Saturday, August 19, 2006

Only An Inspirational Leadership Can Combat Terror

By Swapan Dasgupta

The BJP failed to galvanise the growing disquiet at the Government’s security failures. Even horror stories of the jail for the Coimbatore blasts accused being turned into an ayurvedic massage parlour was allowed to pass.

Does economics explain why there is a greater threshold of tolerance in the country? Does the fear of disruption, and the ensuing monetary losses, explain why the instinctive response of the Indian establishment to terrorist attacks is to pretend that nothing has really happened? The media and even the political class celebrated the so-called Mumbai spirit in the aftermath of July 11. What did this celebration of resilience actually mean? It meant a dread of economic disruption.

History has shown that inspirational leadership is the basic precondition for a nation to extricate itself from a national crisis. Unfortunately, there is no inspirational leadership in the public face of both political formations. If Manmohan Singh is perceived as a stop-gap arrangement, the erstwhile NDA stalwarts are regarded as well beyond their prime.

In just 12 months, the ability of the terror squads to strike has grown exponentially. There was the foiled attack on the makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya which was narrowly foiled. There were the serial pre-Diwali blasts in the crowded markets of Delhi, the murder of a scientist in Bangalore’s Indian Science Institute, the explosion in the Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi, the foiled attack on the RSS headquarters in Nagpur, the repeated grenade attacks on hapless tourists in Srinagar and, finally, the serial blasts in Mumbai on July 11.

The list could even be longer if you include the audacious jail breaks by Maoists in Jehanabad and Malkagiri, the land mine blasts and attacks on Salwa Judum relief camps in Chhattisgarh.

If the Government’s National Security Adviser is to be believed, the terrorists have silently infiltrated the armed forces and are readying to carry out spectacular attacks on the country’s atomic energy plants.

India is under attack from every quarter. The jehadis have established cells all over the country, and particularly in the towns and cities of Andhra Pradesh. The Maoist red corridor which threatens to link Pashupati to Tirupati could well be said to be a de-facto reality, more so after the turbulence in Nepal. And in Assam and the North-east, uncontained insurgencies and a systematic demographic change put a big question mark on the very integrity of eastern India.

Some three decades ago, some Pakistani strategists had evolved the strategy of “thousand cuts” to bleed and ultimately dismember India. Today, at more than any point in our recent history, India has become vulnerable.

The paradox is that the threat to India and the ferocity of the assault on our nationhood is most intense at a time when economically the country is on the cusp of a major take-off. It would hardly be an exaggeration to suggest that despite islands of extreme immiseration—witness the continuing suicide by farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Vidharba—India has never felt so assured about its own future. And yet, this spectacular improvement in our economic well-being coincides with the most serious assault on Indian nationhood.

Does economics explain why there is a greater threshold of tolerance in the country? Does the fear of disruption, and the ensuing monetary losses, explain why the instinctive response of the Indian establishment to terrorist attacks is to pretend that nothing has really happened? The media and even the political class celebrated the so-called Mumbai spirit in the aftermath of July 11. What did this celebration of resilience actually mean?

It meant a dread of economic disruption.

The conviction that terrorism will not be able to derail the nation’s march to prosperity and a robust GDP growth is admirable. That so many people have a stake in normalcy should be a lesson to all those who complain of India being slothful and indolent. Yet, there is a danger that the national determination to ensure that life remains normal can be misinterpreted as apathy or, worse, defeatism. More ominously, the danger of terrorists interpreting the lack of any explosive anger as a licence to kill and maim more people cannot be discounted.

In forging an adequate and effective response to these threats to our nationhood, it is best not to repose inordinate faith in the UPA Government. That this Government is “soft” on terror has, by now, become conventional wisdom. It is also well known that this inability to defend the country against both internal and external subversion is linked to narrow vote-bank politics. The jehadi menace is not being countered with sufficient intensity because there is a misplaced perception that aggressive policing will lead to the alienation of Muslims—a community that can be relied on to vote solidly for the UPA partners. An ideological threat is sought to be countered by doling out economic sops, like grants to madrasas and job reservations, to Muslims. At the same time, there is a general disbelief in the Congress that these ameliorative measures haven’t led to the visible isolation of the jehadis from their own communities. Rather than see this as evidence of a wrong approach, there is a temptation to go further down the road of hand-outs.

It is remarkable that the follies of the Government haven’t led to a popular tide in favour of the opposition. For all its other inadequacies, the BJP has been screaming against terrorism from the rooftops. Last summer, the party even undertook a Bharat Suraksha Yatra which, however, failed to capture the public imagination. In the aftermath of the Mumbai carnage, the BJP failed to galvanise the growing disquiet at the Government’s security failures. Even horror stories of the jail for the Coimbatore blasts accused being turned into an ayurvedic massage parlour was allowed to pass.

At one level, the failure of the political class to forge a viable strategy against terrorism can be attributed to a crisis of leadership. History has shown that inspirational leadership is the basic precondition for a nation to extricate itself from a national crisis. Unfortunately, there is no inspirational leadership in the public face of both political formations. If Manmohan Singh is perceived as a stop-gap arrangement, the erstwhile NDA stalwarts are regarded as well beyond their prime.

There is also another silent concern. There exists in India today an all-pervasive dread of citizens taking the law into their own hands and unleashing the type of retaliatory violence that was witnessed in Mumbai in 1993 and Gujarat in 2002. There is a strong belief that terrorists want Hindus and Sikhs to come out into the streets and attack Muslims—a reaction that will make the silent communal polarisation more overt. Consequently, there is a fear that Hindutva politics of the type witnessed in the early-1990s will compound the problem rather than resolve it.

None of these concerns should be dismissed lightly. There exists in India today a profound exasperation, verging on anger, at the inability of the UPA Government to either acknowledge or fight the jehadi and Maoist terror. At the same time, the perception of what constitutes the alternative approach is seen to be a threat to the growing economic well-being of the country. The Opposition has responded to the Government’s inadequacies in a mechanical way—demanding the restoration of draconian anti-terror legislation. It has not addressed the anxieties of the people. Nor for that matter has it addressed the complex interaction between robust nationalism and a modern identity. It is time to debate the political responses to terrorism a little more innovatively.

(The author is a well-known columnist and senior editor, The Pioneer.)

Cops lined up, shot at point blank by Naxals

Cops lined up, shot at point blank by Naxals
Saturday August 19 2006 12:00 IST

NALGONDA: In an apparent retaliation for the killing of CPI (Maoist) State committee secretary Madhav last month, Naxalites on Friday struck at Atmakur(M) police station in the district late on Thursday night and shot dead three policemen, including a sub-inspector.

About 12 heavily-armed Maoists attacked the police station at about 9.30 pm.

They first barged into the residential quarters of sub-inspector Chand Pasha, located right behind the PS. The radicals overpowered the SI, snatched his revolver and dragged him out.

They later entered the police station and beat up ASI Moinuddin, constable Karim and Home Guard Lingaiah.

The Naxalites went about their operation casually. They tied the hands of all the four policemen and fired at them point blank. The SI, ASI and Home Guard died on the spot while Karim suffered critical injuries.

The Maoists later hurled bombs at the police station before fleeing. Karim was shifted by the locals to a hospital in Hyderabad. His condition is said to be critical.

Some other constables, who were in their houses located behind the police station, are also believed to have fled their homes out of fear.

Atmakur(M) is not a Naxalite-affected area. There were no weapons either, as in the majority of the police stations in the State -- with the police withdrawing weapons from police stations a few years ago after Naxalites raided them for arms.

Before the raid, the Naxalites switched off power supply in the remote mandal headquarters town, located about 80 km from here.

Though 12 Maoists took part in the action, several others were probably around.

SP Bhagwat rushed to the spot with additional enforcements. An alert has been sounded in the district. Borders have been sealed to track down the Naxalites, believed to be of the Alair squad of CPI(Maoist).

Sources, quoting eye-witnesses, said the Naxalites claimed to have carried out the attack in retaliation for the killing of Madhav, general secretary of the State unit of CPI (Maoist).

Hyderabad, Aug. 19 (PTI): The Andhra Pradesh government today strongly condemned the killing of three policemen by Maoists in Nalgonda district and resolved to deal firmly with the naxal menace.

Chief Minister, Y S Rajasekhar Reddy, visited the government hospital in Nalgonda district, about 110 km from here, to meet the family members of three policemen, who were gunned down in Atmakur police station Friday night.

Home Minister K Jana Reddy, accompanied by DGP Swaranjit Sen, visited the Atmakur police station and said the government would firmly deal with the Maoist menace.

The slain policemen were identified as Sub-Inspector Chand Pasha, Assistant Sub-Inspector Moinuddin and Home Guard Lingiah.

The Home Minister announced an ex-gratia of Rs 9 lakh each for the families of SI Pasha and ASI Moinuddin and Rs 5 lakh for the Home Guard beside providing land and a government job to the family members of the deceased.

In an apparent retaliation to the killing of CPI (Maoist) State Secretary, Madhav, and seven others in an encounter last month, a group of armed Maoists attacked the Atmakur police station killing three policemen including the SI and injuring a constable.

The injured constable was admitted to a hospital here and his condition is stated to be critical.

Look at Gujarat ,which has no Naxalites and farmer suicides

Look at Gujarat


We can learn from our neighbouring state, which has no Naxalites and farmer suicides


Ajit Ranade


Maharashtra has a twin. The same day that our state was born, another also took birth — Gujarat. And it has always had the status of a junior sibling.

It has half the population, half the state GDP and 25 districts, as compared to the 35 in our state. Its Vidhan Sabha has 182 members whereas we have 288. While more than 40 per cent of our population lives in urban areas, Gujarat is much less urbanised. Migration into Gujarat from other states is also less, though much of the industrial and coastal belt attracts workers from Bihar and Orissa.

In two significant respects, however, Gujarat has an enviable record. It has no Naxalites and no recorded farmer suicides.

There are now armed Naxalites in 15 states and more than 160 districts of India, practically affecting half the nation. The prime minister recently called it the single biggest threat to India’s internal security, and said that in certain parts, Naxals have caused a virtual collapse of law and order.

The appropriate response to Naxals is a combination of effective police action and ensuring socio-economic development. That’s because Naxals are typically active in backward, tribal and forest areas. It is not as if Gujarat doesn’t have its share of tribal and backward areas. For example, the northern districts of Banaskantha, Sabarkantha and Mehsana have tribals and are backward. Why is it that Naxals have not gained a foothold there? Or even in parts of Kutch?

Maybe the answer to these questions requires a deeper understanding of the history of the Naxalite movement — but it is undeniable that Gujarat, today, is free of the Naxal virus.

The second is the phenomenon of farmer suicides. A combination of usurious debts, failed monsoons and excessive reliance on cash crops like BT cotton, which command volatile prices, are the reasons behind farmer suicides in Maharashtra, Andhra and other states.

There is also a sociological reason arising from the stigma of utter poverty and deprivation. But here too, it is surprising that Gujarat is not known for farmer distress. Yes, BT cotton is grown, yes, there are lot of indebted farmers, yes there are parched lands. But Gujarati farmers are on an average a much happier lot.

Apart from these two major themes, our neighbouring state has distinguished itself as a hub of the chemicals and textiles industry and is the largest producer of manmade fabric in the country. It is also a global centre of diamond polishing, earning a pile of foreign exchange and will soon have the world’s largest petroleum refinery. In the last few years it has been attracting more fresh investments than Maharashtra, although, the bigger twin has again overtaken it.

In fact, these two twin states accounted for 40 per cent of all new investments undertaken in India in 2005-06. Most remarkably, while our state is reeling under a Rs 1.25 trillion debt, our neighbour has been running a primary revenue surplus for the past three years.

A recent clincher, was the state’s decision to abolish remaining octroi in all municipalities. Ahmedabad’s municipality is unique in having raised money, corporate style, by selling bonds — most other cities depend only on taxes. All this despite doses of major annual calamities — like the 2001 earthquake, the 2002 riots, major droughts, and now the floods, which have caused losses of about Rs 20,000 crore.

So shouldn’t we be learning from our neighbour’s resilience and progress? Our agriculture minister agrees. He said in a recent walk-the-talk interview, for state-level development look at Gujarat!


• Ajit Ranade on the wheels that make Mumbai run — money and economy

Friday, August 18, 2006

Parliament Uproar on NCERT Syllabus - Riots, Jats and Communist Indoctrination

Parliament Uproar on NCERT Syllabus - Riots, Jats and Communist Indoctrination


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OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion through Blogs and Podcasts.

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Members of Parliament across the board are fiercely opposing changes to be made to class XII Political Science books. This time it is the National Council for Education Research and Training, NCERT, that obscure tax payer sponsored bureaucracy sitting in the left of center shadowy alleys of New Delhi's academia which has released new text books. Why a central bureaucracy with no accountability to local communities or local governments should prescribe syllabi is another matter for debate, but first a look at Offstumped's research of the specific new textbooks prescribed by NCERT for Political Science lessons to Classes IX and XI.

The inspiring force behind this work is Yogendra Yadav of the Affirmative Action fame who also curiously was behind the nation wide opinion poll released by The Hindu last week which showed Sonia Gandhi and the Manmhohan Singh lead UPA Government's ratings improving. While it is only a fool who would posit much faith in Opinion Polls in India's mercurial electoral politics, the conflict of interests between Yogendra Yadav the pollster and Yogendra Yadav the state sponsored textbook writer are all but glaring.

Offstumped has extensively reviewed all the chapters of the new Political Science Textbooks for Classes IX and XI thanks to a commendable job on the part of the NCERT in leveraging technology and making available all the chapters as electronically downloadable PDF files.

http://www.ncert.nic.in/textbooks/testing/Index.htm

It must also be said that the NCERT textbooks have come a long way since the days of drab unicolor textbooks with the current generation visually appealing textbooks with their informal real world example oriented narrative.

While the NCERT effort scores high on readability and overall reader experience, Yogendra Yadav and his cabal of left wing JNU bred psuedo intellectual fellow textbook writers have put Noam Chomsky to shame with their subtle injection of their political world view and left of center political agenda.

The Class IX Political science text book for example is unapologetically anti-american in its real world example. In a rather shameless and brazen manner the textbook in instance after instance is replete with controversial issues with a clear anti-american slant. It begins with unsubstantiated innuendo on American involvement in a coup in Chile back in the 1970s, that a text book should of this nature targeting an impressionable student age group should rely on rumors rather than facts is galling. The same chapter has also a glaring cartoon lampooning Paul Wolfowitz for his role in the Pentagaon planning the Iraq War and his subsequent ascendancy to the World Bank. In what is completely unbalanced judgement on Paul Wolfowitzs track record at the World Bank the text book does more to induce Anti-American sentiment in the young students than to make the political point it was seeking to make. The text book goes even further later on when it goes into factually incorrect statements about the UN Security Council not authorizing the use of force on Iraq and the UN Inspectors concluding there were no weapons of mass destruction before the war. The entire narrative is extremely one sided and sounds more intent on making a political point on the so called illegality of the Iraq war more than educating the student. The rest of the book has cartoon after cartoon taking off on the American role in Iraq. This whole style of using current events which are yet to be judged by history as the frame of reference to educate young minds is highly questionable. Textbooks for basic education which is formative in nature should be based on content which is established history and where the narrative has element of posterity to it. To introduce contemporary issues which are still being debated and the last word on which has not yet been told, and make them the basis for educating the students without providing a balanced view only goes to prejudice young minds rather than educate them.

Another particular area of contentious debate is the reference to Guantanamo Bay with a emotive letter from a girl to Tony Blair. That the text book chose to frame the debate on a complex issue like what terrorists with no state affiliations should have in this one sided imbalanced manner especially when the issue is still unresolved goes to show the deep left of center agenda that was at the heart of this text book writing exercise.

The rest of the book is apalling in the manner in which it has subtly highlighted the Congress' achievements and the socialist agenda of OBC reservations. Chapter 5 for example in the Class IX textbook describes the mandal commission decision by the VP Singh government in such astonishing detail that it is mind numbing. That Yogendra Yadav chose to pick this most contentious of issues for such elaborate discussion goes to show Yogendra Yadav is no honest intellectual that he attempted to position himself in the recent anti-reservation debate. The text book describes the 1984 landslide victory of the Congress as a historic moment in the history of India Democracy. The text book also pays tribute to the Manmohan Singh Congress lead UPA Government with the color picture of Singh being sworn by president APJ Abdul Kalam as the Prime Minister. Both the textbooks are replete with references to Nehru, Indra Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and of course Manmohan Singh. The mandal messiah VP Singh also finds mention, thanks to Yogendra Yadav.

What is amazing is the absolute silence on the Vajpayee or Narasimha Rao governments. The two governments which really transformed India on the economic front. The only time the textbooks refer to the Vajpayee lead BJP, NDA Government when it refers to the Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha budget rollbacks. The malintent of the textbook writers is very clear when the Gujarat Riots are elaborated in an entire page on the importance of the National Human Rights Commision, NHRC. The text books maintain an eery silence on the Anti-Sikh Delhi riots in the aftermath of the Indira Gandhi assasination. The text books also completely gloss over the murder of Indian Democracy in the form of emergency with just a one sentence oblique reference to the Janata Party with no reference to the fact that it was the Congress that imposed emergency. That the text book went out of its way to pick on the United States and the Narendra Modi BJP Government in making its case on issues of democracry and human rights, while completely glossing over the anti sikh riots and the emergency goes to show the one sided, intellectually dishonest exercise the text books have come to represent.

Yogendra Yadav meanwhile under attack from the BJP defended the text books on the grounds that the text books will tell the truth in a non-partisan manner. It is clear from Offstumped's review of the text books that the non-partisan claim of Yogendra Yadav is phoney and the facts are otherwise. Yadav also claims that Political developments before and after the incidents will be elaborated, which is hardly the case. In neither in the Iraq references and nor the Gujarat has the textbook referred to facts after the incident like Narendra Modi being relected by the people of Gujarat with a thumping landslide majority which is no less than the other landslide of the 1984 congress victory which the textbook went great lengths to praise. Yogendra Yadavs claim that the textbook's contents are in sync with the NCERT objective of linking education to real world events is also not tenable as the real world events have been described in a one sided manner with a clear ulterior agenda. Yogendra Yadavs claim that major events like the emergency will be covered is plain dishonesty as Offstumped has already pointed out that the reference to emergency is one sentence and is oblique neither doing justic to the event nor to those who fought it and those who were found guilty of it. Yadav also claims that the textbooks will contain established facts from government sources which are beyond doubt. This is laughable as Offstumped pointed out the text book starts out with alleged claims of U.S. involvement in Chile based on rumours with no reference to established facts.

In summary while the Congress UPA lead Governments De-Tox campaign championed by Arjun Singh is managed to show itself in a positive light with 10 pro congress references across these text books the Yogendra Yadav lead leftist socialist JNU bred psuedo intellectual text book re-writing brigade has done right by Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury lead CPI-M with the heavy pro communist slant reflected in the 13 anti-american references, 9 anti-capitalist references and a whopping 17 references to pro-mandalite and pro-minority issues while beating up the BJP with negative references on 10 occassions. Where the CPI-M scored a fast one on the Congress was with the Nepalese Maoist insurgency and the CPI-ML projected as pro-democracy political forces completely sidestepping the violent insurgency and terrorist acts conducted by the Maoists as well as praising known Naxalite sympathetic groups like the PUCL in the context of human rights.


Offstumped Bottomline: The textbooks seed a leftist world view into young impressionable minds that breeds anti-american sentiments, ignores the multiple political view points in India and praises the Congress while glossing over its worst excesses. That Yogendra Yadav has been conducting Opinion Polls which have repeatedly shown the Congress doing well and Sonia Gandhi viewed favorably raises seriouses questions about Yogendra Yadavs intellectual honesty and credibility. This is not education this is congress sponsored indoctrination being conducted by the likes of Yogendra Yadav who have otherwise mastered the art of Manufacturing Consent.

Bomb Hoax at Secunderabad City Courts

August 17, 2006

An anonymous call stating that a bomb had been planted inside the Secunderabad City Court premises turned out to be a hoax.

The caller claiming to be a naxalite, mentioned the bomb to a clerk working with the City Court. Local Marredpally police were alerted. The police came and made the Judges, advocates, court staff and other persons vacate the premises.

The bomb disposal squad was pressed into action and after thorough check, it was confirmed to be a hoax.

(UNI)

Develop own models to fight Naxals: Centre to states

Raipur, Aug 18: The Centre has directed all naxal-affected states in the country to develop their own models to deal with the menace, and stressed on the need to provide security to those involved in anti-naxal campaigns.

"We have assured all assistance and asked the states to develop their own models to deal with the naxal menace", Union Minister of state for Home, Sriprakash Jaiswal said here.

When queried he told reporters that people who opposed the naxal movement should be ensured full security and it should be done in a systematic manner.

Jaiswal also said the Centre was providing on a war footing all assistance to states, including security forces, Talking about Salwa Judum (peace campaigns), he told PTI that like Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh was also fighting the naxalites in its own way.

"Andhra Pradesh is getting good result on the naxal combat front and Chhattisgarh would get the same", he said. adding that with coordinated effort the naxal menace could be tackled, and suggested that the states could take the lead and the Centre would provide them support.

On peace talks with the naxalites, Jaiswal said "There can be discussion with any group, but for that they have to lay down arms. Without that there can never be any talk".

Jaiswal visited the naxal infested Bastar region and discussed the situation with the state civil staff and police officials as in the last one year about 350 people, including 50 policemen, were killed in naxal-related violence after the salwa judum began operating in the region.

Bureau Report

Economic Antidote

In an otherwise predictable Independence Day address, the prime minister got one thing right: The relative emphasis on terror and development.

By focusing almost entirely on the latter, Manmohan Singh appeared to suggest that growth with welfare was the country's best long-term bet against religious or political extremism. For instance, Naxalism is rife in India's tribal belt, a region of economic backwardness.

This area needs a functioning welfare state, and not a Salwa Judum, to quell the Naxal menace. The National Rural Health Mission, with its accredited social health activists, should make its presence felt here, as should the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme.

With his background as a bureaucrat, Singh should dwell on issues of implementation and accountability in centrally-sponsored schemes, while also enhancing government spending in health and education as a proportion of gross domestic product, now just 0.9 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively.

Naxalism and religious fundamentalism spring from disparate ideologies, but they point to the lack of inclusiveness in economic and political processes.
A democracy does not become inclusive merely by giving everyone the right to vote; its institutions must be even-handed as well. The struggle against militancy should go beyond a security response to providing justice, economic and political, to all.

The macroeconomic environment is ripe for the prime minister to chart another course. India could register its fourth consecutive year of 8 per cent growth this fiscal. Hardening interest rates present both a challenge and an opportunity.

The Centre can, in fact, reconcile social commitments with fiscal concerns if it reviews expenditure on defence and internal security in the medium term and explores political and social solutions to law and order problems.

Redistribution cannot proceed at the expense of growth, hence the prime minister should not lose focus on reforms. India needs foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to the extent that it can run a current account deficit of 2-3 per cent of GDP.

The boom in the business cycle, which started towards the end of 2003-04, shows no signs of abating. Project lending in power and textiles sectors in 2005-06 was double that in 2003-04, while lending towards services increased five times.

If credit drives investment rather than consumption, India might be able to grow at a medium-term rate of 8 per cent while keeping inflation at bay. High, equitable growth would render India a safer place.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

India's Naxalites : A spectre haunting India

India's Naxalites
A spectre haunting India



Aug 17th 2006 | DANTEWADA DISTRICT, CHHATTISGARH
From The Economist print edition
Maoist rebels are fighting a brutal low-level war with the Indian state


GANESH UEIKE, secretary of the West Bastar Divisional Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), seems a gentle, rather academic, man, who does not suit his green combat fatigues or clenched-fist “red salute”. He shuffles dog-eared bits of paper from a shabby file in his knapsack and writes down the questions he is asked. He answers them in slogans that he gives every appearance of believing. He wants to “liberate India from the clutches of feudalism and imperialism”.
AP

A band of merry Naxalites

The rare interview took place last month, in a thatched shelter in a clearing in the Bastar forest in southern Chhattisgarh. The spot was some seven hours' walk from the nearest road, and there had been a day-and-a-half's wait for such a “big leader” to emerge from a hideout even deeper in the jungle. His party, he said, was facing renewed suppression, because “the resources of finance capitalism are facing sluggishness in their development, and are looking for new routes,” such as the mineral riches of this forest.

Mr Ueike did not mention that, just a few hours beforehand, at the edge of the forest, in a place called Errabore, his comrades had fought back. Several hundred had mounted a co-ordinated attack on a police station, a paramilitary base and a relief camp for displaced people. They killed more than 30 of the camp's residents, mostly by hacking them to death with axes. The scholarly Mr Ueike did boast that his army relied on “low-tech weapons”.



This was the latest battle in a year-long civil war in Dantewada district, in which more than 350 people have been killed, and nearly 50,000 moved into camps such as the one at Errabore. It is a remote, sparsely populated, under-developed region bordering three neighbouring states, and nine hours' drive from Chhattisgarh's capital, Raipur (see map). It is here that India's widespread Maoist rebellion is most intense.

On August 15th, in his National Day speech in Delhi, India's prime minister, Manmohan Singh, linked Naxalism with terrorism as the two big threats to India's internal security. The terrorism is all too familiar. India's cities have endured repeated atrocities—culminating in July's bomb attacks in Mumbai, which killed nearly 200 people. But many are surprised that Mr Singh accords Naxalism such a high priority. A primitive peasant rebellion based on an outmoded ideology is out of keeping with the modern India of soaring growth, Bollywood dreams and call-centres. Moreover, India has fought many better-known wars. A violent insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir has claimed tens of thousands of lives. Its north-eastern states are wracked by dozens of secessionist movements.

But Mr Singh may be right about the Maoists. Known as “Naxalites”, after the district of Naxalbari in West Bengal where they staged an uprising in 1967, they are these days almost a nationwide force. Greeted by China's People's Daily at the height of the Cultural Revolution as “a peal of spring thunder”, they were almost wiped out in the 1970s, as the Indian government repressed them, and Maoism went out of fashion, even in its homeland.

In India they splintered into various armed factions, of which the biggest were the People's War Group and the Maoist Communist Centre. These merged and formed the CPI (Maoist) party in September 2004. P.V. Ramana, of the Observer Research Foundation in Delhi, estimates the Naxalites now have 9,000-10,000 armed fighters, with access to about 6,500 firearms. There are perhaps a further 40,000 full-time cadres.

In nearly 1,600 violent incidents involving Naxalites last year, 669 people died. There have been spectacular attacks across a big area: a train hold-up last month involving 250 armed fighters, a jailbreak freeing 350 prisoners, a near-miss assassination attempt in 2004 against a leading politician. “Naxalism” now affects some 170 of India's 602 districts—a “red corridor” down a swathe of central India from the border with Nepal in the north to Karnataka in the south and covering more than a quarter of India's land mass.

This statistic overstates Naxalite power, since in most places they are an underground, hit-and-run force. But in the Bastar forest they are well-entrenched, controlling a large chunk of territory and staging operations across state borders into Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. In the tiny, dirt-poor villages scattered through the forest, the Indian state is almost invisible.

In one there is a hand-pump installed by the local government, but the well is dry. There are no roads, waterpipes, electricity or telephone lines. In another village a teacher does come, but, in the absence of a school, holds classes outdoors. Policemen, health workers and officials are never seen. The vacuum is filled by Naxalite committees, running village affairs and providing logistic support to the fighters camping in the forest. For the past year, those fighters—mostly local tribal people—have been battling not just the police and the six paramilitary battalions deployed in the district, but their own neighbours.
Not a dinner party

The single spark that lit this prairie fire was the formation a year ago of Salwa Judum, an anti-Maoist movement, whose name in Gondi, the language spoken by local tribes, means something like “peace hunt”. Its origins are disputed. K.R. Pisda, the district collector, or senior official, in Dantewada, dates it to a meeting in June 2005 of local villagers fed up with Naxalite intimidation and extortion. Others say that the Maoists were enforcing a boycott of trade in one of the main local forest products: tendu patta, the leaves used to wrap bidis (hand-rolled cigarettes).

Similar boycotts in the past had succeeded in forcing up prices and had earned the Naxalites some kudos. This one, the story goes, backfired. If it ever was a spontaneous movement, Salwa Judum soon became an arm of government policy—and a paramilitary force. Some 5,000 of its members have been inducted as “special police officers” (SPOs) and given some training and arms.

As the local government tells it, thousands of people started turning up by the roadside, fleeing Naxalite reprisals. There was no choice but to house them in relief camps, of which there are now 17. This is a dirty little war in which truth was long ago a casualty. Salwa Judum itself is also responsible for displacing people—a “scorched village” policy intended to starve the Maoists of local support. This recognises that the Naxalites' real strength lies not in their guerrillas in the jungle, with their peaked caps and “country-made” rifles, but in their civilian networks in the villages themselves.

In the largest camp, at Dornapal, some 17,000 people are housed in huts of mud and corrugated iron. Health workers say that many of the children are malnourished. One man, Wenjam, says he took refuge here after Naxalites in his local village beat him, and threatened him with worse, because he had a government contract to fence the pond. He had a pukka house, he said, and a herd of cattle. But, after five months in the camp, he had not been back to the village.

Armed police do sometimes escort groups home for a visit. Mr Ueike says there are no “ordinary people” in the camps, only “SPO people and their families”, whom he dismisses as “village feudal families and some lumpen elements”.

Yet some of those displaced are openly critical of Salwa Judum, which they say forced them to leave their villages. They are caught between two vicious enemies. In some villages, residents fled into the forest rather than follow the drive to the roadside. The camps are very controversial. Even K.P.S. Gill, a retired policeman known as a “supercop” for his vigorous role in putting down various insurgencies, and now an adviser to the Chhattisgarh government on dealing with the Maoists, says it would have been better to protect people in their villages.


When the Chhattisgarh government's home minister, Ramvichar Netam, visited Errabore the day after the massacre, he was surrounded by angry survivors. They pelted his helicopter with stones. Some of the bereaved even refused the money he was handing out as compensation. The Salwa Judum campaign, however, has important backers. Raman Singh, Chhattisgarh's chief minister, calls it “a success story”, a “non-violent movement against exploitation”.

The same tune is sung by the leader of the opposition in the state, Mahendra Karma of the Congress party, who is, in effect, Salwa Judum's leading light. A native of Dantewada itself, Mr Karma, like Mr Singh, sits under a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi and stresses the movement's “peaceful” origins. But he also links it to the global fight against terrorism and asks: “Are we not supposed to protect ourselves in our homeland?” Even the central government seemed at one time to endorse the campaign. In a statement in March the home ministry promised to “promote local resistance groups” against Naxalites.

Now, however, V.K. Duggal, the home ministry's top civil servant, who, like state officials, calls Salwa Judum “spontaneous”, says that at a meeting last week the central government advised the Chhattisgarh government not to extend the movement to other areas. Delhi is offering assistance: an extra paramilitary battalion; armoured vehicles; minesweeping equipment; and imaging technology to help locate remote Naxalite camps. It draws the line at helicopters for offensive operations. Its emphasis is on persuading the Maoists to join mainstream politics. In his speech this week, the prime minister said he wanted Naxalites to understand that “real power flows from the ballot box”.

Mr Karma and local officials in Dantewada make much of the Maoists' inhumanity. He says they load the corpses of their victims with mines, so those retrieving the bodies are also killed. Om Prakash Pal, the police superintendent at Dornapal, displays a gruesome photo album of mutilated bodies. Even Mr Gill, who has seen more brutality than most, thinks the Maoists stand out in this respect: “Their ideology is that the manner of killing should frighten more than the killing itself.”

Salwa Judum, too, is accused of intimidation, extortion, rape and murder. Its thugs have been manning roadblocks, supposedly to hunt for Maoists, but also to demand money. Some SPOs—like some Naxalites—may be local hoodlums, who have signed up for the money on offer, and the shiny new bicycles and motorbikes still wrapped in plastic at the Dornapal police station. Some families refusing to join Salwa Judum on its “combing” operations—rampages of arson, thuggery and pillage—have been “fined” or beaten. A report on Salwa Judum produced in April by a number of civil-liberties groups concluded that its formation had “escalated violence on all sides...Salwa Judum and the paramilitary operate with complete impunity. The rule of law has completely broken down.”
The barrel of a gun

For local officials in Dantewada, and the state government in Raipur, the Naxalites are just bandits: extortionists who hold sway through terror alone. Their ideology, they say, long ago imploded in a welter of violence. There is little doubt that they do use terror and extortion. Himanshu Kumar, who runs aid projects in the district, says he used to respect the Naxalites as working “for the betterment of the masses”. But he now found “people supporting them out of fear of their guns, or to gain power to loot others.”

Most of their young recruits—illiterate tribal people—have never read Mao. But not all support is coerced or opportunistic. And those who have studied the Naxalites credit them with far greater organisation, discipline and ideological fervour than any criminal gang. Ajai Sahni, for example, of the Institute of Conflict Management, a Delhi think-tank, points to the detailed socio-economic surveys they conduct before starting operations in a target area, helping to identify grievances they can exploit.

He also says that the Naxalites have been among the most principled of terrorist groups in selecting their targets. Their attacks are not random; though, because they so often use crude landmines, they may kill the wrong people. Their leaders are thinking far into the future, taking a 20- to 25-year view of their struggle. “Liberated” areas, such as their part of Dantewada, would be expanded until they pose a threat even to India's cities.

Nepal's Maoists, with whom the Indian party has “fraternal” links, are a model of how such a strategy can work. Having managed to exclude the state from virtually all the countryside, and waged war for a decade, the Maoists in Nepal are now negotiating, from a position of some strength, their share in government—a decision their Indian comrades quietly deplore, despite a pretence of solidarity.

Early Naxalite leaders like Mr Ueike, who has spent nearly 30 years in the movement, were students and middle-class intellectuals. But the tribal peoples among whom they find most of their new recruits are among India's poorest: “the most exploited, the bottom rung”, according to Ajit Jogi, a tribal leader and former chief minister of Chhattisgarh. Typically, they live in forests and have no rights to their land. A law to remedy this is under consideration, but resisted by conservationists. According to the 2001 census, about three-quarters of Dantewada's 1,220 villages are almost wholly tribal; 1,161 have no medical facilities; 214 have no primary school; the literacy rate is 29% for men and 14% for women.

Most of the inhabitants are subsistence farmers eking a meagre cash income from selling forest products, such as tendu patta. Markets in the forest have been closed, to throttle the Maoists' supply chain. For many inside the forest, a visit to the market is now a long hike, camping overnight on the way. A big iron mine, Bailadilla, on the edge of the forest, employs few local people and in the rainy season turns a river bright orange and undrinkable. A railway has been built to take the ore to the sea.

The government blames the Maoists for blocking development, such as road-building. But the Maoists tell people that roads are intended simply to help the state plunder the forests and take wealth out, not bring it in. Many believe them. The Maoists profit from what Mr Sahni calls “asymmetric expectations”: people expect the state to provide for them, and it is failing; any good coming from the Maoists—social work, land redistribution, a price rise for local produce—brings disproportionate gratitude.
Contradictions among the people

To bring development to these neglected reaches, the government needs to assert control. Salwa Judum is the wrong way to go about it. A larger, better-trained police force would help. In India, on average, there are 55 policemen for every 100 square kilometres; in Chhattisgarh just 17. In districts such as Dantewada, policing is an unattractive, life-threatening career. Mr Pal, the Dornapal policeman, is a young and competent-seeming officer from the state of Uttar Pradesh. But he has been criticised in the press for lacking experience.

Some 2,000 policemen have attended a Counter-Terrorism and Jungle Warfare Training School, which opened a year ago at Kanker, on the road from Raipur. The director, B.K. Ponwar, a retired army brigadier, wants to teach policemen “to fight a guerrilla like a guerrilla”. They learn to slither down ropes, as from a helicopter, practise peppering a range with live bullets, run fierce obstacle courses and study survival skills, such as “jungle cooking” (“First, catch your cobra...”).
AP

A policeman's unhappy lot

Eradicating Naxalism, however, is more than a local policing problem. One difficulty has been that, under India's constitution, security is a matter for state governments rather than the centre. So national policy for dealing with the Naxalites has been inconsistent. In 2004, the government of Andhra Pradesh held abortive peace talks with local Naxalites, while other states continued to fight them.

Mr Ueike talks boldly of expanding Naxalite influence into new areas: Kashmir, the north-east, and India's cities. The spread of Naxalism is causing justifiable alarm. Just as Mao Zedong mounted the Gate of Heavenly Peace in Beijing in 1949 to tell the Chinese people they had stood up, Mr Ueike dreams of seeing the red flag fly over the Red Fort in Delhi in his lifetime.

It will not happen. For all their geographical reach, the Maoists' power base remains on the margins of Indian society. They are far from sparking a general insurrection. But, in places such as Dantewada, almost a hole in the map of the Indian polity, it is easy to see how a crude, violent ideology, promising land and liberation, might take root. Mr Singh had a point when in April he said the Naxalites posed “the single biggest internal-security challenge ever faced by our country”.

Other terrorists attack the Indian state at its strong points—its secularism, its inclusiveness, its democracy. Naxalism attacks where it is weakest: in delivering basic government services to those who need them most. The Naxalites do not threaten the government in Delhi, but they do have the power to deter investment and development in some of India's poorest regions, which also happen to be among the richest in some vital resources—notably iron and coal. So their movement itself has the effect of sharpening inequity, which many see as the biggest danger facing India in the next few years, and which is the Naxalites' recruiting sergeant.

Brigadier Ponwar, who joined the Indian army as it went to war in Bangladesh in 1971, says he spent the rest of his career fighting terrorists at home. After fighting low-intensity wars on its periphery for a generation, India risks having to endure another, in its very core, for the next.

INDIA IN THE WHIRLWIND OF CIVIL WAR

Mr Arjun Mehta

Tragic serial bombing of Mumbai on 11 July 2006, which has dismayed the peace-loving people around the world, deserves all-out condemnation. It has sent a strong shock wave in India and it's neighboring states. Apart from its horror and loss of human lives. the neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan experienced a change of political temperature in the 'war of speculation' .

While fingers were being pointed and explosive experts were busy in digging out the dues, 800 armed Naxalites' attack on a civilian refugee camp of Dantewada District of Chanttisgarh on 17 July, which resulted in the killing 25 villagers and wounding of scores of others. set another controversy in motion.

The details of this event indicate that these killings were part of continued clashes between an organization called "Salwa Judum" and Naxalites. While Salwa Judum is a creation of Indian Security Agencies and Naxalites fighting for the rights of the poor classes. manipulations by Indian agencies are making people of lndia kill each other.

The story of Naxalite episode revolves around the revolutionary politics of overthrowing
the exploiting classes. The ongoing battle owes its origin to the centuries-old contempt against indian bourgeois who had been maltreating its deprived classes such as Dalits, Adivasis, Santhal and hundreds of other scheduled castes (who constitute roughly 80% of the whole population) with oppressive. torturous, coercive and inhuman social customs and black laws. The victims of
high caste landlords. moneylenders, industrialists, bureaucrats and politicians have now united themselves under the Naxalite banner. The friction between Naxalites and the ruling elites, despite all containment strategies and gigantic security infrastructure, has now gained a foothold
in 155 districts of 15 states commonly known as 'Central Compact Red Zone' - an area that
comprises Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orisssa, West Bengal. Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

This deprived peasants' movement advocates to dispense justice, ensure equitable distribution of wealth and liberate the society from class distinction by taking a great leap forward. .The strength of these hard-core Naxalite guerrillas is estimated around 9300, which are trained. motivated and equipped with sophisticated weapons. According to reports. entire Bastar zone comprising 16 districts, has turned into a war zone where 460 deaths have been reported between January and June this year, and rising tide of violence by the Naxalites has virtually made the life of their rivals miserable. These militants have even established their parallel
administration by collecting forced taxes and dispensing justice to the needy ones through Kangaroo Courts.

Indian agencies and ruling classes invented a new readymade solution of the problem,
which they had been applying in the North East, by "pitting one tribe against the other." As part of this strategy, the privileged upper classes were asked to raise their independent armies under different names such as Kisan Sangh. Kisan Morcha. Ganga Sena, Sunlight Sena, Bramharshi Sena and Hhumi Sena in almost all their districts to act as a shield and fight against the militant Naxalites. But this could not checkmate the power of Naxalites. In came the new tactics; now these landlords. politicians. industrialists and police have connived to collectively raise a new force 'Salwa Judum' meaning 'peace hunt’ - a state-sponsored tribal movement to fight against the Naxalites. .The indigenous people were forced to join the Salwa Judum. When the cadres of Salwa Judum failed to counter the Naxalite offensives, they were shifted to the refugee camps for collective security arrange ments. The episode of Naxalite attack on 17 July, mentioned above,was an attack on one such Salwa Judum camp.

At this crucial time, all peace-loving people stand by the Indian side for its fight against
the terrorists. However, the emerging signs of civil-war-like situation are evident from the clash of Naxalites and Salwa Judum. It deserves attention of the Indian policy planners to review their actions. Is their current practice of pitting one group against other to take their revenge justified? What implications will it have for poor masses of India, in particular, and neighbouring countries in general?

Bomb hoaxes send police into tizzy

By Indo Asian News Service

Hyderabad, Aug 17 (IANS) Bomb threats at the Secunderabad civil court here and the district collector's office in the coastal city of Visakhapatnam sent police into a tizzy and scared people on the premises Thursday.


In Hyderabad, an anonymous caller informed the police control room and the court office that a bomb was planted in the Secunderabad civil court in Maredpally and that it could blow off anytime. Police swung into action and searched the entire building with the help of bomb disposal and sniffer dog squads but found no explosives.

The court work was suspended for more than an hour to facilitate the search but the call proved to be a hoax.

Venkateswarlu, a court clerk, said he received the call at 10.45 a.m. A person, who claimed to be a Maoist guerilla, told him that a bomb was kept in the court building.

Police said they were trying to trace the caller.

In another incident, the work at the Visakhapatnam district collector's office was hit by a bomb hoax. An unidentified man informed the office over phone that a bomb was planted on the premises.

More than 300 people were asked to vacate the building that was thoroughly searched by the police. However, no explosives were found.

Copyright Indo-Asian News Service

Neither CPI (M) nor Naxalites, we are true Left: MCP (I)

Recounting the incident in which the police beat up sleeping women and children in Lalru, Shekhar alleged that the Congress was not able to run the government

Express News Service

Chandigarh, August 16: Alleging that both the CPI (M) and the Naxalites had deviated from the ‘‘true path’’, the MCP (I) today released the draft document of its new party programme. Seeking a break from the UPA, the MCP (I) also criticised the ‘‘Left adventurism’’ of the Naxalite groups.

Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, all India convener of the party, who was also one of the 12 persons who prepared the draft policy for the CPI (M) during their split in 1964, announced that Chandigarh would host the all India party Congress from September 17-20.



The party also raised the issue of police atrocities in the state at a meeting held here today. Veteran trade union leader Chander Shekhar alleged ‘‘police raj’’ in the state.

Recounting the incident in which the police beat up sleeping women and children in Lalru, near Chandigarh, Shekhar alleged that the Congress was not able to run the government and had abdicated responsibility to the police.

‘‘In Nada village, the police registered cases against all milkmen who refused to pay bribes,’’ he alleged. While in Nabha, the police accompanied goondas to forcibly occupy property, he quipped.

The issue of loan waiver saw the Prem Singh Bhangu, a senior leader rejecting the announcement made by CM Capt Amarinder Singh.

‘Maoists a result of social disorder’

Statesman News Service
SAMBALPUR, Aug.16 : Maoist activity in western region or any other part of the country is not an issue related to the police only, but it is an outcome of the socio-economic failures, observed DIG Mr Pranabindu Acharya, yesterday.
The disparities and gap between the administration and the people paved the way for Maoists to get closer to the people and project themselves as messiah to them, said Mr Acharya, at a press meet organised in the area by the Press Club. The lack of direct communication with people acts as a fuel and results in the immediate dispensation of justice. “The naxalite problem is not confined only to law and order, but is more due to social disorder.”, added Mr Acharya.
He related the steps to be taken by Sambalpur police to curb the Maoist activities. CRPF greyhound, a special operation group, are now in action in the infested areas and with death of seven Maoists during the combing operation in Deogarh district, the Maoists strength has depleted to a certain extent.

No Naxal peace talk offer

For the first time in many months Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy avoided an invitation to the Naxalites to start peace talks and join the mainstream. This is a departure from the past where in every major speech Dr Reddy had asked the extremists to give up arms and start talks. Instead, in his speech at the main function to celebrate Independence Day here, Dr Reddy ruled out any compromise in maintenance of law and order vis-à-vis Naxalism and communalism. “We have successfully checked Naxalism and communalism and ensured law and order. There is no compromise in this regard. Andhra Pradesh has become a model for other States and the Central government has appreciated our stance,” Dr Reddy said. The Chief Minister’s claim comes three weeks after police special forces killed in an encounter, the State’s top Maoist Madhav.

The day passed without any incident anywhere but for a brief flutter when police found a military uniform and Diwali sparklers from the baggage of school students at Ravindra Bharati where Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy was to witness a cultural show. Central Zone deputy commissioner of police Madhusudhan Reddy said, “There was no prior information of their use in the programme.” Police cross-checked with the school and the organisers and cleared the sparklers later. Cautioned by intelligence alerts the police had thrown a security blanket at every vulnerable spot. Director-general of police Swaranjit Sen on Tuesday said, “We have made elaborate security arrangements. An incident free I-Day shows that the Maoists are now in the stage of degeneration.”

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

NAXAL VIOLENCE IN CHHATTISGARH : Summary

MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS

( SHRI SRIPRAKASH JAISWAL)

" During the current year till June end, 360 incidents of naxal violence and 244 casualities ( 190 civilians and 54 security forces) have been reported in Chhattisgarh as against 198 such incidents and 50 casualties in the same period last year. The sharp increase in naxal violence in Chhattisgarh is mainly due to effective police action by the State Government to dislodge naxalites from their stronghold area of Dantewada district and the continuing Salwa Judum. "

" As per available reports, over 50,000 Salwa Judum activsts are living in the relief camps. In View of naxalite attacks against Salwa Judum activists, the State Govt. has been advised to take immediate steps to provide maximum security to the relief camps and create an atmosphere conducive for return of these local people to their native habitats. "

NAXAL AFFECTED DISTRICTS OF MADHYA PRADESH

Rajya Shaba Q & A
NAXAL AFFECTED DISTRICTS OF MADHYA PRADESH


919. MISS ANUSUIYA UIKEY


Will the Minister of HOME AFFAIRS be pleased to state:-


(a) the details of the districts in Madhya Pradesh afflicted by Naxalism;

(b) whether the State Government has requested to include Reeva, Sidhi, Shahdol and Umeriya districts into the list of naxal affected districts, keeping in view the activities of naxalites; and

(c) if so, by when assistance for security would be provided for those areas by the Central Government assuming those districts afflicted by Naxalism?


ANSWER


MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS

(SHRI SRIPRAKASH JAISWAL)

(a): Some parts of Balaghat, Dindori and Mandla districts in Madhya Pradesh are affected by naxalism.

(b) & (c): The request of the State Government to include Reeva, Si dhi, Shahdol and Umeriya districts under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme was examined by the Central Government. However, keeping in view the extent of naxal activities in these districts, it was felt that the State Government can deal with the problem at its level without getting financial assistance under the SRE Scheme.

PARLIAMENT Q & A : SALWA JUDUM MOVEMENT

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS

LOK SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO 1028
TO BE ANSWERED ON 01.08.2006

SALWA JUDUM MOVEMENT



1028. SHRI KINJARAPU YERRANNAIDU




Will the Minister of HOME AFFAIRS be pleased to state:-


(a) whether the Government has received any representation against the ongoing violence on account of `Salwa Judum` movement against Maoists;

(b) if so, the details in this regard;

(c) the number of Adivasis displaced and living in camps on account of the movement; and

(d) the action propose to de-escalate violence and create conditions to enable people to return to their villages?




ANSWER


MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS (SHRI SRIPRAKASH JAISWAL)

(a) & (b): There have been some demands seeking withdrawal of Salwa Judum on the grounds that it is a police operation and that ordinary tribals have become victims of depredations of the police as well as naxalites.

(c): As per available reports, over 50,000 Salwa Judum activists are living in the relief camps.


(d): Salwa Judum is a movement for peace. It is an initiative by local people against the violent activities of naxalites in their stronghold area of Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh. In the light of naxalite attacks against Salwa Judum activists and the relief camps, the State Govt. has been advised to take immediate steps to provide maximum security to the relief camps and create an atmosphere conducive for return of these local people to their native habitats.

Discrimination by Union Government on : GUJARAT CONTROL OF ORGANISED CRIME BILL -2003

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS

LOK SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO 120
TO BE ANSWERED ON 25.07.2006

GUJARAT CONTROL OF ORGANISED CRIME BILL -2003


120. SHRI HARIN PATHAK




Will the Minister of HOME AFFAIRS be pleased to state:-


(a) whether State Government of Gujarat has submitted `Gujarat Control of Organized Crime Bill-2003` for the assent of Government of India;

(b) if so, the details thereof;

(c) whether Government has approved such bills of other States;

(d) if so, details of such bills approved;

(e) whether Government intends to approve the `Gujarat Control of Organized Crime Bill-2003`;

(f) if not, the reasons therefor; and

(g) if so, the time by which it is likely to be approved?




ANSWER


MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS (SHRI S. REGUPATHY)

(a): Yes, Sir.

(b): The Govt. of Gujarat proposed to enact the Gujarat Control of Organized Crime Bill - 2003 on the lines of Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, 1999 to curb the activities of organized criminal gangs operating in the State.

(c) & (d): The Government has approved the following State Bills:- Name of the Bill

i. The Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Bill, 1999

ii. The Andhra Pradesh Control of Organized Crime Bill, 2001

iii. The Karnataka Control of Organized Crime Bill, 2000

(e) to (g): The State Legislations are examined from three angles viz

(a) repugnancy with Central Laws,

(b) deviation from National or Central Policy and

(c) legal and constitutional validity. In the case of Gujarat Control of Organized Crime Bill 2003 there are policy issues which need to b sorted out and no time-frame can be fixed for achieving the same.

NAXALITE/ MAOIST ACTIVITIES



GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS

LOK SABHA
STARRED QUESTION NO 29
TO BE ANSWERED ON 25.07.2006

NAXALITE/ MAOIST ACTIVITIES




29. SHRI HANSRAJ GANGARAM AHIR
SAI PRATHAP ANNAYYAGARI




Will the Minister of HOME AFFAIRS be pleased to state:-


(a) whether the Government has set up any panel to study the causes of Naxalism;

(b) if so, the details of the outcome of such study;

(c) whether Naxalites/Maoists have now shifted their base to other States;

(d) if so, the details alongwith the action taken by the Government in this regard;

(e) the details of source of funding of Naxalites/Maoists and the steps taken to check such funding;

(f) the number of civilian, security personnel-kidnapped/killed/injured and the property damaged in various Naxalites/Maoists attacks in various parts of the country during 2006, till date;

(g) the details of the action plan finalised to check Naxalite activities in the recently held meeting of the Chief Secretaries and DGPs of Naxal affected States; and

(h) the extent to which activities of Naxalites/Maoists have been checked in the country?



ANSWER


MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS (SHRI SRIPRAKASH JAISWAL)

(a) to (h): A Statement is laid on the Table of the House.



STATEMENT REFERRED TO IN REPLY TO LOK SABHA STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 FOR 25.7.2006 REGARDING ‘NAXALITE/MAOIST ACTIVITIES’:



(a) & (b): The Government has not set up any such panel. However, in May, 2006, the Planning Commission has set up an Expert Group on development issues to deal with the causes of discontent, unrest and extremism.



(c) & (d): The naxal violence was reported from 509 police stations in different States in 2005. The level of naxal violence remains high in certain parts of the States of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra and Orissa. However, there are reports that naxal groups are trying to expand their influence in new areas in some other States.



(e): Naxal groups are reported to have been raising funds mainly through extortion and levy/cess on sale/movement of forest produce and other commodities. The naxal affected States are sensitized from time to time to take preventive measures to check such naxal activities.



(f): Detalis of civilians and security personnel killed, and the property damaged in the naxal affected States during 2006 (till June 30) are as under:
(g) & (h): Till the end of June this year, while the number of naxal incidents declined by 12%, the resultant deaths increased by 16%. The 20th meeting of the Coordination Centre held on 31.3.2006 emphasized that the States would finetune action plans to strengthen the intelligence network to pre-empt likely naxalite attacks, coordinate efforts by RPF, GRP and State Police to strengthen security/safety and protection of trains/passengers/ railway properties, encourage local resistance against naxalites, formulate and implement a comprehensive Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RR) Policy for local people and tribals likely to be displaced by major industrial/irrigation projects, ensure speedy and effective implementation of land reforms, etc.

List of major terror attacks in 2006 as per Home Ministry

Abducted Indians freed in Nepal by Maoists

Press Trust of India

Kathmandu, August 16, 2006

Maoist rebels on Wednesday freed the two Indians they had abducted from Mahendranagar in western Nepal, police said.

The rebels had abducted the two Indians Lakki Mir Singha, 39 and Rajiv Kumar, 29, along with a Nepalese woman from a hotel on Tuesday.

A Maoist cadre alleged the trio was involved in an illicit relationship.

The two Indians hailing from Chandigarh were in Maoist captivity last night and released around noon on Wednesday, police said.

The police quoting local Maoist cadres said they were freed unconditionally after an investigation into the matter.

"We have freed them without any action because the ceasefire is in place and peace talks are in progress," a local Maoist cadre was quoted as saying by the police.

Naxals regroup, Govt at a loss

Pradip Kumar Maitra

Nagpur, August 16, 2006



Gadchiroli, Gondia and Bhandara, along the Andhra border, are burning again. And the state government is at a loss.

It has sought the Centre’s help to provide IAF helicopters — to be based in Nagpur — and a development package to counter the problem. Since January this year, 70 incidents of Naxalite-related violence have been reported from the state, killing 59, including 17 policemen. The Naxals focus on tribal Gadchiroli, bordering the liberated zone of Abujhmad in neighbouring Bastar. Bhamragarh in Gadchiroli, adjacent to Abujhmad, is a Maoist bastion.

It may be a coincidence, but Naxal activity in the region has increased after the “peace march” by several intellectuals, NGOs and local residents in Gadchiroli against the senseless Maoist violence in March-April this year, on the lines of Salwa Judum campaign in Chhattisgarh. The state fears more violence because of the resistance movement. An alert was sounded in the districts bordering Chhattisgarh and Andhra after the July 17 Errabore massacre, but policing si still lax.

The Naxalites, who entered the state from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh in 80’s, exploited the backwardness of Gadchiroli, Chandrapur and Gondia. Their methods of instant justice by punishing forest and revenue officials, won them support among local tribals. Maharashtra has not launched any “systematic crackown” on the Naxals though it was the first state which accepted that Naxalism was not just a law and order problem, but a socio-economic malaise. It had announced an aid package in 1989 for the “upgrade” of the affected areas. Despite the measures, it could not rein in the movement.

The sudden spurt in Naxal violence has also affected the morale of policemen, especially those deployed in the forest areas. Sources say the Naxals of Maharashtra provide financial help to Maoists all over the country. Documents seized show that the CPI-Maoist has extorted over Rs 10 crore from industrialists, tendu leaf contractors and road contractors in the state.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Pankaj Gupta, inspector-general of police (IGP), anti-naxal operation, Maharashtra, admitted that Maoist violence has increased drastically over the past few years.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

India celebrates I-Day, ignoring terror and boycott

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006


New Delhi - India Tuesday celebrated the 59th anniversary of its independence with fervour and exhortations despite looming terrorist threats and boycott calls from an assortment of rebels, ranging from Maoists to separatists.

It was incident free even in volatile regions like Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast, which celebrated the day with hoisting of the national flag, parades, speeches by local leaders and festivities associated in commemorating the day when India gained freedom from British rule in 1947.

At several places, including in capital New Delhi, security was marked by preponderant presence of elite guards, police and paramilitary forces standing vigil over key installations and at events, especially around Red Fort, the historic focal point of the celebrations from where Prime Minister Mahmohan Singh delivered his third Independence Day address.

Security agencies had been on tenterhooks as the government had been tipped off about possible terror strikes by intelligence alerts, including from the US, and the devastating train bombings of Mumbai of July 11 that were still fresh in memory.

Manmohan Singh addressed the nation from atop the Red Fort monument, the entire venue ringed by thousands of police and other security personnel, even as schoolchildren wearing the three colours - orange, white and green - of the country’s flag cheered and applauded him from the grounds below the imposing 17th century monument.

In his 50-minute speech, the prime minister touched on a range of issues from economy to foreign policy but underlined the threats from extremists and separatists and the need for Pakistan to curb terrorists working against India from its soil.

‘All countries in our region must recognise that terrorism anywhere is a threat to peace and prosperity everywhere. It must be confronted with our united efforts. There is a large constituency for peace and shared prosperity among our people and we must work together to build on that,’ he said.

‘It is obvious that unless Pakistan takes concrete steps to implement the solemn assurances it has given to prevent cross-border terrorism against India from any territory within its control, public opinion in India, which has supported the peace process, will be undermined.’

In the restive northeast, people defied a 17-hour general strike called by separatist guerrillas in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura by joining the celebrations.

‘It is heartening to find people coming to attend Independence Day functions across the region despite calls by some militants to boycott them,’ Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told IANS.

Officials added that there was open defiance to the rebel boycott with people coming in large numbers to attend the celebrations.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the situation was slightly different. While the winter capital Jammu witnessed colourful celebrations with thousands thronging the main stadium, the summer capital Srinagar witnessed a complete shutdown as people responded to the strike call given by the separatist Hurriyat in the valley.

But there was no violence reported till the evening. Security was at its toughest in the state with reports that car bombs would be set off close to the sites of the official

functions. Fortunately, functions at trouble areas like Poonch, Doda and Rajouri districts also went off peacefully.

Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, unfurling the tricolour at the main function in Srinagar’s Bakshi Stadium, laid stress on the peace and prosperity of the state.

He assured the people that the killing of innocent civilians in the fight against terrorism would be put to an end. ‘I must tell you that security forces have not been given a licence to kill. Each and every complaint against them is taken into account and action is taken against the guilty. There is full accountability,’ he said.

If Azad focussed on terrorism, his counterpart in Chhattisgarh Raman Singh stressed on the need to root out Maoist insurgency.

He said joint efforts by the central and state governments as well as the people of Bastar would ‘wipe out’ Maoists.

While Raman Singh led the celebrations in Raipur, Home Minister Ramvichar Netam made a point by hoisting the tricolour at Jagdalpur, the district headquarters of the Maoist stronghold of Bastar.

There was perceptible tension in Andhra Pradesh too, where intelligence alerts had come in Monday night about terrorists launching suicide strikes.

Security was tightened at vital installations, residences and offices of VIPs, IT campuses, shopping malls and commercial complexes following the alert by the Intelligence Bureau.

Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, like many of his other counterparts, took the opportunity to highlight the achievements of his government.

‘The state has become a role model for other states,’ he said.

In West Bengal, the administration stepped up security after two Laskhar-e-Taiba terrorists were arrested Monday from North 24 Parganas district after sneaking in from Bangladesh with a consignment of explosives.

For many heads of state governments, it was an occasion for announcements and accolades.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda said promotion of rural industries topped the agenda of his government and added that his government was doing everything to promote rural industries of the state.

Reports reaching from different parts of Jharkhand and neighbouring Bihar, where Maoists had given a boycott call, indicated that the day was uneventful.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said establishing the rule of law in the state was his government’s top priority.

In Karnataka, his counterpart H.D. Kumaraswamy announced about 50,000 houses for BPL (below poverty line) families and 30,000 families dwelling in slums.

‘The housing project will be a gift to the poor, including marginal farmers during the golden jubilee celebrations of the state’s formation, beginning Nov 1.’

The mood was similar in Rajasthan, where the day was observed in Udaipur for the first time, with Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje saying that sound financial management had been a landmark achievement of the state government.

She also called upon the people to participate actively in the development process to enable Rajasthan to achieve front-ranking position among the states.

And in the Orissa capital Bhubaneswar, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik detailed the package to improve the conditions of farmers, as well as other poor

, downtrodden and weaker sections.

‘My government has announced a package for farmers,’ he said, adding that farmers would be given land pass books soon. Besides, the government would set up seed centres in each panchayats.

‘The government is committed to providing a corruption-free and result-oriented administration,’ said Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

In the national capital Delhi, Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit continued the self-congratulatory tenor and said she had strived to make it a world class city.

Unfurling the national flag at the Chhatrasal Stadium in north Delhi, she focussed on water and electricity woes of Delhiites and said the government had decided to set up a 2,000 MW coal based power project in Chhattisgarh.

Andhra celebrates I-Day amid tight security

Indo-Asian News Service

Hyderabad, August 15, 2006




Amid tight security following intelligence alerts, Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday celebrated the nation's 60th independence anniversary with Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy taking the opportunity to highlight the achievements of his government.

A thick security blanket was thrown around Parade Grounds in Secunderabad where the chief minister reviewed a colourful parade by police and witnessed a cultural programme by hundreds of schoolchildren.

More than a dozen armed and civil contingents participated in the parade and various government departments presented tableaux.

Unprecedented security arrangements were made around the venue following a last-minute alert by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) that terrorists could launch suicide strikes on the day.

While armed policemen were deployed around the sprawling ground, bomb disposal squads, sniffer dogs and anti-sabotage teams scoured every inch for any hidden explosives.

Security was also tightened at vital installations, residences and offices of VIPs, IT campuses, shopping malls and commercial complexes following the alert by IB late on Monday.

The intelligence agency had informed various states, including Andhra Pradesh, that a four-member suicide squad of terrorists could launch surprise attacks.

Addressing the gathering, the chief minister, who presented medals to policemen for their meritorious services and bravery, said the state had earned accolades by maintaining law and order, especially with proper handling of Maoist problem.

"The state has become a role model for other states," he said.

The chief minister said his government had adopted a multi-pronged strategy to ensure all round development. He claimed that the government had made considerable progress in putting the rural economy back on rails by taking a series of measures for the welfare of farmers.

"We continue our march to achieve the goal of Harithandhra Pradesh (prosperous state)," he said while highlighting the state's focus on other key areas like IT, industrial development, infrastructure, basic amenities in villages and urban areas, welfare, health and education.

Expressing his sorrow over the recent floods, which claimed 120 lives, he said his government was doing everything to provide succour to the affected people. He announced that the government would strengthen bunds along the Godavari river as part of its long-term measures to prevent recurrence of floods.

AK-47 rifle missing from Police dept in sensitive Naxalite area

AK-47 goes missing, five cops suspended
HT Correspondent
Varanasi, August 14


Gun was issued to Chakia SO

AN OFFICIAL AK-47 rifle of the police department has disappeared mysteriously from Chakia police station, falling under sensitive Naxalite area in Chandauli district. The sophisticated firearm with a magazine of cartridges had been issued to the station officer. The matter that came to light on Sunday evening, has brought the police officials on their toes.

Newly appointed SP of Chandauli, Pravin Kumar, has put five police personnel of Chakia police station including the inspector, a head constable and three constables under suspension following the disappearance of rifle and cartridges.

Several teams have been formed by the SP to recover the missing rifle at the earliest.

According to information, SP Pravin Kumar reached the Chakia police station on a surprise visit for inspection. While checking the official documents and the store room, he found an official AK- 47 rifle, issued to inspector Pradip Singh Chandel, missing from the police station. The SP promptly suspended the inspector and four others cops - head constable Mahendra Kumar Dubey and constables Vinod Kumar, Om Prakash and Rakesh. The SP told HT over phone that the suspended cops were being questioned by the investigating officer to find out the whereabouts of the missing rifle.

Woman burnt for dowry
THE 26-YEAR-OLD daughter-in-law of the Domraja’s family was alleged burnt to death by her in -laws in her house at Meerghat here on Sunday. She was identified as Sapna. Police have arrested three persons under section 498- A in this regard.

Commotion prevailed in Meerghat area following the death of the woman in mysterious conditions.

According to information, Sapna, daughter of late Ramdeo Choudhry, a resident of Harishchandra ghat, had been married to one Jagdishwer Choudhry, son of late Domraja of Manikarnika ghat, Ishwar Choudhry in the year 2004.

Sapna’s parents alleged that since her marriage, Sapna’s in-laws had been persistently torturing her for dowry. On the Raksh Bandhan day recently, she had complained to her mother Dayawati and brothers about the persistent demand for dowry.

Tight security for Independence Day amid threats of terrorist strike

Tight security for Independence Day amid threats of terrorist strike

Staff Reporter

`Sky sentries' posted on high-rise buildings around the Manekshaw Parade Ground

Processions, meetings banned within 1-km radius from the main venue
Police take out flag march on Mahatma Gandhi Road
Tight security at railway stations, bus stations




TAKING NO CHANCES: A sniffer dog doing duty at the Bangalore City Railway Station on Monday. — Photo: K. Gopinathan


BANGALORE: In view of the Central intelligence agencies alerting the State of possible terrorist attacks, the police have heightened the security in the city for Independence Day celebrations on Tuedsay.

The police said that apart from the alert sounded by the Central agencies, the terrorist attack on the Indian Institute of Science, the serial blasts in trains in Mumbai and the naxalite activities in the State have forced them to be extra cautious.

To instil confidence among the people and deter anti-social elements, the police on Monday staged a flag march from Anil Kumble Circle on Mahatma Gandhi Road to the Opera House junction on Brigade Road.

Nearly 850 policemen, including five Deputy Commissioners of Police and 12 Assistant Commissioners of Police, will be posted around Field Marshall Manekshaw Parade Ground, where the Chief Minister will receive the salute at the Independence Day parade.

Personnel from Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force and Karnataka State Reserve Police will be deployed around the parade grounds.

For the first time, closed circuit television cameras have been installed around the parade grounds, which has been made into a sterile zone. "Sky sentries" have been posted atop the high-rise buildings in the area.

The police have banned processions, demonstrations and public meetings within 1-km radius of the parade ground from the midnight of Monday to Tuesday afternoon.

They have banned the invitees as well as the public from carrying mobile phones, cameras, radios, glass bottles, bags and umbrellas to the parade ground. People entering the parade ground will have to pass through doorframe metal detectors, the police said.

An alert has been sounded in the city, and security has been upgraded at Vidhana Soudha, Vikasa Soudha, High Court, Raj Bhavan, other vital installations, prominent places of worship, Defence establishments, airport, railway stations and bus stations. The police have been checking hotels, lodges and service apartments and have been screening vehicles. The police have appealed to the public to call the police control room (100) if they notice any suspicious person or object.

Security in trains


People travelling by long distance trains can feel more secure against the background of security threats.

South Western Railway authorities said that in view of the alert, the Railway Protection Force had strengthened security at Bangalore City, Cantonment, Yeswanthpur and other railway stations.

The police personnel were checking and frisking passengers and their luggage at these stations. Metal detectors and CCTV were used to check passengers and their belongings and to spot any suspicious movement of persons on platforms and other places in the stations, they added.

All the rakes of trains leaving the stations are being brought in a locked condition to the platforms and opened in the presence of RPF or reserve police personnel. Sniffer dogs are deployed to check the coaches and all baggage. Armed police have been posted on all important trains.

The Railway Special Force has been deployed at entry and exit points of each with metal detectors.

Special force personnel are patrolling the platforms, waiting rooms, reservation offices and other premises. All parcels at platforms, goods sheds and parcel office and cloakrooms are being checked at random.

Kandhamal is Orissa's Bastar

Phulbani/Deogarh
Tuesday August 15, 2006
Underdevelopment may not be an urgent issue for the administration, but the ultras, call it Naxals or Maoists, have certainly identified this district as a safe haven and a concrete launch pad to wage a bigger war against the State. Albeit the claims made by the State Intelligence big bosses, Phulbani has turned into a virtual Naxal jungle.


By Prakash Rao



The tribal-dominated district of Phulbani, lately renamed as Kandhamal symbolizing the primitive Kandhas is the most most backward and underdeveloped region of Orissa. This is officially accepted, too. The district with 59 per cent tribal populace, more than 70 per cent illiteracy and widespread malaria and Hepatitis B, has always remained an `unnoticed’ pocket. Even in matters of transfer and postings, Phulbani aka Kandhamal is considered a punishment. But over the years what has gone unnoticed has been quietly and vividly being noticed by the ultras. Underdevelopment may not be an urgent issue for the administration, but the ultras, call it Naxals or Maoists, have certainly identified this district as a safe haven and a concrete launch pad to wage a bigger war against the State. Albeit the claims made by the State Intelligence big bosses, Phulbani has turned into a virtual Naxal jungle. And the ground reality is simply shocking.



“If things are not checked at this juncture, the district would soon take the place of Chattisgarh’s Bastar district,” says a senior police official quoting anonymity. Sixty years after independence, Bastar remains an un-notified district. Bastar with 80 per cent jungle cover does not figure in the toposheet making it extremely difficult for the police to enter the area. This has helped Maoists to set up their guerilla training bases, says a police official of Chattisgarh admitting that even the CRPF is unable to raid the training camps. Almost similar is the situation with Phulbani surrounded by dense jungles from all sides – Deogarh, Gajapati, Rayagada, Nayagarh and Ganjam. The difficult terrains of Kandhamal bordering four Naxal-infested districts except Nayagarh have come in handy for the ultras to strengthen their base over the past two years.



Kandhamal has porous borders at Adaba in Gajapati, Gunupur in Rayagada, Soroda in Ganjam and from all corners of Deogarh district. At least a dozen of the Naxals arrested in the past one year have their origin in Phulbani. Some of them have even admitted to have received training in Phulbani. But the police administration and the Home Department have underplayed the threat perception. For, making things official would mean more headaches. Some police officials have also brought this to the notice of the Home Department, which rubbished the reports as trivia.



“As of now, things seem to be under control. But, once a Bastar-like situation takes place in Phulbani, it would be extremely difficult to check,” a deputy commandant of CRPF told insightorissa.com.



Informed sources told this website that there are already more than one hundred Naxal training camps in Kandhamal Besides, Naxals have their central armory here due to safety reasons. Police have not been able to conduct a single raid so far as ultras have in a way cordoned off the borders. “I think Naxals want to convert this place as a totally no-entry zone,” the CRPF official says.



What the State Government has done so far is declaration of Kandhamal as a Naxal-infested district and putting the district under the special area development package in papers. The district does not simply figure when it comes to police modernization, fortification of police establishments and strengthening the force. As the district remains neglected, Maoists have taken care of it in their way with guns.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Nation on high alert

Rajesh Sinha
Saturday, August 12, 2006 23:24 IST


NEW DELHI; The nation continues to be in a state of high alert. While the government is yet to make up its mind whether to accept Al Qaeda presence in the country, with national security advisor MK Narayanan and Home Secretary VK Duggal speaking in different voices, security agencies, experts and independent reports have stated this clearly.

Analysts point to two aspects that have developed in terrorism simultaneously: international linkage along with decentralised, localised network. Al Qaeda in that sense remains the motivator and brain, with its international Islamic front in which most terrorist outfits have come together. Closer home, the terror threat perceived by security agencies arises from reports of joining of hands by various terrorist outfits operating in the country, according to intelligence reports with the police and other security agencies.

These outfits are expanding their network in the country, finding and hiring recruits from among the local population and setting up bases in India's heartland. On target are all major buildings and installations, markets, railway stations, airports, religious places and other sensitive or crowded places. The terrorist groups that are coordinating in this include outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-eMohammad, Hizbul Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islamia, Khalistan Commando Force, north eastern militant outfits like United Liberation Front of Asom, as well as naxalite groups, informed a senior officer

Boot Out The Maoist Brutes

Maoists pose a serious threat to internal security. Answer is good governance, stringent laws and political will.

The goons that claim to protect vanvasis and their rights mercilessly slaughtered 27 vanvasis, including hapless women and children, who had taken refuge in the relief camp. Over the years, the Maoists have acquired huge potential for violence.

The Maoists held a secret conclave in the Communist-ruled West Bengal to launch countless front organisations including Human Rights outfits, to support the underground movement. The Andhra Government re-imposed the ban on Maoists only after they killed Congress legislator, Narsi Reddy and eight others.

Newspapers came with editorials demanding disbanding of Salwa Judum on the specious ground that organising vanvasis to protect themselves had provoked the ultras. At this rate, they will ask the Government to disband police force as the presence of police provoke the murderers, robbers and terrorists.

Maoists have amassed wealth by extortions to such an extent that they no longer need foreign money to fund their activities and purchase arms. They have to be dealt with firmly. For that you require stringent laws like POTA and the political will to fight the menace. UPA Government’s justification for scrapping POTA that it was abused by certain State Governments is untenable.

The July 16 brutal attack on a Salwa Judam relief camp at Errabore in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh by several hundred armed Maoists has, once again, brought into sharp focus the true character of the terrorist outfit and the serious threat it poses to our internal security and territorial integrity, nay to the very existence of India as a sovereign state. The goons that claim to protect vanvasis and their rights mercilessly slaughtered 27 vanvasis, including hapless women and children, who had taken refuge in the relief camp. Over the years, the Maoists have acquired huge potential for violence. Although the Union Homer Ministry report admits of Maoists spread to 76 districts in nine states, knowledgeable sources say they have spread their tentacles to 165 districts in 14 states—almost 1/3rd districts in the country. Intelligence agencies estimate that CPI(Maoist) has 7000 trained cadres, over 50,000 ground supporters and 6300 pieces of sophisticated arms. It is a saga of an ideological uprising against the oppressive system inspiring youth in different parts of the country giving up their studies and jobs to usher in a revolution degenerating into a full-fledged terrorist outfit with all its evil manifestations—extortions, abductions, merciless and mindless killings of vanvasis, including women and children. One can understand a violent movement attacking establishment and what they call “class enemies” to “liberate” people, but no revolutionary movement kill and maim the very people it claims to “liberate”.

A spark in a small village—Naxalbari—on the tri-junction of India, Nepal and Bangladesh led to the fire that spread far and wide. The Santhals armed with bows and arrows forcibly occupied lands they tilled and looted paddy and distributed it amongst themselves. There were more than 100 such incidents in three months—March to May 1967. After initial dithering, the West Bengal Government woke up to the worsening law and order situation and curbed Naxal violence with a heavy hand. Two years later, Charu Mazumdar, inspired by the Maoist ideology, launched CPI(ML) that indulged in 4000 violent incidents during 1970-71. The bulk of these were in West Bengal(3500), Bihar(220) and Andhra(70). The indiscriminate killings and extortions by Naxalites alienated the masses. Operation Steeplechase—was the Government’s response. It was a joint operation of the army, para military forces and the police that smashed the organisational network of the outfit and demoralised the cadres. Charu Mazumdar was arrested and died in police custody. Several hundred cadres surrendered and many more were captured.

The third phase of this violent upsurge was the formation of Peoples' War Group (PWG) in Andhra Pradesh. Initially, it did won the hearts of the disposed by forcibly taken away five lakh acres of land from landlords and distributed it amongst landless. It also succeeded in getting better wages for daily wage earners and tillers. Soon, it was turned into a money-spinner. For years, it ran a parallel government in Karimnagar, Warangal and Adilabad districts and resorted to extorting money from forest contractors, excise functionaries, rich farmers and businessmen. It also ran a parallel judicial system called “people’s courts” handing out brutal punishment to those who opposed them. It got a boost when the State Government succumbed and released eight PWG leaders from jail in return of six IAS officers abducted by the terrorist outfit. There was a public outcry against Government inaction. The State Government struck in 1992 by banning PWG and six of its front outfits. In the counter-insurgency operations that followed, 250 outlaws were killed, about 3500 arrested and more than 8,500 of them surrendered.

However, PWG got a big boost when it entered into a secret understanding with the TRS that was in alliance with the Congress during the parliamentary and assembly elections in 2004. The alliance won hands down. The Congress-led Government responded by lifting the ban on PWG with an offer for peace talks without asking its cadres to lay down arms. Armed cadres of PWG roamed about in towns and cities including the state capital to the great horror of peace loving citizens. They continued to indulge in extortions and kidnapping while the police was asked not to attack them. The security forces were demoralised. The ultras used the space given to them by the Government to regroup themselves and arranging for the merger of PWG and MCC—that was operating in Bihar—to launch CPI (Maoist). The Maoists held a secret conclave in the Communist-ruled West Bengal to launch countless front organisations, including Human Rights outfits, to support the underground movement. The Andhra Government re-imposed the ban on Maoists only after they killed Congress legislator, Narsi Reddy and eight others.

Besides Andhra, the Maoists are having a free run in Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Their capacity to indulge in violence and mount concerted attacks was proved during the well-planned attack on a jail in Bihar. Besides freeing their comrades lodged in the jails. Maoists mercilessly slaughtered several inmates and abducted and tortured many more. What began as a fight for social and economic justice has degenerated into a caste conflict in Bihar. Chhattisgarh is, as of now, one of the worst affected states. They are under pressure in Andhra and many of them have moved over to forest areas of Chhattisgarh and are killing innocent people at will. The police force in the state is not equipped to meet the challenge. The appointment of KPS Gill of Punjab fame as Security Adviser to the State Government is a welcome move and has given one the hope that he will be able to give the ultras a bloody nose.

Maoist terrorism has international dimensions as well. It is a matter of record that the Chinese Communist Party had welcomed the formation of CPI(ML) way back in 1969. Marxist-Leninist outfits in UK, Sri Lanka and Albania too had lent support to the movement. The most worrisome development is the close cooperation between Maoists operating in India and Nepal. Joint action by the two outfits in Bihar and other states leave no one in doubt about it. Nor do they make any secret of their alliance. A few months ago, the leaders of the two outfits announced that their common objective was to wage a war to “liberate” India as well as Nepal. This declaration was made after a secret meeting between the top leaders of the two Maoist groups at Noida near Delhi. Only the gullible can believe Beijing’s public posture that it has nothing to do with Maoists in Nepal and India. The fact remains that hostile countries—China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal—that are exporting terrorism have encircled India. They have to be dealt with on all fronts—diplomatic, political and military.

Intelligentsia and large parts of mainline media are playing a negative role. Instead of cautioning the nation of impending dangers, they try to rationalise each and every terrorist act. They burnt pilgrims returning from Ayodhya at Godhra because of the demolition of the dispute structure. They bombed trains in Mumbai because of Gujarat. They attacked Dantewala because you sponsored and supported Salwa Judum. Many a newspaper came with editorials demanding disbanding of Salwa Judum on the specious ground that organsing vanvasis to protect themselves had provoked the ultras. At this rate, they will ask the Government to disband police force as the presence of police provoke the murderers, robbers and terrorists. Salwa Judam is a people’s movement launched by both the major parties—the BJP and the Congress— and supported by the State Government to organise the vanavasis for defending themselves. Judam had to set up relief camps when thousands of vanavasis were forced to leave their homes and hearths because of Maoists attacks. In a bid to kill the people’s initiative, Maoists mounted major attacks on relief camps killing 180 of them. Unfortunately, volunteers of the Judam are neither properly trained nor well armed. The answer to attack on Dantewada is not to disband the movement but to impart arms training to the volunteers, provide them with modern arms and give them respect and encouragement. No one denies that there have been some aberrations. These have to be checked and efforts made to discipline the volunteers so that the mass movement backed and supported by the security forces is able to meet the Maoists’ challenge.

The genesis of Maoist movement lies in alienation of vanvasis from their land, denial of forest rights to them, unemployment, poverty and rampant corruption in the administration. The root causes that make these movements attractive need to be removed. Land reforms, sincere and sustained efforts to uplift the vanvasis without uprooting them from their native lands and restoring to them their forest rights are a must if the masses are to turn their back on the Maoists. Several times during the last three decades and a half Naxals were crushed but every time they re-emerged. This must open our eyes to the glaring weaknesses and flaws in our vision of development. Resolving socio-economic issue is a significant input but this alone won’t solve the problem. Terrorism has evolved into an industry. Maoists have amassed wealth by extortions to such an extent that they no longer need foreign money to fund their activities and purchase arms. They have to be dealt with firmly. For that you require stringent laws like POTA and the political will to fight the menace. UPA Government’s justification for scrapping POTA that it was abused by certain State Governments is untenable. The answer is not to annul the law but to streamline the system to minimize chances of its abuse. It is no one’s case that stringent laws prevent terrorist attacks. But these do enable the state to intercept communications, ban terrorist outfits, confiscate terrorist properties and penalise those who fund terrorism. Stringent laws will have to be accompanied by strong intelligence network and an adequate security infrastructure. Diplomatic and political initiatives have to be taken to plug sources of foreign support and, of course, political will is the most important ingredient required to fight ferocious terrorist outfits like the Maoists.

(The writer is a veteran columnist.)