Sunday, March 28, 2010

Maoists threaten to blow up Orissa CM's residence

Bhubaneswar, March 28, 2010

An e-mail by suspected Maoists, received at the Orissa Chief Minister's Office (CMO) here threatened to blow up the residence of Naveen Patnaik and other important establishments in the state, officials said on Sunday.

The mail refers to bullet injuries to top Maoist leaders Kishenji and Bikram.

"We will reply to each bullet that hit Kishanji and comrade Bikram," said the e-mail received on Saturday purportedly sent by the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the Peoples' Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA), a Maoist outfit.

"As soon as you launch joint special operation or 'Green Hunt', we will start attacks at Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri simultaneously," the e-mail has said.

Asking the chief minister not to rejoice over the deployment of central para-military force (CPMF) in the state, it said, "Your happiness over getting additional force is temporary".

Describing the police personnel as a "helpless lot" in the administrative set up, the e-mail has threatened to target corrupt bureaucrats by the use of ultra-modern weapons available under cyber technology.

The state secretariat, office of the commissioner of police, police headquarters in Cuttack, armoury of 6th Battalion of OSAP (Orissa special armed police), Orissa Computer Application Centre (OCAC), Grid Corporation of Orissa (Gridco), Nalco and Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) are identified in its target.

Claiming PLGA had successfully hacked the state government portal on March 11, the e-mail said the rebel's acts would be more devastating this time as they were aware of the loopholes in the government set-up.

A senior official of the home department said that they are probing the incident.

Maoists attracting youths with salary

In an attempt to attract more unemployed youths into their armed fight, the Maoists have started shelling out Rs 3,000 to each of their cadre as salary and a cut of the extortion money.

The strategy of the Maoist leadership to give monetary incentives to the cadres has led to many unemployed youngsters hailing from backward areas in the Naxal-hit states joining the movement, officials say in New Delhi.

"It is a matter of concern. Acute poverty coupled with lack of job opportunities is turning many youths to Naxalism.

They get Rs 3,000 as monthly remuneration and a cut of the extortion money they collect," a Home Ministry official said.

The extremists extort money to the tune of Rs 1,400 crore annually as they operate in mineral-rich areas where hundreds of industries are located.

Due to fear of attacks and in return of security from the Maoists, many of the industries, businessman, contractors and even some government officials in the Maoist-affected territories give extortion money to them.

"They can now bring many sectors of Indian economy to their knees. But they don't want to do it today. They know that if they do that now, the state will come very hard on them. They are not fully prepared to face the onslaught of the state machinery. So, they would rather go very slowly," Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai had said recently.

As a counter to the Maoist strategy, the government has taken up 34 districts in eight states as focus areas as all of them had high incidence of Naxal violence.

Besides, the Home Ministry is also trying to build capacity in the state police forces and helping them with deployment of central forces, sharing intelligence, training support and inter-state coordination.

During the past six months, security forces were able to take control of around 4,000 sq km area from Naxals and restore civil administration there. However, this is not much as about 40,000 sq km of area is now being dominated by the Maoists.

A total of 908 people have lost their lives last year, the highest since 1971, in Naxal violence and the security agencies feel that violence may go up this year and the next year.

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