Saturday, May 06, 2006

A monarchical collapse

Saturday May 6 2006 18:54 IST

Swapan Dasgupta

The term ‘‘popular uprising’’ arouses the most puerile fantasies of the Left and the editorial classes. The romanticism becomes even more frenzied when the target of mob ire is a monarch who claims to be a reincarnation of a God and, consequently, wears a permanent, arrogant sneer.

For the past fortnight, televised images of tens of thousands of demonstrators wearing red bandanas and flaunting red flags have thrust Nepal into the forefront of the international bleeding hearts agenda. The issues too seemed clear-cut: an exasperated people demanding democracy and representative government versus a tottering King who presided over a decrepit feudal order. Lurking somewhere in the background were barefoot, gun-tooting rebels generous with their clenched-fist salutes and professing an archaic doctrine called Maoism. What added to their romanticism was the belief that the adherents of the ‘‘Prachanda path’’ had braved it out for nearly a decade in inhospitable conditions. At a pinch, it almost seemed like a replay of Cuba in the last days of Batista, Nicaragua in the throes of the anti-Somoza insurrection and the final hours of the Shah of Iran.

The democratic right to be reckless cannot, and must not, be taken away from starry-eyed idealists. It has become fashionable to flay those who bolstered King Gyanendra’s shaky dispensation and mock those who shed tears for the world’s only Hindu kingdom. Yet, before India, with some not-so-gentle prodding from the likes of Comrade Sitaram Yechuri, joins the clamour for a republican order, it is prudent to look dispassionately at the implications of a monarchical collapse—not to be confused with the return of representative government—in Nepal.

First, it is instructive to remember the awkward fact that the monarchy in Nepal—as in Bhutan—epitomises order, continuity and tradition. It is a defining pillar of the Nepalese identity. Without the monarchy, Nepal may as well be another province of India. There may be misgivings over King Gyanendra’s dogged determination to play the benevolent despot—his ‘‘father’s son’’, as an Indian diplomat described him—and there is justified concern at the recklessly delinquent ways of Crown Prince Paras.

However, it is sometimes necessary to separate the individual from the institution—a distinction that the British were clever at drawing in their dealings with Princely states. Right from the time a recalcitrant Mir Jafar was replaced by Mir Qasim and then reinstated again, the old imperial power was aware that the Glorious Revolution of 1688—when James II was dumped for an imported William of Orange—was a model worth emulating. Republican India, unfortunately, has little time for genuine palace coups.

Secondly, if the choice in Nepal was between democracy and autocracy, there would have been little room for confusion. Tweaking the system to dilute the discretionary powers of the monarch is overdue and even King Gyanendra has recognised its necessity, albeit belatedly and, some say, very grudgingly. But it is an open secret that the Seven-Party Alliance that was cobbled together at the behest of India doesn’t have either the wherewithal or the purposefulness to manage the show on its own. The new Prime Minister G P Koirala spent too much of the previous decade waging factional war in the Nepali Congress and, in any case, is too frail to be another Nelson Mandela, presiding over a difficult transition. To endure, the SPA must have the active backing of institutions such as the Royal Nepalese Army, which has so far been outside the purview of civilian control.

Maybe this anomaly needs correction but this is best done if the monarchy acts as a bridge during the transition. Dispensing the monarchy and the 1990 Constitution at this juncture will trigger fresh divisions in an already fractured society.

Thirdly, Nepal has been in a state of civil war for a decade. The Maoists, contrary to ill-informed perceptions, did not initiate their insurgency against the monarchy. They took up arms in 1996 against the democratically-elected Nepali Congress government. That insurgency has been continuing. The plea for democracy is a merely a Maoist ruse to first forge a united front against the monarchy and then gobble up all the political parties. If there are elections to a Constituent Assembly, the Maoists will prevail because they have the guns and the political parties just have slogans. It is ominous that the Maoists have declared a three-month truce to press for elections to a Constituent Assembly, where the Army will be confined to the barracks and the People’s Army free to roam around the countryside stuffing ballot boxes. The results of any election held before Maoists have well and truly surrendered all their weapons are a foregone conclusion. The elections will be as credible as referendums conducted by Hitler and Enver Hoxa.

Finally, for India, the biggest danger in Nepal comes from a full-fledged civil war, leading to a Maoist takeover. The Nepalese revolution will not stop at Biratnagar as some suggest. To survive, the Maoists have to make either make Nepal a complete dependency of China or create support systems for the revolution in India. The latter is the rationale behind the Naxalite ‘‘red corridor’’ which, as the Prime Minister of India rightly pointed out, is the single biggest challenge to Indian democracy and internal security. To survive, Prachanda’s revolution needs to cross the international frontiers and spread to India. Those familiar with Communist history will know that ‘‘socialism in one country’’ is an impossibility.

This is why it is in India’s national interest to deal with a civilian government that is endorsed by the chastened King rather than Comrade Prachanda. Without the monarchy and its support systems, the political parties will be like Kerensky—waiting to keel over before Lenin.

The last thing India needs is protracted turbulence in Nepal that will make another IPKF-type misadventure inevitable. Prachanda, ironically, is looking forward to that because it will allow him to tap latent anti-India sentiments in the Himalayan kingdom. India needs a buffer and for that role there is no alternative to the monarchy. National interests demand that India’s commitment to the world’s only Hindu kingdom is total and unequivocal.

The roots of Naxalism passed on

Sougata Mukhopadhyay

Naxalbari: Thirty-four years after legendary Naxalite leader Charu Mazumdar died, his son has launched an ultra-left political outfit in Bengal's assembly election.

Charu Mazumdar's house in Siliguri in north Bengal, is where the Naxalite movement in India started in the late sixties.

The legendary leader, who led a failed revolution, died in 1972, but his legacy of ultra-left politics still lives through a party called the CPIML (Liberation).

It's a Marxist-Leninist outfit that appears to have evolved significantly through the last three-and-a-half decades.

The descendants of Charu Mazumdar still live in this area and are fighting to take their father's legacy forward.

His son Abhijit, who leads the CPIML (Liberation) in Darjeeling, though committed to his father's political ideals, has launched his party in an election for the first time in a big way.

Abhijit, who is a professor of English, says the parliamentary democracy that his father had preached is meaningless.

He says that times have changed, and the CPIML (Liberation) has fielded as many as nine candidates in north Bengal this year.

"We participate in parliamentary democracy but we don't believe that like CPM and other official Left parties do that only through participation in the parliamentary arena we could change the whole situation. It's not that. It's just a tactical position, not a strategy."

Though not a political activist, Abhijit's sister Anita toes the same line. She votes these days but believes her father's views are just as relevant now as they were thirty five years ago.

"Marxism, Leninism and Mao-Tse-Tung's thoughts are equally relevant in today's world. Revolution in this country will take place along those lines and I firmly believe in what my father wrote in his last article - that the interest of the mass and the party is alike," says Anita.

Alike it is for the CPIML (Liberation), and hence the change in its position towards parliamentary democracy.

But the question that begs an answer is whether in the present day and age, Naxalites will be able to at all garner popular support towards the kind of movement that Charu Mazumdar had led in the late sixties.

(With inputs from Aniek Paul)

Naxal bandh invokes poor response in Andhra

Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh bandh called by outlawed CPI-Maoists today passed off peacefully without any untoward incidents, police said.

Except reports of Naxals detaining buses on Srisailam road, normal life was not affected anywhere in the state with government offices and business establishments functioning as usual, Director General of Police Swaranjit Sen said in a release here.

"Lack of response to the Maoists' bandh call clearly exposes that the Left wing extremists are losing faith of the people," he said.

However, the bandh had little response in Naxal-infested districts in Telangana region, he said.

As a precautionary measure, the services of state RTC buses were withdrawn in remote areas of Warangal, Khammam and Adilabad districts of Telangana region, it said.

The Maoists had given the state bandh call in protest against the "fake encounters by police".

Peace Is Just A Photo-Op

The state's said to have evolved a model on tackling Naxalism, but it's flawed


Andhra Pradesh has had decades-long experience in grappling with Naxalism. Various initiatives have been launched to check the Maoists, including holding peace talks. Over the years, an 'Andhra Pradesh model' has evolved which combines welfare activities for the people in areas where Naxals operate as well as cracking down on those who have taken to the gun. Like all government efforts, this too is not without its flaws.

Both the Maoists and the police agree that the peace talks of Oct 2004-Jan 2005 are history now. Even writer and poet P. Varavara Rao, part of the three-member team which participated in the talks on behalf of the Maoists, admits as much. In fact, top police officials in the State Intelligence Branch (SIB) and the special Greyhounds force involved in anti-Naxal operations say recruitment drives by the Maoists went up during the talks as did militant activity.

As per the police, the AP government is currently following a "focused" five-pronged strategy. It includes:
Establishing special forces like the SIB and the Intelligence Security Wing

Rehabilitating surrendered Naxals

Reassurance and protection to potential victims

Mass contact programmes

Improving socio-economic conditions of people in Maoist-run areas.
"We're clear. Police offensive must continue to neutralise the Maoist threat," says DGP Swaranjit Sen. As many as 167 Naxals were killed last year in encounters. "At the same time," says Sen, "the police cannot oppress villagers in the name of getting information. The government has strongly emphasised that the police should not oppress villagers or colour them as sympathisers."

Police activity has ensured that the Maoist's traditional stronghold in AP—the North Telangana Zonal Committee (NTZC)—has weakened. Even Warangal, earlier the nucleus of the movement, is no more a stronghold. "Maoists have suffered severe losses in North Telangana. Our information network is much superior; it is now apparent that several NTZC members have retreated into Chhattisgarh," says Rajesh Kumar, Warangal's additional SP (operations).

But a fresh cause of concern is the Maoists' AP State Committee, based in the Nallamalla and Rayalaseema areas. The other Maoist division is the Andhra-Orissa Border Committee. In both places, the terrain is difficult, and the police information network weak.

Since socio-economic issues compel the youth to join the Maoist movement, AP's pressed a remote and interior development department into service in Maoist-affected villages. Its head, principal secretary J.C. Mohanty, says the idea is to empower tribals and SC/STs. Potential Maoist recruits are also provided employment. This, says Mohanty, leads to several potential and surrendered Naxals joining the mainstream. Varavara Rao, however, scoffs at it all. The ineffective nature of government schemes was exposed when the Economic Support Scheme scam broke. Under it, BPL tribals of Eturunagaram, Warangal district, were supposed to be given livestock. Instead photos of cattle were superimposed with pictures of tribals, and submitted to the Integrated Tribal Development Authority as evidence of the scheme's implementation.

"Such injustices," says Varavara, "besides feudalism-imperialism, give rise to revolutionary parties. As long as there's a need, there'll be movements."

Officials discuss Naxal menace

HT Correspondent
Varanasi, May 5

A high-level confidential meeting of senior cops of various security agencies was organised in the conference hall of Police Lines here on Friday. The meet discussed measures to tackle the growing incidents of Naxal violence in the country including, neighbouring States like Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and MP.

Sources said that vital information on Naxal activities was shared by the participating senior officials of Police, Intelligence, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), and Inter-State Border Security Force. The security arrangements of Naxalite-affected areas in Chandauli, Mirzapur and Sonebhadra was prime focus of discussion.

Following the growing incidents of Naxal menace in neighbouring states of Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhatisgarh recently, the meeting had been convened under the chairmanship of the Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) Deoraj Nagar. The senior cops interacted with the DIGs and SP of affected areas in Varanasi and Mirzapur zone of police and gave them necessary tips to handle the menace effectively in the region. It is believed that some confidential strategy might have been chalked out by the officials to combat the Naxalite menace in the State in wake of its possible impact coming from neighbouring States.

The meeting was also followed by a seminar on ‘Naxalite Menace’ in the entertainment hall of police lines.

All the senior officials, concerned SP, circle officers, station officers of affected areas in Sonebhadra, Chandauli and Mirzapur attended the seminar.

Police Commissioner of Bangalore AK Singh was also in the meeting. He had inspected the site of twin bomb blasts on March 7 here in the city.

Prominent officials, who participated in the meeting and seminar, included, IG (CRPF) Karmjeet Singh, IG for Varanasi zone KL Meena, Vikram Saigal, Commandant of 74th Battalion of CRPF SN Sabat, DIG for Inter-State Border Police, DIG Mirzapur SK Mathur, DIG Varanasi RN Yadav, Joint Director for IB, Amitabh Ranjan and SPs of Varanasi Mirzapur and Sonebhadra.

Friday, May 05, 2006

NGO's funnelling funds to Naxalite coffers

Top cop worried over NGO fundings

Anupam Dasgupta
Friday, May 05, 2006 23:50 IST

The police are worried over NGOs and social action groups funnelling funds to Naxalite coffers.

Speaking to DNA on Friday, director general of police PS Pasricha said the police were trying to track down the funding sources. “It’s an unfortunate development; something with extremely serious ramifications. We are going all out to plug the trend.”

The DNA reported on May 1 that 57 NGOs and social groups across the city were blacklisted by the state intelligence department for aiding Naxalite and Maoist insurgents. The top cop’s concern stems from the fact that several among the blacklisted groups have been found to be cash-rich.

Senior officers feel there could be a bigger problem if the Left-wing extremists managed to develop a “support structure” in the city.

Greyhounds for red fury


Bokaro, May 4: Director-general of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Jyoti Kumar Sinha today professed the need for the police to have its own Greyhound force, as in Andhra Pradesh, to battle the extremists.

Sinha said the force should be armed with the latest electronic gadgets and strategic location postings to beat the Maoists at their own game.

Greyhound is the elite commando team in Andhra Pradesh, which, Sinha informed, has a number of successful anti-rebel operations under its belt, thanks to its adoption of the latest technologies. The DG, who was here to present the best administrative battalion award to commandant Bhanu Pratap Singh of the 72nd battalion of CRPF, also praised the police officers for putting up a “praiseworthy” job.

He then flew off to the hilly terrain of Jhumra, a Naxalite-infested area, along with the director-general of police of Jharkhand, V.D. Ram, to take a stock of the ground realities at Jhumra Pahad.

Talking to the media, the DG informed that till now, the CRPF had adopted a defensive strategy and it was up to the state police to provide the intelligence support to their mission. The messages that were relayed to the jawans in the process through age-old wireless sets were often intercepted by the rebels and would often result in failed missions.

“From now on, a battalion of seven to eight people will only concentrate on building intelligence network and chalking out ways of conducting counter attack on extremists. They would then go all out against the Naxalites, geared up sufficiently to be able to sustain themselves for 10 days and not return till the mission is accomplished,” Sinha said.

Such a move will be carried out on a rotational basis and at least one battalion will remain fresh enough to carry this operation, Sinha further said. The jawans will be well-equipped with the latest satellite phones and gadgets, including night binoculars, to be a step ahead of their rebel rivals.

Thanking the CRPF for carrying out an exceptionally good job against the Naxalites in the state, V.D. Ram added that the government will provide all necessary help to the para-military troops to carry out their operations in tough terrain.

He further said the police will start aerial patrolling soon and Sinha promised to provide trained pilots for that.

Jawans to get a makeover, courtesy city-based Army unit


Jawans to get a makeover, courtesy city-based Army unit
Express News Service

Pune, May 5: ILL-fitting boots, cumbersome backpacks and a head laden with a heavy helmet, the description conjures up an image of an average Army jawan. However, things are going to change as Pune-based Armament Research Development Establishment (ARDE) will be starting work on a Soldier Assist System (SAS) that will make things easier for the troops.

The SAS comprises a high-tech vest, boot and helmet, which will add teeth to an average soldier’s capability. For instance, the vest will have automatic temperature control, giving comfort to soldiers even in extreme climatic conditions. Moreover, the head gear besides providing protection will also act as a two-way communication device as it will be fitted with headsets and microphones.

Another element of the SAS will be the boots, which will be fitted with a sensor that will warn the solders of anti-personnel mines. ‘‘Even if someone steps over a mine, the damage to the individual will be minimum,’’ said A Sivathanu Pillai, chief controller, Research and Development, DRDO.

Another capability booster, that is on the anvil, is pocket-sized Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. ‘‘This utility will help the soldier to know events happening in his immediate surroundings,’’ he said.

Pillai, who was in the city to inaugurate a seminar on electroceramics, said the SAS will be one of the focus areas of ARDE and will be implemented during the Eleventh Five-Year Plan.

Elaborating on other thrust areas of ARDE, Pillai also said Precision Guided Munitions (PGMs) or smart bombs for the Armed Forces was also in its scheme of things. ‘‘In future, wars will be fought in a very limited time-frame. Thus, weapon systems have to be deployed fast, will have to have accurate and designed in such a way that the users suffer minimum causality,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, Pillai said the Navy will be fitting three of its warships with the supersonic Brahmos missile. ‘‘The missile has earned a worldwide reputation for its precision strike and by next year the Indian Air Force will also be inducting it into their ranks after conducting necessary trials,’’ he said.

He also expressed confidence of having the missile loaded on submarines in the near future after completing the necessary formalities.

Pune centre to train more BRO personnel
FROM building and maintaining roads in Naxal-infested areas to insurgency-torn places, it is the unarmed wing of the defence establishment — Border Roads Organisation (BRO) — that has been at the forefront of it. And with demand for skilled workers on the rise, the Pune-based training centre General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF) has upgraded the training capability and intake of BRO personnel for refresher courses.

‘‘We are training more personnel — 1,002 — every year (which is double the number than the previous years) as the BRO is moving from manpower-oriented processes to equipment-oriented approach. Besides, the quantum of projects implemented by the BRO has also increased,’’ GREF commandant, Pune centre, Col D Palit said.

For instance, BRO is using new equipment like layers, batch-mixing plants as well as ultra modern work stations for surveying. ‘‘The skills have to be upgraded,’’ Palit explained.

Besides, the centre is also introducing new trades. ‘‘We will be training personnel in masonry, store-keeping, driving and operating earth plants among others. The new agenda has been implemented from April 1,’’ he said.

Apart from the refresher courses for the BRO personnel, the centre also has the capacity to conduct pre-induction training for 2,000 new recruits every years.

Meanwhile, Palit said the BRO needed enhanced security to finish the projects especially in Naxal-infested areas like Gadchiroli, Bhandara and Gondia. ‘‘The State has done the best it could, but if we get enhanced security, the deployment of our personnel in the region can be increase and implementation of the projects will be quick,’’ he said.

‘‘In fact, the casual workers that we employ in Maharashtra get the highest pay compared to other projects,’’ Palit added.

Of the 26 road projects covering 824 km undertaken by it in the three districts, 240 km is yet to be completed.

Promotion offer for Chhattisgarh students

DH News Service Raipur:

For the school-going children of the severely Naxal-infested Dantewada district, the Chhattisgarh government’s decision came like a great respite. The government has offered general promotion to more than ten thousand students of primary and middle schools of this district as their studies were badly affected following Maoist activities.

The decision of the government came on the proposal sent by the Dantewada district administration in March this year, which underlined that many schools in the interior areas of Dantewada district were closed down following Maoist clouts.

Besides, hundreds of students had to vacate their villages and take shelter in the relief camps after the state-sponsored Salwa Judum campaign against the rebels started in the district in June last year. More than 50,000 villagers in camps fear Maoist backlash in retaliation of the campaign.

As the students could not attend the schools and the academic work was affected throughout the year, the administration recommended general promotion for the students. The state government earlier thought of conducting examination for the students staying in the relief camps with the students appearing in the supplementary examination.

But the government finally decided to grant them general promotion. “The students appearing in the 5th and 8th board examination would not be eligible to avail the benefit of general promotion,” tribal welfare department officials said. The order in this regard was issued on Thursday, they added.

The department — which manages schools in the tribal areas — had identified 10,727 students of 246 primary and middle schools from four development blocks of Dantewada district as eligible for general promotion.

Sources said Usoor was the worst affected block and about 3,900 students from 85 schools would be promoted to the next class without appearing in the annual examination. In Konta block, about 2,000 students from 51 schools, about 2,900 students from 70 schools in Bijapur block, and about 1,600 students from 40 Bhairamgarh would be eligible for general promotion.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

BJP leader M.Venkaiah Naidu’s saviour lives in penury in Gaya

Gaya: Politicians are usually known for making big promises during election rallies and turning oblivious when it comes to keep their word.

One such case is that of Rajendra Prasad Keshri, who saved the life of senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu, but today finds himself as just another victim of false promise.

Keshri had saved Naidu’s life from the clutches of Naxalites in 2005. For his invaluable help, Keshri was promised a job. That job is yet to materialise even after a year.

Ever the optimist, Keshri beliefs he will get a job sooner than later for his brave act.

On January 29, 2005, Naidu was travelling by helicopter on an election campaign when it developed a snag and was forced to land at Pauriya village in Gaya District. The region, which lies on the Bihar-Jharkand border, is said to be a Naxalite-affected area. But before the Naxalites could reach the spot, Keshri, a villager, swung into action and took Naidu on his motorbike away from the jaws of death. He took him to the Barachatti Police station, saving Naidu’s life.

All the BJP leaders applauded Keshri's courageous act then. But 15 months after emerging as a saviour, a fresh source of livelihood seems a distant dream. So far, no political leader has bothered to find out how Keshri is making his ends meet.

" I have preserved a newspaper cutting in which Arun Jaitley stated that a job is assigned in my name with Tata company wherein I would be paid between Rs. 8,000 to 10,000. I haven't received anything about my job after that. Arun Jaitley's PA told me to wait and have patience.

“I was told to visit Chhatisgarh, I immediately left for Patna and then reached Chhattisgarh, I even have the photocopy of the ticket. There I met Raman Singh and Sandhan bhaisaheb and others, after having a conversation with them, they told me that as I was not a resident of that State so there was not question of me getting a job here," said Keshri.

While earning his bread and butter from a small shop in the village, Keshri is having a tough time managing bread and butter for his family. Living under threat of anguished Naxalites, who later burnt Naidu’s helicopter, for having saved Naidu’s life, Keshri has no idea what to do.

But the leaders in Bihar are still assuring to credit Rajendra for his chivalrous deed.

According to Dr. Prem Kumar, a BJP Minister in Bihar, "Whatever assurance our leaders have given him, we will talk to Rajendraji about it and try to accomplish them and get him a job. He will be awarded a bravery award and will be given due respect for his brave act. We will certainly find a way to do justice with him."

Security shelter on rebel radar

- Maoists target and destroy buildings used by police to take cover and rest

The house of Surya Narayan Singh, a headman in Chatra, reduced to rubble by the extremists. Telegraph picture

May 2: The Maoists appear to be systematically destroying in the countryside all such buildings that can provide shelter to security personnel.

The pattern has surfaced during the last two weeks when the armed rebels have used dynamite to blow up school buildings, panchayat bhavans, community centres and any house big enough to shelter a police picket.

Though the Maoists blew up the house of a minister, a postmaster and a JD(U) leader in Palamau, and that of a village headman in Chatra, nowhere did they try to inflict any physical harm to the inmates, strengthening the suspicion that the rebels want to make it difficult for the police to undertake any patrolling or raids into the interior.

On Sunday morning, they blew up a school building at Khukhra (Giridih), which had housed a police picket for almost 15 years. The building was razed to the ground by a powerful blast less than 24 hours after the police vacated the premises.

Not content with their exploits, the rebels returned the next night and blew up the panchayat bhavan and the community centre, with six rooms, within a short span of fifteen minutes. Clearly, the rebels did not want the police to return and set up a permanent picket in the village.

While terror-struck villagers at Khukhra prepared to migrate to safer zones, the police put up a brave face. “They could do nothing till the policemen were there,” smirked Giridih superintendent of police A.K. Singh, “but now that policemen have been withdrawn for other engagements, they are busy destroying empty buildings.”

Indeed, the police appear to believe that the renewed spurt of Naxalite violence is indicative of a certain degree of frustration and restlessness in the rebel ranks. The unconventional and rather tempting surrender policy announced by the state’s home minister last month, they said, has opened up the possibility of many of the rebels opting to surrender.

The rebel top brass, therefore, are engaged in waging morale-boosting exercises so that the attention of the ranks can also be diverted.

The explanation appears simplistic though, because all the rebel action so far has indicated a high degree of planning, coordination and determination.

In Chatra, for example, the extremists took all of three hours to blow up the house of a village headman, Surya Narayan Singh, conceded the SP, T. Kandaswami. While the rebels numbered around a hundred, they had “forcibly gathered” several hundred villagers to witness the operation.

But police officers at the state headquarters appear convinced that the spurt in explosions can be attributed to the hardliners making a last-ditch effort to keep the flock together. “They will not be able to hold their men for long now,” predicted a police officer, “and we will soon see a spate of surrenders.”

Whether that remains wishful thinking remains to be seen but the police did claim to have “arrested” three members of the SJMM (Sangharsh Jan Mukti Morcha) in Gumla on Monday afternoon. Two pistols and live cartridges are said to have been recovered from their possession.

The SJMM is a breakaway faction of the CPI (Maoist) and is active in Latehar, Chatra and parts of Gumla districts. The three members of the SJMM, which is at loggerheads with the parent unit, have been identified as Jairam, Vijay and Guddu Oraon. Significantly, they were arrested from the area under the jurisdiction of the Gumla town police.

“Their restlessness is evident,” said a police officer, “and we must take advantage of the situation.” Not surprisingly, however, in none of the cases of recent explosions referred above, has the pol- ice managed to nab a single culprit.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

BJP team suggests soci-eco solution to naxal problem

Patna: A BJP fact-finding team which returned from Jandaha town in Vaishali district where naxalites had struck on Friday midnight, today expressed concern over the extremists expanding their influence to newer areas and suggested socio-economic programmes as a check.

"Naxalite attack at Jandaha town, having no history of naxalite activities, is a wake-up call for the government. The government should more strictly implement socio-economic programmes at grass-root level to enhance peoples' confidence in the government and check influence of the extremists," former Union Minister C P Thakur, who headed the team, told reporters.

He also asked union Home Minister Shivraj Patil to pay a visit to the state to discuss a coordinated effort with the state government to deal more effectively with the naxal problem.

The BJP leader said local people people told them that the district administration was tipped off about possibility of naxal attacks a day before but still no preventive steps were taken.

"The state government should inquire about the role of the district adminsitration in the incident," Thakur added.

He hailed locals and policemen for offering stiff resistance to the naxalites and foiling their bid to loot a bank branch.

Thakur, however, took expception to the railways mooting stopping running of trains in Bihar at night in the wake of the naxals targeting railway.

"This will be a surrender before the extremists force which will boost the confidence of the naxal outfits. The railways should plan more effective strategies with the state government to check naxal attacks on the railways," he added.

Naxals rock the tourism boat in Sagar

[ Wednesday, May 03, 2006 02:56:08 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

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HYDERABAD: The AP Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) has temporarily withdrawn the boating facility at Nagarjuna Konda after the Maoists blasted two tourist boats which they hijacked and kidnapped about 10 of the 234 holidaymakers and 35 crew members on Sunday.

The incident has jolted the APTDC which is now worried about the security aspect at various tourism spots. Since Ethipothala is a naxal-infested area, officials apprehend more such incidents.

Chairman and managing director of APTDC, K Raymond Peter, who visited Nagarjunasagar on Monday estimated the loss of the two damaged boats at Rs 1.5 crore. One air conditioned boat got totally damaged while the other boat got partially damaged in the blast.

Now the corporation is left with only two vessels. On weekdays, about 400 tourists take a ride in the vessels and another 800 during the weekends.

The holidaymakers, who included a good number of advocates and a marriage party, boarded luxury boats Shanti-Siri and M L Krishna, to go to the picturesque Nagarjuna Konda.

Some Naxalites, disguised as passengers, entered the boats and pulled out guns as soon as the vessels set sail.

"As two boats cannot meet the demand, we have decided to suspend the boats to Nagarjuna Konda. The incident is certainly a setback to the department in promoting tourism. A high level meeting will be convened soon with police department over security measures," Raymond said.

The incident at Nagarjunasagar is not the first one. A couple of months ago the Maoists blasted a guest house of the tourism department at Mannanur on the Srisailam way in Kurnool district. There are 67 tourism spots in the state and the corporation has been operating about 117 boats at various places
When contacted Director General of Police Swaranjit Sen said the police would increase the intelligence to prevent recurrence of such incidents.

The DGP said the police had not received any request from the tourism corporation about providing security at tourist places.

Chhattisgarh Govt transfers Bastar region IG

Raipur, May 2: The Chhattisgarh Government today transferred Inspector General of Police (Bastar) region M W Ansari, following differences with the police headquarters, over the strategy to be adopted to tackle naxal menace.

Ansari wanted an offensive strategy against the naxalites where as police headquarters was not ready to accept the action plan and his style of functioning. This was responsible for shifting Ansari from Bastar to police headquarters here, official sources said.

Ansari has been asked to hand over the charge to DIG T J Lon Kumar, also posted in Bastar, official sources said here.

No one is posted as IGP Bastar in place of Ansari.

Meanwhile, the state government posted R S Nayak as Superintendent of Police, Surajpur to replace R K Dewangan.

Nayak was Chief Minister's security SP and additional superintendent of police Anurag Sharma is made new security SP of the Chief Minister.

Dewangan has been transferred to police headquarters, Raipur, City SP Prakhar Pandey is made additional SP Kanker, city SP Prasant Thakur is made additional SP Durg.

Cancelling the previous order S K Bramhe is made AIG police headquarters from commandant ninth battalion. Earlier Bramhe was posted as SP Surajpur.

Naxal fear stalks Madhepura

Deo Narayan Saha
[ Wednesday, May 03, 2006 02:41:05 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

MADHEPURA: Maoists have started making their presence felt in this sleepy district by sticking posters at various places like the district education office (DEO), the railway station and on the Bypass road.

The Shantipal group, a wing of the Maoists, has been active in the southern part of the district for quite some time.

According to reports, the Shantipal group had recently held secret meetings in several villages under the jurisdiction of the Udakishunganj police station of the district.

The leader of the Shantipal group, Mankhushi Jha, is currently cooling his heels in the Madhepura jail in connection with the killing of a mukhiya.

The poster stuck on the wall of the DEO is believed to have been pasted by the activists of the Shantipal group. It says: "Hamari ladai sarkar se hai janata se nahi. Agar janata samni ayegi to yah kshetra rakt-ranjit hoga (Our battle is with the government and not with the people. If the people come in our way, then this place will be spilled with blood)."

The message has been written in red. The people have probably been warned in wake of the government’s decision to provide them firearms to resist the Red terror.

According to sources, the Shantipal group has recently joined hands with the Maoists operating in the southern parts of Bihar and Jharkhand.

The poster campaign launched by the Maoists has unnerved the peace-loving people of the region at a time when the panchayat polls are round the corner.

Madhepura SDPO Shailesh Kumar Sinha said that the police were trying to locate the persons who had pasted the posters. He denied to comment further on the issue at this stage.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

''India Struggles to Negotiate a Settlement in Nepal''

The reluctant move by King Gyanendra of Nepal to restore the parliament that was dissolved in May 2002 might be sufficient to douse the ongoing tension and violence in the Himalayan kingdom and bring some degree of normalcy. A few days earlier he made two other concessions, namely, his wish to hand over the reigns of power to a caretaker government headed by a person chosen by the opposition and fresh elections. Although never explicitly stated, there are enough indications that faced against the stark choice of forced abdication and limited and ceremonial role, the king might eventually reconcile to a constitutional monarchy. [See: "Intelligence Brief: Nepal's King Reinstates Parliament"]

Alternatively, emboldened by the spate of concessions from an increasingly isolated monarch, the popular upsurge against the monarchy could only increase, resulting in a brutal end to monarchy and the royal family itself. Indeed, ever since he assumed power in June 2001, following the assassination of the previous King Birendra and all other members of the royal family by Crown Prince Dipendra (who later committed suicide after his act), Gyanendra was never popular with the masses. The brutal circumstances surrounding his ascendance diminished the long-held notion of the king being a divine incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

The prolongation of the insurgency and failure of the political parties to effectively control the spread of Maoist-controlled areas resulted in Gyanendra first dissolving the parliament and eventually, in February 2005, dismissing the government and taking over absolute power. The belated concessions from the palace were an admission of its failure to tackle the problem and its inability to find a military solution to the Maoist insurgency. Because Gyanendra has been at the helm of the situation for the past 15 months, the king has no scapegoats for his failure to fight the insurgency, which originally resulted in him subverting democracy and overthrowing a popularly elected government.

His present move may or may not solve the problem. The manner in which Gyanendra first announced handing over power to a popular government and eventually to restore the dissolved parliament will only embolden his opponents who are bound to smell his impending downfall and an inglorious end to monarchical role.

India's Involvement in Negotiating a Settlement

The one power that has had difficulty dealing with developments in Nepal is the country's immediate neighbor, India. At one level, New Delhi does not wish to actively play a mediating role in the struggle between the palace and the Maoist rebels in the streets.

Historically, India has long cultural and ethnic ties with Nepal and to a large extent the Nepalese economy has been linked to and dependent upon India. Nepal, being the only Hindu kingdom in the world, added a religious dimension to India's interest in the country. Hence, India is unable to adopt a hands-off policy toward it, especially when the country is facing an unstable situation. Its geographic proximity to China gives additional importance to Nepal. Some of New Delhi's decisions in the unfolding drama underscored India's difficulties in creating a cohesive and effective policy vis-à-vis Nepal. [See: "Nepal's Instability in the Regional Power Struggle"]

When the king dismissed the council of ministers headed by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and assumed absolute power in February 2005, India reacted sharply and boycotted the summit meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (S.A.A.R.C.). Media reports suggested that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not keen to be seen shaking hands with a ruler who had just overthrown an elected government. Nevertheless, Singh met the Nepalese monarch during the Jakarta Asian-African Summit held in April 2005. This was the result of the promises made by the king to ease the situation. However, as subsequent events proved, the monarch not only reneged on this commitment, but also incarcerated senior opposition figures including former Prime Minister Deuba.

Since the 1950s, India has been the principal supplier of arms to Nepal and had a significant role in the training of the Royal Nepal Army. This policy continued even after the onset of the Maoist insurgency, but the February palace coup changed the situation. India saw the coup as an abandonment of a negotiated settlement. Not willing to contribute to the impending military option, India ceased arms supplies. While this garnered some goodwill among the opponents of the monarch, India had to then face the king's response which was to turn to China for arms. Even though India's decision was backed by the U.S. and U.K. and worked to isolate the king, Gyanendra was able to look for alternative sources of supplies. Hence, while its refusal weakened the monarch, it also provided an opportunity for China to enhance its influence in Kathmandu.

Opponents of the king and the Maoists found some support from India. India maintains contacts with the pro-democratic forces as well as the Maoist insurgents. The Maoists have forged close links with similar left-wing extremist groups in India. While it had long ties with most of the members of the Seven Party Alliance, its contacts with the Maoist insurgents appear to be recent. Even though it played a pivotal role in the 12-point agenda concluded between the opposition parties and the Maoists, New Delhi is not overtly enthusiastic about courting these insurgents.

But given the circumstances under which the king was forced to concede to popular demands, there is a possibility that the eventual downfall of the monarchy is likely to be interpreted as a victory for the Maoist rebels rather than a political concession won by pro-democratic forces. Because of this, danger exists that India will be seen as responsible for the prolongation of the monarchy.

The decision of the Indian government to send Karan Singh as a special envoy on April 19, 2006 was the first concrete step toward restoring normalcy in Nepal. Within hours, the king agreed to restore popular rule, a move welcomed by India. The subsequent script of the drama, however, did not go as India planned. Under intense street protests, the seven-party opposition renounced the concessions as meager, thereby forcing India to re-examine its initial enthusiasm. This resulted in Gyanendra eventually agreeing to restore the dissolved parliament, once again as a result of street protests rather than due to coercive Indian diplomacy. Alternatively, India was unable to convince the king of the need to give up the absolute powers that he usurped in February 2005 and restore popular rule. India did, however, ensure that the parties told the rebels that they would support a republican government.

Diplomatic Drift

Since its bitter military involvement in the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka in the late-1980s, India has been wary of playing an active role in mediating conflict in its neighborhood. It fears that such involvement will result in calls for third party intervention in its disputes with Pakistan over Kashmir. At the same time, it is essential to recognize that India has been a marginal player in major developments that rocked South Asia. It had no role to play in post-Soviet Afghanistan, and since the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, it has remained a mute spectator in the ongoing ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. At one level, India considers its immediate neighborhood as its area of influence, but at the same time it has struggled to handle some of the critical issues affecting South Asia.

India has treated Nepal as its backwaters and perceived a role for itself in the stability and progress of the Himalayan kingdom. New Delhi's greater involvement in the Nepalese economy is partly political whereby it hoped to influence the events in the country. New Delhi's long contacts with various political forces in Nepal, as well as with the monarch, were part of this policy.

The onset of the Maoist insurgency and the inability of the political elite in Nepal to secure a political or military solution offset Indian calculations. The prolongation of the internal violence and the potential end of the monarchy severely undermine Indian influence.

The king dismissed the parliament and eventually took over the reigns of power because the civilian governments were unable to contain the Maoist insurgency. Now Gyanendra is relinquishing the same powers because the insurgency has almost reached the doorsteps of the palace.

Therefore, sooner or later, the new civilian government will have to fight either the Maoists or the monarch. In such a situation, which side will India be on? Observing the recent policy of New Delhi, there are no clear answers. Nevertheless, the political parties have been fighting both the Maoists and the monarch since February 2005, and India will likely be on the side of stability, and will aim at disarming the Maoists by bringing them into the government since they have been untamable through military force.

Report Drafted By:
P.R. Kumaraswamy, Sreeradha Datta

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

NAXAL sympathisers of Karnataka Janapara Vedike for judicial inquiry

Naxals killing: NGO seeks judicial inquiry


S.O. News service, Manipal, 3 May.:

Karnataka Janapara Vedike, an NGO, has sought a judicial inquiry into the alleged killing of Naxals. The NGO condemned the district administration and the government for ordering a magisterial inquiry into the two incidents of alleged shooting of Naxals.

Naxals Parvathi and Hajimaru of Edu village in Karkal taluk were killed in September 2003 and in June 2005, Ajith Kusubi and Umersh were killed by the police in Devarbalu village in Kundapur taluk.

The inquiries are being conducted by a deputy superintendent of police and assistant commissioner of Kundapur sub-division.

State convenor of the Vedike Sriram Diwana told press persons here on Monday that as these inquiries are an eye wash, a judicial inquiry needs to be ordered. He added that the present inquiries served no purpose as they were being made to safeguard the interests of IPS officers involved in the shootout.

Diwan urged the district administration and the government to either makes public the findings of the magisterial inquiries or orders a judicial inquiry.

I never soft-pedaled
S.O. News service, Mangalore 2 May: Naxal menace is not confined to the police department, but it is a socio-economic problem, said additional DGP Suresh Babu here on Sunday.

The IGP (Western range) was promoted as additional DGP on Saturday, a day before his retirement on Sunday. Speaking to press persons here on Sunday, on the day of his retirement from service after 32 years in the police department, Babu asserted he never soft-pedalled the Naxal issue. Babu joined as deputy superintendent of police in Dakshina Kannada. Regarding political pressures, Babu claimed he was fortunate not to face such situations. ?if the politicians have suggestions they are welcome. But their meddling in day-to-day affairs is not good,? he added.

The police officials gave a farewell to Babu in the city on Sunday.

Seven Naxalites arrested, 24 detained after Jandaha attack

Patna: Seven CPI (Maoist) activists were arrested and 24 others detained for questioning following raids in Vaishali district after a strike at Jandaha town, about 60 km from here, in which a police station was attacked and an abortive bid made to loot a bank.

The arrests followed intensive raids conducted by a joint team of Special Task Force, Bihar Military Police and Special Auxiliary Police in the six police station areas where Naxalites have a free run, deputy inspector-general of police (Tirhut range) Gupteshwar Pandey told PTI today.

The Special Auxiliary Police is a new force created by the state government through recruitment of ex-servicemen.

Two dozen people, suspected to be sympathisers of the Naxalite organisation, were detained for questioning, he said.

Vaishali superintendent of police Preeta Verma said the gas cutter, used to break open the locks at the main gate of Canara Bank branch on Friday night, located in the main market of the Jandaha town, had been recovered from the Jandaha police station area.

Security has been tightened in the Naxalite-influenced six police station areas of Hajipur Sadar, Patepur, Raja Paker, Mahua, Jandaha and Kartaha with the deployment of the BMP jawans, the SP said.

In a grim reminder of the massive Naxal attack in Jehanabad jail in November, last year, over 200 CPI (Maoist) guerrillas attacked Jandaha in Vaishali district past Friday midnight and opened a barrage of fire at the police station prompting retaliation by policemen.


In all this reservation brouhaha, the one lot of people Arjun Singh has forgotten, but who need acceptance the most, are the hijras. Surely, as all groups are being ‘targeted’ in this rather archaic manner, ostensibly in an effort to give them a share of the mythical pie and a sense of ‘equality’, hijras, sex workers, mentally and physically challenged people should also be considered for special privilege. Why the discrimination? Is it because they are not vote banks on the same scale as the rest? When Kapil Sibal spoke in defence of quality education and institutions of excellence that have to, by definition, be competitive, we had an old and infirm reaction from the ministry of human resources. Surely, affirmative action does not mean reservations. That is the intellectually lazy and administratively easy option. It exposes the sheer vacuum in thinking at the highest policy- making levels.

Arjun Singh should have the greatness to put a small working group together made of under fifty-year-old politicians and social scientists, with a mandate to create a time bound blueprint for the millennium. He must put his ego behind him, encourage debate and not run to the prime minister complaining about a colleague who has a mind and an opinion. We are living in an age different from the one our human resource minister is familiar with, and he must begin to comprehend that and participate in fresh dialogue. If the manner of functioning does not change, every new government or coalition is bound to reverse the decisions of the previous government, as we have witnessed in the past, compelling a stalemate on issues that need urgent redressal. This political see-saw has been responsible for the continuing discrimination, for holding India back, for forcing us to remain at the mercy of a political class aided and abetted by inept administrators. It has to change.

Do your duty

If the likes of Arjun Singh and his seasoned colleagues were to look at the exhausting everyday realities that citizens are confronted with day in and day out, and find solutions that are civilized, they would have done part of their duty as politicians. The government cannot even ensure that the rules it makes are adhered to, like no loudspeakers after ten at night in residential areas. It cannot stop illegalities and contraband transactions on the main roads of Lutyens’ Delhi. It cannot correct its own authorities that are mandated to maintain law and order instead of being in cahoots with the corrupt nexus of the street and underworld mafia.

Sixty years of ‘freedom’ and all that we have in abundance is corruption of the mind, soul and action. Why all this rhetoric about civil society if governments cannot ensure the bare minimum for Indians in the towns and cities of this ancient and remarkable civilization?

In some strange ways, there are parts of rural India that are better off than the supposedly ‘affluent’ ones, only because they have not been polluted by endless political chatter that raises aspirations, followed by zero delivery that creates monumental problems, both social and political.

Unfortunately, much of what has gone badly wrong in India is the handiwork of a post-independence national leadership that exploited the patience of an economically vulnerable mass of people, bettered itself alone, and betrayed its oath of office. Today, armed confrontation, the revival of the Naxal movement are a direct result of the failure of governance at all levels of society.

We cannot have those who put us back into the ‘dark age’, rule us today. The reins must be given to the next generation of Congress men and women who want a future that is civilized, inclusive, dignified and ethical. It is possible and fairly easy to do if there is political will.

Naxal problem in Uttar Pradesh not serious: Mulayam

Ghazipur (UP), May 1: The problem of naxalite violence in Uttar Pradesh is not as serious as in other states and could be dealt with by giving momentum to development works in the affected areas, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav said here today.

"Naxalite movement is linked to an ideology and development is the only way of dealing with it. Development works would be completed on a priority basis in order to control this menace," he told reporters after attending a marriage ceremony.

He claimed that the law and order situation in the state was better than in some Congress and NDA-ruled states.

"Uttar Pradesh has managed to march ahead and has witnessed alround development despite efforts by the Centre to derail the process," he said adding also accusing the UPA government of being responsible for the power crisis in the state.

He also brushed aside speculation of mid-term polls in the state saying they would be held as per schedule.

A house for Mr Gill

A house for Mr Gill

Posted online: Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 0000 hrs Print Email
CHHATTISGARH: Ex-supercop is only the fifth person in the state to get Z-plus security cover

RAIPUR, MAY 1: The officialdom in Chhattisgarh is busy looking for a suitable house for ex-supercop K P S Gill who has been appointed the security advisor to the state government to tackle the Maoist menace. On Friday, the state Cabinet gave its approval to Chief Minister Raman Singh’s decision to rope in Gill. Government sources told The Indian Express that the General Administration Department (GAD) has been asked to draft working conditions for Gill who will have a tenure of one year.

“Gill has conveyed his intention to stay in Raipur after elections to the Hockey Federation of India are over in September 2006. At present, he is putting up at Police Officers’ Mess but will have to be given a permanent accommodation commensurate with his stature and assignment. We are looking for a ministerial-rank accommodation for him,” a top official in the GAD told the paper.

Given the hazards associated with his assignment in the Naxal-ridden state, Gill has been put under the Z-plus security category. He is only the fifth person in Chhattisgarh to enjoy the Z-plus cover after Governor Lt-Gen (retd) Krishna Mohan Seth, Assembly Speaker Premprakash Pandey, Chief Minister Raman Singh and leader of the Opposition Mahendra Karma who is on the Maoists’ hit-list for leading the Salva Judum movement.

“As such, security concerns are of paramount importance to the government so far as housing Gill is concerned,” another official said. Almost the entire top brass in the government, which enjoys Z-plus or Z security, have been housed in the posh and heavily cordoned Civil Lines area of Shankar Nagar in the state capital. Sources said it was very likely that Gill would be housed in the same area.

Even now when Gill is putting up at Police Officers’ Mess, the authorities are taking no chance. Being a police establishment, the Mess already has a fairly heavy security cover. A deputy superintendent of police has been appointed staff officer for Gill.

Last month when Gill formally assumed charge on April 16, the government allotted him a bullet-proof ambassador specially ordered for him. In its offensive against Naxals, the state government has decided to press into service 16 bullet-proof cars for senior police officials for as many districts in the state.

As regards his job in Chhattisgarh, Gill has not yet made a public comment nor does he plan to do so for a month or so. The former Punjab DGP and security advisor to the governments of Jammu & Kashmir and Gujarat is busy chalking out a comprehensive action plan with top state police officials and Union Home department. Gill would also attend a meeting of the top police and Home department officials called by the Chief Minister tomorrow to formulate strategy after the killings of 15 tribals by Maoists on Saturday in Dantewada.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Kundapur: Naxalite Activities Increasing Silently in Rural Areas

Daijiworld News Network - Kundapur (GA)

Kundapur, May 1: The people living in the rural areas of the taluk such as Basavanapalu Island, Thombattu, Yedamoge, Hosangadi, Siddhapur etc are mute spectators of increasing Naxal activities. The Naxalites are visiting the houses in these areas on regular basis to gather information and also create awareness among the people on various issues.

The Naxal activities were reported a couple of weeks ago after a long lay off ever since they had destroyed the forest department guest house in Hamja. But since then, despite Anti Naxal Force and police claiming that they have intensified their combing operation, Naxalites have managed to visit these villages, meet people, secure food from them etc.

The sources also say that Naxalites are trying to convince college students and youth in the rural areas to joint them. This has been already proved with the joining of Lakshmi, daughter of Panju Poojary of Thombattu. Lakshmi had gone missing from her house about a month ago. But for everyone's surprise she came home on Saturday April 29 evening with the Naxalites and told the family members that she has joined the group of Naxalites.

The Naxalites are also said to have met the daily wage workers and labourers and said them to revolt against the present government which is forming policies which are not for the welfare of the working class.

It is now quite sure that Naxalites want local youth who can give them the exact social and geographical details the rural areas to join them. The entry of Lakshmi is talked about by everyone and the Naxalites seems to be determined to cash on this opportunity. Days ahead seem very uncertain for the residents. They are a dilemma whether to support the administration or the Naxalites. Naxalites are addressing their problems which were neglected by the administration for long. But the path of violence chosen by them is not accepted and supported by the people.

Naxalite blow up house in Jharkhand

Maoists blow up police picket in Giridih
Giridih (Jharkhand), Apr 30: Maoists blew up a police picket at Khukri village in Giridih district and a suspected woman naxalite was killed in an encounter with security forces in Garwah district.

The picket had been set up in 1991 after a masscare shook the area.

Giridih superintendent of police Arun Kumar Singh said about 40 ultras reached the picket between 2 am and 3 am today and triggered the blasts.

About 20 police personnel manning the picket were asked to vacate the picket yesterday following a directive by the police higher-ups, Singh said.

In a separate incident, a suspected woman naxalite was killed and another injured in a fierce encounter between security forces and Maoists at Sukhnadi village in Garwah district yesterday.

The security forces, who spotted the Maoists last evening, exchanged fire in the hour-long gun-fight, superintendent of police Deepak Verma said here.

The injured woman had been arrested, he said.

Naxalite blow up house in Jharkhand

Chatra (Jharkhand), May 01: Maoists blew up a house at Muktama village in Jharkhand's Chatra district in the wee hours today.

About four hundred ultras surrounded the house of one Nand Kishore Singh, vacated the inhabitants and blew it up with dynamites, police Superintendent T Kandaswami said.

The Naxalites looted valuables and grains before triggering the blasts, he said adding that police officials have reached the spot with additional force.

Jharkhand Water Resources minister Kamlesh Singh's ancestral house was razed to the ground by Naxalites on April 20 at Karamgar village in Palamu district.

Bureau Report

Naxalites opposed to Indian, US interference in Nepal
Kolkata, May 1. (PTI): Naxalite outfit CPI(M-Liberation) today hailed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, but said, it was opposed to "interference" by India and the US in the internal affairs of the Himalayan kingdom.

"While we have hailed the victory of the democracy-loving people of Nepal against the monarchy, at the same time we strongly oppose US and Indian interference in Nepal, which should be immediately stopped," a spokesman said.

"Let the people in Nepal decide their own fate," he said as about 250 naxalites, carrying banners and posters, marched in a procession to the kingdom's consulate here to observe Nepal Solidarity Day.

CPI(ML) had earlier called for observing May Day as Solidarity Day.

It also sent a congratulatory message to Nepal's CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, the spokesman added.

Naxal Maoists in southern India hijacked two packed tour boats

Naxal Maoists in southern India hijacked two packed tour boats, let the 200 Indian sightseers get off and then blew up the boats

Media Release
May 1, 2006

Suspected rebels in southern India hijacked two packed tour boats, let the 200 Indian sightseers get off and then blew up the boats, an official said Monday. Police killed four of the militants as they tried to flee.

The militants, believed to be from a communist insurgency in Andhra Pradesh state, told the tourists that they were retaliating against Friday's killing of nine of their fighters by police in a densely forested area of the state, said the state's home minister, K. Jana Reddy.

The tour boats were carrying sightseeers to an island in the Krishna River. The militants freed the passengers and crew and then blew up the boats with explosives, he said. Police later killed four suspected rebels as they tried to flee, Reddy said.

The rebels, who claim to be inspired by Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong, have been fighting for more than two decades in several Indian states, demanding land and jobs for agricultural laborers and the poor. Thousands of people have been killed.

In the past, the rebels have often targeted police and government officials, whom they accuse of colluding with landlords and rich farmers to exploit the poor.

Ex-servicemen to fight the growing Naxal menace in Bihar

Ex-Armymen to be used in disaster management
[ Monday, May 01, 2006 02:21:29 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

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DANAPUR: Chief minister Nitish Kumar said the state government has taken a decision to raise a separate unit of Special Auxiliary Police (SAP) to deal specifically with disaster management incidents in the state.

Ex-servicemen who have been inducted in the SAP to fight the growing Naxal menace in the state, can be better utilised to tackle any clamities effectively. Bihar which is a flood prone state, needs a separate wing to tackle such situation, he said.

Kumar, who was addressing an ex-servicemen rally at Danapur cantonment on Sunday, said the SAP project which has been concieved in Bihar has earned appreciation from defence minister Pranab Mukherjee as a step towards ameliorating the lot of ex-servicemen and their family members.

According to chief minister, the state cannot depend on the Centre for its forces all the time. The government has a plan to recruit at least 5,000 ex-servicemen in the first phase under the SAP project, out of which only 3,000 have been so far inducted in the police force, he said adding that the government would recruit ex-servicemen from other states to fulfil the objective of the SAP in the state.

Kumar welcomed the move of the ex-servicemen league to build a war memorial on the pattern of India Gate at Saguna Mor in Danapur. He also assured the league members that he would take up the issue of opening a defence academy in Bihar with Centre's help to cater to the needs of the youth in the state.

The army canteen will be kept out of the purview of VAT in Bihar, he added. Danapur sub area commander Brig S K Bijeshwar lauded the efforts of Kumar to provide ex-servicemen jobs in the state to tackle the extremist problems in the state.

Describing the SAP project as Kumar's vision of new Bihar, Brig Bijeshwar said most of the Armymen retired at a very young age between 30 and 40. Their services can be fully utilised in the constructive work of the society by re-employing them, he said.

According to Brig Bijeshwar, the SAP project would become popular in the world due to the fact that this project is yet to be conceived in other countries.

Ex-servicemen belonging to any country in the world are the most well-trained forces who could still contribute to the society from the development point of view, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, ex-servicemen league president Colonel (retd) V K Singh said ex-servicemen could be utilised in the intelligence services also in the state at a time when the state government has cracked down on extremists, he said.

About 100 war widows were honoured on the occasion by chief minister. They were presented sewing machines, pressure cookers and clothes on behalf of Red Cross Society. Altogether 10 senior soldiers above 80 years were also honoured in the rally.

Youth and Sports minister J P Segriwal, junior industry minister Gautam Singh, BRC commandant Brig D K Mohan and many other army officers and their wives were present on the occasion.

Ex-servicemen league later presented mementos to Kumar and others. The rally which will conclude on Monday, was held amidst tight security of the Army.

I don’t approve of today’s Naxals’ --Kanu Sanyal

Monday, May 01, 2006 12:50:00 AM


‘I don’t approve of today’s Naxals’

Daipayan Halder

It is difficult to imagine Kanu Sanyal as a pacifist. An icon for those who dreamt of social change through armed struggle, Sanyal, along with leader Charu Majumdar and comrades-in-arms Jangal Santhal and Krishna Bhakta Paudial, had, nearly 40 years back, spearheaded the Naxal movement in Bengal. When the movement failed, Santhal died a broken man. Majumdar was ‘killed’ in police custody. Sanyal, 77, lives a quiet life in Naxalbari, a sleepy hamlet in North Bengal, from where the movement had originated and spread like wild fire. In a telephonic interview with Daipayan Halder, he says killing of innocent civilans by Naxals like in Chhattisgarh on Saturday is unpardonable.

Q) 40 years back, the war cry of Naxalites was: “China’s chairman is our chairman.” China has changed. It is said China is communist politically and capitalist economically. So what powers today's Naxal movement?
I accept that the slogan was completely incorrect. Why should we think of Mao Tse Tung as our chairman? It was coined by Charu Majumdar and voiced by the comrades. But that's a minor issue. The problems that gave rise to the Naxal movement at that time were very real. There was a need to take up the cause of the landless farmers. There was a need for an agrarian revolution. Those problems persist even today. And that is what powers Naxalism.

Q) In the late 60s, many students were taken up by the Naxal ideology. Today, their dream is to earn a crore a year, the new benchmark in corporate salary. Waging a class war is the last thing on their mind. How can you make a revolution succeed when the youth are totally disinterested?
After the fall of the Soviet Union, there was a crisis in the Communist movement internationally. China also changed track. But the death knell of the Communist movement hasn't been sounded yet. Look around you. Farmer suicide rates are going up, so-called developmental projects are displacing thousands, MNCs are destroying traditional livelihoods.

During the late 60s, college and university students from well-to-do families took to Naxalism. They sacrificed promising careers to pursue a dream. Today, the situation is much worse as there is more inequality. I am sure the youth will not remain cut off from reality for long and would want to change the way things are.

Q) In Naxal-related incidents in recent times, the rate of civilian casualty has gone up. This was something the movement in the 60s strictly tried to avoid. Why target innocent civilians?
There are two issues here. Firstly, if there is an armed struggle, there will be casualties. I definitely don't approve the killing of innocents. But then sometimes innocent villagers get accidentally blown up by landmines that were put to annihilate class enemies. Or maybe they die in crossfire. That is unfortunate. Mindless violence, though, should be strictly avoided. There have been cases where Naxals have reportedly killed innocent villagers for turning against them. This is unpardonable.

Q) In South Chattisgarh and in other states, ordinary villagers are becoming special police officers. Villages were your strongholds. Today, even villagers are turning against you.
This is a disturbing trend. Because villages, truly, are our strongholds. If villagers are turning against the Naxals, it is a major cause of concern for the movement. There is a need to mobilise villagers, to show them the path, not antagonise them. Cases have been reported of villagers being tortured when they have refused to do join the movement. In this respect, I do not approve of today's Naxals.

Q) In late 60s, Naxals had no training camps and used hand-made pistols, but captured popular imagination. Now, you have Kalashnikovs and proper co-ordination, but no popular support. Today, even Naxalbari votes. Democracy has made a great comeback at a place where it had lost its moorings. Explain.

I don't agree with this. It would be wrong to say that Naxals today have no popular support. Yes, at times they commit excesses, there may be individual cases of corruption also. But how can you say there is no popular support? The movement has spread far and wide. Surely, there must be support for the movement.

Q) Finally, looking back, would you agree you had dreamt an impossible dream?
The dream of establishing a people's democracy in its true sense still remains.

MRO, scribes go missing in Maoist land

[ Sunday, April 30, 2006 02:56:00 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

KURNOOL: Even as four of the eleven Maoists gunned down in an alleged encounter in the dense Seshachalam forest in Kadapa district on Friday were identified, there was no clue about the five journalists, a mandal revenue officer and others who went to the forest on Friday morning to visit the encounter site.

Police confirmed the death of four Maoists as commanders Kranti, Kiran alias Akkulappa and dalam members Ramya and Renuka all from Anantapur district. Sources said that Naresh and Sandhya are also among the dead.

Meanwhile, a hunt is on for Sundupalle MRO P Srinivasulu, Machireddigaripalle village secretary S Raja Kumar, police constable Dasaratharami Reddy, Rayachoti E-TV reporter Narayana, Zee TV reporter Reddaiah, Visal andhra reporter Ramesh and Vaartha photographer Anji.

Police said the reporters contacted their offices on Friday night over mobile phones. But their phones went out of coverage area by Saturday afternoon.

On the request of the district administration, the government said it would send a helicopter to Seshachalam forests to trace the missing persons but till Saturday evening, there was no sign of the chopper.

Meanwhile, district SP Y Nagi Reddy, OSD (officer-on-special duty on naxal operations) John Wesley and other police officers, who visited the encounter site on Friday, returned by Saturday evening.