Saturday, January 28, 2006

Maoists loot Rs.500,000 bank money in Chhattisgarh

Raipur: Armed Maoists looted Rs.500,000 bank money from a car in Chhattisgarh, and police said Saturday the money could be used by the rebels for terror activities.

More than 10 armed rebels stopped the vehicle, a Tata Sumo, in an isolated area in Dantewada district, 420 km south of here, Friday afternoon and looted the money belonging to the State Bank of India's Aawapalli branch. They assaulted branch manager G.K. Panda and a bank guard who put up a resistance.

"We have been compiling details about the incident and about Maoist locations. I fear the money may be used for terror activities," a senior police official at the Raipur-based police headquarters said Saturday.

Police are expecting some breakthrough in the case.

Police Nabs Two Hardcore Extremists from Gaya and Rohtas

Patna: January 28, 2006

The police in Gaya, on Friday, arrested a notorious criminal and a Maoist area commander Vikas Yadav who is considered to be the mastermind behind blowing up of the railway tracks on the Grand Chord section between Paraiya and Guraru railway stations on January 25 with the intention to disrupt Republic Day celebrations in Bihar.

Amit Jain, the Gaya Superintendent of Police (SP), said the police, acting on a tip-off, raided the hideout of Yadav where he was arrested along with two of his comrades-in-arm.

The police also siezed a number of firearms, including guns and crude bombs, and Naxalite literature from the house.

In another incident, the police in Rohtas district, on late Friday night, arrested another dreaded Naxal leader Sanjay Paswan from Nimhat village under Nauhatta police station.

Paswan is the key accused in the January 2001 massacre of eight policemen that took place at Gogadih village in Kaimur district

Jharkhand cops step up anti-Naxal efforts

Saturday, January 28, 2006 (Ranchi):

Jharkhand police have already spent 90 per cent of the Rs 36 crore allocated this fiscal on the modernisation of the force.

It has stepped up its infrastructure and equipment stock to combat Naxalite extremism in the state.

"The department has already started replacing 303 rifles with Insas and has placed orders for bullet-proof jackets and vehicles and other security related items," said Niaz Ahmed, Additional Director General of Police.

Since the creation of Jharkhand five years ago, over 200 policemen have been killed in Naxalite attacks and government properties worth crores destroyed by the ultras.

Sixteen of the 22 districts in the state are witness to periodic extremist violence.

A total of 20 new police stations and 10 task force teams were coming up in Naxal-infested areas.

As part of modernisation, there were also plans to make the task forces independent by providing them with vehicles and other necessity items. (PTI)

Naxal leader surrenders

Saturday January 28 2006 10:42 IST

VISAKHAPATNAM: G Nookaraju alias Rajesh (25), deputy commander of Gurtedu dalam of the CPI (Maoist), surrendered before additional SP and Narsipatnam OSD Vineet Brijlal on Friday.

Nookaraju, native of Chaparatipalem village of GK Veedhi mandal, joined the extremist movement in 2005. Later, he became deputy commander of the dalam.

His wife Satyavati, who was also a Maoist, died last year in a police encounter at Nallabilli forest area.

Nookaraju is an expert in handling .303 pistol and grenades. He was involved in Puttakota encounter and attacks on Sileru and Koyyuru police stations. He returned to the mainstream due to ill health.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Naxals challenge Republic

- By Pramod Kumar, Kumar Uttam and Akshaya Kumar Sahoo with agency inputs

New Delhi/Patna/Bhubanes-war/ Raipur, Jan. 26: Republic Day was marred by organised Naxalite violence that hit Bihar and Jharkhand with some severity, and remained limited to lighter attacks in Maharashtra and Orissa.

Intelligence information available to the government had indicated a resurgence of Naxalite violence in some parts of the country, but the ill-equipped security forces were unable to ensure a violence-free January 26.

Trains were brought to a standstill in Bihar. Over 50 heavily armed Naxalites used dynamite to blow up the railway track in Gaya district, disrupting the main railway line between Howrah (Kolkata) and New Delhi. Maoists also blew up railway tracks near Ranchi and Bokaro in Jharkhand and engaged security forces in a fierce gunbattle at some places in that state. In Nagpur, Naxalites set on fire the furniture of a public works department resthouse at Deovardha village, in Gadchiroli district, early on Thursday morning, the police said. After setting ablaze the furniture, the extremists unfurled black flags in protest against the Republic Day celebrations. Naxals also unfurled black flags at Puronile and Anabkondi gram panchayats, both in Kurkheda taluk of the district.

The violence suggests close planning and coordination between Naxalite groups operating in different parts of the country. Republic Day, sources said, was targeted to make an anti-government statement with specific states and areas being selected in what was a clear assertion of the growing strength of Naxalite groups.

Bihar: Station set on fire

Patna: The CPI (Maoist) carried out major strikes on police and railway establishments in Bihar and Jharkhand early on Thursday morning, bringing the movement of dozens of trains to a halt.

Besides blowing up railway tracks and bridges, and setting a railway station building on fire, Maoists also looted arms and ammunition. A bridge on the national highway connecting (Hazaribagh) in Jharkhand to Patna was blown up. The banned outfit had issued a nationwide bandh call to protest the imprisonment of its cadres.

The first incident was reported from Gaya district in Bihar where both up and down railway lines near Paraiya railway station were blown up. This disrupted the movement of trains on the Gaya-Mughal Sarai line as several trains, including the Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express and Neelanchal Express, were stranded at Gaya and other railway stations for over 10 hours. The movement of four Rajdhani Express trains was disrupted.

A major incident was averted when the railway police recovered bombs placed under the railway track between Dev (Aurangabad) and Bakhri (Begusarai) railway stations in Bihar. Another bomb placed under the track near Barauni railway station was also defused. But some Naxalites damaged the tracks at Deo Halt in Aurangabad after holding the station master and railway staff at gunpoint. The building of Jamuawa railway station on the Gaya-Kiul section was also set on fire. They Maoists also looted cash from the station.

In another incident, a CPI (Maoist) squad attacked Khesar police post in Banka district of Bihar and took away five rifles and a carbine. Banka SP D.N. Gupta said a constable was injured in the exchange of fire. Naxalites also ran riot in Jharkhand, attacking Hariharganj police station on the Aurangabad-Palamau border. They also tried to attack the house of a DSP in Palamau. Railway tracks were also damaged near Ranchi, Bokaro and Dhanbad districts. Bihar inspector-general of police (railways) A.S. Nimbran claimed train services had resumed.

Orissa: Maoists block roads, burn truck

Bhubaneswar: Suspected Maoist activists burnt an iron ore-laden truck and set up road blocks in some places in western and southern Orissa. Reports from Sambalpur said a band of 15 armed Naxalites blocked a bridge from both ends near Rengali Badmal, about 25 from the district headquarters, early on Thursday morning.

The blockade affected traffic on National Highway 42, which links Cuttack with Sambalpur. Hundreds of vehicles, including buses and trucks, were stranded on both sides, the Sambalpur police said. Eyewitnesses reported a band of armed militants, including four women, all of them clad in black and green fatigues, burning automobile tyres at the two ends of the bridge and tying ropes across the bridge to prevent movement across it. Some of them deflated the tyres of vehicles and told passengers not to use their mobiles to inform the police.

After disrupting traffic for about an hour, the militants disappeared into the nearby Jarang forest as a team of "Greyhound" personnel arrived. The police said traffic on the route had been restored. Reports from Sundergarh said armed rebels intercepted a 10-wheel truck laden with iron ore between Jamadih and Toda, close to K. Balang police station in the district, and burnt it early on Thursday morning. The Maoists also blockaded roads at some places in south Orissa’s Malkanagiri district. The militants’ call for a nationwide bandh drew little response in the state on Thursday, claimed a senior home department official.

Chhattisgarh: Girl killed as Naxals open fire, burn vehicles

Raipur: A girl was killed in firing by Naxals, who burned around 15 vehicles in an attempt to enforce a bandh in Sarguja region of Chhattisgarh, according to the police, PTI reports. The militants had called for a nationwide bandh to protest the killing of tribals in police firing in Kalinga Nagar in Orissa and allegedly also in Bastar region, and had made futile attempts to disrupt road and rail traffic in the state, police said. However, in Sarguja, they stopped some vehicles and set them on fire. "About 15 vehicles were set on fire in Ghat Pindari area of Sarguja region," the police said. When one jeep refused to stop, the Maoists opened fire, injuring a five-year old girl who died at Wadrafnagar on the way to the hospital, the police added.

Maoists and police forces were also locked in an encounter in Ghat Pindari area and Sarguja inspector-general of police Amarnath Upadhyaya and other senior police officials have rushed to the spot with additional forces, they added. Earlier, to derail the Visakhapatnam-Kirandul passenger train, Naxalites had allegedly put some sleepers on the railway track between Bacheli and Bhanti, the police said.

Naxalites also fired at four trucks on the Ambikapur-Vanarasi highway on Thursday, bursting their tyres, Mr Upadhyaya said. A police party rushed to the spot and the trucks continued on to their destinations after their tyres were changed, Mr Upadhyaya told PTI.

According to sources, Naxalities have managed to strengthen their bases in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Andhra Prdesh, Orissa and Maharashtra. Besides, they have spread their base in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal.

Talking to this newspaper in New Delhi, a high ranking official of the Union home ministry said, "There are confirmed reports that Naxalities have strengthened their base in Jharkhand. They are collecting taxes in the state also. The state police must take the matter seriously." The official added: "Naxal outfits are spreading into new areas. Certain areas of Uttaranchal, north Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh are the latest breeding grounds for the Naxal movement. There are also reports that Indian Naxals are in close contact with the Maoists in Nepal." The official said all three states have been informed.

Naxals are now very active in certain districts of north Bihar, including East Champaran, West Champaran, Madhubani, Sitamarhi and Seohar, said the official, adding that Naxal outfits are trying to set up bases in Mirzapur, Chandauli, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Balia and Deoria districts of Uttar Pradesh. Naxalite cadres are reported to be holding "jan adalats" to dispense quick and crude justice and redress local grievances. There are reports that Naxals are getting weapons from unlicensed weapons factories in Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Bihar. According to sources, in certain areas of north Bihar, Naxals have opened their own weapons factories.

Talking to this newspaper, Central Reserve Police Force director-general J.K. Sinha said, "It’s a matter of serious concern that Naxals are spreading their base in several new areas of the country. State governments must take the matter seriously."

Meanwhile, the Centre has constituted an elite anti-Naxal force on the pattern of Andhra Pradesh’s "Greyhounds". The CRPF has trained 11 battalions of an anti-Naxal force that will be deployed in each Naxal-affected state. Commandos of this force are being trained at Silchar training camp.

One killed, another injured in naxalite attack

Ambikapur Chhattisgarh | January 26, 2006 7:39:31 PM IST

CPI(Maoists) naxalites today killed a man, injured another and set afire 19 vehicles, including about 12 trucks, in Sarguja district, the police said.
Naxalites opened fire on a jeep at Pendarighat, about 65 km from here, killing a resident of Budataal village and injuring another.

Besides, they set afire several trucks and other vehicles involved in road construction work in Pendarighat and Ramanuganj areas.

Sources said there were reports of an encounter between the police and the extremists. However, details are awaited and senior police officers have rushed to the spot.


Minister of State for Home Affairs ,Jaiswal condemns Naxal attacks in Bihar, Jharkhand

By Mahender Mishra, Kanpur: The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Sriprakash Jaiswal, on Thursday condemned Naxal attacks on railway installations in Bihar and Jharkhand yesterday, saying the incidents were unfortunate.

“It is now the responsibility of the State governments to investigate the whole matter. It is too early to comment as to who is responsible for the incident...the officials, security system etc...this would only be clear after the investigation. After investigating the matter, State governments should punish the accused,” said Jaiswal.

Jaiswal said that it was the job of the State government to make necessary arrangements to avert such situations, adding that Centre provide them with all the weapons for maintaining law and order.

“Home ministry would definitely ask for the state governments' report. After studying the reports, we will take the steps accordingly,” he added.

CPI (Maoist) blew up rail tracks and bridges by using dynamite near Azad Bigaha village between Guraru and Paraiya railway stations in Bihar's Gaya district on Wednesday night.

Train services on the Gaya-Mughalsarai grand chord section and Katihar Barauni section of the East Central Railway have been paralysed since then.

Important trains including Ranchi-Rajdhani Express, Howrah-Sealdah Express and Palamu Express were stranded at the Gaya station.

A bomb had also been planted at Dev Road station in Aurangabad district besides Bakhri station in Begusarai district. At least 40 Maoist, carrying heavy equipments confined the railway workers at Deo road station and fixed bombs on the track.

Earlier, Naxalites blew up rail tracks between Dania and Jageshar-Bigah in the Gomio-Barkakana section of the Dhanabad division of East Central Railway in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand.

Sources said the ultras also attacked the Bakhri station between Katihar and Barauni and had kidnapped the station master. Later, they released the station master and fled from the spot.

Maoist rebels are active in about 16 districts of Jharkhand. Nearly 550 people including 230 policemen have been killed in Maoist-related violence in the past five years.

NAXALITES launch series of attacks across Jharkhand

Ranchi | January 26, 2006 1:40:41 PM IST

Maoist ultras launched a series of attacks across Jharkhand since late last night despite a high alert in the state on the eve of 57th Republic Day.
The ultras, who called a 'Bharat Bandh' on the Republic Day today, killed a railway protection force jawan and injured three others, police said.

Railway services were disrupted after a series of explosions on the tracks at several places, including a bridge on National Highway-33 late last night.

Police said the Maoists also attacked a police station and the residence of Palamu Disrict Deputy Suprintendent of Police.

Meanwhile, Dhanbad police has arrested 15 suspected women ultras near Gomo Railway station this morning.

Inspector General of Police (Operations) V C Verma told UNI here today that the ultras attacked the Hariharganj police station and the house of a Dy SP in Palamu district. After retaliation from police the ultras fled, however, a policeman was injured in the gunbattle.

According to state police control room, a RPF jawan was killed and two others were seriously injured in an encounter with the ultras in Pusaita between Chakradharpur and Goilkera in West Singhbhoom district.

The extremists had damaged rail tracks with landmine blasts near Kita railway halt in Ranchi district, near Rai station in Latehar, near Jageshwar Vihar in Bokaro, in Hatinghode in Gumla district and between Harubeda and Gola in Hazaribagh district.

They also blasted a road bridge on the national highway-33 between Hazaribagh and Patna, police said. Rail services has been badly affected due to blasts and several long distance trains were stranded at different stations while some others were diverted.

There are unconfirmed reports of some more encounters and blasts without any casualty. The ultras have also stopped the Republic Day celebration in some of the interior naxal-affected areas.

Eighteen of the state's 22 districts are naxal-affected and ultras had carried out many deadly acts of violence in the past.


Nitish Kumar condemns naxal attack

Patna | January 26, 2006 1:40:28 PM IST

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today condemned the naxal attack on railway installations in the state last night.
After attending the Republic Day function at Gandhi Maidan here, Mr Kumar told newspersons the Railways always remained a 'soft' target of extremists, adding security could not be provided to every inch of the 67,000 km railway track.

Exhorting the ultras to join ''politics'', Mr Kumar contended that 'power could never flow from the barrel of a gun.' Parliamentary democracy has its own virtues and instances were a galore when people with the most humble background occupied top constitutional posts, he added.

''How could one occupy the seat of power by causing harm to the national property'', he said.

Meanwhile, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad condemned the naxal attack on railway installations and said major damage to the railway property was averted by an alert administration.

He said protection of railway property was a collective responsiblity of the railway administration, state government and common people and pointed out that only isolated places were targetted by naxalites last night.


Train services disrupt in naxalite attack

Jamshedpur: Train services in the Chakradharpur division of South Eastern Railways were crippled today as the extremists snapped overhead wires in between Chakradharpur and Rourkela last night.

The CPI(Maoist)ultras gave the 'Bharat Bandh' call today on Republic Day and targeted the railways in Bihar and Jharkhand.

Railway sources here said almost all long distance trains including Howrah-Pune Azad Hind Express, Howrah-Ahmedabad express, Puri-New Delhi Utkal Express were stranded in Tatanagar railway station.

Howrah-Mumbai Kurla Express had been detained in Chakradharpur station, the sources added.

However, Tata-Howrah Steel Express left Tatanagar station in its usual time in the morning as the trains serives remained unaffected towards Kharagpur division, the sources said and added that train services would resume soon as the overhead wires were being repaired.

Meanwhile, security arrangements on the railway tracks,natioinal highways and other naxal-infested areas were tightned in view of the bandh.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

CRPF chief claims force ‘overused’


Jan. 24: The director-general of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Jyoti Kumar Sinha, today lashed out at the state police accusing it of a lack of proper planning and co-ordination.

Sinha was concerned over central forces being “overused” by different state governments.

He said that it was time that the states, especially those infested by Naxalites, should stop pestering the Centre for increasing the CRPF battalions and try to use its own funds in order to raise their respective special force battalions.

The director-general has also asked the state government to ensure that during recruitment it should ensure that 60 per cent of its candidates should come in from Naxalite hit districts.

Sinha, who was in the capital to attend a CRPF function today, said that he had forwarded a suggestion to the Centre that each state should mark out one or two companies that would act as a “Striking Force” like the ‘Grey Hounds’ of Andhra Pradesh.

Speaking at the function, Sinha blamed the state police and the state government for the Jehanabad (Bihar) jailbreak and killing of CRPF personnel at Chatra (Jharkhand) by Naxalites late last year.

“It is because of improper use of the para-military force at the disposal of both the governments that such incidents took place,” he said.

The striking reserve should be used to launch massive operations once in a month but for a maximum of 15 days, and then sent back to the camp for refresher training,” added Sinha.

He admitted that there is a lack of intelligence sharing between the state governments and the CRPF.

This led the CRPF to ask the Union government for permission to raise its own intelligence unit.

The Union government has agreed to set-up the CRPF’s intelligence unit by March.

Officers and jawans in the CRPF intelligence unit will be drawn from the existing battalions.

Though Sinha evaded the question as to whether the state governments were using the services of the CRPF in a proper way, he stated that there was always a much better way to use them.

Naxals damage equipments at BSNL office in Gadchiroli

Nagpur | January 25, 2006 1:43:37 AM IST

A Naxalite group burnt down the mobile relay unit section of Bharat Sanchar Nigam limited (BSNL) at Korchi in Gadchiroli district, police said today.

Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police Shirish Jain told UNI over the phone that some Naxals arrived in the Korchi village last night and forced into the BSNL unit office after overpowering the operator there.

They set ablaze the mobile relay unit, cable unit, stabilizers and other electronic equipments, Mr Jain said.

The group fled the scene without harming the operator, who lodged a complaint with the police, he added.

In another incident, about fifteen Naxalites attacked a police check-post at Bonde village in Gondia district on Sunday. They fled as the police opened fire in retaliation and No casualties were reported in this incident.

Before attacking the police check-post, the naxals had set afire to a country liquor shop at Kakodi under the Chichgarh Police Station.


Iron in the soul: Kalinganagar tribals not against development

The other day 12 tribals were killed in a police firing in Orissa. Their crime: protesting against the acquisition of their land for an industrial park. The state says that it had 'acquired' some 4856 ha of land some years ago and paid handsome 'compensation' to people who held land rights. But for the state government this protest is about the anti-development lobby in the state -ideologues at best and agents of foreign governments or its competitors in industry. Or it is simply about more violence from Naxalite tribals, who want to terrorise the state, without reason.

The state is working feverishly on the fact that it sits on huge reserves of minerals - 25 per cent of the country's iron-ore; 60 per cent of its bauxite and 90 per cent of chromite reserves to name just a few. In 1994, the country amended its mining legislation to allow private and foreign investment to explore and exploit 13 minerals, including iron ore and in 1997 added bauxite to the list. Since then, things have not been the same. Investors - Indian and foreign - are beating down the doors of the poor state's poor government to be allowed land for industry and for mining raw material. The state sees itself on a roll.

This is not to say that it has not seen earlier skirmishes. In Kashipur, the bauxite mining project of Utkal Alumina International - a joint venture of the Canada- based ALCAN with the Aditya Birla group of India, ran into a decade-long struggle. The million tonne a year refinery and its mines in biodiversity rich forests of the Sterlite group faces protests. As was the Jindal group's steel plant and its acquisition of land for its mining. The list goes on. And will do on.

The problem is that there has been virtually no learning from any of these protests. The truth is that the state is sitting on a real tinderbox. Nearing half the state's area is classified as schedule V area-inhabited by tribals.

This same land is also forest and enormously rich in biodiversity. The tribals who live on this land, practise subsistence agriculture, are poor and do not in many cases have recorded rights over the land they work.

This is part of the history we have inherited. Lands occupied by tribals, worked by them for shifting agriculture was taken over by the state and designated as forests. It is for reason that these lands are even more contested. When the state looks at compensation, it can only understand the private landholdings, which is a minuscule part of the land-use system of the region. These forested lands, inhabited by poor people, are also the watersheds of central India. These lands, only then incidentally happen to be mining reserves of the country.

Conflict is then inherent in the situation as there are competing needs and competing values for the same land. But the government remains mute and dismissive. In its mental poverty, it argues that anything it does to recognise the concern, will stymie its plans to develop feverishly. Its investment will move to other countries, even to other states of India - Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

In this situation, the government becomes not the protector of public interest it becomes the indecent middleman of industry.

It will ensure cheap land, which it will acquire at throwaway prices and using less than fair means. It will make preferential allocation, without payment, for its raw materials -minerals, forests and water. Orissa has reserved 18 rivers and reservoirs for exclusive use by industry.

This is a real problem. People live on these lands. The industry, which uses these lands, will not bring local benefits. The industry extracts local resources; displaces local people; overuses their water and destroys the country's forests and because it is modern and mechanised, it does not even provide local employment. For the inhabitants of these lands, there are no benefits.

For answers, one needs to go beyond the impasse - between the opponents of mining and the proponents of mining at all costs. We must understand that while we have liberalised the mining regime we have not reformed mining policy.

For instance, we have no policy about how much we should mine; where and whether we should allow exports of our primary products. We have no policy about how the cost of raw material should be ascertained in the market place. Currently, the royalty paid by mining companies is a pittance. In cement, we know that the cost of limestone - its basic raw material is only 4 per cent of its turnover. In steel or alumina the situation is the same.

Another question: how best to share this royalty, cess or price. Fact is that poor people live on the richest lands of the country. If it is their land, it is also their resource, which they will share with the nation, under certain conditions.

Policy for mining is then not about minerals, but about people, lands, forests and water. Let us be clear, the tribals of Kalinganagar are not against development. They are only against development on the cheap, at their cost.

-The writer is Director, Centre for Science and Environment

2005: A Year of Maoist Resurgence

2005: A Year of Maoist Resurgence
by Gary Leupp
January 24, 2006

The year 2005 was a good one for the Maoist movement, the most vigorous trend within what remains of the communist movement that transformed the globe in the twentieth century. Four episodes in the four countries most affected by Maoist organizations should suffice to establish that Marxism-Leninism its Maoist form not only remains a factor in global affairs, but also is rapidly gaining in strength and significance.

(1) In Nepal, in a single 11-hour battle on August 7 against the Royal Nepali Army (RNA), guerrillas of the People’s Liberation Army, the military wing of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), killed 159 soldiers at a road construction site at Kalikot, capturing about 50 prisoners. This stunning feat followed battles with security forces resulting in 12 security forces killed on Jan. 1, 23 on Jan. 19, 14 on June 7, and 19 on June 25. Increasingly the PLA deploys hundreds of troops in confronting the police or even the RNA. Attacks on police stations, often the only bastions of state authority in the criminally neglected countryside, on banks and land offices, produce a power vacuum readily filled by the Maoists and newly recruited local cadre attracted to the party’s concrete measures to end arranged marriages, wife-beating, class and gender inequities in education, debt slavery and other “feudal” practices, caste discrimination and unchecked crime.

The CPM (Maoist) controls about 80% of the country, and makes inroads into the Katmandu Valley where one-tenth of the Nepali population lives. The Feb. 1 assumption of absolute power by the unpopular king alienated the residents of the capital, who have relentlessly defied the law to demonstrate support for democracy and, increasingly, for the republic long demanded by the Maoists. Soon after their Kalikot triumph, the Maoists announced a unilateral cease-fire, which the regime did not match and indeed dismissed as a ploy. But it was popular with the mainstream opposition, and in November the “seven agitating parties” (the legal, parliamentary parties represented in the last legislature) signed a pact with the Maoists to coordinate actions against the absolutist monarchy.

CPN (Maoist) leader Prachanda declared over a year ago that the People’s War in Nepal had reached the stage of “strategic offensive” and implied that from now on, the guerrilla struggle surrounding the cities will work in tandem with an urban insurrection to bring about first a “new democracy” and later a socialist state. This is not at all a fanciful scenario, however horrifying it may seem to the rulers of India, facing their own Naxalite challenge; the rulers of China, facing social turmoil and uncomfortable with the revolutionary egalitarian legacy of the Mao they have long since repudiated; and to the rulers of the U.S. who fervently wish to believe that “communism is dead.”

(2) It was a good year for the Maoists of India too. Their most sensational achievement of 2005 was the attack by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) on the prison in Jehanabad in Bihar, 50 kilometers from the state capital of Patna, on the evening of November 12. Biking around the town around 8:30, the Maoists announced “a militant action of revolutionary character” and warned people to remain indoors. Immediately cutting power lines, they continued to make announcements through a public address system for the next two and a half hours, as they attacked police lines, the offices of the district administration, and the jail simultaneously. Using conventional rather than guerrilla military tactics, they overwhelmed the police, who simply surrendered. While freeing 341 inmates from the prison, including senior local Maoist leader Ajay Kanu, they took the opportunity to assassinate at least two leaders of an upper-caste militia. The CPI (Maoist) lost only two fighters. “It was perhaps the most audacious operation ever launched by Maoists in India,” observed one horrified journalist.

In September 2004, two large Maoist parties merged to form the CPI (Maoist) and to coordinate actions throughout West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra states. Meanwhile, as a member of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) and the Coordinating Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations of South Asia (CCMPOSA) the CPI (Maoist) has developed ties with other like-minded parties, including the CPN (Maoist). On September 2, the Nepali party chairman, Prachanda, and the General Secretary of the Indian party, Ganapathy, issued a joint statement confirming the long Red Corridor of armed struggle stretching from the Base Areas in Nepal up to the guerrilla zones of Andhra Pradesh. This is sometimes called the “Compact Revolutionary Zone” and its establishment terrifies the Indian status quo.

As of October 2005, the Indian Home Ministry estimated that the Maoists had “9,300 hardcore underground cadre and they hold around 6,500 regular weapons besides a large number of unlicensed country-made arms.” It declared that the sphere of influence of the “Naxalites” (Maoists) had rapidly spread during the previous 18 months from 76 districts across nine states to 118 districts in 12 states. “[T]he battle between naxalites and the state apparatus,” predicted a Frontline journalist, “will acquire more intense proportions in the days to come.”

(3) Meanwhile in the Philippines, a Maoist insurgency dating back to 1969 has revived significantly in recent years. On November 20, the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, killed at least nine soldiers and wounded 20 in an ambush near Canilog town on Mindoro island. In a separate attack several hours later, one policeman was killed and three wounded in Quezon province. This was the heaviest daily battle toll since June 26, 2003, when the NPA killed 16 soldiers. But between March 27 and May 15, the NPA responded to an Armed Forces of the Philippines offensive in Surigao Del Sur, designed to clear the way for logging and mining, by killing over 60 AFP troops. In 116 tactical offensives from Sept. 13 to Nov. 23, including ambushes, raids, “sparrow operations” (quick attacks in population centers), and sniping incidents, the NPA killed 128 government troops and acquired 54 high-powered firearms.

According to Pacific Strategies and Assessments, a security consultancy, NPA attacks averaged fewer than 30 per month through June, but the figure rose from July, reaching 50 or more in November and December. The Manila government acknowledged 458 soldiers killed in clashes with Maoists in 2005. The Maoist guerrillas number around 10,000 at this point, and are active throughout the archipelago. On March 29 (the NPA’s 36th anniversary), the organization reported, “The NPA has significantly increased the number of its full-time Red fighters and its automatic rifles and other high-powered weapons. It has organized and trained the people’s militia for police work or internal security in the localities and the self-defense in the mass organizations. It is now operating in more than 130 guerrilla fronts covering significant portions of nearly 70 provinces, in around 800 municipalities and more than 9,000 barrios.” With an array of legal aligned organizations, and even supporters in the Congress, the Filipino Maoists are well-positioned to take advantage of the political crisis enveloping the Macapagal-Arroyo administration and the nationalist backlash occasioned by the deployment of U.S. troops in the country after 9-11.

(4) Finally, the Maoists of Peru. It was really the Communist Party of Peru (popularly known as Sendero Luminoso or the Shining Path) led by Dr. Abimael Guzman (President Gonzalo) that insisted, from the 1970s, the “Mao Zedong Thought” inspiring many communists and leftwing radicals throughout the world was not merely a body of ideas applicable to the Chinese experience but a third stage of Marxist thought (after Leninism) of universal relevance. They took the term “Maoism” -- hitherto largely a derogative _expression used by Soviet critics of China -- and used it to connote the Marxism appropriate to the era of capitalist restoration. Mao had emphasized that even under socialism, class struggle continues and can result in great leaps backwards as well as forwards. With this point in mind, some pro-China Marxists were able to assess and reject the restoration of capitalism in China under Deng Xiaoping, face the reality of a new period without any socialist country to serve as revolutionary headquarters, and struggle to re-establish socialism based on accumulated positive and negative historical experience. The Revolutionary Communist Party (USA) played an important role in upholding Mao’s legacy, although it lagged behind the Peruvian party in concluding that Maoism represents a third stage in the history of Marxism.

As communism was in most quarters pronounced dead, the Maoist movement in Peru spread like a prairie fire, acquiring control over maybe one-third of the country when Guzman and other members of the Central Committee were captured in September 1992. This event, despite Guzman’s heroic “speech from the cage” when presented to the press under the most humiliating circumstances, was an enormous setback to the Peruvian movement. When it was reported that Guzman had agreed to call for an end to the armed struggle (a claim that still cannot be verified since Guzman has been unable to talk to the press) a two-line struggle erupted within the party. Many, demoralized and disillusioned, renounced the People’s war. But a small component, numbering, according to the mainstream press, in the hundreds, persisted in the armed struggle and has occasionally shocked the Peruvian state with its audacity. In February 2001, the Maoists shot down a military helicopter in the Viscatán area, Huanta province, Ayacucho, killing a sergeant and wounding a lieutenant. Since 2002, occasional attacks on military outposts, ambushes of soldiers, temporary seizure of villages whose residents are assembled to hear political speeches, and bomb attacks on government offices have produced much talk of a “Sendero revival.”

In March 2002, Newsweek reported, “After 10 years of steady decline, the Shining Path is stirring again. An estimated 150 guerrillas lurk in the verdant hills above the Ene and Apurimac river valleys, occasionally venturing from their redoubts in search of new recruits and easy targets like Mario Ayala.” In June, the Washington Post reported that the Maoists had regrouped in the remote eastern Huallaga and Apurimac valleys, and stepped up recruitment on college campuses.” “The Shining Path,” one of its sources averred, “is at the very least maintaining its size and expanding its presence.” On July 10, 2003, Maoist guerrillas ambushed a 30-man marine patrol in Ayacucho, killing seven, including a marine captain, and wounding 10. It was the Peruvian military’s worst loss to rebels in at least four years. On December 22, 2005, the Maoists again attacked a Peruvian security forces helicopter, wounding two special operations police during a counter-insurgency operation near the town of Mazamari, 290 kilometers east of Lima. Guerrillas also ambushed a police patrol in the Huánuco region near town of Aucayacu, killing eight.

According to the Peruvian government, the Communist Party of Peru committed 151 acts of violence in 2005. The official line is that the revival of the movement is the product of an alliance with cocaine traffickers, or at least coca growers: “These sporadic attacks, when taken as a whole, represent a clear ability to use force to protect the coca-growing regions of Peru.” The Maoists’ opponents have always smeared them as narco-traffickers, so this statement is unsurprising. The point of interest is that the Peruvian state must acknowledge that the movement inaugurated by Guzman (who at his trial on November 5, 2004 faced the media’s cameras and shouted, “Glory to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!” and “Long Live the People’s Heroes of the People’s War!”) remains alive in the twenty-first century, from the Andes to the Himalayas to the South China Sea.

Since April 2002, there has been a Bhutan Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) rooted among the 100,000 ethnic Nepali refugees from Bhutan who reside in camps in Nepal. It has circulated leaflets throughout Bhutan demanding a republic. In June 24, 2004 Nepali security forces arrested six refugees from Bhutan on charges of involvement with the Maoist movement; the following month the Speaker of the Bhutan Assembly claimed (somewhat implausibly) that 2,000 Nepali-Bhutanese refugees in Nepal had joined the “Maoists’ Army.” In Bangladesh, as recently as January 2003, Maoists captured 20 weapons from government forces in Daulatpur of Khulna. This occasioned the anti-Maoist “Operation Clean Heart,” involving 10,000 soldiers and helicopters, and set back plans for a People’s War in Bangladesh. In Turkey, Maoists are involved in some fighting both in Kurdistan and in the Black Sea region, and in 2005 activists of the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML) destroyed five offices of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the ruling party, in support of striking workers, in protest of government effort to privatize state-owned paper factory, and in protest of the suppression of Women’s Day observances. In June, the military arm of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, whose armed struggle receives some support from Turkish Maoists, ended the five-year ceasefire it had observed since the capture of its leader Abdullah Ocalan. Its thousands of militants now operate mostly out of northern Iraq. In Iraq itself, a RIM-aligned organization called Marxist-Leninist Revolutionaries of Iraq was formed last year.

Here is an incomplete list of Maoist actions in India, Nepal, the Philippines and Peru so far this month as reported by the mainstream press:

Jan.1, India: about 100 Maoists attack residence of Rabindranath Kar, longtime leader of West Bengal’s ruling (anti-Maoist) Communist Party (Marxist) in Bandowan in Purulia. Seize security men’s weapons, bomb house killing Kar and wife. Also attack nearby Kuchia police camp.

Jan. 2, India: To punish railroad construction contractor for non-payment of revolutionary taxes, Maoists raid laborers’ camp at village Patritand, in Hazaribag Upendra Kumar, destroy half a dozen dumpers and other railway properties worth over two million rupees.

Jan. 2, Nepal: CPN (Maoist) ends unilateral four-month ceasefire, explodes bombs damaging government building in Bhairahawa city (on border with Uttar Pradesh), city council office in Butwal, and police station in Pokhara (both about 150 miles west of Katmandu). No casualties reported.

Jan. 4, Philippines: NPA ambush kills 3 (Matnog Municipal Police Station chief, soldier and Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Units [CAFGU] member), injure police officer and another soldier in Sorsogon (southern Luzon).

Jan. 5, Nepal: Maoists attack police checkpoint near Nepalgunj Airport (on Indian border), kill 3 policemen, seriously injure 2.

Jan. 6, Philippines: NPA raid police stations in Albuera town, Leyte, seize 32 firearms without firing a single shot.

Jan. 6, Philippines: Using a command-detonated landmine, NPA ambush National Police at Sitio San Jose, Barangay Canumay, Claveria town, killing 8s. Maoists seize one cal.30 machine gun, two M-14, four M-16 and one 9mm pistol.

Jan. 8, Nepal: About 25 Maoist cadres detonate two powerful pressure cooker bombs in the office of the Nepalgunj Municipality.

Jan. 9, Nepal: Eight Maoists storm state-run Rastriya Banijya Bank branch in Surkhet district in western Nepal, take away at least 3.5 million rupees.

Jan. 11, Nepal: Maoist guerrillas attack at least five targets. Large contingent storms Dhangadi, headquarters of Kailali district in far-western Nepal, attacking the district, town and municipal police offices as well as the district prison and Royal Nepalese Army barracks. Seize some weapons from police office. At least 7 policemen killed. Maoists also explode two powerful bombs in the district development committee building at Bardiya.

[Jan. 13, India: Following the 19th meeting of the Coordination Committee on Naxalite violence in New Delhi, Union Home Secretary V.K. Duggal discloses “the level of incidents has 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.”]

Jan. 14, Nepal: Maoists again attack a government office of the Nepalgunj Municipality, the Number 2 Survey Office. Damage estimated at 1.5 million rupees.

Jan. 14, Nepal: 16 Maoist rebels and one soldier killed in Syangja in biggest battle since ceasefire ended.

Jan. 14, Nepal: At least 16 policemen killed in Maoist attacks at Thankot (dozens) and Dadhikot (about 20) in Bhaktapur district. (Thankot is major road entry point into the Katmandu Valley with two million people.) Rebels seize guns and ammunition, flee into hills shouting revolutionary slogans. Also an explosion at the office of ward no. 9 of Lalitpur municipality, and bombing of family house of Chief of Army Staff Pyar Jung Thapa.

Jan. 15, Philippines: about 40 NPA guerillas disguised as army and police officers sprang nine comrades from a jail in Batangas City, south of Manila. Eight firearms confiscated from prison guards.

Jan. 15, Philippines: About 30 NPA rebels kill 4 801st Brigade soldiers and wound 8 in San Jose de Buan in Samar province, southeast of Manila.

Jan. 15, Nepal: Maoists bomb a recently built city council building overnight at Lekhnath town, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Katmandu.

Jan. 16, Philippines: NPA burn ten-wheel hauler truck owned by a town mayor in Davao in Barangay Maratagas after the mayor refused to pay revolutionary taxes.

Jan. 16, India: 24-hour bandh called for by CPI (Maoist) to protest police firing resulting in death of 12 “tribals” and against evictions to allow for construction of foreign-owned industrial township paralyzes Jhargram sub-division in Midnapore West, Bengal. Bus service, schools suspended; shops closed; no visits to public offices. No reported deaths.

Jan. 16, Peru: Peruvian guerrillas kill 5 policemen and wound an officer and a prosecutor in an ambush in town of San Francisco in southern jungle. PCP takes responsibility in a communiqué, says action intended to “break the siege of annihilation against the popular war.”

[Jan. 15, Nepal: 9 PM-4 AM curfew imposed in Katmandu, other cities. Phone lines cut, internet services cut, and about 200 politicians and activists arrested in effort to limit turnout in Friday anti-king demonstration.]

Jan. 16, Peru: Peruvian guerrillas kill 5 policemen and wound an officer and a prosecutor in an ambush in town of San Francisco in southern jungle. PCP takes responsibility in a communiqué, says action intended to “break the siege of annihilation against the popular war.”

Jan. 17, Philippines: NPA squad from a unit of the Agustin Begnalen Command clashes with a 54-man contingent of the 41st IB in a pastureland in Apao, Tineg. Firefight lasts for more than two hours, as the outnumbered NPA guerillas maneuver in the open pastureland. 5 soldiers killed.

Jan. 18, Nepal: 3 Maoists arriving on bicycle bombed and destroy television repeater tower in Heated, about 80 kilometers south of Katmandu, preventing the reception of Nepal Television signals in many parts of south-central Nepal. Lone employee overpowered; no casualties.

Jan. 20, Nepal: Maoists attack two security checkpoints in Napalgunj 310 miles west of Katmandu, killing at least 6 policemen and obtaining weapons and ammunition.

This list focuses on the violent aspect: military attacks, ambushes, targeted assassinations, seizures of weapons and money, destruction of property. These are ongoing wars. The catalog does not record the activities of revolutionary courts, the construction of roads and bridges, land reform, moves against caste ethnic and sexual discrimination, and the provisioning where possible of free education and basic medical care. These constructive enterprises provide people with a stake in the revolution; they generate the popular support necessary to sustain People’s Wars.

“The Red Army fights not merely for the sake of fighting,” Mao wrote in 1929, “but in order to conduct propaganda among the masses, organize them, arm them, and help them to establish revolutionary political power. Without these objectives, fighting loses its meaning and the Red Army loses the reason for its existence.” “The people are like water,” he wrote two decades later, following the defeat of Japan and as the Communists triumphed over the Guomindang, “and the army is like fish.” Today’s Maoist revolutionaries take such words seriously as they strive to replicate the People’s War that produced the revolution of 1949. So too do their enemies. The U.S. ambassador to Nepal declared last August, “With a violent, ideological Maoist insurgency desiring to take over the state and then to export its revolution to peaceful neighbors, there is much to worry about.” But those who have nothing to lose but their chains respond, today as always, with enthusiasm to calls for radical change. Their hope is the flipside of the official dread greeting the resurgence of Maoism in the new millennium.

Gary Leupp is a Professor of History, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion, at Tufts University and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at:

High alert in Jharkhand as Maoists call bandh on Republic Day

Ranchi: A high alert has been sounded in Jharkhand in view of the 'Bharat Bandh' called by Maoist ultras on January 26.

Director General of Police V D Ram told UNI here today that police and other coordinating machinery have been put on high alert in view of the bandh call.

''Apart from the usual security arrangements for the Republic Day, we are deploying extra forces in sensitive areas. Other need-based arrangements are also being done,'' he said.

Meanwhile, home department sources said special plans were being chalked out for protection of railway tracks in the district, known for strong presence of naxalites. On the basis of intelligence inputs plain-clothed sleuths would be deployed at strategic places.

Eighteen of the state's 22 districts are naxal-affected and ultras had carried out many deadly acts of violence in the past.

R-Day: Naxals set for red rebellion

Ruksh Chatterji

Updated 0842 hrs IST (+GMT 5:30), 25.01.06
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Mumbai: With Republic Day around the corner, Maharashtra's Naxal-affected districts are on high alert. The Naxalites have called for a bandh on January 26 and have stepped-up attacks on the police.

Men from the Maharashtra Police's anti-Naxal squad patrolling the dense forests along the Chattisgarh border are searching for clues of Naxal activity.

But while most police patrols just skirt the forests, deep within, the Naxals are busy.

Songs of the revolution are being used to indoctrinate cardes and build up their morale.

This is coupled with the regular lectures on martyrdom.

"In an open conflict, people will become martyrs because our movement is inspired by Mao, Marx and Lenin and is no ordinary struggle," Murali, a Naxal leader, says.

And even though these are high ideals, they are proving very effective in these alienated areas with scant population.

However, senior police officials rubbish these claims and say even the Republic Day threats are routine.

"As far as January 26 is concerned, this is normal. Every year, they every time observe January 26 and August 15 as black day. But we are prepared and I am personally monitoring the situation, " P S Pasricha, DGP Maharashtra, says.

The latest addition to the movement are women Naxals.

Though women Naxal cadres is not a new phenomenon, it is the sudden rise in their numbers that is alarming.

And though the police are down-playing the recent spurt in Naxal activity, the build-up for Republic Day is apparent.

It began on January 15 when a BRO engineer in Gadchiroli was killed followed by a daring attack on a police checkpost in Gondia on January 23.

With newpaper headlines screaming about them, it seems the Naxals have for the moment won the first round in psychological warfare.

With inputs from Prashant Koratkar in Gondia)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Ch'garh: Maoists could target urban areas, jails, says Govt

Raipur, Jan 22 (PTI) Chhattisgarh government today expressed apprehension that the Maoists could target the urban areas and jails of the state and said the police force was ready to meet any challenges.
"The naxalites could hit the urban areas and even target the jails also because of which special attention has been given to the internal security of the State," additional chief secretary (home) Bijay Kishore Sunder Ray told reporters here.

On the basis of intelligence report security has been strengthened in urban areas of the State and adequate steps have been taken in police stations and jails, he told reporters.

After Jehanabad jail breaking incident in Bihar, security has been beefed up in the sensitive police stations and jails of the state and also the boundary walls of certain prisons are being raised further, he said.

The state government was also preparing a dedicated anti-Naxal squad to combat the Naxal menace, which was in Chhattisgarh for about last three decades, Ray said.

Besides providing latest weapons to the security forces to combat Naxal violence, there was plan to provide helicopter to police, Ray said adding that more battalions from Nagaland has been requested as they are successful in jungle warfare.

Problems relating to land was one of the major reasons for spreading of left wing extremism in the state and in the Naxal-infested areas steps have been taken to implement land reforms, he said. PTI PCH MAJ JW 01230101 DEL

Special 'strike force' proposal for contingency situations

New Delhi: The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) plans to raise a special 'striking reserve force', on the lines of Andhra Pradesh's 'Greyhounds', for meeting contingency requirements.

This force would be used only for 'special assignments', without disturbing the present deployment of the CRPF contingent in any state, force Director General J K Sinha told mediapersons here.

''The proposal to this effect has been sent to the government.'' This 'force', which will act only on specific intelligence inputs on a given situation, would not be used for any other purpose. It would just be kept as a reserve for emergency situations, he said.

''They would be trained to handle and face situations on their own for 10-15 days at a stretch without any dependence from any quarters, whether it be food, arms and ammunitions, camping, communication or any other requirement.'' The states can actually allot one company for this purpose, from the several sent there in times of need. ''It was simply a matter of strategy and planning,'' he said.

Andhra Pradesh has raised a special force -- the 'Greyhounds' -- for this which was bearing good results. It had proved very effective against naxal operations, he said.

''They keep updating themselves with their first-hand experiences and just keep training most of the times.'' They are also given a special allowance of 30 per cent of their pay along with an insurance cover of eleven lakh, which was a good incentive, the DG said.

However, the CRPF has already started training its personnel for anti-insurgency operations. One batch was already being trained in Silchar in Assam while another training centre would come up in about a month's time at Sarhan in Himachal Pradesh, Mr Sinha informed.

Meanwhile, the CRPF will field two contingents -- the 'CRPF Mahila Marching Contingent' and 'CRPF Brass Band Contingent' -- for the Republic Day parade this year.

Comprising of 144 women carrying the 5.56 INSAS rifles, the 'CRPF Mahila Marching Contingent' would have three Inspectors and would be led by Assistant Commandant R S Aparna, he said.

The 'CRPF Mahila Marching Contingent' would be followed by 101 strong CRPF Brass Band, including three SOs, under the command of Inspector Lal Singh which would be playing the CRPF theme song.

CPI(Maoist) calls 'Bharat Bandh' on Republic Day

Gaya, Bihar, Jan 22: Proscribed naxalite outfit CPI (Maoist) today called for 'Bharat Bandh' on January 26 to protest UPA government's act of ''supplying'' firearms to governments of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and others for ''suppressing'' the ''people's movement''.

Medical institutions, ambulance services, medicine shops, water and milk supply, newspaper offices and vehicles of mediapersons had been kept outside the purview of the ''Bharat Bandh''.

CPI (Maoist)`s Bihar-Jharkhand Special Area Committee Secretary Rakesh, in a statement, told newspersons that ''poor peasants and marginalised farmers would not allow the big business houses to succeed in their nefarious gameplan of earning billions of rupees for themselves at the cost of their (peasants) livelihood''.

''The tribals were gunned down in Orissa when they were struggling to protect their land,'' he said and alleged that similarly Jharkhand governemnt was adamant to force the local people to lead a nomadic life by displacing them from their roots in favour of 'multi-billionaires'.

The top CPI Maoist leader said: ''My organisation could not be cowed down through such pressure tactics as the committed cadres had learnt how to survive despite excecesses perpetrated by the State characterised by fake encounters and false cases, arrests and other extra legal and extra constitutional methods.'' ''The character of the governance spoke volumes of motives of the rulers who could be best described as criminals,'' he said.

''All such excesses were perpetrated on the directives of intelligence agencies of the US-- CIA and FBI,'' he added.

Tribals to hoist tiranga

Jagdalpur (chhattisgarh) | January 23, 2006 12:40:02 AM IST

As a result of the success of the anti-naxalite Salwa Judum campaign in the South Bastar, the national flag will be hoisted in place of black flag this Republic Day.
Police said Republic Day used to be observed as 'Kala Diwas (Black Day)' in villages because of the call given by naxalites.

Black flag instead of the 'Tiranga' used to be hoisted at schools and government offices on January 26 earlier.

Students and government officials used to remain away from the national function.

However, the ultras had not called for observing 'Kala Diwas' this year in view of the campaign and villagers are preparing for a grand Republic Day celebration.

For the first time in Bastar's history, those tribals, who are taking part in the Salwa Judum and have been made special police officials, will participate in Republic Day parade at Bijapur Police District.

On the occasion, widows and children of villagers killed by the extremists will take pledge to take revenge on the naxalites.

IG (Bastar range) M W Ansari said 2,000 local tribal youths have been appointed as special police officers. In the first phase, 250 special police officers, including 50 women, were trained, while 350 special police officers were receiving training.

Special police officers, having complete knowledge of native language and geography of the region, guide police team through the forests.

The job of patrol teams have become easier as a result and special police officers are provided guns during the search operations.


Villagers battle violent forces in eastern UP

Shikha Trivedi

Sunday, January 22, 2006 (Naugarh):

Eastern Uttar Pradesh is not just one of the least developed but also one of the most unsafe parts of India.

This is particularly for the large scheduled caste and scheduled tribe community, who live under the threat of the gun from Maoist insurgents on the one hand and the heavy-handed police on the other.

When Javed Ahmed, an agricultural worker from Chupepur village asked for just Rs 5 more than what his landlord gave him, he was threatened with imprisonment on charges of being a Maoist or a sympathiser of their party the MCC.

"I was threatened that I will be tied to a tree and shot. When we ask for our wages, we ask for our rights, we are branded Naxalites and harassed," said Javed Ahmed.

Landlord-police nexus

Javed has never earned more than Rs 30 for a full day’s work, which is less than half the minimum wage fixed by the government.

But across the Chandauli, Mirzapur and Sonbhadra districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh, any fight for justice is being smashed by the landlord-police nexus.

Most of these people belong to the scheduled castes and tribes and have in recent years shifted their vote to the BSP.

BSP chief Mayawati's recent success in the panchayat elections has also sharpened caste tensions.

For instance, in Bhulai when a group of Muslims, adivasis and Dalit labourers tried to occupy a government wasteland, they were forcibly stopped by the big farmers of the village.

The farmers, belonging to the upper castes, began cultivating the land for themselves and nobody stopped them.

"The police only beats up the adivasis and Dalits and only a few boys amongst them who have studied a little are being targeted, because the feudal elements are scared of them. So they always single them out to the police, saying that these boys can create trouble, they are Naxalites," said a victim.

Reign of terror

The harassment they say has increased in the last one year after a PAC van was blown up in Chandauli district in November 2004 killing 17 security personnel.

A special operations group of armed policemen in plainclothes was formed by the SP government to hunt down the attackers.

But villagers allege that the men have unleashed a reign of terror in the area.

The police however, have denied the charges.

"The SOG does not do this. And if they do, it is out of line. The SOG was formed to dig out information about Naxalite activity, their hideouts, their sympathisers by mingling with the villagers," said R N Singh Yadav, DIG, Varanasi Zone.

Human rights groups

With the Maoists and police forces training their guns on each other, human rights groups say innocent men and women are also getting caught in the crossfire with no recourse to justice.

"People of these areas are very poor. They cannot even keep a lawyer or move bail applications and so they are languishing in jail," said Tanvir Ahmed Siddiqui, Advocate, Human Rights Law Network.

Whether they are victims of political or caste violence, no government in Lucknow has ever addressed the needs of the people of this most backward region of Uttar Pradesh.

While crores are being spent to fight the Naxalites, most villages in the region are without water and electricity.

Cong calls for tackling Naxalism

Sunday, January 22, 2006 (Hyderabad):

The Congress has called for a firm and clear approach to tackle the Naxal menace without foreclosing the possibility of "dialogue in appropriate situations".

In a draft political resolution at the 82nd Plenary Session, the ruling party voiced concern over growing Naxalite violence and its "linkage with Maoist movement in Nepal" and urged the UPA government to treat the issue with highest priority.

"The talk of a corridor of violence extending through the heart of India, from Nepal border to Andhra Pradesh is an unwholesome threat to Indian democracy and peaceful life of our people," it said.

The Naxalites' links with their revolutionary counterparts of the Himalayan kingdom would "enhance security concern for both the countries", the resolution said.

The party's stance on the Naxalite issue comes against the backdrop of collapse of peace talks between the Congress government and Maoists in Andhra Pradesh.

After the first round of direct talks in October 2004, the Naxalite groups had in January last year pulled out of the dialogue process accusing the Rajasekhar Reddy government of continuing "fake police encounters".

The government had re-imposed ban on CPI (Maoist) in August last year in the face of growing violence and the killing of ruling party legislator C Narsi Reddy in Mahaboobnagar district on Independence Day. (PTI)