Monday, July 13, 2009

NGOs under SB scanner for helping Maoists

Sanjay Ojha, TNN 13 July 2009, 05:14am IST

RANCHI: About 50 NGOs working in rural areas of the state have come under the scanner of the special branch (SB) for allegedly helping Maoists. The

organizations have been reportedly helping Maoists by passing information regarding movement of security forces in Naxal-hit areas.

The NGOs currently under the sacnner mainly work in healthcare and environment sector. Sources in the SB revealed that officers in all districts had been asked to immediately prepare lists of the NGOs which are hand in glove with the Red rebels.

It is suspected that these NGOs, having access to remote areas because of the nature of their work, take advantage of their proximity to villagers and the administration. In course of their movement from one place to another, the NGO workers act as messengers for the rebels.

"People associated with NGOs, at times, pass on vital information about combing operations conducted by security forces to the rebels. They foil attempts of security forces to nab the guerrillas despite having perfect and confirmed information about their presence in the jungles," a senior SB officer.

The district police have already warned office-bearers of a few NGOs to check the activities of some of their workers. Citing recent examples, the officer said it was because of an NGO that the local police failed to arrest a hardcore Maoist involved in Lalgarh operation.

"We had exact information about the hideout of a top Maoist leader in Ghatshila sub-division of East Singhbhum district. Preparations to arrest him were made based on precise information collected from local intelligence network and mobile surveillance," the officer said, adding: "Everything went wrong at the last moment when we learnt that the rebel had moved out of the place after he was tipped off by an NGO worker who spotted policemen in civil dress in the area. The NGO workers are now under police scanner".

A similar incident took place in Bokaro. Subsequently, the officer-in-charge of the local police station lost his cool and warned the NGO workers with dire consequences if they continued to help the Maoists.

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