Friday, November 27, 2009

Maoists kill CPI-M leader in West Bengal

Indo-Asian News Service
Kolkata, November 28, 2009
First Published: 10:39 IST(28/11/2009)
Last Updated: 10:41 IST(28/11/2009)


Suspected Maoist guerrillas gunned down a local Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader in West Bengal's trouble-torn West Midnapore district, police said on Saturday.

According to sources, the incident took place Friday night in Jhargram sub-division's Jitushol area in the district when a group of unidentified miscreants killed Karuna Mahato.

"Mahato was a CPI-M gram panchayat (village council) member in Shalboni region. The Maoist ultras called Mahato from his residence late Friday night and took him to a nearby forest."

"He was found dead this (Saturday) morning on National Highway-9 near Kalaboni forest region," a district police officer said.

Police also recovered a few Maoist posters from the spot which claimed Mahato was a police informer.

"Joint forces have reached the spot to recover the body from the highway. After a preliminary investigation, we think Mahato was shot dead from close distance," the police officer said.

Maoists call 48-hour bandh from Sunday

TNN 28 November 2009, 06:19am IST

JAMSHEDPUR: Maoists have called for a 48-hour Jharkhand bandh from Sunday in protest against alleged atrocities inflicted by the government on their Chotanagpur Zonal Committee spokesman of the outlawed outfit, Samarji, appealed to public and private entrepreneurs to suspend business operations for these days. The Maoist leader has also advised people not to travel and use public transport. The spokesman of the Red rebels also asked SAIL to either suspend all its business during the strike period or face consequences.

"Our men, including Virendra alias Ashok, were picked up by Angaad and Salaki police in West Singhbhum on October 23. Thirty-three days have passed since, but we don't know where he is. The government must come clean. If it doesn't, it should be ready for trouble," Samarji said.

The Maoist leader also chastised the media for what he called "unfair treatment to peoples' cause".

"Media reports only on our repressive activities but have never spoken about Virendra and our other colleagues, who have gone missing in the past one month," the rebel leader said.

Police on their part have made elaborate arrangements to thwart trouble on Monday and and Tuesday.

"Since the bandh has been called during the elections, we are taking extra measures to ensure safety and security of men and material," West Singhbhum SP Akhilesh Kumar Jha said.

Maoists annually extort Rs 2,000 crore in India: Chhattisgarh DGP

IANS 28 November 2009, 10:55am IST

RAIPUR: Maoists annually extort up to Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20,000 million) across India, mostly targeting iron and coal mining companies, infrastructure project contractors and 'tendu patta' businessmen, says Chhattisgarh Director General of Police (DGP) Vishwa Ranjan.

"The per year extortion earnings of Maoists is up to Rs 2,000 crore, with Jharkhand being the top contributor," Ranjan, a former additional director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), told IANS in an interview.

"This is a 'guesstimate' based on cash books and other vital papers recovered by police from Maoists in recent months."

Ranjan said a major chunk of the extortion money comes from iron ore and coal businessmen, contractors of roads and other infrastructure projects who have business activities in areas infested by Maoist rebels and tendu patta businessmen.

Tendu patta is the leaf used for making 'bidis' or leaf-rolled cigarettes, a business worth millions in Chhattisgarh's restive Bastar region.

"Around 20 percent of the amount extorted is siphoned off by grassroots Maoist cadres who pass on the remaining 80 percent to the top leadership of the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist)," claimed Ranjan, who has been police chief of Chhattisgarh since July 2007.

"The CPI-Maoist uses the extortion amount for smuggling ammunition even from some foreign countries, party meetings, boosting urban network and to care for a vast publication section, including a set of experts who manage the Maoist website, plus funding its legal cell that takes care of court cases against thousands of jailed Maoists across the country."

Ranjan also denied reports that the security forces would carry out aerial attacks on Maoist bases in the state.

"The forces would not make aerial attacks in Chhattisgarh as Maoist areas are so thickly forested that you can't spot the ground from the air," he said.

"There will be no aerial pounding on Maoist bases in Bastar, choppers will be used mainly for evacuation and taking out injured cops to hospital from the battle zone," the officer said.

Bastar, a mineral-rich region spread over 40,000 sq km, has been dogged by extreme poverty for years, contributing to a growth in Maoist activity. A string of attacks have been carried out by Maoists at police bases in recent years

JP's methods should be used to bring Maoists to mainstream: Lalu

PTI Friday, November 27, 2009 16:52 IST Email

Koderma: There should be a efforts as made by freedom fighter and social reformer leader Jayaprakash Narayan, to bring Maoists back to the mainstream, RJD chief Lalu Prasad said today. "Jayaprakash Narayan was successful in convincing the dacoits of Chambal to surrender. Similar efforts should be made to bring the naxalites back to the mainstream," Prasad told an election meeting here.

Stating that he was against aerial attacks on Maoists as innocent people could fall victim, he said "Not violence, only talks are the surest way of bringing about a solution."

Expressing disappointment over Congress not aligning with his party, but with the JVM-P of former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi, Prasad sought to know why the Congress tied-up with a person who had a 'RSS background'.

"They will realise later," he said.

Prasad also alleged that the trading community affiliated to the BJP was behind the price rise as huge stocks of essential commodities were being hoarded in godowns.

Maoists strike again; 3 killed in W Midnapore

PTI

Suspected Maoists killed two policemen by triggering a landmine blast and shot dead a busine

ssman today in separate attacks, near Lalgarh in West Midnapore district.

In the first offensive, the ultras triggered a landmine blast when some members of joint security forces were walking from Pirakata police camp to a jungle near Burisole for an operation, police said.

The Maoists also fired at the patrolling party just after the explosion, following which the forces retaliated.

“Two securitymen, Alok Mondal and Srimanta Banerjee, of the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) were fatally injured in the landmine explosion. The duo was rushed to Midnapore Medical College and Hospital where they were declared brought dead,” West Midnapore SP Manoj Kumar Verma said.

The condition of three others was serious, he said. Local police put the number of injured to eight.

In the second attack, a businessman was shot dead by suspected naxalites near Pirakata tonight, police said.

The body of Byomkesh Giri was lying at the spot, on Lalgarh-Bhadutala Road, with some wired object fitted with his body, police said. Asked if Maoists were behind the two incidents, a top police officer said “apparently it seems so.”

The attacks followed the gunning down of the member of a CPI(M)-controlled teacher’s organisation at Sirkabad in neighbouring Purulia district yesterday by suspected Maoists.

India still at risk from terror attacks

By Indrajit Basu
UPI Correspondent
Published: November 27, 2009

Kolkata, India — As India marked the anniversary of the terror attacks that devastated the financial capital of Mumbai one year ago Thursday, experts refuted the administration’s claims that the country is “ahead of the curve” in fighting terrorism. In fact, the experts say, little has changed.

Skeptics will say nothing changes in Mumbai except property and stock prices. But following the terror attacks that rocked the city for 62 hours on Nov. 26, 2008, even the staunchest of skeptics hopes that the commercial capital and the country will wake up from their slumber and challenge terrorism. The Mumbai attacks were India’s worst ever, and they shook both the country and the world.

“There is no denying that there have been some changes in the country’s preparedness to handle terrorism; things have started moving. But nobody is waking up to the fact that the house that was on fire once, needs to be made fireproof,” said Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management, a New Delhi-based think tank.

“If you look at the list of achievements that the government has enumerated, it may indeed appear that the government is acting. Yet these are small accretion initiatives that are nowhere near what is needed.”

The list indeed looks long and suggests that the government has been active. For instance, in less than three weeks following the attacks the government had started putting its intelligence system on a war footing by setting up a National Investigation Agency, along with Subsidiary Multi-Agency Centers, within the Intelligence Bureau that would also serve as a databank of terrorists and extremists, including Naxalites – the radical Indian communists that support Maoist political sentiment and ideology.

Spreading the tentacles of these intelligence agencies nationwide, Indian has also launched a high-tech system called the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System. This has the broad objective of providing a citizen-friendly interface for the nationwide sharing of information on crime and criminals and improving the efficiencyand effectiveness of the police.

“Consequently, our intelligence system is far more effective than what it was a year back,” said India’s Home Minister P. Chidambaram in an address to the media on Thursday.

“Based on our ramped-up intelligence system, already we have been able to thwart a number of 26/11-like attacks originating from both outside the borders and terror cells within the country,” he claimed.

Giving credit to the efficiency of the country’s intelligence agencies, Chidambaram said that the country’s navy, coast guard, coastal security force, and police force – primarily in the state of Maharashtra and in the capital New Delhi – had also been ramped up.

Other notable measures include setting up 20 counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism schools across the country to train police; issuing identity cards to residents of 3,331 coastal villages (since the Mumbai attacks were launched from the coast) in nine states and four Union territories; implementing countermeasures to deal with fake Indian currency that, according to the government, is a significant funding source for terror operations; and constructing an additional 509 border outposts, 383 along the Indo-Bangladesh and 125 along the Indo-Pakistan border.

Still, says Sahni, “The cumulative deficit of the system is so large that India needs to do much more and much faster.”
Most of these initiatives, say experts, address the deficiencies at the central government level, whereas state-level initiatives, which are also needed to effectively fight terrorism, are largely lacking.

Experts also moan the woeful inadequacy of the protection force in India. According to the Institute for Conflict Management, the ratio of active duty uniformed troops to population in a comparable country like China is 1 for every 591 residents; 1 for every 295 residents in the United Kingdom; 1 for every 279 residents in Pakistan; and 1 for 187 residents in the United States. India's troops work out to about 1 for every 866 residents.

“The problem is that the political leadership in most states, and significant segments of the leadership at the center, is not serious about policing,” said Sahni. “Given the high levels of corruption and criminalization in political parties and in the political executive, as well as the entrenched politician-criminal and, in many cases, politician-terrorist nexus, there is an enduring political interest in keeping the enforcement mechanism weak, dependent and dysfunctional.”

Harsh words indeed, yet as Chidambaram says, despite a mixed collective record, what cannot be ignored is that India’s best achievement so far has been in the reiteration of its determination to fight terror and in the sharing of intelligence.

According to Chidambaram, while parts of India have learned many lessons, and many may have learned some lessons, sooner or later all of India will learn all the lessons that have to be learned.

Experts say the sooner India learns its lessons the better it will be for its 1.15 billion, and growing, residents.

Maoists kill 2 cops, businessman in W Midnapore

PTI First Published : 28 Nov 2009 09:27:55 AM ISTLast Updated :

KOLKATA / MIDNAPORE: Suspected Maoists killed two policemen by triggering a landmine blast and shot dead a businessman today in separate attacks, near Lalgarh in West Midnapore district.

In the first offensive, the ultras triggered a landmine blast when some members of joint security forces were walking from Pirakata police camp to a jungle near Burisole for an operation, police said.

The Maoists also fired at the patrolling party just after the explosion, following which the forces retaliated.

"Two securitymen, Alok Mondal and Srimanta Banerjee, of the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) were fatally injured in the landmine explosion. The duo was rushed to Midnapore Medical College and Hospital where they were declared brought dead," West Midnapore SP Manoj Kumar Verma told PTI over phone.

The condition of three others was serious, he said. Local police put the number of injured to eight.

In the second attack, a businessman was shot dead by suspected naxalites near Pirakata tonight, police said.

The body of Byomkesh Giri was lying at the spot, on Lalgarh-Bhadutala Road, with some wired object fitted with his body, police said. Asked if Maoists were behind the two incidents, a top police officer said "apparently it seems so."

The attacks followed the gunning down of the member of a CPI(M)-controlled teacher's organisation at Sirkabad in neighbouring Purulia district yesterday by suspected Maoists.

Central forces prepare for January assault on Maoists

Aman Sharma
New Delhi, November 28, 2009

A coordinated offensive by paramilitary forces and the state governments against Naxalites will be launched from January next year.

Raman Singh, the Central Reserve Police Force ( CRPF) special director- general ( DG), who has been appointed national coordinator for the anti- Naxalite offensive, confirmed that specific intelligence- based operations will start from January.

CRPF director general A. S. Gill said the offensive would start " soon after Jharkhand polls get over on December 18". Another senior CRPF official said the action could be initially concentrated to Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

"Simultaneous operations to isolate the Naxalites on a much bigger scale in the tri- junctions of Orissa, Maharashtra and Bihar are only possible from March 2010, when we will have four additional CoBRA commando battalions ( roughly 4,500 men),"
the official said. " At present, we have only two CoBRA battalions which are insufficient for a simultaneously offensive in five states." The Chhattisgarh Police have started preparing the ground for the offensive and are asking tribals to move out of the areas where action is expected soon.

Home minister P. Chidambaram, too, gave an indication of the contours of the anti- Naxalite offensive at the CRPF's 70th Raising Day Function on Friday.

"While we should be firm, decisive and unrelenting in dealing with the Naxalites, a great degree of sensitivity, patience and maturity will have to be exhibited for the tribals," he said.

26/11 - 'One India' is an Overstatement, Solidarity a Farce

November 27, 2009
Sanjukta Basu

I am sorry to say but on this anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks I can't help but being at my cynical best. Cynicism, despair, anger, frustration and helplessness have hit an all time high. All these talk of unity and solidarity seem to be such overstatement and the idea of one India is such a farce.

One India: Same India: Assam -

Sunday, 22nd Nov 09 - Twin blasts within a gap of 40 min, 8 Killed 50+ injured. How many candles did the Mumbaikars light?[link]

On 30th Oct 09 Assam silently remembered the victim of the serial blasts, 9 in total, that left 90 dead and 800 injured in 2008.[link]

April 09 - Assam again saw serial blasts, killing 8 people.[link]

I would not even dare to tread the path towards the even lesser known and ignored states of Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya but if you care, do a basic google news search on any given day with these states' name as key words and you will only see blood all around.

When was the last time anybody lit a candle for any of them. I don't have the statistics handy, but the number of people who have died in the North East of the country, and in region / language / caste / gender / sexual politics runs into 100,000s.

No body cares, they don't even know about the blood and gore going on in so many parts of the country. From media to the youth on twitter, the so called 'one India' consist of Bombay, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad and few more.

So much talk about unity and solidarity, why can't the people of Mumbai come out in large numbers on the street when another home grown terrorist tries to divide and kill people on the basis of language and region? Why don't they come out light a candle hold hands and dare Raj Thackeray, why don't they look straight into his eyes and tell, we would stand united no matter what language we speak.


But they won't do that, they would rather stay away from language politics. Because it is not their problem. It is not the rich and influential who are being beaten up by Sena goons. Only the poor, low class, labour class suffer.

Tonight these people stand in this very fashionable style of remembrance and solidarity, all the English speaking rich and influential, the actors, pop stars politicians and industrialists neatly lined in front of NDTV cameras holding hands. Did you see any body from the low class, the rickshaw puller, the coolie? No! Because who cares about their solidarity, only the rich should unite and collectively step on the poor's shoulder.

Talking about Pakistan not doing enough to curb terrorism growing in its land, when was the last time any country did anything about the terrorism growing in its land? How about India for example? What about the Naxals / Maoists? How many more terrorist attacks will it take for Indian Government to take action against them? If we can't tackle these state grown terrorists what right do we have to point a finger at Pakistan?

So people please stop talking about this myth of one India, for all I know its a disgrace towards the marginalized states and communities to brag any of these activities as symbol of unity and solidarity.

Sanjukta is a lawyer by profession and a writer and new and social media enthusiast by passion. She writes on various topic ranging from politics to films to personal heart stories with particular emphasis on women, gender, sexuality. Her personal Blog This is my Truth and political blog

This is my Mind Follow her on Twitter - http://twitter.com/sanjukta

Show sensitivity to tribals while fighting against Maoists, Chidambaram tells CRPF

Posted: Nov 27, 2009 at 1631 hrs IST

Kadarpur (Haryana) With security forces preparing to launch a multi-state coordinated offensive against Naxals, Home Minister P Chidambaram today said they need to ensure that the poor and tribals do not suffer in the fight against Maoist violence.

While you should be firm, decisive and unrelenting in dealing with those who indulge in violence, you should show a great degree of sensitivity, patience and maturity to the poor people, especially the tribals,” Chidambaram said.

He was speaking at the 70th Raising Day celebrations of the Central Reserve Police Force that would be at the forefront of the anti-Naxal operation.

Noting that the people of the country have the constitutional right to choose their leaders, he said, “As custodians of the constitution we have moral, ethical and legal responsibility to ensure that the writ of the constitution runs through the length and breadth of the country.”

“The biggest challenge before you (CRPF personnel) is how well and successful you are able to reach out the tribal and the poor people and the marginalised,” the minister said, adding the forces have to convince such people of their rights as a legitimate citizen of the country

India developing solutions to deal with low intensity conflict

Posted: Nov 27, 2009 at 1600 hrs IST


Bangalore Defence Research and Development Organisation today said unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will play a key role in dealing with low intensity conflicts abetted by both internal elements and unfriendly neighbours.

“Our (India’s) great neighbours not being really friendly be it in the west (Pakistan) or in the north-east (China),” P S Krishnan, Director of Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a lab under DRDO, said.

In addition, he also touched upon internal challenges such as insurgency, militancy and naxal activities in parts of the state, all of which are grouped together as low intensity conflicts.

He was speaking at the 23rd national convention of aerospace engineers here.

Krishnan said one of the Chief Controllers of the DRDO had been specifically asked to look at low intensity conflicts and what solutions he can give.

“Obviously UAVs are going to play a very important role,” he said.

ADE is the only lab in India which looks at the full spectrum of UAVs. The focus is also on “Nishant surveillance and reconnaissance UAV” developed by India to counter low intensity conflicts, Krishnan said.

UAVs also play a key role in disaster and flood management, he said.

Stressing the importance of UAVs, Krishnan said they provide uninterrupted surveillance on areas of interest. Spy satellites provide episodic coverage of area of interest, whereas UAVs have high battlefield persistence, he said.

Referring to the recent crash of a Technology Demonstrator-1 of the Rs 1,000 crore Rustom medium altitude long endurance UAV programme during its inaugural flight, Krishnan said it was a reasonably successful flight.

“We had a good flight. We gained a lot from this. We were able to prove on-board flight control system and dual redundant system,” he said.

“Everything worked.... in terms of hardware and software,” he said, adding, the UAV, under development at ADE, “will be in the business of flying very soon”.

The remote-controlled TD-1 crashed into a coconut grove

26/11 to Maoists: a soldier’s war

SUJAN DUTTA



New Delhi, Nov. 26: Forty-eight-year-old Raj Kishore Prasad is a fighter pilot whose tear-filled eyes reflect competing conflicts in the country, so violently has his life swung from 26/11 to a Maoist attack on his family.

A son of parents who were forcibly evicted from their land, along with tribals, by the government in Jharkhand, Group Captain Raj Kishore Prasad now wants to use his special skills to hunt down the militants. Many of the tribals who were evicted like his parents are Maoist supporters.

Raj Kishore was the director on duty at the operations centre in Vayu Sena Bhavan, Air Headquarters, in New Delhi on the night of November 26-27 exactly a year ago. The Directorate of Air Operations is also called the “war room”. Its personnel work 24 hours, monitoring and clearing air traffic.

He was the point man for the Western Air Command, Union home ministry and the National Security Guard, mobilising aircraft to fly commandos to Mumbai and alerting the Indian Air Force’s own helicopter squadrons.

Today, the fighter pilot who has flown 1,000 hours in a MiG-21 combat jet and has since converted to flying helicopters, is eager to use his training in special operations against the Maoists.

He is angry that they kidnapped his brother in June this year, from McCluskie Ganj, once a resort favoured by Anglo-Indians and celebrities from Calcutta, in Jharkhand.

Raj Kishore felt humiliated because the Maoists forced him “to go around with a begging bowl” to raise the Rs 10 lakh they had demanded as ransom. After 28 years in service in the IAF, he still does not have Rs 10 lakh in his provident fund, his friends say. (A group captain earns about Rs 1 lakh a month since the recommendations of the sixth pay commission were implemented earlier this year.)

The fighter pilot has met defence minister A.K. Antony and home secretary G.K. Pillai. He has written to home minister P. Chidambaram detailing his circumstances and making his plea that he be allowed to hunt down Maoists.

The IAF has asked the government for permission to open fire in self-defence. Antony told Parliament yesterday that the government was framing the “rules of engagement” in the offensive against the Maoists.

Military service rules bar Raj Kishore from speaking to the media but a soulmate of the officer told The Telegraph: “Raj wants his actions legitimised, he does not want to be called a murderer.”

The group captain’s story is now told and retold by his friends and serving officers in the armed forces, many of whom, like him, come from families that have reared professional soldiers for generations.

Raj Kishore’s father B.N. Prasad, now 80, retired from the army after moving up the ranks to honorary captain.

His younger brother Shyam Kishore Prasad, 44, who was taken hostage, retired from the army after 12 years in service. Raj Kishore’s son Ashwin was this year commissioned into the IAF as a flying officer and is now a MiG-21 combat pilot like his father was.

Raj Kishore’s daughter Neha, 20, has opted to go into the army. She has been selected for the Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai, which trains women for the Short Service Commission.




So moved was a retired colonel, a former batchmate of Raj Kishore’s since his days in the National Defence Academy, that he published the letter to Chidambaram in a trade journal, the Indian Defence Review.

Like Raj Kishore, the armed forces are fed up with police. “The superintendent of police in Ranchi and the other officers were useless,” one officer said. “These people cannot distinguish the barrel of an LMG (light machine gun) from its butt,” said another.

Raj Kishore, his friends said, is acutely aware how poverty and anger have fuelled the Maoists’ movement. He built his house in McCluskie Ganj after his family, along with others from nearly 20 villages, was forcibly evicted by the government because it wanted to use the land for coal mining.

At that time, the family had about eight acres and lived in a village off the Ranchi-Hazaribagh road. The total compensation amounted to Rs 6.5 lakh, which was shared by his father and brother. In most of the villages, the tribals either got nothing or paltry amounts.

Using his savings and those of his father and an elder brother, Raj Kishore built two houses in McCluskie Ganj — one for his immediate family and the other for his parents. Another elder brother is mentally challenged and has to be cared for. Shyam Kishore, Raj Kishore’s younger brother, took premature retirement to care for the family. He is now a technical hand with Central Coalfields.

On June 16 this year, Raj Kishore drove from Delhi to McCluskie Ganj with his wife and daughter. The family halted for the night in Allahabad. The next day, shortly after reaching McCluskie Ganj, he walked over to his parents’ house from his own. It was dusk.

There was a power failure and even the mobile phone network was switched off because there was no supply to the transmitter.

Raj Kishore was taken aback when he saw about 15 youths around his parents’ house. One of them, obviously the leader, who was about 30 years old, came up to him and asked who he was and what his business was. He told them and asked for Shyam Kishore.

“Bhaiyya, tu aa gaya (brother, have you come)?” a feeble voice from behind the house asked. Raj Kishore walked around and found Shyam Kishore surrounded by more youths holding what looked like country-made rifles to him.

The youths left, taking Shyam Kishore with them. The parents and the brothers were panicky. Raj Kishore informed police the next morning. Around 4pm, his phone rang. The call was from his brother’s number. It was from the kidnappers. They demanded two self-loading rifles or Rs 10 lakh in cash. His father pleaded with them, to no avail.

“I must confess that it was heartrending for me to witness the helplessness of the man who had never compromised his dignity and honour and who had fought all the wars for the country from 1948 to1971,” wrote Raj Kishore in his account to Chidambaram.

The kidnappers set a 24-hour deadline and asked his 80-year-old father to reach Tori village on a two-wheeler with the cash. Raj Kishore was bereft. He sought help from acquaintances he had made during a posting in Ranchi where he was director with the National Cadet Corps “trying to make soldiers out of hungry tribals”.

Two old builder/contractor friends provided the bulk of the amount and others pitched in with smaller sums.

Raj Kishore kept the police informed of his movements even as he followed his father to the appointed place. It was nearly 11 in the night when his father came out of the jungles with Shyam Kishore.

Raj Kishore told the home minister that even after that the police, who had given him the impression they would go after the kidnappers, did not move. Instead, police officers briefed him on the histories of the different Naxalite factions and told him that the gang that had taken his brother hostage was with the Maoists but had since fallen out.

It is only a matter of months, Raj Kishore wrote to the home minister, before “these gun-toting, trigger-happy youths roam the streets of Jharkhand with rockets and grenade launchers and the latest automatic weapons, much like the Taliban in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province”.

Air power must be used because the ground forces (the police) have been overtaken by the Maoists, he told superiors in the defence and home ministries. “I have also flown helicopters in the IAF for 10 years and qualified in special operations. I sincerely feel I would be able to evolve strategies and tactics for aerial operations to effectively neutralise such rogue elements in a respectable time frame,” he wrote to Chidambaram.

Trinamool, CPM clash in LS over Maoist violence

27 Nov 2009, 0409 hrs IST, ET Bureau


NEW DELHI: As fresh violence broke out in certain areas of West Bengal, railway minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday demanded that despatching of a
central team to the Left-ruled state for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.

The Trinamool Congress chief met finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and home minister P Chidambaram on a day her party and the CPM clashed in the Lok Sabha on the issue of Maoist violence, forcing adjournment of the House for an hour.

The two arch rivals turned the Lok Sabha into a battlefield for their political squabbles twice during the day -- first during zero hour when Trinamool Congress chief whip Sudip Bandopadhyay demanded the visit of a central team to West Bengal and later during a debate on price rise when his raving, ranting and sniggering party colleagues hurled charges at the CPM just as Basudeb Acharia rose to speak. Raising the issue of Maoist violence in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress targeted the Left Front government while the CPM, led by Mr Acharia, retaliated by accusing Mamata Banerjee’s party of being hand-in-glove with the Maoists.

The Trinamool Congress alleged “indiscriminate killing” of its party workers by CPM cadres in Hoogly district on Thursday morning. Fresh clashes have occurred in three villages under Khanakul, Arambagh and Purshura police stations in Hooghly district.

The feud continued outside the House when CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury told at a press conference that the visit of a central team will only prove the “nexus” between the Trinamool Congress and Maoists. Alleging that the railway minister’s party was patronising Maoists, he said its game plan in the state was to create anarchy, use it to get central rule imposed and hold elections, which it can “manipulate”.

“Under the garb of being Trinamool Congress activists, Maoists would enter the area, stay back and later mount attacks on our people,” Mr Yechury said. He also reiterated that minister’s in the UPA government were backing Maoists when the Prime Minister had described the Naxal problem as the gravest threat to internal security.
Later in the day when CPM’s Basudeb Acharia started speaking on price rise in the Lok Sabha, Trinamool Congress members got back by accusing the Left Front government of being responsible for the violence.

An irritated Mr Acharia first sat down in protest saying he had not interrupted Mr Bandhopadhyay’s speech on price rise. However, pleas by him and the chair fell on deaf ears as the Trinamool Congress members continued to interrupt his speech with charges against the Left Front government.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

STF nabs five arms suppliers

Alok Mishra, TNN 27 November 2009,

PATNA: In another major breakthrough, Bihar police on Thursday busted an inter-state gang of arms suppliers by arresting five of its members from Special Task Force (STF) personnel, in civvies, also seized one AK-47 rifle, its two magazine, one hand grenade and 28 live cartridges from them. IG (operations) K S Dwivedi said the STF would hand over the arrested persons to the Patna police after initial interrogation.

The arrested criminals have been identified as Ganesh Kumar and Narendra Singh of Hilsa and Pintu Kumar, Pintu Kumar Gupta and Uttam Kumar whose addresses have yet to be ascertained.

Acting on a tip-off, the IG (operations) had constituted an STF team to crack down on the gang a fortnight back. STF SP Prakash Kumar Sinha said his men went to Bakhtiarpur and contacted the gang, posing as customers interested in buying some sophisticated weapons and ammunition. While five were netted, one Dilip Singh managed to escape.

“We are probing if the gang had links with outlawed Maoists,” Sinha said and added all the arrested persons had criminals antecedents and one of them, Ganesh, was arrested earlier too for trading in small weapons.

Sources said the gang members initially asked the STF men to reach Begusarai. They then changed the venue of negotiations to Ranchi. On Thursday, the gang members asked the STF men to come to Bakhtiarpur instead.

The arrested gangsters are learned to have told interrogators that they sold an AK-47 rifle and a carbine to customers in Jharkhand recently. Ganesh was in jail for four years in connection with a murder case.

Earlier this month Patna police seized a rich haul of explosives besides sophisticated rifles and cartridges from Patna and Gaya in Bihar and Bokaro in Jharkhand. In this connection, police also arrested Subodh Singh and his wife from a house at Patna’s Ramnagari from where too one pistol, 650 rounds of cartridges, SIM cards, fake driving licenses, PAN cards and Maoist literature were seized.

On the basis of Singh’s statement, police raided a house in F-sector in Patna’s Kankerbagh area from where three sophisticated rifles, 720 live cartridges, CDs and Naxal literature were seized.

Similipal Tiger Reserve remains closed

Express News Service

First Published : 27 Nov 2009 05:03:26 AM ISTLast Updated : 27 Nov 2009 09:36:38 AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: Similipal appears to be nobody’s business. Closed after a series of bloody attacks in March, its reopening is nowhere in sight even as the monsoon closure period is long over.


It is not as if the park is not ready for normal tourist business yet - the local community has a lot at stake because of tourism - it’s the authorities are not just prepared to make a bold move on their own. Forest officials say restoration of tourism would boost confidence of the staff and help the situation get normal sooner than later but for the State Government which is at its noncommittal best. The famous national park closes for monsoon between June 16 and October 31.

But, this year, it had to shut down in March after Maoists struck targeting tourists, the existing facilities and even elephants.

While Special Operation Group (SOG), Orissa Police’s anti-Naxal outfit, did move in and kept guard, it was not possible to put them on job over a longer span. The security forces have since arrested a number of Maoist cadres, including the ones involved in the attacks. However, fear continues to stalk the field staff while procrastination has been the buzzword for the State administration. A curious spate of events in the recent past has showed how Similipal, Orissa’s first Project Tiger area, is a picture of apathy.

Soon after monsoon break was over, a meeting was convened where it was debated if there existed a Naxal threat. While forest officials were for reopening, contrasting views over security and intelligence inputs came in. It was apparently decided that three additional battalions of force will be required for a secure reopening.

While the Similipal Tiger Reserve authorities sent in an official letter to district collector and SP over reopening of the park, district authorities, in turn, marked a copy each to Home Department and Forest Department seeking their approval along with the force requirement.

This seems to have delayed the decision-making because neither the Home Department nor the Forest Department is willing to give a green signal in clear apprehension of any untoward incident in the future. Besides, allocation for three battalions is unlikely to get a go-ahead given the critical scene of Maoist menace in the State. In both events, the park remains closed.

“No one wants to bite on the bullet albeit reopening is in best interest of the park and the people dependent on it. Maoists wanted to make a statement and they have done it successfully. The life must go on,” said an analyst

Maoists shoot at political worker

TNN 27 November 2009, 05:38am IST
Ashutosh Mahato

MIDNAPORE: Suspected Maoists shot at former zilla parishad member and Jharkhand Jana Mukti Morcha leader Ashutosh Mahato near Machhkandna in Belpahari on Thursday morning. He sustained bullet injuries on his leg. His condition is stable.

Mahato was travelling to Belpahari on a bicycle when four armed men suddenly emerged from a jungle and shot at him. Some locals rushed Mahato to hospital. Sources said Mahato's condition was stable. SP Manoj Verma said: "According to primary investigation, Mahato was shot at by Maoists."

Maoists blow up police jeep in Khunti, 1 killed, 3 hurt

TNN 27 November 2009, 03:33am IST

RANCHI: On a day when the nation was united in remembering the victims of 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai, Maoists blew up a police Jeep in a forest near Jaranga village in Khunti district on Thursday morning. The head constable was killed and three policemen, including a sub-inspector, were injured. Police recovered an unexploded landmine from the site.

Incidentally, the attack came a after the first phase of polling was peacefully conducted in Jharkhand.

While head constable Harendra Pandey died on the spot, the injured were airlifted and admitted to Apollo Hospital in Ranchi.

The jeep was escorting a bus full of security personnel when the incident occurred around 9 am. The bus was on its way to Arki from Tamar ahead of the second phase of polls in the Khunti Assembly constituency scheduled for December 2. A CRPF camp is located about three km away from the blast site.

Khunti S P, A V Minz, said the Jeep was badly damaged. "The intensity of the blast was such that the vehicle was thrown several feet into the air and landed upside down in the jungle. The blast site is located about four km from the Arki police station," he added.

In another incident, Maoists blew up the Anant Madhya Vidyalaya, a government middle school, at Pratappur in Chatra district on Thursday. The rebels used a dynamite to blow up the building.

Police said the school was one of the buildings where voting was to take place in the last round of the five-phase elections scheduled for December 18.

In the last three days, Maoists blew up four school buildings which were supposed to serve as either polling booths or transit camps for security personnel, the police said. They further added the Maoists had blown up two schools in Palamu and Giridih districts on Tuesday.

Red leader may have lived in Jamshedpur

Jayanta Gupta, TNN 26 November 2009, 11:12pm IST

JAMSHEDPUR: Could Koteswar Rao, alias Kishanji, have lived in Jamshedpur for some time before he joined the PWG? Intelligence officials in Jharkhand believe that the CPI(Maoist) leader, who plans and supervises operations in West Bengal, may have been an active member of the CPI(ML) in the steel city. At that time, people knew him as Gopal Rao.

"What struck us was the name Kishanji. This could have come from the name Gopal. According to information available with us, Gopal Rao was very active in the steel city after the Naxalite movement (1967-71) failed. He would move around in kurta-pyjamas, speaking in not so fluent Bengali. In fact, he may have picked up the language from Jamshedpur itself," an official said.

Agencies have already started questioning people who Gopal Rao may have been in contact with during his stay in Jamshedpur. Such people have said how Rao and his associates would talk of armed struggles going on in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and other parts of the country.

"These people would tell people that Charu Majumdar's vision would not fail. They explained how preparations were on for a greater armed struggle that would spread across the country. At that time, the CPI(ML) had an office in Sakchi. Rao is believed to have lived in the office itself and may have even got married to a Bengali woman. Another member of the group, who took up arms later, had also got married to a Bengali. The women were also CPI(ML) members," the official added.

At that time, the CPI(ML) was very active in places like Jamshedpur and Chaibasa. During the Naxalite movement, hundreds of youths were arrested from these places for their involvement. Officials suspect that some of those who joined the movement at that time may be leading the Maoists in various parts of the country today. One of them is allegedly the brother of a leader from West Bengal. There is also suspicion that many, like Rao, return to their roots at times, if only to cool their heels.

According to sources, Rao is supposed to have moved to Andhra Pradesh where he received armed training allegedly under guidance of the LTTE. He is supposed to have remained there for some years, passing on the training to other recruits, before moving north to lead actual operations.

During his stay at Jamshedpur, Rao would handle legal affairs of the party and also get in touch with lawyers to bail out arrested members. People in Jamshedpur who authorities met to get more information on the subject seem to remember Rao quite clearly. What has come as a surprise to officials is the kind of sympathy that people of the steel city have for the Maoists. Some of them even narrated the kind of oppression that villagers in nearby areas are subjected to, thanks to government apathy.

Maoists blow up police jeep in Jharkhand, kill one policeman

2009-11-26 21:30:00


Even as the first phase of the Jharkhand State Assembly elections remained peaceful, a day later Maoists blew up a police jeep, killing one and injuring four other policemen at Jaranga village in Khunti district here on Thursday.

The incident took place around 10 a.m., about five kilometres from the Arki police station in state's Khunti district when police personnel were returning from the election duty.

"We were returning after the election duty and then the blast took place," Dharamdas Ram, an injured police officer, said.

According to Inspector-General of Police, V Deshmukh, the blast caused the police jeep to overturn. But the incident did not occur due to any landmine blast.

The blast was seen as an attempt by the Maoists to intimidate the voters ahead of the second phase of the polls due to be held on December 2 and will cover most of the Maoists affected areas in the state.

All the injured were rushed to a Ranchi hospital.

Meanwhile, the injured were admitted to the Ranchi hospital.

Polls were held for the first phase on 26 assembly seats on Wednesday for the first phase.

On Wednesday night, the Maoists targeted a school. They blew up Anant Madhya Vidyala, a middle school at Pratappur in Chatra district on Wednesday night. It is learnt that Maoists put dynamite in the classrooms.

The school was one of a cluster where voting was to take place on December 18 for the Assembly polls, the police said.

Maoists have been targeting innocent children's school for quite some time now. The latest was the fourth school, which has been blown up by the Maoists in Jharkhand in the last three days. (ANI)

Maoists abandon bullets for ballots

27 Nov 2009, 0403 hrs IST, Navtan Kumar, ET Bureau

RANCHI: Call it a change of heart or what you will, a clutch of Maoists are abandoning the gun to join the battle of ballots in Jharkhand.


Perhaps inspired by Kameshwar Baitha, a former Maoist, who not only contested the last Lok Sabha elections, but emerged victorious from the Palamau constituency in the state, at least six former extremists have decided to try their luck in the next four rounds of Assembly elections in the state.

The move has largely been welcomed by political parties, but a section of politicians feel this was not actually a change of heart, but a conspiracy to sneak into the democratic set-up. In fact, their willingness to become MLA has got support from a few political parties. Leading the bandwagon is the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), which had given ticket to Baitha, followed by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU).

Once a notorious extremist of Khunti-Arki area, Masih Charan of People Liberation Federation of India (PLFI), has decided to join the mainstream by contesting election from JMM ticket. He is lodged in Khunti jail. Paulus Surin, who is lodged in Gumla jail, has been fielded by JMM from Torpa constituency. Similarly, Yugal Paul, who is also lodged in a jail has been given ticket by JMM from Vishrampur.

Ranjan Yadav alias Ranjanji, who is lodged in Latehar jail, had contested the last Lok Sabha elections from Chatra as CPI (ML) candidate but lost. Recently, he resigned from the party and joined RJD to contest from Panki.

The fresh trend is seen as growing willingness among a section of the extremists to join the mainstream. Kameshwar Baitha's victory in the last Lok Sabha elections seems to have inspired them.

However, there is a section of politicians which feels that it was a 'planned conspiracy' of the extremists to 'sneak' into the democratic set-up to extract benefits for their organization. Senior Congress leader Radha Krishna Kishore, who is contesting elections from Chhatarpur (Palamau), said: “First, I object they being called former Maoists because there is no ‘service period’ as such. They 'were' extremists and they 'are' extremists. Secondly, there is no noble intention behind the move.

They have not surrendered their arms and so I cannot believe that there is any change of mind.” Asked to comment on Baitha's election, he said: "He got elected because of fear factor and also because of the poll arithmetic. There were a large number of voters who were disenchanted with mainstream parties like Congress and BJP and so their votes got shifted towards Baitha."

As far as JMM's open out support to the extremists in giving tickets is concerned, political observers feel, it could be the party's 'desperate attempt' to regain its hold, in the wake of setback during the Lok Sabha elections and also to end its 'political isolation' after Congress snapped ties with the party in the assembly elections.

In fact, a 'Milan Samaroh' was organized in Daltonganj recently, attended by JMM supremo Shibu Soren, to mark its merger with Jharkhand Vikas Party, a mainstream outfit of Maoist rebels.

JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattachaya justified the party's move saying: "We have always advocated that extremists should join the mainstream. By giving tickets, we are helping them to join the mainstream in real sense."

Suspected teen Maoist set free

TNN 27 November 2009, 05:31am IST
Sulekha Mahato

PURULIA: Sulekha Mahato of Ukhuldoba in Belpahari, West Midnapore, has got bail as Purulia Police failed to prove that she is an active Maoist squad member and has been engaged in Naxalite activities.

Sulekha and Bimala Sardar, both teenagers, were arrested from West Midnapore in 2006 for allegedly killing CPM leader and former sabhadhipati of Purulia, Rabindranath Kar, and his wife at Bandwan in 2005 at Bhomragarh. Jharkhand Police had taken Bimala's custody after her arrest.

Justice Ananda Tewari, judge in the district juvenile court, granted Sulekha bail on Wednesday in the presence of two members of the district Juvenile Board. Sulekha's mother took her back to their native village in Bidri, Belpahari, from a remand home on Thursday.

One teacher killed by suspected Maoists

Suspected Maoists shot at a school teacher and a member of the non-teaching staff of a school at Baghmundi in West Bengal’s Purulia district on Thursday, killing the teacher and critically injuring the other person.

The victims, Subimal Mahato and Shankar laya, were returning home from Ranga High School on a motorcycle when they were accosted by a group of unidentified miscreant who fired at them.

The district’s additional superintendent of police, C. Sudhakar, told the Hindu over telephone from Purulia that while Mr. Mahato died on the spot, Mr. Laya was admitted to the Purulia District Hospital with serious bullet injury and later shifted to Ranchi when his condition turned critical.

“The case is under investigation. Though we are probing every other possibility, involvement of the Maoists is not ruled out,” Mr. Sudhakar said.

The area is located near the Ayodhya Hill, which is believed to be a strong base of the Maoists in the region.

The bloody network of Indian Maoists

by CT Nilesh

Continuous attacks by the Nassaliti rebels in the Indian states of so-called "red corridor". The exploitation of the claims of tribals and peasants, confrontation with the Marxist Communist Party that governs West Bengal, links with the rebels in Nepal. Indian Maoists continue their standoff with New Delhi and will not let go of 13 of the 28 states where they are present.


Mumbai (AsiaNews) - On the night of November 24th a group of 55 Maoist rebels have blew up a government office in Kharakpur in Munger district of Bihar state. It was the latest in a series of attacks by insurgents along the so-called "red corridor" that runs through the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.

The Maoists have spread to 13 of the 28 Indian states and are considered the most serious threat to the country’s internal security. The historic and strategic epicentre of the red revolt that has been sending shock waves through India for decades is West Bengal. For 32 years the Communist Party Marxist (CPM) has been in government in the state bordering Bangladesh, and has become a symbol of power. The opposition has been monopolized by the Maoists who are deeply rooted in tribal villages and forests.

The legal opposition, of course, is in the hand of the National Congress of Sonia Gandhi and the Trinamul Congress of Mamata Benerjee, but the defense of the most poor and needy tribals had been hijacked by the Maoists and many times in a violent way. Since November 2007, 69 CPM workers and 10 villagers had been killed in West Midnapore district alone. In June this year the Maoist raided the police station and kept under control the town of Lalgarh. Eleven companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had been deployed against state government’s demand of 50. (See AsiaNews 06/23/2009 Maoist rebels call for truce as military advances on their positions in West Bengal).



There is no week without news of some ambush by the Maoists. On November 20 the Maoists threaten to kill Bihar ministers’ kin since the Bihar police machinery are letting loose a reign of repression against the families of the top Maoist leader Arvind Kumar. On the same day the Tata-Bilaspur passenger train was derailed after the Maoist blew up rail tracks near Goelkera railway station.



The Naxalite movement started in the sixties when Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal of the CPI (Marxist) inspired by Mao Zedong lead a violent Santhal uprising in West Bengal Naxalbari village. In 1969 the Communist Party of India (Marxist- Leninist) was born. The history of the communist movement in India went through a fragmentation that produced three communist parties.



In 1977, when the Congress Party lost control of the central government in New Delhi the Communist Party went to power in Calcutta (West Bengal) and is still in power now. For 25 years the mythical figure of Jyoti Basu held the reins of power, but his style of governance kept changing. When Deng Xiaoping in China embraced successfully the capitalist mode of development, the communist government of West Bengal follow suit, but the most poor of the poor felt betrayed and reorganized themselves in the jungle. After Jyoti Basu, came Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee who open up to many industrial houses and started expropriating agricultural land to build industrial estates alienating the farmers. “Calcutta runs after Shanghai” writes Federico Rampini.



That was the occasion when the Maoists jumped in to the fray, organized the farmers and resisted the take-over. That is what happened in Singur and Nandigram. The Tatas had to shift their Nano plant to Gujarat. This success emboldened the Maoists who multiplied their attacks.



But the presence of Maoists is not confined only to the state of West Bengal. The red belt cuts across India, starting from Nepal in the North, through West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, west Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh in the South. They put their training camps on the border regions so that they can easily escape from the police of one state crossing over the border. Recent reports in the press give the origin of the supply of their arms from Nepal, Bangladesh and China. At least 30 different groups are active across the country with a combined membership of around 50.000 activists. But their differences over their perceived revolutionary roles often result in bloody battles. Many groups are accused of land grabbing and extortion. In 2004 the Maoist Communist Centre and People’s War join hands to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist), which is now the biggest armed group ever to challenge the very existence of the Indian state. An estimated 20.000 are bearing arms, one fifth of India’s forest is under their control. And they are active in 165 districts of the 604. Now the central government is in a fix. The state governments ask assistance from the centre and request also the help of the army particularly for military aerial survey. The helicopters are vulnerable also to small arms, but the central government does not allow to return fire.



The centre has extended its full support to the Left Front government in Bengal to combat Maoist terror in the state. The move could spark fresh tension between the Congress and UPA ally Trinamul Congress whose leader, Mamata Banerjee is keen on a dialogue between the state and the Maoist Red brigade. But the Interior Minister, Chidambaram and the Bengal Chief Minister Bhattacharjee agreed that there should be “no talks with the Maoists, unless they agree to completely surrender their arms and come for a dialogue under the constitutional framework”. Bhattacharjee requested the Centre to start operations in the neighbouring Jharkhand as well, where the Naxals, on rum from Bengal, are taking shelter only to return later. But the Centre can not intervene unless it is called by the State.



But a day after Chidambaram’s tough talk Maoists kill 17 cops in Gadchiroli district, at Laheri, in the neighbouring state of Maharashtra, 18 km from the border, on 8 October. Early this year, Maharashtra state cops lost 15 men in Maekegaon and 16, including 5 women, at Hattigota, both in Gadchiroli district. According to sources, the Maoist numbered more than 300 and comprised mobile military dalams that have recently moved from Chattisgarh. Police said there were many from Nepal among attackers who were equipped with sophisticated weapons and ammunition. In two days the Maoists struck three attacks, beside Laheri, they set on fire a gram panchayat building in Irupdhori village, and killed a farmer, Suresh Halami suspected to be a police informer. These three attacks have shattered the morale of the district police.



The Maoists are very vindictive with police informers. On the 5 October, in Taliban-style execution, they beheaded a special branch inspector, Francis Indwar, and threw his body on a branch road leading to National Highway 33 that connect Patna to Jamshedpur, 20 km from Ranchi.. The officer was abducted few days before and held hostage demanding a swap for arrested Maoist ideologues Kobad Ghandy in New Delhi and Chhatradhar Mahato in Kolkata and another captured leader Chandrabhusan Yadav.



On 21 Settember, Maoists launched a massive attack on CPM party office at Enayetpur, 15 km from Midnapore, triggering a gunfight that left at least 15 people dead. Witness say that at least 10.000 tribals took part in the assault.



Going back in time the list of attacks is very long:-on July 12, twenty-three cops, including a DSP, were killed in ambush in Rajnandgaon in the state of Chhattisgarh;- on May 22, sixteen cops killed in Gadchiroli; on Feb 1, a party of policeman walk into trap laid in Dhanora, Gadchiroli district, to probe arson and 15 were killed; June 29 2008, 38 specially trained Greyhounds were killed in Malkhangiri in the state of Orissa.



There are, of course, successful police operations against the Maoists. On 16 September 8 Maoists had been gun down and a gun factory destroyed in Chinta Gufa of Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh state. But a real undeclared war is going on with success and defeat on both sides.

Also on the political scene accusations and contra-accusations are hurled at each other. The Trinamul Congress chief, Mamata Banerjee accused of being sympathetic with the Maoists returned the fire suggesting that the Maoists an the Marxists of the government were two sides of the same coin. “They are working together” she said. Mamata’s outburst came a day after chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee asked her party to “sever links with the rebels”. CPM veteran leader Jyoti Basu, too echoed his words, charging the Trinamul with joining hands with the Maoists to unleash violence in the state. “Everyday our workers are getting killed. Our party offices are burnt. The Trinamul Congress an the Maoists are doing this together. They are taking law into their own hands” said Basu.



At the beginning of November, after being in the denial for months, the Nepalese Maoists admitted that they are extending “full support and cooperation” to the Naxals in India. A senior standing committee member of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal Maoist (UCPN-M) CP Gajurel, was quoted in a daily as saying: “We have extended our full support and cooperation to the Indian Maoists, who are launching armed revolt.” The same newspaper had also earlier carried a report that a Maoist leader had met Indian leader Kishenji at an undisclosed place in October.


Faced with the Maoist menace the Left Front government in Bengal is now planning to spend Rs 1.600 crore for the development of the three Naxal-hit districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia. The chief minister of West Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, at the beginning of November paid a visit to Jangalmahal in Midnapore district. In sheer defiance of the huge police bandobast for the chief minister visit, the Maoists ambushed a patrol party 50 km from Midnapore town and just 30 minutes after the CM left, killing four soldiers. Eyewitness said the Maoists sprayed bullets from AK-47 rifles, looted arms from the vehicle, and walked away without any resistance.



On 27 October, tribal activists, backed by armed Maoists, under the name of local outfit People’s Committee against Police Atrocity (PCPA) seized the Bhubaneswar-Delhi Rajdhani Express in West Midnapore district and detained it for five hours before security forces could free the hostages. The railways continue to be a vulnerable target.



What is shocking is that in these states where the Maoist revolt is burning the local governments are only busy rewarding their own cadres and forgetting the large populations. So it is with the CPM in West Bengal and also in Chhattisgarh a recent scandal has revealed that a former tribal chief minister, Madhu Koda, in four years as chief minister, has increased his declared assets of 20.000 Euro in 2005 to an estimated 60 million Euro today, with illegal investments allover the world. Before becoming a deputy he was a daily wages earner. Corruption and police atrocity seem to be the upsetting causes.

Four Naxals surrender in Gadchiroli

PTI Thursday, November 26, 2009 18:58 IST Email


Nagpur: Four hardcore Naxals surrendered before the authorities in Gadchiroli, police said today.

They are Reinu alias Raghu Jalamshay Sadmake (35) and a member of Dandkarnya Special Zonal Committee, Prabhakar alias Badal Ghasiyaram Halami (29), Dandkarnya Military Instructor team commander, Sardu alias Sundu Kabadi (30) section commander and Bhumanna alias Sathu Lakhu Kowase (21) a dalam member, they said.

Sadmake had joined Naxal movement in 1987 and served more than 22 years in various Naxal activities, they said. His wife Bharthi had surrendered before authorities two years ago. Other surrendered Naxalites were working since four to five years, they said.

They were paraded before the Govrernment Committee led by District Collector today, police added.

Maoists blow up school in Jharkhand, kill policeman

Ranchi/Chatra, Nov 26 (PTI) A policeman was today killed and four others injured when the vehicle in which they were travelling overturned following a blast suspected to have been triggered by Maoists in Jharkhand's Khunti district.

Inspector-General of Police V Deshmukh said the police jeep overturned due to the impact of the clamour bomb blast in Jaranga village in the district.

All the injured have been admitted to a hospital in Ranchi.

The Maoists also blew up a middle school, Anant Madhya Vidyalya, at Pratappur in Chatra district last night after placing dynamite in class rooms.

The school was among the places where voting was to be conducted on December 18 for the assembly polls in the state, police said.

This was the fourth school in three days to have been blown up by the Maoists. On Tuesday, they had demolished two schools in Palamau district and one in Giridih district.

Maoists more deadly with landmines than with AK-47

Subhashish Mohanty / DNAThursday, November 26, 2009 0:20 IST Email


Bhubaneswar: It's not AK-47 and .303 rifles but land mines that are turning into a lethal weapon in the hands of Maoists, particularly those active in bordering areas of Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. "Yes, they are using it extensively, either killing policemen or blowing up trains," said I-G (operations) Sanjeeb Marik


Police officials in anti-Maoist operations point out that the Maoists prefer these mines to inflict maximum casualty. Mostly, they use the impoverished land mines "though they also have Chinese weapons."

To make these bombs, they collect gelatine sticks and dynamites from mining areas or attack vehicles carrying explosives for mining purpose. Most of the gelatine sticks are produced in Gomia, Jharkhand. They even procure explosives from the Indian Explosives and Detonator Limited factory in Sundergarh district. It's no big deal, the factory does not have a boundary wall.

Ammonia or urea manure is mixed to the gelatine to make it deadlier. The explosive is put inside a container, the upper portion of which is made air-tight. In the lower portion, they make a hole and place a detonator connected with wires. The land mine is placed near causeways. When a vehicle passes by, they trigger an explosion from a comfortable position. "50 gms of explosive is enough to kill a man, 10 kg can toss a vehicle to 25 feet," said a senior cop.

Forces are vulnerable to these mines as the Road Operating Party fails to clean the road before movement of forces.

Maoists kill policeman, blow up school in Jharkhand

PTI 26 November 2009, 12:31pm IST

RANCHI/CHATRA: The Maoists today blew up a police jeep, killing a policeman and injuring four others at Jaranga village in Jharkhand's Khunti

The Inspector-General of Police, V Deshmukh, said the jeep overturned under the impact of the blast. He ruled out landmine causing the blast.

All injured have been admitted to a hospital in Ranchi. The Maoists also blew up a middle school, Anant Madhya Vidyala, at Pratappur in Chatra district last night after placing dynamite in the rooms.

The school was one of a cluster where voting was to take place on December 18 for the Assembly polls, the police said.

This was the fourth school in three days to have been blown up by the Maoists in Jharkhand. On Tuesday they had demolished two schools in Palamau district and one in Giridih district.

Maoist rebels blow up jeep, killing policeman

Published: 11.26.09, 09:34 / Israel News



A policeman is dead and six others are injured after Maoist rebels blew up a police jeep in eastern India.


A police official says the officer was killed instantly Thursday when the rebels set off explosives as the jeep he was riding in passed through a forested area in Jharkhand state where elections are about to take place. (AP)

Five suspected Naxalites held

PTI 26 November 2009, 03:07pm IST

PATNA: Five persons, suspected to be associated with the Naxalites, were arrested today by the Special Task Force (STF) of Bihar police and sophisticated weapons seized from them from Patna district, police said.

Acting on a tip-off, police raided a place in Bakhtiarpur area and caught them, they said.

An AK 47, two magazines, five hand-grenades and several live cartridges were recovered from them.

Those arrested were suspected to be involved of supplying firearms to the banned CPI (Maoist), sources said adding that the matter is being investigated.

Wife got constable eliminated

http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_wife-got-constable-eliminated_1316596

Santosh Kumar RB / DNA Thursday, November 26, 2009 9:13 IST Email

Bangalore: The city police on Wednesday claimed to have solved the murder of a police constable, with the arrest of his widow, her alleged paramour and a friend.

TH Krishna, deputed to the Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) of the state police, was found dead in a canal near a poultry farm at Shyamabhattarapalya on Gallahalli-Hesaraghatta Road on November 19, a night after he was killed.

Police said Honnamma's lover Kalaiah alias Kalappa, his friend Shivamurthy and two others garrotted the constable at her behest. A hunt is underway for the two absconding suspects, whose identities were not revealed.

Honnamma was earlier picked up for interrogation, as investigators found her behaviour suspicious. During the questioning, she reportedly confessed to requesting one of her relatives to eliminate Krishna. She allegedly told her relative that she has been subjected to mental and physical harassment. Police identified this relative as Kalaiah, and arrested him along with Shivamurthy.

Though the police have not ruled out the harassment angle as the motive of the murder, they suspect Honnamma's illicit relationship with Kalaiah might have led to the killing.

Two mobile phones, an autorickshaw and the wire used to strangulate Krishna were recovered from the accused persons, police said.

Krishna came to Bangalore on November 18 after Kalaiah, a resident of Laggere, invited him to a party. The constable accepted the invitation since Kalaiah was supposedly one of his close friends. They met at Jalahalli Cross.

Police said Kalaiah and his friends took Krishna to an isolated place on Hesaraghatta-Gollahalli road in an autorickshaw. They made the constable consume alcohol before strangulating him to death with the wire.

The deputy superintendent of police (Nelamangala), HR Dharanendra, said the men dumped the body into the canal. The body was found the next morning.

Krishna's identity card, found in his pocket, helped the police identify the victim. Further investigation revealed that the constable, of the III Battalion of Karnataka State Reserve Police, was attached with the ANF in Karkala.

Besides Honnamma's behaviour, the investigators had also noticed Kalaiah's absence while the last rites of the slain constable were carried out.

Krishna's family was residing in Austin Town. The constable had two children with Honnamma.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Naxalites stop work on NH project

R Krishna Das / Kolkata/ Raipur November 26, 2009, 0:38 IST



Naxalite guerrillas have reportedly stopped the construction work of four-lane road between Nagpur and Durg on the National Highway (NH) No 6 near Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh.



This is for the first time rebels had targeted the road construction work on the NH. Though, they have been opposing roads in the interior areas where they have sway to restrict the movement of security personnel.

The contract for the 332-km four-lane road between Nagpur and Durg had been bagged by the Nashik-based Ashoka Buildcon Limited. The construction work was in progress between Chichola (Maharashtra) and Baghnadi (Chhattisgarh) when threats from Naxalites came.

The pocket between Chichola and Baghnadi in Rajnandgaon district where the work was in progress had been one of the worst Naxal infested areas in central India.

Highly placed sources in police department told Business Standard that Naxalites had demanded huge money from the construction company. Since the company declined to meet the demand, Naxalites called the company's base office in Rajnandgaon and warned the officials of dire consequences if they continued with the work.

When contacted at Ashoka Buildcons Rajnandgaon and Nagpur offices, the employees declined to comment on the issue. They, however, admitted that the construction work had been stopped since last two days.

A senior police official in Rajnandgaon, Prakhar Pandey, said that they were unaware of any Naxal threat to the construction company as the latter had not lodged any official complaint with the police.

The officials and employees at the base office of the company are in panic. Sources said they had been asked to remain on alert.

Maoists growing stronger, waging war of the mind: CRPF chief

(Interview)

By Sahil Makkar, IANS November 25th, 2009

NEW DELHI - The fight is between 7,000-8,000 armed Maoist rebels versus 60,000-70,000 security personnel. But the enemy is “incisive, self critical and educative”, armed with sophisticated weaponry and is constantly changing tactic in what is increasingly become a war of the mind, says the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) chief.


As the government gears up for a massive offensive against the guerrillas, top officials of the CRPF say the guerrillas are “growing stronger” and must not be underestimated.

“They are changing their tactics depending upon what we are doing,” CRPF Director General A.S. Gill told IANS in an interview.

Giving an example, he said they have increased the usage of pressure mines. “They are also using sharpened iron nails. They have dug ditches in jungles and covered it with normal grass after hiding nails inside. Though these nails do not kill any trooper, it affects swift movement of the security agencies,” Gill said.

The Maoists, he said, were also avoiding direct contact with security forces. “They just pass from nearby areas,” added Gill, who heads one of the world’s largest paramilitary forces. The CRPF has 207 battalions with a strength of over 200,000 personnel.

The security forces had also changed strategy to minimise operational casualties from improvised explosives used by the guerrillas.

“For a long time, we did not acknowledge that the Maoists were growing stronger, but there is a greater realisation now. We have changed our tactics and training. Theatre specific training has also been introduced for the first time to enhance specific capabilities in fighting the problems of militancy and insurgency,” he said.

The CRPF was also raising 10 new commando battalions and acquiring the best available weapons and equipment to fight the guerrillas.

“We will have Maoists on the run very soon. The areas under their control would be taken back,” he promised.

His colleague, CRPF Special Director General Vijay Raman, added: “We are facing an enemy which is fighting from the brain. They are very incisive, self critical and educative. The documents seized from them shows the meticulous planning behind their strikes.”

Raman is a celebrated police officer who has been appointed by the home ministry as national coordinator in the anti-Maoist campaign.

Though the government has not specified any time frame for the launch of the nationwide operation against the guerrillas, it is believed that the offensive will begun in March next year.

Asked how long would the operations last, Raman said: “No such time frame could be set. The task is very challenging and it might take some time.”

Estimating that about 7,000-8,000 armed Maoist cadres would be up in arms against 60,000-70,000 security personnel, CRPF chief Gill listed what makes the guerrillas formidable enemies.

“They are armed with light machine guns (LMG), AK-47s, AK-56s, Insas rifles, satellite phones, modern communication gadgets. It also believed that some of the top rungs have managed to acquire bulletproof jackets,” he said.

“They are in touch with anti-national elements in northeastern states and are getting weapons from them. The people in the northeast are getting weapons and money from across the border. They are also in touch with Maoists in Nepal and extorting money from miners to fund their activities,” he added.

Gill said the Maoists enjoy the advantage of having a significant presence in each village of their stronghold states. “We would be also focusing on breaking up their information network.”

The CRPF that has been dealing with internal security challenges all across the country has this year gunned down 70 terrorists, 56 Maoists and 53 extremists in northeast. During these operations it also incurred heavy loss by sacrificing its nearly 200 men.

Troops from other central paramilitary forces like Indo-Tibet Border Police, Border Security Force, Central Industrial Security Force and Sashastra Seema Bal have started grouping and upgrading their infrastructure in preparation for the offensive against the Maoists.

They were also familiarising themselves with the terrain and undergoing training. The government has left commandos of the National Security Guard (NSG) out of the operation.

(Sahil Makkar can be contacted at sahil.m @ ians.in

Maoists put up posters in southern districts of Orissa

Berhampur (Orissa) Nov 25 (PTI) Security has been tightened in three districts of south Orissa following the appearance of posters put up by Maoists, warning the police against alleged atrocities committed by them.

The police said additional armed police force was deployed in Ganjam, Gajapati and Kandhamal districts as the posters were found in public places like the panchayat office and the bazaar, besides being pasted on passenger buses.

All posters and leaflets have been seized and their genuineness is being verified, police said.

They speak about alleged atrocities committed by the police on tribals in the past in places like Kalinga Nagar in Jajpur district and Maikancha and Mandrabaju areas of Kandhamal district.

The posters were found in large numbers in Baragada, situated near dense forests, in Ganjam district.

All-out offensive against naxals in March

New Delhi, Nov 25 (PTI) An all-out offensive against the Naxals, which will see over 60,000 Central security personnel in action, will commence from March next year, official sources said today.
Central security personnel drawn from the CRPF, ITBP and BSF, have already started reaching the respective area of operation and are currently undergoing area familiarisation process.

The Central security personnel, who have also been trained in new jungle warfare techniques, will be joined by the state police personnel besides commandos of the newly raised 10-battalion strong Commando Battalion for Resolute Action.

Sources said though the operation was scheduled to start by now, it got delayed primarily due to the Maharashtra and Jharkhand elections. They said some infrastructural support is yet to come up in certain areas of operation and they are waiting for everything to be ready before going in for the push.

Naxals kill another contractor in Gadchiroli

PTI

Nagpur: A group of Naxalites have killed one more road contractor in Gadchiroli district, police said today.



Barely one week after killing a Andhra Pradesh based road contractor Nagi Reddy Chinchu Reddy, Maoists last night killed one Umesh Bhiwapure, 30, in Malewada area under Kurkheda taluka of Gadchiroli district.

Umesh's throat was slit and bullets fired at him, police added. Naxalites suspected him to be a police informer.

52 per cent polling in Jharkhand

Ranchi, Nov 25 (PTI) About 52 per cent polling was recorded in 26 constituencies in the first of the five-phase assembly elections in Jharkhand amid air surveillance and tight security today, Election Commission officials said.

Barring a few skirmishes, polling was by and large peaceful. As many as 6,532,234 voters exercised their franchise in 8,176 booths to decide the electoral fortunes of 470 candidates, including 34 women, they said.

The polling began at 7 am and ended at 3 pm. The opening and closing time for the polling has been advanced in view of Naxal threats and election boycott announced by the left wing extremists in the constituencies.

Prominent among the 470 candidates were former deputy chief minister Stephen Marandi and former assembly speaker Alamgir Alam (both Congress), Suraj Mondal and Hemlal Murmu (both JMM).

IAF need not seek permission before firing on Naxals

ANI
Posted: Nov 25, 2009 at 1727 hrs IST


New Delhi The Union Government on Wednesday clarified that there is no permission required to exercise the right to self-defence. The Indian Air Force (IAF) had asked for permission to fire on naxals to avoid any ambiguity.

Replying to a question raised by lawmakers K Malaisamy and N R Govindarajar over IAF asking for permission to open fire during anti Naxal operations, Defence Minister A K Antony said: “While permission is not required to exercise the right to self-defence, based upon past experience and intelligence input the Indian Air Force has sought approval of the Government for ‘Rules of Engagement’ for self-defence. These have been proposed to avoid any ambiguity and damage/injury to the helicopter and to the occupants.”

Earlier, the IAF had approached the Defence Ministry for permission to fire on Maoists if their copters are attacked.

The IAF has deployed copter to assist the state forces in their combat against Maoists in Central India.

Replying to another question raised by Bala Apte over the production of Light Combat Helicopter, Antony said : “The design and development programme for Light Combat Helicopter was approved in October 2006. The first prototype (technology demonstrator) is expected to get the initial operation clearance by around mid 2011.”

“There is a proposal for export of indigenously developed helicopters. HAL has exported five numbers of the indigenously developed Helicopters Dhruv to Ecuador and one to Mauritius,” he added.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Centre turns heat on CRPF

Gyan Varma / DNA Wednesday, November 25, 2009 9:28 IST Email


New Delhi: The government, which is under pressure to stop the rampage of Maoists around the country, is in turn pushing the paramilitary forces to start its anti-Maoist operations at the earliest and show results.

The home ministry had brought together seven states and three paramilitary forces to start the coordinated efforts against Maoists, especially in Chhattisgarh where the red brigade is enjoying a free run. However, the mega-operations have been delayed since September.

Senior officials in the central reserve police force (CRPF) said that the paramilitary force is being pressurised to start the operations at the earliest. The Centre had planned a mega anti-Maoist operations from September, but this got delayed because of elections in three states. With the process of elections over, at least for the time being, the anti-Maoist operations could start within a few weeks.

"For a long time, we did not acknowledge that the Maoists were growing stronger, but there is a greater sense of realisation now. We have changed our tactics and training and we will have Maoists on the run very soon. The areas under their control would be taken back soon," said AS Gill, the director general of CRPF.

The extent of the problem could be gauged from the fact that this year's anti-Maoist operations used up over 33,000 rounds of ammunition, over 300 weapons and nearly 500 kgs of explosives. To top it all, 65 CRPF personnel died fighting the rebels, sources said.

"We are in the process of completing the training of the members of our intelligence wing. We will start deploying by early January. We need to use the intelligence wing because Maoists are very well-planned," said Gill.

Voting begins for first phase of Jharkhand assembly polls

November 25th, 2009 - 12:07 pm ICT by ANI -

Ranchi, Nov 25 (ANI): Polling for the first phase of the five-phased Jharkhand assembly elections began amidst tight security on Wednesday morning.

A total of 470 candidates, including 34 women, are in the fray with 6,532,234 voters to cast votes between 7 am to 3 pm.

The opening and closing time for the polling has been advanced in view of the Naxal threats.Former legislators Hemlal Murmu, Suraj Mandal (JMM), Furkan Ansari (Congress), ex-Speaker Alamgir Alam (Congress), ex-minister Raghuvar Das (BJP), Saryu Roy (BJP) and ex-minister Pradeep Yadav (JVM-P) are among the prominent candidates whose electoral fate would be decided today.

During the first phase, 30 constituencies will vote, in the second phase 15 constituencies will go to poll, in third phase seven seats will vote, and 14 and 15 constituencies will vote in the fourth and the fifth phase.

Counting will be held on December 23.

As Jharkhand is one of the Naxal affected states, the Election Commission has decided to deploy Central Police Forces (CPF) and the State Armed Police (SAP) drawn from other states. (ANI)

Poll begins amid air surveillance in Jharkhand

Ranchi, Nov 25 (PTI) Polling began today at 7 am for the first of the five-phase assembly elections in Jharkhand under air surveillance and tight security, state election commission sources said.

With the minimum temperature hovering around 9 degree Celsius at many places, men and women wearing woollen garments were seen queueing in front of different booths in all the 26 assembly constituencies going to the polls, to exercise their franchise.

A total of 470 candidates, including 34 women, are in the fray with 6,532,234 voters to cast votes between 7 am to 3 pm. The opening and closing time for the polling has been advanced in view of the Naxal threats and poll boycott announced by the left wing extremists in the constituencies.

Choppers ready for today’s vote

OUR CORRESPONDENT


Ranchi, Nov. 24: Amid an unprecedented security blanket, Jharkhand is all set to hold Assembly elections, the first phase of which is to begin tomorrow when the fate of as many as 470 candidates will be decided in 26 seats spread across the regions of the capital, Santhal Pargana, Kolhan and the coal belt.

With Maoists having issued a poll boycott call in certain pockets, and making their presence felt in Giridh and Palamau in the last 24 hours, security is top priority.

Four helicopters have been kept on standby along with at least 10 dog squads, requisitioned from Uttar Pradesh police. This apart, every poll party has been given first aid boxes and walkie-talkies for better communication.

Among the most vulnerable areas going to polls in the first phase, as identified by the election commission and security forces, are Patamda (East Singhbhum), Khalari (Ranchi), Tundi (Dhanbad) and Jharia.

State joint chief electoral officer Ashok Kumar Sinha told The Telegraph that almost all polling stations would be manned by central paramilitary forces, adding he was confident of the arrangements that had been made to ensure free and fair polling.

“We are not going to keep the central forces in reserve. All available forces will be deployed covering each and every rural area and polling station,” said a senior police officer requesting anonymity.

But as a matter of strategy, state police headquarters would not disclose the exact number of security forces that had been deployed in the first phase of elections that would see over 65.32 lakh voters, including 30.55 lakh women, exercise their franchise.

In Ranchi district, 29 video cameras and 49 companies of security personnel would be keeping vigil in the three Assembly constituencies of Ranchi, Kanke, Hatia.

Cameramen and security personnel were sent off today from Morabadi ground with as many 5,019 poll personnel and 97 micro observers for the 1,103 booths in the three constituencies where as many as 10.7 lakh people — among them, 4.9 lakh women — would be exercising their franchise.

Deputy commissioner and district election officer Kamal Kishore Soan said 64 people had been arrested as a preventive measure from vulnerable hamlets of Ranchi and Kanke constituencies.

There are as many as 61 candidates in the fray in the three constituencies — 18 in Ranchi, 23 in Hatia and 20 in Kanke.

In the first phase, Godda and Tundi would witness the maximum number of candidates, 25 each. Jugsalai has the least with 11 candidates.

Sinha said 8,176 control units and 13,850 ballot units of EVMs would be used. The seats where the number of candidates were more than 16 would require two ballot units to accommodate all the names.

In terms of area, Mahagama is the largest constituency while Hatia has the maximum number of voters in first phase at 3,88,611. Littipara in Santhal Pargana has the least number of voters at 1,53,566.

Of the 26 seats going to polls tomorrow, four seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates and three for Scheduled Caste (SC) nominees.

Blasts, arms haul

OUR BUREAU


Hazaribagh/Giridih, Nov. 24: Maoists sounded a pre-poll warning of sorts when they blew up four school buildings in Giridih and Palamau while four of their sympathisers were arrested on the border of Chatra and Hazaribagh for carrying arms and ammunition in the last 24 hours, signalling what is likely to be a tense month of voting in Jharkhand.

Hazaribagh Sadar DSP Naushad Alam said the rebels, arrested from Garukhurha village, near Itkhori, had four rifles and live cartridges on them. The consignment was meant for sub-zonal commanders of the little-known Jharkhand Sanyukta Morcha, a breakaway faction of the CPI(Maoist). The group was travelling in an SUV that had a tampered numberplate.

DSP (rural) Sangeeta Kumari said Morcha supremo Rampati Ganjhu had been arrested in Ranchi two years ago and sent to Chatra jail. Reorganising a team even from behind bars, Ganjhu ordered his men to supply arms to sub-zonal commanders Nageshwar Ganjhu alias Nagji and Chamra Munda alias Sudhirji.

Three of the arrested rebels — identified as Ram Nandan Prasad, Sanjay Kumar and Awadh Kumar, all residents of Gaya — confessed that they had supplied bullets to Nagji and Sudhirji in the past, too.

The DSP (rural) said the SUV belonged to the fourth, Santosh Kumar, who pleaded innocent. Today’s arrests were preceded by a series of Maoist strikes on schools in Giridih and Palamau.

To prevent security forces from using it as a shelter during anti-insurgency operations, a rebel squad triggered a blast at Manjiladih Primary School in Giridih last night, damaging a major portion of the building, superintendent of police Ravi Kant Dhan said.

A second group targeted two middle schools and a high school at Dekcha and Koksa villages in Palamau around the same time. They also pasted posters, calling for a poll boycott. Superintendent of police Jatin Narwal said Jharkhand’s borders with Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh had been sealed in the wake of the elections.

While polls in Giridih are scheduled in two phases — on December 2 and 8 — Palamau will vote in the final phase on December 18.

In another incident, about a dozen armed rebels set fire to the campaign vehicle of an Ajsu candidate at Baltharwa village in Giridih this morning.

Bihar bandh evokes mixed response

TNN 25 November 2009,

PATNA: The CPI(ML)-sponsored Bihar bandh supported by four Left parties, including CPI and LJP, evoked mixed response on Tuesday. In the state capital, most of the schools remained opened. All the universities and colleges in the state too functioned as usual. There was little impact of bandh on the private vehicles, autos and rickshaws in Patna where all major business establishments remained open.

In Patna, however, the state administration’s bid to stop ML workers from taking out a march from their party headquarters here to make their presence felt in the state capital did not work as the party leaders resorted to guerrilla tactics to reach Dak Bungalow crossing, the favourite spot of the agitators in the town to reach to the people and lensmen.

Many batches could not make it and were detained midway near income-tax roundabout whereas a few batches led by former state secretary Ramjatan Sharma and Kamlesh Sharma succeeded in reaching Dak Bungalow crossing where some of the party workers had a minor scuffle with the police.

Patna district administration has virtually cordoned off the ML state party headquarters since morning. State Auxiliary Police as well as regular police jawans along with numerous regular police and private vehicles were stationed at different points on the Beerchand Patel Path right from income tax roundabout to the ML office.

The ML state headquarters’ claimed that around 10,000 ML workers were detained by the police during the bandh. It claimed that the bandh also affected movement of several trains.

Muzaffarpur: The bandh turned violent when a group of about 200 ML workers clashed with shopkeepers on Station Road here over forcible closure of shops leaving at least 20 people injured, half a dozen of them seriously.

Jehanabad/Arwal: Normal life was partially affected in Jehanabad during the bandh which by and large passed off peacefully amidst tight security though bandh in Arwal was near total where transport was off the road and commercial establishments remained closed.

Khagaria: Shopkeepers in some areas in the town downed their shutters when the organizers took out a procession through the areas. Madhubani: Hundreds of ML workers demonstrated in front of the collectorate here on Tuesday and disrupted traffic on the main road in the town. About 200 ML activists were arrested by the police and all of them were released after sometime.

Aurangabad: Bandh evoked good response in the district especially in rural areas where Maoists have a considerable influence. All shops and markets remained closed and buses did not ply in Dev, Madanpur Amba, Navinagar and Rafiganj blocks.

Bandh evoked mixed response in Kishanganj and East Champaran districts.

Siwan/Gopalganj: In Siwan and Gopalganj, hundreds of ML supporters took out a march and staged dharnas. A group of ML supporters blocked the Patna-Siwan main road. Party workers also stopped 475 Up passenger train there. As many as 250 ML supporters were arrested from different places in Siwan town.

Move to track UNLF rebels

- Search & destroy drive in somtal
OUR CORRESPONDENT

Police commandos during a search operation in Imphal East on Monday. Picture by Eastern Projections
Imphal, Nov. 24: Security forces today launched a major operation at Old Somtal in Manipur’s Chandel district to track down the United National Liberation Front militants who killed five Assam Rifles personnel, including two officers, yesterday.

The operation, launched on the UNLF’s 45th raising day, is aimed at locating rebel camps in the area and destroying them.

“We have launched a major search-and-destroy operation in the area. So far, the search parties have not made any contact with the militants, nor has there been any encounter as they are fleeing from our troops,” a senior official of the Assam Rifles told this correspondent.

He said the operation had been launched jointly by the army and the 26 Sector Assam Rifles based at Pallel in Thoubal district.

He hoped the troops would yield results by tomorrow, thereby indicating that the forces had surrounded the area and were preparing for a major offensive.

The Manipur Peoples Army, the military wing of the UNLF, had ambushed a convoy of 43 Assam Rifles that was coming from its base at Old Somtal along the Indo-Myanmar border to collect water around 9am. Five soldiers, including a major and a captain, were killed in the attack. The outfit also took away five weapons.

The UNLF claimed to have ambushed the reinforcement troops as well, killing four more personnel. The Assam Rifles, however, denied the claim.

Sources said the UNLF had a strong presence in Somtal despite the army and the Assam Rifles having moved into the area in December 2007 to clear it of the rebels who had declared it a “liberated zone”.

Yesterday’s attack is being seen as an attempt by the group to demonstrate that it is a still a force to reckon with.

The UNLF is also trying to establish “mutual help” with the Maoists who are emerging as an anti-government force across the country.

In a statement issued by its central committee on its raising day today, the UNLF said the emergence of the Maoists, who recognised the sovereignty of Manipur, was a favourable factor for Manipur’s struggle for liberation and that of the region as a whole.

“Therefore, the difference in specific conditions and objectives notwithstanding, the UNLF believes that there is a common interest in the fight against the Indian state by the CPI (Maoist) and the liberation struggles of Manipur and the region. Guided by this perspective, the UNLF shall actively pursue a policy of mutual help and support with the Indian revolution through the CPI (Maoist),” the statement said.

The UNLF, which has been demanding a plebiscite under the supervision of the United Nations to resolve the conflict in Manipur, stated that it would continue to mount pressure on India until it accepted the proposal.

Forces must vacate schools: HC

TNN 25 November 2009, 04:40am IST

KOLKATA: Imparting education to students can't wait. Security forces camping in schools and a college in four blocks of Maoist-hit West Midnapore have been asked to move out. Calcutta high court wants them to vacate the institutions within five weeks, by December 30. The government has also been asked to resume mid-day meal in schools, which was suspended after the jawans took over.

The order comes as a reprieve to thousands of students in these areas who had taken out a protest rally with their teachers during chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s visit to West Midnapore earlier this month.

State advocate-general Balai Ray argued that such an arrangement had to be made to tackle an extraordinary situation in which lives are at stake. But a division bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice Prosenjit Mondal said the right to life should not come in the way of the right to education.

The acting Chief Justice refused to believe the situation in Lalgarh is worse than that during the Kargil war. Ray pleaded that the situation in Lalgarh is different from Kargil because the army had fought in the latter while security forces have been engaged in Lalgarh to protect villagers. “Which is more important — protecting lives or giving them education?” Ray asked.

However, the bench held that education can’t suffer because security forces had been sent to protect lives. It refused to listen to the state’s plea that it would be difficult for the government to vacate the educational institutions within such a short period.

The bench told Ray the government has enough time since the security forces trooped in sometime in June and initially gave only a week’s time to vacate the schools and college. Sensing the mood, Ray prayed for elbow room to give the marching orders, arguing that classes will remain suspended for some time during winter.

The bench also directed the state government to foot the electricity bills during this period so that the school authorities are freed of the burden.