Friday, June 20, 2008

Maoists blow up railway track, goods train derails

June 20th, 2008 - 2:55 pm ICT by IANS -

Ranchi, June 20 (IANS) Maoist guerrillas blew up a railway track that led to a goods train being derailed in Jharkhand’s Gumla district, the police said Friday. According to the police, the Maoist guerrillas blew up the railway track early Friday morning near the Pokla forest of Gumla district, around 140 km from state capital Ranchi. Five coaches of the goods train derailed due to the damage caused to the railway track.

The People Liberation Front of India (PLFI) has called for a strike in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Orissa against hike in prices of essential commodities. While enforcing the strike, the suspected Maoist guerrillas blew up the railway track, the police said.

Train services on the track will be resumed by Friday evening, a Railway official said.

Maoist rebels are active in 18 of the 24 districts of the state. In the past seven years over 1,200 people including civilians and rebels have been killed

Maharashtra police to get more funds to fight Maoists

June 20th, 2008 - 9:50 pm ICT by IANS

Nagpur, June 20 (IANS) The Maharashtra Police will get an additional annual grant of Rs.1 billion to combat more effectively threats from Maoists, Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil said Friday. Patil, who holds the home portfolio, also told reporters that the policy on the rehabilitation of Maoists who surrender will be fine-tuned to provide greater protection to them and to inspire confidence among people living in Maoist-infested areas.

Patil, who was here to attend the annual convocation function of the trainee police at the regional police training institute, was referring to the incident in Gadchiroli district where Maoists lynched a former colleague who surrendered to the police.

He said additional funds would be given to areas of Maoist influence for infrastructure development and all vacancies in government departments there would be filled expeditiously.

“I have instructed the chief secretary to fill the vacancies quickly, preferably with local people, as those from outside are reluctant to work there”, Patil said.

Patil held a review meeting of the police brass here Friday before leaving for Mumbai.

Maoist rebels clash, one killed

Gaya (PTI): A renegade Maoist was shot dead by suspected CPI (Maoist) rebels in Bihar's Gaya district, police aid on Thursday.

Bigan Mahto, a hardcore naxalite of 'Tritiya Prastuti Committee', a breakaway group of CPI (Maoist), was shot dead and his body thrown near a school at Dumaria under Dumaria police station of the naxalite-hit district.

The body, with a bullet wound on the temple, was recovered on Thursday morning, sources said adding that investigation was on.

Maoists blast rail tracks over high prices

Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:35pm IST
By Nityananda Shukla

RANCHI, India (Reuters) - Maoist rebels blew up railway tracks and tried to enforce a strike in parts of India's east on Friday to protest against rising inflation, police said.

The day-long strike in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Bihar evoked some response in the countryside where the Maoists wield strong influence, but failed in urban areas.

The strike came on a day India's wholesale price index rose 11.05 percent in the 12 months to June 7, the highest rate in 13 years as the effects of a hike in fuel prices hit inflation.

Rising prices are a major headache for India's coalition government with less than a year to go to elections, although protests called by the main opposition and the government's communist allies over fuel price hikes have now tapered off.

Police in Jharkhand said Maoist rebels blew up portions of railway tracks, causing a goods train to derail and disrupting rail traffic.

Maoists distributed fliers asking villagers to support the strike, which shut down shops, hit traffic and disrupted mining operations in the mineral-rich region.

"The strike has affected life especially in the rural areas and local businessmen downed their shutters out of fear of being attacked," a police spokesman said from Bihar.

The Maoist rebels say they are fighting for the rights of poor peasants and landless labourers and routinely call strikes, attack government property and target local politicians.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the four-decade-old Maoist rebellion, which has killed thousands of people, as the biggest threat to the country's internal security.

Protests over rising fuel prices also continued in the neighbouring republic of Nepal, where student activists stoned several vehicles in the capital Kathmandu, disrupting rush-hour traffic for a third day in a row on Friday, police said.

Nepal raised petrol and diesel prices by about 25 percent last week, prompting transport operators to hike fares between 25 and 35 percent for taxis and buses.

(Additional reporting by Gopal Sharma)

(For the latest Reuters news on India see in.reuters.com, for blogs see blogs.reuters.com/in/)

Extremists blast railway track in Gumla, Jharkhand

Gumla (Jharkhand), Jun 20 (PTI) Activists of the People's Liberation Front of India blew up a railway track near Pokla station here during the day-long bandh called by the outfit in Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa and Chhattisgarh to protest police action against naxalites.

The activists of the banned extremist outfit used explosives to blow up the track around 3 am, Gumla Superintendent of Police Baljeet said.

Five rear wagons were derailed as the activists triggered the blast when the goods train was moving slowly, he said, adding train services between Ranchi and Rourkela were disrupted following the damage to the tracks.

Efforts were on to repair the tracks and restore train services.

The PLFI is observing the bandh in the four states to protest against "corruption, increasing price rise and action against naxalites". PTI

Red army, govt sandwich tribals

OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Red radar
Hyderabad, June 19: An increase in Naxalite activities in the past six months have driven 1.2 lakh Gutti Koya tribals of Chhattisgarh to Khammam, a border district of Andhra Pradesh.

A confidential report of the Intelligence Bureau has cautioned the Andhra Pradesh government of growing unrest among tribals in the border districts as well as increasing instances of violence due to the red army.

Reports state that Koyas are migrating to Andhra Pradesh villages instead of camps set up by Salwa Judum cadre— groups constituted by the state government to resist Naxalite unrest. Koyas are also percolating into Warangal and west Godavari districts.

“Not wanting to face the wrath of the Naxalite army, the tribals are running away from Chhattisgarh into the bordering villages,” said D.S. Chauhan, the Khammam superintendent of police.

Prior to the formation of Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh, tribal residents in Guburu forest belt in Bastar and Bjipur as well as the Gutti Koyas used to give shelter and food to rebels. After the heavy police repression, residents have now shifted base to Dummugudem, Chintur and Bhadrachalam of Khammam following clashes between tribals and supporters of the Salwa Judum.

According to preliminary reporters, nearly 3,236 families of Koyas have made Khammam villages their homes. “The numbers living in the reserved forests away from the villages are not known,” said the police officer.

To wean them away from the red army, the government has unleashed different schemes for the Koyas. “More than 1,500 families have been given ration cards, and provided vaccination, medical care, schools and civil supplies,” said district collector Shashibhushan Kumar.

Following the intelligence reports, the district police and revenue officials have visited the tribal villages and provided them material benefits such as blankets, cloth, salt, chlorine and fever tablets along with spices. “Cattle were also given to introduce milk in their diet,” said a district official.

The district officials of Khammam believe that Koyas are eager to get back to their villages and lands. “But if they return, they would be coerced by the government to join Salwa Judum camps and would not be allowed to live independently,” explained an official.

The red raids on Salwa Judum camps in Errabor, Darnapal and Darbagudem have multiplied their fear.

Chhattisgarh tribals sneak into AP

DNA Correspondent
Friday, June 20, 2008 03:56 IST


1.2 lakh have fled the naxal-hit state to Maoists’ wrath

HYDERABAD: Nearly 1.2 lakh Gutti Koya tribals of Bastar and Bijpur districts of Chhattisgarh have crossed over in to Andhra’s border district of Khammam over the past six months to escape Salwa Judum camps and the Maoist violence.

But a confidential report of the intelligence bureau has cautioned the Andhra Pradesh government of growing unrest among the local tribals in the border districts and prospective violence unleashed by the Maoists as the Gutti Koyas are known supporters of the CPI (Maoists).

They might also be the advance party of the Maoists’ re-entry into AP, the report says.

The tribal Koyas are migrating to Andhra Pradesh’s border villages instead of the camps set up by the Salwa Judum, the government sponsored anti-Maoist movement.

“Not wanting to face the wrath of the Maoists, the tribals are running away from Chhattisgarh into the border villages of our state,” said DS Chauhan, the district police superintendent of Khammam.

To wean them away from being exploited by the Maoists in Andhra Pradesh, the state government had initiated various schemes, even for the Koya tribals.

“More than 1,500 families have been given ration cards, and provided with benefits of vaccinations, medicare, schools, civil supplies etc.,” said the district collector Shashibhushan Kumar.

Students' march turns violent

Thiruvananthapuram (PTI): Protest marches taken out at district headquarters by pro-Congress Kerala Students Union (KSU) turned violent in some parts of the state with agitators clashing with police and pelting stones at vehicles.

Condemning the violence, state Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakarishnan on Thursday accused the marchers of adopting "naxalite model" tactics to demoralise the police".

The statewide demonstrations were organised yesterday to protest the police action on KSU workers during a march to the government secretariat here two days back demanding withdrawal of a class VII textbook allegedly containing a heavy dose of Leftist politics.

In Malappurarm, Pathanamthitta, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kochi, police stalled the marchers and canecharged to disperse them. The agitating students pelted stones at police and some vehicles were damaged in the melee.

The Home Minister told reporters here that the police had been handling the agitation with utmost restrain but the other side was trying to provoke the law enforce by challenging their morale.

Development activities in Sonbhadra to curb Naxalism

By Girish Kumar Dubey


Sonbhadra (U.P.)June 20: Development activities in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh hope to contain the spread of naxalism in the area.

Inhabited by a large proportion of tribals, the area has been home to Naxalites for a long time. The Naxalites usually hide in jungles and to effectively chase them, proper roads are a must.

Likewise, police stations are being upgraded alongside building of helipads to ensure a hassle-free transportation during any crisis.

Explaining this action plan, the Inspector General of Police (Varanasi Range), Praveen Singh said that the Union Government has earmarked ample funds for the projects.

"The central government has chosen some regions under the scheme for special infrastructure development in which Uttar Pradesh's Sonbhadra District is included. Under the scheme, roads, police stations, and helipad aids would be provided," said Praveen Singh, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Varanasi Range.

Experts believe that the Maoists spread their influence where people are backward. Keeping these aspects in view, infrastructure development in tribal belts has been given prime importance.

"Some anti-social elements are exploiting their feelings and provoking them to act against the law. Our endeavor is to connect these people to the mainstream and make them aware of the things that government is doing for them," Praveen added.

Local tribals, however, doubt whether such initiatives are likely to benefit them.

"The government has been turning a deaf ear towards us. There is no doctor, no teacher and no IAS officer to serve them. Where should tribals go? Only making roads so that police can reach on time during an attack is not the solution?." said Vibhusha Patra, the coordinator of the Association for Democratic Rights.

Villagers say that despite much progress across the country, the condition of tribals in Sonbhadra hasn't improved. They still live without education, economic development, and proper infrastructure. The zest of the youth to live a better life has taken a violent shape because of the lack of support from administration.

"When the police turns a deaf year to our demands, we fight against such forces. We have to fight for our rights," said, a Naxalite requesting anonymity.

Tribals in Sonbhadra are hopeful that development projects will change the lives of the people in the area.


Copyright Asian News International

AP govt announces lucrative rewards for informationon 474 Maoist cadres

Mohammed Siddique 20/6/2008 2:33:59 PM(IST)


Hyderabad: To step up the pressure on the banned Naxalite outfit the Communist Party of India-Maoist, the Andhra Pradesh government has announced cash reward worth lakhs of rupees for information on 474 Maoist cadres. The wanted activists include underground extremists, senior members of the central committee and squad members.

The list, issued by the government recently, includes 87 new names.

The government has announced a reward of Rs 12 lakh for party general secretary Muppal Lakshman alias Ganpathy and 12 other members of the central committee. Members of the provincial committee and special zone committee carry a reward of Rs 10 lakh each.

A reward of Rs 8 lakh has been declared for alternate committee members and Rs 6 lakh for the regional committee members. The district and division committee members will carry a reward of Rs 5 lakh, and information about area committee, action committee members and commanders will fetch a reward of Rs two lakh.

The reward will be paid to the informants if the information provided by them helps in nabbing the wanted extremist. But in case the extremists themselves surrender, the cash reward will be given to them, in accordance with the policy of rehabilitation for surrendered Naxalites, the order said.

The new list has been approved and released by the government following a letter by the state''s director general of police, seeking revision of the list and a hike in the rewards for certain Naxalites, in tune with their current rank in the organisation.

Of the 1,133 extremists in last year's list, 71 were arrested, 83 killed in encounters and 284 surrendered.

While 68 others were inactive, 44 names were repeated in the absence of particulars about their full identity.

The reward scheme and offer to give the money to the surrendered Naxalite has proved highly successful in the anti-Maoist drive. While it helped the police and intelligence agencies in receiving information from the informants, it also encouraged a lot of Naxalites to surrender, a police officer said.

The new list has been announced at a time when the CPI-Maoist has been almost wiped out in most parts of Andhra Pradesh. Its presence is now restricted to the forest areas bordering Chattisgarh and Orissa.

This article published in rediff.com


Cash rewards enhanced on 474 Maoists

The Hindu
Special Correspondent

387 of them figured in the earlier list announced last year


--Rs. 12 lakh cash reward on Central committee members

--Rs. 10 lakh on State committee members


HYDERABAD: The State government has announced enhanced cash rewards on the heads of 474 underground Maoists based on their elevated ranks.

An order issued by the government on Thursday said 387 of the 474 extremists figured in the earlier rewards list announced by it last year. The remaining 87 were cadre identified later.

The government had last year announced rewards on the heads of 1,133 extremists. Of them, 71 were arrested, 83 killed in encounters with police, 284 surrendered, 68 identified as inactive and names of 44 others got repeated in the absence of their full identity particulars at the time of proposals being sent for inclusion in the list. The remaining 196 were unidentified. All these 746 names were deleted from the list which left 387 cadre untraced.

The rewards were announced at the rate of Rs. 12 lakh on Central committee members, Rs. 10 lakh on State committee members, Rs. 6 lakh on regional committee members, Rs. 5 lakh on district secretaries and military commanders, Rs. 3 lakh on district committee members, Rs. 2 lakh on area committee members and dalam commanders, Rs. 1 lakh on deputy commanders, Rs. 50,000 on platoon members and Rs. 20,000 on dalam members.

The War between the Naxals and Police in Chhatishgarh

The war between the state and the Maoists is still on. Caught in the crossfire are the tribals living in remote villages. The policy adopted by the government of Chhatishgarh to divide the tribals into two groups has backfired..

CJ: k.Sudhakar Patnaik , 1 hour ago

Para-military forces and the police killed 68 Maoists (dead bodies recovered by the police) last month in a thick forest area of Chhatishgarh state according to delayed information received by this author. The DGP of Chhatishgarh, Biswaranjan, confirmed over phone to one of the national English dailies that there were 68 casualties. The unofficial figure put the death toll at more than 200 which included civilians (tribals). The local media is quite ignorant of the incident which took place last month, according to the local reporters I contacted over phone on Thursday last. Most of these villagers of Chhatishgarh and Andhra Pradesh are on the border of the undivided Koraput of Orissa. In fact most of the journalists working in Chhatishgarh state fear reporting the ground reality because of the Chhatishgarh Special Pubic Security Act - 2005 introduced by the government. Thus, the media too reproduces the police version. The DGP even confirmed the number of people killed was higher than the number of bodies recovered by the police. The difference was due to fact that in the many encounters wounded Maoists managed to escape to their hideouts and later succumbed to injury.

Medical teams or non-government organisations are not allowed to visit remote villages to provide medicare to the tribals living there. They are also safe hiding places for the Naxals. They die like flies for want of medical assistance. Last month, 19 Maoists were gunned down in another encounter at Pamer on the Andhra-Orissa-Chhatishgarh border following a tip-off by the members of Salwa Judum. Later the Maoists held a Jana Adalat and killed 9 suspects for leaking information. The word encounter implies that deaths occur on both the sides but in the recent two encounters deaths have been reported only from one side (only the tribals and Maoists died). On the other side the Maoists are also killing the police and suspected informers, which is a violation of the rules of the war declared by both the sides, the state and the Naxals.

The present phase of war against the Maoists will deliver a bloody blow to them, according to the DGP’s statement to the press. In protest against the mass killing of the people particularly tribals, sympathisers of the Naxal movement and forced displacement of tribals from their birth place by the government-backed Salwa Judum for the benefit of multinational companies and other mining transport companies, a revolutionary week was observed (Pituri Week) by the Maoists during the first week of June. The Naxals (Maoists) blew up a 220 KV high-tension electricity tower in the forests of Dantewara, leaving the region in darkness for about a week. The Maoists also forced the stoppage of the transport of iron ore and torched 19 trucks belonging to ESSAR Steel. In April too, they had set ablaze 53 trucks belonging to the same company. Running of a passenger train from Kirandul to Visakhapatnam and goods trains meant for transporting iron ore from Kirandul to Visakhapatnam was completely paralysed for a week. The railway authorities sustained a loss of Rs 4 crores per day, according to sources.

The war between the state and the Maoists is still on. Caught in the crossfire are the tribals living in remote villages. The policy adopted by the government of Chhatishgarh to divide the tribals into two groups has proved wrong. One is called the Salwa Judum and the other, living in villages, collectively called Naxal sympathisers. The tribal youth are forced to join the Salwa Judum, a peace-keeping force, only to kill their own men living in villages, suspecting them as Naxals or their sympathisers. A number of tribal families have left their birthplace and are taking shelter on the 19 roadside camps erected by the government. Around 50,000 tribals migrated to Khamam and Bhadrachalam forest areas, according to an independent survey conducted by journalists and human rights activists.

Hundreds and hundreds of people are killed, women are raped, properties of poor tribals are looted, domestic animals are killed and consumed by Salwa Judum (which is backed by armed constabulary) and villages are burnt down. It is a continuous process in Chhatishgarh. This was even confirmed by the tribal Congress MLA of Sukuma assembly constituency, Lakhma Kawasi, when this author met him a couple of months back at his residence at Sukuma. The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights noted in December 2007 that an enormous tragedy was "faced by the villagers of Dantewada". They held public meetings at which every testimony included a narrative of extreme violence committed against them; how the families and their property was looted by the Naxalites, Salwa Judum and the security forces. Many people shared accounts of family members killed and women raped by the Salwa Judum. The Maoists blasted and destroyed more than 37 school buildings two years ago in Kunta block alone. Kunta is on the other side of the river Saberi in Malkangiri district of Orissa. The Naxals had to blast the school buildings because they were not meant for school boys but for providing shelter to the armed police force, according to the reply given by the Naxal leader to the Human Rights activists through an internet forum.

In May, 2006, for the first time, the Planning Commission appointed an expert committee headed by Bandhopadhyay, a retired IAS officer. Other members of the committee are Prakash Singh, former DGP of Uttar Pradesh, an expert on Naxal issues, Ajit Doval, former Director of Intelligence Bureau, B.D. Sharma, a retired bureaucrat and activist, Sukhdev Thorat, UGC Chairman and Dr. K. Balagopal, a human rights activist and lawyer. The committee was to study development issues and address the cause of discontent, unrest and extremism. The committee submitted its report in early June, which is now available on the Planning Commission’s website according to an e-mail sent by Rajat Kujur, PhD, Lecturer, G.M. College, Sambalpur, Orissa.

For the first time in the history of the Naxal movement, the government-appointed committee has put the blame on the state for the growth of the movement. Providing statistics relating to 125 districts from the Naxal-affected states, the committee reveals that the state bureaucracy has sadly failed in delivering good governance in these areas. The committee has also severely criticized the states for their double standard in making Panchayats truly the units of local self-governance. Findings of the report recommend rigorous training for the police force not only on human tactics of controlling rural violence but also on the constitutional obligation of the state to protect the fundamental rights. Coming down heavily on Salwa Judum, the committee has asked for its immediate suspension to maintain peace in Chhatishgarh and protect the tribal community.

Dhanbads Maoist is today a peasant

By Suman Negi

Dhanbad, June 20 (ANI): While many youngsters find it hard to come out of the web of Naxalism, there are several persons who after having served their terms in jails take to righteous path and start living a happy life with their families in peace.
Dhanbad districts Kishore Lala is one such example.

Once a hard-core Naxal, he is today a happy farmer who is supporting his family with his hard work in fields. He has set an example for others and shown how things can change if one decides to give up violence in life.

Kishore, a resident of Maniadih Village took to weapons in 1987 and got involved in many cases.

Police arrested him in 1997.

While serving his jail term Kishore Lala realized where he went wrong in his life and decided to take to righteous path. He decided not to get drawn to the groups who develop hatred and bloodshed, which he followed for years.

Kishore Lala, says: That time, I was holding gun and leading the Peasants Revolution. But, this time, I am holding a plough, again leading the peasants. Now, I want to grow more and more harvest so that I could give happiness to my family.
After his release from jail, Kishore started living a normal life.
He started farming on his land. And, today, he is growing good harvests of wheat in his field.

His family also encouraged him in his pursuit. Today, he is spending a peaceful life with his family who is happy to see the big transformation in him.
Poonam Devi, Kishore Lalas wife, says: He is spending a normal life with us and supporting the family. Though we are living below poverty line, we are happy with his move. He is doing farming for the last four years. I am happy that he is doing hard work. Actually, it is much better than his earlier life.
Neetu Kumari, Kishore Lalas daughter, said: When I learnt that my father was a Naxal, I felt very bad. Because no matter how hard I try to rise in life, his name would have always remained attached to my identity. But now my father is leading a normal life as a peasant. I am very happy with his decision. He is providing for the family and ensuring we get proper education. And all this, he is doing by his sheer hard work.
Kishore Lalas conscience made him to leave the path of violence. That is why, taking a lesson from his big mistake, he decided to be a part of the mainstream. (ANI)

Goa govt. keeps vigil on Naxal-like activities

Panaji (PTI): The Goa government is keeping a close watch on naxal activities witnessed in recent months in the mining belts of this iron ore-rich state.

Although the police are yet to make any arrest or interrogate anyone from these areas, law enforcement authorities were shell shocked to see the content loaded on the blogs, which are anti-mining.

Goa is India's biggest iron ore exporter with more than 30 million metric tonnes of ore being exported to countries like China, Japan and other European countries from the state's two ports Mormugao Port Trust and Panaji Minor Port.

China's economic boom has propelled iron ore demand with mining activity gaining momentum. Sources said mine owners have even opened up their earlier mining leases to extract ore and export which fetches good price in international market.

The mining activity has apparently disturbed many villagers with a few anti-mining agitations raising their heads in recent months.

The naxalite activities has started taking advantage of this situation, leader of the opposition Manohar Parrikar said.

Parrikar, former Chief Minister, had raised the issue during a meeting of the ad hoc committee for Home on Thursday where police conceded that they were aware about the possible intrusion of naxalites.

The Leader of the Opposition said a group of six to seven people owing their allegiance to CPI-ML outfit were showing films on killing of policemen by naxals in Jharkhand.

The internet blog is used to spread the messages and also lot of bogus information,
Parrikar said.

KSU march turns violent in three districts

Friday June 20 2008 13:46 IST
Express News Service



Policemen charging at T N Prathapan MLA during the KSU march to Collectorate, Thrissur, on Thursday.

T’PURAM: Protest marches taken out by the KSU across the state turned violent in Thrissur, Pathanamthitta and Malappuram districts.

Congress MLA T N Prathapan, several KSU activists and policemen were injured in the clashes.

The KSU has called for a statewide education-bandh on Friday to protest against the police action. The Thrissur District Congress Committee will observe a dawn-to-dusk hartal in the district on Friday to protest against Thursday’s violence. The KSU marches turned violent in the three districts after a section of agitators threw stones at the police.

The police resorted to lathicharge, used water cannons and burst grenades and teargas shells to disperse the mob. Prathapan who was participating in the agitation at Thrissur was injured in the lathicharge.

The KSU agitation was held demanding withdrawal of VII standard textbook of state syllabus owing to its pro-Communist contents. The KSU is also demanding implementation of government fees in merit seats of self-financing colleges.

While Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan alleged that the KSU was unleashing a naxal model agitation in the state, KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala said that the Home Minister was donning the role of Hitler. The LDF Government was trying to suppress the students’ agitation using police force, Chennithala said.

Meanwhile, KSU state president Hibi Eden said that the SFI, which had resorted to steps like forcible release of accused persons from police stations, should be termed as naxal outfit.

The KSU would go ahead with its agitation, he said


KSU strike: Chennithala warns government
Friday June 20 2008 12:25 IST
Express News Service

T’PURAM: KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala has alleged that the LDF government was trying to suppress the students’ strike led by the KSU. He said that Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was acting like Hitler.
This was not the first time that a students’ strike has been organised in the state. But if the government thinks that the strike could be suppressed using iron- hand, then it would have severe repercussions, the KPCC president warned. To protest against the police high- handedness, the Congress leaders would organise a dharna in front of the Secretariat on Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

While condemning the police atrocities against the KSU activists, Ramesh Chennithala said most of the students had suffered head injuries in the lathicharge which showed that the police were purposefully doing it. Naxal model attack: Kodiyeri

The KSU was carrying out naxal model attacks in the name of student agitation, said Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. Strict action would be taken against such violent agitations. The government would resist any move to put the police force out of action, he said.

Naxals gaining ground in mining belt: Parrikar

HERALD REPORTER

PANJIM, JUNE 19 — The police intelligence will have some serious work to do in the coming days on getting concrete information on naxal activities, if any, in the State.
At a second sitting of the Ad-hoc Committee on Home inviting suggestions at the Assembly complex on Thursday, Opposition Leader Manohar Parrikar raised the issue stating around seven-eight naxals from Jharkhand were active in Goa.
Parrikar, who chaired the sitting, said a naxal module was in operation here in the mining belts. He maintained these people were instigating locals in their fight against mining.
He held that some of these people were involved in showing video footages on how to make ‘koitas’ and kill policemen.
A top police official told Herald the people operating in the mining areas had an ideology similar to that of naxalites. We had information about them sometime when the Advalpal uprising against mining was on, he stated and added, “we are investigating to get to the root”.
The officer said there was a change in the nature of agitations against mining operations in the State of late. Now one sees women and children at the forefront and that’s what Naxalites do, he said adding, “they do this so that police is in no position to act against them and if they do then the results are adverse”.
SIMI: Parrikar warned that the Students Islamic Movement of India was shifting its operations to Goa as Karnataka was becoming too hot for them.

Heirok people and JAC have a difficult choice to make

The Imphal Free Press

Imphal, Jun 19: It seems the public of Heirok are caught between the devil and the deep sea on the issue of establishment of SPOs in their village, said L Mandir, the general secretary of the JAC Heirok during a press conference held this afternoon at the Manipur Press Club in Imphal.

On the other hand, in order to bring an amicable solution to the matter the JAC will be organising a public meeting at Heirok tomorrow during which the JAC representatives will table their report on the condition of SPOs at Chhattisgarh.

L Mandir further said the consequences of the acceptance of the government move for establishment of SPOs at Heirok have increased alarmingly with open threats from two major underground organisations, the UNLF and KYKL.

He further mentioned that, in fact, the pulse of the Heirok people was very genuine as the people were making a hue and cry against the failure of the state government to provide security for their lives and properties. This had led to the killing of three innocent civilians and blinding of an innocent girl in an incident of attack by the underground PREPAK, he said.

He said at this juncture the merits and demerits of the acceptance or non-acceptance of SPOs in Heirok and Lilong Chajing had become a critical issue for the state.

But fortunately, four representatives including the general secretary of the Heirok JAC, L Mandir, vice president Kh Maipak along with general secretary of Lilong Chajing JAC L Maipak and T Sharat attended a lecture on armed conflict in the insurgency prone states given recenlty at the Manipur University by renowned human rights activist Nandini Sundar. Subsequently, they got an opportunity to participate in a campaign for justice and peace in Chhattisgarh and a spot visit to the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh from June 10 to 13 this month with an objective to explore the emerging relation between the various stakeholders due to the introduction of Special Police Officers (SPOs) in the context of the ongoing armed conflict situation there and to learn lessons for Manipur.

The joint representatives who learned of the condition of SPOs at Chhattisgarh narrated to mediapersons during the press conference today that they had come to know of the history of armed conflict between the naxals and security forces since 1940s in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar.

They also learnt that heavy pressure from the security forces pushed the naxals` base from Andhra Pradesh towards the tribal belt of South Bastar in Chhattisgarh. The exploited tribes initially welcomed them as liberators against the established regime of corrupt forest officials and by 2003 the Dandakaranya forest had become a `liberated zone` and the naxals sitting over this highly mineral rich region became a huge liability to the resource hungry `corporate` India and it was around this time that the Union home ministry approved the move for establishing SPOs in Chhattisgarh.

They said they had learnt that the SPOs were the first casualty of the naxal reprisals, and there is no standard policy for compensation in the event of their death or injury, as it depends entirely on the whims and caprice of the politicians.

They found many grievances faced by the SPOs out there as they were very insecure and had no freedom of movement from their operation areas and they depended on the recognised security forces who have been guarding them.

Considering all these grievances and pitiful lifestyle of SPOs at Chhattisgarh, they wanted firm open government policies and guidelines for full security for the SPOs which are going to be deployed in Heirok and Lilong Chajing villages. They also want the state government to takes steps for a political dialogue with every underground group operating in the state before the matter worsens, they added.

Moreover, the emerging conflict between the willing and unwilling groups of public in Heirok over the establishment of SPOs has led to a difficult situation in the area. Threats to kill five persons and restrictions on the Heirok public from going out of their village areas by the underground UNLF and KYKL has added to the complex situation.

Red corridor spreading to Goa

20 Jun 2008, 0332 hrs IST,TNN


Naxal activity in Goa mining belt has the government worried

PANAJI: The government is worried that the red corridor could extend its activities to Goa. “In the last two or three years there have been Naxal activities in the state. There are Naxals from the tribal areas of Jharkhand who have links with CPI (ML), a banned organisation operating in the state,” said leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar.

Parrikar was chairing the Goa Legislative Assembly ad hoc committee on home on Thursday. The issue attracted great concern during discussions. The issue of SIMI entering Goa was also discussed. IGP Kishan Kumar said, “We are fully aware of the sensitivity of the issue.”

It is alleged that a group of about seven persons, three of them from Goa, having Naxal links are operating in the mining areas under the guise of uplifting the underprivileged. The Naxals are preying upon the mining belt taking advantage of the suppression of the people, hoping to instigate them against the authorities.

Targeting the mining areas of Bicholim, Quepem and Sanguem, the group has often spoken briefly, yet powerfully against mining activities, police harassment and people's rights.

A top police official confirmed that the Goa police have kept a close watch on the activities of the Naxals in the state and prepared a report that would be soon submitted to the government. The report clearly states that at the present time the group may not be an apparent cause of concern, but if not checked it could quickly turn into a serious law and order problem.

Their modus operandi is to put women and children in the front of any agitation as was witnessed during the recent anti-mining agitation at Advalpal,”“ added the official.

Parrikar said that though the operations of the Naxal group are not visible, they have spread themselves and operate by instigating people. “In Colamba they are showing videos of how to make weapons and how to kill.”

Rising concern over Naxal activities in mining areas

by BEIG, RAIKAR & GLENN


NT NETWORK

PANAJI - There are rising concern in the state administration and the police over infiltration of suspected Naxalites into the state and their unlawful activities.

In an attempt to maintain peace in the state and prevent any “terror” incident, the state police authorities are keeping a strict vigil on the activities of suspected Naxalites in Goa, especially in mining areas and monitoring their day-to-day activities.

A senior police official said the action by the police force comes in wake of alert being sounded by the central authorities informing the state government about the moves of some Naxalites to infiltrate the state and carry out unlawful activities.

The senior police official informed that the central authorities’ alert came sometime back and ever since the police machinery has been geared up to prevent any untoward incident in the state by keeping a close watch on suspected elements.

A top police official told ‘The Navhind Times’ that the police had come to know about these activities some two to three weeks back.

As regards to activities of the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India activists, the senior police official said the issue was being looked into by the special branch of state police and watch was being maintained on suspected elements.

Commenting on the information that the Naxalites have sought employment in mining areas, a police official working in mining area said the police have been keeping close watch on the workers from Naxal-infected states and verifying their antecedents.

The state Chief Secretary, Mr J P Singh said that so far no activity of the Naxalites have been recorded in the state but the police were keeping a strict vigil on all suspected elements, especially those people coming from Naxal-infested states.

The Chief Secretary said that an alert was received from central agencies, sometime back, that Naxalites might try to infiltrate into the state and carry out activities, especially in mining areas and that state has taken all precautions to prevent such activities.

The leader of the opposition, Mr Manohar Parrikar, who chaired the meeting of the ad-hoc committee of the legislative assembly on home said on Thursday that at least one to two groups belonging to the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) faction, which is a banned body, have settled in Goa and are instigating the people in the mining areas.

They may not have gathered any substantial foothold in Goa but are definitely spreading discontent in the mining areas, desiring to explode this discontent into violence, he added.

Stating that the top police officials who attended the ad-hoc committee meeting have agreed to this fact, Mr Parrikar said the police are aware of the presence of these groups and are working on it.

“They are keeping a track of such activities in the mining areas,” he pointed out.

The opposition leader also said that he expressed his apprehensions about possible attacks by the SIMI in Goa.

“The Bharatiya Janata Party government has been elected in Karnataka and could attract SIMI activities in that state,” he observed, noting that such activities are likely to shift to Goa, a neighbourhood state.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Maoists kill 3 policemen, 5 still missing

Raipur (PTI): Maoists allegedly killed three policemen and decamped with their sophisticated weapons whereas five others are still missing with weapons in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, a top police officer said on Thursday.

"After a fierce gun battle with Maoists one head constable was killed yesterday where as eight special police officers went missing, out of which the bodies of three SPOs were recovered today," a top police official told PTI here.

The bodies were laying in a hill top, about two km from the site of the gun battle at Banda, about 450 km from the state capital, he said.

The sophisticated weapons carried by the SPOs have also been taken away by the Maoists, the senior officer said.

Police also said the whereabout of the rest five missing SPOs and their weapons are not known.

Maoists ambushed a police party yesterday when they were on a combing operation in Konta police station area and killed one head constable on the spot where as eight other personnel went missing, following which police launched a combing operation to trace them.

Chhattisgarh cops still missing after Maoist attack

Indo-Asian News Service
Thursday, June 19, 2008 (Raipur)

Eight Special Police Officers (SPOs), who went missing after an attack by Maoist guerrillas, are yet to be traced despite a continuing search by the police on Thursday in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district.

A constable was killed and eight SPOs went missing Wednesday after heavily armed Maoist guerrillas attacked a police team that was checking for explosives on roads that ran through a dense forest in restive Dantewada district, close to the Andhra Pradesh border, about 500 km south of state capital Raipur.

''Several police parties assisted by the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) combed a major portion of Konta forested belt to search for the missing SPOs. But the overnight and early morning operation was yet to produce any result,'' S I Baghel, additional superintendent of police, Dantewada, said.

The road-opening team led by Chhattisgarh police constable Dashruram Bhogami were on foot when armed insurgents, who were waiting atop a hill, opened fire. Bhogami, who received gun shots on his chest and leg, was killed on the spot.

Sources at the police headquarters here said the missing SPOs were either apprehended or killed by the insurgents.

But a senior police official hoped ''the SPOs might be safe somewhere in Dantewada's forests and waiting for the search parties to arrive''.

Maoists frequently attack the police, government buildings and politicians and call for shutdowns. They have been running a de facto administration in the interiors of the vast Bastar region, including Dantewada district, since 1980.

Punjab militants shun RDX for gelatin sticks

Ajay Bharadwaj
Thursday, June 19, 2008 03:48 IST

But continue to be supported by Germany-based mentors

CHANDIGARH: Punjab militants are no more dependent on RDX, mostly smuggled in from Pakistan, but have shifted to home-made gelatin sticks, proven to be as much or even more effective by naxalites.

This became clear after the arrest of two ultras in Ludhiana on Tuesday. The explosives consignment recovered from them contained 195 gelatin sticks manufactured by a private firm in Nagpur, Maharashtra, and 25 detonators made in Golconda, Andhra Pradesh.

It also became clear after the arrests of Manjit and Gurbhej Singh that Punjab militants continue to be powered by Germany, as the two revealed they were guided and motivated by Gurmeet Singh based in the European nation, Ludhiana DIG Ishwar Singh said.

The gelatin sticks recovered from the militants could cause over two dozen blasts, the DIG said, adding that this was a clear indication that the militants were no more dependent on Pakistani RDX as was the case for the last 15 years.

The militants arrested in connection with the Shringar Cinema blast were also found to be actively in touch with the hardliners in Germany.

Intelligence agencies had earlier disclosed that the Babbar Khalsa militant outfit was part of a terrorist network sponsored by Germany-based terror groups as well as Pakistan’s external intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), trying to revive terrorism in Punjab.

The outfit is believed to be active in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Belgium, Norway, Switzerland and Pakistan.
According to reports, a joint committee was lately formed in Germany to coordinate terror activities abroad.

Meanwhile, Ludhiana Police are yet to ascertain to which terrorist outfit the militants arrested on Tuesday belong.
“Of late, radical cadres of terror outfits are diminishing. They are loosely organised and are helped by one or the other organisation,” IG Sanjeev Kalra said.

He said the preliminary questioning of the accused had revealed that their main targets were Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarewala, Dera Sacha Sauda’s controversial chief Baba Ram Rahim Singh and crowded places, including vital installations.

The youth said they were working at the instance of Gurmeet Singh alias Bagga, who belonged to Jhajj village near Tanda in Hoshiarpur but is now based in Hamburg, Germany.

Intelligence agencies from across the border also helped them, they said.

The recovered explosives had the mark, Super Power-90 Solar Explosive Limited village Chak Doe BazarGaon in Nagpur district. The detonators were from villages Peddakandukur, Vadagiri and Gutta Mandal in Nalsonda district (Andhra Pardesh).


Investigations revealed the gang has sympathisers in different parts of the country and abroad.
b_ajay@dnaindia.net

Maoist rebels clash, one killed

Gaya (PTI): A renegade Maoist was shot dead by suspected CPI (Maoist) rebels in Bihar's Gaya district, police aid on Thursday.

Bigan Mahto, a hardcore naxalite of 'Tritiya Prastuti Committee', a breakaway group of CPI (Maoist), was shot dead and his body thrown near a school at Dumaria under Dumaria police station of the naxalite-hit district.

The body, with a bullet wound on the temple, was recovered on Thursday morning, sources said adding that investigation was on.

India to set up counterinsurgency force

NEW DELHI, June 18 (UPI) -- India's southern Orissa state said it would set up a counterinsurgency battalion for resolute action to counter Maoists.

The state government said the new elite force would be constituted in parts of the state with central funds. Federal Interior Minister Shivraj Patil has accepted the state's proposal made by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at a meeting with him in New Delhi, a state official said.

Patil asked Naveen to provide land for the battalion, keeping in view long-term requirements. The chief minister promised the land would be given free of cost for the building of the new force, the official said.

The chief minister also requested the interior minister to enhance the reimbursement amount under security-related expenditure scheme to continue with anti-Naxalite operations.

He also sought for the deputation of 400 central reserve police force personnel to the state to strengthen the Special Operation Group, exclusively meant for counterinsurgency and anti-Naxalite operations in the state. The interior minister agreed to consider the government's requests favorably, the official said.

Maoists are called Naxalites in India.

Centre has a report on security. Now act on it

Editorial

Source: ORGANISER

An internal document of the central government on national security, meant for restricted circulation, has painted a grim and worrisome scenario. The document has identified three areas of special concern—the increased ISI activities of subversion and terror, Bangla influx and Naxal menace.

The information is not startling, though its admission at the apex level is significant. For many years the centre under the UPA has been denying these threats. All suggestions pointing to their gravity were pooh-poohed with the claim that they were exaggerated. And the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh unleashed his peace offensive with Pakistan with his now famous out of the box paradigm shift. He was at pains to sell Pakistani claims on Kashmir settlement as a positive development. All through the government tried to downplay the threat from Pakistan and the ISI activities in Kashmir, Bangladesh and Nepal, all targeted against India.

There were solid proof of Pak-inspired terror attacks, infiltration and creation of sleeper terror modules. But the centre responded by revoking POTA, reassuring the disaffected sections swayed by the ISI shenanigans and withdrawing security forces from the valley. These developments had created a national angst.

In that background it is both reassuring and heartening that the internal security document has recognised the real threat and sought to firm up a pro-active policy. According to a report in The Times of India (June 9) these threats are likely to be there till at least 2025. The report warned that ISI has a plan not only to keep terrorism alive in Kashmir but also stoke fundamentalism in the country.

Equally serious is the increasing belligerence of the Maoist extremists. Despite India’s persistent efforts for peace there is no change in ISI objectives which according to the document, include “liberation” of Kashmir, revival of terrorism in Punjab, use of Bihar-Nepal border for smuggling arms, explosives and fake currency, co-operation with ULFA, control of insurgent networks from Bangladesh and using certain madrasas in border states like West Bengal.

This overview of security threat, in the perspective plan of training in CRPF provides a hard-headed analysis of emerging challenges for India. The document analyses that Bangladeshi influx which often feeds jehadi cells can affect poll outcome in 20 assembly segments in Delhi alone and 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in the North-East and West Bengal. The actual impact of the illegal migration is much more and some estimates put it over 15 million.

The document further says that in South India, Maharashtra and Gujarat, the terror network and the underworld are active. All these aspects are interlinked, the document concludes.

It is now for the centre to work out a strategy with a long-term agenda and undiluted by vote bank considerations. The recent ISI-supported infiltrations in Jammu and Kashmir, and the arrest of about half a dozen ISI agents including Khalistani subversives from Punjab and other areas only confirm the veracity of this report. It is good that the official document has emphasised the threat of big demographic changes because of illegal Bangla influx. This population often shelters anti-India elements and provides steady recruitment to jehadi modules, the report says.

These infiltrators have become a major headache for law enforcing agencies and a real threat to internal security. Now that the official document has admitted the problem, it is for the nationalist forces to take it up and create a mass awareness to force the government to act, identify the infiltrators, deport them without delay and seal the border. No price in this war for national security is high. For, the nation has to survive if it has to protect democracy, secularism, peace and the treasure of our cultural heritage.

Analysis: Indian security forces make Maoists flee Chhattisgarh

By KUSHAL JEENA, UPI CorrespondentPublished: June 18, 2008 at 6:46 PMOrder

NEW DELHI, June 18 (UPI) -- Indian security forces have claimed their biggest ever success in counterinsurgency operations against armed Maoist guerrillas in the worst-hit central state of Chhattisgarh, killing more than 70 of the rebels in a single month.

According to the Interior Ministry, Maoist insurgents are leaving their stronghold in the dense forests of Chhattisgarh as federal and state paramilitary forces have launched a joint offensive against them causing severe casualties to the rebels.

"The security forces have now changed their striking strategy against the rebels. They are now penetrating into their strong bases in the worst-affected districts of Bastar and Dantewara and establishing bases in the forest to strike against the ultras," said a senior official of the Interior Ministry. He said this strategy has paid rich dividends, as paramilitary forces have been able to kill a large number of insurgents.

Following their success against the armed guerrillas, the Interior Ministry has decided to dispatch four additional battalions of central paramilitary forces into Maoist strongholds to make them to flee to adjoining states.

FOUR CORNER PRESSURE

Another strategy is to send more paramilitary forces to states adjoining Chhattisgarh, like Orissa, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand, to mount four-corner pressure on the rebels. The ministry is also planning massive joint offensives in all these six states where Maoists are comparatively more active than in the other states of India. The official said after suffering severe casualties, the rebels are shifting their bases from Bastar and Kanker to Orissa, where the presence of paramilitary forces is quite less than in Chhattisgarh.

The state police said security forces have put the rebels on the defensive, killing a large number of their members. They are now attacking government properties in a bid to divert the attention. "The security forces have killed several Maoist activists, pushing them into defensive," said Chhattisgarh Director General of Police Vishwaranjan.

Even the People's March, the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), has admitted it lost 68 of its cadres while battling against the Indian paramilitary forces. The jailed Maoists have played a vital role in the success of the security forces as, on the basis of information provided by them, the paramilitary forces launched offensives against the insurgents. Following the tip-off given by the former rebels, security forces launched at least three major operations against Maoists in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh in the last two months.

The militants have now realized that the arrested or former cadres have been helping the police and paramilitary forces, revealing their whereabouts in the forests. They have issued threats to all those who are in jail or have left the organization of serious consequences if any information about their activities is leaked to the forces. Even as the paramilitary forces are killing a large number of rebels, the armed guerrillas have still been carrying out successful attacks at power stations and government buildings, where adequate security measures are not put in place to protect the buildings because most of the police and paramilitary forces are deployed in the counterinsurgency operations in the dense jungles of Chhattisgarh and neighboring states.

"The battle against the Maoist rebels seems to have entered into a crucial phase. The government should provide all possible help to Chhattisgarh, which is reeling under Maoist violence, to give the ultras a serious blow," said A.B. Mahapatra, director of the Center for Asian Strategic Studies, a non-governmental organization that deals with issues relating to insurgency and conflict management.

About 2,765 people died in terrorism-related violence in India last year. A review of the data provided by the Institute of Conflict Management indicates 27 percent of the casualties resulted from left-wing extremism across parts of 14 states, prominently including Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Karnataka.

By comparison, the year 2006 was the worst as it witnessed a total of 3,236 fatalities in terrorism-related incidents across the country. The fatality index, consequently, registered a definite decrease in the year 2006. At least 231 of the country's 608 districts are currently afflicted, at differing intensities, by various insurgent and terrorist movements. Terrorism in the state Jammu and Kashmir (affecting 12 of the state's 14 districts), in different states of the Northeast (54 districts) and left-wing extremism (affecting at least 165 districts in 14 states) continue to pose serious challenges to the country's security framework.

An Interior Ministry status paper on Internal Security says the marginal increase in casualties of civilians is mainly due to high violence levels in Chhattisgarh and to some extent in Jharkhand. The paper pointed out that Chhattisgarh alone accounted for 49.30 percent of total incidents and 59.80 percent of total casualties in the current year.

The Naxal violence has declined in Andhra Pradesh, where focused police action has reduced the Maoist violence, and there is reason to believe the decline in violence is a Maoist decision, rather than any significant gain on the part of the state forces. Maoist efforts are evidently and increasingly focused on political mobilization and consolidation over wider areas.

Maoists are described as Naxalites in India as they started their armed struggle against the state from a remote place called Naxalbari in West Bengal state in the 1970s.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Maoists call bandh in north Chotanagpur

Giridih (jharkhand) (PTI): The Maoists have called for a 24-hour bandh in the districts of Jharkhand's North Chotanagpur region on Monday in protest against the killing of four cadres in an encounter in Hazaribag last month.

Police found maoist posters calling the bandh in the Chotanagpur region which covers the districts like Koderma, Giridih, Hazaribag and Bokaro, police said.

Police have made security arrangements at strategical points and stepped up vigil along the railway tracks.

Orissa seeks more forces to combat Maoists

June 17th, 2008

Bhubaneswar, June 16 (IANS) Orissa has sought 400 more paramilitary personnels from the central government to counter the Maoist insurgency in the state, officials said here Monday. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik met central Home Minister Shivraj Patil in New Delhi and informed him about the difficulty the state was facing in dealing with the ultras.

He requested Patil for deputation of 400 personnel of paramilitary forces to strengthen the Special Operations Group (SOG), raised exclusively for counter-insurgency and anti-Maoist operations in Orissa, a state government release here said.

Patil agreed to consider the request favourably, it said.

Patil also accepted Patnaik’s proposal for establishment of a Counter-insurgency Battalion for Resolute Action (’Cobra’) in Orissa and requested the state to provide land for its establishment.

The chief minister promised to provide adequate land, free of cost, for the purpose, the release said

Maoists' new blueprint for terror :Targeting infrastructure around urban areas

15 Jun 2008, 0303 hrs IST, Amitabh Tiwari,TNN



RAIPUR: Emboldened by an effete administration and their own increased firepower for a war of attrition against the Indian state, Maoist rebels are now beginning to show flexibility in strategy - from striking against the police and paramilitary forces in dense forests, they are now targeting infrastructure around urban areas to cripple Chhattisgarh's economy.

In May last year, the Maoists - active in 13 out of the 18 districts of Chhattisgarh - struck vital power infrastructure in the state's tribal region of Bastar for the first time that left it in darkness for a fortnight.

This year, too, the red brigade has struck in the same manner, blasting high tension power transmission towers and uprooting poles, causing losses worth crores of rupees to the state government.

While large parts of Bastar, Dantewada, Bijapur and Narayanpur are facing blackouts since June 5 when the rebels blew up cable towers, public sector units like National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), railways, the state electricity board and even private players like the Essar group are incurring heavy losses every day.

NMDC, India's biggest state-run iron producer, had to halt production at its Bailadila mines from where it produces about 60,000 metric tons of iron ore per day and also supplies iron ore to Ispat Industries Limited, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited and Vikram Ispat and some overseas buyers. Communication systems in Bastar are in disarray following the blackout.

An NMDC spokesman told TOI that this could result in losses to the tune of Rs 110 crore, apart from the fact that it took around 10 days to restore the power supply.

Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board (CSEB), whose towers and transmission lines have been targeted by the Maoists, maintains that it's losing around Rs 2 crore a week because of power failures, apart from other costs involved in restoring towers and transmission lines.

Security analysts say the attacks on infrastructure in Chhattisgarh represents a clearly outlined and documented strategy.

"The Maoists' real aim is to carry out such operations nearer India's economic and political hubs - like Mumbai and Delhi - to spread panic and create an impression of lawlessness and anarchy," says Ajai Sahni, director of Institute of Conflict Management, New Delhi.

After the last such attack, CSEB member (transmission & distribution) V K Jain said more than 180 personnel, including engineers and others, are working round the clock to re-erect the towers under tight security.

The Essar group, which has an eight million ton iron ore plant near Kirandul in South Bastar, has faced the brunt of Maoist attacks with several of their heavy vehicles set afire in the last one month.

Moreover, the power failure in the region has adversely hit supplies to Essar's pellet plant in Visakhapatnam. The iron ore slurry is pumped through a 267 km pipeline, which is the second longest in the world.

Another soft target for the Maoists are the railways which suffered heavy losses following the blackouts - nearly 36 iron ore rakes are transported to Vizag-Jagdalpur-Visakhapatnam section per day. The red brigade has regularly hit the single-line rail track on this section to cripple goods transport.

The Maoists have also targeted captive mines of public sector blue chip, SAIL - they looted 1.75 tonnes of explosives being carried to Mahamaya Mines from where the Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) gets its iron ore supplies on March 28 this year. Within three months, the Maoists struck again on June 4, triggering a mine blast in the area killing three CISF men.

BSP MD R Ramaraju admits that Maoist activities near the captive mines of the plant are a matter of grave concern. "We have taken steps to streamline the security arrangements in coordination with the CISF," he said.

Chief minister Raman Singh describes the Maoist attack on infrastructure as cowardice. He said millions of people, mostly tribals of Bastar, were suffering because of power failure. "The state government is taking steps to protect infrastructure, as far as possible," he added.

Police attempt raid on alleged Maoist supporters in Erasama coast

odishatoday.com, India

Paradip (Orissa): Acting on a specific information revealed by alleged Maoist supporter Gouranga Jena, local police with special cops from Sambalpur have raided in costal villages including Janakadeipur, Lachhamakana, kusupur, Panchapally in Erasama block on Monday night.
However the visiting have not got any major breakthrough in the operation.

Devagada police had picked up alleged Maoist supporter Gouranga Jena in Govindapur village in Erasama coast last week

The arrested Gouranga shifted to Devagada for further interrogation in a case pending against his name in Riamala police station.

However police tightlipped over the operation in giving any details but sources added the raid conducted on Monday was effected after vital revelation from Gouranga in Devagada.

Cops play security card against RTI

SANTOSH K. KIRO
Ranchi, June 17: Jharkhand police have refused reply to a Right to Information Act (RTI) application seeking the number of primary and secondary schools occupied by paramilitary forces.

Though the state information panel asked the home department to furnish the information on April 28, the police refused to divulge the details as it could “hamper the state’s security” and “harm life and property of people”.

In the reply to the application filed by state general secretary of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Shashibhushan Pathak, director-general of police (human rights) Ramlakhan Prasad said: “As the information is related to the life and property of the common masses, disclosure of the information is exempted under section 8(a) and section 8(g) of the RTI.”

The sections state that information affecting the sovereignty, security and interests of India or endanger a life can be exempted from the RTI Act.

Police spokesperson R.K. Mallick said Pathak was free to appeal. “This is the view of the police headquarters. If the applicant disagrees, he can appeal,” said Mallick.

But the state information commission is the highest appellate in RTI matters.

Paramilitary forces occupy several schools, especially in rural areas, as they have been deployed to fight Naxalites and do not have other place to stay. Though it is common knowledge in a given area where the security personnel are put, the number of schools under occupation is not know.

Beside the number of schools, Pathak had also wanted to know which government order allowed the forces to occupy the schools. “I fail to understand how the information I have demanded would hamper the state’s security,” said Pathak, pointing out that he had only wanted the numbers.

The PUCL member said the government was violating the fundamental right to education by stationing paramilitary forces in schools. “As the state has enough funds to tackle Naxalites, it can put up tents for the forces. Why should it take away the space of children in schools?” he asked.

Even the Jharkhand State Information Commission has refused to accept the excuse of the police. “The argument of the state police is not acceptable. The police have to provide the information sought,” said state information commissioner Gangotri Kujur.

Pathak is not accept the explanation of the police as he has come a long way seeking this information.

He had filed the application under the RTI Act at the directorate of primary education in April 2007. When he did not get the details, he moved the office of the deputy director of the directorate of primary education in December 2007. When this attempt also failed to bear fruit, Pathak approached the state information commission.

Then came the reply from the human resource development department that the occupation of school buildings by paramilitary forces concerns the home department. The state information commission asked the home department to provide Pathak with the information but only got a refusal in reply.

Gnanapuram rail station in for revamp

Wednesday June 18 2008 14:05 IST
Express News Service

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Gnanapuram railway station which is being refurbished is all set to be the main station soon, announced Divisional Railway Manager Indra Ghosh here on Tuesday.

Addressing newsmen here, the outgoing DRM said a two-way platform is being developed and will be ready in five months and thus raise the number of platforms at the railway station to 10.

The Rs 50-crore project being taken up over 45 acres of land will house the station complex with three to four storeys and have space for car parking, bus terminal and underground tunnel. The remaining land will be used for commercial operation. The project will change the face of the station in the next four years.

The Railways have sanctioned a new Reservation Complex at Gnanapuram Junction which will come up in two years and the existing counters will be merged with the general booking counter.

Asked about the KK line (Jagadalpur - Kirandul), he said owing to the Naxalite problem in the region, they were not able to meet the expected freight targets. The survey for another line in the region has been completed and tenders have been floated.

The freight loading target of 40.5 million tons has not yet been achieved and the department was expecting an increase of two to three million tons in freight-loading once the Gangavaram port commences operations in August, he revealed.

There will be no major changes in the railway calendar from July, he said and indicated the Secunderabad-Visakhapatnam Garib Rath train will be introduced next month. Also, a new train from Sambalpur towards Hyderabad will pass through Visakhapatnam.

Chief Workshop Engineer, Bhubaneshwar chapter, D Camilla will join as the new DRM at Visakhapatnam, he added.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Maoists take the river route

Soumyajit Pattnaik, Hindustan Times
Bhubaneswar, June 16, 2008
First Published: 00:41 IST(16/6/2008)
Last Updated: 00:49 IST(16/6/2008)



Besides employing their feared guerilla forces, Maoists are now taking a new route to carry out their activities: down the river.

One of the most-feared Maoist strongholds is the area where Malkangiri district in Orissa meets the Bastar area of Chhattisgarh and Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh. Malkangiri is separated from Andhra by the Sileru river and from Chhattisgarh by the Saberi river. This is where Maoists have started raising a boat wing to facilitate faster movement of armed fighters, cadres and weapons. Besides the Sileru and Saberi, there is another inter-state river, the Mahendrataneya, between Orissa and Andhra. CLICK


Motu, the last town of South Orissa which shares border with Chhattishgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Beautiful Place to see, good land scapes, nice junction of Sileru and Saberi River -- NAXALWATCH ( Click and see the Map)

“Maoists are now using boats to come to Orissa, especially from Chhattisgarh. They have their own boats but rely on local boatmen. We have already had a few encounters with them,” said S.K. Nath, DIG of the southwestern range. “They are using inflatable boats which are easy to use. We seized a motor recently which was attached to an inflatable boat,” said Malkangiri SP Satish K. Gajbhiye. The exact number of boats in the Maoists’ possession is difficult to ascertain, but the number of motor-driven inflatable boats is rising steadily, officials said.

There are two reasons why Maoists are using the river route.



  1. First, tendering process has begun for the 2,215-km long Vijaywada-Ranchi highway, which will pass through 12 Naxal-affected districts of Orissa. The highway, said officials, will facilitate anti-Naxal operations. It will also help security forces carry out joint inter-state operations against the Left-wing ultras in Andhra, Orissa and Jharkhand.
  2. The second reason, officials said, is that a boat wing would give Maoists more options during the monsoon, when they normally lie low.

Maoists chopp off man's hands, legs

Bombay News.Net
Monday 16th June, 2008 (IANS)

A group of suspected Maoists from Nepal chopped off hands and legs of a Bihar villager as punishment for not organising a musical show, police said Monday.

'Lal Babu Yadav was punished after he failed to organise an orchestra show in a village as ordered by the Nepali Maoists,' a police official said.

Yadav, in his 30s, is a resident of a village in East Champaran district near the Nepal border, about 200 km from here, and runs a musical band.

According to police, he was kidnapped from his home by the Nepali Maoists who chopped off his hands and legs Saturday night and later threw him near a railway track.
Yadav with critical injuries was admitted in a private nursing home in Motihari, district headquarters of East Champaran.

Yadav told police that the Maoists had ordered him to organise an orchestra party at a village in Nepal near the international border touching East Champaran.

Police have lodged a first information report (FIR) and launched investigations.

No arrest in CPM leader’s murder

Statesman News Service

MIDNAPORE, June 16: No arrest has yet been made in connection with the murder of the CPI-M’s Goaltore zonal committee member, Biswanath Mandi.
Mr Mandi, 52, was shot dead by some unidentified miscreants at his Kadasole residence in Goaltore, Midnapore West around 10.30 p.m. yesterday while he was asleep at his courtyard.
District police last night saw a Maoist hand in the killing, but made a ‘U’ turn today, accusing the Trinamul-BJP, who had captured some seats in the Goaltore area in the recent panchayat elections, of conspiring to commit the murder.
The SP Mr R Rajsekharan said the unidentified assailant fired one round from his .12 impoverished pipe gun at the leader from the road passing along his residence and fled away unchallenged.
A clash had also occurred between the CPI-M and Trinamul-BJP activists sometime back in a controversy over the distribution of vested land between the two rival groups and Mr Mandi became a target of the Opposition, the SP said.
The district CPI-M leaders also backed the police theory of Trinamul-BJP’s joint venture in this regard, brushing aside any possibility of a Maoist role in the murder.
But the locals do not give much credence to the police story, saying Mr Mandi was a victim of infighting in the CPI-M. Mr Mandi, they said, had taken large sums of money from the people in the area on the assurance of giving them employment in Anganwadi centres and other government set ups. But Mr Mandi could not keep his word, and failed to return the villagers' money when demanded. Also, conflicts had cropped up between him and party colleagues over the selection of beneficiaries in distribution of vested land, locals further said.

Maoists raid Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY), torch tractors

17 Jun 2008, 0350 hrs IST, Satyendra Kumar,TNN



JEHANABAD: Armed activists of the banned CPI (Maoist) raided a work site of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) near Barki Murhari village under Pali police station in the district on Sunday night.

The activists set a number of road construction machinery including two JVCs and three tractor-trolleys on fire. The CPI(Maoist) activists claimed responsibility for the attack in a note left behind at the work site stating that the attack was carried out to protest the constructor's refusal to pay levy.

According to Naresh Das, a labourer guarding the site, over scores of armed Maoists swooped down at the work site around 11.45 pm and overpowered all of them.

The desperadoes (????) forced them to leave the place and then torched the JVC tractors and other machinery one after the other, he said.

Das added that after going on a rampage for about an hour, the Maoists raised slogans in favour of the CPI (Maoist) and then dispersed.

The manager of the Patna-based M/s Mother India Construction Company Private Limited said that they were working on this 3-km stretch of rural link road under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna at an estimated cost of Rs 78 lakh, when the Maoists were demanding 10 percent of the total estimated cost by way of levy.

“When we refused to pay, they finally attacked our work site putting us to a loss of about Rs 50 lakh,” he said. Meanwhile, the police have registered a case against three named and six unknown accused in this connection.

However, no arrests have been made so far.

CRPF Trooper killed in Chhattisgarh Maoist attack

June 17th, 2008 - 10:19 pm ICT by IANS

Raipur, June 17 (IANS) A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper was killed Tuesday and three other troopers were seriously injured in Chhattisgarh’s restive southern region when Maoist guerrillas attacked a combing team, the police said. The incident took place in the afternoon in a remote forested stretch of Kanker district, some 250 km south of the capital Raipur.

“CRPF head constable, Devi Lal, was killed and three other CRPF men were seriously injured when heavily armed leftist radicals attacked with grenades and guns a 48-member -strong combing team of the CRPF and the District Force,” Pawan Deo, deputy inspector general, Kanker, told IANS.

He said the three injured troopers were rushed to Raipur for treatment.

Deo said combing team strongly retaliated the Maoist attack and an hour-long gun battle took place thereafter. CRPF troopers found abandoned shoes and pools of blood at the site that suggests the insurgents too had suffered injuries.

Kanker — along with Bastar, Dantewada, Bijapur and Narayanpur districts that form the about 40,000 sq km vast mineral rich Bastar region — is a Maoist stronghold since 1980.

17 traders abducted in Chattisgarh

Raipur (PTI): Seventeen traders, including three women, were abducted on Saturday night by Maoist naxalites in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh.

Of the 17, three are still untraced, a top police official said on Sunday.

A group of armed Maoists abducted 17 traders, including three women, near Konde village, about 195 km from the state capital yesterday night when they were going to Badgaon weekly market in a truck, Kanker District Superintendent of Police Praveer Kumar Das told PTI on the phone.

While police teams have been dispatched from Durg Kondal police station to trace the missing traders, 14 of them have returned safely on Sunday from the clutches of Maoists, Das said.

However, the Maoists have taken three traders-Rakesh Singh and two of his brothers- with them into the deep woods, he said.

The Maoists have also set on fire the truck, in which the traders were carrying their grocery goods for the weekly market, the SP said.

Including Kanker, all the five districts of the Bastar region are worst hit by violence unleashed by the Left wing extremists because of which the state had deployed Central para military forces to combat them

Traders face rebels’ trial

OUR CORRESPONDENT
Raipur, June 15: After villagers, now it’s the time of the traders to face the Naxalites’ ire. The red army last night abducted 17 businessmen in Kanker district suspecting them to be “police informers”.

Of them, 14 were released this afternoon. But three have been detained allegedly for a “trial” in their kangaroo court.

“The traders were on their way to Badgaon in a mini-truck loaded with goods to attend Sunday weekly market when rebels intercepted their vehicle near Kondai, 200km from the state capital, on the Minchgaon-Kondagaon road yesterday night,” said a senior police officer in Kanker.

The Naxalites asked the traders to get down from the vehicle. The red army set the mini-truck on fire and took the traders in the forest.

“The Naxalites tried to identify the traders before deciding to release 14 and detain the rest,” an officer, quoting a released trader, said. Sources added that the three traders still detained have been identified as Rakesh Kumar, Shivram Verma and Suryaprakash Verma. The rebels, as stated by the released traders, would hold a “trial” of the three in a kangaroo court before “pronouncing” sentences. A force of security personnel has been rushed to the forest to launch a search for the traders. But the police could not made any breakthrough till Sunday evening.

ORISSA: Now, Maoists spreading base in coastal districts

Monday June 16 2008 10:55 IST
Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: The arrest of Gouranga Charan Jena, said to be a Maoist who was involved in several operations, from Panchupali village in Jagatsinghpur district has established the fact that Left wing extremism (LWE) is spreading its base in the State easily.

The Naxalites, who were earlier based in southern and western districts, have entrenched themselves firmly in coastal districts. The arrest of one of their hardcore members from Jagatsinghpur district has made it clear that the area has become a hotbed of Naxalite activities.

However, police have turned a blind eye to the increased activities of the ultras. Even after the Nayagarh incident on February 15 and arrest of two wanted ultras from Erasama area in the last two months, the State Government is yet to declare Nayagarh and Jagatsinghpur districts as the Naxalite-affected.

Criticising the State Government for its failure to check the increased activities of the ultras, a senior Congress leader alleged that it has become complacent. Less number of incidents compared to Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand does not prove that the Naxalites are not active here, he said and warned that if not checked in time they will become entrenched in industrial pockets of the State in the coming days.

Besides, four killings within the last two months in Malkangiri and Rayagada districts have left the police worried.

Lower-level functionaries of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) were mostly killed by the ultras. Political observers believe that this may affect the campaigning of the BJD in the coming months as the grassroots level functionaries have become scared.

Even though the ultras do not have any inclination towards any political party, targeting functionaries of a particular political party would definitely have an impact on its organisational preparedness.

The BJD leadership is now busy chalking out a strategy to counter the challenge politically and organisationally.

Maoists blow up bridge in Jharkhand

Bombay News.Net
Monday 16th June, 2008 (IANS)

Maoist rebels blew up a bridge in Jharkhand's Dhanbad district Monday morning even as a strike called by them affected life in seven districts, police said.

A bridge near Tundi village connecting Dhanbad and Giridih district, around 200 km from here, was blown up by guerrillas in the morning, a police official said. He added that cane bombs were used to carry out the blast.

The Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), meanwhile, had called a strike in seven districts to protest the killing of two rebels by security forces in Hazaribagh district last month. The seven affected districts are Hazaribagh, Ramgarh, Chatra, Bokaro, Dhanbad, Giridih and Koderma.

Normal life was hit in the districts as buses connecting rural areas to towns remained off the roads. The transportation of coal was also affected.

Maoist rebels are active in 18 of the state's 24 districts. In the last seven years, more than 1,200 people, including civilians and Maoist rebels, have been killed.



Maoists blow up road bridge in Dhanbad


Ranchi: Maoists blew up a portion of a road bridge near Tundi in Dhanbad during their 24-hour North Chottanagpur bandh on Monday which affected life in Maoist pockets.

Dhanbad Superintendent of Police Sheetal Oraon said the Maoists used explosives to blow up the bridge between Dhanbad and Giridih around 1 a.m. to disrupt road traffic.

The bandh evoked hardly any response in Hazaribagh, Giridih and Koderma.

The Maoists are observing the bandh in protest against the killing of four of their activists in Hazaribagh last month. — PTI

Combing on, cops find body

OUR CORRESPONDENT
Jamshedpur, June 16: Police today recovered the body of a villager from Patamda forests, about 40km from here, and said Naxalites had wrongly branded him an informer and killed him.

The body of vegetable vendor Suffal Singh was found from Koira village while the police were combing the forests after yesterday’s attack.

East Singhbhum superintendent of police Naveen Kumar Singh said the deceased was not an informer. “The rebels killed an innocent person. The murder was a ploy to ambush the police. We had a feeling the Naxalites might have a plan to attack a police party.”

The police also recovered a sophisticated pistol and 20 live cartridges from the place where the landmine was triggered yesterday. He said the rebels must have left the ammunition behind when the police counterattacked. He said some police personnel waited the whole night for Naxalites to come and try to collect the arms and ammunition

India's CRPF may receive intelligence wing

Published: June 16, 2008 at 7:01

NEW DELHI, June 16 (UPI) -- India's Interior Ministry is considering setting up an independent intelligence wing for the Central Reserve Police Force.

It said the new intelligence wing of the elite paramilitary force would gather information about the activities of Maoist rebels to pave the way for the security forces to launch offensives against them.


The force's demand to have its own separate and independent intelligence department was made by new CRPF chief V.K. Joshi, who was earlier with the Intelligence Bureau. According to a senior CRPF official, the importance of good intelligence gathering could not be undermined since the CRPF was dealing with counterinsurgency.

The CRPF, the world's largest paramilitary force, is currently engaged in counterinsurgency operations in India's Maoist-hit states and trouble-torn northeastern states, The Tribune newspaper reported Monday.

It also has decided to set up a special armed force to counter Maoist violence following reports that Naxalites would be stepping up their activities across the eastern corridor, the official said. Maoists are described as Naxalites in Indian context.

The CRPF chief recently pressed for having institutionalized intelligence gathering on which the Interior Ministry has now inclined favorably. The CRPF said its counterinsurgency operations have been affected by irregular communication and intelligence sharing between the force and affected states.

CM lends ear to cop demands

OUR CORRESPONDENT
Ranchi, June 16: Chief minister Madhu Koda today asked home secretary Sudhir Tripathi to immediately work out the financial and other implications of the demands put forward by the police personnel.

The home secretary has been asked to submit his report tomorrow. Koda took this decision at a meeting with the home secretary and principal secretary Sukhdev Singh.

The policemen’s association has demanded that their uniform allowance be raised from Rs 1,965 to Rs 4,500 per annum and police personnel posted in Naxalite-affected remote areas be given 15 per cent extra allowance. Inspectors should be employed on a Rs 8,000-13,500 pay scale, in terms of second assured career growth plan benefit and all categories of junior officials should be granted time-bound promotions at the earliest, the association demanded.

Officials of the police inspector’s rank should be treated as gazetted officers and they should be transferred on time according to an order issued in 2000. The 200 police stations in the state should be upgraded and new posts of police inspectors should be created, members demanded.

Other demands included restarting maintenance allowance for non-functional vehicles, 15 per cent technical allowance for wireless staff, filling up of vacant posts for operators and technicians in the wireless organisation and use of helicopters only for fighting Naxalism.

While working out strategies to combat Naxalism, the Union home ministry had agreed in principle that the jawans would be given extra allowance. But, most of the states are yet to follow it. The expenses involved are also yet to be worked out.

Centre to release funds for police modernisation

BS Reporter / Bhubaneswar June 16, 2008, 19:13 IST

The Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, today met the Union home minister Shivraj Patil and requested him for timely release of funds for modernisation of police forces. The minister assured Patnaik about timely release of funds to the State. The Centre is yet to release Rs 22.11 crores to the state under this scheme during 2008-09.

During his discussion with Patil, Patnaik urged the minister to increase the scale of reimbursement under Security Related Expenditure (SRE) to Rs 20 crores for continuing the anti-naxalite operations in the state.


He also requested the minister to depute six IPS officers to Orissa on short term deputation in view of large scale vacancies in the state.


Besides, he also requested for the deputation of 400 personnel of central para-military forces to strengthen the Special Operations Group (SOG) exclusively devoted to counter-insurgency and anti-naxalite operations in Orissa. The minister assured to consider the request of the state government in this matter favourably.


Further, Patil has also accepted the proposal of the chief minister for establishment of a Counter-insurgency Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) in Orissa.


He requested Patnaik to provide land for establishment of the battalion, keeping in view the long term requirement. Patnaik promised to provide adequate land, free of cost, for the purpose.

A policeman's lament

Prakash Singh was the police chief of two of India’s largest states, Uttar Pradesh and Assam, and also commanded the Border Security Force, the country’s premier paramilitary outfit. He has served in the most turbulent theatres of the country : Nagaland, Assam, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, and was awarded the Padmashri in 1991 in recognition of his contribution to national security.

An expert on terrorism and counter-insurgency, Singh has given lectures all over the world in Universities, Think Tanks, Police Institutes, Defense Colleges and international seminars. He is the author of four books so far :’Nagaland’ which deals with the tribals of the north-east; ‘The Naxalite Movement in India’, an account of the Maoist movement in the country; ’Kohima to Kashmir’, which gives a panoramic view of terrorist movements in different parts of the country; and ‘Disaster Response in India’, which was written in collaboration with two researchers of the Foreign Military Studies Office, Ft. Leavenworth, US.

Singh was also the petitioner in the Public Interest Litigation that led to the Supreme Court’s landmark judgement on police reforms in September 2006.

This is a tale of unfortunate happenings in two of the largest states of the country – Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Both are ruled by women Chief Ministers though of different political hues. Both the states recently witnessed administrative convulsions that clearly indicate the political subversion of the services. We seem to be determined to exterminate all kinds of endangered species in the country – including the dwindling tribe of straightforward and honest officers.

In UP, the Chief Secretary was left with no option but to proceed on voluntary retirement. In Rajasthan, the DGP was asked to proceed on leave. The circumstances leading to the ouster of the senior-most officers of the two states were quite unwarranted. In UP, the Chief Minister has been pursuing her political agenda in complete disregard of all considerations of economy or proper utilisation of the resources of the state in a manner which might benefit all sections of people.

Read all other columns

There is a sense of dismay and anguish among the people over the wanton destruction of public property and squandering of the meagre resources of the state on unproductive works. Buildings worth about Rs 50 crore were just blown up. Ironically, these buildings were constructed during Mayawati’s earlier regime in 2002. The Chief Secretary, Prashant Kumar Mishra, an officer of unimpeachable integrity, was quite uncomfortable when files on such matters came to him for approval. His position was all the more unenviable because officers down the line recorded notings as per the wishes and directions of the political masters.

Mishra could also have signed on the dotted line but a conscientious officer that he was, he recorded his reservations. This was naturally resented by the political masters, who saw in him as a hindrance to their capricious and whimsical schemes. These people complained to the Chief Minister, and Prashant Mishra had to go. He chose the honourable course of proceeding on voluntary retirement, though he was given the option to choose any other post of his liking. Mishra had only three months to go and it is a great pity that an officer of such calibre had to leave under a cloud.

Rajasthan has gone through a harrowing period in the recent past. Terrorists targeted Jaipur.

When the Pink City turned red

While the state police was still grappling with the investigation of the blast cases, the Gujjar agitation (Wanted, a piece of ST pie: The Gujjar issue) exploded in the state. There was massive destruction of public property. Rail and road communications were disrupted. The state was virtually held to ransom.

Much of what happened was avoidable. The state government had enough intelligence about the Gujjar agitation and it could have given instructions for the preventive detention of the Gujjar leaders to take the wind out of their sails. The agitation would have either fizzled out or been on a much lower key. The political leadership of the state, showing pathetic naiveté, relied on the assurances of the Gujjar leader, Colonel Bainsla, that the agitation would be peaceful. Considering the aggression of the Gujjars, it is not surprising that casualties took place. If the police had not responded in the manner they did, vandalism and disruption of public life could have been on an even bigger scale.

The decision not to take preventive action was essentially political. Making a scapegoat of the DGP has not brought any credit to the BJP government. Amarjyot Singh Gill was one of the finest serving Directors General of the country. A person of high integrity, he was also an officer with a vision. It is tragic for the state that his services were discontinued on grounds which had no justification whatsoever.

This brings us to the question of stability in the tenure of the highest executive functionaries of the state. UP boasts of a Civil Services Board, but the body is completely dominated by the government and its exercises are farcical. The State has not complied with the Supreme Court’s directions on police reforms. The political executive in most of the states has been treating the directions regarding the tenure of DGP with contempt and shuffling the officers almost every month. There is no stability of tenure at any level. Result : a callous, unresponsive and corrupt administration.

Is any one bothered? Certainly not the political masters. What is at stake is not merely the career of some officers. The political stability of the country itself could be threatened if the administrative and police structure is subverted. Who will deal with the problem of insurgency in J&K, the problem of separatism in the north-east or the violence unleashed by the Naxals? A demoralised police force or a humiliated civil service will never be able to rise to the occasion. What is worse, even the economic progress of the country could be jeopardised. No industries would come up in areas witnessing turmoil.

When will the politicians stop playing with the services and bending and manipulating them to suit their political interests?

(The views expressed in the article are of the author’s and not of Sify.com)