Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Captured Maoist sings, says he has girlfriend in UK Read more: Captured Maoist sings, says he has girlfriend in UK

Manohar Lal/ToI

RANCHI: In a revelation that has Jharkhand cops looking afresh at the foreign links of outlawed Maoists, top CPI (Maoist) leader Rajesh Kumar Sinha alias Udaiji has told interrogators that he has a girlfriend based in the UK.

A member of the Bihar-Jharkhand-North Chhattisgarh Special Area Committee of the CPI (Maoist), Udaiji carried a reward of Rs 5 lakh on his head. Captured by the Ranchi police from an apartment flat in the posh Lower Burdwan Compound in the city on Wednesday, he has told cops he is "emotionally attached" with his girlfriend whom he met four years ago and who works for a social organization.

Denying that he ever went on an overseas travel, the rebel leader told cops he has dated the woman in her 30s at least thrice in different parts of the country, including once in Delhi.

"Udaiji holds a masters degree in Economics from Patna University and speaks fluent English. Befriending the English woman might not have been a difficult task for him," a police officer associated with the interrogation said and added the rebel leader claimed to have given an Indian name, Jhanvi, to his love interest.

Udaiji, who had been in constant touch with Jhanvi through the internet, also told cops that the Maoist ideology fascinated his woman and she had expressed willingness to mobilise support for the rebels in the UK's civil society.
Udaiji's interrogators are now quizzing him on whether or not he secured funds from the UK for the Maoist movement. "We are also scanning his email accounts, blogs and chat history as well as bank accounts to cross-check his confessions," another police officer said.

Udaiji has two daughters. One of them has done BTech from a Ludhiana engineering college while the other recently finished her plus two. His younger brother works in the United States while his elder brother works with the finance department of Bihar government. Udaiji himself once aspired to join civil services, but could not crack the exam.

Police officials describe Udaiji as a prized catch who was the mastermind behind most of the Naxalite attacks in Jharkhand, Bihar and parts of Chhattisgarh. He gave police the slip several times even though he extensively moved in the three states, said a cop who was tracking him for the last two years.

Ranchi SSP Praveen Singh refused to divulge details of the disclosures made by Udaiji. "He has made several astonishing, serious and new revelations," the SSP told TOI on Saturday.


India’s Most Urgent Domestic Security Challenge

In thinking about India’s internal security woes, several pressing issues come to mind: poverty, social fragmentation, disgruntled laborers, and overpopulation. But which is the most important? In fact, none of the above. According to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, reiterating his comments from a 2006 Chief Minister’s Conference, left-wing terrorism—namely, the Naxalite-Maoist insurgency—sits atop the list. Surprised? Well, don’t be.

Naxalites, or Naxals, who operate along India’s eastern coast (known as the “Red Corridor”) make up India’s most destructive and terrifying left-wing (Maoist) insurgency. Fighting for land reform and increased federal government attention to rural needs, Naxalites more and more frequently turn to violence to push their agenda. At an official meeting with Chief Ministers of Naxal Affected States on July 14, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram remarked:

Between 2004 and 2008, on an average, 500 civilians were killed every year [by Maoist insurgents] and many of them were killed after being named “police informers.” In 2009, 591 civilians were killed, of which 211 were named as “police informers.” This trend has continued in the first half of 2010 too, with 325 civilians killed, of which 142 were named as “police informers.”

At the same meeting, Chidambaram revealed that “[d]uring the period January to June, 2010, there have been 1103 incidents of violence perpetrated by Left Wing Extremists,” resulting in over 200 security forces fatalities. The South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR) reports that Maoist violence led to over 700 Indian civilian and security forces deaths in 2009. SAIR data indicates that 2010 fatalities will soon surpass 2009 levels—as of July 19, 637 civilians and security forces died in Maoist-related attacks.

What’s particularly frightening is that Naxalite insurgents aim to wage stronger campaigns in India’s more densely populated urban areas. The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies explains that “the Naxalites are making concerted efforts to make their presence in urban areas felt …[and] have developed a different strategy to penetrate these areas.” The urbanization of the Naxalite movement is even more worrisome given recentannouncements that the Indian central government will not deploy army personnel to help subdue Naxalite aggression.

However, as Chidambaram detailed in the July 2010 meeting, the central government will continue to provide logistical and tactical support to state governments and district police. Hopefully the government’s technical assistance will strengthen the counteroffensive, named “Operation Green Hunt,” which deployed 50,000 paramilitary soldiers to Naxalite-affected regions.

The effectiveness of India’s anti-Maoist operations, however, ultimately depends on the ability of state officials to properly train and equip local law enforcement agencies. But until these forces see drastic improvements, Naxalite rebels will continue to destabilize Indian cities and exhaust state governments’ time, energy, and resources. Officials and security personnel must rise to the challenge and ensure the safety of the country’s flourishing democracy.

Michael Palermo currently is a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

IAF, cops squabble in Maoist corridor

Calcutta Telegraph/Sujan Dutta

Bastar/Raipur, Aug. 11: The Indian Air Force, Chhattisgarh police and central paramilitary forces are bickering over responsibilities claimed and shed in the fog of fighting counter-Maoist operations.

The air force is now at the centre of the row because police officers on the ground have alleged in official reports that pilots’ refusal to fly when most needed resulted in the death of injured troopers, inquiries byThe Telegraph over the past week have revealed.

One central paramilitary officer said up to 15 CRPF troopers may have bled to death because the IAF refused to fly to Dhaurai in Narainpur district on June 29 when Maoists ambushed a company. Twenty-seven CRPF and state police troopers were killed in the encounter. The report has been forwarded to the Union home ministry.

The casualties in the Dhaurai encounter were finally evacuated in a civilian helicopter chartered by Chhattisgarh police.

The latest round in the bickering started in the thick of action last week. In blinding rain on Wednesday, a state police officer who had lost touch with base in the middle of a firefight climbed a hillock near Kirandul, about 30km from Dantewada, and over a weak signal radioed his superiors for reinforcements.

More than two companies of security forces comprising Chhattisgarh police’s Special Task Force and special police officers called the Koya commandos were on a mission to hit a Maoist hideout near the National Mineral Development Corporation’s facilities.

“We asked for the CRPF Cobras (the special action teams of the Central Reserve Police Force) but they refused and said they will come only if Indian Air Force helicopters were ready to take them,” a senior Chhattisgarh police officer said.

The officer admitted that the state administration was panicky because 25 policemen who had returned to base had reported that another 75 troopers of their party, tasked to carry out a multi-directional assault on a hill, were missing. The forces were led by the deputy inspector-general, Dantewada, S.R.P. Kalluri. The two columns had lost radio contact in the rain.

A senior CRPF officer said: “We had readied two teams of Cobras at Polampalli (in Dantewada district) and in Jagdalpur (in Bastar) but the Indian Air Force refused to fly.”

The air force has four helicopters assigned for the counter-Naxalite operations in Bastar — two Mi-17s, each capable of carrying more than 20 fully-equipped troops, and two Dhruv advanced light helicopters. But in a peculiar arrangement, the helicopters have been placed at the disposal of the central forces for 80 hours of flying time for all four choppers in a month.

This means each helicopter can fly only 20 hours in a month — or that each is permitted to fly sorties that last less than an hour a day.

Contrary to reports from air headquarters in New Delhi, too, the IAF helicopters on counter-Maoist deployment are neither armed nor armoured. Officially, each of the helicopters has been assigned two Garud (IAF special forces) personnel. But often they cannot be taken on board to make space for either casualties, VIPs or security personnel of the central paramilitary forces.

The security establishment also concluded that if the helicopters are armoured (armour-plated at the bottom) to withstand small-arms fire, they cannot carry enough personnel. Armour-plating increases the weight of the machine and makes it less manoeuvrable.

The IAF doubts that the state and central forces in Chhattisgarh have sanitised helipads to ensure that they are beyond the range of small- arms firing by the Maoists.

These reasons are unacceptable to the police who complain that the “air warriors” lead a life of relative luxury.

“Do you know, that unlike my men who live in the jungles battling not only Maoists but also a shortage of supplies and malaria, the IAF personnel get to live in air-conditioned quarters?” an incredulous CRPF officer complained.

An IAF officer in New Delhi cited two reasons for limiting the flying hours. First, the IAF views its counter-Maoist deployment as a secondary task, its primary one being on the borders and in states where the military is involved in counter-insurgency (in Jammu and Kashmir and in the Northeast) and where the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is in force.

For high-altitude border duties — such as in Siachen (and currently to give relief in Leh) — the helicopters have to be kept at maximum serviceability. The officer said the copters have to be “rotated”, meaning that the same machine cannot be kept flying for multiple sorties.

The IAF’s helicopter fleet is less than fully operational. A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General last week found that the force was able to meet only 74 per cent of its operational requirement.

The fleet is ageing and about 78 per cent of the helicopters were being flown beyond their prescribed life. Between 2002 and 2007, the force has not inducted a single helicopter.

The upshot was that “serviceability” (availability for sorties) was low and fluctuated between 45 per cent and 75 per cent.

The IAF is currently recalling its helicopters on UN missions in Africa to bridge the gap.

In Chhattisgarh and in the counter-Maoist operations that gap is translating into bodybags.

AP Top Cop Warns Of Naxal Cells

Secret cells of CPI Maoists are operating in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. If they are not neutralised the situation would go out of control, said director-general of police R.R. Girish Kumar.

Mr Kumar told his counterparts on Wednesday at the Southern DGPs conference that there is a dire need to take preventive steps to curb the spread of the movement in the south.
“The front organisations of Maoists and their mass-based organisations are active in urban areas of southern states,” observed Mr Girish.
“While Andhra could contain left wing extremist movement to a great extent, the fact that the movement has spread to nearly 160 districts across the country is an indication of growing militancy,” the DGP said.
He said the inter-state operations by Andhra Pradesh and Karantaka recently averted a major threat to the life of politicians and police officials by the Maoist action teams.
Mr Kumar said, “The problem of left-wing extremism in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is not as serious as it is in Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand. But there are secret cells and frontal organisations operating in these southern states.”
It was decided in the meeting that heads of intelligence agencies of four states handling left-wing extremism should meet once in six months for exchange information and also real time information has to be gathered from time to time.
The information on rehabilitation of surrendered extremists, compensation to the naxal victims, rewards shall be shared with states’ nodal officers.
The DGPs also agreed upon sharing of photographs and details of Left-wing extremists, terrorists and other organised criminals on day-to-day basis.
The one-day conference at Jubilee Hall was attended by Kerala DGP Jacob Punnoose, , CID DGP of Karnataka D.V. Guru Prasad, Tamil Nadu DGP Latika Saran and senior officers from the southern states.

AP Top Cop Warns Of Naxal Cells

Secret cells of CPI Maoists are operating in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. If they are not neutralised the situation would go out of control, said director-general of police R.R. Girish Kumar.

Mr Kumar told his counterparts on Wednesday at the Southern DGPs conference that there is a dire need to take preventive steps to curb the spread of the movement in the south.
“The front organisations of Maoists and their mass-based organisations are active in urban areas of southern states,” observed Mr Girish.
“While Andhra could contain left wing extremist movement to a great extent, the fact that the movement has spread to nearly 160 districts across the country is an indication of growing militancy,” the DGP said.
He said the inter-state operations by Andhra Pradesh and Karantaka recently averted a major threat to the life of politicians and police officials by the Maoist action teams.
Mr Kumar said, “The problem of left-wing extremism in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is not as serious as it is in Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand. But there are secret cells and frontal organisations operating in these southern states.”
It was decided in the meeting that heads of intelligence agencies of four states handling left-wing extremism should meet once in six months for exchange information and also real time information has to be gathered from time to time.
The information on rehabilitation of surrendered extremists, compensation to the naxal victims, rewards shall be shared with states’ nodal officers.
The DGPs also agreed upon sharing of photographs and details of Left-wing extremists, terrorists and other organised criminals on day-to-day basis.
The one-day conference at Jubilee Hall was attended by Kerala DGP Jacob Punnoose, , CID DGP of Karnataka D.V. Guru Prasad, Tamil Nadu DGP Latika Saran and senior officers from the southern states.