Friday, December 25, 2009

You all are part of us, Maoists tell cops

Jaideep Hardikar / DNAFriday, December 25, 2009 2:05 IST

Mumbai: Even before the tactical battle sets off, the Maoists have launched an emotional war.


In a two-page pamphlet recovered by authorities from villages in Gadchiroli and south Bastar, the Maoists have asked the troops not to wage a war against their own brethren, who are living in perpetual poverty and years of oppression. But the police authorities say the appeal through the pamphlets does not come as a surprise. "It's a routine strategy the Maoists employ to deter and divide the forces," they say.

Issued by the Dandakaranya Special Zone Committee, the appeal to the troops and lower rung officers of the police and paramilitary agencies says: "You are our own though you are in the uniform for your bread and butter. But, brothers, what's the meaning to such a life? Don't forget that those who have armed you are traitors of this country, they are the enemies of this land."
The Maoists have said in the appeal that they had been sent to the area to wage a decisive war, encouraged and trained in warfare by their seniors. "But you might have seen and learnt by now that you've to fight this war against the poor tribal people who are living in villages without basic amenities."

The appeal reads further that it was just a coincidence that in the centenary year of the
'Mahan Bhumkal Andolan' (Bhumkal means uprising in tribal parlance), they've to revolt once again -- this time against the oppression from the government.

Cops organise feast in Chandauli village

TNN 24 December 2009, 10:28pm IST

VARANASI: As a confidence building exercise in remote Maoist-affected areas of Chandauli district, police organised a camp in Parasia village under
Superintendent of police (Chandauli) Laxmi Narain took part in the camp to hear the problems of local natives. Police not only organised feast for the rural masses but also distributed notebooks among children. As many as 20 poor persons were given blankets, dhoti and sarees, the SP told TOI over phone. The main problem of the area was stated to be shortage of drinking water, informed the SP, adding that the Jal Nigam would be asked to do the needful.

Maoists block highway in Chhattisgarh

From ANI

Dantewara (Chhattisgarh), Dec 25: Maoists blocked a National Highway in Dantewara region of Chhattisgarh on Thursday to protest the Operation 'Green Hunt'anti- launched by security forces.

The rebels felled down trees and dug up the roads at several places on the NH-221.

The road blockade crippled traffic, leaving several trucks and buses stranded.

The Maoists also pasted several bills warning the police.

The Maoist violence-estimated to cause 600 to 700 deaths annually and the displacement 100,000 civilians-has spread to 182 of India"s 602 districts and has been declared as the country"s single biggest internal security challenge.

The Maoists have stepped up violence across eastern and central India.

The main objective of the Maoists is to prevent the development of infrastructure in remote areas, which so far has remained their exclusive domain.

The Maoists claim they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers, but they are fast losing credibility as they continue attacking schools, hospitals and infrastructure projects.


Copyright Asian News International/DailyIndia.com

Home Ministry unperturbed as Maoists make merry

The Maoists are carrying on their depredations as the Union Home Ministry tries to defer coordinated counter actions on one pretext or the other. After bungling the Telengana issue the home Ministry now talks of dividing the Ministry

CJ: Rupam Banerjee Fri, Dec 25, 2009 17:21:54 IST


MAOISTS CONTINUE their depredations in several opposition ruled states, including West Bengal, killing civilians and policemen and the Union Home Ministry is now engrossed with creation of a new portfolio dividing the ministry after dangerously mishandling the Andhra Pradesh statehood issue.'

With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh repeatedly asserting that the Maoists are the single largest threat to the country's internal security Home Minister P Chidambaram talked of several tough actions against the red terrorists. But he proved to be an empty vessel with all his proposed actions remaining confined to his statements only. This attitude of Mr. Chidambaram gave serious credence to the allegations that his ministry was reluctant to take action because the Maoists remained active mostly in opposition ruled states.

Emboldened by the inaction, the Maoists are calling the shots and even rejected the offer for talks without surrendering the arms. They did not even hesitate to call Mr. Chidambaram a “liar”.

The Union Home Minister announced joint operations against the Maoists under the supervision of senior military officers. But nothing happened. He continued to defer the joint actions. Then he invited the Maoists for talks and said they must surrender arms. He renewed his invitation saying that Maoists would have to abjure violence and require to surrender their arms.

Critics, however, say he is reluctant to take action against the Maoists as they are active mostly in opposition ruled states. He preferred to pass the buck to the respective state governments under the pretext that law and order is a state subject.

“Despite knowing this fact, he announced joint operations by the security forces in Chhatishgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal. But nothing happened and the Maoists continued with their depredations, killing civilians and security personnel and blowing up school buildings, government property, including railway stations and tracks and telephone towers,” they pointed out.

Referring to the Maoist depredations in West Bengal, critics said the Union Home Minister was probably waiting for the outcome of the Assembly election in Jharkhand. “If the Congress forms the government with the help of Shibu Soren's Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, it may strike an accord with the Maoists like it had done in Andhra Pradesh after it came to power dethroning the Chandrababu Naidu Government there and allow the Maoists to further strengthen their bases in the adjoining states,” they observed.

In Andhra Pradesh, they said, the Maoists helped the Congress to oust the Naidu Government. “ But in West Bengal the Maoists are actively helping the Trinamool Congress, a partner of the Congress in the UPA, and the Union Home Ministry may not go at all for a joint operation till the Assembly election in the state in 2011 is over,” they said.

The ruling Left Front has been demanding joint operations by the security forces of Jharkhnad, Orissa and West Bengal for a long time. “Once the Union Home Minister had promised to ensure joint operations but nothing happened. Probably he has realized that Maoists are actually annihilating the CPI(M)'s local level leaders and activists and helping his party's partner Trinamool Congress so that the Cong-Trinamool alliance can come to power in the 2011 Assembly election,” a spokesperson of the Front said.

“The Trina-Maos are bent on creating anarchy in the state for narrow political gains but the efforts will definitely retard the growth of the state by several decades,” he alleged.

Nearly 300 party activists have been killed by the 'Trina-Maos' since the last parliamentary election in the state, he claimed.

Separate ministry for internal security. Do you think it is a workable idea?

P Chidambaram has proposed a separate ministry for internal security. Do you think it is a workable idea?

Thursday, December 24, 2009 18:31 IST

For a more focussed approach to counter the mounting challenges to internal security, Union home minister P Chidambaram has called for the bifurcation of his ministry on the basis of security and non-security subjects.



Mumbai under attackA task force set up by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) had recommended a separate ministry of internal security with an independent minister to deal exclusively with counter-terrorism operations and left-wing extremism.

As of now, the home ministry, Chidambaram said, handles diverse subjects ranging from "freedom fighters to forensic science", which results in shifting focus away from security issues.

According to him, the bifurcation will ensure that the home minister devotes the whole of his/her time and energy to matters relating to security.

Can better internal security be guaranteed by a dedicated, independent minister under the home ministry?

More Indian paramilitary troops to join anti-Maoist operations

December 25th, 2009 - 1:16 pm ICT by ANI -

New Delhi, Dec 25 (ANI): Home Minister P. Chidambaram has said that India would renew anti-Maoist operations with the deployment of additional paramilitary troops.

Chidambaram revealed this at a meeting with the State Chief Ministers and top police officials of affected states here on Thursday.

Chidambaram committed more paramilitary battalions to fight Maoist rebels after the forces were relieved of prolonged deployment and patrolling in the worst-hit eastern Jharkhand during the nearly month-long state polls held between November 25 and December 18.

“I talked to the Home Minister on a one-to-one basis on Chhattisgarh and issues related to it. The anti-Maoist operations are being carried out successfully and the issue of deployment of additional security personnel in Chhattisgarh and other Maoist infested states was also broached during the meeting. He said, once the elections in some states were over, the forces can be pulled out from there,” said Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh.

The Maoist violence — estimated to cause 600 to 700 deaths annually and the displacement 100,000 civilians — has spread to 182 of India’s 602 districts and has been declared as the country’s single biggest internal security challenge.

The Maoists have stepped up violence across eastern and central India.

They have attacked schools and police stations, and used landmines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) to disrupt infrastructure development projects.

The main objective of the Maoists is to prevent the development of infrastructure in remote areas, which so far has remained their exclusive domain.

Thousands have been killed by Maoists in the recent past. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the Maoist threat one of the gravest homegrown threats to India’s internal security.

The Maoists claim they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers, but they are fast losing credibility as they continue attacking schools, hospitals and infrastructure projects. (ANI)

Orissa seeks central forces to tackle escaping Maoists

25 Dec 2009, 0446 hrs IST, Bharti Jain, ET Bureau



NEW DELHI: Apprehnending a spillover of Maoists in view of launch of joint counter-Naxal operations in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra last week,
Orissa on Thursday sought additional forces from the Centre to plug the possible escape routes leading to its border areas.

A similar demand for additional forces was also raised by Maharashtra at a meeting of chief secretaries and DGPs of five Naxal-hit states — Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa — chaired by Union home minister P Chidambaram here on Thursday to take stock of joint offensive now underway in Kanker and Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh and Gadchiroli in Maharashtra.

With the Naxalites yet to put up armed resistance to the joint offensive, the assessment among the counter-Naxal strategists here is that this may only be part of the Maoists’ strategy to study the firepower and nature/extent of deployment of the forces so as to formulate an effective and decisive counter-approach.

The Naxalites are known to wait and watch each time an offensive is launched against them and only strike back once they are familiar with the opponent’s strategy and weak points. Even in the current operations, the Maoists are looking to indulge in a counter-strike that would catch the security forces off-guard.
According to intelligence inputs based on interceptions by the Andhra police, the Naxalites in Kanker, Rajnandgaon and Gadchiroli — where around 46 companies of BSF and ITBP launched the operation to flush out Naxals and push development a few days ago — may try to diffuse the anti-naxalite forces by launching strikes in areas away from the districts covered by the offensive. This would ease the pressure off Maoists in the focus areas, besides spreading the forces thin and leaving them more vulnerable.

It is to rule out such a possibility that the Chattisgarh government has decided to continue with its Green Hunt operation, involving intelligence-based strikes to bust Naxalite hideouts and camps in south Bastar, while also sealing the escape routes to the “safer” Dhamtari region with the help of CRPF.

This arrangement, however, may divert the Naxalites on the run to interior pocketboroughs in Abujmarh, not really a source of worry as the area is sparsely populated, or to the neighbouring districts of Orissa such as Malkangiri and Koraput. The latter option is giving sleepless nights to the Orissa police, forcing its DGP to seek additional forces from the Centre to block the Naxal spillover. Not only Orissa, even Maharashtra is concerned about a spillover of Naxalites from the affected north Gadchiroli to south Gadchiroli, and has sought stationing of additional Central forces in the south as a preventive measure. The Centre, sources told ET, has promised to look into Orissa and Mahrashtra’s request.

According to senior officials overseeing the joint operations, while the joint offensive will be in full force in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra -- though care will be taken that the first fire does not come from the security forces -- Jharkhand may join in only after a new government is in place. The views of the new regime on countering Naxalites will count before anything else.

As for the other states, while the Grey Hounds will sustain the pressure on Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh and concentrate themselves in the border areas, Orissa will be more on the defensive and focus on keeping Maoists from spilling over to its territory.

Orissa does not intend to immediately undertake joint operations due to “paucity of trained police manpower.” Incidentally, the state had earlier expressed its willingness to be a part the joint five-state offensive but wanted to solely draw upon the Central forces. This was resisted by the MHA which wanted the state government to spare a significant police component, if not an equal number, to fight alongside the Central forces.

Chidambaram reviews anti-Naxal plans of five states

New Delhi, Dec 24 (PTI) Ahead of the full-fledged operations against Naxals, Home Minister P Chidambaram today took stock of the security situation in five Maoists-affected states and favoured coordinated efforts to deal with the extremists.

Chidambaram had a lengthy meeting with Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar and Maharashtra, where the officials briefed him on the steps being taken to deal with the Maoists.

Sources said the meeting reviewed the states' preparedness, availability of forces and other operational aspects.

The meeting stressed on the need for immediate launching of full-fledged operations in these states, they said.

Chidambaram also took stock of development programmes to be carried out by the state governments in the Maoist- dominated areas once they are cleared from the clutches of Naxals through the operations

Naxals kill two former aides

Naxals kill two former aides
TNN 25 December 2009, 05:27am IST

GONDIA/CHANDRAPUR: In separate incidents Naxals killed their former aides in Salekasa and Etapalli tehsils.

In the first incident a group of 25 Naxalites, allegedly belonging to the Tanda dalam, shot dead their former comrade and deputy commander of Darekasa dalam Raghu Murkam (45) in his native village Dabara Tola in Salekasa tehsil late on Wednesday night.

Sources said Murkam, founder member of Darekasa dalam, was involved in four crimes during 1993-94 and was acquitted for the crime in 2003-04. Since then, he had withdrawn from the Naxal movement and was living a normal life in his native village. He also contested the last assembly elections as Gondwana Ganatantra Party candidate and secured 636 votes.

Late on Wednesday night, 25 Naxalites entered village Darba Tola. While 20 Naxals kept vigil in the area, around five of the group entered Murkam's house and shot him. Though the exact cause behind the killing is not known, it is believed that Naxals suspected him to be a police informer.

District superintendent of police Pradeep Deshpande, police inspector Mukund Lambe, police sub inspector DS Sonuley, head constables Sayyed and Dabhale rushed to the spot. Further details are awaited.

Meanwhile, in another incident a group of unidentified Naxalites killed their former collogue in Yemli Burgi village under Etapalli police station in Gadchiroli in on Wednesday evening. Deceased Sadhu Rama Pungati (24) was former Naxalite and had surrendered before the government in 2006.

Police have informed that deceased Pungati had gone to chicken market in Yemli Burgi on Wednesday. The Naxalites learnt about his presence in the market and cornered him there. Sadhu Pungati was shot dead point blank by his former aides at around 4 pm. Pungati had laid his arms on March 12, 2006 and was living peacefully in Markaltoal village in Etapalli tehsil. Joint search operations of Gadchiroli police and CRPF have been launched in the area following the incident.

Former Naxal commander shot dead by old companions in Gondia

PTI Thursday, December 24, 2009 22:55 IST

Gondia (Maharashtra): A former Naxal commander was shot dead by his old companions at his home in the districthere, police said today.

Around 30 to 40 Naxalites entered the house of Raghunath Fagnu Markam (48) at Daharitola under Salekasa tehsil of Gondia district at 1am yesterday, took him out and pumped two bullets in his chest, killing the former Naxalite on the spot, they said.

Raghunath was associated with the Naxal movement from 1992 to 1999, before he surrender on November 25, 1999, they said.

He has served as commander of Tanda Dalam between 1992-'96, and was instrumental in attacks on police party in the year 1993 and 1995 at Darekasa, Banjaritola and Murkudoh, police said.

Raghunath was also the man behind to blown up the BSNL mobile tower in the year 1994 at Darekasa, and was wanted by Chattisgarh police also, they said.

After his surrender the former Naxal served a three-year jail term and was living a peaceful life at Daharitola, 3 km from Darekasa.

Raghunath had also contested State assembly elections from Gondwana Gantantra Party from Amgaon seat and got 636 votes.

A case has been registered in this connection under relevant section and further investigation is on, they said.

'Carry out precision strikes on Naxals'

Vishwa Mohan, TNN 25 December 2009, 04:00am IST

NEW DELHI: In a slight shift from its earlier plan to go all-out against Maoists after the Jharkhand polls, the Centre on Thursday asked states to instead go for "precision strikes" wherever needed without affecting daily lives of tribals living in Naxal-infested zones.

Though ongoing operations against the ultras will continue, the intensity will not be stepped up as such a move is prone to alienate the locals besides driving them towards Maoists ideology. "Security forces will conduct operations in such a way that the ultras can first think about surrendering instead of being offensive to save their own lives," said a senior home ministry official. A change in strategy, giving impetus to development activities in Naxal-hit areas, was discussed in a meeting of police chiefs and chief secretaries of affected states with the home minister P Chidambaram and home secretary G K Pillai.

Chidambaram is learnt to have told the states representatives to concentrate on development work as lack of it not only affected locals but also made the areas vulnerable to Naxal violence. Though the home minister also took stock of security agencies preparedness to continue with their ongoing joint anti-Naxal operations, he is believed to have told them to intensify such action only in areas where the Maoists continue to indulge in violence.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

One shot dead in Maoist attackOne shot dead in Maoist attack

Kolkata, Dec 24 (PTI) Suspected Maoists shot dead a man and left another injured in West Midnapore district today.

Police said Biswanath Murmu (62) of Sankhbhanga locality in Belpahari area was taken to the jungles by the suspected Maoists and shot dead.

Murmu was the father of Karan Murmu, the Jharkhanda Party (Aditya) leader, who was killed by Maoists a month back.

In another incident, suspected Maoists shot at a villager Durga Soren at Patharchakra village, police said.

The Maoists yesterday shot dead three CPI(M) activists, including a teacher, near Lalgarh and Salboni areas in the district during the 48-hour bandh by Maoist-backed People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA).



While Prabir Dandopath, a school teacher, was killed by about six suspected rebels near his house at Bholbelduar last evening, Maoists gunned down Habun Patra at Bamal village and Sadan Mahto in Salboni area yesterday morning for their active association with the CPI(M).

Maoist posters trigger panic in Kandhamal

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 24 Dec 2009 04:41:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 24 Dec 2009 07:53:54 AM IST

BERHAMPUR: While the administration is initiating steps to ensure smooth celebration of Christmas and has made massive police bundobust in various places of Kandhamal district, cocking a snook at the administration, Maoists have pasted threatening posters in several villages. The posters have triggered panic among the residents.


Maoist posters are pasted at Jirama, Hatimunda, Gadapur and Saramanic besides different educational and government institutions under Brahmanigaon police limits despite flag march by armed police in Raikia, Brahmanigaon and Daringibadi areas.

The posters have warned people of dire consequences if they try to stoke communal passion in the name of religion. The Maoists have also asked the public not to encourage any kind of disturbance and conversion. Similar posters were also found pasted yesterday in different villages, including Lingima, under Badagada police limits of Ganjam district.

Four cops injured in fight with Maoists in Orissa

December 24th, 2009

Bhubaneswar, Dec 24 (IANS) Maoist violence continued unabated in Orissa as four policemen were injured in a shootout between police and extremists in Koraput district early Thursday.

“Four Special Operation Group jawans were injured in a gun battle between police and naxalites at Yogipalur of Koraput district of Orissa,” police said.

The gun battle started when a police team was on its routine combing operation.

The injured have been admitted in Narayanpatna Hospital.

In another incident, a mobile tower of a private mobile operator was damaged by Naxalites at Kiang of Malkangiri district of the state.

“The Naxalites damaged the mobile tower Wednesday night. About 20-30 armed Maoists had come and burnt the mobile tower of Airtel,” said Satyabrat Bhoi, Malkangiri district superintentendent of police.

A road was cut off Thursday at Baliaguda by the ultras.

Orissa: Naxals blow up 4 school buildings

Debabrata Mohanty


Posted: Thursday , Dec 24, 2009 at 0333 hrs
Bhubaneswar: Maoist mayhem in the northern Orissa district of Sundargarh continued unabated with the rebels blowing up four school buildings and a primary health centre in the past 24 hours. There was no report of any injury.



Rourkela SP Diptesh Patnaik, who visited the spot, said on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning the Maoists set off landmines in the high school and primary school buildings of Jharbeda, Balijora and Mohupadar villages.



The CRPF forces were camping in these schools to provide security to the villagers since last 10 days, he said. “On Tuesday, the security forces had left the buildings and came back to K Bolang area. Taking advantage of the absence of the CRPF personnel, the Maoists blew up the buildings,” he said.



A police officer said the schools were targeted as the places had been used by security personnel during combing operation.




Last week, more than 50 Maoist rebels blew up a gram panchayat building in the district

Security apparatus further strengthened

Security apparatus further strengthened

NIA BECOMES OPERATIONAL
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

13:52 IST

YEAR-END REVIEW

MHA - 09





SECURITY APPARATUS FURTHER STRENGTHENED



NIA BECOMES OPERATIONAL



COORDINATED ACTION AGAINST NAXAL VIOLENCE



SECURITY SITUATION IN J&K IMPROVES





The year 2009 witnessed several new measures taken by the Government to strengthen the security apparatus of the country to equip it to meet the grave challenge posed by global terrorism. These include operationalization of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), establishment of four NSG Hubs to ensure quick and effective response to any possible terror attack, augmentation of the strength of Intelligence Bureau (IB), strengthening of the Multi-Agency Centre in the IB to enable it to function on 24X7 basis and strengthening of coastal security. The measures especially aimed at improving the overall internal security situation after the ghastly terrorist attack in Mumbai in November last year.



The overall internal security and law & order situation in the country remained largely under control during 2009. No major incident of terrorist violence was reported from the hinterland. The communal situation remained under control. The year also witnessed significant improvement in the security situation in Jammu & Kashmir and some progress in the North East, but the Naxal violence continued to be a cause of concern. The Centre took some major initiatives to deal with the menace of Naxalism and, after wide-ranging consultations with the Naxal-affected States, approved a joint action plan to kick off coordinated and combined action, especially at the bi-junctions and tri-junctions of the affected States.



In 2009, steps were taken to significantly expand Central Para-military Forces (CPMFs). The report of the Liberhan Commission along with the Action Taken Report was presented in Parliament.



Some of the key initiatives and achievements of the Ministry of Home Affairs during 2009 are listed below:



NIA Operationalized


The National Investigation Agency (NIA), set up as per the NIA Act enacted in the previous year, started functioning in 2009 with cases assigned to it for investigation and prosecution. Headquartered in Delhi and notified as a police station, NIA is mandated to investigate and prosecute offences under the Acts mentioned in the Schedule, including offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, that have inter-state and international linkages and assigned to it by the Government. The agency would function under the superintendence of the Central Government.



Four NSG Hubs Established


To ensure quick and effective response to any possible terror attack, the Government has established four National Security Guards (NSG) hubs at Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai. Each NSG hub is equipped with the operational strength of around 250 personnel. Additionally, two regional centres of NSG are also being set up at Hyderabad and Kolkata to enable instant response to any situation arising out of possible acts of violence by terrorists.



Designated officers of the Central Government and the Director General of NSG have been empowered to requisition aircraft from registered operators in the interest of public safety. Voluntary agreements have been signed by eight private airlines operators to provide aircraft to NSG during emergency.



Intelligence Gathering Mechanism Strengthened



In order to strengthen the intelligence gathering and sharing machinery, strength of IB has been substantially augmented. The functioning of the Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) in the Intelligence Bureau has also been strengthened and revamped. The Multi-Agency Centre, now functioning on 24X7 basis, has been advised to share intelligence with all other agencies including those from the States and similarly, all other agencies have been asked to share intelligence with the MAC.



During the year, action was initiated to establish an online, dedicated and fully secure connectivity between all the designated members of the MAC, between MAC and the Subsidiary Multi-Agency Centres (SMACs) in 30 important identified locations spread across the country and between the SMACs and the State Special Branches to make sure that the flow of vital information is maintained at the optimum level at every stage. A scheme for providing technical and financial support by the Intelligence Bureau to the States for strengthening State Special Branches has been approved to help implement this plan in an efficient manner.



As a result of coordination between the Central intelligence agencies and the State Police, a large number of terrorist modules of Pak-based terrorist outfits were busted in various parts of the country.



Coastal Security Strengthened


Following the 26/11 incidents, coastal security of the country has been reviewed comprehensively at various levels. Under the ongoing Coastal Security Scheme, 64 out of the 73 coastal police stations have been operationalised. 56 interceptor boats have been supplied to the coastal States and Union Territories during the year so far.



Coast Guard, in consultation with the maritime States, has been carrying out vulnerability and gap analysis to assess additional requirements in respect of police stations, check-posts, outposts, vehicles, boats etc. Based on this assessment, a comprehensive proposal, to be named as Phase-II of the Coastal Security Scheme, has been processed and is in the final stages of consultations.



Various other measures to strengthen coastal security are under consideration or implementation which include establishment of vessel tracking and monitoring systems, issue of identity cards to fishermen and intensified patrolling on the seas.



Measures Taken for Police Reforms, Augmentation and Training


In 2009, the Government approved a proposal for the raising of 38 additional Battalions including two Mahila Battalions in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). Out of these 38 Battalions, three Bns including one Mahila Bn are to be raised during the current fiscal year. Similarly, 29 new battalions, to be raised over a period of five years starting from this fiscal year, were approved in early 2009 for the Border Security Force (BSF). In addition, the ceiling with regard to the strength of CISF has been enhanced to 1,45,000 from 93,521. Eleven IR Battalions including 2 commando companies in each battalion were sanctioned to the State Governments of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya and Orissa and UT of Chandigarh.



Three ALH Dhruv helicopters have been inducted into BSF. These are based at Ranchi and Raipur.



A revised recruitment scheme for recruitment of Constables in CPMFs was approved.


CISF security was extended to the private sector after due amendment in the CISF Act in January this year.



For the first time, risk/hardship allowances were approved in April’09 for personnel of the CPMFs deployed in high risk and difficult areas such as high altitude areas, Left Wing Extremism affected areas, areas with uncongenial climate and other such areas.



A CPMF Housing Project for construction of about 1,00,000 housing units on Public-Private-Partnership basis has been approved. Consultants have been appointed for preparation of the Project Feasibility Report.



A large number of companies of the CPMFs were mobilized for the conduct of general elections to the Lok Sabha, for assembly elections and for bye-elections.


As per the directives of the Supreme Court (Prakash Singh & Others vs Union Of India; 22nd September, 2006) on police reforms, MHA decided to (i) set up a State Security Commission for all UTs which would lay down broad policies and evaluate performance of the police in each UT (ii) set up two Police Establishment Boards (PEB) in each UT, one for the the ranks of Inspectors and above and the other for Sub-Inspectors and below. The PEBs would decide all transfers, postings, promotions and other service-related matters (iii) set up a Police Complaints Authority in each UT (iv) accord two-year tenures in UTs to key police functionaries, except under exceptional circumstances/administrative exigencies which would be recorded in writing and (v) separate police personnel into law & order and investigative wings in UTs.



A copy of the draft Model Police Act was sent to the States for consideration and appropriate action. The Model Police Act provides for well-defined duties of the Police towards the public and accountability to the rule of law. A number of States have either framed New Police Acts or amended the existing Acts.



Under the National Police Mission, six Micro-Missions namely Human Resource Development, Community Policing, Communication and Technology, Infrastructure, New Processes and Proactive Policing & Visualizing future Challenges have been set up. The projects on Community Counselling Centres and Transparent Recruitment Process, submitted by the Micro-Missions have been approved for implementation.



Allocation of land and construction activities began during the year for setting up of 20 Counter-Insurgency and Anti-Terrorist Schools in the States of Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa to provide training to police personnel in counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism tactics.



It has been decided to establish a Central Academy for Police Training at Bhopal as a centre of excellence for training of State police officers. 400 acres of land has been allotted by the Madhya Pradesh Government for the purpose.



During 2009, 22 new Police Stations and 9 Sub-Divisions of Delhi Police were notified and sanction for creation of 6478 posts for these new Police Stations and Sub-Divisions issued.



Approval was accorded to a Plan Scheme relating to Modernisation of Traffic and Communications Network of the Delhi Police at a cost of Rs.200 crore for implementation in the Eleventh Five-Year Plan.



To minimize the shortage of IPS officers at SP level, a decision has been taken to increase the batch-size of the Indian Police Service from 130 to 150 from the Civil Services Examination, 2009 onwards.



The Bureau of Police Research & Development has been strengthened and restructured by the sanctioning of 72 additional posts.



Situation in J&K Improves



The security situation in J&K has vastly improved in the last few years and this trend continued during the current year also. In the current year (till November), the number of incidents was down by 27% and those of killing of civilians by 17% and of security force personnel by 19% over the corresponding period of previous year. During the current year, 473 infiltration bids were attempted out of which 367 were foiled.



Out of the 67 projects/ schemes under the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan for J&K, action in respect of 30 projects/schemes has been completed and the remaining 37 projects/schemes are at various stages of implementation.



Steps Taken to Fight Naxal Menace



Naxal violence poses one of the gravest internal security threats before the country. In the current year (till 30th November), the number of incidents of Naxal violence have been 2016 compared to 1452 incidents in the corresponding period of 2008. 514 civilians and 304 personnel of security forces have been killed compared to 444 civilians and 217 security forces killed in the corresponding period last year.



To deal with the menace in an effective and decisive manner, the Union Home Ministry has devised and approved a plan to take joint and co-ordinated action against Naxalites. The action plan was prepared after wide-ranging consultations with the States including two conferences attended by the Chief Ministers of the Naxal-affected States.



58 Battalions of CRPF have been provided to the States for anti-Naxal duties.



In June this year, CPI (Maoist) was included in the Schedule of terrorist organisations under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.



Nizamabad district of Andhra Pradesh; Deogarh, Jaipur, Kondhamal, Dhenkanal and Nayagarh districts of Orissa and Kunti and Ramgarh districts of Jharkhand brought under the ambit of Security Related Expenditure Scheme.





In August this year, revised guidelines and package for surrender and rehabilitation of Naxalites were issued. The Central Scheme for Assistance to Victims/Family of Victims of Terrorist and Communal Violence was extended to victims of Naxal violence.



Assistance of CPMFs was provided to West Bengal to help restore the State writ in Lalgarh.



Situation in North-East Improves



There has been significant improvement in the security situation in the North Eastern States. The number of causalities of civilians and security forces personnel has decreased. The number of militants killed/surrendered/arrested in the current year (up to 30th November, 2009) is 3580. However, the security situation in Manipur and Assam continues to cause concern.



Owing to counter-insurgency operations, ULFA in Assam has come under tremendous pressure. Key ULFA leaders are in prison. Due to sustained pressure by security forces and also due to the Union Home Minister’s call to the extremist groups in the North East to lay down arms, abjure violence and come forward for talks, 416 cadres of DHD(J) have laid down their arms.



Measures Taken for Disaster Management


The National Policy on Disaster Management has been prepared in tune with the Disaster Management Act, 2005 with a vision to build a safe and disaster-resilient India by developing a holistic, proactive and technology-driven strategy through a culture of prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response.



A Scheme for strengthening fire and emergency services to be implemented at an estimated cost of Rs.200 crore during the Eleventh Plan Period has been approved.



A Scheme to revamp civil defence has been approved with an outlay of Rs.100 crore to be implemented during XI Five Year Plan.



Steps Initiated in Other Areas


A programme of modernization, computerization and networking of 33 Immigration Check Posts (ICPs) which regulate more than 98.5% of the passenger traffic, has been completed.



Construction of 11 strategic roads along the Indo-China border has started.



During the year, 270 kms of fencing and 253 kms of border roads have been constructed along the Indo-Bangladesh border.



The work of direct data collection of all usual residents for creation of the National Population Register in the coastal villages of 9 maritime States and 4 UTs ,viz., Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Orissa, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands is under progress. The biographical details of around 50 lakh persons and biometric details of about 10 lakh have been collected so far. The Government has approved a proposal to issue identity (smart) cards to all ‘usual residents’ of age 18 years and above in these areas.



A proposal for establishing a Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System(CCTNS) was approved for networking of all crime-related data amongst all police stations, States and the Centre. Rs.89 crore has been allocated to the States and UTs for the purpose. The Centre-State MoU for the CCTNS project has been signed by all the 35 States/UTs.



Approval of the Cabinet was obtained for extension of the rehabilitation package to the victims of the anti-Sikh riots in 1984 to West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Chandigarh.



Notifications for delegation of powers to the Govt. of NCT of Delhi under the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 was issued.





Two rounds of tripartite talks on Gorkhaland were held during the year.



A Conference of Chief Ministers on Internal Security was held on January 6, 2009 and on 17th August, 2009





A high level Indian delegation led by the Union Home Minister visited USA in September 2009 and held discussions on issues of mutual interest including the challenge of combating terrorism.



With a view to improving punctuality among officers and staff, a biometric-based attendance monitoring system has been introduced in the Ministry of Home Affairs.



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OK/KS



NB: Monthly report cards of MHA are available on “pib.nic.in”.

Maoist, jawan killed in ambush on SOG

Koraput(Orissa), Dec 24 (PTI) A woman Maoist and a jawan of the Special Operation Group were killed and three other securitymen injured in a gunbattle between the two sides inside a forest at Pallur in Koraput district today.

The fight began early in the morning in Pallur jungle when a group of 20-25 Maoist ultras ambushed jawans of the SOG, the state's elite anti-Naxal force, who were on a combing operation in the area.

In the ensuing exchange of fire, a woman Maoist and an SOG jawan, Gangadhar Dalai, died, Koraput Superintendent of Police Dipak Kumar said.

Hailing from Bargarh district, Dalai was critically injured in a claymore mine explosion and died in a hospital.

Another jawan was also seriously injured in the explosion and was being taken to a hospital at Vishakhapatnam in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh by a helicopter.

Did Maoists tip scales in favour of proxies?

Sonali Das, TNN 24 December 2009, 03:20am IST

RANCHI: For all their proclaimed aversion to parliamentary democracy and the calls for poll boycott that they issue, Maoists were very much in the
fray in the Jharkhand polls, both overtly and covertly.

Though they did not win, except a couple including Paulus Surin, the successful JMM nominee from Torpa, they are seen as having tipped the scales in some constituencies in favour of JMM and RJD.

In Torpa constituency, the writ of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha candidate Paulus Surin, a former Jharkhand Liberation Tiger (JLT) area commander, was evident. Apart from Surin's campaign vehicles, no poster banner or poll vehicle of any other party was visible anywhere. Similarly in Vishrampur constituency of Palamu district, which sent former Maoist Kameswar Baitha to Parliament in 2009 despite his being behind bars, Yugal Pal, a former Maoist, was contesting on a JMM ticket from inside the jail. Throughout the length and breadth of the assembly segment campaigning by other political party other than the JMM were conspicuous by their absence. "It is out of fear or reprisal of the former Maoists that other political parties have not ventured here," said a BJP candidate.

Surin won in Torpa and the mandate in five assembly segments of Palamu constituency in this assembly election has proved that Baitha has failed to weave the magic even though his wife Deomunia campaigned actively for Pal. Voters in Palamu have rejected the Maoists writ proving that fear was not the key to winning elections in these segments.

Though the JMM has managed to hold on to the tally of 18 that it enjoyed in the 2005 elections, the two former naxals on which the party had banked largely in the naxal-hit district of Palamu did not pay off as none of them won. Keshwar Yadav, contesting on the RJD ticket, also could not register a win.

Satish Kumar polled 4,444 votes in Daltonganj while Keshwar Yadav could get only 8,772 votes from Panki. However, Yugal Pal secured the second position in Vishrampur with 16,102 votes.

That the fear factor of the Maoists was rejected by voters was also evident in the voter turnout in areas where the CPI (Maoists) had given a call for poll boycott. For example in Latehar, where Maoists enjoy liberated zones where the police fear to tread and there was a call for poll boycott, the voter turnout was above 57%. Again in Garhwa, where the Maoists had forbidden voters to come out, the turnout was 62%. It was 61% in Chatra.

According to observers, Maoists normally do not give a call for poll boycott. Instead they issue a diktat to vote in favour of candidates they support either from the JMM or RJD and sometimes independents. In Jalim village of Latehar district, the Maoists, according to villagers, had knocked on every door to garner support for RJD candidate Prakash Ram and even abducted an independent candidate to facilitate his victory. Ram, however, lost the election. "We will reject the diktat of the Maoists and will vote for development," the villagers had said.

Maharashtra CM announces Rs 1,000 crore package for development schemes

Maharashtra CM announces Rs 1,000 crore package for development schemes in Vidarbha region


Dec 24

In Maharashtra, the Winter Session of the State Legislature in Nagpur concluded yesterday with the Chief Minister announcing a package of Rs. 10,000 crore for development schemes in the Vidarbha region.

Chief Minister Mr. Ashok Chavan made identical statements in both the houses on Wednesday in response to a marathon debate on the Vidarbha specific issues in the Assembly. The funds would be made available during the span of three years under different schemes and programmes that include development of irrigation facilities especially in the six districts more prone to farmers’ suicides, processing industries for the farm and forest produce, road and railway development and augmentation of the civic amenities in the region.

Mr. Chavan assured that an allocation of Rs. 1,383 crore would be given for rural development works in the Naxal-affected districts and efforts would also be made to increase educational and employment opportunities.

Later, the Chief Minister told media that a regional cadre would be formed to fill the vacant posts in various Govt. departments in Vidarbha region. He also said that a social audit of the financial packages of the Prime Minister and Chief Minister meant to bail out farmers from an agrarian crisis would be done and he would personally monitor the implementation along with the Chief Secretary.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

India minister seeks 'negotiations' with Maoist rebels

India's federal home minister has said he is ready for "serious negotiations" with Maoist rebels.

P Chidambaram said the rebels were not "terrorists" and had raised "serious issues" about the lack of development.

Last month, the minister said security forces were getting ready to launch a massive offensive against the rebels.

The rebels are fighting for communist rule in many Indian states. More than 6,000 people have died during the rebels' 20-year fight.

"They are not terrorists attacking India from outside. They are rebels who have raised serious issues like lack of development specially in tribal areas. We are prepared to discuss alternative structures of governance with them," Mr Chidambaram told a meeting.

"I am not asking them to surrender weapons. I am only asking them to abjure violence. That will set up the ground for serious negotiations."

'Critical issues'

The minister said he was all for "serious negotiation".

"The Indian constitution can be amended to create alternative structures of governance in the backward tribal areas to facilitate the cause of development," he said.

"I appeal to the Maoists to stop violence and come out to negotiate these issues. We are prepared to examine their perspectives on these critical issues but we cannot allow any breakdown of law and order."



We are prepared to discuss alternative structures of governance with them


The minister said the governments in the states where the Maoists were active would be involved in the talks.

Reacting to Mr Chidambaram's proposal, a Maoist leader said the minister was indulging in "double talk".

"He is offering peace and talks but he is sending federal forces everywhere we are operating. He cannot take us for a ride," Koteswara Rao told the BBC.

Last month, a Maoist leader said the rebels were willing to talk to the government if it put off the planned offensive against them.

The rebels have a presence in more than 223 of India's 600-odd districts across 20 states, according to the government.

There have been more than 1,400 cases related to violence by Maoists between January and August, according to official records.

Nearly 600 civilians have died over that period.

The insurgents wield most influence in areas which are poor and dominated by tribes people.

They are also areas widely seen as being rich in mineral wealth which the Maoists say is being handed over to corporate firms while the poor remain deprived.

Maoist commander among three held in Bihar

PTI

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 19:43 IST Begusarai (Bihar): Shankar Sada, a self-styled area commander and his two accomplices were arrested from a place under Bakhri police station in Bihar's Begusarai district today, police sources said.

Acting on a tip-off, the police raided a house and arrested Shankar, commander of the Kosi belt of the CPI (Maoist), and his two associates, the sources said.

Shankar and the two others were wanted in connection with several criminal offences, including attack on a patrol and loot of police rifles, they said.

They were brought here for interrogation and production before a court tomorrow.

Two CPI (M) cadres shot dead by Maoists in Lalgarh

Posted On: 23-Dec-2009 15:43:02 By: Aniket Mishra Font Size: Lalgarh: Suspected Maoists today shot dead two CPI (M) cadres even as the PCPA-sponsored two-day bandh paralysed life in the Junglemahal area here.

Superintendent of Police, West Midnapore district, Manoj Kumar Verma said, ''Two bullet ridden bodies of CPI (M) cadres were recovered from the Junglemahal area under West Midnapore district.

The incident is supposed to be the handiwork of the Maoists.'' In the first case, ultras abducted Habul Patra, a CPI (M) activist, from his house at Bamal village and pumped four rounds of bullet into his body and left the body a few meters away from his home.

In the second incident, Sadhan Mahato, another CPI (M) activist, was kidnapped from Damakata village under Salboni police station and his bullet ridden body was similarly found 100 meters away on the road. Maoist posters were also left behind by the rebels.

Meanwhile, a lorry was torched in Dharsa village under Jhabboni police station this morning. PCPA activists also ransacked the Forest Range Office at Parihati village under Jamboni police station last night and set it on fire. Range officer Pratap Ghosh was also severely beaten up and admitted to Jhargram hospital.

Shops, educational institutions remained closed while vehicle movement was completely stalled on the first day. Police boycott also continued in the three districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia.

Paramilitary forces will engage Maoists: Chidambaram

Ananya Dutta

KOLKATA: Admitting that in dealing with the Maoist threat, “we had been in a state of denial,” Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said here on Tuesday that the Centre did not accept the theory of an armed struggle, and that unless the left ultras abjured violence, the paramilitary forces will engage them and reassert the authority of the State.

Mr. Chidambaram said the voter turnout of 58 per cent — most of whom were tribals — in the recent Jharkhand polls was a “stinging rebuke and rejection of the Communist Party of India (Maoists).”

Speaking of his government’s decision to send paramilitary forces to reclaim the State’s authority over territory lost by it to be followed by rapid development programmes, Mr. Chidambaram said the work of paramilitary forces and development could not go hand-in-hand.

“In Jharkhand alone, in the past 35 days, a dozen schools have been demolished,” he said, adding that development projects cannot be supported in such a situation.

Mr. Chidambaram also pointed out that the Jharkhand polls — where the Maoists declared that if anyone went to vote, their thumb would be cut off — proved that “a large number of people support Maoists, not willingly but out of fear.”

The Minister, who was addressing a conference organised by the Chambers of Industries and Commerce, pointed out that the three challenges to India’s internal security were the insurgency in the northeast, Maoists and terrorism.

Zero tolerance


Declaring 2009 to have been “a terror-free year for India, with nine days to go,” Mr. Chidambaram reaffirmed his government’s stand of zero tolerance for terrorism.

He added that the perception that “terrorism was an imported phenomenon” was no longer entirely valid as there were home-grown terrorist groups in India.

On the issue of armed insurgency in the northeast, he said that while the creation of sovereign states was out of the question, the Indian Constitution was flexible enough to create forms of governance where the desires and aspirations of the people can be accommodated.

Naxalites may be shifting base to Jhargram

Press Trust Of India / Kolkata December 23, 2009, 0:49 IST



Naxalites have apparently been shifting base from their strongholds in Lalgarh and Belpahari in the last two months, with killings and violence increasingly taking place in Jhargram subdivision, 40 km away in restive Paschim Medinipur district. Police sources attribute this to the strong security presence in Belpahari and Lalgarh. There are seven camps of the joint security forces in Lalgarh and nine in Belpahari while there are only three camps in Jhargram and one in Jamboni.

Sources said that around 50 CPI(M) local leaders and supporters were killed around Jhargram in the past two months, while there was no casualty in Lalgarh, considered a Naxalite stronghold and which had been wrested by the joint forces earlier this year. "As there are many camps of the joint forces in and around Belpahari and Lalgarh, Maoists are not able to operate there and are shifting to areas around Jhargram," a senior police officer said.

Asked why Jhargram, the officer said Jhargram's proximity to Jharkhand was one of the main reasons. "Naxalites can slip away into Jharkhand easily after committing a crime and it involves time and legal problems for the West Bengal police to follow them across the border." However, top Naxalite leader Kishenji said over phone, "We are not shifting base anywhere. We are always with the people. We will stand by the people anywhere."

Claiming the support of the people of Jhargram, Kishenji said, "The government should know that they cannot control us or the people through force." Challenging the joint forces, he said, "We are at war with the state and have our own strategy. The government is well equipped with police, central force and intelligence network. Let them catch us."

Security withdrawn from camps

Express News Service

First Published : 23 Dec 2009 05:04:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 23 Dec 2009 09:20:02 AM IST

ROURKELA: In a mass exodus panic-stricken tribals from the border villages in Naxal-infested Bonai sub-division moved to the safe zone in K Balang after the security forces were withdrawn from B Jharbera and Mahupada temporary camps this evening.


Fearing the wrath of Naxals and seeking protection, after they dared to support police in lieu of their own safety on December 10, over 1,000 tribals settled down on NH-215 today.

The villagers are caught between the devil and deep sea with the vulnerable villages under K Balang and Banki police stations scattered in hostile forest terrains close to Maoist hotbed of Jharkhand. The areas are virtually inaccessible due to poor road communication.

Amid growing Maoist violence, not sparing poor tribals, they were left with no option but to support the police. The situation is fluid as the Maoists are understood to be seething in rage for the `revolt’ from villagers. Well-placed officials said security cannot be extended to these areas permanently and it is a challenge before the Sundargarh district administration to sort out the new-found crisis.

Rourkela SP Diptesh Patnaik said the situation arose out of multiple problems and police are exploring ways to work out a feasible strategy to address the situation.

Naxals to foment trouble on Bhumkal centenary

Soumittra S Bose, TNN 23 December 2009, 06:58am IST

NAGPUR: The Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee and Maharashtra state committee of the Naxalites have jointly issued a pamphlet cautioning the
government of widespread tribal uprising marking the centenary of the tumultuous 'Mahan Bhumkal' movement that had rocked the British in 1910. The pamphlet talks of a mass upheaval in the hinterlands to be guided by their 'scientific approach', sends a threat that 2010 shall witness the revival of the preindependence revolution.

Shortly after the state government's announcements of series of initiatives to counter the rebels during the ongoing winter sessions, the Maoists have fallen back on familiar tactics of trying to persuade security forces not to fight. They have said the security personnel were members of the same deprived class for whom the struggle has been initiated.

The rebels have alleged that the plan of the top politicians like Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union home minister P Chidambaram, Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, Chhatisgarh chief minister Raman Singh and others to quell the tribal movement is nothing but a suppressive step against the deprived population that is fighting for justice. They called Prime Minister Singh 'Imperialistic America's faithful loyalist' who is shielding the 'exploiters' and branding Maoists a threat to the country.

They portray themselves as sympathetic towards jawans saying the forces' gruelling efforts in jungles and camps were
nothing but a struggle for livelihood. The latest actions of Naxalites is significant considering the Union government's plan to counter them has started to take shape.

The Naxal pamphlet asserted that they were engaged in a struggle to the tribals their rightful claims against the deprivation from the government.

Centre aims to take battle to Naxals

TNN 23 December 2009, 04:22am IST

NEW DELHI: With the Centre gradually moving additional paramilitary forces to Naxal-affected states post-Jharkhand polls to step up ongoing offensives against Red ultras, home ministry has convened a meeting of chief secretaries and police chiefs of five states on Thursday to finetune coordination among them during joint operations at junctions and tri-junctions of bordering states.

The day-long meeting is to be attended by officials from Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.

Sources said that besides discussing strategic plans, home minister P Chidambaram will also take stock of development programmes to be carried out by the state governments in Maoist-dominated areas once they are freed from the clutches of Naxals.

The meeting is being convened at a time when the Centre is moving additional 17,000 paramilitary personnel to states to step up its anti-naxal operations in all affected states.

Though the operation is underway in certain pockets in West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, the idea is to extend it simultaneously at junctions and tri-junctions of other affected states including Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa.

The states currently have 58,000 paramilitary personnel -- drawn from CRPF, BSF, ITBP, SSB and CoBRA -- at their command. The additional deployment will increase the strength of central forces for anti-Naxal operations to nearly 75,000.

Calling the move to fully dominate Naxal-infested areas across the country a "long haul", a senior home ministry official said it would take nearly "two to three years" to wipe out Maoists from affected states.

According to the plan, central paramilitary forces and state police will jointly dominate an identified area by eliminating Naxals and clearing it from landmines by encircling the area without leaving room for the ultras to escape. Even after the area is cleared, paramilitary forces will not leave the place. They will be stationed there till the time civic administration is fully restored.

"This model is being adopted in Lalgarh area of West Bengal. It will be replicated to other areas one by one," said the official.

Anti-naxal assault: P Chidambaram calls meeting

Anil Anand / DNATuesday, December 22, 2009 19:39 IST

New Delhi: The culmination of the five-phase assembly election in naxal-affected Jharkhand has set the stage for the Centre to launch a calibrated effort to flush out the armed insurgents from infested states.


Home minister P Chidambaram has convened a meeting of senior police and civil officers of five affected states on Thursday to discuss the offensive.

The meeting, to be held a day after the Jharkhand assembly election results are declared on Wednesday, would be attended by chief secretaries and directors general of police of Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Maharashtra. Andhra and West Bengal have been kept out, ostensibly because of the situation there on account of the Telangana agitation and the CPI(M)-Trinamool conflict.

Home ministry sources said Chidambaram would take a general review of law and order in these states. A discussion may also be held on the preparedness to launch a clinical operation the against left-wing extremists. The operation would focus on the enclaves on borders of the affected states that are used by insurgents to slip in and out of the states after committing a crime.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Maoists claim responsibility for killing 4 'police informers' in West Midnapore

PTI Saturday, December 19, 2009 14:48 IST

Kolkata: Maoists today claimed the responsibility for killing four persons in West Bengal's West Midnapore district.



"Anil Chalak, Dayal Chalak, Amol Patra and Sisir Mahato were eliminated by us because they were working as police informers...We had warned them, but they didn't pay heed and were eliminated," top Maoist leader Kishenji told PTI over phone from an undisclosed location.

CPI(M) worker Sisir was shot dead yesterday at Dharampur village in the district. On Thursday, around 500 people barged into Bandhgara and Chandra villages in Lalgarh area and shot dead Dayal, Anil and Amol.

On Maoists vandalising a sponge iron factory and setting fire to 25 trucks, 12 motorbikes and three oil tankers yesterday, Kishenji said sponge iron units were a source of pollution.

There are at least 12 sponge iron factories on the West Bengal-Jharkhand border which are polluting the atmosphere, he said.

"There are several factories along the national highway from Lodhasuli to Chandil and particularly in Jharkhand's Singbhum district...When our prime minister is going to Copenhegen to save the world from climate change he should be aware that the people of his own country are suffering from pollution," he said.

Children in Bihar appeal to Maoists not to target schools

Children in Bihar appeal to Maoists not to target schools

Indo-Asian News Service
Patna, December 21, 2009
First Published: 14:55 IST(21/12/2009)
Last Updated: 14:59 IST(21/12/2009)



Hundreds of poor school children in Bihar's Aurangabad district have appealed to Maoist guerrillas not to damage or target their schools as it impacts their education badly.

In an open letter to Maoists, the school children urged Maoists not to deprive them of education by damaging and blowing up the school buildings.

"Maoist uncle, what is our mistake that you blow up schools and deprive us of education? You may have problems with the police but we fail to understand why are we your enemy? What is our mistake that our schools have become a soft target for you," school children wrote in their letter to Maoist guerrillas.

After railways and mobile towers, schools in rural areas have become the soft target of Maoist guerrillas in Bihar, a senior police official here told IANS.

"Maoists have been targeting school buildings fearing that these buildings would be used by central para-military forces," the police official said.

According to police sources, more than 20 school buildings have been blown up by Maoists in different districts in the state. At least ten school buildings were blown up or badly damaged in Aurangabad, Gaya, Rohtas and Jehanabad districts which are the worst Maoist-affected districts.

Planned offensive against Naxals finally launched

Navin Upadhyay | New Delhi

Forces fan out to Gadchiroli, Kanker, Rajnandgaon

With the Jharkhand Assembly polls over, the first phase of all-out Maoists offensive has started in three districts of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. Sources said paramilitary forces and State police jawans have begun to fan out in the Maoist stronghold of Gadchiroli in Maharashtra and Kanker and Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh.

“The operation has started,” said a top police official.” It will be added more teeth in next 10 days.”

Nearly 80,000 highly-armed jawans drawn from the three paramilitary organisations — the CRPF, BSF and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) posted in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra will take on the Maoists. They are joined by several thousand policemen.

Sources said 21 companies of CRPF have been deployed in Gadchiroli whereas 38 companies of paramilitary forces posted in Kanker and nine in Rajnandgaon. The operation will be unleashed in Jharkhand after the poll results are out and Government is in place, sources said.

A senior official in Delhi said the objective of the first phase of operation was to go for area domination without unleashing any violence. Both the State police and paramilitary forces have been asked to avoid any violent conflict with the Maoists unless such exercise became must for self defence.

“If they retreat, we are not going to hunt and kill them,” said an official. “We want to cleanse the area of red terror and pave the way for development. Out objective is not to go for bloodbath,” he said.

At the same time, senior police officers, who are more familiar with the ground situation and have better intelligence inputs than the paramilitary forces and bureaucrats at the centre feel that the Maoists are not going to retreat peacefully and will attack the forces at the first opportunity.

“They may not get in head-on confrontation with the joint forces because the forces will outnumber them, but they could unleash guerilla strike the moment we lower the guards,” said a police officer.

Gadchiroli, Kanker and Rajnandgaon have emerged as stronghold of the Maoists over the years. On July 12, the Maoists gunned down 26 policemen and Superintendent of Police BK Choubey in a deadly strike. Similarly, on October 8, Maoist guerrillas ambushed a police patrol and gunned down at least 17 policemen in a jungle of Gadchiroli district. Suspected Maoists also slit the throat of a police informer. The Maoists have also been on the rampage in Kanker where they gunned down a score of policemen last year.

A highly placed official associated with the ongoing operation told The Pioneer that during the first phase, the jawans would spread out in deep interiors of all these three districts and set up their outposts there. In the second phase, which would begin in a month’s time depending on the progress of the first phase, the joint forces would make further inroads in far and remote regions of the three districts and go on cleaning the areas of the Maoists.

“Once we clean out the areas, the district administration will step in with developmental apparatus. The Maoists have emerged as the biggest enemy of the development,” he said, adding, “Unless they are neutralsied and driven out, we can’t have any development,” he said.

He pointed out that the Naxalites killed a number of road contractors in Gidchiroli during the few last months. Last month the contractors called for a ‘bandh’ across the Maoist-infested district on November 26 to seek armed protection from the police on work site. This after the Maoists gunned down two contractors.

Naxalites attack at Balimela disrupts power supply

BS Reporter / Kolkata/ Berhampur December 20, 2009, 23:17 IST



The power supply in the state was disrupted when around 20 armed Naxalites attacked Balimela hydro power station in south Orissa on Saturday night damaging its Valve House and thus affecting generation at the station. The left wing ultras allegedly damaged the intake tunnel of the power station located about 70 km from Malkanagiri, the district head quarter town.

The power unit is run by the state owned Orissa Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC). A high level engineer team of the OHPC on Sunday rushed to the spot to assess the situation and restore power generation.

Police said the Naxalite activists overpowered the security persons deployed in the unit and ransacked the Valve House located atop a hill and set fire to some of the machineries, causing extensive damage to the machines.

They have also damaged the intake tunnel through which water was flowing inside, crippling the power generation at the unit, the superintendent of the police Malkanagiri Satyabrata Bhoi said.

They however did not hurt any person on duty at the station during the attack.

The project, with a total capacity of 510 Mw, was generating 360 Mw at present due to the low water level in the reservoir.

This was for the first time the CPI-ML activists targeted a hydro power generation unit in the state, although they had raided the Panchapatamali mines of the National Aluminium Corporation (Nalco) at Damanjodi in Koraput district early this year, which claimed 11 lives.

The red-rebels, the sources said, put up several posters and banners warning the state government and police not to supply power to the big industrial houses and the rich persons in the area.

Meanwhile the additional security forces have rushed to the spot and police have launched massive combing operation to trace the left-wing ultras, the sources said.

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Sunil Jain: India interrupted

Jharkhand snubbed Maoists: PC

HT Correspondent
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New Delhi, December 21, 2009
First Published: 23:54 IST(21/12/2009)
Last Updated: 23:55 IST(21/12/2009)


Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday counted the high voter turnout in the Jharkhand assembly polls as a “stinging rejection” of the Maoists, who tried to terrorise the people into boycotting the elections.

The home ministry had deployed nearly 25,000 central security personnel during the five-phase assembly polls and put off a coordinated offensive against the Naxals till the elections were over.

The five-phase voting saw a 58 per cent turnout, one percentage higher than polling in the last assembly polls in 2005.

“In my view, this is a stinging rejection of the CPI (Maoist) and other militants who attempted to terrorise the people of Jharkhand into boycotting the elections,” Chidambaram said on Monday. “The ultimate victor is democracy.”

But a dozen policemen — half of them from the central forces —paid with their lives. As he complimented voters for turning up at the polling booths, Chidambaram remembered the security personnel as well.

Chidambaram has instructed the authorities concerned to ensure that the compensation due to the deceased policemen was paid expeditiously and a compliance report submitted by January 15, 2010.

The minister said security forces would continue to be stationed in Jharkhand in the immediate future to maintain law and order.

Counting of votes will take place on Wednesday.

Home ministry officials said the full-fledged anti-Naxal operation would begin soon. The Centre had started deployment of security forces for Chhattisgarh from September, posting them after they completed a course on counter-insurgency operations in jungles

Forest officials rue Narasimhulu’s death

Soumittra S Bose, TNN 21 December 2009, 05:24am ISTText Size:|Topics:K Narasimhulu
Chandrapur circle
Somnur camp

NAGPUR: Soon after the siege and loot of arms at Somnur camp by Naxals, the untimely death of dynamic conservator of forests of the south Chandrapur circle K Narasimhulu has come as a big jolt to the forest department in Gadchiroli. Narsimhulu, whose decision to encourage officials serving in vulnerable areas to use arms for forest protection, has been praised by one and all working in the Naxal-infested Gadchiroli district.

After returning from a workshop in Kolkata recently, the senior official of the 1986-IFS batch fell ill and succumbed at a private nursing home in the city. It is learnt that the popular officer had developed dengue-like symptoms
and jaundice followed by other complications.

According to senior forest officials, Narasimhulu’s presence had posed a big challenge to teakwood smugglers operating in the Naxal-belt of Sironcha. “After taking up the posting, Narasimhulu thwarted more than Rs 3 crore worth
of teakwood smuggling. Usually this wood would have found its way to Andhra Pradesh from Sironcha between

August and October,” said a local forest official posted in Gadchiroli. Most officials remember the senior official
as a tough man with a gentle heart, whose communication skills paved the way for a substantial network base for forest officials in the tribal district.

“He (Narasimhulu) had served successfully in the tribal districts and knew how to strike a chord with them instantly. Everyone had found him easy to approach. He basically preferred field work and could spend long hours patrolling in the jungle,” said the officer, adding that he helped generate huge revenue for the government while serving in the department of transport and marketing at Ballarshah.

Officials also hailed Narasimhulu, father of three daughters and two sons, as an official who ensured close
coordination among the ranks and file. “The exemplary concern that he had for the national wealth being drained by the afia and poachers, and the generation of revenue by harnessing forest produce had set him apart,” said a forest official from Gadchiroli. “He was master in timber exploitation, logging and marketing,” said one.

MHA sanctions sun screen lotions for jawans posted above 6000 ft

Agencies
Posted: Dec 22, 2009 at 1428 hrs IST
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New Delhi The Ministry of Home Affairs has sanctioned sun screen lotions for paramilitary personnel posted above the height of 6000 ft and have to face severe heat and ultraviolet rays while on duty.
In an order dated December 10, MHA has said that all paramilitary personnel posted at a height of 6000 ft above sea level will now be entitled to sun screen lotions, with Indo Tibetan Border Police being made the nodal agency for framing rules and distribution of the lotions for the time being.

Sources said the paramilitary forces had for long been demanding such lotions.

The ITBP jawans who are posted along the Sino India border at a height of 18000 ft above sea level have to face serious burns because of the strong UV rays at such heights.

At times the top layer of the skin also peels off from several parts of the body because of the heat.

Sources said a medical team would be constituted to determine the right level of SPF content needed in sun screen lotions to provide the best protection. The higher the SPF level, the better is it.

Heavy exposure to heat also results is early ageing with wrinkles coming on the face earlier than expected. Sources said while almost all paramilitary personnel would like to get sun screen lotions, the minimum height of posting will make the ITBP most beneficial, besides some of the BSF and SSB men.

Paramilitary personnel posted in anti-naxal operations are unlikely to meet the criteria as they work in ares which are below such high sea levels.

Nalco expansion project faces 9-months delay

Press Trust of India / New Delhi December 22, 2009, 16:29 IST



Aluminium producer Nalco's Rs 4,402-crore expansion project will be delayed by about 9 months because of the naxal attack at its Orissa site early this year that brought construction work to a standstill.

"Construction work at alumina refinery came to a stand still after the Naxal attack in April at Damanjodi. Now contractors has resumed work. Commissioning of the alumina refinery will be delayed by about 9 months," Nalco Director Finance B L Bagra told PTI.

As part of its Rs 4,402-crore second-phase expansion project, National Aluminium Company (Nalco) is in the process of augmenting the annual production capacity of its alumina refinery from 1.57 million tonnes to 2.1 million tonnes.

It had planned to start commercial production of the expanded refinery from June 2010, but now it would be done in March 2011.

However, the work is on full swing for expanding the annual production capacity of bauxite mines, aluminium smelter, and captive power plants, he said.

Nalco, in the second phase of the expansion programme, plans to take the annual production of its bauxite mines to 63 lakh tonnes from the present 48 lakh tonnes, output of its aluminium smelter to 4.60 lakh tonnes from present 3.45 lakh tonnes, by next year.

It has a present installed capacity of 960 MW, which will be expanded to 1200 MW in the next fiscal.

Community hall blown up by Maoists in Jharkhand

Press Trust Of India
Bokaro , December 21, 2009
First Published: 11:39 IST(21/12/2009)
Last Updated: 11:43 IST(21/12/2009)


The Maoists blew up a community hall in Bokaro district, police said on Monday.

A group of armed Maoists triggered the blast at the community hall in Upperghat late last night, they said.

Following the incident, police have launched raids in the naxal-infested areas under Nawadih police station.

Focus shifts to security of installations

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 22 Dec 2009 04:41:00 AM ISTLast Updated :

BHUBANESWAR: The focus has now shifted to the security of vital installations in the State with the Maoists damaging the Balimela hydel power station in an attack last night.


This has also highlighted the extent to which the Left-wing extremists (LWEs) have entrenched themselves in the State. This is for the first time that the Maoists have attacked a power project in southern Orissa which is in their clutch for a long time now.

The cause for worry is that there are several other vital installations in the region which remain unguarded even after this attack.

The State Government is yet to take stock of the situation formally except for deciding that the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will be deployed at Balimela and other key installations.

However, the State Government does not have the required number of central paramilitary forces to be deployed in Naxaliteaffected districts and guard key installations.

Sources maintained that the State may receive additional CRPF after the Jharkhand elections. In its memorandum submitted to the 13th Finance Commission (TFC), the State Government maintained that infrastructure to combat the LWEs is inadequate as most of the Naxal-hit districts are newly created with poor infrastructure.

The State Government has sought Rs 41 crore for infrastructure of 100 new police stations with fortification. The Chief Minister had announced after the Naxalite attack on Nayagarh town in 2006 that police stations in the affected areas will be fortified.

Besides, Rs 17.32 crore has been sought for basic training, while Rs 10 crore is required for anti-extremist training. The State has also sought Rs 4.26 crore for upgradation of intelligence. The memorandum has demanded Rs 18 crore special assistance for infrastructure development in LWE districts.

Naxals choking Malkangiri bit by bit

Express News Service
First Published : 22 Dec 2009 04:29:00 AM ISTLast Updated :

BHUBANESWAR: What Maoists did in Nepal to grab power not so long ago is being replayed in Malkangiri. The attack on Balimela Hydel Project was in the offing since it has long been one of the vulnerable installations. Their attack on the valve house was just a statement to prove that they could target anything at will but the State Government simply refused to take notice.


Sans any anti-Naxal strategy for implementation, the Orissa Government is banking on just one thing - para-military support from the Centre. The seven battalions of CRP F, which the State demanded to take on the Red rebels, has not come yet. And the Centre has shown no inclination to meet the demand.

That the State has found Centre’s attitude worrying is one thing but what’s of concern is how it has responded to a deteriorating situation in southern district of Malkangiri where the rebels have the administration at their mercy.

The CPI (Maoist) has already upgraded its strength to a battalion which is evident from their announcement of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) but it went unheeded by the anti-Naxal unit of the State Police.

Security analysts pointed out that CPI (Maoist) is strangulating Malkangiri by the day. The Machhkund Division of the Red rebels has its control over the entire stretch from Govindpali towards Balimela, Chitrakonda and further down to Sileru and Donkariah. This is the main route to Andhra Pradesh and even a skilled AP Police do not have access to the region.

Similar is the control of the rebels from Malkangiri town towards Kalimela, Motu and southern tip of the district. The region contiguous to Chhattisgarh is under the control of the CPI (Maoist).

In the recent past, when they attacked Boipariguda, the Maoists managed to sever links to Malkangiri because that is the only route to the district headquarters and once taken over, it chokes all connections to the southern district.

While CRPF’s anti-Naxal capabilities have increasingly come under question, the State Government’s over-dependence on the Central para-military force is even more appalling.

“Given the situation in Malkangiri, a CRPF battalion deployed in Sambalpur was mobilised to the southern district to the potential risk of the latter.

However, such is the upgraded strength of CPI (Maoist) that Malkangiri seems to have slipped out of control,” said a source.

“Strengthening the force to take on by intelligence-based strategies is the only option but that’s what the Government is ignoring,” said an expert.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Suspected Maoists kill college employee in Bihar

Gaya, Dec 20 (PTI) A college employee was found dead today in this district of Bihar, two days after he was abducted by suspected Maoists from a village, police said.

Kamlesh Kumar, a fourth grade employee of Upendra Nath Verma College, was abducted by suspected Maoists from Juri village in Banke Bazar police station on Friday, they said.

Meanwhile, angry locals blocked the Sherghatti-Imamganj road for hours to protest against the law and order situation there

Maoists damage Valve House of Balimela station

By Ratnakar Dash

Malkangiri, Dec. 20: Armed Maoists have damaged the Valve House of Balimela power station on Saturday night bringing power generation in the hydro power unit to a grinding halt.

According to sources, about 20 armed Maoists descended on a hill top where the Valve House was located and caused damaged to the installation. The incident took place around midnight, sources said.

Although initial reports indicated that the extremists had blown up the Valve House, police said no explosives were used to cause the damage.

The Maoists, however, did not harm the security personnel and other staff who were on duty at the Valve House.

They also damaged the intake tunnel of the power station, according to sources.

Balimela power station, which is situated about 70 km away from the district headquarter town of Malkangiri , is run by the Odisha Hydro Power Corporation.

As no official of the OHPC was available, the extant of damage was not available immediately.

Maoists blow up government buildings in Rourkela

Rourkela, Dec 19 (PTI) CPI(Maoists) today bombed two government buildings at Relhatur village in Orissa's Sundargarh district.

Around 100 armed ultras stormed Relhatur village and bombed the panchayat office and its adjoining panchayat store building.

An eyewitness said the maoists were shouting anti- government slogans asking villagers "dekho hum uda raha hai tumhara building, bullao police ko" (see we are blasting your buildings, call the police).

The ultras also pasted hand written posters at nearby villages of Rengeda and Topadih.



The people of Mahupada, Jharbeda, Relhatur, Sanbalijore and Nangalkata village had earlier left their houses fearing the maoists and staged a dharna before K Balang police station and NH No 215 demanding security in their villages.

The villagers had returned only three days back after the security camps opened in their villages.

Securitymen escape Maoist landmine blast

Rourkela (Orissa), Dec 20 (PTI) A police van carrying two platoons of CRPF personnel had a narrow escape when a landmine, triggered by Maoists, exploded in Orissa's Sundargarh district today, police said.

The blast took place at Kamarposh on NH-215 under K Balang police station, about 80 km from here.

The explosion occurred as soon as the police van passed the culvert around 11 am and under its impact the small bridge was partially damaged, the sources said.

The ultras were believed to have planted the landmine beneath a culvert to restrict the force movement on combing operation, continuing for two days following Maoists attack at Relhatur, a nearby village, yesterday.

There was no report of injury to the vehicle or any personnel, they said.

In a pre-dawn attack yesterday, the Maoists had damaged three government buildings, including the local panchayat office, at Relhatur.

2 CPI(M) men killed, 2 cops abducted by Maoists

Midnapore(WB), Dec 20 (PTI): Two CPI(M) workers were killed allegedly by Maoists, who also abducted two policemen from West Midnapore district today, police said.

Bodies of two CPI(M) workers Jyotidranath Mahato and Manik Midha, who along with four others were abducted by Maoists late last night from Balodhoba village, were found dead today at Lauria village near Manikpara, they said.

The whereabouts of the other two persons abducted by the Maoists from Balodhaba village was not known, they added.

Meanwhile, two policemen were abducted by Maoists from Tehgoria under Salboni police station at around 10 AM today, the police said, adding that a massive search operation was launched to rescue the policemen.

Naxalites or Bandits Ramachandra Guha

20 December 2009 The novelist and critic C. S. Lewis said he had no time for those who thought that since they had read a book once, they had no need to read it again. The great works of literature were to read again and again. The urge to go back to a book was prompted sometimes by aesthetics, the desire to savour once more its artful or elegant prose; and at other times by the sense that one would learn something new on a second reading.

Thus it is said that War and Peace makes one kind of impression when read while young; quite another, when read in middle age.

My own tastes run in the direction of non-fiction, but at least in this sphere I think I am exempt from C. S. Lewis’s strictures. Among the books I go back to are autobiographies, such as those written by Neville Cardus, G. H. Hardy, Mahatma Gandhi, Verrier Elwin, Salim Ali, and Leonard Woolf. I have also read Tagore’s tract on nationalism three or four times, and C. L. R. James’s Beyond a Boundary at least once every 
other year.

These return journeys have chiefly been undertaken for pleasure. However, I recently re-read a book for instruction. Like some other Indians, I have been thinking a great deal recently about the rise of the Maoist movement in the country. Who or what are these Maoists? Are they, as the Home Ministry tells us, a bunch of thugs and murderers, or are they, as some left-wing intellectuals claim, idealistic and high-minded revolutionaries who shall create a society free of evil 
and exploitation?

In search of answers, I went back to a book I had first read twenty-five years ago. In the 1980s, while writing a doctoral thesis on peasant resistance in the Uttarakhand Himalaya, I had read the works of British social historians, who had written about lower-class protest in early modern England. Within that vast and once very influential literature, I thought that one study in particular might help clarify my ideas about the Maoists now active in central and eastern India. This was E. J. Hobsbawm’s book, Bandits.

And so I read that book again. I learnt (or learnt afresh) that there is an important distinction to be made between the ordinary criminal and what Hobsbawm calls the ‘social bandit’. Whereas the former is despised by poor and rich equally, the latter ‘never cease[s] to be part of society in the eyes of the peasants (whatever the authorities say)…’. ‘The point about social bandits’, writes Hobsbawm, ‘is that they are peasant outlaws whom the lord and state regard as criminals, but who remain within peasant society, and are considered by their people as champions, avengers, fighters for justice, perhaps even leaders for liberation, and in any case as men to be admired, helped and supported’.

Hobsbawm was writing about another continent and another century. Still, his book does seem to speak somewhat to the India of the present. In an evocative passage, he writes of social bandits in medieval Europe that ‘they lived their wild, free lives in the forest, the mountain caves, or on the wide steppes, armed with the “rifle as tall as the man”, the pair of pistols at the belt…, their tunics laced, gilded and criss-crossed by bandoleers, their moustaches bristling, conscious that fame was their reward among enemies and friends’.

This description, with a word or phrase changed or modified, could fit the current beté noire of the West Bengal State Government, the Maoist leader who uses the nom-de-plume Kishenji. To be sure, he wears a cloth mask rather than a moustache, while, to broadcast his fame (and notoriety) he uses those very modern devices, the cell phone and the television camera. However, the way he speaks and the manner he affects bring to mind the swagger and self-regard of the medieval social bandit. Like that character, Kishenji will be wild, and he will be free — and he thinks the police will 
never catch him.

Hobsbawm observes that in several countries and historical epochs (as for example early 20th C Mexico), bandits had joined revolutionary political struggles, ‘not because they understood the complexities of democratic, socialist or even anarchist theory…, but because the cause of the people and the poor was self-evidently just, and the revolutionaries demonstrated their trustworthiness by unselfishness, self-sacrifice and devotion — in other words by their personal behaviour.’ Then he continues: ‘That is why military service and jail, the places where bandits and modern revolutionaries are most likely to meet in conditions of equality and mutual trust, have seen many 
political conversions’.

Once more, the parallels with the current crop of Naxalites are not hard to detect. What they have going for them is their lifestyle — they can live with, and more crucially, live like the poor peasant and tribal, eating the same food, wearing the same clothes, eschewing the comforts and seductions of the city. In this readiness to identify with the oppressed they are in contrast to the bureaucrat, the politician, and the police officer. And to take Hobsbawm’s other point, from the late 1960s onwards the jail has indeed been a crucial site for the transmission of Maoist ideology in India.

Historical comparisons are never exact. In some respects the Indian Maoists are like the social bandits of early modern Europe. They too emerged in response to inequalities in society and the manifest corruptions of the state. With the government indifferent to the needs of the poor, a band of motivated individuals have come forward to identify with their interests. Here the parallels break down. For the Maoists seek not justice for a single individual or village, but a wholesale re-ordering of society. Their ambitions are far larger than, for example, those of the late Koose Munnaswamy Veerappan, he of the bristling (and outsize) moustache. Whereas the gang of that Tamil Robin Hood operated in a single hill range, the Maoists have a network stretching across several states.

Hobsbawm wrote of the bandits he studied that ‘they are not activists and not ideologists or prophets from whom novel visions or plans of social and political organisation are to be expected’. The Maoists, on the other hand, see themselves as ideologists and even prophets, although it must be said that their vision and plan is not novel but wholly derivative. They hope that, in time, they will prevail by the force of arms over the Indian state, thus to capture power in New Delhi much as their revered hero, Mao Zedong, had captured power in Beijing sixty years ago. This larger aim marks them out from out from the likes of Veerappan, as, of course, does their access to more deadly weapons such as AK 47s, dynamite, and land mines, not to speak of their practice of a virtual cult of violence, which takes pleasure in blasting transmission lines and railway stations, and beheading policemen and alleged informers.

As it happens, however, the revolutionary dreams of the Maoists are a fantasy. The Indian state is far more powerful today than the Chinese state was back in the 1940s. And despite all its manifest faults and failures, most Indians prefer our current, multi-party democracy to a one-party state to be run by the Maoists. For these (and other reasons) we must withhold from them their own preferred appellation, that of ‘revolutionaries’. They are considerably less than that, but also far more than ordinary criminals. Should we then see them as social bandits for a post-modern age, capable, like their medieval counterparts, of irritating the hell out of the government of the day, if ultimately incapable of overcoming 
or replacing it?

Ramachandra Guha is an eminent Indian historian and author, most recently, of India after Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy. This article is published in arrangement with Telegraph, Calcutta

ASI killed in encounter with Naxals in Chhattisgarh

Raipur, Dec 19 (PTI) A police officer was killed and another critically injured in an encounter with Naxalites in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district.

Assistant sub-inspector Baldev Patel died and constable Jairam Nag was seriously injured in the encounter at Tumnar village under Bangapal police station, Bijapur Police Superintendent Avinash Mohanty told PTI.

The cops were part of a police team deployed in the village to provide security to Bijapur MLA Mahesh Gagra who was to visit the place, Mohanty said, adding the encounter lasted an hour.

In another incident, three villagers were injured when a 'pressure bomb' went off, he said.