercop has also requested the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to provide 32 battalions of Central Para-Military Forces to launch an all-out attack on Maoist outfits.


However, MHA mandarins are believed to have conveyed it to him and the State Government that providing so many battalions was not possible. Gill scaled down the demand to 18 battalions.


Again, the MHA officials expressed their inability. They said they could spare only six more battalions at this juncture as there are already seven battalions of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) deployed in the State.


According to sources in the Government, the Prime Minister's Office has put a spanner into Gill's plan as it first wants the State Government to raise its own special force.


Further, the PMO does not agree with Gill's suggestion of commando-type operations to flush out the Maoists.


The PMO spanner apart, the State Government has outlined its own policy to deal with the Maoists. The State Government has identified places in forests in the Bastar region where Maoists are known to have strong bases. Because, the Gill action-plan stresses the need to identify places where the Maoists can be engaged in a calculated way.


Initially, the supercop wanted the anti-Maoist campaign to begin before the Monsoon. However, the State Government officials were of the opinion that it would be better to conduct the operation during the rains as the militants come out of their dens during the season, making them easy targets.


However, the MHA disagreed. Its officials said that thick foliage during the Monsoon made boobytraps and landmines laid by the militants near impossible to detect, which would mean heavy casualty for the security forces.


As of now, according to State and MHA officials, the anti-Maoist operation will begin after the Monsoon.


The MHA is believed to have promised to rush Central forces to Chhattisgarh as tackling Maoists in the State is on top of its agenda.


Chhattisgarh is one of the worst Maoist-affected States in the country. Maoists are active in eight out of the State's 16 districts, Bastar, Dantewada, Kanker, Surguja, Jashpur, Koriya, Rajnandgaon, and Kawardha.


An anti-Maoist movement, euphemistically called Salva Zudoom (peace initiative) is currently going on in the state to rope in villagers against Maoist violence.


As many as 250 villages of the Bastar region have been mobilised under this movement, which commenced in mid-June 2005. Apart from holding relatively large meetings, releasing anti-Maoist posters and pamphlets and maintaining vigils at the local level, the villagers have killed three Maoists.


The MHA was willing to provide as much force as Chhattisgarh Government demands but it should also raise a Special Task Force (STF) on its own to counter the Maoist charge, a senior MHA official said.


The Chhattisgarh Government has also adopted an Intelligence-gathering model, which was presented by the BSF during the recently held meeting to tackle the Maoist problem. State Chief Secretary told the Home Secretary the State was doing everything to further augment its Intelligence setup.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Six naxals killed near Gadchiroli

May 25, 2006 18:46 IST


At least six naxalites are suspected to have been killed in a shootout with police near Kasampalli village in Gadchiroli, some 120 kms from district headquarters, police said.

About 60 naxalites had camped at Kasampalli in south Gadchiroli when two groups of C-60 commmando units of police reached there Wednesday and launched an offensive, Gadchiroli district Superintendent of Police Shirish Jain told PTI from Gadchiroli.

The commandos, after noticing the naxalite camp, fired mortar at the group, leading to a large number of casualties, Jain said.

"We suspect deaths the of at least six to seven naxalites, while at least half a dozen more are seriously wounded," Jain said, adding that reports from neighbouring villages that the naxalites forced villagers to lend 'charpoys' to ferry killed and injured naxalites to safer places.

No one from the commando units was killed or injured in the incident although the naxalites retaliated with a heavy fire from automatic weapons, the Gadchiroli SP said.

According to Jain, the offensive was launched following a tip off about the naxal congregation near Kasampalli village, and after the naxalites escaped, a large number of camp material has been seized from the place. Jain said the commandos have been using mortar to attack naxalites after police sought special permission from the armed forces. A two-inch mortar was used in Wednesday's offensive.

ASI falls into gorge, airlifted to Hyderabad

Thursday May 25 2006 16:38 IST
ONGOLE: An ASI involved in anti-Naxal combing operations in Arthaveedu forests was airlifted to Hyderabad for emergency medical treatment after he fell into a 20 feet deep gorge and suffered internal injuries on Wednesday.

According to ASP AB Ranganatham, the ASI, Ravi Kiran Kumar, fell into a gorge while trying to cross it in Potharajuturu area of Arthaveedu forest. He was immediately rescued and medical officials rushed to the spot. Later, an Air Deccan chopper to Hyderabad airlifted him. He has since been admitted to the Apollo hospital, where his condition is stated to be critical.

Fake Naxal gang busted, eight youths held

Thursday May 25 2006 11:56 IST

NIZAMABAD: The district police busted a fake Naxal gang belonging to Maddikunta village in Machareddy mandal. They held eight youths of the gang and sent them on remand. One SBBL gun, boxes used in tiffin bombs and some explosive material were recovered from them.

SP Mahesh Chandra Ladha said Tumpallil Sayilu, a former Janasakthi militant, belonging to Tumpalli village in Sirikonda mandal, formed a group with Tirupati, Peddaboyina Narsaiah, M Mahipal, Modem Rajaiah, Srinu, Gangaiah, Narsimlu and Gangaraju, all residents of Maddikunta.

Sayilu told the youths that they could join the Janasakthi group if they extorted money from contractors and traders in Machareddy mandal. Encouraged by the words, the youths began working in that direction.

On a tip off, police held the gang when they were moving under suspicious circumstances. Sayilu is at large and a manhunt was launched to nab him, according to a press release on Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

India says no to talks with Maoists

NEW DELHI, May 23 (UPI) -- Amidst a rise in Maoist violence, India has made it clear it will not hold talks with armed groups unless they give up their weapons.

"The government viewed the Naxalite (Maoist) menace very seriously and remains committed to providing all possible help to coordinate and supplement the efforts and resources of Naxal-affected states to successfully counter the problem," Interior Minister Shivraj Patil told the Indian parliament.

Patil said the affected states have been asked to post young and committed officers with a stable service history, both in civil and police administration, in the Naxal-torn districts.

He said such officers should be given greater power and flexibility to improve governance and ensure better delivery systems to facilitate rapid people-centric developmental activities in these areas under various schemes.

"The government is aware of the threat caused by the Naxalite menace, and remains fully committed and determined to combating it," Patil said, adding the government's policy was to address the problem on various fronts in a holistic and coordinated manner.

"There will be no dialogue with Naxalites unless they abjure violence and give up arms," Patil said, adding "a total of 29,000 people from the Naxal-affected areas were recruited in 2004."

The interior minister said that 18,241 vacancies for the post of constable in Naxal-affected areas were yet to be filled for 2005-06.

UPA panel meet adjourned till evening

Tuesday, 23 May , 2006, 16:57

New Delhi: Discussions over energy security figured prominently at on Tuesday’s UPA-Left Coordination Committee meeting that was adjourned till evening.

Minister of State in PMO Prithviraj Chavan told reporters after the meeting that the Left also sought clarifications from the government, but did not elaborate on what issues.





HRD Minister Arjun Singh, at the Centre of the quota row, is expected to make his presentation in the session scheduled for 6.30 p.m.

Asked if there were any discussions on the possibility of rise in fuel prices, he said Petroleum Minister Murli Deora was not scheduled to make any presentation to the panel.

"The issue of energy security was broadly touched," he said. FULL COVERAGE

Also there was no specific discussion on the current volatility in the stock market but Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s presentation figured around the country’s overall economic scenario, Chavan said.

The meeting, held at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Race Course Road residence, was attended by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Left leaders Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury, A B Bardhan, D Raja among others.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who is under opposition fire over wheat import, Home Minister Patil and Communications Minister Dayanidhi Maran made their presentations in the three-hour meeting before it was adjourned because of the leaders engagements in Parliament.

In his presentation Patil briefed the panel on internal security, Naxal violence and the communal situation in the country.

Salwa Judum campaign will not be stopped: Raman Singh

Raipur, May 23: Even as Maoists have stepped up activities in the state, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has said the Salwa Judum campaign launched against the Naxals in Dantewada district will not be stopped.

"Salwa Judum will not be stopped," Singh told reporters here last night when his attention was drawn to some reports that Salwa Judum activists were allegedly involved in illegal activities.

"Naxals are killing members of marriage party, not allowing developmental works and even over 50,000 people in Dantewada district are staying in camps due to Naxal threat but that does not mean Salwa Judum should be stopped."

Under the banner of Independent Citizens Initiatives, some eminent journalists and social activists, including sociology professor Nandini Sundar, have alleged yesterday that they had gone to Dantewada on a fact-finding mission, in which they were terrorised and subjected to loot by the Salwa Judum activists.

"The situation is very serious and the local administration has lost control over the Salwa Judum activists. Not only the activists attacked us but also looted some of our valuable goods," Sundar said while disfavouring continuation of the campaign.

Bureau Report

Monday, May 22, 2006

Mangalore: Ailing Naxal Leader B G Krishnamurthy Escapes from Police Narrowly

Daijiworld News Network - Mangalore (GA)

Mangalore, May 22: Top Naxal leader B G Krishnamurthy who had been admitted to one of the private hospitals in the city for treatment managed to escape from the police recently.

The trusted sources said that Krishnamurthy had been admitted to a private hospital for treatment after he was bitten by some venomous creatures in the forest. Having come to know this, the Anti Naxal Force (ANF) staff went to the hospital in mufti to arrest him. But Krishnamurthy who somewhat came to know about this escaped from the place before their arrival.

Krishnamurthy has played in organizing and leading Naxal movement in the Malnad region. He was trained in Andhra Pradesh and was mainly responsible in attracting youth from the border area into the Naxal movement.

He had also led the gang of Naxalites which had attacked one Chandrakant of Yelaneeru near Shringeri under pretext that Chandrakant was a police informer. Several cases have been filed against him in police stations.

However, his narrow escape from the hands of ANF police has once again left a question mark on the way the ANF works. It is still a mystery as how did Krishnamurthy get the information that police were coming in mufti to arrest him.

Police arrest accomplice in dreaded Naxal Ranga Reddy case

Monday May 22 2006 12:02 IST
BELLARY: The police made another break through in dreaded Naxal Ranga Reddy case. They have arrested Ranga Reddy’s sister’s son Kumar alias Shiva Kumar alias Ravi Kumar Swamy (19) of Peddamustur, Uravakonda Mandalam, in Ananthapur district of Andhra Pradesh.

The accused was produced before Judicial Magistrate and was remanded to judicial custody till May 31. Kumar is the brain behind Ranga Reddy’s activities and is a computer expert.

Giving details here on Sunday, Additional Superintendent of Police Dr D C Rajappa said acting on a tip off, they laid trap and arrested Kumar in Kurugodu on Saturday early hours.

They seized from him a short gun (local made), a mobile, cash of Rs 5000 and a Pulsar motorcycle.

Interrogation of Kumar had revealed many leads in the investigation and the police hope it will help in the arrest of Ranga Reddy. Rajappa said Kurugodu PSI Srinivasa Rao and their staff arrested Kumar and a case is registered in Kurugodu police station under Indian Arms Act 1959.

No dialogue unless naxals shun violence: Govt

NEW DELHI, MAY 22 (PTI)
The Centre today made it clear in Lok Sabha that there will be no dialogue with naxalites unless they agreed to abjure violence and give up arms.

Making a statement on a calling attention notice by BJP deputy leader V K Malhotra, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said Government viewed the naxalite menace "very seriously".

He said Government "remains committed to providing all possible help to coordinate and supplement efforts and resources of naxal-affected states to successfully counter the menace".

The Minister said states have been asked to post young and committed officers both in civil and police administration with a stable tenure in naxal-affected districts.

Such officers should be given greater delegation of power and flexibility to improve governance and ensure better delivery systems to facilitate rapid people-centric developmental activities in these areas under various schemes.

"Government is aware of the threat caused by the naxalite menace and remains fully committed and determined to combating it ," he said.

While Government's policy was to address the menace simultaneously on various fronts in a "holistic and coordinate manner", he said "there will be no dialogue with naxalites unless they abjure violence and give up arms".

Patil said naxalite violence had badly affected parts of nine states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, Maharashtra, UP, MP and West Bengal.

He said available reports suggest that naxalites were trying to expand their spehere of activity and influence in parts of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Uttaranchal and in new areas in some of the already affected states.

In the first four months of this year, while the quantum of naxal violence by way of number of incidents has registered a decrease of 12.7 per cent over the corresponding period in 2005, casualties of police personnel and civilians have gone up by 31.9 per cent, he said.

Chhattisgarh accounted for 42.5 per cent of the total incidents and 66.5 per cent of resultant deaths, he said.

The Home Minister said the affected states have been asked to formulate and implement action plans to undertake intelligence-based operations against naxalites and their infrastructure and, alongside, accelerate developmental activities and improve governance and delivery systems in affected areas.

The Chhattisgarh Government has been particularly asked to take more effective steps to contain the naxal situation and was being given all possible help by the Centre, he said.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Maoists, industrialists start negotiation over extortion issue

Kathmandu, May 21: The Maoists' labour wing tonight started a dialogue with the industry body in Birgunj, an industrial town of Southern Nepal, where some businesses, including an Indian joint venture, are facing extortion threats from the rebels.

The Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industries (BCCI) and the Maoist-affiliated All Nepal Trade Union Federation (ANTUF) have began talks over the issue of rebel extortion demands.

ANTUF president Shalikram Jamarkattel and BCCI vice-president Shushil Mittal are leading their respective teams in the negotiations, a source at the BCCI said.

About half a dozen industries in Birgunj, including joint venture Dabur Nepal, have closed their operations since Friday after the Maoists demanded Rs three crore 'donation' from the Indian firm and threatened other industries in the area.

The Maoist trade union is also demanding more facilities, permanent jobs and salary increment to the labourers working in these industries.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has already asked Maoist chief Prachanda to allow the industries to run smoothly and stop the extortion drives in order to maintain a conducive business environment in the country.

Bureau Report

Six hurt in naxal blast

Jagdalpur, May 21 (UNI) Six persons, including two police personnel, who were part of a roughly 80-member motorbike rally supporting 'Salwa Judum' -- an anti-naxal campaign -- were injured, two of them severely, by a rebel pressure bomb blast this afternoon near Ganeshwar nullah five km from Dantewara district's Bhairamgarh, police said.

The victims were rushed to a primary health centre at Bhairamgarh. The rally was en route to Raipur from Bhairamgarh.

Those injured were Assistant Sub-Inspector Sitaram Patel, the CRPF's Khambamlal Gujjar, Jay Singh, Bedu Raotia, Bhupendra Gangwer and Rajendra Devangan

Naxal bandh: 2 kidnapped, 4 buses and 2 trucks burnt

Press Trust of India

Raipur, May 21, 2006


Maoists on Sunday abducted two persons and burnt six vehicles, including four buses, in Bastar region on the first day of their two-day Chhattisgarh bandh.

The Maoists stopped four buses and two trucks near Birla village of Errabore police station area of Dantewada district, about 500 km from the state capital, and set them on fire, Dantewada police sources said.

Out of the four buses, two are from Andhra Pradesh and one each from Raipur and Jagdalpur in the State, the sources said adding the Maoists first asked all the passengers to come out of the vehicles and then set them on fire for 'violating' the bandh call.

Among the passengers from the four buses, two persons were also abducted by the Naxals and taken with them to the nearby jungle. Police parties are searching the area to trace them, they added.

The Maoists attacked the installations like NMDC and ESSAR Steel's Iron Ore plants in Dantewada district on Saturday to disrupt work during bandh and to disrupt iron ore transportation from Bailadila area of the district. The rebels also removed the joints of a railway track causing derailment of a goods train.

Maoists have given the bandh call to oppose the Salwa Judum (peace campaign against the Naxalites with support of government) and the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, which they termed as a POTA-like Act. The bandh received mixed response.

The Maoists have also opposed the privatisation of BALCO, and investment proposal of TATA, ESSAR and Reliance in the State

Curb Naxalism with iron hand: Parliament panel

PTI
Sunday, May 21, 2006 11:50 IST


NEW DELHI: Voicing serious concern over growing influence of Naxalism across the country, a Parliamentary Committee has said it is no more a law and order problem but posed a threat to internal security and asked the Government to curb it with an iron hand.

"It is no more a law and order problem but poses a threat to internal security as is evident from their declaration of Compact Revolutionary Zone or red corridor from Nepal to Tamil Nadu, almost a third of the country's total area," the Standing Committee on Home Affairs, headed by Sushma Swaraj, said in its report tabled in Parliament.

It quoted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's observation at a meeting of Chief Ministers of Naxal-affected states last month that "...it would not not be an exaggeration to say that the problem of Naxalism is the single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country."

The 30-member Committee of MPs from both Houses including BJP leader L K Advani, said "there is, therefore, an urgent need to curb the Naxal activities with an iron hand and simultaneously adddress the associated eonomic problem."

The committee said on Friday that there is need for more seriousness in implementing the programmes for developing the infrastructure in the affected districts, to improve the economic conditions of the people and winning back the confidence of those who are alienated from the mainstream of the society and are aligning with the Naxalites.

The present strength of armed Naxalite cadres is around 7,200 and Naxal violence was reported from 509 police stations last year as against 517 in 2004 and 518 in 2003, according to information furnished to it by the Union Home Ministry.

Naxalism a threat to internal security: Par Committee

NEW DELHI, MAY 21 (PTI)

Voicing serious concern over "growing influence" of Naxalism across the country, a Parliamentary Committee has said it is "no more" a law and order problem but posed a threat to internal security and asked the Government to curb it with an "iron hand".

"It is no more a law and order problem but poses a threat to internal security as is evident from their declaration of Compact Revolutionary Zone or red corridor from Nepal to Tamil Nadu, almost a third of the country's total area," the Standing Committee on Home Affairs, headed by Sushma Swaraj, said in its report tabled in Parliament.

It quoted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's observation at a meeting of Chief Ministers of Naxal-affected states last month that "...it would not not be an exaggeration to say that the problem of Naxalism is the single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country." The 30-member Committee of MPs from both Houses including BJP leader L K Advani, said "there is, therefore, an urgent need to curb the Naxal activities with an iron hand and simultaneously adddress the associated eonomic problem." The Committee said on Friday that there is need for more seriousness in implementing the programmes for developing the infrastructure in the affected districts, to improve the economic conditions of the people and winning back the confidence of those who are alienated from the mainstream of the society and are aligning with the Naxalites.

The present strength of armed Naxalite cadres is around 7,200 and Naxal violence was reported from 509 police stations last year as against 517 in 2004 and 518 in 2003, according to information furnished to it by the Union Home Ministry.

Overall, parts of 76 disticts in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal, though in varying degrees, have been affected by Naxal violence.

Naxals have also been trying to increase their influence and activity in parts of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Uttaranchal.

The Home Ministry, in its performance budget, has attributed the increase in Naxal violence and deaths in Andhra Pradesh to the unilateral withdrawal by Naxalites from the peace talks (with the state government in 2004) and consequent stepping up of violent activities by them.

In Chhattisgarh, the violence has been due to resistance being put up by activists of 'Salva Judum', an anti-Naxalite movement, and the efforts of the security forces to dislodge the ultras from their strongholds.

Increased violence in Maharashtra, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Karnataka was indicative of the increased military capabilities of CPI (Maoists) in these areas, according to the report.

Recalling its earlier reports, the Parliamentary Committee said it had been impressed upon the Home Ministry to adopt a holistic apprach in tackling the Naxal menace and made fresh plea to it to evolve ways to this effect.

Giving its reaction to the developments, the Ministry had told the Committee that Government viewed Naxal menace as a matter of serious concern and was adopting a multi-pronged approach to address the problem on political, security and development fronts in a coordinated manner.

Operation Robin Hood begins in Chhattisgarh : Major crackdown Naxal Crackdown

BHARTI JAIN

TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2006 02:16:37 AM]

NEW DELHI: In A major crackdown aimed at tackling the Left-wing extremists in their own dens, the Chhattisgarh police and Central forces have started combing the forests in Dantewada and Abujmarh regions as part of surgical strikes against extremist camps and hideouts there.


TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2006 02:16:37 AM]

NEW DELHI: In A major crackdown aimed at tackling the Left-wing extremists in their own dens, the Chhattisgarh police and Central forces have started combing the forests in Dantewada and Abujmarh regions as part of surgical strikes against extremist camps and hideouts there.

The counter-offensive, as per an operational blueprint drawn up by the Chhattisgarh government to counter the surge in Naxal violence in the state, will cover only a small patch of forest at a time.

The state police, in consultation with the Union home ministry, have identified the blocks to be covered one by one on the basis of intelligence inputs regarding the hideouts and training camps of the Naxalites. The purpose of concentrating the intelligence-based counter-operations in a limited patch at a time is aimed at maximising area domination as well as ensuring foolproof dismantling of the Naxalites’ infrastructure.

The forces deployed for the surgical strikes in Chattisgarh will essentially move on foot to avoid the IEDs and landmines that are known to dot the approach route to Naxalite strongholds. Although helicopters will be involved in the exercise, their use will be limited to evacuation of security personnel in case of injuries or other emergencies.

The decision not to para-drop the anti-Naxal special forces into the jungles was taken keeping in mind that helicopters would make them conspicuous and thus go against the forces’ plans to beat the Naxalites at their own game by replicating their guerrilla tactics.

It was at the meeting of a co-ordination panel on Left-wing extremism chaired by Union home secretary VK Duggal last month that the need for sustained operations against Naxalites in Chattisgarh was underlined. Although Left wing extremism-related incidents have fallen across the country, Chattisgarh has registered a sharp spurt in Naxal attacks of late.

So much so, the number of incidents until April this year have outnumbered the total incidents recored in 2005. Also, killings have gone up ten-fold in the first four months of this year as compared to the corresponding period of last year.

The surge in violence in Chattisgarh is widely attributed to the ongoing public awakening movement against Naxalites, popularly known as Salwa Judoom. With the state police and Central forces unable to balance the spread of Salwa Judoom movement with a foolproof policing backup, the extremists have taken to targetting the activists.

At the coordination centre meeting last month, a consenus emerged in favour of intelligence-based counter-operations in Chattisgarh to tackle the heightened Naxal menace.

The combing of the Naxalites’ jungle strongholds followed by their sanitisation in the coming days will be a prelude to putting in place a proper administrative and policing set-up there to avert the return of extremists.

Given that it may take a lot of effort and time to bring down the Naxalites’ infrastructure, the operation is part of a long-term plan to free the jungles of extremists and replace their violence-supporting infrastructure with development infrastructure.

This would essentially involved setting up of communications network, laying of roads to minimise the risk of landmines and bringing the isolated tribals into the mainstream by reaching to them services like health, education and sanitation, besides giving them employment under various job schemes.
The counter-offensive, as per an operational blueprint drawn up by the Chhattisgarh government to counter the surge in Naxal violence in the state, will cover only a small patch of forest at a time.

The state police, in consultation with the Union home ministry, have identified the blocks to be covered one by one on the basis of intelligence inputs regarding the hideouts and training camps of the Naxalites. The purpose of concentrating the intelligence-based counter-operations in a limited patch at a time is aimed at maximising area domination as well as ensuring foolproof dismantling of the Naxalites’ infrastructure.

The forces deployed for the surgical strikes in Chattisgarh will essentially move on foot to avoid the IEDs and landmines that are known to dot the approach route to Naxalite strongholds. Although helicopters will be involved in the exercise, their use will be limited to evacuation of security personnel in case of injuries or other emergencies.

The decision not to para-drop the anti-Naxal special forces into the jungles was taken keeping in mind that helicopters would make them conspicuous and thus go against the forces’ plans to beat the Naxalites at their own game by replicating their guerrilla tactics.

It was at the meeting of a co-ordination panel on Left-wing extremism chaired by Union home secretary VK Duggal last month that the need for sustained operations against Naxalites in Chattisgarh was underlined. Although Left wing extremism-related incidents have fallen across the country, Chattisgarh has registered a sharp spurt in Naxal attacks of late.

So much so, the number of incidents until April this year have outnumbered the total incidents recored in 2005. Also, killings have gone up ten-fold in the first four months of this year as compared to the corresponding period of last year.

The surge in violence in Chattisgarh is widely attributed to the ongoing public awakening movement against Naxalites, popularly known as Salwa Judoom. With the state police and Central forces unable to balance the spread of Salwa Judoom movement with a foolproof policing backup, the extremists have taken to targetting the activists.

At the coordination centre meeting last month, a consenus emerged in favour of intelligence-based counter-operations in Chattisgarh to tackle the heightened Naxal menace.

The combing of the Naxalites’ jungle strongholds followed by their sanitisation in the coming days will be a prelude to putting in place a proper administrative and policing set-up there to avert the return of extremists.

Given that it may take a lot of effort and time to bring down the Naxalites’ infrastructure, the operation is part of a long-term plan to free the jungles of extremists and replace their violence-supporting infrastructure with development infrastructure.

This would essentially involved setting up of communications network, laying of roads to minimise the risk of landmines and bringing the isolated tribals into the mainstream by reaching to them services like health, education and sanitation, besides giving them employment under various job schemes.

4 killed in Chhattisgarh naxal attack

Friday, 19 May , 2006, 23:38
Raipur: Four persons were killed on Friday and three others injured in separate incidents of Maoists-related violence in Naxal-infested Bastar region and Rajnandgaon areas of Chhattisgarh, police said.



A body was recovered in Chindpal village of Badgaon police station area in Kanker district, about 200 km from the state capital by police, Kanker district Superintendent of Police Pradeep Gupta said.

When a police party was trying to shift the body, landmines attached to the body blew up, injuring two policemen seriously. They were airlifted to Raipur for treatment, Gupta said.

In another incident, some armed Naxalites beat to death a villager of Bansari, about 100 km from here, under Ambagarh police station of Rajnandgaon district, Rajnandgaon police said.

Maoists killed a person in Pandey Para, about 550 km from here, and in another case in the same Bhairamgarh police station area of Bijapur police district one villager was shot dead and another injured by the Maoists, police sources said.