Saturday, February 25, 2006

Chhattisgarh focus on development to tackle naxalism

Raipur | February 25, 2006 4:43:42 PM IST

Focussing on socio-economic development of naxalite infested areas, Chhattisgarh's budget for fiscal 2006-07 earmarked more funds to improve education and health facilities.

''Our effort is to remove the regional imbalance and to give priority to development of naxalite areas'', Finance Minister Amar Agrawal told newsmen after presenting the budget in the Vidhan Sabha.

He said adequate funds have been earmarked for development initiatives to be taken up in naxalite infested tribal Bastar and Sarguja regions. He said these funds would be utilised for improving education and health facilities besides taking up construction of roads and bridges, electricity, irrigation and other basic facilities.

Pointing out that the budget allocation for education was proposed to be increased by 20 per cent, Mr Agrawal said 4000 new school buildings would be constructed. As many as 120 new primary schools and 1200 middle schools would be opened and 127 high schools would be upgraded to higher secondary schools.

Stating that budget allocation for health has been increased by 39 per cent, the minister said a target of energising one lakh agricultural pumps in next three years has been fixed.

In the first phase, he said, a subsidy of Rs 50 crore would be provided to the state electricity board for energising 25,000 agriculture pumps. Besides, Rs 100 crore has been earmarked for the construction of seven medium irrigation projects, 118 small irrigation projects and 89 anicuts.


‘If we had to, we could have had killers all over the state’

Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police Swaranjit Sen is an expert in dealing with Naxalites. Some of the other ‘Maoist-affected states’ seek his help in setting up anti-Naxalite commando forces or training personnel for anti-Naxalite operations. However, the inability of the state police to nab the Cobras, who are on a killing spree, has earned him the wrath of civil rights activists. They have accused the state police of connivance with the Cobras. Tehelka spoke to Sen on issues relating to the Naxal problem in the state and its lethal fallout, the Cobras. Excerpts:

By PC Vinoj Kumar

Not Our Men: DGP Swaranjit Sen

‘Civil rights groups are a nuisance as far as Naxalites are concerned. They should back down when the government is sincere in its efforts and the police is acting with restraint’
How have you dealt with the Naxal issue?

I firmly believe that we can root out Naxalism. This has been my attitude since the time I became dgp, and earlier too when I was home secretary. In my view, Naxalism cannot sustain for long. Times are changing very fast and nobody wants to remain in the forest and be deprived of the fruits of development. Highly qualified people are not joining the Naxal movement anymore. There are only a handful of them controlling the organisation. We estimate the total strength of the Maoists in the state to be about 850-900. Naxalism is definitely a socio-economic problem. This government is quite serious about improving the plight of the downtrodden. On our part, we are very careful about whom we arrest. We made a decision to arrest only hardcore Naxals and not those who might have helped Naxals by providing them food or shelter out of fear. In the last four months we have recruited about 3,000 tribals from Naxal-affected areas in the Andhra Pradesh Special Police Battalion. Physical and educational requirements were relaxed for them. Such measures would further dry up the recruiting ground for Naxals.

What about civil rights groups?

Civil rights groups are an absolute nuisance as far as Naxalites are concerned. They are doing a fine job otherwise. I’ll probably join them after my retirement from service. As for the Naxalite issue, they should back down a little, when they see the government is sincere in its efforts and police is acting with restraint. I am not saying that the police should be given an absolute free hand. But don’t discourage them by spreading false stories and glorifying the deeds of the Naxals. They should apply human rights equally to the police and Naxals. But they are not being objective. There are a number of organisations, which are actually fronts of Naxalites. VIRASAM (Revolutionary Writers Association) was one such outfit, which is now banned.

What about allegations of Police-Cobra nexus?

There is absolutely no truth in the charges. The police is a disciplined force. There is an established command structure in place. We, as leaders of the police force, can control the emotions of our men. But we have no control over the people. The so-called human rights groups find it convenient to blame the police for everything.

Why haven’t you made any arrests so far in the Cobra-related cases?

There were just four incidents (of murder) in a whole year (2005). Investigations are underway and they are proceeding on correct lines. We will make arrests once we gather evidence. It is not an easy thing. We have not apprehended the culprits in many murders committed by the Naxalites too. If we had to, we could have had Cobras all over the state.

A suspended police constable, Javed, was arrested in 2004 for threatening activists in the name of Green Tigers. How do you explain that?

In a 90,000-strong police force, you may find one person who is a deviant. It is like a drop in the ocean. You cannot paint an entire department with the same brush. There are so many good officers. It is neither fashionable nor profitable for the media to present the government or police in positive light.

Mar 04 , 2006

Former Naxalites are being armed in Andhra Pradesh to take on underground Reds


The Cobra Fields

Former Naxalites are being armed in Andhra Pradesh to take on underground Reds. Civil rights groups allege this is a covert war being waged by the State. PC Vinoj Kumar’s report

Civil rights activists are in the grip of terror in Andhra Pradesh. Scores of them are on the hitlist of killer gangs freely roaming the state. Operating in the names of Nallamalla Black Cobras, Kakatiya Cobras, Naxalite Victims Association and Narsa Cobras, these gangs have already killed four activists, made abortive attempts and issued countless threats to many others. Those targeted include lawyers, writers and left-wing intellectuals. The police is yet to make a single arrest in connection with the incidents so far.
Mar 04 , 2006

396 Naxalite crimes in last two years in Chhattisgarh (News Kerala)

Raipur, Feb 20 : The Chhattisgarh government today informed the state assembly that the Maoists had committed 396 crimes in the state in the last two years.

Claiming that the law and order situation was under control in the state, Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam told the house during the Question Hour that the Maoists had committed 182 murders, 176 dacoities, 23 loots, five cases of assault and ten kidnapping cases from January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2005.

Replying to questions of Motilal Devangan and Mahant Ram Sunder Das of Congress, he said at present 56 blocks spread over 12 districts, including four police districts, are infested by Naxalite menace in the state and all steps are being taken to curb ultras’ movement.

Replying to a question of Dharamjeet Singh of Congress, Netam said since January 1, 2005 to January 27, 2006 there were 1081 cases of murders, 1059 cases of rapes, 220 cases of dacoity, 263 cases of abduction, 6094 cases of theft were registered in the state.

Similarly, 2062 cases were registered in 2003-2004 for atrocities against SC, ST and OBC. On 2004-2005 it was 2885 cases and in 2005-2006 a total of 2245 cases have been registered in the state, he added.

Anti-naxal operations to be intensified in states

Raipur | February 24, 2006 12:46:22 AM IST

The Joint Task Force of eight naxalite-affected states today decided to intensify the operation against Communist Party of India (Maoist) cadres, who had stepped up violence in few states, including Chhattisgarh.

Talking to reporters here, Union Special Secretary (Home) A K Mitra said the task force meeting reviewed the Naxalite activities, particularly the recent spurt in Maoist violence in Chhattisgarh.

''Joint operations in the border areas would be intensified,'' he said, adding that a strategy was also in place to have better coordination between the states in Anti-naxalite operations.

He said senior officers, including from the intelligence wing, from Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa and Maharashtra attended today's task force meeting.

Replying to a question, Mr Mitra admitted that there has been no major success in cutting off the sources of funding of naxalites.

He also admitted that of late, the Maoists had acquired large number of sophisticated weapons.

When his attention was drawn towards the controversy over the Chhattisgarh Special Peoples' Security Bill, which was passed by the state assembly mainly to deal with Naxalite problem, Mr Mitra parried the question saying, ''I have not read it. I can't say whether it was draconian or not.'' Mr Mitra said it was the declared policy of the Centre to deal strictly with the ultras indulging in violence and to tackle the problem on operational as well as developmental front, as the Centre considers it as not merely a law and order problem.

He said the Centre was also of the view that the states concerned must adopt a collective approach to deal with the problem.


Country's security in threat under UPA regime: Adityanath

Shahjahanpur | February 25, 2006 10:45:35 PM IST

The successor of Gorakshapith and BJP MP from Gorakhpur Yogi Adityanath today said the internal security of the country was in serious threat under the UPA regime at the centre.

Addressing a press conference here Mr Adityanath alleged anti-national forces had infiltrated through the unsecured borders to all parts of the country and the UPA government was surrendering the national interest before separatist outfits like the Hurriyat Conference.

He also alleged that the vortex of naxalism had grown more powerful during the UPA regime. In 2004, 54 districts in eight states were naxal infested -- a number that had now grown to 215 districts in 15 states.


Naxal intrusion: Police on alert

Saturday February 25 2006 14:37 IST

RAICHUR: The police carried out combing operation in the last three days in 30 villages in the border areas of the taluk, following a tip off by their counterparts of neighbouring Mahboobnagar district in Andhra Pradesh that some naxalites are likely to enter this region through Shaktinagar.

Andhra Pradesh police suspected that their hunting of naxalites at Narayanpur and Makthal regions might force the naxalites to enter Karnataka through Shaktinagar. The district police formed six teams of officials consisting of a Dy Sp, three CPIs, four PSIs, sixty constables and combed the villages coming under the limits of Yapaldinni, Yergera, Iidapanur and rural police stations.

Though senior officials put it as routine combing operations, sources said that a threatening call was received by the Deputy Commissioner’s office saying that a group of naxalites would blast a strategic place.

The police force is on full alert. However Deputy Commissioner Tushar Girinath denied having received any such calls.

Superintendent of Police Hitendra said that the combing operation was a precautionary measure. However he confirmed the reports that the possibility of naxalite intrusion through Shaktinagar was suspected because of the Andhra Pradesh police combing operations in the border villages. “We wanted to keep our men alert,” he said.

Meanwhile security was tightened in and around the Raichur Thermal power station, which is situated at Shaktinagar.

Meet conducts security & development audits of naxal infested states

Raipur, Feb 23 : A high-level meeting of Central and state government officials today conducted a security and development audit of the naxal affected states here and decided to encourage resentments against left wing extremism among the people.

"Since maoist problem is not only a law and order problem the meeting of the joint task force of the naxal infested states discussed here the issues from both the operational as well as developmental angles," special secretary of Union Home Ministry A K Mitra told reporters here.

Addressing a joint press conference with joint secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs L C Goel and other police officers of Chhattisgarh, Mitra said the meeting reviewed works being carried out in the naxal infested states.

"The meeting discussed about the Salwa Judum or peace campaign being carried out in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh and decided to encourage resentment among the people where ever possible against the maoists," top police sources said adding, "it has been decided to spread Salwa Judum campaign in other infested states." The meeting also exchanged information about the naxal movement in their areas and decided to carry out operations against the naxalites in a more coordinated way, Mitra said.

The official, however, said they do not have any inputs to suggest that the naxalites have any international links.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

'Maoists not linked to global terror groups' --special secretary Union home ministry

Raipur: Militants in India have a "large number of sophisticated weapons", a union home ministry official said in Chhattisgarh Thursday, but refused to link the Communist Party of India-Maoist with any global terror groups.
"The Maoist problem is not a law and order one. This is a terrorist and inter-state problem," special secretary in the union home ministry A.K. Mitra told reporters after presiding over a meeting of the task force of nine Maoist-hit states.

The inspector-general or additional director general-ranked officials of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra attended the meet to chalk out a joint strategy to contain Maoist violence.

Mitra said: "The central government has no inputs of rebels' connection with any international terror outfits, including Sri Lanka's LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)."
He said police have recovered 650 kg explosives from rebels in Chhattisgarh - part of the 20 tonnes of explosives looted by rebels in an attack on government-owned National Mineral Development Corporation's explosives store in the state's Dantewada district Feb 9.

A unit of the country's elite anti-terrorism force, National Security Guard, had reached Chhattisgarh last week and would stay in the state for a month to step up anti-Maoist

Naxalite killed in AP village

Karimnagar Andhra Pradesh | February 23, 2006 5:42:35 PM IST

A naxalite of the New Maoist Party was killed in a cross-fire near Ghatlanarsingapuram village in Bhumadeverapally mandal of the district today, the police said.
The naxalite, Kumaraswamy, of Dharmaram village had recently quit CPI(Maoist) and launched his own outfit 'New Maoist Party.' He was extorting money in Kamalapur and Huzurabad area, according to police.

On a tip-off, a special police party from Huzarabad rushed towards Ghatlanarsingapuram village where the ultras opened fired.

Police found Kumaraswamy's body lying at the place.


Ultras use sophisticated weapons

Ultras use sophisticated weapons

Anjan Chakraborty in Kolkata

Feb. 22. — Extremist outfits are increasingly using more lethal improvised explosive devices to substantially increase its impact. This has now forced law enforcement agencies to develop counter mechanisms and train more officers in techniques to defuse IEDs.
A study was carried out by Mr AK Maliwal, who is the security director and chief security officer to the chief minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.
Mr Maliwal presented the study at the Sixth International National Bomb Data Centre (NBDC) seminar at the National Security Guard (NSG) garrison in Manesar, Haryana, recently.
The study states that earlier, extremist groups which used lower-end command wire-based explosive devices, are of late using sophisticated bombs such as vehicle-borne and remote-controlled IEDs.
Extremists are now shifting from home-made to factory-produced explosives and using target-activated bombs. To substantially increase the impact, they are also resorting to causing parallel and simultaneous explosions, according to the study.
These groups have ambitions to keep multiplying the impact of IEDs to cause maximum devastation. The study states: “They are trying to perfect the art of manufacturing remote-activated devices as well, with the help of extremist outfits which have access to the necessary know-how.”
Stating that Naxalite groups operating in different parts of the country were sharing technological know-how on building bombs, the study says that since 1993, the extremist groups had access to printed books on “very simple” procedures to prepare bombs using commercially available chemicals and materials.
“The data was collected from various state agencies. The model that has been built is called the ‘4Ts’ that is, Transferring, Training, Tactics and Technology. The study’s theme is to show how extremists have engaged themselves in transferring technology from outside to develop IEDs which are meant to produce more lethal effect,” Mr Maliwal said.
While explaining the use of IEDs by extremists in West Bengal and its counter measures, Mr Maliwal said: “Statistically speaking in 2003, one security personnel was killed in an extremist-triggered blast in the state. In 2004, this figure rose to 14, while in 2005, we reduced it to one. During this period there was an active sensitisation programme of security personnel that helped to reduce the damage,” Mr Maliwal said.
Even Kolkata Police decided to train officers in police stations to handle emergencies on their own, instead of waiting for expert units to arrive. Two officers from every police station attended training sessions to keep themselves abreast of ways to handle explosive devices. Mr Maliwal conducted the session in August, last year.
A dearth of experts in training police officers in ways to handle IEDs is a cause of concern. “This is no doubt one grey area for us. If extremists can transfer new technology and undertake new tactics and training, why can’t police do the same,” Mr Maliwal asked.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Maoist rebels kidnap and indoctrinate children

by Prakash Dubey

Sixty children have been kidnapped. An educator said they “will be indoctrinated about Maoist ideology, about a cult of violence and use of arms”. The rebels have kidnapped thus more than 200,000 children within 10 years.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Maoist rebels kidnapped a group of 60 children from two schools on Saturday to indoctrinate them with their ideology. The children, subjected to a series of education sessions by the rebels, come from Doti district in western Nepal. The region is so remote and isolated that news of the kidnapping only came out today, after four days. This is the first kidnapping after four months of ceasefire from 3 September 2005 to 2 January 2006.

“The children were busy preparing for their final school exams scheduled

for March,” Rupendra Basyal, an educator in the rebel-dominated western district told AsiaNews. “Now they have been forcibly taken to unknown and remote mountainous Maoist camps, where they are tutored in the Maoist ideology, a cult of violence and handling weapons. This is very disastrous for their budding psyche and it is a rampant violation of the innocence of childhood. Maoists must be discouraged from perpetrating such acts.”

Norbert Rai, a Christian lawyer and human rights activist, said that over the last 10 years, Maoist rebels “kidnapped more than 200,000 children from around 40 districts to indoctrinate them about their policies. Their modus operandi is that they suddenly reach a school during class hours and ask the teachers and students to follow them to their camps in jungles where the children, mostly middle and high school ones, aged between 8 to 14 years, are kept for five to six days for the sessions. Then they are allowed to return home.

“The Maoists claim that such sessions are part of their curriculum of 'people's education', which is anchored in their slogan, ‘put the paper and pencil in the bag and target the palace with the gun’. The Maoists give children militia style training in utter violation of their rights. Using children under 15 in armed conflict is a war crime. But who cares? The Maoists certainly don't care despite their incessant parroting that they are fighting for the welfare of the people.”

Basyal said the Maoists' political education program was "a big thorn into the throats of teachers who want to help the children, and who are not only forced to attend Maoist indoctrination sessions, but even have to cough up around 20% of their salary as 'people's tax' to the Maoists. Otherwise they must face execution or persecution. Above all, such teachers are also vulnerable to torture and harassment by security forces for their alleged collaboration with Maoists."

Teachers say almost 200 of their colleagues have fallen to bullets fired either by Maoists or by the security forces and nearly 4,000 have been rendered jobless as they could not cope with the stressful situation.

Maoists enter legislators' quarters

Raipur: In a daring move, Maoist guerrillas entered the official quarters of Chattisgarh's legislators and distributed anti-government literature to them.

"It is shocking that the rebels reached Raipur and managed to gain entry to the MLAs' quarters," Home Minister Ramvichar Netam told IANS.

This became known Tuesday when some Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party legislators revealed that they were given envelopes containing a CD and Maoist literature.

The CDs had clippings of alleged 'police brutalities'. The literature described Chief Minister Raman Singh, Netam and Congress leader Mahendra Karma and some officials as "anti-tribals".

"Police are investigating how the rebels managed to sneak into the state capital and distribute the literature without anybody stopping them," Netam said.

The minister said the rebels did not reveal their identity when they met the Congress and BJP leaders.

The letters described how the government had unleashed a "terror campaign" against tribals and were signed by Gudsa Usendi, the Bastar-based spokesman of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist.

Maoist menace on the way back

Victor Mallet - Financial Times

IF YOU think Naxalite might be a rare mineral, think again. Maoist militants, including the Indian revolutionaries known as Naxalites, are on the march in south Asia and intensifying their guerrilla wars further afield. In the past five years, terrorist attacks by Islamist fundamentalists and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have persuaded governments to focus almost exclusively on the threat of Islamist extremism. An unfortunate side effect has been to underestimate the dangers of the Maoist movements that have gathered strength after a period of weakness in the 1990s.

The mountain kingdom of Nepal is on the verge of becoming a failed state, and is already a haven for Maoist guerrillas, just as the failed state of Afghanistan became a refuge for fanatical Islamists in the 1990s.

After 10 years of war in which 13000 people have died, Maoist rebels control much of Nepal. They successfully terrorised candidates and voters in this month’s municipal elections, and wrecked King Gyanendra’s attempt to bolster his fading legitimacy.

Maoist leader Prachanda — a nom de guerre meaning “the fierce one” — emerged from the shadows to tell the BBC a people’s court could order the king’s execution.

Maoism is spreading among the 1,1-billion people of neighbouring India as well. Naxalites — named after a 1967 uprising in the West Bengal village of Naxalbari — were once confined to remote rural areas, but guerrilla attacks are becoming more frequent. There is now a patchy but recognisably Maoist zone of influence running from Nepal through parts of the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Orissa down to Andhra Pradesh.

In November, the Indian government sent six paramilitary battalions to Bihar to restore order after 1000 Naxalite rebels attacked a jail and freed hundreds of inmates, including many of their comrades.

All the standard ingredients are therefore ready for further political instability in south Asia.

Maoists, sometimes ideologically motivated and at other times indistinguishable from gangsters, already run protection rackets, and profit from the Indian opium trade just as the Taliban initially did in Afghanistan. Informal but officially tolerated village militias have been formed to combat the Maoists, a recipe for the multiplication of human rights abuses.

Photographs of captured teenage Indian Maoists, sulky and defiant in their oversized combat fatigues, are eerily reminiscent of Maoist Khmer Rouge fighters pictured in Cambodia in the 1970s. Cambodia, incidentally, is still run today by Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge commander.

Further east, in the Philippines, the previously moribund Maoist New People’s Army is also enjoying a revival, launching more attacks and exacting more “revolutionary taxes” from villagers and mobile telephone companies trying to build new transmission towers.

Maoist groups remain as vulnerable as ever to the factionalism that weakened them in the past.

India is home to exotically named splinter groups, from the Communist Party of India (Maoist), which includes the old People’s War Group, to the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) Naxalbari.

In India, at least, Maoists no longer have the appeal they once did for the students and skilled workers who benefit from the country’s economic revival and its links with the outside world.

Many of today’s politicians, including the leaders of the Chinese Communist party, therefore pay scant attention to the extreme ideology of Maoism — which was never wholly believed even by its creator, the cynical Mao Zedong. Indian Maoists lump the Chinese together with the Americans as capitalist imperialists.

Governments, however, should not ignore the very real threat presented by Maoist militants. Maoists have shown themselves to be adaptable — witness Prachanda’s opportunistic alliance with conventional politicians in Nepal in his bid to overthrow the government — and can rely on support from the millions of downtrodden and marginalised people who have yet to see any benefit from global capitalism.

It is no accident that Maoism is strongest in places with feudal traditions, skewed land ownership and wide gaps between the rich and the poor, including India, the Philippines and Latin America.

Given that many Chinese have staged angry protests against the seizure of their land by the authorities or by wealthy property developers, it is not unthinkable that there could one day be a revival of Maoism in China itself — a development that would be both ironic and destabilising.

Capitalism, mafia posing threat to tribals

Wednesday February 22 2006 11:02 IST
MYSORE: “In the name of development, imperialists and capitalists are making a direct attack and exploiting the natural resources of forests. The wheels of the MNC juggernaut will divide tribal communities and manipulate governments,” former Central SC/ST commissioner B.D. Sharma said here.

Delivering the keynote address at the 2nd inter-Congress of the Indian National Confederation and Academy of Anthropologists’ on Tuesday, he said MNCs have little respect for the law of the land. Even the proposed Tribals Forest Right Bill is likely to become a tool for MNCs to exploit the forest resources, he warned.

Pointing out that tribals in India were going through a critical phase, he said the sudden opening up of tribal areas after independence disrupted the harmony of tribal society. The marginal areas moved to the centre of the economic scene, but their inhabitants still remained marginal, he regretted.

He cited the killing of 12 tribals in Kalinganagar in Orissa for their resistance to move out of the bush and more than 300 tribals being detained to acquire their land. These incidents do not withstand the constitutional safeguards and UN declaration for protection and respect for tribal people’s relationship with the territory they occupy, Sharma said.

“A good tribal is a displaced tribal. The moment he becomes assertive of his rights as a citizen of a liberalised state like India, he is branded a Naxalite or a rebel,” he lamented. Sharma added that the Provisions of Panchayats Extension to the Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act, 1996 concedes the natural right of tribals over community resources through gram sabhas.

TRIBES RULED BY MAFIA: He said that the formation of Jharkand and Chattisgarh states were influenced by MNCs and mafia power, rather than the fight of a few scores of people. Both these powers just know the law of marketing and looting. Parts of Kheonjhar and other forest areas in Orissa are under mafia control. Even officials work under their influence, he added.

Maoists hand over CD, literature to Chhattisgarh MLAs

Raipur, Feb 21 : MLAs of both the ruling BJP and opposition Congress today said that Maoists handed over a CD and printed literature on 'Police atrocities on tribals at Bastar' to them at their official residences here.

Raising the matter in the Chhattisgarh assembly, deputy opposition leader Bhupesh Baghel said he had a copy of the CD and Naxalite literature and sought permission of deputy speaker Badridhar Diwan, who was on the chair, to table the documents on the floor of the house.

"Because of the incident, MLAs are feeling insecure," the senior Congress leader said.

"It is a serious matter as the documents were not delivered either through courier or by post, but were individually handed over at the residence of the MLAs," Baghel said.

Some Congress MLAs said it was surprising the Naxalites not only reached the capital city but also the MLA colonies.

Satya Narayan Sharma and Dharamjeet Singh of Congress said the incident proved the failure of intelligence network and demanded a statement from the government on the issue.

Several BJP and Congress MLAs also said they had received the CD and Maoist literature at their residence.

Chhattisgarh Home minister Ram Vichar Netam told PTI he had directed the police department to look into the matter.

"The security of the people's representatives has also been strengthened in the state," Netam said.

The state home minister also chaired an urgent meeting of top officials of his department to review the situation, official sources said.

CPI keen on poll talks with Maoists

Ranchi, Feb. 21: The CPI today proposed to initiate a dialogue with Left-wing extremists, particularly the CPI (Maoist), in a bid to “motivate them towards electoral politics”.

The party think tank feels tit would be difficult for the Naxalites to make a difference in today’s scenario by staying away from mainstream democratic politics.

“We propose to talk to the Naxalite leadership on this issue and try to convince them,” CPI parliamentarian from Hazaribagh Bhuvaneshwar Prasad Mehta said.

Apart from holding talks with the Maoists, the CPI would also mount pressure on the government to do the same. “The Naxalite problem in Jharkhand cannot be eradicated through police action or repressive measures. It can be possible only through development,” Mehta added.

These observations were made at a two-day meeting, which was attended by representatives of tribal bodies from across the country, here.

The event concluded today with CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan announcing the reconstitution of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Mahasabha after a gap of over 30 years.

Representatives of tribal bodies attending the meet observed that missionaries, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, NGOs and Naxalite outfits were active in the country’s tribal belts and their work affected, one way or the other, the Adivasis.

“About 8 crore tribals share the same plight and are dogged by the same problems. They have been plundered in the name of development,” Bardhan said.

The veteran communist leader was joint secretary of the mahasabha when it was formed in 1958 in Maharashtra while Major Jaipal Singh was the chief. Narain Singh Bulke of Maharashtra was the first general secretary of the mahasabha.

A 21-member ad hoc committee has been formed, which will draft the constitution and modalities of the organisation. Jharkhand’s Mahavir Manjhi has been nominated convener of the panel, which also includes members from states like Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Bengal.

The state units have to organise conventions by May 15 following which a formal executive committee of the mahasabha will be constituted at the national level.

Naxal attacks: Police on high alert

Wednesday February 22 2006 10:57 IST
GUNTUR: The police are on a high state of alert following reports of a surge in Maoist activities in Guntur and Prakasam districts. It is usual that Maoists maintain an uneasy calm before they strike a major target.

Special combing parties have already been sent to some of the targeted areas.

Palnadu Officer on Special Duty Manish Kumar Sinha told ‘this website’s newspaper’ on Tuesday that they have stepped up surveillance on the highways.

The Maoists blasted a Diguvamitta railway station in Prakasam district three days back using claymore mines. Even before the police could begin a concerted enquiry into the incident, Maoists fixed claymore mines at Chalama station in Prakasam district. A major disaster was averted after an alert lineman noticed the problem.

According to information reaching here, Maoists action teams from Mahaboobnagar, South Telangana were moving in Guntur and Prakasam district areas.

The police have information that the Maoists are planning to attack the Macharla, Durgi, Bellamkonda, Rajupalem, Karampudi, Vellurthi and Vinukonda police stations and the vigil has been stepped up at the stations.

Two naxal dumps seized

Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, Feb 21 (UNI) Two arms dumps belonging to CPI(Maoist) Party were recovered by police at Bukkapatnam and Nallamada forest area of the district.

District Superintendent of Police S K Jain showed the naxal dumps to the media today.

Two rocket launchers, four claymore mines,90 gelatin sticks, ten tin bombs, three burners, eight torch lights, 70 battery cells, two walkie-talkie chargers, 15 kg splinters (used in mines), gun powder, 60 steel boxes and two remote calling bells were seized.

One naxal surrendered before the SP. Venkaiah alias Raghavendra of Ramagiri Dalam of CPI(Maoist) had joined the movement to settle his land dispute, he said.

Explosive-proof vehicles for Karnataka

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Bangalore, Feb 21: Karnataka state police have received three mine explosive and bullet-proof vehicles from the Central government.

The vehicles, each costing around Rs 52 lakh, have been specially built at an ordnance factory, a release said.

The vehicles enable the occupants to open fire from inside through the top and side ports, while simultaneously protecting them from mines, other explosives as well as from bullets.

The vehicles, which are also useful during anti-Naxal and anti-terror activities, will be given to the anti-Naxalite force at Udupi and one to the Tumkur police. (Agencies)

Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2006

College of warfare in Chhattisgarh trains personnel against Naxals

Raipur, Feb 21: The college of counter-terrorism and jungle warfare at Kanker district of Chhattisgarh, set up with the aim of providing a rigorous training to security personnel in the state to check the Naxal menace, at present trains personnel from neighbouring Orissa and Jharkhand as well.

"The warfare college in Kanker district, about 145 kms from the state capital in the hilly area, is training policemen and officers from not only Chhattisgarh but also for Orissa and Jharkhand to tackle the Naxal menace", Director Brig B K Ponwar, told a group of visiting scribes.

The college has rolled out three batches since its inception on April 1, 2205, he added.

The state government came out with the unique idea to start the college, only second of its kind in the country to counter Naxal violence, he said.

Ponwar, who was a brigadier-commandant at similar institute in Mizoram and had trained many police and para-military personnel apart from foreign policemen from 27 countries, took charge of the college last year after retirement following a request by Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh, sources said.

He enjoys the rank of an Inspector General at the college and imparts training to police personnel.

A war veteran, Brig Ponwar, who has been decorated with AVSM and VSM, said the police personnel were put up in tents in jungles to get a feel of the living conditions there and imparted training in handling sophisticated firearms.

Bureau Report

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Cop comes under scanner


Ranchi, Feb. 19: The Lucknow-based special crime branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) may ask the government’s permission to put Garhwa superintendent of police Deepak Verma through a polygraph test in connection with CPI-ML legislator Mahendra Prasad Singh murder case.

The decision comes after CBI decided to probe the relationship between the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) and CPI-ML following new evidence in the Singh murder case.

Verma was quizzed for more than five hours by the CBI team in Garhwa on Saturday, but investigating officers did not seem to be satisfied with his replies of the high-profile police officer.

Many of the 160 people quizzed by the agency in connection with the case were called by the CBI to Lucknow.

Since Verma happens to be an Indian Police Service officer, the investigating agency will have to seek a prior approval of the government before putting him through a polygraph test.

The CBI team from Lucknow was led by inspector Pawan Kumar Srivastava, who is the investigating officer in the case.

The Mahendra Prasad Singh murder case has taken a fresh turn with the recovery of Naxalite literature from West Singhbhum, which suggest the CPI (Maoist) had a part to play the killing of the legislator.

Earlier, the Maoists had issued a communiqué refusing that they had anything to do with the killings.

The documents recovered during a raid on Maoist dens by the state police have already been handed over to the investigating agency.

Following the recovery of the documents, the CBI team has been investigating the relations between the CPI-ML and the erstwhile MCC who have been locked in a tussle in the region over the years.

The CPI-ML had trained its guns on Verma and a BJP legislator from Giridih’s Dhanwar segment Ravindra Rai.

Opp. concern over red bill

Opp. concern over red bill

Raipur, Feb. 19: Freedom of the press could be at stake. For, the Raman Singh government wants to enforce an act that will restrict the media from writing about Maoists.

After passing the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Bill in the winter session of the Assembly in December, the government has sent it for the President’s assent.

“The provision mentioned by the government in the proposed legislation is more stringent than (the ones under) Misa or Tada,” former minister and senior Congress MLA Sakrajit Nayak said after the Assembly recently took up an adjournment motion on Naxalite violence in the state.

Television channels showing news or views on the subject would also be covered in the act and would be liable for prosecution.

According to Section 2 of the proposed legislation, visible representation or “words either spoken or written” in relation to the organisations banned would be brought under the purview of unlawful activity.

Such activity may cause “danger or menace to the public order, peace and tranquillity”, the bill adds.

The bill was passed on December 23 and sent to the President. “As the district magistrates and police superintendents will be authorised to take action against the scribes, they can (use it to) settle personal scores,” Nayak said, adding that the government should consider changing the provision.

Former home minister and senior Congress member Nandkumar Patel also objected to the provision and said “such tactics will not help the government find a solution to the Maoist menace”. “The provision mentioned... underlines that it will be used to torture journalists,” Patel said.

Speaking to The Telegraph, the current home minister, Ramvichar Netam, said such stringent laws “were inevitable against those helping the rebels directly or indirectly”.

The bill is not aimed at the media but has been formulated to keep tabs on the frontal organisations of the Left-wing extremists, he added.

Crowds brave Maoist threat, overwhelm Mahto in tent

Knock knock, minister’s here
- Crowds brave Maoist threat, overwhelm Mahto in tent
Tents set up at Jiyan for the guests. Picture by Bhola Prasad

Jiyan (Ghurabandha), Feb. 19: Home minister Sudesh Mahto might have had to attend to guests at his tent at Jiyan, an extremist-infested area, till midnight. But he is not complaining.

The minister, instead, was simply floored by the stream of visitors who braved the Naxalite threat and turned up at his door to air their grievances during Prashshan Aapke Dwar, a programme conducted by the home department for the powers-to-be to mingle with the grassroots.

The red brigade had put up posters warning the villagers to stay away from it.

“The Jiyan visit has shown us that people still have faith in the police even in the extremist-ravaged areas. Such efforts of the home department to promote social policing will continue in the future,” Mahto said, soon after returning to Jamshedpur from Jiyan about 90 km away from the headquarters of East Singhbhum.

Mahto, for the night, had put up in a makeshift tent near Guriyan Middle School under the Jiyan panchayat along with director-general of police V.D. Ram, zonal inspector-general of police D.K. Pandey, deputy inspector-general of police of Singhbhum-Kolhan region Ramchandra Ram, commissioner B.K. Tripathi, deputy commissioner Nitin Madan Kulkarni and superintendent of police Ashish Batra.

The home minister and the senior home department officials, however, had 200 police personnel, along with abattalion of the central para-military forces and over two dozen bodyguards, for company.

“The night was long in the forest but it was awesome to see that people thronged the camp till 12 in the night. It is a symbol of hope for us as villagers proved that they have not sided with the rebels,” a visibly thrilled Mahto said.

Claiming that this was the first ever such venture by a home minister director-general of police V.D. Ram said the police, too, were eager on building up an amicable relation with the villagers.

“The Jiyan episode will be repeated at regular intervals. The police will no longer hush up its mistakes and erring police officials will be shown the door,” said Ram.

Mahto supported his pledge and added that with political activism and empathy the rural hinterland could be retrieved from the clutches of the extremists.

For the villagers, from at least 12 villages, who had gathered at the minister’s door, pleaded for proper education facilities for their wards, and facilities of irrigation and drinking water in the area.

However, about 15 kilometres from the spot, a group of villagers laid a siege at the Dumaria block office demanding the removal of block development officer Nandkishore Gupta on charges of corruption.

Deputy commissioner Nitin Madan Kulkarni had, in fact, clearly stated that Gupta categorically refrains from performing his duty in a bid to get transferred from the extremist-ravaged area.

But Mahto also found some breathing space in the middle of a slew of grievances when the villagers had words of praise for Abid Khan, the officer-in-charge of Ghurabandha police station. A “no-nonsense” police officer, Khan looked after the well-being of each and every villager, they said.

“Past is past and I want to start a new episode,” Mahto finally said, adding that he would visit Jiyan in April to assess the developmental activities in the area.

Bengal’s CID ill-equipped to tackle terror

Amrita Roy Chowdhury
in Kolkata
Feb. 19. — Does terrorism end on the borders of Kolkata? So it seems, going by the vastly different approaches to terrorism by Kolkata Police’s Detective Department and its counterpart in the state police, the Criminal Investigation Department.
While the threat of terrorism is no more a distant shadow for the city police, especially after the arrest of three Laskar-e-Taiyaba militants, including one from Madan Street, the issue seems to be far from being a priority for the CID which is still to have a full-fledged anti-terrorist cell of its own.
The chief minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, said at the commencement of the 150th year celebrations of the city police force last year that terrorists were at large in the city and the police should be well prepared to combat terrorism.
The arrest from Dum Dum last September, of Swadhin Ray alias Azad Barua, an Ulfa activist who was wanted in connection with many cases in Assam by CID, made it clear that terrorism had spread to various areas of the state. While the CID still has no anti-terror branch, its city counterpart, the detective department of Kolkata Police, has a fully functional anti-terrorist cell to deal with subversive activities.
CID has an anti-terrorist cell in name only that has only two or three officers, who are often engaged in other operations of sensitive units like the anti-Naxalite cell or the special operations group. “Only when we get specific information about anything related to terrorism are officers employed for that.
We don’t have the infrastructure and luxury to engage five to ten officers for the anti-terrorist cell and, moreover, there is no need for so many officers in the AT cell at present. The cell is not a full-fledged one yet and is, rather, almost dysfunctional,” a CID officer said on condition of anonymity.
When asked about the issue, Mr Rajiv Kumar, deputy inspector-general (operations), CID, who supervises the anti-terrorist cell, said: “We are basically an investigative agency and whenever a crime happens we look into it. Intelligence gathering is done by intelligence-agencies and we always keep in touch with such agencies in the state as well as the Centre. Whenever we get any terrorism-related information we engage our officers to develop that intelligence.” He added there is no crunch of human resource to hinder developing intelligence on terorism-related issues. “If there is crucial information, we can engage officers from any cell for that,” Mr Kumar said.

DGP: Strengthen security around police units

LUCKNOW: Director general of police (DGP), Yashpal Singh, on Sunday stressed the need for strengthening the security cover around prisons, police establishments like the Reserve Police Lines, police training centres to repulse any attack unleashed by naxals on the lines of Jahanabad in Bihar and Giridih in Uttranchal.

He was addressing a meeting of senior officials from different wings of the state police involved in tackling the naxal menace in the state.

This apart, the DGP also laid emphasis on initiating action against all naxalites who have been identified and listed from Chandauli, Sonebhadra and Mirzapur - the three naxal-infested districts of the state.

He said that the drive must be carried out with additional devotion and sincerity in all the 607 listed villages falling under 23 police circles of the three districts which have been already marked as "under influence of the naxals".

The DGP also called upon the officers to ensure speedy and proper implementation of issues that are covered under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) schemes like community policing, group insurance scheme, special police officers and village security committees so that people of naxal-affected regions remain aware of what all is there at their disposal so that they did not fall as easy prey to the naxals.

Among the senior police officials, additional DG, law and order, A Palanivel, addl DG training, RS Dhillion, addl DG housing and constructions, Padman Singh, inspector general (IG) PAC eastern zone Shailjakant Misra, IG (Crime) Praveen Singh, IG (Intelligence) KND Dwivedi, IG law and order CB Rai and SP Subhash Singh Baghel were among those who attended the meeting.

The event concluded with the DGP announcing that regular meetings would be held in future to keep a tab on the progress made by the different wings of the UP police with regards to different schemes launched to tackle the naxal menace.

More names added to Maoists’ hit list

Statesman News Service
MALKANGIRI, Feb. 19. — The names on the hit list of Maoists is getting longer day by day as more and more names are being added to it, spreading panic among the residents of Malkangiri district.
As per the dictate of Naxalites, a person included in the hit list, will be killed by the ultras.
Former minister and senior BJP leader Mr Arabinda Dhali was the first and foremost target of Naxalites. His vehicle had been blown off in land mine blast near Telkai village under Kalimela police station during the last Assembly polls. Mr Dhali had, however, escaped unhurt. In a separate incident, his building at Poteru village was blown off by the ultras in 2001.
Mr Dhali has been provided with “Z ”category security cover by the state police in view of threat to his life, even though he is no longer a minister.
Name of Mr Sarat Buruda, former officer-in-charge of Chitrakonda police station, had also figured in the hit list. In 2003, he was forced to get himself transferred from Malkangiri district in order to save his life.
Mr Oleka Jaga, sarpanch of Malabaram gram panchayat under Kalimela police station, now camps at the district police headquarters as his name finds place in the hit list. Previously, he was being provided with police protection at MV-79 police station.
Mr Kantaru Pradhan, a BJD activist of Vezangiwada village under Kalimela police station, was also a target of the ultras. He was forced to leave his native place and is now staying at the district headquarter town out of fear.
The cops, who had arrested 18 Naxalites in Govindapally ghat on 15 January, 2004, are also the targets of ultras. Name of the PW deputy commander, Markokarja alias Sekhar, who had surrendered to the Malkangiri police in June, 2004 also figured in the naxal hit list. His whereabouts are not known. Mr Kasa Madhi, a naxal target, was recently hacked to death.Besides, Mr Tapan Kar, a senior BJD activist and contractor, was also killed by the ultras at Manyamkonda village in the recent past.
Besides police personnel, many tribals and persons from other communities have been killed for opposing the Naxalites, sources said.

607 villages in UP hit by naxal problems: police

Lucknow, Feb. 19 (PTI): A total of 607 villages in Chandauli, Mirzapur and Sonebhadra districts of Uttar Pradesh were affected by naxal problems, a top police officer said here today.

Addressing a meeting to discuss ways and means to fight naxalites in the state, Uttar Pradesh Police Chief Yashpal Singh directed the officials to work according to an action plan.

Proper records of prominent naxalite outfits and their activists should be maintained and action should be taken against those carrying rewards on their heads on a priority basis, he said.

Left playing "dual" politics: Rajnath


BJP President Rajnath Singh today accused the Left parties of playing "dual" politics. "Left leaders were supporting the UPA government inside a meeting where as they were opposing the same thing outside while launching sit-in," Singh said addressing a BJP workers conference at the Sapre School ground here.

The Left parties were arguing that they are not pulling down the government as that would benefit the "communal" forces, where as UPA government was trying to divide the people in the name of religion and had even ordered for headcounting of people on religious basis, he said.

Singh said BJP was the only secular party whereas Congress and others were engaged in "appeasement politics".

He also asked Chhattisgarh Chief Minister to stop conversion of Hindus in the state saying conversion of poor are being done in many places of the country and that was even changing the demographic profile of some areas. Earlier, Singh told reporters that the Centre was not not giving BJP-ruled states adequate assistance to fight the naxalite menace.

"But 'salwa judum' (anti-naxal campaign) is a good thing and I will request other BJP- ruled states to adopt this policy in their states also," Singh said. He also praised the Leader of the Opposition Mahendra Karma of Congress saying he was doing a good job in the campaign against the naxalites.