Saturday, March 03, 2007

Can we hold the peace? - K P S Gill

Feb. 28, 2007

Five years after the horrific riots in Gujarat, we are still unprepared to anticipate and deal with the danger of communal violence
Five years after the horrific Godhra attack that triggered the riots in Gujarat, an ominous reminder of that event came in the shape of another incendiary attack on hapless rail users: The terrorist attack on the Delhi-Attari special train, packed with passengers to Pakistan. Evidently, efforts to polarise communities and to provoke communal violence have not ended. The recent attack, however, failed in its objective to incite wider carnage, despite attempts by elements in Pakistan, and some extraordinarily shrill voices from the ‘secular’ lobby in India, to give the incident a communal twist and link it to Gujarat riots.

Despite the general sobriety of the Indian response to the attack on the Delhi-Attari train, it is evident that the dangers that manifested themselves in Godhra and the riots in Gujarat are far from a thing of the past. Worse, we appear, today, to be no better prepared for such incidents than we were five years ago. During and after my brief tenure as advisor in Gujarat — where I was called to quell the riots — I had emphasised that the state’s communal conflagration was far from unique, and that the then latest orgy of violence lay along a continuum of comparable incidents, commencing with the bloodbath of 1969 which left at least 660 dead. A question I raised then, and that remains as relevant now, is, what do we do in the interregnums of peace to ensure that such episodes do not recur? The short answer is: Precious little.
I don’t think that anything substantial has been done either at the level of the states or at the Centre, to create instruments and mechanisms in communally sensitive areas that would prevent the recurrence of these disgraceful events. A great deal of political heat and dust is generated immediately after the event — and on various ‘anniversaries’ and politically sensitive times, such as elections — but little is done to improve the nation’s structural defences against the dangers of recurrence.

The failure is not restricted to the organs of the state. During and after the Gujarat riots, the role of political actors, non-governmental organisations and ‘activists’, was nothing short of shameful. There was a lot of posturing, a great deal of tamasha, but little was done to bring relief to the victims. Group after group flew into Ahmedabad, went through the motions of ‘investigation’, held press conferences and brought out ill-informed reports, but nobody stayed long enough to deliver concrete services and succour to those whose lives had been shattered and dislocated. In certain political quarters, there was almost an implicit hope that the violence would continue, so that it could be exploited electorally.

Since then, a veritable ‘Gujarat riots industry’ has come into being, whipping up flagging passions at every opportunity, and manufacturing a range of ‘products’ that are marketed principally to foreign ‘buyers’. The role of most such ‘activists’ has not been to bring people together, but to create and widen cleavages. The most important thing in a post-riot situation is to apply the healing touch. But most political parties, NGOs and professional intellectual agitators appear principally to be interested in keeping the wounds of Gujarat open and festering.

One of the manifestations or ‘products’ of this ‘Gujarat riots industry’ has been the constant, ill-informed and often hysterical attempt to blame a great deal of subsequent terrorist activity in India on the Gujarat riots. Every time there is a major terrorist attack by Pakistan-backed Islamist extremists anywhere in India, we are told by a particular lobby that this is ‘because of’ the Gujarat riots. This is the most arrant and malicious nonsense. The Gujarat riots were a blot on India’s democracy. They must be condemned without qualification, and efforts to secure justice and to reconstruct thse lives of their victims must continue. But a falsification of history is unforgivable. Worse, it feeds into the terrorists’ mobilisation machinery, justifying the murder of innocents, and inciting Muslims to ‘avenge’ the atrocities of Gujarat.

Pakistan-backed Islamist terrorism in India did not begin after Gujarat 2002. The dynamics of this terrorism are rooted in Pakistan’s strategic ambitions and the Islamist extremist ideology that has been harnessed to mobilise cadres and recruits for this terrorist enterprise. It is significant that despite the prominence the Gujarat riots receive in the propaganda of terrorist recruiters and their fellow travellers, including armies of ‘useful idiots’ among India’s chattering classes who give currency to their fictions, not a single survivor or family member of a victim has yet been found to be involved in any act of terrorism in India.

Eventually, impartial policing will be needed to create a bulwark against communal riots. To the extent that the structure, authority and legitimacy of the police are being continuously undermined, the nation’s vulnerabilities to communal violence persist. Our attention should focus on creating the apparatus of law and order management that is our best insurance against communal violence. The tragedy and stain of Gujarat cannot be wiped out; but the power to ensure that such a thing never happens again is within our grasp. Even five years after the nightmare in Gujarat, it is not too late to begin to exercise that power.

The writer is a former DGP, Punjab. He served as advisor to the Gujarat chief minister in 2002

Friday, March 02, 2007

Naxals kill 5 villagers within month in Gadchiroli

Thursday, March 1, 2007|20:59 IST

Pradip Kumar Maitra

Nagpur, March 1, 2007

Tension prevails in the tribal areas of Etapalli region in Gadchiroli district, bordering Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, over brutal killings of five villagers within a month by naxalites of CPI (Maoist) after dubbing them police informers.

The latest victim of the Maoist rebels was Patali Zhole of Tambda village in the district. The extremists killed the 40-year old Patali on Wednesday with sharp weapons. According to police, Zhole was woke up by the naxalites at midnight and was dragged him out from his house. They had taken him to nearby jungle and killed him there. The villagers found the dead body of Patali only in the morning. However, the district police denied that Patali had a link with the police. “He was never an informer for us,” asserted Shirish Jain, the district superintendent of police while talking to Hindustan Times.

Earlier, one Dolu Zhure, a police patil of Kamke village in the area was killed by naxalites on February 18. An eight-member squad stormed into the house of Dolu at midnight, dragged him out and gunned him down.

Similarly, Namdeo Bhilavi of Dubbagudam and Shyamrao Dhurve of Tambde village were hacked to deaths by Maoists last month. They also killed one Haridas Korami of Ghotsur on January 4 this year. Of them, Shyamrao was an ex-naxalite and surrendered before the police, a couple of years ago. He incurred the wrath of extremists for staying away from the organisation for quite some time. Almost all the cases, the naxalites left the village after warning the villagers that they should not cooperate police, otherwise face similar actions.

Meanwhile, the district administration perturbed over the sudden spurt of violence by the naxalites on the eve of Zilla Parishad elections. The naxalites have already given a poll boycott and warned the villagers to desist from all elections activities. “The recent naxalite violence is just an attempt to terrorise the innocent tribal to keep them away from the ZP elections process,” felt the district police super.

The district police sent a team to Tambda village on Thursday after the incident. “An intensified search operation has already begun in the area against naxalites after the incident,” Jain further informed.

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Naxals sneak in, Jeypore on alert

Friday March 2 2007 13:05 IST
JEYPORE: An alert has been sounded in Koraput district after over 100 hardcore Naxalites from neighbouring Chhattisgarh and Malkangiri district reportedly entered the tribal pockets of Jeypore sub-division.

According to reports, four days back, the district police received an intelligence report from Bastar district of Chhattisgarh over movement of armed Naxals towards Jeypore sub-division.

Sources said the Naxalites sneaked into Jeypore sub-division areas by taking the river route near Ghadaghat, bordering Orissa and Chhattisgarh.

They were heading towards Boipariguda and Kundra block through the Ramgiri forests.

Apprehending attacks on major establishments, the police administration is on the alert and security has been beefed up to avoid any untoward incident.

According to reports, extremist outfits from Orissa and Andhra Pradesh would reportedly hold a meeting soon to spread their activities from Ramgiri forest areas of Boipariguda and Kundra blocks, which are non-Naxal zones, to neighbouring Nabarangpur district which has not seen any kind of radical activity so far.

Meanwhile, Koraput SP Arun Bothra visited several sensitive pockets of the district on Wednesday to review the current strategy of the police.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Kundapur: ANS, Police Conduct Intense Combing Operations for 3 Days

Report by Vinay Pais for Daijiworld Media Network – Kundapur (VM)

Kundapur, Feb 28: Intense combing operations were undertaken by the Anti Naxal Squad and the Special Police Force in the Someshwar Forest Range after they received a tip off from the Intelligence Bureau of movement of Naxalites in the region.

According to our correspondent, the ANS and the special police force jointly undertook combing operations in the region for the past three days. The regions covered included Madamakki, Hanja, Idumalai and Chippakaklu which come under Shankarnarayan police station limits.

Naxal activities were suspected in these regions and possible movement of Naxals was also suspected. The 150 member police squad was led by ANS superintendent Ramesh and Suresh Gude mane

Udupi SP Dr Subramaneshwara, Udupi ASP Satish Kumar, Kundapur Circle Inspector Valentine and SI Suresh were also a part of the search operation.

According to police sources the search did not yield any results and the operation has been called off.

Naxals attack security party, kills eight in Chhattisgarh

Thursday, March 01, 2007 18:36 IST

RAIPUR: Naxalites on Thursday killed eight people, including six security personnel, and injured two in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district, police said.

"The Naxalites triggered a huge landmine blast and opened indiscriminate firing on a police party killing eight people on the spot and injuring two security personnel at Metaguda in Errabore Police station area, about 485 km from here," police sources in Dantewada said.

The dead included four jawans from Nagaland Armed Forces, who were deployed in Bastar region for anti-Naxal operation, two Special Police Officers (SPOs) and the driver and the helper of the truck.

The injured were two Nagaland jawans, the sources said.

The incident occurred when the police party was on a road opening operation. Some were on foot and about ten jawans were in a truck which was targeted by the Naxalites with a huge landmine and indiscriminate firing, they said.

Naxalites also looted seven sophisticated weapons from the security troops after killing them, the sources said.

The Naxalites escaped with three AK-47 rifles and two each of Left Loaded and .303 guns.

Additional forces have rushed to the spot and combing operation has been launched to trace out the Naxalites, the sources said.

It was the same spot, where about a year back the insurgents had triggered a landmine targeting a truck which killed 27 villagers.

State Home Department sources told PTI that the truck targeted by the Naxalites today had a Orissa registration number and the security forces personnel had taken a lift when the blast was triggered.

Naxalites have become active in Chhattisgarh after the Salwa Judum (anti-Naxal campaign) was started in Dantewada district from June six, 2005.

In last one year, about 350 people, including over 50 security personnel, have been killed in Naxal-related incidents in the state.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

No nod for Salwa Judum

State police has reservations about arming villagers, Nishit Dholabhai explains why

As Dhanai Kishor sipped tea at a roadside dhaba, four gun-toting policemen stood guard. That’s all there is left to the status of the president of Nagarik Suraksha Samiti (NSS), besides a state-gifted vehicle to travel.

Kishor is a disappointed man. Last year, his outfit was responsible for eliminating as many as 13 Naxalities, besides having got several arrested.

But instead of encouraging them further, the police have distanced itself from the activities of their group, which is quite similar to that of Salwa Judum in the neighbouring state of Chhattisgarh. Kishor’s team still operates in East Singhbhum and in Mayurbhanj district of Orissa. But the going has got tougher with time.

“Support from the police is not consistent anymore,” he adds.

Unlike Chhattisgarh, where Opposition leader Mahendra Karma and the ruling BJP have joined hands to promote Salwa Judum, Jharkhand has decided to follow a different path.

In a move that has taken many by surprise and is likely to start off a debate on Salwa Judum in the several Naxalite-affected states, opposition to the state-supported vigilante groups has not come from human rights groups or NGOs. It has come from within the Jharkhand police itself.

Top police officials believe Salwa Judum is deepening fissures within the tribal society in Bastar. The so-called “peace march” has created clear-cut divisions, which could well result in a “civil war” of sorts, they say.

In 2005, Kishor had initiated the move of grouping together villagers to fight the Naxalites. The government had supported the basic idea, but it had its own reservations and questions on state-sponsored measures.

“We don’t think Salwa Judum is working. It is not right for Jharkhand,” a top police officer in Ranchi said very clearly.

The police reaction has been questioned by some. Especially, as they point out, 16 of the 22 states are Naxalite-affected. And what’s leading to it is the complete breakdown of any form of governance in the state. In Dantewada district, the nucleus of Salwa Judum, hundreds of villagers remain in camps protected by policemen.

Many of them have been killed by their fellow villagers, who have decided to side with the Naxalites, instead of joining these camps. Those in the camp, in turn, have been armed by the state to take on their fellow villagers, now turned foes. Between them a battleline has been drawn and where it can lead to is anybody’s guess.

“Living conditions in these camps are miserable,” said Tridib Ghosh, a member of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). Ghosh admitted there was a lot in the state that had changed. The biggest problem today was the total lack of governance.

In the past five years, the state has taken few initiatives to implement schemes at the grassroots. With growing discontent, the Naxalite threats, too, grew.

An action plan to counter this growing Naxalite movement was prepared a year and a half back. Much time has passed but implementation of the plan has been limited only to modernisation of the police force and increasing fighting capabilities.

The other important aspects of rural economic and political development remain sadly ignored.

The centrally-sponsored Rashtriya Swayam Vikas Yojana, which could have gone far in bringing development, didn’t do well, either. Only 56 per cent of the total plans actually made to the implementation stage. The health and education sectors remain in poor conditions, too. “We are going to ask the Centre for 2,000 schools,” said chief minister Madhu Koda, when asked about future plans.

The state’s allocation for the next fiscal is Rs 6,600 crore, a mere Rs 1,000 crore increase. But to complain about funds alone is just an excuse. The trend shows that utilisation from the Centre is far from desirable.

At the chief minister’s sprawling residence, groups of women protested against the “loot” by government officials in implementing the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. “Force will not help. Making people fight will not really give them their rights,” said Dayamani Barla of the Akhil Bharatiya Pragatisheel Mahila Association.

Therefore, the state’s demand of 40 more companies of paramilitary forces, may prove to be an incomplete exercise. Most districts affected by the Naxalite movement are said to be in the “struggle stage” but pockets in the state are now in the “guerrilla stage”. That may be so, but the police is not encouraging “employment of former convicts” like Kishor, alleged to have been involved in a bank robbery before setting up the NSS.

Tourism dept building blasted by naxalites

Posted at Wednesday, 28 February 2007 13:02 IST
Giridih (Jharkhand), Feb 28: Naxalite rebels triggered off a blast at an under-construction building of the state tourism department late last night at Madhuvan, about 35 km from here.

However, there was no casualty in the incident.

A group of about 35 extremists had dragged out the caretaker and his wife after tying their hands and feet, District police superintendent Arun Kumar told newsmen.

The building, which was 90 per cent complete, was damaged in the blast. It was scheduled to be completed in the next few weeks

Tourism dept building blasted by naxalites

Giridih, Feb. 28 (PTI): The CPI(Maoist) blasted an under-construction building of the state tourism department late last night at Madhuvan, about 35 km from here.

There was no casualty in the incident as a group of about 35 extremists had dragged out the caretaker and his wife after tying their hands and feet, District police superintendent Arun Kumar told newsmen today.

The interior of the building, which was 90 per cent completed, was damaged in the blast.

The building was scheduled to be completed in the next few weeks.

Police have gone to the spot.

Naxal violence on the wane in Bengal


Rohit Khanna

Kolkata, February 27: The Union Government’s policy of ‘zero-tolerance’ towards the various Maoist and Naxalite groups active across the country has led to an overall decline in Naxalite related violence, with West Bengal gaining further following the launch of development works in the affected areas.

In the first two months of 2007 also, the state reported fewer incidents —- just two incidents and one civilian death. The last calendar year had begun on a violent note because of the Assembly elections.

Overall, incidents of Naxalite violence in India declined by 6.15 per cent in calendar 2006 over 2005.

According to officials of the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA), in West Bengal, the number of such incidents declined to 23 during 2006, with eight security personnel, nine civilians and two Naxalites reported killed.

Last year, the Union Government deployed 33 battalions of central paramilitary forces on anti-Naxalite duty across the Naxal belt and sanctioned the raising of 29 battalions of the India Reserve Force (IR).

Meanwhile, the Centre has also increased its spending to modernise the forces in terms of weaponry, telecommunication equipment and infrastructure. While Rs 371 crore was released during 2006, compared with Rs 506 crore in 2005-06, it also reimbursed the affected states Rs 219 crore under the Security Related Expenditure Scheme for Naxal affected areas.

Earlier, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had pointed out that Naxalite violence is not only a law and order problem but a socio-economic problem. The Union government has earmarked special funds for the development projects in the Naxalite affected states.

It has provided Rs 2475 crore under the Backward District Initiative (BDI) to fill in critical gaps in physical and social development. Funds are given now under the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) Scheme.

According to planning commission figures, West Bengal was allotted Rs 360 crore under the BDI during 2003-06, but it received only Rs 157.50 crore till September last year.

MHA officials said the decline in Naxal violence in West Bengal was a result of development works being carried out in different districts.

Moreover, 2006 had begun on a violent note because of the assembly elections in the state. The incidents of Naxalite violence declined after the elections.

In a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the Naxal affected states in Delhi last year, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had urged the Centre to start operation along the ‘Red corridor’, the hideout of the Naxalite groups.

Starting from Andhra Pradesh, the ‘Red Corridor’ runs through eastern Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar, covering almost 155 districts in India.

It links the ‘liberated zones’ of India with the Maoist held territories of Nepal. MHA officials feel the ‘Red Corridor’ helps in uniting the left-extremists of India with their counterparts in Nepal.

After the July 9, 2005, incident in Bankura district, where three CPIM leaders and a policeman were killed in two separate attacks by left-wing extremists of the Communist Party of India-Maoist, events of such big magnitude were on the decline in West Bengal.

According to an official in the state home department, “the current version of terror culture is an import from Andhra Pradesh”. “Neither this is an extension of the Naxalite movement nor does it have any local basis. They are not local people. They are outsiders who are using some local youth in a game of bloodshed,” he felt.

Meanwhile Center has established Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) and Joint Task Force on Intelligence (JTFI) and a special cell to fight Naxals in order to facilitate coordination of intelligence efforts among the Central intelligence agencies and between the Central and state intelligence agencies.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Story of a Soldier , 'Star' and Stupid Indian Media : Will Public wake up ?

For us , you are hero, NOT camera ke saamne haaath Pav hilanewale "Heros" .
For us , Major Manish Pitambare is HERO and Sanjay Dutt is ZERO

Will Pitambare's martyrdom sensitise us to introspect?

Tuesday February 27 2007 11:22 IST
S Gurumurthy

November 27, 2006 The army commander in Anantnag in Kashmir valley got a tip-off that the head of the dreaded terror outfit Hizbul Mujahidin, Suhail Faisal, was holed up in a crowded locality in the town.

Night was approaching. The mission was clear. Faisal, the coward with guns hiding behind civilians, had to be finished off with zero loss of non-combatants. Major Manish Pitambare, the best officer the commander had had and a dare devil soldier who had had many hits to his credit, was the obvious choice.

His high risk and successful tenure at the war zone was to end in another three weeks’ time. But he was called to his last mission before he left the valley. And that became his final mission. He accomplished the mission for his motherland. He engaged and killed Faisal with zero loss of civilians and also saved his buddy who was hit by bullet. But the price he had to pay for this was his own life.

Merely 32, he left behind his shattered wife and child, just 18 months old, who hardly saw his father, besides his aged parents. The brave young soldier perished to relieve his motherland of a dreaded terrorist. This is not, but what follows, is the story.

On the next day, the Indian media - both print and show - had no space even to report on Pitambare’s demise, much less celebrate his valour or revere his martyrdom. It was busy otherwise with the trivia the nation, thanks to the easy money that fashions life here, is increasingly becoming obsessed with.

This is tellingly brought out by one Rajeev Issar who happened to surf all Indian news channels on November 28. This is how Rajeev exposed what the stupid India media was obsessed about then.

On November 28, the day after Pitambare killed Faisal and perished, the headline news that dominated the Indian TV news channels all day were these: ‘Sanjay Dutt relieved by the court’, ‘Sirf Munna, not a bhai’, ‘13 saal ka vanvas khatam’. Salman Khan praised him as ‘a good person’. Big B said ‘he’s like elder brother to Abhishek’. Priya Dutt said, ‘we can sleep well tonight, a great relief’.

The other headline news was ‘Shah Rukh Khan replaces Big B in KBC’.

The Parliament in session then was hopping mad at the poor performance of the Indian cricket team! Bored with the trivia in the Indian TV channels, Rajeev began to surf other channels. He was startled to read this news on the BBC: ‘Hisbul Mujahidin’s most wanted terrorist ‘Suhail Faisal’ killed in Anantnag, India.

Indian major leading the operation lost his life in the process. Four other soldiers also died.’ Shocked at a foreign news channel reporting such important news about the Indian war on terror, Rajeev rushed back to the Indian channels. He says, ‘it was past midnight and still Sanjay Dutt was ruling the stupid Indian news channels’.

The news channels were reporting how Sanjay Dutt was pleading with the judge that ‘he is a sole bread winner of his family’ and ‘he has a daughter, studying abroad’. Rajeev’s mind contrasted Sanjay with Manish. When Manish took on the terrorist in the dark night hours before Sanjay was pleading in the court on November 28, he never thought he had a daughter of just 18 months or that he was the sole breadwinner of his family. It is precisely to save innocents from AK-47 and bombs of the terrorists that Pitambare perished.

Yet it is Sanjay Dutt, who was given the benefit of doubt in Bombay bomb blast case and the proud owner of AK-47 suspected to be gifted by Dawood Ibrahim, who was the hero of the day’s news. Pitambare’s daring act or death was thus relegated to be reported in a foreign channel.

More on Pitambare. Just before he left on his final mission, Pitambare sent an SMS to his wife saying that he was ‘leaving for an important mission’ and would ‘call immediately after returning.’ Mugdha, his wife, said, ‘I replied and waited for the call, but it never came.’ ‘For him’, she said, ‘the army was everything. We were all secondary when it came to his job or his mission.’

Despite being among the best students with the whole world of opportunities open to him in civilian life, he chose to join army to serve his motherland. The, an internet news channel, was the only Indian news purveyor to publish a tribute to Pitambare on Nov 28. Click

Sailesh Dhuri his classmate who wrote the tribute said: ‘When I last met him a few years ago - I asked him why don’t you take a transfer outside Kashmir. He said his country needs him the most there’. Yes, it was that need of the country for which he martyred.

Manish, leaving his young wife and small child, perished for the motherland like thousands of brave soldiers have in her cause - unreported, unsung and unwept.

Despite being ignored by the media thousands joined the funeral procession of Manish at Pune. Manish Pitambare and martyrs like him for the country have no space in the media that is addicted to promote Sanjay Dutts, Shah Rukh Khans, KBCs and cricket and is more concerned about Abhishek-Aishwarya marriage and Shilpa Shetty’s success in London.

The shameless media celebrates the trivia and shuns the martyrs. Will Pitambare’s martyrdom sensitise the media to introspect?

An obituary for Major Manish Pitambare

Shailesh Dhuri | November 28, 2006 16:29 IST

This morning, when I read the news on of an Army Major killed in Kashmir, my attention was more on the headline news of the death of a most wanted militant, than on the fate of the army major. However, within minutes, the news became personal, as my mother called on my handphone. She sounded worried, and I feared for her health. However, the news that she told was shocking. She said Manish was no more.

My neighbour's son and a good friend, Manish decided to join the Armed Forces after his SSC. A bright, proud, young fellow, he was driven by passion to serve his motherland when he took this unconventional decision. The decision was really brave, because he had scored nearly 90 per cent marks in his SSC examination, and the world of opportunities was open to him in civilian life.

Following his heart he went on to join the National Defence Academy in Pune, and thereafter went to join the Army. Our paths separated at that time, as I went on to join the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, soon afterwards and both of us would not see each other for years together.

I was very proud of him, and envious of him. Envious because, as a kid I wanted to join the Armed Forces, but could not do so because of my polio-affected left hand. As a small kid, I always thought that God was cruel to me for he had stopped me from serving my motherland directly and in the noblest manner.

Manish was a brave officer, always leading his team from the front. I think he was 1975-born, and he was already a Major in the Army. When I last met him a few years ago, he was posted in Kashmir � I asked him why don't you take a transfer outside Kashmir. He said his country needs him the most there. I again felt proud and envious of him.

Today, when his soul has left us because of a bullet from a mad terrorist, I have a few thoughts to share with the world.

Firstly, for how long are we, the Citizens of India, going to silently suffer in this war of one thousand cuts carried out in proxy by the Government of Pakistan? How many more sacrifices of young and bright sons of this land like Manish do we want before we say enough is enough? When are we going to press the Government of India to take strong action against this issue?

Secondly, I read reports of shortage of good officers in the Armed Forces. I fear that if a society does not want its brightest young lads to join the Armed Forces and serve the nation, the society will lose its independence, sooner or later. We have repeated this mistake in the past, and we are repeating it again. All the talk of India emerging on a global economic scene can come to a quick halt if our political adversaries are able to weaken our Armed Forces. I fear this is already happening, and we need to reverse the trend.

I want the readers of to devote a minute of their life thinking about the brave Army Officer who laid down his life today so that we can live and enjoy our life with our families. Also, I want readers to think about the two issues that I have shared with you and tell the world what you think about this.

Star versus ‘Star’

On Tuesday (Nov 28th ‘06) news swept across all the news channels ‘Sanjay Datt relieved by the court’. ‘Sirf Munna Not a bhai’ ‘13 saal ka vanvaas khatam’ ‘alhough found guilty for possession of armory, Sanjay can breathe a sigh of relief as all the TADA charges against him are withdrawn’.

And then many experts like Salman Khan saying ‘He is a good person. We knew he will come out clean’ Mr. Big B, ‘Datt family and our family have relations for years - he’s a good kid. He is like elder brother to Abhishek’. His sister Priya Datt ‘we can sleep well tonight…it’s a great relief’.

In another news: Parliament was mad at Indian team for performing badly; Greg chapel said something …..; Bomb scare in Gorakhpoor express; and Shah Rukh Khan replaces Big B in KBC and Sonia asked PM to consider reducing petroleum prices (I wonder who’s the PM …anyways that is not the topic so leave it…) But most of the emphasis was given on Sanjay Datt’s “phoenix like” comeback from the ashes of terrorist charges.

Surfing through the channels, one news on BBC startled me, it read, Hisbul Mujahidin’s Most wanted terrorist ‘Sohel Faisal’ killed in Anantnag, India. Indian Major leading the operation lost his life in the process. Four others are injured.

It was past midnight, I started visiting the Indian channels, the ones who are ‘Sabse TEZ’, but Sanjubaba was still ruling. They were telling How Sanjubaba pleaded to the court saying ‘I am the sole bread earner for my family’ ‘I have a daughter who is studying in US - who will look after her’. And then they showed how Sanjubaba was not wearing his lucky blue shirt while he was hearing the verdict. Also how he went to every temple and prayed for last some months. A suspect in Mumbai bomb blasts, convicted under armory act…..was being made into a hero.

Major Manish H Pitambare got the information from his sources about the terrorists’ whereabouts. Wasting no time he attacked the camp killed the Hisbul Mujahidin’s supremo and in the process lost his life….. To the bullets fired from an AK47…… He has a wife and a daughter (just like Sanjubaba), age …8 months.

Major Manish never said ‘I have a daughter’ …before he took the decision to attack the terrorist hide out on the darkest of nights? He never thought about having a family and he being the sole bread earner.

No news channel covered this since they were too busy hyping a former drug addict, an actor in real and reel life, a suspect who’s linked to bomb blasts which killed hundreds. Their aim was to show how he defied the TADA charges and they were so successful that his conviction in possession of armory had no meaning. They also concluded that his parents in heaven must be happy and proud of him……

Parents of Major Pitambare are still on this earth and they have to live rest of their lives without their beloved son. His daughter won’t ever see her papa again.

Definition of a Star has changed Major… it really has. So Sanjubaba always has a gun in every one of his movies then in real life if he has an AK47 then what’s the big deal we are used to see him with some ammunition without it he’s just a 49 year old hero so he did it for us… that we feel normal; Even if one of the bullets from one of such AK47’s took a Real Star’s life…….

but sir bole toh ….. tension nahi leneka. Aapun ko thoda bura laga. Aapun pure din aapke baarein mein socha. Sach bataun kya aapun dukhi matlab ki senty ho gaya, isliye ye likha.

Sorry major, to my generation there is no greater hero than one who laid his life in the name of this great nation. Hence Sir, I salute you. You are the real Star….

Rajeev Issar

Shailesh Dhuri has written a moving obituary on Major Pitambare and makes a very important point in his conclusion:

“Secondly, I read reports of shortage of good officers in the Armed Forces. I fear that if a society does not want its brightest young lads to join the Armed Forces and serve the nation, the society will lose its independence, sooner or later. We have repeated this mistake in the past, and we are repeating it again. All the talk of India emerging on a global economic scene can come to a quick halt if our political adversaries are able to weaken our Armed Forces. I fear this is already happening, and we need to reverse the trend.

I want the readers of to devote a minute of their life thinking about the brave Army Officer who laid down his life today so that we can live and enjoy our life with our families.”

Maoists 'kill four Indian police'

Maoist rebels have shot dead four policemen and wounded another four in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, police say.
A police spokesman quoting local eyewitnesses said the officers were killed just after midnight when up to 600 rebels attacked a police camp.

Police say the attack took place at Khaira village in Lakhisarai district.

They say that the rebels ordered the police to give up their arms but they refused to do so, and fought back.

Bloody history

Police said the rebels also blew up railway tracks at two places nearby.

The Maoists say they are fighting to defend the rights of the poor and indigenous tribes.

Maoists are active in several Indian states

Correspondents say that of Bihar's 38 districts, 18 are badly affected by the Maoist insurgency. Central Bihar in particular has a long bloody history of killings.

In November 2005, Maoist rebels raided a jail in Jehanabad district and freed more than 300 inmates.

The rebels are pressing for the creation of a communist state comprising tribal areas in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.

CCTVs, smart cameras at key stations

[ TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2007 03:08:30 PM]

New Delhi: Close on the heels of last week’s terror attacks on Samjhauta Express, railway minister Lalu Prasad has announced a number of steps to strengthen security , including installation of CCTVs and smart video cameras , at sensitive stations.

The government has also decided to install explosive detection devices, door-frame and hand-held metal detectors for a number of trains plying through sensitive divisions, besides increasing the number of trained dog-squads.

Other than the two trains between India and Pakistan — Samjhauta and Thar Express, additional security arrangements will also been made for Mumbai suburban trains, which too were the target of terror attacks in July last year.

The Mumbai suburban services will now have an integrated security and surveillance system. RPF personnel are being given intensive training to increase their expertise and efficiency.

Though he did not specify which divisions have been identified as sensitive ones, home ministry officials later said that the plan was to enhance security on all routes falling in communally sensitive, terror-prone and Naxal-affected areas.

Lalu said the railways did not have a “magic wand” to get wind of any plot to attack trains and would have to depend on intelligence inputs. Each compartment of the Indo-Pakistan friendship trains would have one TTE and at least two RPF personnel.

End of Naxalism has started in Chhattisgarh: Raman Singh

Raipur, Feb 27: Naxalism is a threat to the nation but steps to wipe it out have started in Chhattisgarh, Chief Minister Raman Singh told the assembly.

Replying to a discussion on thanks to the Governor for his address to the house on February 19, Singh said Naxalites are a threat to the democracy and the country.

"One day the Naxalism will be finished from the country and the process has already been started in Chhattisgarh in the form of Salwa Judum (an anti-Naxal people's campaign)," he said adding "we have the will power and determination to end Naxalism from the state."

Referring to the allegation of lack of development in the state under his rule, Singh said compared to the first three-year tenure of the erstwhile Congress regime, he has fared better.

"Several schools and hospitals were opened and more roads were constructed in last three years," he said.

Earlier, Leader of Opposition Mahendra Karma and other Congress members said execution of the proposed projects was needed and mere allocation of funds would not bring development to the state.

Karma also alleged that the Chief Minister's lack of expertise in administration was allowing Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal activists to "attack" minority community members and the government should take steps to check it.

Bureau Report

Monday, February 26, 2007

Skull Shrine Of Khmer Rouge Victims Will Stay, Says Cambodian PM

The Khmer Rouge's ultra-Maoist Democratic Kampuchea regime ruled Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. Up to 2 million people are thought to have died during this period due to Khmer Rouge misrule.

The shrine made of human skulls in a glass case at the Choeung Ek killing fields outside the capital will not be taken down despite requests for them to be cremated, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Monday, citing justice and tourism concerns.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of a new bridge close to the genocide memorial, Hun Sen said the skulls constituted important evidence of Khmer Rouge atrocities and drew thousands of people to visit them in that context every year, and, therefore, would stay.

"People want to know how Pol Pot was cruel," he said, in reference to the former Khmer Rouge leader, who died in 1998.

In the speech broadcast on national radio, Hun Sen quoted tourism figures showing 36,000 people had visited Wat Phnom, the birthplace of the capital, last year, but 144,300 had chosen to visit Choeung Ek to see the memorial.

"We didn't want to bring people's bodies to show but this is real evidence of genocidal crimes," he said. "Someone asked us to burn them and let the souls of the dead go to another life, but if we lose it we cannot have a Khmer Rouge trial."

Hun Sen said to cremate the skulls would be "sweet" for former Khmer Rouge leaders ahead of the scheduled trial, which is expected to get underway in earnest this year.

A number of groups have said the remains of former Khmer Rouge victims should be cremated in line with the Buddhist belief that without proper burial and religious rites the souls of those victims cannot be at peace or be reincarnated.

The Khmer Rouge's ultra-Maoist Democratic Kampuchea regime ruled Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. Up to 2 million people are thought to have died during this period due to Khmer Rouge misrule.

© 2007 DPA

Civil rights groups should not defend Naxalites

—Dr Raman Singh
By Deepak Kumar Rath

The Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini organised a national seminar in New Delhi on February 14, 2007 on “Innovative Strategies to Counter Naxalism: Experiment of Salva Judum.” The seminar was held in four different sessions throughout the day which had eminent speakers drawn from a wide spectrum of on-field workers to policymakers to law enforcers.

Dr. Raman Singh, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, addressing the seminar strongly lamented the lack of comprehensive coordination across the affected states and the Centre. Dr. Singh pointed out that within the Naxal movement various outfits like People’s War Group and MCC had managed to merge and form outfits like the CPI (M). It had also received help from LTTE and Maoists, yet in India it had not been possible to put an integrated action plan into place to combat them.

While 13 states in the country are riddled with Naxalism, a people’s movement against Naxalism called ‘Salva Judum’ has come up as a huge non-violent retaliation rattling Naxals in two districts of Chhattisgarh. The rest of the states affected with Naxalism have been viewing this agitation with interest to assess its fallouts, Dr Singh pointed out.

Shri K.M. Seth, former governor of Chhattisgarh, while speaking on the occasion called Naxalism the greatest threat to the internal security of the nation. He warned that under the present strategy of Naxals, the whole movement is shifting towards cities. Shri Seth added that it is now merely a terror-based organisation involved in kidnapping, abductions and killings of the innocent people. He lauded the Salva Judum as a combative movement above party politics and stressed that it is a ground movement, which could not be stopped by the government.

Shri Rathore, DG Police, Chhattisgarh, started the second session by calling the participants practical persons involved in the process of purification called Salva Judum. He called it a non-cooperation movement against violence equating it with Satyagraha. He said it is movement that is removing the poison from the social fabric.

Shri Kedar Kashyap, MP from Chhattisgarh, spoke on his actual experiences of participations in Salva Judum padyatras. He informed that Salva Judum has succeeded to such an extent that areas which were inaccessible and unsafe because of Naxal presence some two years back now facilitate easy mobility. He also said that Naxals are no longer receiving funding from the local people as earlier and are being forced against the wall as they have to call for money from outside now.

Shri Chhabinda Karma, Chairman, Jila Panchyat, Dantewada called Salva Judum the biggest people’s agitation after the freedom struggle. He spoke of how the Naxals had managed to eat into people’s confidence, their culture and also weaken the will of the police.

Shatabdi Pandey in a power-point presentation depicted the role of women in the Salva Judum. She also lamented the false propaganda by Naxals and called for bringing forward the thinking brain.

Shri Girishkant Pande, academician with close study of the Naxal movement over decades, in his address displayed a comparative study of the Salva Judum agitation and the Naxal organisation. He pointed out that while Naxalites are well trained particularly in guerilla warfare, the Salva Judum activists are untrained. The Naxals possess sophisticated firearms and hi-tech equipments while the Salva Judum activists have low-profile firearms and mostly use primitive arms like arrows and axes.

Shri Swapan Dasgupta, eminent journalist, said that we have deluded ourselves that Naxalism is not an assault on the sovereignty of the nation. He said that it is still defined as a movement originating from a socio-economic problem. Differing on these oft-stated views, Shri Dasgupta said that Naxalism followed a design. “Surely poverty is not a corridor”, he said referring to the red corridor developed through the 13 states of India by the Naxals. He further said that Salva Judum is only one of the innovative strategies, that can combat Naxalism.

Shri K.P.S. Gill, former Punjab DGP called this his assessment of the Naxal problem particularly in the state of Chhattisgarh. He said that such issues could be effectively addressed only when the political establishment, administration and police work in tandem. While he pointed out that problems like short-staffing of police in Chhattisgarh are being taken care of now, he also had a word of praise for the political establishment saying in his assessment there is political backing to weed out the problem.

Shri Balasubramanium Kamrasu from Andhra Pradesh refused to call Salva Judum an experiment. He said that it is a people’s outburst and not planned, as is the case with an experiment.

Shri Bal Apte, MP and RMP Director Shri Vinay Sahasrabudhe were also present on the occasion.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Naxalite killed in police firing

Raipur: A naxalite was killed and a policeman injured in a gun battle between naxalites and a police party on Saturday at Pedametta village, about 450 km from here.

Bijapur District Superintendent of Police Ratan Lal Dangi told PTI on Sunday that on receiving information that Abujhmad Dalam group of naxalites would be holding a meeting at Pedametta, the police party raided the area.

Following this an exchange of fire between the police and the naxalites took place for over an hour, the senior official said.

The police recovered 25 landmines, three hand grenades and one weapon from the encounter site, he said.


Two Naxals Killed in Gaya in Police Encounter

Patna: Feb. 25, 2007

The police in Gaya district under Wazirganj police station on Sunday evening shot and killed two Naxal extremists while injuring half a dozen others in an encounter that lasted over an hour, Gaya Superintendent of Police (SP) Amit Jain said.

According to the report, after receiving information about the ultras planning to hold a meeting near Bigha-Kharhari Pahari area, a police team led by the SP and assisted by Sherghati DSP Baliram Chowdhary raided the location that led to exchange of hundreds of rounds of firing from both sides.

While two Naxals died on the spot, others managed to escape. The police managed to capture one of the fleeing criminals and recovered a large cache of arms and explosives including an SLR, two police rifles stolen earlier, a live bomb, hundreds of rounds of live cartridges, one detonator, a cell phone, two walkie-talkies and Naxal literature from the encounter site.

The arrested ultra was identified as Manoj Manjhi who is now being quizzed by the cops.

Police examines link between Naxal and explosive seizure

Sunday February 25 2007 09:26 IST

JEYPORE: The Rayagada police has geared up to find out possible links between the Naxalites and the people of Bhairabagada village under Muniguda police limits, in manufacturing explosive materials.

According to reports, four days back, a special team led by Rayagada SDPO Kabita Jalan raided Bhairabgada village and seized explosive materials, two revolvers and two country-made pistols from a house.

Police sources said further investigation is on to establish any link between the seizure of the explosives and Naxal presence in the area.