Saturday, June 05, 2010

Top Maoist Nabbed

KOZHIKODE: Maoist movement in South India suffered a severe jolt with the arrest of Pramod alias Nandakumar alias Ranganna, the state committee secretary of the CPI (Maoist) in Karnataka.

Nandakumar, who hails from Kannur district, joined the Peoples War Group in Karnataka a decade ago. He was arrested from Hyderabad on June 1 where he had apparently gone to meet senior Maoist leaders.

He was later handed over to the Karnataka police.

Saketh Rajan alias Prem, the charismatic state secretatary of the Karnataka unit of the CPI (Maoist) was killed by the police in an encounter in 2005. Sende Rajamouli alias Naveen, the politburo member of the party, was holding the charge of the state secretary when he was arrested by the Andhra police in Kollam in June 2007. He was later killed.

Nandakumar was elected the state secretary of the party after the killing of Rajamouli at a meeting in August 2007.

Kerala police are in the dark about the operations of Nandakumar in Karnataka and Kerala.

He has been described as a Maoist leader hailing from Chithradurga in the lookout notice brought out by the Karnataka police. He has been signing the statements issued by the Karnataka unit of the CPI (Maoist) as Gangadhara.

The Karnataka unit of the CPI (Maoist) has been passing through a bad patch after the split in the party in 2008.

Maoist activities in Karnataka regained momentum after the central committee decided to form a new guerrilla zone that include areas in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

It is believed that Nandakumar went to Hyderabad to discuss strategies related to the guerrilla zone with the top leadership.

Maoist arms dump recovered

Markapuram (Prakasam): The police on Friday recovered a Maoist arms dump in the jungle adjacent to Prakasam-Guntur border.

The dump was found in the area under Pullala Cheruvu mandal of Prakasam district.

Markapuram officer on special duty, Mr K. Satyanarayana, said that the Vinukonda police had seized the dump that contained spare parts used for the manufacturing of guns.

Earlier, the police personnel had recovered the spare parts of rocket launchers in the same area after the Maoists leader Tech Madhu had surrendered.

Army meet on Maoist Fight

New Delhi, June 4: Army sources today said some units in Jammu and Kashmir had been told to be “on standby” and be ready to leave for Maoist-hit central India at short notice if such an order came.

The sources, however, clarified that the Centre’s current policy of not deploying the army in the battle against the Maoists still stood, and that any new strategy had to be cleared by the cabinet committee on security.

“As of now there is no decision to deploy the army. Even the defence minister has said that unless the cabinet committee on security approves (such a move), nothing can be said,” an army source said.

A cabinet meeting, scheduled yesterday, was cancelled without any reason being cited. Nor was the cabinet committee on security meeting held.

Army sources said a series of meetings was held at the Eastern Command headquarters today to discuss the anti-Maoist strategy. Government sources added that a Rashtriya Rifles battalion could be the one to be moved from Jammu and Kashmir to central India.

It’s not clear what the army’s role will be if it is deployed in the Maoist zone.

The Centre’s strategy is to secure major routes in Chhattisgarh and, if the cabinet committee on security allows it, even the army’s special forces could be sent to de-mine and secure roads and vital infrastructure, the government sources said.

Any move to send the army after the Maoists will attract protests from civil society organisations and even from sections within the government. Even today, many MPs who called on Union home minister P. Chidambaram advised against army deployment against the rebels.

There are 48 CRPF battalions in nine Maoist-affected states, of which 14 are in Chhattisgarh alone. However, the recent setbacks suffered by the paramilitary forces have prompted the government to rethink its strategy.

Jharkhand is under President’s rule and, as its governor said on Thursday, the government has decided to continue with the anti-Maoist operations there.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

OPERATION GREEN HUNT: COST OF BEING CASUAL

By Divya Kumar Soti

Dantewada has emerged as a disaster zone over last few months for security forces and their attempts at curbing Maoist violence. The massacre of CRPF troopers in Dantewada and recent landmine blast targeting a passenger bus carrying Special Police Officers (SPOs) triggered heated debates in New Delhi as to approach towards Maoist menace; bringing the issue to national centre stage. Much had been happening over last few years in jungles in Central India-which are infamous since pre-historic times of Ramayana when Lord Rama fought with menace of barbarians in Dandakaranya and more recently when British had tough times in quelling the menace of ‘Thugs’ in 19th Century- which went unnoticed and now throws a grave challenge for India’s security forces as is evident from outcomes of Operation Green Hunt; a much publicized offensive launched by Centre to curb the Maoist violence.

The roots of unexpected outcomes of OP Green hunt lies in our national attitude towards

Maoist problem and our history of political bewilderment in early phases of any internal security challenge. The blowing up of railway tracks, looting of warehouses in Central India by Maoists were always considered as minor incidents by Centre. The strategists in New Delhi never expected that Maoists will ever target security forces in such big way nor was it seen in most distant dreams that fighters of so called ‘people’s war’ will target civilians. The Maoist problem never attracted as much attention and resources as the insurgencies in J&K or North-East. Maoists were always considered to be poorly trained unsophisticated chaps in comparison to well trained terrorist groups active in Kashmir valley. Sadly, this misconception still persists in our sub-conscious minds. OP Green Hunt was launched without carrying out a proper assessment of threats involved and objectives of operation were vague. This also underlines absence of a broader strategy and a clear mandate for security forces which renders talk of ‘tactical blunders’ by forces a rather inapplicable conjecture. Actually it was nothing but a massive patrolling exercise inspired by a similar one previously carried out in Lalgarh in West Bengal. It was supposed that once troops will establish camps and will start tracking though the forests, Maoists will give up and will come to table. It was also presumed that sight of Central Forces will boost confidence in tribal population thus diffusing the information vacuum. Before launching OP Green Hunt, Ministry of Home Affairs had not secured any guarantee from concerned State Governments with regard to proper co-operation. Moreover, offensive in each State remained a distinct affair. So, Op Green Hunt is not a centralized affair and has no unified command.

Dantewada incident throws light on casual approach with which OP Green Hunt is being conducted. Although, much has been written and said about reasons behind painful massacre of CRPF Company, a more candid effort is attempted in following lines. The CRPF convoy was very badly configured. Usually a forward clearing party moves ahead to look for any mines or ambush in such a zone. The main convoy shall maintain a gap of 100-200 meters from clearing party. This was not the case with ill fated convoy. The company was moving on vague information of Maoist presence.In Dantewada jungles, guerilla movements are too agile. Information received six hours back may be stale for conducting a localized operation. But this does not mean that intelligence is a useless commodity as Chattisgarh DGP told a TV News Channel after the incident. He said that- “There was no intelligence failure. This is a battle zone. Intelligence in general sense does not matter much. We develop it on field and rely more on force than on intelligence.”

There is a difference between intelligence failure and miscarriage of intelligence. What is needed is not plain intelligence but real time intelligence. In today’s circumstances, Central forces are not in the position of ‘developing intelligence during operation’ in a region like Bastar. This highlights the urgent need of aerial reconnaissance so that that raw information can be readily verified.

The massacre of CRPF Company was attributed to ‘tactical blunders’. Subjectively speaking this is true to a great extent but objectively, the flaws in whole anti-naxal strategy are to be blamed. The whole debacle depicts how casually things were taken and how casually troops operate on bad briefs.

(Divya Kumar Soti is a security affairs analyst and may be reached at writing2divya@gmail.com)


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Surat police nabs suspected Maoist

Surat Police arrested a suspected Maoist here on Monday.

The detained Maoist ultra is known by three names - Srinivas, Kishore and Sagar.

According to the police, Srinivas was arrested under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for his past activities as office-bearer of the banned Peoples War Group before it merged with MCC and other groups as CPI (Maoist).

He was staying in the Godasar area of Surat for the past eight years with his wife and son.rinivas is being sent to Surat for further investigation.

Maoist rebels in recent months have stepped up attacks in retaliation to the joint operations launched by central paramilitary and state police outfits to flush them out of their jungle bases.

The Maoists are active in rural areas of central and eastern India and often attack railway lines and mining operations to cripple economic activity, such as the transportation of coal to power and steel plants.he rebel movement started as a peasant revolt in Naxalbari village in West Bengal in 1967, giving Maoists the local name of "Naxals" or "Naxalites".

The rebels say they are fighting for the rights of the poor and marginal farmers and landless labourers. (ANI)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Attacks On Civilians Not A New Trend


SS Negi/Asian Age

The heavy civilian toll in Friday’s train derailment believed to have been targeted by Maoists and blowing up a bus mainly carrying common citizens in Dantewada a week earlier are being cited as indicators of a new trend in their strategy not to spare even the common man. However, the data submitted to the Supreme Court by the

Chhattisgarh government belied this perception as it revealed that the civilian toll in Naxal attacks has been almost on par with that of security forces personnel.
As per the data provided by Chhattisgarh home secretary A.N. Upadhyay in his sworn affidavit, Maoists have killed 406 civilians, including 15 government servants. since 2007 in the state. The data also reflected that during the same period the Maoists had killed 356 police and paramilitary personnel and 118 special police officers (SPOs), including Home Guards.
The data does not include the killing of 76 CRPF personnel and 18 SPOs in the last two months as the home department of Chhattisgarh had compiled it prior to these attacks.
Mr Upadhyay submitted the affidavit in response to a PIL pending since 2007, filed by academician Nandini Sundar and some human right activists questioning the concept of salva judum evolved in Chhattisgarh to counter Maoists by involving the civilian population.
Ms Sundar and her associates had attacked the Chhattisgarh government for supporting salva judum levelling various allegations against its activists and the top court had ordered an inquiry by the National Human Rights Commission, which found that many of the incidents alleged by the petitioners were not correct.


According to the Chhattisgarh government, 166 civilians were killed by Maoists in the state in 2007, 143 in 2008, 58 in 2009 and 24 up to March in 2010. They had killed 124 security forces personnel in 2007, 68 in 2008, 89 in 2009 and 79 in 2010. The toll of the SPOs during the four years was 75, 17, 18 and 5, respectively.
Besides, Naxals had attacked 17 industries, 34 railway installations, 29 telephone exchanges and other networks, 119 school buildings, 294 forest buildings and public works department installations, 43 power transmission towers since 2007 in the state to disrupt the public services.
“The state machinery is the only body which is aware of the ground realities of the area and no outside agency or individual can understand the intricacies of the problem,” the state home secretary has said, alleging that the human rights activists “are eulogising Maoist activity”.

Maoists were on spot, says DGP; there are more signs

Indian Express

While the Maoists have been trying to back off from taking responsibility for the train carnage near Sardiha, circumstantial evidence points to the involvement of the members of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) and CPI-Maoists.

Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh said on Saturday that 10-12 Maoists had assembled at the accident site around midnight. “ We have identified the gang and the village from where they had come. It’s a known Maoist den and raids are continuing,” he said.

There were several other pointers to the Maoist involvement.

* The officer in charge of the Manikpara police station had turned up at the Sardiha station on Thursday afternoon to warn the station staff against possible Maoist strikes. The police had been tipped off about Maoist threats. The police team that got in touch with the Sardiha police station even identified some spots that should be kept under watch. “We had kept a watch on the area suggested by the police team but the actual sabotage took place at another spot, maybe because we had put that spot under watch,” said a railway official. Senior police officials also confirmed specific intelligence inputs about possible Maoist strikes.

Police have got reports about some gangmen having been forced by the Maoists to remove pandrol clips from the railway tracks which caused the derailment of the Jnaneswari Express. The last train to pass the stretch was the Howrah-Hatia Express which passed Khemashuli-Sardiha stations at 12.44 am. There was a gap of merely 30 minutes to remove pandrol clips rom a stretch of about 40-50 metres. It needed experts to do it and the police are also investigating the names of some gangmen who were threatened by Maoists.

* After the goods train rammed into the derailed Jnaneswari Express, a passenger train running between Tatanagar and Kolaghat arrived at Sardiha station. It was about 1.50 am and the train had to be stopped at Sardiha as the goods train had left and by then rammed into the derailed train. A senior station official confirmed to The Sunday Express that the driver of the passenger train reported that he saw a group of about 15 walking past the tracks towards a jungle that leads to Banstala, a Maoist stronghold.

In the Kharagpur-Jhargram stretch of the South Eastern Railway, four station areas are virtually a liberated zone for the Maoists—Khemashuli, Sardiha, Banstala and Jhargram. The Maoists can trigger such attacks easily at any stretch of this section surrounded by thick forest. In the past six months, the group has attempted four such attacks on important trains, including Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani, Steel Express, Howrah-Korapur Express and now Jnaneswari Express.

The Maoists and PCAPA had called an indefinite blockade of road and rail routes to protest “excesses” by joint security forces. During such blockades and bandhs, the Maoists and the PCAPA are known for indulging in such terror activities to enforce their writ.

* The Sunday Express visited some tribal villages in the periphery of the accident site. The commanding officer of battalion of CRPF engaged in anti-Maoists operations in the area as well as state police sources admitted that raids to trace Maoists and for area domination were underway in these areas. Villagers in Jal Jali, Patharghata, Guimara, Akhrasole and some others said that the security forces had been to the villages in the wee hours of Friday and picked up men indiscriminately.