Saturday, May 30, 2009
PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT HIS ELECTION AFFIDAVIT :http://www.jharkhand.gov.in/ceo/2009/PC13/Kameshwar_Baitha.pdf
Meet India's Maoist MP behind bars
By Amarnath Tewary
"When he got the news that he had won the parliamentary poll he started jumping and pacing in and out of his prison cell flashing overbearing excitement on his face," Indian jailer Binod Singh said.
The first elected Maoist to the Indian parliament is Kameshwar Baitha, 56, who is currently being held at the Rohtas district jail in the eastern state of Bihar. ( CORRECTION: from Jharkhand state) http://www.jharkhand.gov.in/ceo/2009/PC13candidate.htm
Mr Baitha is one of the the most dreaded Maoist commanders not only in Bihar, but also in the states of Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
He also has the distinction of probably being the only Maoist - and maybe the only candidate - to contest India's recently concluded general elections from inside a jail.
Mr Baitha won the election as a candidate for the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) party, which has a tribal leadership and was competing for a reserved parliamentary seat specially set aside for minorities.
Mr Baitha must work on behalf of his constituents from within jail
His achievement is all the more remarkable because he still has a 500,000 rupees ($10,506) reward on his head announced by the three state governments.
When Mr Baitha was arrested on the outskirts of Patna in a joint special task force operation by police from Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh in May 2005, the then police chief of Bihar, Ashish Ranjan Sinha, called him "the most wanted prize catch".
Altogether he faces 46 criminal cases ranging from murder and extortion to carrying out explosive acts.
He is accused of killing several policemen in a landmine blast triggered on the Bihar-Jharkhand border in 2002.
Police records show that Mr Baitha had been an active Maoist since 1984 - and his mastery of explosives and mines meant that he rose rapidly to the rank of zonal commander.
"There is no doubt that he is a dreaded Maoist leader, accused of a number of criminal acts," police chief Vikas Vaibhav told the BBC.
"As per our intelligence report he is still a hardcore Maoist leader."
Jharkhand police say that Mr Baitha's name still spells terror in areas where the Maoists are active.
In India about 182 districts are affected by the Maoist insurgency - they are fighting for a communist state and improved rights for farmers and poorer rural people.
Maoism... came into existence because of the growing divide between rich and poor in the society
Ironically they do not believe in the democratic process and have been boycotting most polls.
In fact they even boycotted the five-phase parliamentary poll which began in Bihar on 16 April. On the day of the vote in the Palamu region of the state - from where Mr Baitha was contesting his seat - six policemen were killed in a landmine blast triggered by Maoists.
It has now been reported that the Maoists have officially expelled Kameshwar Baitha from their outfit and even issued a death penalty against him for contesting the polls.
But police officials are sceptical.
"He may have ceased to be a member of the Maoists by contesting the poll, but our intelligence reports suggest that he is very much in the outfit commanding their operation in the area," Bihar Inspector General of Police SK Bhardwaj told the BBC.
However, Mr Baitha himself denies that he was or is a Maoist.
"I've been a mass leader fighting for the downtrodden and socially deprived people against the feudal forces of my area. I made people aware of their rights," he said soon after winning the poll.
But does he believe in Maoist philosophy?
"I believe in Marx's theories against capitalism and labour policies," he answered somewhat ambiguously.
Elections in Bihar were keenly contested
"Maoism is not a problem but a thought. It came into existence because of the growing divide between rich and poor in the society."
This is not the first time that Mr Baitha had contested in the polls. In 2007 he lost a parliamentary by-poll in the same constituency but representing a different party.
He is also not even the only Maoist leader who has contested in the polls.
Others such as Ranjan Yadav threw their hat into the ring and registered an impressive performance, although he lost the poll in the neighbouring constituency of Chatra.
If Mr Baitha is to be believed, other Maoists have been inspired by his electoral success and are ready to fight the forthcoming state assembly polls.
After his election triumph, Mr Baitha now attracts a stream of visitors to the prison and he stands at his cell window to oblige them.
His victory also means that he can attend future court hearings - and there are many of them in his case - without wearing handcuffs.
By James Rupert
May 29 (Bloomberg) -- India’s Maoist insurgency has become the most violent of its domestic conflicts, said the Asian Center for Human Rights, an independent monitoring group.
The broad network of Maoist cells known as the Naxalite movement is present in at least 11 of India’s 28 states, especially in rural, impoverished and heavily forested eastern India. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said the movement is India’s most serious internal security threat and his government said this week it would step up its response to the guerrillas and other domestic threats.
“Current security-driven responses are not working; indeed they are counter-productive” in addressing the Naxalite uprising, the New Delhi-based center said in a statement accompanying the report’s release today. It said some Indian security forces have operated with “impunity.”
The Indian government has said the Maoists are among the country’s main security threats.
“Terrorism, Naxalite violence and insurgency in the northeast are the key challenges before the country,” Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters in New Delhi this week. He said Singh’s Congress party-led government, re- elected this month with an increased parliament majority, will “respond with speed and decisiveness” to security threats.
The human rights report also criticized the government of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, for what it said is an increase in suppression and atrocities against Dalits, those at the bottom of the Hindu caste hierarchy.
While the state’s chief minister is a Dalit, people from the group “continue to be denied entry into temples” and schools, and denied the use of water wells, because of traditional religious beliefs, the report said.
From 2005 through 2008, the Naxalite conflict has led to 1,965 civilian deaths, more than either of India’s two regional secessionist movements, in Kashmir and in the northeastern states, the center said in its annual human rights report. During the same period, the number of security personnel killed in Naxalite clashes doubled, while declining in other conflict zones, the report said.
“Among the armed opposition groups, the Naxals were responsible for the gross violations of international humanitarian law,” the center said in the report. The movement has used “violence of extraordinary brutality, including the gouging out of eyes, bludgeoning to death and slitting of throats of those suspected of colluding with the state.”
The Naxalite movement is named for the West Bengal village of Naxalbari, where impoverished villagers staged an uprising against landowners in 1967. The movement seeks to overthrow the government to improve the lives of the poor.
Singh’s government was criticized by opposition parties after the November terrorist attack in Mumbai that killed 166 people. The government has since then created a federal anti- terrorism agency, strengthened coastal borders, improved training for anti-terrorism officers and bolstered the country’s intelligence agencies.
KOCHI: In a clear indication that Kerala too is becoming a hotbed of illegal arms trade for radicals across the border, the Kochi police have unearthed a racket in sourcing of arms from Kerala to Orissa and other north- eastern states.
The racket was busted after the police caught three people who are natives of Orissa red-handed while trying to purchase arms from an armoury in the city after producing bogus arms licences.
Assistant Commissioner P M Varghese said they had caught Rabirajaz Farida, 22, Vipin Bihari Buhari, 33, and Niraijan Manu Buhari, 39, after the armoury owner grew suspicious and tipped off the police.
Police said that a preliminary investigation into the incident had revealed that during the period between June 8, 2008 and May 28, 2009, 21 persons from Orissa had purchased arms, mainly ‘12 bore double- barrel guns’ from the armoury.
They produced fake arms licences issued in their names by the Nagaland Government.
‘‘It is suspected that a racket from Orissa, which is having links in states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and north-eastern states, is behind the incident,’’ a senior police officer said and added that the racket was unearthed after the armoury owner grew suspicious over the authenticity of these licences and cross-checked it with the Nagaland Government.
‘‘Initial questioning has revealed that they have transported the guns to Chennai. A police team will leave for Chennai to ascertain more details about the racket,’’ the sources said.
The arrested had confessed to supplying the guns to security agencies in Chennai and other cities, they said.
‘‘The police will seek the custody of the arrested, who have been remanded in judicial custody. A thorough investigation will be initiated into the incident as it is suspected that the guns have been sourced for Naxals in Orissa and for Maoists in north-eastern borders,’’ the police sources added.
CHANDRAPUR: After successful onslaught against police parties and series of arson attacks on forest depots and vehicles in recent months, Naxalites
now have on their radar ‘Vansampada’, the joint headquarters of Allapalli, Bhamragarh and Sironcha forest division, located at Allapalli in Gadchiroli under the South Chandrapur Forest Circle. Senior forest officials have verbally alerted the police department about the threat to Vansampada.
Forest officials said they have received reliable information that Naxalites may target the Vansampada building located at Allapalli in Aheri tehsil. They have alerted the police and sought efficient security measures.
“Alapalli DCF Rishikesh Ranjan informed Aheri police station in-charge about the threat to Vansampada, the headquarters of three forest divisions in Gadchiroli, from Naxalites, citing their own sources. However, till now they (forest officials) have not filled any written complaint in this regard,” additional SP Jai Kumar told TOI.
The multi-storey building named Vansampada (forest wealth) located on Gadchiroli-Allapalli road in Allapalli is the headquarters of the forest department in Gadchiroli. Offices of the divisional forest officers of Allapalli, Bhamragarh and Sironcha forest division are located in the same building. This year has proven to be an year of successes for Naxalites in Gadchiroli. They have not only managed successful attacks on police parties but have also carried out many arson attacks on forest depots and forest vehicles in remote jungle areas in the recent months. It is alarming for the police department if they have now decided to target the forest headquarters.
“The information of the threat to Vansampada came from forest department sources. Verification of the source to confirm reliability of the information is underway, but we are not taking this lightly.”
“We have advised forest officials to strengthen their security arrangements too, while we are overhauling security measures on our part,” said Jai Kumar. He said that security in the area is already on alert and night patrolling is also being carried out stringently. Aheri PSO SA Chaudhari admitted receiving information from forest officials about the threat to Vansampada, but refused to divulge details. Forest officials including CF Mahip Gupta and DCF Rishikesh Ranjan could not be reached for comment.
NAGPUR: With over 35 police personnel killed in last three months in Gadchiroli district, the state government has once again talked tough about
need for an all-out offensive against the Naxalites. The Union home ministry’s 100-day action plan proposed to be implemented from June is also expected to basically focus on Naxalism in different parts of the states.
But a cross-section of social activists have expressed apprehension that unless sensitively planned and executed, any operation against the Leftist rebels may find common people and social activists working for marginalised sections of the society in the crossfire.
In the worst-affected Gadchiroli itself a perception has gained ground over the years that for the hapless villagers are caught between devil and the deep sea situation. While Naxalites are known to mercilessly kill people over suspicion of being police informers, the infamous Chinna Matami case has highlighted that the police can also err while identifying Naxalites and their supporters. The court ordered the state to pay Rs 2 lakh compensation nailing the police’s ‘fake’ encounter.
Nearer home, the Khairlanji public agitation over killing of four members of a Dalit family, saw the police dubbing some social activists as Naxalites and implying that the Maoists were behind inciting the agitation. Dr Milind Mane, a known Dalit activist, who besides his interest in politics is a practising physician, was among many activists who bore the police ire as they were suspected of being hand-in-glove with the Maoists.
“The Naxalites believe they are fighting for the right cause. Their methods and acts of violence may be questioned and dealt with suitably but the root cause that force them to take the gun can not be swept under the carpet,” said a political activist who did not want to be named. The activist warned that any knee-jerk action in the name of anti-Naxal operation could have far-reaching social consequences.
Reports suggest that Union home ministry’s 100-day action plan will incorporate all points promised by the Congress to counter terror in its first-ever document on terrorism prior to the elections.
Activists like Dr Mane feel what is urgently needed to tackle the terrorist and Naxalites is better arms and facilities for the police force deployed in the sensitive areas. “There is need to wean away people gradually from the Naxalites. Moreover, identifying Naxal supporters is also no mean task and utmost care needs to be taken lest innocent people could become victims,” the activist added.
Friday, May 29, 2009
KORAPUT: Maoists gunned down a 36-year-old contractor in Malkangiri district on Friday. Police have identified the body Badrinarayan Patro, who had
figured in the Red rebels' hit list for "acting as a police informer".
Police said around 3 pm a group of armed Maoists waylaid Patro at Mantriput Ghat Road, which lies about 52 km from the district headquarters town of Malkangiri. The Chitrakonda native was on his way to Chitrakonda on his motorcycle. The rebels assaulted him before shooting him at close range.
"The rebels fired one bullet each at the victim's head and chest. But we don't know yet why they killed Patro. The killers did not leave behind any letter or poster," Malkangiri sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Anup Sahu said.
Sources said Maoists might have targeted Patro on suspicion of being a police informer as he and his brother shared a close relation with the cops. As a contractor, he had constructed a few buildings for the police department. Patro was also the president of Chitrakonda Market Union.
However, police denied that Patro was a police informer. "Never did we we get any information from him. The killers must have had some other motive. An investigation is on. Forces have been deployed near the scene of the killing," Sahu said.
New Delhi: Maoists are often underestimated as a badly-equipped group of rebels but not any more. According to sources in the ministry of home affairs, Maoists are getting foreign-made weapons, especially Chinese ones, from northeast-based militant organisations.
Security forces have recovered Chinese, American, Israeli and Belgian guns, small arms, rifles and grenade launchers during encounters in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh in the past two years. Home ministry officials have confirmed that of the total number of arms seized, roughly placed at 230, there are about 80 Chinese ones.
Senior officials of the home ministry said arms were being smuggled through Bihar and distributed along the red corridor that stretches down to Karnataka. "It is no longer about ideology. Both the Maoists and northeast militants have a common agenda and that's the only reason why arms are being supplied to the red brigade," an official said.
Maoists are also using Russian-made AK series rifles in their war against the system. "The fire power of Maoists have improved considerably," said the official.
He said Maoists had become much more organised than what they were some years ago. Their immaculate planning was evident during the elections when paramilitary forces guarding polling booths suffered heavy casualties. "It was for the first time that not only securitymen but polling officials were also targeted in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Earlier, the attacks were limited to men in uniform," said the official, adding that the threat of Maoists was so strong that most political parties did not campaign in areas infested by them.
Raipur, May 29 (IANS) Ten suspected Maoists were arrested Friday in Chhattisgarh's Dhamtari district for their alleged role in an ambush on a police patrol early this month in which 13 people were killed.
The rebels were arrested in village Risgaon in Dhamtari, some 125 km from capital Raipur.
Insurgents had ambushed police vehicles in a forested stretch of the district May 10 in which 12 policemen and a civilian were killed.
'The insurgents, mostly active members of the village committee of the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), were arrested for their role in killing of policemen early this month,' Neha Champawat, Dhamtari district superintendent of police, told reporters.
The officer said that police recovered Maoist literature from the suspects' houses during the search.
NEW DELHI: In the backdrop of recent recruitment scam in the CRPF, the Union home minister P Chidambaram on Thursday asked the largest paramilitary
force of the country to "adopt a foolproof recruitment system" so that only deserving candidates could join the high-demanding force.
In a stern message, he also said that he hoped this (the alleged scam in the recruitment) was the last.
Chidambaram's remarks assume significance as not just the CRPF but other paramilitay forces too are in the process of embarking on a large-scale recruitment drive. All the paramilitary forces -- including BSF, CISF, ITBP and SSB -- will recruit as many as 1.35 lakh personnel by next year.
Pointing out that paramilitary forces will emerge as the largest government recruiter in the next five years, Chidambaram said: "Security forces should adapt a fool-proof recruitment system as it is the real test of leadership. The recruitment process should be clean."
He said the problems of naxalism and extremism could not be fought with "weak" candidates who may be selected due to corrupt practices.
The home minister also heard suggestions given by CRPF officers who made a detailed presentation regarding their ongoing efforts to streamline their operational and intelligence system.
Earlier this month, five persons, including an inspector-general of the force, were arrested by CBI for allegedly accepting bribes for making in recruitments.
Addressing the top brass of CRPF, Chidambaram emphasised the need for "planned operations" to get "significant" results against naxals and extremists.
The home minister also asked the officers to remain "more vigilant" and keep close track of extremists and naxal activities in their areas.
Briefing the minister about the steps being taken by the force, CRPF chief A S Gill said: "Innovative steps are being taken by the force to introduce new Global Information System (GIS) solutions and improve the database which would facilitate best operational delivery."
Posted: Thursday , May 28, 2009 at 2009 hrs IST
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In the wake of the recent CRPF recruitment scam, the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said on Thursday the process for the same should be "clean".
Pointing out that paramilitary force will emerge as the largest government recruiter in next five years, Chidambaram said, "Security forces should adapt fool-proof recruitment system as it is the real test of leadership. Recruitment process should be clean."
In a stern message, the Home Minister, on his first visit to CRPF headquarters after taking charge on Monday, made it clear that "I hope this (the alleged scam) is the last and should not be repeated".
He said problems of Naxalism and extremism could not be fought with "weak" candidates who may be selected due to corrupt practices.
Earlier this month, five persons including an Inspector General of the force were arrested by CBI for allegedly recruiting people in exchange of illegal gratification
MALKANGIRI, 29 MAY: Armed Naxals shot dead a contractor Badri Patra at Mantriamba, two kms from Chitrakonda town today.
Police sources said Patra was shot from close range. No leaflet or letter claiming responsibility for the killing was found at the spot.
CRPF and Special Operation Group units were pressed into action to try and nab the Naxals.
The shocking murder took place this afternoon and it triggered widespread resentment in Chitrakonda area.
Patra was the president of Childrakonda Market Committee. All shops and business establishments in the town remained closed today as news of the killing reached the market place this afternoon.
Police claimed to have launched a manhunt for the killers but locals here are skeptical. "We are yet to hear of a single so-called combing operation succeeding in nabbing Naxals," said a shopkeeper.
This is the second such murder in a month. In February this year Naxals had eliminated another contractor at Govindpalli and more recently they had killed a person in Koraput district. The killings establish the fact that armed Naxals pick their target and carry out their "death sentence" almost at will and escape. It is a free run for them, remark anguished locals here.
NEW DELHI: With majority of forest guards refusing to join duty at the Similipal Tiger Reserve in the wake of an attack by Naxalites, Orissa has
sought deployment of a CRPF battalion for the protection of the park which is home to around 32 striped cats besides other felines.
The state is facing acute infrastructural problem in the tiger reserve in Mayurbhanj district following the attack on offices of State forest department and vital police communication installation there on March 23.
"Most of the staff posted in the core area inside the tiger reserve have left their headquarters, causing deep concern about protection of forest and wildlife," state chief secretary A K Tripathy said in a letter to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
He further said since the special task protection force (STPF), as envisaged by the home minister, was yet to be constituted, a CRPF battalion should be immediately considered to keep poachers at bay.
"In case it takes time to create the STPF, a CRPF battalion can be deployed as an interim measure given that additional force is required in view of the recent attacks and prevailing tense situation," Tripathy said.
Though there are no reports of poaching of tigers, there are fears that the criminals might connive with the Naxalites for anti-wildlife activities.
Raipur , May 28 Five naxalites were arrested and a mobile tower torched by another group of Maoists in Chattishgarh&aposs Rajnandgoan district about 80 km from here, police said today.
Superintendent of Police B K Chaube today said that five Naxalites have been arrested from Amakoda village in the duistrict here.
The police acting on a tip off raided the Naxal camp and arrested the accused, he said, adding, they also recovered five firearms and explosives from the place.
In another incident, Naxalites set afire a private company mobile tower, distrupting the communication networks of the area, Choube said.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
BHADRACHALAM: Maoists struck in the district killing an RMP doctor at Dharmaram in Wajedu mandal today.
Bandaru Srinivasa Rao, who resided in Dharmaram village in the last two months, had fled from Maddedu village in the neighbouring State of Chhattisgarh to practise as an RMP doctor after Maoists warned him of dire consequences, as they think he was a police informer.
While Srinivasa Rao ran away from Maddedu village, it appears that death has kept a track of him, as Maosits, dragged him out of his house yestreday night and took him away to the nearby forest where he was shot dead.
The Maoists, it is learnt, did not heed the requests of his wife and family members to spare Srinivasa Rao’s life.
Srinivasa Rao was killed as the Maoists believed that him to be continuing as a police informer though he had shifted his base from Chattisgarh.Meanwhile, the Wajedu police regsitered a case and are investigating.
Hazaribagh, May 25: Police are yet to ascertain the identity of the two Maoist rebels killed in a gun battle with the security forces in Jamuniatari forests in Chouparan of Hazaribagh district last evening.
Sub-divisional police officer Arun Kumar Sinha said that they recovered a rifle and several rounds of bullets from the spot, about 73km from the district headquarters.
Sinha said that Hazaribagh superintendent of police Pankaj Kamboj had received a tip-off that Naxalites were holding a meeting in the forests situated on border of Jharkhand and Bihar. He sent two teams, comprising STF, CRPF and district personnel, to conduct a combing operation. The securitymen had to walk several kilometres to reach the spot.
Sources said that Naxalite area commander Sahdeo Yadav was busy in a meeting with around 25 to 30 men when the police reached. As soon as they spotted the men in uniform, the Maoists started firing indiscriminately, forcing the security personnel to fire back. But as a jawan, Rajkumar, sustained injuries, one of the teams retreated to Hazaribagh with the injured, while the other group stayed back. Sinha said that they would have completely subjugated the Naxalites had it not been dark. The rebels escaped under the cover of darkness. A search yielded two bodies.
Sources said the Bihar and Jharkhand police had met several times to chalk out strategies to check Maoist menace in Chouparan and Barachatti in Gaya.
A numbers of extremists were killed in Chouparan and Barachatti because of the police crackdown.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram assuming charge in New Delhi on Monday.
NEW DELHI: Asserting that he was fully aware of the security situation and the issues that had to be addressed, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday said terrorism, naxalite violence and insurgency in the northeast were the key challenges.
He said the new government would respond to any threat to security, the public order and communal harmony with speed and decisiveness. “We will raise the level of preparedness to meet the increasing threat to security, public order and communal harmony,” he told journalists here on the first day of his joining office in the Ministry.
Mr. Chidambaram said the government would respond to any of these threats using modern systems, highly trained human resource and advanced technological tools.
Signalling that the Centre was determined to deal with Left-wing extremism with an iron hand, he said the Centre’s action plan was to first carry out a “police action followed by development.”
“Naxalites are anti-development. We build schools, they demolish the school buildings. Telecom operators put up mobile towers, they blast those towers. We build panchayat houses, they blast those houses.”
According to the directions of the Prime Minister, the Home Ministry would draw up another 100-day plan to be be taken up for implementation from June 1, Mr. Chidambaram said.
The Congress’ manifesto and another document, “Protecting India from Terror,” pledged a strong and decisive leadership to meet the challenge of terrorism. “These two documents will serve as guide and help bring a focus to the efforts of the Ministry of Home,” he said.
"Bihkara Prasad (35) was shot dead by Naxals at Bihsunpur village in the district yesterday. After killing him the rebels fled, leaving behind leaflets saying those trying to malign the organisation would also face the same consequence," DSP (Pakridayal sub division) M K Anand told reporters here.
Prasad was wanted in a case of dacoity, he said, adding that efforts were on to arrest the criminals.
He said the Naxals had taken advantage of the fact that the security forces had been spread through out the country during the polls, adding that the government “will respond” to those attacks.
He said the twin-pronged strategy of combining police action with accelerated development in the naxal-affected districts was history.
“Naxalites are anti-development. We build schools, they demolish it. Telecom operators put up mobile towers, they blast those towers. We build panchayat houses, they blast those houses,” the Harvard-educated lawyer said.
“It is important that police action takes place first… the area is cleared out and be immediately followed by development activities,” the home minister said.
Beltangady, May 26: After reports said that armed naxals had visited Mapalu in Naravi village on Sunday May 24, the Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) has intensified its combing operations in the region.
On Monday May 25, ANF personnel including the deputy superintendent of police level officers took part in combing operations. The combing was conducted in villages like Naravi, Kutloor, Kotyandadka area but the policemen could not get any traces of naxal movement there. There are possibilities that the naxals might have moved through the hilly forest region to reach the neighbourhood of Sringeri through Kanyalu.
Initially, the rumours about the naxal visit were not given much credence, as the visitors had not left behind things like pamphlets, graffiti etc., which they normally do. The people, whom the naxals spoke to, also had kept the news of the visit under wraps. The villagers were afraid of earning the wrath of the naxals and the interrogation by the policemen. Later, it was revealed that the team of 10 naxals included four women. The gang of armed youngsters clad in uniforms, had sought support of the villagers in their fight against eviction of people from forests. They had also asked the locals not to reveal the fact of their visit to the policemen.
The naxals had visited the village this time around, last year too. Some suspect, that the visit might just be a plan to give a message that they continue to be active in the Western Ghats. Even though a call to boycott the elections in the name of naxals had appeared in some villages in the form of pamphlets during the recent Lok Sabha election, some had said it was not the handiwork of the naxals but of some mischief mongers.
The naxal movement in the region has given rise to concern among the policemen. As they can not leave anything to chance, they are forced to comb the forest areas. The fact that they did not get immediate information of the naxal visit speaks about the poor intelligence network they have in villages. In the meantime, the rainy season threatens complicate their task.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
May 24th, 2009 - 3:11 pm
Hyderabad, May 24 (IANS) The Andhra Pradesh police Sunday gunned down two top Maoist leaders, including one allegedly involved in the assassination attempt on former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
Patel Sudhakar Reddy, central committee member and K. Venkataiah, state committee member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) were killed in a gun battle with police in Tadvai forests in Warangal district, police said.
Sudhakar Reddy was one of the most wanted Maoist leader carrying a reward of Rs.1.2 million on his capture.
On a tip-off about the presence of few guerrillas in the area to attend a meeting, the policemen launched combing operations in the forests. Police said a gun battle ensued Sunday morning and the two guerrillas were killed.
Police recovered an AK 47 rifle, an 8 mm rifle, 1.99 mm pistol and three kitbags from the scene of the battle.
There were no casualties on the police side, which prompted Maoist sympathisers to allege that it was a stage-managed gunbattle. Maoist sympathiser and revolutionary writer Varvara Rao termed it as a “fake encounter” and alleged that the top Maoists were arrested and killed in cold blood.
Sudhakar Reddy’s killing has come as a big blow to the Maoist movement, especially in Andhra Pradesh where it is on the wane due to a series of killings of top Maoist leaders and cadres in police operations.
Known as an intelligent leader, who planed attacks with the help of a lap-top, Sudhakar Reddy masterminded the assassination attempt on then chief minister Chandrababu Naidu at Alipiri near Tirupati in 2003.
He was also an accused in the killing of then state minister A. Madhava Reddy in 1999 and senior police officials Vyas and Mahesh Chandra.
Hailing from Mahabubnagar district, he was considered an expert in guerrilla warfare and claymore mine attacks. He was also the mastermind behind several attacks on police stations in the state during the last decade.
He was working as incharge of Maoist movement in Karnataka and is believed to have arrived in Warangal district three days ago from Bangalore. Police suspect that he was planning a major strike in Andhra Pradesh to revive Maoist activities in their former stronghold.
While doing his post graduation at Osmania University here in 1982, he got attracted towards Maoist movement. He later went underground and worked as ‘dalam’ or armed squad commander, district and state committee member and central military committee member. He also worked to strengthen the outfit in Chhattisgarh.
Sudhakar Reddy, who escaped narrowly during police operations on few occasions in the past, married Durga, also a Maoist. She had surrendered to police six months ago on health grounds.
The CPI (Maoist) has lost over 400 cadres, including several key leaders in the state, since the first-ever direct peace talks with the government collapsed in early 2005.
The police, especially the elite anti-Maoist force Greyhounds, achieved many successes in their operations. Hundreds of Maoists have also been arrested or have surrendered during the last four years.
The police claimed the Maoist violence touched the lowest ebb ever in the state with 30 percent decline in extremist activities during 2008.
More than 6,000 people have been killed in Maoist violence in the state since 1969, when Srikakulam district witnessed the first armed uprising by landless peasants.
The state has been a traditional stronghold of the Maoists, who claim to be fighting for the poor and oppressed in the rural areas.