Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bastar tribals facing “subversion of justice”

Special Correspondent



NEW DELHI: Environmental groups and individuals have appealed to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh to suspend implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 in the areas where the Salwa Judum movement has forced thousands of tribals to flee their villages.

In a letter addressed to Dr. Singh, the environmentalists have pointed out that the plans to implement the Act in Bastar district, hit by naxalite activities and the subsequent Salwa Judum movement, would be a “terrible subversion of justice,” depriving lakhs of people of their rights.

Villagers displaced


“We are concerned about the rights of those villagers in Dantewada and Bijapur districts who have been compelled to leave their villages due to the ongoing Salwa Judum campaign against naxalites. The total population of about 1,200 villages in the two districts is 7.19 lakh, of which 78.5 per cent is tribal. About 50 per cent of these villages, with an approximate population of 3.5 lakh, are displaced.

“While about 47,000 are living in roadside camps set up by the State government, another 40,000 or so have fled to the forest areas of Andhra Pradesh to escape the ongoing violence between the Salwa Judum and naxalites. The whereabouts of the remaining 2,63,000 villagers from the abandoned villages are unknown,” the letter said.

No gram sabha meeting


In at least 644 abandoned villages in the two districts, no gram sabha meeting, required to be held under the Act for initiating the process of recognition of rights can be organised under the present circumstances. At a meeting organised by the Department of Tribal Welfare of Andhra Pradesh, it was decided that Gutti Koyas, who have sought shelter in the State’s forests, would not be eligible for recognition of land and forest rights in Andhra Pradesh. Moreover, as they were displaced from their own villages, they would not be able to claim their rights even in their own villages in Chhattisgarh, the letter said. In the meantime, no land should be allocated to outsiders and no leases or prospecting licences for minor minerals should be given in these villages. These also require gram sabha permission, which is not possible under present circumstances. “Consequently, we appeal to you to suspend implementation of the Act in affected areas while facilitating speedy return of the villagers.”

Signatories


Among the signatories to the letter are Madhu Sarin, Nandini Sundar, Nagaraj Adve, Rohit Jain, C.R.Bijoy, Shankar Gopalakrishnan and Gautam Kumar Bandyopadhyay.

Copies have been sent to the President, the Union Tribal Affairs Minister and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.

Appeal to Raman Singh to suspend Act

Special Correspondent


NEW DELHI: Environmental groups and individuals have appealed to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh to suspend implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 in the areas where the Salwa Judum movement has forced thousands of tribal people to flee from their villages.

In a letter addressed to Dr. Singh, the environmentalists have pointed out that the plans to implement the Forest Rights Act in Bastar district that is affected by the naxalite activities and the subsequent Salwa Judum would be a “terrible subversion of justice” as it would deprive lakhs of people of their rights.

“We are concerned about the rights of those villagers in Dantewada and Bijapur districts who have been compelled to leave their villages due to the ongoing Salwa Judum campaign against naxalites. The total population of about 1,200 villages in the two districts is 7.19 lakhs, of which 78.5 per cent is tribal. About 50 per cent of these villages, with an approximate population of 3.5 lakhs, is displaced from their villages.

While about 47,000 are living in roadside camps set up by the State government, another 40,000 or so have fled to the forest areas of Andhra Pradesh to escape the ongoing violence between the Salwa Judum and naxalites. The whereabouts of the remaining 2,63,000 villagers from the abandoned villages is unknown, the letter said.

No gram sabha meetings


In at least 644 abandoned villages in the two districts, no gram sabha meetings required under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act for initiating the process of recognition of rights can be organised under present circumstances. At a meeting organised by the Department of Tribal Welfare of Andhra Pradesh, it was decided that the Gutti Koyas who have sought shelter in AP’s forests from the naxal-Salwa Judum violence in Chhattisgarh will not be eligible for recognition of land and forest rights in Andhra Pradesh. However, due to being displaced from their own villages, they will not be able to claim their rights even in their original villages in Chhattisgarh. Their being deprived of rights in both Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh will be a terrible subversion of justice.

In the meantime, no land should be allocated to outsiders and no leases or prospecting licences for minor minerals should be given in these villages as under PESA. These also require Gram Sabha permission, which is not possible under present circumstances. “Consequently, we appeal to you to suspend implementation of the Act in affected areas while facilitating speedy return of the villagers.”

Signatories


Signatories to the letter include Madhu Sarin, Nandini Sundar, Nagaraj Adve, Rohit Jain, C.R.Bijoy, Shankar Gopalakrishnan, Gautam Kumar Bandyopadhyay. Copies of the appeal have been sent to the President, Union Tribal Affairs Minister, and the National Commission on Sheduled Tribes.

Border security in danger

The Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS) wishes to draw the attention of the entire nation towards the porous nature of our borders and the concomitant threat looming from all sides. Of particularly serious concern is the situation along the Himalayas, which were once believed to be an insurmountable natural boundary. With large tracts including Aksai-chin in Laddakh and Kailash Mansarover, already under its occupation after it became our neighbour following its annexation of Tibet in 1959, China started making fresh claims over many more areas like Arunachal Pradesh making the border question a much more serious one calling for urgent attention.

The ABPS reminds the country of the recent statement by the Union External Affairs Minister in the Lok Sabha that the Chinese are making claims over 100,000 sq. km. area followed by the admission of senior Army officials about the repeated incursions by the Chinese Army in the Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh. The ABPS commends the Members of Parliament in Lok Sabha and the people from that region for vigorously campaigning against these border violations thus drawing the attention of the political establishment as well as the entire nation.

The ABPS cautions that any complacent attitude in dealing with China on the border question would be fraught with serious consequences. It is most unfortunate that despite knowing the aggressionist and expansionist nature of China our negotiators have allowed ambiguous clauses like ‘populated and unpopulated areas’ etc. to be made into negotiable issues thus allowing that country to exploit maximum diplomatic advantage. The ABPS expresses satisfaction that owing to popular pressure our Government categorically reiterated that the entire Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of our country.

The ABPS calls upon the Government to follow up its declarations with concrete steps to secure our borders by immediately upgrading infrastructure facilities along our border with China. While the Chinese have built all-weather roads, wide railway network and high frequency communication systems all along their side of the border to serve strategic and military requirements we still lag behind on our side of the border in these matters.

The ABPS also demands that each and every post along China border be fully and strongly fortified so as to prevent any further incursions from the other side and to give a fitting reply in the event of border violations.

Porous nature of our land borders is a major cause of worry for the ABPS. Unchecked influx of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh is changing the demographic profile of a large number of districts along Bharat-Bangladesh border besides posing a serious threat to internal security all over the country. Bharat-Burma border along our North East too remains largely porous. Instances of foreigners trying to acquire land along our sensitive Western and Eastern borders have also come to light. The ABPS calls upon the Government to do all the needful ensuring that these borders are properly sealed by way of fencing, increasing number of border outposts, improving infrastructure along the borders and strengthening the presence of our forces there. There is need of creating special agency for border management as part of the Defence Ministry for effective implementation of these measures.

Instability in two important neighbours i.e. Pakistan and Nepal too is putting a lot of pressure on our border security. The ABPS welcomes the categorical assertion of our defence establishment against reducing troop presence in the troubled J&K State. With situation in Afghanistan too turning further volatile, our border along the LoC and the remaining western front needs strict vigil. Growing Maoist activity along Indo-Nepal border in hitherto untouched states like Uttarakhand must be addressed with greater seriousness and urgency.

The ABPS notes with wariness the increasing militarisation of the seas to our South. Indian Ocean is fast turning into the future battle field. Our coastline is also not protected adequately enabling smuggling of weapons etc. into our country. Added concern for our country is the proposed Sethu Samudram Channel Project that would, if allowed to continue, increase the threat potential to our South-Eastern coastline by opening a passage from Bay of Bengal in to Palk Bay and to the defence establishments situated on the East coast as certain countries are disputing the status of the Historic Waters of Bharat and Sri Lanka. The ABPS insists that the Government, especially after the statement by our Defence Minister about the impending threats from the seas, should take immediate steps to properly secure our sea front also.

In the joint sessions of the Parliament, it was unanimously resolved once on November 14, 1962 and again on February 22, 1994 to get back every inch of land under the occupation of China and Pakistan respectively. The ABPS calls upon the Government, all political parties and the people of our great country to reiterate in unequivocal terms that each and every inch of our Motherland is absolutely sacred and it is our paramount duty to protect it against aggressionist and terrorist neighbours and thereby fulfill those solemn resolutions of the Parliament.

Maoists active in Nayagarh!

Saturday March 22 2008 13:14 IST

ENS

NAYAGARH: A month into the Nayagarh mayhem, Maoists are still active in the district. Reports said they are moving in groups in deep forests.

According to locals, two groups each are active in Daspalla and Khandapara while one group each is on the prowl in Ranpur and Nayagarh. There are at least 30 Maoists in a group.

A group of heavily armed Maoists detained a bamboo-laden truck recently on Pankua-Kalashakhaman road near Pokharigochha Reserve Forest in the morning and released it only in the evening. In another incident in Daspalla, an armed Maoist was seen purchasing fish at Kuanria dam.

Four armed Maoists stopped a cyclist carrying fish at Ghugudi on the Bhanjanagar-Daspalla road and asked for ‘bidi’. Not long ago a vegetable vendor in Ranpur town was woken up from sleep at the dead of the night by Maoists who asked him to sell vegetables in large quantity. Elsewhere in Nuagaon bazaar Maoists were seen purchasing biscuits in day time, eyewitnesses said.

Reports said Maoists are trying to woo Daspalla tribals by promising them profits from ganja plantation, country liquor sale and timber smuggling. Of 19 GPs of Daspalla, 10 GPs are inhabited by ‘Kandh’ tribes who live in small hamlets in difficult terrains. Even Maoists have set up temporary homes in the hamlets taking advantage of their inaccessibility.

At least ten hamlets in Baisipalli Wildlife Sanctuary can remain out of bounds for the security forces due to inhospitable terrains. Locals said CRPF jawans and security forces are limiting there patrolling to roads and not venturing into deep forests. Villagers alleged due to Maoist fear, some police stations in the district are virtually closed after dusk.

Maoist' posters found in Binka

Thursday March 20 2008 12:13 IST

BINKA: Appearance of Naxal posters in Binka has created panic in Sonepur district. It is yet to be ascertained whether the Naxals pasted the posters or it is handiwork of some rumour-mongers.

The hand-written posters, which were found pasted at strategic locations like Tehsil Office Chowk, in front of Wesco office, bus stand and Block Chowk and loosely scattered here and there, have issued death warrant to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik if he decides to release water from Hirakud Dam Reservoir for industries.

The posters have also threatened police, administrators, contractors, scribes, capitalists and rice-millers with dire consequences if they act against the poor and the needy.

The posters have further warned of a repeat of Nayagarh if the interest of farmers and poor are not taken care of. A letter has also been found. Dated March 2, it has been issued by commander-in-chief, Western Orissa, N Chandrasekhar Reddy. Though it is silent on the name of the organisation.

However, the posters are written in black, a deviation from the usual red used by the Naxals. Sonepur SP Ajay Kumar Sarangi said investigation is on.

No celebration for cops

Saturday March 22 2008 13:19 IST

ENS

BHUBANESWAR: For the cops, Saturday will be sans vibrant colours of Holi. The Nayagarh Naxal mayhem still fresh in their memories, a big chunk of Orissa’s police force has resolved not to celebrate Holi this year.

Though the men in khaki cannot participate in the celebration, they have decided to shun whatever ritualistic manner in which they used to do it in the past.

Police force of Nayagarh, Khurda and adjoining districts particularly has taken the resolve as a mark of respect for those who fought against the Naxalites and laid down their lives and as a support for their family members, a senior official said.

As many as 13 policemen were killed by the Maoists in the February 15 attack, while the subsequent flush out operation claimed three more lives. One injured policeman had succumbed in the hospital

UP constitutes special task force to tackle Naxal menace

Sanjay Singh
Posted online: Friday , March 21, 2008 at 10:45:07

Updated: Thursday , March 20, 2008 at 11:07:22

Lucknow, March 20 In the wake of seven more districts of the state coming under the Naxal influence, the government has now constituted a separate Special Task Force (Extremists) to tackle the Maoist problem. Sources said that a DIG-rank officer would head the new force.

The government’s move comes just after the conclusion of a meeting of the Naxal Task Force (NTF) in Lucknow this week. Earlier, only three districts of Sonebhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli were supposed to have a considerable number of Naxals but the recent reports of the central agencies point to the presence of presence of Naxals in other seven districts of the state, including Allahabad, Chitrakoot, Deoriya, Banda and Ballia.

“The problem of the Left wing extremism is in Allahabad and Chitrakoot districts as the Naxals have almost completed their preliminary stage of growth and have now established their own units,” a source said. The knowledge about the spread of Naxals to new districts of the state came after some Maoists were arrested from different parts of the state. “During their interrogation, they said about their attempt to make inroads in the remote areas of the state.

“The Bundelkhand region comprising Chitrakoot, Banda, and Mahoba have been Naxal target for long. They also want to spread it to Jhansi,” he said.

The officials believe that Naxals have made inroads in the state through the bordering Naxal-affected districts of Bihar. “Ballia district shares border with the Bihar’s Buxar district, which figured in the list of Bihar’s Naxal-affected part. Moreover, Bhabhua and Rohtas districts border Ballia,” the source. Presence of Naxals in Allahabad is not surprising as Shankargarh is notorious for explosive supply to anti-socials.

In Chhattisgarh, 15% salary hike for cops fighting Maoists

21 Mar 2008, 0224 hrs IST,TNN


RAIPUR: In Naxal-hit Chhattisgarh, cops fighting the Maoist menace can now draw 15% more salary.

Emboldened by the success of joint operation with Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra against Maoists, the Raman Singh-led BJP government in Chhattisgarh on Thursday announced a 15% increase in basic pay of cops posted in Naxal-infested areas.

Under the special drive, a joint police team headed by anti-Naxal force 'Greyhounds' of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday got a major success when they killed 17 Maoists in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh.

State Home Minister Ramvichar Netam said an order increasing the salaries of the cops was issued on March 14.

It would benefit thousands of state policemen and personnel of the eight battalions of the Chhattisgarh Armed Force posted in Maoist-hit areas

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Greyhounds fire smoked out Maoists

20 Mar 2008, 0059 hrs IST,G Arun Kumar,TNN

HYDERABAD: The killing of 17 Maoists in the Dharmavaram encounter in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday reveals that it was the superior firepower of the Greyhounds personnel that did the Maoists in.

A combination of a well-knit informer network coupled with superior arsenal and excellent field craft and tactics, besides solid inputs from the locals and naxalites who had surrendered earlier inflicted a stunning blow on the Maoists in what was the once impregnable Bastar forest region, police sources told ‘TOI’ here on Wednesday.

"With our special party police having mapped the terrain so well, it won’t be difficult to combat the enemy (read Maoists) in their territory", a senior IPS officer told ‘TOI’.

Cops knew of Maoists' meet in advance

20 Mar 2008, 0058 hrs IST,TNN


HYDERABAD: What paid dividends for the Greyhounds in the Dharmavaram encounter in which 17 naxals were killed was that they got wind of the Maoist plenary meeting in Darelli forests much in advance. "The weekly markets in Chintooru, Cherla and Kukunoor areas helped our spotters in establishing the movement of Maoists", the police officer said.

Attributing the massive success of the Khammam police in the operation to perfect planning and tactful jungle warfare, a district police official said they have been planning the ambush for over 5/6 months. "Our forces’ manoeuvrability and military strategy clinched the issue this time round", he said.

Ridiculing the rights activists’ posers as to how there was no casualty from the police side, the official said the police too had faced reverses whenever they were killed by Maoist-triggered landmines. "In fact, the Maoist cadre camping in the timber reserves of Darelli forest area were taken by surprise with Greyhounds sealing the forest routes along the Taliperu river course which separates the borders of AP and Chhattisgarh", he observed. He recalled that 16 cops were killed in an ambush by Maoists when a police team was on its way to Pamedu police station in November 2007.

Sources said nearly 80 Greyhounds personnel and around 150 Khammam district policemen took part in the encounter, touted to be one of the biggest counter-insurgency operations against the Maoists. "Nearly 500 shots were fired from both sides in two spells of gunbattle", a police official said.

Spy proves to be their golden eye

User Rating: / 0 Thursday, 20 March 2008


Hyderabad, March 20: South Bastar division’s Jagargunda-Baswaguda area committee of the CPI (Maoist), which has a strength of one company (about 100 armed Naxalites), had been holding the plenary between Kachala and Paliguda in Bijapur district, Chhattisgarh, for about a week.

But the South Bastar division, led by Arjun, a Maoist leader belonging to Andhra Pradesh, had no idea whatsoever that police from across the border were busy tracking down its every movement for almost four months.

When the elite Greyhounds personnel swooped on the plenary in a pre-dawn raid, the Maoists had little time to resist. Of the 30-odd Naxalites, who were camping there, 17 died and the rest managed to flee.

It was an operation executed to perfection. What went into its planning? According to highly placed sources, office of the Officer on Special Duty at Kothagudem managed to gain the confidence of an informant, who is from across the border, about four months ago.

With the help of local police, the OSD office kept in touch with the informant, who fed it with some information or the other.

However, several ‘alerts’ from him were ignored as the Naxalites were always either too deep in Chhattisgarh forests or inhospitable terrain like hills.

Then came the vital lead about 10 days ago when the informant “smelled something peculiar.” Militants were picking up ration from village sandies and some others were clearing bushes at the base of a hillock abutting the forest. There was also some sort of “high-alert” in Maoist-affected villages.

Three, four days later came fool-proof information. The plenary was going to be held exactly between Kacharla and Paliguda. From here started the operational part. First, the Greyhounds personnel had to penetrate 40 kilometres into Chhattisgarh from Charla.

The Andhra Pradesh Police sounded their Chhattisgarh counterparts and took them into confidence. A joint operation was planned and forces moved into the forests a couple of days ago.

The area being a stronghold of Maoists, the police teams had to move cautiously as any leak could jeopardise the entire operation, the sources told this website's newspaper.

It appears the Maoists were a bit casual for they did not anticipate an onslaught of this severity from the Chhattisgarh Police.

The least they could have expected is the arrival of Greyhounds personnel who have mastered the art of jungle warfare. Their AK 47s, SLRs and country-made weapons could not match the fire power of well-trained police personnel.

In no time, the Maoists suffered one of the biggest setbacks in their decade-long history in Chhattisgarh. The Greyhounds, who took part in the operation, have returned to their base leaving a heap of dead bodies - 17 Naxalites in all including six women - behind.

Not only have the Andhra Pradesh police dealt a severe blow to the morale of the Maoists in Chhattisgarh but have also reportedly laid their hands on a treasure trove of information.

It appears the war has reached a crucial stage.

Police mum on Maoists’ identity

Thursday March 20 2008 08:42 IST
Express News Service

KHAMMAM: Amid rumours that two top leaders of the North Telangana Special Zone Committee (NTSZC) of Maoists were among those slain in Tuesday’s encounter, the police maintained a ‘stoic silence’ on their identity and shifted the bodies to Kunta village in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.

Seventeen Maoists, who included six women and six dalam commanders, were shot dead by the Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh police in a joint operation in the Dharmavaram forest area in Pamedu police stations limits in Chhattisgarh.

Speaking to this website's newspaper, Khammam superintendent of police DS Chowhan said that CPI-Maoist North Telangana Zonal Committee secretary Chandranna alias Pullur Prasad Rao (46) could be among the slain extremists. Chandranna, who had served in the past on the central military commission (CMC) of the outfit, hailed from Peddapalli.

Identification of the bodies would be conducted at Kunta on Wednesday in the presence of the Chhattisgarh police, Chowhan added.

In a related development, the Andhra Pradesh High Court dismissed a writ petition filed by Virasam leader P Vara Vara Rao seeking directions to the State Government to bring the bodies of the Maoists to MGM Hospital in Warangal for autopsy.

It, however, asked the government to ensure that the bodies of Maoists, if they belonged to Andhra Pradesh, be handed over to their families. Andhra Pradesh officials, contacted their counterparts in Chhattisgarh and the latter agreed to comply with the direction.

The police, who shifted the bodies to Kunta, summoned members of the Salwa Judum to confirm whether top Maoist leader Itu alias Satyanarayana Reddy was among the dead but the villagers failed to do so as the bodies were highly putrefied.

Autopsy was performed and the police even made arrangements for burial. A DIG from Raipur reached Charla and supervised the transportation of the bodies to Kunta by a lorry.

The officials first tried to airlift the bodies. But their plan failed as helicopters could not land in the dense forest. The police first shifted the bodies to Yampuram in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday but, following tension in the area, moved them to Rallagudem in Charla mandal of Khammam district in a tractor.

As no policeman was injured in the encounter, it is suspected that the Greyhounds teams might have fired at the Maoists at Dharmavaram. Police were reportedly facing protests from villagers in Chhattisgarh over the incident.

Meanwhile, police misleading mediapersons on the encounter site has given credence to the allegations that firing was ‘one-sided’. Police were accused of wantonly keeping the encounter site a secret and preventing mediapersons from going there.

When scores of mediapersons reached the site on Wednesday, the Greyhounds, who cordoned off the entire place, stopped them at a distance.

Refuting the charge, a police official said they only ‘advised’ the media not to venture into the forest as the Maoists might have planted land mines in the area.

Joint operation has Maoists on the run

By Sujeet Kumar

Raipur, March 20 (IANS) Faced with a joint operation of commandos of three states for the first time, hundreds of well-armed Maoist guerrillas are on the run from a sprawling forested area mainly covering Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh - known as India’s Maoist bastion. Young men and women who dreamt of capturing state power armed with rocket launchers and AK-47 rifles are now up against the joint forces of three states that also include Maharashtra. Police officers in charge say they will not rest till the Maoist militants are crushed.

A joint operation of the commandos of the three states that began last week has made considerable gains in dismantling Maoist bases in Chhattisgarh’s southern dense forests of Abujhmad, spread over some 4,000 sq km, security officials say

This is where the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) had dozens of war training facilities and arms manufacturing units besides what the authorities say is a ‘research and development unit’ to produce better weapons.

Police officials in Chhattisgarh say that the Maoists have a vast network in Abujhmad from where they virtually control their movement in 13 Indian states. The police had never dared to enter the forested area, a part of Bastar region. Giving a protective ring to the area were deadly landmines the Maoists had buried.

But commandos made a successful entry into Abujhmad for the first time in three decades with the help of de-mining squads. The security forces claim they forayed up to 400 sq km into the forests and dismantled their terror network.

“Our commandos pushed back Maoists in several kilometres inside. The Maoists are on the run for the first time in decades in their own territory,” Inspector General Girdhari Nayak, who heads Chhattisgarh’s Maoist operations, told IANS.

The joint operation destroyed over a dozen well-equipped hideouts of guerrillas. And officials say that the second phase of the crackdown will be more lethal.

“We are going to spell havoc for them. If they can hit police and civilians after coming out of the forests and then go back to their bases, now it is their turn to face the music,” a source in the home department said.

“We are not guerrillas, we are not going just for attacks. We will clear their landmines, finish off their bases and occupy the land,” the source added.

Another officer added: “The countdown has begun. The Maoists have started conceding their safest zones. We will go on till Maoists and Maoism are finished from Bastar in general and from Abujhmad in particular.”

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh told IANS: “We now have a massive corps of guerrilla warfare trained policemen. The Maoists will find it tough to handle them.”

The Maoists suffered one of the biggest setbacks last week when a joint operation by Andhra Pradesh’s elite Greyhounds and the Chhattisgarh Police led to the death of 17 senior guerrillas in Bijapur in Bastar region.

For years, more so since the People’s War Group (PWG) and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) joined forces, the guerrillas had transformed the largely inaccessible forests in Chhattisgarh bordering Andhra Pradesh as their bastion.

From here, they control a vast pan-India network, forcing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to describe the Maoists as the biggest security challenge to the Indian state.

Now the police are determined to end it all.

The government estimates that about 4,000 hardcore Maoists armed with AK-47 rifles, rocket launchers, light machine guns and self-loading rifles are active in the southern tip of Chhattisgarh.

Also in the picture are 35,000-40,000 second rank Maoists and their sympathisers. Violence blamed on the insurgents has claimed thousands of lives since the Maoist insurgency broke out in 1967 in a West Bengal village called Naxalbari.

Analysis:India reviews anti-Maoist group

By KUSHAL JEENA (UPI Correspondent)Published: March 19, 2008

Add CommentsNEW DELHI, March 19 (UPI) -- An Indian government panel has asked the government to re-examine the policy of arming militia groups to tackle Maoist rebels in Chhattisgarh state, arguing it has not helped in combating the rebellion.
The government-backed Administrative Reforms Commission asked the government to take another look at Salwa Judum (self-defense groups) used in the state, the most affected by Maoist violence.

"The government should take a serious re-look into the policy of Salwa Judum, which the Chhattisgarh government has been pursuing against the Maoist rebels, as raising of local resistance groups has not helped the security situation in the region," said Veerappa Moily, a senior lawmaker of the ruling Congress Party and the chairman of the commission, which released its seventh report on conflict resolution this week.

In the report, which Moily submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the commission reinforced the belief left-wing extremism is one of the biggest challenges to India's internal security. Since 2003 Chhattisgarh has topped a list of 11 Indian states affected by Maoist violence.

The commission in its latest report asked the government to improve infrastructure in disturbed areas in order to discourage local residents from supporting rebels.

"Indeed, there is a need to enhance the capacity of security forces to tackle Naxalism," Moily said. "The government needs to formulate policies for infrastructure and social development in Naxal-marred areas."

Naxal is the term used in India to describe Maoists. It comes from the village of Naxalbari where the movement first began in the 1970s.

Political parties, including the Congress and its left-wing allies, as well as human-rights groups, have been strong critics of Salwa Judum, an initiative begun by Chhattisgarh to counter insurgents.

"Even though Salwa Judum is publicized as a spontaneous awakening of the masses against extremists, today thousands of tribal people are protected in fortified camps pointing to disturbed life they are forced to lead," said the report.

Tribal residents who live in camps are vulnerable to rebel attacks, the report said, because militants can find them all in one location.

"These camps have been attacked by extremists leading to several deaths," the report said. "In the process, the poor tribals have been caught between the legitimate sovereign power of the state and the illegitimate coercive power of the extremist."

The Chhattisgarh government, on the other hand, backs its Salwa Judum policy, saying local people have awakened and are fighting against rebels.

"The Salwa Judum civil militia movement in the state is the biggest-ever decisive move to protect democracy against Maoists," Chhattisgarh Gov. E.S.L. Narsimhan said recently. "'The movement will find a place in history, as the Salwa Judum has now become a blaze from a flame.

"It's not only the duty of the state government to encourage the cadres but also the people to back them to wipe out Maoists."

The state government launched the movement in June 2005 in the rural Bastar district. The government later provided arms and monetary support to the groups of local villagers. Maoist guerrillas have killed nearly 1,000 people in the state since the movement was launched. More than 50,000 tribal residents have fled their villages to take shelter in 23 government-run relief camps due to threats from rebels.

Over the past two decades, the Maoist movement has gained support in Bastar and Dantewara districts, home to a corrupt government, poor infrastructure and poverty. The two sides began to clash when the rebels began redistributing land that had been in the same hands for centuries. The report says the rebels also killed those who opposed their policies, allowing the government to persuade local residents to form local resistance teams.

With an increased role for security in anti-insurgency offensives in Chhattisgarh, the rebels have begun killing the tribal population that joined Salwa Judum. They also warned the government and security forces to disband the groups.

"We, on behalf of the CC, Communist Party of India (Maoist), once again warn the state and central governments that our Bhumkal Sena and PLGA and people will carry out attacks on a much bigger scale if the murder campaign in the name of Salwa Judum is not disbanded immediately," said a statement of CPI (Maoist) carried in Indian Maoist, a party organ. "We declare that the sole responsibility for such needless loss of lives of hundreds of policemen and special police officers lies squarely on the shoulders of the state and central governments."

© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

Naxal menace should not be exaggerated: Shivraj Patil

20 Mar 2008, 0000 hrs IST,TNN


NEW DELHI: Home Minister Shivraj Patil said on Wednesday that the Naxalite problem should not be exaggerated lest it caused a scare among people.

"The Naxalite threat should not be exaggerated to create fear psychosis among people," Patil said in the Rajya Sabha.

The remark may appear to be at variance with PM Manmohan Singh's description of Naxalism as the country's biggest internal security threat, but Patil substantiated his argument saying the Naxal problem was confined to only 2% of the country's over 6.5 lakh villages and not in one-third of the country as projected.

Replying to supplementaries during question hour, Patil said it was earlier stated that 10 states and 180 districts in the country were affected by Naxalite problem.

Going by the number of states and districts, the problem may look enormous as it covers one-third of the country.

But at a micro level, only 300 police stations out of over 14,000 in the country have Naxalite activities, he added.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

SOMEN : Tight security before Maoist leader's arrival

Puruilia (WB) (PTI): Security has been tightened in Purulia district on Wednesday, a day before CPI(Maoist) State Committee Secretary Somen has to be produced in a local court.

"All nine checkposts bordering Jharkhand have been sealed. Extra policemen have been deployed to maintain vigil and patrol has been intensified in the district," Additional Superintendent of Police Pranab Das said.

Somen alias Himadri Sen Roy will be brought from Dum Dum Central Jail, Kolkata here tomorrow.

Somen had been remanded to police custody on March 8 by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Purulia Court, for allegedly blasting a CRPF camp under construction at Gurpana in Bandwan block of the district in 2005.

Somen's lawyer Sagar Mondal said a bail petition will be moved in the court again on Thursday.

Cops to be armed with GPS track sticks

Wednesday March 19 2008 11:37 IST
Express News Service

GUNTUR: Police constables on patrol duty at night will be provided Global Positioning System (GPS) gadgets to track their movement. Disclosing this to newsmen here on Tuesday, District Superintendent of Police Mahesh Chandra Laddha said they new system was being introduced for the first time in the State. Hitherto, Greyhounds personnel engaged in anti-Naxalite operations in deep forests, were only using GPS gadgets.
Explaining the salient features of the GPS Track Stick, the SP said it tracks the movement of a constable on night patrol through satellite. If a constable tries to be smart and switches off the gadget, the time and the place get recorded in it.

Unlike the GPS gadgets used by the Greyhounds personnel, the GPS Track Stick manufactured by Net India is small in size and can be carried in a pocket. The new device is being introduced to check the crime rate and make the patrol teams more accountable, the SP said.

At present 40 teams are patrolling the city at night. Each team comprising two police constables will be given a GPS track stick.

Ten GPS track sticks will also be provided to the officials of mobile patrol teams. The new system will be extended to other parts of the district in a phased manner, the SP said.

Joint forces gear up for big Naxal hunt

19 Mar, 2008, 0146 hrs IST,Bharti Jain, TNN


NEW DELHI: The neutralising of 17 Naxalites, including some Dalam leaders, on Monday night in joint operations by the Chattisgarh police and Andhra Pradesh’s Grey Hounds near Bijapur-Khammam border may only be a trailer. The big offensive, which will be on a military scale and involve surrounding the Naxals in their hideouts across Dantewada-Abujmarh region, is set to roll out in the next few days.

Chattisgarh has been sanctioned five additional battalions of Central forces for the special operations. While one battalion is already in the state, another two or three battalions may join them later this month. However, senior officials did not disclose the exact date when the latest offensive to bust Naxal strongholds will be launched. The central forces are likely to be put through a conditioning and familiarisation course before they hit the extremists-infested jungles.

As of now, the states of Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra are carrying out joint operations mainly aimed at area domination. For the past five days, Chattisgarh police and the Greyhounds are cracking down on Naxal settlements in the Dantewada-Bijapur belt on south Bastar-Andhra border, while Chattisgarh police and Maharashtra police are targeting Naxalite pockets in Abujmarh region along the Bastar-Gadchiroli border.

While four Naxalites were held in joint operations in the first four days, the big success came on Monday night, when a major Naxal camp was busted and at least 17 hardcore extremists were neutralised in the ensuing encounter. All the 17 bodies have been recovered. In addition, the police have recovered one AK-47, two SLRs, three .303 pistols, five double-barrel guns and communication equipment from the camp.

According to Chattisgarh DGP Vishwa Ranjan, who lauded the perfect co-ordination between his men and Andhra Pradesh’s Grey Hounds for the huge success, “The effort is to undertake such area domination operations not more than 2-3 times a month, enabling optimisation of forces.”

About 500 personnel each are involved in the ongoing twin operations. What is special about the latest offensive is the accompanying area domination — the strike forces do not retreat immediately, but stay on in the villages, otherwise out of bounds for the administration, talking to its inhabitants and making local contacts. This, according to Mr Vishwa Ranjan, will gradually strengthen ground-level intelligence gathering in the Naxalite-infested areas.

The Naxalites usually engage in an encounter with the security forces only if the latter’s numbers are small. If attacked by a big group, they prefer to retreat deeper into the jungles, while abandoning bodies of fellow Naxalites killed.

Aerial surveys, clear strategy do the trick

Wednesday March 19 2008 09:04 IST
B Satyanarayana Reddy

KHAMMAM: Aerial surveys to track down Maoist camps and their resources, along with a detailed strategy, is what clearly worked for the police in Tuesday’s encounter in which 17 Maoists were killed.

Nevertheless, the State police are on a state of high alert apprehending retaliatory attacks by the extremists.

Only three days ago this website’s newspaper had reported that police were gearing up to take on the Maoists ‘head-on’ and the strategy of the police in curbing the Maoists and their ‘theatre of activities’ in villages bordering Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has yielded the desired results.

In view of the escalating tension along the border villages, Khammam district superintendent of police DS Chouhan recently held meetings with police officials of the neighbouring State.

“Importantly, we had undertaken an aerial survey for two days last week to get a clear picture of the water points and the extremists’ hideouts in the thick forests,” police sources told this website's newspaper.

While Tuesday’s exchange of fire, which the police claim to be a major success, has led the police to apprehend a retaliatory strike in the coming months, they say that there would a lull in the Maoist activities for the next few days.

Meanwhile, an alert has been declared in the Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh and Bijapur and Dantewada districts of Chhattisgarh.

The Bhadrachalam Agency area, which stretches up to a distance of 250 km bordering Chhattisgarh, has become a haven for the Maoists as the thick forest cover provides them with tactical advantages to change locations rapidly and move freely in territories to which the police have had limited access all these years.

“Moreover, the Maoists formed a strong network by enlisting the support of Girijans and Guthikoyas to track the movements of the police,” the sources said, adding that the Naxalites were also providing military training to these tribals and taking them into their fold.

That the police were planning a major offensive against the extremists was clear after there were inputs about Maoists infiltrating from Chhattisgarh along with the Guttikoyas during the last few months.

Even senior officers of Greyhounds, the elite anti-extremist force, were frequently visiting the Bhadrachalam Agency area to take stock of the situation which, in itself, was an indication of the ‘fireworks’ which occurred on Tuesday.

Cameras to snoop on naxals in Jharkhand

Devesh K. Pandey


Jawans vulnerable to landmine attack in hilly terrain and thick forest: CRPF

2,000-strong task force a la Andhra Pradesh’s Greyhound being raised





RANCHI : Intensifying their anti-naxal campaign, the Jharkhand police will install video cameras for surveillance in the Parasnath Hills, where an operation, carried out in coordination with the Central Reserve Police Force, unearthed a base of the outfit this January.

The cost-effective video cameras, to be put at vantage points in the thick forest, will have an in-built mechanism to automatically transmit footage to the central monitoring system, giving ample time for the police to chalk out an action plan if they spot any naxal activity.

Through heavy deployment and regular combing operations, the police are preparing to sanitise the region, a Jain pilgrimage centre.

Also, a special task force, on the lines of Andhra Pradesh’s “Greyhound,” is being raised specifically to fight naxalism, which has gained ground in 18 of the 24 districts, said Director-General of Police Vishnu Dayal Ram.

The 2,000-strong task force would be fully equipped for conducting operations in inhospitable terrain of the State that has in the recent years seen a steep rise in naxal violence owing to underdevelopment and apathy on the part of the State administration to basic requirements of the people.

Another plan was to increase the strength of police stations falling under the naxal-affected zones and raise battalions of former servicemen. A jungle warfare training school was also being set up.

One more CRPF battalion was recently sanctioned by the Centre. Mr. Ram claimed the administration now had an upper hand over the naxals, thanks to intensive operations conducted by the police and paramilitary force.

In 2007, 478 incidents were reported in which 175 civilians were killed and on 14 occasions trains were targeted. The naxals staged 60 encounters with the police and the CRPF last year. Till February this year, 58 incidents were reported, 15 encounters conducted and 19 extremists killed. The forces were successful in preventing any attack on trains. In all, 14 civilians have been killed in naxal attacks in the past two months.

Coordination pays


While police officers attributed this success to the coordination between them and the paramilitary force, CRPF spokesperson Ajay Chaturvedi said, “The same level of coordination should be there in the other States also.”

On the problems on the ground, CRPF officers said the hilly terrain and thick forest, which were being used by the naxals as their hideouts, were a big hurdle. “Our jawans have to walk for miles as there are no proper roads. And the chances of their being targeted by landmines are imminent, especially as the naxals here have gained expertise in manufacturing and planting multiple, improvised explosive devices,” said a police officer

Naxal blood soaks state border

19 Mar 2008, 0042 hrs IST,TNN


KHAMMAM: In what could be the biggest setback to the naxalite movement in the country, 17 Maoists were killed in two encounters with the Andhra Pradesh police near the Chhattisgarh border on Tuesday morning.

It is suspected that North Telangana Special Zonal Committee (NTSZC) member Gajerla Ravi alias Ganesh along with four other dalam commanders were among those killed in the Greyhounds operation near a hillock at Dharmavaram village under Pamedu police station limits in Dharelli forest area. Six women Maoists and two other top cadre were among the encounter victims, it is learnt.

Police sources claim that the special party police along with the Khammam district police was on a routine combing operation between Cherla and Pamedu areas in the deep forests when they came across the Maoists. But analysts averred that the police had definite information about the plenum of the Maoist leaders and swooped on them while they were holding the meeting .Two landmines, one AK-47, three SLRs and 12 other weapons have been recovered from the encounter site. Though 40 Maoists escaped after the two encounters which took place between 9 am and 2 pm, a majority of the slain Maoists belonged to the Andhra Pradesh cadre, police sources said. The sources also claimed that the huge seizure of weapons indicated that top state committee leaders and district committee members had assembled in the Dharelli area falling under Bijapur district limits of Chhattisgarh.

The Greyhounds continued to scour the areas though the firing has stopped, the sources said. Khammam district SP D S Chouhan said the slain Maoists are yet to be identified. He said the bodies could be brought to Cherla mandal in AP, 25 km from the encounter site, on Wednesday. "We cannot take chances as our forces may face reprisals from the Maoists", he said.

The sources said that Tuesday's encounters will hit NTSZC badly as it is the most powerful body in the Maoist hierarchy after the central committee. "The fact that six members of central committee belong to NTSZC indicates the clout it has in the Maoist party ranks", an analyst said. Home minister K Jana Reddy confirmed the encounter deaths in Hyderabad, while Virasam leader K Varavara Rao has condemned the ‘fake encounter' saying the government's efforts to suppress the revolutionary movement through such encounters will not succeed.

Demanding that a case under section 302 of IPC be booked against the cops responsible for the encounter, Varavara Rao said it was a joint operation by the AP police and their Chhattisgarh counterparts with the Centre chipping in. "The Centre provided the Naga-Mizo forces, which is part of the CRPF, to conduct the early morning raid on the Maoist camp", he said.

The Virasam leader said the latest encounter came when the AP High Court has reserved its judgment on whether or not to book cases of culpable homicide against the policemen involved in encounters.

He however said he is not aware whether any top Maoist leader was killed in the encounter. Balladeer Gadar said it was inhuman as police killed those who were in deep sleep.

The loss on the Maoist side in Tuesday's encounters is the biggest in the past 16 years. Fourteen naxals were killed in the Pagideru encounter in Khammam district in 1992. In the Manala encounter in Karimnagar district in 2004, 10 naxals were killed, while the Maoists had lost 11 of its cadre in 2001 in the Mukhnoor encounter in Warangal district.

Andhra Pradesh Government continues combing operations against Naxals

March 19th, 2008

Khammam, Mar 19 (ANI): The Andhra Pradesh Government has decided to continue with its anti-Naxal combing operation along the states border with Chhattisgarh.
A joint exercise called “Operation Area Demolition” by Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra Police has been launched along the contiguous borders of the three states.
Several districts, including those in North Andhra Pradesh and in Chhattisgarh have been placed on red alert to counter possible retaliation by the Naxals.
Police stations in several districts have been put on a state of high alert and politicians and bureaucrats have been asked to move to safer places.
D.S.Chauhan, Superintendent of Police of Khammam District, is monitoring the situation. He has set up camp at Cherla, 30 kms from the inter-state border.
Andhra Pradesh Police suspects that top naxal leader and North Telangana Special Zonal Committee (NTSZC) member Gajerla Ravi, alias Ganesh, along with five other ‘dalam’ commanders were among those killed in the encounter near a hillock in Darelli forest of Pamedu Police Station on Tuesday. (ANI)

Operation Gosama to continue

Wednesday March 19 2008 13:24 IST
ENS

BERHAMPUR: The ongoing combing operation by security forces in Gosama forest has led to recovery of around 1.19 lakh bullets and 659 firearms, including a mortar and four machine guns. The bomb detection squads also recovered 78 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) including landmines.

This was announced by Ganjam SP S. Debadutta Singh. Briefing the media after holding the district crime meeting today at Chatrapur, he said search of a sizable portion of Gosama forest has already been completed. The combing operation would continue till the entire forest is scanned.

He said all possible precautions had been taken for protection of people in the district and urged them not to believe in rumours. Describing the Naxal attack on Nayagarh and Gallery and recovery of looted arms and ammunition as biggest of their kind, Singh said around 400 radicals of five states - Andhra, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa - took part in the attack.

Quoting from confessions made by arrested Maoist Manjulata Muduli, who was part of the attack on February 15, Singh said Naxals began gathering in Gosama forest near Sinharadi hill from February 12 to prepare for the attack. Manjulata was arrested along with another hardcore cadre Pratap Kimbaka from Ranikiari village near Gallery outpost.

The two Naxals were brought on remand from court twice and interrogated for around 13 days, Singh said. He declined to give details regarding confessions saying further investigations would be jeopardised.

However, he said the two were being lodged at Bhanjanagar jail. During interrogation, Manjulata was taken to the Gosama hill and areas near it to find details regarding the Naxal operation, Singh said and added while the Naxals left for Nayagarh, she along with 10 others stayed back at Gosama as back-up.

Regarding death of Naxals in the encounter, he said the Naxals had themselves admitted to two deaths, but the exact toll can be obtained only after the bodies were recovered. However, seizure of blood-stained clothes in the forest indicate that the toll might be more than 10, he said.

Cops bust ex-Naxal clique

Wednesday March 19 2008 09:05 IST
Express News Service

KARIMNAGAR: The sircilla police on Tuesday arrested seven members of the Telangana Jagarana Sena (TJS), an outfit allegedly created by some former Naxals, and recovered two 9.mm pistols, an air pistol, two fake guns, five soap bombs and 16 rounds of ammunition from them.

The group planned to eliminate the leaders opposed to the Telangana cause and to extort money. They were to use violent means to achieve a separate Telangana.

According to Superintendent of Police Y Gangadhar, a special team led by Sircilla DSP Mogilaiah, raided a TJS hideout on the outskirts of Namapur village in Mustabad mandal.

The arrested include: P Thirupati Goud, M Ramulu, A Srinivas Reddy, K Rathnakar, M Purnachandar, M Rajesh and E Mallesam.

They hail from the villages in Sircilla division. Five more members of the gang - identified as V Ramesh, Ch Raju, K Mohan Reddy, S Ramulu and R Madu - are at large and efforts are on to nab them.

Interestingly, K Mohan Reddy, one of the accused, is the director of the Sircilla-based Cooperative Electric Supply Society Limited.

“The gang members procured arms from a Bihar-based person a year ago to set up the militant outfit,” the SP said.

“We have thus averted a major crisis as the outfit members had even conducted a recce on a legislator and were planning to assassinate him,” he said.

Siricilla DSP Mogialaiah, CI Venugopal Rao and SIs of Yellareddypet and Mustabad were present at the media briefing.

Joint operation hits Maoists hard

19 Mar 2008, 0207 hrs IST,TNN


RAIPUR/KHAMMAM: In the biggest single-day offensive against the Maoists ever, the elite anti-Naxal force of Andhra Pradesh "Greyhounds", assisted by Chhattisgarh security personnel, gunned down 17 ultra-red cadres during a three-hour battle in the forests of Bijapur, Bastar, early Tuesday morning.

It is suspected that North Telangana Special Zonal Committee (NTSZC) member Gajerla Ravi, alias Ganesh, along with
five other 'dalam' commanders, were among those killed in the encounter near a hillock in Darelli forest.

A source said the special police team was on a routine combing operation at Dharmavaram under Pamed police station in Bijapur along Chhattisgarh-Andhra Pradesh border when they came across a huge group of red rebels.

IGP, Bastar range, R K Vij told TOI the Greyhounds and state police inflicted heavy casualties on the Maoists.

"Besides 17 bodies of the Maoists, we seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition," he said. Two landmines, two AK-47s, three SLRs and 14 other weapons have been recovered from the encounter site. A majority of the slain Maoists belonged to the AP cadre.
"The police are still in the deep forests and the real picture will emerge once they return to their base camp," he said, adding security forces have not suffered any casualty.

Some of the major encounters between security forces and Maoists resulting in massive casualties of red brigades include 13 Maoists in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh on February 18, 2008; 14 Maoists in Khammam, Andhra Pradesh, in 1992; 10 Maoists in Karimnagar, Andhra Pradesh, in 2004; 11 Maoists in Warangal in 2001; and, 10 Maoists on Jharkhand-Bihar border in 2006.

An Andhra Pradesh police source said Tuesday’s encounter will hit NTSZC badly as it is the most powerful body in the Maoist hierarchy after the central committee.

"The fact that six members of central committee belong to NTSZC indicates the clout it has in the Maoist party ranks," an analyst said.

Meanwhile, a joint exercise called "Operation Area Demolition" by Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra police has been launched along the contiguous borders of the three states. Border districts of Orissa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are on high alert.

"We have also sealed the borders to eliminate the possibility of Maoists' escape," said a senior police officer.
The operation is believed to have successfully liberated the hilly forest terrains from the Maoists' control in its first phase.

Around 1,000 security personnel from these states are involved in the joint operations. "After success in the initial joint operation, a bigger offensive will be launched which would require more manpower. We have requested the Centre for more CRPF personnel who will be reaching here shortly," said Chhattisgarh DGP Vishwaranjan.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

17 Maoists killed in encounter

D. Chandra Bhaskar Rao


PAMEDU (Chhattisgarh): Dispelling the notion of impregnability of Bastar forests, security forces managed to inflict a stunning blow to Maoist rebels, when they carried out precision raids and shot dead as many as 17 rebels in one of the biggest counter-insurgency operations in recent times in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday morning.

Police recovered weapons including an AK-47, three Self Loading Rifles (SLRs), landmines and many single shot weapons during two spells of the ambushes in Darelli forest of Pamedu police station falling in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh.

There were seven women among the slain Maoists. The fact that the security forces suffered no casualties spoke of the precision of the raids and perfect coordination among different police agencies of the two States, police officers said.

A top Maoist leader from Andhra Pradesh and four squad commanders of Khammam district were believed to be among those slain.

Fierce gun battle


The fierce gun battle, in which the security forces apparently seized the initiative, took place about ten kilometres from Andhra Pradesh border and the Maoists believed to be attending a plenum meeting were obviously taken by surprise.

The police said more than 500 shots were fired on both sides in two spells — one at 9 a.m. and another four hours later.

Some 13 were killed in the first spell of gun battle while the other four fell to police bullets in the second assault. While firing ceased around 2 p.m., security forces were still combing the area, in the belief that more naxal squads could be found. Police contingents from Khammam in Andhra Pradesh and Bijapur in Chhattisgarh were inching their way to the scene of exchange of fire.

Security has been further tightened on the A.P.-Chhattisgarh border and also in the villages on either side of the border.

Retrieval of bodies


The Tuesday assault, stated as a turning point in counter-insurgency operations in Chhattisgarh, was taken up after the police conducted an aerial survey of the forests on the inter-State border last week following intelligence inputs about the Maoist gathering.

More than 60 Maoists were reportedly attending the plenum while some militants were guarding the place, when police carried out the raid.

Khammam Superintendent of Police D.S. Chauhan confirmed that those killed in the encounter were mostly from Khammam district. He said operations were on for retrieval of the bodies as well as the search for those who managed to escape.

Incidentally, 16 policemen were ambushed and mowed down in automatic gunfire, after a police team on its way to Pamed police station literally walked into the deadly trap laid by the rebels in the same jungles on November 2, 2007.

Only five policemen managed to escape from the rebels who used light machine guns and mortars in the ambush.

Unarmed forces to shield tigers

ANINDO DEY
Ranchi, March 18: An army would be raised to protect tigers but they would not be armed to keep preying Naxalites away.

Encouraged by the new initiative in tiger conservation with a special provision of Rs 50 crore in the Union budget, Palamau Tiger Reserve (PTR) has decided to raise a Strike Force and a Tiger Protection Force.

Principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) A.K. Singh said: “The guards would help us protect the tigers but they would not be armed. Arms are a sure lure for Naxalites, who could target the guards to steal the guns.”

The decision to form the squads was taken at a special meeting of field directors of tiger reserves. The National Tiger Conservation Authority had organised the meeting at Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh on March 15.

Field director of Palamau Tiger Reserve Ram Naresh Prasad said PTR had no force to guard the reserve. “But now a 31-member Strike Force would be formed and would consist of ex-army men while the Tiger Protection Force would comprise local people and ex-army men,” he said.

The strength of the protection force would depend on the grants sanctioned.

The Centre would provide funds for both the forces, the field director said.

PTR is also preparing a Tiger Conservation Plan that would be submitted by the end of this month.

“So long we had a tiger management plan in Palamau. It mainly focused on management of the tigers’ populace at the reserve. Issues such as conflict of humans and animals featured in this plan. But now, we would be formulating a Tiger Conservation Plan. One of the major issues to be tackled under the new programme is ensuring that the reserve is poaching-free. Saving the habitat of tigers and increasing grasslands to supply fodder to the carnivores would feature in the plan,” said Prasad.

The reserve is also preparing a blueprint to relocate the residents of about eight villages in the core area so that the tigers would get a better natural habitat. However, the principal chief conservator of forests said, the relocation would not be compulsory.

“There are about eight villages and we are planning to relocate them. Once the plan is ready, we will submit it to the Centre for approval. The plan would have details on the area where the villagers would be relocated and the modus operandi. All relocation will be voluntary,” Singh added.

The Palamau sanctuary was brought under Project Tiger in 1973 and is among the first nine such reserves of the country. According to the last census, there are just 17 tigers here. However, forest officials said the dwindling number cannot be attributed to poaching alone.

Videos to snoop on naxals in Jharkhand

Devesh K. Pandey



Jawans vulnerable to landmine attack in hilly terrain and thick forest: CRPF

2,000-strong task force a la Andhra Pradesh’s Greyhound being raised






RANCHI : Intensifying their anti-naxal campaign, the Jharkhand police will install video cameras for surveillance in the Parasnath Hills, where an operation, carried out in coordination with the Central Reserve Police Force, unearthed a base of the outfit this January.

The cost-effective video cameras, to be put at vantage points in the thick forest, will have an in-built mechanism to automatically transmit footage to the central monitoring system, giving ample time for the police to chalk out an action plan if they spot any naxal activity.

Through heavy deployment and regular combing operations, the police are preparing to sanitise the region, a Jain pilgrimage centre.

Also, a special task force, on the lines of Andhra Pradesh’s “Greyhound,” is being raised specifically to fight naxalism, which has gained ground in 18 of the 24 districts, said Director-General of Police Vishnu Dayal Ram.

The 2,000-strong task force would be fully equipped for conducting operations in inhospitable terrain of the State that has in the recent years seen a steep rise in naxal violence owing to underdevelopment and apathy on the part of the State administration to basic requirements of the people.

Another plan was to increase the strength of police stations falling under the naxal-affected zones and raise battalions of former servicemen. A jungle warfare training school was also being set up.

One more CRPF battalion was recently sanctioned by the Centre. Mr. Ram claimed the administration now had an upper hand over the naxals, thanks to intensive operations conducted by the police and paramilitary force.

In 2007, 478 incidents were reported in which 175 civilians were killed and on 14 occasions trains were targeted. The naxals staged 60 encounters with the police and the CRPF last year. Till February this year, 58 incidents were reported, 15 encounters conducted and 19 extremists killed. The forces were successful in preventing any attack on trains. In all, 14 civilians have been killed in naxal attacks in the past two months.

Coordination pays


While police officers attributed this success to the coordination between them and the paramilitary force, CRPF spokesperson Ajay Chaturvedi said, “The same level of coordination should be there in the other States also.”

On the problems on the ground, CRPF officers said the hilly terrain and thick forest, which were being used by the naxals as their hideouts, were a big hurdle. “Our jawans have to walk for miles as there are no proper roads. And the chances of their being targeted by landmines are imminent, especially as the naxals here have gained expertise in manufacturing and planting multiple, improvised explosive devices,” said a police officer.

Naxal Task Force’s new mantra: ‘A bullet for a bullet’

Express news service
Posted online: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 at 10:47:36
Updated: Tuesday , March 18, 2008 at 11:09:38

Lucknow, March 18 A day after 17 Naxals were gunned down during a special operation near the Andhra Pradesh-Chhattisgarh border, the Naxal Task Force on Tuesday decided to counter the Maoist threat by bullets.
“We have decided to reply by bullets during any operation against the Naxals, as they are against development,” said the chairperson of the Task Force and special secretary (Internal Security) of the Union Home Ministry, Mahendra Kumavat, here today. During the meeting of the task force that was held here for the first time, the members called for a better coordination and sharing of intelligence inputs between the Naxal-affected states to counter its growing menace.

Kumavat rejected the notion that lack of development is fuelling the Naxal’s strength and added, “the Naxals were against development as they have burnt thousands of buses in Andhra Pradesh and also bombed telephone exchanges, schools buildings and culverts in that state.” He further stated that the Centre has already sanctioned over Rs 1,000 crore for the development of the Naxal-affected areas of the country and there is no dearth of funds for it.

‘The government can no longer tolerate such activities. Now they will be dealt accordingly,” he said. Justifying the strict measures against the group, Kumavat said, “When Naxals are armed with sophisticated firearms, they can only be controlled through force.”

Over 43 senior officials, including three officials from the Indian Army, CRPF, SSB, top police officials from the Naxal-affected states and ADG (Intelligence) of Maharashtra, West Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, attended the meeting. At the daylong meeting, officials discussed the recent Nayagarh police station attack in Orissa and the subsequent combing operations where over 1,000 arms were snatched from the fleeing Naxals.

“The Naxals have a very good co-ordination among themselves as ultras from other states were present during the Nayagarh police station attack,” Kumavat told reporters. He also admitted that interaction and co-operation between the Naxals and terrorist outfits like the ULFA of Assam and NSCN of Nagaland and Pakistan’s intelligence wing ISI are growing.

Only effective coordination among the Naxal-affected states can counter the Maoists strong hold, he added.

He, however, rejected the assumption that Indian Naxals were getting arms and ammunition from the Maoist groups in Nepal. The Indian Maoists are better equipped than that of Nepal and there is no need of such cooperation, he added.

He said frontal organisations floated by the CPI (Maoist) were creating hurdle in the operation against the Naxals in several states as these organisations were active among different sections of society like the trade unions and youth and also in some schools in Jharkhand.

The meeting also discussed the strategies adopted by different states and appreciated the effective operations conducted by the Grey Hounds, the special force floated by the Andhra Pradesh government to counter Naxals.

17 Naxalites including six women killed in encounters

Wednesday March 19 2008 00:00 IST
PTI

HYDERABAD: In a blow to CPI-Maoist outfit, 17 naxalites, including six women, were killed in two different encounters with police in the forests on the border of Andhra Pradesh-Chattishgarh Tuesday.

About 60 Naxals assembled in the forest area to hold a meeting when the police surrounded them and opened fire.

Home Minister K Jana Reddy told media persons here that the personnel of Greyhound, an elite force of anti-naxals and Chattisgarh police jointly carried the operation between Cherla and Pameru police stations limits.

It is suspected that beside six Dalam (group) commanders, two prominent Naxal leaders were among the victims, a report from Khammam quoting police sources said.

The exchange of fire took place in the thick forest areas which fall under the jurisdiction of Chattisgarh state, the Home Minister said.

Pro-naxal revolutionary writer Varavara Rao alleged it was a fake encounter and the police opened fire at the naxals when they were holding a plenary in the forest.

Andhra Pradesh have launched an intensive combing operations on the borders of neighbouring states particularly Chattishgarh and Orrisa.

Maoists have nexus with terrorists: official

Lucknow, March 18 (IANS) Maoist rebels are in touch with certain terrorist outfits based in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast, a senior official said here Tuesday. “While we were still trying to ascertain their modus operandi for maintaining contact, we have also thrashed out a sound strategy to deal with them,” Anil Kumawat, secretary (internal security), told mediapersons.

“I do not think the Indian Naxal (Maoist) outfits depend on Nepal Naxalites for supply of arms for which they have their own network, but we have sufficient reason to believe that they are in regular contact with each other,” he remarked in reply to a query.

He was speaking after the first day’s deliberations at a two-day meeting of the anti-Maoist task force.

Top cops from Maoist affected states have converged here for the meet, aimed at evolving a strategy to check the expanding tentacles of aggressive Maoist groups in at least eight Indian states.

Focusing on Maoist operations in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh, Kumawat stressed upon the need for effective coordinated effort among the states.

“Ironically, Maoist groups in different states had far better coordination among them than we have among the police forces,” he said.

“Logically speaking, there should be no reason why the states cannot work in tandem by sharing intelligence inputs to deal with the menace, but there was still much to be done in that direction,” he added.

Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, AP join hands against Naxals



CNN-IBN



Published on Tue, Mar 18, 2008 at 12:33, Updated at Tue, Mar 18, 2008 in Nation section

Tags: Naxals, Chhattisgarh , New Delhi
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New Delhi: For the first time three states, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh have launched a joint operation to combat Naxalites.


On Tuesday, 14 Naxals were killed in an encounter in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh.


A 1,000-strong police commando force from the three states were deployed in the Naxal stronghold of Bastar in Chhattisgarh where they targeted forest camps in two separate operations.


Chhattisgarh Police say that at least three big Naxalite camps and a dozen smaller ones have been destroyed.


In the first operation, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra police targeted Naxalites in the Abujhmad forests bordering Narayanpur in Chhattisgarh and Gadchiroli in Maharashtra.


The Greyhounds, Andhra’s anti-Naxal force, and Chhattisgarh Police commandos carried out the second operation in the forests of south Bastar region.


No casualties were reported, but weapons, provisions and Naxalite literature were seized.


The state police have confirmed that from now on, such operations will be carried out regularly.

Twelve Maoists killed in Khammam

Hyderabad (PTI): Twelve Maoists were killed in an encounter with police in the thick forest area of Khammam district in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday.

The exchange of fire took place when the special police party of Greyhounds, an anti-naxal elite force, was on a combing operation between Cherla and Pamedu police station limits in the forest, according to preliminary reports reaching the police headquarters here.

The slain naxals are yet to be identified and it is suspected that two of them were top Maoists leaders, police sources said.

So far 10 bodies have been recovered and two AK-47 and four SLR have been found from the spot, they added.

Paper bombs: The latest terror threat

3/18/2008 11:49:18 AM

Jharkhan police hold up a 'paper bomb'
The latest weapon of terror is a slim sheet of paper. Naxals have devised paper bombs - the latest addition to their lethal arsenal - to take on their unsuspecting adversaries.

In the Naxals' latest weapon of terror, ammunition is hidden between two slim sheets of paper and any attempt to open them will set off an explosion. The bomb could be disguised as a file, or even an ordinary rundown children's story book. Police have recovered 800 gms of RDX hidden in such 'paper bombs', during recent raids.

Deep within the forests of Jhumra Hills in Bokaro, Jharkhand, Naxals are testing this newest addition to their arsenal.

Says Nitish Priyadarshi, a nuclear expert based in Ranchi, "The explosives are inserted between the thin pages in powder form, and it's controlled either by a radio signal or by some other timers. The concern is that basically that a dirty bomb can be planted inside."

The term 'dirty bomb' is primarily used to refer to a radiological dispersal device (RDD), a radiological weapon which combines radioactive material with conventional explosives. The conventional explosive itself would likely have more immediate lethal effect than the radioactive material - since not enough radiation would be present inside a paper bomb to cause severe illness or death. But by combining small amounts of conventional explosives with radioactive material terrorists can cause added psychological harm through ignorance, mass panic, and terror.

R K Mallick, spokesperson for Jharkhand Police, said the bombs recovered were "some sort of Improved Explosive Device" reminiscent of what was used by terrorists during the Punjab insurgency days.

The discovery clearly proves that Red army has taken its war to a whole new level. Traditionally forests have been the area of dominance of the Naxals but as they arm themselves with newer and more sophisticated technology alarm bells are ringing within Jharkhand police - a force which is perhaps the worst equipped to tackle the Red menace.

(By Jagori Dhar)

14 Maoists killed in Andhra Pradesh


Hyderabad (PTI): Fourteen Maoists, including four women, were killed in an encounter with police in Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday.

The special police party of Greyhounds, an elite anti-naxal force, exchanged fire with the naxals in a thick forest area bordering Chhattisgarh state, 5 km. from the Andhra border, Khammam District SP S D Chowhan told PTI. The firing between the police team and Maoists is still continuing near the Darutla forest area, he said adding 13 bodies have been recovered from the scene so far.

Firing has been on since the last three hours, the SP said.

Police suspect that six Maoist commanders were among the slain naxalites, who are yet to be identified.

Meanwhile, Civil Liberties leader Varavara Rao has dubbed the encounter as "fake" and alleged that "a joint team of Andhra and Chhattisgarh police have killed the Maoists when they were holding a meeting in the forest."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Jharkhand police offer cash for information and Tips

Dipankar Bose,

RANCHI (Jharkhand), March 16: Bogged down by continuous lack of on-time information in tracing and detecting explosives, land mines, automatic rifles, detonators and other ammunitions used by Maoist extremists across Jharkhand for subversive activities, the Jharkhand state police has formulated a new policy ~ to dangle the cash carrot in return for vital information regarding arms and explosives planted by the extremists.

The state’s director general of police, Mr VD Ram had mooted the plan some time back, which has been finally given a go ahead by the state home department. The money to be paid to individuals providing information will be paid from the state’s exchequer by the state government.

“We were getting information on a regular basis, but on many occasions we have found they were either reaching us late or were not exactly correct. This was happening because other than the regular information provided to us by the intelligence branch and the information bureau, the informants who are mere good citizens, did not have any reason to do so. Neither had they understood the urgency involved in disseminating this type of information to the police or other state government authorities. This new move of rewarding the informants will surely be a morale booster for them. We expect to get more reliable and on-time information from now on,” Mr Ram told The Statesman.

According to the plans by the state police, the informants will be receiving a cash reward of up to Rs 1 lakh if they provide credible and on-time information about land mines, sophisticated wireless communication equipment and automatic and semi-automatic firearms. Similarly information about all types of bombs will fetch Rs 25,000 and if information about materials required for making bombs are being provided, then the cash reward will be Rs 10,000.

Guns and rifles ranging from single barrel rifles to double barrel ones, from regular revolvers and sophisticated pistols to country-made pistols, information about everything now carries a price tag in between Rs 50,000 and Rs 15,000.
The state home department has already finalised and will shortly issue two separate telephone numbers exclusively for this type of information. All details of the informants will be kept confidential and payments will also be made without any fanfare.

It may be recalled that intelligence failures in the state police has already led the deaths of Jamshedpur MP Sunil Mahato and youngest son of former chief minister Mr Babulal Marandi, both executed by Maoist extremists last year.

Rates of information

• Land mines, wireless communication equipment, auto
matic and semi-automatic rifles: Rs 1 lakh.
• Regular rifles: Rs 50,000
• Double-barrel rifles: Rs 40,000
• Regular revolvers and sophisticated pistols: Rs 70,000
• All types of bombs: Rs 25,000
• Materials required for making bombs: Rs 10,000
• Country-made revolver, pistols or sten guns: Rs15,000
• Detonators: Rs 500
• Rifle cartridges: Rs 100
• Double-barrel and single-barrel gun cartridges: Rs 70
• All types of pistol and revolver cartridges: Rs 50

Intelligence reports warn of Maoist attacks in Chhattisgarh

March 17th, 2008 - 3:36 pm

Raipur, March 17 (IANS) Thousands of police and paramilitary troopers deployed in Chhattisgarh’s Maoist stronghold Bastar region were put on high alert in the wake of fresh intelligence inputs that warned of major attacks on forces and civilians bases, officials said Monday. “Maoist guerrillas are desperate to go for major strikes either on police posts or relief camps in the state’s extreme southern Bijapur and neighbouring Dantewada districts,” a top official of the police intelligence department told IANS Monday, referring to recent inputs.

Bijapur and Dantewada along with Kanker, Bastar and Narayanpur districts form the hilly Bastar region of about 40,000 sq km that is rich in iron ore reserves but has witnessed major attacks by rebels since June 2005 including the killing of 55 policemen in March last year in Bijapur.

The officer said that 36,991 people from 201 villages in Dantewada district and 10,949 people from 275 villages in Bijapur are living in 23 government-run makeshift relief camps due to life threats from Maoist after they launched a civil militia movement, Salwa Judum, against insurgents in June 2005.

“Forces in Bastar either stationed at police camps or relief camps for civilians’ security are always on high alert but senior police officials commanding security in Bastar have now been briefed about the latest inputs and are advised to further strengthen security,” the source said.

Police officials say that about 4,000 hardcore Maoists carrying AK-47 rifles, rocket launchers, LMG and SLR are active in the southern tip of the state, backed by another 35,000-40,000 second-rank Maoists with guns, bows and arrows and other traditional weapons.

Maoists shot dead Ex-Singareni worker

Monday March 17 2008 15:16 IST
ENS

KARIMNAGAR: Four unidentified miscreants, suspected to be Maoists, on Sunday shot dead a former Singareni coal mine worker - identified as Pittala Sankaraiah (50) - at his home in Kanagarthi village of Peddapalli mandal.

His son was killed a few years ago by the Maoists on the suspicion of tipping off the police about the Naxal activities. At around 12.30 a.m., four unidentified assailants knocked his door to wake up a sleeping Sankaraiah. They whisked him away, rained boulders on him and shot him dead. Though Sankaraiah screamed for help, no one came to his rescue. After he dropped dead, the assailants sped away.

According to Peddapalli CI Habeeb Khan, bullet wound fired from a .9 mm pistol was found on Sankaraiah's back, besides boulder injuries. Two more empty shells of bullets were also recovered from the spot.

56 NGOs raising funds, cadres for naxals in state

Ganesh Kanate & Vijay Singh
Monday, March 17, 2008 11:24 IST



Law doesn’t permit action against sympathisers: Police

MUMBAI: The naxal threat in Maharashtra is far more serious than perceived. The intelligence wing has sent the state home department a list of 56 non-government organisations (NGOs) that raise funds and conduct recruitment for naxalites.

The naxals, through these NGOs, are targeting tribals and farmers who may lose land to the special economic zones (SEZs).

Worse still, the police say they can do little to rein in these NGOs as the law doesn’t permit action against “sympathisers of an ideology”— naxalism in this case.

Director General of Police AN Roy told DNA: “According to the latest information, naxalites are set to intrude into ongoing conflicts in which farmers’ interests are involved. Anti-SEZ fights where farm land is proposed to be acquired are their next targets.”
The NGOs have been under the scanner for quite some time now and are based in Mumbai, Pune, and Nagpur.

And all of them work under the umbrella of the Tactical United Front (TUF) and the All India People’s Resistance Forum (AIPRF) — a conglomerate of groups sympathising with the naxal cause.

A senior officer from the state intelligence department told DNA, “We have concrete information that these 56 NGOs work for naxalites and are raising funds and recruiting people at various levels. The funds so raised are channelled through various conduits that they have created over a period of time.”

The officer said: “Run by educated people, these NGOs are instrumental in conducting brainwash sessions of the new recruits, who are primarily locals and tribals from Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Bhandara, and Yavatmal districts.”

And the modus operandi is simple. According to intelligence reports, the NGOs ensure that the tribal workers hired by the government contractors engaged for collection of tendu leaves from the forests of Chandrapur and Gadchiroli districts are paid more wages than the others. “These better deals and assured jobs are used to lure new recruits by these NGOs,” the officer explained.

Taking serious note of the intelligence report, Roy toured the entire Naxal-hit belt of the state immediately after taking over the as the DGP. After the tour, he held a meeting with the senior police officers of the state last Tuesday to discuss the problem and possible action plans to tackle Naxals.

But senior officers express helplessness in taking any action against these NGOs. Roy told DNA: “We are not in a hurry to form any view or take any action against these NGOs because of various legal hurdles involved. If we take an action in haste and later allow them to go scot-free, it would be a waste of efforts. As of now, we are keeping our eyes and ears open and keeping strict watch on some of them.”

Senior officers say at the most these NGOs could be labelled “sympathisers” and not active members of the naxal groups. “And, being a sympathiser of any ideology is no crime in this country,” an intelligence officer said.

To avoid this hurdle, the anti-naxal cell of the Maharashtra police had even requested the state government to get the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) amended by the Centre so that stringent action could be initiated against naxal sympathisers. “The proposal also clearly requests that words such as ‘naxalites’, ‘sympathisers’ and ‘frontal organisations’ be clearly redefined in the light of the latest developments,” a senior police officer told DNA.
The spread and the presence of the naxal wings in Mumbai had come to fore when the anti-terrorism squad of the police arrested Sridhar Srinivasan alias Vishanu, allegedly a politburo member of Communist Party of India (Maoist), along with another senior naxal leader Vernon Gonsalves alias Vikram. These arrests were followed by many more in Thane and Nagpur.

Red catch: Cops' concern goes up

Monday March 17 2008 09:45 IST
Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Orissa Police’s recent spate of successes against Naxals has a flip side to it.

The more number of cadres the cops have managed to lay their hands on through operations, the security concern of prison authorities has gotten bigger.

The handful of jails where the Red radicals have been lodged, are witnessing continuous change in their security plans and strategies since Naxals have in the past shown a penchant for targeting them.

The Cuttack Circle Jail at Choudwar saw reinforcement of security barely two days back while the prison at Sambalpur too has experienced a similar beef-up in the arrangement. Needless to say, Prison Administration is on its toes all the time.

The last one year has seen a sizeable number of Left radicals - hardcore and cadres - nabbed and thrown behind bars. Police of Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Deogarh, Jajpur, Malkangiri and Koraput made significant inroads into Naxals’ camp in recent times.

Going by reliable sources, the total number of Naxals lodged in different jails of the State would be about 100. Most of them are housed in Malkangiri, Koraput, Paralakhemundi, Berhampur, Baripada and Sambalpur jails.

“There is a laid-down procedure of classifying vulnerability of a jail, and also security that it needs. But we have to see beyond that given the dynamic situation. One Anna Reddy in a jail can mean a big difference to the security plans,” said a Home Department official.

Anna Reddy, the head of CPML (Janashakti)’s Orissa unit, was arrested from a city-based hospital recently. Wanted in a series of murders, extortion and attacks, he is currently lodged at Choudwar jail where security was beefed up.

Similar is the case of Sambalpur where in the recent past, a number hardcore Naxal activists were nabbed by police. Koraput Jail has five Tamil cadres who were arrested from Madurai. Some of them too have links with LTTE.

The fact is the existing outer security arrangement of prisons needs to be fortified. Moreover, a large number of vacancies and delay in creation of posts to man the newly-constructed jails have not helped the matter.

“The State Government is in the process of recruiting 400 warders and more than 40 assistant jailors. It will greatly ease the pressure off the existing prisons which are packed,” IG (Prisons) V Thiagarajan said when contacted.

Want to join Naxals? Get two recommendations

Devashree Mahajan / CNN-IBN

Published on Mon, Mar 17, 2008 at 09:46 in Nation section

Palamu, Jharkhand: It is lean season for Naxal activity in Jharkhand, a time which both the police and the Red army are utilising to recruit foot soldiers.


Getting into the Naxal training camp begins with some paperwork. Candidates have to fill in a form, which requires them to detail their personal and educational qualifications. The candidates also have to cite instances to prove their loyalty to the cause.


“Those who are honest are recruited after filling the form. Two people have to recommend the recruit,” explained a Naxalite Kislay, who is currently being held by the Palamu Police.


Meanwhile, the Jharkhand Police have not made loyalty a criterion but want physically fit men to fight the Naxals on harsh terrains. They are confident that the talented lot would choose a government job over the Red philosophy.


“We select the best candidates,” said Palamu SP, Deepak Verma. “This is a government job and there is a guaranteed monthly salary. They (the Naxals) only mislead the youth and have no philosophy. Nobody even cares if they die or go to jail, that’s the difference between us and them.”


With the recent recovery of computers, fax machines and phones in raids on Naxal strongholds, it seems that the Naxals are getting ready to fight a high-tech battle this summer. The police, too, are not far behind in gearing up to tackle them.

Children suffer most in Naxalite-Salva Judum crossfire: Report

17 Mar 2008, 0143 hrs IST,Akshaya Mukul,TNN

NEW DELHI: Being deprived of education and health facilities has made children the worst sufferers of Salva Judum, a report by the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has said.

A team led by NCPCR chairperson Shanta Sinha, former chief election commissioner J M Lyngdoh and Venkat Reddy of M V Foundation recently visited Dantewada in Chhattisgarh and Khammam in Andhra Pradesh. They reported that caught in the crossfire between state-backed Salva Judum and Naxalites, 30,000 people from South Bastar had migrated to Khammam district after trudging through thick forests for days.

The team found that neglect of the region by Chhattisgarh and AP governments was contributing to "continuing poverty, ill health and despair" of internally displaced people (IDP).

Not only are the IDPs facing continuous repression by the forest department, which has been burning their settlements, the team also found that deprivation of work in AP had resulted in adults working as coolies.

They were being denied work under NREGA and not provided PDS grain. Also, there was no estimate of the number of IDPs.

All this had a direct impact on children, most of whom had to flee.

"In AP, they are being denied admission as they have no school certificates and also because they are unfamiliar with Telugu as a medium of instruction," the report said, adding that even facilities under Integrated Child Development Scheme to children aged 0-6 were being denied. The team found that all of them wanted to return to Chhattisgarh.

In Dantewada, the NCPCR team found victims of violence by both Naxalites and Salva Judum activists. Many complained that the Naxalites did not allow development work, had disallowed visits from doctors and teachers to villages and had taken away children for training. Victims of Salva Judum blamed its activists for ensuring that no one stayed back in the villages. The report said houses and crops of those not keen to join Salva Judum camps were burned.

"Insistence by Salva Judum volunteers to showcase children as victims of Naxal violence raises concerns for their return to normalcy. This can cause damage to children's psyche," the report said.

The NCPCR has recommended setting up of Child Rights Cell in Dantewada and Khammam, training of functionaries of all institutions dealing with children and social audit of children's rights by trained people.

Cop commits suicide

ANGUL, March.16:Chhendipada police station is neither naxal neither infested nor located in inaccessible area where suicidal deaths by police officers are expected normally.But here the officer in charge Rabindra Nath sahu, a sub-inspector ended his life by suicidal hanging at his official residence in Friday night sending shock waves across the police set up in the district and beyond.

There is a general feeling in the district that Sahu went for suicide after being subjected to extreme work load without any rest and serious shortage of staff in the police station. Sahu according to reports had worked in police station, 40 Kms away from here till 12.30 Pm and went to his residence nearby to take dinner .ON Saturday morning when one his police staff went to his residence he found his body hanging from the ceiling of the roof .But surprising fact is that till now nobody even district police chief is not sure of the cause behind his suspected suicide. District Sp Pratik Mahanty refuted the charge of heavy work load behind his suicidal hanging. n sns

Mumbai to have new intelligence training facility

16 Mar, 2008, 1233 hrs IST, PTI


MUMBAI: Mumbai will soon be able to boast of a full fledged, dedicated school to train intelligence personnel in view of the large number of officers being recruited in Maharashtra State Intelligence Department (SID).

"Intelligence personnel have to be trained separately and cannot undergo training at facilities like the Maharashtra Police Academy. This is Maharashtra police and we need to be self-contained," newly appointed DGP A N Roy said here.

Roy said the process of recruitment of dedicated intelligence cadre is on in full swing currently and they will be trained at the new facility.

In the aftermath of the July 11, 2006 serial train bombings, the home ministry had announced that 50 per cent of the cadre in SID will be recruited exclusively who will "retire as intelligence officers" as collection and analysis of information requires specialization.

"We already have a nucleus for it ready in the form of the Special Branch training school in Mumbai. We will provide full capabilities, faculties and resources to it."

The MPA will chip-in with modules at the school and help will also be sought from various agencies like the Intelligence Bureau, Roy said, maintaining that, "how long will our men continue to go to (IB's training school at) Shivpuri... we need to be self contained."

Meanwhile, Roy also said that fighting terror will be a thrust area and newer units of the Anti-Terrorism Squad will be set up in the state apart from strengthening existing ones at Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune and Aurangabad.

"Mumbai and Maharashtra will continue to be attractive targets and terrorism is a matter of serious concern," he said.