Saturday, September 02, 2006

Government reviews internal security

By Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, Sep 2 (IANS) The government Saturday reviewed the country's internal security as well as intelligence-gathering mechanism and measures.

The review comes ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's meeting with chief ministers of all states Tuesday.

'The CCS (cabinet committee on security) made a comprehensive review of the internal security situation,' Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters after the two-hour meeting.

The government also reviewed the law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the northeast states and the Maoist-affected states.

Copyright Indo-Asian News Service

Maoists, cops battle for the lords of Nallamala

Koride Mahesh
[ 3 Sep, 2006 0308hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]


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HYDERABAD: A new battle is being waged in the Nallamala forests between old rivals, the police and naxalites.

Unlike the traditional gunfight, this is a bloodless psychological operation (PsyOp), employing all and sundry means to win the confidence of Chenchu tribals, the lords of the Nallamala.

To gain an upper hand, both police and naxalites are trying to woo the tribals. While police are doling out benefits through the district administration, the Maoists are trying to garner their support by raising issues which concern them.

Police and the Maoists know that informer network is essential to keep tabs on the movement of their rivals. As there are hundreds of Chenchu hamlets in the Nallamala forest area, particularly in Prakasam and Mahbubnagar districts, their support is key to get area domination.

Sources said the recent encounter killings in Nallamala area, in which AP state committee secretary Madhav was killed, happened with the information passed on by the tribals.

In an attempt to woo the Chenchus, the administration is planning (on the advice of the police department) a meeting near Vatvarvapalli area on Sep. 16. At the meeting, the district officials will distribute rice and sanctioning pucca houses. A similar meeting was held in Amrabad mandal limits on August 18.

CPI (Maoist) state committee member and Mahbubnagar committee secretary Sambasivudu, alleged that the government was luring tribals with rice, houses and jobs as Home Guards.

 Top companies invest in Chhattisgarh

By Indo Asian News Service

Raipur, Sep 3 (IANS) Mineral rich Chhattisgarh has received the highest foreign investment in India in the first seven months of this year.


The largely tribal state, which is aggressively wooing investors, got more than 14 percent of the Rs.2.68 trillion ($57.5 billion) investment coming to India between January to July, according to the Industrial Entrepreneurs Memorandum (IEM) report.

'Jharkhand came second with Rs.317.13 billion investment and Gujarat third with Rs.313.25 billion,' stated the report, released by the industry ministry.

Chhattisgarh, which occupied the third slot last year, has received Rs.200 billion for pursuing three projects in the tribal interiors.

The Rs.377.15 billion investments have been mainly in the steel and power sectors.

Tata Steel - India's largest steel maker - has invested Rs.100 billion for setting up a 5 million tonne plant in Bastar. Another steel major, Essar Steel, has invested Rs.70 billion for a 3.2 million tonne plant in the Maoist-insurgency hit Dantewada district.

Public sector fertiliser company IFFCO is all set to invest Rs.45 billion in Surguja to install a 1,000 MW thermal power plant.

Chief Minister Raman Singh told IANS: 'I am happy that Chhattisgarh has got the maximum investments. This ranking reflects our commitment to the development of the state.'

Copyright Indo-Asian News Service

Recovery of first INSAS rifle in UP has cops worried



Manish Sahu


Lucknow, September 2: The recovery of INSAS (Indian National Small Arms System) rifle from the possession of a hardcore criminal, Arvind alias Bind, who was gunned down early on Sunday morning by the Varanasi police, has stunned the state police. It is the first instance of an INSAS rifle being seized from the possession of a criminal in UP.

‘‘It is the first recovery of an INSAS rifle in the state. We have informed the Indian Army, J&K and the Bihar police and asked for a verification. We are also investigating how it was acquired by the criminal,” said DIG (Varanasi) RN Yadav.



On August 27, acting on a tip-off, the Varanasi police, in a joint operation with the Special Operation Group, gunned down Nalanda resident Arvind alias Bind near Varanasi-Chandauli highway under Lanka police circle. The police recovered .763 bore ‘made in England’ pistol, maroon colour Tavera car and a INSAS rifle with 31 live cartridges. He had around 34 henious cases against him and had been absconding since 1998.

The recovery of INSAS rifle from the possession of Arvind, who was suspected to be the right hand of Jharkhand Naxalite group’s zonal commander Jaskaran and area commander Sushil Kumar.

According to information, at present more than two lakh INSAS rifles are in service with the Indian Army. The rifles, made at the Ishapore Rifle Factory, are broadly based on the famous Kalashnikov AK-47 action, but with many modifications. INSAS is fitted with a side-folding carrying handle, has a good range of about 400 metres. The standard magazines of rifle is made from semi-translucent polymer and contains 20 rounds.

‘‘The INSAS rifle is a modified form of AK 47 rifle and is made at the Indian Ordnance Factory,” said IG range (Lucknow) Arun Kumar Gupta.

Adding more, Gupta said the recovered INSAS rifle could be one of the seven looted from Bihar, a couple of months back. But, it would be established only after a thorough verification.

Prachanda warns of "revolution" if Govt delays peace process

Kathmandu, Sept 02: Accusing the government of neglecting the peace process, Maoist Supremo Prachanda on Saturday warned that the rebels would launch another "revolution" centred in the Nepalese capital if an environment was not created for constituent assembly polls.

"If a free and fair environment for constituent assembly elections is not created, we will launch a capital-centred revolution where we hope thousands of people will participate," Prachanda said told a rally in the capital.

"The seven-party government is not paying enough attention to the peace talks," he said addressing the families of those killed or missing in weeks of violent protests that forced King Gyanendra to give up absolute rule.

Under the peace process launched soon after Gyanendra handed back power in February 2005, a power-sharing government of Maoists and political parties is to be created until elections to a constituent assembly can be held next year. The Assembly will rewrite the country`s constitution.

Rebel spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara said the next movement by the Maoists will be peaceful.

He also accused the government of supporting the monarchy in a bid to maintain the status quo following a meeting of the rebels` central committee.

He said unless the system is abolished and military is restructured "we cannot be sure of institutionalising democracy."

However, the rebels were still hopeful that "all the political issues will be resolved through dialogue," he added.

Bureau Report

Janashakti leader's arrest remains mystery

Special Correspondent
Home Minister says he has no information



Asks Additional DGP (Intelligence) to verify with his subordinates and Uttar Pradesh police
High Court asks State police to respond to charge that Rajanna was in police custody


HYDERABAD: The whereabouts of Kura Rajanna, secretary, Central Committee of CPI-(ML) Janashakti naxalite group, remained a mystery even a day after his alleged arrest along with four others in Uttar Pradesh.

After receiving a representation here on Friday from a delegation headed by revolutionary poet Varavara Rao, Home Minister K. Jana Reddy said he had no information on the arrest of the naxalite leader. However, he asked K. Aravinda Rao, Additional Director-General of Police (Intelligence), to verify the same with his subordinates and the Uttar Pradesh police.

Meanwhile, a Division Bench of the High Court directed the State police to respond to the allegation that Rajanna was in police custody.

Writ by family member


The Bench comprising Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice Chandraiah was dealing with a writ petition filed by a family member of Rajanna. It was alleged that he was taken into custody in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday and his whereabouts were not known.

The petitioner sought a direction to the police to produce him before the court. The case was adjourned to Monday and the police are to file the response by then.

The delegation that met the Minister consisted of Gadar, Chandranna of Janashakti group and M. Ratnamala, former president, Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee.

Orissa Naxals on new top cop’s radar

Saturday September 2 2006 11:40 IST

CUTTACK: Newly appointed Director General of Police (DGP) Amarananda Pattanayak said, his priority would be on tackling the Left wing extremism that is fast spreading its tentacles across the State.

He took charge from the outgoing chief Suchit Das at the State Police headquarters here on Friday. Speaking to media persons after taking the ceremonial guard of honour, Pattanayak said, ‘‘my predecessors have achieved success under trying circumstances and it would be my endeavour to take the good work forward,’’ he said.

Anti-Naxal operation in bordering areas will receive special attention, said the 1973 batch IPS officer. The DGP stressed the need to strengthen the police organisation and make it active and effective in handling sensitive situations.

Improving the image of the police and making it more people-friendly top his agenda. Saying that behavioural change in the force is the need of the hour, Pattanayak said, addressing problems of the people with compassion would be one of his main objectives. The new police chief also underlined protection of human rights.

Orissa CM meets Patil, seeks presidential assent to commissioner system

 
Saturday September 2 2006 11:38 IST

BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday demanded presidential assent to the Orissa Urban Police Bill, 2003, for introduction of commissionerate system in Twin City of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.

The Chief Minister raised the issue at a meeting with Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil in New Delhi. Naveen told Patil that in view of rapid urbanisation, commissionerate system has become imperative for major urban centres in the State.

The Bill passed by the Assembly in 2003 is gathering dust. According to a release issued here, the Union Home Minister assured Naveen that he would look into the matter.

Naveen apprised Patil of the development and up gradation of the Vijayawada-Ranchi highway for which the State Government has submitted a proposal to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The proposed road will help expedite the development of the tribal-dominated districts and aid contains the Naxalites as the highway will pass through the region.

The Chief Minister also discussed the internal security situation and requested Patil to include Deogarh, Sambalpur and Jajpur districts in the security related expenditure (SRE) scheme by declaring them Naxal-affected. The proposal, submitted by the State Government in this regard, is pending with the Union Home Ministry.

Referring to the worsening flood situation, the Chief Minister urged Patil to release funds from the National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF). The State Government had submitted a memorandum to the Centre demanding an interim assistance of Rs 1,131.83 crore.

Patil assured the Chief Minister that the Centre would extend all assistance to the State to deal with the situation. The Chief Minister met Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and apprised him of the damage done by the floods.

Pawar, who is also the chairman of the high-level committee constituted by the Centre for recommending release of funds from the NCCF, assured Naveen that the issue would receive top priority.

Naveen demanded crop loans to farmers at seven percent interest as said by the Union Budget. The cooperative sector accounts for 70 percent crop loans in Orissa, but Nabard refinances only 40 percent of that. This has put heavy burden on the State Government. Pawar said the issue would be discussed at a separate meeting of the chief ministers on September 8 in New Delhi

Friday, September 01, 2006

"Naxalites on the run in southern States"

Vinay Kumar
Coordination Centre meet on naxalism held



Tamil Nadu seeks reimbursement of expenditure
Karnataka demands mine-proof "Rakshak" vehicles
Andhra Pradesh moots specific commando battalions


NEW DELHI: The Tamil Nadu Government has urged the Centre to reimburse security-related expenditure (SRE) incurred by it tackling the "spillover" of naxalite activities from neighbouring Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Making out a case for reimbursement under the SRE scheme under which only terrorism and naxal-affected States qualify, the Tamil Nadu Government said it had increased surveillance along the border areas and mounted extra vigil to ward off any possibility of naxal activities taking root in the State. Tamil Nadu's argument was that it should not be penalised for doing "good work, vigilant policing and playing an active role" on the naxal front.

The issue was discussed at the Coordination Centre meeting on naxalism here which was attended by Chief Secretaries and police chiefs of 13 States and presided over by Union Home Secretary.

The demand for reimbursement, raised by the Tamil Nadu Government, however, failed to come under the purview of the SRE scheme, leaving little scope for the Home Ministry to consider it under the present scheme.

Karnataka officials informed the meeting that the State police had applied "considerable pressure" on naxal cadres found to be active in 13 districts and the situation in the State was under control. It also demanded mine-proof "Rakshak" vehicles for patrolling in the affected areas.

Sources said the Kerala Government appeared concerned over left-wing extremist activities being noticed in two districts of north Kerala. Arguing that the State police force was already overworked, Kerala demanded that its police personnel be trained by "Greyhounds", the specialised commando unit of Andhra Pradesh.

Home Ministry sources said the overall assessment was that naxals were on the run in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu

Where's Mao? Chinese Revise History Books

By JOSEPH KAHN
Published: September 1, 2006

BEIJING, Aug. 31 — When high school students in Shanghai crack their history textbooks this fall they may be in for a surprise. The new standard world history text drops wars, dynasties and Communist revolutions in favor of colorful tutorials on economics, technology, social customs and globalization.

Socialism has been reduced to a single, short chapter in the senior high school history course. Chinese Communism before the economic reform that began in 1979 is covered in a sentence. The text mentions Mao only once — in a chapter on etiquette.

Nearly overnight the country's most prosperous schools have shelved the Marxist template that had dominated standard history texts since the 1950's. The changes passed high-level scrutiny, the authors say, and are part of a broader effort to promote a more stable, less violent view of Chinese history that serves today's economic and political goals.

Supporters say the overhaul enlivens mandatory history courses for junior and senior high school students and better prepares them for life in the real world. The old textbooks, not unlike the ruling Communist Party, changed relatively little in the last quarter-century of market-oriented economic reforms. They were glaringly out of sync with realities students face outside the classroom. But critics say the textbooks trade one political agenda for another.

They do not so much rewrite history as diminish it. The one-party state, having largely abandoned its official ideology, prefers people to think more about the future than the past.

The new text focuses on ideas and buzzwords that dominate the state-run media and official discourse: economic growth, innovation, foreign trade, political stability, respect for diverse cultures and social harmony.

J. P. Morgan, Bill Gates, the New York Stock Exchange, the space shuttle and Japan's bullet train are all highlighted. There is a lesson on how neckties became fashionable.

The French and Bolshevik Revolutions, once seen as turning points in world history, now get far less attention. Mao, the Long March, colonial oppression of China and the Rape of Nanjing are taught only in a compressed history curriculum in junior high.

"Our traditional version of history was focused on ideology and national identity," said Zhu Xueqin, a historian at Shanghai University. "The new history is less ideological, and that suits the political goals of today."

The changes are at least initially limited to Shanghai. That elite urban region has leeway to alter its curriculum and textbooks, and in the past it has introduced advances that the central government has instructed the rest of the country to follow.

But the textbooks have provoked a lively debate among historians ahead of their full-scale introduction in Shanghai in the fall term. Several Shanghai schools began using the texts experimentally in the last school year.

Many scholars said they did not regret leaving behind the Marxist perspective in history courses. It is still taught in required classes on politics. But some criticized what they saw as an effort to minimize history altogether. Chinese and world history in junior high have been compressed into two years from three, while the single year in senior high devoted to history now focuses on cultures, ideas and civilizations.

"The junior high textbook castrates history, while the senior high school textbook eliminates it entirely," one Shanghai history teacher wrote in an online discussion. The teacher asked to remain anonymous because he was criticizing the education authorities.

Zhou Chunsheng, a professor at Shanghai Normal University and one of the lead authors of the new textbook series, said his purpose was to rescue history from its traditional emphasis on leaders and wars and to make people and societies the central theme.

"History does not belong to emperors or generals," Mr. Zhou said in an interview. "It belongs to the people. It may take some time for others to accept this, naturally, but a similar process has long been under way in Europe and the United States."

Mr. Zhou said the new textbooks followed the ideas of the French historian Fernand Braudel. Mr. Braudel advocated including culture, religion, social customs, economics and ideology into a new "total history." That approach has been popular in many Western countries for more than half a century.

Mr. Braudel elevated history above the ideology of any nation. China has steadily moved away from its ruling ideology of Communism, but the Shanghai textbooks are the first to try examining it as a phenomenon rather than preaching it as the truth.

Socialism is still referred to as having a "glorious future." But the concept is reduced to one of 52 chapters in the senior high school text. Revolutionary socialism gets less emphasis than the Industrial Revolution and the information revolution.

Students now study Mao — still officially revered as the founding father of modern China but no longer regularly promoted as an influence on policy — only in junior high. In the senior high school text, he is mentioned fleetingly as part of a lesson on the custom of lowering flags to half-staff at state funerals, like Mao's in 1976.

Deng Xiaoping, who began China's market-oriented reforms, appears in the junior and senior high school versions, with emphasis on his economic vision.

Gerald A. Postiglione, an associate professor of education at the University of Hong Kong, said mainland Chinese education authorities had searched for ways to make the school curriculum more relevant.

"The emphasis is on producing innovative thinking and preparing students for a global discourse," he said. "It is natural that they would ask whether a history textbook that talks so much about Chinese suffering during the colonial era is really creating the kind of sophisticated talent they want for today's Shanghai."

That does not mean history and politics have been disentangled. Early this year a prominent Chinese historian, Yuan Weishi, wrote an essay that criticized Chinese textbooks for whitewashing the savagery of the Boxer Rebellion, the violent movement against foreigners in China at the beginning of the 20th century. He called for a more balanced analysis of what provoked foreign interventions at the time.

In response, the popular newspaper supplement Freezing Point, which carried his essay, was temporarily shut down and its editors were fired. When it reopened, Freezing Point ran an essay that rebuked Mr. Yuan, a warning that many historical topics remained too delicate to discuss in the popular media.

The Shanghai textbook revisions do not address many domestic and foreign concerns about the biased way Chinese schools teach recent history. Like the old textbooks, for example, the new ones play down historic errors or atrocities like the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution and the army crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators in 1989.

The junior high school textbook still uses boilerplate idioms to condemn Japan's invasion of China in the 1930's and includes little about Tokyo's peaceful, democratic postwar development. It will do little to assuage Japanese concerns that Chinese imbibe hatred of Japan from a young age.

Yet over all, the reduction in time spent studying history and the inclusion of new topics, like culture and technology, mean that the content of the core Chinese history course has contracted sharply.

The new textbook leaves out some milestones of ancient history. Shanghai students will no longer learn that Qin Shihuang, who unified the country and became China's first emperor, ordered a campaign to burn books and kill scholars, to wipe out intellectual resistance to his rule. The text bypasses well-known rebellions and coups that shook or toppled the Zhou, Sui, Tang and Ming dynasties.

It does not mention the resistance by Han Chinese, the country's dominant ethnic group, to Kublai Khan's invasion and the founding of the Mongol-controlled Yuan dynasty. Wen Tianxiang, a Han Chinese prime minister who became the country's most transcendent symbol of loyalty and patriotism when he refused to serve the Mongol invaders, is also left out.

Some of those historic facts and personalities have been replaced with references to old customs and fashions, prompting some critics to say that history teaching has lost focus.

"Would you rather students remember the design of ancient robes, or that the Qin dynasty unified China in 221 B.C.?" one high school teacher quipped in an online forum for history experts.

Others speculated that the Shanghai textbooks reflected the political viewpoints of China's top leaders, including Jiang Zemin, the former president and Communist Party chief, and his successor, Hu Jintao.

Mr. Jiang's "Three Represents" slogan aimed to broaden the Communist Party's mandate and dilute its traditional emphasis on class struggle. Mr. Hu coined the phrase "harmonious society," which analysts say aims to persuade people to build a stable, prosperous, unified China under one-party rule.

The new textbooks de-emphasize dynastic change, peasant struggle, ethnic rivalry and war, some critics say, because the leadership does not want people thinking that such things matter a great deal. Officials prefer to create the impression that Chinese through the ages cared more about innovation, technology and trade relationships with the outside world.

Mr. Zhou, the Shanghai scholar who helped write the textbooks, says the new history does present a more harmonious image of China's past. But he says the alterations "do not come from someone's political slogan," but rather reflect a sea change in thinking about what students need to know.

"The government has a big role in approving textbooks," he said. "But the goal of our work is not politics. It is to make the study of history more mainstream and prepare our students for a new era."

UAVs Searching Jungles

September 1, 2006: India is expanding the use of its UAV's in counter-terrorism work. The aircraft will be used to find Maoist (radical communist rebels) camps in the jungle.

India began using Israeli Heron and Searcher II UAVs three years ago. With over fifty Heron, and smaller Searcher II, UAVs in service or on order, they have already been put to use in Kashmir (against Islamic terrorists) and for maritime patrol. The Indian Herons will be equipped with special cameras for detecting camps hidden in the jungle, and electronics for detecting the low power radios the Maoists are known to communicate with. But the major advantage of the Heron is "persistence." It can stay in the air for up to two days at a time. If Maoists are suspected to be operating in some remote area, you can have one or more Herons conduct a continuous, day and night, stake out.

The Heron, with a wingspan 28 feet, has a max take off weight of 1.2 tons and carries a 440 pound payload. With a max endurance of up to 50 hours (depending on payload carried), the Heron can be equipped with day and night vidcams, or even a naval search radar. Cruising at about 100 kilometers an hour, and flying as high as 20,000 feet, the Heron is very similar in cost and performance to the United States Predator. Most of the Herons are intended for use in Kashmir, and along the Pakistani border in general. This often involves operating in frigid temperatures and at high altitudes and mountainous terrain. The U.S. Army uses a version of the Heron, called the Hunter. The Searcher II is a smaller (940 pound) UAV, with an endurance of 15 hours.

Whereabouts of nearly 1,800 policemen unknown

Vinay Kumar


NEW DELHI: Nearly 1,800 policemen from Uttar Pradesh have virtually gone "missing" and their whereabouts are not known. The issue came up during the meeting of the Coordination Centre on Naxalism here.

About 5,000 policemen were supposed to have been "transferred" from U.P. to Uttaranchal for patrolling the border areas and terai region where naxalite acitivites have been seen in the recent past. Of them nearly 1,800 policemen were given the "last pay certificate" asking them to join the Uttaranchal police department. But even after a couple of months, the policemen have failed to report on duty in Uttaranchal and their whereabouts still remain unknown.

While the Uttaranchal police department is still hoping that the policemen will join duty, top State government and police officials in Lucknow are clueless about these people .

Several of these policemen were reportedly unwilling to move to Uttaranchal and, therefore, the State government had constituted a committee to whom they could submit their representations.

However, the committee, which was supposed to submit its report by June has still not finalised it. Top Home Ministry officials have now suggested to the U.P. government officials to ask the committee to furnish its report soon and resolve the issue amicably.

'ISI is behind Naxal activities in India' : Congress' Minority Cell president Imran Kidwai

Panaji, Sept 01: India should build international pressure against Bangladesh to get it to dismantle terrorist camps within its territory, Congress' Minority Cell president Imran Kidwai said today.

"The terror which took roots in Pakistan is now shifting towards Bangladesh and it is no secret that the ISI is behind Naxal activities in India,"
Kidwai told reporters here.

The Bangladesh government, being friendly towards India, should not allow such activity on its territory. "ISI camps in Bangladesh are an extension of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism," Kidwai said.

Ruling out any attack on terror camps in Pakistan and Bangladesh, Kidwai said international pressure should be built against these countries to force them to stop backing terrorists.

"If nothing works out, attack is the last resort. War is not a solution to any problem, it is a problem in itself," he said.

He alleged the US was the "founder of terrorism" in the Asian region. "They tried to use it against Russia...They started terror factories in Pakistan, which were later used by Pakistan in Kashmir," he said.

Bureau Report

Centre annoyed with note to hide from Naxals

Says it shows Maharashtra officials are shirking responsibility to protect people from the extremists



Narendra Kaushik



New Delhi: The Centre has pulled up the Maharashtra government for a circular, reportedly issued in July by the administration in Naxal-affected districts asking MLAs and zilla parishad members not to venture out during a week-long bandh called by the extremists from July 28.

Naxal groups had called for the bandh in Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Gondia and Bhandara districts to mark the 34th death anniversary of their founder Charu Majumdar.

The circular was issued over a week before the bandh.

Highly-placed officials said the home ministry was annoyed with the approach of the district administration in the four Naxal-affected districts.

The issue was brought up on Wednesday at a meeting of 13 Naxal-affected states in Delhi, called to discuss better co-ordination among the states and Centre to tackle the menace. The Union home ministry pointed out that the circular indicated the district administration’s unwillingness to protect the common public and VIPs from Naxalite violence.

Sources revealed that home secretary V K Duggal, who presided over the seven-hour long meeting, made no effort to hide his displeasure and said the circular was not in good taste. Maharashtra director general of police (DGP) P S Pasricha had attended the meeting along with a colleague.

When contacted by Mumbai Mirror, Duggal did not deny the existence of the circular, but all he said was, “The states don’t have to consult the Central government (on security-related issues).”


WHAT THE MEETING DISCUSSED

To make air support available to all Naxal-affected states. At present, only Chhattisgarh has two helicopters, which are used for transportation and evacuation of forces during security operations. The home secretary advised states to form consortiums and take helicopters on rent.

Strengthen anti-Naxal desk in Union home ministry to see monitor development measures initiated in affected regions with the help of Central grants.

'Terrorists may link up with Naxals'

Subodh Ghildiyal & Vishwa Mohan
[ 31 Aug, 2006 0129hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]


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NEW DELHI: Centre has warned states about the lurking fear that terrorist groups, anxious to camouflage the trail linking them to their sponsors in Pakistan, might increasingly resort to finding recruits among locals.

While terrorists dipping into the growing pool of radicalised youth is known, Centre has come across indications to suggest that they may look farther afield to find accessories among other disaffected categories as well. Well-placed sources said Centre was particularly alarmed by preliminary indications about terrorists trying to link up with Naxalites.

The fear found expression at a meeting of naxal-affected states under the banner of Coordination Centre. The meeting saw Director of Intelligence Bureau, ESL Narsimhan, attesting to the success of jehadi tanzeems finding homegrown radicals ready to undertake diabolic assignments against innocent civilians. Narasimhan pointed out that not a single foreigner has been arrested in connection with the July attack on Mumbai, in what he called a sign of "Indianisation"of terror.

The states were asked to keep a vigil on religious fairs and gatherings which have emerged as targets to stoke communal clashes.

The possibility of Naxals linking up with terrorist gangs has so far been discounted in the light of the ideological disconnect with the "atheist"Naxals and the jehadis fired with fundamentalist zeal of taking over the world. This incompatibility was stressed by home secretary VK Duggal while interacting with media after the meeting.

But sources said the authorities were concerned about Naxalites, with no stake in the "capitalist"Indian state, unwittingly playing into the hands of terror groups, ever on the lookout for accessories. The warning comes close on the heels of leader of Nepalese Maoists Prachanda's solidarity show for "those fighting for self-determination"in J&K.

The meeting underscored that the drive against the red ultras have often hit the buffers because of lack of coordination between states and central intelligence agencies.

The involvement of IB in the interrogation of Naxalites nabbed by state police personnel was suggested as a remedial measure.

Stress was also placed on keeping a close vigil on the coastal areas to prevent Left radicals from procuring arms and ammunition.

Concern was expressed about the possibility of Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh plunging into the movement for a separate Telangana state which appears to be on the verge of being revived after TRS' exit from UPA coalition.

Centre aware of Telangana-naxal links

Vinay Kumar

Review meet attended by top officials of 13 naxal violence-affected States



Unmanned Aerial Vehicles would be used for intelligence gathering: Duggal
Salwa Judum to continue in Chhattisgarh



NEW DELHI: Taking note of reports that Naxal cadres were joining the Telengana movement in Andhra Pradesh, the Centre on Wednesday said that it was "conscious of such reports."

Briefing reporters after a seven-hour marathon review meeting of the Coordination Centre on Naxalism, which was attended by Chief Secretaries and Police Chiefs of 13 naxal violence-affected States, Union Home Secretary V.K. Duggal said the issue of Telengana-Naxal nexus figured during the meeting. "The ramification of this was taken note of," Mr. Duggal said without elaborating.

He said that Andhra Pradesh witnessed declined levels of naxal violence during the first seven months of 2006 as compared to the same period last year. As against only 20 civilian deaths till July 31, 2006, the State reported 126 deaths during the same period in 2005, he said. There were 24 casualties in 119 incidents till July 31, 2006 as compared to 114 casualties in 376 incidents till July 31, 2005 in Andhra Pradesh.

On the whole, Mr. Duggal said naxal violence had shown a downward trend in States other than Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, which remained two of the worst affected States. Taking into account the overall situation, naxal violence was affecting 460 police stations in 13 States out of a total of 12,700 police stations in the entire country.

"But we are still concerned. For the first time action plans of all the States were discussed in detail and wherever any gaps were found, we have suggested ways to plug them," Mr. Duggal said. Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Bihar remain the five States which are most affected by naxalite violence.

Maintaining that the Centre was following a "pro-active" approach to tackle the naxalite problem, he said that the Home Ministry would provide air support to naxal-hit states for transporting security forces and allow use of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in Chhattisgarh for intelligence gathering. He said the aerial support would not be meant for operational purposes. "It will be used for transporting security forces, evacuation and airdropping of food and medicines."

About the use of UAVs, Mr. Duggal said it was aimed at collecting inputs in Chhattisgarh, which has 1,000 sq km of thick forests making it difficult for security personnel to comb the area. Since the Ministry of Home Affairs had limited air strength, the affected States can hire helicopters and form a consortium and the cost would be reimbursed by the Home Ministry.

Replying to a query, he said that Salwa Judum (March for Peace) would continue in Chhattisgarh where 35 naxalites have been neutralised in 84 operations so far this year. There were 50,000 people sheltered in 18 camps in Chhattisgarh and of them 4,000 Special Police Officers have been armed. "Those living in camps should be well protected," he said in an oblique reference to the recent incident of naxals overrunning a camp and inflicting heavy casualties. He said that Chhattisgarh has been given 12 battalions by the Centre, which include ones from Mizoram and Nagaland, specially trained in jungle warfare.

He said that the naxal desk in the Union Home Ministry would be strengthened by deputing senior officers of the rank of Inspector-General and Deputy Inspector-General who could travel around the country and monitor implementation of development schemes.

Besides, there will be a mechanism for an inter-ministerial committee under the Special Secretary (Internal Security) for a detailed review of the schemes before the quarterly meetings of the Coordination Centre on Naxalism.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

New formula to disarm Maoists

Josy Joseph
Friday, September 01, 2006 00:40 IST


NEW DELHI: The possibility of confining armed Maoists of Nepal into seven cantonments after disarming them has brightened with a UN proposal slowly finding acceptability in various quarters. Indian sources say that the new formula is a “climbdown” from India’s original demand that the Maoists be fully disarmed before they join the interim government.

The new formula doing the rounds in Kathmandu, New Delhi, and floated by UN team which visited Nepal early this month speaks of a 50/50 arrangement. Under this proposal, the weapons of Maoists would be kept under lock, keys to which would be with both UN observers and Maoist leadership. Simultaneously the Nepal Army would be confined to the barracks and would be under strict orders not to carry out any operation against the Maoists.

The Maoist cadres would also not resort to any operation during the period. Under the plan, the colonial legacy of creating cantonments, special areas for military, would now find new meaning as seven cantonments would be created to house Maoist cadres.

India has all this while been demanding that the Maoists be fully disarmed before they become part of the interim government which would then hold the Constituent Assembly elections.

It has to be seen what the final shape of the proposal for disarming Maoists would take.

Various proposals are circulating, but an amicable agreement on that front is crucial for Nepal to move forward in its quest for peace. Everything including Interim Government, Interim Constitution, Constituent Assembly, and the new final Constitution, future of the King etc hinge on the crucial step of disarming the Maoists.

UN secretary general Kofi Annan has appointed Ian Martin as his Personal Representative in Nepal to expedite the integration of Maoists into the mainstream. Martin was the chief of the United Nations Office of the Higher Commissioner for Human Rights during the recent anti-monarch protests. Martin’s team would work on the basis of a detailed report submitted by a team led by Staffan de Mistura, which spent a week in Nepal early this month.

After his meetings in UN headquarters, Martin returned to Nepal on Sunday to begin work.

Once the Maoists are disarmed, the rebels would join the interim government. Maoist chief Prachanda is likely to stay out of the government.

Centre annoyed with note to hide from Naxals

Says it shows Maharashtra officials are shirking responsibility to protect people from the extremists


Narendra Kaushik


New Delhi: The Centre has pulled up the Maharashtra government for a circular, reportedly issued in July by the administration in Naxal-affected districts asking MLAs and zilla parishad members not to venture out during a week-long bandh called by the extremists from July 28.

Naxal groups had called for the bandh in Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Gondia and Bhandara districts to mark the 34th death anniversary of their founder Charu Majumdar.

The circular was issued over a week before the bandh.

Highly-placed officials said the home ministry was annoyed with the approach of the district administration in the four Naxal-affected districts.

The issue was brought up on Wednesday at a meeting of 13 Naxal-affected states in Delhi, called to discuss better co-ordination among the states and Centre to tackle the menace. The Union home ministry pointed out that the circular indicated the district administration’s unwillingness to protect the common public and VIPs from Naxalite violence.

Sources revealed that home secretary V K Duggal, who presided over the seven-hour long meeting, made no effort to hide his displeasure and said the circular was not in good taste. Maharashtra director general of police (DGP) P S Pasricha had attended the meeting along with a colleague.

When contacted by Mumbai Mirror, Duggal did not deny the existence of the circular, but all he said was, “The states don’t have to consult the Central government (on security-related issues).”


WHAT THE MEETING DISCUSSED

To make air support available to all Naxal-affected states. At present, only Chhattisgarh has two helicopters, which are used for transportation and evacuation of forces during security operations. The home secretary advised states to form consortiums and take helicopters on rent.

Strengthen anti-Naxal desk in Union home ministry to see monitor development measures initiated in affected regions with the help of Central grants.

Karkala: Naxals Escape by a Whisker during Combing Operations near Shringeri

Are you looking for property in M A N G A L O R E ?




Daijiworld Special Correspondent from Karkala/Shringeri (GA)

Karkala/Shringeri, Aug 31: A group of 8-10 Naxalites who had resided at a house at Kadegundi near Shringeri managed to escape by a whisker from Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) during the combing operations on Tuesday August 29 morning.

The ANF and Shringeri police staff had gone for a combing operation at Kadegundi on Monday August 28 night. Kadegundi which is near Bukyadi Bail near Nemmar is surrounded by woods and rivulets. Police had reached the place by walking more than 13 kilometres via Yedagunda and Mundodi.

Having received a sure tip-off that Naxals were residing in a hide-out, the ANF and police team had managed to reach the spot by crawling their way. It was after 8 am on Tuesday morning that the police spotted a sentry keeping vigil at Kadegundi. He was busy reading newspaper of Sunday. Since the place is surrounded by rivulets and a small water fall, sentry could not hear the sound of the police surrounding him from all corners. The only difficulty that was faced by the police that they had climb up a hillock.

It was when the police were just 7-8 feet away from him that he saw the them. He immediately signaled the coming of the police and warned his associates. He also passed a message to the next sentry and fled the place. Another person who was on a tree, also managed to escape. Though police carried out extensive search operations in that area, the Naxalites who have thorough knowledge of the forests, managed to escape.

The police found Sunday's newspaper, a pair of footwear, a biscuit pack and a chocolate pack on the spot. The 10 inch Bata footwear is similar to the one police seized from Mallika, a Naxalites who had been arrested some time ago.

The police are still carrying out search operations in the area.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Maoists flay assault on KGH CMO

Wednesday August 30 2006 12:04 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: CPI (Maoist) East Division condemned the assault on KGH casualty medical officer B Bangarraju, stating that it was the medical and health sector whose lapses have to be rectified and doctors should not be mistaken to be the main reason for problems being faced by the people.

Reasons for incidents like the death of Srinivas, which provoked the attack, should be examined properly and people should not jump to conclusions.

In a press release received by some newspaper offices here on Tuesday, CPI (Maoist) east division secretary Jagadeesh asserted that though it was the responsibility of the government to set things right, the fact that medical professionals were distancing themselves from people by resorting to various unethical practices, should not be overlooked.

He sought to know what steps were taken to break the nexus between the doctors of government hospitals and private practitioners who were causing exploitation of the poor.

Jagadeesh also wanted to know what the government was doing to control viral fevers, which claimed scores of lives, particularly in tribal areas.

He regretted that the ministers and officials concerned were self-content by making statements that fevers were under control.

REFORMS: Jagadeesh also alleged that the reforms being implemented by the Central Government failed in improving the living standards. The governments were merely painting a rosy picture of the economy, he observed.

Coord. meet decides to fine-tune operations against Naxals

New Delhi, Aug 30: The Coordination meeting of representatives of the Naxal affected states on Wednesday decided to fine tune the entire operation against Naxalism.

At the meeting attended by the Chief Secretaries and the Director General of Police of the affected states and chaired by Union Home Secretary VK Duggal, a review of the situation prevailing in the Naxal-affected states was made.

The meet also called for greater coordination between the different state and Centre agencies to tackle the menace of Naxalism. Different security agencies and the concerned States were asked to submit a report on the ground situation. Considering the threat posed by Naxals on the railway networks, the meeting also called for coordination among Railway Protection Force (RPF), Government Railway Police (GRP) and state police to strengthen security, safety and protection of trains. It was also decided that Naxalism should not be seen as a security concern alone and that the government would continue to help in the developmental works in the region. The Centre today said that the fruits of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act should also reach the Naxal affected regions and that funds would be released for the development of those regions by giving additional money from the Backward Region Development Fund.

It was also reported that the meeting decided the role of the Salvajudum` or the `local resistance groups` would not be curbed and that their sphere of activity would also not be expanded to new villages.

Fortification of the police station was also decided as the officials agreed that the Naxalites were getting their weapons by looting police stations.

The influence of Naxalism has been growing all over the country as out of the total of 12,476 police stations, Naxal violence was reported from 509 police stations in 11 states last year.

Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh are some of the states affected by Naxalite violence.

Bureau Report

VK Duggal holds naxal meet

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 03:30:59 pm

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Home Seceretary V K Duggal is chairing a meeting in Delhi today (Aug 30) of Cabinet Secretaries and Director Generals of Police of all thirteen naxal-affected states.

The Naxal Co-ordination Centre meeting is being held to fine tune the strategies prepared by the states to fight the naxal menace. The meeting takes place before the Chief Ministers’ conference with Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil early next month.

The Centre's thrust would be on greater intelligence sharing among the affected states and the local police and central paramilitary forces deployed in affected areas. The Centre is also likely to emphasise on filling vacancies in the state police forces of the affected states.

Special anti-naxal force on the cards

Special Correspondent



NEW DELHI: The meeting of the coordination centre on naxalite menace will be held here on Wednesday amidst reports that a special combat force of nearly 14,000 personnel would be raised to tackle in 13 States the internal security challenge to the country.

The proposed anti-naxalite force would comprise 9,000 personnel of the Central paramilitary and State police forces and 5,000 ex-servicemen trained in fighting terrorism and dealing with improvised explosive devices and mines. The force is currently undergoing training in specialised camps set up by the Army in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and other places, sources in the security establishment said.

Action plans


Sources said the Army was making available engineers trained in identifying IEDs, disposal of bombs, and using detectors and jammers for the force, which would be equipped with highly advanced weapons used by counter-insurgency forces elsewhere in the country. As many as 52 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and India Reserve (IR) Battalions are also being trained to carry out anti-naxal tasks.

At Wednesday's meeting, to be chaired by Union Home Secretary V.K. Duggal, the focus is likely to be on discussion of action plans being implemented by States hit by naxal violence

Centre convenes meet on Naxal menace

New Delhi, Aug 30: As part of its multi-pronged strategy to thwart Naxal menace, the Centre will review the situation in 13 affected states at a high-level meeting here on Wednesday. With nearly a third of the country facing the problem, Union Home Secretary V K Duggal will discuss the coordination with Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police of the affected states.

The quarterly meeting of the coordination centre will review the status of various policies involving intelligence gathering, networking and coordination between the Centre and Naxal-affected states, Home Ministry sources said.

The meeting assumes significance as influence of Naxalism has been growing all over the country as out of the total of 12,476 police stations, Naxal violence was reported from 509 police stations in 11 states last year.

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

The meeting will review to what extent the states have succeeded in drawing up a time-bound plan to strengthen vulnerable police stations in Naxal-affected areas in terms of additional manpower, modern weaponry, communication equipment, well protected buildings and funds.

Sharing of intelligence among affected states and the success of inter-state joint operations will also come up for scrutiny. Security of jails and armouries and strict enforcement of laws to curb Naxal violence are some other issues likely to be discussed, they said, pointing to the major jailbreaks in Orissa and Bihar.

Bureau Report

UAVs to track NAXAL red terror in Chhattisgarh

Subodh Ghildiyal
[ 30 Aug, 2006 0124hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]


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NEW DELHI: The government is set to unleash unmanned air vehicles (UAV) to map the movement and positions of Naxalites in Chhattisgarh, in what is an aggressive attempt to tackle the rising threat of 'red terror'.

Top government sources said UAVs would be pressed into "air surveillance" to gather information on positioning of Naxalites in the vast jungles.

Paramilitary forces in these jungles have been unable to gain an upper hand for lack of knowledge of the inhospitable terrain.

The UAV-procured intelligence would be used to plan pin-pointed offensives by ground forces. If the Centre's move comes through, paramilitary forces, mainly the CRPF, and state police may assume a pro-active role in pursuing Naxalites for the first time.

Till now, the Maoists, familiar with the jungles, surprised the forces at will, inflicting heavy casualties on them as well as on anti-Naxal salva judum tribals in relief camps.

In Chhattisgarh, the superior striking ability of Naxals is evident from the rise in incidents, with the state witnessing 424 strikes till July 2006 against 225 in the corresponding period in 2005.

The air force has also been drafted to the state's anti-Naxal fight. Chhattisgarh DGP and the chief secretary met top IAF brass to seek air support.

A senior home ministry official said helicopters would not be used for firing at Naxalites as it was against the government policy to use air power against its own people. "They are for defensive purposes, like evacuation," he said.

As the Centre moves to supplement ground penetration with air surveillance by UAVs, it is seeking to provide impetus to development activities, the lack of which has been used effectively by Maoists to lure tribals into their fold.

An inter-ministerial committee would be instituted to monitor work done on providing livelihood and amenities to the deprived population.

Comprising ministries of rural development, environment & forest, panchayati raj, tribal affairs and the Planning Commission, the stress is on making people feel part of the mainstream. Development and security will be merged in an anti-Naxal cell to be activated in the Union home ministry by September.

Cleared by the Union cabinet and to be headed by an additional secretary, officials will work on the ground to monitor progress and make suggestions, which will form part of the interaction between the Centre and states.

More securitymen killed by Naxals than by J&K militants: Centre, states discuss today

Raman KirpalPosted online: Wednesday, August 30, 2006 at 0000 hrs Print Email

NEW DELHI, AUGUST 29:Chief Secretaries and Director Generals of Police of 13 Naxalite-affected states are reaching New Delhi tomorrow for a meeting with Union Home Secretary V K Duggal to assess how states have fared in pooling intelligence on Naxal movement and the progress made in security operations in the last three months.


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The meeting is likely to discuss last month’s incident in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district where some 800 heavily armed Naxalites got past securitymen and attacked a relief camp, killing at least 31 people.

What’s worrying officials is that the count of securitymen killed by Naxalites this year is higher than the number of personnel killed by militants in the Valley.

From January to July this year, at least 102 securitymen were killed in Naxal attacks while the figure for those killed in the Valley during the same period stood at 85. In 2005, 165 securitymen died in Valley attacks while less than 100 personnel were killed in Naxal attacks.

Officials say it’s becoming increasingly evident that the Naxalites are carrying out more organised, coordinated attacks, even imparting better training to their cadres.

Such is the concern in New Delhi that even the Prime Minister, while addressing Chief Ministers of Naxal-hit states in April, described Left-wing extremism as “the biggest internal security challenge ever faced by the country.’’

Going by official data (see chart), it would appear that Naxal attacks are claiming more lives in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand than in traditional strongholds Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.

Home Ministry sources estimate that the current strength of the armed Naxal cadre is around 7,200.

raman.kirpal@expressindia.com

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

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 lotEradicating 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.

Naxalites want to operate in Kashmir

Naxalites want to operate in Kashmir

Police ups vigil on non-local labourers
RIYAZ MASROOR

Srinagar, Aug 28: Kashmir tops the expansion list of India’s dreaded Naxalite insurgency network, spread in 170 of its 602 districts, revealed the influential British weekly, The Economist. The disclosure seems to have upped the state’s security antenna with police closely watching the movements of non-local labourers staying here for long.

“Mr. Ueike talks boldly of expanding Naxalite influence into new areas: Kashmir, the north-east, and India’s cities,” the magazine wrote in its recent issue quoting Ganesh Ueike, secretary of the West Bastar Divisional Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Non-local labourers last week protested the alleged Police harassment at the uptown locality of Rambag here. According to SDPO, Police station Saddar, Keshav Chuarisia, non-local labourers have been asked not to assemble at one place for the Police has received inputs that Biharis might be targeted in the Valley.

Over hundred thousand laborers and skilled workers are presently making their living in Valley. This workforce largely comes from the border districts of Bihar and Punjab. A sizeable number also comprise skilled and non-skilled youth from Nepal. Significantly, all these areas, except Punjab, are infested with Maoist insurgency.
Police has long been monitoring the activities of non-local laborers saying that the vigil is primarily to preempt any criminal activity such as their indulgence in drug abuse, burglary and other petty crimes. Top Police sources told Greater Kashmir that militants in Kashmir have of late started outsourcing their missions and they could easily lure the non-local laborers with money. However, top police officials refuse comment on the disclosure about Naxalite plans to start operations in Kashmir as well.

Analysts believe that the saturation in Kashmir militancy is no less than a challenge for security agencies. Significantly, the longest surviving local militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen has managed to enlist support of some Hindu youth in parts of Kashmir. Kuldeep Kumar alias KK of Doda had reached to the position of a deputy commander before he was slain during a gun battle in Doda. Another Hindu militant is reportedly active in the area.

Few weeks ago Hizbul Mujahideen Chief Syed Salahuddin had threatened to expand operations beyond J&K. Seen in the context of HM threat; Maoist militant Chief’s warning to launch operations in Kashmir makes the matter far more challenging for the security agencies.

Quoting the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi, The Economist writes that Naxalites now have 9,000-10,000 armed fighters, with access to about 6,500 firearms. There are, according to the magazine, perhaps, 40,000 full-time cadres.
“If this disclosure holds any ground, then it will be a dreaded phase. Naxalism is spread over a large chunk of Indian districts. If the Naxalites work in unison with Kashmiri militants they can wreak havoc by sharing logistics and other resources. It would certainly require revamping of counter insurgency set up,” said a police officer pleading anonymity.

New Delhi is, perhaps, aware of the challenges Naxalism poses especially if it gets linked to the most delicate foreign policy issue, Kashmir. That is why Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, in his National Day speech on August 15 had linked Naxalism with terrorism as the two big threats to India’s security.

Karkala: Combing Operations Intensified to Nab Naxals

Daijiworld News Network - Karkala/Shringeri (GA)

Karkala, Aug 29: After the Naxalites attacked forest department office at Kerekatte and burnt records a few days ago, the police and Anti-Naxal Force have intensified combing operations to nab the Naxalites. However, success has eluded them.

Eversince the latest Naxal attack, one thing is quite sure that the Naxalites are still very much active in the Malnad regions. It is also evident that they enjoy the support given by the locals. This has become a major barrier for the police. The inhabitants of the area do not disclose anything, especially about the whereabouts of the Naxalites. Some of them are even of the opinion that Naxalites are their local version of Robin Hood, fighting on their behalf and helping them in their needs.

There is another fact which has been a hurdle for the police. The nature too is not cooperating with them. Heavy rains in the region have become an obstacle for the police force to go ahead with their operations..

Meanwhile, the Naxalites have taken responsibility for the attack on forest department office in the last week. They said that, the attack had been carried out opposing the release of Rs 23 crore package despite people's protest.

CO-ORDINATION CENTRE MEETING ON NAXALISM TO BE HELD TOMORROW

The 21st Co-ordination Centre meeting on naxalism will be held here tomorrow to review and co-ordinate the steps being taken by the Naxal-affected States to effectively combat the menace. To be chaired by the Union Home Secretary, Shri V.K.Duggal, the meeting will be attended by the Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police of the affected States and senior officers from various Ministries and Departments of the Central Government.

The naxal situation and counter-measures being taken to deal with the problem on security, development and public perception fronts in each of the affected States will come up for detailed assessment. The meeting will take stock of the action taken in respect of the decisions taken at the previous Co-ordination Centre meeting, which relate to improving ground level policing, filling up of vacancies in State Police, fortification of police stations; strengthening of grassroots intelligence network; coordination among RPF, GRP and State Police to strengthen security, safety and protection of trains, passengers and railway properties; formulation of comprehensive Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy and improving ground level implementation of developmental schemes like NREGS, BDI, PMGSY, etc.

The focus of the meeting will be to know from the affected States about the Action Plans under implementation to contain and control the naxalite menace. The idea is to fine-tune these Action Plans wherever necessary and, more importantly, ensure, effective ground level implementation of these plans so that strong and sustained security action is pursued against naxalites and their infrastructure, besides accelerating socio-economic development in the naxal affected areas.

OK/RK

Monday, August 28, 2006

Centre wakes up to Naxalite threat

Press Trust of India

NEW DELHI, Aug. 27: With Naxalites casting a shadow over almost a third of the country’s total area, the Centre is pursuing a multi-pronged approach to address the problem in a holistic and coordinated manner.

The influence of Naxalites has been growing all over the country as out of the total of 12,476 police stations, Naxal violence was reported from 509 police stations in 11 states last year, sources in the Union home ministry said.
It is widely felt that Naxalites is no more a law and order problem, but poses a threat to internal security as is evident from the declaration of a ‘Compact Revolutionary Zone’ of ‘Red Corridor’ from Nepal to Tamil Nadu - accounting for almost a third of the country’s total area.

The sources admitted that CPI (Maoist) has been trying to increase its influence and activity in parts of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttaranchal and also in new areas in some of the already affected states.

Since the problem, identified as the single biggest internal security challenge before the country, has to be tackled on the political, security and development fronts, the Centre will continue to coordinate and supplement efforts and resources of state governments, they said.

They, however, said essentially it was for the state governments to pursue effective measures to improve ground level policing and development response besides countering the negative propaganda unleashed by Naxalites to contain and control this menace.

The multi-pronged approach of the Centre includes providing financial assistance to affected states under the Police Modernisation and Security Related Expenditure Schemes and ensuring deployment of adequate Central paramilitary forces on no cost basis.

Sources said additional India Reserve battalions have been sanctioned for Naxalite-hit states and they have been advised to recruit maximum persons from the affected areas.

Besides, mine-protected vehicles have been supplied to neutralise land mine attacks.
Need based air support was also being provided to Naxalite -affected states for evacuation of casualties and movement of security personnel.
Strengthening of intelligence in states and streamlining of sharing and collection of information and 40 per cent recruitment in central forces from border areas and areas affected by militancy or Naxalites to wean away potential youth were some other steps.
Besides, states have been asked to undertake special recruitment drives to fill up vacancies in police stations in Naxalite-affected areas and the Centre has ordered deployment of SSB along the Indo-Nepal border.

The affected states have been asked to formulate an effective surrender and rehabilitation policy and organise programmes through mass media to counter Naxalite propaganda. The home ministry is also exploring possibilities for arranging Rs 100 crore under its budget for development of Bodoland Territorial Council.
On modernisation of police forces, necessary action was being taken to provide required provision in 2006-07 supplementary grants.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Naxalism: New challenge to intenal security

Media Release
Aug. 27, 2006

With Naxalism casting a shadow over almost a third of the country's total area, the Centre is pursuing a multi-pronged approach to address the problem in a holistic and coordinated manner.

The influence of naxalism has been growing all over the country as out of the total of 12,476 police stations, naxal violence was reported from 509 police stations in 11 states last year, sources in the Union Home Ministry said.

It is widely felt that naxalism is no more a law and order problem, but poses a threat to internal security as is evident from the declaration of a ''Compact Revolutionary Zone'' of ''Red Corridor'' from Nepal to Tamil Nadu - accounting for almost a third of the country's total area.

The sources admitted that CPI (Maoist) has been trying to increase its influence and activity in parts of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttaranchal and also in new areas in some of the already affected states.

Security tightened ahead of PM's visit to Orissa

[ PTI ]


BHUBANESWAR: A tight security net has been thrown across four districts, including the state capital, ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's maiden visit to Orissa beginning on Monday.

"There will be fool-proof security arrangements in the districts the prime minister will be visiting. We are also keeping a vigil throughout the state," DGP Suchit Das said.

Singh is scheduled to visit the naxal-infested Koraput district, the headquarters of which was run over by 400 extremists in February 2004, and the industrial hub of Talcher in Angul district, near Deogarh, which has also been hit by the naxal menace.

Singh's two-day visit, which was suddenly drawn-up, has forced the state police machinery to move into top gear.

On Friday, a high-level meeting chaired by chief secretary Subash Pani and attended by home secretary Santosh Kumar and the DGP, reviewed security measures for the visit.

"Security arrangements are required for the prime minister's visit will be put in place," Kumar said.

The meeting was followed by a closed-door session where state police top brass discussed strategies to be adopted for maintenance of security.

"For Bhubaneswar, we have planned a three-layer security arrangement involving the special protection group. The inner and outer layer security will be taken care of by state police personnel," Khurda SP Amitabh Thakur said.

Govt's multi-pronged steps to tackle Naxalism

Govt's multi-pronged steps to tackle Naxalism

Press Trust of India

New Delhi, August 27, 2006


With Naxalism casting a shadow over almost a third of the country's total area, the Centre is pursuing a multi-pronged approach to address the problem in a holistic and coordinated manner.

The influence of naxalism has been growing all over the country as out of the total of 12,476 police stations, naxal violence was reported from 509 police stations in 11 states last year, sources in the Union Home Ministry said.

It is widely felt that naxalism is no more a law and order problem, but poses a threat to internal security as is evident from the declaration of a 'Compact Revolutionary Zone' of 'Red Corridor' from Nepal to Tamil Nadu - accounting for almost a third of the country's total area.

The sources admitted that CPI (Maoist) has been trying to increase its influence and activity in parts of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttaranchal and also in new areas in some of the already affected states.

Since the problem, identified as the single biggest internal security challenge before the country, has to be tackled on the political, security and development fronts, the Centre will continue to coordinate and supplement efforts and resources of state governments, they said.

They, however, said essentially it was for the state governments to pursue effective measures to improve ground level policing and development response besides countering the negative propaganda unleashed by naxalites to contain and control this menace.