Saturday, March 05, 2005

Naxal violence: Home Minister to attend meeting in Bangalore


Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on Saturday has agreed to attend a meeting in Bangalore to evolve strategies to contain the spread of naxal violence.

The Home Minister agreed to a suggestion to this effect made by the visiting Karnataka ministerial delegation headed by Chief Minister N Dharam Singh during their hour-long meeting.

The date for the meeting has not been fixed yet, but the issue could be discussed in detail with people having different points of view on naxal violence.

The delegation had met the Union Home Minister to discuss issues concerning drought, flood relief issues and to seek statutory status to the backward Hyderabad-Karnataka region by amending Article 371 of the Constitution.

During the meeting, Mr Patil advised the Karnataka delegation to strengthen the development process in tribal-dominated areas to make them spurn the overtures of naxals.

Talking to newspersons, Mr Dharam Singh said the state government had initated several welfare measures to the tribals besides having consultations with Dr Y S Rajashekhara Reddy and his team of officials to have a common strategy to counter the menace in the common areas.

The Karnataka delegation included Water Resources Minister M Mallikarjuna Kharge, Revenue Minister M P Prakash Law Minister H K Patil Information and Publicity Minister Shivaram.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Naxal menace could lead to closure of Project Tiger

Pradip Kumar Maitra
Raipur, March 2, 2005

THE GROWING Naxal menace in Chhattisgarh is likely to take its toll on the only tiger project – Indravati National Park – in the State as the Union Forest and Environment Ministry has reportedly decided in principle to close it down.
The tiger reserve is located in the interior of Bastar region and heavily infested with extremists of CPI (Maoist).

Their presence has severely affected protection and conservation of wildlife there. Not surprisingly, more than half its tigers have been killed over the past five years. And the best timber in Bastar is fast being converted into cash by politicians in league with a heavily armed timber mafia.

The lone Project Tiger reserve of the State forms an important link with the vast forest belt extending into neighbouring Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. It is large and the best potential habitat for the wild buffalo. There are around a score of excellent grasslands.

Wild buffalo, chital, barking deer, nilgai and gaur can be seen grazing in these areas while the park has sizeable population of tiger, leopard, striped hyena, wolf and wild dog. In view of such rare bio-diversity, around 2,800 sq km area of Indravati National Park was declared as tiger reserve in 1984.

However, conservation activity has been severely affected due to Naxalite presence in the region. Extremists are active in the reserve and have a demoralising effect on the field staff. The national park is now virtually under the control of Maoists, who physically prevent the entry of forest personnel to carry on with their duty.

The Naxalites have reportedly set almost all the wireless stations afire. Besides, they instigate the tribal population to encroach, fell timber illegally and poach.

Talking to Hindustan Times, a senior forest official disclosed that almost all the forest guesthouses in the project area are under the custody of Naxalites. “Even if any employee goes there, he avoids staying in the guest house,” he pointed out. The staff is also afraid to tour and undertake protection works. Moreover, out of the sanctioned strength of 147, 35 posts are lying vacant for a long time now.

In view of the prevailing situation and to bring normalcy, the State Forest Department and Directorate, Project Tiger, reportedly insisted for deployment of central armed forces there. However, nothing has materialised in this direction so far.

The Union Forests and Environment Ministry used to give an annual grant of Rs 1.50-crore annual grant for it. It was learnt that due to the fear of Naxalites the Central and State Government employees could not even hold the annual wildlife census. As the Project Tiger reserve could not utilise its annual funds smoothly for protection and conservation of wildlife, the Directorate of Project Tiger has stopped funding from the current financial year.

According to unofficial reports, though the Directorate of Project Tiger has in principle decided to close down the project, Indravati would continue to enjoy the status of National Park.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Chief Wildlife Warden of the State Rakesh Kumar Sharma, however, said that the Union Government stopped giving the annual fund in view of the shifting of the project office from Jagdalpur to Raipur. “As we have agreed to restore our office at Jagdalpur, we are hopeful to get funds from the next financial year,” he said.

He, however, admitted that wildlife protection and conservation were badly affected in Indravati Project Tiger area due to the growing Naxalite presence. “We are not able to do routine patrolling in interior areas due to Naxal terror,” he further said.

He informed that the State Government is seriously thinking of sending two fresh proposals of Bhoramdeo and Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary to the Directorate of Project Tiger for their upgradation as tiger reserves. He said the State would stress for Bhoramdev because it borders Kanha National Park and would also attract tourists from there.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Naxals kill eight villagers

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

HYDERABAD (PTI): In a major naxal attack, eight villagers were shot dead by Maoists while a CRPF constable was injured when the ultras blasted a forest rest house in Andhra Pradesh since Monday night. Eight villagers were killed by extremists in Vempenta forest of Pamulpadu Mandal in Kurnool district in the wee hours, a report from Kurnool said. According to preliminary report, the Maoists took the villagers in the forest and shot them dead. In Warangal district, a CRPF constable was injured in exchange of fire with the naxals after they blasted a forest rest house at Tadvai Mandal headquarters. About 30 naxals went to the village and asked 10 villagers to follow them as they wanted to discuss some issues related to village development, police said.

Later, they (NAXALS) shot dead eight persons in the forest and chopped off hands and legs of another two villagers. The naxals also chopped off limbs of two others to avenge the killing of their nine sympathisers by Vempenta villagers in Kurnool district yesterday. In 1998, nine PWG sympathisers were burnt to death by the villagers alleging that they were responsible for killing of village sarpanch by naxals on July 15 the same year. Additional forces have been rushed to the village from Kurnool even as Home Minister K. Jana Reddy held a high level meeting with DGP Swaranajit Sen and other senior officials.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Police, naxalites exchange fire :

Warangal (AP), Dec 3 : Police and naxalites of the Pratighatna outfit exchanged fire at Machapur village in Mulugu mandal of the district early today, polices sources said.

No one was injured in the exchange of fire, they said.

Acting on specific information that a naxal, involved in the murder of a constable at Kamalapur village about 20 days ago, was conducting a meeting along with some naxals at the outskirts of the city, a search team raided the place and asked them to surrender.

The naxals resorted to firing and managed to escape, police said adding that the search party also returned fire but there was no casualty on the naxal side.

Police have also launched a search operation to locate landmines suspected to have been laid by the naxals to trap the search parties. PTI

2 Naxals killed, 10 held in AP


Posted online: Monday, February 28, 2005 at 0107 hours IST

HYDERABAD, FEBRUARY 27: Police shot dead two Naxalites in Karimnagar district, while an intense exchange of fire took place between police and Naxalites in Adilabad district in north Telangana today, official sources said.

Also, Naxalites blew up a Mandal Parishad Development Office building in Warangal early today, while 10 Janashakti group members were arrested from Guntur.

Police said half-a-dozen Naxalites of the Manthani Local Guerrilla Squad opened fire at a search party on the outskirts of Gopalpur village. The police team was on the hunt for a group of Naxals who stole 11 boxes of explosives from a mine of Singareni Collieries at Khairiguda village last night.

Two Naxalites, including a woman, died in retaliatory fire. It is suspected that the woman was a deputy central organiser of a Naxal group. Others fled.