Saturday, July 29, 2006

Maoists' plan to celebrate martyrs' week

[ 29 Jul, 2006 0248hrs IST TIMES NEWS NETWORK ]


RANCHI: The state police is likely to gain major success during the week in its anti-Naxalite operations provided the intelligence wing and information sources work efficiently. The opportunity comes in the form of call given by Maoists to celebrate martyrs' week throughout the state.

While the police stations located in Naxalite-affected districts have been put on high alert, the department has also mobilised its information sources in remote villages to keep a tab on the celebrations being organised by the Maoists.

However, the police admit that gathering information about the programmes being organised is the toughest challenge. "We are geared up to arrest the extremists from the locations wherever they hold programmes, but obtaining information about the locations is a big challenge," said Bokaro DIG Anil Palta.

The celebrations began on Friday and would conclude on August 3. During the week, they have planned to commemorate the sacrifices of their local leaders in memory of founder leaders, Charu Majumdar and Kanhai Chatterjee.

With an objective to propagate the week-long celebrations they intercepted Shaktipunj Express on the Barkakana Rail section near Dumri Vihar railway station on Thursday night and distributed pamphlets to the passengers.

The train that was halted for nearly 35 minutes was overpowered by a group of over 200 Naxalites comprising mostly of female members at around 9.45 pm. According to the passengers, the Naxalites stopped the train by showing red signal, entered into it and asked the GRP not to interfere in their business.
Waking up the passengers one by one they handed over the pamphlets to them calling for their support to their armed movement and martyrs' week celebrations.

The pamphlets released under the Jharkhand Regional Committee of the Maoists, mentioned names of some 20 Naxalites who were killed in police operations and appealed to the masses to support their armed rebellion against the oppressive government.

It further read that every year, the Maoists observe week-long programme to commemorate the sacrifices of their leaders throughout the country so as to keep the spark of movement alive.

The Maoists appealed to its activists to undertake programmes like pamphlet distribution, distribution of hand written bills, wall writing, banner display, organise conferences, processions and demonstrate their strength through torch procession in different parts of the state.

The regional committee has also called upon labourers, farmers, students, intelligentsia, artists, teachers and petty traders to extend support to their cause of revolution and further propagate the week-long celebrations.

Observing the threat to the railways and its passengers, the state police has made special arrangements, but expressed inability to keep vigil in the remote areas. Though the police is ready to co-operate with the railway department, it becomes practically impossible to guard the entire route in remote regions, stated IG, operations, B C Verma.

Naxals issue fatwa against police informers

CPI (Maoist) issues fatwa against police informers
Saturday July 29 2006 11:05 IST
BHUBANESWAR: Virtually on the defensive after losing their cadres in police encounters in quick succession, the outlawed CPI (Maoist) has began an operation to cleanse the outfit of informers in the State.

‘‘The CPI (Maoist) is issuing death warrants against all those behind police encounters and supplying information to security forces,’’ a release issued by Sunil, secretary of the outfit’s State organising committee stated.

The heat is on the banned outfit, mostly in Deogarh district where police gunned down seven cadres between April and July leaving the local organisation in complete disarray. The press release, citing the casualties, said action by the security forces couldn’t throw a spanner in their works.

Rather, they have resolved to fight back and hand out ‘capital punishment’ to police informers and those responsible for the encounter deaths, by trying them in people’s court, Sunil stated.

‘‘Officer-in-charge of Motu police station Durga Charan Mishra was mowed down by People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army since he gunned down two of our woman cadres in an encounter,’’ he drove home the point.

The extremist outfit also pointed that one sarpanch of Deogarh district had tipped off the police which led to killing of three cadres in April. Similarly, the recent encounter, in which four Naxals were killed, had taken place after villagers of Prabhasuni played the informers.

The CPI (Maoist), which is observing Martyr’s Week from Friday, is expected to resort to violence in the Naxal-affected areas and its release gives telltale intentions. The State Police has already pulled its socks up for any eventuality.

In fact, the Maoist outfit has not only decried industrialisation in Orissa but also criticised the way disputes on ceiling-surplus land is being handled in Rayagada and Gajapati districts. The Naxal body also urged left activists to shun their outfits and join the mass struggle against what it called State Government-sponsored oppression.

Friday, July 28, 2006

"An Iron Harvest" By C.P. Surendran

Reviewed By Vinod K. Jose

28 July, 2006
Countercurrents.org

As the Naxalite movement grew in strength by the 1970s, it was common for college campuses to be frequently raided by the Police. Anyone could be picked up on suspicion regardless of whether they had anything to do with the movement or not. One day, Rajan, a young engineering student at the Regional Engineering College, Kozhikode, was not only arrested but went missing in police custody. What exactly happened to Rajan, one still doesn’t know. But all we know is that he died in police custody. It is widely believed that Rajan was brutally tortured by the police, killed and the body disposed off. Rajan’s disappearance became the much talked about issue among the Malayali public at the time with Rajan’s father, Echara Warrier, approaching the court with a habeas corpus writ petition. The court observed that the Government of Kerala had lied in its affidavit. This led to the resignation of Kerala Chief Minister and Congress leader, K. Karunakaran, who was the home minister at the time of the incident. However, with none of the politicians and policemen responsible for the murder punished even after 30 years, justice continues to be denied.

Eventhough justice is still denied the custodial death of Rajan and the Naxalite movement continues to inspire Malayalam literary imagination. Numerous short stories, novels and plays have been written on it. Film makers have made internationally acclaimed films (For example Piravi, by Shaji N. Karun). In regular intervals, reports from investigations on how police disposed Rajan’s body, testimonials by retired constables who have confessed that Varghese, one of the prominent leaders of Naxalite movement in Wayanad, was shot in a fake encounter, surfaces in the Malayalam newspapers. It is the same Rajan’s story and the Naxalite movement that has inspired C.P.Surendran, a journalist, poet in writing his debut novel, An Iron Harvest, the book under review.

John, the main protagonist of the novel is described as the ‘young Che Guevara like leader of the Maoist organization Red Earth’. John, a student in the Regional Engineering College, Kozhikode, joined Red Earth and has led a guerrilla squad in many of its operations. Varkichayan, expelled from a mainstream communist party, is the main leader of Red Earth. Alongside the story of Red Earth, there is another story that enfolds. This is on the disappearance of a classmate of John, Abe, who according to the author is ‘a political innocent’, from police custody. It is believed that Abe was tortured and killed in police custody, and the body was then disposed off by the crime branch police, Raman, who heads the counter-Naxalite operations during the Emergency. Abe’s father, Sebastian, knocked on many doors for justice, but in vein. Raman, being a close associate of the Home Minister, Shankaran Marar, was given protection from all his adversaries. During an attack on the police station, John and his men are caught. Raman takes John to a forest and shoots him and even gets a promotion for that. But, when the National Emergency is over, Sebastian approaches the court, and gets Marar and Raman convicted for his son’s murder. Justice is delayed, but delivered finally. And the novel ends.

In an interview to Deccan Herald, the author, C. P. Surendran echoing the middle class concerns on the movement which inspired him to write the novel says, ‘An Iron Harvest comes from my friends in school and college who died for what was perhaps never there. Call it revolution, if you will. What was all that pain and courage for? Now I sleep in an air-conditioned room and flowers bloom over their graves. What is the value of heroism?’ It is the deep middle class cynicism and individualism embedded in the above statement that prevents the likes of C. P. Surendran from going beyond the usual rhetoric that is often aired and making a more rational analysis of the Naxalite movement for what it was. When an author begins with the premise that the movement was an effort in vain, then one can expect where the novel would be heading. Besides, in Wayanad, where much of the plot in the novel enfolds, it was because of those on whose graves flowers bloom today that minimum wages began to be implemented; feudal lords stopped harassing the adivasis and tenants; practices like Vallikettal, whereby adivasis would be auctioned in wholesale at Valliyurkavu temple to work as slaves in the farms of landlords, came to an end; Kerala Scheduled Tribes Act that promised ‘to restore all alienated land for adivasis’ got passed. Naxalites fell short of achieving their goal, but if it had not been for them, issues such as the agrarian crisis in Wayanad (manifested in the alarming rate of farmers’ suicides), alienation of land from the adivasis (the 2003 police firing on adivasis inside Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary), large scale deforestation (the felling of trees in Wayanad by the Birlas since 1960s for their newsprint factory and the subsequent environment movement) etc. would have remained in oblivion. ‘What was all that pain and courage for? Now I sleep in an air-conditioned room and flowers bloom over their graves’. May be the likes of C. P. Surendran would always pretend not to know what all that pain and courage was for. For the air-conditioned room has a way of quarantining one from the messy reality of the world.

When a novelist claims that his work “is based on a true incident”—a claim that gives legitimacy to the book—one expects him to portray the period and its reality with some objectivity. But, in respect to the plot, the characterization and the many details on the period, An Iron Harvest proves to be contrary. His characterization leaves an impression that Naxalites were just some trigger-happy men, who drank and doped all the time, and who were brought together by mere personal affinities than any common understanding of politics. Nair is a dope supplier who runs his business in a pan shack at a busy street in Kozhikode. One day, during a protest that turned violent against government, he is knocked unconscious. Varkichayan, a Naxalite leader, saves him and takes him to a hospital. As a gratitude to Varkichayan, Nair becomes a Naxalite! Such is the callousness of the characterization that is done. If one is to read the biographies of people who were once part of the Naxalite movement (Eg. Ormakurippukal by Ajita) or talk to an elder in Wayanad, it becomes amply clear that Naxalites like Kisan Thomman, Sukumaran, Kunjaman, Joseph, Sankaran Master, Thettamala Krishnankutty, Maran, Choman Mooppan et al. were people with tremendous understanding of what they were doing and why they were doing it. They were farmers, union leaders, adivasis, school teachers or those who broke away from the mainstream communist parties, each of whom had a distinct history of political engagement. But, in An Iron Harvest, the author makes sure that none of these Naxalites are brought alive in the characters of Heston, Rajan, Mani and others.

From a novel telling Naxalite stories, one would at least expect the author to provide the readers with some accurate portrayal of how a guerilla squad carries out an operation. This is also lacking in this novel. The author seems to have done very little research on this matter and leaves much of it to his imagination. For example, this is how a decision is taken among the characters to attack a police station:

‘I think we should conduct a raid,’ John said.
… ‘We have to decide which police station to raid,’ Nair said.
‘Pulpally of course,’ Heston said.
‘It is too far away…,’ John said….
‘Tirunelli is more accessible to us,’ John said.

And so, they attack Tirunelli station. But why do they attack? Do they attack out of boredom? Do they really target a police station according to how accessible it is to them? Why does the author remain silent about the politics behind such operations? Is it because, it would make it easier for him to parrot what the mainstream media and the intellectual class in our country today, are saying about the ‘mindless violence’ of the Naxalites?

In 1968, close to a thousand poor farmers, mostly from Meenachil taluk in Kottayam district migrated to Pulpally Panchayat in Wayanad. When they started cultivation, the Pulpally devaswam (temple authority), claimed ownership over 27,000 acres of their land and asked them to vacate from those land. The Forest department initiated the process of eviction. Farmers resisted, and subsequently the Malabar Special Police (MSP) was called in (MSP was a colonial armed police force started by the British to crush the Mappila resistance and the numerous smaller resistances in Malabar. Post independence, MSP came under Kerala government. After the Naxalite movement, they conjoined MSP with Kerala Armed Police). MSP, camped in Pulpally Sitadevi temple, began to harass the farmers who continued cultivation. A memorandum from these farmers reached a group of Naxalites. They organized a couple of meetings with the farmers and decided to attack the MSP camp in Pulpally. According to the testimonials of the locals, this was how the ‘Pulpally station attack’ happened. It is in the light of this real incident that the author writes about the ‘Tirunelli station attack’. There is however a difference. As far as the author is concerned the attack was just the outcome of the decision made by a bored group of six guerrillas who one fine day felt like attacking a police station and thereby, choosing the most ‘accessible’ police station in the vicinity. Whereas Pulpally station attack was done by a group of approximately hundred men and women, who were to be evicted from the land they lived. Of course, this kind of fact would not make it into a novel that completely misses out on the politics behind the Naxalite movement. To the credit of the Naxalites, the farmers finally got their land back in Pulpally.

It is also important to take note of the role that the author assigns to women in his novel. Convicted in the ‘Pulpally station attack’, Ajita, a woman Naxalite leader, spent nine years in jail. Her mother Mandakini, a Gujarati and a former headmistress in a school in Kozhikode, had also joined the Naxalite movement. There were many other women who sympathized and conspired with the movement. However, the author portrays the Naxalite movement as a purely male affair, devoid of any participation of women. At the same time, the only woman who gets some amount of attention in the novel is Janaky, a childhood friend and a former lover of John. Janaky gets married to Raghu, who works in Dubai, and has a one year old child, Mohan, who suffers from progressive atrophy of the heart. She returns to Kerala and John goes to meet her after he receives a letter from her. After years of separation, the warmth between them lingers, leading to a clumsy, frantic lovemaking. Later in the day a conversation starts between them. Janaky tries to convince John who, in her words, has changed from ‘my lover to the rebel of lost causes’, about the worthlessness of his politics. John disagrees and tries to convince Janaky about the relevance of his politics. Getting nowhere, the conversation ends bitterly with Janaky grieving ‘sometimes I feel bitter that you preferred politics to me. Guns to my roses’. The author gives the impression that women after all are not interested in ‘politics’, especially the one that is armed with ‘guns’, which also explains for the absence of any women Naxalites in the novel. Instead, he confines women to a world of ‘roses’, away from ‘politics’. As a result, he reinforces the existing gender stereotypes.

The author’s research on the differences between Naxalite politics and the politics of mainstream communist parties are also poor. When the senior most leader of Red Earth, Varkichayan discusses politics with John, which by the way is the only instance in the novel where a top leader discusses politics with anyone, a distorted representation of the issues raised by the Naxalites in Wayanad is given. On the fundamental limitation of their movement, John says: ‘…And the fundamental limitation is that the mainstream communist parties have corrupted the worker’s ideology to the point that he thinks that things will change through the ballot box. He is not entirely in the wrong either. The Land Reforms Act that the Communist ministry brought into effect gives him hope in parliamentary politics…As far as I’m concerned if we are able to unionize the workers in the plantation and ensure them a reasonable deal in terms of wages, that in itself is a big achievement. Revolution perhaps can wait.’
‘Fair enough,’ Varkichayan wheezed.

To be fair to the Naxalites in Wayanad of the 70s, Land Reforms Act was the first thing that they attacked. Their numerous pamphlets talked of how land reforms failed to change the land ownership pattern, and how it provided loopholes for meeting the interests of the rich plantation owners. One such ‘exemption’ in the Kerala Land Reforms Act 1969, which was a boon for the rich farmers, stated, ‘ceiling is lifted in the, case of rubber, tea and coffee plantations, private forests and patently non-agricultural lands and lands belonging to religious and educational institutions’. The Naxalite movement, which was more active in the agricultural hill areas of Kerala, ‘exposed land reforms’, convincing their constituency of poor farmers, agriculture laborers and adivasis of the need to take to a revolutionary path. The slogan of the mainstream communist parties, ‘land to the tiller’, and the electoral promise they made regarding redistribution of land in favor of the landless poor, were misnomers at least for the peasants in plantation districts like Wayanad.

The National Sample Survey (37th round) has some interesting data on the land distribution in Kerala. Even after the land reforms, while 76.3 per cent of the Kerala population, owning merely 00.00—00.99 acres of land per household, hold merely 21 per cent of the total land in Kerala, 9.3 per cent of the population own a whopping 54.2 per cent of the land. It is quite clear from this that the land reforms in Kerala happened at a superficial level. When the main protagonist in the novel, John, is portrayed as convincing his leader Varkichayan, on the efficacies of Land Reforms, and opts not to raise the issues of land distribution in Red Earth’s campaign, the plot moves far from the reality of the period, and the issues raised by the movement. And to one’s surprise, the main leader, Varkichayan without a debate, seems to approve of John’s line of argument.

The real life story of Rajan and his father Echara Warrier is a story wrought with injustice and anyone who has followed the case would agree on that. Like many other court cases where political bigwigs and senior police officers are involved, nobody ever got punished for the murder and even Rajan’s dead body remained undelivered to his family. A few months ago, Echara Warrier too passed away. Despite all this, the author would like to make it a success story in the novel. Sebastian, father of Abe, who approaches court soon after the Emergency, manages to sent Marar, and Raman to jail, thus ‘restoring honor to his son’. According to a reviewer of An Iron Harvest in a newspaper, ‘Sebastian nearly drowns in despair, but in the end emerges a winner, redeemed by what he so irrevocably has lost’. Is this act of twisting a story of injustice into a matter of celebration justified?

The author rightly knows what the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of the book is. Hence, he has identified it and tailored it around the context of a ‘Maoist revolutionary organization’, something that is exotic and sellable these days. Sadly, it is one of those works which has failed to objectively analyze Maoist politics, but one that reaffirms many of the earlier middle class prejudices.

The blurb in the opening page of the book introducing C.P. Surendran declares him to be ‘one of the most important poets of India.’ Whether that is an exaggeration or not, his debut novel definitely would not make him ‘one of the most important novelists of India.’ The novelist fails to portray the spirit of the real life story, distorts facts, and gives an image makeover, perhaps, a consequence of writing it ‘from the comforts he gets from his AC room’, as he said, and forgetting to be truthful to his ‘friends graves’, and their stories.

Vinod K. José is the reporter in Delhi for Radio Pacifica Network, an American newscast. Vinod is from Wayanad, Kerala. He can be contacted at vinodkjose@gmail.com

Life inside the Naxalite camp

NDTV Correspondent

Watch story

Thursday, July 27, 2006 (Dantewada):


The People's Liberation Guerrilla Army in Dantewada, Chattisgarh was raised on December 2, 2000 by the Maoists to create pockets of liberated zones.

A state of constant war is how the Maoists define survival and expansion as they take on the Naga Battalion, the CRPF and the local police.

Village Sangham is the basic unit of the Maoist organisation. Dalam or people's militia is raised from the Sanghams.

Dalam has full timers involved in organisational work and organised into platoon, companies and battalions.

Female fighters

Among the members are Lakki and Buddri - trusted soldiers very comfortable with home made rifles. At times they use self-loading rifles and sten guns.

Their weapons are from the police armory seized during raids.

Buddri was on sentry duty in February when Naxals raided the Baila
Dila mines ammunition dump. They fled with over 20 tonnes of explosives.

Lakki's role was to ambush the policemen.

"I was on sentry duty when we raided the Baila Dila mines and carried away ammunition," Buddri said.

On the ground in Dandakaranya - divided into five divisions or districts, a divisional secretary commands actions approved by the top leadership.

Recruitment

Hare Ram, an adivasi, joined the force when he was 12 years old and
he is now an area secretary as head of a local organisation squad.

The squad visits hundreds of villages, motivates and recruits full timers into the Dalam and later screens them for the fighting force.

"First when the Naxalites came into the forest villages they were called kuppalor or dacoits. Slowly they gained the confidence of the people," Ram said.

"We intervened when the forest guards threatened to set the village on fire and sought goats and bribe".

He added, that Naxal Dalam members beat up the forest guards and
patwari and gradually the movement gained ground.

"We don't have good weapons. We know fully well the weapons cannot win us this war. It is only people's love that can sustain the movement," Ram said.

"Its been one year since Salwa Judum began harassing the villagers in the name of the Naxal army. But the Dalam is where it was and villagers have not given us away," he said.

The young men and women return after a day's patrolling to dance and sing in their own Gondi language.

They sing of the martyrs who died so that others could live with dignity.

And the Chetna Natya Manch performers are proof that the war the Maoists are waging is not just with weapons.

Madhav and others cremated

Updated: 07-28-2006 By andhracafe

The victims of the Nallamala trajedy were laid to rest in the presence of Gaddar and other sympathisers including Varavara Rao.

Slain Naxal leader, Madhav's son lit the funeral pyre of father he had only heard and never seen. The funeral took place at Karimnagar after the body was brought from Guntur. The funeral of 3 other victims of the encounter K.Udayakumar, P. Susheela and Vijaya Lakshmi took place at Hyderabad.

Salva Judum divides adivasis -- WRONG WRONG (

Rajesh Ramachandran


Friday, July 28, 2006 (Dantewada):


Its brother versus brother in the forest villages of Chhattisgarh. With the creation of Salwa Judum and its special police officers to take on the Maoists, the violence in Naxal-hit districts has only increased.

It has pitted adivasis against each other. The tension is palpable on the Sukhma - Konta high way in Dantewada. A different war is being waged here where aggressor and victim are both adivasis.

Here, 31 adivasis had their throats slit when Maoists attacked the Salwa Judam camp on July 16. Large parts of this camp at Errabore were burnt and the police station and CRPF post in the vicinity were no protection.

The blood letting between the Maoists and the Salwa Judam began in these forests a year ago, with the creation of Salwa Judum, a peace campaign by Opposition leader Mahendra Karma to counter Maoist violence.

Under Karma's leadership, the state government hired adivasis and made them Special Police Officers or SPOs for Rs 2500 a month and armed them. They in turn lead the security forces into the forests, bringing villagers into camps near police stations.

Government support

Supported by the government, Karma succeeded in bringing over 45,000 forest villagers into 17 camps spread across Dantewada. This, he sees, is the only way to wean villagers away from Maoist influence.

"The Nagas, CRPF, BSF; they have not been invited to Chhattisgarh state to be fed. If they do what they have to, the Salwa Judum is not responsible. They allege that the police goons and we are fighting them together. What else can they say? This is their lie," said Mahendra Karma, Opposition leader, Chhattisgarh.

The Maoists had disturbed the traditional village hierarchy, barring headmen from polygamy and disempowering them.

Karma, the traditional headman of several villages has chosen another feudal head to lead the biggest camp Dornapal. Soyam Erra is from a family of traditional mukhiyas.

"Earlier the police party used to go inside the forests but only to get killed. What did they know of the forests? Now our Special Police Officers go along with the force and we show them Naxal hideouts and we attack them," said Soyam Erra, Camp head.

Erra and his SPOs are controlled by the police and outsiders from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere who have for generations settled on roadside villages.

Terrorised villagers

Some SPOs are accused of gang raping woman and terrorising villagers who are neither Maoists nor rich farmers but just victims.

"The Salwa Judum told us that when the Army comes you would be killed. If you remain in the forests you would be beaten up and limbs broken. But if you join Salwa Judum it would be better for you. We were threatened to join Salwa Judum," said a villager.

"That's what happened to everyone. We were all herded into these camps. But now Naxals say they would kill us if we remain here with Salwa Judum. We have been badly caught in between," the villager added.

This is probably the only place where people have refugees in their own land. If they remain in their villages they would be termed Maoists and targeted by the police and the Salwa Judum.

If they come into the camps they would become victims of the Maoists. This state of civil war only seems to get worse everyday.

Eighth slain Naxal identified

Friday July 28 2006 15:14 IST
ONGOLE: The police on Thursday established the identity of the eighth slain Maoist killed in the Darabailupenta encounter in Nallamala forest on Sunday as Rama alias Bhulakshmi of Lakshmipuram village of Ardhaveedu mandal in Prakasam district.

According to police, slain Naxalite Rama’s brother is Nallamala East Area Committee secretary Sagar alias Panduranga Reddy alias Pratap and her mother Eswaramma was killed in an encounter at Racharla on February 5, 2006.

Naxal couple surrenders in AP

Friday July 28 2006 14:41 IST

KAKINADA: A Naxal couple - R Rajeswara Rao alias Raju alias Chandu (25) and his wife Adilaxmi alias Sujatha (23) - of CPI-Maoist surrendered before Eluru Range DIG CV Anand here on Thursday.
Rajeswara Rao, who is presently working as Andhra Orissa Border (AOB) Special Zone Committee (SZC) member of Srikakulam area, is carrying a reward of Rs 3 lakh on his head while Adilakshmi carried a reward of Rs 2 lakh reward. She is the commander of the Chilakam Local Guerrilla Squad (LGS).

Briefing this to the media, the DIG said Rajeswara Rao, a native of Yerragonda village of Y Ramavaram mandal, joined the dalam in 1997.

He served in the movement in various cadres in Srikakulam district and Orissa State.

Rajeswara Rao was accused in the killing of four constables in Uppada village of Orissa and was involved in a landmine blast at Narsannapeta village in which TDP MP K Yerran Naidu suffered injuries in 2004.

He attacked a police constable, Ramana Murthy in Gummalamipuram village and was also involved in the blasting of Parvathipuram and Seshakal police stations.
A native of Y Ramavaram mandal of East Godavari district, Adilaxmi joined the Naxal movement in 2000. She worked in Yellavaram, Chilakam and Srikakulam division LGS, the DIG said.

The DIG handed over Rs 5,000 cash each to the couple as immediate relief. Superintendent of Police B Srininvasulu, OSD (operations) Satyanarayana and others were present.

Naxal couple, R Rajeswara Rao alias Raju and his wife, Adilaxmi alias Sujatha, who surrendered before the police at Kakinada on Thursday

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ballot box or coffin of revolutionaries?

Thursday July 27 2006 10:08 IST
(MV Dinakar Prasad, retired senior IPS officer AP Cadre)

Addressing a conference of the State chief secretaries, the prime minister once described Naxalism as ‘‘probably the simple biggest challenge we have ever faced to our national security’’ and that ‘‘the threat has to be met firmly with determination and with a will to destroy it... You will have to empower your police forces to be able to discharge their functions at higher levels of efficiency. You have to show the necessary leadership in this regard.’’

News/story available at

Government or no government?

By TAVLEEN SINGH | Thursday, July 27, 2006 10:34:28 IST
India’s maximum progress always happened under weak prime ministers… nobody is in charge of the government, governance has ground to a standstill


Sometimes you need to go away from Delhi to notice the subtle political changes that occur under a seemingly normal surface. The bombings in Mumbai and travels in foreign lands kept me away from this city for a few weeks and when I returned last Monday on the first day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament I found the political mood quite changed. It is more despondent than it has been in years. Where there was till a few weeks ago a sort of cheerful sense of political drift with people joking about how India’s maximum progress always happened under weak prime ministers there is now real despondency. It comes from the growing sense that nobody is in charge of the government, that governance has ground to a standstill. In the words of a usually perceptive analyst, ‘It’s clear that the Prime Minister is not in charge, quite clear just from the number of his ministers who publicly defy him. But, if you conclude from this that Sonia Gandhi is the real boss you would be wrong because its becoming increasingly clear that she isn’t running the government either. All she does is intervene on behalf of those NGOs she hangs out with.’

Her interventions have resulted in two or three clear initiatives. The rural employment guarantee scheme, the right to information act and the possibility of a law that will give Adivasis the right to own forest land. On the terrible bombings in Mumbai, her only response has been a midnight flying visit to that city. On the almost civil war like situation created by Naxalite violence we have had no response at all and on the subversion of the Prime Minister’s authority by ministers whose loyalty to her is unquestionable we hear not one single word. Instead of helping her handpicked prime minister, she has lately taken to publicly berating him. She did not like the price of fuel going up and objects to prices going up in general so she could have called him to 10 Janpath for a quiet cuppa and a chat but chose instead to write him letters that mysteriously found their way into the hands of journalists. Aha, they said, she does not like him any more. Then came rumours that he was on the verge of handing in his resignation.

PM’s strong words strengthen Pakistan
When Arjun Singh, a loyal servant of the Gandhi family, chose to make mischief for the Prime Minister by raising the controversial and divisive subject of caste quotas, she could have distanced herself from a move she is believed to have had nothing to do with but chose to remain silent instead. Not a wise decision when the Prime Minister is so weak that even on something of such serious national concern as terrorism, he dithers.

After the Mumbai bombings, he made a strong statement about Pakistan’s inability to control terrorist violence but within hours, he was pussyfooting and backtracking. By doing this, he ended up strengthening Pakistan which, while we drift rudderless, seems to go from strength to strength and certainly from failed state to emerging economy. According to a recent special report in the Economist the Pakistani economy ‘has been transformed’ in the past six years.. “In the financial year to mid-2005 it grew by 8.6%, the highest figure for two decades, followed by a 6.6% rise in the financial year just ended. The stock market index in Karachi has risen by over 1,000 since 1999. Pakistan has $13 billion in foreign reserves, up from $1.7 billion in 1999.”

In other words, it is strong enough economically to wage with renewed venom its covert war against India. In other words, we cannot afford to have a government that is not governing. In other words, we cannot afford to have a government that thinks caste quotas are more important that economic reforms and terrorism. In other words, we cannot afford to have a Prime Minister who appears so unnervingly weak.

National issues require debate, not politicisation The sense of drift at the highest political levels is exacerbated by the tragic reality that our main opposition party has reduced itself to a bad joke. Last week, as usual, the Bharatiya Janata Party prevented Parliament from functioning and took to the streets to beat empty vessels and gongs outside Rashtrapati Bhawan to protest against rising prices. Surely, if they were really concerned about something that never pinches them personally they would have done better to demand a debate in the Lok Sabha and contribute to it effectively by pointing out why they think prices are rising for artificial rather than real reasons.

The BJP has spent nearly all of its years as a political party on the opposition benches so you would think they would understand intimately the tactics of being an effective opposition party but it seems that all it took was six years on the treasury benches for them to forget. How else can we explain their inability to understand that terrorism, Naxalite violence and the nuclear agreement with the United States are national issues that require serious debate and not politicisation? So, the only good news from Delhi at the moment is that the rains have finally come but cloudy skies make a fitting backdrop to the atmosphere of gloom that pervades political and government circles.

CRPF to get its own intelligence wing soon

[ 27 Jul, 2006 1741hrs ISTPTI ]


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KOLKATA: The Central Reserve Police Force, which manages internal security in Jammu and Kashmir, the North East and naxalite-affected areas, will soon get its own intelligence wing.

"Our intelligence wing is in its formation stage. It will be operational soon," CRPF Additional Director-General (Eastern Zone) N R Das told a press conference here on the occasion of the CRPF's 67th Foundation Day on Thursday.

Noting that the CRPF had a mechanism for gathering field-level intelligence, Das said the addition of the new wing would help the force both in intelligence gathering and analysis.

The CRPF had recently installed the 'Selo' (an acronym of its motto 'Service and Loyalty') communication system through a leased line, becoming the only force in the country to have a dedicated communication system of its own.

"Cellphones have also been given, right down to the company level, to ensure better communication among the forces and the command centres in problem areas," Das said.

He said the CRPF's firepower was now almost on par with that of the Army and the BSF. "We have Insas rifles. We have AGLs, MMGs and 3-inch mortars. We are hoping that we shall be armed with the latest soon."

With the changing scenario of internal security, the CRPF is now training its personnel in jungle warfare at Silchar, Assam and Sarhan, Himachal Pradesh.

"The idea is to teach the boys survival tactics and develop leadership from the level of havildar, because senior officers may not be available in certain situations," Das said.

Maoists' bodies handed over to kin

[ 27 Jul, 2006 0508hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]


GUNTUR: The decomposed bodies of seven of the eight Maoists who were killed in the Nallamala encounter last Sunday were handed over to their family members after post-mortem here on Wednesday.

The body of Maoist party state secretary Madhav was first taken up for the post-mortem and was handed over to his brother Kanakaiah and nephew Komaraiah. Police did not allow Madhav's relatives to wait for completion of post-mortem of other bodies and coerced them to leave the place by organising a vehicle. A grief-stricken Kanakaiah left the place without any protest.

There was tension at the Government General Hospital (GGH) since morning when the bodies arrived there. Police blocked all roads leading to the mortuary and Section 144 was clamped in the city. Only two family members of each slain naxalite were allowed inside the post-mortem room. However, state president of Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee Subhash Chandra Bose was allowed to be present following the court order.

Though police were put on high alert to prevent the possible entry of balladeer Gadar and revolutionary writer Varavara Rao, they did not turn up till late in the evening.

All the eight bodies were brought to GGH by 5 am from Yerragondapalem as it took almost eight hours for completing the ‘panchanama'. Two of the mandal revenue officers deputed to conduct the inquest fell unconscious. The bodies had bloated up and was not recognisable.

The bodies wrapped in polythene sheets were brought to the hospital in a lorry. Meanwhile, family members of Viswanth of Jananatyamandali and Rama refused to accept the bodies by saying that they were not of theirs. However, the family members of Udaykumar alias Ramana and Sangeetha of Medak district who also present at the mortuary recognised the bodies and claimed them.

Police are yet to identify the body of a woman naxalite. They suspect that it could of one Madhavi, a dalam member. The head of the forensic department K Rajkumar and two associate professors C K Reddy and Madhusudan Reddy conducted the post-mortem and the entire procedure was videographed as ordered by the high court

340 killed in Naxal-violence in Chhattisgarh in a year

Raipur, July 27: A total of 348 people, including 48 policemen, were killed in Naxal-related violence in the last one year after 'Salwa Judum', the campaign against the Maoists, was started in Chhattisgarh, the state assembly was informed on Thursday.

"From June 6, 2005 to June 30, 2006, 272 civilians and 48 policemen were killed," Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam said while replying to a question by leader of opposition Mahendra Karma in the house.

The Minister said 28 Naxalites were killed and 127 ultras were arrested during the period.

Netam said 52,659 villagers were currently staying in 17 relief camps in Dantewada and Bijapur districts.

The government has been providing free food, housing, medical facilities and education at the relief camps, beside training for earning a livelihood, he said.

Bureau Report

Naxalites accuse steel companies

::EXCLUSIVE::

Rajesh Ramachandran

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 (Dantewada):


The Naxalies say steel companies and Chattisgarh's politician Mahendra Karma are backing Salwa Judum.

Karma has denied the charge.

The Naxal-hit districts of Dantewada and Bastar are now flush with investments.

The land is rich, worth thousands of crores. For Dantewada alone in the last two years the central government approved seventeen licenses for reconnaissance prospecting and mining.

Steel companies

Last year on June 4 Tata Steel signed a memorandum of understanding with the state government. The same day Karma set up Salwa Judum to fight Naxal violence. An MoU by Essar followed.

For Ganesh Uieke state committee member of the CPI Maoist this is no coincidence.

"They know that as long as they don't crush our movement we won't allow them to open their factories," says Uieke.

"We are now a force to reckon with. Earlier we were too small. We are strong know. We have the PLGA and the strength to hit at them".

Charge denied

Mahendra Karma described the charge against him as nonsense. "They are trying to defame my mission with this character assassination," he said.

"The MOU was signed by the government. I was there because I am the leader of the Congress party. This Salwa Judum movement was not sponsored by the government and it is not like the signing of the MOU between Tata and the government."

Ganapathy, the general secretary, the supreme leader of the Maoists made it clear recently that his war against the government would only intensify if it doesn't stop what he calls the facilitation of the plunder of Chhattisgarh.

19 villagers missing from relief camp in Dantewada

Raipur, July 26: Ninteen villagers, including 18 women, were missing from a relief camp in Naxal-infested Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh amidst fears about their safety.

"Twenty-four villagers had gone to their village Ordeltong under the Dornapal police station area of Dantewada district and five of them returned yesterday", Dantewada district superintendent of police Maj (Retd) Om Prakash Pal told mediapersons.

However, 19 of them are still missing and have not yet come back to the relief camp, Pal said.

He, however, denied there was any report of abduction of the villagers by Naxals whose threat forced the villagers to take shelter in the relief camps.

"It is not confirmed but at times the villagers do visit their relatives staying in other relief camps or villages, located even across Andhra Pradesh," the sp said adding, they have not yet received any report of abduction of the missing villagers.

Police was searching for them after receiving the report of missing as about 800 Naxalites had attacked the Errabore relief camp of the Dantewada district on July 17 killing 31 villagers.

Bureau Report

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Autopsy on slain Maoists underway, kin rejects government offer (LEAD)

By Indo Asian News Service

Hyderabad, July 26 (IANS) Following a court order, autopsy was underway Wednesday on bodies of all eights Maoists killed in a shootout with police three days ago, even as the son of a slain rebel leader has turned down the Andhra Pradesh government's help offer.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court order of Tuesday came after a group of civil rights organisations doubted the police version of shootouts.

Police shifted the bodies from Prakasam district to the Guntur Medical College under tight security arrangements around the complex. The shops in the area also remained closed following the imposition of prohibitory orders.

Relatives of the slain Maoists including five women had reached Guntur to receive the bodies after autopsy. Agitated over the delay in handing over the bodies, they and Maoist sympathisers had heated arguments with police at the morgue.

A two-member team of forensic experts led by Rajkumar, head of forensic department at the Guntur Medical College, was conducting the autopsy.

Acting on a petition by the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC), the court had directed that the entire autopsy be video-filmed and sent to the court after sealing the cassette in the presence of a district judge.

The APCLC had voiced its doubts that the police could fudge the autopsy report to suppress facts about the cause of the deaths. Some civil liberties activists alleged that police poisoned the Maoists before gunning them down.

The APCLC has sought a judicial probe into the incident. It has also demanded that the policemen involved in the incident be booked for murder.

Revolutionary balladeer Gaddar alleged that the government was not giving due respect to the deceased. He also demanded that the relatives be allowed to take funeral procession.

Police are keeping a tight vigil to foil any attempt by Maoist sympathisers to take out any procession.

The eights Maoists, including chief of the state unit of Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) Madhav, were gunned down in Nallamalla forests in Prakasam district.

Civil rights activists have demanded that the all the bodies be brought to the outskirts of Hyderabad, where the houses of two women cadres killed Sunday were located.

Susheela and Shyamala, women members of Madhav's protection squad, hailed from the city outskirts.

Revolutionary balladeer Gaddar alleged that the government was not giving due respect to the deceased. He also demanded that the relatives be allowed to take out a funeral procession.

Meanwhile, Karthik, 16, the only son of Madhav, rejected the state government's offer for help, saying his father was killed by police in cold blood.

'The gun battle was stage-managed. It is all fake. My father was a state secretary guarded by about 30 armed cadres all the time so it was not possible to kill him in a direct fight,' said Karthik.

'It was a conspiracy. See, they (police) have not handed over the body even three days after the incident,' Karthik said at his house in Mangampeta in Karimnagar district as he waited to have a glimpse of his father - for the first and last time.

Madhav alias Burra Chinnaiah Goud had joined the Maoist movement about 25 years ago and was elevated to the position of state secretary of Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) last year.

Karthik's mother Vasantha, too, joined Madhav in the movement, leaving the child at his grandparents' house in Kagaznagar in Adilabad district when he was just few months old.

'I have never seen my father. My grandfather Srihari Goud brought me up with all the love and care,' said Karthik, who learnt about his father as he grew up.

'All I know is that my father was fighting for the people, for the poor and their rights,' said Karthik, tears rolling down his cheeks.

Karthik, who opted for science subjects in intermediate, wants to be a doctor. 'I will serve my grandfather because he faced all odds to bring me up and give me education,' he said.

Asked about the government's offer to take care of his education and provide a job after studies, Karthik said he was rejecting both.

'The offer is not out of concern for me. This is to serve their own interests. They want to lure others who are in the movement,' said the boy.

Madhav was wanted in several cases of violence, including the assassination bid on former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Copyright Indo-Asian News Service

KPS Gill Interview

‘The only time I’ve slept badly in my life was in Gujarat. Just hearing the descriptions. Never before, never after’


Posted online: Tuesday, July 25, 2006 at 0000 hrs IST

• Starting with Assam in 1981. Then it was Punjab, then all the other places. I missed you in Gujarat.
Yes, you missed me in Gujarat.

• I managed to escape, or grew out of, my reporting years, but you have somehow stayed on the frontline.
Yes, it is strange. Perhaps it is the troubled character of the place.

• But why did you come to Raipur? It’s a difficult situation, the Prime Minister has described it as the greatest security threat. And we are talking so soon after this massacre—one of your camps has been attacked by the Naxalites.
It is a bad incident, a very bad incident. But in situations like these, bad incidents do happen. Innocent people are killed. It is different when police die, security forces die. But it is very depressing when villagers do.

• Can you tell me something about what happened?
In this incident, no exact report will ever come out, because it happened at night.

• And so far away, and mythologies will be built around it.
Totally isolated area. And at night even to trained observers, things look different. So people say there were 600, or a thousand Naxalites, but I don’t think there could have been that many. But they did attack, and they did kill people in a very brutal manner. And there are some doubts being cast on the police and the security forces...

• Of cowardice? Or a lack of the will to fight?
I wouldn’t say either. Probably there were some defects in deployment of forces, or improper planning. Because whatever happens in one part of the country, the police and the security forces don’t draw any lesson from it. Every police has to go through its own learning curve. The Chhattisgarh police are doing that. They’ve lost men, they’ve lost quite a number of SPOs...

• Which is Special Police Officers?
Yes.

• Because if you look at the local media, it seems a woman SPO was very brutally killed, maybe even gangraped.
That was very unfortunate. I can only say that we have to climb that ladder for success whose rungs are failures. We should learn from this and improve on it and I think we can.

• But this is a setback?
It should not be seen as a setback, but as a lesson which has to be analysed properly. Analysed, not to pin fault—we are an inquiry-riddled nation, we want to inquire into everything...

• You’ve had your fair share of them.
Yes. But what has happened has happened. The loss of life is regrettable, the brutality of the attack is regrettable, but we have to move on.

• Are you shaken by this? Is the government, the police force shaken?
I think everyone is very, very upset and concerned over this. They wish this had not taken place, but everybody wants now to see that it is not repeated.

• Does this police force has it in itself? What’s your role in the police force and in the state?
My role is mainly advisory. Advice can be offered. Whether it’s accepted or not is a different matter. But the police force in India is highly resilient and they have risen to the task in the past. I’m sure this police force can do it too.

• If you look at the statistics, more uniformed men have been killed by Naxalites than by terrorists in Kashmir. And when I say uniformed men killed by Naxalites, they are almost all policemen.
In J&K, the main security task is performed by the Army. The rest are just auxillary forces. Or certain Army battalions are converted into an auxillary force.

• Like the Rashtriya Rifles. What I am saying is that the violence carried out by Naxalites has exceeded that carried out by the jihadi terror network today. At least, the damage they are inflicting is greater now. Is that a point that is adequately understood in Delhi?
I think the Prime Minister’s statement was an acknowledgement of that.

• And did that statement make any difference? Have you seen any difference in Delhi’s response since then?
Certainly. It’s made a difference in what is being said on the issue. Earlier, it was spoken of as just a few youngsters who’ve gone astray. And it’s made the Home Ministry sit up and take notice.

• Which, going by its reputation, takes some doing.
Well, I leave that to you.

• I didn’t know you could be so diplomatic.
We are on camera and we have...

• Grown a bit older. (both laugh) What is your sense of the real strength of the Naxalites, in terms of weaponry, organisation, motivation?
Their strength lies in their ability to create a myth around themselves. Their strength, if it can be called a strength, is the brutality by which they kill. That has been their modus operandi since the time they started out in the ’70s. The message they convey to observers is ‘this is how we kill’. They spread terror.

• It’s the Chinese saying: slaughter the chicken in public and you scare away the monkeys.
Yes. They terrorise those whom they are supposed to be representing, to be emancipating, so that they don’t help the state. And that’s why it is remarkable that these terrorised people, these unarmed people, have risen up against the Naxalite terror.

• You are referring to the Salwa Judum, or what is called in Hindi Shanti Abhiyaan, Campaign for peace?
Yes. And it this willingness of ordinary people to stand up that will make the eventual difference.

• What I find remarkable is that you’ve referred to brutality three times already. You have seen more brutality than most Indians. You’ve seen it in Assam, in Punjab, in Gujarat. For you to mark out some people as especially brutal is unusual. Are we missing something, or have you seen something that we don’t know?
See, if a person is killed by a bullet or stabbed or hit by a dow (a North Eastern machete), his death, you feel, is not so brutal. But if he’s killed by multiple injuries, a stone is picked up and he’s hit with it over and over, it seems brutal, prehistoric. It does not sit well with the conscience. This is what I have seen.

• This attack, at least going by the local media reports, has involved a lot of torture. Bodies have been found. People have died of small cuts, of multiple small cuts all over the body.
Yes. It is part of Naxalite ideology, the strategy, that the manner of killing should frighten more than the killing itself.

• In terms of the bad guys you’ve come across, where would you rank the Naxalites?
They are mainly an extortionist group rather than a political movement, and they extort money from tribals. The only thing that sets them apart, as I have said, is the brutality in which they act.

• Mr Gill I know what has brought you here. It is a sense of mission that wherever there is a threat to India’s security you should be there, in whatever capacity.
Yeah, it’s been something like that.

• Your critics say it is because you love violence.
It is because I hate violence. My biggest regret is that when I left Assam, I left it a peaceful state. Assam in 1983 was a peaceful state. Today it is not. Critics are hoping that in Punjab, terrorism should have recovered by now. But it has not. Because terrorism has ended there. In Assam, the state was brought back to peace but due to certain political miscalculations it has again plunged into violence.

• Where do you rank ULFA in this pecking order of militant groups? Again in terms of strength, motivation...
ULFA is nothing at all. They are now going to sit and talk across the table, which unfortunately just gives some bureaucrats and ULFA leaders retirement benefits. They’ll talk now for 10 years, maybe in Geneva.

• Retired or retiring?
Both.

• (laughing) And there are those who never retire.
They’ll talk and it will go on. ULFA is a very non-serious organisation.

• Even now?
Even now. It has never been a serious organisation.

• Gill saab, tell me about one of the exciting parts of your life that I missed out on—Gujarat. Did you find the same problems there of complicity, interference, or lack of courage on the part of professionals?
Look at Ahmedabad. If you look at the Gujarat riots, you’ll find that 90 per cent of the damage was caused by 8 or 9 incidents in all, and they happened within a small time span. What was difficult for everyone to swallow was what happened in Naroda Patia and the Housing society. You can understand complicity and kow-towing to the powers off and on. You can understand that for one hour, even two hours. But when it goes on for the whole day... The police is there but there is no response.

• The mobs were coming like Chinese waves.
They were coming in waves and the people who were affected were constantly ringing up and there was no adequate response. All this cannot just be explained by political pressure. At some point of time you have to stand up and say enough is enough.

• In this case the police officers?
Entirely the police officers. The law authorises them to shoot, not the political leaders. You can order an inquiry later on, but that’s a different matter. The police officer has to realise he’s not just an officer but also a human being with a conscience.

• And a citizen.
And a citizen.

• You’ve said you take your brief from the law of the land. You’ve said you’ve stretched your idea of the law in, say, Punjab. Did you ever face a situation in your days in Punjab where you weren’t able to sleep well? Did you think, what am I doing fighting my fellow Indians, fellow Sikhs, so many of whom were getting killed? That am I doing the right thing? Did you ever have a conscience issue?
You know, the only time I’ve slept badly in my life was in Gujarat. Just hearing the descriptions of what was happening. Never before, never after. Some of the things that happened there were horrible. If you have to maintain law and order you have to be even-handed. You have to apply it every minute.

• Apply that test to Bombay. You have to be even-handed is a platitude. Apply that to Bombay.
In Bombay, no action when the Shiv Sena was vandalising everything.

• You mean just a few days before the blast?
Yes. And then the combing operations! It took me years to get rid of that act from the police force. It is absolutely useless, absolutely...

• Provocative?
Demeaning to anybody who has to go through it. I said go for the man who has done it, not—

• The Bombay police have got it wrong there?
Entirely wrong. If that is the conception of security, then heaven help us, heaven help the country.

• Well, Gill saab, all I can say is that I am seeing you after a long time but you haven’t lost any of your sharpness and any of your motivation so please keep it up, although I hope that the future battles are fought in the battlefield of hockey and not...
There we are already coming up as you can see in Azlan Shah. And I hope your paper is fine, as usual.

• Next time, maybe in the hockey field with a trophy or a medal.
Ok, thank you very much.

It's a genuine encounter, says Chief Minister

Special Correspondent

`Government has to discharge duties'
Naxalites urged to join mainstream
Fears of incident affecting panchayat polls allayed



HYDERABAD: Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy on Monday said that the police-naxal encounter in which eight Maoists were killed was genuine.

Talking to mediapersons here, Dr. Reddy rejected allegations that naxalites were killed in a `fake encounter.' He denied speculations that the police had some top Maoist leaders in its custody.

The Chief Minister said that "no one is happy over the deaths" but made it clear that law would take its own course. He held out that the Government had to discharge its Constitutional duties when some persons choose to carry weapons and indulge in anti-social activities.

`No animosity'


He pointed out that the Government was doing its duty and bore no particular animosity towards naxalites. "In fact, we have no need to commit any wrong," he said and reiterated his appeal to naxalites to join the mainstream.

Dr. Reddy sought to allay fears about the fallout of the latest violence on the gram panchayat elections. He said the polls were being fought on a non-party basis and security had been stepped up wherever required.

Swaranjit Sen, DGP, said he did not think that the naxalite movement "is down and out" following the encounter. Speaking to reporters, he said naxalites were waging a guerrilla war shifting from place to place.

"The Nallamala encounter is certainly an achievement but we can't conclude that we have destroyed the naxalite movement. If they had a permanent camp and if the police had destroyed it, then one could consider that the movement had been broken. Referring to criticism that he was taking independent decisions in dealing with the problem, he said the police had a clear mandate to put down violence.

SPs in Bihar to prepare list of most wanted in each district

Patna, July 25: Ordering the police to get cracking on criminals, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has asked the police superintendents of all the districts to prepare a list of ten dreaded criminals and find out their links, especially with those who fund them.

IG (Headquarters) Anil Sinha told today that the Chief Minister gave this directive at a high-level meeting of top state officials here.

We have sent a clear directive to the SPs to ask the officers in-charge of all police stations in their respective districts to prepare a list of ten criminals involved in heinous crime, he said.

The Chief Minister, while reviewing the law and order situation at a meeting yesterday and today, asked the District Magistrates to identify the most backward and Naxal-affected areas and implement development and welfare schemes.

He also mentioned about the good work being done by the special auxiliary police (SAP) and said he had received praise from different quarters over the constitution of sap.

A separate unit of SAP is to be formed for disaster management, Sinha said.

Bureau Report

Naxals Kill RPF Constable, Injure Four at Rafiganj in Gaya District

Patna: July 26 2006

Hundreds of armed Maoist terrorists, on Tuesday evening, attacked a Railway Protection Force (RPF) post at Rafiganj railway station on the Gaya-Mughalsarai section of the East-Central railways and killed a constable while injuring four other RPF jawans.

According to the Aurangabad Superintendent of Police (SP) Sushil Khopde, the RPF jawans were returning to their barracks after escorting the Patna-Gaya passenger when they were attacked by Maoist guerillas.

Seeing their barrack completely under the control of Maoists, the RPF jawans opened fire at them but were outnumbered by the extremists by almost 10 to 1, officials said.

Constable Radheshyam Sharma was hit by a Naxal bullet and died on the spot. Four others received gunshot injuries and were taken to a Gaya hospital.

The ultras also snatched a police rifle and a carbine before fleeing from the crime scene, the police said.

Traffic was completely disrupted on the Gaya-Mughalsarai line and trains were being diverted under heavy security to alternative routes.

A massive manhunt has been launched to capture the extremists but that could just be the police-speak since rarely the police has been able capture the criminals after such incidents in the past.

Chhattisgarh accounts for 44 per cent of Naxal violence

New Delhi, July 26: Chhattisgarh alone accounts for over 44 per cent of incidents of Naxal violence across the country till June this year and 62 per cent of the casualties are reported from the state, the Rajya Sabha was told.

In a statement on the recent Naxal attack at the Errabore relief camp, Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal said the state government was taking steps to deal with the menace and the Centre was helping it to counter violence.

He said in the last two years, the Centre has given Rs 60 crore for modernising the state police force and Rs13 crore under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme.

Bureau Report

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Chandrababu Naidu still a target: Naxal leader

::EXCLUSIVE::

Rajesh Ramachandran

Watch story

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 (Dantewada forests):

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said only last week that naxalism is the biggest threat India faces today.

In a reflection of why the concern is very real, NDTV travelled deep into Naxal territory in Chattisgarh and interviewed Ganesh Ueike, a top Naxal leader.

Ganesh Ueike, the militia's commander in Bastar and Dantewada, is an unassuming, middle-aged man but it soon became clear that he means business.

Ueike, who is a state committee member of the CPI (Maoist), also said that former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is still a target even though he's no longer in power.

Previous attack

A few years ago, in a remarkably accurate and devastating attack, Naidu's car was blown up. He was lucky to have survived but he has not escaped the Naxals' anger.

"We still feel that we were right in targeting Chandrababu Naidu. Our tactics during the elections were correct. If you make an analysis of the all India situation, he devised the worst policies to suppress us and to a great extent he was successful,” said Ganesh Uieke, State Committee Member, CPI (Maoist).

"So targetting him was essential for the movement. Hence we targetted him. It doesn't mean that if we kill Naidu the system will change. If Varma goes Sharma will take over. But there is always a focal point of attack," he added.

NDTV : Is he still a target?

Ganesh Uieke: Yes. He is still a target.

NDTV : You say if Varma goes Sharma will take over. Then why is he still a target?

Ganesh Uieke: He killed 1200 of us and 5000 to 6000 others. He was a despot and an enemy of the people. So he will remain a target of the movement.

NDTV : Do you have a hit list?

Ganesh Uieke: No we don't have any hit list. The mainstream media calls us terrorists. But we are leading a political movement. We have a mass line and a political line. We don't believe that one or two actions would solve all the problems. Revolution doesn't happen like Bollywood movie.

NDTV : Are there other national leaders?

Ganesh Uieke: Whoever is against the movement is an enemy.

Although the comparison with terrorism is perhaps inevitable, the Naxal leader condemned the Mumbai train blasts but expressed solidarity with the militancy in Kashmir.

NDTV : Do you agree with politics and militancy of Kashmiri militants? For instance the Mumbai blasts?

Ganesh Uieke: You can't compare Kashmir to Mumbai. The Kashmiri people don't have to do this in Mumbai. They are fighting for Kashmir. Those who choose soft targets or do such things to create communal hatred have nothing to do with people. They are mercenaries funded by national or international powers. Anyone who has people's interests in mind will not support such attacks against innocent people.

NDTV : So you don't target civilians?

Ganesh Uieke: No that's against the people. All this should be condemned.

NDTV : You say that you support all national movements like Kashmiri and NE militancy. Do you have any relationship with these outfits?

Ganesh Uieke: Not directly. We are only giving them moral courage.

NDTV : Do you have any links with Kashmiri militants?

Ganesh Uieke: I don't know about it. Generally we give our moral support. We consider that the Indian state is against the development of nationalities and the proletariat. So we feel that there should be a united front against the Indian state.

The Naxals are on the defensive and confined to the forests. But they still talk of targetting Chandrababu Naidu.

Naxal movement has lost sheen: Former Naxalite leader K G Satyamurthy

Tuesday July 25 2006 15:06 IST
VIJAYAWADA: Former Naxalite leader K G Satyamurthy on Monday stirred the proverbial Hornet’s nest by stating that differences among the top leaders on caste lines claimed top gun Madhav in an encounter on Sunday morning. He was here on a private visit. Satyamurthy was one of the founding members of the People’s War Guerrilla movement along with Kondapalli Sitaramaiah

Speaking to reporters here on Monday, he said the top leadership was mired in caste conflicts.

Top leaders like Ramakrishna have been opposing the rise of leaders from backward classes. He alleged that several top leaders like Ramakrishna had purposefully stayed away from attending the meet in the deep forest of Nallamalla fuelling speculations that information over the secret meeting was leaked out to the police.
He said that the Naxalite movement had lost its sheen ever since it moved away from people into the forest hideouts.

He said that the real strength of Maoist movement lay in popular support and once it had lost the support, the movement has lost its appeal.

Police on high alert in Khammam

Tuesday July 25 2006 15:07 IST

KHAMMAM: The Khammam police are on a high alert in the wake of the Sunday’s encounter at Nallamala in which CPI-Maoist state committee secretary Madhav and seven others were killed.

The police have launched a massive combing all along the Khammam-Chattisgarh border to offset the possibility of Naxals sneaking into Andhra Pradesh. All the entry points have been sealed and special parties have been deployed at all sensitive points.

Meanwhile, the RTC officials have cancelled bus services to interior areas in Bhadrachalam, Manuguru, Kothagudem, Khammam and Sattupalli divisions as a precautionary measure. Bus services like Bhadrachalam-Vajedu, Chinturu-Vizag via Sileru, Kukunuru and Velerupadu services, Pinapaka, Eturunagaram services under Manuguru depot and Ulvanuru, Gundala and Markodu services in Kothagudem depot have been suspended.

All services after 5 pm have been cancelled and the night service buses would be stationed in the nearest police stations, according to RTC regional manager M Nagaraja Rao.

The police have cautioned the political leaders and elected people’s representatives not to venture into interior areas and confine themselves to the towns and cities. Already several leaders have moved to safer places.

Superintendent of police RK Meena has alerted all the police stations in the district and directed the police officials to keep a constant vigil. The police are mobilising former Naxals to keep a watch on the Naxal movements in the area.

Slain naxal's relatives meet State Home Minister

Special Correspondent

Jana Reddy promises education, job for naxal's son



KIN'S CALL: Kanakaiah leaving the Secretariat after meeting Minister Jana Reddy. — PHOTO: P.V. Sivakumar


HYDERABAD: Relatives of the slain CPI (Maoist) state secretary Madhav had an emotional meeting with Home Minister K. Jana Reddy in his office at the Secretariat on Monday.

Consoling Kanakaiah, a brother of Madhav, and the other grief-stricken relatives, the Home Minister renewed his offer to provide proper education and a Government job to Madhav's son, an Intermediate student, who was absent.

Speaking on the family's behalf, Civil Liberties leader K. G. Kannabiran, revolutionary writer Varavara Rao, MRPS president Manda Krishna Madiga and others demanded that the post-mortem of Madhav's body be conducted in Hyderabad.

They also wanted the body to be handed over to the relatives in the State capital itself.

Plea turned down


Mr. Reddy, however, turned down the plea on the ground that it would delay the process.

Instead, he offered that the Government would take the family members to Markapur or Ongole where the port-mortem was proposed to be conducted, and later to their native village in Karimnagar district for funeral rites.

If necessary, doctors would be brought from Guntur for conducting post-mortem, the Minister said.

Gaddar, the noted balladeer who accompanied them, was refused entry inside the Secretariat

Eight Maoists killed in shoot-out with police

Hyderabad

Hyderabad, July. 23 (PTI): Eight Maoists, including four women, were killed in a shoot-out with police in a dense forest in Prakasham district of Andhra Pradesh today, police said.

One of the Maoists killed was identified as Guntur Maoists district committee secretary Jeevan who carries a Rs 5-lakh reward on his head.

Another top naxal leader is believed to have escaped, police said.

The encounter took place in the dense Nallamala forest near Palutla village of Erryagondapalem mandal, police said.

On a tip off that a meeting of Maoists was scheduled to be held in the forest, the Grey Hounds, an elite force of anti-naxal wing, was combing the forest area for the past three days when the gun battle broke out today, police said.

Patil likely to make statement about his "Children" act in Mumbai

Press Trust of India

New Delhi, July 25, 2006


Home Minister Shivraj Patil is likely to make a statement in both Houses of Parliament on Tuesday regarding the Mumbai blasts and Naxal attacks in different parts of the country.
The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day on Monday shortly after it met as slogan-shouting opposition members stalled the proceedings of the House to debate issues including terrorism.

The Left parties too have demanded a discussion on the Mumbai blasts and the grenade attacks in Srinagar.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Bodies of two Maoists lynched by villagers exhumed

Manoj Prasad Posted online: Monday, July 24, 2006 at 0000 hrs Print Email Tribal villagers of Lohardagga in Jharkhand had buried them in a forest area, say cops

RANCHI, JULY 23:In what is being believed to be a take-off on the Salwa Judum movement against Naxalites in neighbouring Chhattisgarh, tribal villagers recently lynched two Maoists in Naxalite-hit Lohardagga district of Jharkhand.

Sources in the police said the Maoists were Area Commanders of the CPI(Maoist) outfit.

They were said to have reached Lawadag village in Lohardagga district to collect levy (tax) from contractors engaged by the state government to execute development work.

But 250-odd tribal villagers of Lawadag, armed with bows and arrows, surrounded them. ‘‘After beating them to death on the spot, they took away their weapons and buried them,’’ said Lohardagga SP Manoj Kaushik.

The weapons of the two Naxalites have not been recovered as yet. The report of the post-mortem examination conducted at Sadar Hospital in Lohardagga, was yet to be made public.

A tribal leader told The Indian Express that in Jharkhand the synonym of the Salwa Judum is Sendra which had spread in many parts of the state.

Additional DEG RC Kaithal said that in the past two years, more than two dozen Maoists were lynched in East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum, Lohardagga and Gumla districts. Much like Salwa Judum activists who get police patronisation in Chhattisgarh, Sendra members were being backed by the Jharkhand police, the source added.

manoj.prasad@expressindia.com

DELHI CONFIDENTIAL When frisking is a prestige issue

Posted online: Monday, July 24, 2006 at 0000 hrs Print Email

Status symbols come in different shapes—from red lights atop cars to VVIP parking labels. Add the newest sign of prestige in circles that matter: exemption from security checks at the airport. Always keen to be seen in the elite ranks, there are many claimants to the category. The latest among them, if their lobbying launched last week proves a success, will be the three service chiefs. Can’t blame them either. Ideally, the privilege should be forwarded to as few as possible, but there are any number of people now making it to the growing list. Recent additions include deputy chief ministers of states and Union territories. Not many states have deputy heads, but Maharashtra does—so no prizes for guessing the connection. Here is one other who is exempt though only on occasions: Robert Vadra, ‘‘while travelling with SPG protectees’’.


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Spectre of terror

These are not easy days for the country’s security establishment with terrorism and Naxal attacks relentlessly firing from all sides, but is the Government going to see security threats even in infrastructure-building collaborations? When the Cabinet met this week to clear the way for the Sixth Pay Commission, one matter got deferred because of security concerns—whether Hutchinson Port Holdings should be allowed to bid for Indian ports. The company has a considerable Chinese stake in it and the matter was, therefore, brought before the Cabinet. But with no unanimity on the matter of security in the current scenario, the decision was put off for another day. Perhaps the government is hoping the nightmare of terrorism will soon fade.

Nail in own foot

You could charitably call it self-introspection. ‘‘Our geriatric leadership is fit for admission to a psychiatric ward,’’ is how a BJP leader described the state of his party’s top echelons. Case in point, he said, Jaswant Singh, who derailed the entire post-Mumbai blasts BJP campaign on national security with his thoughts about Kandahar. Even as the party was trying to live that down, there was Murli Manohar Joshi ready with his own debate on the death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Party president Rajnath Singh gently discouraged Joshi from addressing a press conference on Bose at the party headquarters. The former HRD minister ran to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to complain that Singh was not allowing him to address the media. To Singh’s chagrin, Vajpayee agreed that Joshi should be allowed to brief the media. The whole episode left a party general secretary lamenting, ‘‘The Congress need not bother its head about us. Our own Zinedine Zidanes will ensure plenty of self goals.’’ There’s a thin line between introspection and frustration.

A call to humour?

The byte-hungry news television journalists were bitten by blood-thirsty mosquitoes and drenched by the relentless rain, but were fully rewarded when Jaswant Singh came out to meet them at his gate. To the mediapeople waiting there for his response to the Congress attack on him over his just released book, A Call to Honour, Singh proved a veritable Prince Salim of Mughal-e-Azam. To their astonishment, the normally ponderous Singh glided across holding a fragrant champa flower to his nose, and every time a reporter shot a question, the BJP stalwart closed his eyes, smelt deeply of the floral fragrance and then only deigned to give an answer. Now the hacks are wondering: if not the sun, what came over the poor former external affairs minister?

Going to the doc

No one in London believes that Big B, now Dr B, and his honorary doctorate has anything to do with scholarship and higher learning. It’s simply the Indian Vote Catching Trick, many chortle. The De Montfort University, in Leicester, which conferred this honour on the serial superstar, was an unremarkable polytechnic only a decade ago and is barely known beyond the county boundaries. So as things go, the university has more to gain. AB’s name will help attract the willing-to-pay foreign Indian students. And no guesses why Keith Vaz, the Goan MP from Leicester, lobbied for the honour for Big B; his constituency is predominantly Asian. So Bachchan, with the ebbulient Amar Singh in tow, was led to cult leader Morari Bapu’s katha. Grabbing the eyeballs of the 8,000 Bapu followers was a smart ploy by the Leicester politician. But Vaz was not alone, Jack Straw, leader of the House of Commons—whose constituency of Blackburn has 20,000 Asians—not only met the Superstar, but also praised him on the floor of the House and invited Bachchan to visit his constituency. So, will we see Big B flying from Bulandshahar to Birmingham more frequently with elections on both sides looming ahead?

Dream run

While Mumbaikars would avoid local trains if they could, yesteryear’s Dream Girl, Rajya Sabha MP Hema Malini, wants just the opposite. The other day, she marched up to Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav to request him to run special VIP trains from Juhu and Churchgate for people like her—politicians, Page-3 personalities and cine stars. The reason: Mumbai’s terrible traffic jams are making road travel quite impossible, she said.

Curious timing

Is it just a coincidence? The Rajya Sabha will take up the controversial OoPs Bill sent back by President APJ Kalam on July 25, the second day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament. A year from now, exactly on July 25, 2007, Kalam will be demitting office. Sometimes destiny amuses itself.

Babu’s day out

Bureaucrats are seldom given to acknowledging the gifts that come their way, but some senior IAS officers condescended to agree that July 20 could be declared Babu’s Day. It was on the fateful Thursday that the Union Cabinet caved in to the demands of the bureaucracy on curtailing the aam aadmi’s right to information with amendments on what could be accessed by the public. At the same cabinet meeting it was also agreed that a new Pay Commission would be appointed for revising the perks of Central government employees. Even politicians wilt in the face of this kind of pushy behaviour

AP govt appeals to Naxals to restart stalled dialogue

Hyderabad, July 24: Andhra Pradesh government today appealed to the Naxalites to shun violence and cooperate with the government in its efforts to maintain peace in the state.

"The Naxals should eschew violence and come forward to restart the stalled peace talks initiated by the Congress government in 2004", State Home Minister K Jana Reddy told reporters here.

Denying allegations that state CPI (Maoist) Secretary Madhav and seven others were killed in a "fake encounter" in Nallamala forest in Prakasam district yesterday, the Home Minister said "The incident occurred during a combing operation by police, who were discharging their duties to curb Naxal violence and maintain peace in the society".

To a query, he said no Naxalite was taken into custody after yesterday`s encounter.

Bureau Report

Cops increase vigil for possible Naxal backlash

Monday July 24 2006 12:32 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: The encounter of Maoists in Prakasam district prompted the police forces of the three north coastal districts to heighten vigil in the Agency areas, particularly along the Andhra-Orissa border.

Coincidentally, Andhra region Inspector General of Police BL Meena who is camping in Srikakulam district conducted surprise check of the Two Town police station.

He is learnt to have instructed superintendents of police in the region to be extra-cautious due to the possibility of retaliation by Maoists and also in view of ensuing panchayat elections.

Combing has been intensified in Agency areas to flush out the Maoists and security was tightened around the police stations.

Narsipatnam OSD Vineet Brijlal told this website's newspaper that the police had been put on high alert following the encounter in Prakasam district.

Vehicles are being checked and a close watch is being kept at places where Maoists could attack the cops.

Similarly, the police of Vizianagaram district have increased vigil in the extremist affected areas. The policemen were kept on alert, particularly in Parvatipuram sub-division which is highly affected.

In Srikakulam district, the focus is on Mandasa, Palasa, Vajrapukotthuru, Meliaputti, Bhamini and Pathapatnam mandals where the Maoists have strong presence.

Top Maoist leader killed in encounter

Hyderabad
As a victory for India in it's continuing war against naxal terrorism, the Andhra Pradesh state secretary of Communist Party of India(Maoist), Madhav, was killed along with seven others in an encounter.

The encounter between a special police team and the outlawed CPI(Maoist) cadre took place in the Nallamala forests of Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh.

The gun battle occurred when the police party combing in the forests came across a group of 25 Maoists holding a meeting.

And the Maoists were asked to surrender by the police, the naxals opened fire and police retaliated.

However, no policemen had been injured in the encounter.

Meanwhile AP Home Minister K. Jana Reddy, congratulating the police, said that it was the government's responsibility to maintain law and order

"The government is fulfilling its responsibility of maintaining law and order. The police kills the extremists only in self defense and not deliberately," State Home Minister K. Jana Reddy, who applauded the police raids, said.



ACV News

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Terror fodder

After every Naxalite strike, each more daring than the previous, the Chhattisgarh government puts on a brave face, holding up the state-backed Salva Judum campaign as a crusade that will pay in the long run. Hundreds of people have been killed in the confrontation and on the ground, the campaign is taking a blind turn — of retribution that is pitting tribal against tribal.


‘‘Stay or go, those who go also get killed’’
An army without option

Union Tribal Affairs Minister Kyndiah warned of the consequences last week, suggesting a rethink on the Salva Judum strategy which, he said, was turning into a ‘‘fratricidal war’’. What happened in the Judum’s Errabor camp in Konta tehsil on July 18 has left little doubt of what is to follow. A tribal army comprising hundreds of men, women and children (many below 10 years of age), armed with anything from automatic guns to bows and arrows swooped down on the relief camp, mercilessly attacking the inmates, all fellow tribals. Women and children were not spared — among the 32 dead were a one-year-old and a three-year-old.

So far, the Naxalites aren’t known to have killed women or children. The Judum challenge is becoming the story of an anti-insurgency campaign going wrong, pushing the left extremists to desperation.

‘‘Just look at how barbarically they have killed the two children. That shows their real face,’’ says Errabor Judum leader Muka Soyam. Muka belongs to the Dorla tribe which lives mostly by the roadside as against the Muriyas who live deep in the forests. He denies his tribe is siding with the Judum. ‘‘We don’t need the Judum for anything. We want development,’’ the Dorlas say. The Muriyas also deny they have Naxalite sympathisers among them. ‘‘There is no truth in this. All tribals are one,’’ brushes off chief Judum protagonist and Congress leader Mahendra Karma, a Muriya himself.

Those caught in between point out that the casualties have only risen. ‘‘Whatever it may be, ultimately all those getting killed are poor tribals, isn’t it?’’ says a teacher handling a relief operation for the Judum campaign. But criticism isn’t welcome within Judum ranks and the campaign being a state-sponsored one, most prefer anonymity.

Incidentally, many Judum leaders are schoolteachers. K Madhukarrao, who started the movement at Karkeli, is also a teacher. And even as critics are emerging, the campaign has found widespread and vociferous support too — among its active votaries are local news correspondents.

For now, though, the Judum is fraught with troubles of its own even as it goes to battle everyday.

continued from page 11

Ever since the first Judum gathering was reported at Karkeli village in Bijapur on June 4, 2005, 17 camps housing more than 50,000 tribals have come up in and around Bijapur and Konta. In 35-km belt from Dornapal to Konta, about 25,000 Judum activists live in four camps. The Dornapal camp is the biggest, with more than 15,000 inmates. Law and order, here, is a question. Three months ago, a landmine blast killed 27 people in the same belt. Kidnappings, killings and Naxalite raids are routine.

Life in the Judum belt has been crippled. Education has come to a standstill. Last year, the government promoted the affected students to the next class. This year, too, educational institutions are unlikely to open. The layout of the camps is a tough ask for effective security. At Errabor, for example, people have been housed in disjointed padas spread over a kilometre, making an effective response almost impossible in the event of an attack.

‘‘I have decided to shift to a safer place,’’ says Nandkishore Gandhi, a trader from Dornapal. ‘‘This place has become hell.’’ The huge surge in the village population could fetch him more business but Gandhi says, ‘‘Zinda rahenge toh kamaenmge na (We can earn only if we stay alive).’’

Security agencies admit there’s a problem. ‘‘We have to improve security. We need better intelligence. Fencing the area could be one way,’’ says Director General of Police OP Rathod. No solution, however, will work in the absence of coordination among police, Judum security trainees and the CRPF.

On Tuesday, there were just seven policemen when the tribal army of hundreds struck. ‘‘We are only eight here,’’ explains assistant sub-inspector Narad Vanjare.

The advantage is with the Naxalites. The Maoists cleverly chose to attack the weak police-end. The CRPF camp is about a kilometre away and before the jawans could make it, the Naxalite army had run down two padas. ‘‘CRPF men didn’t rush fast enough,’’ say inmates who ran for cover.

DIG Subramaniam’s counter: ‘‘If we hadn’t, the death toll would have been higher. And the Naxalites also lost at least 10 of their comrades.’’ Besides, ‘‘we have been posted here for anti-Naxalite operations. Security is a joint responsibility of the Judum SPOs and the state police’’.

The Judum leadership, buoyed by the initial success, is in danger of over-confidence. On Tuesday, its leaders were enjoying a liquor party following SPO Nariya Soyam’s marriage. Nariya himself received 65 burns in the arson by Naxalites. He is recovering at a hospital in Khammam in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

Its response the day after is strident as ever. ‘‘The Judum will continue. We will take revenge. We will wipe them out,’’ says Ismail Khan, an SPO whose fiancée Kawasi Dule, a 23-year old SPO, was kidnapped and brutally killed by Naxalites on Tuesday.

There is another landmine the Judum is facing. Maoists have penetrated the Judum ranks, gathering intelligence and helping their colleagues accurately plan attacks. Besides, forcing villagers to join the campaign has created more Naxalite sympathisers. ‘‘That’s our biggest headache,’’ admits Mohammad Rafique. ‘‘Discontent is evident among many of the SPOs who have been promised but not yet given Rs 1,500 monthly salary.’’

An SPO cuts in: ‘‘We have to do a lot of strenuous, life-threatening legwork, but the assured money hasn’t come for the past five months.’’

One year down the line, Salva Judum is beginning to show up the lack of planning that should have gone into a people’s anti-insurgency campaign in the tribal heartland. Chief Minister Raman Singh has already been called by the Centre to explain the state’s strategy. An activist associated with tribal welfare long before the Judum strikes a grim note: ‘‘Clearly, Salva Judum is proving to be a knee-jerk campaign, where no thought has been spared for the dreadful social consequences that await the tribals as a whole in south Bastar.’


We don’t know who the real Judum activists are and who are Naxalites disguised as Judum activists.



• Mohammad Rafique

Salwa Judum activist

I came here with the Judum procession, not on my own. I want to go back to my village, but if I go, I will be killed. Naxalites are no do-gooders, but there are many villages in the interior still staunchly with them.

An errand boy for Judum leaders



We will end this war only after wiping out Naxalites.

w Muka Soyam

Judum leader at Errabor

It’s not our responsibility to provide security. We are here for anti-Naxalite operations.

• CRPF DIG NG Subramaniam

Why use poor tribals? You can’t win a war when your army is reluctant to fight it.

• A teacher discharging Judum responsibilities as govt representative

I am planning to quit this place lock, stock and barrel. Nobody knows what will happen.

w Nandkishore Gandhi, trader from Dornapal Judum village

Naxalites have spoilt everything here. We are determined to teach them a lesson.

w A village teacher actively associated with Judum

We don’t know what to do. We feel helpless. The police and the CRPF aren’t providing proper security.

w Madkam Gangi

An old woman in the Errabor Judum camp

vivek.deshpande@expressindia.com

Eight naxals killed in encounter

Sunday, July 23, 2006 (Hyderabad):

Eight Maoists, including four women, were killed in a shoot-out with police in a dense forest in Prakasham district of Andhra Pradesh on Sunday, police said.

One of the Maoists killed was identified as Guntur Maoists district committee secretary Jeevan who carries Rs five lakhs reward on his head.
Another top naxal leader is believed to have escaped.

The encounter took place in the dense Nallamala forest near Palutla village of Erryagondapalem mandal.

On a tip off that a meeting of Maoists was scheduled to be held in the forest, the Grey Hounds, an elite force of anti-naxal wing, was combing the forest area for the past three days when the gun battle broke out today, police said. (PTI)

Errabore Massacre: Maoist violence in India reaches its Zenith


India Features
Errabore Massacre: Maoist violence in India reaches its Zenith
By Animesh Roul
Jul 22, 2006, 19:00 GMT


In comparison to the indiscriminate violence perpetrated by Islamic terrorists, the Maoist menace (also infamous as Left-wing Extremist or Naxals) has been plaguing India for quite some time, posing as the other biggest internal security challenge.


The most affected Chattisgarh state has witnessed one of the worst ever massacre on 17 July when armed Naxalites attacked the Errabore Relief Camp in Dantewada district, killing some 30 unarmed civilians and injuring scores. The attackers have abducted more than 45 people in that fateful night. Later, the Naxalites have reportedly released some hostages and killed another six including security personnel. All the six hostages killed later were surrendered Naxalites, according to the police.

The Naxals unleashed a flurry of attacks, first on the nearby central reserve police force (CRPF) camp and then raided the relief camp, resorting to indiscriminate arson and abductions. They opened fire on the inmates (tribals) of the relief camp and set over a hundred huts on fire.

Thousands of people are staying in government-run relief camps in Dantewada district alone. The fear of Naxalites pushed them to take shelter in these camps. These camps are supposed to get armed protections from the security forces. Surprisingly, Naxalites have dodged the security rings and succeeded in their operation.

The failed action on the part of security forces has also been questioned in the media. Even one police official quoted in the media as saying that: \"We know that such attacks will happen in the future as well […] as long as Salwa Judum activists are present, these camps will be targeted.\"

The latest offensive made the state Chief Minister Raman Singh and his team of experts and security advisors to draft a new strategy against the Naxalites. The chief minister has rapped the senior security officials over the lax security arrangements at various relief camps, where over half a lakh people have taken shelter.

However, the question remains, why the tribals who are part of the government sponsored anti-Naxal campaign (Salwa Judum) were left unarmed against their powerful attackers in that fateful night?

SALWA JUDUM: ARMING TRIBAL AGAINST TRIBAL!

The anti-Naxal campaign backed by the authority in the state, known as Salwa Judum, initiated almost a year ago without much success. Over 300 people have been killed by Naxalites in Chattisgarh in the aftermath of the Salwa Judum campaign.

In the wake of the 17 July killing, the Independent Citizens\' Initiative, which studied Salwa Judum (literary means \'peace movement\' in the local Gondi language) couple of months back, strongly condemned the Errabor Massacre. The ICI also blamed the Salwa Judum movement for escalating retaliatory violence in the State.

The Union Minister for Tribal Affairs P R Kyndiah has a similar viewpoint on the ongoing state sponsored anti Naxal campaign. He called for a review of the Salwa Judum campaign as it was \"turning into a fratricidal war.\" Kyndiah said that the strategy of the government, has been leading to a \"fratricidal war, as tribal villagers were being used to kill the insurgents, who too are tribals.\"

According to the minister, the ongoing campaign would lead to serious long-term social problems within tribal communities.

Meanwhile, the ruling Congress party who has a major stake in the United Progressive Alliance government at the Center is expected to clarify its stand on the anti-Naxal campaign after a three-member committee headed by senior leader Harikesh Bahadur submits its report to the party President, Sonia Gandhi. However, the state wing of the Congress party has been urging the party leaderships at the Center to extend moral support to the Salwa Judum movement in the Naxal-infested State.

Indian Prime Minister, Manmahon Singh appealed all the affected state administrations in the meantime, to empower police forces to fight the Naxal menace with improved efficiency, indicating that the past responses to Naxal attacks have been inadequate.

SPREADING TENTACLES

The Naxals are reportedly planning to spread to Assam and Gujarat to focus on the urban centers instead of earlier practice of rural operations. Some recently seized Naxal literatures indicated that Naxalites have already established zonal committees in some of these areas in a bid to intensify the movement across the country.

According to Home Affairs Annual Report 2005-6, 76 districts in the 9 States of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are badly affected by Naxal violence though in varying degrees. Nevertheless, unofficially 13 states, including targeted, are affected. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat are coming under the Naxalite affected map. Kerala can be considered a targeted state, as no incidents reported in the last one year.

The targeted violence by Naxals estimated to have killed at least 460 people in the first half of 2006. The estimate provided by New Delhi based Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), indicated that the total fatalities includes 90 security personnel, 189 suspected Naxalites and 181 civilians in the Naxal affected states during January - June 2006.

Animesh Roul is a Research Fellow at the Society for the Study of Peace and Conflict (www.sspconline.org), New Delhi