Saturday, August 04, 2007

Maoists blow up police office in West Bengal

From our ANI Correspondent

Kolkata, Aug 4: A group of seven to eight Maoists on Saturday blew up a police beat office in West Bengal's West Midnapore District.

After asking all the occupants of the Locket beat office under Lalgarh police station to vacate, the rebels blasted the building with gelatine sticks, police said.

However, there were no reports of any injuries.

A search operation has been launched to nab the miscreants, police said.

Maoists operate in 13 of 29 states along the "red corridor", referring to a stretch from the Indo-Nepal border to the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

According to Home Ministry, 76 districts in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharashtra, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are 'badly affected by Maoist violence'.


Copyright Dailyindia.com/ANI


Indo-Asian News Service
Kolkata, August 04, 2007
First Published: 14:08 IST(4/8/2007)
Last Updated: 14:16 IST(4/8/2007)



Maoist guerrillas blew up a forest office on Saturday in West Bengal's West Midnapur district to apparently avenge the destruction of a "martyrs' memorial" by police.

The incident took place in Lalgarh village in Kantapahar area, about 200 kms from Kolkata.

"Eyewitnesses told us that a six-member group came and planted explosives inside the small forest office," West Bengal Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia told IANS.

He said the roof and portions of the wall of the office collapsed. Nobody was in the building when the explosion occurred.

The Maoists observed "martyrs' day" from July 28-30 and had set up a martyr's altar near Lalgarh that the police destroyed on Friday, police sources said.

Charu Mazumdar, the founder leader of the Indian Maoist movement, died in police custody in Kolkata on July 28, 1972. The day is marked Martyrs' Day



Maoists blow off police beat office

Midnapore (WB), Aug. 4 (PTI): Maoists today blasted a beat office of the police in West Bengal's West Midnapore district, a senior police official said.

Around seven to eight maoists came to the Locket beat office under Lalgarh police station in the morning, Superintendent of Police R Rajsekharan said.

They asked all those present in the office to vacate the building.

The maoists then blasted the building with gelatine sticks, though no one was injured, the SP said.

The police have launched a search operation to nab the culprits, the SP added.

LJP to launch stir if Bihar Govt. fails to nab anonymous caller

New Delhi, Aug. 4 (PTI): Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) today threatened to launch an agitation if the Bihar government failed to nab the anonymous caller who had telephoned its leader and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan to say that he would be gunned down when he visited the state again.

"It is over a fortnight now that Paswan has got the threatening call and so far no arrest has been made," the LJP chief's younger brother and convenor of the state unit of the party Pashupati Kumar Paras said.

Demanding a CBI inquiry into the matter, Paras said a delegation of party leaders would soon meet the Bihar Governor and Chief Minister to demand quick action on the issue.

"If no prompt action is taken, the party activists shall launch an agitation," he said.

LJP has already demanded 'Z Plus' security for Paswan in the wake of the alleged threat to him and his family.

Paswan's house was blown up by Naxalites in 2005 and his motorcade attacked in the state, Paras added.

Naxalites set forest dept office on fire in Jharkhand

Garwah (Jharkhand), Aug 04: In a pre-dawn operation, armed Maoists set on fire a Forest Department's range office and some vehicles at Ranka block in Jharkhand's Garwah district, police said.

While the range office got partially gutted, two jeeps and three trucks of the department were almost reduced to ashes, DSP Satyander Kumar Singh said.

While leaving the place, the Maoists also set on fire a generator of a mobile tower situated in the same block, he added.

Bureau Report

Tribals caught between devil and deep sea

Saturday August 4 2007 13:46 IST

RAJAHMUNDRY: It is like living under the shadow of the gun for the tribal youths in the interior hamlets and villages in the Andhra-Orissa border area.

If the tribals do not follow the instructions of annalu (Naxals), they get maimed or killed, if they follow their instructions and supply them with food supplies and other needs, they come under the police scanner with all attendant suffering. Sandwitched between the Naxals and the cops, many tribal youths are leading a wretched life.

A Gondu tribal arrested by the police recently for helping CPI (Maoist) said he had ten acres of land and was doing podu cultivation. One day ‘annalu’ (Naxals) came to the village. One of them, he said, beat him for cultivating the lnad, even as dalam leader Kavithakka spoke to other villagers. The Naxals demanded supply of rice, pulses, milk and food. He said they threatened him at gun point for the supplies.

Many tribal youths in the borders of East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts in Andhra-Orissa borders (AOB) have been suffering a lot with pressures from the police and Naxals and ultimately forced to help Naxals. Many tribal hamlets are under developed due to the negligence of the Tribal Welfare and ITDA officials. Some hamlets have no roads even.

A few tribals, including women, are voluntarily joining dalams due to illiteracy and innocence. But, many villagers in the border villages are helping extremists under threat of coercsion. The Maoists are giving training for tribals on handling various types of weapons, preparing, planting and triggering mines besides collecting information about police movements.

‘‘If the government develops tribal pockets by laying roads, providing drinking water, electricity, education and medical facilities, we (police) can wean away tribals from joining dalams. Not only the Naxalites, many tribes in AOB are living far from the mainstream and are oblivious of many government schemes and facilities meant for the tribals,’’ said a police officer.

According to the police, eight Local Guerilla Squads (LGS) including Gurthedu and Konalova dalams are operating in AOB under the supervision of East Division Committee members Ranadhev, Krishna, Jagan, Kudumula Ravi and Gurthedu Area Committee member Kavitha alias Kavithakka. She is also the East Godavari District Committee member. Kavithakka’s husband, Chadda Bushanam alias Katru, who is the Military Zonal Committee member was the incharge for Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts.

The police arrested several tribal youths and recovered gelatine sticks, land mines, weapons and other ammunition this year. OSD (operations) V Satyanarayana said the police unearthed 17 dumps in the last seven months (from January to July, 2007). The police arrested seven Maoists and 29 hardcore militants of the same group, while 10 Naxals surrendered and bindover cases were booked under 106 extremist sympathisers, he said.

Speaking to this website’s newspaper a militia member said: ‘‘I went along with the Naxals a few months ago. They took me to Tanganakota, Tunganuru and Kopparakota villages. If we refused to move with Naxals, they will beat us and threaten to chop the hands and legs,’’ he said.

Another tribal said, ‘‘I don’t know about the dumps unearthed by the police. We went along with ‘annalu’ due to fear. The police will put us in jail, if we help the extremists. If not, the Naxalites will kill us. We are in dilemma on what to do,’’ he said preferring anonimity.

East Godavari district superintendent of police B Srinivasulu said the Naxals are spoiling the lives of the innocent tribals. The police are trying to develop the interior hamlets with the help of ITDA, Tribal Welfare and Medical and Health department officials.

Sambhani tastes wrath of firing victims’ kin

Saturday August 4 2007 13:09 IST

KHAMMAM: Local legislator and Minister for Health and Family Welfare Sambhani Chandrasekhar, who went to Sirumarri village to console the family members of Gandham Balaswamy who succumbed to the bullet injuries while undergoing treatment at Hyderabad, had to taste the wrath of families of the victims, villagers and CPM activists.

The Minister, who went to console the victims today five days after the incident, had to make a hasty retreat with youths wielding lathis and women armed with chilli powder asking the Minister to leave the village. The minister was accompanied by District Collector Sasi Bhushan Kumar, Superintendent of Police DS Chouhan and RDO Chandrasekhar Reddy.

Seething with anger, the villagers raised slogans against the minister to leave the place at once.

The Minister’s bid to call on family members of another victim Pasupuleti Kutumba Rao in the same village was thwarted by the relatives of the victim and women. They tried to attack him for branding Bandi Ramesh as Naxalite and for visiting the village five days after the incident.

When some of the villagers pelted stones at the Minister’s car, the police readied themselves for a canecharge. However, the minister restrained the police not to do so. With great difficulty, the police could make way for the minister’s convoy even as the villagers and CPM workers raised slogans against the Minister.

When Sambhani reached Mudigonda, he was again greeted by CPM workers with black flags at the village entrance itself. They demanded withdrawal of cases foisted on the party workers and his comments on Bandi Ramesh. The agitators finally withdrew after the RDO pacified them. Later, he called on the family members of Isukala Gopapiah and Yenagandula Veeranna in Mudigonda village, Banka Gopaiah and Kathula Pedalakshmi of Venkatapuram village and Chittoori Babu Rao of Medepalli village.

Later, the minister regretted the attitude of villagers and agitators for preventing him calling on the bereaved families of his own constituency.

Another Minister of the same district Vanama Venkateswara Rao, MLC Bhatti Vikramarka and district Congress secretary Kotha Seetharamulu also condemned the behaviour of villagers and CPM workers towards Sambhani.

Congress’ Disinformation Campaign

CPI(M) Addresses Letter To Digvijay Singh



The following is the text of the letter addressed to AICC general secretary in charge of AP affairs, Digvijay Singh, by V Srinivasa Rao, member of the central secretariat of the CPI(M) on July 30, 2007, in response to Digvijay’s statement on the police firing in Mudigonda in Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh which killed seven people.



WHAT you have stated about the brutal police firing in Mudigonda in Khammam district in the media amounts to nothing but misinformation. Maybe you have been misled by your party’s state leadership. We hope that you will ascertain the real facts about the incident and verify them.



Here are a few facts and issues we wish to bring to your notice:



The agitators were peacefully conducting rasta roko in Mudigonda on July 28. There was no attack on the police station. No police vehicle was torched as being alleged. If any such thing has happened why don’t you ask the authorities to exhibit the vehicle.



It is being alleged that Maoists have sneaked into the land movement and are responsible for the violence. Bandi Ramesh is not a Maoist as your state leaders are alleging him to be. He had earlier worked in the CPI(ML) New Democracy party openly. He had differences with his party and joined the CPI(M). His wife Bandi Padma has been the elected sarpanch of Cherumari village for the last 10 years. Even today she is the sarpanch of that village. So, they are neither extremists nor were they underground at any point of time. Verify this aspect.



The police lathicharged the peaceful protestors who were holding a rasta roko. They targeted Bandi Ramesh specifically, dragging him out of the camp and brutally beating him up. The people, aghast at such behaviour by the police, tried to extricate their leader from the police. Meanwhile the Additional SP, in an unusual move, reached the area with the anti-naxalite squad who were armed with AK-47s and SLRs. Even as the lathicharge was going on, the police began firing on the protestors without any warning, killing 7 people.



While these are the facts of the incident, your state leadership has embarked on a disinformation campaign. When the CPI(M) had conducted a siege of Khammam collectorate office last January, it passed off absolutely peacefully. The police were also quite restrained then. Later the chief minister pulled up the police saying they were not firm enough. This was reported in the media. Since then the police violence on agitators increased. Bhadrachalam, in the same district, witnessed police firing on tribals. The police badly misbehaved with the local MP, Dr M Babu Rao, and MLA S Rajaiah. It is now clear that the latest firing in Mudigonda is also a result of the chief minister’s instigation of the police.



I am writing this letter to you with the hope that you will examine these facts and take necessary action. (INN)

Judicial probe into Naxal encounter sought

Saturday August 4 2007 12:26 IST

SHIMOGA: Members of the Menasinahadya Encounter Agitation Federation took out a protest march in the city on Friday, demanding a judicial inquiry into the incident.

They alleged that policemen were responsible for the killing of innocent people by labelling it as an encounter. They demanded suspension of the policemen responsible for killing of innocent tribals.

The family members of the deceased should be given Rs 10,000 each, they said. A separate committee should be formed to investigate the series of robberies near Agumbe and action should be taken against the culprits, they demanded.

Mowing Down Peaceful Agitators

WITH further intensification of the land struggle of the poor in Andhra Pradesh led by the CPI(M), CPI and 195 mass organisations, the repressive measures of the Congress government assumed inhuman proportions, shedding the blood of the agitators. Seven innocent people were killed including a woman, at Mudigonda in Khammam district in police firing. 16 others were injured.



At Mudigonda, when about one thousand poor people led by the CPI(M) and the Telugu Desam Party were conducting rasta roko, a circle inspector and another sub inspector of police entered into arguments with the agitators, demanding them to give up raasta roko and threatened them of resorting to lathicharge. Reviling the local CPI(M) leader, Bandi Ramesh, the police started beating him up black and blue. When the agitators were questioning the police action and trying to release him from the clutches of the police, the additional SP, who arrived there with additional police forces, ordered firing.





Anti-naxal squad in plain clothes shooting the agitators with AK-47s.





The police, which now included anti-naxalite squad personnel in plain clothes who carried AK-47s, started to fire on unarmed peaceful agitators without any prior warning. It is mandatory that the police first announce to the people its intention to resort to firing, and then fire in the air and later if necessary fire below the waist. None of this was followed. In the indiscriminate firing by the police, four people died on the spot and another two people, who were injured in the firing, died while being shifted to a hospital. The seventh person died three days later in a hospital in Hyderabad. All of them had bullet wounds above the waist. One aged person was fired on the head.



Another sixteen people were injured in the firing. The police fired 100 rounds which reflects their brutality.



Protesting the police brutality at Mudigonda, thousands of people from all over the district laid seize to the district collectorate at Khammam, keeping the dead bodies of the victims of the police firing there. The talks the district collector, Sasibhushan, had with the leaders of the CPI(M) and other parties failed. With the district collector not responding positively to the demands put forth by the leaders, of payment of exgratia of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the six people who died in the police firing, providing employment to one member each of their families and registering criminal cases against the additional SP, circle inspector Surender Reddy and sub inspector Venkatreddy - the people continued their agitation keeping the dead bodies in front of the collectorate. In the talks with the district collector, CPI(M) leaders Nomula Narasimhaiah, floor leader of the Party in the legislative assembly, DCCB chairman T S Prasad and MLA Katta Venkatanarsayya, TDP leader S Venkataveeraiah, TRS leader Haribabu and CPI(ML) New Democracy leader K Rangayya participated.





Anguished cries of a woman as her husband dies in her lap.



Strongly condemning the police firing at Mudigonda, killing six people, the CPI(M), CPI and TDP gave a call for bandh in Khammam district and protest demonstrations all over the state on July 29. B V Raghavulu and K Narayana, state secretaries of the CPI(M) and CPI, respectively, in a statement, said that the police firing was making it clear that the Congress government had hatched a conspiracy to suppress the movement on the land issue with inhuman methods.



B V Raghavulu said that the statement of the government’s chief whip in the assembly, Kirankumar Reddy, that those who had given the call for bandh should take the responsibility for the death of several people in the police firing reveals their demonic nature. The police of the Khammam district had resorted to firing as a part and parcel of the Congress to suppress the CPI(M), which has been strong in that district, he said. Reminding that in the past when a picketing conducted by the CPI(M) in Khammam was peaceful, chief minister Rajasekhara Reddy provoked the police by calling them incompetent, Raghavulu said that the state government should take the responsibility for the police firing at Mudigonda. He requested for payment of compensation to the families of the people who died in the police firing and treatment to the injured.



The chief minister, Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, announced suspension of the additional superintendent of police, Khammam, Ramesh Babu, and transfer of the SP, R K Meena, in connection with the police firing at Mudigonda and ordered a judicial enquiry into the firing incident. On July 29, the CM announced payment of exgratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the deceased and employment to one member of each family as also houses. He also announced payment of exgratia of Rs.50,000 each to the injured undergoing treatment in the hospitals and Rs.10,000 each to the people who suffered minor injuries. Rajasekhara Reddy said that stringent action would be taken on those who would be found guilty in the judicial enquiry for the firing at Mudigonda. The government also suspended the CI and SI of police connected with the firing.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Compensate kin of encounter victims: Govt told

Friday August 3 2007 10:40 IST
NIZAMABAD: In a landmark judgment, Nizamabad IV Additional Sessions Judge Achyuta Reddy on Thursday directed the government to pay compensation of Rs. 1 lakh each to the kin of two youths killed in a police encounter on July 20, 1991.

In the alleged exchange of fire that took place on the hillocks of Nagaram near here, police claimed that the two victims — Shaik Mohammad and Lolapu Narasaiah — both branded as Naxalites had died.

But the parents of the victims moved the civil courts here alleging that their children were detained in Narsagoud Street in the town, bumped off after which the police came up with an yarn that the two had died in the encounter.

As they were dependent on the two youths for livelihood, they made a plea to the court to direct the government to pay compensation. The court, in September 2005, directed payment of Rs. 1 lakh as compensation. The police then went in appeal to the additional sessions court which upheld the lower court’s judgment on Thursday.

New Delhi approves 5-tier structure to deal naxal problem

New Delhi, Aug 3, IRNA
India-Naxal Problem-PM

A high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday reviewed the Naxal menace in the country and steps to tackle it.

According to an All India Radio (AIR) report, Singh, who considers the Naxal problem as the biggest internal security threat impeding economic growth, took stock of the overall security situation in the context of the menace.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta attended the meeting held at the residence of the Prime Minister.

The meeting of the National Security Council took place amid rising concern that Naxalites have made inroads into new states, including Punjab, Haryana and even Delhi.

At an earlier meeting, the Centre had sensitized these states about the presence of Naxalites in their areas.

The Centre has a five-tier structure to deal with Naxal problem.

While an Empowered Group of Ministers (E-GoM) is headed by the Home Minister, a Naxal Coordination Centre is headed by the Home Secretary.

Besides, there is a standing committee of chief ministers of Naxal-hit states and a Task Force headed by Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the Home Ministry.

ORISSA: Fighting Naxalism with development

Friday August 3 2007 12:30 IST

ROURKELA: Seeking to fight Naxalism with welfare activities, the district administration has drawn up a two-pronged strategy.

It will ensure all-round rural development and come closer to the people to win their trust.

To begin with the focus would be on the most-neglected interior pockets, which include at least 20 under-developed gram panchayats (GPs), contiguous to Naxal hotbed of Jharkhand. The administrative focus as claimed by Collector Krishna Kumar would be on strict implementation of the existing developmental programmes.

Rural pockets are usually shorn of connectivity, feasible earning prospects, health and education facilities. On all the fronts, except health care and infrastructure, the district is making progress.

But, much more has to be done, he said. It has been always a challenge for the administration to involve the people in the growth process. On taking charge, Kumar has made it a point to hold Jan Sampark Shivirs in each of the 262 GPs every month.

Presiding over one such programme at Badadalki GP of Lathikata block, Kumar announced distribution of four decimal homestead land among the landless and eight decimal to Green Card holders.

PM chairs high-level meet on Naxal issue

Posted at Friday, 03 August 2007 10:08 IST
New Delhi, Aug 3: A high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today reviewed the Naxal menace in the country and steps to tackle it.

Singh, who considers the Naxal problem as the biggest internal security threat impeding economic growth, took stock of the overall security situation in the context of the menace.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta attended the meeting held at the residence of the Prime Minister.

The meeting of the National Security Council took place amid rising concern that Naxalites have made inroads into new states, including Punjab, Haryana and even Delhi.

At an earlier meeting, the Centre had sensitised these states about the presence of Naxalites in their areas.

Naxal violence has registered a rise particularly in Chhattisgarh, which has seen a spate of violence and attacks on security personnel, and in also in Jharkhand. Recently the Naxals had observed a two-day economic blockade.

The Centre has a five-tier structure to deal with Naxal problem. While an Empowered Group of Ministers (E-GoM) is headed by the Home Minister, a Naxal Coordination Centre is headed by the Home Secretary.

Besides, there is a standing committee of chief ministers of Naxal-hit states and a Task Force headed by Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the Home Ministry. There is also an inter-ministerial group in the MHA handling the problem.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Andhra extends ban on Maoists one more year

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From correspondents in Andhra Pradesh, India, 10:30 PM IST


The Andhra Pradesh government Wednesday extended by one year the ban on the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and its frontal organisations.

The ban on the outfit and its six frontal organisations was to lapse in the second week of this month.

The state cabinet took the decision to extend the ban at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.

The banned frontal organisations of CPI (Maoist) are: Radical Youth League, Rythu Coolie Sangham, Radical Students' Union, Singareni Karmika Samakhya, Viplava Karmika Samakhya and All-India Revolutionary Students' Federation.

The government reiterated its stand that it was ready for talks if the Maoists lay down arms. 'We are still ready for talks provided they eschew violence,' said state Information Minister Anam Ramnarayan Reddy.

The government had not renewed the ban on the erstwhile Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (CPI-ML) People's War Group in July 2004 after the Congress party came to power to pave the way for first-ever direct talks with rebels.

Just ahead of the talks, that outfit merged with the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) of Bihar to form CPI (Maoist). The peace talks, however, collapsed after just one round.

After a lapse of 13 months, the government re-imposed the ban on the radical leftwing party in August 2005 and it was extended last year.

The Maoist violence in the state has claimed more than 6,000 lives during last 38 years.


(Staff Writer, © IANS)


Andhra government extends ban on Maoists

Ashok Das, Hindustan Times
Hyderabad, August 01, 2007
First Published: 22:09 IST(1/8/2007)
Last Updated: 22:19 IST(1/8/2007)



Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday extended the ban on CPI-Maoist and seven of its frontal organisations for a further period of one year. The group known as Peoples War Group (PWG) was first banned in 1991.

The state cabinet, which met in Hyderabad on Wednesday, took the decision to extend the ban on Maoist outfits, under the Andhra Pradesh Public Security Act, in view of the continuing Maoist violence in the state.

Briefing newsmen after the cabinet meeting, Information and Public Relations Minister Anam Ramnarayan Reddy said the ban would be extended till August 16, 2008 on CPI-Maoist and its frontal organisations, namely, Radical Youth League (RYL), Rythu Coolie Sangham (RCS), Radical Students Union (RSU), Singareni Karmika Samakhya (Sikasa), Viplava Karmika Samakhya (Vikasa) and All India Revolutionary Students Federation (AIRSF).

The ban on CPI-Maoist and frontal organisations was relaxed in 2004 but was re-imposed on August 17, 2005, following the killing of then Congress MLA Chittem Narsi Reddy and nine others by a Maoist action team at Narayanpet in Mahbubnagar district on Independence Day.

The ban came nine months after the peace talks between the Maoists and the state government began in October 2004.

Maoists begin Jharkhand bandh on violent note

Garwah/Latehar, August 2: The Maoists on Wednesday went on a rampage, killing a truck driver, wounding 17 bus passengers in Garwah district and blowing up railway facilities in two railway stations in Latehar district to enforce their 24-hour Jharkhand bandh.

The extremists opened indiscriminate fire on a passenger bus plying on the Garwah-Ambikapur route at dawn near Bhaguaghati, injuring 17 persons, police sources in Garwah said. A bullet also hit a driver of a truck, which was passing at that time, killing him instantly.

Three of the seriously injured were referred to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi for treatment.

Earlier at one AM, at least 30 Maoists in separate groups attacked Demo and Bendi railway stations in Latehar district and asked the staff, including cabin men R P Yadav of Bendi and R N Singh of Demo railway stations, to leave the rooms where they fitted dynamites to power panels, telephones and other instruments and pulled the triggers.

The structures of the small railway stations, however, survived as the dynamites were of low intensity.

The Maoists called the bandh in protest against what they claimed the police having kept secret the arrest of three of their cadres in Patna on July 28.

Quote of the day : CPI (M) Jharkhand unit secretary

"These ultras in Jharkhand are not following Marx or Lenin or Mao. They are repressing the toiling masses with guns and bombs...We bracket them with those terrorising people in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and the Northeast," CPI (M) Jharkhand unit secretary and central committee member J S Mazumdar said.

Maoists kill two civilians in Chhattisgarh

Indo-Asian News Service
Raipur, August 02, 2007
First Published: 11:32 IST(2/8/2007)
Last Updated: 11:58 IST(2/8/2007)


Leftist guerrillas killed two people, including an elderly man, in separate incidents in Chhatisgarh's southern Bastar region, police said on Thursday.

Armed rebels swooped on a forested village under Bedre police station in Bijapur district on Wednesday night. They took an elderly person, Majji Burga, with them and slit his throat later, a senior police officer told IANS by phone.

In another incident, a Kattam Ramesh of Dantewada district's Konta area - on the border with Andhra Pradesh - was hacked to death by the militants.

Police believes Maoists had killed both men because they were suspected to be police sympathisers.

Maoists are holding a weeklong strike - July 28-Aug 2 - in the Bastar region, where they are believed to be running a parallel government.

The strike, which was called to observe "martyrs' week", has crippled life, mainly in the interiors of Kanker, Bijapur, Dantewada and Narayanpur districts, as vehicles are off the roads while civilians are venturing out rarely.

The rebels are commemorating their compatriots who were killed in recent gun battles with the police.

Whom are the Maoists fighting for, asks Left

Ranchi, Aug. 2 (PTI): A day after the Maoists left a trail of destruction across a vast swathe of rural areas to enforce their statewide bandh in Jharkhand, the Left today said that the ultras were terrorising people in the name of Maoism.

"These ultras in Jharkhand are not following Marx or Lenin or Mao. They are repressing the toiling masses with guns and bombs...We bracket them with those terrorising people in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and the Northeast," CPI (M) Jharkhand unit secretary and central committee member J S Mazumdar said.

He said that the Maoists were bereft of any ideology which was proved during yesterday's violence, destruction of public property, killing of an innocent truck driver and wounding of several others.

The CPI (ML-Liberation) MLA, Vinod Kumar Singh, wondered whom the Maoists were fighting for.

"Their very claim that they are fighting for the masses proved to be contradictory after what had been witnessed yesterday," Singh said.

Condemning the blasts in railway stations, blowing up of a mobile tower and setting fire to forest property, the CPI's national council member Khangendra Thakur said, "We don't know the content of their ideology. We are sure that a large number of anti-socials are associated with the CPI (Maoist)."

"If they are so inclined to any social change, why don't they come and join the mainstream?" Thakur, also the assistant secretary of the CPI's Jharkhand unit, said.

Three Maoists arrested in Gaya

Gaya (Bihar), Aug 2 : Police on Wednesday arrested three Maoist rebels in Bihar's Gaya District.

Police arrested them after receiving a tip off about their whereabouts.

A number of arms, ammunitions and Maoist literature were recovered from them.

'Sub Divisional Commander Shubhashji alias Subhash Prasad was arrested with two others,' said Amit Kumar Jain, Superintendent of Police, Gaya.

A regular SLR (Self Loading Rifle), Carbine, 25 detonators, a large number of Maoist literatures, with a mobile phone and walkie-talkie have been retrieved from them.

The three arrested persons are said to have been involved in a number of violent incidents in Gaya District.

Maoists have made their presence felt in Bihar, which shares its borders with Jharkhand, another state affected by Maoist insurgency.

Maoists blew up two railway stations during a shutdown in Jharkhand on Wednesday. The shutdown was called to protest the arrest of three of their comrades.

Maoists operate across a large swathe of India stretching from the east to the south, and mostly attack government officials and property.

They claim they are fighting for the landless poor and the labour class. Thousands of people have been killed by Maoists since their agitation against the country's ruling class began in the late 1960s.

--- ANI

Maoist Surrenders

Wednesday August 1 2007 13:10 IST
SANGAREDDY: Nallamala Squad Area deputy commander K Ilaiah alias Rajesh surrendered before Medak Superintendent of Police R B Naik on Tuesday.

Ilaiah, who had worked in Medak and Mahaboobnagar district told the media after his surrender that he quit the Maoist party after being disenchanted by their principles and due to the increasing pressure from the police.

He said he joined the party in 2004 being attracted by their revolutionary songs and literature.

Speaking to mediapersons, the SP said the surrendered Naxalite has six criminal cases against him. He is accused in a murder case and has a reward of Rs 20,000 cash on him, the SP added.

The SP handed over the reward money and an amount of Rs 5,000 as immediate rehabilitation to the surrendered Naxalite. He said he would speak to the Collector on the issue of selfemployment of the Naxal.

High-level meet to review Naxal menace

From our ANI Correspondent

New Delhi, Aug 2: Amid raising concern that the Naxalites are penetrating into new states like Delhi and Punjab, a high-level meeting is being held here today to review the Naxal menace in different parts of the country.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who once described Naxalism as the single-biggest security threat to the country, is likely to chair the meeting.

Senior officials from the Union Home Ministry and intelligence agencies, and the National Security Council will attend the meeting.

In the last meeting, the Centre had sensitised the new states, including Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, about the existence of Naxalites in their areas.

The Centre developed a five-tier structure to deal with the problem. These include an Empowered Group of Ministers headed by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil; a standing committee of chief ministers of Naxal-affected states; a Coordination Centre headed by the Union Home Secretary (chief secretaries and DGPs of 13 affected states); a Task Force headed by the Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the Union Home Ministry and an Inter-ministerial group headed by Additional Secretary (naxal management) in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil recently said that force alone cannot be a solution to end Naxalism, which has affected around 13 states. He stressed on the need for a 'holistic approach' to solve the menace.

Maoists are said to be operating in 13 of 29 States along the "red corridor", referring to a stretch from the Indo-Nepal border to Andhra Pradesh.

According to a Home Ministry report, 76 districts in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharashtra, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are 'badly affected by Maoist violence'.

According to a report released by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) early this year, 749 people were killed in the Naxalite conflict in 2006. These include 285 civilians, 135 security personnel and 329 alleged Naxalites. The highest number of killings was reported from Chhattisgarh (363), followed by Andhra Pradesh (135), Jharkhand (95), Maharashtra (60), Bihar (45), Orissa (25), West Bengal (22), Uttar Pradesh (2), Karnataka (1) and Madhya Pradesh (1). However, the number of killings in 2006 declined as compared to 2005 during which 892 people were killed, the report said.


Copyright Dailyindia.com/ANI

Solar panels found in Maoist dumps

Thursday August 2 2007 13:06 IST
RAJAHMUNDRY: For the first time in the district, the police recovered ‘solar photo voltaic plates’, being used by CPI (Maoists) to trigger landmines.

The solar panels were found in two dumps unearthed by the Anti- Naxal Squad (ANS) police in the forests under Donkarayi police station limits.

Besides solar panels, the police also recovered gelatin sticks, weighing about 150 kg, 25 electrical detonators, one 0.5 HP generator, three wire bundles used for connecting the explosives and some literature.

Hitherto, the extremists used to use primary cells, used in radios and torch lights and the secondary cells like — lead acid and alkaline batteries — to trigger landmines in forests. They also used camera flashes in some incidents for triggering the explosives.

As the batteries are getting discharged and some cells need electric power to recharge them, the extremists are using solar panels.

The Naxalites will arrange solar panels in sunlight and connect them to the rechargeable batteries to charge them. They are also using the solar panels for lights for moving in forests in the night.

The police confirmed that the extremists have used solar power system in Singanakota and Tanganakota blasting a few months ago in the district.

‘‘We don’t know whether the police recovered solar panels in any place earlier. But, for the first time in East Godavari district we noticed that Maoists are using solar photo voltaic plates for killing the targets and damaging the government properties.

The dumps were hidden some two years ago near Buradakota and Tarniwada hamlets,’’ said SP B Srinivasulu in a press conference organised here today. ‘‘With the use of solar energy, there is no need for power supply to charge the batteries and the cells can be charged with solar panels.

The Naxalites are providing training for innocent tribals and are forcibly using them for planting and triggering landmines, hiding dumps and other activities,’’ the SP said.

ARRESTED: The police arrested seven Gondu tribals working as militia members for Gurthedu area committee and were helping the Naxalites in carrying out their operations.

They also booked bindover cases on 11 other tribals of Orissa State in this connection. The arrested include: G Ranga Rao, Kurra Leku, Kilo Rambabu, G Sanyasi Rao, G Prabhakara Rao, G Katru and P Devaganam Reddy.

The police are conducting counselling for the tribals to prevent them from joining Naxalism and are trying to develop the tribal hamlets in Andhra-Orissa borders (AOB) by providing roads and other facilities, said Srinivasulu. OSD (Operations) V Satyanarayana, Rampachodavaram DSP K Krishna Prasad, Maredumilli CI A V L Prasanna Kumar and others were present.

Solar panels found in Maoist dumps

Thursday August 2 2007 13:06 IST
RAJAHMUNDRY: For the first time in the district, the police recovered ‘solar photo voltaic plates’, being used by CPI (Maoists) to trigger landmines.

The solar panels were found in two dumps unearthed by the Anti- Naxal Squad (ANS) police in the forests under Donkarayi police station limits.

Besides solar panels, the police also recovered gelatin sticks, weighing about 150 kg, 25 electrical detonators, one 0.5 HP generator, three wire bundles used for connecting the explosives and some literature.

Hitherto, the extremists used to use primary cells, used in radios and torch lights and the secondary cells like — lead acid and alkaline batteries — to trigger landmines in forests. They also used camera flashes in some incidents for triggering the explosives.

As the batteries are getting discharged and some cells need electric power to recharge them, the extremists are using solar panels.

The Naxalites will arrange solar panels in sunlight and connect them to the rechargeable batteries to charge them. They are also using the solar panels for lights for moving in forests in the night.

The police confirmed that the extremists have used solar power system in Singanakota and Tanganakota blasting a few months ago in the district.

‘‘We don’t know whether the police recovered solar panels in any place earlier. But, for the first time in East Godavari district we noticed that Maoists are using solar photo voltaic plates for killing the targets and damaging the government properties.

The dumps were hidden some two years ago near Buradakota and Tarniwada hamlets,’’ said SP B Srinivasulu in a press conference organised here today. ‘‘With the use of solar energy, there is no need for power supply to charge the batteries and the cells can be charged with solar panels.

The Naxalites are providing training for innocent tribals and are forcibly using them for planting and triggering landmines, hiding dumps and other activities,’’ the SP said.

ARRESTED: The police arrested seven Gondu tribals working as militia members for Gurthedu area committee and were helping the Naxalites in carrying out their operations.

They also booked bindover cases on 11 other tribals of Orissa State in this connection. The arrested include: G Ranga Rao, Kurra Leku, Kilo Rambabu, G Sanyasi Rao, G Prabhakara Rao, G Katru and P Devaganam Reddy.

The police are conducting counselling for the tribals to prevent them from joining Naxalism and are trying to develop the tribal hamlets in Andhra-Orissa borders (AOB) by providing roads and other facilities, said Srinivasulu. OSD (Operations) V Satyanarayana, Rampachodavaram DSP K Krishna Prasad, Maredumilli CI A V L Prasanna Kumar and others were present.

Cops gear up for I-Day

2 Aug 2007, 0507 hrs IST,Soumittra S Bose,TNN


NAGPUR: The city police have geared up for the Independence Day celebrations here. Elaborate security planning has been chalked out to thwart any untoward incident on the occasion.

"The crucial security planning has been already chalked out. Setting the roles and responsibility of the key officers, initial briefings have been already made to enable them to start planning the execution part," said a police official. According to police sources, security rehearsals would start soon after the initial report from the intelligence sources pours in the next couple of days. Much of the security arrangement would be taken following the intelligence inputs. Layers of security cover would be strengthened at specific locations. Checks at the airport, railway stations and bus stops would be heightened, said sources.

The city police have recently received two threat letters warning of series of blasts in the city. One of the letters also hinted that the consignment has already reached the city, said police.

Activating its information network, police have reportedly started its preparation along with the other intelligence agencies on a war-footing. Intelligence Bureau (IB), city police’s special branch and other intelligence wings have started surveying the sensitive areas, especially the locations considered to be vulnerable or soft targets for any subversive attacks.

Apart from security arrangement, police co-ordination meeting with Nagpur municipal corporation (NMC), divisional commissioner’s office and other local administrative units of government have also been conducted. Anti-naxal operation cell would also be on high alert in the affected districts like Gadchiroli, Gondia and Chandrapur and also in the areas which shares borders with Chhattisgarh and AP.

Karnataka govt to form anti-terrorist force for Bangalore

Gulbarga, Aug 1: Taking a cue from the neighbouring Maharashtra, the Karnataka government will constitute an ''Anti Terrorist Force'' to protect Bangalore city, the IT hub of India, which had seen increased presence of terror groups and its supporters.

Informing this at a press conference here Home Minister M P Prakash said the force would comprises trained commandos.

''Initially the anti terrorist force would be limited to the Bangalore city,'' he said.

He said that the Centre and the Karnataka government would be jointly setting up 'Indian Reserve Battalion'. The battalion would consist over 1000 personnel and 263 acres of land had been acquired at Munirabad in Bellary district to set up its headquarters.

Mr Prakash said Rs 35 crore had been earmarked to modernise the State Fire Services. 55 taluq head quarters did not have fire service stations and 35 of them would be allocated fire service stations soon, he added.

He said that the police stations located in the naxal affected areas would be strengthened.

Earlier, delivering as lecture at an educational institute Mr Prakash said that the government would urge Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is visiting Karnataka tomorrow to sanction a Central University'' in the backward Gulbarga district.

--- UNI

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Maoists kill one, injure 17 during Jharkhand shut down

From our ANI Correspondent

Garhwa (Jharkhand), August 1: At least one person was killed and 17 others were injured in firing by Maoists in Garhwa District during a 24-hour state-wide shut down today.



According to sources, over 24 armed extremists stopped three private buses that were coming from Chhattisgarh near Bhadua Valley and started firing.

A bus driver died on the spot, while 17 other were badly injured.

The injured have been admitted to hospital, while three critically injured persons have been referred to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi.

The police and nearby villagers have rescued about 125 passengers.

The extremists also blow up railway facilities in Latehar District.

Maoists called for the shutdown to register their protest against the police, who have arrested of three of their cadres on July 28.


Copyright Dailyindia.com/ANI

Maoists blow up railway station in Jharkhand

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Ranchi, Aug 1 (IANS) Six people were injured when Maoists opened fire at a bus in Jharkhand while enforcing a 24-hour shutdown in the state to protest the arrest of their leaders in neighbouring Bihar. The rebels also blew up a railway station and damaged the control room of another station.

Activists of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) Wednesday fired at a bus in Garwah district, about 130 km from here, and injured five passengers and the driver.

Maoist guerrillas also bombed the Demo railway station in Latehar district and damaged the control room of Bendi railway station in the same district.

Maoists have called for a 24-hour shutdown in Jharkhand Wednesday to protest the arrest of three of their leaders in Bihar Monday.

"Police have shown cowardice by arresting leaders who had gone for treatment. The organisation will enforce a bandh Wednesday to protest the arrests," said a statement issued by the CPI-Maoist.

Long distance buses are not plying in the state and mining activities have been disrupted due to the shutdown. Schools and shops in rural areas remained closed Wednesday morning.

Maoist rebels are active in 16 of the 22 districts of Jharkhand. Nearly 830 people, including 290 policemen, have lost their lives in Maoist related violence in the last six years.



Maoists blow up railway stations in eastern India
01 Aug 2007 06:39:33 GMT
Source: Reuters
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Background
Indian Maoist violence
More RANCHI, India, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Maoist insurgents blew up two railway stations and disrupted public transport in rural strongholds in eastern India on Wednesday as a day-long strike took hold.

The insurgents detonated powerful explosives at two railway stations in the eastern state of Jharkhand in a pre-dawn attack, disrupting links with parts of eastern and northern India, officials said.

"They drove away our employees and then blew up the stations, causing huge losses," Amrish Kumar Gupta, a senior railway official, said in Jharkhand's capital, Ranchi.

Dozens of trains were cancelled across eastern India and several others diverted or held up due to the strike call.

The rebels also blocked some highways to stop the movement of vehicles during the strike, called to protest against what they termed "growing police atrocities" in leaflets distributed in many towns and villages.

In northern Jharkhand, rebels fired at bus drivers, causing one to lose control of the vehicle and plunge into a ditch.

"More than a dozen passengers were injured in the accident, while some were hit by bullets," said Mohammed Nihal, a senior police officer.

While life was largely normal in the main cities, shops were closed in some towns across the region, while authorities suspended public transport to rebel strongholds.

Hundreds of goods vehicles were stranded in southern parts of the mineral-rich state of Chhattisgarh.

Maoist rebels operate in a large swathe of India stretching from the east to some southern states, mostly in the countryside, and attack government officials and property.

They say they are fighting for the rights of millions of poor peasants and landless labourers. Thousands of people have been killed in the insurgency which began in the late 1960s.

Has Indian Democracy Failed?


We take pride in that defining moment in 1950 when, despite a recognition of the enormous challenges of knitting together a 'nation' out of a staggering diversity of communities, ethnicities, languages and disparities, we decided to take the bold political step by pledging India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic. What remains today of this pledge?


Smitu Kothari Delhi

In a dictatorship, censorship is used; in a democracy, manipulation.

Ryszard Kapuscinski, political commentator

….the level of indifference the nation now shows to the fate of its poor calls into question not only the justice of its fiscal policies but also their legitimacy.

Ronald Dworkin, in Is Democracy Possible Here?

Democracy requires citizens to stay alert, to open their eyes and their mouths—to understand that societies of sheep typically beget governments of wolves. It (democracy) facilitates criticism of power.

John Keane, political philosopher

From whose vantage point do we assess our democracy? The minority that celebrates our 'economic miracle' and has found the means, both legitimate and devious, to enhance its comforts and privileges? Or the over 70 per cent who live on less than Rs 80 a day, some striving to improve their lives against grave odds and others living a life of penury and humiliation?

Why is a vantage point important? After all, people have regularly exercised their electoral options, sometimes changing governments who have let them down. But, apart from a few exceptions, have they not elected another set of leaders who are more or less the same? Have they had any power to hold the bureaucrats, who exercise enormous power, accountable?

Compared with many countries, we do not live under an authoritarian regime. We can organise protests and write freely. Unlike China, we have achieved over nine per cent growth with liberal democracy. We take pride in that defining moment in 1950 when, despite a recognition of the enormous challenges of knitting together a 'nation' out of a staggering diversity of communities, ethnicities, languages and disparities, we decided to take the bold political step by pledging India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic republic.

But, what remains today of this pledge? Integral to democracy was the commitment to strive for social and economic justice. Any assessment of our democracy must start with an assessment of that commitment.

This essay is not to assess the failures of our political elite to steer democracy in ways in which it could accommodate the aspirations of the people of states and regions like Kashmir, Punjab, and the Northeast or its contentious maneuvering of 'higher' and 'lower' castes. Nor is it my intention to assess the success of the Congress party in representing the plurality of the country or in analysing its decline and the growth of other political forces representing regional and ethnic aspirations, including the rise of the BJP.

My intention is to illuminate how the dominant political, social and economic interest groups have consolidated their control and managed democratic aspirations without conceding their power. Of course, there are instances of dalits becoming presidents and sarpanches, of lower caste/class members demonstrating remarkable entrepreneurial spirit. However, those who have been able to build secure livelihoods are a small proportion of the economically and socially discriminated in the country. This reality highlights many questions. Here are a few.

n What can we say about our democracy when an explosive amalgam of Hindu Rightwing politics, organised religion, and powerful capitalist leaders actively collaborate in a pogrom, shield the perpetrators and walk free to reinvent their game to corner huge gains from economic globalisation? This distortion of faith and nationalism, and the fear among secular parties to challenge these forces is a commentary on the state of our democracy.

n Can we call our country democratic when, in the past few years, there have been a hundred thousand farmer suicides — a hundred thousand families devastated? These figures, spread in small digits over time, have a numbing effect. The numbers hide the millions of others who live at the edge of survival, away from the gaze and concern of the growing middle classes.

This reality points to our being integrated into an undemocratic global economic system dominated by institutions which are silent when the US and Europe heavily subsidise their farmers undermining the very survival of millions of farmers in countries like ours — one of the reasons for the suicides. These institutions seek the liberalisation of policies to facilitate the accumulation of private wealth, not its democratic redistribution. They legitimise, even assist, predatory finance capital as it penetrates deeper into the country, appropriating and profiting from our resources.

n What can we say about our democracy when the most predatory of hedge funds and finance institutions in the US and elsewhere are descending in India speculating in and capitalising on India's land? Over 26 per cent of FDI in the past year has been in real estate. In the process, laws are being violated with impunity and entire chains of illegal deals are the norms.

n Is it not a mark of failure when fertile agricultural lands are carved off into Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that further privilege the rich, give them tax-free shelters and greater opportunities to indulge in speculation in land and property? The Union finance ministry's own internal assessment in 2005 suggests that in the period 2006-2009, the government will have to forgo Rs 90,000 crore in direct and indirect taxes on account of the SEZs. These zones will become corporate city-states where the Indian State will just be a rubber stamp. Is this the maturing of a democracy or a violation of its spirit?

n How democratic can our society be when our rulers compete to attract more foreign investment by diluting or deregulating a wide range of protective democratic legislation and policy — from labour laws and environment impact assessments to land ceiling acts — legislation that was won after decades of political struggle?

n Our democracy is reflected in the crippling neglect of our agriculture. We are witnessing an expansion of contract and corporate farming, industrialising and corporatising agriculture. Prominent NRI economists like Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya acclaim these developments. Addressing the Chambers of Indian Industries recently, Panagariya said, “There is a need to pull a substantial chunk of population from agriculture into labour intensive sectors.” This arrogant recommendation, if implemented, would condemn most of those 'pulled' to a life of crippling labour at the bottom of the economy. Is such social engineering democratic? Are no lessons learned from the massive social and environmental harm that the present path of consumer capitalism is causing, including changes in the climate — a reality that urgently calls for a dramatic rethinking of our patterns of consumption and development?

n Transnational and domestic private capital (and their academic apologists) are playing a powerful role in shaping the direction of the economy. This is not globalisation but an internationalisation of finance and corporate capital, undermining our democracy and eroding our sovereignty.

n Should we admit failure when the police or the army fire on democratic protests often in the presence of district collectors and senior members of ruling parties? Are the firings and repression in Nandigram and Kalinganagar scattered incidents or are they part of a pattern where 'development flows from the barrel of a gun'? Even a cursory look at what is unfolding in the Northeast highlights how projects ranging from uranium mines to scores of large dams are being implemented with minimal public discussion using lies, subterfuge, armed force and blatant bribery. An illustration of this is the announcement in early July by the National Hydro-electric Power Corporation (NHPC) to give over Rs 300 crore to the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh as an 'advance' to build large dams.

n Despite nine per cent growth, less than one per cent of the national budget goes towards public health spending? We have child malnourishment levels that are higher than sub-Saharan Africa. Highlighting this, a recent government of India-UNICEF study found that 56 per cent of women and 79 per cent of children below three years old were anemic — a situation worse than seven years ago. Even a leading government consultant had to proclaim that this reality was, “…a matter of national priority and shame”.

n Growth was meant to benefit all. Only select sectors have experienced rapid growth and only a few have benefited. Most governments have failed in democratising more equitable access to the processes and benefits of the market. So you have a classic situation of widening expectations created by a populist image of resurgent India and a reality of disenchantment. It is inevitable in this situation that Maoist movements are finding resonance among despairing populations. Vast areas in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Orissa are now under their influence.

n The iniquitous development has seen a huge growth in private security agencies. The elites live inside gated communities guarded by high walls and fences. We see the growing use of corporate resources to support State roles. Routinely now, private corporations provide vehicles to ferry police to break up democratic protests as has happened recently around the proposed POSCO plant in Orissa or at the site of the Maheshwar dam in Madhya Pradesh.

n How democratic are we when corruption has been standardised, institutionalised and its scale is staggering. Visit the state of Jharkhand or Chhattisgarh. Routinely, you will hear of projects where 70-80 per cent of the money has been pocketed by a triumvirate of contractors, politicians and bureaucrats. Personal and/or party gain takes precedence over the effective implementation of socially and economically empowering projects.

There has been a boom in those sectors needed for the global economy. Uneven development has intensified. The wealth gap has grown. The IIM's and the IIT's are flourishing, with a virtual explosion of private management and IT institutions. However, we see an appalling dearth of teachers and facilities in an overwhelming majority of our primary schools. Even within the parameters of a 'Liberal Welfare State', the Indian State's record has become dismal. Privatising education and health sectors has meant that 50 per cent of our people can no longer afford adequate education and health care.

We are entering a phase of intensive predatory capitalism. The most that our governments are willing to reluctantly concede are steps to humanise this invasion — safety nets, employment generation sch-emes, micro-credit programmes. In no way do these create an equitable, democratic, ecologically secure society, in no way is there a recognition that people need more than a culture of materialism to lead a fulfilling life, and, conversely, that a fulfilling life does not need an immersion in rampant consumerism.

It is important to acknowledge that there is much to be grateful for. Our constitutionally protected institutions—like the Election Commission and Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)—have performed their roles with diligence. Democratic struggles have led to progressive State intervention creating small but crucially important gains for dalits, tribals and women.

There are countless efforts of people with conscience, those who care, resist, speak out. They are the keepers of sanity, the true defenders of our democracy. It is their hand and their spirit that must be strengthened.

This may sound utopian, given the seemingly overwhelming odds. But, look at Latin America. After decades of authoritarian rule and massive US and IMF/World Bank-led economic adjustment, we are witnessing the dramatic collapse of regimes and policies that privileged the rich, diluted national sovereignty and destroyed millions of livelihoods.

As American historian Howard Zinn says, “…if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

The writer is Director, Intercultural Resources, and Visiting Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

Maoists opened fire on a passenger bus : 12 injured

12 injured in firing by Maoists in Jharkhand

Posted at Wednesday, 01 August 2007 09:08 IST
Garwah/Latehar (Jharkhand), Aug 1: The Maoists opened fire on a passenger bus, injuring 12 people in Garwah district while they blew up two railway stations in Latehar district, marking their 24-hour Jharkhand bandh today.
A group of armed naxalites fired indiscriminately on the bus near Bhagua Ghati between Garwah-Ambikapur road around 4 am, according to police sources.

While ten of the injured were admitted to the Garwah Sadar Hospital, two were referred to a hospital in Ranchi for specialised treatment, the sources added.

In the wee hours, separate groups of Maoists blew up Demo railway station between Latehar and Richuguta and Bendi railway station between Barwadih-Barkakana in Latehar district.

The CPI-Maoists are observing a 24-hour bandh in protest against arrest of three of their cadres on July 28


Maoists attack bus, blow up station in Jharkhand
Posted August 1st, 2007 IANS

Ranchi : Six people were injured when Maoists opened fire at a bus in Jharkhand while enforcing a 24-hour shutdown in the state to protest the arrest of their leaders in neighbouring Bihar. The rebels also blew up a railway station and damaged the control room of another station.

Activists of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) Wednesday fired at a bus in Garwah district, about 130 km from here, and injured five passengers and the driver.

Maoist guerrillas also bombed the Demo railway station in Latehar district and damaged the control room of Bendi railway station in the same district.

Maoists have called for a 24-hour shutdown in Jharkhand Wednesday to protest the arrest of three of their leaders in Bihar Monday.

"Police have shown cowardice by arresting leaders who had gone for treatment. The organisation will enforce a bandh Wednesday to protest the arrests," said a statement issued by the CPI-Maoist.

Long distance buses are not plying in the state and mining activities have been disrupted due to the shutdown. Schools and shops in rural areas remained closed Wednesday morning.

Maoist rebels are active in 16 of the 22 districts of Jharkhand. Nearly 830 people, including 290 policemen, have lost their lives in Maoist related violence in the last six years.

Additional SP hides after firing!

User Rating: / 0 Tuesday, 31 July 2007



Khammam, July 31: A family in Mudigonda village, where six people were killed in police firing on Saturday, saved the life of Additional Superintendent of Police Ramesh Babu.

The State Government suspended the Additional SP holding him responsible for the firing.

It is said that the Additional SP, along with some policemen, fled the scene to escape from the wrath of the protestors soon after the incident.

When he reached a house, the inmates gave him shelter till evening. Later, an intelligence subinspector, who came to know of the place where Ramesh Babu was taking shelter, took him to a police station on his two-wheeler on Saturday evening.

It is alleged that the Addl SP was responsible for firing in Bhadrachalam on January 29 when the agitators staged a rasta roko over an issue related to the Polavaram Project, at the Sub- Collector’s Office.

MHA wants one battalion of state IRB posted outside the state

Thingbaijam Dhamen

IMPHAL, Jul 30: The Union ministry of home affairs, MHA has once again reiterated its proposal for the deployment of at least one Indian Reserved Battalion, IRB in other states of the country, a proposal which was turned down by state government earlier last month.

In the month of June this year, the state government turned down the proposal of the MHA which wanted an IRB battalion deployment in Chattisgarh citing that the state had no spare battalion and was utilizing all the IRBs in dealing with the deteriorating law and order situation, a source disclosed.

The Union ministry once again intimated the Manipur government to agree with its proposal by reviewing its earlier decision stating that there is urgent need for the same in other parts of the country.

The home ministry wants to deploy the state IRB in states like Chattisgarh and Bihar where Naxalite and Maoist activities are on the rise.

The earlier proposal of the MHA came up before the spate of violence in the border town of Moreh. Before the outbreak of the violence the state government was considering sending the 4th IRB to Chattisgarh as per the proposal of the MHA.

However, the state government turned down the same considering the law and order problem in the state citing that the state was also facing shortage of security forces to deal with the increasing activities of the insurgents in the state.

In Manipur, approximately 45,000 armed personnel of the Central security forces, excluding the top-ranking officers are currently being utilized for counter-insurgency operations in the state, according to an recent official report.

Of these, the Assam Rifles is deployed in the largest numbers, with a total of 19 Assam Rifles battalions operating in the state. The Assam Rifles accounts for nearly half the Central security deployment in the state, with approximately 23,000 personnel deployed in all districts of the state.

The Assam Rifles units come under 9 sector headquarters, 10 sector headquarters, `B` range, and DIG, headquarters.

Around 5500 regular Army personnel are also deployed in counter-insurgency duties in the state.

The Army units deployed include the Garhwal Rifles, Gurkha Regiment, Grenadiers and Madras Regiment. They are under the 59 mountain brigade, 44 mountain brigade, which come under 57 mountain division. These formations have their HQs at Sajik Tampak, Chakpikarong, and the Leimakhong Army base respectively.

Apart from these, battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force, CRPF, with approximately 10,000 personnel excluding ministerial staff and top officials are also deployed at various locations in the valley district and Churachandpur district.

At present, six battalions of IRB have been set up with the 100 percent funding from the Central government. Another battalion, 7th IRB is also about to be set up as the state cabinet recently approved the same.

The MHA has increased the funds to be earmarked for raising of each India Reserve Battalion (IRB) to Rs. 25 crore from Rs. 13 crore, apart from revising the security related expenditure, SRE scheme.

As per the recently revised scheme, the expenses incurred by the states on raising India Reserve Battalions were included in the expenditure eligible for reimbursement under SRE.

A total of 34 IRBs have been sanctioned in the North Eastern states out of which 25 have been raised and the remaining nine are in the process of being raised. Manipur has been sanctioned six IRBs excluding the proposed 7th IRB battalion.

Manipur has been overtaken in violent incidents by Assam and Nagaland as they have emerged as the most violence-prone states in the region, with the two states recording an increase in violence level.

Citing this, the Manipur government declined the proposal of sending out the IRB outside the state, an official disclosed.

But officials of the home department Monday said it had received yet another intimation from the MHA reiterating its request to spare at least one battalion for deployment in other parts of the country where there is much need to control increasing violence.

This time, the state government is likely to agree with the proposal and is considering it at the chief minister`s level, the source disclosed.



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New Maoist activities: Why West Bengal lags behind?

Maoists extremist (Naxalites) are now trying to bring ideological revolution through the internet. Their effort is to induce urban youths in armed revolution and to give a strong foundation to their organisation. After strengthening their presence in rural areas of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand and in Orissa they are now aiming at urban areas of the nation. They are using the means of e-mail and internet and other networking facilities to spread their mission. In all prominent cities of India, they are sending e-mails to the youths to associate with them. The organisation has made many groups in the Yahoo portal. Naxal literature, information about armed activities and plans for future attacks are being reached to the targeted people. According to their plan, Universities and colleges of Delhi and other places are being included in the Naxal movement. Through the medium of the net, the organisation is also engaged in collecting funds. By taking the support of Nepal youth they may have got the strength to overthrow the Nepal King. Through the medium of the net, information is being spread regarding the armed struggle and agitations against the governments. Hence the democratic institutions should mull over the issue and come out with solutions. The Communists have been ruling West Bengal for the last 30 years but not much has been achieved in the name of development. It seems the government machinery there runs under the threat of terror and pressure. Progress does never mean that we keep moving backwards. If the Communists had faith in development then West Bengal would have been on the top today. Hence all the political parties need to become aware of the new designs of the Naxals

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fuming Maoist guerrillas desert barracks: report

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From correspondents in Kathmandu, Nepal, 07:30 PM IST


Hundreds of fuming Maoist guerrillas are stomping out a remote Nepali camp - angered by the alleged misuse of money meant for their upkeep and lack of medical treatment for injuries sustained during their 10-year insurgency, a report said Tuesday.

About 1,000 disgruntled combatants had deserted the Nawalparasi camp in southwestern Nepal, the private television channel Kantipur reported.

A self-styled platoon commander of the rebels, who gave his name only as Kusum, held a press conference in Narayangarh town Tuesday to inform the media that guerrillas were leaving the camp due to mismanagement of state funds provided for their stay in the camps till crucial general elections in November, the TV channel said.

Kusum also alleged that the soldiers were frustrated at not receiving medical treatment for the injuries they had sustained during a 'People's War' that ended last year with the signing of a peace pact.

Kusum said he himself had received a bullet injury in his leg but was yet to receive medical treatment. Frustrated soldiers were leaving the camps because they could find no reason to stay back, he said.

However, the channel also said that the guerrilla in charge of the camp, a combatant identifying herself as Pratiksha, had denied a guerrilla exodus.

Pratiksha said that according to an arms agreement, a certain percentage of combatants from each cantonment are allowed to go on home-leave, and that the so-called 'deserters' were actually people who had gone on leave.

The report comes at a time when the Maoist leadership is holding a crucial meeting to discuss its future strategies. Media reports have been predicting verbal fireworks at the meeting.

There is said to be growing dissatisfaction among the Maoist rank and file against their top leaders and Prachanda, the chairman of the party, could face sharp criticism from other senior leaders if not an outright challenge to his leadership.

The Maoists have come under heavy flak from political parties over an act of violence at a frontier town Sunday where cadres assaulted the chief administrative officer.

The Young Communist League, the controversial youth wing of the Maoists, roughed up the official at Charikot in Dolakaha district, causing civil servants countrywide to halt work Monday.

Though MPs flayed the assault in parliament, Maoists are still on the warpath at Charikot. Kantipur Television said they have called an indefinite shutdown in the town demanding that the government release 32 cadres arrested for the attack.

Commentary: Chhattisgarh for sale!

http://www.upiasiaonline.com/
HONG KONG, Jul. 31
BIJO FRANCIS

Column: Incredible India
Want to buy a river? Welcome to the state of Chhattisgarh in India! If you are not interested in a river, Chhattisgarh can offer you a forest or a hill. You can do anything you wish with these natural resources. Once bought, you can drain the river dry, bulldoze a hill or clear a forest. It is all yours! If you have any problem with the local people, the state government will take care of them. Those who protest will be charged with fabricated crimes and thrown into prison indefinitely.

There is something fundamentally wrong in Chhattisgarh. In addition to the indiscriminate sale of natural resources, the state government also sponsors armed conflicts between its people. Though the state is governed by an elected government, the Chhattisgarh state government has failed on several counts, including maintaining law and order within the state.

The state administration, which is in corporatization overdrive, is selling its natural resources to corporate entities. This zeal for selling the state's natural resources to the highest bidder has alienated the government from the state's population in remote villages. The direct consequence is an increased affinity of ordinary people to armed resistance promoted by the Naxalite forces operating within the state.

The state administration, in a failed attempt to curb the Naxalites, has armed the local population that it deems to be sympathetic to it to fight the Naxalites. This state-sponsored private armed militia in Chhattisgarh is called Salwa Judum, meaning Peace Mission.

Chhattisgarh, a state that was formed in 2000, has not witnessed a single day in its seven-year history without violence -- either against the state by the rebelling factions or by the state and its private militia against the rebels. No state is justified in using violence to curb violence. The excuse the Chhattisgarh state administration offers for arming a faction of the local population is that the rebels within the state cannot be controlled without resorting to a strategy of counterviolence.

The Salwa Judum has been formed under the leadership of a local politician, Mahendra Karma. Even minors are armed with weapons and trained to kill. The "officers" of Salwa Judum are given a piece of cloth printed with the words "Special Police Officer," and the cloth is pinned to their shirt. This badge of cloth guarantees impunity. Any crime committed by a "special police officer" is left unchallenged by the state's law enforcement officers.

Violence within a state is usually the result of a government that fails to address the needs of its people. It is also often the whiplash effect of the uncontrolled use of force against a community. The fundamentals of governance include listening to and addressing the needs of the people. This normal process of governance, however, is not applicable to the Chhattisgarh state government.

Chhattisgarh is a state that has one of the worst records in India in terms of meeting basic human needs, like food security and the effective implementation of anti-discrimination policies. The state has the largest tribal concentration in India in terms of population ratio. The people of Chhattisgarh are neglected by their administration. Instances of abuse of authority by state officials, ranging from the Forest Department to the local police, are regularly reported in Chhattisgarh. Starvation deaths are common among the tribal communities. Health and sanitation conditions among tribals are the worst in the state.

Day after day the local population discovers that their natural resources are being sold by the state to corporate entities. The rivers, for example, are being sold to "water corporations." Once sold, the corporation prevents the local community from using the river or its resources. Communities that were previously using the river find themselves isolated and subject to coercion overnight. Those who protest are arrested and detained under false charges.

Similarly, land-based natural mineral resources are sold to companies as well. To excavate minerals, the companies that obtain leasehold over the land want the people living on the land removed. Forced eviction is daily news in the state. The evictees are quarantined in camps throughout the state, camps guarded by special police officers from the Salwa Judum. Those who oppose their forced eviction are branded Naxalites, charged with fabricated crimes and imprisoned indefinitely.

These acts of encroachment into people's personal liberties and fundamental freedoms have resulted in chaos and confusion within the state. Any place that is reeling in severe chaos due to malgovernance is fertile ground for the indoctrination of new ideas, even those that advocate violence. The people of Chhattisgarh, the descendents of heroes like Vir Narain Singh, are no different in their tolerance of neglect and abuse. It is natural for an ordinary person in such a context to think of the available options: to resist and fight or face impending death.

Instead of stopping this indiscriminate plundering of the natural resources of the local people, the state administration has resorted to violence to curb opposition to its policies that deprive the state's citizens of the basic necessities they need to survive and live with dignity.

A government is not justified at any point in time in sanctioning the formation of private armed groups to silence the people who are crying out for help. Such a move reflects a government's utter lack of concern for its people and their needs. By allowing, and in fact organizing, its citizens to fight among themselves, the state administration is implementing a policy of divide and rule. The result of this violent game is the state-sponsored anarchy that Chhattisgarh has become today.

A government that resorts to violence has no legal or moral standing to claim the privileges of an administrator of the people. The Chhattisgarh state government has made a mockery of the Constitution of the country. By resorting to violence, the state government has declared that it does not believe in constitutional mandates.

Chhattisgarh and its people require a democratically functioning administration. Such an administration would never plunder the natural resources of its people. Any state is justified in finding ways and means for the better use of its natural resources, but what one witnesses in Chhattisgarh today is a state administration gone mad with greed for short-term benefits.

The current administration in Chhattisgarh is not a government in any sense. It is nothing more than a bunch of brokers who would sell anything and everything to quench their greed.

--

(Bijo Francis is a human rights lawyer currently working with the Asian Legal Resource Center in Hong Kong. He is responsible for the South Asia desk at the center. Mr. Francis has practiced law for more than a decade and holds an advanced master's degree in human rights law.)

Strike called by Maoists paralyses Bastar

Indo-Asian News Service
Raipur, July 31, 2007
First Published: 12:43 IST(31/7/2007)
Last Updated: 12:47 IST(31/7/2007)


A weeklong strike launched by Maoist militants in Chhattisgarh's insurgency hit Bastar region from July 28 has completely paralysed life in the area but there has been no violent incident so far, police said on Tuesday.

"The strike by Maoists to celebrate their martyrs week has crippled life since July 28 mainly in the interiors of Kanker, Bijapur, Dantewada and Narayanpur districts as transporters have kept vehicles off the road while civilians are hardly seen moving out from their houses," a police officer told IANS.

He added that security forces have been deployed in thousands near government installations to counter any violence by Left Wing extremists during the Maoist martyrs week that will end on August 2.

Maoists had called for a martyrs week to commemorate their commanders who were killed during the recent gunbattles with the police.

Forces in the entire Bastar region have been put on high alert with vigilance stepped up at the iron ore rich mining pockets in Dantewada's Bailadilla Hills where India's largest iron ore producer and exporter National Mineral Development Corporation Ltd (NMDC) has three major mining facilities.

Maoist rebels, also known as Naxalites, claim to fight for the rights of poor peasants and landless labourers and run a parallel government in the interiors of the Bastar region spread across nearly 40,000 sq km.

CBI to probe Dalit killings

A special court passes the landmark judgement for the killing of eight Dalits in 1991. Pradip Kumar Maitra and PTI
Nagpur, November 15, 2006
First Published: 00:00 IST(13/1/2007)





At least 25 people, including seven police personnel, were injured as protesters went on the rampage through Amravati city, some 150 kilometers from Nagpur, to protest the recent Dalit killings in Kherlangi village.

Four members of a Dalit family were killed in Kherlangi in September when they refused to let the villagers build a road through their fields.

Later in the day, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister RR Patil said the government had handed over the investigation into the killings to the CBI. He also said the protests in Nagpur and elsewhere were "spontaneous reactions" and "had nothing to do with Naxalites", as was reported in some sections of the media.

On Tuesday, the mob went around smashing shops windows, looting goods, destroying vehicles and setting fire to government offices in Amravati. The injured were rushed to the district hospital where three of them are said to be critical.

The crowd that gathered at the collectorate under the banner of the Dalit Action Committee went berserk soon after some of its leaders went to the district collector's office to submit a memorandum on the Kherlangi episode. The mob vandalised almost all the government offices in the Amravati Camp area, including that of the Zilla Parishad, anti-corruption bureau and state treasury office.

The protesters rained stones on the police who initially retaliated by caning the mob and lobbing teargas shells. But when that failed to control them, the police fired in the air. A protester, Nishikant Ramrao Harne, was seriously injured in the firing. Soon enough, rumour spread that Harne had died in hospital but police commissioner Jagan Nath dismissed the reports. At least 10 police personnel were grievously injured.

The city remained tense even after the state reserve police was pressed into service. Amravati police commissioner Jagan Nath claimed security reinforcements and preventive arrests had helped contain the trouble.

Email: pradip.maitra@hindustantimes.com

Mudigonda :PM’s regret fails to pacify leaders

Ashok Das, Saroj Nagi, Aloke Tikku and Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
Email Author
Hyderabad/New Delhi, July 31, 2007
First Published: 03:28 IST(31/7/2007)
Last Updated: 03:30 IST(31/7/2007)


Saturday's police firing incident in Khammam that claimed eight lives continued to provide ammunition for the Opposition’s attack on the government. The Telugu Desam Party, the BJP and the UPA’s Left allies stepped up their demand for Chief Minister Y.S. Rajashekhara Reddy’s removal over the incident. The Congress rallied behind Reddy publicly, but privately, its leaders said the controversies around the chief minister were denting the party’s image.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh left for the state on Monday night to review investment and agriculture projects there. Before that, he spoke to Reddy and expressed regret to the families of the firing incident victims.

But the TDP was not satisfied with his “inadequate response”. Continuing the party’s agitation, its president N. Chandrababu Naidu said they will fast in protest at Indira Park on Tuesday, to coincide with Dr Singh’s visit.

Naidu said he had asked the prime minister to visit Mudigonda to see the situation firsthand. He wanted the prime minister to “remove” Reddy. Left parties also joined him in the demand. Senior party leaders called the firing on the activists of the Communist Party of India and CPI (Marxist) “unwarranted.” The Congress defended Reddy, without alluding to the recent firing incident in West Bengal’s Nandigram. “Unlike several such incidents, the AP government moved swiftly, to take disciplinary action against errant police officials, declared compensation, announced a judicial inquiry and began every effort to calm the atmosphere,’’ said AICC spokesman Abhishek Singhvi.

The statement from the prime minister’s office also took note of the Left’s agitation to seek land for the poor in the state and said: “The Prime Minister reiterated the government’s commitment to redistribute the surplus land and fulfil commitments to the rural poor.”

The CPM blamed the state Congress unit for spreading “misinformation” about the firing incident. V Srinivasa Rao, member of the CPM Central Committee, denied that party cadres had turned violent and had not attacked the area police station. “The Additional SP, in an unusual move, reached the area with the anti-naxalite squad who were armed with AK-47s and LMGs (light machine guns). Even as the lathi-charge was going on, the police began firing without warning, killing six people," Rao said.

Mudigonda : ‘Firing targeted at local leader’

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The fact-finding team of an outfit representing 195 organisations involved in land struggles on Monday claimed that the police firing at Mudigonda in Khammam on Saturday was targeted at a local leader Bandi Ramesh, a former naxalite.

The team members comprising, Bojja Tarakam and V. Venkateswarlu, told a news conference here that the police resorted to firing with the sole aim to weaken CPI (M) in the village.

Ramesh, a district committee member of the party, was a native of the village.

They said the firing was unprovoked and undertaken by men of the anti-naxalite Greyhounds. The police wanted to take away Ramesh from the scene but the crowd who were staging a ‘rasta roko’ resisted.

It was then that the Additional SP opened fire.

Mudigonda : Congress rejects CPI(M) demand

Special Correspondent


“Khammam firing unfortunate”




NEW DELHI: The Congress on Monday virtually turned down the Communist Party of India (Marxist) demand for the resignation of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minster Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy suggesting it was time to apply the “healing touch.”

The party’s defence came on a day when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Dr. Reddy and reviewed the situation arising out of the police firing. The Prime Minister expressed his regret at the “unfortunate incident” and conveyed his heartfelt sympathy for the next of kin of those who died in police action, a spokesman for the Prime Minster’s Office said.

Dr. Singh also reiterated the Government’s commitment to redistribute surplus land and fulfil its stated commitments to the rural poor, especially the landless.

Asked to react to the developments and the demand for Dr. Reddy’s resignation, party spokesperson Abhishek Singh said, “We don’t believe [that] on every such issue resignation can be demanded. It is time for constructive action and hardly the time to talk of resignation.”

The spokesperson described the Khammam firing as “unfortunate” but added that there were two versions including one that it was an extremist attack and also that there were police excesses.

However, he said, the State Government responded promptly by instituting a judicial probe and taking action against “perceived errant police officials”.

He said in the given circumstances it was incumbent on all parties to work and apply the “healing touch”.

The CPI(M) Polit Bureau members in Delhi met informally to review the situation and reiterated the demand that Dr. Reddy should resign. Party general secretary Prakash Karat said the party reiterates that the struggle for land would continue and be intensified in the coming days.

Party central secretariat member V. Srinivasa Rao on Monday joined issue with AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh disputing the charge that the agitators at Mudigonda had turned violent on July 28.

“What you have stated about the brutal police firing amounts to nothing but misinformation,” Mr. Rao said in a letter.

He said police lathi-charged peaceful protestors who were holding rasta roko and targeted Bandi Ramesh. He said the Additional Superintendent of Police reached the area with an anti-naxalite squad armed with AK47s and LMGs and began firing without any warning.

Several intellectuals, academicians and artistes said they were appalled by the police firing. They said the fact that firing occurred despite the Chief Minister’s instructions not to use force shows the extent of police high-handedness.

The signatories included Ashok Mitra, Amiya Kumar Baghci, Malini Bhattacharya, Sashi Kumar, Utsa Patnaik, Jayati Ghosh, C.P. Chandrasekhar, Arjun Dev, Iqthiar Alam Khan, M.K. Raina and others.

From PM to CPM : Realpolitik with Balbir K. Punj

Realpolitik with Balbir K. Punj

From PM to CPM

The leader of the ruling coalition government Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh needs to do some rethinking if his government is not to be accused of total hypocrisy in its globally advertised battle against terrorism. Leader of the Opposition L. K. Advani’s letter to him has reminded the Prime Minister that his government has made no progress in pinning down the perpetrators of the one-year old Mumbai train blasts. The government did not even had the concern for the 187 victims of the blasts as was seen in its ignoring the anniversary of the event.

The same government is hell-bent on teaching the Australians how to deal with human rights of one of the suspects in the foiled terrorist bombings of London and Glasgow airports. The same Prime Minister is losing sleep over the plight of the mother of the suspect who is worrying about her son now detained by the Australian authorities. The Prime Minister went to the extent of summoning the Australian High Commissioner here and lecturing to him on how badly they were treating the suspect who happens to be an Indian doctor in the UK.

This palpable ignoring of the daylight murder of 187 people by terror mongers right at home in Mumbai contrasts with the great concern the same government is showing for one single individual detained in Australia as suspect in a terror plot in the UK. The detention may perhaps be totally uncalled for but the due process of law must establish it to be so. And Australia is not a country under dictatorship. The government could have served the purpose of helping an Indian citizen abroad by providing him with adequate legal help.

New Delhi is behaving as if Australia is some sort of a lawless country. It contrasts with how the same government behaves indifferent when Indian citizens are detained in authoritarian countries of the Middle East like Saudi Arabia. Recently an Indian journalist was jailed in Saudi Arabia, for the simple reason that as a sub-editor in a newspaper in Jeddah he allowed a cartoon to be published which had a character questioning existence of God, and New Delhi did nothing, its Prime Minister never lost sleep—it was only the Indian media whose protest forced the Saudi government to release him and deport him.

Is this government concerned over an Indian citizen only if he is a Muslim? Or is its supporter CPM that has now openly allied with the Islamic extremists pressing it into a corner? When the Congress produced a list of its likely nominees for the President’s post, the CPM vetoed all of them—Dr. Karan Singh was vetoed because CPM does not want a scholar of Hinduism and spirituality like the former ruling family member of J&K. But the same CPM readily proposes Hamid Ansari who keeps company with Islamic extremism. And then the same Congress that submits to CPM objection to Dr. Karan Singh tamely agrees to Hamid Ansari for vice-president’s post. What a contrast!

Opposition Leader Advani’s letter to Dr. Singh raises the growing suspicion among many political analysts that the Centre has capped all investigations into terror attacks where the trail leads invariably to Islamic extremism. That blocking is seen in action in the investigation into the Bangalore IISc outrage also. In that terror action, the local police were able to trace a Bangladeshi terror agent and two of his Indian accomplices. But soon afterwards the investigation seemed to have been wound up. In the Mumbai blasts even the finding that two Indian local agents of terror were also responsible was enough to stop further investigation. New Delhi, which claimed that it had irrefutable evidence linking Pakistani agents to these blasts, cut a sorry figure when the Pakistani government demanded solid proof. But why has the Prime Minister, after blaming Pakistan, not bothered to find out why the investigation has come to a dead stop?

The ruling alliance including the Congress is more concerned over its vote bank than discharging its constitutional obligation to protect the state against terrorists and other elements bent on destroying the republic in the hope of establishing an Islamic state here. The UK police at least traced the conspirators behind the failed airport attacks within a few days of these incidents. Out of four main suspects in this case three are Indian doctors or professionals in the UK. At least in one case you cannot say that suspicion is unfounded because he was the one who was recovered alive with 90 per cent burns from the flaming jeep that was driven into the Glasgow airport.

The structure of the present government at the Centre and the context of growing tentacles of Islamic extremism and its terror organisations in the country can no longer be ignored as a passing phase. This government depends upon the support of the Left parties more especially the CPM. The CPM is now deeply aligned with the same Islamic extremism. This was proved in the last Assembly elections in Kerala when CPM backed the extremist elements against the Muslim League in such sensitive places as Vayanad in particular and Malabar area in general. In West Bengal the CPM has been for long on the side of Islamic extremism. The Kolkata police have revealed arms caches in the heart of the city linked to these extremist elements but their real owners still remain at bay. In districts like Murshidabad with 60 per cent Muslim population, it is the Sharia law that prevails and the writs from the state government in Kolkata are ignored.

Now that sort of extremist views would be ensconced in the heart of power with Hamid Ansari becoming vice-president. It is significant that CPM ignored the claims of its own leader and present Speaker Somnath Chatterjee in naming the vice-president candidate of the ruling coalition. It did not give even a second alternative to the Congress to choose.

It is the official position of New Delhi that terrorism is a huge threat to organised society and to itself as well as to the world at large. Yet the same government is seen as becoming increasingly soft and accommodative to the extremist thinking behind the terror plots, the ideas that fire people to become suicide bombers. At the other end there is the Naxalite menace. As many as 160 contagious districts in central, east and south India are under Naxalite influence where a parallel government of the militants is functioning. This is almost one-fourth of the total districts in the country and of the land area. Thinking citizens might wonder what will become of the country when the gun and bomb culture people fired by their respective ideals have sympathizers, fellow travelers, and active adherents in the power structure at the Centre.

Advani has posed two questions to the Prime Minister: Which evil mind was behind the 11/7 train bombings? How soon will the conspiracy be busted and justice meted out to the perpetrators? A third question can also be posed—and that question arises primarily by the ruling coalition’s behaviour in the recent presidential and vice-presidential elections: Is the government turning a Nelson’s eye to the growing clout of extremism and Left armed militant power within the country and within its own fold? Perhaps Dr. Manmohan Singh is disabled from answering these questions. And that is the greater matter of concern for the country as a whole. For, he is the head of the government. At least de jure.

(The writer can be contacted at bkpunj@gmail.com)