Saturday, July 25, 2009

Orissa to recruit 3000 SPOs and 4000 homeguards, budgetary demands of Home deptt. accepted

Friday, July 24, 2009

Report by Orissadiary
correspondent;
Bhubaneswar : he state government would recruit 3000 Special Police Officers (SPOs) and 4000 homeguards in coming days. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik informed this during a debate on budgetary demand for Home department in the assembly on Friday.

The government has also increased the salary of homeguards from Rs 90 to Rs 110 per day. As per the new guidelines, the homeguards would work for 300 days in a year. Earlier the time frame stood at 220 days.

The Chief Minister has also announced an ITI to be built in each block in the state. Around 100 ITIs would come up in next two years to facilitate employment opportunity for talented youths.

The government has also decided to fill up the vacancies of 100 para-medical posts soon in tribal-dominated regions in the state. Naveen announced that Rs 2 lakh would be spent for promotion of sports-related activities in tribal-dominated districts.

The demand of 1596 Crore 48 Lakh 32 thousand of Home department and demand of 70 Crore 82 Lakh 9 thousand for General administration department has been accepted in the house in oral votes.While the opposition members opposed and the rulling members supported.The opposition congress members walked out.

The Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed to the house in reply to the discussion that about four thousand boys and girls will be appointed as home guards .Three thousand SOGs will be appointed to strengthen the state Police. Tribals will be given preference for the same.ITI cenres will be opened in every Blocks ,basically in the tribal blocks. Hence forth for purchase of athletic /sports materials two lakhs will be given to the districts.

About 9 thousand forest case and three thousand cases against the tribals have been withdrawn. After 2004 Orissa Police have killed 54 Naxals and seized 840 guns .Recently two Naxal Couples have surrendered as the government has prepared attractive settlement plan for them.For appointment of the tribals in the defense service we have requested the Union Home Minister for relaxation of the requisites for the tribal youths. Those will be recruited as home guards will be engaged for 300 days in a year instead of 220 days and their remuneration will be raised to Rs 110 from Rs 90.

Senior IPS official faces trouble

TNN 26 July 2009, 06:26am IST

GUNTUR: Senior IPS officer Mahesh Chandra Ladha is in a tight corner following the CID slapping criminal cases against a sub-inspector in Guntur
city for deliberately taking sides in a civil dispute when Ladha was SP.

Ladha was already issued a charge-memo by DGP SSP Yadav immediately after he was shunted out of Guntur last month. Initially, Yadav's decision to issue a memo to Ladha was seen as part of his war against the proteges of intelligence chief K Aravinda Rao. Now, it transpires that Ladha was shifted from Guntur only after CID brought out several facts on the involvement of police officials, including the ex-SP, in private settlements.

The CID reportedly made some adverse comments against Ladha in its confidential report sent to the DGP. Ladha was made the principal of police training college at Warangal in Thursday's IPS reshuffle after he was told to wait for a new posting for over a month.

Senior officers in the police department believe it was a punishment posting for Ladha, who faces threats from the naxalites. Ladha had escaped from a Maoist attack when he was the Prakasam district SP, five years ago.

According to sources, the CID report found fault with Ladha for not stepping in when his field officers took sides to help a powerful lobby. The CID entered the scene following a complaint lodged by one Kadiyala Indira Devi against then Pattabhipuram SI Y Adinarayana for forcibly taking them to the police station to help their opponents demolish their house at Chandramoulinagar in the city.

This incident had created ripples about six months ago as several senior police officials kept quiet when a powerful lobby belonging to a private school bulldozed a building and forcibly occupied it. The building belonging to Indira and her daughter Usha was razed by the time they were released from the police detention.

The women alleged that Ladha had also asked them to make compromise settlement when they approached him for justice. The CID booked two separate cases under Sections 342, 347, 365 (Crime No. 10/2009) and 427, 451 (Crime No. 11/2009) against Adinarayana last week. Curiously, the police sent the FIR to the local tehsildar as the magistrate was busy with some review meeting.

Meanwhile, Adinarayana has proceeded on leave on health grounds. Rumours are flying thick and fast that Adinarayana was made a scapegoat at the behest of Ladha.

Jharkhand - 3yr total: Rs 880cr

SUMAN K SHRIVASTAVA
Ranchi, July 23: Jharkhand, known for its rich mineral reserves, has fared dismally in attracting investments: Rs 880.31 crore in the last three years leading to 13 projects, most of which are into manufacturing sponge iron, a highly polluting industry.

“The state government signed 42 MoUs out of 94 proposals it received from various companies since 2006,” the Union minister of state for home, Ajay Maken, told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, in reply to a question from the Independent MP from Jharkhand, Parimal Nathwani, who asked the Centre whether Naxalite activities were a major hurdle in attracting fresh industrial investment in the state.

In the last nine years, Jharkhand inked as many as 71 MoUs, of which 62 were with steel companies alone — including ArcelorMittal, Jindal Steel & Power (JSPL), Tata Steel, Jindal South West and Essar Steel for mega projects. And the total estimated investment proposals stood at a whopping Rs 3 lakh crore.

“The quantum of investment during the last nine years is almost the same as stated by the minister,” a source in the state industries department said.

Moreover, most of the 13 industrial units operating in the state were in the business of sponge iron, an industry not known for its commitment to adopting stringent anti-pollution measures.

On Naxalism, Maken agreed the state government had to deal with various aspects of the problem and the Centre had supplemented its resources and efforts by deploying paramilitary forces and Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA), while sanctioning India Reserve (IR) battalions, modernisation and upgradation projects of the state police and their intelligence apparatus.

MAHARASTRA: Home dept gears up to meet Naxal challenge

Prafulla Marpakwar, TNN 26 July 2009, 01:05am IST
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MUMBAI: The Jayant Patil-led home department is redrafting its strategy on dealing with Naxalites in view of the possibility of stepped-up violence
in Gadchiroli and Chandrapur districts during "martyr week (shaheed saptah)", which will start on July 28 and continue till August 3.

Naxalites across the country observe the martyr week in the memory of Charu Majumdar, who spearheaded the Naxalite movement in the 1960s. "Our information is that during the week, the Naxalites, in collaboration with the Maoists, will resort to large-scale violence, particularly in Gadchiroli and Chandrapur districts. We have redrafted our strategy and will thwart their attempts to create instability,'' a senior official told TOI on Saturday.

"The Naxalites now move in large groups of 100-200, attack their targets and then disperse in different directions,'' the official added.

Law-enforcing agencies, said the official, had already identified the likely targets and steps would be taken to ensure that the Naxalites did not succeed. "We have deployed adequate paramilitary forces in the sensitive areas. We have also received assistance from the Centre,'' he added.

Chief minister Ashok Chavan has appointed Jayant Umranikar DGP (special operations) to monitor developments in the affected areas. Also, another official of the rank of police superintendent (Aheri tehsil) has been appointed to tackle the situation. "Our instructions are very clear, we will not tolerate further killing of our policemen,'' Chavan said.

Two suspected Maoists nabbed in Orissa

Rayagada (Orissa), Sat, 25 Jul 2009 ANI


Rayagada (Orissa), July 25 (ANI): Police arrested two suspected Maoists in Orissa's Rayagada District.


Acting on a tip off, police nabbed Purnachandra Brekwada and Treenath Brekwada, who, police said, are active members of 'Basadara Dalam', a Maoist wing led by Sabyasachi Panda alias Azad.


'Basadara Dalam' is active in Rayagada, Gajapati, Nayagarh and Kandhamal districts of Orissa.

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Police said that both men were involved in a series of extremist activities.


"They were involved in the attack on the police post and at a liquor shop. Besides this, they are active members of Chashi Mulia Samiti. They are very close to Maoist leader Azad," said Ashish Kumar Singh, Superintendent of Police.


On Wednesday, a Maoist couple involved in a dozen crimes surrendered before police in Rayagada.


The Maoists claim they are fighting for the rights of millions of impoverished peasants and landless labourers.


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the Maoists as the biggest internal security challenge since independence. (ANI)

Maoists kill 74 securitymen in one year, give govt the jitters

S T Beuria, Bhubaneswar:

The Naxal-affected districts of Orissa have become a death trap for security personnel engaged in anti-Maoist operations.


According to a White Paper released by the Naveen Patnaik government on the law and order situation in the eastern state, the Maoists’ bullets have claimed as many as 74 security personnel in several districts in 2008, compared to only two in the previous year.

The state had witnessed 56 Maoist attacks in 2008. They included a few major attacks like the sensational raid on the police armoury and a training school in Nayagarh town in coastal Nayagarh district, a powerful landmine blast in a village in southern Malkangiri district in which about a dozen securitymen lost their lives although they were travelling in an anti-landmine vehicle, and the ambush of a Greyhound team inside Balimela reservoir in the tribal-dominated Koraput district.

Twenty-two civilians were also killed in Naxal violence in the state in 2008 compared with only 13 the previous year.

The official document admits that the Naxal menace had become a major threat to the safety and security of the state and its people. It conceded that almost half of the districts in the state — 14 out of 30 to be precise — have been affected by the Maoist mayhem.

These districts are Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagara, Nowrangpur, Ganjam, Gajapati and Kandhamal in southern Orissa, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj in northern Orissa, Sundergarh, Sambalpur and Deogarh in western Orissa and Jajpur and Dhenkanal in the coastal region of the state.

As many as nine of these districts are dominated by tribals.
However, despite the increase in the Naxal violence in the state, Chief Minister Patnaik has expressed confidence that his administration was prepared to handle the situation.
“We are determined to uproot the Maoist menace from the state,” the chief minister, who heads the Home department, said during a debate on the subject in the state Assembly.

DH News Service

Top Maoist warns CPM in open letter to CM

KOLKATA, 25 JULY: In a recent open letter to chief minister Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee top Maoist leader Mr Koteswar Rao alias Kishanji has threatened that none can “save” the state's ruling party in Junglemahal ''even if the Centre sends its entire armed force to Lalgarh.'’

He said their battle against the CPI-M will continue till the state government tenders “unconditional apology” for the excesses committed by its armed force on the people of Junglemahal "on the plea of wiping out Maoists” and withdraws joint forces. Kishanji, originally a resident of Andhra Pradesh, is wanted in Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh for waging a war against the state. He is said to be the mastermind behind recent killings of CPI-M leaders in Lalgarh. His letter stated that there was no “let off” in the war against oppression. No one can save the “social fascist CPI-M" in Junglemahal even if the Centre mobilises its entire armed force in Lalgarh, Kishanji threatened. The only way to resolve the Lalgarh crisis is to withdraw force and stop torture on the tribal people, the letter, the first of its kind after the CPI (Maoist) was banned by the Centre, stated.

To avoid further bloodshed, the Maoist leader advised Mr Bhattacharjee to hold talks with the people of Lalgarh and give them proper irrigation facilities within a year. He also urged the chief minister to abandon the Nayachar project in the interest of fishermen of the area. The Maoist leader also urged Mr Bhattacharjee to return land to unwilling farmers of Singur and stop setting up of SEZ in the state.

To counter the charges of unleashing terror on common people, Kishanji urged the CM to send a delegation of human rights activists, state officials and persons who have faith in Maoism. Let them visit Lalgarh and enquire about those who are committing terror, Kishanji stated in the five-page letter claiming that many people have fled their villages owing to police torture.

Denying charges, the Maoist leader claimed that it was not the cadres of his party but the common people of Junglemahal who themselves had destroyed the houses of CPI-M leaders at Lalgarh. The home secretary, however, denied having received any letter from Kishanji. sns

Fight is not over, says Maoist leader

Raktima Bose


KOLKATA: Maoist leader Bikash on Saturday denied that the movement in Lalgarh suffered a setback due to the joint operation, warning that guerrilla warfare had its own tactics and that the security forces would suffer heavily in the future.

“The fight has not finished,” he said, dismissing as propaganda reports that leaders had fled the region. People would not be fooled by the government’s “hollow promises” on development projects, he added.

Speaking from his hideout in the Lalgarh area to The Hindu on the phone, Mr. Bikash said, “Kishenji and all the core leaders who are leading the guerrilla warfare against the security forces are presently in the Lalgarh region only and have not fled anywhere.”

Mr. Bikash gained prominence as a Maoist leader when he held a press conference on June 15 at Dharampur, 14 km from Lalgarh, openly declaring for the first time that the Maoists were supporting the Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee.

“We belong to the Jangalmahal [a common name for the forest area in and around Lalgarh], and are fighting for the cause of the people of this region. Why should we flee? It is a ploy of the police to mislead people,” he said.

Asked if the Maoist movement suffered a setback following the security operations, and as the security forces reclaimed almost the entire area without much resistance, Mr. Bikash said, “Guerrilla warfare has its own tactics, and just because they could set up some camps it does not mean they have won. The fight has not finished and they [security forces] will suffer heavily in future.”

On development in the region and the projects initiated by the government, he said: “People of this region have been listening to such hollow promises for the last 32 years, though nothing has materialised so far. It will be the same this time too.”

Asked if the Maoists would take up development programmes, he said certain projects like building schools and healthcare centres had already been taken up, and the process would continue.

Maoists free policeman; security to be stepped up

Staff Reporter


Kolkata: Belying fears, Maoists on Saturday released the policeman they abducted on Friday evening at Pirrakhuli, 14 km from Lalgarh in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district. .

In a press statement issued later, Maoist leader Bikash stated that “the policeman was released following discussions with local people, media and intellectuals.”

An assistant sub-inspector at the Debra police station, Dipak Pramanik was released early on Saturday inside the dense Lakshmanpur forest, from where he had to walk four kilometres before reaching the metal road. He finally took a bus home.

Talking to journalists at his home, Mr. Pramanik said he was confined in a house at night with 16-17 Maoists guarding him, adding that the rebels behaved “well” with him and even offered him dinner.

Though top-ranking police officials refused to comment on the issue, the incident once more proved that a month after the launch of a joint operation by security forces in the Lalgarh region, the Maoists still hold sway there.

Several Communist Party of India (Marxist) supporters have been killed by the rebels in the past one month. None of the culprits has been arrested so far.

Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh told The Hindu that security would be further beefed up in the region immediately.

Anti-Maoist drive


Meanwhile, personnel of the State police and the Central Reserve Police Force launched a joint operation to flush out Maoists in Purulia district on Saturday.

It is part of the simultaneous security operations that the West Bengal and Jharkhand police had agreed upon at a joint meeting held in Jharkhand on July 8.

Border sealed


“The Purulia-Jharkhand border has been sealed for the operation to ensure that the Maoists do not escape to the neighbouring State. The Jharkhand police have been informed and we hope they, too, are taking necessary action,” Mr. Singh said.

Twelve companies of the State police and the CRPF carried out the operation by splitting into eight teams with one Deputy Superintendent of State police heading each team. Purulia’s Superintendent of Police, Rajesh Yadav, supervised the operation.

No resistance


The security forces secured the Ayodhya Hill and several adjacent villages — considered a Maoist hotbed — in combing operations on Saturday. They, however, faced no resistance and did not set up any temporary camp anywhere. The security forces plan to continue the operations in Maoist-hit Bandwan and Jhalda areas of the district in the coming days.

Bihar Police arrest four Maoist rebels, 200 live cartridges recovered

From ANI

Gaya, July 25: Police on Saturday arrested four Maoist rebels in Bihar's Gaya district and recovered 200 live cartridges and three cellular phones from them.

Acting on a tip off, the police and the Special Task Force (STF) in a joint operation nabbed the four-Ramadha Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Ram Janam and Parshuram-whom the police described being active members of the Moist Communist Centre.

"Acting on a tip off, the Special Task Force (STF) and the police in a joint operation cracked down the exchange of arms between the Maoists and nabbed four of them," said Rajvansh Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police.

The Maoists were caught when they were waiting to deliver the consignment of cartridges, said police.

"We had gone there (at the destination to exchange arms), stopped our vehicle, our friends took time to reach the place. We were calling them, but got caught by the police," said one of the arrested Maoists, Umesh Yadav.

Bihar is one of the nine States affected by over three-decade-old Maoist revolt.

The Government of India recently banned and formally labelled Maoist insurgents a terrorist group, hoping it would give security forces more enforcement powers after the rebels briefly created a "liberated zone" in eastern parts of the country.


Copyright Asian News International/DailyIndia.com

Alert on Ulfa-Maoist nexus

- Trained youths to execute attacks on state, warn cops
A STAFF REPORTER
Guwahati, July 24: Assam police have issued an alert about the plans of a 300-member group of youths to sneak into the state for carrying out subversive activities after being trained by Maoist rebels in Jharkhand over the past three years.

An official in the home department said these youths, most of them members of an organisation ostensibly espousing the cause of farmers and also believed to be a frontal organisation of Ulfa, had left Assam during 2006-2007.

“Most of these youths are from areas where the organisation was active till a few months back. Now it is trying to form district-level committees throughout the state,” he said.

The organisation has always been under the scanner of the security forces, which believe it works as a frontal body of Ulfa.

“Most of these youths are from Golaghat and Nagaon districts. We have names of some of them who had disappeared since 2006,” he said.

“Some of these youths may have even been taking shelter in the Lalgarh area of West Bengal, which was till a few days back a stronghold of Maoist rebels,” the official said.

He said there were reports of Ulfa striking a deal with the Maoists and that these trained youths had been assigned to carry out subversive activities in the state.

“Ulfa has been trying since long to work together with the Maoist rebels operating in India, who have links with China,” the official said.

“We also have information that arms for these youths may have already arrived in the state.”

Sources said the organisation had strong bases in the Doyang and Tengani areas of Golaghat district and Kaki in Nagaon district. “We are keeping a close watch on these areas,” he added.

Maoists abduct police officer

Sukumar Mahato, TNN 25 July 2009, 06:16am IST


LALGARH: Maoists on Friday abducted a police officer in Lalgarh in protest against police atrocities on innocent villagers. A police team which went
to rescue the abducted officer had to beat a hasty retreat after facing strong resistance from the Maoists. Police do not have any idea yet about where the abducted officer has been taken to.

It was around 2 pm in the afternoon when a truck carrying water from Midnapore was heading for the Bhimpur police camp. Banamali Mahato was driving the vehicle with Santosh Murmu as his helper.

Deepak Pramanik, an assistant sub-inspector, boarded the truck from Pirakata police camp. He was supposed to get off at Bhimpur.

When the truck came near Pirrakhuli village, a few hundred people blocked the road and dragged all three out of the vehicle. Villagers claimed that early in the morning, a police team went to Belasole village and tortured several people.

The mob then took the truck deep inside the Sitalpur forest, where some armed rebels had been waiting. They punctured the tyres of the truck and set it ablaze. "When the Maoists asked about our identities, Deepak said he was a policeman. Then they took us into another area of the dense forest on motorcycles," said Banamali.

All three were taken to Garwa village, where the driver and the cleaner were set free after a few hours, following initial interrogation.

But Deepak was not released. "He was badly beaten up after he tried to escape. He even bit the hand of one of the rebels who had been escorting him," said helper Santosh.

Maoist leaders, however, claimed that Deepak has been arrested and he won't be released unless he signed a declaration stating that police will not torture common villagers any more.

Meanwhile, PCPA spokesperson Chhatradhar Mahato alleged that a police team badly assaulted three villagers, including a Class-IX student, at Tarki village in Lalgarh.

Soon after news of the abduction spread, a huge police team marched towards Pirrakhuli to rescue Deepak. They had to return after the Maoists started firing and throwing bombs at them. Late in the evening, senior officers rushed to the spot to arrange a combing operation in the area.

Meanwhile, seven CPM panchayat members from Dharampur and Baita, including the pradhan and upapradhan, officially submitted their resignation letters during the day.

Maoists abduct police officer in Lalgarh



Staff Reporter







KOLKATA: A group of armed men, suspected to be Maoists and supporters of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee abducted a police officer and two others at Pirrakhuli, 14 km from Lalgarh in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district on Friday.

Though the other two persons were later released, the police officer was held hostage.

The rebels hijacked a water tanker on its way from the Pirakata base camp to the Bhimpur base camp with Assistant Sub-Inspector Dipak Pramanik onboard, along with the driver Banamali Mahato and the cleaner Santosh Mahato.

The tanker was taken to the dense Bankishole forest and set ablaze. All the three abducted were badly beaten up.

While Banamali and Santosh were released after a few hours, police is yet to trace Mr. Pramanik. “We have sent search teams to several areas to rescue Mr. Pramanik,” Director-General of Police Bhupinder Singh told The Hindu.

The Maoists are suspected to have taken Mr. Pramanik to their stronghold in the dense forests adjoining Dharampur.

Heavy exchange of gunfire between the security forces and the Maoists was reported from Kantapahari later on Friday evening. The security forces have set up a base camp there.

3,000 more SPOs to combat ultras

Express News Service

First Published : 25 Jul 2009 05:07:37 AM ISTLast Updated : 25 Jul 2009 11:03:36 AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today made several announcements in the Assembly to tackle the growing activities of the Naxalites in the State.


The State Government has decided to recruit 3,000 more special police officers (SPOs) from the tribal and Naxalite affected districts of the State to combat Naxalism, Naveen said replying to the discussion on the Home Department budget. At present the State has 2,100 SPOs.

Besides, the State Government will engage 4,000 more home guards in the affected districts. The duty call allowance of the home guards will be increased from Rs 90 per day now to Rs 110. A decision has also been taken to enhance the maximum period of engaging the home guards in a year from 220 to 300 days, he said. At present, the State Government engages 15,708 home guards.

Naveen announced that special steps are being taken to open at least one ITI in every block.

He said that the Government has plans to open 100 more ITIs in different parts of the State during the next two years. This will improve the employability of youths in tribal areas, he said.

Admitting that a large number of posts of para-medical staff such as multi-purpose health workers, pharmacists and nurses are lying vacant in tribal areas, Naveen said that he has directed the Health Department to take immediate steps to fill up all the vacancies, about 1,000, in the scheduled districts of the State.

In order to improve tribal girls’ education, the State has decided to set up 1,000 new girls’ hostels in tribal areas, he said.

Naveen said that more than 9,000 forest cases and 3,000 other cases have been dropped against the tribals.

The Chief Minister maintained that it was difficult for the Government till 2005 to take any steps to strengthen the police in view of the empty exchequer left by the previous government. Police did not even have funds for purchasing petrol for their jeeps, he said.

He recalled that while travelling as a union minister to Ganjam district after the super cyclone in 1999, the pilot jeep stopped midway because it did not have fuel. I had to arrange money, he said

Return to mainstream or face defeat: Patnaik to Naxals

Updated on Saturday, July 25, 2009, 18:33 IST
Bhubaneswar: Terming Maoists as 'criminals' and 'terrorists', Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has warned them to either return to the mainstream or face 'defeat'.

Coming down heavily on Maoists as violators of the law of the land, Patnaik said their attempt to create violence could not go on forever.

Naxalites could not defeat India which stood on the sacrifice of thousands of freedom fighters and there was no place for violence either in the country or the state, he said yesterday while replying to the budgetary demand of the home department in the Assembly.

A comprehensive surrender and rehabilitation policy for Naxalites had been formulated in the state in order to encourage them to shun violence and join the mainstream, the Chief minister said.

Stating that 616 Maoists had been arrested in five years between 2004 and 2009, Patnaik said the arrest of Sobha alias Sheila, chief of the women wing of Maoists, was significant for the Orissa police's anti-Maoist drive.

Similarly, the arrest of Asutosh head of the eastern politburo of CPI-Maoists was noteworthy as he was involved in many crimes in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, including the murder of VHP leader Swami Laxamananda Saraswati in Kandhamal district.

Bureau Report

Maoists strike again, set police car on fire

25 Jul 2009, 1136 hrs IST

Lalgarh continues to be on the edge, after a van of the West Bengal police carrying drinking water for the forces stationed at the Pirakata camp was attacked by Maoists on Friday (July 23).

An assistant sub-inspector and two others aboard the vehicle were allegedly taken hostage by the Naxals and later freed.

The incident took place on Friday afternoon when the van was passing through the Bhimpur forest area en route to Pirakata.

The incident is another instance of the growing power of the Maoists who have regrouped 3 weeks after Operation Lalgarh ended and have again resorted to attacking police camps, killing CPI(M) men, and protesting the use of schools as venues for the force camps.

Soon, You can Mail Complaints to the Police

Now in MANGALORE & BANGALORE


Bangalore, Jul 24 (DHNS): The State government is mooting a system where police complaints can be lodged by e-mail from any location in Karnataka.

Home Minister V S Acharya informed the legislative council that a system of registering complaints via e-mail will soon be implemented as part of the e-governance measures taken to streamline security in the State.

Earlier, Pratapchandra Shetty and Naseer Ahmed (both Cong) raised concerns about the State police turning down complainants, and not registering complaints. In response, Acharya said that the public could inform higher authorities of negligence, as every station had boards with the numbers of senior officials on it. He added that he himself was making several calls to police stations under aliases to ensure that the officials register the complaints.

Acharya also informed the council of a series of other measures which were implemented to strengthen security. He spoke of a dedicated intelligence wing where intelligence personnel are groomed. “Personnel, from constables to higher level officers, will be groomed for intelligence and promoted one level higher,” he said.

Marine stations

In response to a query from Prakash Rathod (Cong), Acharya said the State had already received two light speedboats, out of a total 15, to beef up coastal security. He also said that five marine police stations had been set up between the ports of Karwar and Mangalore.

Other police reforms undertaken by the state include the formation of anti-terrorist squads and an anti-naxal force in areas identified as terror prone. Acharya further added that the finance department had approved the appointment of 9000 personnel in lower ranks to fill vacancies.

Militancy, education & infrastructure

25 Jul 2009, 0031 hrs IST, V RAGHUNATHAN,



The previously low-level insurgency of the Naxals and the Maoists has now grown into a virtual state of rebellion in many parts of the country.

In fact, the government has declared the CPI (Maoist) and some of the Naxal factions as terrorists. These are not the only militant outfits operating in the country either. Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities, the Bodo Security Force or Bodos, United Liberation Front of Assam and dozens of other little groups operating in many states of the country have been associated with militancy from time to time.

In Three Cups of Tea Mortenson, an American who is building dozens of schools around the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Pak-Afgan border, comments on Northwestern Pakistan, saying, “essentially the state is failing its students on a massive scale and making them far too easy for the extremists who run many of the madrassas to recruit.” Well all such recruitments don’t have to be from madrassas. Any concentration of inadequately educated, unemployed youth comprising peasantry, tribal and other oppressed groups will easily take up arms against those they perceive to be their oppressors, typically the triumvirate of politicians, civil servants and police — the symbols of corruption and absolute power, particularly in far flung areas.

Take Arunachal Pradesh, for example. If you have not been there, you may be hardly aware that in most district headquarters, the latest mainstream newspaper, if you find one that is, could well be over a week old. The most recent magazine could be over two months old. An enclosure of loosely woven reeds nailed together for walls and bare earth for flooring may pass for a government hostel for school children. The very concept of roads simply do not exist, making a 90 km journey an eight hour ordeal, costing Rs 600 or thereabouts. Electricity is available some two to four hours a day.

Clean drinking water a rarity. Jobs simply non-existent. And if you move some 20 km away from a district headquarter, cash may be so rare to come by that most commerce may be conducted by barter. It is not as if the government of India does not invest at all in the state. It does. But very little reaches those it is supposed to. And who are the power groups siphoning off the resources intended for the common folk? No prizes for guessing.

So what are the measures required in the long term to arrest the militancy? Several measures come to mind, for starters.

First, the central as well as the state governments must turn their ‘guns’ on corruption at every level. There is no other way to arrest the leakage of public investment being made in these regions. Strangely, in all the sound bytes we have heard since Congress returned to power with a good popular mandate, there hasn’t been a single utterance about controlling our mammoth corruption (China is ‘waging a war against corruption’, by the way). Unless resources reach the target groups, the problems will only get worse. And if corruption (and thus exploitation) thrives unchecked, militancy will not be checked either.


Second, these regions need enormous and urgent investments in basic infrastructure of surface roads, water, power, schools, health centres and connectivity with mainstream India. To ensure that leakage of these funds is kept to the minimum, the government may consider setting up a central government commission, which will oversee these projects directly, with proper security cover for the workers of the projects.

Third, these regions could be opened up for adventure tourism, at least in limited areas, to create some quick employment.

Fourth, corporates could be provided special tax breaks for setting up their CSR or employment-generating activities in these areas. The tax break will nullify the cost of increased security cover that may be required for these facilities in the initial years. The CSR activities could primarily be in the area of education, heatlh and capacity building through vocational training. The BPO sector could capitalise on the fact that in the north-eastern states, English language proficiency of the populace is better than in most states in the country. With some effort on accent neutralisation and better infrastructure, the region may be well suited for call centres.

Fifth, capacity building, design inputs and marketing linkages to market the unique and fine handicrafts of the region.

True, there may be challenges in initiating work in militancy ridden regions. But if Mortenson can work closely in some of the most difficult and militancy prone regions of the world, there is no reason why we cannot work harder in our own troubled regions. What is more, unless education reaches these regions in a big way, the masses there will never be employable and a large labour market potential for the nation will remain untapped. Also if the long-term issues remain unaddressed, it will only be a matter of time before the entire nation is enveloped in low grade or not-so-low-grade militancy, with the population of typical militant groups growing much faster than the national average.

(The author is CEO, GMR Varalakshmi Foundation. Views are personal.)

Maoist recalls final moments of Laxmanananda, claims cops fled

Posted: Saturday , Jul 25, 2009 at 0941 hrs
Bhubaneswar:


Reconstructing the final moments of the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati and his four associates in Kandhamal’s Jalespeta ashram in August 2008, Orissa police said that a Maoist who surrendered this week claimed there were four policemen at the ashram but they fled when the Maoists announced that they had come looking for the Swami.

Four of the six Maoists who carried out the attack were from Chhattisgarh, the police were told.


Rayagada SP Ashis Kumar Singh said Surendra Brekwada alias Dasu, who surrendered with his wife Ruppi Pidikka alias Jaya, told them that a six-member crack team of the Maoists, led by Orissa CPI (Maoist) leader Azad alias Duna Keshav Rao, reached Jalespeta ashram on August 23 evening and came across four lathi-wielding policemen.


Brekwada, a sharpshooter, was one of the six who allegedly killed the 82-year-old Laxmanananda, Kishore Baba (45), Amritananda Baba (62), Mata Bhaktimayee (40) and Puranjan Ganthi (28), brother of one of the girl inmates of the tribal residential school.




Brekwada told police Azad was carrying an AK-47. “Azad told the policemen that we have come to kill the Swami, that we will do them no harm. The policemen jumped across the ashram wall and fled. We asked one of the ashram inmates the whereabouts of the Swami and he pointed to a room. Azad entered the room by breaking the door and then found the Swami in the bathroom. He fired several shots at the bathroom door to crack it open. He then fired at the Swami, killing him,” SP Singh quoted Brekwada as saying.


The Swami’s murder, according to the Maoist, had been planned days in advance by Sabyasachi Panda, head of Orissa State Committee of the CPI (Maoist).


“Other than the six who took part in the killing, there were several who were entrusted with blocking roads and providing logistics. A few days before the murder, some of the Maoists did a reconnaissance of the area. The cadres also had an ambush plan if they came across police,” Singh said.


On January 30 this year, the Orissa CID, probing the Laxmanananda murder case, submitted a preliminary chargesheet against seven people arrested in the case. Duryodhan Sunamajhi, Munda Badamajhi, Sanatana Badamajhi, Bijay Sanseth, Gananath Chalanseth, Bhaskar Sunamajhi and Budhdev Naik were charged under IPC Sections 302, 449, 380, 120(B) and 34 and Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act. Prime accused Sabyasachi Panda is still at large. The CID will be questioning Brekwada soon.


The Laxmanananda murder appears to have led to a rift in the Maoist ranks. Brekwada said several cadres disapproved of the ashram killings.


Brekwada told police there was no transparency in the organization. “We were all brainwashed into believing that life in the jungles would be great. But we found it to be the opposite. Besides, leaders from Andhra Pradesh had the final say on everything though we did all the work,” he said.

Combined forces begin combing in Purulia's Maoist-dominated areas

From ANI

Purulia (West Bengal), July 25: The combined security forces commenced the anti-naxal operation on Saturday in West Bengal's Purulia district from Kerua Ghatbera.

The combing operations covered the forests adjoining Ayodhya hills under Bagmundi police station, which were considered to be the den of the insurgents, said Rajesh Kumar Yadav, the SP of Purulia.

The combined forces had launched anti-naxal operations in Midnapore district about a month ago, which was gradually extended to neighbouring Purulia and Bankura districts and subsequently to Jharkhand.


Copyright Asian News International/DailyIndia.com

CM trying to seperate tribals & Naxals

;Statesman News Service
BHUBANESWAR, 24 JULY: Replying to the debate on demand for grants of the home department in the Assembly today, Mr Patnaik said 3000 more tribal youths from Naxal infested areas will be recruited as Special police force. This will be in addition to the existing 2,100 special police personnel.
The move, besides the one for special recruitment drive by the army for which the CM has requested the defence ministry is aimed at preventing tribal youth being inducted by Maoists.
Mr Patnaik said that steps to open at least one ITI in each block to enhance employability of youths, spending at least Rs 2 lakh per district in tribal areas for sports activities and filling up vacant paramedical staff posts in all schedule areas of the state are part of the plans drawn up by his government.
He declared that another 4000 home guards will be engaged with special emphasis on Naxal affected districts. Currently, the state has over 15,700 home guards.
The CM announced a revision of wages and extension of number of days engaged for the home guards. They will get Rs 110 as allowance instead of Rs 90 and the period of engagement has been extended from 222 days to 300 days he informed.
Another initiative to try and counter the Naxals was by withdrawing or dropping of petty cases against tribals. As many as 9000 minor forest offences and 3000 other cases against tribals have been dropped.
While listing out achievements of his government on the police administration front since 2004, the CM said prior to it the government was on road to economic recovery.
The pre-2000 government had left behind a empty exchequer and the state had not funds to recruit, procure weapons or fortify police stations. The police , at that point of time, did not have money for POL, payment of telephone and bills, he saidd.
“It was after the turn around achieved from 2000 to 2004 that the government was able recruit and strength the police force,” he said

Naxals call on tribals to fight against govt

TNN 24 July 2009, 11:27pm IST

CHIKMAGALUR: Naxalites have urged tribals who are living in Kudremukh National Park area to take up their traditional weapons to fight the state
government and to protect themselves from eviction.

In a letter sent to newspaper offices, Maoist Area Committee member Kamala has said until now the BJP was spreading just religious communalism to oppress minorities but now it has assumed a fascist face and started training guns on farmers, tribals and workers.

The letter has accused the government of taking statements from tribals by force that they will never cooperate with the Naxals in their fight against the fascist forces. Claiming that Maoists are fighting for the rights of tribals, the letter said it is working to get them right to their dwelling places.

They termed the recent visit of the rural development and panchayat raj minister Shobha Karandlaje to the area as a farce and said the distribution of land rights and other facilities is a drama to make people believe that they will be allowed to live in the place. On the other hand, it is apprehending tribals under the guise of Naxal supporters and putting them behind the bars.

The letter cautioned people that the government is hatching a conspiracy to evict them and they should not give in to the statements. It has also said increase of anti-people programmes will further strengthen the movement.

Friday, July 24, 2009

3 Maoist training camps destroyed in Jharkhand

IANS


2009-07-22 18:31:00


Three training camps of Maoist guerrillas were destroyed in a police action in Simdega district of Jharkhand Wednesday. Rifles and explosives were recovered from the camps, police said.

The police were engaged in a gun battle with Maoist rebels at the camps in Sarangpani village of Simdega, 160 km from Ranchi.


'We raided the Maoist hideout on a tip-off. When the rebels were asked to surrender, they opened fire. A gun battle took place and lasted for more than two hours,' a police officer said.


'One Maoist rebel has been arrested. Some have been killed. We are yet to recover their bodies. Three training camps have been destroyed,' the officer added.


Police have seized six rifles which were looted from policemen, two revolvers, explosives, detonators and Maoist literature from the hideouts.


Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) called for a strike Wednesday protesting the price hike of essential commodities, particularly food grain and vegetables. The impact of the strike was seen in rural areas. Long-route buses were not plying and roads wore a deserted look.

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Maoist real target: police intelligence

PRONAB MONDAL
Calcutta, July 23: A police report has said the main reason why Maoists are systematically killing CPM leaders is to snuff out any attempt by the force to revive its collapsed intelligence network in Lalgarh.

The state intelligence branch, which has been probing the recent killings in and around Lalgarh by the Maoists, has said since July 12, seven persons, all linked to the CPM, have been killed for trying to return to their villages.

In the latest incident, Fagu Baskey was shot dead yesterday minutes after he returned to his village in Belpahari after fleeing six months back.

After the Maoists established their free run in Lalgarh, the police’s intelligence network, which was almost totally built on information supplied by CPM leaders and supporters, “completely collapsed”, an officer said.

But after the joint forces marched into Lalgarh and re-established the police camps, some CPM leaders who had fled their homes felt emboldened and returned.

The Maoists suspected the police would try to revive the intelligence network and start tracking their movements with information provided by the CPM leaders and activists, the officer added.

During the security operation, the lack of intelligence had vexed the forces. Often after the forces moved on after securing an area, the rebels would sneak in, kill a CPM “informer”, then melt away.

“The reason behind the killings can be explained simply as a way to create extreme fear among CPM activists so that they do not pass on information to the police. The rebels also want to deter those who have fled their homes from returning,” the intelligence officer said.

Maoist leader Bikash, said to be overseeing the Lalgarh movement, said: “These recent killings have been of those CPM people who have been trying to harm us. These are the people who had been passing on information about us to the police. We had to stop it.”

Another Maoist leader said: “We recruited and trained hundreds of youths from villages. We have learnt from experience that once the CPM leaders return home... they will help the police identify those we have trained. It is our duty to protect the men, so we have to carry out these killings to ensure that information about us is not given to the police.”

More issues on battling naxals

The New Indian Express

First Published : 24 Jul 2009 11:46:00 PM ISTLast Updated : 24 Jul 2009 01:09:24 AM IST

We had noted in these columns the fallacy of addressing the mounting naxal violence problem primarily through the prism of law and order. There is urgent need for coordinated security action on Maoist insurgency, but if you think that’s all there is to it, you will continue to get nowhere; you have to also address the issues of their base in the populace. We’d like to reiterate this in view of the latest plan of the Centre, for a massive expansion of the Central Reserve Police Force to battle naxals. The CRPF already has 2.7 lakh personnel, far bigger than the armies of many countries; the plan is to add another 38 battalions and allow it to set up its own, nationwide, intelligence network; a ‘special military adviser’ is also being appointed. We do not find this reassuring. A number of management issues — of promotion, working conditions, accountability, and leadership besets paramilitary forces. Part of this flows from the same basic we began with, of the preoccupation with dousing fire after every outbreak without also addressing the issues which create such problems. The result is an overstretched force, moving from one trouble spot to another.


Making the CRPF something like a parallel army has various implications. How, for instance, is it supposed to mesh with the state police’s primary responsibility for law and order? How many intelligence forces are we going to have, each with its network of funds and secrecy? There’s already an unsatisfactory record on support structures for the CRPF, to keep the personnel motivated and accountable. Now we are proposing to add and unleash another 40,000 or so. The example often given is Punjab dousing its own insurgency, but the primary job there was done by the state police, and after the extremists had got isolated. This column has drawn frequent attention to the refusal to move on police reforms — promotion, working, accountability, etc. Nothing in the new plan shows this is any more of a priority, and the lack of these is one of the primary causes for the rise and growth of extremism, apart from the constant alienation of tribals and poor from their land and livelihood, through simple expropriation. Neither the Centre nor the state governments are thinking innovatively in these matters and that makes for a worrisome situation.

Raman Singh voices for political unity to root out Naxalism

Raman Singh voices for political unity to root out Naxalism


Published: July 24,2009


Raman Singh voices for political unity to root out Naxalism Raipur
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh today stressed the need for leaders coming together cutting across party lines to root out the Naxal menace from the country.

" Opposition Congress has been boycotting the assembly proceedings for the last four days on this issue. Even the Prime Minister has termed Naxalism as a threat to the country. Hence, cutting across the party lines, everyone should come together to find a solution to this grave problem," Singh said.

Replying to the discussion on supplementary demands, Singh said the government in no case would allow the sacrifice of all policemen in the recent Naxal attack in Rajnandgaon go waste.

On Congress' demand for his resignation, Singh said the people have chosen the BJP government to rule the state for next five years. And, the party MLAs have selected him to lead them.

" Only if my colleagues ask me to quit, I will step down," he said, adding that the Opposition is not participating in the discussion on Naxalism in the House as they are dejected by two consecutive defeats in the last assembly elections.

Enlisting the pro-poor measures taken by the BJP government, Raman Singh said Chhattisgarh tops in providing food security to the poor."State's Food Security Scheme is a big hit. Discussions to emulate it nationwide are going on," he claimed.

On allegations by the Opposition Congress of corruption in paddy procurement, he said in no way it can be corrupt.

The government has purchased paddy from the farmers and would continue to do so even in the future, he said. Singh also said that the state wants to host the National Games in 2013-14 and is working towards achieving this goal.

After the Chief Minister's reply, the supplementary demands worth Rs 1,344,54,700 were passed in the absence of the Opposition.


Source: PTI

Naxal roots ruled out at Koraput

;Statesman News Service

BHUBANESWAR, 23 JULY: A fact finding team, which returned from trouble-torn Narayanpatna block of Koraput district today said that the tribal movement has nothing to do with Maoist upsurge and any attempt by the administration to repress the movement may lead to further violence.

The team comprising Mr Prafulla Samantara, of Lok Shakti Abhijan, Lingaraj, Mr Mahendra Parida Satish of PUCL, Rayagada and others said the state must identify tribal land under possession of non-tribals and restore tribal land within a timeframe. Organise camp courts to dispose land disputes, hold dialogue with tribal outfits of Narayanpatna and Bondhugaon etc.

They urged the government to desist from causing
displacement for setting up the Cobra battalion in Koraput district. Police repression and deployment of forces at the expense of tribal land is being resented by people, they observed.
Forest Rights Act 2006 should be implemented on war footing and deployment of forces in schools and colleges must stop immediately so that children do not suffer in terms of education, they said.
Giving details of their findings, they said the tribal population in Narayanpatna block is over 31,000 which is 82 per cent of the total population. But 85 per cent of tribal land is being enjoyed by the minority non-tribal sections.
The fact finding committee also came across reports of police repression against tribal farmers opposing displacement in Koraput for the proposed Cobra battalion project.

74 security personnel killed in Naxal attacks

Express News Service

First Published : 24 Jul 2009 03:56:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 24 Jul 2009 11:14:00 AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: As many as 74 security personnel, including 36 from the Andhra Pradesh Police, and 22 persons died in Naxalite attacks in the State last year. According to the white paper circulated by the Home Department in the Assembly today, 56 incidents of Naxalite violence took place in the State during the period.


The incidents include the attack on the police armoury and training school at Nayagarh, ambush of Greyhound team in the Balimela reservoir and a landmine blast at MV 126 village in Malkangiri district.

The white paper maintained that police also scored some major victories over the Naxals despite adverse situations.

The success of security forces included the arrest of three state committee members of the CPI (Maoist) from Jagatsinghpur and leader of the CPI (ML-Janashakti) Anna Reddy. The activities of the Naxals could be checked to some extent in Keonjhar, Jajpur and Dhenkanal districts following the arrests. According to the white paper, the security personnel arrested 120 Naxals last year, including some office-bearers, and recovered 785 arms and ammunition.

Besides, 764 arms and ammunition which they looted from the Nayagarh armoury were also recovered. Security forces raided Gosama hill within 24 hours of the attack on Nayagarh and recovered many arms and ammunition. Five Left wing extremists also surrendered last year.

Stating that several measures were taken to make the security forces tackle the situation more effectively, the white paper maintained that Rs 15.47 crore was provided in 2008 annual plan under the security-related expenditure (SRE) scheme for Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Nabarangpur, Ganjam, Gajapati, Keonjhar, Sundargarh, Mayurbhanj and Sambalpur districts to counter Naxal activities.

However, the number of cognisable offences showed a marginal increase during the year compared to 2007. The number increased to 67,918 in 2008 from 67,034 in the previous year. Major crimes including rape, murder and dacoity went up. The number of rape cases registered with the police went up to 1,113 from 938. Similarly, 1,250 murder cases were recorded compared to 1,210 in 2007. Dacoities also increased to 372 during the year. There were 561 deaths from dowry torture during the year.

The white paper also mentioned the communal riots in the State triggered by the murder of VHP leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati on August 23, 2008. As many as 40 persons were killed and 137 were injured in the riots.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Maoist whiff in hunger strike

OUR CORRESPONDENT

Children on fast at Gohomidanga. Picture by Samir Mondal
Midnapore, July 22: Students of a Lalgarh village were made pawns in the Maoists’ bid to get rid of security forces from the region days after being used as human shields during a march to a police camp.

Over 30 students today sat on a relay hunger strike, allegedly under pressure from the Maoist-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities, demanding that the forces camping in their school leave immediately.

Supporters of the outfit marched through Gohomidanga and its neighbouring villages last evening knocking on doors and telling parents that they send their children for the agitation.

“They came last night and told us we better take our children to the hunger strike. I couldn’t go today because I was unwell, but I sent my daughter with a neighbour,” said the father of a Class V girl.

Seven guardians and 32 students were sitting on a dais about 500 metres from Gohomidanga High School today.

Some of the students held placards that condemned the baton charge by the police to disperse the marchers on Monday. Many students had got sandwiched between the police and 10,000 committee supporters during the march and bore the brunt of batons.

Some of the placards today tried to draw the chief minister’s attention to the students’ plight. Others slammed Union home minister P. Chidambaram for sending central forces to the region.

“We are really suffering as our school is closed since July 1. But it is the People’s Committee that is forcing us to take to the streets. Why should we risk our lives and face the lathicharge otherwise?” said a Class XII student.

The first group of fasting students sat from 2pm to 6pm. A group of seniors (Classes IX to XII) and a new set of parents replaced them. This will continue till Friday, a committee leader said.

A senior student pointed out that schools in the region were shut for days on end at the height of the Lalgarh movement. “The committee did not show any concern for us then. Now it’s doing all this to help someone else.”

Gohomidanga High School was shut for over a fortnight late last year. Several schools in the region where the police are camping now were shut for far longer periods.

“The Maoists have created a fear psychosis among the villagers by killing several CPM men in the past month,” a police officer said.

“Now they want to involve common people, even if by force, under the banner of the committee to project to give the impression that it is a spontaneous people’s movement. Their goal is to drive out the forces from Lalgarh.”

Cops use Press stickers to evade Maoists

Sukumar Mahato, TNN 23 July 2009, 05:00am IST

DHARAMPUR: The stress of the battle for Lalgarh is proving to be too much for a section of police officers posted there. Desperate to avoid a Maoist
strike, they are using everything from vehicles with Press stickers to ambulances to move around the forested terrain.

For example, during the Maoist-sponsored bandh on Wednesday, police supplied food and essential items to the Dharampur and Gohamidanga police camps in an ambulance. "Some officers are using Press and other stickers like patient', LIC' and BSNL'. This is increasing the risk for vehicles sporting authentic stickers," said a constable. "Some senior officers have gathered stacks of these stickers and are using them after removing the police tag from vehicles. There are at least 12 four-wheelers with such stickers. They are even changing number plates to prevent identification."

Another policeman said, "Our seniors are taking off stars and other identification marks from their uniforms and are moving around as constables and homeguards. They are moving with us as they know fully well that Maoists generally target only higher-ranked officers."

Sujan Singha of Gohamidanga said, "Policemen are seen working here from 7 am to 3 pm and Maoists-backed PCPA leaders have identified some four-wheelers used by the officers. People are scared as police stop patrolling the villages after 3 pm."

Another constable from North 24-Parganas alleged, "We have no training in firing tear-gas shells or automatic rifles, but the seniors are forcing us to carry SLR rifles and tear-gas guns. Some aged constables have been sent for duty here, which violates a police department order. The order clearly states that only policemen below 40 years of age were to be sent. We have some constables here between 50 and 55 years."

With every passing day, the murmurs of protest are growing louder among the rank and file. "This might spark a revolt. Our superiors had told us that we would be on duty here for a maximum of two weeks, but we've already spent a month in this hostile terrain. The money we had has also been running low."

Why were Maoists and PCPA workers still roaming freely in the area? A CRPF jawan had a unique reply. "Actually, we came here to provide protection to the policemen. There's not much else for us to do," he said.

Where have the Maoists gone?

; Sankar Ray

Fables like 1,500 Maoists or 100 specially-trained-in arms-operations Maoists are at Lalgarh or its surroundings, scripted by West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and his condescending subordinates like chief secretary Asoke Mohan Chakraborty and home secretary Ardhendu Sen, are now into the open.
Not a single Maoist is yet in the net of the joint forces. However, the 11,000-strong force has been successful in preventing newspersons from filing reports on torture let loose on subalterns.
Small wonder, the CPI-M’s central committee member Benoy Konar happily said, rubbing his palms gleefully, “We are with the chief minister in his application of the Central Act to suppress the Maoists”.
This is in contrast to the decision of the CC and LF neither to apply the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2008 nor to ban the CPI (Maoist) in the state. Who cares for the CPI-M’s editorial posture in People’s Democracy (21 December, 2008) warning the UPA government of the possibility of “gross misuse” of three clauses therein?
The first of them, “contained in clause 43D, seeks to amend Section 167 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to extend the period of detention without bail to 180 days beyond the existing periods ranging from 15 to 60 to 90 days. The maximum 90-day period is now proposed to be increased to 180 days if the courts are satisfied that such extension is required to complete the investigation”, the editorial said.
Mr Bhattacharjee, LF chairman Biman Bose ~ both Politburo members ~ and general secretary Prakash Karat resort to a mystic silence over wanton repression on those who couldn’t flee their hearth and home, while over 70,000 Adivasis left the place from 300-plus hamlets of Jangalmahal. All of them are languishing in poverty, malnutrition and social deprivation.
The Maoists of Jangalmahal ~ West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts ~ are inexplicably compared to terrorists of Kashmir or some far-flung Northeast region to justify classification of them under the UA(P)A. The comparison is absurd. After all, Maoists are not secessionists like Ulfa, NSCN factions and Kashmiri militants with Al-Qaida connections.
Ludicrous as it may seem, bureaucrats, rushed to Lalgarh ostensibly for development, admitted that no economic development had taken place there.
A booklet ~ Lalgarh: Paschimbanger Adivasi (Lalgarh ~ Adivasis of West Bengal), brought out by the Kolkata-based voluntary social action forum, Nagarik Mancha, reveals the pathetic condition of the inhabitants despite three decades of Left governance. The average number of days of work per household in 2008-09 under the NREGA was 6.02, 6.72 and 8.60 in West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura, respectively. About 95 per cent of children between six and 35 months suffer from anaemia against the state average of 78.3 percent.
Only nine per cent of villages of West Midnapore district receive piped drinking water, 15 percent and 14 percent in Bankura and Purulia, respectively.
Former RSP MP Manoj Bhattacharya admitted: “Out of Rs 6,700 crore programmed for socio-economic transformation of the western region over a period of five years (2007-11) as per recommendations of the IIT-Kharagpur, which was retained by the LF government to draw up the plan, Rs 82 crore was granted by the western regional development board for 2007-09. Out of this, only Rs 14 crore was incurred.”
The pathetic performance under the minister for western region development, Susanta Ghosh, the CPI-M’s shah-en-shah at Garbeta, is there for all to see.
A 16-member experts group was set up by the Planning Commission to go into causes of extremism. It was headed by former revenue secretary D Bandyopadhyay, who conceived the idea of Operation Barga, CPI-M’s USP until three years back. In its report, “Development Issues to deal with the causes of Discontent, Unrest and Extremism”, submitted in 2007, it observed: “There is no denying that what goes in the name of ‘Naxalism’ is to a large extent a product of collective failure to assure to different segments of society, their basic entitlements under the Constitution and other protective legislation”.
Villagers we met at Baropelia, Lalgarh, on 8 May denied there was anarchy under the people’s committee. “For over six months, our male members have been sleeping peacefully at night as the nightmare of police torture has vanished for the time being at least. We are all with the Pulisi Santras Birodhi Janaganer Committee,” said Meena Tudu (name changed).
The jingoistic rule under the home (police) ministry is evident from the deliberate default in the case of poet Prasun Bhowmik, convenor, Swajan, forum of poets, performing artists, academics etc like Aparna Sen, Saoli Mitra and Kausik Sen. He got repeated threatening phone calls when the Swajan team visited Lalgarh.
“I recorded the calls specifically and filed an FIR but I got no response from the administration or police. No action has been taken against the caller”.

The writer is a freelance contributor

Maoist bandh in peaceful in Sundergarh

Updated on Thursday, July 23, 2009, 14:35 IST

Rourkela: The 24-hour bandh call given by Maoists passed off peacefully ending midnight yesterday in Maoist-hit district of Sundergarh in western Orissa.

Maoist had given the bandh call in Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal in protest against the police harassment to innocent people branding them Maoists and banning the organisation by the Centre.

The bandh evoked little response in urban areas while its impact was found in rural and semi-urban pockets of the district paralysing normal life, disrupting mining operation and passenger buses remaining off the road.

The raw material transportation was totally affected by heavy vehicles and goods trains also did not run, officials said.

The bandh after recent killing of police sub-inspector (SI), Ajit Bardhan and death of a CRPF personnel in Sundergarh was observed in Maoist-prone police stations bordering Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

Bureau Report

Andhra rebels call the shots in state attacks

Satyanarayan Pattnaik, TNN 23 July 2009, 10:15pm IST


KORAPUT: Spilling the beans on Maoist attacks in Orissa, a surrendered rebel has told police that the state leadership prepares the blueprint, but
the execution is left to their counterparts from Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The former Maoist, Surendra alias Vasu, also said the Orissa cadres are kept in the dark about attacks till the last moment.

"The Orissa State Committee of the CPI (Maoist) prepares the blueprint for a major attack. The proposal is sent to the central committee for approval," Surendra said. "Once the central leaders give their nod, top ranking Maoists from Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh sneak into Orissa and hold camps in the deep forests to train cadres for the planned attack," he said.

The former Maoist added that such camps were the only indication that some major attack was in the pipeline. "Those of us hailing from Orissa were never told about anything. We were kept in the dark till the last moment about the venue, date and timing," he said.

Surendra told his interrogators that this "lack of transparency" was driving a wedge in the rebel ranks in Orissa. "Maoists from Orissa are displeased over the lack of power and responsibility given to local leaders. All the key posts are held by our counterparts in the neighbouring states, while local tribal cadres have to remain satisfied with low level positions," he said.

Surendra claimed to be part of the core team that led the attack on Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, whose killing triggered unprecedented communal riots in Kandhamal district last year.

In Surendra's admission, the blueprint for Saraswati's murder was prepared by the Maoists' Orissa committee. "A team of seven top Maoists, including four from Chhattisgarh and one from Andhra Pradesh, was formed to execute the whole operation. Surendra along with another Oriya cadre was part of this core team," a senior police officer said, quoting Surendra. "This group of seven had swooped down on Jalespeta ashram and open fired on Saraswati and his followers. They were responsible for all the mayhem that took place inside the ashram. The other cadres involved in the attack were entrusted with blocking roads and providing logistics support," the officer said. "But after the seer's murder, a section of the rebels, including Surendra, expressed displeasure because they were kept in the dark over the whole operation," the cop added.

On the Nayagarah attack in 2008, the officer said as many as 175 cadres from Orissa were involved but the leadership comprised senior Maoists from Chhattisgarh. Prior to the attack, a month-long camp was held in a forest in Ganjam district.

Quoting Surendra, the officer said, "The Oriya cadres knew that some major attack was being planned but leaders from the central committee holding the camp did not tell us about our target till the last moment."

Surendra, along with his wife, Jaya, surrendered before SP (Rayagada) Asish Kumar Singh on Wednesday. The two are tribals and belonged to the rebels' Basadhara division. Police said Surendra joined the Maoists in 2004 and Jaya in 2007. They are both residents of Rayagada district and got married in 2008. belongs to and married in 2008.

Maoist loot hits explosive unit

TNN 23 July 2009, 11:00pm IST


ROURKELA: The restriction on transportation of explosives by Gulf Oil Corporation Limited has come as a big jolt to the unit here. The curb would be
on till proper security can be provided to the transporting vehicles because Maoists recently looted 8.3 tonnes of explosives and abducted and killed sub-inspector Ajit Bardhan.

On the flip side, the restriction has put a full stop on production because the unit does not have storage space and in turn is laying off of its workers.

The sudden stop to dispatches of explosives has also given rise to problems for hundreds of mining units of Sundargarh and Keonjhar districts and it threatens to affect sponge iron and steel plants.

The Citu has appealed to chief minister Naveen Pattnaik to provide adequate security so that production resumes soon. In a meeting on Wednesday, the Citu-affiliated IDL Workers Union condemned the decision of the police here.

"It is the duty of police to provide proper security," general secretary of Citu Bishnu Mohanty said.

"As many as 1,100 workers of GOCL have lost their livelihood due to sudden closure of the factory on the plea that there is no space to store the explosives," the union leader added.

"The Citu has drawn the attention of the chief minister and expects an immediate response from him," Mohanty said. "Closure of this factory will not only jeopardize the future of thousands of families but also that of the mining and steel industry," Mohanty said.

Around 65,000 metric tonnes of explosives is utilized by the mining industry in the state. Out of which GOCL, Rourkela, provides about 18,000 metric tonnes. The factory is a major supplier of explosives to the units in Sundargarh and Keonjhar districts.

Defending the company's decision, AGM of GOCL, Rourkela, P C Pradhan said, "Since storing of explosives is not possible with us, we have no option but to close our unit. We had to lay off workers because the unit has stopped production for an indefinite period," Pradhan said.

"With explosive trucks being repeatedly looted by Maoists, we cannot allow their plying without proper security arrangements. So we have instructed GOCL to stop transportation of explosives till the proper security is arranged," inspector general of police (western range) Pranabindu Acharya said. But the possibility of providing security to hundreds of explosive-laden trucks on this route remains doubtful. "We expect the company to make security arrangements in each truck backed by our strategic approval," Acharya said.

Naxalites shut downs affect poor people the most

Published on : Wednesday 22 Jul 2009 15:06 - by, ANI

Raipur (Chhattisgarh), July 22 - ANI: Naxalite groups have been known for using various tactics to assert their domination all around. On various occasions, they give a public all for a close down or general strike to affect all activities across the State. But they are simply unconcerned with the hardship the ordinary people have to face due to bandh.

A call for general strike was given by Naxalites recently in Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Andhra Pradesh in protest of the action being taken against the Maoists in West Bengals Lalgarh area by security forces along with local police.

It feels scary to drive trucks during the Bandh. If we are found driving during Bandh, the lorries are burnt by strikers. It gets very difficult to find out food anywhere and also feels dangerous being in the open, said Subash, a lorry driver.

The most affected due to these Bandhs are the daily wagers and their families who struggle to arrange their two square meals. It looks the Naxalites completely never ponder over such concerns related to ordinary people including women, children, and the elderly.

In an attempt to serve their selfish purposes and also establish their dominance or influence in urban areas, the Naxalites use such measures to affect general public.

It is yet to be seen how much they succeed in presenting themselves to be working for the rights of the helpless or underdogs with such methods, as it is the ordinary people who suffer the most.

We want the people to remember that violence has no place in democracy. We want the administration or the Govt. should reach the ordinary man through public awareness, said Nankiram Kanwar, State Home Minister of Chhattisgarh.



The local shopkeepers, traders and business centres also suffer badly due to shut downs declared off and on by the Naxalites here.

Local residents and traders rue the fact that these Naxalites groups threaten shut down to charge money from them. But none of them ever bothers how many people would suffer because of their actions.



But many people here have made their mind to not strengthen the naxalites by giving in to their unjustified demands. The most affected people are often the poor daily wagers. But will the Naxalites ever understand' - ANI

States told to act against illegal arms manufacture

Sujay Mehdudia



Such weapons fall into the hands of naxalites, says Chidambaram




P. Chidambaram

NEW DELHI: The Centre has asked the States to crack down on manufacture of illegal arms and ammunition, some of which are falling into the hands of militants and naxalites, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Replying to questions, he said, “We have asked State governments to take strict action against illegal arms and ammunition. In our assessment, there are factories where arms and ammunition are manufactured illegally. However, States have not communicated the action they have taken.”

Mr. Chidambaram said the Centre had shared some information with the States. The illegal arms and ammunition were being sold to naxalites and militants. “Militants have access to illegal arms, and loot armouries. It is a grave problem, and we will address it seriously.”

When Bhagat Singh Koshyari of the BJP sought to know what action the Centre was taking against the manufacture of illegal arms and ammunition, Mr. Chidambaram said crime is a State subject. But if all political parties agreed, the Centre would take direct action.

He said risk-based allowance was sanctioned for paramilitary personnel deployed in the naxal-hit areas on a par with the Army. The government was trying to resolve the differences over the quantum. “The matter has been referred to the Department of Expenditure of the Finance Ministry, and I am sure we will get a positive response.” The special allowances for the paramilitary personnel were worked out on the basis of the hardship and risk involved, besides the stress factor.

Naxalites extort funds meant for development of schools in Jharkhand

ANI

Posted: Thursday , Jul 23, 2009 at 1942 hrs
Latehar:

In Jharkhand, the latest victims of Naxalites are school children. Naxalites are demanding money from schools from the grants received by them from the government.


In Latehar, they demanded Rs.50,000 as ‘levy’ from a school and threatened dire consequences in case they were not paid the demanded amount.

These Naxalites want to get a share of the the Rs. 6.3 million fund allocated for construction and development of the school by the government. The principal and members of the village education committee have been threatened not to spend funds.


“A letter ordering closure of the school has been written to the Head, President and Headmaster of the school. Besides they have been directed to send Rs.50,000 (to Naxalites), ”said the headmistress of the Government secondary school, Sinjo in Latehar.


The Naxalites, who seek to garner sympathy for their ‘struggle’ against the administration from the general public, in fact want to exploit funds meant for people’s welfare. .


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They have destroyed around six schools in rural areas of the State in the last six months, which have to respond to their demands.


People are now aware that Naxalite Commanders, who harass them, providing best education to their own children . The children of many Naxalites are presently studying in prestigious colleges of the country.


“These people collect money. The raise funds from government representatives, contractors, and other people and use it for purchasing arms and ammunition,” said Prakash Singh, former Inspector General of Police.


Naxalites objectives have been exposed . People have realised how Naxalites and criminals are only two sides of the same coin.

Vote 0 Maoists killed CPM leader in West Midnapore

Ani July 22nd, 2009
Maidnapore, July 22 (ANI): Maoist activists shot dead a CPM leader in West Bengal’s West Midnapore on Wednesday morning for violating a shut down call given by them.


According to police, Phagu Baskey, Secretary of CPM’s Belphari unit in the district for working on the day of shutdown. The banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) has called for a shutdown in various part of the county today.

Baskey was the sixth victim of Maoist violence in the district in the last one month.

In June Maoists had killed two CPM supporters Baren Mahato and Gurucharan Mahato of Sisri village, in Lalgarh.

Meanwhile, activists of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) blocked roads by felling trees at Bamal, Kadasole, Kantapahari and other places in the district. (ANI)

Six naxals killed; bandh evokes mixed response

Ranchi/Simdega, Jul 22 (PTI) Police today claimed that six naxalites were killed in an encounter with security forces that led to razing of three Maoist camps in Simdega district even as the state-wide bandh called by the proscribed outfit evoked mixed response.

The encounter began this morning as the Jharkhand Jaguar Force raided three Maoist camps near Khareganja village, about 90 km from Ranchi.

The personnel saw six naxalites falling to their bullets, and the cadres dragging them away, Simdega Superintendent of Police, Abhishek, told reporters.

He said a naxalite was arrested after the encounter, but no body was found from the site.

Police recovered eight guns, a pistol, nine detonators, including one electric detonator, eight mobile handsets, seven rucksacks, a gas cylinder and several cartridges from the camps.

Meanwhile, the bandh called by the CPI (Maoist) against price rise evoked mixed response in rural Jharkhand, according to reports.

Terror threat to India has not diminished: Chidambaram

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Delhi: Cautioning against any complacency on dealing with terrorism, home minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said government will remain alert against the menace with the epicentre of terrorism lying on India's border.

"Let there be no illusion. The terror threat to the country has not diminished. During the last six months, a significant number of potential terrorists including Madani have been arrested.

"Our objectives are three-fold. Raise the level of preparedness meet any terror threat directed against India, respond swiftly and decisively to any terror threat or any terror attack and we have to remain on guard against terror and cannot lower our guard," he said replying to the discussion in the Lok Sabha on demands for grants of his ministry for 2009-10.

He said terror was a global phenomenon but that did not give any solace to India because "one of the epicentres of terror is the country on our border".

He rejected a member's contention that people of the country were living under fear and said he had great confidence in people of the country which had shown tremendous resilience and face such challenges in history.

In his 45-minute speech, he touched on various internal security issues and threats like Left-wing extremism, insurgency in the Northeast and situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Offering an olive branch to insurgents in Northeast, Chidambaram said the government was prepared to hold talks with any group that was prepared to abjure violence and surrender arms.

"As long as they indulge in murder, threat, extortion, there's no question of talking to them. How can an insurgent group offer ceasefire to a sovereign nation," he said ridiculing reports that government would accept ceasefire offer by DHD-J alias "Black Widow" militant group in Assam.

Chidambaram said home secretary G K Pillai would visit Assam on July 30 and the Centre has advised the state government to do everything between now and then to encourage the DHD(J) group to come to the negotiating table.

Dealing with the Naxal violence, the home minister said over the years it has been underestimated with the result that MCC and PWG had merged in 2004 as CPI(Maoists), strengthened themselves, acquired arms and expanded their area of operations.

They became so powerful that they took the decision to merge and declared that they would continue a class struggle through guerrilla war, he said.

Chidambaram took digs at the Left Front government in West Bengal for not taking suitable action against the Maoists on the belief that the two were involved in the same class struggle.

"The CPM did not take suitable action against the Maoists. You paid the price in Lalgarh," he said.
Chidambaram said after a police station was captured by Maoists in West Bengal with 100 policemen locked inside, the state government could not open it.

"The state government was not willing to commit its forces. I put my foot down and told the chief minister that your forces should have to fight from the front and the paramilitary forces will assist them. The chief minister understood that I meant business and then gave the state government forces," he said.

The home minister said the government has two-pronged approach to deal with the Left-wing extremism -- clear and hold the territory held by Naxals and then carry out development. "We will face the challenge squarely," he said.

On Jammu and Kashmir, he made it clear that Army would continue to be deployed in all parts of Jammu and Kashmir where there is a terrorist threat.

He said he had never made any statement that the Army would be withdrawn.

On paramilitary forces, the minister said the government would try to follow the Punjab-model by encouraging the Jammu and Kashmir Police to take the lead role in fight against the terrorists and the paramilitary forces would assist them.

However, he conceded that it would not happen overnight and would take a long time.
On the issue of withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, he said the government had taken note of the demand and will revisit the issue at an appropriate time. "We will review," he said.

Source: PTI

Chitrakonda on the boil

MALKANGIRI, 22 JULY: Thousands of tribals continued to lay siege at the tehsil office at Chitrakonda and paralyse normal life in the area for the seventh day today as attempts for a negotiated settlement by district officials failed.
The tribals, including women and children have been occupying the market place and streets at Chitrakonda demanding immediate fulfillment of their demands which include basic amenities like PDS supply, electricity etc. They threatened to disrupt power supply from Balimela reservoir, if the government continues to ignore their demands.
The tribals belong to K Guma block which is a cut-off area de-linked due to the reservoir. There is no land route to the villages under this block and they used boats to come to Chitrakonda.
The agitating villagers have been saying ~ we provide electricity to the rest and we suffer in darkness, no official ever comes to our villages and essential commodities are not available, they decried.
They have refused to accept assurances given by the district administration and now want the state authorities to talk to them directly. It may be noted here that the Opposition members had raised this issue in the Assembly a couple of days ago and cautioned the government.
The area is a naxal infested zone and they may take advantage of the situation. Strangely, chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik who provided a detailed counter to the Opposition charge of handling of Naxal problem in the state, did not touch upon the Chitrakonda agitation point.;sns

Maoist traning camp busted

K A Gupta, TNN 23 July 2009, 06:02am IST


GUMLA: Police busted a Maoist training camp at Kharegenja forest around 45 km from Simdega town on Wednesday. At least four rebels were killed,
while several other sustained bullet injuries in an encounter that ensued when the rebels spotted the police and opened fire, police claimed. A huge cache of arms and ammunition were found in the camp.

Simdega SP Abhishek told TOI that security forces busted a Maoist training camp which was operational for the last four to five days at Khargenja forest in Kilebira.

"At least four Maoist cadres were killed and several others were injured," he said.

Police recovered five regular rifles, two double barrel and one single barrel guns, a police pistol, detonators, six pithus, six bindoliyas, Naxal literature, a cooking gas oven, utensils and other articles from the camp," he said.

The SP said as the security forces went near the camp in the dense forest, Maoists fired at them and the resultant encounter forced the Maoists to retreat after suffering casualties. After the Maoists fled, police carried out a search and recovered the arms and others items, the SP said.

"Some 40-50 Maoists were present at the camp which was attended by "sub-zonal commander" Pawan Ji, "area commanders" Ajay Gaunjhu and Bablu besides others," Abhishek added.

Who are these fake Naxals !

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Report by Deba Prasad Dash; Malkangiri: Repeated threatening calls to the Balimela based Orissa Hydro-Power Corporation Ltd authorities from a specific Airtel mobile number to allot it’s residential quarters in favour of four forcibly occupied persons has once again exposed the fake Naxal’s plan here. Posing themselves as the Maoists, certain miscreants used to threaten one of the Managers of the Balimela based OHPC Ltd as well as the Deputy General Manager till the incident came to the notice of the Collector Nitin Bhanudas Jawale recently.

Earlier the OHPC Ltd authorities were threatened by the miscreants to withdraw the eviction orders issued by the Malkangiri Sub-Collector on the 72 persons for unauthorized occupation of the OHPC quarters at Balimela, but on Friday last ,the OHPC authorities were asked afresh by the miscreants to allot the quarters in support of only four specific persons and this led to believe that miscreants, not the Maoists are behind the threat call. The next day the local OHPC authority had written to the collector to withdraw the eviction orders issued on 13 forcible occupied persons for allotment of the quarters in their favour.But,Jawale refused to withdraw the legal eviction orders as the public premises act does not permits to do so and this made the OHPC authority to cancel the allotment orders that it had issued in support of the 13 persons including 12 government employees on Saturday last after the threat calls.

Speaking to this website,Collector Jawale said that it is the handiwork of certain miscreants who used to make threat calls in the name of the Maoists just to stall the proposed functioning of the second Navodaya Vidyalaya at Balimela. The tracking is over and the fake Maoist would be nabbed soon,he said. The administration has a kept a constant vigil on the fake Maoist menace in the district,the Collector informed. Mean while, sources close to the Maoist organization denied their role behind such mischievous threat calls made in the name of the Maoists and wanted action against the mischief mongers. The proposed second JNV would start functioning at Balimela soon and the poor tribal students from the interior and inaccessible pockets of the district would be benefited , Jawale said to Orissa Diary.

Some vested interest groups were reportedly wanted to stall the functioning of the proposed second Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya at Balimela since the day when the district administration asked the Balimela based OHPC Ltd authority to handover at least 20 quarters to run the school there temporarily till it’s own building is constructed.Accordingly,the project authority had submitted a list 72 unauthorized occupants to the administration to issue the eviction orders and the orders were served on to vacate the quarters. With the 15 days time limit to evict the quarters was about to end,one of the Managers and the DGM of the project started receiving the threat calls in the name of Maoists

Comment: Fight Smarter

23 July 2009, 12:00am IST

As a genuine security threat, the CPI (Maoist)'s warning to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and home minister P
Chidambaram, is irrelevant. In a perverse way, however, it is an indicator that the Centre is heading in the right direction with its anti-Naxal surge. With the strengthening of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the establishment of task forces and the roping in of the army, Chidambaram seems to be demonstrating however overdue it may be that New Delhi means business. However, the fundamental gap between the government's stated intention and its capabilities that has existed thus far cannot be bridged simply by throwing more people at the problem, although this would help. The administration at both the central and state levels must fight smarter, not merely harder.

It bears remembering that Naxal violence has, over the past few years, been hitting the state harder than the problems in Kashmir and the north-east. With close to a hundred training camps, a sophisticated command structure and substantial manpower, the CPI (Maoist) is no ragtag opponent. Given that the standard operating procedures employed by the police and CRPF have patently been ineffective, the army's involvement has now become necessary as far as imparting specialised training and serving in an advisory capacity go. But it would be inadvisable to mire it in another internal security situation. The home ministry's proposal to have army cantonments in Naxal-affected areas is problematic in this regard. A compromise must be reached between Chidambaram and defence minister A K Antony that sees the anti-Naxal surge receive the army support it needs without the creeping militarisation of the affected regions.

In the long run, however, the cornerstone of the Centre's anti-Naxal efforts must be a focus on improved governance. Without depriving the CPI (Maoist) of the groundswell of support it enjoys in various regions, an armed response will achieve little. Exploited tribal populations outside the ambit of economic growth, poor infrastructure and failed state delivery mechanisms are the common denominator wherever the Naxal movement enjoys the most widespread support. An unstructured approach to dealing with these issues with the Centre passing the buck to the states will not suffice. A coordinated response is necessary.

Singh and Chidambaram have both spoken at length about the severity of the Naxal threat. Now, they must show that they mean to effect a nuanced response. If insurgency is to be defeated, the Naxals must first be isolated. And the only way that will be achieved is if the central and state governments demonstrate their will to shape a truly democratic space in the Naxal heartlands.

Naxal problem needs a holistic approach

By Ashok Handoo

If the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has been saying it repeatedly that Naxalism is the biggest challenge to our internal security he clearly wants to underline the dangers it has been posing to India , as also the need to deal with the challenge in a most effective way.

Naxalism, which started from Naxalbari area in West Bengal in 1967, ostensibly to champion the cause of small farmers and tribals through violence, was wiped out in 1970. It soon became out of fashion in its homeland West Bengal . But the underground operations of the outfit continued.

The problem became more serious after the merger of the Peoples War Group (PWG) and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) in September, 2004 which led to the formation of the CPI (Maoist). Naxalism today holds sway in vast swathes of 10 states in the country, involving about 180 districts.

Only last week, the Home Minister said in the Parliament that Naxal challenge had been underestimated over the years as a result of which left wing extremism had increased its area of influence. The Home Minster said that they now pose a very grave challenge to the state. Just days before his statement 36 policemen, including an SP, had been ambushed by the Maoists in Chhatisgarh. It was in this backdrop Mr. Chidambaram urged the Members of Parliament to join hands in facing the challenge. “All sections of the house must recognize that if we must remain a democratic, republic ruled by law, we must collectively rise and face the challenge of left wing extremism” Shri Chidambaram said.

In its status report presented to the Parliament on March 13, 2006, the then Home Minister Mr. Shivraj Patil said that the Naxalite movement continues to persist in terms of spatial spread and intensity of violence. He pointed out that it remains an “area of serious concern”. Naxal violence has claimed about 6000 lives during the last 20 years.

The question that arises is why have the Naxals been able to extend their area of influence over the years to become a serious threat to the country's internal security?

It is encouraging to know that the government is not treating it as a mere law and order problem. The 2006 status report itself made it clear that the Government would address the problem in a holistic manner. That includes ‘political security, development and public perception management fronts' as well. Surely, the Naxal problem is deeply rooted in the social and economic disparities in remote and tribal areas. Since the fruits of development have not percolated to these areas, the Naxal outfits are able to exploit the sentiments of the local people. But the outfits themselves have been preventing and in fact destroying, developmental initiatives taken by the government. They destroy roads, railway infrastructure and administrative institutions that are needed for speeding up developmental activities. Not only this, they indulge in train hold-ups, jail breaks and attacks on politicians. That is proof enough to indicate that they do not have real interest in the development of these areas and their loyalties lie elsewhere. Perhaps, they want to usurp political power which, they think, flows through the barrel of the gun.

At the same time, a lot many measures need to be taken to make the fight against Naxalism effective. On top of this is improving governance in the affected areas by moving corrupt officials who exploit the local people. It must also be ensured that large scale projects in these areas do not lead to displacement of people, who in any case, live a life of penury.

Since law and order is a state subject, the role of State Governments in dealing with the problem can hardly be overemphasized. They too have their share of responsibility to fulfil. A good deal of coordination between the Centre and the States is, therefore, called for. This is particularly true in view of the fact that the Outfits have established inter-state networks. The state police need to be modernized to be able to tackle the Naxal attacks. The Greyhounds experiment in Andhra Pradesh is a case in sight. Actionable intelligence collection and sharing mechanisms need to be strengthened. Funds provided to the States under the Police Modernization Scheme need to be better utilized.

The states also need to go fast with raising India Reserve Battalions, particularly in Naxal affected areas, which besides addressing security concerns, provide jobs to the unemployed youth.

A specially trained police force also needs to be put in place to fight the Maoists who basically are adopting guerrilla warfare techniques. There is also a difference in their targets. While other terrorist groups attack the strong foundations of the country such as democracy, secularism and the financial institutions, Maoists make India 's weak points like poverty and economic disparity as their targets. All this needs to be factored in the strategy to deal with the Maoist problem.

Keeping in view the fact that the Naxal groups have been raising mainly land and livelihood issues, it is important that land reforms are taken up on a priority basis. States have also to focus on physical infrastructure like roads, buildings, bridges, railway lines, communications and power etc. There is no room to brook any delay on this account.

Unfortunately, the several rounds of talks held with the Naxals hitherto and the announcements of amnesties and attractive rehabilitation schemes have not worked so far. Some states like Andhra Pradesh have a good rehabilitation policy and it has achieved some success, but a lot more remains to be done.

The Government indeed is committed to address the Naxal problem in right earnest. It is focusing on improving intelligence set up at the state level, providing help to the states to modernize and train their police forces and accelerate development in the affected areas. What is needed is better coordination both on security and developmental fronts to meet the challenge
posed by the Naxals.
Source: PIB.
(The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of PIB)