Saturday, November 15, 2008

WEST BENGAL: Maoists strike back...

Shyam Sundar Roy

MIDNAPORE, Nov. 15: The Maoists who suffered a setback following the arrest of their state secretary, Himadri Sen Roy alias Somen in February this year, seems to have regained their lost vitality.

Two successive land mine blasts in a span of 10 days ~ one in Belpahari on 22 October and the other on 2 November near Midnapore town targeting the convoys of the chief minister and the Union steel minister, has made the police force apprehensive. Though Maoists are yet to claim responsibility for the 2 November blasts, they owned up to the murder of a senior CPI-M leader in Belpahari on 31 October. They have also admitted to being involved in the 22 October blast, where a doctor and nurse died when a Tata Sumo car blew up.

The police could not do much besides arresting a few villagers who were "suspected to be involved in the operations". The 2 November land mine blast seems to be an indication of the possibility of a bigger attack on the state administration by the Maoists. They have made Belpahari their operational base in the state, but it took them over a decade to establish their dominance in the region.

Since 2001, as many as 34 CPI-M men have been gunned down, 20 policemen and five civilians have died in 10 mine blasts and 22 rifles, including two sophisticated ones have been looted by the Maoists in Midnapore West, Bankura and Purulia.

Alert for Maoist attack in 3 districts

Express News Service
Posted: Nov 16, 2008 at 0216 hrs IST

Lucknow, November 15 An alert for possible Maoist attacks at CRPF and Railway Protection Force camps was issued on Wednesday.
The information was sent to the police of three districts — Sonbhadra, Chandauli and Mirazapur — from the state intelligence headquarters. The letter to the police chiefs say that the RPF personnel in moving trains may be targetted between Garhwa and Renukoot.

Police Superintendent of Sonbhadra, Ram Kumar said: “The plan of the Maoists is to snatch weapons from the force. I have spoken to the RPF Commandant and arrangements have been made to tackle the situation.”

Kumar said three CRPF companies along with the team of Assistant Superintendent of Police (Operations) are on round-the-clock duty to ensure that the Maoists do not infiltrate into the UP border.

He added that Sonbhadra has the highest incidence of Maoist activities in the state.

The district borders four states — Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh — which are among the Maoist strongholds.

The SP also said Mahuli post is the most sensitive area in Sonbhadra and is the main transit route of Maoists. One company of CRPF along with the police force is always deployed at the post.

Mirzapur SP Dr Preetinder Singh said: “We always receive tip-offs and alerts from intelligence agencies regarding activities of Maoists. Six areas in Mirzapur are identified as Maoist-affected and Haliya police station area is the most sensitive one. This area borders Sidhhi and Reewan districts of MP.”

In 2001, the Maoists had attacked a Provincial Armed Constabulary camp at Ahiraura post in Mirzapur and had robbed 15 Self-loading Rifles (SLRs) and cartridges.

Naugarh and Chakiya areas in Chandauli are also prone to Maoists attacks, added Singh.

Bastar: Zero Point --A chopper missing over Maoist forests...


Bastar: Zero Point
A chopper missing over Maoist forests...


K.S. Shaini

The bizarre incident of Wg Cdr (retd) Vijay Pratap Singh may have gone off the headlines. But it certainly hasn't gone off his family's minds. The retired IAF officer, serving with the Madhya Pradesh government, has been missing since August 3. Directed to pick up former minister Arvind Netam from Raipur, the Bell 430 helicopter he was piloting from Hyderabad vanished somewhere above the hills and jungles of Bastar. More than three months later, there's still no trace—either of the chopper or of Singh and the three crew members he was flying with.


For wife Subhalaxmi, the angst over her missing husband is compounded by the indifference of the authorities/agencies the family has approached, be it the governments of Chhattisgarh, MP and Andhra Pradesh, the IAF or the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA). Singh's son Abhimanyu, a pilot with the IAF, has been on leave since the incident, running from pillar to post to find his father. "If this is how our country treats those who risk their lives for its sake," says Subhalaxmi, "then I will ask my son to quit the air force."
Singh, who had taken off from Hyderabad on August 3 at about 3 pm, had four other people with him—co-pilot Rajesh Gaur and engineers Santosh Kumar and Ashwini Singh. The chopper was to refuel at Jagdalpur—the headquarters of Bastar district. However, it never reached its destination. The last radio contact was about half-an-hour after take-off.

At that point, the chopper was flying at a low altitude (3,000 ft) and had deviated from the designated flight path. This, it's being suggested, is what might have led to the chopper's disappearance. But the family dismisses this outright, saying he must have digressed from the original flight path because of poor weather. "He is an experienced pilot," says Singh's daughter Aditi. "Do you think he'd violate rules?"

When the news broke, the Chhattisgarh government conducted a search, but soon gave up the effort. It informed the National Human Rights Commission, which the family had approached, that 12,000 jawans and 100 hours of flying time had been devoted to the search. The Singhs, however, maintain that the search was "perfunctory" and "not even 1,200 jawans were put on the job".

The NRSA, whose help too the family had enlisted, provided nine coordinates as possible search sites. These included the Bailadilla hills in Kirandul and Faraspal hills in Dantewada—both 4,000 ft high. However, the indicated area was not searched, with the Chhattisgarh government saying it was inaccessible.

After the IAF too drew a blank, the Singhs have approached the Israel-based Magnus International Search and Rescue Company, reputed to have produced "cent per cent results" in search operations. But their fee: Rs 3 crore. "If no one helps, we'll go door to door seeking contributions," says Aditi. "But we will not give up."

The family firmly believes he's alive. "Maybe he lost his way or perhaps he's been kidnapped by Naxalites," says his wife. For, the area in which the chopper went missing is a hilly, deeply forested, Naxalite-dominated terrain. "We can send a spaceship to the moon," says Aditi, "but we can't find a helicopter and four men in our own country. Isn't it ironical? Isn't it shameful?"

Shimoga: ANF Police Unearth Huge Cache of Arms and Ammunition

Daijiworld Media Network - Shimoga (SP)

Shimoga, Nov 15: The policemen, acting on information extracted from the arrested naxal Jagannath, recovered explosives and naxal literature buried in a village by the naxals.
Giving this information at a press conference held here on Friday November 14, district superintendent of police S Murugan said that Jagannath, who was arrested from Gopi Circle in the town on November 11, was interrogated intensely. As per the information furnished by him, a plastic drum hidden underground in Megoor village of Koppa taluk in Chikmagalur district was disinterred on Thursday November 13. The drum contained 65 bullets, 3 RDX cable wires, six detonators, a reel of AEF wire, four electric pins, two tubes of Araldite, two detonators duly attached with RDX wire, two cassettes, two bundles of gilletin sticks, a binocular, a mobile and naxal literature, hand bills etc.
The arrested person is a B A degree holder and was a member of the CLF. He supports leftist ideals and was active in naxal struggle. The information provided earlier by the arrested Krishna and what Jagannath now says, do match with each other. Some more people from the district may be subjected to interrogation based on the information provided by Krishna, he explained.

The members of the naxal gang do spend time in villages and towns and do not spend their entire time in forests. The department has been exercising vigil and collecting information about the movement of these people. "We could arrest Jagannath because of this strategy. Doddapete circle inspector of police Nityanand had arrested Jagannath. He belongs to T Gopigondanahalli in Honnali taluk," Murugan added.

"Investigations are continuing and we may be able to extract more information. Investigations on Krishna are progressing and we plan to get ballistic report. We have also been gathering information about the people involved with the incident of burning down a bus near Talugangadi. The policemen have also been pooling evidences to nail those involved in the incident,"
the SP said.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Man nabbed for helping Maoists

Statesman News Service

JAGATSINGHPUR, Nov. 14: Police arrested one alleged Maoist sympathiser from Tentulibellari village under Balikuda police limits yesterday. The accused Jogesh Rout alias Jogendra was nabbed by a Raghunathpur police team led by circle inspector Mr Pradip Kumar Panda. He was produced in a local court today.

Sources said that Rout was allegedly giving shelter to the Ultras and abetted in their smooth movement throughout the district and other places of the state.
As many as eight Maoists have been apprehended by Jagatsinghpur police in last two months. The information collected from them helped the police understand their network and mode of operation. The arrest of Rout is attributed to the same.
Police sources said that Rout had developed acquaintance with some Maoist cadres and helped them by dissemination of information. This apart, he was providing shelter to needy Ultras. It is believed that dreaded Maoist Satrughna Biswal alias Sonu, who was injured in police bullet in Sambalpur some time back, had taken shelter here with Rout's help. While police recently conducted a raid to nab Sonu, he managed to escape.

When Rout learnt that police were after him, he left for Pondicherry about six months ago. He had returned recently and was frequently changing his hide-outs and with assumed names. He has confessed to his association with the Maoists, said SP Mr RK Sharma.

‘Maoist’ posters found in Salt Lake

KOLKATA, Nov. 14: Tension gripped Salt Lake this evening after the discovery of some Maoist posters in the area. The suspected Maoist posters were put up on the boundary wall of the State Crime Records Bureau office near Karunamoyee. Incidentally, this is the first time that Maoists have made their presence felt in the township.
At least four posters, signed by the CPI (Maoist), were found. While one of the posters sought mass support in isolating the CPI-M from the public, another appealed to the people to stand up against the state government’s proposal to set up Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Salboni and Haripur. The third poster asked people to form an opinion in favour of the armed resistance in Lalgarh while the last poster once again spoke against allowing SEZs in the state.
The posters had been put up near the main entrance of the office. All four posters, written in Bengali on white art paper in blue ink, were in support of the ongoing movement in Lalgarh, police said.
Confirming the incident, Mr Sujoy Chanda, Additional Superintendent of Police (Bidhannagar), said although four posters had indeed been recovered from the wall near the main entrance of the building, police are probing to see whether Maoist organisations really had a hand behind the incident.
The police have issued a high alert following the incident. n SNS

People ignore Naxals, 55% voting in phase I

15 Nov 2008, 0400 hrs IST, ET Bureau



NEW DELHI: Naxalites’ call for an election boycott in Chhattisgarh election seemed to have few takers with the first phase of voting, covering the
Maoist-infested constituencies, recording an impressive 55% voter turnout. However, some violence by Left-wing extremists did mar polling, killing 1 CRPF radio operator and injuring 4 other security personnel and a civilian.

With the turnout arrived at by the EC at the end of poll only a provisional figure, the actual polling may be higher than almost 2-3% once the final reports come in from the field. According to the EC, some of the polling parties had not returned by the time the 55% polling estimate was released. The real picture on the turnout as well as incidents would be available only after these polling parties reported back to Nirvachan Sadan.

Until 6.30 pm, reports with EC spoke of 20 incidents of poll disturbances, including snatching of EVMs at 12 places, and Naxalite attacks, both on polling stations as well as on security personnel escorting polling parties through Maoist-infested interiors of south Chhattisgarh. The CRPF radio operator was killed in sniper fire from Naxalites as he escorted a polling team back from a polling station in Dantewada.

Two SPOs and a district police jawan were injured in the same district in a pressure bomb attack while accompanying the polling parties to the polling stations in the morning. In Bijapur, another Maoist-hit district, the extremists attacked a polling station midway through a poll, injuring one Central security personnel. A similar attack was mounted by Naxalites at a polling booth in Narayanpur, injuring a civilian bystander.

The violence, however, does not seem to have dampened enthusiasm of voters who defied the Naxalite threat to come out and vote in huge numbers. This phase polling will decide the fate of chief minister Raman Singh from Rajnandgaon seat, opposition leader and Congress candidate Mahendra Karma from Dantewada and assembly speaker Premprakash Pandey from Bhilai.

Constituencies of cabinet ministers Ajay Chandrakar from Kurud, and Hemchand Yadav from Durg city besides Congress leader Motilal Vora’s son Arun Vora from Durg city and senior Congress leader Arvind Netam’s daughter Priti Netam from Kanker seat also saw polling on Friday. State’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party besides the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party have contested all the 39 seats in this phase.

Lethal Maoist attack on IAF chopper

OUR BUREAU

An injured BSF jawan in Raipur. (AFP)
Raipur, Nov. 14: Maoists riddled an air force Mi-8 helicopter with machinegun fire, killing the flight engineer and providing a bloody start to the two-phase Chhattisgarh polls that also saw a CRPF constable shot dead.

The chopper was just taking off from Pedia in Bijapur around 3pm, ferrying electronic voting machines (EVMs) to the Jagdalpur strong-room 160km away, when guerrillas hiding near the helipad began shooting, sources said.

Some 17 bullets hit the helicopter, of which one pierced the windshield and killed Sergeant Mustafa Ali.

“The rotor blade, engine and fuselage were hit but the pilot, Wg Cdr T.K. Chaudhary, managed to fly the machine safely to Jagdalpur, saving the lives of the other passengers,” a district official and eyewitness said.

Some reports said that three already injured BSF jawans, being flown to hospital on the chopper, received further bullet wounds and were now critical at the district hospital in Jagdalpur. State police and the CRPF, however, denied that the Mi-8 was carrying any BSF men.

Maoists attacked polling stations and looted EVMs, disrupting voting in 21 booths, where re-polling will be held, state chief electoral officer Alok Shukla said.

Guerrillas killed a CRPF constable and injured four security personnel. Officers counted 25 gunfights with the rebels, who tried to raid three police camps.

The 12 seats in Maoist-affected Bastar region, where most of the attacks including the one on the chopper took place, saw poor turnout. An official said that in some polling stations, the turnout was “worse than in Kashmir” during the height of insurgency and poll boycotts in the Valley.

Brisk polling in many of the other 27 seats, however, raised the overall turnout to 55-60 per cent, a figure given by the Election Commission. Fifty-one constituencies vote in the second and last phase on November 20.

Some 38 Mi-8 helicopters were used today to bring back EVMs and poll officials from the most sensitive booths.

Maoists have targeted helicopters at least five times in the past one year, one attack causing a RanAir chopper, chartered by the Chhattisgarh government, to crash in Andhra Pradesh three months ago. Its wreckage was found yesterday. Chhattisgarh police chief Vishwa Ranjan’s helicopter was attacked four times and hit once.

Additional director-general of police Girdhari Nayak, however, found the polling “mostly peaceful”. He said: “In 2003, re-polling was ordered in 73 booths, but this time only in 21.” He added that six people were killed then, compared with two today.

The plight of tribals on the Orissa-AP border

Government has great investment plans for the area on the Orissa-Andhra border. The region, where the tribals are conspicuous, is backward. Despite development projects involving crores of rupees having been implemented, not much has changed..

IN THE name of development, the local administrators are always politicising the issues. The tribals are being cheated through denial of social and economic rights. Narayana Patina is the one of the blocks in Koraput district of KBK zone which lies on the Orissa - Andhra Pradesh border. It is a block which consists of seven panchayats where over 30,000 people live; most of the people are tribals and they are illiterate. Often these tribals are tortured and exploited by the Andhra police allegedly because they are naxals.


Since naxal activity has been reported here for the past couple of years, the government has declared the area as naxal zone. However the naxals have spread out in districts like Rayagarha and Malkanagiri and have become a nightmare for government officers. To save themselves from the naxal threat, these officers do not report for duty; instead they try to get themselves transferred to another zone with the help of political leaders. Therefore several government departments function with a depleted staff. On their part, the naxals are trying to persuade the innocent and illiterate villagers to join them.


Another major problem is that the said area on the border is mired in a controversy between the governments of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. The people of Andhra Pradesh encroach upon the land in the state of Orissa, claiming the land to be theirs. This has posed a problem to the tribals. No thanks to the negligence on the part of the district administration, with every passing day, more and more of such encroachments take place at an alarming rate.


The Oriyan culture and tradition directly influences the tribals and in its wake, also poses a few problems to the tribals. The tribals are acquainted with Telugu, the official language of Andhra Pradesh and not Oriya, the official language of Orissa. However the ignorance of Oriya has led to the tribals being denied facilities by the government. Even 60 years after independence, education, health, communication and infrastructure remain a distant dream for them. On the other hand, they have no option but to learn Telugu as they depend on the Andhra Pradesh government.


Generally, it is not only the government but also hundreds of NGOs which work for the uplift of the backward sections of society by conducting awareness camps, etc.
Other Articles by Tapas Ranjan Behera
Orissa: Highest number of communal clashes
Education affected in Kandhamal
The tragedy of Orissa hockey
more >> Tragically no such programme has been conducted in the area either by the government or by the NGOs. Owing to lack of awareness, the tribal people are unable to protect themselves from the epidemics and as a result they succumb to the epidemics. After waiting for a couple of decades, the tribals are demanding that the said area on the border be entrusted to the Andhra Pradesh government. Earlier Sadhaikhala and Kharswan were ceded to Chhatisgarh, although it is still mired in controversy.


The tragedy does not end here. There are two major problems to be addressed: one is religion and the other is the naxal problem. Poverty and scarcity of essential commodities have led to the tribals being forced to convert to another religion, no thanks to the influence exerted by some foreign religious institutions. Although this region is situated on the Andhra-Orissa border, the said religious institutions have chosen this side of the border because of safety. On the other side of the border, in the name of combing operations, the police torture the tribals inhumanly.

Two blasts during Chh'garh polling, 12 EVMs looted

Raipur, Nov 14 (PTI) Four security personnel were injured in two landmine blasts by suspected naxalites who looted 12 Electronic Voting Machines during the first phase of elections in Chhattisgarh today.
Two special police officers and a district police force jawan were injured in a blast near Gorkha in Dantewada district this morning, Vishwa Ranjan, Director General of Police (DGP), Chhattisgarh told PTI added.

The second blast occurred near Chintalnar in Dantewada in which a CRPF personnel was wounded.

Naxalites looted 12 EVMs in Maoist-infested Dantewada and Narayanpur district, Ranjan told PTI.

The extremists snatched nine EVMs from Bhejji, Gadiram and some other places in Dantewada district and three EVMs from Mardipal in Narayanpur district, he said.

According to Ranjan, one polling station was provided with an alternate EVM.

Alok Shukla, Chief Electoral Officer of Chhattisgarh, said re-polling will be held on all those polling booths where EVMs were looted by naxalites.

Polling was held todad in 39 constituencies spread across 10 districts. PTI

IAF chopper shot at in Chhattisgarh; flight engineer killed

New Delhi (PTI): In an audacious attack after the first phase of assembly polls in Chhattisgarh, Naxalites today fired at an Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter ferrying sealed Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), killing a flight engineer.

"A Mi-8 helicopter on election duty was shot at in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district this evening and flight engineer was killed," IAF spokesperson told PTI. The deceased engineer was identified as Sergeant Mustafa Ali.

The incident took place near Pedia in Naxal-infested parts of the state after the voting process was over when the helicopter was bringing the EVMs to the strongrooms, Election Commission (EC) sources here said.

The chopper was carrying EC officials and a few injured BSF jawans from Pedia to Bijapur. Soon after the Mi-8 took off, it came under heavy, indiscriminate fire, an IAF official said.

"The helicopter's rotor blade, engine and fuselage were hit by bullets but pilot Sqn Ldr rpt Sqn Ldr T K Chaudhary managed to fly it to safety in Jagdalpur, saving the lives of other passengers," he added.

EC sources said "a bullet shattered the helicopter's windshield and hit a flight engineer, killing him.

Naxal violence stalls voting in 21 booths, CRPF man killed

Raipur, Nov 14 (PTI) Polling could not be held in 21 polling booths in Bastar division and one CRPF constable killed in naxal attacks during the first phase of elections for 39 Assembly constituencies in Chhattisgarh today.
The naxals looted electronic voting machines (EVMs) from the voting booths.

"Polling could not be held in 21 booths in different places in Bastar division due to looting of EVMs by naxalites and other naxal-related violences," Alok Shukla, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Chhattisgarh said.

Places where polling could not be held includes Angagodi, Hangwa, Totar, Adnar, Kuthur and Tumdibal in Narayanpur Assembly Constituency, Handawada, Mangna, Kidriras, Mangnar, Muler and Pandewar in Dantewada Assembly Constituency, Aroki, Godpalli, Michwar, Pardem, Gorkha and Chintalnar in Kona Constituency and Kamta and Badepinjori in Antagarh Constituency.

The CEO said that re-polling will be held in all these places.

Meanwhile, the CEO said that one CRPF constable died in Naxal firing in Kodenar in Antagarh Assembly Constituency and four other security personnel sustained injuries in attacks by naxalites.

Giridhari Nayak, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Chhattisgarh said there was 24 encounters between security personnel and naxalites during which ultras tried to attack three police camps.

However, he added that naxal advance has been blocked successfully. PTI

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Maoists attack railway construction camp in Bihar

Gaya (Bihar) (PTI): Armed Maiosts attacked a camp and set fire to the machines engaged in construction work of the railways at a place between Jharna and Saren villages in Bihar's Gaya district, police said on Thursday.

Superintendent of Police, Gaya, R Malar Vizzi said, "Around 100 Maoists attacked the camp of Rajgir-Kodarma rail section of Eastern Central Railway late Wednesday night. They chased away the labourers, staff and burnt one Pokelin machine, four dumpers, two tractors and one motorbike."

Vizzi said the border of the district has been sealed and intensive search operations were launched to catch the Maoists.

Ban on Maoists up to the Centre: CPM

Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, Nov. 13 : CPI-M Politburo member Mr Sitaram Yechury said today both political campaign and administrative action were needed to tackle Maoist attacks in West Bengal.
Asked whether the West Bengal government should ban the Maoists as the Trianmul Congress chief Miss Mamata Banerjee had dared it to do so, Mr Yechury said it was for the Centre to take a policy decision on the issue.
He said Maoist activities were causing concern in different parts of the country and the Prime Minister had initiated steps to deal with the problem.
The Left Front-government had asked for additional battalions of para-military forces from the Centre, but the latter pleaded its inability to deploy them on the ground that they were needed for election duties, he said.
Speaking at a party programme Mr Yechury charged that the bailout package being offered by different nationalised banks in the country would benefit only private players of the share market and not the common man.
The current global financial crisis, he said, was the result of the neo-liberal policy of the capitalist world. He questioned why Prime Minister Mr Manmohan Singh was now calling for insulating the country's economy against international finance capital, while he had once been a strong advocate of integrating the country's economy with the globalisation process.

Jharkhand silk industry expands its unit in naxal-hit districts

New Delhi (PTI): The silk production industry in Jharkhand is expanding its business in remote villages without facing any hurdle by naxalities.

"Eighteen of the total districts of Jharkhand is hit by the naxalite activities and it is said they create hurdles before the development works of the government. But, we are working fearlessly in naxal-hit areas and developing our organic silk production units even in remote villages," Special Secretary and Director of Handicraft, Silk and Handloom Department of the State Dhirendra Kumar said.

Kumar said the state government has improved the life of about 23,000 villagers, involved in silk business, by developing as many as 21 clusters for the organic silk production in various villages, including those hit by naxalites in last two years.

Delhi turns down CRPF plea

OUR BUREAU
Calcutta, Nov. 13: The Centre has told the state government that it cannot spare CRPF personnel for Lalgarh and Jhargram with five Assembly elections round the corner, state home secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti said today.

He said the Union home ministry had informed chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb two days ago. “The Centre expressed its inability to send the CRPF as they have been deployed in five election-bound states. So, we are deploying state forces in Lalgarh and Jhargram.”

Chakrabarti said the government had asked for central forces after six companies of CRPF jawans were withdrawn from the Maoist-infested West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts in view of the Assembly polls.

Raj Kanojia, inspector-general of police, law and order, said six companies of the State Armed Police, Eastern Frontier Rifles and the Indian Reserve Battalion had been despatched to the disturbed areas in West Midnapore.

In the city for a CPM event, politburo member Sitaram Yechury said the party had hoped the Centre would “co-operate” in combating Maoist violence. “Naxalite activity is a menace in many states, including Bengal. The Prime Minister himself had called it the biggest threat to the internal security of the country,” he said. “Even if elections are due in some states and central forces have been deployed there, there are reserve forces which can be used (in Bengal).”

In a recent article in party organ Peoples’ Democracy, Yechury had accused the Congress-led Centre of deliberately denying “necessary assistance to the state government” to combat Maoists, hinting at the party’s “eagerness” to forge ties with the Trinamul Congress.

CPM sources said that after tomorrow’s state secretariat meeting, the party would echo Yechury’s charge.

Huge cache of explosives seized in Gaya

13 Nov 2008, 1725 hrs IST, PTI


GAYA: Police seized 70 kg of ammonium nitrate, an explosive, 52 detonators and 15 pieces of gelatin sticks during a raid at a village in Bihar's
Naxalite-affected Gaya district on Thursday.

Acting on specific information that explosives were kept at Bodhchak village under Wazirganj police station limits, police raided the house of Ashok Singh early this morning, Superintendent of Police R Mallar Vizi said.

Led by Wazirganj Deputy Superintendent of Police Saurabh Kumar, police seized the explosives allegedly meant for supply to the Naxalites from the house.

The police also seized six drums of diesel and one motorcycle, the SP said.

Udupi: Naxal activist convicted, may be let off today

Udupi Nov 14: The court of Additional Civil Judge (Junior division) and Judicial Magistrate First Class in Kundapur on Thursday convicted Chennamma, who was arrested on charges of naxalite activities on February 13, 2007, for six months’ imprisonment. However, since Chennamma was in custody for 20 months, judge K.G. Chintha ordered her release from the jail.

Advocate B. Prakashchandra Hegde, who represented Chennamma in the court, told The Hindu that Ms. Chennamma had been arrested by the police at Amasebail, near Kundapur, coming under Shankarnarayana Police limits, on February 13, 2007, on charges of involvement in naxalite activitites. At present, she was facing charges of unlawful assembly, rioting and dealing with deadly weapon, criminal trespass, damaging public property and giving life threat (Sections 143, 147, 448, 427 and 506 read with 149 of IPC).

He said that the court convicted Ms. Chennamma for a six-month term in jail. However, since Ms. Chennamma was in custody for 20 months, judge K.G. Chintha ordered that Chennamma be released on Friday from the jail in Mysore. Ms. Chennamma had been acquitted in other cases by the courts in Udupi earlier, Mr. Hegde said.

Hindu

Congress leader killed by Naxalites in Chhattisgarh

14 Nov 2008, 0829 hrs IST, PTI

RAIPUR: Naxalites on Thursday killed a Congress leader in the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.


Congress President of Kuakonda bloc Trinath Singh Thakur was killed by Naxalites who slit his throat, Dantewada Superintendent of Police Rahul Sharma told.

The incident took place in Kadapal village where Sharma had gone for a party work, he added.

Police was immediately rushed to the spot after receiving the information, said the SP.

The district, which is heavily affected by naxalite activities, goes to the polls on Friday as part of first phase of assembly polls in the state.

Polling begins in Chhattisgarh amidst Maoist threat

New Delhi, Nov 13: The first phase of polling in Chhattisgarh began on Friday kickstarting the electoral process in six states, which is being seen as the "semi-finals" before the Lok Sabha polls.

EC issues orders for prohibition of SMS misusePolling is being held in 39 constituencies of the 90-member Chhattisgarh assembly. These constituencies are crucial as they fall in the Naxal-affected areas of the state. BJP is fighting the polls to retain power and is facing a tough fight from the Congress.

Besides Chhattisgarh, elections are underway in other states, namely , Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Mizoram.

These polls are a litmus test for the political parties as the outcome could be a pointer to which way the wind will blow in the Lok Sabha polls.

BJP is in power in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh -- which are politically crucial considering their size and the fact that they form a major portion of the Hindi heartland.

The saffron party had managed to beat the anti-incumbency factor in Gujarat by not giving ticket to those sitting MLAs who were not likely to win. It is following the same formula in these three states also.

Moreover, BJP-led NDA is in an upbeat mood after having won Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and wresting its first southern state in the form of Karnataka from Congress.

Congress, on the other hand, is facing the problem of anti-incumbency in Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.

While it has been in power in Delhi for a record 10 years, in Jammu and Kashmir, it ruled along with PDP from 2002 to early this year, before the latter pulled back support in the aftermath of the Amarnath land row.

BJP seems confident of its victory in Delhi as it feels that Congress is bogged down by a heavy anti-incumbency wave in the city.

While in Jammu and Kashmir, the saffron party leaders feel that the party is likely to improve its performance, especially after the way the Ghulam Nabi Azad-led Congress government has handled the Amarnath land issue, leading to a major agitation there.

The party is hopeful that it will improve its performance in the state, especially in the Jammu region.

Mizoram is ruled by Zoramthanga-led Mizo National Front which some predict will come to power again as there is no strong opposition. MNF has been in power in the state for the last one decade.

Interestingly, the upbeat mood of the BJP-led NDA can also be attributed to the fact that ever since Congress-led UPA assumed power at the Centre in 2004, the latter has failed to win a single assembly election, except Goa.

Apart from this, the return of former NDA allies like Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) to the alliance fold is being read as an indicator of NDA's brightening of prospects in the coming Lok Sabha polls.

As far as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are concerned, these have always been witness to bi-polar polity and though BJP is in power in all these three states, Congress leaders feel they have a fair chance of victory in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

In 2003 polls, Congress had finished a close second to BJP in Chhattisgarh, while it was a clean sweep by the saffron party in Madhya Pradesh (it had won 173 seats out of the 230 seats to Congress' 38).

Bureau Report

Naxals snatch 3 EVMs in Dantewada

PTI
Raipur, November 13, 2008

CloseIndia Today expert view on Naxals snatch 3 EVMs in DantewadaSuspected Naxalites on Friday snatched three electronic voting machines (EVMs) from polling officials in Naxal-infested Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.

"The EVMs were meant for polling stations of Mankapal, Madoki and Pordem in Dantewada district," Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Alok Shukla said.

They were snatched allegedly by Naxalites near Medki village when the polling officials were on their way to the booths, he said.

New EVMs had already been issued to the polling team and polling would be held at these places as per schedule. A case had also been registered at Gadiras police station.

Chh'garh goes to polls tomorrow amid unprecedented security

Raipur, Nov 13 (PTI) Polling will be held tomorrow in 39 out of the 90 Assembly seats in Chhattisgarh in the first phase amid unprecedented security deployment due to fears of violence by naxalites who snatched three EVMs in Dantewada district today.
Three EVMs have been snatched by Naxalites in Dantewada district, chief electoral officer Alok Shukla said. The electronic voting machines were for Mankapal, Madoki and Pordem constituencies.

Prominent leaders whose fate will be sealed include Chief Minister Raman Singh, Leader of Opposition Mahendra Karma, Speaker Premprakash Pandey and ministers Hemchand Yadav, Lata Usendi, Ajay Chandrakar and Kedar Kashyap.

Five people have been killed by naxalites in the run up to the polls. The CRPF which already has 14 battalions (14,000 personnel) in the state for anti-naxal operations, has sent additional 88 companies (about 9000 personnel) as directed by the Election Commission for the polls.

For the first time Border Security Force has also been pressed into action in the state with the deployment of 70 companies (about 700 personnel) of the force in the highly sensitive Dantewada, Bijapur and Jagdalpur districts.

Voting time has been changed for 12 constituencies in the Naxal-hit Bastar division -- Dantewada, Konta, Bijapur, Chitrakote, Narayanpur, Bhanupratappur, Anagarh, Keshkal, Kondagaon, Bastar, Jagdalpur and Kanker where voting will be held between 7 AM and 3 PM, officials in the state election office said.

Also, helicopters have been used for transport of polling materials and officials for 251 polling booths spanning cross six assembly constituencies in Bastar.

Women outnumber men in the 39 Assembly constituencies. PTI

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chhattisgarh set for elections amid Maoist threats

November 13th, 2008 -

Raipur, Nov 13 (IANS) One of India’s youngest states, Chhattisgarh, goes to the polls Friday to elect 39 of the state’s 90 legislators in the first of the two-phase elections.The Election Commission said 6.4 million of the state’s 15.2 million voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in 8,883 polling stations to decide the electoral fortunes of 379 candidates, including 36 women, in the first phase.

This phase will decide the fortunes of Chief Minister Raman Singh (Rajnandgaon ), opposition leader and Congress candidate Mahendra Karma (Dantewada) and house Speaker Premprakash Pandey (Bhilai).

The constituencies of cabinet ministers Ajay Chandrakar (Kurud) and Hemchand Yadav (Durg city), besides Congress leader Motilal Vora’s son Arun Vora and Congress leader Arvind Netam’s daughter Priti Netam, will also see polling Friday.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are contesting all 39 seats.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) has fielded nine candidates and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) three.

The Bastar region’s 12 constituencies, where Maoist guerrillas dominate, Durg district’s 12 constituencies, six in Rajnandgaon district, four in Mahasamund district, three in Dhamtari district and two in Kabirdham district will also see polling in the first phase.

All eyes are set on the Bastar region that is home to five districts: Kanker, Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur and Bastar. About 65,000 policemen have been deployed in the 12 constituencies to take on Maoist guerrillas who have vowed to disrupt the elections.

Bastar has witnessed over 1,100 casualties in Maoist violence since 2004.

The polling will begin at 7 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. for Bastar’s 12 seats, where security personnel have a task cut out to escort voters and polling parties as well.

The polling timing for the rest of the seats will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The decision to start polling early in Bastar’s Dantewada, Konta, Bijapur, Keshkal, Kondagaon, Bastar, Jagdalpur, Chitrakot, Narayanpur, Antagarh, Bhanupratappur and Kanker is taken in view of insurgency problems, to ensure the polling teams sent in the interior regions return (to district headquarters) the same day safely,” said Alok Shukla, the state’s chief election officer.

Bastar Inspector General A.N. Upadhaya told IANS: “Bastar region’s border with Orissa and Andhra Pradesh has been sealed off.”

Authorities have kept ready about a dozen choppers in Bastar to airlift polling parties to polling booths and also bring them back to safer areas before sunset.

The Election Commission has set up auxiliary polling booths at 23 government-run makeshift camps at Bijapur, Konta and Dantewada where about 13,000 voters are living with families after being uprooted by the government-backed civil militia movement, Salwa Judum.

Naxalites keep netas indoors

Rajesh Sinha
Thursday, November 13, 2008 03:54 IST

Fearing Red rage, parties in Chhattisgarh, which goes to polls on Friday, did not canvass in many areas

DANTEWADA (Chhattisgarh): BJP workers sat mournful in the party’s election office, despondent after the death of two of their local leaders at the hands of Maoists last Saturday. Invited to campaign in a part where no political parties had entered, they had walked into a trap and were slaughtered. Security forces arrived hours after being informed, taking care to avoid getting added to casualty list.

This is Naxal territory. Movement, post 3 pm, is discouraged by government. No one identified with the “establishment” dares venture into the interior areas here. At the end of electioneering, most of the areas here were yet to be approached by workers of the main rivals - the Congress and the BJP.

Workers at election office of sitting MLA and Congress nominee Mahendra Karma, the founder of anti-Naxal movement ‘Salwa Judum’, said they were facing serious problem going to villages for campaigning due to the risks involved.

“The CPI has spread terror in the name of Naxalism. Their men can go everywhere at any hour of the day. But Congress or BJP workers cannot visit those areas even during the day,” said one.

They recounted violent incidents, claiming they were all carried out by CPI workers rather than Naxals: the BSP candidate was beaten up; one day a Congress vehicle was burnt; another day another Congress vehicle was set afire.

“We have complained to the Election Commission several times. So have the BSP and the BJP. But no action has been taken. The BJP leaders also got killed as a result of this negligence,” they said, wondering how elections could be free and fair in such a situation.

BJP workers in their election office said villagers told them the Naxals had threatened to cut off their hands or impose fines on villages if they participated in polls.

In towns, the BJP, third last time, has made a dent with its Rs3/kg rice scheme. A relief camp with about 180 families of Naxal victim villagers appeared overwhelmingly in favour of the saffron party.

On the outskirts, CPI flags could be seen everywhere and several groups of villagers carrying the flags were walking or cycling down the highway as well as village roads. The party has held this seat four times in the past.

Incidentally, the BJP is not at the receiving end everywhere. The party has fielded at least two candidates who are said to have strong Maoist links. Both are in Rajnandgaon district. Chief minister Raman Singh’s constituency falls in this area.

Central team reviews Chhattisgarh situation amid naxal threat

13 Nov 2008, 0040 hrs IST, Himanshi Dhawan, TNN



NEW DELHI: Concerns over naxal infiltration from neighbouring states into Chhattisgarh were raised after a high level team of officials from the
home ministry visited the poll-bound state on Tuesday.

According to reports, naxal attacks on political leaders and party offices have led to lukewarm campaigning that came to an end on Wednesday for the first phase of assembly polls on November 14.

Additional deployment of forces and helicopter support in the run-up to the elections is already underway.
Fears were expressed that naxals from outside the state could be planning to disrupt the poll process. A team of officials, including the CRPF director-general, BSF director-general and special secretary (naxal operations) in the home ministry, visited Raipur for a day-long visit on Tuesday. The officials met the state chief secretary and the director-general of police and reviewed the security situation in the state.

Sources said that the team also looked at the deployment of additional forces to effectively combat any law and order situation. There are 17 battalions posted in Chhattisgarh with over 300 companies of CRPF, BSF, CISF, RPF and SSB deployed for elections. Sources said that additional companies from other states had also been brought in and officials were working towards ensuring proper their deployment.

Helicopters will be used for carrying paramilitary personnel and for surveillance during the polls.

After the killing of two BJP leaders in the Gudra area of Dantewada and vandalising of the offices of BJP and Congress in the Korenar area of Kanker on September 9, political activists in these constituencies had virtually stopped campaigning in the area.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has set up auxiliary polling stations at Salwa Judum relief camps to enable 50,000-odd tribal settlers to exercise their franchise. They had left their villages after Maoists began targeting them for participating in the civil militia movement against them (Maoists) from the middle of 2005.

The commission has deployed three times more force in the state compared to previous years. Border Security Force (BSF) has been assigned the most sensitive Dantewada and Bijapur districts.

Maoist threat dampens spirit of polls in Chattisgarh

Jagdalpur (PTI): Maoist threat has dampened the spirit of polls in and around Dantewada in Chhattisgarh. With naxal attacks on political leaders and party offices creating a fear psychosis, lukewarm campaigning came to an end for the November 14 first phase of assembly polls here on Wednesday.

After the killing of two BJP leaders in Gudra area of Dantewada and vandalising of the offices of BJP and Congress in Korenar area of Kanker on September 9 by the Maoists, political activists in these constituencies had virtually stopped campaigning in the area.

Maoists, through a press release, announced that they are not supporting any political party or candidate and reiterated their resolve not to allow any leader to enter the villages.

The reaction of Maoists in Dantewada is all the more pronounced as the sitting MLA from the area, Congress leader Mahendra Karma, has given a fillip to the Salwa Judum campaign against naxals. He is contesting from Dantewada seat for the third time amidst tough opposition from the Maoists, who have lambasted Karma and a few other leaders.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has set up auxiliary polling stations at Salwa Judum relief camps to enable 50,000 odd tribal settlers to exercise their franchise. They had left their villages after Maoists began targeting them for participating in a civil militia movement against them (Maoists) called Salwa-Judum from the middle of 2005.

The Election Commission has deployed three times more force in the state compared to previous years. Border Security Force (BSF) has been assigned the most sensitive Dantewada and Bijapur districts.

CRPF, BSF get more Special DGPs

Manan KumarFirst Published : 12 Nov 2008 03:05:00 AM ISTLast Updated :

NEW DELHI: Increasing threats to internal security have pushed the Centre to beef up security mechanism in critical sectors of western and eastern borders and the Naxal-infested region by sanctioning three new posts of Special Directors General of Police to the CRPF.

The position of Special DGP would be above the Additional DGP, which so far was next to the post of DGP.

Based at Jammu, Patna and Guwahati, these Special DGPs will be given the task of taking quick decisions during crisis hours. To assist them, the Centre has granted an Inspector General of Police for each of the three regional headquarters.

Similarly, the Border Security Force has also been sanctioned two posts of Special DGPs - one each for Jammu and Guwahati to strengthen security at border areas. In addition, the CRPF has been granted one post of Additional Director General, which would be based at Hyderabad, another sensitive location in view of growing terror attacks and Maoist presence.

“The idea behind sanctioning these posts is also to decentralise the authority for better management of the force. The strength of CRPF and BSF has grown in last five years, but their top hierarchy has remained the same thus putting lot of pressure on the top officials,’’ said a Home Ministry official.

The paramilitary cadre officers, however, see it as a ploy by the IPS lobby to spread their area of domination and get more promotion avenues.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Three Maoists gunned down in Chhattisgarh

Raipur (IANS): Chhattisgarh police Tuesday gunned down three guerrillas in the Maoist stronghold of Bastar.

According to police, the gun battle began at the thickly forested hamlet of Kharka, 270 km south of this state capital, in Narayanpur district that forms part of the vast Bastar region.

"The gun battle began when a combing squad of the district force was challenged by armed Maoists. Three rebels were killed on the spot," Pawan Deo, deputy inspector general, police headquarters, told IANS.

In another incident, a senior police official -- Surguja Range Inspector General of Police B.S. Marawi -- was injured late Monday when rebels opened fire on his convoy in Surguja district close to the Jharkhand border. He was rushed to a hospital in Ambikapur, the district headquarters of Surguja, where doctors said he was out of danger.

Bastar region, which comprises the five districts of Narayanpur, Kanker, Bastar, Dantewada and Bijapur, has 12 assembly seats and goes to polls Nov 14 along with 39 more constituencies in the first phase. Round two of the elections will be held on Nov 20.

65,000 security men, but Bastar candidates run scared

November 10th, 2008 - 4:23 pm ICT by IANS -

Dantewada (Chhattisgarh), Nov 10 (IANS) More than 65,000 security personnel have been deployed in the Maoist insurgency-hit Bastar region ahead of the Chhattisgarh polls starting Friday, but politicians still lack the courage to campaign in its interiors.Bastar has 12 seats - 11 of them reserved for Scheduled Tribes - that are going to vote Friday in the state’s first phase of assembly polls in 39 constituencies but there is almost no electioneering in places where rebels have been running a de facto administration since the 1980s.

The region has so far witnessed about 1,100 killings.

Even Mahendra Karma, the leader of opposition and the lone leader in the state who has Z-plus security because of the Maoist threat, is not hitting the interiors.

Karma who is contesting from the Dantewada seat for the Congress and hoping to win it for the third time said: “No need to take a life risk. I am visiting only the safer areas and with sufficient security arrangements. I know they (Maoists) are on the prowl.”

The banned Communist Party of India-Maoist has announced it will target leaders defying their diktat of boycotting the polls.

Rebels showed their intent Oct 20, the first day of filing nominations, by killing 12 Central Reserve Police Force men in Bijapur and Nov 9 when they killed two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including the Dantewada district’s party vice president, when they were on the campaign trail.

Police sources said more than 65,000 security personnel have been pumped into Bastar for the Nov 14 polls, including a large number of BSF men.

Bastar Inspector General A. Upadhyay said: “There are enough forces in Bastar. The candidates can campaign by just picking up enough forces from local police bases.

But the candidates are not taking any chances.

Kawasi Lakhma, a Congress candidate for the Konta seat in Dantewada district who is seeking to register a third straight win, said: “You media people know well what ‘dada’ (the local term for Maoists) can do in this territory. Police are always on the run, no one should expect me to go inside the forests on the basis of police security.”

BJP nominee from Bijapur Mahesh Gagra said: “My whole constituency is heavily infested by Maoists, I don’t know which area is safe or unsafe, but the big relief is that my rivals have the same problem.”

The second phase of polls for 51 seats will be held Nov 20.

Maoist poster threatens death of four

Press Trust of India
Berhampur, Nov. 11: Security has been beefed up in Sharangagada police station area of strife-torn Kandhamal district following the recovery of a poster of the suspected Maoists threatening to kill four persons in the region.
The poster, holding out a threat to eliminate four persons of the area, was recovered by the police from Puburia village two days ago. “We don't know whether the poster is written by Maoists or not, but we have beefed up the security in the area with deployment of the CRPF,” Kandhamal SP Mr Praveen Kumar said.
At least three companies of CRPF had been deployed in the area and general security was provided to the persons whose names were mentioned in the poster, he said.

Naxals affect canvassing, voter turnout expected to be low

Dantewada (Chhattisgarh): Candidates in the Dantewada constituency, considered by some to be one of India’s hot spots in terms of Naxalite activity, don’t just have to fight each other in the coming elections to the state assembly—they also have to fight terror which, according to party and government officials here, has already affected campaigning and could result in a low voter turnout.
Terror politics: People at a Salwa Judum camp. The votes from these camps may be critical in the state. Liz Mathew / Mint In the fray are Mahendra Karma, considered by some to be the Congress’ second most important leader in the state after former chief minister Ajit Jogi, Bhima Mandavi of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, and Manish Kunjam of the Communist Party of India, or CPI.
Some analysts say there’s little to choose between Karma and Mandavi because the Congressman is “hand in glove” with the state government. Others say that Kunjam has the support of the Naxalites, although they have asked people in the region to boycott polls.
The Naxalites are also being blamed by the government for the killings of BJP’s Dantewada district vice-president Ramesh Singh Rathore and his associate Surya Prakash Chauhan.
The result has been a lull in campaigning.
Also Read BJP banks on CM’s image, Congress seeks vote for change
Sitting on a plastic chair in front of a thatched structure, Dhananjay, who gave only his first name and introduced himself as the assembly representative of Karma, the sitting representative from Dantewada, said Sunday’s killings had affected campaigning. “It is the same case with all the candidates. The killings have cast a shadow over the campaign in all the 12 constituencies in this Bastar region.”
Suresh Mahapatra, the editor of local daily Bastar Impact said: “No one is willing to come out. Who does not care for his life? The campaign was getting hot, but all of a sudden, the leaders started withdrawing. They have even forgotten the political differences and started advising each other against venturing out.”
According to Dhananjay, the CPI is the only party still actively campaigning. “The CPI and Naxals are together. The Naxals allowed only the CPI to campaign freely.”
CPI’s Kunjum, however, denied the charge: “They have been raising these charges against me since long. They are baseless. I am fighting against the mutlinational companies that have been exploiting and looting the resources of the states, and the Salwa Judum (the BJP government’s initiative to train the local youth to counter Naxals) because I cannot support killing of innocent people in the name of fighting Naxalism.”
Dhananjay said the Naxalites had targeted Rathore and Chauhan because they were mid-level leaders and their killings would have an impact both on lower-level party workers as well as candidates themselves.
Although the Congress manifesto is silent on the issue, Karma, one of the few Congress leaders who supported the Salwa Judum, is contesting the election on an anti-Naxal platform. Karma’s candidature is secretly being supported by the state’s chief minister, BJP’s Raman Singh, said some BJP party members who did not want to be named.
That may be critical in deciding which way the 50,000-odd people in the Salwa Judum camps vote. Ever since the movement began around three years ago, displaced villagers have been moved to relief camps. The Election Commission, the constitutional body that conducts and monitors elections, has made arrangements for people in camps to exercise their franchise.
A senior police official said his department would try and ensure that everyone who wanted to vote got a chance to do so. He claimed that the BJP leaders killed by the Naxalites had not sought any protection from the police. “Those who are coming to vote will be protected,” said Vishwa Ranjan, the state’s director general of police.
But the violence here has been going on since the 1980s and “it is possible that many people do not come out to vote”.

In Naxal heartland, a call for boycott

Vibha Sharma writes from Jagdalpur

In the tribal heartland of Bastar, Naxalites have issued a call to boycott the assembly elections. To ensure that minimal or absolutely no polling takes place on November 14, when Phase I of Chhattisgarh poll takes place, they have also issued directions to traders to ensure that they do set shops in "Haat Bazaars", a place where tribals buy household essentials for the week.

While “Haat Bazaars”, an important part of the tribal culture in the region are usually held by rotation in different parts of the area on different days, Friday is the day of the week when the maximum number of such local markets are organised.

As Chhattisgarh goes to the polls in two phases on November 14 and November 20, Maoist dominated areas will be the first ones to vote. While the majority of the 39 seats in the Phase I of the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections can be classified as Naxalite affected, it is the Bastar region, comprising five districts of Jagdalpur, Kanker, Dantewada, Bijapur and Narayanpur, which is the worst affected. It is in the interiors of this area where fear and alienation are the defining forces of life and where security forces can expect a tough time in order to ensure free and fair poll.

In all there are 12 Assembly constituencies in the Bastar region.

They include Konta, Bijapur and Dantewada in south Bastar, Jagdalpur, Chitrakoot, Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Keshkal in central Bastar and Kanker, Antagarh and Bhanupratapur in north Bastar.

Incidentally, among the 12 constituencies in the Bastar region, the most interesting contest is slated in south Bastar at Dantewada where the CPI has fielded a candidate who can be expected to give a tough fight to sitting Congress candidate Mahendra Karma, Leader of the Opposition and one of the strongest supported of the controversial Salwa Judum, the people's force to fight Naxalites.

In the Dantewada Assembly constituency, opposing Karma in a triangular contest that also includes BJP candidate Bhairav Mandavi, is the CPI's Manish Kunjum, who is fighting the elections on the ground that counter-terrorism has only resulted in more terror in the region.

The fight for this seat appears to be poised between anti-Naxalite Salwa Judum supporters and its opponents, making this contest a crucial fight between two ideologies. In the past three years of Salwa Judum, more than 50,000 people have been displaced from their villages and there are opposing views on the movement.

Even though the Naxalites have given a call to boycott the elections, the presence of huge security forces in the area means that those in camps will be able to vote. While polling booths have been set up in the camps, booths will also be established for those who are still living in villages.Whether they will be able to vote or will want to vote is the big question.

Besides the state police forces, as many as 25,000 para-military, including CRPF, BSF and other state battalions, have been deployed. That Naxalite hold remains strong in the region can be witnessed from the fact that in the past three days four incidents involving Naxalites have been reported.

Bastar villagers yearn for home

Aarti Dhar



“We used to grow enough for our needs, now we are daily wagers”




GEEDAM (BASTAR): Rama Ichcham still remembers the day when his elder brother was hacked to death by naxalite sympathisers in his village in Satva in Dantewada district.

The victim had refused to accept the diktat of the naxalites and had been receiving threats for some time. But one day the worst fears of the family came true and he was killed brutally.

No choice


This was followed by a series of threats to the three other male members of the family, including Rama Ichcham. Left with no choice, the entire family shifted to a Salwa Judum rehabilitation camp set up by the government at Kasoli in Geedam, leaving behind land and property. While some members shifted to the Sitalanka camp in Dantewada, Rama stayed back here after he was made the special police officer and trained in use of arms. Within days all 100 families from Satva had left.

As many as 184 families are living in Kasoli village along with an equal number of local families. Each household is given Rs. 2,150 a month apart from rice, salt and kerosene. The government has also made two-room houses for the migrants with decent healthcare facilities. There is an anganwadi centre and a primary school with arrangements for sending the children to Raipur for higher studies. At least 35 students from this camp are enrolled in boarding schools in Raipur. But some of them have also been sent to the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram’s boarding schools run by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh for tribal children.

“We have facilities but nothing can replace our homes,” says Rama. “We grew enough paddy and vegetables for our needs. Now most of us have become daily wagers.”

Women, too, work as labourers under various schemes like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, he said expressing a desire to go back to their homes as they fear that their houses would have been burnt and fields encroached upon.

But, the “jungle bhais” (as naxalites are known) have displaced us. They had been working on this scheme for over 20 years – preventing villagers from receiving education, not allowing them exposure to the outside world and brainwashing them into believing that their aim in life was creation of “Dandakaranya Rashtra” and killing those disobeying this “holy diktat” brutally. Once they identify a person to be “eliminated,” they prepare small poems on him in their local Gondi and Halbi languages where they also tell how he is going to be killed.

To no avail


The displaced people came together some months ago and marched to their villages with security men hoping that the naxalites would agree for a truce but to no avail.

The government runs 23 rehabilitation camps in Dantewada and Bijapur districts where 35,000 people are living, with the largest camp at Dornapal where 15,000 people reside. There are 13,000 voters in these camps.

Three lakh missing


Since the Salwa Judum movement was started in 2004 several lakh tribal people have been displaced from their villages. While officially the figure given is 50,000, three lakh people are still missing.

Even the government does not know their fate but it is believed that they have fled into the jungles and crossed over to Andhra Pradesh where they do not reveal their identity for the fear of being sent back to Chhattisgarh. These are the people who are under pressure from the naxalites to support them, from the government to back the Salwa Judum movement and the police to share information with them.

Apart from displacing people, the movement has virtually halted the implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act.

Sadly, it has also led to mass corruption of funds and food grain released by the government for their welfare but siphoned off due to lack of accountability.

Naxalism will be wiped if Cong comes to power: Jaiswal

Raipur, Nov 11: Union Minister of State for Home Sri Prakash Jaiswal on Tuesday accused the BJP government in Chhattisgarh of responsible for widespread naxal problem in the state and said Congress, if voted back to power, would stamp out the Maoist menace.

"If Congress comes to power, we will show how to deal with Naxalism and will ensure that Naxal problem is solved permanently," he told reporters here.

Charging the Chhattisgarh government with being responsible for widespread of Naxalism in the last five years, Jaiswal said BJP came to power riding on the issues of Naxalism and corruption but, it was during its rule that "Naxalism has grown by leaps and bounds and corruption has reached its peak".

"During last five years, Naxalism and corruption have grown several folds and Chhattisgarh has become the most corrupt state in the country," Jaiswal alleged.

He alleged Chhattisgarh government due to lack of intention did not utilise the services of 17 batalions of CRPF personnel (highest allocation of this paramilitary force to any state).

"The Raman Singh-led government was unable to raise six India Reserve Battalion (IR) during its full term despite union government giving the necessary permission and assurance to provide funds," Jaiswal said.

"This shows how serious the Chhattisgarh government is in dealing with the Naxal problem," the Minister said.

He dared Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh to come to an open forum to prove him (Jaiswal) wrong on the poor law and order and corruption issues.

Claiming that the Congress leadership has successfully brought down the Naxal problem in Andhra Pradesh where it is down by 80 percent, Jaiswal said a party-led government in Chhattisgarh would settle the problem.

"We have done this in AP and will do the same here," he replied to a question as to how Congress will solve the Naxal menace.

Kundapur: Naxal Caught, Huge Cache of Arms, Ammunitions Recovered

Daijiworld Media Network - Kundapur (SP)

Kundapur, Nov 11: It is learnt, the policemen from Shimoga district, who arrested a naxal, succeeded in recovering a huge cache of arms and ammunition, on the basis of the information extracted from him.

Reportedly, the policemen took into custody a man named Jagannath on Sunday November 9. As he claimed himself to be a native of a village near Shikaripur, they took him there. His proper identity is yet to be established. Sources said that he was taken to Odeyaramath, a village near Koppa in Chikmagalur district, apart from Balehonnur. The policemen dug up a plastic barrel from the spot pointed out by him, in which detonators, stein gun rounds, country-made pistol, naxal hand bills, naxal literature, CDs, tablets and clothes were stored, sources revealed.

Jagannath said he is an M Phil degree holder and was present in the house of Ramegouda from Odeyarmath when police raided that house on July 10, 2007 and killed a few people in an encounter. He was said to be active in leftist movements of Shimoga district before joining the naxals in the Western Ghats. However, for reasons unknown, he suddenly came out of the naxal contact and got engaged in various activities.

The policemen came to know about his return and took him into custody. The policemen from Chikmagalur noticed him when he took part in a public meeting there during the last week. However, it is gathered that higher officials in the department had decided against arresting him without having sufficient information.

The policemen from both Shimoga and Chikmagalur districts however, are refusing to divulge any information on the said operations.

Seven naxalites killed in Chattisgarh

Raipur (PTI): Seven naxalites were killed in an encounter with the police on Tuesday in the jungles of Narayanpur district in Chattisgarh, police said.

"The naxalites were killed in the jungles near Khodgaon village. Bodies of three naxalites have also been recovered," Ajay Yadav, Superintendent of Police (SP), Narayanpur told PTI.

The police have also recovered arms and ammunition including a 12 bore rifle, five loaded rifles and a tiffin bomb from the spot, he said.

A joint security team comprising district police, Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) and Special Police Officers (SPOs) had gone for a regular security check up of the polling booths, Yadav said.

When the team reached the jungles in Narayanpur, about 300 kilometers from the state capital, naxalites started indiscriminate firing. In retaliatory fire by security personnels, seven naxalites were killed, he said.

One of the naxalites who was killed in the encounter is said to be of the deputy commander rank though it is yet to be authenticated, Yadav said.

Meanwhile, security arrangements have been put in place in all naxal affected districts in south Chattisgarh in view of the first phase of polling on November 14.

COBRA's fangs to be equipped with 19 modern assault weapons

Snehesh Alex Philip

New Delhi, Nov 11 (PTI) The much-awaited anti-Naxal force COBRA will be armed with a whole spectrum of modern and hi-tech assault weapons, latest communication systems and special anti-mine armoured vehicles with jammer at its disposal, Home Ministry sources said today.

The 10,000 personnel strong Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) would be equipped with 19 kinds of weaponry, some of which are not even used by CRPF under whose command and control the new force would function.

"The force is a specialised unit and hence has to be equipped with modern weapons and gadgets to enable them tackle the growing menace of left-wing extremism. The list of assault weapons for the COBRA prepared by CRPF includes some which are not even used by the parent force," the sources said.

The new assault weapons include, highly Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL) that could be fitted on any gun including an AK 47 to fire grenades to a distance of 50-150 metres, light weight automatic MP 5A rifles, Fragmentation Grenades which can cause heavy damage as it breaks into pieces.

Also included in the shopping list is lightweight fibre based Glock Pistol that is more accurate and has less recoil.

The commandos of the special unit will also have the option of using 'laser sights' that can be fitted on any gun to provide accuracy while dealing with the Maoists. Besides, special telescopic manipulator with high-end lens and portable x-ray machines will also be given to the force. PTI

Monday, November 10, 2008

Maoists Eyeing Fresh Bases

Wednesday, November 05, 2008 10:01 PM

(Source: The Times of India)

Kolkata: In a radius of a few hundred kilometres around the city, a Maoist resurgence is taking shape. Sunday's ambush in Salboni on the convoys of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Union ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada and a landmine attack a few days ago at Belpahari could well be just the tip of a red iceberg. Rankled intelligence officials feel more such attacks are in the pipeline, with the Maoists having regrouped at bases in Burdwan, Birbhum , Nadia, East Midnapore, Hooghly and Murshidabad.

Maoists, however, claim that the CM or the central ministers were not their target. They just wanted to announce their presence in the area and send an alert to industrialists that setting up a steel plant in the area wouldn't be easy.

Sunday's daring raid has unnerved the state administration. If the arrest of Maoist state secretary Somen and dozens of other leaders operating from Nadia earlier this year was a setback for the Naxalites, the recovery too has been fast. "We suspect the rebels may hit again, on the corridor that connects the hills of West Midnapore to the East Midnapore coastline ," said a senior police officer.

Since 2007, Maoists have been politically active, having joined 'people's movements' in places like Singur and Nandigram. Police and intelligence officials feel their gameplan is to sustain the terror campaign till the Lok Sabha elections. And while the armed struggle continues, different leaders, under the decoy of frontal organisations , would take part in political campaigns to turn the Maoists into an influential power bloc in south Bengal.

"During interrogation, Somen told us about their organisational strength in Malda, Murshidabad and North 24-Parganas . He admitted frontal organisations were working to build up a mass base," said the officer.

A senior intelligence officer added: "In the past year, several agitations - like Nandigram and Singur - suddenly turned violent, which wasn't expected. The change of people's mood was significant. Rebels are active in the trade union sectors where workers have lost faith in other Left trade unions."

West Bengal urge CRPF redeployment in the Maoists infested area

KOLKATA, Nov. 10: While sending reinforcements to Lalgarh, the state government is also trying its utmost to convince the Centre about redeploying CRPF in the Maoists infested area.

The chief secretary, Mr AK Deb would visit Delhi soon and urge the Centre about the need to deploy CRPF in the Maoists dominated areas of Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore. The chief minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today reviewed the situation at Lalgarh with chief secretary, home secretary and director general of police.

Meanwhile, keeping in mind its experience in Nandigram the state administration is treading cautiously at Lalgarh and is unwilling to apply force and get the roads repaired. Instead the state government is lobbying hard with the Centre to get CRPF which were withdrawn to upcoming Assembly polls in some states. While the chief minister himself had approached the Union home minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, the chief secretary has written to the Centre as well for redeploying CRPF.

The home secretary, Mr AM Chakrabarti said there was police presence in the area even after roads were dug up although it is facing problems in the night since electricity lines have been disconnected. n SNS

Maoists keep villagers in the dark, literally

Manoj Chaurasia
Patna, Nov. 10: Villagers in Bihar have been left in the dark in more ways than one. In a bizarre "ruling" Maoists have directed villagers to refrain from switching on lights outside their houses after nightfall. Result ~ pitch darkness engulfing villages around the state.

Many claim that Maoists are running their "parallel government" in more than half of the total 38 districts of Bihar, especially in the rural pockets, which are inaccessible to the police or other state authorities. The "red brigade", it is said, literally dictate terms to the villagers.

Through its fresh diktat issued only last week, the Maoists have warned the villagers against switching on electric bulbs or lighting any kind of lamps outside their houses at night. Even the solar lamps installed by the state government to keep those villages illuminated where power supply is low have been destroyed and their batteries looted by the Maoists.

Maoists' contention, reports said, is that lights disturb their movements and affect their operations. The order has been issued to several villages falling under Deo block of Aurangabad, which hit the national headlines after the Dalelchack-Baghaura massacre in which 54 upper caste members were butchered in 1984.

"Don't switch on light outside your houses or be ready to face dire consequences", the local villagers of Pachaukhar and Bedani villages quoted the Maoists as having told them in plain terms. Villagers said the ultras even pasted hand-written posters in their areas to convey their message to every villager in the areas.

Contacted by The Statesman over phone, the state house officer of Deo police station, Mr Arun Kumar confirmed the Maoists' diktat: "Yes, they (Maoists) have been frequently asking villagers not to switch on lights saying it inconveniences their movement at night but we are on the alert". He said the Maoists were jittery after a good number of their leaders were arrested from their hideouts in recent months.

According to the police informed that the Maoists were also destroying solar lamps installed in distant villages having poor supply of power, and then walking away with their batteries to recharge their cell phone in their hideout so as to keep them functional. "We are worried since the Maoists are looting solar lamp batteries in far away villages and using them to recharge their mobiles in their hideouts since there is no power supply there", another senior police official Mr Anjani Kumar Sinha working as the deputy superintendent of police in Aurangabad told the Statesman.

Suspected Maoist held for rioting

MALDA, Nov 10: The Malda police arrested Rahatullah Haque alias Ramen last night after an interrogation ~ that began on Saturday and ended before he was arrested ~ and produced him in the court today.
Police picked up Ramen, as a suspected Maoist activist, from a place under Malda police station on Saturday and placed him in police custody for interrogation.
Forty-year-old Rahatullah Haque, a resident of Khokra village under Harishchandrapur police station in northern part of Malda, was an active member of Maoists’ peasant wing and police had arrested him a few years back.
Following the blast in the ministers’ convoy near Salboni in Midnapore West and in view of the chief minister's approaching Malda visit, the police picked up the suspected Maoist activist to force out of him any sabotage plan.
But police, in course of the interrogation, had failed to procure any evidence in support of Ramen's involvement in any plan. Police were embarrassed when a section of media highlighted the detention without any evidence.
Police finally decided to arrest him last night on charges of rioting in Harishchandrapur area during the formation of Gram Sansad a few weeks ago.
When asked the Malda SP, Mr Satyajit Bandyopadhayay refused to comment on the matter. n SNS

Children being used by Maoists in propaganda war

10 Nov 2008, 0904 hrs IST, IANS


RANCHI: Children as young as 12 are being recruited by Maoist rebels in Jharkhand in their propaganda war against the government and security
forces
.<
strong> At least 300 children are being trained by the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) group and also being provided training in small arms, police say.

The CPI-Maoist is preparing a Child Liberation Army (CLA), according to police reports. The CLA children are trained by the Maoist organisations to turn into hard core rebels. The children inducted into the CLA are between 12 and 18 years.

The state intelligence department has alerted authorities in Maoist-affected districts to be alert and prevent children from joining the CLA. According to police sources, the CLA members are being trained in the bordering jungle areas of Dhanbad and Giridih districts of the state. These children are trained to collect information about the movement of security forces and pass it on to the outlawed group.

"The Maoist rebels use children in their propaganda war against the government and security forces," SN Pradhan, spokesperson of Jharkhand Police, said. "It is human nature for people to pay attention to the talk of children. The propaganda war is launched through drama and other methods by gathering people in villages."

He said: "In Maoist organisations, the desertion rate is high among youth in the age group 20 and 30. Youth are able to gauge the designs of the rebels."

"Children are vulnerable as they can be brainwashed by anyone. Maoists tune the minds of the children according to their requirement," he said.

According to police sources, there are six Maoist groups in Jharkhand. The CPI-Maoist is the only organisation that is inducting children in large numbers.

Maoists are active in 18 of the 24 districts of the state. In the last seven years, more than 1,300 people, including civilians and Maoist rebels, have been killed.

Naxalites shoot at Sarguja IG

SHEENA K.
Raipur, Nov. 10: Sarguja inspector-general (IG) of police B.S. Maravi had a narrow escape when Maoist guerrillas sprayed bullets at his car near Chhattisgarh-Jharkhand border in Balrampur police district, around 550km from here, today around 7pm.

Two bullets passed through abrading the back portion of IG’s head,” deputy inspector-general of police (intelligence) Pawan Deo said. Maravi escaped with bullet injuries and was rushed to the Ambikapur hospital. He is reported to be out of danger, Pawan said.

Sources said Maravi this afternoon went to Tijla area on the Jharkhand border, where the security personnel had an encounter with the Maoists this morning. A group of rebels crossing over from Jharkhand targeted the police patrolling party this morning. After inspection and chairing the border meeting with the Jharkhand police, Maravi was returning to Balrampur when rebels ambushed his vehicle.

Scribe held for threatening MLA

Shwetha S
Monday, November 10, 2008 21:51 IST

His greed landed him behind bars and gave his tribe a bad name.

BANGALORE: Ravi (26), a journalist, has been arrested on charges of making a threatening call to an MLA Vishwanath on Sunday night.

The accused called the MLA at 3:30 pm on Sunday identifying himself as a naxalite, Dharmaraj, from Andhra Pradesh, and demanded Rs75 lakh. He called the MLA four more times.

Initially, Vishwanath refused to succumb to the demands. Ravi then threatened to shoot him he doesn't meet his demand.

Vishwanath then filed a complaint at Yelahenka New Town police station. He also provided the mobile number from which the call came.

During their investigations, the police found that the accused had changed the SIM card twice. One of the SIMs was in the name of landlord of the house in which Ravi was staying.

After interrogating Ravi, the police found that he was not a naxalite but a blackmailer involved in several such cases.

Alleged Naxal Bhurle rearrested

11 Nov 2008, 0224 hrs IST, Vaibhav Ganjapure & Soumittra Bose, TNN



NAGPUR: The Dhantoli police on Monday rearrested alleged Naxal Dhanendra alias Dhannu Bhurle after Supreme Court stayed the bail granted to him and
Naresh Bansod by the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court on July 15.

According to Anil Kale, counsel for Bhurle and Bansod, after the apex court staying the high court’s bail order, the tenth ad-hoc district judge V T Suryawanshi issued arrest warrant of the duo on Monday. Following this Bhurle was arrested and sent to Central Jail. Bansod couldn’t be held as he was undergoing treatment for kidney and liver failure at a government hospital in Gondia.

Kale alleged that the government had misled the apex court by providing false information. He also raised doubts on stay on bail orders since it was already executed and both of them were out of the jail. He said they were yet to receive copy of SC order and would be moving for revision after receiving the same in a couple of days.
Both Bhurle and Bansod were caught by the Nagpur police at Deekshabhoomi in May 8 last year along with dreaded Naxals Murli alias Ashok Satyam Reddy and Arun Thomas Ferreira under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

The police seized material like pistol, two magazines, 16 rounds, Naxal literature and diaries, pen-drive, two VCDs, MP3 disc and notepad from the accused during arrest.
The duo was in Central Jail in Nagpur for well over a year before a single-judge bench of justice Ambadas Joshi granted bail to them due to “lack of evidence”. The court had granted time till August 31 to the police to apply against the bail. However the police approached the Supreme Court instead, which stayed the high court’s order on September 19.

Interestingly, the high court had rejected similar bail pleas of Murli and Ferreira. The petitioners had claimed inhuman torture by police of four states, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, where they had been taken for the purpose of interrogation.

Bhurle is believed to be a self styled-journalist of a leading vernacular daily from Gondia, while Bansod, president of Andha Shraddha Nirmulan Samiti from same district. The wives of Bhurle and Bansod, Prof Sarita Bedarkar and Kalpana Bansod, also fought hard for their release from the court.

Kale claimed that both of his clients have absolutely no connection with Naxals or their activities and were falsely implicated in the case. Both Bhurle and Bansod were the part of hunger strike called on by the 12 alleged Naxalites serving their terms in the Nagpur Central Jail.

Ex-gratia paid to widow of ‘encounter victim’

Statesman News Service

BHUBANESWAR, Nov. 10: In what is perhaps the first ever case of compensation being paid to the family of an "encounter victim", officials are Gunupur gave Rs one lakh to widow Ms Mali Paleka today.
The payment was made as per orders of the State Human Rights Commission which had dismissed the police version of encounter during anti-Naxal operation in which Mali’s husband Srimajhi Paleka was killed in Birubai village of Rayagada district.
The incident had taken place on 5 July 2006 when police gunned down Srimajhi Paleka in Birubai village taking him to be a Naxal on the run.
The widow moved the human rights commission which after detailed hearing ordered on 13 August 2008 that Srimajhi had been shot dead by the police and CRPF party. The victim was not involved in any crime and was killed for no fault of his. The story of death in encounter as presented by the police is liable to be rejected observed the rights body.
It directed the government to pay an amount of Rs one lakh to the widow and to take appropriate steps to prosecute offenders responsible for the death of Srimajhi Paleka.
Rights activists who had represented the widow today said that the sub divisional officers of Gunupur had made the payment to the widow today.

Terrorists ahead of us: KARNATAKA HOME MINISTER

DH News Service, Bangalore:



In a telling commentary on the rising might of terrorists in Karnataka, Home Minister V S Acharya on Monday admitted that the extremists were way ahead of the police both in terms of technology and innovative techniques.


The State police machinery had to immediately upgrade its infrastructure, and activate its anti-terror mechanisms, the minister said at Manthana, the Government’s first ever review meeting with the police department.

KCOCA in place

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa then went on to list the agenda: “Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act (KCOCA) will be soon implemented and Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) will be strengthened with immediate recruitment of personnel for the existing vacant posts.





“The Anti Terrorist Cell (ATC) will function at the earliest.” Currently, Yeddyurappa said, most of the 543 posts of the ANF were vacant.

“On priority basis, these vacant posts will be filled up at the earliest. More number of personnel will be deputed in Naxal-prone areas for internal security. Check-posts adjoining neighbouring states will be monitored closely to curb any untoward incident,” he explained.

Local committees, he said, would be set up at all district and taluk headquarters to ensure communal harmony.

He also stressed on the need for legislation on cyber crime, which will be soon formulated.

Citing the average police-population ratio, the CM said, “The all-India average police-population ratio stands at 122 per 1,00,000 and Karnataka’s average is at 92 per 1,00,000. This is alarming and needs to be improved”.

On KCOCA, R Srikumar, Director-General and Inspector General of Police, said, “There is a need to implement KCOCA at the earliest. However, the Act needs to be upgraded. KCOCA draft contains many loopholes. Certain sections are applicable for organised crime while it cannot be used to combat other criminal activities. The Act has to be upgraded and strengthened to combat terrorism”.

Referring to the ATC, which awaited the formal induction by the State Government, Srikumar said the functions of the Cell was already in place. “The best practices and method of working acquired from Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Mumbai have been incorporated for effective working of the Cell,” explained Srikumar.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

*Another 500 vehicles for police department

*Modernisation of weapons at individual police stations

*Mobile phone allowance for police personnel to be increased from Rs 250 to Rs 500

*Internal Vigilance Cell to monitor and discipline police to be set up.

*Emphasis on inter and intrapersonal communication of cops.

High-level Home Ministry team to visit Chhattisgarh tomorrow

New Delhi, Nov 10 (PTI) With Chhattisgarh witnessing a spate in naxal attacks, a high-level Home Ministry team will visit Raipur tomorrow to review security for the first phase of Assembly polls in 39 of the 90 constituencies on November 14.
The team, headed by Special Secretary (Naxal Management) in the Home Ministry Vinay Kumar, will comprise Special Secretary (Internal Security) M L Kumawat and CRPF chief V K Joshi.

A senior Home Ministry official said that to ensure peaceful polling across the state in two phases -- November 14 and November 20 -- over 33,000 personnel of para-military forces have been sent.

They would be in addition to 15,000 para-military force personnel already present in the state.

He said the fresh reinforcement was meant for the first phase covering most of the Naxal violence prone areas in the state.

At some places the polling parties and securitymen would be airlifted for quicker mobility, he said.

Naxalites have killed five persons, including two BJP leaders, in two separate incidents in worst-affected Dantewada and Bijapur districts over the weekend unleashing terror. PTI

No leader can stop Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh: Raman Singh

Agencies
Posted: Nov 10, 2008 at 1855 hrs IST

Raipur, November 10: Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh on Monday said no political leader has got any right to stop 'Salwa Judum' and said the movement would continue till the region is free from the naxal menace.
"It is a spontaneous movement of the people against the terror of the naxalites. It is not a government sponsored movement or a government scheme that can be stopped at any time. Salwa Judum would continue till the region is free from naxal menace," Singh said.

He was speaking to the mediamen on the occasion of BJP's election manifesto release in Raipur.

On a question on Ajit Jogi's reported declaration that Salwa Judum would be stopped and the Chhattisgarh Public Security Act (CPSA) would be repealed once Congress comes to power, Raman Singh said, no leader can stop the movement.

Besides, he questioned the Congress leadership's mum on coming out strongly against the Naxalites and making any statement to deal naxalism with iron hand.

"Why the Congress leadership is not taking tough stand against naxalism. Why they are always talking about discontinuing Salwa Judum," he questioned.

Singh further said, "There was no violation of Chattisgarh Public security Act. The act has come into existence in line with the intention of union government to deal with terror elements with strong hand. Still I could not understand why some people are talking about repealing this Act."

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Naxalites kill two BJP leaders in Chhattisgarh

9 Nov 2008, 1705 hrs IST, PTI



RAIPUR: In yet another major pre-poll violence in poll-bound Chhattisgarh, two ruling BJP leaders were shot dead by Naxalites on Sunday when they
were attending an election meeting at Badre Gudra village in Dantewada district, some 400 kilometers from here.

Dantewada BJP district Vice-President Ramesh Rathore and BJP Kuakunda Block Divisional President Surya Prakash at the meeting when the Naxalites shot them dead, officials stationed at Dantewada police control room said.

The vehicles in which the BJP leaders had travelled was also torched by the Naxalites, they said.

A manhunt to nab the Naxalites has been launched, police said.