Sunday, June 01, 2008

Naxals making inroads into UP banks for funds

Sanjay Singh
Posted online: Monday , June 02, 2008 at 01:15:13

Updated: Monday , June 02, 2008 at 01:15:13 Print Email To Editor Post Comments

Lucknow, June 01 After the recent theft of Rs 5 crore from a bank in Jharkhand, the state police are all set to work out a strategy to prevent Naxals from targeting banks in several parts of the state.

Sources in the police said the theft in Jharkhand was a part of Communist Party of India (Maoists)’s decision to target bank money. “In November 2007, the central committee of the CPI(M) had asked its members to ensure that substantial percentage of tax was collected from banks. The top leadership of the party is of the view that levy should not come only from old sources like Gram Pradhans and contractors in the Naxal-affected areas,” a source said. Naxals who operate at the ground level have been told to target banks in Uttar Pradesh too, he added.

On June 5, the state police will hold a meeting with bankers to discuss ways of ensuring the safety of banks in the wake of the Naxal plan to steal bank money in order to increase the sources of tax collection. Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Brij Lal has told mediapersons that the state police have written a letter to the Reserve Bank of India regarding its plan to hold a meeting with the bankers.

The problem being faced by the UP Police is that Naxals have already expanded their bases in several districts of the state. Officially, only three districts — Sonebhadra, Chandauli and Mirzapur — are listed as Naxal-affected areas of the state. “Though they have established their units in the new districts of UP, the Naxals are still to trace the sources for levy collection,” a source said.

According to police sources, the new areas of Naxal operation include Chitrakoot, Ghazipur, Ballia, Allahabad, Basti, Deoriya and Manpuri. The Chitrakoot police have recently opened history-sheets of a few Naxals who were allegedly involved in such operations in other states.

“In parts like Sonebhadra, Chandauli and Mirzapur, the Maoists have already spread their dominance. Their sources of revenue are crushers, contactors and development projects that have been undertaken by the government in such areas. But in districts like Ghazipur and Ballia, they do not find sources for the collection of levy money,” a source explained.

A senior IPS officer said: “The problem is not only confined to UP. It is challenge for all state governments that face the Naxal menace. The Central agencies are also trying to work out a strategy to check such activities.”

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