Saturday, June 30, 2007

DOCUMENTS :National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations

Call to fight state terrorism and fake Encounter Killings


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By Pervez Bari

Mumbai, June 30: The different communities living in India should join hands together to counter the state terrorism in order to bring dignity of life to each and every individual.

The unholy alliance between the politicians in power, police and the media should be exposed with the concerted efforts of one and all whether one is affected or not directly or indirectly. Media has played a major role to project naxalites as anti-nationals and Muslims as terrorists. The Muslims are being targeted in fake encounter killings in the name of terrorism while earlier Dalits and other have-nots were shot down in the name of naxalites.

The above thoughts were expressed in more or less in unison by different speakers at the National seminar on fake 'Encounter Killings' organized by National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations, (NCHRO), here on 26 June 2007 in association with the Amnesty International India on the Anti-Torture Day at Marathi Patrakar Sangh Hall. Prior to the seminar an inter-action session was held in the morning at the same venue.

The speakers stressed the need to develop a database of encounter killings in order to follow the cases to their ultimate conclusions of bringing the accused to be booked under the law. This would give some solace to the relatives of the encounter killings, they added.

Prof. Shams-ul-Islam of Delhi University asked Muslims to come out of their mind-sets and to unite with Dalits and others to fight out the state terrorism being unleashed on them. Keeping aloof and remaining confined in their ghettos will make the situation much difficult for them in the times to come.

Dr. John Dayal, general secretary of All India Christian Council, said:" We must have a national register of custodial deaths, fake encounters and military encounters.

Dr. Arshi Khan of Aligarh Muslim University while speaking at the seminar outlined four types of police encounters which he called fake or counterfeit encounter. They are "open encounter, "cluster encounter", "police encounter" and "proxy encounter".

Dr Arshi said police encounter began in early 70s. Previously it was area specific but now it is spreading all over India. Over 10,000 people are missing in Kashmir, while 2500 missing in Punjab.

He said that psychological operations are also going on in India to widen and divide between Hindus and Muslims. He named six police encounters specialist only in Bombay. He expressed fear that state level parties are now in alliance state party leadership.

Dr. Arshi sad that growing dominance of anti-Muslim political parties in power is posing threat to Muslims to be victims of police encounter. He said that all fake encounters should be investigated and the accused be punished.

The delegates and the relatives of victims of fake encounter killings took part in the seminar and inter-active session. The relatives made terrible narrations of their woes giving graphic details of how their dear ones were eliminated by those who are supposed to protect their lives in a welfare test. The sessions were presided over by E. M. Abdurahman, general secretary Popular Front of India. Advocate K.P. Muhammed Shareef, general convener NCHRO, delivered the welcome address. Dr. John Dayal inaugurated the seminar. Justice Hosbet Suresh, retired judge of Bombay High Court, delivered concluding marks. Prof. Nagari Babbaya (Bangalore), Prof. Shams-ul-Islam (New Delhi), Ms Gouri Lankesh (Bangalore), Adv. Yousuf Hatim Muchala (Mumbai), Adv. Suresh Kumar, Lateef (Andhra Pradesh), Pattabi Somayaji, B.V Sitaram, Arshi Khan (Aligarh), Taeedul Islam (West Bengal), Subramanian G, Adv. Sunder Raj, T Sukumaran (Tamilnadu) and M.A. Khalid (Mumbai) etc. and this Bhopal-based journalist spoke during the two sessions.

Earlier, in the morning in the inter-action session of the Human Rights activists Justice Hosbet Suresh said the extra-judicial killings will put an end to the law abiding society. Criminalization and extra-judicial power given to the police forces is the main reason for the fake encounter killings. In the existing system police can book anybody and kill them at any time in fake encounters in the name of extremism and terrorism. This is a violation of rights and right to live, he added.

Relatives of encounter victims Gopinatha Pillai (father of Pranesh Kumar alias Javed who had converted to Islam was killed in Ahmedabad), Mrs. Sajida (wife of Pranesh Kumar alias Javed), Muthu Lakshmi (widow of Veerappan, the alleged sandalwood smuggler who was gunned down by STF), Philomina (mother of Sudheer killed by Mangalore police) Noori (widow of Abdul Rauf who was killed by Bangalore police) shared their woeful experiences with the Human Rights activists).

The new national committee of NCHRO also formed on the occasion which is as follows:

President: Justice Hosbet Suresh (Mumbai), Vice Presidents: Dr. John Dayal & Dr Shams-ul-Islam (both New Delhi), Prof. Babayya (Bangalore), Dr. Abraham Mathai (Mumbai); Secretary General: Adv. K.P. Mohammed Shareef (Kerala); Secretary: Ms Gouri Lankesh (Bangalore), G. Subramanian (Chennai), Dr. Abdul Salam (Kerala)
Treasurer: Justice (Retd.) Co Chenna Basappa, (Mangalore).
The Executive Committee members are: Prof. Ramesh (Karnataka), Pervez Bari (Bhopal), E.M. Abdurahman (Kerala), Dr. Mehboob Shariff (Karnataka), Adv Suresh (Andhra Pradesh), Lateef Mohammed Khan (Hyderabad), Abdul Hafiz Gandhi & Prof. Arshi Khan (both Aligarh), Pattabirama Somayaji (Karnataka), K.M. Shareef (Karnataka), Adv. Sunder Rajan P. (Tamilnadu), A.M.M. Shafi (Karnataka) and Adv. Sultan, (Tamilnadu)

RESOLUTION

Meanwhile, at the end of day-long deliberations resolutions with 11-point demands were passed which are as follows:

The encounter killings are part of a deliberate and conscious state administrative practice for which the Indian government must bear the responsibility. The successive political groups in power sanctified this de-facto policy of extra-judicial killings by members of the police forces, the Armed Forces and para-military security personnel in Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Manipur and Tripura and by the State armed police in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat in the name of eliminating naxalites, terrorists or criminals.

The State has armed itself with Draconian laws such as Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, and derivative state legislations which are irrational, unjust and against the principles of natural justice. These laws justify preventive detention and encourage to extract confessions by any method.

The United Nations Basic Principles emphasize that the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials should be in consonance with respect for Human Rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, (ICCPR), provides that "every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life." Extra-judicial killings clearly contravene the right to life.

India ratified ICCPR in 1979 and signed the convention against Torture since 1997, but has betrayed it commitment to take effective measures to ensure that extra-judicial killings do not occur. It is yet to follow that up and ratify the convention. The rapid increase in the number of such killings flies in the face of the Right to Life as enshrined in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Antiquated laws are yet to be reformed and brought in line with international practices. There is no real investigation of extra-judicial killings. It is not surprising that the guilty in the police and security forces remain unpunished.

The hopes that Civil society had in the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), have been belied because of serious flaws in the Statutes. The NHRC and other National Commissions have not been able to call the guilty to account for violence against Religious Minorities, Women, Dalits and Tribals.

This National Convention on Encounter Killings organized by the NCHRO in association with Amnesty International of India on this 26th day of June 2007, the International Anti-torture day, notes gross violations of Human rights, specially of torture and extra-judicial deaths in many countries. The Convention condemns the assault on human dignity in the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay in the Cuban island, the military prisons in Iraq, and the situation in countries of South Asia demands.

The convention demanded of the Government of India and State Governments, the following:

1. Urgent and effective measures to stop fake encounters, disappearances, custodial violence, custodial death and extra-judicial killings by police, special squads and security forces;
2. Reform the criminal justice system and the Indian Penal code, beginning the process by repealing all special legislation that enable a culture of torture and culture of impunity;
3. Prevent cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments by authorities;
4. Stop discrimination and violence against women, indigenous peoples, Dalits and minorities and ensure genuine safe guards;
5. Strengthen the statutes of the NHRC, State Human Rights and Minorities Commission and other statutory bodies;
6. Protect and rehabilitate the victims and survivors of encounter killings and other police atrocities, and give them affirmative compensation;
7. Ratify UN convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment (convention against torture) by making amending statutes;
8. Establish a National Register of the Missing, and of Victims of torture, custodial deaths and encounter killings under the supervision of the NHRC;
9. Establish public grievance redressal mechanisms on the pattern of Lokayukta and Ombudsman to take cognizance of excesses committed by police and armed personnel, and to enforce Command Responsibility;
10. Maintain the sanctity of the ultimate power of Clemency now being exercised by the President of India and by State Governors from judicial and political aggression and encroachments and Immediate release of Dr. Binayak Sen (National Vice Chairman PUCL, Chhattisgarh)

Vizag-Ranchi Highway work after DPR okayed

Saturday June 30 2007 04:09 IST

BHUBANESWAR: Work on the Orissa part of the Visakhapatnam-Ranchi Highway would be started after the detailed project report (DPR) is cleared by the Centre, Works Minister AU Singhdeo informed the Assembly on Friday.

Replying to a question from Tara Prasad Bahinipati (Cong), the Minister said that 1,219 km of the highway would pass through Orissa.

The road would connect Motu, Malkangiri, Koraput, Aska, Boudh, Keonjhar and Tiring. Singhdeo said that 237 km of the road will be national highway, 106 km would be under the Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and 215 km would be constructed with World Bank funding adding DPR is being prepared for 610 km.

In response to supplementaries, the Minister said that 167 km of the road would pass through Malkangiri, 138 km through Koraput and 127 km through Rayagada districts respectively. It would pass through tribal and backward districts in which the Naxalites have spread their base.

Tenders have been floated for 64.3 km long Malkangiri-Jeypore road. Besides, work has already been started for 80 km-long Phulbani-Bhanjanagar road with Rs 20 crore estimate. SMEC International Private Limited has been entrusted the survey work for by-pass to Koraput town.

NCERT textbooks to narrate India's political history

June 30, 2007 | RSS | Tell a friend | Printable Version



New Delhi: The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has included instances from India's real political events, upheavals and movements in the XII Political Science textbook to be released on June 30th.

The textbook namely 'Politics in India Since Independence' will narrate to students the facts related to the 1975 Emergency, the Naxalite movement, the 2002 Gujarat riots, 1984 Sikh riots, Kargil conflict with Pakistan and demolition of Babri Masjid etc using newspaper clippings.

The textbook begins with the Independence movement of India, but along with the usual facts, speaks of the horrors of partition that India faced.

For disputed facts, the NCERT has used official sources like the NHRC report for Babri Masjid and Nanavati Commission for Emergency and several other sources as well. The textbook has a section on relevant films of various eras like Garam Hawa, Pather Panchali etc.

Red-buster road on PMO table



OUR BUREAU



Bhubaneswar/New Delhi, June 29: A decision on 1,700km answer to the Naxalite arson across three states — the Vijayawada-Ranchi corridor — lies with the Prime Minister’s Office now.

National highway status, however, eludes the dream project of chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who has been harping on this road project at every meeting of Maoist-affected states and at Prime Minister-Planning Commission discussions.

The proposed highway will pass through 12 districts of Orissa, including the Maoist-ridden Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj.

The Orissa stretch of the inter-state road will start from Motu in Malkangiri district in the south and terminate at Tiring in Mayurbhanj district in the north.

The chief minister felt that if the corridor passing through the Maoist affected states of Jharkhand, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh is constructed, it would usher in economic development in the region and thereby reduce the intensity of Left-wing extremism.

Works minister A.U. Singhdeo said out of the total 1,219km passing through Orissa, 215km would be built by the state government with World Bank assistance, while another 106km would be covered under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna.

Another 237km was proposed to be taken up by the National Highways Authority of India.

Though the state government has demanded national highway status for the project, the proposal is still pending with the Centre, the minister said.

Sources in the national capital said a detailed project report (DPR) is being prepared by the ministry of shipping and transport and the costs will decide whether the highway will be a two-lane or two-lane-with-paved-shoulders.

Implementing agency for the project will be decided when the ministry of finance and Planning Commission finalises the project, sources said.

Giving details of the progress of the 509km construction already taken up, Singhdeo said work on the Phulbani-Bhanjanagar stretch (80km) had already commenced with additional central assistance of Rs 20 crore, while tender had been floated for 64km Malkangiri-Jeypore portion, which would be opened in July 31.

For the rest 610km, tenders will be invited soon for preparation of a detailed project report, he said. Responding to a request of Tara Prasad Bahinipati, Congress MLA from Koraput, Singhdeo said the government would consider setting up an office of chief engineer at Koraput to monitor the work.

“Usually it costs anywhere between Rs 1-2 crore,” said an engineer working on the project.

About 314km of the road falls in Andhra Pradesh, 197.13km in Jharkhand and the 1219km in Orissa.

The highway is ploughing funds from the respective governments of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Jharkhand, the Centre and the Union rural development ministry.

The route is something like this: Vijayawada-Kodar-Khammam-Motu-Malkangiri-Jeypore-Koraput-Rayagada-Digapahandi-Aska-Phulbani-Boudhi-Deogarh-Keonjhar-Tiring-Hata-Chaibasa-Chakradharpur-Khunti-Ranchi (see map).

Since the Naxalites are rapidly infiltrating Orissa, apart from Karnataka, security experts feel the Centre should decide on the project at the earliest and implement it fast.

“After five years, the rebels may not let you work,” said an expert from Chhattisgarh working on the project.

He added that some of the stretches like from Koraput to Rayagada are heavily affected by the Naxalites and need security.

In Jharkhand, engineers working on the project disclosed that contractors have been paying the Naxalites regularly in order to progress with work

India: Rural Development and the Naxalite Threat

Source: STRATFOR
June 28, 2007 20 31 GMT


Summary

Indian Maoist rebels, known as Naxalites, stepped up operations June 26-27 in their strongholds in eastern India, bringing much of the region to a standstill. As we expected, the Naxalites have seized upon the grievances of peasant farmers and tribal groups directly affected by the Indian government's push to develop special economic zones. Though Indian politicians and security officials are quick to play up their successes against the Naxalites and brag about increasing Maoist defections, India's security apparatus cannot contain the Naxalite movement, which is directly benefiting from a widespread rise in social agitation across rural India.

Analysis

For the second straight day Indian Maoist rebels, commonly referred to as Naxalites, wreaked havoc in the eastern Indian states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa on June 27. Among other actions, they imposed a two-day economic blockade, attempted an attack on a power plant and brought traffic to a standstill by blowing up railway stations and rail lines.

While Indian officials tend to play up successes against the Naxalites, they cannot contain the Naxalites, who have drawn strength from rural unrest -- something which carries major implications for investors outside India's cities.

The Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), the command center of India's Naxalite movement, called the militant campaign in protest of New Delhi's numerous development projects that have involved government land seizures. Eager to replicate China's economic growth model, Indian politicians have caught Special Economic Zone (SEZ) fever, and with little foresight, are signing off on development projects left and right. One of the biggest problems with this haphazard economic policy is that SEZ development and expansion often displace peasant farmers and tribesmen, who are extremely adept at mounting stiff physical resistance to these projects -- and do not fear engaging in violent clashes with the government to hold onto their land.

This growing dissatisfaction among India's rural community over the SEZ push perfectly conforms to the Naxalite agenda. The Naxalites have been waging a 40-year-old popular insurrection against the government to combat exploitation and promote the creation of a classless society. Though the Naxalite movement has lost some of its intellectual appeal over the years, its campaign continues to attract men and women to its ranks.



The Naxalites have a force of approximately 15,000 cadres spread across 160 districts in the states of Orissa, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka and West Bengal. They operate primarily in the lawless, dense forested areas of India's interior, with some estimates saying Naxalites control approximately 10.03 million hectares (about 25 million acres) of forests nationwide. They also have an active campaign to recruit students and other youths to help spread their left-wing extremism into India's towns and cities. Thus far, however, the Naxalites have not demonstrated the ability to operate in urban areas.

Previously, the Naxalites have made direct threats against multinational corporations, though they primarily focus their attacks on police stations, locally owned factories and Indian government officials. The CPI-M leadership announced recently that for the first time, the Naxalite movement has created a single command center for the revolution and that more attacks are to come.

The Naxalites still have a host of problems to deal with, however. India has at least 10 Naxalite splinter groups that have broken away from the main movement due to differences over ideology and militant strategy, along with general disillusionment with the movement and war fatigue. Indian media also reports Naxalite defections on a nearly daily basis, though these incidents often are exaggerated and in some cases stage-managed by the police. This was most recently illustrated in January, when reports came out that as many as 79 Naxalites in Chhattisgarh had defected. Soon enough, allegations emerged that innocent tribal people were forced to "surrender" as Maoist rebels.

State governments have tried to lure Naxalite cadres away from the movement by offering amnesties and attractive rehabilitation programs, but this has not substantially increased defections. Rather, the Naxalites largely have been successful at retaining their experienced cadres by providing various types of incentives, including monthly stipends and regular medical checkups. Naxalites also attempt to recruit more female cadres by facilitating marriages within Naxalite camps. Many Naxalite cadres often surrender on orders of the party to collect intelligence and work as double agents, a common trend in Chattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. The Naxalites also are extremely adept at using local agents and sympathizers to monitor the activities of true Naxalite defectors, who are often killed soon after they desert.

For the most part, Indian security forces garner little if any intelligence on Maoist activities from Naxalite defectors that would help counterinsurgency operations. The police hardly visit tribal pockets, avoiding them out of fear and lack of incentive. As a result, they have weak links with the locals and ex-Naxalites. And even when police do visit villages, Naxalite deserters avoid meeting them, since they know full well that the police cannot protect them and their families. Most prefer to keep silent and often agree to work as informers for the Naxalites even after they leave the party.

In Chhattisgarh, where Naxalite attacks are the most abundant, the state government has mobilized and armed villagers with bows and arrows, guns and spears to fight against Naxalites. This anti-Naxalite militia, known as Salva Judum, which means Purification Hunt, includes child soldiers in its ranks and is often touted by the state government as a highly successful counterinsurgency strategy. These claims are also overstated, however, and Naxalites have managed to insert spies in Salva Judum camps.

India's Naxalite problem is rooted in socioeconomic disparities, something that will only be compounded as state governments push ahead with SEZs and development projects that threaten to displace semiliterate tribesmen and farmers. Though India has several paramilitary organizations whose sole focus is combating Naxalites, security personnel are in poor condition to tackle the menace. Many junior and midlevel police officers are severely demoralized and frustrated by overly confident senior officials and policymakers who cannot cut through India's bureaucracy and coordinate across state lines against the Naxalites. This lack of coordination also largely results from law-and-order issues falling under exclusive control of the state governments. The central government in New Delhi cannot directly deal with the Naxalite threat in the states, and ideological differences among ruling parties at the federal and state levels result in incoherent policies across the country.

The Naxalite problem, which Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described as the single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by India, shows no sign of easing. Inevitably, foreign investors looking to expand their operations outside India's urban areas must take it into consideration

Bihar Police No Match to Naxal Power; One Killed, Another Injured

Jamui: June 29, 2007

In a fierce gun battle between Maoist extremists and Bihar police in Jamui district on Friday morning, a police jawan was seriously injured while a tractor driver who was taking the injured jawan to a hospital was gunned down, officials in Patna said.

Numbering more than 300, the ultras opened fire at a police security team injuring one Ramvivek Kumar. When he was being transported to Laxmipur in a tractor, the Maoists opened fire on the vehicle killing its driver Kartik Koda killing him on the spot.

As before, the police were no match to the sheer number and fire power of the Naxalites who, lobbing bombs, managed to escape without any casualty on their side.

Raids were being conducted in the area to nab the terrorists, Jamui District Magistrate Ramshobhit Paswan said.

The Nitish government, despite some initial tough talks and a feeble attempt to rehabilitate them by offering economic incentives, has failed to check the Naxal extremism in the state where number of attacks have gone up substantially since the change of power in Bihar.

Foresters wary of using GPS sets

29 Jun, 2007 l 0356 hrs ISTlTIMES NEWS NETWORK



NAGPUR: They can assist tracking of the movement of wild animals, prepare spatial maps of forests, and even help reduce poaching.

But several global positioning system (GPS) sets available with the forest department are not being used effectively, thanks to the lack of training to the field staff.

An easy-to-use portable instrument, the GPS set is also used to determine and locate points in nature and obtain their surveying, to optimise and regularise tracings from repeated passages along the same route.

According top forest officials, the GPS enables automatic determination of the geographic coordinates for any observation point by a portable receiver which promptly elaborates spatial positioning data through satellites.

Sources informed that the central government had given around 70-80 GPS sets — each costing around Rs 15,000 — to every forest division in 2006 during the census organised to monitor prey base, predators and its habitat.

However, barring reserves like Pench, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) and Melghat and Allapalli to state a few, the GPS sets are reportedly gathering dust by the other divisions, including territorial areas.

Although lack of training is the main reason, the GPS sets are also not used by some foresters as they fear they might damage the costly equipment. “Many RFOs don’t use it as they are not trained and keep it in lock and key,” a source said.

In naxal-hit areas also, some foresters do not use the equipment as there is a fear that the extremists may snatch it away and misuse it to carry out subversive activities.

When contacted, G K Vashisth, assistant conservator of forest (ACF), TATR, told TOI that Tadoba first started using GPS methodology in 2001 and most of guards here know its use. He suggested specific training programme for the grassroots staffers at ranger colleges in the state on the lines of Andhra Pradesh.

The ACF further informed that Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehra Dun, provides GPS training to range forest officers (RFOs) once in every two-three months. “We are using the methodology effectively and our latest data has been obtained from GPS technology,” he added.

A top forest official said: “As RFOs and guards are not trained, most of the divisions don’t use it. Regular use of such modern equipment can help share important information by one and all.

You can also know location of a tiger from its scat and way-points. It will also benefit for the purpose of mapping and correct analysis which will come handy for effective wildlife management.”

State of War

Aditi Phadnis / New Delhi June 30, 2007



The last years have seen a dramatic rise in Naxal violence, and this week's incidents prove that little is being done to contain it.

It was a warm April afternoon. Humidity rose like a blanket from the jungles around Murkinar, a small hamlet in Dantewada district, Chhattisgarh. Murkinar has two claims to fame: it has a police post on the side of the road and it is linked by a bus that plies between this hamlet and Bijapur, a nearby town.

As usual, villagers were waiting at the bus stop when the bus trundled to a stop. Suddenly, the bus stop was seething with people, mostly men holding bags. Passengers — Gond tribals with their weekly haul from the forest — were told to disembark and the men boarded the empty bus and ordered the driver to drive on.

At 3:00 in the afternoon, the police post was inhabited by constables trying to catch forty winks, dressed only in lungis and vests. No one paid any attention to the bus – until the men inside began firing at the police station with light machine guns. The Naxalites killed 11 policemen like they would shoot clay pigeons, kicked the bodies aside and loaded all the weapons and ammunition they could find into their bags. Then the bus drove off again and the Naxals melted into the forest.

This was the story narrated to Brig Basant Kumar Ponwar, Inspector General of Police, Chhattisgarh, and a veteran of Army counter-insurgency operations who is currently involved in training policemen to handle guerilla operations.

“One hundred and seventy districts over 13 states are currently under the influence of the Naxals, though in some states the pockets are small and have been contained. Our interrogations and materials obtained from raids indicate that the target of this group is to bring, by 2010, 30-35 per cent of India under their sway. In order to prevent incidents like Murkinar, India has to train at least 10,000-20,000 policemen in counter-insurgency tactics. This is no small task,” he said on the phone from Bastar.

The two-day shock and awe campaign earlier this week by Naxals all over India to protest the “imposition” of special economic zones (SEZs) and the government’s economic policies has had the desired effect.

Naxal actions were calculated to be conspicuous and loud. In West Bengal’s Purulia district, about 50 guerrillas set fire to the station master’s room at Biramdih railway station at around 1:30 am. The attack destroyed the signalling system. Biramdih — on the Jharkhand-West Bengal border — is 285 km from Kolkata. Train services between Bihar and Jharkhand, including the state capitals Patna and Ranchi, were cancelled.

In Chhattisgarh, public transport went off the roads and movement of iron ore from Dantewada district’s Bailadila hills to Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh was halted. Maoists blocked interior pockets of Bastar, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Dantewada and Kanker districts by placing wooden logs on the roads. Primitive tactics? Maybe, but no one dared remove the logs.

It isn’t just the intensity of the Maoist rage with the system (in their most spectacular attack on a police post in Rani Bodli, 55 policemen were killed, but what shocked the people was that some policemen who had obviously surrendered were also killed — axed to death, their decapitated heads placed neatly by the side of their bodies). It is also that they will not be ignored any more.

Over a two day-campaign, in Jharkhand alone, official estimates put the losses at around Rs 150 crore. The railways lost Rs 30 crore due to cancellation of goods and passenger trains and damage to property — in Latehar district they burnt two engines and damaged 12 goods train bogies.

Around 1,500 buses did not ply during these two days, causing a loss of Rs 1.5 crore. Trucks stood idle, leading to a loss of Rs 3 crore. Coal and iron ore production and transport was disrupted, leading to losses of around Rs 60 crore. In Jharkhand, export-import businesses had to shut down for virtually the whole week, leading to losses of Rs 5 crore. With road and rail traffic coming to a complete halt in the state, nothing could be done.

Since the inception of Chhattisgarh in November 2000, 751 civilians have fallen to the fury of the rebels. Two hundred and twenty policemen have died combating the Red Army. Development work worth Rs 200 crore has been left stranded in Bastar because no one wants to work there. Property and other losses add up to Rs 8,000 crore in six years.

Guerilla groups are territorial in their outlook. They need an area — one hesitates to call it a state — of their own. The Tamil aspiration is for Eelam. What do the Indian Maoists want?

The Maoist “state” is called Aboojhmad. Its exact contours remain a mystery. The area stretches over some 10,000-15,000 sq km — the size of Fiji or Cyprus — with inaccessible terrain encompassing the forest belt from Bastar to Adilabad, Khammam and East Godavari districts in Andhra Pradesh and including Chandrapur and Gadchiroli in Maharashtra, Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh and Malkangiri in Orissa.

Parts of this region have never been surveyed, not even by Emperor Akbar who conducted the first revenue survey in the mid-15th century. The first surveyor-general of India, Edward Everest, also failed to map the entire topography of Aboojhmad in his survey conducted between 1872 and 1880.

According to intelligence agencies, Aboojhmad houses all major establishments of the Maoists outfits including arms manufacturing units and guerrilla training. It is also a safe haven for the top guns. “The area is heavily mined and it is near-impossible for security agencies to sneak in,” said a senior state police official.

Maoists are also expanding their area of operation. The growing economy of the region has increased the demand for raw materials. Chhattisgarh is the preferred destination for investments in thermal power and steel.

SAIL, Essar, Tata and Jindal are in the race to acquire the biggest coal and iron ore mining blocks. The new tactics in Chhattisgarh appear to be to establish a hold in other mining areas as well. The recent arrest of a top Maoist gun in a diamond-rich belt of Raipur district attests to this. It isn’t just the forest for them, it is also mines and industrial areas.

In the bauxite-rich areas in the region they have registered their presence in Siridih and Mainpat areas of Sarguja district where aluminium majors Hindalco and Vedanta-owned Bharat Aluminium have mining facilities.

Besides opposing industries in Chhattisgarh, rebels have also hit at the state economy. Agriculture is impossible in these circumstances. Nor isthe state receiving dividends in the proportion it had estimated from forest produce. The huge budget for the region lapses unspent every year. About 30 per cent of the Rs 450 crore budget for the Chhattisgarh government’s home department is spent on anti-Maoist operations.

How do the groups operate? Over the last decade, the Maoist movement has undergone a lot of mergers and acquisitions. Smaller groups have merged with bigger ones, cadres have joined rivals and while factional warfare has claimed the lives of many loyal believers, it has also prompted the Maoists to consider how best to synergise their strengths. To be sure, there is still some griping between old rivals.

For instance, the CPI ML (Kanu Sanyal) had this to say about the CPI Maoists’s greatest military victory ever: “CPI (Maoist) action on 15th March at Rani Bodili in Dantewada district fully exposes its anarchist line and calls for severe condemnation. Instead of exposing, challenging and defeating the state terror by mobilising the masses, it is totally counter-productive as it has given further excuse for deploying 8,000 more para-military forces in Bastar district alone to intensify the state terror.”

But by and large there is greater coordination among groups than ever before. At the 9th Congress of CPI (Maoist) held after 36 years somewhere in the forests of Orissa-Jharkhand borders in January-February this year, it decided to protest against SEZs and the setting up of industries by acquiring forest and tribal land.

In Chhattisgarh, the Maoists have already warned Tata and Essar against putting up steel plants in Bastar. The Congress, sources said, decided to extend its protests to Kalinga Nagar, Singur, Nandigram, and Polavaram (Andhra Pradesh). Some other specific projects are also in their sights: this makes the challenge all the more terrifying.

How can the Maoists be defeated — and should they be? A former district magistrate in Chhattisgarh, Shailesh Pathak recounts how he supervised the general elections of 2004 in Bastar.

“We couldn’t get the electronic voting machines into Bastar because of Naxal propaganda that they’d mined the area and anyone going there would be blown up. So we launched our own counter-propaganda — that we had airborne missiles that would be able to detect Naxals from the air. I even did a couple of helicopter sorties to prove that we had a helicopter. That’s how we held the election.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that Naxals will grow where there is no development or democracy — the turnout in the general election in Bastar was 15 per cent despite Pathak — but their argument is that the economic boom has bypassed them but it is their resources that has aided it.

Ponwar’s argument is military logic. “You can defeat the Naxalites militarily. What do they have, after all — explosives they have looted from the National Mineral Development Corporation godowns used for mining, some .303 rifles, LMGs and AK 47s looted from police stations? But having once liberated areas militarily, the state must demonstrate its authority. It must establish itself in these areas — because if it doesn’t, the Naxals will just reclaim it.”

Economist Jean Dreze’s survey in Sarguja district that is under Naxal influence suggests that job-creation is an answer. Organising those who are opposed to Naxals unfortunately only renders them more vulnerable to Naxal attacks. Tribals, used to referring to the forest as their home, are now huddled in camps under RCC sheets to protect them from Naxal reprisal.

One thing is certain: no amount of coordinated police and military action is going to prevent the Naxal movement from growing. “It is not that the military challenge is strong,” says Ponwar, “it is that the response is weak.”


The Red battle for Orissa

One night in June, a group of armed CPI (Maoist) extremists killed a contractor at Tumikoma village and two persons at Ranigolla village in Deogarh district on the western fringe of the state.

The same night, 600 km away in Koraput, in south Orissa, suspected Maoists blasted the engine of a goods train and burnt down a part of the Padua police station. Three days later, two suspected Maoists entered the conference room of the Orissa High Court Bar Association at Cuttack and dropped bundles of leaflets there pertaining to their two-day economic blockade agitation on June 26 and 27.

The three incidents say it all — the Naxal presence which was limited to its southern tip bordering Andhra Pradesh only a few years ago has now infiltrated across the length and breadth of Orissa. It is estimated Naxals/Maoists now have a presence of some sort or other in 17 of Orissa’s 30 districts, but the state government acknowledges their existence in only 11 districts.

The left-wing extremist groups have spread the menace in 11 of 30 districts by indulging in violence in the past seven years, says Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. They had mounted attacks as many as 234 times, killing 103 persons in seven years.

But Patnaik is seeking solace that this is far less compared to the mayhem unleashed in neighbouring states. In Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, in the same period, 941 and 930 people were killed; the casualty figure for Andhra Pradesh is 1,867.

According to government records, the tribal dominated Malkanagiri district in the south is the worst-hit, accounting for 43 per cent of the Naxal related incidents.

Rayagada, Sambalpur and Koraput are three other districts where CPI (Maoist) mounted 50, 27 and 20 attacks respectively in the last seven years. Most of the Naxalite attacks were reported from Malkanagiri district. Apart from Malkanagiri, other southern districts infested by the Naxal menace are Rayagada, Gajapati and Koraput.



Win some, lose some

Activists and students who went to Sarguja for a public hearing on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme recently have come back to report major improvements in the distribution of job cards, the extent of employment, the payment of wages and the quality of work undertaken.

This gives reason for hope in the possibility of making NREGP work, says economist and activist Jean Dreze who organised the hearings. Sarguja is one district not in the thick of Naxal influence and where government programmes have been allowed to run their natural course.

The most heartening finding was “a sharp decline in corruption”. This is not to generalise about the state of affairs in Sarguja, for the Dreze-led group reports that the National Food For Work Programme has remained on paper. But on NREGP, says Dreze: “We found that 95 per cent of the wage payments that had been made according to the muster rolls had actually reached the labourers.”

Dreze compares Sarguja with other Naxal hit areas of Chhattisgarh in this context.

“It is interesting to consider the growing contrast between this region of Chhattisgarh and the southern region (Bastar and adjoining districts),” he says.

“In the southern region, misguided attempts to suppress the Naxalite movement through brute force have led to a spiral of violence and turned large areas into a war zone. Development is the casualty. In the northern region, which is comparatively free of violent conflict, there has been a noticeable improvement in the reach and quality of public services such as drinking water, health care, elementary education and the public distribution system.”

Researcher and economist of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, Tapas Sen, currently working on a report on Chhattisgarh, notes a change in the policy of the radical elements in the state.

Earlier government functionaries were not targetted but now are. Hence government programmes are a casualty in Naxal-hit areas. Doctors, for example, are held in a pincer between the government and the Naxals. Often they are forced to serve the Naxals without the knowledge of the police. They are under threat from both sides, he says. So, who wins?


With inputs from R Krishna Das in Raipur, Dilip Satapathy in Bhubaneswar and Sreelatha Menon in New Delh

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Maoists get bolder

Business Standard / New Delhi June 28, 2007



The Maoist challenge gets ever more serious. Across a broad swathe in southern, central and eastern India, spanning half a dozen states including Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand, it is clear that a well-organised extremist force has acquired the muscle to openly challenge the state and now seeks to paralyse the economic system. The last couple of weeks have seen blockades, strikes, bomb attacks on the rail and communications systems and on mining companies, and much else. Previous episodes have included attacks on armed police encampments and jails. It is time someone in the government explained what is the response to this most serious internal security challenge. So far, the modern part of the economy could ignore what was going on in the hinterland, but now the two worlds are on a collision course.

The home minister has typically said almost nothing on the subject in public—but then, few ministers are willing to face the camera when there is serious explaining to be done. Various documents put out by the home ministry have talked about the nature of the security response (more money, better equipment, new high-level posts created to focus on the problem), and of the effort to reach out to disadvantaged and alienated groups. For the easily-convinced, these make satisfying reading because the statistics are presented in such a way as to suggest that the violence is abating and that the situation on the ground is improving.

But inconvenient facts have a way of coming in the way of facile conclusions, and the events of the past fortnight should make it clear that what has been done so far by way of a response to the Maoists, is not good enough. Roughly half the districts in Chhattisgarh now face the Maoist problem. The Salwa Judum (or peace march) campaign in the state is acquiring a bad name because no one sees it as a spontaneous people’s response to the Maoists; if anything, the government is rounding up tribals to make them armed activists or vigilantes, disrupting normal life in the process. And in Andhra Pradesh, the (Congress) state government’s initial honeymoon with the Maoists ended quite quickly without yielding anything

Everyone knows that insurgencies take root when there is an alienated population. The tribals have been a peaceful set of people so far, but have got the short end of the stick when it comes to development. Mining contracts, for instance, may spell big money for contractors and companies, but what do they do for ordinary people in the area? State governments get substantial revenue by way of cess and/or royalty on the metals and ores extracted from the ground (and the rates have just been increased by the Centre), but little of that gets spent in the same area. Rapacious officials in the forest, police and other departments don’t help matters. Perhaps the tribals are not worldly-wise enough, but that is no reason for corrupt local officials to turn the citizen-government interface into a harassment or extortion game. Extremist activity can be contained only if new revolutionary recruits become hard to find—and that is predicated on the presence of a people-friendly local government machinery and evidence of genuine development activity. In short, the Maoist challenge can be met only if alienation is addressed—and that is a challenge facing primarily the state governments concerned.

'All Communities should Join Hands to Counter Terrorism'

WHAT TERROR THEY ARE TALKING ? This list contains Naxal Supporters


Press Release

Mumbai, Jun 28: Different communities living in this country should join hands together to counter state terrorism, so that each and every individual is able to lead a dignified life.

Concerted efforts needs to be made by one and all to see that the unholy nexus between the politicians in power, the police and the media is exposed irrespective of the fact whether one is affected or not, directly or indirectly. The media too has played a major role in creating an image of all Naxalites as anti-nationals and all Muslims as terrorists.

Muslims all over are now being targeted in fake encounter killings in the name of terrorism while earlier other downtrodden masses were shot down in the guise of them being Naxalites. These were some the viewpoints expressed in a near unanimous voice by different speakers at the National Seminar on fake ‘Encounter Killings’ organized by the National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (NCHRO) here today, in association with Amnesty International India.

The speakers stressed the need to develop a database of encounter killings in order to follow the cases to its final logical conclusion of bringing the culprits to book under the law of the land. This would give some degree of solace to the kith and kin of those killed in such encounter killings.

The Seminar was attended in large numbers by the delegates and relatives of the victims of encounter killings. The session was presided over by E.M.Abdurahman, General Secretary Popular Front of India, Adv. K.P.Mohammed Shareef; General Convener delivered the welcome address. Dr. John Dayal inaugurated the seminar. Justice Hosbet Suresh concluded the seminar. Prof. Nagari Babbaya (Bangalore), Prof. Shamsul Islam (New Delhi), Ms Gouri Lankesh (Bangalore), Adv Yousuf Hatim Muchala, Adv. Suresh Kumar, Latheef (Andhra Pradesh), Parvez Bari (Bhopal), Pattabi Somayaji, B.V Sitaram, Arshi Khan (Aligarh), Taeedul Islam (West Bengal), Subramaniam, Adv. Sunder Raj, T Sukumaran (Tamilnadu), M.A. Khalid (Mumbai) were the other attendees.

Earlier in the day during the interactive session of the human right activists, Justice Hosbet Suresh said that these types of extra judicial killings will put an end to law abiding society.

Justice Suresh during his address before the human rights activists held at Mumbai observed that criminalization and extra judicial powers given to the police force is the main reason for the fake encounter killings. According to him under the existing system, police can book anyone and kill them at any time, in fake encounter in the guise of extremism and terrorism. This is he stated is a violation of person’s rights and right to live. The program was part of a “National Seminar on Encounter Killings” organized by the National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (NCHRO) in association with Amnesty International India on 26 June 2007 and Anti-Torture Day held at the Marathi Patrakar Sangh Hall, Mumbai.

Relatives of encounter victims Gopinatha Pillai (father of Pranesh Kumar alias Javed who was killed in Ahmedabad), Sajida (wife of Pranesh Kumar alias Javed), Muthu Lakshmi (widow of Veerappan killed by STF), Philomina (mother of Sudheer killed by the Mangalore police) Noori (widow of Abdul Raoof who killed by Bangalore police) all shared their personal experiences.

A new national committee of NCHRO was also formed comprising the following:
President: Justice Hosbet Suresh, Mumbai
Vice-presidents: Dr. John Dayal, New Delhi
Dr Shamsul Islam, New Delhi
Prof Babayya, Bangalore
Dr Abraham Mathai, Mumbai
Secretary General: Adv. K.P. Mohammed Shareef, Kerala
Secretary: : Gouri Lankesh, Bangalore
G Subramaniam, Chennai
Dr Abdul Salam, Kerala
Treasurer: Co Chenna Basappa, (Retd Justice) Bangalore

Executive Committee Members:
Prof Ramesh, Karnataka
Pervez Bari, Bhopal
E M Abdurahman, Kerala
Dr Mehboob Shariff, Karnataka
Adv Suresh, Andhrapradesh
Latheef Mohammed, Andhra Pradesh
Abdul Hafiz Gandhi, Aligarh
Prof Arshi Khan, Aligarh
Pattabirama Somayaji, Karnataka
K M Shareef, Karnataka
Adv Sunder Rajan P. Tamilnadu
AMM Shafi, Karnataka
Adv Sulthan, Tamilnadu

ORISSA: House debates Maoist menace

Statesman News Service
BHUBANESWAR, June 28: The Maoist menace needs to be viewed in proper perspective as it is not confined to Orissa. The incidence of violence during their current economic blockade have taken place in several states, said chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik while adding without being complacent one can say that the situation in neighbouring states is worse than Orissa.
Replying to a notice for adjournment on Left wing extremist-related violence at Deogarh and Koraput as well as two other murder cases at Keonjhar and Athgarh, the CM said 14 states were affected by the Left wing extremism. Reeling out figures he said during the current year, there were 31 instances of attacks by Naxalites in Orissa whereas in Chhattisgarh, the number of cases were 169 and in Jharkhand, it was 118.
Over the past seven years, the casualty figure in Orissa was 103 as against 941, 930 and 1867 in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh, he informed.
Denying the Opposition charge that the police were demoralised and unable to tackle the problem, Mr Patnaik claimed that his government had taken systemic steps to improve the efficiency of the police. Over 10,600 posts had been created and 4806 constables recruited. The India Reserve Battalion was formed and two more such battalions are to be established, he added.
He pointed out that the administration was getting the support of local people and the recent Maoist attack in Deogarh where they had killed three persons was because they were not getting support of the locals.
Countering the Opposition on failure in the socio-economic front , specially land related issues, the CM noted that a few days ago, he had gone to Rayagada and distributed 18,235 pattas to landless people which is the “ highest in the country at one single function”. “The police were concerned about the trip but it was so important that I decided to go and I am happy I did,” he remarked.
It is not true that the government had failed to perform in the socio-economic front, stated the chief minister while noting that the growth rate during the 10th Plan period was higher than projections.
Earlier, he referred to the four particular instances and said on 21 June, Maoists entered Ranigola village and Telikusimi village of Deogarh district. They killed three persons suspecting their involvement in anti-Naxalite operations that had taken place in the village on 3 July last year when four hardcore Maoists had been killed. The Maoists had suffered amajor setback in the region due to two successfully anti-Naxalite operations last year in which seven Maoists had died, he said.
On the same day, Maoists attacked the Darliput railway station in Koraput district, he said. He also provided details of the other two criminal cases that had been registered at Athgarh of Cuttack district and Elkania in Keonjhar district.
Initiating the discussions, Congress leader Mr Narasingha Mishra had lambasted the government for its failure on the socio-economic front as a result of which the poor and tribals were taking to naxalism.
He decried that several key posts were lying vacant including those of DIG of two important range. Nothing has been done on land reforms and this government does not want to provide land to the landless, he alleged , caustically adding that the government was grabing land and displacing tribals . You will be digging your own grave if you take comfort by drawing comparisons with neighbouring states, he remarked.
Several other Congress leaders accused the government of complete failure on the law and order front and the socio-economic front. The treasury bench members led by Kalpataru Das countered referring to pro-poor measures taken by the government and the growth of left wing extremism in different states.

ORISSA: House debates Maoist menace

Statesman News Service
BHUBANESWAR, June 28: The Maoist menace needs to be viewed in proper perspective as it is not confined to Orissa. The incidence of violence during their current economic blockade have taken place in several states, said chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik while adding without being complacent one can say that the situation in neighbouring states is worse than Orissa.
Replying to a notice for adjournment on Left wing extremist-related violence at Deogarh and Koraput as well as two other murder cases at Keonjhar and Athgarh, the CM said 14 states were affected by the Left wing extremism. Reeling out figures he said during the current year, there were 31 instances of attacks by Naxalites in Orissa whereas in Chhattisgarh, the number of cases were 169 and in Jharkhand, it was 118.
Over the past seven years, the casualty figure in Orissa was 103 as against 941, 930 and 1867 in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh, he informed.
Denying the Opposition charge that the police were demoralised and unable to tackle the problem, Mr Patnaik claimed that his government had taken systemic steps to improve the efficiency of the police. Over 10,600 posts had been created and 4806 constables recruited. The India Reserve Battalion was formed and two more such battalions are to be established, he added.
He pointed out that the administration was getting the support of local people and the recent Maoist attack in Deogarh where they had killed three persons was because they were not getting support of the locals.
Countering the Opposition on failure in the socio-economic front , specially land related issues, the CM noted that a few days ago, he had gone to Rayagada and distributed 18,235 pattas to landless people which is the “ highest in the country at one single function”. “The police were concerned about the trip but it was so important that I decided to go and I am happy I did,” he remarked.
It is not true that the government had failed to perform in the socio-economic front, stated the chief minister while noting that the growth rate during the 10th Plan period was higher than projections.
Earlier, he referred to the four particular instances and said on 21 June, Maoists entered Ranigola village and Telikusimi village of Deogarh district. They killed three persons suspecting their involvement in anti-Naxalite operations that had taken place in the village on 3 July last year when four hardcore Maoists had been killed. The Maoists had suffered amajor setback in the region due to two successfully anti-Naxalite operations last year in which seven Maoists had died, he said.
On the same day, Maoists attacked the Darliput railway station in Koraput district, he said. He also provided details of the other two criminal cases that had been registered at Athgarh of Cuttack district and Elkania in Keonjhar district.
Initiating the discussions, Congress leader Mr Narasingha Mishra had lambasted the government for its failure on the socio-economic front as a result of which the poor and tribals were taking to naxalism.
He decried that several key posts were lying vacant including those of DIG of two important range. Nothing has been done on land reforms and this government does not want to provide land to the landless, he alleged , caustically adding that the government was grabing land and displacing tribals . You will be digging your own grave if you take comfort by drawing comparisons with neighbouring states, he remarked.
Several other Congress leaders accused the government of complete failure on the law and order front and the socio-economic front. The treasury bench members led by Kalpataru Das countered referring to pro-poor measures taken by the government and the growth of left wing extremism in different states.

PROGRESSIVE means supporting NAXAL TERROR

PROGRESSIVE ORGANISATIONS STAGE DHARNA



Mysore, June 29 (KK&TRD)- Noted litterateur Devanur Mahadeva has demanded that the names of progressive activists Kadidal Shamanna and Prof. Rajendra Chenni be withdrawn from the list of names of persons sympathising with Naxals.


He was addressing a meeting held on Wednesday at the Gandhi Square to protest the inclusion of names of progre-ssive activists and the attack on a Christian priest in Kundapur.


The evil-minded Government was branding all progressive elements as Naxals thus strangling the democracy, he alleged. The BJP-JD(S) Government was anti-people, he said.


"Believing that JD(S) is a progressive party, we voted for it. Now, JD(S) has joined hands with BJP and has become reactionery. Instead of understanding the problems of Naxals and arriving at a suitable solution, the Government was treating the Naxals as criminals. The entire list of Naxals should be with-drawn, he urged.


He insisted that the Government should identify the persons who prepared the list and take suitable action against them.


The ways of the Government are funny as it accuses the progressive elements of supporting Naxals. Is the Government resorting to the measures taken during the dark days of Emergency against Naxals? he asked.


Addressing the meeting, former MLA Vedantha Hemmige criticised H.D.Deve Gowda for not supporting the Presidential candidate Pratibha Patil while claiming that he introduced 33% reservation for women.


The attack on Father Sylvester Pereira and his associates at Kundapur by Bhajrang Dal activists was also criticised.


The meeting was addressed by AHINDA State Youth Wing President, M.Appanna, City President Gracian Rodri-gues and veteran socialist P.Mallesh.

Bomb on railway track defused in AP

User Rating: / 0 Friday, 29 June 2007


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Khammam, June 29: A bomb squad defused today a bomb hidden in a tiffin box and kept on a railway track near Getukarepalli village at Karepalli mandal in Khammam district.

A special police team, combing the naxal-infested area, found about ten kg of the explosive material on the railway track Meanwhile, train services of Vijayawada passenger, Singareni passenger and Goods trains were stopped till the bomb was defused.

Police suspect that the bomb might have been planted by the Maoists to blast the railway tracks.



--UNI

Inspector General asks police to exercise restraint

User Rating: / 0 Friday, 29 June 2007


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Tirupati, June 29: Inspector General of Police (Rayalaseema zone) R.P. Thakur has directed the Chittoor district policemen to work with integrity and concern, keeping the Tirumala shrine in view.

He cautioned his men to exercise utmost care and restraint while dealing with the cases here as a lot of religious sentiment is associated with Tirumala and Tirupati and hence any minor incident can spark widespread criticism across the globe.

Mr. Thakur, who recently took over as the IGP, came to Tirupati on a pilgrimage on Thursday, after which he had an introductory meeting with the senior police officials of the district. He is no stranger here as he had previously worked as the Superintendent of Police (Kadapa) and Deputy Inspector General of Police (Anantapur range).

Chittoor is a vast district, area-wise, with a couple of National and State Highways. Though it is not a home to factionalism, it shares a border with Kadapa and Anantapur districts, which are more prone to faction violence. Similarly, it is also relatively calm vis-À-vis naxal-related violence. However, a number of sensational cases have been registered in this district that calls for extra care.

As the meeting focused very much on the above pertinent points, Mr. Thakur instructed the officers to steer clear of controversies relating to custodial deaths and lockup-related violence as it would reflect negatively on the Government. With an all-vigilant Fourth Estate around, he indicated that callous handling of such issues could assume larger-than-life dimensions.

He laid stress on systematic investigation and quick disposal of cases. Superintendent of Police T.V.Sasidhar Reddy, Additional SP (Tirupati) B.Seshu and other senior district officials were present at the meet.

--Agencies



[Last Updated: ]

Naveen gives a smart reply on Maoist menace

KalingaTimes Correspondent
Bhubaneswar: Whatever its performance on the ground, the ruling Biju Janata Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance has always proved to be smarter than the Opposition inside the State Assembly. At least in countering the Opposition attack on various burning issues.
If the issue of corruption is raised by the Opposition to embarrass the government, the ruling alliance legislators will promptly cite the example of the cases of corruption during the Congress regime.

Come to a discussion on law and order situation, the ruling alliance will claim that the situation was worse during the Congress rule.

But when it came to replying on the issue of growing naxal menace in the Assembly on Thursday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik handled the issue with an approach that suited him the most.

As naxalites were not very active in the State during the Congress rule, Patnaik tried to puncture the Opposition charge on the naxalite menace saying the situation in Orissa was better than in the neighbouring States.

Heavily relying on the national level statistics on the naxalite problem, Patnaik said during the current year, there were 31 instances of naxalite attacks in the State as against 169 in Chhattisgarh and 118 in Jharkhand.

To justify his claim that Orissa situation was better, Patnaik said that 103 civilians were killed by naxalites in the State during the past seven years, while 941 people were killed in Chhattisgarh, 930 in Jharkhand and 1867 in Andhra Pradesh.

With regard to the Opposition charge that the government had failed to bring any change in the socio-economic condition of the people in tribal-dominated regions where Maoists were gaining strength by the ay, Patnaik claimed that many schemes were being implemented in this regard and things had started changing for the better.

As Patnaik got away with the Opposition attack that his government had failed to control Left wing extremism in the State, a Congress legislators was heard saying if the Chief Minister could ever muster the courage to compare Orissa with other States on the issues of land reform, poverty reduction, primary education and primary healthcare.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Villagers bust Maoist gang in TN; three held

Wednesday June 27 2007 01:43 IST
PTI

THENI: Three members of a group suspected to be Maoists, were nabbed by residents of a village here from a near-by forest but some others, including two women, escaped Monday night, police said on Tuesday.

The three were handed over to police and were being interrogated, they said adding some grenades were recovered from them.

Police were also investigating whether the group had any possible link with the banned LTTE.

The arrest comes at a time when Sri Lankan Minister for Horticulture Mirnala Fernando is staying in the Periyakulam Horticulture Research Institute in connection with a seminar for the past two days.

Police said the villagers had on Monday noticed three strangers, including two women, fetching water from their village tap and on being questioned they replied rudely.

On suspicion, the villagers armed with clubs, sickles and other country weapons had followed the three into the nearby forest where they found a group of around ten persons.

When the residents asked them to surrender, the group warned them they had rifles and could kill them.

Undeterred, the villagers closed in on the group and caught three persons, bound them with a rope and informed the police while others managed to escape.

Police identified the three as Velmurugan (20), Palanivel (26) and Muthuselvam (22). All of them were educated and spoke Tamil in Dharmapuri region dialect. Dharmapuri had in the past witnessed Naxalite activities.

Police said they strongly suspected the involvement of the group in a series of robberies in the region since last month.

According to local people, two other strangers were staying at a nearby location and had allegedly raped a shepherd's daughter. They alleged that no action had been taken by police despite being informed about the incident.

Maoists strike terror on highway

Thursday June 28 2007 11:11 IST
SAMBALPUR/BHUBANESWAR: Left Wing ultras struck on the second day of their economic blockade on Wednesday night. While laying siege to National Highway No. 42, about 50 km from Sambalpur, the Maoists opened fire at a car and then set a truck ablaze.

Three persons were injured in the incident that sent shockwaves in the area. They have been shifted to VSS Medical College, Burla. Two dozen uniformed and heavily armed Naxalites descended on NH 42 at Amplipali under Jujomara police limits at about 10.30 p.m. The NH connects Sambalpur town to Bhubaneswar.

Since the Maoists blocked the road, all long-distance buses and trucks were stranded for about 45 minutes. They asked every vehicle to stop, but a car driver did not obey and tried to speed away. The ultras then opened fire at the vehicle from behind. Three passengers were injured. One of them is in a critical state.

The three were taken to Rairakhole Hospital before being shifted to VSS Medical. The Naxalites also set a goods carrier on fire to terrorise the stranded passengers and truckers.

Sambalpur SP Devdutt Singh rushed to the spot with additional force and combing operation has begun. The ultras are stated to have retreated into the forest. The Left Wing ultras are currently observing two-day economic blockade in Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. On Tuesday, they had attempted to target a BSNL tower in Malkangiri.

The incident also comes close on the heels of the brutal killing of three persons in Raniguda and Telikusum by the ultras in Deogarh district on Thursday last

Maoists torch bus, office files

Wednesday June 27 2007 12:21 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: The Maoists went on a rampage in GK Veedhi mandal of Visakhapatnam district on Tuesday.

They set records on fire in the offices of Coffee Board and AP Forest Development Corporation (APFDC) at RV Nagar and burnt an RTC bus belonging to Anakapalli depot.

The attacks were to protest the killing of their leader S Rajamouli and approval for alumina refinery in S Kota mandal in Vizianagaram district.

Maoists chop off trees to prevent traffic flow

Thursday June 28 2007 12:26 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: Wary of fresh attacks during the ‘economic blockade’ called by the CPI (Maoist), the police have intensified combing along the Andhra-Orissa Border (AOB) through which a large number of Maoists are reportedly trying to sneak into Andhra Pradesh from Chattisgarh.

Greyhounds and AP Special Police personnel virtually took Agency areas under siege to prevent any untoward incident.

The CRPF, CISF and RPF were also put on a high alert to prevent any attack on infrastructure facilities like power transmission towers, railway lines and other public utilities. Special attention is paid to both private and public sector companies as the ultras had identified them as their targets.

The Maoists have repeatedly targeted APGenco’s hydel power station at Sileru on Visakhapatnam-East Godavari district border and Kothavalasa-Kirandul railway line. These two continue to be prime targets of Maoists.

A major destruction of Sileru power station will cause substantial loss and repairs would take several days and even weeks. Damage to K-K line will result in prolonged suspension of freight traffic and East Coast Railway will incur huge loss. Two dozen goods trains ferry iron ore every day from Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh to Visakhapatnam port. Goods trains are being operated normally amidst fresh threat of Maoist attacks.

On the other hand, police are treading cautiously due to threat of landmines. Sensitive areas are being thoroughly checked to avert any mishap.

Meanwhile, within hours of ransacking the Coffee Board and AP Forest Development Corporation offices in G K Veedhi mandal on Tuesday, Maoists have felled trees at several places in the Agency areas of Visakhapatnam district to obstruct vehicular traffic.

The state-owned AP State Road Transport Corporation is operating buses between Narsipatnam, Chintapalli and Paderu and cancelled other services, Regional Manager N Venkateswara Rao toldthis website’s newspaper.

In Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts, the APSRTC officials have withdrawn their services to Gummalakshmipuram, Kedaripuram, Neelakantapuram, Kurupam, Komarada, Kuneru (Parvatipuram), Rayagada and Bhadrachalam.

Exhausted cops intensify combing along AOB A major destruction of Sileru power station will cause substantial loss and repairs will take several days.

No Impact Of Maoist Blockade Call In Andhra Pradesh

Wednesday 27th of June 2007 A two-day 'economic blockade' called by Maoist guerrillas had no impact in Andhra Pradesh with police remaining on high alert on areas bordering Chhattisgarh and Orissa, which were hit hard by the blockade.

The blockade called by Maoists in protest against the 'anti-people' policies of the government had no impact even in districts with a long history of Maoist violence.

Police said Maoists set afire a bus in Visakhaptanam district in coastal Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday to protest the killing of their leader S. Rajamouli in a gun battle last week. Delayed reports reaching the state capital said a group of 20 Maoists torched the bus of state-run Road Trasnport Corporation at R.V. Nagar in the district, about 650 km from here.

The Maoists also set afire records of forest development corporation and coffee board research centre in the same area. Barring these incidents, the state has not witnessed any Maoist violence since Tuesday.

However, police in Khammam district bordering Chhattisgarh, and Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam bordering Orissa remained on alert to foil any attack by the guerrillas.

Police officials said the blockade had no impact on normal life in the state because of their recent successes in firmly handling Maoists.

Police were already on alert amid reports that the Maoists, who suffered many setbacks in recent months, were trying to regroup. Fearing attacks on electricity plants during the blockade, the authorities had stepped up security.

Maoists lost many of their top leaders during last few months. Police on June 22 gunned down another top leader S. Rajamouli in Anantapur district bordering Karnataka.

Rajamouli was the mastermind behind the assassination attempt on then Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu in October 2003. He was a prominent member of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) and was also heading the outfit in Karnataka.

Andhra Pradesh has been one of the strongholds of the Maoist movement.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in Maoist violence since 1969.

Maoist strike ends after causing Rs1.5b losses

IANS
Published: June 27, 2007, 23:34


New Delhi: A two-day "economic blockade" called by Maoists in six states to protest special economic zones (SEZs) ended yesterday on a violent note, causing losses of well over Rs1.5 billion (Dh136 million) to the economy, officials said.

Although there were only a few incidents of violence, with a railway station torched in West Bengal, the protest crippled normal life in parts of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and West Bengal, proving the rebel clout in impoverished rural areas.

In West Bengal's Purulia district, about 50 guerrillas set fire to the station master's room at Biramdih railway station around 1:30am. The attack destroyed the signalling system. Biramdih - on the Jharkhand-West Bengal border - is some 285km from Kolkata.


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"The [rebels] came and scared us away. We watched from a distance as they set the station on fire and fired gunshots in the air," said Debasis Roy, a railway employee.

The Maoists shouted anti-government slogans and left behind leaflets and posters listing their demands. Three bombs were also found on railway tracks, a police officer said.

Train services between Bihar and Jharkhand, including the state capitals Patna and Ranchi, were cancelled. Normal life was disrupted in rural areas in four of Bihar's districts, officials and news reports said.

In Chhattisgarh, now the bloodiest battleground between the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) and security forces, rail and road traffic were badly hit in the southern Bastar region.

Railways bear Maoist brunt

OUR BUREAU

A deserted coach of Dhanbad-Hatia-Bankura Express in Ranchi. Picture by Prashant Mitra
June 27: Movement of train has been stopped following a blast, triggered by the Maoists, on the most commercially viable railways section.

The rebels, as part of their economic blockade, blew up a portion of the railway tracks between Daniya and Dumri Vihar stations in the small hours today disrupting traffic on the CIC section.

Following this, divisional railway manager Ajay Shukla said that the restoration of movement on this section would start on Friday.

The Maoists had blocked the tracks near Daniya station last night by unloading three trucks of coal. Even on the NH-2 between Dumri and Girdih, a few trucks were deflated affecting movement for more than two hours.

Inspector-general of police (North Chhotanagpur) B.B. Pradhan said that barring few incidents of violence, the economic blockade had no major impact though the railways suffered losses running in several crores. “Police have been deployed in Naxalite-hit areas as a precautionary measure.”

Four trains from Ranchi and Hatia have been cancelled tomorrow.

South Eastern Railway senior divisional commercial manager Vivek Srivastava said that the Tata-Jammu Tawi Express, Hatia-Jammu Tawi Express, Hatia-Delhi Jharkhand Swarna Jayanti Express and the Ranchi-Ajmer Express would remain cancelled.

“The cancellation of the four trains was to be done because of the non-arrival of the rakes concerned due to the economic blockade enforced by the rebels,” Srivastava said.

But Eeast Central Railway senior PRO (Dhanbad) Amarendra Das said that depending on the situation, they would ply the Gomoh-Barkakana passenger that would leave Gomoh at 6am tomorrow.

PTI adds that three live bombs were found on railway tracks near Biramdih station, 55km from Purulia in Bengal, which the Maoists burnt down early today.

The signalling system of the station was destroyed by the fire, affecting train movement on Purulia-Chandil section of Adra division.

Railways took all steps to protect passengers, property

New Delhi, Jun 28: Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today said his ministry had taken all steps for the safety of passengers and railway property following the CPI(Maoist)-sponsored 48-hour economic blockade.

''We had taken all measures to minimise inconvience to the passengers and the financial loss to the state,'' he told mediapersons, on the sidelines of a function here.

Stressing the Naxals' propensity for targetting infrastructure, he said causing losses to the exchequer had become their strategy.

As he had noted on earlier occasions, the Minister bemoaned the ''lack of coordination'' among the intelligence agencies. ''Whatever intelligence or information we get is too general and not specific enough to be of use,'' he had said, and called for improvements in this direction.

The proscribed CPI(ML) had announced a 48 hour blockade in protest of acquisition of agricultural land for setting up Special Economic Zones (SEZs). The blockade, which ended last midnight, had brought a grinding halt to the trade activities in mines and mineral sectors besides causing immense damage to railway properties.

Central Coalfields Limited could only despatch less than 18,000 tonnes of coal against its usual 67,000 tonnes, official sources said adding mining and transport industry suffered more than Rs 100 crore.

The naxals had also targeted railway properties, yesterday laying siege to the Hatiya-Rourkela railway zone and brought the movement of trains to a virtual halt for hours.

In Chatra, the CPI (Maoist) activists detonated a powerful landmine blowing up a bridge under Hantarganj police station.

On the first day, the ultras blew up a goods train and railway tracks at several places.

--- UNI

Maoist movement unearthed in TN

Madurai, June 28: The investigation of three Tamil extremists, arrested on Monday in neighbouring Theni district, has revealed the presence of a Maoist group in Tamil Nadu with links to Naxals in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

Initial investigation of the arrested, including two law college students, has found the existence of the new outfit headquartered at Dharmapuri, which in the past witnessed Naxalite activities, police said.

It was suspected that about 400 college students from various places across the state would have become the members of the movement, they said.

Based on information given by the three arrested, the police were now conducting raids at various places to arrest their leaders and other members.

The three extremists were arrested on June 25 after they were nabbed from a forest area in Periyakulam Taluk of Theni district by residents of a nearby village. Some others, including two women, managed to escape. The group was armed with latest rifles and grenades.

The main objective of the movement was to rob the rich, corrupt officials and give the booty to the poor.

According to initial investigation, the arms and explosives seized from them included grenades of high quality (make not known), pistols and some ammunition.

The extremists had taken training in a clearing made in the Western Ghats and had come to Periyakulam for second phase of training. They had received funding from Maoist groups.

DIG Intelligence A.K.Viswanathan had visited the spot where the extremists were nabbed.

Bureau Report

Bid to Blow-up Bridge in Munger Foiled

Patna: June 27, 2007

Naxalites in Bihar, on the second day of their two day disruption of the state machinery on Wednesday, tried to blow up the Anjan Bridge on Kiul River in Jamui district but alert law-enforcement officials thwarted the bid when they recovered a large bag from under the bridge containing explosives and other paraphernalia required to blast the structure.

A patrolling unit of the Jamui police, on early Wednesday morning found the bag under the bridge containing three gelatin rods, fuse wire, over a dozen detonators, battery, and other items consistent with explosives.

Meanwhile, railway in the entire state remained hostage to leftist terrorist designs disguised as anti-SEZ protests. Travelers across Bihar were stranded at nearly all stations as railway officials tried to repair tracks blown by the ultras.

Train services in north Bihar were particularly affected. Most passenger trains were either diverted or stopped at various stations to prevent any loss of life or property.

Bus services throughout the state also remained sparse. Director General of Police (DGP) Ashish Ranjan Sinha said state bus service has been put on hold until late Thursday.


Interestingly, except for a murderer-turned-Naxalite in Gaya who was identified as Kamdeo Mistry, no one was arrested in any part of Bihar.

The loss of revenue caused by the so-called 'chakka jam' is believed to be in several thousand crores.

Naxal blockade cripples life in Chhattisgarh

AGENCIES
Posted online: Thursday, June 28, 2007 at 1255 hours IST




RAIPUR, JUNE 27: Normal life was disrupted in many naxal infested areas of Chhattisgarh on the second and concluding day of the two-day economic blockade by Maoists called to protest economic policies of the Centre.
"There is impact of economic blockade in many parts of the state, and it was a bandh like situation in interior areas," Police Headquarters sources said.



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"However, the economic blockade went off peacefully in the state," Principal Secretary Home S V Pravat said.

Reports reaching here said both train and road traffic was disrupted both yesterday and today in many parts of the state due to the blockade to protest Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and economic policies of the Centre and the state governments.

To enforce the blockade, Maoists also felled trees at many places disrupting road communications. Passenger vehicles also stayed off the roads in many places as last time during a strike, the rebels had targeted some passenger buses in Bastar and Sarguja regions of the state.

Transportation of iron ore from Bailadila was badly affected as on Monday naxals removed railway lines at two places and fish plate in another place between Bacheli and Bhansi railway stations, about 440 km from the state capital.

Bangalore: Police to get Sites from Recovered Land

Daijiworld Media Network – Bangalore (NR)

Policemen to get sites from recovered land
The Naxal supporter list done before Janata Dal (Secular) came to power: CM
Bangalore, Jun 28: Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy addressed senior police officials’ at the Annual Convention organized by the police department on Wednesday June 27.

In his address the chief minister promised sites of 30 ft by 40 ft dimension to lower rung police employees in the state. A decision to this effect would be taken in the next 10 days he averred.

He said residential layouts could be formed for policemen on the land that had been recovered from encroachers in the city. He asked top police officials to submit a proposal on the number of acres required for the said purpose.

Speaking on the sidelines at the Convention, the chief minister emphatically stated that he had not come under pressure from any quarters to prepare and release the list of Naxal supporters. He in fact dismissed reports that the list was released under pressure from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the coalition partner in the Government.

He asserted that the Naxal supporters' list was prepared by top police officials after a study much before the Janata Dal (Secular)-BJP coalition had even come to power.

According to him, his government was quite capable of handling any kind of eventualities in the State and that they were willing to cooperate with progressive thinkers and activists in resolving any crisis and expect the same from them. At the same time he warned his government will not tolerate encouragement of violence in the name of progressiveness.

On Home Secretary Vatsala Vatsa’s statement that the department required at least 4,800 more personnel to enforce the ban on arrack, the CM directed the officials to strictly enforce ban on sale of arrack from July 1.

The chief minister also promised that his government would take up regular recruitment of policemen. And that he would consider deploying retired military personnel in the department, if the law permitted.

‘We were not under any pressure to release list’

Staff Reporter



’The list was prepared by the top police officials after a study’

Sites promised for policemen from recovered land




BANGALORE: Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Wednesday asserted that he had not come under pressure from any quarters to prepare and release the list of naxal supporters.

Speaking on the sidelines of senior police officials’ annual convention organised by the Police Department, the Chief Minister dismissed reports that the list was released under pressure from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the coalition partner in the Government.

“The list was prepared by top police officials after a study much before the Janata Dal (Secular)-BJP coalition assumed power,” he said.

He said the Government was capable of handling any kind of eventualities in the State, Mr. Kumaraswamy said: “We are ready to cooperate with progressive thinkers and activists in resolving any crisis and expect the same from them. But we cannot tolerate encouragement of violence under the garb of progressiveness.”

Sites promised

Earlier addressing the police officials, the Chief Minister promised sites of 30 ft by 40 ft dimension to lower rung police employees in the State. A decision in this regard would be taken in the next 10 days, he said.

He said residential layouts could be formed for policemen on the land that had been recovered from encroachers in the city. He asked top police officials to submit a proposal on the number of acres required for the purpose.

Directing the officials to strictly enforce the ban on sale of arrack from July 1, the Chief Minister promised that the Government would take up regular recruitment of policemen.

He was responding to Home Secretary Vatsala Vatsa’s statement that the department required at least 4,800 more personnel to enforce the ban on arrack. He said the Government would consider deploying retired military personnel in the department if the law permitted.

‘Naxal supporter’ list to be reviewed

Special Correspondent


Bangalore: Home Minister M.P. Prakash said here on Wednesday said that the list of “naxalite supporters” released by the Police Department would be reviewed in the light of the fact that it includes names of progressive thinkers.

Speaking to presspersons on the sidelights of a function organised by the Karnataka State Police Sports Control Board, the Minister, however, said that the list was not prepared by the police with any “ulterior motives”. “Naxal sympathisers” is a more appropriate phrase to use rather than “Naxal supporters” to describe some in the list, he added.

Asked about increasing police encounters in the city, he claimed that the number was lower than the encounters in some other major cities in the country.

Grant for police sports

Speaking earlier at the prize distribution function organised by the board, Mr. Prakash said that the Government would give an annual grant of Rs. 20 crore to the Police Department to conduct sports activities. He also said that a stadium would also be constructed in the Suvarna Karnataka year to encourage sports in the Police Department.

Naxal blockade hits railways

K. Srinivas Reddy


HYDERABAD: Largescale disruption of goods and passenger trains in Central and Eastern India marked the culmination of a two-day economic blockade called by the Maoists on Wednesday, with the rebels blowing up railway tracks in Bokaro district of Jharkhand and burning the Birandhi railway station in Purulia district of West Bengal.

The Maoists were protesting against the economic policies of the Central and State Governments, particularly opposing the formation of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the country.

Chhattisgarh, the centre stage of guerilla activity, remained calm, though movement of goods trains on the crucial Kirandole section was affected to a large extent, as railway tracks and overhead traction lines were damaged by the naxalites.

In spite of intensified patrolling along the tracks, rebels blew up the railway track between Gomia and Dania stations in Bokaro district. “The railways was forced to cancel the operations due to the subversive attacks,” Additional DG, Gauri Shankar Rath told The Hindu on phone from Ranchi.

ALARMING NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND

The use of maximum force in dealing with the Naxalite menace is destined to fail unless it is backed by constructive development that involves the local population, writes Anuradha Chenoy
The author is professor, School of International Studies, JNU


Parallel force
The districts of Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, known as the Naxal-affected belts, are areas where the scheduled tribes and castes make up more than 60 per cent of the population. Poverty is endemic in this region. The government is carrying out two types of development. The first is based on industries, mining and commercialization, and the second is linked with the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the mid-day meal scheme and primary education. As far as the Naxal problem is concerned, the policy is to use ‘maximum force’. Which of these development models and policies is working is a critical question for the future of these states and their people.

The first developmental policy regarding the increase of private investment and ownership in mining, forestry, and so on is not new. This type of development was the initial reason behind the alienation of tribals since they saw their communal methods of ownership and freedom being curtailed. As large areas are cordoned off to make mines, large dams and special economic zones, tribals are displaced and turned into migrant labour. Tribal customs, like the making of local brew from Mahua trees, have been banned and foreign liquor shops have come up. The Naxalites have thrived in such an iniquitous environment.

The second developmental model, connected with social and economic schemes, is becoming increasingly popular, although it is using only 25-30 per cent of its capacity. Recent surveys by the Right to Food Group have revealed many problems with these schemes which need correction to make them effective and beneficial to more people. Yet, these schemes work in the ‘Naxal-affected’ areas and because of their popularity even the Naxals support these programmes, testifying to their importance. The government argues that Naxals “impede development”. But when development is positive and supported at the ground level, anyone wanting political legitimacy is forced to support it.

The Naxals work on small-time development issues like running some schools, health centres, dams, foodgrain banks, and so on. This gives them local level support, without which they would not be able to survive. The Maoists levy taxes and extort money from contractors and the locals for such work and for procuring the wide range of weapons that they possess. The level of support to Naxals in Jharkhand, where they are fast spreading, however varies.

In areas where the local population sees that significant efforts are being made by the government for improvement, the Naxals are not popular. Who would want to go to a Naxal school if the government school functioned? But in most places people are fed up with the police. Villagers say that if the Naxals come at night and want to be fed, the police invariably turn up next morning and want to be bribed. The choice then is between the “Maowadi and Khaowadi”.

Anyone interested in these areas, from the local member of parliament or that of the state legislature, to contractors and businessmen, has to have some alliance with the Maoists. How else would elections be held? And how else would contracts be completed? The Naxals argue, “In our zones, anyone can pass through if their identity is clear.” Maoists, in fact, no longer believe in ‘liberated zones’ but in ‘zones of influence’, where they co-exist with others and where they have parallel judicial and executive structures — the jan adalat (peoples’ court) and their militia that executes. The smallest unit is the two-man village unit; then there is the area secretary and the area commander. Area decisions are taken together by the area commander and secretary. The sub-zonal committee is overseen by the zonal committee and the zonal commander. They are assisted by a local guerilla squad and a special guerilla squad. Leaders and guerilla squads do not comprise all locals. They can be from any other region. The entire party is underground.

It is known that women have functioned as supporters, couriers and leaders, but very few come up for the ‘risky work’. The women’s organization, the Nari Mukti Sangh, functions at all levels, including in the armed squad, where women get full military training. Most women join this movement because of poverty and some because of ideology. The major work of politicization is undertaken by them.

The police have little knowledge of the functioning, except when Naxals are caught and then named ‘commander’, whatever their real status. Thus the local people often suffer police brutalities as there is little to distinguish between them and the Maoists. This is especially so in Jharkhand, where the Naxals are more local.

In the meantime, the police have killed hundreds of alleged Naxalites in ‘encounters’. They do not allow first information reports to be registered and give no compensation to families. The fear of the contesting militia has divided villages and caused fear and internal displacement, forcing villagers to evacuate their houses and camps, leading to unending personal tragedies.

Like the special security forces created earlier to deal with insurgency in the North-east and in Kashmir, the Salwa Judam was created in Chattisgarh. This government-sponsored force of well-armed local volunteers comprises former insurgents and the local youth. This state-armed unofficial militia has caused much harm and turned more people towards insurgency. It has helped militarize the society, where children now dream of guns, and the use of force is the accepted method of negotiation. This militia is unable to distinguish between ordinary civilians and insurgents. They see the entire community as ‘enemy’, similar to the ‘bounty killers’ who are used in all local disputes.

Many human rights groups have recorded the excesses of this militia. Such reports, however, have been ignored. Instead, journalists and activists have been branded as ‘sympathizers’. Meanwhile, the Salwa Judam model is being copied in other areas like Jharkhand, where the Nagrik Rakshak Samiti or Narsu has been working along the same lines and all local sources testify to its unpopularity and criminality.

Maximum force has been officially justified because of the killing and looting by the Naxals. Local officials say that once Naxals are caught, torture is essential to extract information. Figures, however, show that the number of Naxal-related incidents has not decreased, rather the number of human rights violations by both sides have significantly increased. Further, if the incidents and violations decrease in one area they simultaneously increase in another. For example, incidents of Naxalite strikes have gone down in Andhra Pradesh, but if nine out of 16 districts were affected in Chattisgarh, 18 out of 22 districts are affected in Jharkhand today.

In these circumstances, the schemes like the NREGA are all the more important. Yet they are still to be fully implemented. The Right to Food group witnessed that while there was increasing awareness of the act, the staff to implement it was still inadequate. There were delays in wage payments, there was lack of institutional arrangements (for example, Jharkhand has no panchayat elections), a monitoring system and accountability.

The outcome is thus already quite clear. People support ideas that benefit them and involve them. The idea of development based on human rights has become rooted in the minds of the people. To deny this is to lead to more conflict on all sides.