Saturday, August 23, 2008

Chopper lost on way to pick up Rajnath

BHAVNA VIJ-AURORA

New Delhi, Aug. 23: Three weeks after a helicopter disappeared while flying over the Naxalite-infested Dantewada region, families of the four men aboard are appealing for the army to be called in to help in search operations in the thickly forested hilly area.

It has emerged that the Bell-430 Ran Air helicopter, hired by the Chhattisgarh government, was flying from Hyderabad to Ranchi to ferry BJP president Rajnath Singh to Gonia in Jharkhand where his mother-in-law had died.

According to a BJP leader, Rajnath was furious when the helicopter failed to reach Ranchi.

Captain B.P. Singh, 60, co-pilot Rajesh Gaur, 44, flight engineer Santosh Kumar, 29, and technician Ashwini Kumar, 23, were on board the chopper.

Both Singh and Gaur were experienced pilots. While Singh had spent over 40 years in the air force, Gaur was with spy agency RAW’s Aviation Research Centre for 16 years.

The helicopter had apparently gone down somewhere in the Bailadila hills area, a Naxalite stronghold. “It could have been in any of the thickly forested areas of Dantewada or Bijapur or in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh,” a home ministry official said.

Initially, the home ministry had suspected the chopper might have been hijacked or shot down by Naxalites.

However, a senior Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official said it was now more or less clear that the helicopter had gone down because of bad weather. It must have crashed suddenly since there was no distress call, he added.

“In helicopters where pilots use Visual Flight Rules, as against Instrumental Flight Rules, as was in this case, the pilots depend upon the visual features on the ground for navigation. In adverse weather conditions like dense clouds, they can lose their horizon and orientation,” the official said.

“In such a situation, the pilots go down looking for ground features and hit the terrain.”

The weather was so bad that helicopters which went to look for the missing chopper could not penetrate the low clouds and had to return, he said. However, search operations were on in full swing now.

“Two DGCA officials are camping at Dantewada and Bastar,” the official said, adding that the hilly terrain, thick forests and the presence of Naxalites were making things difficult.

But these words offered little solace to the four families camping in Dantewada since August 3, when they got news that the chopper had gone missing.

Captain Singh’s son, an air force officer, Wing Commander A.P. Singh, has been going into the forest with villagers to search for his father.

Naresh Gaur, elder brother of Captain Gaur, said they were extremely dissatisfied with the search. “From search and rescue operations, they have started calling it only search operations, making it clear they have no hopes of finding anybody alive.

“They keep giving us figures about how many hours of flying had been done to look for the crew, and also the money spent. It is very hurting to hear when they tell us that more than Rs 1 crore has already been spent. Why cannot they just call the army, which is trained to handle this kind of terrain. They are not doing so only because it will indicate failure on their part,” he said.

Chhattisgarh director-general of police Vishwa Ranjan said it was a tough call for the security forces. “We are not just looking in a small area but all of 18,000sqkm and doing our very best,” he said.

With inputs from Nishit Dholabhai

Four key VHP leaders shot dead in Orissa

Font size: NEWSX
24 August, 2008 12:32:34
At least five persons, including four prominent VHP leaders, were shot dead by unidentified gunmen, suspected to be Maoists in Orissa's communally-sensitive Kandhmal district ton on Saturday night.

About 30 armed men struck at the ashram in Jalespata under Tumudibandh block, 127 km from Kandhamal's district headquarter town of Phulbani at around 9.15 pm (IST) and sprayed bullets, leaving VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati and four others dead, a senior police officer said.

The dead in the attack in the district also included VHP's Laxmananda Saraswati, Arupananda, Chinmayananda and Mata Bhaktimayee and an unidentified person, he said.

Tension broke out at some places in the tribal-dominated Kandhmal after the attack on the ashram and roads leading to Tumudibandh were sealed, police said adding steps were taken to prevent any communal flare-up in the district which witnessed violence during the Christmas in December 2007.

Additional security forces, including CRPF, were deployed in the area.

“Besides tightening security in Kandhmal, we have sought additional para-military forces from the Centre. The Centre was also requested to extend the stay of seven CRPF companies in the district,” Home Secretary T K Mishra said.

About five persons, mostly ashram inmates, were also injured in the attack, which triggered panic among people in the area prompting immediate shut down of shops and markets.

Eighty-five-year old Laxmanananda Saraswati, who had been working among the tribals in Kandhamal for last about four decades, was the centre of a controversy since the communal violence that rocked the district during Christmas in 2007.

Saraswati had been given police protection but the securitymen were overpowered by the assailants, sources said.

Condemning the killing Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked the people to maintain peace and harmony in the wake of the killing of Swamiji (Laxmananda) To prevent any communal colour being given to the killing, security was tightened in the district and the state government asked the Centre to rush two additional battalions of paramilitary force.

“I spoke to the union home secretary to rush additional force and allow extention of seven companies of CRPF which had been deployed in the district since December 2007," DIG of police (southern range) R P Koche said.

Though involvement of Maoists in the killing was suspected, a senior police officer said the attackers were not in naxal fatigue but a note was found from the site claiming that the attack was by the ultras.

“We are verifying the note to ascertain facts," the official said.

"It looked like a meticulously planned attack which was executed with speed, accuracy and precision," he said adding that the attackers used weapons like AK-47 and revolvers besides hurling bombs on ashram inmates when they were celebrating Janmashtami.

VHP has given a call for 12-hour Orissa bandh on Monday in protest against the killing of Laxmanananda.

The killing had its echo elsewhere in Orissa too with saffron activists staging protests and blocking roads.

In Bhubaneswar, the saffron brigade staged demonstrations and put up road blockade at several localities.

Several National Highways were blocked by VHP workers at different places including Dhenkanal, Bhuasuni and Angul leaving a large number of vehicles stranded, said police sources.

Curfew in Kandhamal

Meanwhile, curfew was imposed in Kandhmal district on Sunday morning.

“I have asked the district collector of Kandhmal to impose curfew with effect from tomorrow morning," Revenue Divisional Commissioner, Southern Division, Satyabrata Sahu told PTI on Saturday night.

Security has also been tightened in the tribal dominated district after the killing at an ashram for girls in Tumudibandh, he said adding the entire area has been sealed as a precautionary measure.

---19 times read ---

Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, 4 others killed in grenade attack in Orissa

ODISHA Today

By our Correspondent
Last updated: 08/24/2008 03:52:25

Bhubaneswar ( Orissa) : In a sensational incident Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his close aids have been killed in a grenade attack by the suspected Maoists at around 9 PM at Jalaspotta Ashram, in Tumudi Bandh area in the tribal dominated district of Kandhamal in Southern Orissa on Saturday night.

According to the sources the suspected Maoist have hurled grenade on the Ashram resulting killing of five persons including Ashram chief, Swami Laxmananand Saraswati.

The other victims include two inmates of the ashram and all the victims have dead at the spot.

RSS has decided to block all NH running through the Orissa as mark of protest over the killing on Saturday night, sources said.

Meanwhile RDC Southern range Satyabrta Sahu, DIG Southern range, RP Kothe have rushed to the spot as the tension flare up in the district following this incident.

Additional security forces 12 CRPF platoon have also been moved to the spot to prevent any unpleasant incident in the district.

According to the sources in the police administration, the Orissa DG Gopal Nanda directly monitoring the whole situation.

Meanwhile in yet another significant development highly placed sources in the VHP says that VHP and other saffon outfits have called a emergency meeting at undisclosed place to decide future action over this issue.

VHP and other saffron partied have called a dawn to dush Bandh on Monday protesting the brutal killing of Swami Laxamananda Saraswati.

It may be noted here that the tribal dominated Southern district of Orissa has been under serious tension since Hindu and Christians clashed each other on December 25, 2007 in Phulbani district.

Since then, Central Para Military Forces have been camping at Kandhamal. Orissa Government has constituted a judicial commission under Justice Basudev Panigrahi to probe the December communal clash.

In protest against the attack on saint and illegal beef trading, members of RSS, Viswa Hindu Parishad and Bharatiya Janata Party led by Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati blocked the roads and demanding action against the accused.

Swami demanded a high level probe into illegal beef trading in Kandhamal. VHP has also called Kandhamal bandh on Wednesday over this issue.



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Warriors against the State

BAREFOOT

BY HARSH MANDER


The story of two men charged with the grave crime of treachery…



Both are bemused at the charge of support of violent terror because both have life-long fought violence…


Two men were charged in recent months with one of the gravest crimes on the statute books of the nation, of treachery, waging war against the Indian State, sedition and abetting terrorism. This is their story.

It is alleged by the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh that Lateef Mohammed Khan is what the local police like to describe as a “jehadi” terrorist. Ajay T.G. is accused by the BJP government of Chhatisgarh of abetting Maoist Naxalite insurgency. There is much that these two men share in common. They both come from relatively modest backgrounds. Unsung and relatively unknown, in quiet ways they have effectively strived fearlessly and with passion to find ways to work for what they believe to be justice, using the law of the land and constructive social resistance.

A Block Development Officer, Lateef’s father employed a Hindu Pandit to educate his children in his postings in backwater settlements where there was no school. Ajay’s father was a bidi worker in their village in Kerala. Poverty drove him to seek his fortunes in Sri Lanka, and later the steel town Bhilai in Chhatisgarh. Ajay and his mother and siblings followed their father to Bhilai, where the family first set up a tea stall, and then a small poultry farm.

Lateef was selected by the government as a school teacher, and has ever since then earned his living teaching high school children science. Ajay had a more chequered career. His father’s poultry farm fell into bankruptcy and had to close. A purely chance encounter in 1991 with an anthropologist from the London School of Economics, Jonathan Parri, landed him a job as a guide and research assistant for his investigation into the impact of industrialisation on caste and kinship. It is an association and vocation that has endured the passage of years to the present day.

Fighting for rights

His teachers’ union inducted Lateef into left liberal politics. He joined the AP Civil Liberties Committee with legendary human rights activists like Kannabiran and Balagopal, and took part in several of their fact-finding enquiries, mainly into fake encounter killings of alleged Naxalites. In the wake of the 2002 Gujarat carnage, the Gujarat police alleged terror links between men detained under POTA in Gujarat and covert terrorists in Hyderabad. The police in both States joined hands to detain Muslim youth from Andhra Pradesh. Lateef felt that many civil liberties organisations were hesitant to take up strongly the cause of these Muslim youth, because of allegations of their links with Pakistan’s ISI. He therefore established a fraternal civil liberties organisation, calling it the Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee, focussed specifically on the injustices faced by Muslims. It fought not just State repression, but gender injustice within the Muslim community, against ageing Arab Sheikhs who bought young girls as brides, domestic violence and harassment for dowry; and against usury by private moneylenders.

Meanwhile, Ajay T.G. in Chhatisgarh also joined the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, investigating, again, staged encounter killings of alleged Naxalites. The newspaper Deshbandhu established a course in film-making for local youth with less formal education, called Janadarshan. It was a dream come true for Ajay, who graduated from its three-year programme, borrowed money from friends for a camera, and began making films. It helped him find his voice. One of these films was on fake police encounters.

Lateef antagonised the police more and more as he fearlessly took them on in many ways. He petitioned for a CBI enquiry into the role of the Hyderabad police in the infamous encounter killings of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauser, for which the Gujarat police was already indicted. He urged the High Court that murder charges be filed against police officials who had fired indiscriminately and unprovoked after the Mecca Masjid bomb explosions in 2007. When around 25 Muslim youth were illegally abducted and tortured by the police, he helped build a national coalition which used the courts and media to end further abductions. Most of the youth were released on bail as a direct result of these endeavours, and some have even been acquitted. With Teesta Setlavad and me, he also filed a suit for compensation by the police for the torture of the young men.

Life-changing incident

In the meanwhile, Ajay’s life was to change for ever when he accompanied with his video camera social scientist Nandini Sundar, for a fact-finding investigation during the 2004 elections. They drove into the forest interiors of South Bastar, where the Naxalite insurgency rages most fiercely. They found their jeep suddenly surrounded by men with bows and arrows, who snatched Ajay’s camera and held them hostage for several hours. They finally let them go, but kept the camera.

Ajay was devastated. The camera was his most precious belonging. With it alone, he could speak to the world, and hold up a mirror to its injustices. He doubted he would ever be able to afford another camera. Some months later, he had a visitor at his home, a young man with a letter from what described itself as the Central Committee of the Maoists. The letter stated that the party regretted that the camera had been buried under the soil and was damaged. He could have it back, or take money to buy another camera, but he should write to them for this officially. He wrote a letter accordingly, as guided by his young visitor, to the senior Naxalite leadership, pleading for the return of his camera or its costs.

This was in 2004. He never heard from them again, and did not get back his camera. He slowly reconciled himself to his loss. But in 2008, months after the arrest of his comrade from the PUCL, Binayak Sen, his house was raided, and his computer confiscated. He was bewildered, and was told eventually by the police that his letter to the Maoist Central Committee had been confiscated from a Naxalite woman insurgent. This was taken as conclusive evidence of his engagement with the Naxalites.

Ajay was arrested a few months later, and lodged in the Durg Central Jail for three months. In a barrack built for 40 inmates, 103 men were incarcerated. He could meet his wife — whom he had met in the Janadarshan film course — and son — whom he called Aman or Peace — only briefly through a screen, under the watchful eye of a guard. A national campaign convened by documentary filmmaker Amar Kanwar helped secure his release 93 days later on bail, because the police had not been able to present the charge-sheet against him in the statutory 90 days. Lateef is still awaiting arrest at the time of writing.

Not alone

These two mild-mannered men are not alone in having been accused of terror and treason. The Chhatisgarh police have imprisoned a motley crowd including cloth traders, for selling olive green cloth to Naxalites for their uniforms, tailors for stitching these uniforms, and electricians for allegedly aiding bomb making. The police in Gujarat and Andhra show a marked preference in terror arrests for working class youth, students and peace-makers.

The spirit of both arrested men is remarkably unbroken. Both are particularly bemused at the charge of support of violent terror that the State has thrust on both of them, because both have life-long fought violence and sought resistance against injustice only with democratic instruments of the law. But then it is maybe precisely this that makes them appear so dangerous to State authorities.

Explosives, detonators seized in Mirzapur

Express News Service
Posted online: Friday , August 22, 2008 at 01:53:04


Lucknow, August 21 The police seized 1,100 electronic detonators and 100 kgs of ammonium nitrate from two persons in Ahiraura area in Mirzapur on Thursday.
Initially the police suspected that the consignment was meant for Naxals, who are active in the area, but Mirzapur SP Dr Preetinder Singh said, “The interrogation of the accused so far has not given any clue or evidence that they were related to any of the Naxalite groups. The explosives were being carried to be sold to contractors involved in illegal blasting of boulders.”

A police team is conducting raids to arrest others involved in the matter, Singh said.

The arrested persons have been identified as Amresh Patel and Jitendra Kumar alias Babloo. On June 21, Patel had been arrested with 1,000 detonators from the same area, but he was released on bail.

The police team trapped the duo while they were going on a motorcycle, carrying a small quantity of ammonium nitrate and detonators. During interrogation, they revealed that they had stored more explosive at their houses. The police team seized detonators and ammonium nitrate from their residences.

Dr Singh said the accused had told the police that they bring detonators from a supplier in Bihar

We'll capture some towns, warn Naxals

10 Aug 2008, 0146 hrs IST, Sunil Mohan Patnaik,TNN





PARALAKHEMUNDI (ORISSA): Maoists have threatened to come out of their forest hideouts and 'capture' towns in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

In a message posted to mediapersons in Orissa's Gajapati district, a rebel leader claimed that the Centre and state governments' "efforts to suppress Maoists will go in vain". The two-page message in Telugu was signed by Bhaskar, chief of the Maoists' Andhra-Orissa border special zonal committee.

The message said, "We will capture some towns in the four states, including Orissa, within a few years. The Peoples' Liberation Guerrilla Action will be strengthened and the bandh called to mark Martyr's Week will be withdrawn henceforth."

He said, "Maoist upsurge in Nayagarh, Balimela and Kalimela areas bear testimony to our mindset and they have proved that the Naveen Patnaik government cannot suppress us."

3 suspected Naxals get bail

15 Aug 2008, 0431 hrs IST, Mazhar Ali,TNN


CHANDRAPUR: In a setback to the police department, the district and sessions court on Thursday granted bail to three suspected Naxals, lodged in Amravati jail for last eight months. The bail pleas of five other accused were, however, rejected.

The suspects — Raman Punekar, Shaktikumar Dadmalwar and Kishor Warwade — are likely to be released from jail on Saturday after all the bail formalities are completed, sources said.

Chandrapur police, led by SDPO Parag Manere, had busted the gang under the guidance of SP Cherring Dorje. The cops had first picked up Manoj Sonule, main source of naxalites in Chandrapur.

He was arrested with a Chinese-make carbine and more than 130 cartridges. Manere then started the mopping up operations in which eight more suspects were arrested after a thorough interrogation of the activists attached to Deshbhakti Yuva Manch (DYM)), a frontal organisation of Naxalites in the district.

Police had recovered Naxal literature and printing machinery during the operation. However, after a month, one of the accused Vinayak Sonule, who had given shelter to Manoj at his home, was released from jail for lack of evidence. The police withdrew all the charges against him.

A total of 10 accused were charged in this case, including Arun Pariera, the mastermind behind the nexus, Manoj Sonule, Arun Bhelke, convenor of DYM, Kanchan Bhelke-Nannaware, Ravindra Kurwatkar, Sudershan Ramteke, Gajanan Ankatwar, Raman Punekar, Shaktikumar Dadmalwar and Kishor Warwade.

Jagatsinghpur, a gateway to Naxal water warfare!

Friday August 22 2008 04:02 IST
Express News Service


SAMBALPUR: The arrest of State secretary of banned CPI (Maoist) Prasanna Pal alias Jaggu and zonal commander of Sambalpur-Deogarh-Sundargarh Ranjan Rout alias Robin in Jagatsinghpur has once again confirmed the strong base the Naxals have in the coastal district.

The presence of Maoists in Jagatsinghpur district in not new and dates back to 2003 when Maoist literature was seized by the then Sundargarh SP and now DIG (North-Central) Y K Jethwa. Even top Maoist leader Sushil Da, who was arrested by West Bengal police, had visited Jagatsinghpur.

Reports of many youths of Jagatsinghpur working in the Local Regular Guerilla Squad (LRGS) and operating in the districts of Sundargarh, Sambalpur and Deogarh have also been received.

With the CPI (Maoist) known to be following the LTTE model of setup, it is believed that the preference of the district could be associated with the Naxals attempting to hit the waterways to take their movement forward. Moreover, it will also help them smuggle arms and ammunition without much surveillance.

Admitting this fact an expert in Naxal studies said it has been quite sometime now that Naxals in the border area of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattishgarh have been using inflatable boats. Even after the Alampakka incident, they fled to Janbai from where they managed slip into a safe territory using a boat.

Informing that recently Malkangiri police seized a motor which was attached to an inflatable boat, he said Malkangiri is separated from Andhra by Sileru river and from Chhattisgarh by Saberi river.

Besides Sileru and Saberi, there is another inter-state river - Mahendratanaya - between Orissa and Andhra. Operationally this is the area where Naxals now have raised a boat wing to facilitate faster movement of cadres.

Maharastra to use chopper in anti-Naxal operations

20 Aug 2008, 0530 hrs IST, SOMIT SEN,TNN


Mumbai: The state government had introduced a helicopter for anti-naxal operations with much fanfare this April. But the chopper, which was stationed at anti-naxal headquarters in Nagpur, was sent back to Mumbai for repairs and has not returned for over three months.

The state police now plan to hire private choppers on a two-day contract basis to tackle emergencies. When contacted , Pankaj Gupta, chief of anti-naxal force in Maharashtra , told TOI: "The helicopter had been sent back to Mumbai for technical reasons. We are planning to spend money on hiring choppers on a temporary basis.''Although it could be an expensive proposition (Gupta refused to divulge the costs involved), the anti-naxal force feels that there is an urgent need to have choppers in certain emergency situations.

While Gupta refused to elaborate on plans of the police to hire choppers, sources said the department would be writing a letter to Pawan Hans, the largest helicopter operator in the country, asking them to work out the costs of procuring a helicopter for two to three days. Officials at Pawan Hans could not be contacted.

Sources said private helicopters like the 5-seater Bell 407 could be hired for a cost of over Rs 5 lakh for two days.

State director general of police A N Roy said the helicopter helped the police in "psychological warfare" . "It gives us one-upmanship over naxals and had created panic among several dalams operating in the dense jungles of Gadchiroli and nearby districts .'' Roy said the basic purpose of introducing the helicopter was to give assurance to police commandos that "there was help at every beck and call" . "We want our men to feel safe in those remote parts of jungle where they are cut-off from the rest of the world. We want to be able to send our helicopter for even one policeman injured in a cross firing,'' Roy said. This has also boosted morale of commandos deployed in the anti-naxal force.

The state DG added that there were situations where police convoys were ambushed in the jungles."In such cases, the convoy can send us SOS signals and we will locate the nearest police platoon and airlift them (with the chopper) to the ambush site. This will help in providing reinforcements at the quickest possible time."
In the past, several policemen have been killed or injured in an ambush or in mine blasts.

somit.sen@timesgroup .com

The far reach of Naxal menace


Naxalism today symbolises the rising incidents of extortion, land mine explosion and mass killing. They extort money from landlords and businessman to sustain their campaign. It's the common people who have to bear the brunt of Naxal menace..


CJ: Chakradhar Behera

FEW DAYS back, one of my neighbours, a native of Naxalite affected Koraput district of Orissa came to my place to tell me about his plan to leave Delhi for the time being. I was astonished to hear his plan and suddenly wanted to know the possible reasons. "I am in serious financial problem, then how can I float my dream to become an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer," he said breaking his silence. After completing his masters degree in political science from Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Subash Jani (names have been changed) came to Delhi for civil service examination preparation. His father runs a small grocery shop in a village adjacent to Orissa-Andhra Pradesh border and also provides financial support to his two sons. Subash’s younger brother Krishna also holds a masters degree in computer science and is currently in Hyderabad looking for a better job. Revealing the reasons behind his decision, he further said, "My parents are regularly getting threats from the Naxals for protection money, and to save their life, they have fled away to an undisclosed place."
With their constant support, Subash and Krishna scaled a record height in the educational field of Koraput district, which inspires many students of the district. They are amongst the few graduates of tribal dominated Laxmipur block in Koraput, dreaming of a bright career instead of severe problems. "As my parents are now unable to provide me sufficient money, I am going to my uncle’s place in Orissa and as the situation gets better, I will come back," he said.

Realising the far reached impact of Naxalism from Subash’s story, so many unanswered questions came to my mind. Was Naxalbari movement really aimed at mass killing and harassment of innocent people?

The recent year’s Naxal incidents have shown a different face of Naxlism, which is far away from its initial targets. They are not only limited to attacks and explosions but also actively involved in economic exploitation, paving way for the rich businessman and industrialist to exploit the land, people and their resources as much as they want.

They justify themselves as exploiters rather than saviours. Like the sad stories of Subash and Krishna, there are many other stories one can find in any Naxalite affected areas.

Today Naxalism symbolises the rising incidents of extortion, land mine explosion and mass killing. The turning identity of this radical ideology has received severe criticism even from the Left politicians and sympathisers. They extort money from landlords and businessman to sustain their campaign, but the common people suffer a lot both directly as well as indirectly.


more >> Those industrialists, businessman and contractors pay protection money to the Naxals; they enjoy de-facto power to exploit the common man. It seems that Naxalites are no more crusaders against exploitation. In true sense, they are against development and don’t want the undeveloped tribal areas to develop, fearing their elimination. If road connectivity to the remote tribal and forest area improves then it would be a nightmare for them to play hide and seek with the police.

Similarly, improvement in education, health and basic infrastructure would empower the public to reject the false propaganda established recently. To get rid of Naxal menace, we have to work out strategies for public empowerment and regional development with active involvement of the local governing bodies.

Top Naxal strategist held in Delhi

11 Aug 2008, 0506 hrs IST, Sanjay Ojha,TNN


RANCHI: The state police achieved a major success in its anti-Naxal operation with the arrest of a CPI (Maoist) think tank from his hideout in Delhi.

The arrested Maoist leader, identified as Alokji, is one of the founder members of Naxal movement in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.

Police sources said that the Maoist leader was taking shelter at the residence of an acquaintance when he was arrested in a joint operation of the Jharkhand and Delhi Police.
He is said to be behind the planning and execution of the Jehanabad jailbreak in Bihar and the Giridih arms loot in Jharkhand. In the November 2005 Jehanabad jailbreak incident, over 350 prisoners, many of them Maoists, had managed to escape. Similarly, armed Maoists attacked a homeguard training centre at Girdih and looted over 180 weapons.

Claiming the arrest as a major achievement towards destroying the brain behind the Naxal movement in Jharkhand, state police spokesperson S N Pradhan said that Alok was one of the most wanted Maoist.

"According to our information, there are about nine think tanks of the Maoist movement in eastern UP, Bihar and Jharkhand of which we have already arrested four, including Alok," said Pradhan.

The other three who are already in the police net are Shankar Mahali, Pramod Mishra and Birbalji.

While Shankar Mahali was arrested from Bokaro in August 2007, Pramod Mishra was nabbed in Dhanbad in May this year.

Balbirji was arrested from Ranchi in June this year.

Pradhan said Alok was also wanted in over a dozen prominent cases in Garhwa and Palamu districts of the state. "Alok has been handed over to the Garhwa police for interrogation," Pradhan added.

Meanwhile, security forces in Bokaro have launched a massive combing and search operation in the jungles of Upper Ghat following information that a large number of Maoists have gathered there.

9 policemen die as Maoists ambush Gaya cops

22 Aug 2008, 0000 hrs IST,TNN


GAYA: Six policemen, two Maoists and a passerby were killed in a fierce exchange of fire after heavily-armed CPI (Maoist) extremists attacked the policemen who had come for a routine inspection of the Raniganj branch of Punjab National Bank at Raniganj village in Bihar’s Gaya district on Thursday noon.

The extremists, numbering nearly 12, also looted five self-loading rifles of police.

Whereas five of the killed policemen belonged to Special Auxiliary Police (SAP), the special force comprising ex-Army personnel created by the Nitish Kumar government to combat the Naxal menace, an ASI, S N Singh, was also among those killed. One bystander, identified as Dev Nandan Mahto of a nearby village, too, fell victim to the Maoists’ bullets.

While four SAP jawans died on the spot, the two other policemen succumbed to their injuries on the way to hospital. The killed SAP jawans have been identified as Satyendra Sharma, Umesh Singh, Ram Nath Singh, Samundar Singh and Indrajeet Singh.

Magadh range DIG Praveen Bashist, who was camping at Raniganj, said the extremists had positioned themselves at strategic points near the bank. They started indiscriminate firing on the policemen the moment they got down from the jeep, giving them little time to react.

"Yet the SAP jawans exhibited supreme valour and hurriedly took positions to retaliate and prevent the bank loot," ADG (HQ) Anil Sinha said, adding the SAP jawans, though injured, felled two Maoists.

The extremists left behind one of the motorcycles used in the operation. They also left behind a handwritten leaflet, saying the operation was aimed at police to avenge atrocities by them.

Patna zonal IG Sunil Kumar and IG (operations) S K Bharadwaj have reached Raniganj and are monitor the combing operation against the marauders.

Raniganj is a comparatively big village and the Naxal ambush took place in the busy market area during peak business hours. The extremists managed to make a somewhat safe exit and got away with a single casualty.
Another equally daredevil daylight Naxalite attack was made at the Tekari police station, located in a busy business centre, about a decade back.

A few days back, the watchman of a mobile phone company was killed by the Naxalites at Gurua in the district. Earlier, Maoists blew up a petrol station on the GT Road and used dynamite to blow the house of a villager of the Barachatti police station area in the district.

Also, at least 62 activists of the JD(U) and BJP had to resign from their respective party posts on the diktat of the Maoist outfit.



Eight killed in Naxal encounter

22 Aug, 2008, 0238 hrs IST, PTI


GAYA: Eight persons, including five Special Auxiliary Police (SAP) personnel and an ASI, were killed and three others seriously injured in a heavy exchange of fire between police and banned CPI (Maoist) activists at Raniganj here on Thursday.

A police team rushed to the Raniganj branch of the Punjab National Bank in Gaya district after receiving information about armed men encircling the bank, Deputy Inspector General (Magadh Range) Praveen Basistha said. When they reached the spot, the activists of the ultra-Left outfit started firing indiscriminately at the policemen, leading to the encounter, he said.

While four SAP personnel died on the spot, another who sustained gun-shot injuries was declared brought dead at the A N Medical college and hospital here, Basistha said.