Saturday, November 19, 2005

What happens in Bihar affects us all

By Tavleen Singh

If you are fortunate enough to have never needed to travel to Bihar you cannot begin to imagine what towns like Jehanabad look like. You cannot picture the abysmal poverty of the thatch and mud villages that surround it, the appalling roads or the depleted urban standards of towns in which municipal governance seems never to have existed. If you go at night, as I last did to cover a caste massacre in a village, then you remember Jehanabad as a place of dim yellow lights and dark alleys lit mostly by the little fires that burn in the earthen pots of street vendors. My enduring memory of this particular journey is that in the village in which Dalits had been massacred there was not a single light bulb and no sign of a policeman.

Relatives of the dead spoke in hushed tones because they feared the killers may return or have spies in their midst. The police station we passed on the way to the village was lit by a single yellow bulb and seemed unmanned until you noticed the single policeman sleeping on a string bed in the dimly lit doorway.

Standards of governance, law and order, living, are so primitive that it’s surprising there have not been more attacks of the kind we saw last week in which Maoists freed more than 340 prisoners from Jehanabad jail including their leader Ajay Kanu. So short of guards was the jail that the Maoists even stopped to kill a few jailed members of their enemy Ranvir Sena, which represents land-owning peasants and small landlords. This will lead, no doubt, to renewed caste wars in a state where caste defines political, social and economic realities to a depressing degree.

Sometime next week Bihar will get a new government, fractured by caste equations, possibly without a full majority. Hopefully it will be one that does not include Laloo Prasad Yadav’s proxy chief minister, his wife Rabri, and hopefully it will be one that will do something to stop the state’s slide into criminality, civil war and chaos. Even if this happens the Central Government is going to have to wake up and address the Maoist problem unless we want whole states to go the way of Nepal.

According to the South Asia Terrorism portal two new districts fall to Naxalite control every week. These districts cut a widening swathe through the heart of India and some analysts see what is happening as an attempt to make a Maoist corridor to Nepal.

This is not something that has happened overnight. It has been happening for years, decades, but nobody in Delhi has made a serious effort to address the problem. There is talk of how Sonia Gandhi’s favourite new law, the Rural Employment Guarantee scheme, is going to serve to lure unemployed young men away from the Maoists but if the scheme goes into operation and if it makes a difference we are not going to see effects for several years.

The Naxalite problem is too urgent for us to be able to wait that long. It has to be dealt with now but cannot be because we do not have the infrastructure or the manpower available to deal with it. All that the Central Government has done so far is tokenism. Every few months or so chief ministers ruling Naxalite-affected states meet to discuss ways and means of tackling the problem and then forget about it altogether.

Every time there is a major incident the prime minister announces that terrorism will not be tolerated and then we forget about it once more. On the ground nothing has changed, nothing has happened to indicate that either the Central or state governments are aware of the urgency of the crisis. Had they been we would by now have seen specially trained forces in the districts that are Naxalite affected. We would have seen police stations manned by trained and better armed forces and we would have seen specially trained intelligence agencies. Without these we cannot hope to make the smallest progress towards ending the Maoist menace.

Law and order is a state subject, according to our Constitution, but the kind of infrastructure now required can only be set up by the Home Ministry in Delhi. There is no indication that the home minister is aware of his role or of the need for a policy. Maoism is today a discredited ideology except in South Asia. Mao Tse Tung and Stalin are widely regarded as two of the greatest monsters of the 20th century but the illiterate young men who fill the ranks of our Maoist parties cannot possibly have any idea of this. The problem has to be dealt with politically by making them aware of the things that are being said and written about Chairman Mao these days but again we see a total abdication of governmental responsibility in the matter so the Maoists got away last week not just with releasing their leaders from Jehanabad jail but also with leaving behind propaganda leaflets to explain their ideology and motives.

Shocked editorials in national newspapers lamented the state of affairs in Bihar but indicated that they saw what happened as a Bihari problem. It is not. It affects us all and will affect us even more in the future if it is not dealt with urgently now

UP Police launch combing operation against Maoists

Chanduali | November 19, 2005 9:08:47 PM IST

Police in Uttar Pradesh have launched a massive manhunt for the Maoists in jungles and their strongholds in state's border Chanduali region after last week's attack in Bihar, the biggest and most brazen till date.

Officials have stepped up patrolling along the border areas to check on those coming into the state from neighboring Bihar to stop Naxalites or Maoists from entering into the region.

Authorities have pressed into service 15 contingents of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for combing operations in over 500 villages marked as naxal-infested. The state's Chandauli and Mirzapur areas, surrounded by the thick forests, are infamous as the Maoists front and are a part of the corridor used by the Maoists.

"We are focusing on the border areas of Bihar. We are carrying out extensive combing operation. We are vigilant," said RK Chaturvedi, Superintendent of Police, Chandauli.

Meanwhile, the Ranbir Sena, whose members were killed by the Maoists during the raid, vowed revenge on the Naxalites.

"The administration has always tried to crush us. The Maoists have freed their men but they have killed our men and we will take revenge. I would like say to people that they should not give shelter to Maoists or else we would kill them too," said a member of Ranvir Sena.

Elsewhere, Director General of Police, Bihar, Ashish Ranjan Sinha, said adequate security forces have been deployed in Jehanabad.

"We have deployed adequate security forces and I had myself gone to Jehanabad to take stock of the situation," said Sinha.

The Maoists have stepped up attacks in recent months. Last week, about 300 Maoists stormed a training centre for auxiliary policemen, killing five cadets, in neighbouring Jharkhand. They also raided the Jail in Jehanabad, freeing their fellow cadres and killing the chief of the Ranbir Sena, who was locked in one of the cells in the jail.

The Union Home Ministry has estimated there are around about 9,300 armed Maoists in the country and say they have links with Maoist insurgents in neighbouring Nepal who are fighting to overthrow the Himalayan nation's monarchy. (ANI)

Police-naxal encounter at Chatra

CHATRA: A brief encounter took place between police and naxalites at Chatra in Jharkhand on Saturday, but no casualty was reported, a senior official said.

Police later recovered five guns, 23 bullets and three detonators from the site, Superintendent of Police Sashinath Jha said.

The encounter took place when a suspected naxalite arrested by the police led the force to Mathia forest in Chatra, Jha said adding, there was no casualty and the ultras made good their escape.

The state that failed

Picture this town in the heart of Middle India: One-horse Jehanabad is covered under winter fog and a haze from the smoke of burning wood and charcoal from mud and brick ovens. There is no electricity - there has been a power cut - and most townsfolk are finishing their chores.

The streets are deserted with only the stray paan gumti open, it's front lit under a compressed kerosene lamp called, after a brand, Petromax. Through the misty darkness about 1,000 armed men march in stealthily. They head straight towards the Jehanabad Jail, take it under their control, identify and shoot nine 'upper-caste' prisoners, set free 389 'lower caste' inmates and disappear under the cover of darkness from whence they had arrived.

The darkness in Jehanabad is literal as well as figurative. For several years now, even averagely informed members of civil society have been describing the ongoing anarchy in Bihar, and parts of Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, as underscoring the 'failed state'. It's to describe places where the power and majesty of the state has long eroded, and it is a subject of ridicule or pity or both. The state here also stands for nostalgia, a reminder of some mythical-sounding golden era. So let's not be mistaken: The Ambedkarite state that is god has not just failed; in these parts, it is in a deep coma from where resuscitation is only theoretically possible. In that sense, the storming of Jehanabad sounds the first warning bell.

Clearly, Jehanabad ought not to be seen as a mere violent punctuation in the democratic process - Bihar is undergoing its second Assembly election this year - but as a phenomenon designed to create further contempt for the state in the minds of the 'great unwashed' of the hinterland.

The attack could have taken place after the election process or even before it. That it happened at a time when the state's presence was supposedly most overwhelming - its district headquarters and tehsils are buzzing with officials and electoral activity; its voting constituencies resembling armed garrisons - must not be forgotten. The period of the election is also, vitally, the state's constitutionally mandated attempt at the renewal of whatever legitimacy it is left with in these parts. The importance of the Maoist rebels selecting such a time to assert their superior strike force, therefore, must not be lost on us.

But already we are showing signs of repeating our old mistakes: Of relegating Jehanabad to the recesses of memory. That is what we did when the guerrillas of People's War held Koraput, in Orissa, under siege for an entire day on February 6, 2004. Why is it that we do not mention 6/2 and 13/11 in the same breath as 29/10 or 14/12 - the latter two being the dates on which terrorists struck Delhi, Parliament in the first instance and shopping markets in the second? Agreed, there are broad differences between Islamist jihad and Left wing terror.

But then as assaults on society and polity, both are equally debilitating and, therefore, dangerous. One hits at the core values of our multi-religious, secular society while the other strikes at the democratic order. Both spread death and fear.

At the same time the somewhat larger question is what does the state do. How, indeed, is it supposed to address the issue of red terror which is holding back development of the areas by killing investments - whether in infrastructure, education or health?

The Government has confounded its way into a bind: It says, if it adopts strong-arm methods, cracks down with an iron fist, it is told the problem is sociological and that the issue needs more careful handling. If, on the other hand, it announces ceasefires or removes the ban on the rebels or even agrees to talk to them, it is told it is going soft. Post-Jehanabad, however, there should not be any more moments of self-doubt. If legitimacy of the state yields to force, howsoever misguided and infantile, if the state forsakes certain moral absolutes that govern our universe, only darkness will descend, making it impossible to distinguish between right and wrong.

The state must take the siege of Jehanabad as the first sign of its own rot and begin to heal itself. The state, under which the venal thrive, cannot end the corruption of ideas that Maoism represents. The state that allows the bigger criminals and terrorists to roam free, cannot - it is, indeed, in that event, constitutionally incapable of it - nab the smaller variety. Catch and punish a few big sharks and the piranhas will fall in line.

That is the challenge before the leadership - whether of the UPA or the NDA. Finance capital on which the state is carved must then take justice - economic, social, and political - first and foremost to the scores of Jehanabads in India. The reformed state must strike at the half-baked peddlers of revolution-consciousness that are opposed to parliamentary democracy - howsoever flawed - and any type of reform that results from such a polity.

Unless the state does justice by the poorest and the most backward regions of the country, the problem of Maoist violence will not end. Only when such a reformed state takes development to the poverty-stricken regions of the country, when it takes information and the internet - the delightfully abstract enemies of ideological warfare - to Kalahandis and Prasanaths, will the forces of darkness, that those who struck Jehanabad represent, be sent back to its cave. The Naxalites have effectively struck against the development of democratic grassroots leadership, which is the crux of the problem.

The state - and its feudal order's - blunders of the past are returning to haunt its present as well as future. It must begin woth correcting its historical mistakes. To paraphrase Sun Yat Sen: Well-organised nations count votes out of ballot boxes. Badly organised nations count dead bodies on their own killing fields.

Ranvir Sena vows take revenge for Jehanabad attack

Jehanabad November 19, 2005 6:07:34 PM IST

In a sign of rapidly escalating tension, the Ranvir Sena, the private army of Bihar's landlord class, has vowed to avenge the killing and kidnapping of its activists by Maoist rebels.

It may be recalled that the Maoists freed 389 inmates of the Jehanabad District Prison and killed four persons in the attack last Sunday. They also gunned down nine kidnapped members of the Ranvir Sena, which triggered protests from the Sena.

"We are still having a round of meetings within us and are awaiting reports. When it comes, we shall make our move and for one person killed we shall kill hundred," threatened Gulab, a Ranvir Sena member.

"This event was not shameful to us. Instead it was shameful for the Central Government and the Bihar Government. We are just doing our bit to clear these unwanted people. We are going to pay back for whatever we have lost. If anybody in Bihar gives them shelter then we will just barge in and kill the entire family," says Param, a member of the Ranvir Sena.

Meanwhile, troops are patrolling the town and around 1,000 Central paramilitary personnel have been deployed to control the situation in Jehenabad.

"To prevent an incident like this we have taken necessary precautions. I myself went to Jehanabad to inspect the situation prevailing there," says Ashish Ranjan Sinha, Director General of Police, Bihar.

It is suspected that hard-core Naxalite leaders namely Ajay Kanu and Murali, who were lodged in the jail, had plotted the Sunday night's operation and managed to escape.

While a sentry, a warden and Ranvir Sena leader Bade Sharma were shot dead at the jail, a constable perished in the gun battle with the Naxalites on that attack.

Bodies of three of the members of Ranvir Sena, who were believed to be abducted, were recovered from a Railway track near the jail. Five other Sena men were believed to have been killed at Belagang in adjoining Gaya district.

The body of a prominent Ranvir Sena activist Visweshwar Rai was found at Pinjora village in Jehanabad district on Monday evening.(ANI)

Two-pronged strategy needed to combat naxalites: Mitra



A two-pronged strategy combining stepped up development with effective and sustained combat operations was required to check naxalism, a senior official in the Union Home Ministry said today.

"As of now, our effort is to arrest the escapee inmates of the jail as also those who perpetrated the attack," Special Secretary (Internal Security) Ashis Mitra, who is heading a Central team in Bihar in the aftermath of the November 13 naxalite attack in Jehanabad, said.

Mitra, who reviwed the situation with District Magistrate Rana Avadhesh and Superintendent of Police B S Meena, said the Centre would extend all possible assistance to Bihar in launching anti-naxalite operations.

He was accompanied by IG of the National Security Guards A K Thakur and IG (Operations) of CRPF K T D Singh.

Mitra said eight naxalites of the banned CPI (Maoist) outfit were arrested during the last few days and combing operation was on in full swing in the district.

Regarding NSG, which has been engaged in anti-naxalite operations for the first time, Mitra said two squadrons (280 men) had already arrived and a squadron each stationed at Patna and Gaya would be pressed into service the moment the need was felt for it.

He said a meeting of officials of the naxal-hit states was likely to be held later this month which would, apart from reviewing the progress made by the states since September, deliberate on the November 13 attack by CPI (Maoist) in Jehanabad.

Cops in Orissa's Sambalpur District have no arms!

By Sarada Lahangir, Sambalpur (Orissa): Policemen in Sambalpur in Orissa are attending to their duties without weapons.

The situation has emerged after state authorities decided to withdraw their rifles in an attempt to protect policemen's lives from Naxalites who attack them in their desparate search for weapons.

The Sambalpur police administration has withdrawn weapons from Hirakud Dam security force and some of the police station. Administration says that this step was taken in order to save the life of the policemen.

Poicemen have been the easy prey of naxalites in Sambalpur, the Naxalite-affected area. The local administration are anticipating attacks on police stations as the naxalites are preparing for their Martyrs' week.

In a recent attack, Maoists killed two policemen for their weapons during a local fair at Badrona.

“We took this decision to save the lives of policemen. The Naxals attack in the group of 10 to 15 for weapons. Single policeman will not be able to tackle them and can loose his life. If required, the Armed force will be called from Burla. The policemen are provided with lathis(sticks) instead of Arms,” says Susil Panigrahi, Official in Charge, Hirakud

But the latest idea of authorities to disarm policemen have made the villagers a worried about their life as they feel this decision could affect them badly.

“Naxalites are preparing for martyrs week due to which the guns have been taken back from the police.We are feeling unsafe because of it. This decision can make police more vulnerable to such attacks and it can lead to severe attacks like the one at Jehanabad in Bihar,”says Sureswar Mishra, a resident.

On Sunday, the Naxalites attacked the jail in Jehanabad, killed at least one major leader of the Ranveer Sena and liberated at least 340 prisoners, including several of their own comrades.

The Bhumihar Bomb Is Ticking

Would the Ranvir Sena run amok if Nitish comes to power? Can Laloo contain them?
Source: Outlook

The Ranvir Sena was formed by Bhumihar landlords of Bhojpur in 1994 as a response to the increased activism of Naxalites. It came at the end of a process that saw many upper-caste 'armies' emerge in the '80s-'90s—like the Sunlight Sena, Savarna Liberation Army, Brahmarishi Sena, Kuer Sena, Ganga Sena—and was the only big one that survived into another era. In a sense, the Bhumihars were only refining an old tradition linked to Bihar's landlordism. In the past, landlords would retain private armies of lathaiths (muscle-men) to extract revenue from small farmers or to keep peasants in permanent bondage. But once Naxalite ideology began to challenge the might of the landed elite, an armed reaction was natural.

In his book People Power, on the Naxalite movement of central India, author Prakash Louis lists 27 massacres committed by the Ranvir Sena between 1995 and 2000. The maximum carnage took place in Bhojpur and Jehanabad districts. On December 1, '97, the Ranvir Sena killed 58 Dalits, including 23 women and 16 children, in Lakshmanpur-Bathe village. On January 23, 1999, they butchered 23 villagers in Shankarbigha. It is no coincidence that the Ranvir Sena man the Maoists first eliminated in the Jehanabad jail break was Bade Ranvir Sharma, the main accused in the Lakshmanpur-Bathe massacre.

There has been a perception in Bihar that after the '90s, Laloo Yadav was successful in defanging the Ranvir Sena to some extent. This is also because in some elections the Bhumihars tactically decided to back his party's candidates in several seats, although upper-caste sentiment remains overwhelmingly against him. Yet Laloo paid a price for aligning with such forces. If one former feudal was given an RJD ticket, then Laloo arguably lost the support of the poor in several adjoining seats. And although the top leaders of the Ranvir Sena were jailed, the Laloo regime never vigorously prosecuted its members, with the result that several killers are today free and still trying to lord it over in their little feifdoms.

But the real issue is not how a reactionary outfit like the Ranvir Sena would fare under Laloo Yadav. The more significant question is: would they run amok if there was a JD(U)-BJP victory? What is certain is that the tolerance level for Naxalites would certainly be far lower in a dispensation involving the BJP. Says the CPI(ML)'s Dipankar Bhattacharya: "Let there be no doubt that when it suited him even Laloo unleashed state repression. If the BJP gets a shot at power they will certainly like to bring in even more draconian laws."

Meanwhile, the Ranvir Sena claims to be gathering arms and men for "self-defence". They too are keeping a close eye on the current political battle on in Bihar. For, their tactics will be adapted to suit the electoral verdict. Tactics, they know. They are after all gentlemen farmers by day, who have been known to miraculously transform into killers by night.

‘Let benefits reach poor to check Naxalism’

Saturday November 19 2005 10:27 IST

MALKANGIRI: Naxal menace can be curbed if the district administration ensures that benefits of the government welfare schemes reach the poor tribals, said State BJP president Jual Oram.

He told mediapersons here on Thursday that Naxal problem would not arise if people get all necessary facilities. The government has chalked out several welfare programmes for the poor tribals but they should be strictly implemented, he said.

Earlier, Oram visited former minister Arabinda Dhali’s house at MV 55 village which was damaged in the landmine blast.

Naxal menace: Orissa CM seeks 3 additional companies of CRPF

Saturday November 19 2005 10:11 IST

BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has requested the Centre for deployment of three additional companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the Naxal-affected areas.

The Chief Minister, who is currently in Delhi, called on Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and discussed with him the increasing Naxal activities in the State and the pro-active measures taken by his Government to combat the menace.

While apprising Patil about the large-scale implementation of socio-economic activities as a long-term measure to arrest Naxal influence in the affected areas, Naveen reiterated his demand for the 2000-km Vijayawada-Ranchi National Highway project.

The Chief Minister informed the Union Minister that he has already discussed the project with the Planning Commission, ministries of Road Transport and Highways and Rural Development and all are fully supportive to it.

The proposed road project would cover 1200 km in the State through 12 backward districts. If the project is taken up, it would bring prosperity to these backward districts and help contain the Naxal problem, he argued.

Since the project involves investment of Rs 850 crore, Naveen said resources need to be pooled from various sources such as Central Road Fund for NH segment, PMGSY fund earmarked for security related roads, Nabard and Backward Region Development Fund for state highways and lesser categories.

The Union Home Minister told Naveen that his Ministry will extend all support along with coordinating with other ministries for early sanction of the highly important project.

The Chief Minister also met former prime minister A.B. Vajpayee and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha L.K.Advani and discussed with them several issues pertaining to the State.

Will Naxal Mallika bid farewell to arms?

Saturday November 19 2005 09:52 IST

SRINGERI: Padmavathi, mother of Mallika, who was arrested by the police early this week for her alleged involvement in Naxal activity, is a relieved woman.

“I’m seeing my daughter after 18 months and I’m relieved,” said Padmavathi, when she, along with her son Prakash, visited her daughter at the police station here on Thursday.

Last year when Mallika reportedly joined the Mahila Jagrithi, the police told Padmavathi to bring her daughter back home.

“Otherwise she may die in an encounter,” they warned. Padmavathi owns two acres of rain-fed land in Kundur, Koppa Taluk.

The single-crop paddy harvested from this land is not sufficient to feed the family of four. So, to make ends meet, she works in the fields of other farmers.

Anxious for her safety, Padmavathi wants to take her daughter home. “I do not want my daughter to return to the forest. My only wish is that she should live in peace,” she said.

While Padmavathi was talking to this reporter, Mallika sat quietly by her side, looking calm and composed and showing little emotion. Mallika did her primary education at Veeragallumakki school.

A precocious and intelligent child, she always expressed a concern for the poor. She later joined the Mahila Jagrithi and become a committed worker.

Once during a police interrogation, she argued that her organization had no links with the Naxals. She reportedly said she would continue her links with the outfit as she was committed to eradicating gender inequality and the harassment of women.

Police say they have evidence to prove Mallika had participated in the Barkana incident, near Agumbe, in which Naxals had hit out at the police.

“She has participated in almost all major Naxal activities in Malnad region,” police said. Mallika has now been arrested.

But what’s next?

The police are following a new strategy, instead of confronting the Naxals directly. According to a top officer, those involved in Naxal activities are being viewed as misguided, unemployed youth.

“We hope to bring them back to the mainstream. We are not interested in encounters,” the officer said.

Friday, November 18, 2005

30 Maoists give cops the slip by blasted claymore mines

GUNTUR: At least 30 naxalites are believed to have been escaped after blasting claymore mines in the deep Nallamala forests when a special police party almost raided their camp.

The special police, who were combing the forest area in Peddaraveedu mandal of Prakasam district, saw a naxalite camp from a distance in the late hours of Thursday.

However, the naxalites could observe the movements of the police even before the latter advanced into the forest and blasted claymore mines to protect themselves. The exchange of fire continued for more than an hour with the presence of a sizeable number of guerrillas.
However, they slowly retreated into the deep forest taking the advantage of darkness. No casualties have been reported from either side.

The police parties did not advance any further due to the fear of an ambush by naxalites. They seized a huge quantity of explosive material, wire bundles, diaries and journals from the scene of offence. However, the police could not recover any weapons from as all of them left the place along with their weapons.

The police suspect that at least 30 naxalites might have gathered at the place as they found huge quantity of food prepared in the area.

Police sources said that it could be a military camp being organised to train freshers on handling of arms and ammunition.

Police also suspect that there was every possibility of some 'big gun' participating in the training session. Further details were awaited as the combing parties did not return to the base till Friday evening.

Naxalites clash with Ranvir Sena in Bihar village

Naxalites clash with Ranvir Sena in Bihar village

Press Trust of India

Jehanabad, November 18, 2005

A gunbattle broke out on Friday between Naxalites and activists of Ranvir Sena, a banned militia of upper caste land owners which had threatened to avenge the killing and kidnapping of its men in Jehanabad, at a village in adjoining Arwal district of Bihar, official sources said.

They said reports said the gunbattle erupted at Benibigha village under Karpi police station of Arwal district was.

"A police contingent has been rushed to the scene and we are trying to contact our counterparts in Arwal", the sources said.

Maoists, Ranvir Sena clash in Bihar

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Arwal, Nov 18: The authorities in Jehanabad and adjoining Arwal districts today got in a tizzy following report of an armed clash between the CPI (Maoist) and Ranvir Sena activists, five days after the Naxalite attack in Jehanabad that sent shock waves through Bihar.

As reports of a gun battle between the two banned outfits reached the headquarters of the two districts, Central paramilitary force and Bihar Police contingents were rushed to Benibigha under Karpi police station of Arwal district.

It ultimately turned out that Butan Sharma, an activist of Ranvir Sena, a militia of upper caste land owners locked in a bloody feud with Naxalites for over a decade, had opened a few rounds of fire in the air after an altercation with some villagers.

"There was no armed clash as such between activists of the two organisations," Arwal SP Vinod Kumar said.

He said efforts were on to apprehend Sharma and contingents of CRPF and local police had been deployed in the area.

Ranvir Sena had threatened to avenge the killing and kidnapping of its activists by CPI (Maoist) rebels in Sunday night's attack in Jehanabad. (Agencies)

Jehanabad NAXAL attack: Bihar Chief Secretary to file affidavit

Jehanabad attack: Bihar Chief Secretary to file affidavit
Saturday November 19 2005 00:00 IST


PATNA: Terming the Naxalite attack on Jehanabad jail as “painful” and “against humanity”, the Patna High Court on Friday directed Bihar Chief Secretary G S Kang to file an affidavit by December 1 detailing the incident and action taken by the state government.

The Director General of Police Ashish Ranjan Sinha and Home Secretary H C Sirohi were also directed by a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice J N Bhatt and Justice R N Prasad, to be present in person in court on December 1.

The directives came after the Bench heard a public interest litigation filed by a lawyer Arvind Kumar on behalf of People’s Watch, an NGO and another filed by advocate Mukesh Kumar seeking compensation for those killed by the CPI (Maoists).

The Bench termed the attack as a “very sensitive matter” and said efforts should be made to go into the root cause of such incidents while everything should be done for the development of society.

Appearing on behalf of People’s Watch, counsel Arvind Kumar said that policing and intelligence gathering machinery in Bihar had “collapsed and there was criminal callousness on the part of the state administration.”

Despite having an intelligence report about the movement of hardcore Naxalites in the area, the administration took no action to their design, he submitted.

The Bench also expressed concern over the beating up of journalists by the district administration in Jehanabad a day after the Naxalite attack.

The state was represented by state counsel R K Dutta. The matter will come up for hearing on December 1.

India seeks new approach toward Maoists

India seeks new approach toward Maoists
By Kushal Jeena
Nov 17, 2005, 19:00 GMT

NEW DELHI, India (UPI) -- India needs to go beyond law and order concerns to deal with growing attacks by Maoist rebels in more than 10 states, analysts said.

A new collective approach is required to address the growth of the rebels. The biggest-ever attack by Maoist rebels on Jahanabad jail Sunday reflects the gravity of the problem, they added.

\'Our political class looks upon it (Maoists) as a socio-economic issue, while police and security forces insist on making it a law and order problem. It should be looked in a different manner,\' said Mahendra Ved, a senior political analyst at the Times of India.

He said the Maoists` influence was growing fast in India`s rural areas because the political leadership and the bureaucracy had different approaches.

\'As a result, the problem is increasing day by day. It is increasing at a rate of one district every two months,\' Ved said.

He said the political leadership and security establishment had not yet realized how deep the rebels had penetrated rural India.

More than 1,000 armed rebels attacked a jail in Jahanabad, a town of about 70,000 people in state of Bihar, and kidnapped over 300 workers of Ranvir Sena (a private army of landlords). They also freed two of their jailed commanders -- Ajay Kanu and Mukul.

\'The rebels outnumbered the security personnel deployed at the jail. The policemen in Jahanabad jail were less than half of their usual strength on that day because they were transferred to election duty, \' said a senior Bihar police officer.

The federal election commission has directed the state and central governments to deploy additional forces to prevent rigging at the polling booths in the state that is infamous for its lawlessness and rigging activities.

\'The Maoist attack on Jahanabad jail was a complete breakdown of law and order machinery and a failure of intelligence sleuths, who could not obtain prior information,\' said Ved.

Maoist rebels are active in more than 10 Indian states, all of which are economically and socially backward. Several thousand have been killed by the violence in the past four decades.

Successive federal governments` failure to pay proper attention to the Maoist activities has resulted in the rebels gaining influence in rural areas where landlords have exploited the poor. Maoists says they represent the poor and landless.

\'Kidnapping workers of a private army of landlords from Jahanabad jail, was a planned move by the rebels to strengthen their influence among the poor and socially backward people in caste stricken Bihar,\' said R.P.N. Singh, a member of the ruling Congress Party.

Maoist rebels have established close contacts with their counterparts in Nepal. Rebels from both sides have provided arms and ammunition to each other through Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states, which border Nepal.

The Indian Interior Ministry recently noted the coming together of Indian and Nepalese Maoists.

Interior Minister Shivraj Patil announced in September a three-pronged strategy to counter Maoist violence. He also called two meetings of the chief ministers and home secretaries of Naxal-affected states in New Delhi and Hyderabad.

Naxals refer to Maoists in India.

\'It was decided that these states would coordinate with each other to curb Naxal violence. The home ministry has told them that they would be provided all possible assistance, \' said Patil.

Analysts say Maoists have an easy time recruiting because they target the poor who are ignored by the government and exploited by landlords.

\'Widespread development and creation of job opportunities in Naxal-affected states would certainly make their (Maoist rebels) task difficult,\' said analyst K. Veeriah.

According to Interior Ministry figures, more than 1,000 armed Maoist rebels are active across the country.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Amid police revolt, NSG set to go after Maoists

Friday November 18 2005 16:45 IST


PATNA: Hundreds of central security forces were on Friday set to launch the biggest crackdown on Maoists, even as policemen in Bihar's Jehanabad town refused to return to work seeking reinstatement of suspended top police officer Sunil Kumar.

About 700 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and 280 National Security Guards (NSG) personnel reached Bihar to go after Maoist rebels who had swooped on the town Sunday night attacking the police lines and freeing nearly 400 prisoners.

But the policemen in Jehanabad demanding the revocation of suspension of Kumar continued to be on strike, refusing to listen to appeals from senior police officer to go back to work.

It was the third straight day of protests. The policemen believe the government wrongly suspended Kumar for the audacious guerrilla strike, saying the top police brass in Bihar should take responsibility.

The policemen demonstrated before Bihar Chief Secretary G.S. Kang, Home Secretary H.C. Sirohi and Bihar police chief A.R. Sinha who visited the town, 50 km from here.

Kumar was suspended Tuesday and replaced with Bacchu Singh Meena.

In the violence Sunday night, 389 prisoners either fled or were freed by the Maoists from the jail. Forty prisoners, belonging to upper caste militia Ranbir Sena, were dragged away by the extremists.

A rattled central government immediately rushed NSG and CRPF to hunt down the Maoists, who disappeared after the three-hour mayhem. Not one of them has been caught.

"The NSG along with CRPF, Special Task Force (STF) and other security forces will hit back in rural pockets," a senior police official said.

In Patna, the high court Friday ordered the chief secretary to file an affidavit Dec 1 explaining why preventive measures were not taken in Jehanabad despite intelligence warnings that Maoists were preparing a major strike.

It asked the official to detail the measures being taken by the state government to prevent recurrence of such incidents. The court also asked the home secretary and the police chief to be present before it.

The Jehanabad police have lodged four complaints against the Communist Party of India-Maoist for the daring attack on police lines and jail that left six people dead. They included two policemen and two Maoists.

Eight Maoists arrested in Bihar

Jamui Bihar | November 18, 2005 7:42:10 PM IST

An area commander of the CPI (Maoist) and seven other members of the extremist organisation were arrested at Telhiyadih village under Jhajha police station in the district today.

Police Superintendent Arvind Kumar said here that a joint team of CRPF, STF and district police raided a hideout of the extremists and nabbed the ultras.

He said a gun looted from a villager and eight cartridges were recovered from the spot.

Mr Kumar said the nabbed extremists were involved in an attack on Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel, killing one of them and injuring another. They were also accused of killing two people at Teliyadih village in 2004.


20 hardcore Naxals shifted to Bhagalpur

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Sasaram, Nov 18: Twenty hardcore CPI (Maoist) activists were today shifted from the district jail here to the high-security Bhagalpur jail in the aftermath of the November 13 Naxalite attack on Jehanabad prison that led to the escape of 389 inmates.

"We have shifted 20 hardcore activists of the banned outfit to Bhagalpur central jail keeping in mind the security concerns," Rohtas district magistrate Vivek Singh told newspersons.

The ultras had become "high security risk" after the Jehanabad incident, he said.

Earlier, 25 CPI (Maoist) rebels were shifted from jails at Bettiah, Bagaha and Motihari to the Beur central jail in Patna on November 14 by the orders of DIG (Champaran range) Arvind Pandey.

Jehanabad district magistrate Rana Avadhesh said yesterday that 109 of the 389 prisoners, who had either escaped or were kidnapped by the Naxalites, had returned so far and more were expected to follow suit. (Agencies)

Published: Friday, November 18, 2005

UPA Govt "indifferent" to naxal, terrorist attacks:BJP

Hyderabad | November 18, 2005 6:40:42 PM IST

BJP Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu today alleged the United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre was turning a 'blind eye' to increase in attacks by terrorists and naxalites across the country.

Criticising Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil for not visiting Jehanabad, where naxalites had freed their comrades in a swift operation, the BJP leader told a press conference here Jehanabad incident showed more such incidents were likely in the future.

''The Government is clueless and till today not a single person has been arrested in connection with the Jehanabad incident,'' he said.

''It is not correct on the part of the Centre to pass the buck to the States on evolving measures to combat naxalism which has now gripped as many as 13 states,'' he opined.

The Centre should not shirk its responsibility on curbing naxalism by constituting a unified command as the Naxalites had planned to increass their activity, starting from Nepal and covering among other states, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, he said.

''While Naxalites firmly believe that power comes through the barrel of the gun, what is the policy of the UPA, which has repealed Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). Having no law is your law,'' he asked.

Expressing concern over the alleged increase in insurgency in the North-Eastern states and terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, he observed ''while we are busy providing help for quake-hit people across the border, terrorists are busy finishing our people.'' UNI SM ROY LS RN1749

Security stepped up in ''vulnerable villages''

Jehanabad Bihar | November 18, 2005 1:38:57 PM IST

Security has been stepped up in all the ''vulnerable villages'' in the state after Ranvir Sena's threat to avenge the killing of its cadres during Maoist raids on a jail on Sunday.

Life has returned to normalcy in Jehanabad except the fact that the number of police officers and jawans deployed in the town have increased manifold.

Jawans of Special Task Force (STF), Rapid Action Force and others could be seen having cups of tea in the market before participating in combing operation at the night.

These villages are Ganiyari, Pariyari, Majidpur, Aiyara, Parhar, Puran, Gadopur and Khajuri in Arwal district, Sukalchak, Bistol, Mandebigha, Kakariya, Balabigha, Kinarpur, Salalpur, Khiderpur, Mokar, Pandaul, Panditpur, Sawan Bigha and Salempur.

Special IG (Jehanabad) S K Bhardwaj said the administration was taking effective steps to protect people of these villages.

The police personnel were, however, quite apprehensive of their own security as new buildings of Parasbigha and Sakurabad had not been 'occupied' by them in view of naxal threat.

The police station of Sakurabad is functioning from a primary health centre while Parasbigha police station is housed in a dairy farm centre.

However, Jehanabad's District Magistrate Rana Awadhesh claimed that prisoners having allegiance to CPI (Maoist) and Ranvir Sena were living in jail without any difficulty.

There was cordial relationship prior to the jail break incident and even now there was complete harmony, he said.

Ranvir Sena has weakened even in its strongholds like Pahiyari following the arrest of its leader Brahmeshwar Mukhiya and the killing of its second in comman Bade Sharma in the jail break incident.

A political analyst said the Maoists now believed more in 'selective' killing as in the case of Bade Sharma but Ranvir Sena would definitely opt for soft targets.


Karnataka mulls anti-Naxalite law

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Gulbarga, Nov 18: The Karnataka government was contemplating bringing in a new law like the one in Andhra Pradesh for curbing Naxalite activities in the state, Chief Minister Dharma Singh said.

He said Thursday that the state government was firm on its stand not to allow Naxal activities and all steps had already been taken to prevent such activity.

The police had been provided with the latest weapons and they had been asked to keep vigil in Malnadu region and other affected areas, he told reporters.

Instructions had already been given to the Deputy Commissioners and SPs in the districts of Mangalore, Udupi and Malnadu where Naxalite activities were spreading, to curb such activities, Singh said.

Moreover, instructions had also been given to police officials to identify the persons supplying arms and ammunitions to Naxalites and take action to prevent this, he said. (Agencies)

Published: Friday, November 18, 2005

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Top Maoist leader killed in Chhattisgarh

Friday November 18 2005 00:00 IST


RAIPUR: A top Maoist leader wanted in over two dozen cases of murder and looting was gunned down by police in an hour-long gun battle in Chhattisgarh's Surguja district.

Shyam Bihari, alias David, a zonal commander of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), was killed in the shootout on late Wednesday, O.P. Rathore, Chhattisgarh Director General of Police, said on Thursday.

Bihari had a reward of Rs.25,000 from Chhattisgarh police and Rs.125,000 from neighbouring Jharkhand state on his head.

Describing the killing a major success for police, Rathore said that Bihari had spread a reign of terror in the vast Surguja region and was wanted by police in over a two dozen killing and loot cases.

Surguja, which borders Jharkhand, is believed to be one of the worst Maoist infested districts.

Meanwhile, security has been beefed up in Surguja district after intelligence reports that guerrillas who raided Bihar's Jehanabad jail Nov 13 and freed over 300 of their associates were planning to sneak into Chhattisgarh. Six people were killed in the daring attack carried out by about 1,000 guerrillas.

Maoists are active in eight of Chhattisgarh's 16 districts and run virtual parallel governments in several areas they have declared as "liberated zones".

The CPI-Maoist and its frontal organisations were banned this year in September after rebels killed 24 troopers in a landmine blast.

Ban on Virasam lifted

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The three-month-old ban on the Revolutionary Writers' Association (RWA) was lifted by the Government on Thursday following a recommendation by the Advisory Board headed by Justice T. L. N. Reddy.

The revocation, effected through a GO, will free RWA (Virasam) president G. Kalyan Rao and its Executive Member P. Varavara Rao, now lodged in Chanchalguda jail, from the charges framed under the Andhra Pradesh Public Security Act. But, they are unlikely to be released from jail immediately as they face charges in seven other cases.

The ban was imposed on Virasam along with the CPI (Maoist) and seven other revolutionary organisations on August 17 after Congress MLA C. Narsi Reddy was killed by naxalites in Mahabubnagar district. The Government had justified the ban on Virasam on the ground that sufficient material was found establishing its link with the Maoists.

Material not enough

However, the Advisory Board did not find the material sufficient enough to declare the RWA unlawful. During the review at two sittings, the board went through activities of the RWA and the video tapes of speeches of the two writers who acted as emissaries along with Gaddar during the Government-naxalite talks.

Black Cats to tackle Naxals in Jehanabad

- By Kumar Uttam

Patna/Jehanabad, Nov. 17: New Delhi has decided to use commandos of the National Security Guards (NSG) in the anti-Naxalite operations now going on in Bihar. This would be the first time that the NSG would be used against Naxalites anywhere in India. The NSG personnel have reached Patna and are preparing to take over the combing operations launched against the red brigade after the strikes on government buildings and the jail by Maoists in Jehanabad district of Bihar on Sunday.

The jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force and the Bihar Military Police (BMP) have already been deployed in and around Jehanabad to assist the district police in flushing out the Naxalites. The Bihar administration felt that more teeth needed to be put into the anti-Naxalite operations, and hence the request to the Centre for deployment of the Black Cats.

Unnerved by the Jehanabad incident, and particularly by the jailbreak by more than 380 inmates, senior state officials are also thinking of relocating top-level Naxalite leaders in custody from jails considered vulnerable to attacks to prisons with much better security arrangements.

Some of these transfers have already been effected while some others will take place soon, senior state officials said, adding that security arrangements at all jails across the state would be beefed up.

The state administration got another jolt on Thursday when a bomb was recovered from the railway track in Jehanabad. The recovery of the bomb came just three days after Sunday’s Naxalite attack on jails and other buildings in the district. The district authorities informed the state headquarters that the bomb was spotted by a police officer close to the police lines, which was one of the targets of the Naxalites during Sunday’s attack.

Jehanabad district magistrate Rana Awadhesh believed that the bomb must have been hurled at the police lines on Sunday and it might have been lying there for the last three days.

News of the recovery of the bomb from the railway tracks led to the suspension of train movement on the Patna-Gaya route. Rail services were restored only after the bomb was defused and the track was thoroughly checked.
Ranvir Sena bays for blood, NSG on guard

Manoj Chaurasia in Patna
Nov. 17. — Amid mounting tension in several central Bihar villages over a venomous proclamation made by Ranvir Sena to avenge the killing of its cadres during Maoist raids on Sunday, National Security Guards are being engaged to carry out anti-Naxalite operations. This is the first time ever that the country’s elite force will be engaged for anti-Naxalite operations.

According to official sources, some 280 NSG commandos will be engaged in launching operations against the ultras. Governor Mr Buta Singh said here at a news conference yesterday: “No place is safe here.” He added: “The 13 November incident was horrifying. We should be ashamed that we couldn’t do anything despite having information about the attack.”

According to reports received from Intelligence sources, about four separate armed squads of Ranvir Sena have been sent to different areas of Gaya, Jehanabad, Aurangabad, Arwal and Bhojpur to identify “soft targets”.

A source said that the forces had been instructed not to strike until the last phase of Assembly polls on 19 November is over, lest the rival RJD gained from it. According to informed sources, Sena squads are armed with weapons like the AK 46,AK 56 and rocket launchers.

According to a report in a local daily, at a meeting of the Sena’s core committee held in Jehanabad, it was decided that some Rs 4 lakh would be spent on the avenging the death of their comrades. “The martyrdom of our cadres will not go in vain. We will soon avenge their death. Blood for blood is out motto,” the Sena’s so-called area commander, Upendra Singh Magahia was quoted as saying in a local daily.
As tension mounts in rural parts of central Bihar, the state administration has, so far, deployed three companies of the CRPF and two companies of the RAF for flush out Naxalites. Senior officials claim to having got some vital leads. Hundreds of prisoners, who escaped during the Maoist raids or were reportedly abducted by the marauders, are yet to be recovered.

The administration has placed advertisements in all local regional language dailies urging escaped prisoners to return to the jail within 48 hours. “No action will be initiated against prisoners who fled the jail in panic or for any other reason if they return within 48 hours,” the government ad reads.

Meanwhile, a live bomb was recovered from near a railway track in Jehanabad today moments after the new SP, Mr BS Meena joined district police. Senior officials rushed to the spot and defused the bomb, presumably left by the ultras while leavign on Sunday night. Consequently, train services were suspended for a few hours on the Patna-Gaya section today, a railway source said.

Shivraj Patil is beguilingly ineffective as a manager of internal security


Home, sweet home

Shivraj Patil is beguilingly ineffective as a manager of internal security

There is, upon first hearing, something deeply calming about Shivraj Patil’s characterisation of Maoist cadres. They are “misguided youth”, he is careful to remind those who howl for reprisal each time Naxalites lead a guerrilla attack. To understand the Naxal challenge focus on socio-economic conditions, he cautions agitated flocks of hawks urging a security crackdown. Such empathy, so much compassion. After all, democracies by their very nature find it difficult to reconcile to anti-insurgent operations. How fortunate India must be to have a home minister quietly laying out an alternative paradigm for internal security.

If only it were so. Even a casual perusal of his own ministry’s statistics underlines the dangers that come with Patil’s passion for pop sociology. First, his soft words mask the magnitude of the problem. According to figures filtering through the home ministry, this year lives taken by Naxal violence outnumber those claimed by terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir — 450 and 390, respectively. From Patil, at whose office the buck officially stops, there has been no semblance of an attempt at even formulating a cohesive, competent response, let alone implementing it. Coordination between the home ministry and the states remains hostage to confused — and more alarmingly, obfuscatory — wranglings on issues like the chain of command in any joint task force. In addition, Patil does not mention his ministry’s failure to take responsibility for the chronic underutilisation of substantial funds allocated to districts deemed to be “Naxal-affected”.

There is a second danger implicit in Patil’s seemingly liberal response to Naxalite violence. It’s been a long while since the egalitarian rhetoric of Naxalism’s early moments was appropriated by a thriving extortion network. To visit the extortionists’ sins on poor citizens who have no recourse to security is highly illiberal. Must it take more than Jehanabad for the home minister to recognise his acts of omission?


Red attack on Jehanabad , Letters to Editor

No fightback

• The Naxalite invasion of Jehanabad has exacerbated the simmering frustration and embarrassment caused by the total lack of a hard-hitting government response to the Naxal menace. One wonders how many more such outrages are needed to awaken the government. Naxals challenge the authority of the state in more than 200 districts. The response of the government is not at all proportionate to the enormity of this threat which equals if not exceeds the threat posed by Pak sponsored terrorism.

— Hari Thampy Trivandrum

It’s the timing

• Generally, no one would argue with the Supreme Court’s prerogative to decide the timing of its judgments. But its historic verdict on the illegality of the dissolution of Bihar assembly creates a piquant situation. The prime minister and his party, after owning responsibility for the fiasco, are using the fig leaf of “waiting for the detailed judgment”. They have receded into the inaction mode in a matter where guilty heads should have rolled immediately. No specific action has been taken even after a month of the judgment though there was a grave breach of constitutional and moral propriety on part of the government.

— Y.G. Chouksey Pune

House rules

• Ministers and MPs are illegally and forcefully occupying prime land in Delhi, to which the administration is an looker. How can there be two sets of rules — one for VIPs and another for the others? They undoubtedly qualify for being driven out after being served notices.

— C.R. Bhattacharjee Kolkata

• The Supreme Court has once again asked overstaying VVIPs to vacate their government bungalows in Delhi by January. The government has told the Supreme Court that despite the eviction notices, the VVIPs continue to occupy government bungalows. If the government cannot evict unauthorised people from its posh bungalows, how can one expect it to evict terrorists from their hideouts?

— V.S. Venkatavaradan Salem

Shah of mascots

• I hope Shah Rukh Khan will accept the government’s invitation to become the anti-smoking mascot for the Ministry of Health. If he takes on that responsibility, it may have a positive effect on millions of youths. Let us hope more celebrities will come forward to support similarly healthy causes.

— K.V. Shamsudheen On e-mail

The Red Fort

• Congratulations for your excellent editorial ‘Little Stalinists’ (November 16), carrying frank comments about JNU — the Red fort of independent India.
While the little Stalinists were shouting at the PM inside the campus, the big ones outside were warning him to yield to their diktat on the Iran policy or be ready for the worst. We believe that in a democracy, deciding policies is the prerogative of the elected government. But now we are witnessing a never-seen before model of (Marxist) democracy where the Leftists deliberately sitting outside the government and even their license holders in JNU are dictating to the government on national and international policies. To the Left Front’s unwarranted interference in government business and persistent threats, the PM’s answer should be a mid-term poll.

— M.C. Joshi Lucknow


HOSUR, Krishnagiri Police on high alert

Friday November 18 2005 00:00 IST

HOSUR: The Krishnagiri police have stepped up security in the forest regions bordering Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in a bid to check infiltration of naxalites from other states, particularly from Bihar.

The sudden alert comes in the wake of naxals laying siege of a prison in Jehanabad at Bihar, freeing 250 inmates, besides killing a few police men.

Following directions from the State Government, Krishnagiri SP M Ashok Kumar had conducted a meeting at a village in Anchetty forest, in which forest officials and the people residing in the hill hamlets participated.

Though it was claimed that the meeting was conducted to create awareness among the people against illicit liquor, high-level police sources said the meeting was to alert the village people in the forest hamlets to inform the police about any suspicious movements in the forest.

Police security had also been stepped up in forest regions like Veppanapalli, Anchetty, Soolagiri, Natrampalayam and Urigam.

Moreover, since the death anniversary of the naxal leader Siva alias Parthiban, who was shot dead in a police encounter in 2002 at Chinnakanagambati village in Uthangarai taluk, falls on November 24, police had stepped up security in the area, sources said. In addition to regular police, personnel of the Special Task Force had also been involved in patrolling in forest areas.

Security beefed up at Bellary jail

Bellary, dhns

Security at the historic central jail in Bellary has been tightened following the recent Naxal attack on a jail in Jehanabad in Bihar. The move also assumes significance as two of the naxalites arrested in the State have been lodged in the Bellary jail.

According to sources, the beefing up of security around the jail has also been attributed to the recent terror attack in Delhi. “In order to safeguard the lives of the inmates and security personnel, movement of people has been banned on the road next to the jail during night hours,” sources told Deccan Herald on Thursday

AP revokes ban on pro-Naxal outfit

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Hyderabad, Nov 17: The Andhra Pradesh government today revoked the ban on pro-Naxalite outfit Revolutionary Writers Association (RWA).

The government had imposed ban on CPI (Maoists) and its frontal organisations, including RWA, under the AP Public Security Act, 1992 as unlawful associations on August 17 this year.

However, the ban would remain on CPI (Maoists) and its other wings, Radical Youth League, Rytu Coolie Sangham, Radical Students Union, Singareni Karmika Samakya, Viplava Karmika Samakya and All India Revolutionary Students Federation, an official release said here today. (Agencies)

A red corridor of terror

The Naxalites have thrown the gauntlet at the Centre by liberating Naxals held prisoners in Jehanabad jail this week. This is not the first time they have shown their might but the Jehanabad incident should worry every citizen as to where the country is going. Would you believe that there are only 12,000 police stations in the country? How can the police protect one billion people?

This also explains how a thousand Maoists marching towards the Jehanabad prison freed the Naxalite prisoners and also took Ranvir Sena inmates captive. It appears their main aim was to free Ajay Kanu, the dreaded area commander of the CPI(Maoists), who, sitting in the Jehanabad, is said to have masterminded the jailbreak.

The CPI(Maoists) on Tuesday claimed that it was done against the "repressive police measures and legal and jail system". Owning responsibility, its commanders admitted, "We need to expand the base and unite forces to lead a fresh attack on the state forces and the landlords."

The Jehanabad incident brings back chilling memories of the February 6, 2004, incident in Koraput, which left the administration gaping. The Naxals looted the district armoury in Koraput and took away the entire weaponry. It was a meticulously planned operation in which they effectively cut off communication and roadblocks to prevent security reinforcements from arriving. It also brought back memories of how 200 Maoists went on a rampage in Madhubani, East Champaran, in Bihar on June 23, 2004.

The Maoists are working in a systematic manner with the ultimate objective of "capturing power through protracted armed struggle". With the merger of the CPI(ML) and the People's War Group, the Maoists have become bolder and stronger. They are trying to penetrate into virgin territories in Uttaranchal, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka besides eyeing 16 districts in West Bengal. The Naxal map of India runs from north to south and east to west with a strong base in Dandakaranya.

The red corridor runs from Nepal, Bihar, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. A total of 165 districts have been affected and these are increasing in number. Of these, 51 districts are highly affected, 18 are affected, 62 marginally affected and 34 are targeted by the Naxals. In Bihar alone around 2,500 people have lost their lives in nearly 5,000 incidents of Naxal-related violence.

Who is to be held responsible for the Jehanabad incident? Of course, Bihar Governor Buta Singh has owned the responsibility. But he has no intentions of stepping down. As much as Mr Buta Singh, the Centre too must share responsibility because Bihar is under President's rule. While there was so much concentration on poll duties, the Centre as well as State seemed to have ignored keeping a watch on Naxalites, which was already suffering from lack of administration and acute poverty.

There were only a dozen policemen on duty when the Jehanabad jailbreak took place. The Home Ministry claims that intelligence reports were passed on to the State about the Naxalite target on specific dates but it has not been established whether district authorities were aware of it.

The Centre's defence is that it has adopted a multi-pronged approach to deal with the problem. First and foremost is the modernisation and strengthening of police force. It has decided to add another 300 battalions to the already existing security forces to about 12 lakh personnel. The states, which had been given additional money to modernise their forces, will also be monitored to make sure the money is spent. The Centre now plans to get more arms and vehicles to match the Naxalites who tot AK-47 guns as symbols of their power.

Army helicopters will be used for aerial survey. The Naxalite problem is monitored at various levels including the Cabinet committee on security, Inter-State council, and group of affected chief ministers, home secretaries and special secretaries. At the State level, the Chief Minister is the chairman of the security committee. Despite all this, why are the Naxalites getting bolder and stronger? The Centre has no answer to that.

Second, the socio-political context too is important. The Jehanabad incident is an example in this regard. There should be more stress on implementation of land reforms, which would help satisfy the landless. The other problem is economic and unless jobs are provided to the youth, guns would continue to lure them. Fourth is to get the Naxalites to surrender and persuade them to come through ballot rather than bullet. This approach, however, has not achieved much success. The Centre and the States must gain the trust of the people and ensure that they would be protected instead of being perceived as aiding and abetting the landlords.

With almost half the country affected by the Naxal menace, the Centre can no longer get away by leaving the matter to the concerned State governments. So far, the Union Home Ministry has held the view that it should be left to the individual and combined strategy of the states affected by Naxalite violence, and encourage them to meet and exchange information on the radical Leftist activities.

Obviously, this has not produced the desired result. It is time the Centre and the States decided on a strategy to meet the challenge posed by the Maoists. The Centre is hesitant because it cannot play the lead role unless the Constitution is amended. According to the Centre, the States will resist this because it would amount to erosion of their authority and also harm the federal structure.

The problem now appears to be political, with different parties ruling the Naxalite-affected states. While Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has called for a national policy, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury has gone on record saying, "It is not possible to have a national policy (against Maoism)."

The Centre can at best come up with parameters and leave it to the states to tackle the issue at their level. If there is no coordinated effort, the Naxals are bound to grow and there will be many more incidents like the Jehanabad jailbreak.

AP: Police officers escape naxal blast

Guntur, Nov. 16. (PTI): Three police officers had a narrow escape when outlawed naxals triggered a blast near Karempudi village of Andhra Pradesh in which the rear portion of their jeep was damaged, police said here today.

On information about Maoists' movements near a cement factory, a police party last night reached the spot.

As the Deputy Superintendent, Inspector and a Sub-Inspector were returning, the Maoists triggered the blast.

Police immediately opened fire, which the naxalites returned. The ultras, however, fled from the scene. No one was injured in the exchange of fire, police added.

Marxist Identity Revealed

A day after 500 well-armed Naxalites raided Jehanabad jail in Bihar and freed 389 prisoners including fellow insurgents, students of ultra-Marxist AISA jeered at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calling him an American agent while he was addressing them at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University campus. They responded by waving black flags at him.

The left and right halves of devil's factory - the Marxist brain - seem to be in perfect synergy. One half refuses to recognise the state, sovereignty, law and order and indulges in guerrilla warfare. The other half has successfully woven itself into the Indian establishment and tried to wreck the system from within. One destroys openly, the other through sleaze and intrigues.

The Naxalites, in a giant blood stained pamphlet that they left behind, claimed their 'Operation Jailbreak' was conducted to coincide with the Russian Revolution of 1917. They are not only mistaken about the date on which it occurred (Russian Revolution took place on November 7 not 13) but ahead by one century.

The cost of USSR's suicidal experiment with Communism in the 20th century is still being remitted by Russia in the 21st century. The blood-letting heralded by Lenin and continued by Stalin led to wanton destruction of life. Its impact was so profound that even today's Russia is a 'state withering away', losing half a million lives every year. China escaped the fate of the Soviet Union by reinventing itself under Deng Xiaoping. Today, China is offering help to India to crush the Naxalites.

But Naxalites of Bihar are more honest than armchair communists of JNU. They are wedded to their guns, lead a hard pressed existence and often on the periphery of society. Poverty, unemployment, underdevelopment and a caste-ridden society of Bihar is the hard reality for them.

Many of them are not educated although they are indoctrinated with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Their cadres perhaps do not even know where Germany is, the country where Marx was born, or Russia where the 1917 Revolution took place, or for that matter the location of China. I am sure many of them don't know that the USSR no longer exists and that Deng Xiaoping has reoriented Mao's China.

But the same cannot be said of the JNU Marxists, who are mostly students and teachers of liberal arts like history, sociology, political science, philosophy, economics. Their learning has little market value but is of much cost to the Government.

JNU has productive and constructive wings as well like Centre for Biotechnology, School of Physical Sciences, and Special Centre for Molecular Medicine, centre for environmental studies. It also has school for language, literature and culture. But it has a reputation of being a bastion of Marxist thought. JNU was established by the Indira Gandhi in name of her father to gather Communists from all over the country and give them a forum. It was reflective of the Congress outsourcing its think tank to the Leftists, a policy started by Jawaharlal Nehru.

Why was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hooted as an American agent by the students of AISA in JNU? No matter what their ideological differences, all including the Prime Minister have a right to put forward his views. The AISA boys and girls are, after all, students of an academic institution. But perhaps it is too much ask even that much courtesy from the Leftists. History shows they are not only intolerant but utterly abusive towards their opponents.

The readers have not forgotten another shameful incident that took place in JNU in May 2000 while an Indo-Pakistan mushaira was being held. It was 'secular' brigade's attempt at encouraging Indo-Pakistan bonhomie after the bitter Kargil War was over in 1999.

When a Pakistani poet made a scathing though ridiculous remark that India was the aggressor in Kargil, two self-respecting jawans of Army, present at the function, vehemently protested. At this a group of students of JNU, who were actually Muslims from the Leftist camp, attacked the jawans. Had it not been for providential intervention from the rest of the gathering, they would have certainly blinded the jawans. The incident made headlines and highlighted the anti-national aspect of Marxist jihadis.

Is the case qualitatively different now? Will the Government reshape its defence policy on the advice of AISA students by calling off the Indo-American joint air exercise at Kalaikunda? Will these embarrassing specimens of Indians who will not shed a drop of sweat for the defence of India, now frame the country's defence policy? Had such an incident taken place in the Communist China, how would have the authorities reacted? They might have bombed a part of the university. It would have been considered an anti-national act. Genteel Prime Minister Manmohan Singh responded to the students' outrage with eulogistic remarks about JNU, 'the centre of excellence' and spoke about the necessity of freedom of expression.

The Chinese Government had responded to a students' demonstration, albeit for a nationalistic cause, with a massacre. In the Tiananmen Square incident that occurred in Beijing in May 1989, 50,000 students went on demonstration protesting against China's economic instability and political corruption. The demonstration was crushed with guns and tanks, smothering the voice of hundreds of Chinese youth.

The event attracted universal condemnation across the world. But PRC's inhuman action found an apologist in JNU in form of Mr Sitaram Yechuri. He showed some videotapes in his alma mater JNU and explained that Tiananmen Square was actually a conspiracy of capitalist America to destabilise China.

Mr Yechuri is also loath to admitting that China was the aggressor in 1962. Once on a television programme Aap Ki Adalat (Zee TV) he skirted the issue every time the question was put to him. He said that it would not be in 'national interest' to argue over the issue since it had 'international ramifications' (China vs India - Who's Yechuri batting for?, The Indian Express, February 28, 1997).

The Marxists are a prop to the UPA Government although they seem unhappy with its policy on all matters. At one time they disappeared from the Coordination Committee but returned after a hiatus. Now they have threatened to withdraw support to the UPA Government on a strange issue. The Government was wrong, according to them, in voting at International Atomic Energy Association against Iran's nuclear programme. They perceive this as a fallout of American pressure, whereas in reality, except for Venezuela, all other concerned countries had either voted against Iran or abstained.

The Marxist point of view did not dither for a moment even when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, a mullah by training, declared at a convention in Tehran that Israel should be wiped off the map. It is natural to infer that Iran, an oil and gas rich country, is bereft of any policy aimed at peaceful use of nuclear energy and only wants to use it against Israel.

Iran has been a theocracy since Islamic Revolution of 1979. Its Leftists have either been butchered or they have fled the country. Its nuclear programme is shrouded in mystery. But Marxists are overzealous to see that Iran's nuclear programme is not throttled. Are they actually jihadi mercenaries who sometimes batted for the erstwhile USSR, at other times for China and now for Islamic theocracies?

Why are Marxists, for whom 'independent foreign policy' is the latest signature tune, so keen to see Iran's nuclear programme in its place? Are not these the same people who criticised Pokhran-II in the vilest of terms? They dubbed it as Hindutva chauvinism which would spur an arms race in the subcontinent.

Will not Iran's acquiring a nuclear weapon disturb the strategic balance in West Asia? It is sure to lead to a war with Israel. But when it comes to India the Marxists are against even a peaceful nuclear programme if it is developed with the help of the US. India badly needs a phase in nuclear development programme for its energy security. That, however, is a non-issue for the Marxists. Marxism now seems an extension counter to Islamists.

(The writer, a Rajya Sabha MP and convener of BJP's think-tank, can be contacted at

Patna HC will hear a PIL in Jehanabad case

Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | November 17, 2005 16:30 IST

The Patna High Court, terming the daring Maoist attack on Jehanabad town as an unfortunate incident, will hear a public interest litigation filed in this connection on Thursday.

Earlier, the court had sent a two-member probe team for an on-the-spot inquiry of the entire episode.

Sources in the court said the team, constituted by Chief Justice J N Bhatt and comprising a senior High Court officer and chairman of Bihar Bar Council Rajendra Singh, was sent to Jehanabad on Wednesday and has been directed to submit a report on Thursday.

The Naxals: Bihar's bane
About 1,000 Maoists armed with a wide variety of weapons swooped on Jehanabad town and attacked five government landmarks, including the police lines and the jail, on Sunday night.

In the violence that lasted around three hours, a total of 389 prisoners either fled or were freed by the Maoists. These included some activists of the Ranvir Sena militia, who were dragged away by the Maoists. The Ranvir Sena is an upper caste group that has been waging a war against Maoists for decades.

The court is scheduled to hear a PIL filed by Peoples Watch (Jan Chowkidar) on Thursday afternoon and the probe team's progress would also be discussed, the sources said.

We will kill Maoist supporters: Ranvir Sena
The PIL said that policing in the state had suffered a toal collapse and it was unfortunate that state administration, despite having prior intelligence information about the movement of the Maoists, took no action to thwart their attack.

Maoist Zonal Commander shot dead in Chhattisgarh

Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh: A zonal commander of the outlawed CPI (Maoists) was shot dead in an encounter with the police in Pharsapani forest of Sarguja district here, police said.

The naxalite leader, Shyam Bihari alias David, carried a reward of Rs 1.40 lakh announced by the Jharkhand government and Rs 25,000 by the Chhattisgarh government.

On a tip-off about the movement of naxalites, the encounter took place last night after they fired at the police patrolling team which was intensified in the state's border along with Jharkhand following Jehanabad jailbreak, Superintendent of Police S P Kalluri said.

A revolver, 11 rifles, 12 hand grenades and huge quantity of explosives were recovered from the encounter site, he said.

While not ruling out David's involvement in the Jehanabad jail attack, Mr Kalluri said that the naxalites, who escaped the attack, might come back for arms and ammunition from the site.

Lalu blames administration for naxal attack but spares Buta


RJD President Lalu Prasad today blamed Bihar's 'shasan tantra' (administrative machinery) for the daring naxalite attack in Jehanabad but spared Governor Buta Singh.

"It is the shasan tantra and not not the Governor which is responsible for this audacious attack which happened despite intelligence reports about its probability," he told a press conference here.

While responding to a reporter's query, the Railway Minister said the officers who had the information about the possible attack and still did not not do anything to prevent it should resign or be sacked.

Strongly criticising removal of Central para-military forces from Jehanabad district for conduct of polls, Lalu said "the Election Commission too should do some introspection on this."

"We ruled the state for 15 years but never removed police pickets or force from areas vulnerable to naxalite attack and had even succeeded in keeping the ultra-left outfits under check forcing them to take shelter in Jharkhand," he said, promising to take strict action against the naxals and other elements which disturbed peace if his party comes to power.

The fourth and final phase of Bihar elections will be held on November 19 and counting is on November 22.

Orissa to seek more Central forces to counter naxal problem

New Delhi, Nov. 17 (PTI): Orissa will seek more Central forces in the wake of Jehanabad jail strike by CPI (Maoists). "I will take up the issue for more Central forces during my meeting with Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, today told PTI during his visit to Orissa Pavilion at the International trade fair in Pragati Maidan here.

The demand for more forces comes in the face of increasing leftwing activities in states like Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

State Chief Secretary Subash Pani, said the construction of Vijayawada-Ranchi National Highway would also figure in the meeting. "This road has been planned. The Government of India will construct it. A detail discussion will be held today regarding the starting of construction of the road and other related issues," he said. The road would help combat naxalite activities in Orissa, sources said.

Earlier in the day, Patnaik had a meeting with Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, when he demanded Central funds for augmenting the infrastructure facilities in Orissa.

"The pavilion is a miniature Orissa. It gives detailed information about the state's rich resources, its heritage, culture and other aspects," he said.

Mah CM's security beefed up following naxal threat

Mumbai | November 17, 2005 4:40:39 PM IST

The security cover of Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has been beefed up after threatening faxes by naxal outfits in Gadchiroli district of Vidarbha region were sent to media offices.
State DGP P S Pasricha confirmed that a threat has, indeed, been received. ''We are not taking any chances and neccessary steps have been taken,'' he said.

The threat assumes significance following the recent storming of Jehanabad jail in Bihar by naxals. The winter session of Maharashtra Legislature begins in Nagpur from December five.

The State Government has recently adopted a surrender policy for the naxals and a vigorous public awareness campaign in the tribal district of Vidarbha has been launched against them.


Maoists kill one under suspicion of being an informer

Guntur, Andhra Pradesh Nov 16: Maoists today killed a Fertiliser dealer at Adigopala village, a naxal citadel in this district, suspecting him of being a police informer.

According to police, about ten naxals dragged V S R Anjaneyulu from his house and fired at him.

Police, however, denied that Anjenayulu was their informer as ten cases were registered against the deceased.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bihar cops clueless on Jehanabad NAXAL attack on Jail

Bihar cops clueless on Jehanabad

Manoj Chaurasia in Patna

Nov. 16. — Who is the true head of Jehanabad, the new “experimental” site of the Maoist’s ongoing “armed struggle” in key towns? This question is on everyone’s mind after the state government chose to suspend the concerned superintendent of police, Mr Sunil Kumar and also removed Mr AB Prasad as IG (Prison), but refused to initiate action against the Jehanabad DM, Mr Rana Awadhesh, for the Sunday raid.
The “double standards” adopted by the Buta administration to off load responsibility on officials responsible for the ultras’ raid in Jehanabad town becomes clear given the content of a confidential letter penned by IG (Operation) Mr RR Verma. According to official sources, in the official missive to Mr AS Nimbram, zonal IG, Patna, and to the DM and SP of Jehanabad, Mr Verma had apprised them about the movement of extremists in the areas on Sunday, the day of the attack, while directing immediate preventive action. Given the content of the letter, all addressees should claim equal responsibility for the Sunday raid. Strangely, while the SP was “punished”, the DM was not, for reasons best known to mandarins of the state administration.
“No immediate action will be initiated against the DM nor will he be removed from the district,” chief secretary, Mr GS Kang told reporters, a stark reminder of how rules are twisted here to suit the government’s interests. Notably, the district police of extremism-battered Jehanabad have revolted against the government’s alleged discrimination in meting out punishment and even threatened to stop working if the suspension order of the SP was not revoked.

The government remains firm on its stance despite the DM admitting that “nine valuable hours were simply wasted as I remained inside the jail that was mobbed by the grieving kin of jail inmates killed or abducted by ultras in the jail raid on Sunday”. The questions being raised here are who prevented the DM from visiting the jail on the night of the raid and sending the bodies for postmortem? Was the DM too frightened to visit the jail, barely a few minutes from his official residence? Why did jail gates remain open for common men and curious onlookers for more than 15 hours after ultras had retreated from the scene? Who prevented the DM from launching combing operations in the neighbouring Barabar hills where, as the DM admits, the marauders are reported to have taken shelter on completing “Operation Jail”? Why is it that the DM still does not have any information about how many prisoners are being held hostage by the ultras or escaped on their own? And, finally, why did he not act upon it if the state administration had asked him to get on the job immediately?

What confirms the administration’s negligence towards rescuing prisoners kidnapped during the Sunday raid is the revelation by a reported Ranvir Sena activist, Pappu Sharma who managed to escape from the captivity of extremists today. According to him, he and another man from his caste, were kidnapped by a group of extremists who raided the jail. “Later, both of us were handed over to a group of some 150 extremists who took position in the town. Finally, this group handed us over to another group of some 50 ultras. The abductors continuously shifted us from one house to another and announced that they would kill me today. I tried hard to mislead them, giving my name and caste as Manoj Kahar. Eventually, I managed to dodge them and reached here,” Sharma, who was admitted in a district clinic, told journalists today. “The police played no role in my escape,” he said, adding some 20 prisoners from his caste had been kidnapped.

Jehanabad SP, Mr Kumar, who was placed under suspension by the state government yesterday, handed over charge to a senior Deputy SP of the district. The government, it may be mentioned here, has replaced Mr Kumar with Mr BS Meena, Rohtas SP. The police, in coordination with Central paramilitary forces, in the meantime, are conducting intensive raids in the area but any breakthrough is yet to be made. The administration’s achievement remains “zero” — no recovery of abducted prisoners, no arrest of extremists — three days after the ultra attack, except for Manoj Kandu, who fell into the hands of police after he was wounded by his own bullets during the raids. The extremists did not carry him away with them thinking him to be dead.

3 Maoist Naxals held ,sizeable ammunition was recovered

Hyderabad | November 17, 2005 2:40:51 AM IST

Three alleged Maoist extremists were apprehended and sizeable ammunition was recovered by police during vehicle checking near Madikonda village in the Warangal district today.

According to official sources, duing a vehicle checking, police recovered 375 gelatin sticks and as many electric detonators from a jeep and took three persons into custody.

During interrogation, one of the them identified himself as K Shankar alias Kiran, a courier working for CPI(Maoist) North Telangana Special Zonal Committee member P Prasada Rao. Two other accused were identified as militants of CPI(Maoist)K Ravi and Y Srinivas, the police said.

They were reportedly transporting gelatin sticks and detonators from Alair Mandal in Nalgonda to the Warangal.

NSG commandos for anti-naxal operations

Special Correspondent

2 squadrons, to be stationed in Patna, will launch operations only on specific inputs.

Information flow is not up to expectations Short-term strategy evolved High-profile prisoners to be shifted

NEW DELHI: The Centre is sending two squadrons of the National Security Guards commando force to Patna on Thursday to undertake ``specific operations'' in naxal-infested areas in Bihar.

The Home Ministry move to send the crack commando force, for the first time to take part in anti-naxalite operations in the State, comes three days after the raid on the Jehanabad district jail and police lines by Maoists who freed more than 300 prisoners, mostly their cadres.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, Ashish Kumar Mitra, Special Secretary (Internal Security), said 280 commandos would be stationed in Patna and they would undertake operations only on ``specific inputs.''

To a query, he said there were ``specific'' intelligence inputs on the movements, hideouts and cells of naxalites and the NSG, being a strike force, would be involved in tackling them. ``There is inflow of information on naxalites but it is not as good as we would like it to be.''

The Ministry chalked out a short-term strategy, involving the arrest of those who stormed the jail, recovering the abducted persons to avoid any communal backlash and tracing the escapee prisoners. '

Two helicopters were stationed in Patna for reconnaissance

BJP to demand Sonia Gandhi's resignation as UPA chairperson

BJP to adopt tough stand in Parliament

Neena Vyas

To demand Sonia Gandhi's resignation as UPA chairperson


"Volcker Report and Mitrokhin papers are not about simple corruption"
Indian state had become "soft and pulpy"
BJP counting on favourable Bihar election results

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party has signalled that it will adopt an aggressive posture in Parliament when the winter session begins on November 23 by vociferously demanding the resignations of Congress president Sonia Gandhi from the office of chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance and of Natwar Singh as Cabinet Minister.

BJP deputy leader in the Lok Sabha V.K. Malhotra told reporters on Wednesday that already 40 notices had been given demanding discussions on various issues of national concern, including the allegations of kickbacks by the Volcker Committee Report and claims by the author of the Mitrokhin Archives that the Soviet intelligence agency KGB paid moneys to the Congress.

The BJP Parliamentary Party will meet on November 23 morning while the National Democratic Alliance will meet in the evening to finalise the Opposition's parliamentary strategy.

Mr. Malhotra did not rule out moving adjournment notices, which would have to be done just 24 hours ahead of any day of the session.

"Parliament will be rocked in the winter session.

The Volcker Report and the Mitrokhin papers are not about simple corruption. It is as if the country is for auction. We have asked for debates under Rule 184 [that entails a vote]," Mr. Malhotra said.

He did not think the re-induction of Mr. George Fernandes as Defence Minister even while the inquiry into the Tehelka affair was in progress fell into the same category as the continuation of Mr. Natwar Singh as a Minister without portfolio though the External Affairs portfolio has been taken away from him.

Mr. Malhotra, who also holds charge as a spokesperson for the BJP Parliamentary Party, said the Indian state had become "soft and pulpy."

He cited the naxal violence in Bihar, the Delhi bomb blasts and the daily explosions in the Kashmir Valley as a cause for concern.

The Opposition would raise these issues forcefully.

However, while he was critical of the "threats" issued by the Left parties on India's vote on Iran — the Left wants that corrected — Mr. Malhotra dismissed their stand as "empty threats" that are never carried out on the floor of the House.

Mr. Malhotra did not say what the BJP's position was on the crucial nuclear deal with the United States.

"So far the BJP has no position on the Iran vote," he admitted, adding that on Thursday a meeting had been scheduled at the residence of the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to discuss precisely this and formulate the party stand.

The BJP is also counting on favourable Bihar election results the day before Parliament starts and the detailed judgment of the Supreme Court on the Bihar Assembly dissolution matter to add to its morale.

Naxal Terror : Centre sends NSG to Bihar

Centre sends NSG to Bihar


NEW DELHI, NOV 16 With Naxal violence claiming more lives than terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir this year, the Centre rushed two squadrons of the crack National Security Guard (NSG) — each comprising of 140 commandos — to Jehanabad in Bihar.

The NSG squadrons are likely to begin operations from tomorrow. This is the first time that the ace strike force will be used against Naxals, who, the Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil maintains, are ‘‘misguided youth’’. Earlier, proposals to use the NSG against the Naxals were rejected and the ministry had argued that sending in the NSG, which is a prime anti-terrorist force, will send a wrong signal.But a look at the casualty figures explains the move.

According to figures available with the Union Home Ministry, terrorism J&K claimed roughly 390 civilian lives, whereas about 450 people were killed in Naxalite violence from January to August 2005.

Moreover the number of terrorist incidents in the same period was 1,600 in the Valley, whereas there were about 1,160 incidents of Naxal violence.

Further, Naxalism has affected as many as nine states and is believed to be spreading into West Bengal and Kerala, though no incidents of violence have been reported yet.

Special Secretary (Security) A K Mitra said violence in J&K has dipped by about 22 per cent and civilian casualty was down by 34 per cent compared to last year.

Confirming the move to send in the NSG, Mitra said he would be in Bihar tomorrow to oversee the initial operations.

Besides, the Centre has asked the Bihar administration to shift all Naxals currently in jail to high security prisons and beef up security around all state prisons.

Talking to this reporter, Mitra said that he had asked the Patna Chief Secretary to immediately shift high-profile Naxal prisoners to high security jails. Mitra also confirmed that there were intelligence reports to suggest that Naxals would strike Jehanabad on Sunday, which was not acted upon.

The desperation of the Centre to get the better of Naxals in Bihar also arises from the fact that a major backlash by the Ranbir Sena, which espouses the case for the upper-caste in Bihar, is expected soon.


Probe suffers setback as Captured Naxalite dies

Patna: The investigation into Sunday night naxalite onslaught in Jehanabad received a major setback with the death of a self-styled ‘sub-zonal commander’ of the CPI (Maoist) Manoj Kanu this morning at Patna Medical College and Hospital.

Patna senior superintendent of police Kundan Krishnan said “We were depending heavily on him to gather more clues to get to the bottom of the plot and his death is a setback to the probe.”

The senior police officer said Kanu had admitted to his involvement in the attack and fulminated against the bureaucracy and cited “oppression” of the poor as the reason behind the naxalite offensives.

Kanu, had told mediapersons at PMCH earlier, that the Sunday night attack was meticulously planned two months ago and that comrades’ from AP had participated in the operation.

Kanu, who was in-charge of arms and ammunition during the attack, was critically wounded when the landmine at Jehanabad Police Lines accidentally went off.

The naxalite leader succumbed to his injuries in the hospital, PMCH deputy superintendent Ashok Kumar Singh said.
Head of department of PMCH surgical unit, A Q Siddiqui, said Kanu died of respiratory failure, shock and toxinia.

Kanu was operated upon for intestinal perforation after a splinter pierced his intestine.

Blame game begins in Jehanabad

State police and local authorities point fingers at each other after the biggest jailbreak by Naxalites


Jehanabad: As life limps back to normal in this South Bihar town, a blame game has started between the state police and local authorities over pinning responsibility for the lapse that resulted in one of the biggest jail breaks and mass escapes by Naxalites in recent memory.

A day after Bihar police chief A R Sinha denied that inadequate availability of police force in Jehanabad on Sunday night led to the naxalite attack, District Magistrate Rana Avadhesh said the extent of damage would have been limited if the police headquarters had promptly acted on its own intelligence inputs and rushed reinforcements in time to the force-starved district.

“Had the police headquarters acted swiftly and rushed timely reinforcements the extent of damage done by Naxalites could have been limited considerably,” he said. He admitted that soon after the attack on a Homeguard Training Centre at Giridih in Jharkhand on November 11, in which seven persons were killed and 185 firearms and ammunition looted, IG (operations) R R Verma had sent a wireless message to him saying a similar assault was probable in Jehanabad.

At 4.34 pm on Sunday, Verma sent a fax apprehending attacks on Nadaul railway station, Kako police picket and police outpost at Karauna and said other installations like the police lines could also be targeted as movement by 100-odd extremists was sighted near Nadaul.

“We acted promptly and even went to these places but the police headquarters, which gave us these information, did not suitably act on its own intelligence inputs,” he said.

The district magistrate claimed that two companies of Central Para-Military Forces (CPMF) and two thirds of District Armed Police (DAP) had been shifted to other places for poll duty and the district was facing acute shortage when the naxalites struck.

However, state police chief A R Sinha had said that 40 per cent of DAP still remained in the district where there were 19 officers 240 constables, four companies of Bihar Military Police and one company of CRPF. An additional company of Special Task Force was rushed from neighbouring Aurangabad after intelligence reports revealed Naxalite movement.

“This force strength was sufficient to meet any Naxal challenge,” he said. The DM said only 18 policemen, including two havaldars, were posted at the police lines at the time of the attack which was “grossly inadequate”.

Claiming that the sergeant major, who was in-charge of the police lines, did not venture out, Avadhesh said the policemen present did a remarkable job in foiling the Naxalite bid to loot the armoury.

“There were over 1,000 rifles, including Self-Loading Rifles, and nearly 150 AK-47 rifles and a huge quantity of ammunition and if that had fallen into the Naxalites’ hands attacks similar to the one in Jehanabad could have been witnessed at Gaya, Bhagalpur, Buxar and even Beur jail in the state capital,” he said.

“Merely the district magistrate and superintendent of police could not have done much when the district was left at the mercy of God,” he said. Meanwhile, the district police with the help of CPMF are continuing intensive raids in the district to apprehend the CPI (Maoist) rebels responsible for the attack but no arrests have been made so far. However, not one helicopter of the two assured by the Centre for aerial surveillance and air-dropping the troops have so far been sighted.

Avadhesh said 26 of the 389 inmates of the sub-jail who were reported missing after the Operation Jailbreak have returned and search was on for others. After two days of protests the town is returning to normalcy with all markets open and vehicular traffic as usual.