Saturday, June 11, 2005

Naxal violence in Maharashtra

The moving force

Naxal violence in Maharashtra was usually restricted to Gadchiroli but is now travelling to other districts. The state government, writes Vivek Deshpande, is content with countering it with tokenism

THE spurt in Naxal violence in Maharashtra has sent the police and the government scurrying for cover. This year itself Naxals have killed 17 policemen, ten alleged informers and torched four gram panchayats. But what is perhaps more dangerous is the spread of violence to districts that had little Naxal presence.
Incidentally, the stepped-up violence has come at a time when sustained police efforts over the past three years to build bridges with estranged tribals had inspired over 232 villages to declare gaonbandi (no-entry) to the Naxalites.

Today, the Naxalites are striking again. Clearly, they are working to a plan while the police counter-plan, if any, doesn’t seem to be working.

‘‘Don’t look at Maharashtra in isolation. It’s happening in all affected states. In Chhattisgarh, for instance, it’s much worse than here,’’ says joint commissioner (state intelligence department, anti-Naxalite Operations) Pankaj Gupta.

The police have been explaining how Naxalite leaders, headquartered in Andhra Pradesh, have used the lean period of their talks with the government there to amass arms and mobilise cadre in non-ceasefire states. That’s evident from the arrests of Naxalites and their sympathisers from districts which had till recently been Naxal-free: Yavatmal and Wardha in Vidarbha and Aurangabad in Marathwada. A firearm manufacturing unit too was unearthed in Nagpur.

‘‘But that can’t be an excuse for slack action,’’ says Paromita Goswami, a tribal activist. ‘‘The police have clearly failed to measure up to the challenge,’’ she adds.

The numbers add up. In the worst affected Gadchiroli district, the police tally since the Naxalite reign began has been much higher (67) than the Naxalite tally (42). Special inspector-general of police (Nagpur Range) S.M. Mushrif says: ‘‘They use guerilla tactics, we can’t.’’

BUT that is only half the truth. As the Gadchiroli superintendent of police Shirish Jain admits, in most of the blasts cases, the police have paid the price for not following the drill. In the Gondia blast last month, the police jeep did not check the road for landmines. And that’s just one instance.

To be fair to them, they have worked overtime to hold rallies in remote villages, many of them Naxal strongholds, to win over villagers. But the effort was undone when the police allegedly first molested a woman and then killed her husband Shankar Perkiwar, at Vyankatapur village in Gadchiroli early last month.

The state government, meanwhile, hasn’t delivered many of the long-standing promises. ‘‘Of the 232 gaonbandi villages, only 112 have so far been given only half of the

Rs 2 lakh reward. In our public awareness rallies, we hear tribal grievances and pass them onto the officials, but very few are redressed. The anti-landmine vehicles proposal has been gathering dust. The government has failed to compensate many civilian victims of Naxalism. And importantly, while the Naxalites organise their cadres, the government takes great interest in effecting frequent transfers of officials in anti-Naxalite operations and range departments. Such things are exploited by the Naxalites to the hilt,’’ says a police officer.

Last year, the Nagpur divisional commissioner and Gadchiroli collector were directed by the High Court to regularly visit Gadchiroli’s farthest Binagunda village, a known Naxal hideout, to give a sympathetic hearing to the villagers. The villagers, who hadn’t seen the world beyond Bhamragarh, a tehsil town 40 km away, were taken to Nagpur so that they get to see the modern world. No one knows what happened to the campaign after that.

Despite the alarming situation, state home minister R.R. Patil last week tried to bide time by repeating the old announcement that local tribal youth will be recruited as police to counter the Naxals. The proposal is certainly not new. And many in Gadchiroli are convinced it will always remain a proposal. One that could have been initiated to stem the violence.


Naxal literature missing from government library

Saturday June 11 2005 15:41 IST
MANGALORE: Following media reports of Naxal literature glorifying Naxalism being found in Puttur government library, Karnataka State Libraries Department Director Raghavendra Kumar has ordered a detailed inquiry into the incident.

Dakshina Kannada district chief librarian Shashidhar Bayranatti told this website’s newspaper that he had received the order from the director. Shashidhar said he had personally visited the library to verify the media reports and subsequently faxed a report to the director.

The pamphlets, reportedly glorifying Naxalism and Naxalites killed in police encounter as martyrs, were not found in the library. Shashidar suspects that the literature might have been taken out steathily and leaked to the local media.

Ruling out any foul play, Shashidhar claimed that the literature was posted to the library and an unsuspecting sweeper, who cleans the library, had stamped the library seal on the literature before sending it to the respective section.

He denied reports that the literature was found in yet another library but added that librarians all over the district had been alerted as the Naxal literature would be sent to any library by post. The local police visited the Puttur library but no case has been registered.

Naxals control 19% of India's total forests New Delhi

June 11, IRNA

India-Naxals Control
Mismanagement of forests is the main reason for the spread of Naxalism from just one village in West Bengal to 7,000 villages in the last 38 years.

Different Naxal groups now control 19 percent of India's forests over an area two and a half times the size of Bangladesh.

According to the report published in english daily here, has revealed startling links between forest mismanagement and the spread of Naxalite groups.

Since last year, the ultra-leftist CPI-Maoist has been spreading at the rate of two districts each week, and their activities have gone up from just nine states in November 2003 to 15 states in 2005.

"This group controls close to 19 percent of India's forests.

Inside these forests the government ceases to exist. Financially, the CPI-Maoist is the richest and largest revolutionary group in India." The yearlong study finds forest-related issues are fast emerging as entry points for Naxalites.

"Ignored as a law and order problem, Naxalites have made tremendous inroads using environmental issues like forests, displacement and tribal self-rule,"
Orissa is considered fertile ground for proliferation of Naxalism.

Tribal alienation, displacement by large projects and the government's failure to ensure food security are the main reason for the spread of Naxals in Orissa and other states.

The Naxals lure people with vulnerable likelihood, like fishermen, bamboo-cutters, farmers and daily laborers.

It was evident from the recent assembly of fishermen,
bamboo-cutters, slum-dwellers and marginalized farmers in a public rally at Bhubaneswar organized in support of the Naxalites.

Police and politicians become targets of renewed Naxal ire

Police and politicians become targets of renewed Naxal ire after breakdown of talks


One lesson to be learnt from the spate of Naxal violence in Andhra Pradesh last week is that half-hearted peace efforts do not pay off in the long run.

They only provide a breather for outfits like the People's War to regroup and strike soft targets once the peace effort is called off. Ever since talks broke down in

Booming Business

January this year, the Naxals have resumed their activities. And their twin targets are the same old set of police personnel and politicians.

In this renewed burst of Naxal ire, police stations across the state have been put on full alert following attacks on three different police posts recently. And in a new twist, politicians of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) are being forced to lie low after being served notice by the Naxals to cut off all ties with the Congress in the state by the middle of this month or face "dire consequences".

TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao has been unusually quiet in response to the Naxal threat.

The TRS chief has been mum on the naxal diktat to sever all ties with the Congress.

The party has made no official comment on the diktat to sever links with the Congress by June 15 or face action. Earlier, a senior Telangana-based Maoist leader issued a statement accusing the TRS of not doing enough for the Telangana cause or its development. The relatively backward and poorly irrigated districts of northern

Telangana have been the traditional stronghold of the Naxals who openly support the creation of a new state for the region.

While the TRS leadership is keeping silent, its lower cadre is not taking any chances. A large number of TRS politicians are moving into the sanctuary of the state capital to avoid attacks. Others are adopting a more stoic approach to the problem. "Naxal threats are an occupational hazard if you want to be in Andhra Pradesh politics. Why should we be any exception?" asks a TRS MLA. Traditionally, it has been the Telugu Desam Party and bjp politicians who have been the targets of Naxal violence. But following the breakdown of peace talks between the government and the Naxals, Congress politicians too have now started coming under attack.

The escalation in violence has in fact been very sharp, with 117 people already having been killed by the Naxals since the beginning of this year as compared to 78 people killed in the entire 12 months last year. The number of murders in the two years prior to that was 105 and 151 respectively, suggesting that this could be one of the bloodiest years in the recent history of Naxal violence. Police encounters have claimed 77 Naxal lives this year as compared to 52 deaths last year.

However, as director-general of police Swaranajit Sen points out, the police are facing a tough challenge, with the Naxals taking the fight right into the police camp by targeting police stations. Following the collapse of the peace process earlier this year, there have been almost 10 incidents involving attacks on police stations. One of the biggest attacks took place last week when some 100 armed Naxals launched simultaneous attacks on a police station and an adjoining police post in Mahbubnagar district. The rebels, armed with rocket launchers, grenades and automatic rifles, divided themselves into two groups and opened indiscriminate fire. Two policemen were injured in the attack, but the police did manage to push the rebels back after a gunbattle lasting over two hours.

They might have succeeded in doing so in Mahbubnagar, but the Maoists completely overran the Kukunoor police station in Khammam district a few nights later. The 60 Naxals involved in the attack encountered no trouble in taking over the station and blasting it with explosives, as the lone constable on duty fled for his life. All the other police personnel stationed there were either away on leave or busy with special duties surrounding the chief minister's visit to the area.Since the station is close to the Chhattisgarh border, and prone to Naxal attacks, all stocks of arms and ammunition had already been moved from there. After the attack, the rebels crossed the Godavari river and disappeared into the forests.

The ease with which the rebels decimated the Kukunoor police station is telling. As DGP Sen himself admits, nearly a third of the state's 1,500 police stations are vulnerable to Maoist attacks. "Around 500 stations are not equipped to counter Naxalite attacks. The police cannot be expected to keep round the clock vigil at these stations," he says. He also adds that the police are often outnumbered or not armed suitably with sophisticated weapons to fend off surprise attacks.

The escalation of violence has put paid to all hopes of revival of peace talks. With the process having collapsed altogether, all there is in the offing is another protracted see-saw struggle between the Naxals and the police.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Chhattisgarh cops repulse Maoist attack

Raipur | June 10, 2005 1:44:52 PM IST

Raipur, June 10 : Police in Chhattisgarh repulsed a major attack by Maoist rebels who fired at a police station but fled when the cops retaliated, officials said.
The incident took place Thursday night in Bastar, bordering Andhra Pradesh, when a group of about 25 guerrillas attacked the Pamer police station. After a 20-minute gun battle, they ran into the nearby forest for cover.

M.W Ansari, Bastar Range inspector general of police, said no one was injured in the incident. Security has been strengthened around the police station as more attacks are expected.

The area is considered a Maoist stronghold and intelligence reports say there are training centres and explosives units in the forests.
The attack came a day after Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Mahendra Karma described the "curfew like situation" that existed in the entire Bastar region because of "Maoist rebels' rising strength".

After his visit to Bastar Wednesday, Karma described the situation as grim and blamed the government for the rise in Maoist violence and "people's growing attachment" to the guerrillas.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the government has put off its proposed anti-Maoist operation in Bastar for the moment. A fresh decision would be taken after consulting the home ministry.


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

473 Naxals have surrendered in 2005 : AP DGP


HYDERABAD: Prominent and active naxal leaders had been either arrested or had surrendered during the current year, Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police Swaranjit Sen said on Tuesday.

Addressing reporters here, he said this year 473 naxals belonging to differing revolutionary groups had surrendered, as against 396 in 2004 and 1035 in 2003. He said 349 naxals were arrested this year till date, as against 4000 in 2004 and 2000 in 2003.

Further, Sen said this year 69 encounters had taken place and 76 naxals were killed, as against 73 encounters and 52 naxals in 2004 and 173 encounters and 175 naxals in 2003. He said 14 police personnel including some home guards were killed this year.

Likewise, 240 weapons were recovered this year, as against 107 in 2004 and 287 in 2003. Similarly, the police recovered 9285 rounds of ammunition this year, as against 1463 rounds in 2004 and 5896 rounds in 2003.

High alert sounded after blast

Wednesday June 8 2005 13:10 IST
KHAMMAM: The blasting of the police station at Kukkunuru, 160 km away from here by an armed gang of 60 CPI (Maoist) has triggered off a direct confrontation between the police and the Naxals.

The incident, second of its kind in less than 48 hours, has put the district police on a state of high alert. The Maoists blasted a mandal parishad office and wine shop at Venkatapuram on Sunday night.

However, Monday’s daring assault on the police station at Kukkunuru left many questions about the lack of safety at the police stations in the Naxal prone district.

A 60 member armed Maoist gang, travelling on a tractor and five autos reached the police station at about 11 pm and started firing in the air to create panic. As soon as they started firing at the station, a sentry on top of the police station Ramulu jumped down and fled away. Another constable, Sudhakar who went out to investigate a case never returned.

They blasted the station with the help of bombs and gelatine sticks.

Then the Maoists barged into the police quarters and went to the house of assistant sub inspector Pul Das. When they questioned the whereabouts of the SI, the family members said that he did not return after attending the bandobust duties in connection with the Chief Minister’s visit.

They started firing at an ambassador car, suspecting police presence. However the car driver did not stop and proceeded. They stopped a loaded lorry at Vinjaram and blasted it after breaking the diesel tank.

Another constable, Sudhakar who went out to investigate a case never returned.

Two Naxals arrested, arms seized

Hyderabad, June 7: Andhra Pradesh police have seized a big haul of arms and ammunition belonging to CPI (Maoist) Naxals in Kurnool district, police sources said.

Information revealed by two arrested Maoist ultras, including a dalam commander of the Janasakti group, led to seizure of arms and ammunition yesterday from the forest area, near Vanipenta village of Chagalamarri mandal, DGP Swaranjit Sen told newspersons here today.

The seizure included 13 8 mm rifles, two SLRs, three DBBLs, one SBBI gun, one revolver, 652 cartridges of various weapons, six kit bags containing uniforms, some literature and a pair of binoculars, he said.

Police had foiled the attempts of the Janasakhti group - to form a central team to carry out party activities in the villages in the Nallamala forest area bordering the Kurnool and Cuddapah districts - with the arrest of the two Maoists, the DGP added.

The arrested Maoists, identified as Raja Goud alias Tirupati, a commander, and Nallabothula Laxmi Narayana alias Suri, a dalam member, revealed that during the peace talks, a state committee meeting was held in the Bhimunikolanu area of Kurnool district, in which it was decided to form a central team to cover the forest area from Sunnipenta of Kurnool district to Mydukur of Cuddapah district, comprising Atmaku and Ahobilum dalams, Sen added.

The DGP appealed to underground cadres of various Naxal outfits to shun violence and join the mainstream of society. (Agencies)

Published: Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Naxals target police stations in AP

NDTV Correspondent

Watch story

Wednesday, June 8, 2005 (Hyderabad):

Every third police station in Andhra Pradesh has no arms to defend itself against a Naxal attack.

Naxals notorious for attacking remote police stations to carry away arms and ammunition, are now targetting police stations across the state to puncture the morale of the security forces.

"I do not think there is anything to feel proud for any militant group to blast any place which has no protection. So there is nothing great they are doing," said Swaranjit Sen, DGP, AP.

It is nevertheless a chink in the police armour that the Naxals are targetting police stations in remote areas.

But despite these Naxal attempts to show off their strike power, the police claim they have managed to virtually neutralise the Janshakti group - the most powerful Naxal group in Andhra Pradesh after the CPI (Maoist).

Janshakti's cadre strength, the police claims, is down to 160, though the Maoists are still going strong at over one thousand.

"It is not as if we are targetting any particular group. It is just so happening that intelligence is able to give more inputs relating to Janshakti," said Sen.

Another reason why the police have been more successful in targetting the Janshakti group is because unlike the Maoists who operate in the dense forest areas, the Janshakti group operates more close to townships, making them more vulnerable to infiltration by the police.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Govt may use army equipment for countering naxal violence

Amidst growing threat from naxal groups, which has engulfed at least 11 states of the country, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil today inspected some equipment being used by the army in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir.

Patil, who was accompanied by heads of some Central Para Military Forces, inspected 'Casper' anti-mine vehicles, Armoured vehicles for carrying personnel, jammers of various frequencies and robots used in clearing the Improvised Explosive Devices at the Cantonement here.

The small exhibition which was set up in Jammu Cantonment would facilitate the Government to decide about equipment it requires for states plagued with left wing extremism.

These equipment, out of which some are imported while some are indigenously built, are used by the Army in counter insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Home Ministry has decided to go after naxal groups with iron hand as the menace was spreading from one state to another with the latest being Kerala.


Siddapur (Kodagu), June 7 (KMC)- In view of the possibilities of Naxalites of Dakshina Kannada intruding into Kodagu, the Police Department conducted an awareness programme for the estate owners and the general public here yesterday.

Kushalnagar Dy.SP A.N. Swamy, addressing the meeting at Platinum Plaza Hall, said that the number of plantation workers in the 17 villages coming under Siddapur Gram Panchayat was higher and hence, it was essential to spread awareness among them.

"The Special Task Force is combing the Dakshina Kannada forests to prevent the Naxal menace. Since there are ample possibilities of the Naxals entering Kodagu district, vigil at all the check-posts of Kodagu border will be tightened and all the vehicles will be closely watched," he said.

The Dy.SP urged the estate owners to co-operate with the Police by gleaning information about unfamiliar persons coming as plantation workers, obtain their photographs, addresses and submit them to the Police.

Inspector Ram Ratan Kumar of Madikeri Town Police Station disclosed that following an anonymous letter to the Karnataka Home Minister and Southern Range Inspector General of Police (IGP) that the Naxalites may enter Kodagu, the meeting was arranged, as per the directions from the IGP.

The Police disclosed that operation against the Naxalites was on in Udupi, Kundapura, Shimoga and Bellary districts.

Inspector Girijesh of Kushalnagar Police Station, speaking on the occasion, warned against certain organisations and associations that spread disharmony between the estate owners and workers.

"The Naxalites tend to hold meetings under the guise of discussing labour problems, by shedding crocodile tears for the labourers," he said and urged the residents to inform the Police about such meetings.

Sub-Inspector Rama Reddy of Siddapur recorded the information and suggestions provided by the participants of the meeting.

Planters from Siddapur, Valnoor, Thyagathoor, Maldare, Engilgere, Guhya, Karadigodu and others participated in the meeting.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Governor for setting up of administrative commission

NT Staff Reporter

Panaji June 3: The state Governor, Mr S C Jamir today suggested setting up of the administrative commission for Goa to update the administration as per the need of the people and the time, besides, suggesting the setting up of a ‘think-tank committee’ for formulating a 20-year plan.

Mr Jamir made this observation, while interacting with the secretaries to the state government and other head of departments at Secretariat’s conference hall, at Porvorim, this morning.

He said terrorists don’t come with horns and one should not think that that all the hundreds of thousands of visitor who come to the state are clean people.

Commenting on the administration of the state, Mr Jamir suggested that there should be decentralisation of delegation of power in the state and that the administration should be streamlined. In view of this, Mr Jamir suggested setting up of the administrative commission. “A simple, transparent and manageable administration should be fashioned,” he opined.

Mr Jamir said the present infrastructure may not be able to cater to the growing needs of the state for next 10 to 12 years and he suggested the need to design for the future of Goa.

“We should not be complacent,” he cautioned and pointed out certain cases where some sections of the people are clearly discontented with the fact that their ancestral land and property have been taken away from them.

Mr Jamir said in the course of his interaction with the villagers, he came across a certain village where ancestral lands have been taken away from them through some dubious legalities and where even the wild fruits that they have plucked were forcibly but legally taken away.

“Will it not create anger when someone is deprived of inherited and ancestral property,” he asked and stated that in the course of his few months of looking after the affairs of the state he has noticed that a “new form of pseudo-colonialism” is emerging in Goa.

“Extremism, be it terrorism, insurgency or Naxalite movement, is a result of deeply suppressed anger and discontent,” the Governor said. “And when there is social injustice or perceived injustice, and when people can no longer suppress their disenchantment with the social system, their anger is bound to explode.”

Mr Jamir said that the nation is in such a position today that when this suppressed anger of the people explodes, there are ultras waiting to take advantage of the situation.

The Governor urged the government officials to pay special attention to the rural people and added that an “administration with a human face would go a long way in solving the minor problems of the people”.

Citing another instance that he had come across, which he said is a classic example of how people become disenchanted with the administration, the Governor narrated the case of a Goan family, now residing in London, who had to leave behind their children and jobs to come back to Goa and stay for more than three months now since their case had been pending with a collectorate’s office for nearly five years now.

“The case was kept pending with a official for three and half years, and after the official was transferred the same was kept pending with his successor for almost a year,” the Governor said. “Last Wednesday, the new officer met me and told me that for the last four months, he did not get time to go through the file! How can you administer the people with such a callous attitude? Does it take four months to go through a file? Such officials should not be sent to the field since they will be the black spot for the administration,” the Governor told the Chief Secretary.

Mr Jamir asked the government officials to do a serious introspection “whether we are doing justice to the people for whom we are employed, whether we are performing our duties according to which we are paid.”

“I sincerely appeal to Goa’s administrators to have concern and compassion for the people,” the Governor exhorted.

Mr Jamir said that his greatest joy in the last three months or so was when a group of petitioners met him at Margao and told him that their problem which was lying “unnoticed and unheeded for the last seven years was solved” in his presence within five minutes after he directed the official concerned to look into their case.

“One peculiarity of Goa’s administration is that we have allowed matters to slumber,” the Governor said. “We should not let the Rip Van Winkle syndrome affect our day-to-day functioning. We should pay heed to the needs of the people.”

He lauded the officials of being “efficient and capable” and wished that they would continue to strive for the welfare of the people of the state.

Pseudo-Naxal gangs busted

Monday June 6 2005 11:36 IST
NALGONDA: The police on Sunday arrested seven members of two gangs who had been looting petrol bunks under the pretext of being Naxalites.

Addressing a press conference here, Superintendent of Police Bhagwat said, among the arrested was the leader of one of the gangs Nagaraju of Machireddypally and Erpula Ravikumar of Suryapet.

Ravikumar was arrested in the course of an investigation into the murder of one Shankar.

During interrogation, Ravikumar confessed to have looted petrol bunks and robbed people on the highways in Nalgonda, Khammam and Warangal districts.

He told the cops that he was working in a gang headed by Nagaraju. Based on his information the police arrested Nagaraju and his aide Uppalachary.

Later, the district police formed a few teams and conducted raids in Khammam and other places and rounded up the pseudo-Naxalites.

The SP congratulated the police, particularly the Suryapet sub-division police officials, for putting an end to the crimes of the two gangs.

Police recover 14 more guns

Monday June 6 2005 00:00 IST

HOSUR: Dharmapuri police have recovered 14 more crude single-bore muzzle-loaded (SBML) guns from villages in Pennagaram block on Saturday.

Based on an intelligence report on the rise in manufacture of illegal guns in Dharmapuri region, the State Home Department has directed the district police to take immediate steps to curb illegal firearms traffic in this region.

Following this, Dharmapuri police urged the villagers to handover the illegal guns voluntarily, assuring them that ‘‘no cases would be framed against them.’’

The technique bore fruit as the illegal gun manufacturers in Pennagaram and Harur blocks handed over 54 SBML guns last week.

Again, following intensive campaigns and warnings from the police, people in Eryoor and surrounding villages in Pennagaram block surrendered 19 more guns.

Police said severe action would be taken under Indian Arms Act if the police detect and seize the firearms. Sources also said that district police and Naxal Special Division Wing (NSDW) sleuths have been jointly taking action to bring end firearms traffic in the district within the time frame spelt out by the Home Department.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Varavara Rao quits



HYDERABAD: Stung by the adverse reaction to his recent letters to the Maoist leadership on his co-emissaries, P Varavara Rao reportedly tendered his resignation from the Viplava Rachayitala Sangham (Virasam).

He also vowed he would never identify himself as a former emissary of the Maoists.Rao, a founder-member of Virasam, in a letter to the literary outfit’s secretary, which was seized by police from the arrested Virasam members in Nizamabad on Thursday, said that he would not address himself as member of Virasam either while speaking to the media or at future meetings.

He also claimed moral responsibility for the embarrassment caused to fellow emissaries Gadar and G Kalyan Rao due to his letters.

Despite efforts, Varavara Rao could not be contacted, while a Virasam member confirmed that the poet had written a letter expressing his desire to quit the organisation.

Meanwhile, with pressure mounting on police to release journalist N Venugopal, who was arrested along with a few top Maoist leaders, police on Saturday released some letters and documents allegedly seized from the arrested persons to support their claim that Venugopal was a member of a Maoist frontal organisation.

In one such letter, Maoist leader Ganti Prasadam alias Prabhakar, also arrested in Nizamabad, says there was an urgent need to improve the Fraction Committee (FC), a naxalite party cell working overtly, and called for a meeting of its senior members. Prabhakar marked another letter to ‘Vn’, whom police named as Venugopal.

"The meeting took place in Aurangabad and all the FC members participated in it,"an officer said

Pro-Naxal Delhi Univ Prof attacked by police

Delhi Univ Prof attacked by police: PUCL; police denies

Raipur, June 05: Pro-Naxal People's Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) today claimed eminent economist and Delhi Univerity Professor Jaen Draz and a dozen others were injured in a cane charge by Chhattisgarh police in Naxal-infested Sarguja district but authorities denied the charge.

"When a Yatra to press for rural employment guarantee implementation, consisting of eminent persons, reached Balrampur in Sarguja district, the local police unlawfully attacked them when they were holding a meeting last night," PUCL state president Rajendra Kumar Sail alleged.

"The Balrampur police not only assaulted Draz, who is a member of the national advisory council appointed to supervise implementation of the common minimum programme of UPA government at the centre, but also injured 12 others, including some students of Jawaharlal Nehru University, who were a part of the Yatra," Sail alleged.

"The police attack on the Yatra is a symbol of Khakhi terror in Chhattisgarh as the security forces not only assaulted unarmed intellectuals like Draz but also forced the driver of the bus, in which Draz and others came, to leave that place, he charged.

PUCL general secretary Vinayak Sen demanded a high-level inquiry and suspension of Balrampur SP over the incident and said they will hold a day-long dharna tomorrow to highlight "attack" on the Yatra .

However, Sarguja District Collector Manoj Kumar Pingua denied the allegation of PUCL and said "no one was injured in the incident since the police has not cane charged".

Bureau Report

Sacred knot: Unusual rituals mark Naxal weddings

Gyanendu Chaitanya

Sunday, June 5, 2005 (Gaya):

As hundreds of marriages take place across the country during the ongoing wedding season, the adult children of Naxalites leaders are also tying the knot.

Naxal leaders from all over the country flocked to Gaya's Karma village, to attend the wedding of senior CPI (Maoist) leader Vijay Arya's daughter.

Instead of ritual songs, the village women were heard singing special songs for the occasion, usually sung to welcome Naxal leaders in their usual underground meetings.

Novel process

The wedding process itself was rather unusual, as the bride and the groom first shook hands, and after garlanding each other took the vow to remain united forever.

"Even in marriages solemnised by a priest the girls may become widows. So what's the point? We go in for our own method," said Ramesh, a Naxal leader.

The view was shared by the bride and the groom as well.

"If we can have a mosque and temple under the same sky, then why not believers and non-believers," said Rakesh, the groom.

If the large attendance at the occasion was any indication, it seems that Naxal weddings may be not quite widespread but are gradually catching up in the Naxal-dominated areas.

Orissa villagers to arm themselves to fight Naxals

DH News Service Sambalpur (Orissa):

The police in Orissa will train villagers to use arms so that they can defend themselves in case of Naxal attacks.

People in many villages in Western Orissa, affected by the recent spurt in naxal activities, want to arm themselves for protecting their lives and property as the police have failed in protecting them from repeated Naxal attacks.

“We should be provided with arms and ammunition to take on the Naxals and protect our homes”, residents of Burda village in Sambalpur district said. Three villagers were killed last week by the Maoist Naxals.

The villagers have already conveyed their desire to have arms and ammunition to fight the Naxals to political and official teams which had visited the area soon after the last week’s Naxal attack.

The villagers fear fresh attacks from the Naxals though one platoon of armed police have already been deployed in the village. Ironically, the villagers, all displaced by the Hirakud dam project, had chosen the area to resettle decades ago as it was considered a peaceful place.

Police sources in Sambalpur said, the villagers’ demand was discussed at a high level meeting of the police officials held at Talcher in neighbouring Angul district early this week. The top brass of the state police including Director General(DG) B B Mishra attended the meeting convened to discuss the recent spurt in naxal activities in western Orissa region.

The meeting reportedly have decided to train villagers in using arms before supplying them guns and pistols to fight the Naxals. If the state police went ahead with its plan, then this is for the first time people of the Orissa villages would be provided arms training to fight the Naxal outfits.

The police’s role in handling the Naxals, however, has been strongly criticised by the affected villagers. “The police did not turn up for a long time though they had been informed of the Naxal attack soon after the incident”, the villagers of Burda said recollecting the last week’s Naxal attack. Instead, the two youths who had gone to inform the police about the attack were detained for questioning.

A BJP team headed by Joel Oram, former union tribal welfare minister and MP from Western Orissa’s Sundergarh constituency, which had visited Burda village has also submitted a report to the chief minister Naveen Patnaik in which they have demanded disciplinary action against the local police.

Faced with criticism from all quarters, the local police have launched a massive combing operation in the entire western Orissa region to capture the Naxalites. And the efforts seem to be bearing fruit for, the police have been able to nab a couple of hardcore ultras. They include Khadag Singh, an area commander of the Maoist Communist Centre.