Saturday, January 14, 2006

14 cops killed in Nepal blasts by Maoists

Source ::: AFP

KATHMANDU: Fourteen policemen were killed in a series of bomb attacks by suspected Maoist rebels on the outskirts of the Nepalese capital, police said yesterday.

Five separate attacks began on municipal and police targets in the Kathmandu valley at around 5:25 pm local time (1140 GMT).

Eleven officers were killed in a bomb blast at a police station south of Kathmandu while another three were killed in the capital’s eastern outskirts, police said, adding that the three other blasts caused no casualties.

No rebel casualties were reported in the larger incident at Thankot, the main entry point to the Kathmandu Valley south of the capital.

Three bombs were hurled into the dining room of the police station in Thankot, and a 25-minute firefight between police and rebels followed the bomb blasts, police said at the scene.

Another three police were wounded in the blast at the Dadhikot checkpost in Bhaktapur, east of Kathmandu, officials said.

There was heavy security in place around the police station, with armed police patrolling the area. Checkpoints were set up on major roads in the capital and roads around the police headquarters in Kathmandu were blocked.

Police had closed off the road at least 10km from the checkpoint and were carrying out search operations, a witness at the scene said.

Earlier yesterday, the army said that 16 Maoist rebels and one soldier had been killed in clashes in Syangja, western Nepal.

Lalgarh murders leave CPM confused

Kolkata/ Midnapore, Jan.14. — CPM seems to be not sure about whom to blame for the murder for two party supporters at Lalgarh in Jhargram yesterday. The CPI-M state secretary Mr Anil Biswas today blamed the Maoists for killings while West Midnapore district party secretary Mr Dipak Sarkar called it a handiwork of the Jharkhandis with Maoist connection. He even trained his guns on the media over the murder of the party activists. Police, however, maintained, on the basis of their investigations, that the killing was more likely to be connected with factional feuds among the Marxists. The Maoists are yet to claim responsibility for the killings. — SNS

Tackling naxal problem tops Plan priority

DH News Service Bangalore:

Chief Minister N Dharam Singh on Saturday said the State government has accorded top priority to the social services sector in the Plan outlay for 2006-07 to tackle socio-economic problems like the naxalite issue....

Chief Minister N Dharam Singh on Saturday said the State government has accorded top priority to the social services sector in the Plan outlay for 2006-07 to tackle socio-economic problems like the naxalite issue.

Speaking to reporters in Bangalore, Mr Singh said Rs 4,213 crore (28 per cent of the total Plan size for the next financial year) had been earmarked for social services. “We have appraised the Planning Commission that we propose to tackle the naxalite issue by the ballot and not by the bullet,” he said. “Our priority has been to handle all socio-economic issues effectively,” he said.

He said the Planning Commission has agreed to extend the employment guarantee scheme presently being implemented in Chamarajnagar and Chitradurga, to Gulbarga and Raichur districts as well.

‘No threat’

Meanwhile, Mr Singh downplayed the strained relations with ruling coalition partner JD (S) by asserting that there was no threat to his government and that the ‘hiccups’ would end soon.

Naxals at the doorstep of Delhi

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Soni Sangwan

Updated 2258 hrs IST (+GMT 5:30), 14.01.06
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Union Home Secretary V K Duggal met top police personnel and bureaucrats from 13 naxal affected states on Friday, January 13. The spread of left wing extremism to other parts of the country was discussed in passing. But when CNN-IBN Correspondent Soni Sangwan traveled to Haryana, she found out the problem is knocking on Delhi's doors.

Gurgaon (Haryana): You could have dismissed this as yet another routine Naxalite training camp in People's War Group territory. The only problem is that the CD used for training is now available at the Capital's doorsteps — in Haryana.

Jatland villagers are being inspired with propaganda smuggled in from far off Andhra Pradesh. And suddenly Left extremism seems quite close at hand, a stone's throw away from where the Home Ministry packages its policies on Naxalites.

An exclusive intelligence report titled A Brief Note on the Activities of CPI (Maoists) in Haryana in CNN-IBN’s possession shows why the administration has to be really concerned.

The report states that, "Maoists appear to have chosen to engineer caste conflicts as a part of their strategy to further their movement in Haryana. This they are attempting to do by choosing soft targets like the Dalits, labour class and students".

Flashback to the clash at the Honda factory in Gurgaon.

Glass panes were shattered and motorcycles on display, damaged when the Honda showroom was attacked

The owner of Honda Showroom, Ravi Jaitley, says that he did not step out of the showroom when they were attacked. "I do not know who these people were — they could have been terrorists or someone who hated us for some reason we don't know."

The repercussions of the clash at the Honda factory in Gurgaon on July 29, 2005 were felt in the sleepy town of Kaithal, Haryana.

The incident served as a wake-up call for the government, alerting it to the existence of Left wing extremist organizations in Haryana.

Ravinder, one of the men who was picked up from the spot for attacking the showroom, belongs to the Krantikaari Mazdoor Kisan Union — a Left Wing Organisation.

He is now in Jind Jail alongwith Rajesh Sandeel, the state president of the organization.

A look at the manifesto of the organization leaves no doubt as to its Maoist agenda.

The Krantikaari Mazdoor Kisan Union and other such frontal organizations are active in the Jind, Kaithal, Kurukshetra, Yamunagar, Hisar, Rohtak and Sonepat areas of Haryana.

Among these are the Jaagruk Chhatra Morcha, Shahid Bhagat Singh Mazdoor Morcha, Navjawan Dasta and Disha Sanskritik Manch.

These organisations cannot be linked to any of the known Communist Parties like the CPI or the CPI(M).

"CPI is a political party and all political parties have a right to try and establish a base," says Haryana Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

On the face of it, these organizations are talking about a social revolution of sorts. But the recovery of the pamphlets of these organisations reveals a secret agenda that is linked to the Maoist organizations of Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand.

However, Haryana Transport Minister Randeep Surjewala says, "The material that has come in — the pamphlets — have definitely not been printed here. It has come from other states. It is up to the police to find out more. If need be, we will call in other agencies as well."

What seems obvious is that the Red Corridor connecting Nepal to Andhra Pradesh now seems to be passing through the outskirts of Delhi.

Maoist action team conducts recce to target CM, HM, DGP

Hyderabad | January 14, 2006 6:41:01 PM IST

The Intelligence Bureau has alerted Andhra Pradesh police about a naxal team which has conducted a recce here and planned to target Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, Home Minister K Jana Reddy and Director-General of Police, besides the venue of the AICC plenary session at Gachibowli stadium.

The IB informed the city police two days ago about the presence of the four-member action team of the CPI(Maoist) in the city, police sources said.

The IB said the CPI(Maoist) and ISI-associated groups might also create terror with their operations during the AICC plenary session beginning from January 21 to 23.

At the time of alert, the DGP was away in New Delhi to take part in the meeting of DGPs, Home Secretaries and Chief Secretaries of 13-naxal affected states.

However, Director-General (law and order) P V Naidu called an urgent meeting in which City Police Commissioner A K Mohanty, Cyberabad Commissioner of Police Mahender Reddy participated.

The IB also said naxals might try to kidnap some VIPs like Union Ministers or State Ministers to mount pressure on the government to release their leaders who are imprisoned.

Police are making all out efforts to trace the action team in view of the coming AICC plenary and are contemplating to form a counter action team to take on the Maoists, sources added.

There are reports from the IB that either naxals or the terrorist groups might try to sneak into the main with fake Identity Cards, according to police sources here.


Friday, January 13, 2006

Naxal-prone states need to coordinate: Committee

- By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, Jan. 13: The Centre has worked out an arrangement between the Naxal-affected states on a coordinated effort at intelligence-gathering and sharing to deal with increased Naxal violence in the country.

The meeting of the coordination committee on Naxal violence, chaired by Union home secretary V.K. Duggal, was attended by chief secretaries and the director-generals of police of the Naxal-affected states. The meeting took stock of the situation and noted that there was a four per cent increase in the Naxal violence.

Emphasising that dealing with Naxalism was mainly the responsibility of the states affected by it and that the Centre could only provide support to control it, Mr Duggal said there has to be an integrated approach to tackle the problem.

"The level of incidents have gone up by four per cent in 2005. I don’t want to go into the reasons but the challenge in 2006 will be to contain it with an integrated approach," he told reporters after the meeting.

He said that among other things, the ministry will strengthen the Naxal division, which will focus on issues and concerns related to Naxalism. Highlighting the salient decisions of the meeting, Mr Duggal said the intelligence mechanism will also gather and share information on Naxalites, their plans, infrastructure and movements.

Mr Duggal said the states agreed to streamline police structures at state, district and sub-district levels and focused "action plans" to intensify police action against Naxalites and their infrastructure. The performance of the states will be reviewed in the next coordinaion meeting with reference to these "action plans", he said.

The states will draw up a time-bound plan for strengthening of vulnerable police stations in Naxal-affected areas in terms of additional manpower, modern weaponry, communication equipment and well protected buildings and necessary funds. The steps can be accessed under the police modernisation scheme, the home secretary said.

He said the states agreed to enhance sharing of intelligence among themselves and coordinate and intensify inter-state joint Naxalite operations by way of strict compliance with the standard operating procedure earlier finalised.

Target them young is the new Maoist mantra

Statesman News Service

RANCHI, Jan. 12. — Target them young – is the new buzzword among the top brass of the Maoist extremists in Jharkhand these days.

This new move has come into force recently after several rounds of meeting in the jungles of Saranda and Jhumra Hills. While taking a stock of its cadres as well as resources, the senior CPI (Maoist) leaders, have unanimously expressed their concern about the failing force of the threat of guns and land mines among the rural folks of the state, which they consider as their loyal support base.

The alternatives have been sought in the form of deep penetration into schools in the rural pockets of Jharkhand and indoctrinate more and more young minds with the “revolutionary ideals”.

The state intelligence department has received reports from at least seven rural areas in the districts, where the Maoists have already distributed Naxalite literature and booklets with ultra-Left ideologies among the school students.
“Last week, the extremists have distributed books and literatures containing lectures and the life of their leader, Comrade Charu Mazumdar. It also contains chapters about the non-relevance of the democratic institutions in the country. The booklets have championed armed struggle as the only alternative left for the deprived poor people, to win back their rights. The books and literatures were distributed among the students of primary and middle-level schools in the Simaria block in the Chatra district,” a senior state intelligence officer said.
Chatra district SP, Mr Sashinath Jha, also admitted that such literature was distributed among the students in rural areas. “We have started investigating the matter. Previously, we got reports that Maoists’ attempts to rope in students in their “Bal Dasta”, or children’s brigade. Steps have already been taken to confiscate such literatures from the primary and middle-level schools,” Mr Jha informed. The intelligence officers also informed that the extremists have shifted their focus from receiving levies from the teachers at 5 to 10 per cent of their salaries, only because they serve the state government.
“Of late, they have stressed on the need to have their “revolutionary curriculum” in the schools’ syllabus and have started threatening teachers of dire consequences. Some private schools in Hazaribagh and Dumka have also been targeted by the extremists to incorporate the Naxalite literature in their curriculum,” another senior police officer added.

Govt. to take "effective" action against naxalites in 2006: Home Secretary

New Delhi | January 13, 2006 8:13:41 PM IST

The year 2005 saw a rise of four percent in the naxalites activities across the country, and it was a tough year as far as handling of the menace was concerned, Union Home Secretary VK Duggal said today in the Capital while addressing press persons after the 19th meeting of the closer door two-day meeting of the Coordination Centre comprising chief secretaries and DIGs of the naxalites-affected states. The meeting ended this evening.

But, on the communal front, Duggal said, "this year has been satisfactory."

Considering the latest trend of attacks by naxalites whereby jails and police armoured vehicles were blasted off, he said that in the current year "a special care would be taken for the protection of jails, police force and armoured vehicles". And, he further said, the Central Government would provide additional ten battalions for the naxal-affected states with financial support of Rs 25 crore per battalion, and the CRPF would impart training to these battalions in a phased manner.

The Home Secretary made a special appeal to all such states to fill up the vacancies in the their respective police force as soon as possible, so as to give a helping hand to the paramilitary forces deployed to uproot the menace.

A state like Haryana also can't be complacent from being affected by the menace of naxalites, as, according to Duggal, it was one of the states, including Uttaracnchal, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, where naxalites were trying to mark their presence.

Duggal said that the current year would hopefully turn into an "effective year" for the Union Government as "effective measures" would be taken against the "misguided youth who don't listen to the government's appeal" of shunning their naxalites activities and join the mainstream of the society.

According to the Home Secretary, over the past year as many as 72 armoured vehicles were delivered to the various naxalites-affected states and nearly 50 such vehicles are ready to be despatched in the current year. "A special care would be taken to assure the safety of policemen, armoury and other security paraphernalia would be our main task during the current year," he said.

He further said that during the current year six states namely Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and (eastern parts of) Maharashtra, will have dedicated intelligence wings to keep a tab on the naxalites activities. Police forces in these states would be strengthened, funds would be assigned for modernisation of the state police departments, and latest armoury would be given to the state police, and special care would be taken to protect jails, armouries and state police, he added. (ANI)

States to meet today over Naxal menace


NEW DELHI, JANUARY 12 Thirteen Naxal-affected states would participate in the Coordination Centre meeting, headed by Union Home Secretary V K Duggal, tomorrow in New Delhi to come up with strategies to deal with Naxalism.
In the wake of the growing Naxal menace, the Union Home Ministry has asked all Naxal-affected states to account for the grants given to them by the Centre. These include security related expenditure provided for modernising the state police force and the funds for development of backward areas.

The Union Home Ministry has been criticised for not being able to form an unified strategy against the Naxals. The Ministry, however, maintained that law and order is a state subject and it can only assist states to fight Naxals but cannot start operations directly.

‘‘This year will be better than last year regarding fight against Naxalism,’’ Duggal said. He said all the states have been asked to detail the steps taken by them to counter Naxalism. Most importantly, the Centre is also focusing on the inter-state joint task force some of which are not functional yet.

While some states like AP and Chhattisgarh have been substantially successful in fighting the Naxals because of their planning and strategy, most states are yet to get their act together. For instance, Bihar is yet to raise an additional India Reserve Battalion despite funds being provided for.

Meanwhile, Maoist has called a 24-hour bandh in three West Bengal districts of West Midnapur, Purulia and Bankura on January 16 in protest against Orissa’s Kalinga Nagar incident.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Maoist Rebels Attack Town in Nepal

By Anjana Pasricha
New Delhi
12 January 2006

Listen to Pasricha report

Communist rebels have raided a town in western Nepal, attacking several government installations. The renewed violence in the mountain kingdom following the end of a four-month uni-lateral truce called by the rebels.

Policeman who was injured in an attack by Maoist rebels is treated at a hospital in Beliya
Officials say the rebels attacked the police station in the town of Dhangadi while policemen were having dinner Wednesday. The rebels later opened fire on banks, offices, and an army base, but fled when soldiers returned fire.

Officials say they have regained control of the town, which lies about 600 kilometers west of the capital Kathmandu.

The attack on the heavily guarded town is the most daring since the rebels announced the end of a four-month unilateral cease-fire earlier this month.

The head of the Center for Contemporary Studies in Nepal, Lok Raj Baral, says the raid follows a warning by the rebels that they would extend their revolt beyond the countryside, where they already control vast stretches of land.

"The Maoists have openly stated they will concentrate on the urban areas, towns, and they will pay attention to the rural areas, but their target is the headquarters and urban centers," said Baral.

The Maoists have been fighting nearly a decade to end the monarchy and turn Nepal into a communist republic, but had offered to negotiate with the royalist government during the cease-fire. King Gyanendra, who seized control of the government a year ago, did not match the cease-fire, saying the rebels were insincere.

The government also said that security forces had the rebels on the run. Baral says the rebel attacks in recent days are meant to demonstrate that they remain a strong force.

"The government was telling that it had broken the back of the rebels, but in reply to that the Maoists have now attacked the district headquarters," he added.

Political parties are mounting pressure on King Gyanendra to restore democracy.
Woman holds a placard, which says "Boycott Municipal Elections!" during a demonstration in Katmandu, Jan. 10, 2006
When the king ousted the previous government, he said he acted because political parties had failed to end the communist insurgency.

Political analysts say anti-monarchy demonstrations have been growing in size in recent days. Tens of thousands of people took part in a rally organized by an alliance of seven political parties in Janakpur in southeast Nepal.

Baral says opposition to the king is growing across the country.

"The government side tried to undermine the political parties, but now gradually people are gathering in large numbers. The Maoists have escalated the violence, the parties are on the move against the established order," he noted.

Members of political parties accuse government troops of harassing people heading to Janakpur by searching trucks and buses and tearing down posters and banners.

The political turmoil and violence in the country have raised worries in the international community. Several countries, including the United States, have urged the king to restore democracy.

Action plan to contain Naxalite, Maoist problem in Bengal

Kolkata | January 12, 2006 6:43:37 PM IST

West Bengal Chief Secretary Amit Kiran Deb and Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray today said an action plan to tackle Naxalite and Maoist activities in the state was likely to be formulated at a meeting in Delhi tomorrow.
Convened by Union Home Secretary, the meeting would be attended by the Chief and Home Secretaries of all the 13 states including West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Jharkhand and Assam, which had been facing the brunt of the Naxalite and Maoist activities.

Speaking to newsmen here today prior to their departure to New Delhi, both the secretaries said during the two-day visit they would also call on Chief Election Commisioner B B Tandon to discuss certain important matters relating to the coming assembly elections.

He, however, refused to disclose further about the contents of their meeting with the the CEC.

They are scheduled to return here on Saturday.


Wanted Naxalite, Faizulla Sheikh held from Sangam Vihar

[ Thursday, January 12, 2006 02:23:06 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

NEW DELHI: A man with alleged links with the Naxalites of West Bengal was arrested from Sangam Vihar in the wee hours of Tuesday. For the past one year, the accused had been hiding in the south Delhi locality under the guise of a junk dealer.
A loaded country-made pistol was seized from his possession. "Faizulla Sheikh, (40) hails from West Bengal's Nadia district, and is a proclaimed offender in two criminal cases — one a murder and the other a violation of the Explosives Act," a senior police official said.

During interrogation, Sheikh confessed to links with Naxalites in Nadia. He was arrested in 1997 on murder charges, but had absconded after his bail petition was granted.

Late at night on Monday, two constables patrolling Sangam Vihar's H-Block area were informed that Sheikh was at Gali No 16 to meet someone and that he was carrying a loaded firearm. The informer also indicated the route by which Sheikh would return.

A police team rushed to the spot and it was decided to nab Sheikh on his way back. The police accosted Sheikh after the informer identified him.

According to the police, the accused had come to Delhi about a year back and was residing in a plot opposite Gali No 12, G-Block, Sangam Vihar.

He had assumed the identity of a junk dealer dealing in scrap material and even set up a shop. Delhi Police have informed their West Bengal counterparts about the arrest.

Biman Bose: Naxalites seethe at CPM salvo ,bullet for bullet

Calcutta, Jan. 11: Various Naxalite factions today criticised CPM politburo member Biman Bose for exhorting party workers in Purulia to use “bullet for bullet’’ to fight Maoist guerrillas.

“Bose’s comment was not a responsible one,” said Asim Chatterjee, the leader of the Communist Revolutionary League of India, a former constituent of the Left Front. “If anything, it would lead to a possible escalation of tension in the districts.”

Addressing a rally at Bandwan in Purulia yesterday, Bose, who is also the Left Front chairman, had urged party workers to take up arms to fight the Maoist guerrillas.

The rally, addressed by Bose and state CPM secretary Anil Biswas, was organised to boost the morale of party workers in the wake of the December 31 incident in which local CPM leader Rabindranath Kar and his wife were burnt alive and their house torched by the Maoists.

“Make sure next time they cannot escape after an attack. You have to resist them with arms,’’ Bose had told the gathering.

Naxalite leader Santosh Rana also criticised Bose. “It is not in conformity with the CPM’s stated political line. Now the Maoists will feel emboldened to carry out more attacks,” said Rana, a front-ranking leader of the Naxalites’ armed struggle in the seventies.

“We condemn the killing of people by the Maoists and never support their subversive activities. But armed resistance is not the answer. They have to be defeated politically,’’ Rana said.

Chatterjee and Rana said that in the seventies, the CPM had taken up arms to eliminate Naxalites and in the retaliation that followed, thousands had died.

Political observers believe that Bose tried to boost the morale of the party workers, who were feeling insecure after the Maoists’ attack.

Thirty-one CPM leaders and workers have been killed by Maoists in the last five years.

Party functionaries in the rebel-dominated areas of Belpahari, Bandwan, Ranibandh, said the Naxalites could not be tackled only with an ideological campaign and armed resistance was needed.

Bose had realised the sentiment of the leaders while meeting the members of the Purulia district committee last week.

The leaders had tried to convince Bose that the rebels could not be fought with empty hands.

NAXAL Narayan Sanyal arrest, CPM's police mole executed

Slain CPM man was a police mole

Anjan Chakraborty in Kolkata
Jan 11. — A secret passed on to police on whereabouts of a Narayan Sanyal, top Naxalite leader and central committee member of the CPI (Maoist), may have cost Rabindranath Kar his life.

Acting on Kar’s tip-off, Sanyal was arrested from Dangania village near Raipur in Chattisgarh on 28 December. And in the wee hours of 31 December, Kar and his wife were shot dead at their house in Bandwan, Purulia.
Police sources said Sanyal alias Naveen Prasad alias Bijoy Dada was in-charge of the outfit’s Orissa and Chattisgarh units. He visited Raipur in the last week of December for treatment of diabetes and a kidney problem.
Kar informed West Bengal Police about Sanyal’s stay near Raipur which was passed onto Chattisgarh Police. The slain CPI-M leader often informed police about Maoist hideouts.

“After the information about Sanyal was passed on to Chattisgarh Police which led to the central committee member’s arrest, the Maoists may have believed that it was Kar who had tipped-off police about Sanyal. This may have prompted them to kill Kar and his wife,” said a senior officer of the Naxalite cell of the state police.
Chattisgarh Police handed over Sanyal to Andhra Pradesh Police on 2 January. He was in the most-wanted list of Maoists both in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. An expert in blasts, Sanyal is an accused in 21 cases including the 2003 attempt on former AP chief minister, Mr Chandrababu Naidu in Alipiri and the recent Jehanabad jail break.
Though in charge of Orissa and Chhatisgarh, Sanyal also oversaw Maoists’ operations in this state after the 2005 arrest of Sushil Roy alias Ashok, a CPI (Maoist) politburo member and Patit Paban Halder alias Dinu, a central committee member of the outfit.

Reports indicate that Sanyal visited West Bengal recently generating the local tip-off. Sanyal’s brother in Kolkata has been informed about his arrest.
Sanyal came under the influence of Charu Mazumdar, the founder of the Naxalite movement, when he was working in a bank in Siliguri. In 1973, he was arrested in Bihar. He was an inmate in various prisons of West Bengal and Bihar till 1978. He played a key role in the merger of CPI (ML), PW and MCC in September 2004 and became a central committee member of CPI (Maoist).

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

'Take up arms to deal with the Maoists', CPM politburo member Biman Bose

BJP to move EC against Biman Bose
Search for More News

Kolkata, Jan 11: The BJP today said it would complain to the Election Commission against CPM politburo member Biman Bose for his "provocative" speech at Bandwan in West Bengal's Purulia district exhorting party cadres to take up arms against Maoists and other political adversaries.

"We will lodge complaints with the Election Commission against Biman Bose," BJP state president Tathagata Roy said and added that he would also meet Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi in this regard.

Bose at a party meeting yesterday at Bandwan, where CPM leader Rabindranath Kar and his wife were brutally killed by the Maoist guerrillas, last week, came down heavily on the attackers and asked CPM cadres "to take up arms to deal with the Maoists".

Claiming that cadres carrying weapons attended the meeting,'' the BJP leader said this could be termed unlawful assembly and entails punishment of a maximum of three years imprisonment. The police must take action against Bose, he added. (Agencies)

Police arrest Naxalite in south Delhi

Press Trust of India

New Delhi, January 11, 2006

Police on Wednesday claimed to have arrested a Naxalite, staying undercover in a south Delhi locality, and recovered a loaded country-made pistol from his possession.

One Faizullah Sheikh, a resident of Nadia district of West Bengal, was arrested from Sangam Vihar area on Monday night, where he had gone to meet some person, police said.

One loaded country-made pistol was recovered from his possession, they said.

Interrogation of the accused revealed that he was involved in scrap dealing and had connections with Naxalites back home for several years, the police said.

An inquiry at the Chapra police station in Nadia district revealed that he had been declared a proclaimed offender in cases of murder and violation of the Explosives Act dating back to 1996, they said.

Sheikh had been arrested by the police once in 1997 in connection with a murder case and had jumped bail, police said.

take taxi to Muradnagar, assault driver, flee with car

Express News Service

New Delhi, January 10: A TAXI driver was beaten up by three men who took him to a desolate spot in Muradnagar in Uttar Pradesh and later fled with his vehicle, said the police. A case has been registered at the Kalyanpuri police Station.

The incident occurred on Sunday night near the Anand Vihar bus depot. Chandra Prakash, driver of a Tata Indica, was returning to Shakarpur after dropping a passenger in Vaishali, Ghaziabad when three men flagged down his car.

‘‘He thought they were passengers, but as he rolled down his window to talk, one of the men caught him by the collar and pointed a pistol at his head,’’ said Prakash’s uncle, Jaldeep Sharma.

The three men then forced him to drive the vehicle to Muradnagar where they took him to an isolated spot near a railway crossing. ‘‘They first tied him up and then thrashed him till he started bleeding,’’ said Sharma. Prakash was unconscious till next morning when some local cops saw him and took him to a hospital.

A man, who the police claim to be a naxalite and an accused in two murder cases, was arrested in Sangam Vihar yesterday. The police said he had been hiding in Delhi as a scrap dealer. A team led by Sub-Inspector K.P. Shah arrested the accused, Faizullah, 40, an alleged naxalite in West Bengal who had been staying in Delhi for the past 10 years as a scrap dealer. A countrymade pistol was seized from him and a case under the Arms Act has been registered. He told the police that he was involved in naxalite activities in West Bengal.four people, including MCA, BCA graduates, and two hardware engineers have been arrested for allegedly cloning two garuda phones and using them for personal benefit.

On receiving a tip off the Crime Branch team carried out a raid at house number 49 in village Sarai Julena. They found Miraz Ahmed, 25, an MCA degree holder, Abbas Malik a computer expert, Arshad Ali, a hardware engineer and Aizaz-ul-Haque, a BCA graduate, making and receiving calls on two parallel garuda lines.

All four were arrested. the owners of the two phones had been receiving bills to the tune of Rs 16 and Rs 7 lakh as the four had been making international calls.

Rs 10 lakh demanded for slain constable’s family

Statesman News Service
CUTTACK, Jan. 10. — The Orissa Havildar Constable and Sepoy Mahasangh has demanded payment of Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the family of the constable who was killed in the violence at Kalinga Nagar.
The mahasangh had come up with a seven-point-charter of demands and threatened to abstain from armed duty if they are not acted upon immediately. Meanwhile, Chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik today, announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the bereaved family. The demand reportedly follows a coordination committee meeting of the Orissa Police Association and the Orissa Havildar Constable and Sepoy Mahasangh. The OPA had expressed concern over the image bashing of the police following the violence involving a clash between tribals and the police on 2 January. The coordination committee had taken exception to the shifting of the entire blame on police and endorsed the charter of demands of the mahasangh.
The demands included Rs 10 lakh compensation for the dead constable and a job for a member of his family on compassionate ground. The mahasangh had also demanded Rs 50,000 for each of the policemen who were injured in the violence. The coordination committee expected a detailed discussion with the armed police force on the situation before deployment and equal incentive allowance for all the policemen deployed in Naxalite and Left ultra infested areas of the state.
The other demands included expediting the modernisation of police force, non-deployment of armed police in works other than those of sensitive nature and steps to ameliorate the inclement conditions under which policemen were being forced to work, the mahasangh sources said.

Naxals burn vehicles in Gadchiroli

Nagpur: A group of Naxalites operating from the Katepalli forests in Gadchiroli district today set three tractors and two trucks on fire.

Police said tractors and trucks were being used in the construction of roads in Katepalli Village.

The Naxal group was opposed to construction of roads in the village. The group appeared at about 0800 hours in the village and asked the labourers to leave. Thereafter, they set the vehicles on fire, the police said.

The police have not made any arrests in this connection so far.

Yesterday morning, a Naxals group had set a Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) tower on fire damaging the micro-repeater equipment at Elkhil village in the same district.

Sushilkumar Modi seeks Centre's support to wipe out Naxalism

Hyderabad: Expressing concern over the Naxal menace, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushilkumar Modi today urged the Centre to help his state find a solution to the decades-old problem.

''It is matter of concern not only for the state which shares a border with Nepal where Naxals have a strong presence, but also for the Centre,'' He said at a press conference here.

Urging the Centre to provide ''logistical support'' to naxal-hit Bihar, he said the newly-elected JD(U)-BJP Government was chalking out a strategy to stamp out Naxalism from the state.

Appreciating Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for paying special attention to Bihar's development, Mr Modi expressed the hope that the UPA Government at the Centre would not stall the project at Nalanda.

''Work has been stopped in connection with the Ordnance factory in Nalanda, represented by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, after a change of government in Bihar. This should not be the case and we are taking up the matter with Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee. When the NDA Government was in power, it had not discriminated against the states ruled by other parties,'' he said.

Soren gets Z security cover following fresh naxal threats

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Ranchi: The security cover of former Union Coal Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) supremo Sibu Soren and Jharkhand Home Minister Sudesh Mahto has been upgraded following fresh naxal threats.

Home Secretary J B Tubit said here on Wednesday that the security cover of Soren had been upgraded to Z class from Y class while that of Mahto had been increased to Z-plus from Z.

Both the leaders were in the 'hit list' of the Maoist extremists

UP village Chandauli , takes up arms to fend off Maoist menace

Chandauli (Uttar Pradesh): Not finding enough hands to ward off threats from Maoists, a village in Uttar Pradesh's Chandauli District is encouraging both women and children to take up arms against the rebels.
Govind Singh of Chandauli District's Shamsherpur village says he has taught his family members, including women and children to use the gun.

“The Maoist menace is continuing since 1996, but the police is hiding Maoist activities by calling them Naxalities. I am protesting against such activities since then. The existence of the Maoists came to light only in 2000. Due to Maoist menace, I had to ask my kids to drop their studies and give them arms training. Even a five-year-old child or women of my family, they all know how to fire and use guns. Women keep full vigil not only at night but even when we are not around,” claimed Singh.

Most children in the village don't go to school as their parents harbour constant fears about them being kidnapped. They are kept busy through arms training.

“We are facing a big problem because of the Maoists as they are roaming here day and night. Our farming business is also suffering due to such activities. We have grown up with arms and ammunition and instead of books, we have always held guns in our hands,” said Nitin.

“We sleep in the day time. We don't sleep at night as we have to keep a strict vigil on Maoists,” added Swati Singh.

It is well-known that the Maoists have been expanding their operations gradually. According to Home Ministry figures 167 of India's 493 districts are affected by their menace.

Beginning with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the 'red corridor' runs through States like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.

The Maoists, who are ruling the roost in Nepal, have links with Naxalites and, ever since the royal coup in Nepal in February 1, 2005, things have become worse.

The Union Government has told the affected states to share their intelligence information and increase their coordination. But in actual practice this is not happening. There is not much coordination among the Naxal-affected states.

Maoist violence cannot be treated as a mere law and order problem. The basic issue is lack of development and the Maoists are able to hold sway because of endemic backwardness in certain regions.

The Government should try to get to the root of the problem and resolve it rather than talk about it in a haphazard manner. Dealing with insurgency with a firm hand is yet another way of resolving it. Committed officials should be posted in violence-affected districts

Cops injured in Naxal attack in Bihar

Gaya | January 10, 2006 9:14:56 PM IST

In a yet another Naxalite attack on police, two police personnel were injured at Shankarpur village in Gaya district on Tuesday.

The incident took place when security personnel visited the site where Naxalites, on Sunday, had burnt the house of Parmanad Yadav, secretary of Shankarpur village panchayat.

According to sources, rebels had prior knowledge about security personnel's visit to the site to take stock of the situation and accordingly, the Naxals mooted a plan to attack them.
The Special Task Force team was going to the village after it came to know about the incident. But the police team came under three landmine explosions set up by the Naxals.

As soon as the rebels saw the police team they opened fire on the latter, wherein Officer-in-charge of Balrampur police station, Ajitesh Singh, received a bullet injury in his back. Another police personnel was also injured in the attack.

When the police team retaliated, the Naxals fled from the scene taking advantage of darkness. It is also reported that around 100 Naxal rebels took part in the attack.

"The injured officer, who got a bullet injury in his back in the ambush is now all right. Police defused scores of bombs and a large amount of arms and ammunition have been recovered from the spot," said O P Rathore, DGP, Chhattisgarh.

The injured police officials have been admitted to the Balrampur Hospital in the town, he added. (ANI)

Who do you believe: The police or the family of an accused?

Jaideep Hardikar
Tuesday, January 10, 2006 23:50 IST

NAGPUR: Was Bichanga Bukku Veladi, 40, a naxalite? The answer is both yes and no. Yes, if you are to believe the Gadchiroli police and no if you go by his widow’s statement, who alleges that Veladi was killed in a fake encounter.

Bichanga was among the six naxalites (according to the police), killed recently in an operation in north Gadchiroli. His body was kept in the mortuary at the Government Hospital in Nagpur since his identity was not ascertained.

The widow claims five policemen had come to their house in Biradghat village on December 31 and taken Bichanga away. She was shocked to hear, later, that her husband was killed in an encounter.

“How can it be true?” asks Suresh, 20, her son who claims he was with his father at the farm when the commandoes of C-60 force took him for questioning. “We thought since the police had warrants for two villagers they might have taken him for questioning,” informs Amakka.

When he did not return, they tried checking up with the local police and the court for two days. Then they saw the local newspaper where the operation was mentioned and the pictures of two alleged dead naxalite’s were published.

One of the pictures was familiar, and the family feared it was Bichanga. Their worst fears came true when they identified the body.

After consulting the two accompanying social workers from Gadchiroli Rishi Portet and Umesh Emselwar, the family decided to bury Bichanga’s decomposed body at Nagpur on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Gadchiroli superintendent of police Shirish Jain refutes the family’s allegations and maintains that Bichanga was a courier for the naxal groups. He provided them with money and gelatin, used in making crude bombs, the police allege and say they had recovered 8-mm rifle from Bichanga.

According to the police, Bichanga was also involved in three murders and was an active ‘dalam’ member since 1990. Police allege that he had killed a woman in his own village after she refused to work for his ‘dalam.’

Amakka though refutes all these allegations and pleads her husband had no links with naxalites.

Amidst claims and counter-claims, the widow has decided to knock on the doors of the court ‘for justice’ with the support of Indian Association of People’s Lawyers and Amnesty International members at Nagpur.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Police reviewing threat assessment of VVIPs

Police reviewing threat assessment of VVIPs

Devesh K. Pandey

Intelligence inputs about militant outfits planning to target them

Concern over growing nexus between fundamentalist outfits and Pakistan's ISI
Police plan to procure equipment like Non-Linear Junction Detectors which can detect all kinds of electronic devices meant for detonating bombs
Police have also been carrying out meticulous survey of places of frequent VVIP visits, like Maurya Sheraton, Taj Man Singh and Oberoi

NEW DELHI: The threat assessment for VVIPS and vital installations in the Capital is being reviewed by the Delhi police in view of intelligence inputs about militant outfits linked to the dreaded Al Qaeda planning to target them. The police are also concerned over the growing nexus between such fundamentalist outfits and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

The police have, from their counterparts in other States and the Central intelligence agencies, have been getting inputs about conspiracies being hatched by outfits like Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Al-Badr to target VVIPs and places of prominence. Special Commissioner of Police (Security and Armed Police) B.K. Gupta in his contributory article to the Delhi police annual report for last year had dealt with this issue.

According to him, outfits having links with Al Qaeda have openly threatened to target VVIPs, giving a new dimension to the threat perception. The issue gains importance when studied against the backdrop of the growing cooperation between these outfits while carrying out terrorist strikes in the country, including the Capital. While a probe into the Parliament attack case in 2001 exposed the nexus between the JeM and the LeT, interrogation of those arrested in several other cases revealed that outfits like Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami (HuJI), which is said to be a founding member of a coalition of terrorist organisations formed under Al Qaeda, and Harkat-ul Mujahideen, have also joined hands to expand the network of terror across the country.

The interrogation of ISI agents arrested recently in different parts of the country has also revealed that their links with fundamentalist organisations have in fact been strengthened and the outfits are being encouraged to carry out assassinations of prominent politicians and target institutions. In the latest case, militants targeted the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore when top scientists were participating in an international conference.

While the police have been carrying out operations to liquidate the terrorist modules in the Capital, according to Mr. Gupta, activities of naxalite groups like People's War Group (PWG) and the Moist Communist Centre (MCC) in other States are also being kept in mind while chalking out security plans.

In view of the huge task at hand, the police plan to procure equipment like frequency jammers, frequency scanners, under-vehicle surveillance gadgets and Non-Linear Junction Detectors (NJLD), which can detect all kinds of electronic devices meant for detonating improvised explosive devices and bombs. The gadget forms a part of specific detection equipment, when it comes to preventing the use of landmines and explosives with electronic timer or remote-controlled detonation mechanism.

The police have also been carrying out meticulous survey of places of frequent VVIP visits, like Maurya Sheraton, Taj Man Singh, Oberoi, Taj Palace hotels and Hyderabad house to pinpoint high-risk areas in terms of security for a swift anti-sabotage checks in future. "Premier educational institutions would also find a place in that list in future," said a police officer.

Naxals burn BSNL tower in Gadchiroli

Nagpur | January 10, 2006 4:40:28 PM IST

Naxals set afire a Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) tower, damaging the micro-repeater equipment, at Elkhil village in Naxal-infested Gadchiroli district in the early hours today.
The tower was located between Alapalli and Atapalli talukas in Gadchiroli district.

Gadchiroli superintendent of police Sirish Jain told UNI over the phone that a group of around 25 Naxals assembled on the spot at about 0300 hrs and burnt the micro-repeater, installed on the tower, with a view to snap telephone and mobile phone communications.

The BSNL has installed such towers in different parts of the district. ''The Naxals are attempting to destroy them to snap communication between police and people. But, we have provided security at many such tower sites,'' Mr Jain said.

The BSNL, Mr Jain said, has assured to repair the burnt tower and it would start functioning within a week.

No arrests have been made in this connection so far, he added.


Centre to constitute 300 battalion strong para-military force


The Centre would constitute a 300 battalion strong para-military force to counter terrorism in the country, Union Home Minister Shivaraj Patil said today.

The new force would be given advanced training and provided with equipment,including helicopters, boats, armoured vehicles and an unified intelligence data-base to deal with any situation, he told reporters here.

India was also engaged in discussions on measures to be adopted in checking terrorist activities with neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and other Asian and European countries apart from America and Australia, he said.
"We have also signed agreements with many nations in this regard", Patil added.

Keeping in mind the recent terrorist attacks, including the one at the Bangalore Indian Institute of Science, Patil said steps to strengthen the police force by providing them with equipment and weapons was also in the offing.

The Centre had earlier suggested the states to draw up their own plans to combat naxal and border terrorist activities and exchange information with their neighbours, besides discussing these issues with the Union Government.

Patil underlined the need for having a "united force" and "united investigating agency" to probe the terrorist activities.

Bihar Police in for major image-related reshuffle

By Ajay Kumar, Patna : Keen to improve the image of Bihar Police, the state's Director General of Police, Ashish Ranjan Sinha, has announced plans for a major image rebuilding exercise that could involve reshuffling officers to make the law enforcement force more effective.

Sinha is presiding over a meeting of the Zonal Inspector Generals of Police and Deputy Inspector Gernerals of Police to plan the transfer of police personnel, who have been posted at a place for more than three years. The meeting is also expected to discuss the promotion for capable officials.

The police administration believes that the reshuffle will make the police force more effective in dealing with crime control.

“Zonal IGs and DIGs are meeting today to discuss the transfer of police officials, who have been posted at a place for more than three years. It is an effort to transform the police force for better. Police force is effective even now but we are trying to make it more effective,” said Sinha.

The police force has been one of the principal targets of Naxalite groups in Bihar.Naxalite violence has claimed the lives of 28 Bihar policemen In 2005 alone. In 2002, according to Bihar police sources, a total of 104 persons, including 19 Naxalites, six police personnel and 79 civilians, were killed in Naxal violence, while in 2001, 121 persons were killed, which included 14 Naxalites, 24 police personnel and 83 civilians.

Lack of resources including sophisticated weapons, modern equipment, other infrastructure and the absence of a proper mechanism to train and motivate police personnel are some of the reasons for police vulnerability.. Unfortunately, despite the repeated attacks, no attempt has been made by the state government to formulate a comprehensive anti-Naxal policy and equip the police force with modern weapons.

The secretary of the Bihar Policemen's Association (BPMA), K K Jha, claims that the police force does not even have sophisticated weapons to take on the Naxalites. Despite several reminders, the Government has not provided the latest weapons to the police to take on the ultras particularly in the Naxal-hit areas.

Jha alleged that 70 per cent of the personnel still carry World War II-vintage rifles, which are no match to the sophisticated weapons and explosives of the Naxalite groups.

Even after change of guard in the State Government, the number of crimes in Bihar remains the same.

The top brass in the State police department are passing sleepless nights as the law and order problem has turned to be a major challenge for the new State Government.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Maoists mean business

Leftists have reason to be worried about tribal votes in West Bengal as funds in the hands of gentrified comrades have not quite percolated to the grass-roots level. The deprived sections who now prefer guns to do the talking are unlikely to go down to the Red Brigade without a fight, writes Biswajit Roy

The killing of senior CPI-M leader Rabindranath Kar and his wife in Purulia by Naxalites in the wee hurs of 31 December has, once again, pushed the war of attrition between Marxists and Maoists at the centrestage of West Bengal politics.
Maoists have been making inroads into the tribal hinterland of south Bengal adjoining Jharkhand, particularly, in Midnapore West, Bankura and Purulia since the late 1990s.
According to the Maoist blueprint, these arid, backward districts, covered with hills and jungles, are targeted, red-liberated zones to be expanded over similar terrains in nine states across central India. This will be their Sierra or Yenan of Indian revolution, an ideal guerrilla base for protracted people’s war.
Clashes between the CPI-M and CPI (Maoist) in West Bengal were triggered by the murder of at least five Maoists in Choto Angaria village in Midnapore West on 4 January 2001. CBI investigation confirmed the killings but nobody is sure how many were killed. Bodies had not been found, neither had the accused CPI-M leaders been arrested. Since then, at least 40 people, including policemen, have been killed in the spiral of violence.
Maoists enjoyed brief tolerance when the ruling party was facing a violent challenge from the Trinamul Congress-BJP-RSS combine in bordering areas of Hooghly, Bankura and Midnapore in the late 1990s.
“Both of us are Communists and we thought a fight against the common enemy was possible,’’ the CPI-M strongman and minister of state for employees’ state insurance, Sushanta Ghosh, hinted at the time.
But the equation changed later when Maoists tried to expand their base threatening the CPI-M’s rural hegemony. They posed a threat again when some disgruntled CPI-M supporters, particularly tribals and the backward castes joined them in the zone.
Maoists suspected the minister to be the mastermind behind the Choto-Angaria carnage. Kar was murdered, reportedly, to avenge Choto-Angaria as well as for his suspected role as police mole to keep tabs on Maoist movement.
With Assembly polls round the corner, CPI-M state secretary Anil Biswas reiterated the party’s allegation against the Maoists that they had connived with the Trinamul Congress to storm Marxist strongholds before the last Assembly election in 2001.
What he did not divulge is that CPI-M armed squads had raided the place of rendezvous to pre-empt the rival’s strike. While both the main Opposition party and ultra-Leftists have denied links, insiders on both sides have admitted “tacit understanding at the ground level at that time to resist the tyranny of the social fascist CPI-M”. It is not clear whether the same will be repeated in this election.
But the arrests of some Maoist top guns and hundreds of its suspected supporters, besides a series of mutual killings have put chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on the Maoist hit list. With Marxist cadres threatening armed retaliation in view of the police failure to protect their leaders, the spectre of gory clashes between the CPI-M and Naxalites loom large in these districts.
Gopiballavpur and Debra in Midnapore West, once tribal-dominated strongholds of the Naxalite movement in undivided Midnapore in the early 1970s, are no more arid and violent.
“The green fields in the area are the result of government attention after the Naxalite movement,’’ said local CPI-M MLA, Bhabaniprasad Porial.
It seems that the present generation of Naxalites has once again catapulted impoverished blocks of Midnapore West, Bankura and Purulia on to the centrestage.
Highlighting the plight of tribals, mostly living below the poverty line without access to basic amenities while sustaining themselves by selling forest produces like babui grass, kendu leaves and as agricultural wage-labours, Maoists have exposed the underbelly of the present development paradigms of a globalised world, now being vigorously extolled by IT-fascinated, mall and multiplex-hopping Marxist visionaries of resurgent Bengal.
But ultra-Leftists have chosen to depend more on guns to contest with clan brothers rather than embarking on painstaking efforts to launch popular movements among the hapless marginals.
On the other hand, Mr Bhattacharjee has been insisting on delinking the old and new Naxalite movement in the state and described the present genre of Maoists as “exports from Andhra and Jharkhand”.
In a grudging admission of the underdevelopment of the tribal hinterland, however, he has pumped in emergency funds in these three districts, identified 4,600 most backward villages, including those in the three districts, to take up intensive poverty alleviation and basic amenities projects.
He has pulled up the Purulia district administration and zilla parishad leadership in public for having failed to visit 900 most poor villages in the district. But it seems a knee-jerk reaction to the Maoist challenge has failed to address the problem of alienation of a large section of present generation tribal and low caste youth who are at the receiving end of the corruption, nepotism and repressive rule of Marxist rural elites. Many of them are hand-in-glove with babudom, contractors and businessmen to siphon off funds meant for tribal and backward class welfare.
Police protection to these gentrified comrades alone will not stem the rot though polls can be won by turning schools and public buildings into police camps as had happened in the Naxalite belts of Bihar and Jharkhand. An honest introspection into the state of affairs is a political imperative to stop more bloodshed in the troubled zone.
The National Election Study 2004 was conducted by the Centre for the Study in Developing Societies, Delhi in collaboration with CSSS, Kolkata and other research groups.
This correspondent, a participant in the study, shows how the Leftists have reason to be worried about tribal votes in West Bengal.
“Nearly half the Adivasi voters were divided between the BJP and the Congress, while 41 per cent of them voted for the Left. According to the 2001 Census, Scheduled Tribes constitute just 5.5 per cent of the state’s population belonging numerically to a marginal position. One wonders if this group’s relative indifference to the Left parties is in effect a response to the Left’s lack of initiative in this area,’’ said the report on the state, later published in the EPW.
In comparison, fifty-seven per cent Dalit and 55 per cent OBC respondents voted for the Left Front during the Lok Sabha poll in 2004.
Academic field studies have suggested that a section of the ruling rural elite, many of whom are school teachers-cum-CPI-M and panchayat apparatchikis, have emerged as “informal money lenders”. This is one of the reasons for the party to restrict tickets to teachers as a bloc, in the last panchayat and Assembly elections.
“There are still many Amlasols in the state,’’ admitted the chief minister a few days ago, referring to tribal and Dalit villages in the Naxalite heartland of Midnapore West which hogged the headlines last year after reports of starvation deaths. The Marxist top guns and the state administration, however, harped on the official nomenclature of such deaths —“death due to malnutrition and diseases”.
The chief minister and CPI-M top guns like Anil Biswas and Left Front chairman Biman Bose have been harping on “unprecedented changes in tribal life under Left Front rule. “We have to convince tribals that planned development is key to the solution of their problems, not violent adventurism of the Naxalites,’’ said Bose.
He quoted documents to claim that tribals and Scheduled Castes are the largest beneficiaries of the land reforms programme as 5.14 lakh tribals received ceiling surplus land of a total of 26.66 lakh recipients. Operation Barga or recording of the rights of sharecroppers was also a boon for tribals as they constituted 12 per cent of the total 10.35 lakh beneficiaries.
Schools, hostels and other educational infrastructure have been multiplied and the tribal literacy rate has gone up to almost 30 per cent.
A reality check reveals that the situation is still gloomy at the ground level. According to a study published in 1997 in the bulletin of the Cultural Research Institute (an agency of the backward class and castes welfare department of the state government), forty-one per cent of tribal members of gram panchayats are landless “which is highest in comparison to other groups”. Thirty-nine per cent and 27 per cent of the tribal members of panchayat samiti and zilla parishads are landless. At least 90.88 per cent of tribal members live below the poverty line.
The tribal sub-plan of the state government also admitted that “a majority of the tribal families are below the poverty line.”
“Jobs are not available throughout the year. A major portion of the cultivated land is unirrigated/mono crop. Jobs for men, women and children are available during the rainy season but crises occur during lean periods. Crises paved the way for private money-lenders and led to the creation of middlemen for grabbing tribal land. This was the main cause of tribal land alienation and indebtedness,” it said.
Though policies of earlier Left Front governments had arrested the trend, increase in the cost of agricultural inputs and market-induced cultivation nowadays has renewed a process of centralisation of land-holding manifested in the increase in the number of agricultural labourers and dependence on money-lenders as revealed by the state finance department.
Lack of rainfall, irrigation and institutional credit hastened the process in tribal areas.
The state government claimed to have allotted six per cent of the total plan outlay for the tribal sub plan in the 9th Plan period. Multiple agencies have been floated to implement development projects meant for tribals, funded either fully or partially by the Centre. Though there was hardly any funds crunch, money was diverted to other accounts as revealed by several CAG reports.
The Paschimanchal Unnayan Parishad, the body meant for decentralised fund management and implementation of projects in the three districts, failed to utilise the fund in time. Despite much hype over the special food subsidy card for people living below the poverty line, corruption and nepotism charges against babus and ruling party leaders are rampant.
Most of the poor tribals are dependent on forest produces. Legally, monopoly of the right to collect minor forest produces such as kendu leaves and sal seeds have been given to the West Bengal Tribal Development Co-operative Corporation which collects those produces through members of the tribal co-operative societies or “Lamps”.
The Tribal Sub Plan report in the late 1990s revealed that the kendu business showed “good profit”. An average tribal collector earned Rs 20-23 a day during the season at Rs 5 for 1,000 leaves plus Rs 1 as “bonus”. Its selling price is Rs 16.25 a kg or more for grade one leaves. Even the all-party assembly committee asked for an increase in the collection price of kendu and rejuvenation of sick “Lamps” or tribal co-operatives. “The Lamps are in poor shape. Only 15-16 of a total 121 are running, though not satisfactorily,’’ said the committee in its second report in 2002.
Census studies in 2001 have shown that basic amenities such as safe drinking water, sanitation and electricity are yet to reach most tribal homes in the state. Scheduled Tribes constitute 5.63 per cent of the total population of West Bengal.
The second largest tribal concentration is recorded in undivided Midnapore — 18.11 per cent, Purulia 11.23 per cent and Bankura 7.61 per cent, according to the 1991 census.
While the overall use of latrine has increased from 30.51 per cent to 43.71 per cent during the decade of 1991-2001 in West Bengal, 97-98 per cent tribal household in Bankura and Purulia and 92-94 per cent in both parts of Midnapore reported “no latrine” at their homes. At least 73 to 95 per cent of the total rural households in these districts shared the same fate.
Similarly, electricity has reached only 19.03 per cent of tribal homes as against 37.45 per cent of the total state population. In all three districts, 93-96 per cent of tribal families are dependent on kerosene.
Non-tribals, however, are not quite the pampered lot as 79.19 per cent of the rural population still depends on kerosene in the self-proclaimed “power surplus” state.
In contrast, the census report recorded that 90 per cent people had “access to safe drinking water” in 2001. While 56.66 per cent people in the state avail of tubewells or handpumps within their household for drinking water, use of river and canal water for drinking came down to zero per cent.
By that standard, these districts are still backward as 4.47 per cent of the people of Purulia fetch drinking water from rivers and canals. Many villages in jungles are still inaccessible and health centres far off.
The number of educated youths are increasing among tribals, so is the demand for jobs. Even Amartya Sen’s Pratichi Trust found painful instances of “untouchability” in government-aided rural schools against SC/ST students.
Though seats are reserved from primary schools to medical colleges and government jobs, including teaching posts in schools and colleges for tribals, many of the seats have been “dereserved” by the state government on the ground of absence of qualified candidates among them.
The all-party assembly committee resented the practice in its two reports in 2002 and demanded that special efforts have to be made to ensure education and jobs for the weaker sections.
Clearly, all is not well in the tribal hinterland of Red Bengal.

(The author is The Statesman’s Special Representative, Kolkata.)

Killing Of CPI(M) Leader Condemned by Polit Bureau

Killing Of CPI(M) Leader Condemned

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) issued the following statement on December 31, 2005.

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

THE Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) strongly condemns the killing of Com Rabi Kar and his wife Anandamayi Kar by a gang of Maoist naxalites in Bandwan, Purulia district. Rabi Kar was a member of the district secretariat of the CPI(M) and former zilla Sabbhadhipati (Chairman, Zilla Parishad). The naxalites murdered him and his wife in their house on the night of 30th December. The naxalitie squads have been targetting CPI(M) cadres in certain areas of West Midnapur, Purulia and Bankura. The CPI(M) will resolutely combat the terrorist violence of these gangs which have no mass support amongst the people.

The Polit Bureau pays homage to the memory of Rabi Kar and his wife and conveys its heartfelt sympathy to all their family members.

Jehanabad jail break: HC seeks report from Centre, Bihar govt

Patna, Jan 9 (PTI) The Patna High Court today directed the Centre and the Bihar government to submit detailed reports by January 30 on the naxalite attack on Jehanabad jail on November 13 and action initiated after the incident.
A division Bench comprising Chief Justice J N Bhatt and Justice R N Prasad sought reports from the two governments on the 'operation jailbreak' by CPI (Maoist) activists on November 13 night at Jehanabad in which nine persons were killed and over 380 inmates escaped.

The order came on a PIL by an NGO 'Peoples Watch' which claimed that the administration's failed to prevent the incident despite prior intelligence inputs and sought the court's directive for fool-proof security in jails to avoid recurrence of such incidents.

The Bench specifically sought to know from the union government about the timing of intelligence inputs provided to the state government about naxalites' movement in Jehanabad on the fateful day.

From the state government, the court sought a report on action taken after the incident such as how many escapees returned to the prison and how many still remained at large, besides steps to strengthen the jail security.

The escapees included many CPI (Maoist) activists and those belonging to outlawed Ranvir Sena, a private militia of upper caste landlords.

In response to the district administration's appeal, many inmates had returned to the jail on their own, some surrendered in courts and a few others were arrested. But nearly 120 of them, including the mastermind of the operation and self-styled zonal commander of the outfit Ajay Kanu, remained at large. PTI

Jehanabad jail break: HC seeks report from Centre, Bihar govt

Patna, Jan 9 (PTI) The Patna High Court today directed the Centre and the Bihar government to submit detailed reports by January 30 on the naxalite attack on Jehanabad jail on November 13 and action initiated after the incident.
A division Bench comprising Chief Justice J N Bhatt and Justice R N Prasad sought reports from the two governments on the 'operation jailbreak' by CPI (Maoist) activists on November 13 night at Jehanabad in which nine persons were killed and over 380 inmates escaped.

The order came on a PIL by an NGO 'Peoples Watch' which claimed that the administration's failed to prevent the incident despite prior intelligence inputs and sought the court's directive for fool-proof security in jails to avoid recurrence of such incidents.

The Bench specifically sought to know from the union government about the timing of intelligence inputs provided to the state government about naxalites' movement in Jehanabad on the fateful day.

From the state government, the court sought a report on action taken after the incident such as how many escapees returned to the prison and how many still remained at large, besides steps to strengthen the jail security.

The escapees included many CPI (Maoist) activists and those belonging to outlawed Ranvir Sena, a private militia of upper caste landlords.

In response to the district administration's appeal, many inmates had returned to the jail on their own, some surrendered in courts and a few others were arrested. But nearly 120 of them, including the mastermind of the operation and self-styled zonal commander of the outfit Ajay Kanu, remained at large. PTI

ABVP demands dismissal of Home Minister

Monday January 9 2006 10:21 IST

RAJAHMUNDRY: The two-day State-level convention of Akhila Bharatiya Vidyardhi Parishad (ABVP) has passed resolutions on the prevailing conditions in the State and the education system.

The ABVP demanded that the Government sack the Home Minister who released the hardcore terrorists. It also demanded that terrorist and Naxal camps be destroyed to assure a peaceful life to the people by protecting their rights.

Another demand was to streamline the administration in the jails, including a judicial inquiry on the misuse of funds given in the name of mobilisation advances in connection with the irrigation projects.

The ABVP demanded that the Government fill the vacant lecturer posts and provide financial assistance for setting up self-employment units.

The two-day meeting demanded the introduction of a four-year degree course, a degree college in each Assembly constituency, enhancement of scholarship amounts, reimbursement of SC, ST students’ fees, establishment of new ITIs and participation of student leaders in the university senates.

Irrigation facilities for Naxal hit areas in Bihar

Patna | January 09, 2006 10:37:44 AM IST

Bihar Water Resources minister Ramashrya Prasad Singh has said that the Rs 200 crore Punpun barrage irrigation project at Hamidnagar under Goh block in Aurangabad district would provide irrigation facilities in one of the worst extremist hit area of the state.
Mr Singh expressed hope that the irrigation facilities would bring prosperity in the ingurgency hit areas and thus, help in tackling the menace of Naxalism through development.

Assuring all that the Punpun barrage project would be completed by December next year, he announced here eysterday that about 18000 hectares of land would be covered by the irrigation project.

The minister stressed that the state government would not compromise on the quality of work while executing different irrigation projects within stipulated time frames.

The government would accord priority to the completion of Uttar Koel canal, Durgawati, Laukahi-Mehmooda and Mokama Tal projects, he added.

Mr Singh said the Punpun project would not only cater to the irrigational needs of the area, the canals could also be used for ferry service.

He declared that proper compensation would be paid for the land acquired by the state government for irrigation projects and that problems of those displaced during the completion of the projects would be tackled with sympathy.


Sunday, January 08, 2006

CM tips to tackle Naxalite violence


Ranchi, Jan. 7: Chief minister Arjun Munda today told home secretary J.B. Tubid to keep a record of the victims of the Naxalite violence in Jharkhand to enable the state government to provide them and their kin adequate relief material.

The chief minister, who reviewed today the progress of different departments including home, prisons and road construction, said the Naxalite-affected areas not only suffer human losses, but also become weaker economically.

“The areas that withstand Naxalite violence become disturbed. To tackle rebels’ operations, especially blasts, the home department should buy anti-landmines devices after forming a high-level committee. Since anti-landmines vehicles are available in South Africa, the home department should send a team there to observe and think of buying the vehicles,” he said.

Informing Munda about the modernisation of the police forces in the state, Tubid said that the JharNet has linked Ranchi and Jamshedpur police. The police establishments between the two cities have gone online and work on the rest of the cities would be taken up later, the home secretary said.

All the prisons in the state would be connected by different network of the wireless set, the secretary informed the chief minister and added that in order to ensure the security of the prisons in different districts, separate battalions will be created.

He also told the chief minister that the issue of solar fending of the police stations raised in the last review meeting was underway and soon tenders would be floated.

The chief minister also suggested that the department should float a website, Justice for All, which should address the complainants of common people quickly.

Munda also directed the officials of home department to create a separate wing, which will take care of the guest VVIPs from outside the state.