Saturday, July 08, 2006

Indian-owned Nepal hotel to reopen with Maoist push

By Sudeshna Sarkar, Indo-Asian News Service

Kathmandu, July 8 (IANS) A legendary Kathmandu hotel once associated with a Russian visionary and now owned by Indian businessman Radheshyam Saraf is to reopen after its closure in December - after a Maoist push.



The Yak and Yeti, which metamorphosed into a luxury hotel in the 1970s from a restaurant of the same name run by Boris Lissanevitch, a Russian ballet dancer, hunter and hotelier extraordinaire, closed down in December following heavy losses, capped by a dispute between the management and the employees union.

The premier hotel plans to reopen Aug 1 after the Maoist trade union played a major role in giving it a helping hand.

The hotel has played host to former Indian prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, Spain's King Carlos, Hollywood superstar Ingrid Bergman and several international celebrities.

Earlier, the management signed an agreement with the authorised union to reopen the hotel in March but the pact could not be put into action due to political upheaval in the country and falling tourism.

When the royal regime fell in April, the new government of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala took up the issue and asked the hotel to reopen. But the hotel remained closed.

With the new government calling a truce with Maoist guerrillas and the latter coming overground, their once-banned trade union began flexing their muscles in Kathmandu and wanted to enter into negotiations.

A fresh agreement was finally effected last month resulting in the Maoist union lending a helping hand in reopening the hotel.

One of the two approach roads to the hotel was recently walled off by a Nepali company in the neighbourhood, the Nepal Industrial Development Corp, claiming the land belonged to it.

'The road was crucial for operating the hotel,' the hotel's corporate affairs president told the state media. 'Though we agreed to pay rent for using the road, the corporation rejected our request.'

However, following an increase in the Maoist clout in the capital, the rebel union engineered the demolition of the wall.

With the last bottleneck gone, the hotel plans to reopen Aug 1, though on a smaller scale.

In the beginning, only 50 percent of the rooms would be operational and trimmings like the health club would remain suspended.

Copyright Indo-Asian News Service

Mr Bechara

Being an inherently inexact science, politics rarely allows its practitioners the luxury of identifying an inflexion point. By its standards then, Thursday, July 6, must have been an astonishing aberration - it was the day when the authority of the Manmohan Singh Government slipped below critical point.



Why did the DMK's successful attempt at blackmail - "Drop disinvestment plans for Neyveli Lignite or we withdraw from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)" - end up giving India its first significant lame duck prime ministry since IK Gujral assumed office in April 1997?



The reasons had nothing to do with the proposal to sell 10 percent of Union government equity in a coal company located near the Tamil city of Cuddalore; indeed, they had little to do with economics. Manmohan Singh found himself in a chakravyuh designed by successive circles of political intrigue.



Till this past week, Manmohan was being attacked and assailed either by his own Congress colleagues - HRD Minister Arjun Singh took unilateralist postures on OBC quotas; Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz sought to shut-down the Narmada project; Home Minister Shivraj Patil kept the Prime Minister "in the dark" over the swearing-in of a minority JMM government in Jharkhand in 2005 - or was being called names by the Communists.



In recent days, there has been a shift in the nature of defiance. Junior allies have started taking liberties with prime ministerial privilege, and have begun testing the backbone of the Congress.



An early indicator came in June, when Sharad Pawar, Agriculture Minister and NCP chief, backed Rahul Bajaj's candidature for a Rajya Sabha by-election in Maharashtra. He joined hands with the Shiv Sena and the BJP, against a Congress nominee. Then came the Dravida double whammy.



Two messages in Tamil



In July, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss - from the OBC-backed PMK in Tamil Nadu - sought to sack cardiac surgeon P Venugopal as director of the Delhi-based All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The Prime Minister could do little as Venugopal was first turfed out by a single-minded minister and then reinstated (for the moment) by the Delhi High Court.



Usually silencer-challenged, Congress spokesman Rajeev Shukla insisted the party had no position on the issue, it being a matter exclusively between the Health Ministry and AIIMS. He may as well have said that allied ministers were a law unto themselves, empowered by the political equivalent of Article 370.



AIIMS is, of course, a Delhi institution, more than, frankly, an everyday presence in the lives of people across the country. Yet this is the first port of call of ministers, politicians, VIPs, SIPs (self-important persons) when they take ill. As such it is the type of Capital showpiece that has traditionally been the national party's preserve in a coalition government.



Regional parties have usually left these symbolic power or patronage centres alone. For instance, the JD(U) was obsessed with Bihar when it was part of the NDA government, but had no strong views on, say, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. Likewise, the Telugu Desam wasn't interested in who the BJP appointed to the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.



The writ of the national party was allowed to run in "national institutions" in the Capital. Ramadoss ended this compact by making AIIMS his playground, by keeping the Congress out of the loop and by allowing his party back home to proclaim it had sidelined a Brahmin medico-administrator.



The DMK responded with even bigger theatre. Environment Minister A Raja and Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, had been part of a cabinet meeting that had discussed the 10 percent divestment in Neyveli Lignite but now reneged.



Urged on by their party leader, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi in Chennai, they asked the Prime Minister to revoke the decision, refused compromise talks with Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Finance Minister P Chidambaram. In a matter of hours, Manmohan rolled over and rolled back - not just Neyveli but also all disinvestment was off.



Politically, it sent out a clear and sharp signal: this Prime Minister and his party were very, very vulnerable to threat and coercion. The Congress showed no stomach. As such, the Government had compromised its capacity to take not just hard decisions, but any sort of enlightened decision. It was now, as the BJP put it, "a Congress-led Third Front Government".



The perfect zero



While Terrible Thursday may mark a turning point for the Manmohan interlude in Indian history, the Prime Minister's functional autonomy was actually eroded step by step, month by month. Today, the UPA arrangement that Manmohan nominally presides over is a sum of just so many competing interests that cancel each other that; on crucial issues of public policy, it simply can't move.



Begin with economic reforms, already being spoken of in the past tense. The Prime Minister and his finance minister could never privatise, and can now not even divest. FDI (in areas such as retail) has been effectively blocked, labour laws remain irredeemable. In the Union government, the Left view is now more accepted than at any time since 1991.



This regime has been accompanied by manic public spending in populist schemes such as the Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, part of the "leakages" from which will probably fund Congress election campaigns. Chidambaram needs money for all this. Without divestment, all he can do is raise taxes, an inevitability in the 2007-08 budget, as things stand.



What will that do to business sentiment? India will still grow at 6.5-7.5 percent - which has become a low-hanging fruit - but consistent 10-12 percent GDP growth, which would pose a genuine challenge to China, will be a future government's burden. This one's given up the fight.



Move to foreign policy, which doesn't usually affect domestic discourse but, in Manmohan's case, has. The Prime Minister's legacy will be shaped by the nuclear deal with the United States, an agreement entirely in India's interest but scarcely an election winner. On its part, the Congress appears almost embarrassed by the deal, unwilling to take political ownership so as not to end up applauding an accidental, "non-Dynasty" prime minister, and unsure how sections of Muslim society will react.



On America and in opposing Iran's nuclear weapons programme, Manmohan did the correct thing for the nation. Yet it is important to recognise he has expended his anyway limited political capital on ventures that will not, in the end, win him votes, and have left him susceptible to the Muslim-Left. The Congress' instinct will be to "make up" with desperate actions - alienating Israel, declaring undying love for Palestinian lost causes, coming up with one giveaway after the other to "appease" minorities, especially as the Uttar Pradesh elections draw close.



What this also means is that the Government's ability to take a tough line on jihadi terrorism - in Jammu and Kashmir, of course, but increasingly outside too, from Bangalore to Ayodhya - will be curtailed. The fiction that no Indians outside Kashmir have been indoctrinated or incorporated into "sleeper cells" will be maintained.



On the Maoist challenge, Nepal policy was, of course, outsourced to the CPI(M) and has produced a model that Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury will want replicated in India's "Naxalite corridor". In the best case scenario, this will mean limited police action. The worst case is too worrying to imagine.



So where does that leave Manmohan after the nuclear deal is signed and delivered, and the Nuclear Suppliers' Group assuaged? What is his utility to his party?



Multiple affront, Third Front



As the Cripple Manmohan Programme gathers steam, two questions emerge. One, is Manmohan going to last as prime minister? Two, is another election going to come before 2009? In Delhi, the tea leaves are being studied carefully.



On the morning of Friday, July 7, when the Prime Minister rushed out of a meeting with the cabinet secretary and drove in the direction of 10 Janpath, the rumour began that he was resigning. The Sensex fell, and it took a statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to quieten the buzz.



Nevertheless, sources in both the Congress and the PMO admit relations between Manmohan and his party are at a low. "Take the case of Neyveli Lignite," says one observer, "the DMK asked for one company's divestment to be put off, the Prime Minister announced a moratorium on all divestment. Why?" The implication was that he had reached out to his party leadership for support, been rebuffed and reacted in pique.



In the Congress itself, alternative names are doing the rounds in case Manmohan is to be made the fall guy. Pranab Mukherjee is seen as a front-runner, but if the accent is still on lightweights, AK Antony and Sushil Shinde, who has the additional advantage of being a Dalit, are also being spoken of.



The prospect of a mid-term election is tricky to speculate upon. There is a creeping realisation that the Congress will end up carrying the can for the UPA's shortcomings. Take the recent spurt in food prices. Sharad Pawar has been conveniently out of the country and out of the public gaze, while the Congress takes the flak, blames the NDA and privately tells its spokespersons not to attack the Agriculture Minister because he is an ally. "I'm getting very mixed signals from the party," complains a Congress office bearer.



The Congress is doing its utmost to insulate itself from its own Government. The Left is quite obviously working on discrediting the Congress and on a Third Front arrangement that, after a future election, it can micro-manage. Pawar may be looking to present himself as a non-Congress, non-Left elder statesman, "a sort of latter-day Atal Bihari Vajpayee", as one senior politician puts it, who could become prime minister in an NDA type of coalition.



In this situation - "with the Congress and CPI(M) competing for opposition space", as one bureaucrat describes it - guessing time-tables and government longevities is like negotiating a minefield. The hidden explosives are for Manmohan Singh to find.

"Social activists"??? for withdrawal of ban on Maoists

Are these social activists are Ant-Social , barbaric activists in the guise of Social clothing ??? PUBLIC SHOULD QUESION THESE ORGANIZATIONS AND FLAG THEM FOR THEIR BLATANT NAXAL SUPPORT
ORGANIZATIONS and Individuals :GROUP Biswapriya Kanungo, Babita Rath, Prasant Paikray, Rabindranath Sahoo, Isa Mishra of Delhi university, Biswajit Roy of Rastriya Yuva Sangathan

Statesman News Service
BHUBANESWAR, July 7: A group of social activists and lawyers today petitioned chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik, seeking withdrawal of the government decision to outlaw CPI (Maoist) and seven other organisations.
In a letter released here today, the group comprising Biswapriya Kanungo, Babita Rath, Prasant Paikray, Rabindranath Sahoo, Isa Mishra of Delhi university, Biswajit Roy of Rastriya Yuva Sangathan and several others said the Indian Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1908 was a British law to suppress public opinion and democratic struggle.

The same should not be invoked in Independent India, they observed.

They further stated that the provisions of the Act which had been invoked by the Orissa government has already been declared ultra vires by the Supreme Court in a case of state of Madras vs V G Row.

The ban order is also a deviation from the state government’s declared stand of considering Naxalism as a socio-economic problem, they noted before pointing out that the late Biju Patnaik had declared himself as a “true Naxalite”.

“We urge the government to appreciate that neither Naxalism nor struggles to protect means of livelihood should be treated as law and order problems,” they submitted.
They requested the chief minister to withdraw the “anti-democratic and illegal order” and refrain from oppressing people who struggle to earn a livelihood. <<<<<>>>

Coordination Centre meet on naxalism on July 21

Press Trust of India

New Delhi, July 7, 2006



The next meeting of the Coordination Centre on Naxal violence will be held in Bhubaneshwar later this month where the various strategies formulated by both Centre and the states to deal with the menace will come up for review.
The meeting, to be chaired by Home Secretary VK Duggal, will be held on July 21 and will be attended among others by senior officials from six severely naxalite-hit states, Home Ministry sources today said.

The problem of ultra-left violence is severe in six states and since Orissa is one of them, the quarterly review meeting will be held this time in Bhubaneshwar, sources said.

Keeping in view the overall dimensions of naxalite activities, a high-level Coordination Centre, headed by the Union Home Secretary, was set up in 1998 to coordinate with naxal-hit states steps taken to control naxalite activities.

The Government has declared a multi-pronged strategy to deal with the naxal menace and has adopted a proposal for employing retired Army officers to train state police forces in mine clearance operations in affected states.

Naxalite-affected states include Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh.

The Centre also feels that political parties must strengthen their cadre base in naxal-affected areas to wean away the youth from the ideology of the ultras and has ruled out any dialogue unless the militant groups agreed to give up violence.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Three-year threatening drama ends, 5 held

Friday July 7 2006 00:00 IST

DHARMAPURI: Dharmapuri VIPs heaved a sigh of relief and thanked the Police department that put an end to the ‘three-year-long threatening drama‘ by arresting a five-member gang on Wednesday night.

According to police, some VIPs of Dharmapuri had been receiving anonymous phone calls and letters, containing some threat, demanding a sum of Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh, according to the capacity of the receiver, during 2002-03. These calls were made in to the name of Naxalites.

In an attempt to make people take the threats seriously, they planted some explosive substances in a private bus in 2003. As many as 20 persons, including seven doctors, had preferred complaints with Dharmapuri police about the threats.

Based on the complaints, police protection had also been deployed for a minimum of six months to the VIPs in the city. Police teams were formed to nab the culprits.

Meanwhile, another VIP of Dharmapuri who ran a group of businesses had received an anonymous threat demanding Rs 2 lakh. Based on his complaint, the Dharmapuri SP ordered the Naxal Special Duty (NSD) Wing police to trace out the other end.

A team led by NSD wing traced out the culprits on Wednesday and arrested the gang leader K Eswaran (36) of Weavers Colony in Dharmapuri. Based on the information received from him, the police arrested his associates G Thangaraj (36) of Ammapalayam, A Madhaiyan (50) of Matlampatti, M Muniappan (26) of Nagavathidam and P Venkatesan (56) of Vennampatti. All the five worked as electricians.

The arrested men admitted to having sent the threats in their confession statement to the police. Dharmapuri police registered a case and produced the five-member gang before the Magistrate after interrogation.

All the five were remanded and lodged in Salem Central Jail. Dharmapuri SP H M Jayaram appreciated the NSD team for their efforts in nabbing the culprits.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Salwa judum - Mad, Mindless, Brutal, Stupid...

Salwa judum - Mad, Mindless, Brutal, Stupid...

SOURCE: http://anoopsaha.blogspot.com/


After 20 years of nothingness, something is happenning in Dantewada, the southernmost district in Chhattisgarh, over the past one year. This is demonstrated by the remarkable increase in the number of search results of the term Dantewada on google. We are told by the state and its organs - the politicians, the police, the officials and the media, that the villagers have finally decided to get rid of the "naxaliye" once and for ever. It was propagated as a spontaneous uprising of the adivasis against the oppression by the maoists, it was said that this is a peace movement to defeat the maoists, that the villagers were fed up with the pogrom and violence unleashed by the red rebels. After reading a favourable report in the frontline, I found it as an excellent concept as I had no kind feelings for the maoist. At that time there were around 15000 adivasis staying in camps, because of brutal retaliation by the maoist. The situation is anything but better now. There are an estimated 40000 adivasis in the camps now, their is a complete overturn of traditional social structure. Those who are dead are dead, and those who are alive have lost almost everything.

Last month I got a chance to visit some of the villages and camps, with the Independent citizens initiative that had gone there to investigate the whole scenario. There, I saw it in all its ugliness. Yes, the villagers were complaining about naxal atttocities, the SPO's were all ready to kill them, and local leaders were glorifying the campaign. But beyond it all, there lies severe perversion, the effects of which will be permanent. Taking sides is not always a pleasant thing to do, and especially when you are forced to do so and risk your life and property because of that, there lies impending doom.


Dantewada now resembles those strife-torn African countries (I was reminded of Sierra Leone in particular), we see in movies and documentaries. We see those images in our drawing rooms, do the obligatory tch-tch-very-sad and move on, realising little that such a sorry spectacle represents the current state of the very heart of the country. In the remote areas of Dantewada, everybody is killing and killing is everywhere.




Let's do a background check first. The naxals, around 25 of them, first arrived in Dandakaranya in mid 80s. Their motivation ranged from empowerment of adivasi masses to establishing a safe haven, a liberated zone from where the eventual brush with the mighty state will take place. Not only did they find immediate support among the tribals but also found here a fertile ground for recruitment and support of their revolutionary ideology. The reds were able to establish a parallel government of their own, long before the state realised about it. They have a name for it as well, Janatana Sarkar they call it. This process of establishing a parallel state was not without its own set of troubles, but more on that later.


When there is a change, there is bound to be dissatisfaction in some sections. The fact the everybody was poor in the Dantewada district is no consolation. The maoists were successful in alienating a small section of the villagers. Most of them were existing land-owners whose land were re-distributed, or the traditional authorities of sarpanches and village headmen. The maoist also came down very hard on anyone they suspected to be working for the mainstream political parties. Though there is an unwritten agreement with the administration that "Shiksha and swasthya" personnel will not be harmed in their influence zone, even they were occasionally attacked. These measures, and the fact that the leadership even at village level, were entirely telugu-speaking people from Andhra, were the seeds that eventually bore the monster of Salwa Judum.


Nobody is sure, how Salwa judum started in the first place. I have heard three different versions from the collector and from the people. The most common one is that a group of villagers rebelled against the maoist in the village Ambeli after they put in a ban on "tendu patta sangrahan", and this quickly turned into a spontaneous uprising of the adivasi masses against the 'naxaliye'. One theory suggests that Salwa Judum was originally planned by the CG police and the army top brass as a 'new experiment' of fighting leftwing extrimism by arming those that they claim to represent. The evidence of past one year strongly points to this possibility. A third theory tells us about a village teacher in Kutru, who led the first revolt.


The movement had three phases. First was to organise mass protests with the help of administration against the naxaliye. This was typically done by identifying target villages, organise meetings and forcing the villagers to attend those meetings. The 'you are with us or against us' theory was put into practise, fines were placed on the families for not attending the meetings. (the usual fine was Rs. 400, a huge sum in these parts, for missing each meeting) The meetings, were attended and addressed by the local politicians, most notably Mahendra Karma who is the congress MLA representing this region, and the officials, the villagers will pledge to get rid of the 'naxaliye', and then march on the processions. The processions, mostly led by non-adivasis, moved to the villages and torched the non-conforming villager's homes and fields, killed the village sangham members, and moved on. The retaliation by the naxals was swift and brutal. This was the second phase. They had never foreseen such kind of situation, and had no idea how to deal with it. They took the easiest way out of eliminating the so called 'class enemies', realising little that this will eventually legitimise the judum actions. Unable to accept their mistakes in the past, they started killing those who attended the meetings, many villagers were sentenced to death in those kangaroo 'janata' courts, where only the telugu-speaking people do most of the talking. The third phase was the dangerous 'strategic hamletting' of the villagers, used in the past by the Indian army in the north east. Entire population was shifted to the roadside camps, special police officers were trained to combat the maoists and provided rudimentary arms, a stipend and the desire to kill. Central forces were called in and there began a full fledged civil war. The social structure of tribal life was demolished, the hats were closed, the schools turned into military camps, and there started a 'fight to finish'.

It is almost ten months since then. The attrocities committed in the past by the Judum gangs has been chronicled elsewhere. Let me focus on the present and the future of it. What does a gun do to a man's psyche? A gun, any gun, even a rusted 303 that will never work, gives the holder a sense of immense power. That's what has happenned here. There began the loot of ordinary people. Travelling in and around Dantewada has become a dangerous activity now. Not only are there check posts manned by SPO's and judum leaders every 10 kilometers, the travellers are frequently harrassed to shell out money. Eminent Prof. Nandini Sundar, who was part of the independent citizens initiative, and a leading researcher on tribal life was robbed of her camera. Ramchandra Guha, eminent author and historian, also a member of the group was branded as a 'naxalite' and had to deal with a rough drunken mob. While travelling from Dantewada to Bijapur, it is advisable to carry loads of money to be given whenever demanded. Don't be surprised when somebody comes up claiming that he has seen you with the maoists and realises his mistake only after administering a few slaps on you. These things are now daily occurence in the entire district of Dantewada. The law and order apparatus has been outsourced to rudimentary SPO's and in the process lawlessness has a free run here.

But what about the villagers? What about the camps? Most of the villagers staying in the camps want to return back to their homes. Many of them have already gone back. Almost 300 families from Jangla camp have returned, leavingbehind around 50 of them. Going back means return to their fields and their earlier way of life, going back means getting back to the cattles that were left behind, going back means reuniting with the family members who are left behind. But they are very afraid and have reason to be so. Going back also means facing the wrath of the naxals, going back also means coming to terms with those villagers whose houses they burnt while as a mob. This is an impossible situation to be in. In the camps, they live under single plastic sheets, which gets flooded whenever it rains (and Bastar receives heavy rainfall)The state government has allotted them pucca houses on the roadside. These are small one room houses, they had built themselves using the material provided. Chief minister Raman Singh claims that these are temporary measures, and the villagers will go back once the war is over, which according to the chief protagonist Mahendra Karma will stretch for the next 3 years. They meet their ends by working as coolies and daily labourers. Of course they are paid much less than the minimum wages. Their land in the villages remain untilled this year, and they will remain coolies for pretty much rest of their lives (that is till the maoists descend on the camps)


Salwa Judoom did benefit a certain section. That of non-adivasi and adivasi netas, who now sit on large amount of funds granted for 'development' of the region. No surprises at guessing where all these funds go to. Who will tell the state government that it is sixty years too late in implementing these measures? Who will tell the state that mere allocation of funds without implementation of the projects is not going to help? While I travelled, the only thing that is going on effectively here is building of roads by BRO. Roads will come handy when the actual offensive against the extremists take place by the Indian army. Schools, hospitals, anganwadi, sustainable development models can wait. Just like they waited for last 60 years.

The question that comes to mind is why is it happenning? What has blinded our politicians that they simply refuse to see the danger that lurks here. Incidentally, while the salwa judum was in its initial stages, another very significant development took place in Chhattisgarh. The Raman Singh government signed MOUs with the tatas, the essars, the jindals for steel plant in Bastar and Dantewada, the maoist infested regions with rich natural resources. Elsewhere, these industrial setups in tribal regions were beset with problems of land grabbing and false promises. Till now I have not hit upon any study that hints at a correlation between the Salwa Judum and the industrialization, though the fact that none of these MOU's were made public even after several RTI applications makes the whole business slightly fishy. Whether the salwa judum was nothing but a way to preempt any opposition from locals to these large plants is yet to be proven. I sincerely hope that is not the case, as that will prove that it is the business houses that are now dictating everything from counter insurgency to social restructuring.

Salwa judum, literally a peace movement, is anything but that. Here peace is gloated down the throat using guns and daggers. This peace movement that focusses on silencing any opposition, that has the entire political spectrum blind to the massacres. In the Jangla camp of surrendered naxalites, I met Manku. Manku is a ex-Bal Sangham member, barely 13 years old, who surrendered to the police. He was shaking with fear while I talked to him. On being friendlier, he said in broken english that he loves bicycles and dreams of owning one. When will the Manku's of Dantewada be able to live their dreams? Or is he going to be another 'anonymous' name in the register of the dead, fighting a war he, just like most of us, don't know anything about.

Is there a solution? I have a distant dream of both the state and the maoist leadership acknowleding their mistakes and coming to an understanding that innocents will not be harmed, that the salwa judum will be disbanded, and villagers be allowed to return to their homes. A 'distant' dream.



Naxalism and Salwa Judum



SOURCE: http://anoopsaha.blogspot.com/

For the uninitiated, Salwa Judum is a peace movement currently sweeping across south Bastar. Salwa Judum means the path for peace in local language. It is headed by the local MLA and leader of opposition in Chhattisgarh assembly, Mr. Mahendra Karma. Salwa Judum is an anti-naxal movement started by tribals and villagers. This has taken a nasty turn lately, with maoists reacting extremely ruthlessly against those participating in Salwa Judum meetings and the activists in turn getting hard on maoist sympathesizers.
For more details do a google search on "salwa judum" or visit http://naxalwatch.blogspot.com/

Recently a group of human rights activists visited Dantewada district and came out with a report strongly critical of Salwa Judum and its activities. Here, I don't dispute their findings, but point out the limitations in the report. I have also added my comments on some other issues affecting Bastar as a whole.

The press release ignores the fact that Salwa Zudum was first coined and actually started as a peace movement by a school teacher in Bijapur. We heard about it years back when I was still in college. It gained in momentum when maoists put a ban on 'tendu patta sangrahan' by adivasis, threatening their few measures of earning a livelihod. That the maoists did not provide an alternative and freely allowed some contractors to collect tendu-patta did not help matters.

Anyways, the originators of Salwa Zudum were sidelined compltely by politicians and its agenda is hijacked by the administration. It was not a state-managed show initially. Mr. Mahendra Karma was first to realise its potential, and tapped it for his own elctoral gains. The administration was a little slow in realising that something is brewing up. And when they did, CG government have found a potent weapon to fight those who fight the state. The weapon is life and livelihood of thousands to adivasis. And human rights activists and civil society in the other India realises it now, when the situation has gone out of control. In between all this, there are 30000 people living in camps in conditions worse than most of us can imagine (probably forever), and in between all this are 500 people (the official figure of 70 not being disputed in your report is surprising) who are gunned down by maoists, and in between all this is the very fabric of the tribal society. More on that later. First things first.

Why is there a demand to the maoists to give details of the people killed by them? Are we trying to compartmentalize the dead? Are we trying to imply that some of the dead are should-be-dead and some are not. We have to realise that there is nobody, absolutely nobody, who belongs to the not-good-to-be-alive category. A policeman, a policeman's family, a health worker, a teacher, an aanganwadi worker, a salwa-zudoom supporter, a maoist, all have a right to live, and no one, including the security forces and maoists can take that away from them. We, especially the proponents of human rights, should realise that we cannot divide the dead into good-dead and the bad-dead. Any such report must unequivocally condemn the killing of human beings by maoists. There is no excuse to take human lives.

I would love to give you examples. Last time I went to Dantewada, there was this person who was killed by the maoists the day before. He was a salwa zudoom supporter and by fearing reprisal, had taken shelter in a camp near Raipur. He left his family in his village and had on that day come there to visit his family. He was supposed to leave the very same day but was killed before that. Now, he was a father-of-three, husband-of-a-woman, brother-of-another, and son-of-yet-another. Did he deserve to die? Even if he was not a father of three, and all those, did he deserve to die? I would love to give you more examples. There was a doctor who was gunned down by maoists (yes, they acknowledged it and it was not a story fabricated by police) around 30 km from Konta. Yes, the doctor was "foolish enough" to take a police escort while visiing Konta. Maoists killed him and three other policemen. Did he deserve to die? There were a couple of contractors who were building a road from Dantewada to Nakulnar, despite warnings by maoists. They were killed. There was a young shiksha-karmi who was brutally beaten up in Sukma by maoists. I don't know the reason, neither did I try to find out because when I saw him in Bacheli hospital I could not think of any reason good enough to justify such a beating. A young panchayat sarpanch was gunned down last year by maoists. The salwa-judoom was in its initial stages at that time. Did any of them deserve to die?

Back in 1995, when I was in school, I was going to Hyderabad to see a doctor, as there qwere no good hospital 500 km from Dantewada. It was a APSRTC bus. 30 km before Bhadrachallam some masked men signalled the bus to stop. The driver ignored them thinking that the instruction from his bosses were good enough to save his life. But he had to stop after 500 mts. as they had cut the trees on the road. And then I saw around 30 well-fed men beating a single-hapless-driver and a single-hapless-conductor. Nobody was bold enough to stop them. I cried. They burnt the bus and said that another bus is coming, removed the logs from the road, of course ensured that the passengers and their belongings are safe, and left the driver and conductor to die. They must have died in a day or two. Did they deserve to die? How can someone witness such a scene and then not hate maoists for what they do?

Naxalism must not be supported because they kill people. 'We don't kill innocent people' is their refrain. But anyone who supports their methods has to realise that there is no one not-innocent enough to be killed. Killing cannot be an answer to anything. That is rule number zero of life.

Now coming back to the report. It claims that the Salwa-judoom has forced adivasis to leave their home and land. I totally agree with you. Actually, it is the administration which is forcing them to relocate to those camps. The naga batallion claims to guard them, but in all measures use the women and kids as a human shield to guard themselves against potential maoist attacks. The condition of these camps are horrifying and thousands will die if blankets are not provided immediately. Mr. Karma won't do that. We will have to do that. But since when has India cared about its tribals, their lives and their livelihoods? I see a void here and was relying on your report to fill that space. I was surprised to see that despite 14 highly educated members visiting those camps at the onset of winter, there was no demand to improve the condition of those camps. That is the urgent requirement. Beleive me, the fact-finding team were best equipped to bring up this issue. And there should not be any delay in demanding urgent releif materials for them.

I don't think anyone can counter the fact that Salwa Judoom is there to stay. Administration has found its weapon. It might be a weapon of mass-destruction, but they won't abandon the project. The more maoists turn violent, the more they loose support among tribals. Salwa judoom would not have gained prominence had the maoists not reacted to it so violently right from the start. Now that the maoists have proved how much they respect adivasi lives and people opposing them, the government won't back down. They were able to break the backbone of the movement, but it would soon emerge again. Any such report, or national and international coverage will lead to the CG government abandoning it. People will continue living in those temporary shelter probably for years. 57 years of independence could not bring the adivasis peace, dignity, right to land and right to live. Nor will it be achived in the next few years. It would be naive to beleive that naxalites are fighting for the people. They are not. They are fighting for an ideology. An ideology, that despite everything, suppresses dissent and beleives that torture and taking human lives is an answer to everything. When they see the exploitation of tribals by contractors and non-tribals, they see it not as a threat to the adivasis, but as an oppurtunity for them to promote their own ideology. And by asking the tribals to take up guns, instead of enlightening them about peacefully demanding their rights, they ensure that the government supports the exploiters. Where does all this lead to?

So, the debate should be how best to counter it. How best to improve the current situation? How best to turn this threat into an oppurtunity. Here, my personal opinion is that it should be the human rights activists who should lead a Salwa Zudoom kind of movement. A true peace movement, which abhors violence in any form. A movement, which should be strong enough to withstand violent attacks by either side. They should talk to the ground level symphathesizers of Salza Zudoom and impress upon him the importance of human lives. Impress upon them that they should not be puppets in the hands of either Mr. Karma or the government, or the maoists.

Maoists have a high degree of awareness quotient. When they visit a rural health center, you can find out if the person is a maoist by the way he talks. He woould ask 'why the doctor is not there' and demand his right in a confident voice. That confidence should be transferred to the villagers. Maoists can do it but won't, lest they loose their clout among villagers. Empowering villages and decentralization can achieve these goals. When adivasis demand for the basic services like health, education and livelihood, from the administration with conviction that would be an ideal situation.

Here I feel that it should not be the home ministry that is most actively involved in counter-naxalism. The department of panchayati raj should be the one leading it. Only true decentralization and micro-management of resources can be a long term solution to naxalism. Everything else is a temporary solution, maybe ephemeral. There should be specific reservation for adivasis (one from each family) in the industrial training institutes, and ensure that they get jobs in local mines and other industries. The steel plant near Dilmili is going to come up in near future. Despite all protests and processions, let's accept that it is going to come up. At least we can make sure that when it does come up, the local people and adivasis are the ones who are best equipped to gain from it. Here we should note that adivasis also deserve and want a better life. For those who argue that precious adivasi culture would be lost in this way, 'Culture bachane ka beeda hamesha gareebo and kamzoro par hi kyu padta hai, jab aisa chillane wale shaharo me achchi shiksha pakar araam se jee rahe hote hai'?

The salwa zudoom should be turned into an upliftment programme. It should be more than a fighting force and human armour. The camps can be made a homogenised unit, with training and examples set for local self-governance. With these people on the side of the administration, they should be imparted more skills. Advance farming methods should be taught to them and they should learn to grow non-traditional crops which give better revenue. Bastar landscape is ideal to grow mushroom and some ayurvedic herbs. Bastar art, the local art of craftsmanship, should be publicised nationally and internationally. Bastar has too much to give to this nation and local people is where it should start from. These camps can be centres to cultivate excellence, so that when they return to their homes they are better and empowered people. All this so that a ban on 'tendu-patta-sangrahan' does not threaten their life and existence in future.

The case of Narayan Sanyal and PUCL

Narayan Sanyal is the real name of Vijay, who is one of the top leaders of the CPI(Maoist). 70 year old Narayan alias Vijay has been evading arrest since last 40 years and considered as the thinking brain behind most of the naxal attacks, including the outrageous Jehanabad jail attack and the bid on the life of ex-CM of AP, M Chandrababu Naidu. Narayan was a strong beleiver in the unity of all maoist organizations, and was instrumental in the aquisition of MCC by PWG and formation of CPI(Maoist). He was also instrumental in preserving the violent character of the movement, and it was on his personal instructions that maoist are so brutal on anyone they suspect to be a police informer. He is said to be personally involved in the brutal beheading of around 20 villagers in Talimendrion village of Dantewada in 2001 because they participated in a government sponsored pulse polio drive for their children which the maoists had forbidden.

READ MORE
The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul: The case of Narayan Sanyal and PUCL

LeT ties up with Naxalites to earn sympathy

Bangalore, July 4: In what is being described by intelligence agencies as disturbing, the Pakistan-backed Lashkar-e-Tayyabba (LeT) has established a close rapport with the Naxalites operating in the backward Hyderabad-Karnataka region of the State.

“This is a master strategy adopted by the LeT to build sympathy among the Naxal supporters who are well versed with day-to-day developments in the region. The LeT hopes it will enable them to plan their activities accordingly and change strategies as and when required. Most Naxal sympathisers mingle easily with the weaker sections and downtrodden and the LeT hopes to make use of this to gain their sympathy. This nexus could pose a serious problem to internal security in future,” an intelligence officer told this newspaper.

Explaining the psychological and tactical advantage for the LeT from its nexus with the Naxals, a top intelligence official said, “Most members of LeT sleeper cells are also active Naxal sympathisers in Bellary, Raichur, Gulbarga and Bidar districts. If a crime is committed by the terrorist organisation, the police would find it difficult to pinpoint the culprit as a LeT activist could be a Naxal sympathiser, who would have a horde of intellectuals and organisations to support him. What is pertinent is that unlike the Naxals, no individual or organisation has spoken in support of the LeT till now. It may not be so in future.”

According to sources, the LeT, which is quick at setting up base in Muslim-dominated areas, has a three-dimensional advantage in Hyderabad-Karnataka. “Bellary, Bidar, Gulbarga and Raichur have large chunks of Muslim population and are also shelter zones for the Naxals from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. All these districts are also close to Hyderabad, which is the hub of the LeT’s Bangladesh module,” an official explained.

A LeT sleeper cell is a loosely knit body of individuals who are dormant and inconspicuous but provide logistical and psychological support to LeT members for a terrorist act. This was evident in the attack on a Delhi IIT professor, Prof. M.C. Puri at the Indian Institute of Science campus on December 28 last year. Though the city police has collected a lot of information about the extent of the LeT’s support-base in Karnataka, the assailant is still elusive.

Two Muslim youth held for supplying 14 pistols to Naxalites

Two Muslim youth held for supplying 14 pistols to Naxalites -- THIS SHOULD BE THE HEADING instead of "Two held in Delhi with 14 pistols" , it is understood that PTI under UPA government is under pressure from some quarters , it is time to expose the links between Radical Muslims and Naxalites .

[ Tuesday, July 04, 2006 10:44:51 am PTI ]

NEW DELHI: Two alleged arms suppliers to Naxalites were arrested from the New Delhi Railway Station late on Monday night and 14 pistols were recovered from their possession, a senior police official said on Tuesday.

Alladin and Nizamuddin, both residents of Meerut, UP, were arrested from platform number eight of the station by Crime Branch officials of Delhi Police, Additional Commissioner of Police Muktesh Chander said.

The duo was coming from Bihar and had seven pistols each as well as 28 magazines in their possession, he said.

They regularly supplied arms to Naxals, Chander said adding the pistols are locally manufactured but of good quality.

Chhattisgarh to coordinate with neighbours on Maoist menace

Raipur, July 6 (IANS) Chhattisgarh will set up three centres to coordinate intelligence inputs on Maoists with Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand aimed at tackling the Left wing extremists, an official said Thursday.

The Chhattisgarh government's decision follows the central government agreeing to provide Rs.64.2 million for setting up three coordination centres.


The centres will come up at Jagdalpur, headquarters of the Bastar region bordering Andhra Pradesh; Ambikapur, district headquarters of Surguja district on the border with Jharkhand; and Raipur, the Chhattisgarh state capital.

"These centres will help Chhattisgarh curb the spiralling Maoist violence by maintaining close touch with the two other Maoist-infested border states on the rebels' movement and their terror attacks," Director General of Police O.P. Rathor was quoted as saying in an official release Thursday.

The coordination centres will have over 30 lodging rooms for police officials besides a conference hall.

"The basic objective of the centres is to keep vigil on Maoist influx in Chhattisgarh's border areas, sharing intelligence inputs and to launch timely offensive against the rebels to dismantle their terror network," a senior home department official said.

"Chhattisgarh can contain 50 percent of the Maoist attacks if coordination among police forces of Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand is established," the official said.

The state has witnessed a spurt in Maoist attacks during the past year. According to police, rebels from Andhra Pradesh generally sneak into the bordering district of Dantewada, which is considered a rebel hotbed. After carrying out fatal attacks on police personnel or civilians they make a safe return to hideouts in Andhra.

Maoists, who claim they are fighting for the rights of landless workers and poor peasants, have killed at least 180 civilians this year in Chhattisgarh, the worst hit among the 13 Maoist-infected states in the country.

Explosives found in Kortakunda village

Thursday July 6 2006 12:54 IST

RAICHUR: The Naxal activity prevention squad found explosives in five pipe like structures, hidden in front of a community hall, in a hilly region in Kortakunda village, on Wednesday.

The squad has seized two 8x3 inch pipes and three 5x 2 inch pipes containing explosive material.

Kortakunda village and surrounding areas are located near the Naxal-prone areas of Andhra Pradesh. Frequent raids and encounters by police had checked Naxal activities in recent days. The presence of explosives on Wednesday has made the police alert.

Two special squads have been formed to search every nook and corner of the border villages. A case has been registered at Yapaldinni police station.

'Anti-Naxalite operation a farce, alleges police body

[ Thursday, July 06, 2006 03:18:57 am TIMES NEWS NETWORK ]


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PATNA: During the past three and a half years, there were 51 Naxalite attacks on the police force out of which eight attacks were carried out in Gaya district alone. About 10 policemen were killed, several injured and big caches of arms looted in all these attacks.

Despite this, the Bihar Police Association (BPA) alleged, no adequate security arrangement was made for the policemen deployed in the Naxalite-hit areas. It also alleged that the combing operation against the extremists was a farce.

Following the Naxalite attack on the Tankuppa police outpost in Gaya, a BPA delegation went to the spot for inquiry. It reported that the Patna zonal IG along with the Magadh range DIG and Gaya SP visited the place just to complete a formality.

According to the BPA made that when these police officials were moving around the blown-up police outpost, at a distance of 500 yards away at the "haat" located in a orchard suspected people were sitting in groups and drinking liquor.

But the officials did not bother to inquire about those people. The officials even did not go to the Tankuppa railway station where Maoists had laid the seige and detained the station master.

The BPA general secretary K K Jha said, "Our team was there at the spot till the evening of Tuesday and no police operation had been launched. The claim of extensive combing operation is only a bundle of lies."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Centre ready to give air support to A.P. police

The Centre is willing to provide air support to the Andhra Pradesh police for meeting logistic requirements in combating naxalism and specialised training in anti-mine operations to an "earmarked squad", Union Home Secretary V.K. Duggal said here on Tuesday. Addressing a press conference after holding discussions with Chief Secretary T. K. Dewan, DGP Swaranjit Sen and others, he said the air support was not for operations against naxalites, but primarily aimed at giving logistic back-up such as evacuating/ dropping security forces, intelligence gathering/ surveillance and supply of food/medicines. Either a helicopter would be made available to the State or expenditure incurred on its use reimbursed. On providing training to a special squad, he said that it would be fully equipped to detect and clear mines.

Referring to the State's request to meet expenditure incurred in combating ISI-sponsored activities on the lines of "entire naxal operations, he said the Centre was willing to consider it. He had asked the Chief Secretary to send a comprehensive proposal. He lauded the State police for doing extremely well in containing both terrorist modules and naxalite activities. Mr. Duggal said by and large the law and order situation in the country was under control and violence was contained in Jammu and Kashmir, North-East and naxalite-affected areas.

Maoists blow up Tankuppa outpost , in Bihar

Abdul Qadir
[ Wednesday, July 05, 2006 04:10:50 am TIMES NEWS NETWORK ]



GAYA: Hundreds of heavily-armed CPI (Maoist) extremists, including women cadres, attacked the Tankuppa police outpost in Gaya district in the wee hours of Tuesday and blew up the building using dynamites killing an ASI and a police chowkidar.
Two other police personnel were severely injured during the three hour-long exchange of fire between the police and Maoists.

The injured have been admitted to the Magadh Medical College and Hospital (MMCH). However, the policemen managed to save the 30-odd rifles in the armoury as the ultras were forced to retreat before they could loot the arms and ammunition.

While the slain ASI has been identified as UN Singh, the police chowkidar who lost is life in the Maoist attack has been identified as Ashok Singh. The injured policemen are Raghu Nandan Mahto (head constable) and Nand K Singh (chowkidar).

Gaya SP Amit Jain said the Naxal operation began after midnight and continued till 3 am. A combing operation has been launched to arrest the Maoists.

Altogether five persons, including a woman Maoist, have so far been arrested by security forces when they were proceeding to Gaya for treatment. Two of the arrested Maoists, having bullet wounds, have been identified as Karam Manjhi and Karwatia Devi.

Huge quantity of used cartridges and some unexploded bombs including a large-sized can bomb were found lying at the place of occurrence.

The can bomb was subsequently diffused. According to the SP, the district police fired 980 rounds and another 318 rounds were fired by State Auxilliary Police (SAP) jawans The latter, housed in another building at some distance from the police outpost, also joined the district police to beat back the Maoist attack.

"The Maoists fled the scene after reinforcement was rushed to the area from the district headquarters," claimed the SP.

Maoists have been quite active in the Tankuppa, Karjera and Fatehpur areas recently. They blew up tracks at Bansi Nala on the Grand Chord section of the railways a few weeks back.

The Tankuppa police outpost is located at a short distance from the railway track and, as such, movement of trains remained suspended on the Gaya-Dhanbad section for nearly five hours as a precautionary measure.

These included the Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Bhubaneshwar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Kalka Mail, Ganga-Damodar Express, Hatia-Patna Express, Chambal Express, Dhanbad-Ludhiana Express and Dehradun Express.

Reports reaching here said the cabinman of the Tankuppa railway station was temporarily made captive by the ultras.

Meanwhile, the state government has announced ex-gratia payment of Rs 10 lakh each to the next of kin of the slain ASI and chowkidar.

The chief minister, Nitish Kumar, in Patna on Tuesday praised the police and State Auxillary Police (SAP) jawans for forcing the Naxalites to flee and also for saving the armoury. "Such Naxal activities will continue since this has become a national problem," he said.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Maoist arms dealers arrested in Delhi, weapons seized

Maoist arms dealers arrested in Delhi, weapons seized(SECOND LEAD)

By Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, July 4 (IANS) In one of the biggest arms recovery in the capital, the Delhi Police Tuesday arrested two people who were allegedly manufacturing and supplying sophisticated firearms to Maoists guerrillas.

The police late Monday arrested two men travelling to Delhi by train from Bihar for possessing arms, including 14 pistols and 28 magazines, said a senior police official.

The two, Alahuddin, 30, and Nizamuddin, 65, were arrested at the New Delhi railway station.

'They are residents of Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, and supply arms to Maoist insurgents in Bihar,' said additional commissioner (Crime Branch) Muktesh Chander.

He said each 9mm pistol was worth Rs.100,000 and the weapons seized were locally made but of high quality.

Chander added: ' This is for the first time that such high quality pistols have been recovered. These arms were to be delivered to a gang in Meerut.

'The duo had boarded Vikramshila express for Delhi and were bringing weapons from Munger in Bihar.'

The two had been supplying weapons to Maoists outfits in Bihar, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

'They have confessed having supplied grenades to Maoists,' Chander said.

Police teams have been sent to Meerut, Kairana and Muzaffar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh and Munger in Bihar to conduct more raids. 'All these places have arms manufacturing factories,' he said.

Talks with Naxalites if they give up arms: Duggal

Hyderabad, July 04: The Centre is not averse to holding talks with Naxalites if they give up arms, Union Home Secretary V K Duggal said here today.

"It is the government's policy that unless they (Naxalites) shun violence, no talks are possible," Duggal told reporters after reviewing the law and order situation with Andhra Pradesh government and police officials.

Barring Chhattisgarh, Naxalite violence in the country is under control, he said.

Asked about the impact of developments in Nepal on Maoists in India, he said, "there is no physical link between Maoists in Nepal and India. However, there is an ideological link."

Giving an outline of the law and order situation across the country, Duggal said the overall level of violence this year was much lower compared to last year, and violence by Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Bihar had been contained.

He, however, admitted that Naxalite violence in Chhattisgarh had shown some upsurge and there was a need for intensified efforts to control the menace.

A meeting of officials of states affected by Naxalite violence will be held in Delhi on July 21 to review the situation, Duggal said.

On ISI activities in the country, Duggal said the situation is by and large under control though the support to terrorism continues from across the border.

Bureau Report

Naxal Watch Quotes in Daijiworld.com

Enter the Mind-boggling World of Avid Bloggers



By Viju Mangalore - Daijiworld.com


Jul 4, 2006

Mangalore: I go ‘fishing’ everyday. I fish for old friends, school and college mates, create new friends, fight battles on issues and its all fun. My playground cum battleground is the Internet. Yes, I am an avid blogger.

It’s now become a trend to operate an Internet blog, which is a free space equivalent to a website. It’s a dream for the internet-savvy youth of today to create a mark on the World Wide Web.

While most bloggers belong to the younger generation, there are a few elderly adventurous ones who would not hesitate to ‘give it a try.’

If you have got the hang of using a computer and can effort to pay the internet bills and have time to click on to some fun then you are a potential blogger.

In phase one, you would require to christening your blog. Imaginations can go wild in the name game. If you are sure of the topic or the theme of your creation, naming it would not be a hassle.



Check out the-never-ending-road.blogspot.com. Unique though it sounds, it contains road journeys by an enthusiastic biker. The author is of the firm belief that the journey of life is long and the path unknown. Thus in his journal, he pens down parts of his road experiences, opinions, travels and photographs to be shared with the world.

Travelogues are a common theme picked up by bloggers. The motorcycle-diaries.blogspot.com another blog on similar lines is influenced by Ernesto Guevara de la Serna and his Motorcycle Diaries. The yesterdaysontheroad.blogspot.com comes under this section.

Sumit Bajaj working as a senior business analyst in Gurgaon operates a blog which he has named as the-i-me-mine.blogspot.com The blog is all about life experiences and opinions.

Blogs are constructive and progressive. But often their names can be deceiving but equally triggering curiosity. Archana, a young student of Fashion Designing in Chennai operates a blog, which sounds doom. The blog named selfdestructiverebel.blogspot.com is a meeting point for friends of this impulsive, impatient youth.

Here is a blog which is true to its name - remainconnected.blogspot.com operated by Tanay Behera from Bangalore.

It put to a constructive use, life’s moments can be cherished always. The best example would be the network of blogs created by the students of Manipal Institute of Technology. The blog named bevharsha.blogspot.com operated by Harsha a MIT product, has videos of the merriment of college life. Sweet memories of their four years in Manipal have been placed on the blog.




A general blog may contain musings, photographs, travelogues or just plain personal commentary like the arunrocks.com/blog.

The education field has assimilated the blog technology well. Check out sacjournalism.blogspot.com and richardrego.blogspot.com where students of a college get regular instructions and updates on various activities in their department.

A picture speaks million words. If photography is also your field of interest and your finger itches on a camera, your blog will surely be picturesque. Mangalorean photographers show you the way on how to operate blogs with every priceless moments captured by the lens. Check out daya-kukkaja.blogspot.com, or talkingimages.blogspot.com.

Thought provoking names to blogs do give a pleasant feeling. pebblesthrow.blogspot.com, Solitaryimpressions.blogspot.com and smilesnsmiles.blogspot.com or myworld4u.blogspot.com, mydayzwithmyself.blogspot.com are a few.

Get freaky on the web and create weird blogs. Someone seems to have heard me. The persecutionblog.com, foodierant.blogspot.com, lifezlikedat.blogspot.com, enter-thy-rest.blogspot.com and nostalgica.blogspot.com, the-i-me-mine.blogspot.com are a few uniquely named blogs.

A blog to monitor all terror activities of the Indian Naxals including the Peoples War Group (PWG) and government policies to tackling naxal menace is being operated from Nov 2004 under the name, naxalwatch.blogspot.com.

Premnath Kudva of Mangalore has one of the comprehensive and systematically operated blog.

“Essentially I started blogging so that my name turned up on Google searches so that my pals could find me. Further I was able to use the blog as an online dairy that every one could read,” says Premnath who became well versed in using the blog, added pictures started using it to show his stamp collection and currency note collection to the world.

Blogging can also be addictive, but a healthy addiction is always welcome.

This was just a peep into the world of avid bloggers, but the open secret is that the world of blogs and blogging is indeed mind boggling.

Ex-Naxals to protect ballot boxes from former comrades

Police have roped in surrendered Naxals to protect ballot boxes from their former comrades. They will perform sentry duty with regular police personnel at counting centres for the zilla parishad elections. It is in view of the threat from the Maoists and smaller Naxal groups that police have sought the help of the former Naxals. “They know the strategies of their former comrades and this will help us to foil moves to disrupt the counting process,” said a police officer. Sources said that police officers used some cajoling to persuade ex-Naxals to don the role of sentries. They were willing to do their mite to ensure the completion of the poll peacefully, but also wanted payment in return. Among the former Naxals, only top leaders who came out are leading good lives. Most others have to scrounge around to make a living.

Police ensured peaceful polling in the district despite the Maoist call for a boycott of the ‘farcical exercise.’ There was not much response to the Maoist boycott call in most mandals. Interestingly, North Telangana Special Zonal Committee chief Jampanna’s mother Yashodamma too cast her vote in Thorrur mandal. Polling was also peaceful in Velishala, the village from where several senior Maoist leaders hail. Meanwhile, the State Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for counting of votes for ZPTCs and MPTCs on July 4. Counting will be taken up at 8 am and the first result is expected to be out by around 2.30 pm. As many as 493 counting centres have been set up in 22 districts. State Election Commission secretary G.N. Rao said that ballots from a territorial constituency would be mixed before counting. Counting of votes will go on in north Coastal Andhra too despite floods. The SEC disclosed that the average voting percentage in 22 districts in this poll was 72.17 as against 71.89 per cent in 2001. Khammam recorded the highest polling percentage with 78.56. Election results are not likely to come out fast this time since conventional ballot papers were used instead of voting machines. The SEC will update the results on its website: www.apsec.gov.in.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

To counter Naxal menace, Rlys to connect trains & stations

Raghvendra Rao



NEW DELHI, JULY 2:Drivers and guards aboard moving trains will soon be able to contact senior Railway officials, including Railway Board members in the capital, at the touch of a button in case of an emergency. In a bid to tackle the Naxal menace, particularly in secluded areas between two railway stations, the Indian Railways is all set to introduce a new communication system on moving trains.

Implementing the Mobile Train Radio Communication (MTRC) project gathered momentum following the 12-hour siege of a train by Naxalites on March 14 in the Palamu Tiger Reserve forests in Jharkhand.

‘‘Special mobile handsets are being procured for the project from Siemens and Nortel. We plan to cover 2,500 km in the first phase at a total cost of Rs 200 crore,’’ said a senior Railway Board official. Global System for Mobile Communications-Railways (GSM-R), a technology used by railways the world over, is being employed for the project.

Train operators will be given GSM-R mobile handsets with a red SOS button. Activating the SOS button from a moving train would immediately alert a string of railway stations, control offices and nearby trains of an emergency situation. ‘‘If need be, a locomotive driver would be able to speak directly to the Railway Minister using this system,” said an official.

Currently, drivers on a moving train can contact only the nearest railway station using VHF wireless sets.

‘‘By the end of July, the entire Northeast Frontier Railways and Eastern Railways would be covered. MTRC would be fully-operational between Amritsar and Tinsukhia by December this year,’’ said a Railway Board official. ‘‘Most of the Naxal-affected areas would be covered by the Amritsar-Tinsukhia route,’’ he added.

‘‘MTRC will enable railway officials to contact these moving trains from anywhere too,’’ said a railway official. The ministry also plans to give these mobile handsets to supervisors and track-maintenance officials working mid-section to enable them to report any track damage to the nearest stations or trains.

2 Naxalites killed in Bastar encounter

RAIPUR: The Chhattisgarh police today gunned down two Naxalites in a dense forest in Narayanpur district of Bastar region of the state. Two landmines and a pressure mine were recovered from the place following the encounter with a group of Naxalites, police said.

The gunbattle between the police team, led by Narayanpur SP Sundar Raj, and the Naxalites took place in Anjarel forest, about 18 km from the district headquarters and about 250 km from Raipur the state capital, IGP (Intelligence) Giridhari Nayak said.

The police party was engaged in search operations when the Maoists opened fire. In the return fire by the police, two Naxalites were killed, Nayak said. Narayanpur is a Naxal-dominated area. Maoists had recently raided the Narayanpur sub-jail and set some of their jailed comrades free.

In the past one year in Bastar region, Naxalites have killed about 300 people after the ‘Salwa Judum’ or peace campaign was launched on June 4 last year against the Naxalites with active support of the state government. — ENS

raghvendra.rao@expressindia.com

Security tight after Maoist attack

Statesman News Service

BARIPADA, July 2: Security has been beefed up along the Orissa-Jharkhand border adjoining Mayurbhanj district after an armed attack by CPI (Maoist) activists on a police picket in Andhriakhal, a farm located 17 kms away from the Orissa border recently.

The encounter between the Naxalites and the Jharkhand police had lasted for 15 minutes. Two havildars had been critically wounded by the explosion of land mines. Police have seized two land mines, a kean cartridge and two rifles. The land mines exploded.

Intelligent sources said that the Naxalites had attacked the police picket in order to acquire arms. However, they had failed to succeed in their mission, as the paramilitary forces had retaliated with fire. This had forced them to retreat.
When contacted with the Mayurbhanj superintendent, Mr Ravi Kant, he said that, after the land mine blasts at Andhrika area, the intelligence wing has been commissioned in naxal-prone areas, in addition to the paramilitary forces already deployed at vulnerable areas along the border. Security has also been tightened at the district headquarter town of Baripada. Plain clothed policemen are trying their best to collect information and plan strategies. The SP said that, the naxals would certainly not be able to enter into Baripada town during the rath yatra.
Presently, the district administration has also beefed up security in and outside the town and in each junction of the district headquarters.

The Jharkhand DSP, Mr Sailendra Prasad Bandal had visited the area to take stock of the situation after the attack. No major incident has been reported in the region so far.

‘Why US is biased against us’

Agencies
Sunday, July 02, 2006 22:39 IST



KATHMANDU: The Maoist leader, Prachanda, said that he wants to talk to US Ambassador James F Moriarty to know why Washington is “so biased” against their party. “We are eager to talk to Moriarty and to know why he is so biased against us.”

“We have asked former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Communist Party of Nepal-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal to arrange a meeting with the US Ambassador.”

However, the American envoy has already given a negative signal. “They should change their behaviour instead of trying to meet diplomats,” Moriarty said before heading to Washington for three weeks to brief the State Department about the current developments in Nepal. He also warned that if the Maoists join the government before laying down arms, the US would not assist that government.

“If the Maoists continue to use violence after they enter the government, our law says that we can’t supply assistance to those who support a terrorist group. We have to consider them as terrorist group until they give up arms,” said Moriarty.

The US provides Nepal with $45 million a year in development, education and health aid. In the past, the US has given Nepal’s government millions of dollars in military aid to fight the Maoists rebels, but suspended it after King Gyanendra seized absolute power last year. The communists’ leader criticised Moriarty’s stance. “I am not surprised with the comments by the ambassador to Nepal, because he does not want peace in Nepal,” said Prachanda, whose real name is Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

Two Maoists killed in Chhattisgarh

[ Sunday, July 02, 2006 05:32:22 pm PTI ]




RAIPUR: Two naxalites were killed in a police encounter and three live landmines were recovered from them in a dense forest of Narayanpur district of Bastar region of Chhattisgarh on Sunday, police said.

Narayanpur District Superintendent of Police Sundar Raj led the police team, which was engaged in an encounter with a group of naxalites in Anjarel deep forest, about 18 km from district headquarters and about 250 km from the state capital, Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) Giridhari Nayak said.

Maoists fired at the police party that was involved in a search operation and in the return fire by police forces, two naxals were killed, Nayak said.

From the spot, besides two maoists with uniform, two land mines and a pressure mine were recovered by the police party, he said.

Narayanpur is a hyper naxal infested area and recently maoists had even unsuccessfully raided the Narayanpur sub-jail to rescue some of their comrades.

In last one year in Bastar region the naxalites have killed about 300 people after the `Salwa Judum' or peace campaign was launched on June 4, last year against the naxalites with active support of the state government

Two Maoists killed, three live mines recovered in Chhattisgarh

Raipur, July 02: Two Naxalites were killed in a police encounter and three live landmines were recovered from them in a dense forest of Narayanpur district of Bastar region of Chhattisgarh today, police said.

Narayanpur District Superintendent of Police Sundar Raj led the police team, which was engaged in an encounter with a group of Naxalites in Anjarel Deep Forest, about 18km from district headquarters and about 250km from the state capital, Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) Giridhari Nayak said here.

Maoists fired at the police party that was involved in a search operation and in the return fire by police forces, two Naxals were killed, Nayak said.

From the spot, besides two Maoists with uniform, two land mines and a pressure mine were recovered by the police party, he said.

Narayanpur is a hyper Naxal infested area and recently maoists had even unsuccessfully raided the Narayanpur sub-jail to rescue some of their comrades.

In last one year in Bastar region the Naxalites have killed about 300 people after the `Salwa Judum' or peace campaign was launched on June four, last year against the Naxalites with active support of the state government.

Bureau Report

Self-help sermon to hounded hamlet

When the villagers in Chattisgarh set up resistance groups to fight the Naxalites instead of depending on police for protection, the very same Marxists scream blue-murder. And Shri Ajit Jogi, the Congress ex-Chief Minister of Chattisgarh, writes an article in The Indian Express objecting the government support to the resistance groups in Chattisgarh. And the media sees no inconsistency.

Namaste.
Ashok Chowgule


OUR CORRESPONDENT


Asannagar, June 22: CPM state secretary Biman Bose today told villagers of Chandpur in Nadia to set up resistance groups to fight Naxalites instead of depending on police for protection.

Maoist guerrillas had gunned down tribal CPM leaders Uttam Sardar and Swapan Sardar at the village, about 120 km from Calcutta, on Tuesday as they did not quit the CPM in spite of warnings by the rebels.

Comparing the attack with those in Maoist-affected areas of Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore, Bose advised party workers to set up their own security network without relying on the police.

"When I visited Bandwan (in Purulia) before the elections, I told our workers there that they should arrange their own security without relying on the police. The people of Chandpur should do the same. The situation here is not different from Purulia or Bankura. Why rely solely on the police when they fail to protect you? Build your own resistance groups," Bose told party workers.

"The Maoist problem cannot be solved unilaterally. We have our limitations. But attempts are on to put an end to the problem," he said.

Bose reached Chandpur this morning along with two ministers from the district, Bankim Ghosh and Benoy Biswas. District CPM secretary Ashu Ghosh also accompanied Bose.

Swapan's widow Juthika urged Bose to ensure that her three children, aged seven, five and one, are not harmed. "Babu, aamar sansar je bheshey galo. Ami ekhon ki korbo tinte santan niye? Amake ekta kaaj din (My family has been ruined. What will I do now with my three children? Please provide me with a job," Juthika sobbed.

"Don't worry, we are there. The party and the government are there. We will all look after you. This is my promise," an emotional Bose told Juthika.