Saturday, February 04, 2006

UP awaiting Centre’s report: CM

HT Correspondent
Lucknow, February 4

CHIEF MINISTER Mulayam Singh Yadav today said that the government would take a decision about introduction of the police commissioner system in the state after getting the report of the central government committee.

Addressing the senior police officers conference here on Saturday, he also expressed his concern over massive corruption in the police department.

Yadav said corruption was rampant at the lower level and had even assumed serious dimension at the senior level. He said he had been expecting improvement in the situation but his hopes had been belied.

He said rising level of corruption had led to disillusionment among people and officers had become authoritarian. He said the prevailing resentment among people against the police was also because of officers’ apathy, as they had stopped listening to people’s grievances.

Laying stress on satisfaction of people in solving their problems, the chief minister said complaints should be attended properly.

Despite good work, Yadav said the police image had been badly damaged. He said there was need for changing people’s perception about the police.

Referring to the good work the chief minister said the police had succeeded in eliminating dreaded outlaws like Nirbhay Gujjar and Kalua Yadav and quickly killing Ayodhya terrorists but the need was to create confidence in the people about safety and security.

The chief minister also announced to provide Rs five crore for construction of Police Bhavan on the premises of the DGP headquarters so that all offices could be accommodated there.

While sanctioning two police stations and five police posts in Mau, Yadav also approved three more new sectors for economic offences wing, one each in Barielly, Agra and Gorakhpur.

He said apart from officers of gazetted rank, inspectors and station house officers would also be empowered to issue challan to traffic violators.

The chief minister also announced continuation of special promotional avenues for constables and head constables. He said 24,000 constables and 3,000 head constables would be promoted.

The chief minister said a special anti-Naxalite training centre would be established, and also sanctioned Rs 25 lakh for establishment of a laboratory to probe cyber crimes. Yadav said Rs 200 as conveyance would be provided to a person who carried a victim of accident to hospital.

Saying that he had never intervened in police functioning the chief minister asked the officers act against criminals quickly and have closer cooperation with people.

Later, addressing the PPS officers’ conference, the chief minister accepted the demands for creation of five more posts of additional SPs on the payscale of Rs 16,400-Rs 20,000.

Similary he said that five more DSPs would be promoted to the rank of additional SP and within one month the meeting of PPS officers’ departmental promotion committee would be held. He said age limit for promotion from PPS to IPS would be 54 to 56 years.

About other demands, Yadav said they would also be considered.

Maoists kill village 'kotwar' in Bijapur

RAIPUR: Maoists on Friday evening killed a village kotwar (lowest-level revenue staff) for supporting Salva Judum (anti-Naxalite) campaign in Bijapur.

He had been abducted a day earlier by about 400 armed Maoists from Bodeli in Bijapur, 500 km from here.

The Maoists had abducted six people from the village. While three of them managed to escape, two were let off after a warning.

In another development, Chhattisgarh home minister Ram Vichar Netam said RSS workers were also active in the Salva Judum drive since it was a social reform movement

UP police arrested Hardcore Naxal

HT Correspondent
Varanasi, February 4

THE UTTAR Pradesh police arrested a hardcore Naxalite from Duwari village in Sonebhadra district late on Friday evening.

The police consider it as an achievement as the Naxalite identified as Ram Naresh alias Naresh was wanted in half a dozen cases of loot and murder in the district.

Sources informed that during a routine combing operation in Patherkuwa forests late last night, the police got a tip-off about the presence of a harecore Naxalite in Duwari village close to Patherkuwa forests.

The cops rushed to the spot and arrested the Naxalite along with a country-made rifle and some rounds of ammunition.

Sources said Naresh was a hardcore activist of the banned Peoples War Group (PWG) but after merger of PWG and MCC, he had aligned with the Sanjay Kol group.

Ram Naresh carried a reward of Rs 2,500 on himself. Senior police officers, including Superintendent of Police, Sonebhadra, Raghubir Lal were interrogating him, the sources informed.

Three buried alive
Three labourers were buried alive when the wall of a house under construction collapsed in Jamania in Ghazipur district on Saturday. The local people extricated the injured from the debris and rushed them to the hospital, where the Doctors pronounced them dead.

Maoist TERRORIST arrested

Bokaro: A hard-core extremist of the proscribed Naxal outfit CPI-Maoist was arrested by CRPF and Jharkhand Police personnel yesterday during a joint operation in Katru-Katwa village under Nawadih police station of this district.

Bermo Sub-divisional police officer Ashwani Kumar Sinha told newsman here today that acting on a tip off, the security forces raided a house in the village and nabbed Hari Manjhi alias Harilal Hansda.

He was involved in the killing of seven para-military jawans in Karo forest area in 2003 and the attack on Chandrapura Rail police station.

The arrested ultra was the mastermind behind planting of landmines at many places, including a school.

During interrogation, he has confessed that he had beaten up several villagers after the Assembly elections in February last year for not obeying the poll boycott call of the Maoists

Bandh observed in naxal-affected towns, traffic paralysed

Ambikapur (Chhattisgarh): Normal life remained paralysed in Sarguja district's naxal-affected towns adjoining neighbouring Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh during a bandh today.

Shops and business establishments remained closed, while traffic was badly affected.

IG (Sarguja range) Amarnath Upadhyay and other senior officers were patrolling bandh-affected areas.

Additional Superintendent of Police S S Dwivedi told UNI that efforts to restore normal traffic, amidst police security, was on.

Though no official information of the bandh had been received from CPI (Maoists), a bandh-like situation had been created due to rumours.

Naxalites had set two dozen vehicles on fire during 'Bharat bandh' called on January 26.

No traffic movement had been reported along Ramanujang road and on the road from district headquarters to Benares.

According to report, a bandh had been called to demand release of Naxalites lodged in various jails. However, no posters or letters had been distributed in this regard

Friday, February 03, 2006

Nepal's Instability in the Regional Power Struggle

As the first anniversary of King Gyanendra's sacking of the government passes, Nepal continues to slip further into instability, creating a power vacuum in which regional powers India and China compete for influence. The power struggle in Nepal consists of three domestic players: the king, the major parties of the former government, and the Maoist rebels of the countryside. In recent months, the political parties have aligned with the rebels, but each group maintains its own agenda.

China unconditionally backs the king in a costless gamble to gain influence in the Himalayan country that borders the Tibetan region. India believes that monarchal rule is inherently unstable in Nepal, and it threw its support behind the political parties after they were dismissed in February 2005. The U.S. and U.K. have supported India's position, partially to limit China's influence in the region.

It is not certain how the tri-polar power struggle will be resolved in Nepal. It is reasonably certain, however, that neither the king nor the rebels have the ability to gain control of the entire country. While the impoverished, landlocked country has little strategic value in itself, Nepal's position on the border of a potentially unstable region on China's western border and India's eastern boundary makes its instability important to the region's "great game."

Tri-Polar Power Struggle

With the exception of a brief period in 1959-60, democracy was first established in Nepal by King Birendra after he bowed to political pressure and instituted a constitutional monarchy in 1989. The parliamentary system was unstable and fractious from the beginning. In 1994, Prime Minister Koirala quit his post after defeat in the parliamentary vote, beginning the current period of political instability.

In 1996, the Maoist Communist Party of Nepal left the government and initiated its "people's war" against the monarchy in the countryside. Estimates of the area controlled by the rebels range from nearly 50 percent of the country (UNICEF) to 80 percent (Refugees International). The rebellion has been plagued by torture and brutality, at the hands of both the rebels and the security forces, and has killed approximately 12,500 people since 1996.

King Gyanendra unexpectedly assumed the throne in 2001 after the heir apparent shot and killed his parents and then turned the gun on himself. King Gyanendra quickly demonstrated that he would be even more willing than his predecessor to interject himself into the political process.

In 2001, the government and the rebels agreed to a truce, but the break in fighting only lasted four months. Following the resumption of violence, King Gyanendra declared a state of emergency and dismissed the government of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. He later instated Lokendra Bahadur Chand as prime minister, but months of protests from political parties left out of the government forced him to resign on May 30, 2003. The king tried his luck with another royalist, Surya Bahadur Thapa, as prime minister, but he was forced to quit after less than a year in the face of more protests.

On June 2, 2004, King Gyanendra reappointed Deuba as prime minister. Eight months later, the king fired the entire parliament, placing members under house arrest, and assumed absolute control on the pretense of using the full force of the military to end the Maoist rebellion in the countryside. The king's direct control of the military, however, has done nothing to resolve the rebellion.

The fractious parliamentary parties have put their differences aside since February 2005, and have agreed that reestablishing parliamentary control is the most important objective. In late August 2005, the political parties agreed to abandon the goal of achieving a constitutional monarchy, in favor of complete parliamentary control. This shift in goals brought the political parties inline with the stated goals of the Maoist rebels. [See: "Intelligence Brief: Nepal"]

In response to the shifted stance of the political parties, the Maoist rebels initiated a cease-fire, which ultimately lasted four months. This led to a November 22, 2005 agreement between the parliamentary parties and the rebels that essentially reduced the power struggle to two parties. The rebels and the seven main political parties called for an end to "the autocratic monarchy." However, there is still a great distance between the goals of the political parties and the rebels, and it is not clear what would become of the alliance if this goal were to be achieved.

While violence did dramatically decrease during the cease-fire, reports indicate that the rebels did not completely abandon their weapons. The government never agreed to the cease-fire, and continued its attacks against the rebels. At the start of this year, the Maoist rebels ended their cease-fire, claiming that the government's attacks forced them into a fighting position, and the level of violence has increased.

By aligning with the Maoist rebels, the parliamentary parties hoped to gain concessions from the king, but he proved inflexible. Instead, the king is taking an approach, first predicted by PINR in March 2005, of holding municipal elections on February 8 in order to legitimize his rule. [See: "Sacking the Government Brings International Attention to Nepal"]

Municipal elections would be the first step toward creating a parliament that he can dominate, but one strong enough to potentially garner the support of the United States and India. At this juncture, India and the U.S. are not ready to throw their support behind the king's plan. Instead, they are working in close collaboration with the parliamentary parties to reestablish a democratic government in Nepal. This is a strategy not without risk, and ultimately New Delhi and Washington might realign with the king in order to prevent an encroachment by China into India's sphere of influence.

India and China Compete in Nepal

Before the parliament's dismissal last February, India and the U.S. were the major military donors to Nepal. India's own Maoist rebels, the Naxalites, have proven to be an intransigent threat in half a dozen Indian states, including in a stronghold in the Bastar region of Chattisgarh. The possibility of a successful Maoist coup in Nepal, which would embolden their counterparts in India, caused the Indian government to provide extensive training and aid to the king's military. The U.S. would like to maintain close relations with Nepal in a strategy of encircling China and containing Beijing's influence in southwestern Asia.

After the government's dismissal, however, India's assessment was that the king would not be able to succeed in suppressing the Maoist rebellion and that his rule is inherently unstable. New Delhi immediately ended all military support to Nepal. Washington and London supported the decision with similar policies.

Since then, New Delhi has been in close contact with the main Nepalese political parties -- the Nepali Congress Party (N.C.P.) and the Communist Party of Nepal (U.M.L.) -- in order to coordinate their actions with the goal of reinstating parliamentary rule. Washington has played an important supporting role in coordinating the political parties' actions. For example, Indian leaders hosted a meeting in New Delhi in November 2005 that included U.S. Ambassador to Nepal James Moriarty, Madhav Kumar Nepal (a leader of the U.M.L.), and the N.C.P.'s Girija Koirala. Shortly thereafter, the November 22 agreement between the rebels and the Nepalese parliamentary parties emerged.

The alliance between the rebels and the political parties is troubling for New Delhi because it fears that such cooperation could strengthen India's own Maoist rebels. Also, the alliance makes less tenable the position taken by New Delhi, Washington and London of supporting the democratically elected government as the only way to end the Maoist rebellion.

India's support for the parliamentary parties is not without debate in New Delhi. There are reports that the Ministry of External Affairs' support for the parliamentary parties' negotiations with the Maoist rebels has been contested by the Home and Defense Ministries, which have placed their bets on King Gyanendra fearing that a Maoist takeover would destabilize regions within India that are fighting a domestic Maoist rebellion. While New Delhi continues to support the political parties, it is not clear that it will do so indefinitely. Should King Gyanendra's municipal elections, which will be boycotted by all but one of the political parties, eventually lead to a weak parliament, India may reassess its support.

While India has the most to lose in Nepal, China has welcomed the recent instability as an easy way to establish its influence there. It has signed arms deals with King Gyanendra, and should the king prove able to hold onto power, it would gain support on the border of the Tibetan region. Yet, if the king proves unable to last, then, in China's perception, the situation simply returns to the previous paradigm in which India dominates Nepal's agenda. This position also places China in the way of forming an international solution to the tri-polar power struggle in the United Nations.


The parliamentary parties and the Maoist rebels formed an alliance after the February 2005 coup. The alliance, although frayed, still holds even though the rebels took up arms again at the start of the year. The king's plan to hold elections next month has been hotly contested by the parliamentary parties and the rebels. This has led to an increase in violence in the past weeks as the political parties have attempted to disrupt the process through mass protests, and the rebels have attempted to force the cancellation of the polls by increasing their attacks. Both tactics have been met with violence from the king's security forces. On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the coup, over 500 people were detained in order to prevent planned protests, and a rebel attack in Palpa killed 16 policemen and three soldiers.

Several prominent political leaders have been placed under house arrest, and while there have been some relaxations on the city's outer regions, the curfew and ban on gatherings put in place by the king remain in Kathmandu's center. It is not clear how the elections will play out on February 8. It is likely, however, that they will go forward with a low turnout.

The political parties and the rebels seem to have gained the upper hand as the elections approach. Only 3,255 individuals filed to stand for 4,146 vacant seats. Those who have registered have been urged to stay in police custody for their own protection. While this undermines the king's plan to build his legitimacy through the elections, violence and intimidation from the rebels might also undermine the international standing of the political parties if their alliance is not broken. It does not appear that the elections will force any breakthrough in the tri-polar power struggle.

Predictably, India, the U.S., and the U.K. have said the coming elections are not legitimate, while China has shown its support for them. If the current impasse continues to hold, India, in consolidation with the United States, may begin to shift its support back to the king. China's support for the king will be unwavering, even if the polls collapse in violence or are widely ignored. The elections will not be the first step to restoring order in Nepal, but they may help to determine which neighboring country will benefit from Nepal's failure.

Report Drafted By:
Adam Wolfe

The Power and Interest News Report (PINR) is an independent organization that utilizes open source intelligence to provide conflict analysis services in the context of international relations. PINR approaches a subject based upon the powers and interests involved, leaving the moral judgments to the reader. This report may not be reproduced, reprinted or broadcast without the written permission of All comments should be directed to

Maoists abduct six tribals in Chhattisgarh

[ Friday, February 03, 2006 08:07:12 pm IANS ]

RAIPUR: Stepping up the drive against tribals opposing their armed revolt, suspected Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres, abducted six villagers in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, police said on Friday.

"We have information that CPI-Maoist rebels raided a village under Bedri police station (400 km south of the state capital Raipur) on Thursday night and abducted six tribals accusing them of supporting the police in the fight against the Naxals," Dantewada district police chief Praveer Das said over telephone.

Das said the police have launched an offensive to secure the release of the abducted persons. The Maoists have intensified their activities during the last one week and Sunday night killed eight tribals who had taken shelter at a government relief camp in Gangalur in Dantewada district.

Three of the rebels were also killed when police returned fire to repulse the attack.

Maoist rebels have a strong presence in eight of Chhattisgarh's 16 districts especially in the Bastar region bordering Andhra Pradesh and the Surguja belt which shares a border with Jharkhand state.

Maoists kill politician; Govt vows to thwart rebels' strike

Kathmandu, Feb 03: Maoists in Nepal have shot dead a pro-government politician who was elected unopposed for a municipal seat ahead of the February 8 local body polls even as authorities today vowed to thwart a week-long general strike by the rebels aimed at disrupting the elections.

Tribeni Majhi, Ward Chairman in Biratnagar municipality in east Nepal who was elected unopposed, was severely injured when the rebels fired on him in his home last night, police said today. Majhi died in the hospital later.

Former policeman Dipak Bahadur Gurung, who had gone to Majhi's house to congratulate Hime, also died in the firing, according to the police.

The development came as the Maoists announced a seven- day 'Nepal Bandh' or general strike from February 5 with the aim to disrupt the municipal polls.

However, Home Minister Kamal Thapa vowed to thwart the strike. "The government is totally aware of the February 5-11 general strike" called by the rebels, he told reporters here, adding the authorities were fully prepared to thwart it.

The minister also called on the people to foil the rebels' general strike while saying the government will do everything to make it a failure.

Thapa also charged that the pro-democracy political parties and international community pressing the government for restoration of democracy and civil rights were "elements taking sides of the Maoists."

He accused the seven political parties, "some section of media and international community" of encouraging the Maoist rebels to carry out their violent attacks.

Thapa made the accusation after an on-the-spot inspection of Tansen municipality of Palpa district in Western Nepal, where the Maoists killed at least 20 security personnel and abducted 35 others as well as a senior government official last week. Eight Maoists were also killed in the fierce fighting.

The Maoists carried out their activities with the "tacit approval" of the seven parties, the home minister alleged. Some media organisations, human rights activists and international community had encouraged the Maoists to carry out their activities, he charged.

Thapa also asked the pro-democracy parties to clarify their policy regarding the Maoists.

The Maoists, meanwhile, claimed that they have no policy to harm poll candidates, political activists and civilians.

"Our party's attention has been seriously drawn by the UN office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights-Nepal (OHCHR)'s recent statement and we have no policy to take physical action against poll candidate, political activists and civilians," Maoist spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara said in a statement today following OHCHR'S call to the Maoist leadership to publicly state their policy.

Mahara said his party is adopting a defensive action against those elements involved in direct or indirect criminal activity with the Royal Nepalese army in the name of so-called municipal polls after the breakdown of ceasefire last month.

Meanwhile, in Itahari in east Nepal, a policeman was seriously injured as the Maoists shot at him yesterday.

In Nuwakot district in central Nepal, the rebels bombed the house of mayoral candidate of Bidur municipality, Kaman Singh Lama, on Wednesday night, police said.

Bureau Report

Police role during ZP polls questionable: UP Governor

HT Correspondent
Lucknow, February 2

GOVERNOR TV Rajeswar today expressed concern over the role of the police during the recent Zila Panchayat chairmen’s elections in the state.

He said the police role was highly questionable. The governor also directed the police to constitute a special task force to smash supply of illegal arms in the State.

Addressing a gathering at the annual police parade here on Thursday, the governor said he was flooded with complaints against the police during the Zila Panchayat elections and the matter had been referred to the State Election Commission for necessary action.

Pointing out rampant “gun culture”, the governor also castigated the police for their illegal activities in connection with “land and house grabbing”. To recall, the police department had also issued instruction to its lower ranking officers to keep themselves off from such illegal activities. The governor said the movement of people with arms was not confined to UP alone as it was a ‘north India phenomenon’. Rajeswar asked DGP Yashpal Singh to chalk out an action plan to check the “gun culture” in the state. The governor said the special task force should be entrusted with the task of raiding places where illegal weapons were being manufactured in the state. He said all such accused should be booked under the NSA and the Goonda Act.

While the governor’s comments questioning its activities in Zila Panchayat caused flutter in the police department today, last year his suggestion to the state government for the implementation of police commissioner system had led to a debate. Finally the government had rejected the suggestion.

Speaking at the parade, in which Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav was also present, he, however, had a word of praise for the government in making efforts to control the Naxalite menace in Mirzapur, Sonebhadra and Chandauli. The governor hoped that developmental activities undertaken in affected areas would help in controlling migration of tribal youth to the Naxal camps.

He said adequate funds had been allocated to the tribal region for people’s welfare. The governor said the police had done a laudable work by eliminating dreaded Chambal outlaw Nirbhay Gujjar and Kalua Yadav in Shahjahanpur area.

He said swift action by the state police and CRPF in killing the terrorists in Ayodhya in July last year was also a feather in the cap of the security forces.

The governor said the terrorists had almost succeeded in their nefarious plan to attack Ram janmbhoomi temple to disrupt communal harmony but the quick police action thwarted their plan. Earlier, the governor inspected the combined police and PAC parade and presented medals to the police personnel.

UP Governor concerned over illict arms units in state

Lucknow | February 02, 2006 8:45:13 PM IST

Uttar Pradesh Governor T V Rajeswar today suggested setting up of a special police cell in the state to curb illicit countrymade weapons units, terming it a menace to the law and order situation.

Address the occasion of annual police parade here, Mr Rajeswar said the onerous task could also be handed over to the elite Special Task Force (STF) of the UP Police.

''The guilty should be prosecuted under National Security Act (NSA)...strict action also be taken in cases of kidnapping and forcible land occupation in the state,'' he maintained.

Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav was also present on the occasion.

The parade included armed police, civil police, traffic police, Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), women platoons, commandos and fire fighting police.

The governor said the security personnel should be equipped with modern weapons and communication equipment for effective policing.

''The threat from anti-socials, dacoits and naxalites is becoming more pronounced, hence modernisation of police is imperative.'' Pointing out that the naxalite menace was continuing in the border districts of UP, Mr Rajeswar said the state government had initiated several development projects such as road electrification to counter the phenomenon more efficiently.

Lauding the state police for eliminating notorious outlaws Nirbhay Gujjar and Kallu, and countering successfully the fidayeen attack at the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya, the Governor advised that ''the momentum be kept up.'' Paying tributes to policemen, who lost their lives performing duties, he said the government would take care of their families.

Later, the governor presented gallantry medals to policemen on the occasion.


Maoist ultra arrested

Bokaro: A hard-core extremist of the proscribed Naxal outfit CPI-Maoist was arrested by CRPF and Jharkhand Police personnel yesterday during a joint operation in Katru-Katwa village under Nawadih police station of this district.

Bermo Sub-divisional police officer Ashwani Kumar Sinha told newsman here today that acting on a tip off, the security forces raided a house in the village and nabbed Hari Manjhi alias Harilal Hansda.

He was involved in the killing of seven para-military jawans in Karo forest area in 2003 and the attack on Chandrapura Rail police station.

The arrested ultra was the mastermind behind planting of landmines at many places, including a school.

During interrogation, he has confessed that he had beaten up several villagers after the Assembly elections in February last year for not obeying the poll boycott call of the Maoists.

Bihar Govt prepares rehabilitation package for criminals

Patna | February 03, 2006 10:39:35 AM IST

Bihar Government has prepared a comprehensive rehabilitation package for criminals to bring them into mainstream of the society.
According to official sources, the new NDA government was actively considering to come out with a rehabilitation package for the hard-core criminals on the pattern of Naxal rehabilitation.

There was sufficient fund to execute the rehabilitation package, claimed state Home Secretary H C Sirohi.

Under the proposed package, the government would recommend to Hudco and ST and SC Commissions for soft loans to those criminals who wanted to return in the mainstream, sources added.


WEST BENGAL : More forces to tackle Maoists

Nani Gopal Pal in Purulia
Feb. 2. — In a bid to avoid any sudden untoward incidents in an around Naxal-affected Purulia district, including Bandwan and Jhalda blocks, the district police has tightened security arrangements with more forces.
Four more companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) arrived in the district for police camps of bordering areas of West Bengal and Jharkhand states last week.
Adequate armed forces with ultra-modern weapons have been deployed in the district, so that the security officials can maintain a tight vigil on the border check posts. These special forces would also provide security cover to the sensitive areas.
Following the Maoist attack at the Duarsini forest guest house in Bandwan and a threat letter to the Kotshila Block Development Officer in Jhalda-II block, special precautionary measure is being taken to prevent the sudden attacks. Considering the current trend of Maoist influences, state’s high police officials are visiting the areas regularly.
The IG (Western), Mr Banibrata Bose, the DIG (Midnapore), Mr Gangeswar Singh and Superintendent of Police, Purulia, Mr Rangaswami Sivakumar, have already visited the Maoist-affected zone of the district.
Interacting with The Statesman at a police camp in Bandwan of Purulia, a senior district police officer said, “It is a national problem.”
The CPI-M MP for Rajya Sabha, Mrs Brinda Karat and Lok Sabha MP, Mr Basudeb Acharya also admitted that they situation is quite grim while their visit and consoled the bereaved family of the former Sabhadhipati of Purulia Zilla Parishad, Rabindra Nath Kar and his wife who were brutally killed by a group of armed Maoist at Bhomragara village, Bandwan in Purulia.
Police have also beefed their security cover after Maoist posters were recovered at Pundagh and Kotshila a few days back. The CPI-Maoist posters has sparked tension in the region, while more than three thousand armed forces are engaged to control the tense situation.

Explosives stolen, security heightened

Friday February 3 2006 00:00 IST

HOSUR: Krishnagiri police have tightened security in the district, following the theft of explosive materials from a private explosives manufacturing unit in Hosur on Tuesday.

The private factory, which produces explosive materials for mining, has been operating in Onnalvadi village near Hosur.

Two days ago, some unidentified persons stole 57000 metre length of fuse card wire, which is used to set off detonators in quarries.

The district has already been identified as a Naxal-infested area, besides which the recent terrorist shoot out in nearby Bangalore has sent shock waves across the district.

Although the Naxal movement in the district had reduced after the police crack down on Naxalites in Chinnakanagambatti village near Uthangarai in 2002, the Intelligence Department is still closely tracking the forest areas in Krishnagiri district.

At this juncture, the theft of such a huge quantity of fuse card wire becomes significant.

The stolen wires, packed in 34 boxes, were valued at Rs 1.27 lakh. The police suspect the hand of anti-social elements in the theft.

Krishnagiri district Superintendent of Police Avi Prakash Sinha has formed a special police team in this regard.

It may be recalled, that in 2001 when a gang had stolen explosive materials from the same factory, the police had managed to nab the culprits within two days.

Police suspect that the stolen explosive wires would be used in stone quarries and started enquiries in granite and stone quarries near the borders.

Bandh observed in naxal-affected towns, traffic paralysed

Ambikapur (Chhattisgarh): Normal life remained paralysed in Sarguja district's naxal-affected towns adjoining neighbouring Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh during a bandh today.

Shops and business establishments remained closed, while traffic was badly affected.

IG (Sarguja range) Amarnath Upadhyay and other senior officers were patrolling bandh-affected areas.

Additional Superintendent of Police S S Dwivedi told UNI that efforts to restore normal traffic, amidst police security, was on.

Though no official information of the bandh had been received from CPI (Maoists), a bandh-like situation had been created due to rumours.

Naxalites had set two dozen vehicles on fire during 'Bharat bandh' called on January 26.

No traffic movement had been reported along Ramanujang road and on the road from district headquarters to Benares.

According to report, a bandh had been called to demand release of Naxalites lodged in various jails. However, no posters or letters had been distributed in this regard.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Security at UCL and other vital installations adequate : DGP

Ranchi | February 01, 2006 8:42:53 PM IST

Rejecting the criticism of Jharkhand police for its alleged failure to tackle extremism in an effective manner, Director General of Police V D Ram today claimed that the state police was leaving no stone unturned for appropriate security arrangements for sensitive installations like the Uranium Corporation Limited and National Metallurgical Laboratory.
Adressing a press conference here, Mr Ram said, '' Just because the naxalite were targetting the railway tracks, it should not be inferred that the police are unable to stop them. The railway tracks are stretched over a vast area and it was not possible to keep a vigil on every inch. As far as the security of vital installations in the state is concerned, there is no problem with it. There is adequate internal and external security arrangements for these. '' Mr Ram said the constitution of the joint task force for the extremism-affected states would increse the effectiveness of operations against such ultras, who, after committing crime in one state fled to another.

The DGP also praised the community policing scheme of the Jharkhand police through which the state police tried to win over the faith of the common people, by involving them in community works in the extremism-affected areas.

To a query, the DGP said the state police had not yet received any arrest warrant against the then DIG of police of Palamu range Parvej Hayat against whom a rape case had been registered by a tribal woman. Mr Ram also said a chargesheet against the absconding suspended IGP of Ranchi P S Natrajan would soon be filed.

Mr Natarajan had been suspended the same day and gas been absconding since then.


Naxalite bandh evokes little response in Dinajpur and Malda

Statesman News Service

RAIGANJ/MALDA, Jan. 31. — The CPI-ML-proposed 12 hour bandh in Raiganj evoked a partial response today. All schools, colleges, banks and other important government offices and institutions remained closed throughout the day.

Among the few exceptions were a section of West Bengal government offices, including the district collectorate office that remained open. Where all private vehicles in Raiganj, Kaliyaganj and Itahar, remained off the road during the bandh, the NBSTC buses were plying still seen plying. The response to the bandh was even weaker in Islampur. “A total of 42 picketers were arrested from Itahar and Kaliyaganj,” informed Mr PK Sanyal, the police super of North Dinajpur district.

The bandh called by the CPI-ML in North Bengal today received partial response in Malda, informed the Malda SP. Private buses as well as other private vehicles remained off the road. Business houses and shops in the markets also reportedly, remained closed throughout the day.

Though, schools across the district remained open, the teachers and the students faced a lot of difficulties while traveling to and fro from the school.
Attendance in government offices was normal, whereas, small traders kept their shops open in the English Bazaar town. Rickshaws too were available for the local people to commute in the town.

Eagle's Eye: Women Naxals head guerilla squads

A special battalion, exclusively for women naxalites has been created in Narayanpur and named as National Park dalam. Report by Abhinandan Mishra
The Bijapur police in Bastar killed three armed Maoists in an encounter at the Ganalur police station on January 30. One of the naxalites was a woman. Two women Naxalites were killed last month in the same area. The Maoists have made large-scale recruitment of women in its cadre in Bastar. Last week, they kidnapped some young girls in Gooardhanpur area of Surguja in their "recrutiment drive". Some of the area committees in the region are now being headed by women too. In the mission Jehanabad jail break too, women naxalites trained in the jungles of Bastar were sent.

The militia and local guerilla squads too are headed by women Naxalites. Ms Sujatha, wife of a politbureau member, M Koteshwar Rao and Ms Nirmala are commanders of two guerilla squads in South Bastar. One woman is also a member of the central committee, the supreme policy maing organization.

According to the reports available with the security agencies, there are 70 local guerilla squads and 30 military dalams of the Naxalites and there are at least 30 per cent women in each of these units.

According to some senior police officers of Bastar, Maoists have replaced its commanders in the Dandakaranya zone by appointing women, some of the MBBS doctors and post-graduates in the reshuffle. A special battalion, exclusively for women naxalites has been created in Narayanpur and named as National Park dalam. Its head is Ms Nirmal Ekka, claimed to be a medical graduate.

Most of the women naxalites are highly educated and even the new recruits are given education. The Maoists have opened 17 schools in Bijapur, where they are imparting lessons in their ideology to the children. Most of the schools were closed for years as the teachers were not going there.

These police reports suggest, 30 per cent of the Maoists leaders in the state are women. "They are more ruthless, more cruel and more crude than their male counterparts in the cadre". They commit murders and loot people. They are heavily armed and participate in all the insurgency operations. It has been estimated that there are over 700 women as members of the local guerilla squads in Chhattisgarh.

The Vasavgudda and Sabari dalams are also headed by women naxalites. During our visit to the naxalite affected areas in Dantewara during the winter vacation, we were told though every "dalam" of the PWG has seven to eight women naxalites, the idea to create a separate battalion was necessitated to instill more discipline among the cadres. The women naxalites are considered more brutal and ruthless than their male counterparts. Being women, they get an easy access in the tribal houses. They are trained in guerilla warfare. Two women commanders were killed in an encounter with the Rajnandgaon police also. The police had arrested two senior women Maoists and they are lodged in Durg jail.

The women naxalites are actively engaged in countering the state government's Jan Rapat and Gaon-Shahar Chalo campaigns. The Kondagaon, Kochalibada and Maad dalams commanders were replaced recently to intensify the campaign against the government schemes. The Kondagaon dalam is being headed by Ms Leela. The women naxalites played a decisive role in forcing about 160 sarpanchas, secretaries and jandpad chairmen's resignation in the area.

Two members of the watch and ward staff of the State Mining Development Corporations's Kuchnur mines were kidnapped by two women naxalites. They were made to run for their life throughout the night as they had ventured to enter the naxal areas. The two women naxalites who carried guns assaulted the chaukidars. One of them has been admitted in the hospital and undergoing treatment. The women naxalites spoke Telugu which the chaukidars could not follow. The naxalites released them after questioning and torture and Bhopalpatnam,156 kms from Dantewara.

The women naxalites take help of their male counterparts in road blockade by getting trees uprooted and putting them on the roads. This prevents the police from entering the areas dominated by them. The women naxalites mix with the women labourers and indoctrinate them against the government policies and in favour of the PWG programmes, according to Bastar police.

The women naxalites are asking people to end the practice of untouchability, encourage inter-caste marriages and curb mass feast on social gatherings. They are also telling the people to fight against torture of high castes against the downtrodden. They also teach the women not to tolerate harassment by their husbands. They are enforcing the minimum age of marriage of girls at 18 years. They are insisting on genuine reasons for separations of families which is common in the tribal belts.

The manifesto and rules of business of the organization has devoted one full para on the role of the women in the organization and declared there should be no discrimination between the two sex. It called for strengthening the women power in the organization. A strong women's movement should be launched, according to the manifesto

The Maoists have suggested the minimum age of marriage for girls should be 18 and for men 21. They are against dowry and advocate prohibition. One of the documents recovered by the security agencies claimed the Maoists are concerned about minor health problems too. At a meeting held at Gadchiroli reently, they expressed concern about tooth ailments among the members and decided to allot Rs 2 lakhs per month for medicare, particularly tooth care. They are now being supplied tooth paste and brushes. Ms Preeti was sanctioned Rs 50,000 by the organization for expansion of her activities.

Some of the recognized women Naxalites are-Sushila, Indrawati, Shakuntala, Renuka, Saroj, Reeta, Roopa, Sukhwanti, Sumitra, Sunanda, Pramila, Rewanti, Madhu, Kiran, Vandana, Ranjita, Sugana, Manju, Megha, Chandana, Reena and Varahs who head guerilla squads. Their duties are identified and they are also transferred to new divisions. The Maoists are particular in recruitment of girls between 16 and 35 in their cadres and had launched a special recruitment drive in a camp near Wagh river on Maharashtra borders recently.

Initially, the women naxalites are given responsibilities to propagate Maoist theory in the villages through frontal organizations of the Naxalites. They sing songs of Gaddhar and other Naxalite leaders. They are called "new recruits" and work for the "cover organizations" organizing sports and cultural activities among the tribals.

The Maoists are concerned about the extra-marital activities among the members and they try to discourage such activities. Those trying to breach the discipline are either ousted or told to get married. In case of Dilip and Reena, the organization turned down their marriage proposals as they belonged to the same gotra (clan). Both are in the guerilla squad. Reena was told to select another partner. In case of another Naxalite leader, Ramdas, the Maoists reprimanded him for breaking the discipline by proposing to another women Naxalite who was not interested in him. "The committee is concerned about the weakness of Basanta (another woman naxalite leader)", according to the minutes book of the Maoists meeting seized by the security agencies. Ramesh and Chandana had also similar problem, which invited the wrath of the top leaders and they decided to transfer them to different squads.

Ms Sujata, a senior woman commander recently alleged even unmarried young women are being forced to wear 'Sindoor' in order to lay pretence to a male protector. There was a heart rending story of an Aanganwadi worker, Soniya, who was beaten up by the Jawans of the Naga battalions, tied up with ropes at the ankle, dragged in this condition to the police station and forced to spend the night in the lock-up along with men, all on the suspicion that she was a Naxalite supporter.

Several villages in the area where "Salva Judum" is going on are reported to have become devoid of male members, who have either run away or being forced into the camps, she charged the security agencies

Five Maoists, including three area commanders arrested

Gaya: Five members of the banned CPI (Maoist), including three self-styled area commanders, were arrested from village Pakri under Kothi police station in Bihar's Naxalite-affected Gaya district today, police said.

Acting on a tip-off, a police team, assisted by CRPF personnel, raided the village and captured them.

Three of the arrested were identified as Ramavtar, Navendu Yadav and Ahmed Mian, all self-styled area commanders of the outfit, and were wanted in several criminal cases, sources said.

Two rifles and several rounds of ammunition were seized from their possession.

‘My men need to be protected’ -- Director General CRPF

Josy Joseph
Wednesday, February 01, 2006 23:29 IST

NEW DELHI: Jyoti Kumar Sinha, the director general of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), is a worried man.

“When my soldier goes into an area, for operation he knows it is definitely mined and he knows he is certainly going to be fired up on. What does he want in such a situation to feel confident?” asks the chief of the paramilitary force that has most of its men deployed in Kashmir, northeast and in naxal-infested areas.

The question keeps returning as I accompany Sinha and his senior officials for almost an hour checking out armoured vehicles, personal protection suits, and systems to detect explosives on display from around the world in Pragti Maidan at the Defexpo 2006.

“What my men want are personal protection, mine-proof vehicles and systems to detect explosives,” Sinha lists the priorities. “The important thing,” Sinha says, is “not just the level of protection but also the level of detection.”

The deliberate and intense search for mine-proof vehicles, modern bullet-proof jackets and detection systems by Sinha and his senior officials is reflective of the larger concerns of the Indian security establishment.

Insurgents across the country have taken to remote controlled explosions targeted at security agencies in a major way. Of the 74 CRPF personnel who died on duty last year, 48 were victims of IEDs.

The CRPF actually woke up to the challenge last year on September 3, 2005. Twenty-two CPRF jawans leaving for home on leave died in a massive blast in Chattisgarh.

A mine proof vehicle, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation in which they were crowded into, passed over some 50 kilograms of explosives including RDX. In the impact of the explosion, the vehicle flew up some 20 feet and over 100 feet forward.

Almost all the soldiers died of head, spinal and neck injuries. “No shell had pierced the vehicle,” says Sinha of the ability of the DRDO vehicle.

Today, the CRPF has two such vehicles and eight more are in the pipeline from DRDO. But that is insufficient to meet the mammoth challenge "We need at least 200 mine-proof vehicles. The problem is the availability of them," says Sinha, as he takes a close look at the Humvees, world's most popular mine-proof vehicle.

The base price for a Humvee is Rs 30 lakhs, which could shoot up by several more lakhs with additional accessories, and there are bigger mine-proof vehicles that could cost up to a couple of crores.

A feet away, Sinha takes a deeper look at the RG-31 armoured personnel vehicle manufactured by a South African arm of the British defence major BAE Systems. It was the same company which supplied Casspir, the APVs that Indian security forces are using in Kashmir.

Mohan Guruswamy, one of India's most lucid writers on strategic issues, says vehicles like Casspir are not real answers to the growing challenges. Most of the mine-proof vehicles in the world can only take explosions from up to 12 kilograms of sophisticated explosives.

"It is a never ending competition, as the companies increase the capacity of the armour, the militants increase the amount of explosives in each IED.”

Two new Greyhound centers

Updated: 02-01-2006 By andhracafe

The state government has decided to set up two new Grey Hound centers to check the growing naxal menace. The centers would come up in the Rayalaseema district and another at Visakhapatnam.

Home minister Jana Reddy said that the center would have 20 units each consisting of 35 personnel. He said that the center would not only check the naxal menace but also help check factionists and anti-social activities.

Root causes of naxalism would be addressed: PM

New Delhi, Feb 1 (PTI) Asserting that naxal violence in many parts of the country would be faced boldly by the police, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said government would address the root causes of this alienation.
Recognising that naxalism was a problem in many parts of the country, the Prime Minister told reporters that "while violence is to be condemned and will be faced boldly by our police forces, we will also address the root causes of this alienation -- chronic poverty, illiteracy and landlessness." He said the government has improved national security environment at home.

"We have brought peace and security to the Northeastern region, to Jammu and Kashmir and to various troubled regions," Singh said adding the Government was talking to all sections of people "outside the mainstream of political life with a view to bringing them around to a peaceful resolution of problem." "We have done this without compromising on our national interests," the Prime Minister said asserting the Government would continue to fight all anti-national and disruptive forces. "We will defeat terrorism." He said the people had time and again shown that political power in India "flows only from the ballot box and not from the barrel of the gun." PTI

Rajnath's village among naxal hit Uttar Pradesh villages

Varanasi: The native village of BJP president Rajnath Singh, is among the 226 villages in Chandaulli district of Uttar Pradesh, infested with naxal activites.

Police sources said here today that Mr Singh's village of Bhabhaura, is one of the 226 villages of Chandaulli that are infested wih naxal activities.

A total of three districts -- Chandaulli, Sonebhadra and Mirzapur, have been affected by naxal activities in the state.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Naxalites trigger powerful blast in Bastar

Naxalites trigger powerful blast in Bastar

Jagdalpur: In the wake of a recent attack on a relief camp, Communist Party of India (Maoist) cadres triggered a powerful landmine blast causing extensive damage to Bijapur-Avapalli road in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada diistrict this morning, but there was no casualty, police said.

The earlier attack by the naxalites on Sunday night at Gangalur claimed 11 lives , killing eight villagers and three naxalites.

Police sources said the blast was apparently aimed at damaging the road leading to village Cheramangi where an anti-naxalite meeting was scheduled tomorrow.

Sources said Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh was scheduled to attend a meeting of 'Salwa Judum'-- which in local dialect means peace campaign-- at Cheramangi tomorrow. They said it appeared that the naxalites had triggered the blast to disturb the meeting.

Senior Congress leader and leader of the opposition in the Assembly Mahendra Karma, who is heading the campaign, had undertaken a padyatra along with 'Salwa Judum' supporters on Bijapur-Avapalli road yesterday.

For the last six months, the tribals of Bastar are up in arms against the naxalites by launching the 'Salwa Judum' campaign so as to motivate the people to dissociate themselves from the extremists and to return to the national mainstream.

Several thousand tribals, displaced from their homestate following the hostilities between naxalites and the security forces,were given shelter in over a dozen relief camps in south Bastar.

Spl package for surrendered naxals in Andhra Pradesh: Jana Reddy

Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Home Minister K Jana Reddy today said the government was planning to set up a special package for the rehabilitation of surrendered naxals as per the recommendations of the Superindentent of Police (SP) of the naxal affected districts.

Addressing the press here, he said the SPs had recommended the special package for the surrendered naxals which would have separate funds to rehabilitate the ultras who surrendered before the police, at the two-day Collectors and SPs conference.

Stating that the Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy had directed the District Collectors to provide employment to the surrendered naxals, Mr Reddy said the surrendered naxals would be given jobs in private companies in their respective districts.

The government had approved to constitute two greyhound parties in Rayalaseema region and Visakhapatnam, which would tackle insurgency, factionalism and ISI activities, he added.

12-hr CPI(ML) North Bengal bandh affects life in Siliguri

Kolkata: A 12-hour CPI(ML) (Kanu Sanyal group) sponsored North Bengal bandh affected life in Siliguri and surrounding areas today.

The bandh has been called demanding reopening of closed tea gardens in Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling districts and protesting the 'apathetic' attitude of the state government to closed tea gardens.

The affected districts are Malda, South and West Dinajpur, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar.

Official sources said 30 Naxal supporters were arrested in South Dinajpur for disrupting life.

Sources said schools and colleges remained closed as did shops and other establishments in Siliguri and neighbouring areas.

However, the bandh had no impact in the hills of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong where tea gardens functioned normally.

Naxal leader Kanu Sanyal, addressing a press conference in Siliguri recently, threatened taking 'extreme' steps by February 8 to protest the "silent role" of the government towards tea garden workers

Jawan killed in Naxal attack in Jharkhand

Press Trust of India

Chatra (Jharkhand), January 31, 2006

Two persons, including a police jawan, were killed and two injured in a Naxalite attack near Bhangiya-Majhipara bridge in Chatra district.

The Naxalites fired upon a patrolling party on Monday, killing one jawan of the Special Task Force and a civilian travelling with police, DSP Sudarshan Mohan said.

An encounter took place soon after with both sides exchanging fire for over 90 minutes, he said.

The injured STF men were rushed to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, he added.

Chhattisgarh mulls group insurance cover in Naxal areas

Raipur: The Chhattisgarh government is likely to consider providing group insurance cover to the people in the naxalite infested areas of the state, Chief Minister Raman Singh has said.

''It's a good suggestion which could be examined'', he told reporters at his residence here last night.

Mr Singh was replying to a question about the possibility of state government introducing group insurance cover to the people in naxalite infested areas in view of the increase in naxalite violence, particularly in tribal Bastar region.

Asked whether the state government would make arrangements for security in the villages as the people were being attacked by the Communist Party of India (Maoists) ever since the movement against extremists began nearly six months ago, he said it would not be practically possible to post security personnel in each and every village.

However, special police officers had been appointed and they were also imparted training to handle weapons, he said, adding these SPOs would assist the security forces besides extending support to the village defence committees. Efforts were being made to strengthen this system, he added.

Asked as to how long the state government would be able to accommodate more than 15,000 people in relief camps, the Chief Minister said clusters, comprising about 200 houses, were being constructed at different places to provide shelter to those people who had fled from their villages following naxalite threat.

He said these cluster of houses would be close to police stations and necessary social infrastructure like hospitals and educational facilities would also be provided close to these houses.

Strongly condemning Sunday night naxalite attack on a relief camp near Gangalur in South Bastar, in which eight villagers and three naxalites were killed, he said the attack was the outcome of frustation of Maoists as they were being isolated following the peoples' revolt against them.

For the last six months, the tribals of Bastar are up in arms against naxalites and they had launched ''Salwa Judum''-- which means peace campaign in local dialect-- to motivate people to disociate themselves from extremists and return back to the national mainstream.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Naxals attack relief camp, 11 killed

Jagdalpur Chhattisgarh | January 30, 2006 7:38:44 PM IST

Eleven people, including three Naxalites, were killed and nine injured in an attack by the CPI (Maoist) ultras on a relief camp of displaced tribals at Gangalur in Chhattisgarh's Dantewara district last night, police said today.
Among the injured were five Special Police Officers, who are local youths recruited by police on fixed honorarium to work as a conduit between the villagers and police in the Naxal-hit south Bastar region, bordering Andhra Pradesh.

Police sources today said three Naxalites, including a woman, were killed when police repulsed the ultras who killed eight villagers in the attack on the relief camp set up by the government to give shelter to tribals uprooted from their homes in the ongoing hostilities between the extremists and security forces.

The injured were being treated at the health centre at Gangalur, police added.

Several thousand tribals had been given shelter in over a dozen relief camps following the increased naxal violence terror after the local tribals with the support of political parties and administration launched a peace movement 'Salwa Judum' against the three-decade old Naxal menace.

Along with the peace movement, police had recruited local youths, including women, to work as Special Police Officers equipped with firearms after few months training. The SPOs assist the police in intelligence gathering and other operations.


Chhattisgarh: 7 killed in Maoist attack

January 30, 2006 18:09 IST

At least seven persons, including three naxals, were killed following an attack by Maoists at a government camp in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh Monday, police said.

"A total of seven bodies have so far been recovered, including that of four villagers, staying in Gangalur camp," Bijapur police told PTI.

More than 300 armed naxalites attacked the camp, where about 5,000 people had taken shelter because of naxal violence, and killed four villagers, besides attacking a nearby police station, they said.

The ultras raided the camp for over an hour, in which four villagers were killed.

On hearing gunshots, security personnel rushed from the police station, but came under attack from the ultras, which was retaliated.

However, no security personnel was injured, they said. But in the counter offensive, at least three armed naxalites, including one woman, were killed, they said.

"Combing operation in the area is continuing and we are sure that more naxalites have been killed, whose bodies have been taken away by the Maoists with them," police said adding, investigation was on to ascertain if the ultras have kidnapped tribals from the shelter home.

Why no special status for Bihar to combat naxalism ?: HC

Patna | January 30, 2006 5:38:02 PM IST

Patna High Court today asked the Centre to explain ''why special status should not be granted to Bihar like Punjab, Assam and Jammu & Kashmir to combat growing naxalism in the state ?'' Hearing a Public Interest Petition, a division bench of the court comprising Chief Justice J N Bhatt and Justice R N Prasad directed the government to explore the possibilities of granting special status to Bihar to check the incidents of extremism in the state.
The Court asked the Centre to file a related affidavit by March 1.

The Centre was also directed to extend full assistance to the state government for modernisation of police forces to make it more effective.

Earlier, Bihar government and Union government had filed an Action Taken Report in wake of the intelligence inputs about the naxal movements on November 13, 2005, when the naxalites had engineered the Jehanabad Jail break.

IG (Operations), R R Verma informed the court that the state government had taken preventive measures after receiving the intelligence inputs about their attempt to strike vital installations in Jehanabad.

The State Home Secretary and the Director General of Police (DGP) were present in the court during the hearing.


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Booming economy, stagnant politics

Friday January 27 2006 15:52 IST

Sushila Ravindranath

The other day I happened to be talking to one of the captains of our industry. I expected him to sound on top of the world. After all Indian economy is rocking and his particular industry is doing extremely well. But he sighed, “It’s all so surreal!”

Why ? He says whenever he has anything to do with the government it leaves him utterly depressed. “Who says corruption doesn’t exist,” he asks. His point is as long as you have nothing to do with administration, things move along smoothly. The states, which have everything going for them, have difficult governments.

Take Maharashtra, for example. The country’s once most dynamic state is fast losing it. It has an accessible Chief Minister but there is so much infighting in the party that no decision gets taken. Karnataka is in a bigger mess. Tamil Nadu’s politics of vendetta and the deep-rooted dislike of the two major leaders for each other scares off many potential investors in spite of a dynamic Chief Minister. Andhra has a Naxalite problem. And Kerala still has union problems. The problem-free states unfortunately don’t matter to the investor.

The problem is, business still needs government although not as much as it did before. For instance, the government tightly controls land. It controls infrastructure. It has to provide roads, electricity and water. It is not possible to start a mega project in the private sector without the government’s blessings.

The headlines of the last two weeks make one empathise with what the industrialist is saying. While everything in India (well, a lot of things) has changed in the last 10 to 15 years, the quality of politics seems to be at a standstill. It’s difficult not to laugh when MLAs are given a free holiday so that they are not purchased by other parties. Such holidays were common occurrences in an earlier era. Remember Chandrababu Naidu keeping his MLAs hidden away when he was taking on his father-in-law, NTR? One would have thought that the anti-defection bill would be a deterrent. But our MLAs and MPs sing to their own tunes.

Bihar Governor Buta Singh has been indicted by the Supreme Court for recommending the dissolution of the Bihar assembly. The judges have held the dissolution unconstitutional and illegal. But Buta Singh seems singularly unaffected, if one goes by his statements to the press. Then the widely-televised sight of Congress workers in Hyderabad genuflecting before Rahul Gandhi. Everything is so reminiscent of what one keeps hoping was a bygone era.

There is no closure of any sort in Indian politics. The guilty is never punished and cases drag on forever. For an entire generation that grew up post Bofors, what kind of values are we giving? I won’t be surprised if 20 years down the line, we are still discussing Quattrocchi and the frozen or defrozen or refrozen accounts. No one seems to want to know what really happened. It’s more a question of causing embarrassment to the people in power or otherwise.

The portrayal of politicians remains in our movies remains the same as it was in the 70’s, even though the entertainment industry has undergone spectacular changes and is today world class. The politician is always a powerful villain who does unspeakable things to the ordinary man. Have you ever seen a minister or politician shown in a good light in our films? If they are good and noble, they are invariably killed off by a rival. Has one ever paused to think why?

In the 70’s, the businessman had almost as bad an image as the politician. Remember in the Socialist era it was mostly the wheelers and dealers who flourished. The rules were so draconian that unless you knew how to fix, you disappeared. Proximity to Delhi was the most important skill you had to possess as an entrepreneur. Managing the environment led to success. So when India opened up and let foreign companies in, there were loud howls of protest from the business community. Everybody wanted a level playing ground. Many thought that the government should have allowed internal competition before allowing the foreigners in. There were fears that we were going to be colonised by monster multinationals this time round.

But what really happened? The Indian manufacturing sector, in a remarkably short time, got its act together. Survival became the name of the game. To survive, the industry learnt new tricks. It shed the flab, which it had been accumulating for years. It started paying attention to hitherto-ignored concepts such as quality and productivity. The country quietly became the hub for software exports and back room operations of the world. Slowly but steadily it is also becoming the production hub for many products including automobiles. Nobody ever doubts any longer that India is an emerging economic superpower.

So why is politics not moving on? We still have 80-year-olds dreaming of becoming Prime Ministers. We still worship dynasties. We still have a Left which draws its inspiration from Cuba rather than China and we continue electing them to power in two states.

So should we blame the politicians or ourselves?

Maoist Dy Commander surrenders

Visakhapatnam | January 29, 2006 9:46:57 PM IST

A Deputy Commander of Gurthedu Dalam of CPI (Maoists) today surrendered before the police at Narasipatnam in the district.

Speaking to UNI here, Officer on Special Duty Vineet Brijlal said G Nooka Raju alias Rajesh expressed a desire to join the mainstream.

Rajesh who belonged to Chapuratipalem Village of G K Veedi Mandal had been involved in various incidents, including the recent attack on Sileru Police Station and exchange of fire near Nerajartha village.

''The surrender of K Mahesh, a key member of Galikonda Dalam four days ago and government's assurance that no cases would be filed against those who gave themselves up besides the promise of a rehabilitation package seemed to have had the desired effect,'' Mr Brijlal said.

We expect more naxals to surrender in the district. This would include not just the tribal youth lured by the insurgents but some of their leaders as well,'' Mr Brijlal said.

The OSD said, apart from some immediate relief, Rajesh would stand to gain Rs 50,000, which would be given to him to help him lead a normal life.


Patil inaugurates GIS, GPS systems at police commissionerate

Mumbai | January 29, 2006 9:38:20 PM IST

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil today inaugurated the Global Information System and Geographical Position System at the Mumbai police commissionarate here.

Both the systems will be made available on 20 vehicles in Mumbai on an experimental basis and, later, installed on 400 vehicles in the city.

Mumbai is the first city in India to have this ultra modern system which will help the police reach any place at the earliest in case of an eventuality.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Patil said such systems should be made available in Naxalite-infested areas.


Police exchange fire with naxals

Adilabad | January 29, 2006 9:42:05 PM IST

Police exchanged fire with a group of Naxalites near Kavala forest area in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh today.

A police party while on duty near Lakshadipet and Tiryani area and in the nearby Kavala forest area, came across the naxals. When naxals opened fire at them, the police party retaliated in defence, according to police.

The police also recovered 12 kit bags from the scene. The police also suspect that one naxal may have been killed in the incident.


Naxal terrorist nexus has to be nipped in the bud: DGP

Hyderabad | January 29, 2006 6:40:57 PM IST

Andhra Pradesh Director-General of Police (DGP) Swaranjit Sen today said the nexus between naxals and terrorists has to be nipped in the bud.

Delivering the presidential address during 10th K S Vyas Memorial Lecture on ''Security Imperatives For Development Despite Armed Extremism and Terrorism'' here, he said the most disturbing threat to peace would be the nexus between naxals and terrorists.

''If this happens, life would become very miserable,'' he noted.

He said the state police resorted to the formula of ''Offence is the best defence'' in dealing with Maoists last year and it yielded good results. ''I am sure the same strategy would have been followed by Mr Vyas if he were alive today'', he added.

However, Mr Sen expressed the view that the state police was lagging behind slightly in countering the naxal strategy. On this front, the police need to improve, he added.