Sunday, March 28, 2010

Combing operation starts in Orissa’s Mayurbhanj district to halt entrance of Maoists from West Bengal

Report by Orissadiary bureau; Baripada: To halt the entrance of Maoists from the neighboring Lalgarh of West Bengal , total Mayurbhanj district has been high alert and Combing operation started. More than 100 persons have been detained for their suspecting attitude and investigation is going on.

Kombing operation intensified in Suliapada, Chandua, Jharpokharia, Bangriposhi, Bissioy, Gorumahisani, Jashipur, Thakurmunda, and Mahuladian areas .15 Platoons Force including Central Reserve Force, Special Operation Group, Orissa Special Striking Force, Orissa Armed Special Force and District Voluntary Force, district intelligency and ,officer - incharge of all the Officers in Charge of Police Station were included in this .joint cumbing operation.

Mobile Tower, Bank, Dispensory, Railway Station, Bus Stand are included in their their attack. So the securiety of the area and has been intensified.

Naveen's security beefed up after threat mail

Bhubaneswar, Mar 28 (PTI) Security has been beefed up in and around Naveen Patnaik's residence and other vital places here following a threat e-mail purportedly sent by Maoists to the chief minister's office.

"Police are investigating into the matter. I am sure they will come up with success," Patnaik told reporters today on the sideline of a meeting held at a hotel here.

The security of the chief minister, who is covered under the 'Z plus' category, was enhanced in view of yesterday's e-mail purportedly sent by Central Military Commission of Peoples Liberation Guerilla Army, a Maoist outfit, threatening to blow up his residence Naveen Niwas, official sources said.

Personnel of special security battalion have been deployed in and around Naveen Niwas. Personnel from the elite anti-naxalite force and special operation group have been posted at the state secretariat and other places Patnaik usually visits, the sources said.

Red rebels hijack Martyrs’ Day

TNN, Mar 27, 2010, 04.36am IST


NAGPUR: Naxalites didn't just hijack a explosives' truck, they have also cocked asnook at security forces deployed in Gadchiroli forests by observing Martyrs' Day of March 23, the day on which freedom revolutionaries Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged in 1931, on a large scale.

The images, in possession of TOI, depict celebration and meetings organized by the Naxals involving villagers in large numbers. This can affect the morale of deployed security forces and also raises questions about their influence in the combat zone where Maoist movements seem unchallenged.

The turnout, and presence of armed women cadres, challenges cops' claim that support for the rebels and strength of the dalams were depleting. Several images of the Maoist organized programmes filtered in from villages and adjoining jungles along the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border in north Gadchiroli.

The rebels, along with villagers in interior areas, celebrated the day with revolutionary fervour.

Through meetings and cultural activities, they raised fiery visions of the legendary lives of the three martyrs. When the day passed like just another in cities and towns, the revered tales and wisdom of revolutionaries reverberated in the jungles of the Gadchiroli thanks to the rebels who are, ironically, fighting against government of free India.

Curtains on the ideal communist

Asha Menon
First Published : 28 Mar 2010 11:08:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 25 Mar 2010 07:24:21 PM IST

Kanubaba, that’s what everyone called him in the village of Naxalbari, the crucible of the Naxalite movement. Kanu Sanyal, who committed suicide last Tuesday, was one of its founders along with Charu Mazumdar and Jungul Santhal — and the last survivor. He lived in Hathigisa, a snug pocket off the main road in Naxalbari, just a few hours from the tourist hub of Siliguri in West Bengal.

This is where “the spring thunder of India” began, in 1967. The Peasant Council in Naxalbari had decided that it would go forward with an armed struggle to demand land redistribution. For a short while the village became a symbol of hope, of fear, change and renewal. It even

inspired college students, who dropped out to join the movement. But then the world lurched back again into its regular rhythm, and Naxalbari went back to being another of the lakhs of villages that dot India.

There is little trace of its history today in the small town. It looks like any other place after Holi — happy drunks, people hurrying to work and stores rolling up their shutters. At the local police station the officers are enjoying a cup of tea.
The road to Sanyal’s house weaves through bamboo groves and runs over the winding Kemchi. It is a winter dream. “It is at the end of this lane,” says one man and even walks along with us, eager to help. Sanyal is popular with the tea-estate workers here. Thanks to him, they have decent wages, a water tank and electricity.

The lane bends at a one-room mud hut and I recognise the legendary leader seated on the porch. An aluminium kettle and a small packet of snuff (“my only vice”) keep him company. He wears an old blue sweater and a woollen cap that keep him warm on this cold day. The day’s routine is unvarying. He must have his morning walk and the newspapers.

“Yes? What do you want?” he asks, a little curtly. I had not made a phone call and had landed on his doorstep unannounced. If I had left then, I would have taken the memory of a frail, stern, old man, whose rage at injustice set the country ablaze. Instead I stay on to listen and find, in a wicked twist of irony, a man who has forgotten himself.

“I cannot say much. I have forgotten everything,” he says. It seems to pain him. “I had a stroke a year and a half ago. I don’t remember what I went through during the movement or what I have read.”

He is living alone despite his failing health. Comrades like Santosh Rana keep asking him to move to Kolkata where they could get him medical attention. He refuses. Sanyal insists on living amid the fragments of the dream he once had. He takes me into his one-room house, which doubles as a party office. Heaps of yellowing papers, old photographs of Lenin, Marx, Engels and Mao Zedong, a dusty dhari, and that’s it.
“I eat when my comrade (Santhi Munda) who lives nearby feeds me.” He offers to call that comrade to talk about the tea-estate workers’ agitation, since he has not been active in politics for over a year. His resignation is in striking contrast to the obstinate Sanyal that KN Ramchandran worked with. Sanyal had refused to budge from Naxalbari even when Ramachandran wanted him to move into “a political capital” like Delhi or Kolkata.

“He was polite, but dogmatic,” he says. “He would patiently listen to all that we had to say, but he would not implement our suggestions.” Ramchandran’s group merged with Sanyal’s in 2003 but split again away in 2009, due to political differences.
Sanyal had become somewhat of a political relic in his own time. Vaskar Nandy, a contemporary, remembers when he was released from jail after the Emergency in 1977. The oppressor had changed. “The landlord was no more the enemy, everything was sucked into the feudal bureaucratic structure (essentially a corrupt government). Many of the old leaders failed at that.”

He may have been out of tune with the rest but Sanyal was an ideal communist, according to his close friend Subrato Basu, who knew him for 31 years. “Kanuda was the last embodiment of communist values. He was every inch a communist and he was compassionate.”

In 1995, in Bihar’s Hajipur, comrade Ashit Sinha was seriously ill. Sanyal who was there to attend a public meeting took Sinha to Kolkata. They could not get a hospital bed for five days but all through the wait, Sanyal kept Sinha at home and nursed him.
Sanyal refused to make ideological compromises for a better life. Says Basu, “He has had offers from the CPM but he turned them down.” Once elephants ran down this rickety structure in Hathigisa. “Rich landlords offered money in many thousands. He turned down their offers.” He even kept accounts of the meagre expenses they incurred in the commune. “It is the public’s money, he would say.”

— ashamenon@expressbuzz.com

CPI questions effectiveness of Operation Green Hunt

Bhubaneswar, Mar 28 (PTI) Casting doubts over the effectiveness of Operation Green hunt against Maoists, CPI today said a special plan must be worked out to tackle the Naxal menace as it was not merely a law and order problem but involved socio-economic issues.

"Operation Green hunt alone cannot solve the Naxalite problem and some special plan and programme must be prepared to tackle the menace, which involves socio-economic issues," CPI national secretary D Raja told reporters here.

Stating that certain issues being raised by Maoists were justified, Raja said a large number of tribals and weaker sections of the society were being neglected and exploited.

However, the methods being adopted by Maoists were also not appropriate as all problems could not be solved by killing people, he said.

20 naxals killed, say Bengal cops

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times

Kolkata/New Delhi, March 26, 2010
First Published: 23:33 IST(26/3/2010)
Last Updated: 00:46 IST(27/3/2010)


The West Bengal Police claimed on Friday that it had achieved a major success in a 12-hour-long gun battle with Maoists in a jungle in West Midnapore district.
Early Thursday, the combined forces attacked Hatilot jungle near the Maoist-dominated Lalgarh, 200 km west of Kolkata, on a tip-off.

Although police sources claimed that about 20 rebels were killed, state police chief Bhupinder Singh said, "As we couldn’t recover any body, I cannot quantify the success."But the sources said pictures taken from a helicopter substantiated their success claim.The Union Home Ministry, however, said that the forces caught three people, including an explosives expert.

The state police also claimed that Koteswar Rao, alias Kishenji, politburo member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), was injured and was undergoing treatment at a village near Lalgarh.

Among the rebels, whom the police claimed to have felled, was a PhD scholar from Jadavpur University, Bikram alias Abhishek Mukherjee, allegedly involved in the attack on a Tata Motors showroom on December 4, 2006.

Fresh gunfight between police, Naxals in West Bengal

PTISaturday, March 27, 2010 17:35 IST

Kolkata: A fresh gun battle today broke out between Maoists and the joint forces in Salboni area, even as police remained tight-lipped over reports that top leader Kishenji was injured in Thursday's encounter at Hatiloth forest in West Midnapore district.

The fire-fight began when the special anti-Maoist CoBRA personnel were carrying out a search in Hatiloth and Bhalukbasa forests, both in Salboni area, besides Chotokalsibhanga forest in Lalgarh area, police sources said.

There were no immediate reports of any casualty.

Asked whether Kishenji, who twice escaped arrest, was hurt in Thursday's gun battle with the joint forces, superintendent of police Manoj Verma told PTI, "A group of Maoists in Hatiloth forest were injured, but it cannot be said for certain whether Kishenji was present."

Kishenji was trapped when the joint forces surrounded a group of Maoists during the release of kidnapped officer-in-charge of Sankrail police station Atindranath Dutta on October 22 last year. However, he escaped after threatening to kill Dutta.

On January 21, Kishenji gave the second slip, while his laptop and headphones were seized at a jungle between Jitushol and Dumurpota under Kotwali police station. Stating that the anti-Naxal personnel had cordoned off Lalgarh, Jamboni and Kotwali police station areas and were tightening the noose on the maoists, the police official said, "If Kishenji had called up the media to state that he was hurt it would have been a different matter, but there is no specific information about him."

Another senior police officer told PTI, "I have also heard that he is hurt, but there is no information about his whereabouts."

Asked whether the elusive Maoist leader was in Midnapore district or had fled, another senior police officer said his
mobile phone was being tracked.

On whether any Maoist has been eliminated in the ongoing encounter, Verma said "We cannot say anything until a body is
recovered. So far we have not recovered a body."

The official said two Maoist squad leaders Sanatan Pal and Prasanta Patra were arrested from Salboni area yesterday.

They were produced in court today remanded to police custody till April 4.

Pal was arrested with an SLR rifle, while Patra, regarded as a big catch, was involved in all major attacks in Belpahari and Banspahari area of the district for the last three years, Verma said.

Kanu Sanyal: A killer kills himself

A killer kills himself

Kanchan Gupta

The last of the three men who launched a violent agitation in the closing years of the tumultuous 1960s when West Bengal was wracked by unprecedented political and social upheaval is dead. Like Charu Mazumdar and Jangal Santhal, his two comrades-in-arms, Kanu Sanyal believed that by mobilising the rural underclass with the help of urban youth committed to the radical ideology of Left extremism fashioned after Mao Tse Tung’s interpretation of Marxism and Leninism, the ‘bourgeois system of governance’ in India, dominated by the ‘upper class’, could be replaced with a revolutionary regime controlled by the ‘proletariat’.

Charu Mazumdar and Kanu Sanyal saw themselves as leaders of the masses, but like many Communist leaders of the time, they were not from the masses. Both were formidable Marxists of north Bengal who had chosen to throw in their lot with the CPI(M) when the Communist Party of India split in 1964. But within a couple of years, they debunked the CPI(M)s “struggle against revisionism and sectarianism in the Communist movement” and contested the party’s commitment to “the scientific and revolutionary tenets of Marxism-Leninism and its appropriate application in the concrete Indian conditions”.

The need of the hour, Charu Mazumdar and Kanu Sanyal decided, was a “revolutionary opposition” that would strike out on its own and in defiance of the CPI(M)’s stated position. Primarily, their objection was to the CPI(M)’s decision to participate in parliamentary democracy, which they believed was meaningless as it was a barrier to ‘class struggle’ and an obstacle in the path of the proletariat. Parliament, they decreed, was a “pig sty” and hence held little or no significance for the masses.

The simmering conflict between the far Left faction, led by Charu Mazumdar, and the rest in the CPI(M) in West Bengal reached a flashpoint in the summer of 1967. Landless farmers of Naxalbari had launched an agitation demanding rights for the tillers and the United Front Government, of which the CPI(M) was a member, feared the incipient prairie fire would rapidly spread across the State. Or, it may have simply been a case of the CPI(M) not wanting the far Left to run away with its land reforms programme.

An anaemic effort was made by the local administration to end the agitation in Naxalbari through dialogue; that didn’t work. Meanwhile, a local landlord — or jotedar — let loose his thugs on the protesting peasants. There was retaliatory violence. Subsequently, the police were ordered to use force. The resultant deaths were sufficient to light the fuse and provide the opportunity which Charu Mazumdar and Kanu Sanyal were looking for to launch their ‘revolution’. Jangal Santhal joined them in their endeavour. May 25, 1967 remains an important date for the Naxalites and the inheritors of their legacy, the Maobadis. Had that day passed peacefully, perhaps history would have taken a different course.

The next two years saw Charu Mazumdar, Kanu Sanyal and Jangal Santhal mobilising people in north Bengal’s villages and drafting college and university students for their cause through the All-India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries, which brought together various factions, groups and individuals on the far Left of the Communist movement. The formation of the AICCCR also marked the parting of ways between the ‘Naxalbadis’ and the ‘Marxbadis’; the breach was never to be repaired. Some of the brightest minds were persuaded by Charu Mazumdar’s exposition of Marxism-Leninism, which was really a tribute to his pamphleteering skills rather than the substance of the violent ideology he espoused with amazing passion. He was a thin man, a chain smoker (legend has it that he smoked Charminars), and those who knew him aver that he was extraordinarily soft-spoken and polite.

But when it came to putting his political beliefs into words, he wielded a powerful pen; as a public speaker, he could stir primitive emotions. Charu Mazumdar, who was a great admirer of Mao Tse Tung, wrote eight pamphlets extolling the virtues of ‘Maoism’. The ‘Historic Eight Documents’, as the pamphlets came to be known, made four points: The Indian state was a ‘bourgeois institution’; the Soviet Union deserved to be denounced for supporting the Indian state (conversely, China merited praise for not toeing the Soviet line!); Communists affiliated to the CPI and the CPI(M) were ‘revisionists’ and had abandoned the toiling masses; and, true revolutionaries should resort to armed struggle to overthrow the ‘bourgeois state’.

Groups of young men and women set out each night from their homes, armed with paint and brushes, to scrawl revolutionary messages on every available wall. The most prominent of these were: “Bonduk’er nol khomotaa’r utsa!” (Power flows from the barrel of a gun) and “China’r chairman amaader chairman” (China’s chairman is our chairman — a reference to Mao Tse Tung). This was in Kolkata. In the villages, armed groups began attacking jotedars, killing and maiming ‘class enemies’.

Two years later, in 1969, the CPI (ML) was formally launched at a huge rally on Lenin’s birth anniversary. Addressing the crowd, Kanu Sanyal compared Charu Mazumdar with Mao and urged people to join the armed struggle. It was a passionate call to revolt against the ‘bourgeois system’ which saw a surge in targeted killing of policemen, jotedars, pro-CPI(M) intellectuals, and petty traders. A statue of Iswarchandra Vidyasagar was decapitated, though nobody could quite explain how he qualified as a ‘class enemy of the toiling masses’. Pipe guns and bombs were the mainstay of the Naxalites’ arsenal; the occasional .303 looted from a hapless constable added to their firepower.

Meanwhile, students, some of them still in their teens, gave up promising careers as engineers and doctors to join the armed insurrection. Many of them just disappeared — they were listed by the police as ‘pherari’. The Congress came to power in West Bengal and Mr Siddhartha Shankar Ray, as Chief Minister, ordered a ruthless crackdown on the Naxalites. Charu Mazumdar was arrested from his hideout and died within days in police custody. Parents lived in fear of the dreaded midnight knock. Armed goons of the Congress (referred to as ‘Congshals’) helped the police track down and get rid of Naxals.

By 1977, it was all over. The revolution had failed. Jangal Santhal died unnoticed, unsung. Kanu Sanyal retired to a lonely life in Naxalbari, occasionally expressing regret over the mindless bloodletting. He committed suicide on March 23. But the dragon’s teeth sown by him and his comrades have proved to be extremely fertile. Today’s Maoists are the inheritors of the blood-soaked legacy of Charu Mazumdar, Kanu Sanyal and Jangal Santhal.

Two naxals arrested in Gadchiroli

Nagpur, Mar 28 (PTI) Two Naxalites including a woman, were arrested in a joint operation by Gadchrioli Police and CRPF, police said today.

Ranu Lalu Parsa (35) and his female companion Amita alias Soni Masa Kovasi (23) of Chattiagarh were picked up from Ranu's house at Bhasmantola in Etapalli Taluka of Gadchiroli district yesterday, they said.

A country made pistol, one hand held loading rifle and some live cartridges were recovered, they said, adding investigation was on to find out if the duo were involved in previous crimes and whether they were married to each other.

Maoist bunkers destroyed, weapons seized in Bihar

Aurangabad, Mar 28 (PTI) Police today destroyed eight bunkers and seized about 50 kg explosives besides naxal literature during anti-Maoist operation on Dhakpahari hill in Bihar's Aurangabad district.

Superintendent of Police Nishant Tiwari said the police, acting on a tip off, began a search in the forest on the hill and destroyed the bunkers.

No Maoists were apprehended during the operation, he said, adding that the raids were on.

Two rifles, one pistol, 50 rounds of ammunition, equipment and explosives for making detonators, 24 police uniforms and some cane bombs were recovered from the spot by the police, he added.

Maoists threaten to blow up Orissa CM's residence

PTI
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.

Maoists Offering Salary To The Cadres, Unemployed Youths Attracted

By SUNIL Sonkar

New Delhi, March 28 — A salary of Rs 3,000 and a cut of the extortion money is being given to the cadre by Maoists to attract more unemployed youths into their armed fight.

According to officials, this strategy of Maoists has led to unemployed youngsters hailing from backward areas joining the movement.

Home Ministry official said, “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.”

It is learned that the Maoists extort money annually to the tune of Rs 1,400 crore. They operate in the mineral-rich areas where many industries are located.
Fearing the extremist group many of the industries, contractors, businessmen, and also some of the government officials give extortion money to them in the area.
Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai recently said, “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.”
34 districts in 8 states has been taken by the government as focus areas. In all these areas there has been high incidences of Naxal violence.

Apart from this, the Home Ministry is also building up capacity in the state police forces in the areas and helping them with deployment of central forces along with sharing intelligence, training support and inter-state coordination.
In the past 6 months the security forces have taken control of around 4,000 sq km area from Naxals and civil administration has been restored there.
Now, the Maoists dominate about 40,000 sq km of area.

Red rebels’ set nursery on fire in Bonai

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 28 Mar 2010 11:18:23 AM IST

ROURKELA: Suspected Maoists reportedly set afire a nursery located deep inside San Gurundia forest of Tamra range under Bonai forest division late last night. However, Gurundia police said it was not an act of the Maoists.

Local sources claimed a group of around 30 Maoists set ablaze the nursery and the fence of dried twigs. No Forest official was present at that time. Tamra forest range is contiguous to Naxal-hit forest stretches of Deogarh and Sambalpur districts. Gurundia IIC Kuber Bariha said it appeared to be an act of mischief-mongers and pointed out that there was no ‘Red’ poster to suggest presence of Maoists

Young tribal villagers are being recruited by both maoists and police



Jaideep Hardikar / DNASunday, March 28, 2010 0:25 IST

If things weren’t what they are today, Bhunesh Sodi would aspire to be a teacher. “Or, a farmer!” But all that this tribal teenager who’s yet to develop a moustache can think of is to get a Jaipur foot so that he can be rid of his crutches and get back to work as a police scout. “I am getting bored,” he says with some discomfort on his face, in a police camp at Dornapal in Dantewada district, about 450km south of Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh. “How long will I walk with these sticks?”


Two months ago, the eighth-class dropout from Dantewada’s Bodigoda village found his lower limb hanging from his knee after a crude pressure bomb ripped through the police party he was part of, in the Kolampalli forest on the sensitive Pinjram-Bijji road. Recruited only last October as a Special Police Officer (SPO) after a brief period of training, he was guiding the troops through the dense teak and bamboo jungle he grew up in. They wanted to set up a base camp at the edge of a Maoist-dominated area, to serve as a launch pad for the forces as part of the ongoing Operation Green Hunt.

“I got no time to react when I stepped on the mine,” says Bhunesh, his eyes lowered at the amputated left leg that he’s wrapped with a cloth. But his face wore no sign of resignation. If needed, he says, he would fight again. He has training on an SLR and a .303 rifle.

Fighting back

Pinjram, about 100km south of Dantewada town, is an area where development is just an idea and democracy, a farce. “It’s better to die fighting than live in fear of the Naxalites,” says Bajaar Mandavi, another SPO at Dornapal, one of the biggest relief camps in south Dantewada.

Bajaar, who is only a little older than Bhunesh, says the youth in Salwa Judum camps have no regrets about helping the police, because otherwise they would be at the mercy of the Maoists. “Ab yeh toh war hai (this is now a war),” adds Bhunesh. Many of his friends, he says, have died or lost their limbs in the last few years.
It was when a section of his tribe took on the Maoists that
Bhunesh decided to join the police camp, without his parents’ knowledge. One attraction, he says with a chuckle, was to flaunt a rifle. But, quickly turning serious, he explains that those like him who refused to accept the Maoist writ had little choice except to leave their villages and join the fight to free the region.

He admits that the local villagers are divided, with one section being on the Maoist side. “We try and send them messages to give up,” he says.

Local knowledge
The local intelligence provided by Bhunesh, Bajaar and hundreds of SPOs — tribal youth who had earlier joined Salwa Judum, the state-backed people’s resistance movement against the Maoists — are crucial to the security forces as they scale up their campaign against armed rebels across a 4000 square kilometre terrain where the civil administration can barely venture. “They know the terrain and the local Maoist cadres,” says SRP Kalluri, IG, Anti-Naxal Operations, Bastar.

Battalions of paramilitary forces have taken up positions in north-west Kanker and south-east Rajnandgaon, which open into Abujh Marh, a largely uncharted forest said to be the main Maoist base where they have their training camps and ammunition depots.

Bhunesh’s village, Bodigoda, with a population of about 300, is among the many tribal villages of the region which are under Maoist rule. His relatives, neighbours and childhood friends are on the other side. “We have our home and land in the village,” he says. “I have no idea what is happening there. But sometimes in the market I meet a friend or a relative. They are scared of the Naxalites.”

Some of the recently surrendered cadres, he says, are locals whom he and his family members knew in their neighbouring villages.

Life in camp
Bhunesh had shifted to his maternal uncle’s home in Dornapal for his schooling. Last year, prompted by his SPO friends, he went to the police authorities and expressed his desire to join the ranks. He was quickly taken in after a physical checkup and some enquiries about his family.

After being incapacitated, Bhunesh — the eldest of five siblings — now lives with his maternal uncle Ghasiram, a tractor driver with a civil works body. Bhunesh’s parents, who live in the relief camp right opposite the police station, are daily-wage labourers and can’t take care of him.

He will now be shifted to a desk job in the police station, overseeing the relief camp where 10,000 people from 12 villages live in mud huts. These small huts huddled close together are a contrast to the traditional open tribal houses in the villages of Bastar. Like most of the Judum members who crave for their land, Bhunesh says everyday he longs to go back to his village.

Judum to SPO
It was in 2005 that the Raman Singh-government began arming tribal youths who were either surrendered Maoists or part of Salwa Judum. But after the Supreme Court raised questions on the legality of arming local people, the government absorbed them as SPOs, giving them a salary of Rs2,000-5,000 a month.
More than 10,000 such youth work as SPOs in Bastar.

A physically fit youth, usually recommended by a working SPO, easily gets recruited as an SPO. Once taken in, he or she is sent for a short stint in a police training school before being deployed on the field for operations: from patrolling to protecting the Judum relief camps.

In most relief camps where the tribals have no sustainable source of livelihood, the job of SPO is worth the risk for many.
About 45,000 tribals who joined Salwa Judum now subsist on government doles in 23 relief camps across Dantewada and Bijapur, a senior police officer in Dantewada says. They can’t return to their villages, given the fear of retribution from the Maoists.

Tribal divide
The relief camps have sharpened the divide between Bastar’s tribals, between the ‘outsiders’ in the camps and the ‘Maoist sympathisers’ inside the forest. What makes them resolute, the SPOs say, is a history of oppression unknown to the external world. “The Naxalites beat me with an iron rod, my hands tied behind, like I was a hen,” says Sukhram Abka, a village sarpanch now living in the Bhairamgarh relief camp. “They still continue to harass the villagers.”

The SPOs, says Bajaar, are the number one enemy of the Maoists. “We are on their hit-list.”

“Their stakes are very high in this war — it’s after all their land,” says Kalluri. “They run through the shower of enemy bullets. They have no fear.”

Civil society organisations view this as an extremely dangerous proposition. “Under what law is the police arming them? Who will check their atrocities?”

The police say they monitor the SPOs, and the recent successes and arrests were largely due to the intelligence from SPOs.
But the tribals also feel helpless. “Our lives have changed forever,” says Abka. “We are not in control of our lives.”
Abka’s sentiment is shared by most in Judum camps. What was purported to be a tribal uprising against the Maoists was deflated when questions were raised about its legality. “Intellectuals crushed the Judum,” says Mahesh Gagda, the BJP MLA from Bijapur.

Mahua season
The Salwa Judum leaders are disillusioned with the government. “We are left nowhere,” says Ajay Singh Thakur, a Judum leader at Bhairamgarh, at whose small house a couple of armed police guards are posted. “I lost a close friend in the Salwa Judum’s battle,” he says. “I have myself been attacked several times. What have we got for taking such risks?”

Many Salwa Judum members have begun deserting the camps. Some are going in search of work in other states, while others take a chance and head back to their native villages.

This is mahua season in Bastar, and the Judum members living in the Dornapal relief camp go to their villages to collect flowers in the daytime, with the young SPOs protecting them. At dusk, they return to the camp, with the forest produce with which they can make a little money. (A local brew from mahua flowers.)

“There’s no way we can return permanently,” says Sonuram Korsa, 33, at Chitalanka relief camp in Dantewada. Korsa, also an SPO, shows the deep wound scars on his legs, which keep his anger simmering against the Maoists.

As the deeply polarised region gears up for its next battle amid heavy deployment of central forces, the local tribals on either side brace themselves for more bullets with no end in sight to their suffering. As Karma puts it, “This land is haunted.”

Anti-Naxal ops: Police tight-lipped about Kishenji's injury

Agencies Posted online: Saturday , Mar 27, 2010 at 1605 hrs

Kolkata : A fresh gun battle on Saturday broke out between Maoists and the joint forces in Salboni area, even as police remained tight-lipped over reports that top leader Kishenji was injured in Thursday's encounter at Hatiloth forest in West Midnapore district.

The fire-fight began when the special anti-Maoist CoBRA personnel were carrying out a search in Hatiloth and Bhalukbasa forests, both in Salboni area, besides Chotokalsibhanga forest in Lalgarh area, police sources said.

There were no immediate reports of any casualty. Asked whether Kishenji, who twice escaped arrest, was hurt in Thursday's gun battle with the joint forces, Superintendent of Police Manoj Verma said, "A group of Maoists in Hatiloth forest were injured, but it cannot be said for certain whether Kishenji was present."

Kishenji was trapped when the joint forces surrounded a group of Maoists during the release of kidnapped Officer-in-Charge of Sankrail police station Atindranath Dutta on October 22 last year. However, he escaped after threatening to kill Dutta.

On January 21, Kishenji gave the second slip, while his laptop and headphones were seized at a jungle between Jitushol and Dumurpota under Kotwali police station. Stating that the anti-naxal personnel had cordoned off Lalgarh, Jamboni and Kotwali police station areas and were tightening the noose on the maoists, the police official said,

"If Kishenji had called up the media to state that he was hurt it would have been a different matter, but there is no specific information about him."

Another senior police officer said, "I have also heard that he is hurt, but there is no information about his whereabouts." Asked whether the elusive Maoist leader was in Midnapore district or had fled, another senior police officer said his mobile phone was being tracked.

On whether any Maoist has been eliminated in the ongoing encounter, Verma said "We cannot say anything until a body is recovered. So far we have not recovered a body." The official said two Maoist squad leaders Sanatan Pal and Prasanta Patra were arrested from Salboni area yesterday. They were produced in court today remanded to police custody till April 4.

Sanatan was arrested with an SLR rifle, while Prasanta, regarded as a big catch, was involved in all major attacks in Belpahari and Banspahari area of the district for the last three years, Verma said.

No place to house Central forces

Express News Service
First Published : 27 Mar 2010 09:45:29 AM IST

JEYPORE: The arrival of para military forces in Koraput district for the Operation Green Hunt to curb the Naxal menace has come as a concern for the district administration which is finding it difficult to accommodate them at safe places.
A total of 5,000 strong force have arrived in the district for the operation. According to reports, Koraput already has over 3,000 paramilitary forces in addition to about 1000 state police who have been housed in different temporary camps in Koraput, Kolab, Boipariguda, Jeypore, Lamipur and Naraynapatana.

In the absence of a strategic place to accommodate the additional forces, it is posing a major concern for the police officials here. The three battalions of central paramilitary forces that reached here on Thursday were diverted to Amabaguda, about 35 kilometer from here for makeshift camps, in the absence of space for them in police headquarters.

Later, they have been shifted to former Dandakarayana project which was in a dilapidated condition after completion of the project 20 years back. Now, the Ambaguda mechanic campus would be the main epicentre for paramilitary forces till the time of operation, police sources said.

Capacity of terrorists to strike India is very high: Chidambaram

PTI, Mar 27, 2010, 07.07pm IST

NEW DELHI: In an apparent reference to Pakistan, home minister P Chidambaram on Saturday said the capacity of terrorists, operating from across the border, to strike places in India was high as they get support from the state.

At the same time, he said the security forces have the capacity to give a "swift and decisive" response to any terror attack targeted against the country.

"The challenge before security is that the source of the terror lies across our border and they have the support of the state and therefore their capacity to reach here and strike is very high," he said addressing a AICC lawyers' convention.

Chidambaram said that cities in India were as vulnerable to terror as those in other parts of the world.

"Like any other country we are vulnerable to terror. We are no more vulnerable and no less vulnerable to terror than any other country," he said.

"Let me assure you, we will prevail as we have the capacity to face any challenge of terror. Should there be any terror attack on this country, our response will be swift and decisive and we will prevail upon any terrorist threat on this country," Chidambaram said.

The home minister asked every citizen to take at least minimum precaution saying: "Ultimately, we must defend ourselves. Each establishment, each shop must take minimum precaution to protect in case of terror attack."

Chidambaram listed Maoist violence as one of the grave challenges facing the country and assured the gathering that the government would free areas held by Naxals in the next three years.

He said the government was taking utmost precaution to ensure that the innocents are not affected by anti-naxal operations.

"Our security forces are observing the greatest restraint. They have been instructed not to fire until they are fired upon. It is a carefully controlled and calibrated operation to establish civil administration in the Naxal affected areas," he said.

Chidambaram said the security forces were fighting with "one hand tied to their backs" and added that no one who was innocent would suffer.

"Within two-three years, we will be able to free these areas from Naxals," he said.

The home minister said the Naxals believe in armed liberation struggle and their stated goal was to overthrow the elected government and seize power by "liberating" areas.

Maoists attracting youths with salary, cut of extortion money

PTI, Mar 28, 2010, 10.46am IST

NEW DELHI: 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.

"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.

Naxal founder Kanu Sanyal commits suicide

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Email Author
Siliguri, March 23, 2010
First Published: 14:32 IST(23/3/2010)
Last Updated: 00:08 IST(24/3/2010)


Kanu Sanyal, one of the founders of the Naxalite movement of the 1960s in West Bengal, committed suicide on Tuesday.The police said Sanyal, 81, probably killed himself but left no suicide note. “Dada used to take a nap after lunch. Today, when I went to see if he was sleeping, I found him hanging,” said Shanti Munda, who was associated with Sanyal for 55 years.

Sanyal and Charu Mazumdar led a militant peasant uprising in Naxalbari in 1967 and broke away from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) two years later to form the CPI (Marxist-Leninist). The CPI(ML) inspired the formation of various Maoist groups across the country.

Sanyal differed with Mazumdar’s line of class annihilation to create a proletarian society. He believed in building mass organisations to lead the struggle against the Indian state.Over the years, Sanyal had become disenchanted with the violence resorted to by Maoists.