Saturday, November 10, 2007

Impose President’s Rule in West Bengal
In a late Diwali night media release West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi has set some political fireworks off with these remarks

In a statement to the media Governor Gandhi has said,
“The manner in which the recapture of Nandigram villages is being attempted is totally unlawful and unacceptable. A large number of armed persons from outside the district have, it is undeniable, forced themselves onto villages in Nandigram Block one and two for territorial assertion. Thousands of villages have consequently been intimidated into leaving their homes. No government or society could allow a war zone to exist without immediate and effective action”,
he said.

The Governor’s remarks should leave no one in doubt that the West Bengal Government did not do its duty in upholding the constitution and rule of law when it willingly connived with the CPI-M party to wage war on the very people it swore to protect.

On 7th Nov Offstumped had chronicled how this war was waged. The next day Offstumped had highlighted how Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee slept over the warning signals to allow this war to be waged. The latest events are a culmination of a 11 month saga that saw its worst with police shooting on innocents in March. A week later Offstumped highlighted how the media belatedly expressed token remorse. The Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi lead UPA Government has been delinquent in holding the Prakash Karat lead CPI-M to account.

Given the manner in which the media and the conscience keepers have reacted to events in BJP ruled Gujarat in the past, it is surprising that there has not even been a semblance of critcisim let alone activism in holding the CPI-M to account.

Offstumped Bottomline:

Governor Gopal Gandhi’s remarks have blown the cover off Brand Buddha. The time for holding the CPI-M to account for its sacrilege of democracy and the constitution has come. Manmohan Singh must act now to impose President’s rule in West Bengal.

CPI(M), Congress leaders meet Governor

Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: A delegation of senior leaders of the CPI(M), including some Parliamentarians, and another comprising Congress leaders separately called on the West Bengal Governor, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, here on Friday to apprise him of the situation in Nandigram.

While the former brought to his attention the growing presence of Maoists who “needed to be tackled,” the Congress demanded the deployment of the Army and sought Mr. Gandhi’s intervention “to protect the people there.”

Speaking to newspersons, Tarit Topdar, MP, said the CPI(M) leaders had asked the Governor “to be sympathetic” to the plight of supporters of “both sides [the CPI(M) and Opposition],” who had been affected by the violence.

He said the delegation pointed out that those involved in what was being projected as a movement in Nandigram “involves not just the Trinamool Congress or the Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh (Resistance against Land Eviction) Committee but also the naxalites, who have started dominating the situation there.”

“There is a need to tackle the Maoists. For this, the State government had sought the deployment of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), to which a Union Minister from the State was opposed, contrary to how the Union Home Minister, Shivraj Patil, had reportedly viewed the situation.”

The MP’s reference was apparently to Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Priyaranjan Dasmunsi, who was reported to have said in New Delhi last week that he was opposed to the deployment of the CRPF.

The Trinamool and the BUPC had paved the way for the Maoists entering Nandigram, Mr. Topdar said.

Manas Bhunia, leader of the Congress Legislature Party, who led the Congress delegation, said CPI(M) cadres were ‘continuing their atrocities’ against the people of the area and the police were “mute witnesses” to the goings-on.

Two naxalites injured in encounter

Jamshedpur (PTI): Two naxalites were on Saturday injured in an encounter with a joint combing team near Barunia in extremist-hit Ghatsila sub-division of Jharkhand.

The encounter took place after the police and CRPF started long range patrolling in naxalite-stronghold areas of the sub-division following a tip-off that a group of CPI(Maoist) ultras had gathered in a jungle near the village, the police said.

Police retaliated after the ultras opened fire at the them on seeing them approaching the jungle, Police Superintendent Navin Kumar Singh said.

Intermittent firing from both camps was going on, Singh said, adding that the bordering states of Orissa and Bengal were alerted.

No casuality was reported from the police camp till 4 pm, Singh said.

The two naxalites who sustained bullet injuries were taken away by their group members, he said.

Police have seized a rifle, two pistols, can bombs, detonators, uniform and other articles left by the ultras on the spot.

Powerful landmine unearthed

Sasaram (PTI): A powerful landmine packed with 100 kg of explosives planted by suspected CPI (Maoists) was found from under a road in Bihar's naxalite-hit Rohtas district, police said on Saturday.

Sub-divisional police officer Mithilesh Kumar Singh said that acting on a tip-off, police dug out the landmine packed in a bucket concealed under Dehri-Jagannathpur road near Suarmanwa village last night.

Two detonators and about 200 metres of wire were also found, he said.

Police suspected that the explosive was planted probably to target police vehicle during Diwali

Naxals move to cities

11/10/2007 3:01:19 PM

'Times Now' has acquired a top secret Intelligence Bureau report that says that the Naxals now have a systematic urban plan. The report indicates that the Naxal groups are advancing beyond their usual training and breeding grounds and moving to the cities.

The report cites SEZ unrest as a fuel for Naxal activity and that Naxals are misguiding displaced migrants in cities towards extremism. It's not an urban plan that involves the regions known to be the red corridor but that newer areas are being explored. For instance the mineral belt of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal are being seen as new targets for Naxals. Economic corridors surrounding Mumbai, NCR are also on the radar. What is most alarming is that the Naxal units are now stepping up on their intelligence gathering and techological upgradation.

The IB report indicates that Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai are being looked at as breeding points. Naxals have apparently set up seperate units for gathering critical intelligence.

Friday, November 09, 2007

`Vital information` on shoe baron`s killing gathered : Police

Zee News, India - 2 hours ago
The intensified drive against Naxals in the state and frequent political agitations were hampering investigation as majority of the police officials were ...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Huge cache of explosives recovered in Jharkand

8 Nov 2007, 2220 hrs IST,PTI

JAMSHEDPUR: Police, on Thursday, demolished two bunkers and recovered huge explosives in extremist-hit Patamda block of East Singbhum district in Jharkhand.

Police traced two bunkers and recovered about 2.5 quintals of explosives, including 250 detonators, from the hideouts of the CPI (Maoist) following a 36-hour combing operation in Dalma hills, they said.

Besides, police seized live cartridges and their uniform. Acting on information about the extremist activities in the area, police said a massive combing operation was launched yesterday and that led to Thursday's recovery.

Maoists Free Doctor Couple In Jharkhand (Lead)

Thursday 08th of November 2007 A doctor couple abducted in Lohardagga district of Jharkhand Thursday morning by suspected Maoist rebels was released after six hours in captivity.

'An intensive police combing operation forced the Maoist rebels to release the abducted doctors. The doctors are safe and they have been taken to the Lohardagga district headquarters,' said G.S. Rath, additional director general of police.

The couple, identified as Amar and Pratima, was coming to Ranchi from Palamau district by bus. They were abducted near Kuru block of Lohardagga district, the police said earlier.

The Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC), a breakaway group of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), had abducted them, police said.

BJP condemns Nandigram Violence

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By Correspondent,

New Delhi, Nov 8: BJP today condemned the bloody events taking place in Nandigram for the last several months. BJP called for the immediate end to this bloody saga of killings and counter killings in this West Bengal town. BJP National Spokesperson in a press release said that the unending saga of cold blooded murder and mayhem being perpetrated in Nandigram once and for all conclusively exposes the true and ugly face of the left front government and its party cadres. Prasad said that it has become a matter of serious concern for the entire nation to witness the blatant and partisan manner in which the Left Front Government in West Bengal was refraining from conducting its responsibilities towards the citizens of the state and in reality actually encouraging its party cadre to continue with their atrocities against innocent farmers by forcibly intimidating them through violence.

Prasad added that, “BJP had on numerous occasions sought to expose the role of the CPM party and its cadre in Nandigram”. Prasad recalled the recent statement by BJP National President Shri Rajnath Singh who on 3rd November 2007 said that “On the one hand, the communists publicly express their concerns for China, but on the other hand, maintain a deafening silence on critical national issues such as the continuing massacres and saga of violence being propagated by the Naxalites and Maoists across an increasing red corridor within the country, or the ruthless crushing of peasants who are fighting to protect their rights and honor in Nandigram.”

Naxalite surrenders in Bihar

8 Nov 2007, 1514 hrs IST,PTI

BHABHUA: A naxalite of the banned CPI(Maoist) surrendered to the police on Thursday along with arms and ammunition in Bihar's Kaimur district.

Sanjit Sah, wanted in several cases of naxalite violence, including murder, gave himself up before the officer in-charge of Adhaura police station A K Singh.

The naxalite also laid down a rifle looted from police, 88 rounds of ammunition and a hand grenade, the police said.

The naxalite is being produced before a court, the police said.
Monideepa Banerjie
Thursday, November 8, 2007 (Nandigram)
The CPM has blamed hardline Maoist militants for the violence in Nandigram and now reports suggest that the outfit has penetrated into the violence-torn region.

Maoist training camps in West Bengal's Purulia district bordering Jharkhand have been around for years now.

According to intelligence sources, since February trained Maoists from these camps are filtering into Nandigram and joining hands with the anti-SEZ group, the Bhoomi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) to keep the police out.

''We have information from various sources that some of the Maoist elements are there in Nandigram. To what extent they are effective and to what extent they are abetting or supporting this movement against the government - whatever the movement may be - is not entirely clear to us,'' said Amit Kiran Deb, Chief Secretary, West Bengal.

Till September, the presence of the Maoists in Nandigram was really nebulous. No one was sure who they were, where they were, what they were doing and what their resources were.

The breakthrough came on September 22 when prominent Maoist leader Ranjit Pal was spotted at Sonachura.

Pal has claimed he was involved in the killing of JMM MP Sunil Mahato at Jamshedpur on March 4 this year.

According to information available with NDTV, leadership of the Maoist movement in Nandigram is being given by a core group of 10 to 12 people, led by Arup and Tapashi.

Out of a total of 110 to 120 Maoists camping there, 20 to 25 are women. They have several frontal organizations including the Matangini Mahila Samiti and the Bandi Mukti Committee.

Intelligence agencies believe that the October 14 rally jointly held by the Maoists and the BUPC point to the Naxal involvement in the area.

In the recent past, the Maoists have opened a training centre at Ranichak in Nandigram itself. Local boys are allegedly being trained in the use of arms and also improvised landmines.

The Maoists came under attack from the Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee, who promised to give all possible help to the administration if they began a crackdown on Maoists.

ORISSA: Naxal nabbed during combing

Thursday November 8 2007 12:01 IST


BERHAMPUR: A Naxal leader, Srinu Bedreka, was nabbed by police party during combing on Tuesday from near Karlaghat.

On a tip off that the radicals are hiding in Karlaghat area, Rayagada SP, Asish Kumar along with Gunupur SDPO Pankaj Kumar and CRPF combed area when they found a youth moving suspiciously. The youth tried to flee but was overpowered by the combing team. During interrogation, Srinu admitted that he was involved with Naxals since 2003.

Naxals kill youth in Gadchiroli

8 Nov 2007, 0333 hrs IST,TNN

GADCHIROLI: A youth was brutally done to death by armed Naxalites in Gadchiroli district late on Tuesday.

A group of 70 Naxalites reached Tavegaon village on Tuesday night and started looking for a tribal youth, Fagusoma Tofa (25), who hailed from Gyarabatti area of Gadchiroli. Sources said the Naxals had started a hunt for Tofa as they suspected that he was a police informer. It was learnt that the youth had come to stay with one of his relatives.

After a search, the Naxals learnt of Tofa’s whereabouts. They dragged Tofa out of the village, shot him dead and later slit his throat, sources said. According police sources, Tofa was a Naxal sympathiser.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

CPM in fix over mismatch of words and actions

8 Nov 2007, 0100 hrs IST,Saugata Roy,TNN

KOLKATA: With strikes from CPM stronghold Khejuri showing no signs of a let up, the party made an effort in the Left Front meeting on Wednesday to portray the manoeuvres as a "defensive move" to ward off the "Trinamul-Maoist onslaught". However, there were hardly any takers for this argument after state home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray said the first shots were fired from the Khejuri side.

Caught on the wrong foot, Front chairman Biman Bose on Wednesday went public against Ray, saying what he had said the other day was wrong. But Ray stuck to what he said. "I can't be untruthful. My information is based on the reports of police and district administration. What other source of information do I have?" he said after meeting chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

While CPM leaders in Kolkata sent an olive branch to the Opposition in the form of a peace appeal to the public, on the ground level the red brigade stormed into Nandigram early in the morning.

The mismatch between words and actions has put the government in a spot. The CM conceded in the Front meeting that cops weren't equipped to combat the heavily-armed rivals. At the same time, he buried plans to call in paramilitary forces in Nandigram, for the time being, following the public outcry against his seeking a military solution to a political problem. But there was no reason why the police outpost on Tekhali Bridge was removed on Wednesday.

Forward Bloc leader Asok Ghosh refused to endorse the CM's plans to call in CRPF on grounds that the political initiative on the part of the administration didn't succeed due to the stubborn stand of the Opposition. Instead Ghosh wanted Bose to apprise the members about the "socio-political initiative" was taken on his behalf or CPM to bring back peace in the area. Ghosh wouldn't put the blame entirely on Trinamul-led BUPC. "The state home secretary has said that people from the Khejuri were the first to open fire," Ghosh said. The leaders took exception to the CM's deciding to call in CRPF without a discussion in the LF meet.

The CM informed the partners that the government was putting the plan on hold because there were difficulties in redeploying CRPF. But the CM didn't expect RSP leader and minister Kshiti Goswami to go public against his plans, the way Goswami did. Goswami, however, stuck to his view and said sending in paramilitary forces would send wrong signals.

CPM patriarch Jyoti Basu urged all to make a mass appeal for restoring peace in the area. "Who has delegated CPM to bring peace in Nandigram? Let all the Left Front partners make an appeal to initiate a political dialogue."

Bullets in turf war, potshots in party

Basu for talks, politburo with CM

Calcutta, Nov. 7: Nandigram is still burning but a consensus is eluding not only the Left Front but also the CPM on how to bring peace back.

Party patriarch Jyoti Basu and state secretary Biman Bose spoke in different voices after a Left Front meeting and the home secretary got caught in a skirmish with the CPM on a day pockmarked by incessant gun battles in Nandigram.

CPM supporters are said to have taken control of several villagers through the day. Local party leaders also claimed success in wresting the homes of 300 evicted supporters.

Fusillades were let loose at the Left Front meeting in Calcutta, too. Basu wanted chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to “postpone” deployment of central forces and renew talks with the Opposition.

“I have told (Bhattacharjee) to postpone summoning the CRPF, though the force is present in other areas of the state. I told him that you had called peace meetings twice but failed. I asked him to try again,’’ Basu said.

However, by evening, the CPM politburo issued a statement supporting the chief minister’s decision to call the CRPF to contain the “Maoist violence”. Last week, party chief Prakash Karat had said the “chief minister’s stand is the party’s stand”.

Although Mamata Banerjee had spurned talks offers from the chief minister several times, Basu said: “If needed, I have no problem in talking to her. I have no animosity towards her. If required, I can talk to her a hundred times.”

“What is the local police force doing? Similar clashes took place during my tenure and we tackled it,’’ he added, referring to clashes in Keshpur at the fag end of his reign at Writers’.

State CPM chief Bose, however, sent a subtle message to Basu that since he was no longer the chief minister, the decision should not be his. “Jyotibabu has expressed his opinion. It’s for the chief minister to take the final decision.”

At the front meeting, Bhattacharjee is learnt to have said the CRPF was required to counter the Maoists who had planted at least 15 landmines there and the state police were not equipped to deal with the situation.

However, the chief minister informed the allies that central forces would not be available immediately because of elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

But Basu was no less critical of Trinamul. “I have never heard of this kind of movement. They have blown up bridges, dug up roads and sent motorcycle-borne gangs. They will allow homeless people to return only if they join Trinamul. Can we accept it? Never, even if 100 people die,’’ an agitated Basu said.

At the same time, Basu said: “Who attacked first is not the big question. Both sides have weapons.’’

Bose, however, iterated his party’s right to “resist in self-defence”. He also contested home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray’s remarks yesterday that the CPM triggered the clash from Khejuri. “We told the chief minister that his remarks were based on misinformation and were far off from the reality,’’ Bose said.

But Ray repeated at Writers’ Buildings: “Whatever I said was on the basis of the information received from the district administration and police. The truth has to be told. I can’t say something that isn’t true.”

Later, Mamata ruled out attending talks convened by the government but sought to reap dividends from Basu’s comments. “Basu is a senior leader, he can talk to me. This kind of situation had not taken place during his tenure as chief minister,” she said.

The Trinamul Congress leader also wanted to know whether Basu’s party would accept the outcome of talks.

But the chief minister is said to be in favour of pursuing district-level peace initiatives first.

Left Front discusses CRPF deployment

— Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury
Special Correspondent

Basu favours postponement of fresh deployment; ready for talks with Mamata

CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE: A Nandigram resident in grief as she is compelled to leave her house and join a relief camp on Wednesday.

KOLKATA: Leaders of the Left Front had asked West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to “postpone for now fresh deployment of the Central Reserve Police Force” in Nandigram and to re-initiate the political initiative to restore peace there, veteran leader Jyoti Basu said here on Wednesday .

Meetings convened twice between the political parties to explore ways to bring back normality might have failed, but another meeting could be held, Mr. Basu said, emerging from a meeting of Left Front leaders.

To a question from newspersons, the former Chief Minister said that if it is required he was willing to call Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee “one hundred times” if that would help resolve the impasse. “I have no quarrel with her… If they [the Left Front leaders] want it I will definitely call her. But if [those] leaders say all those living there will have to be Trinamool Congress members, then even if a hundred people die we cannot accept it.”

“What sort of a movement is this where roads have been dug up, bridges blown up… Is this a movement?” asked Mr. Basu on the agitation led by the Trinamool Congress-backed Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee.

“I have never seen or heard of such a movement ever before. What are the local police doing?”

Mr. Basu had expressed his views at the meeting on the deployment of the CRPF in Nandigram, but “no hard and fast decision was taken on a postponement,” Left Front Committee Chairman Biman Bose said later. “I have said it earlier and am doing so again: the State administration will take a decision [on any deployment].”

Mr. Bose wanted all democratic parties including the Trinamool Congress to resist Maoist activity in Nandigram if peace is to be restored there.

The three landmine explosions in the area on Tuesday, and reports of more mines being planted have raised suspicions of a Maoist hand. The methods employed suggest that the planting of mines was “probably” the handiwork of underground outfits like the Maoists, and they should be isolated by all political parties that believe in democracy, Mr. Bose added. The Trinamool Congress and the Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee should snap links with the outfit, “or else the peace process will be affected.”

Mr. Bose said he would “appeal to the administration and the Chief Minister to ensure that the administration acts properly in Nandigram and its surrounding areas.

Referring to Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray’s suggestion that Tuesday’s violence was incited by firing from Khejuri, which is a CPI(M) stronghold, he said it “was made on the basis of misinformation.” Mr. Bose added: “What had occurred was cross-firing; it could not have happened from one side only.”

On the question of the role of some supporters of the CPI(M) in the violence, he asked: “If someone comes to attack, one can wait for some time but can one do so for eternity?” He added: “When… pushed to the wall one has to protect oneself in self-defence.”

Mr. Bose said a collective appeal had been made to the people of Nandigram to help initiate “a democratic peaceful process” and to take steps “so that all those who have had to leave their homes can return.”

West Bangal : CRPF to do the dirty work for the party

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s appeal to Shivraj Patil for a battalion of the CRPF will only meet the CPI-M’s partisan ends. Make no mistake, this is a trap the CPI-M is laying for the Congress-led UPA government to walk into.
Law and order is a state subject. So the force the Union home minister will send will have to take orders from local officials. Everybody knows, Mr Bhattacharjee, who also happens to be the home (police) minister, uses his prerogative of transfer in such a way that policemen, particularly those in key positions, serve his narrow partisan ends.

Nazrul Islam, an IPS officer who is by no means indifferent to the Leftists, gives the example of Ramen Bhattacharjee, another IPS officer. Albeit known to be utterly corrupt, Mr Bhattacharjee was promoted to the rank of Director General of Police. “The reason is,” says Mr Islam in Police Prosonge (About Policing), “a corrupt person is likely to take orders (from his political masters) unquestioningly.”

The present SP of Midnapore East, of which Nandigram is a part, seems to be on the way out, having had an extramarital relationship with a criminal’s wife. The chief minister will make sure the new incumbent gives the CRPF the orders that would serve the interests of the CPI-M.

Mr Patil should be aware that currently the CPI-M is making a bid to “recapture” Nandigram, which happened to be a “red bastion” not long ago. But its former cadres have now joined the Bhumi Uchchhed Protirodh (Anti-Eviction) Committee, which is itself non-partisan, and fighting tooth-and-nail not just to prevent their land from being acquired but also to secure justice for rape, murder and arson in their village.

Lakshman Seth, the CPI-M MP who lords it over in East Midnapore, is up against the BUPC. He is a self-confessed “beggar’s child,” but is now “quite prosperous,” thanks to his party. It seems the state government, particularly the chief minister, wants to finish off the leaders of the BUPC through a supari killer, as it were.
But is the Union home minister going to accept the supari? He is probably aware that Mr Seth is allegedly spending huge amounts to shelter goons brought from Bihar, Jharkhand, and of course from all parts of the state. The stockpile of arms on the Khejuri side is heavy. One wouldn’t be surprised if those at Nandigram have some traditional weapons to repulse the attacks on them. But with the state government on the side of Mr Seth, they can be no match for him.

Known as jahlad (executioner) in the area, Mr Seth now openly echoes Binoy Konar, with the latter threatening to take the fight to the streets. At the Mecheda bus stand on 1 November he harangued his cadres to “prepare to kill or get killed”. He lectured within hours after the border between Khejuri and Nandigram had hotted up.
Kabir Suman, journalist and singer, reports he had himself counted 270 houses that the attackers from Khejuri had burnt down. The TV channels have shown some of these, in front of one of which a lonely old woman was seen striking her forehead in desperation.

In other words, the state government is a party to the dispute. Mr Patil should also know that nobody trusts the chief minister, who has told tissues of untruths about the number of people volunteering to offer their land at Singur for the Tata small car project, about the price paid, and about the proportion of fertile and fallow land in West Bengal. Such a man will surely break his promise as soon as he regains control of Nandigram. And Mr Seth confirmed this when he said at Mecheda that “we must free Nandigram and maintain the tempo of progress we have already set”.
The state government has 19 battalions of armed policemen, in addition to its own usual police force. “It can, if it wants to, restore peace and tranquillity to just 28 mouzas of Nandigram within hours,” says D Bandyopadhyay, a former IAS officer who has long administrative experience in the state. SM Murshed, another former IAS officer, agrees. So does Manas Chakraborty, a former Director General of Police. According to Mr Chakraborty, in case the Central reserved force has to be called in, the Khejuri and Nandigram police stations should be declared a “disturbed area” in the first place, and the CRPF must take orders from the Centre. This is obviously the most reasonable measure in view of the fact that the state government admits that it cannot “restore the rule of law to Nandigram”.

Indeed, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee wants a battalion of the CRPF because he does not want to be seen firing on innocent villagers any more in view of the panchayat elections ahead. He wants the CRPF to do the dirty work instead. So he sees spooks where there are none. “I have definite information,” says he, “that a group of about 100 Naxalites are moving around Nandigram freely. Ranjit Paul, principal accused in the murder of Sunil Mahato, is there.”

Actually this cock-and-bull story is intended to giving the dog a bad name before killing it. The chief minister mentions in this connection the Bandi Mukti Committee of Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights, which gives his game away. Everybody knows that the Maoist terrorists dare not venture out too far afield from where they are holed up.

We have all seen the APDR, and its so-called “outfit” Bandi Mukti, at work. A human rights group, the APDR may have some ex-Naxalites on its rolls, but people will laugh at you if you call them terrorists. Incidentally, Kolkata Police called even the octogenarian Mahasveta Devi, well-known litterateur, a “Maoist” and West Bengal Police registered cases of murder and arson against Pael Bag, a two-year-old kid, of Singur. Actually, the APDR is a great deal more non-violent than the CM himself and his party. It opposes even capital punishment as a form of violence. All their activities are overboard and strictly constitutional and legal.

CPI-M secretary Biman Bose’s ploy too is only apparent. “Topographically,” says he, “it is difficult for the state to function properly at Nandigram, because it is surrounded by water on three sides.” If that’s why the state cannot cope with the problems of law and order at Nandigram, then the CPI-M has no right to rule in riverine Bengal. How will the state then cope with similar problems at Basanti, Pathankhali, Nurpur, Gaonkhali, Gadiara and so on, for example, which are separated by several nautical miles of various tributaries of the Hooghly? Actually except for the Talpati canal, which separates Khejuri from Nandigram, the terrain is flat plain land.

In fact, this total misrepresentation of facts is intended to misguide the Centre and put the entire blame for its own misdeeds on the Congress-led UPA government. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s clothes are soaked in the blood of innocent villagers: he now intends to stain Shivraj Patil’s clothes with it. And once the CRPF gets the leaders of BUPC out of the way, the communist chief minister turned crony capitalist can turn Nandigram over to the Salems of Indonesia. Never mind whatever he has so far said to the contrary.

(The author is former member, West Bengal Education Commission)

West Bengal : Roadblocks cripple rush hour


A Trinamul Congress road blockade on Howrah bridge resulted in a massive traffic jam and harassment of commuters. A Telegraph picture
A series of roadblocks by Trinamul Congress brought the city to a standstill on Wednesday. Supporters of the party damaged a government bus in Kidderpore and assaulted policemen during demonstrations to protest the violence at Nandigram.

There will be more such disruptions in the near future, warned Madan Mitra, the general secretary of the party.

Office-goers and students were the worst affected, as Trinamul activists squatted at nearly two dozen places, including key intersections like Hazra, Moulali, MG Road-CR Avenue and Shyambazar, during the morning rush hour.

“I was stuck at the Hazra crossing for over an hour from 10.15am. The demonstration was for 15 minutes, but it took more than an hour for the traffic movement to become normal,” said Brishti Mukherjee, a first-year postgraduate student at Calcutta University.

The situation was no better in the north. Krishnendu Mahapatra, an employee of a private bank in BBD Bag, had to wait at the Shyambazar intersection for more than 45 minutes from 10.10am. “I had an appointment with an important client. By the time I reached office, he had left,” said Mahapatra.

“The demonstrations were held between 10am and 11.30am. We arrested 31 people for obstructing traffic,” said Vineet Goyel, the deputy commissioner (headquarters). Around 10.40am, a group of 80 Trinamul activists put up a roadblock at Kidderpore, causing a bumper-to-bumper snarl on the flanks leading to Behala and the city centre.

“The demonstrators damaged the windscreen of a government bus and terrorised the commuters. Policemen deployed in the area were attacked when they tired to disperse the activists,” said an officer of Watgunge police station. “We arrested 20 people on the charge of rioting.”

A case has been slapped on local Trinamul leader Rakesh Singh for allegedly assaulting constable N.C. Mandal.

More than 200 party workers blocked the Howrah-end of Rabindra Setu for about 45 minutes in the morning. The district unit president of Trinamul led the demonstration. The resultant traffic snarl lasted more than a couple of hours.

At Rajabazar, 11 people were arrested for not lifting the roadblock they had put up after repeated requests from the police.

Revolutionary Youth Front (RYF), a Naxalite organisation, also tried to hold a demonstration outside Writers’ Buildings on the Nandigram issue. Twenty-seven activists of the unit, including two women, were arrested outside the state secretariat around 11.30am.

“Demonstration is not allowed outside Writers’ Buildings. We arrested RYF workers for violating high-security zone norms,” said a police officer.

Landmine Blast ,3 killed as CPM tries to regain lost villages

Express news service
Posted online: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 at 12:00:00
Updated: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 at 01:15:10Print Email To Editor

Kolkata, November 6 Three people were killed and 20 more injured when armed CPM cadres from Monday night tried to push back the ‘line of control’ in Nandigram’s troubled areas and wrested back some lost ground from the Trinamool Congress backed Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee (BUPC).

All three killed were CPM supporters who died in a landmine blast early on Tuesday morning. The deaths did not deter the party which was desperate to win back its villages and, after a bloody night, managed to oust Trinamool supporters from several pockets, who had dug in there since January this year.

Later in the day, state Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy told the media that Nandigram had become a “battlefield”. He also made a tacit admission that the CPM was out to recapture its lost territory in Nandigram. He said that nearly 500 policemen were kept in Nandigram but they would be deployed only if the situation so demanded.

Gun-wielding CPM supporters took back Brindabanchawk, Jambari, Satangabari and Simulkund in an expedition that brought back memories of March 14. However, this time, there was no police force backing up cadres.

Eyewitnesses to this battle in Nandigram, who could be contacted, said large contingents of the state’s armed police and the Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) were present in the area but the administration made sure they did not figure in “Operation Recapture”. Cadres from rival parties went to battle on motorbikes though a clutch of foot soldiers were also seen trooping into the villages that had been occupied.

The clash could be seen on the 10 to 12 kilometer stretch between Bhangabera and Satangabari, alongside a canal which divides the two warring sides of Nandigram and Khejuri. The air was sprayed by bullets, as cadres managed to drive out nearly thousands from four pockets of Nandigram.

In Kolkata, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who is an important ally of the BUPC, along with Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind’s Siddiqullah Chowdhury and SUCI members, rushed to Raj Bhavan late in the evening and submitted a memorandum to Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi which said, “CPM killers have indulged in a bloodbath. There will be serious repercussions if the Centre does not intervene to restore normalcy.”

More on the battle scene — an eyewitness said nearly 15,000 villagers of Jambari, Simulkund, Brindabanchawk and Satangabari suddenly faced indiscriminate firing from the attackers. Families ran helter skelter and took shelter at Nandigram college and other areas. Several of the injured also ran inside the local police station. The landmine went off at Mansherchawk inside Khejuri. It was a powerful explosion said Superintendent of Police of East Midnapore S S Panda. He said among the deceased were CPM supporters Tushar Shaw and Nirapada Manna. Though the district CPM leadership claimed the landmine was planted by Naxalite groups operating in the area, the police did not confirm this allegation.

Pradeep Tamang, a jawan of the Eastern Frontier Rifles, was caught in the crossfire and took a bullet on his chest. In hospital, he told the media that the shooting was largely from Khejuri where CPM cadres are camping. The armed police forces did not enter the disturbed villages said Panda.

CPM district committee member of East Midnapore Niranjan Shihi said several homeless families, who are supporters of the CPM, have managed to go back to their villages in Satagabari and Ranichawk.

Analysis: India lures Maoists with money

Analysis: India lures Maoists with money

Published: Nov. 7, 2007 at 11:13 AM
Print story Email to a friend Font size:By KUSHAL JEENA
UPI Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The Indian state of Jharkhand, which has been hit by Maoist violence, has formulated a surrender policy for rebels under which former militants will be paid a monthly salary along with a one-time financial package for laying down their arms.

Severely criticized both within and outside the state following the killing of 17 people in Giridih on Oct. 26, the state government is working on the new policy.

“The proposed surrender policy, which my government will announce within a month … includes a monthly salary for surrendered Naxals besides the one-time package,” said Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda.

Under the policy, rebels who surrender will also be allowed to hire a lawyer of their choice at the government’s expense. Federal security agencies say they oppose such a provision because this will amount to virtually letting rebels off.

Last month’s killings in Giridih put the heat on the state government to formulate a policy that could deal with Maoist violence through both social and security strategies.

The state Cabinet met earlier this week to fine-tune the new policy, which would also likely include stringent police action against rebels.

Intelligence agencies have, however, expressed doubts over the efficacy of the proposed policy. They say the rebels are earning millions of dollars through extortion in the mineral-rich state.

Federal data say there are as many as 8,000 rebels active in the state, one of 14 affected by the Maoist violence that has so far killed more than 10,000 people nationwide.

At the Cabinet meeting, Koda also approved proposed joint action and borderline management plans with neighboring states, including Bihar, to battle Maoist violence more effectively.

Experts say rebels have shifted their targets recently, moving from small contractors and local moneylenders in Jharkhand to politicians, bureaucrats and social workers. They say there are few prospects in Bihar and Jharkhand for a way to end the crisis.

These states may appear to be better off than Chhattisgarh, which accounts for nearly half of all Maoist-related fatalities, but closer scrutiny reveals a troubling picture of consolidation and the loss of state control.

The Institute of Conflict Management, a non-governmental think tank that has gathered data on Maoist activities in Jharkhand and Bihar, said that until Aug. 9, 2006, close to 296 people were killed in Chhattisgarh. Jharkhand saw 67 fatalities in the same period, and Bihar 40. According to Interior Ministry figures, in the first six months of 2006, of a total of 806 Maoist-related incidents, Chhattisgarh accounted for 360, Jharkhand 169, Andhra Pradesh 104 and Bihar 63.

The economic backwardness, administrative collapse and lawlessness that grip many districts in Bihar and Jharkhand are seen as main reasons behind Maoist rebels gaining ground. Of India’s 100 most-backward districts, the two states are home to 38.

“The backwardness of the region and its people presents a fertile ground for Maoist ideological mobilization and operations,” said Saji Cherian, a fellow at the Institute for Conflict Management. “Further, the quality of law and order and general administration in these states is uniformly poor, considerably weakening any possibility of effective counter-insurgency campaigns.”

Maoist’s death: case adjourned

Legal Correspondent

Bench tells Advocate General to furnish the names of the police personnel involved

HYDERABAD: A division bench of the High Court comprising Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice Ramesh Ranganathan on Wednesday adjourned the matter pertaining to disclosure of names of police personnel involved in the ‘encounter’ death of Madhav, top Maoist leader, to next Wednesday.

The bench had asked the Advocate General to furnish the names of the police personnel concerned to the Court in a sealed cover.

The writ petition filed by Subhash Chandra Bose of A.P. Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) stated that the names of police personnel belonging to Greyhounds, the anti-Naxal outfit, were not being disclosed to facilitate registering First Informatin Report in the police station concerned.

The sealed cover was displayed by the Advocate General on Wednesday, but the bench asked him to keep it with him and argue the case.

The bench did not appreciate the attitude of the A. P. Police Officers’ Association in not filing its counter affidavit in spite of impleading itself.

AIDS case

A division bench of the High Court comprising Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice Ramesh Ranga Nathan on Wednesday asked the authorities to report back to the court about the action contemplated to be taken with regard to one Dharani Chandra of Kurnool who has been doggedly pursuing the case pertaining to deficiencies in action plan of the government vis-À-vis the HIV and AIDS patients.

The petitioner who filed the case as party in person claimed that he was a doctor and complained to the court about the attitude of the government machinery on this issue.

On Wednesday, the government reported that the certificates produced by the petitioner did not reveal that he was eligible to practice as an allopathy doctor.

The bench wondered whether he is having the authority under the relevant statute to treat patients and wanted the authorities to report back to court about the action in this regard.

Lanco case

Justice G.V. Seethapathy of High Court on Wednesday suspended the operation of the order of Wakf Tribunal which had stayed the construction activity in the lands of Manikonda village on the ground that these continued to be Wakf lands.

These lands had been allotted to Lanco Hills and other software giants.

These stay orders by the High Court Judge were granted in a revision petition filed by Lanco Hills.

The petitioner complained that in the light of judgement of a division bench in this regard the Wakf Tribunal could not have issued such stay orders.

The case is will be listed again on Monday.

Farewell to Singhvi

The Bench and the Bar of High Court on Wednesday bid traditional farewell to Chief Justice G.S. Singhvi on the eve of his being elevated to Supreme Court.

In Bastar, Naxals rule roost

Bastar (Chhattisgarh), November 08, 2007
First Published: 02:23 IST(8/11/2007)
Last Updated: 02:24 IST(8/11/2007)

Apart from unleashing a reign of terror in Chhattisgarh, Naxalites are virtually running a parallel government there.

With 160-odd police stations in 11 districts currently affected by Naxal activities, the red army is not only upsetting the state’s socio-economic condition but also hitting political activities in their areas of influence. Senior officials in Bastar, one of the worst affected areas, told HT the situation is going from bad to worse with Maoists trying to dominate the local administration while getting more violent in their terror tactics.

“A report by a committee of senior officials in the late ’90s concluded that Naxalites were running a parallel administration in various parts of Bastar. Today, one will find the situation has gone worse,” a top bureaucrat said on condition of anonymity.

With the Naxals keeping a close watch on all comings and goings, no development has reached the interiors of districts like Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Koriya and Sarguja. Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrashekar has directed the local administrations to combat the menace with a combination of police action and development but that’s easier said than done, say many.

Bureaucrats and police are divided on how the problem should be tackled. Secretary, Public Works Department, M.K. Raut believes development can reach the Naxal-hit areas only after the ultras have been flushed out. “Why is the state police letting development take precedence over law and order... Maoists regularly hit development work to prevent the interior villages from being connected to the outside world. So unless total safety of department staff is ensured, how can we think of beginning the work,” he asks.

But Inspector General of Police, Bastar, R.K. Vij says that had the various government departments, particularly the PWD, delivered on their responsibility to ensure better roads and other infrastructure, the state wouldn’t have lost so many security personnel to Naxal violence.

Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh admits that the war against the Naxals will be a long one. But he adds: “There is no question of the state administration surrendering before the Naxalites when it is a national problem. In no case will their cowardly deeds be tolerated.”

With the Naxals unrelenting in their attacks, the state government recently asked senior police officials to get tough with them. Chief Secretary Shivraj Singh said: “The police have been asked to resort to tough measures.”

Battalion comprising ex-army-men to combat Maoists

Ranchi (PTI): Jharkhand would soon have a battalion comprising retired army personnel to combat ultra-left Maoists active in 18 districts of the state. "The government has approved of a new battalion. Ex-army personnel will be recruited in it to control extremism and, if necessary, other law and order related crimes," Chief Minister Madhu Koda said here on Tuesday night. Koda said it was just a matter of time before the battalion comes into force.

The state had on October 28 witnessed one of the worst naxal attacks in which 19 villagers were mowed down by the activists of CPI (Maoist). Former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi's son was one among the victims. The Maoists, who operate in 18 of the 24 districts, have been trying to get a foothold in the Santhal Pargana division, which is free from extremism.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Maoists bog down police in Jharkhand

Tuesday, 06 November , 2007, 09:47

Ranchi: They number no more than 3,000. But Jharkhand's Maoists are keeping over 45,000 police personnel on tenterhooks.

The superiority in numbers and weapons is not helping the security forces to meet the challenges of Maoist guerrillas who employ sneak and at times audacious strikes to overwhelm the enemy.

And the rebels resort to surprise hit-and-run tactics. They decide where to hit, and when.

A total of five Maoist groups are active in Jharkhand. Police put their total strength at 3,000. But they add that the numbers are no indication of their real strength.

A police officer who did not want to be identified said that it was unfair to ask why a numerically superior police force was not put down rebels far fewer in number.

"Do not compare the manpower. Maoists are waging guerrilla war. We will prove our superiority when the Maoists confront us directly," the officer told IANS.

He cited the example of the late forest brigand Veerapan who managed to elude paramilitary forces as well as the police of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for years with less than 100 men under his command.

Like Veerappan, Maoists take advantage of forests and porous border to always be one step ahead of others, the official said.

Around 45,000 Jharkhand Police personnel and state companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed in the state to tackle the Maoists. The state government has spent over Rs.2 billion on the modernisation of the police but Maoist attacks continue unabated.

Of the five rebel groups in Jharkhand, the dominant Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) commands 2,700 men and women, and enjoys the support of its units in all other states in India.

The Tritiya Prastuti Committee has 70 members, the Jharkhand Liberation Tiger 40 while the Sasashtra Jansanghrash Shakti Morcha (SJSM) and Jharkhand Prastuti Committee have around 60 members each, according to police estimates.

According to Gauri Shankar Rath, the additional director general of police, those who could not get a place in CPI-Maoist following the merger of the Maoist Communist Centre and People's War Group joined SJSM.

He said the four groups other than CPI-Maoist were at loggerheads over extorting money from development funds from contractors and traders.

Maoists are believed to collect around Rs.3 billion a year in extortion money from development works and contractors, according to the police.

The CPI-Maoist is well armed, its guerrillas possessing AK rifles, landmines, grenades and wireless systems.

Hundreds have been killed in Maoist related violence in the state in the last seven years. The toll includes 645 civilians and 290 security personnel

Maoists threaten to kill Maharashtra minister

Posted : Tue, 06 Nov 2007 10:20:01 GMT
Author : IANS

Gadchiroli/Mumbai, Nov 6 - Security has been tightened around the Aheri residence of Dharmarao Baba Atram, Maharashtra's transport minister, following a Maoist threat to blow up the house.

The minister, who represents the Maoist-infested Aheri assembly constituency in Gadchiroli district, already has Z category security cover. Now the vigil around his residence has been stepped up, District Superintendent of Police Rajesh Pradhan told IANS Tuesday.

Atram received the threat on his mobile phone Monday while he was in his office at Mantralaya. The caller, identifying himself as a Maoist from Bhadrachalam in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, accused the minister of gobbling up money meant for tribal welfare and threatened to blow up his residence.

The minister immediately informed the Mantralaya security in-charge and the state home minister following which telephone calls and visitors to his office were being screened more carefully, sources said.

'I challenged the caller to prove that I have misappropriated any funds and offered to surrender everything I have to them if they could do it,' Atram told IANS.

'Upon this, the caller said they would blow up my house to eliminate me and my family. I told him they could do what they liked.'

Maoists kidnapped Atram in 1991 and later let him off in exchange for the release of their leader Shivanna. It was then rumoured that Atram had got himself kidnapped in order to secure Shivanna's release. The Maoist leader was killed in a police encounter two years ago.

'The canard was spread by my rivals. I have always served the tribals in the district and worked for the development of the backward region incurring the Maoists' wrath,' said Atram, who belongs to erstwhile royal family of Aheri.

Shadow-boxing over Nandigram

Rajesh Sinha
Tuesday, November 06, 2007 09:14 IST

NEW DELHI: The Union government is in no hurry to decide on the West Bengal government’s request to deploy central forces in troubled Nandigram.

The Union Ministry for Home Affairs is likely to make up its mind after its own assessment of the situation, sources said. While a company of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been kept on standby, there is the political aspect to be considered, according to sources.

Violence erupted in Nandigram in January with protests against proposed land acquisition for a special economic zone (SEZ). The chemical hub planned there was finally scrapped by the state government but the region continues to be tense amid allegations that the rival groups were keeping the issue alive in the run-up to the panchayat elections next year.

Home Ministry sources said attributing the protests to Maoist influence was crediting the naxals with a clout they do not yet have. Maoists build up their cadres slowly in a region, fanning resentment against state authority and building a base before taking the armed route. In Nandigram, they could at best be fanning the protests.

The Trinamool Congress (TC) has been in the forefront of the protests with a number of violent clashes taking place between its cadres and those of the CPI(M). While the Left Front regime in West Bengal wants the TC reined in, the Congress is considering tying up with Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee to improve its prospects in the state. The Congress-led UPA government at the Centre is thus reluctant to accept the state government’s arguments in a hurry.

The West Bengal government has claimed that armed naxal cadres had entered Nandigram and were active there. The state police was losing control over the area. Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya is reported to have named some armed naxal cadres present in the area.

TC leaders allege the CPI(M) is raising the bogey of Maoists to use central forces to suppress their cadres.

CPI(M) leaders say West Bengal has shared all information on this aspect with the Centre. They say there are about 200 armed persons in Nandigram and that naxals are shipping in arms and explosives using the canals leading in from the Bay of Bengal. Over 1500 families compelled to leave their homes are unable to get back to Nandigram, they say.

It is a declared aim of the Maoists to oppose the setting up of SEZs, which they see as benefiting industrial groups at the cost of people displaced by land acquisition.

Sacking should not be first punishment: DGP

By Our Staff Reporter

Bhopal, Nov 5: Director General of Police Anand Rao Pawar directed to the field police officials that whenever they tour, they must organise a police conference and make communication with subordinates. In this way they would get a chance to know about the ground reality. He also warned that they should not sack subordinates for the first offence. It is necessary to give them a chance to mend their ways.

In the two departmental meetings he said that 75 per cent amount of welfare fund is being spent in infrastructure facilities for police personnel. He directed to all the units that they should not keep the amount in banks but spend it on welfare works. Where committees have not been formed, soon the same should be done and sanction welfare works.

Pawar was addressing a joint meeting of state level joint police counselling committee and central managing committee in Police Training and Research Institution.

Representatives of police from constable to IG level class, participated in it. IG, DIG of different ranges, SP of different districts and commandants were present in the meeting.

Decision was taken in the meeting that keeping in view expensive treatment of serious diseases, maximum police personnel would be encouraged to take medi- claim policy.

Efforts to take their families in this criteria would be made. After studying medi-claim policy adopted by by Andhra Pradesh police, it would be launched in MP.

DGP, Pawar gave information in meeting that House Rent Allowance of police personnel has been increased and in this way they would get relief. It would be our effort to sanction house rent on the basis grading of the city.

A decision has also been taken at the meeting to send proposal of giving sleeping bags to SAF jawans deployed in the bandit and naxal affected areas.

Decisions on 15 proposals of central management committee were taken after conversation. Similarly, out of 37 proposals of police advisory committee, some were rejected and decisions were taken on remaining proposals.

Additional DGP (administration), VM Kanwar gave information about welfare activities. DIG of welfare branch, Yogesh Mudgal conducted the meeting. He presented report of following the meeting instructions of last year.

ADG (CID) SK Rout, ADG (SAF), Vijay Raman, ADG (PTRI) VK Pawar, ADG (fire service), Nandan Dubey, ADG (narcotics), Ramesh Sharma, ADG (planning management), PL Pandey, ADG (communication), Sudarshan Kumar, ADG (SCRB), Vijay Vate and IG, DIG and other officials posted in PHQ were participated in the meeting.

Minister gets threat call from Naxals

6 Nov 2007, 0041 hrs IST,TNN

NAGPUR: Maharashtra minister of state for transport and social justice Dharmaraobaba Atram has claimed to have received a threat to his life from Naxalites.

Atram was in his chamber in Mantralaya, Mumbai, when he allegedly received a phone call on Monday afternoon by Maoist rebels. The caller reportedly threatened him with dire consequences. The minister registered a complaint with the Mantralaya police.

Atram, who is also the guardian minister for Naxal-affected Gadchiroli district, was abducted by armed Naxalites in 1991. He was released after being held captive for 17 days.

Sources said, after Atram—who already has ‘Z’ category security, received the threat call, security around his residence was stepped up.

When contacted, Atram said he received a call, supposedly from a place in Andhra Pradesh. "I was told that they would not spare me this time. Stating that I had siphoned off Rs 1,000 crore meant for the area’s development, they said they would blow me up," Atram said.

"I got the call on my cell phone the number was 08734-233662. I received the phone at around 12.30 pm and the secretariat has been informed about this," he added.

Chhattisgarh in grip of Naxal terror

Bijapur, November 06, 2007
First Published: 03:20 IST(6/11/2007)
Last Updated: 03:21 IST(6/11/2007)

An eerie silence and fear hangs over Bijapur after Naxals killed several policemen in two attacks in the recent past.

A group of 200 armed Naxals killed 11 policemen in a thick jungle in this district on November 2. This was followed by a similar ambush on a 20-member police force in which five policemen were killed on October 30. Both attacks have shaken the police force and shocked the people here.

While the district police hold the administration responsible for its failure to facilitate development — which they say has provoked the Naxal attacks — ordinary people blame the Chhattisgarh government for failing to restore peace and ensure growth in the area.

“What purpose do the funds serve when no development is seen to take place in districts like Bijapur and Dantewada,” asked retired teacher Tekram Kurre, a resident of Bijapur.

In the past year, Bijapur has seen just 10 kilometers of road being built and not more than 50 kilometers of roads have been laid since the state was created years ago. The roads were constructed not by the state PWD but by the Border Roads Organisation.

The development of roads and bridges have remained stalled in the interior regions, possibly because of the Naxal terror, said a senior government official. “The National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) sanctioned Rs 7 crore for constructing 22 kilometers of road between Gangalur and Bijapur about a year ago but only six kilometers have been completed till now,” he said.

None of the 17 police stations in Bijapur have a proper concrete building. They are housed in either barracks or improvised structures, said Inspector-General of Police- Bastar Range R.K. Vij. “We are more disturbed that our men may get killed by extremists while undertaking routine activities like drawing salaries, rations and receiving medical assistance,” the IG said.

Vij further told the Hindustan Times that since the past year, the state has lost 149 policemen of whom 67 were special police officers.

“The police are bearing the brunt for poor development in the core areas dominated by the Naxals and various government departments, particularly the PWD, are callous about implementing development plans despite substantial funds being available with them — and the police end up paying with their lives,” Vij pointed out.

Bijapur is the state’s worst-hit district, with Naxals having claimed as many as 88 police personnel’s lives out of the total of 149 killed in the state since Chhattisgarh was formed.

“Regrettably, the administration could not ensure proper development of the Naxal-affected areas and with deplorable connectivity, the war against them is weakened,” said a senior police official.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Maoists eye SEZs in Delhi, Mumbai

Gyan Varma
Monday, November 05, 2007 03:46 IST

Projects planned by big business are on their radar

NEW DELHI: Maoists are increasingly forming bases in the special economic zones (SEZs) of Mumbai and the National Capital Region comprising Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Noida.

In addition, Rajasthan is also seeing a lot of activity.

The SEZ in Mumbai is actually planned in Navi Mumbai encompassing Dronagiri, Kalamboli, Ulwe and the JNPT area.

A senior security official said a document recovered from Maoists also showed that they plan to enter areas where some big business houses are investing. Some of the big names include the Ambanis, Tatas, Jindals, Tatas, Essar and the Mittal group.

“There are some non-government organisations that have come under the scanner of intelligence agencies and we are keeping a watch on them,”
he said.

A report prepared during the recent director-general conference in Delhi says that in all, three SEZ areas have been seeing large-scale Maoist penetration.

This has become an issue of concern to security agencies, more so when Maoist sympathisers do not just offer a cover but also help them increase their contact with people living in the area.

“By penetrating in Delhi and Mumbai, Maoists do not just want to increase their influence but also send a message that they want to emerge from their jungle strongholds and operate in cities,” said a senior security official.

“What worries us more is that people and organisations are helping them form bases,” he added. There are now indications that Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai are also on the radar.

Nandigram cut off as guns take over

Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Monday, November 05, 2007 03:34 IST

Maoists take charge and block access to outsiders

NANDIGRAM: Nandigram in West Bengal’s East Midnapore district is an island of terror. Access is tough and stories abound of looting and killing.

The clandestine alliance between the right and extreme left in the form of the Trinamool Congress and Maoists has seen a huge deployment of sophisticated arms and explosives in the area.

The area is out of bounds for the CPI(M) and security forces while visiting mediapersons are frisked thoroughly and their baggage carefully searched.

With the imminent deployment of the Central Reserve Police Force at Nandigram, the area has become a virtual fortress.

A group of Maoists from West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulya as well as neighbouring Jharkhand who are adept in explosives and firearms has set up base here.

A committee activist told DNA that a dozen 40-member special action squads have been formed, each of which is under two joint-commanders from the Trinamool and Maoist sides.

There will be a three-layer resistance to the CRPF or police. While children and women take up the first two, the third layer will have special action squad members with sophisticated weapons holding it out.

The committee activists have already destroyed connecting roads to Nandigram and built trenches instead. At six major entry points — Ranichak, Tekhali bridge, Taptatti Canal, Giribazar Pool, Talibhata and Bhangabera — they have installed high intensity explosives.

Special action squad teams are also in place at Garchakraberia, Sonachura and Satengabazar equipped with mortars, self loading rifles, double barrel guns, country-made pistols and muskets.

Two AK47s and a stengun complete the picture. A temporary workshop has been set up at #Sonachura to make country-made single-shooter pistols.

Students of Jadavpur University and members of a Naxalite student’s union have been entrusted with the responsibility of spreading the propaganda.

Fluent in English, Hindi and Bengali, they lead the teams that check press vehicles coming to Nandigram.

Local Trinamool MLA, Subhendu Adhikari and Maoist leader, Ranjit Pal oversee the entire process. Pal is wanted by the Kharkhand police for his involvement in the murder of Jharkhand Lok Sabha member, Sunil Mahato.

Chhattisgarh tribals protest industry policy

Posted : Mon, 05 Nov 2007 14:20:02 GMT
Author : IANS

Raipur, Nov 5 - About 75,000 impoverished tribals, some armed with bows and arrows, took to the streets in a southern Chhattisgarh city, raising slogans against the state's special economic zone (SEZ) policy and plans to set up steel units.

The rally at Jagdalpur, dubbed as one of the biggest protest marches of tribals in Chhattisgarh, was called by the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Mahasabha, an umbrella organisation of tribal groups.

'Indigenous tribals of Bastar will be driven out from their native lands if the blind industrialisation plan and other schemes of the state government are carried out in the region,' Manish Kunjam, national president of the Mahasabha, told the gathering amid anti-industry slogans at Jagdalpur, 300 km south of state capital Raipur.

Despite heavy police deployment, shopkeepers rolled down their shutters fearing violence during the march.

Tata Steel is investing Rs.100 billion to install a five-million tonnes per annum (mtpa) steel unit on 2063.06 hectare land in Bastar. The land acquisition process for it began last week.

Essar Steel will bring in Rs.70 billion for a 3.2 mtpa steel plant in Dantewada district and it will require 600 hectares of land for the purpose.

'Tibals will not hand over their lands for steel units and will oppose authorities' forced land acquisition. We will not allow industry majors to set up plants in Chhattisgarh at the cost of mass displacement of tribals,' Kunjam told the protesters' gathering.

Rally participants sought early rehabilitation of about 50,000 people of Bastar region displaced due to a fallout of the anti-Maoist civil militia movement, Salwa Judum, launched in June 2005, and 50,000 other people who were allegedly forced to flee their villages and are living as refugees in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh due to authorities' 'excesses'.

(c) Indo-Asian News Service

Maoists demand Rs.220 mn from construction company

Patna, Nov 5 (IANS) Maoist rebels in the state have sent an extortion notice to a company constructing roads in Bihar, asking it to pay them Rs.220 million.
The Hyderabad-based Engineering and Construction Inc. (ECI), building roads in Rohtas district, received the Maoists' extortion demand through a letter, company sources said Monday.

In the letter, Maoists demanded 10 percent of the total cost of the Rs.2.12 billion project to be paid to them, the police said.

Rohtas police have provided security to company officials.

"The case is being investigated. The police are doing their job," Rohtas Superintendent of Police N.H. Khan said.

Early this year, two engineers, Nishikant Singh and Rajesh Kumar Singh, of the Narsingh Construction were killed and four other men injured at Rehta in Madhepura district by a notorious gang for not paying an extortion demand of Rs.10 million.

Officials of other companies engaged in road construction across the state also have reportedly received extortion threats. As a result, many projects have either been stopped or halted in the last one year.

Last year, ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) legislator Sunil Pandey allegedly demanded money from a company engaged in rural electrification in Bihar.

A police complaint was lodged against him and he was jailed. Another JD-U legislator and a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator also had reportedly demanded extortion money from two companies engaged in road construction and stone crushing.

Last month, a police complaint was lodged against independent legislator Pradeep Joshi, president of the Hindu Seva Samiti, for demanding money from a stone crushing company

Top cop wants protest rallies to be monitored

Anupam Dasgupta
Sunday, November 04, 2007 23:59 IST

Police Commissioner DN Jadhav has asked the Special Branch to monitor protest meetings and public rallies because they might mask Naxalite agendas. “We need to be on alert and pre-empt any attempt by Naxalites to organise themselves in the city in the guise of meetings and protest rallies,” Jadhav said.

He has asked the Special Branch to keep tabs on Naxalite sympathisers in the city. Intelligence agencies had recently blacklisted a few NGOs for raising funds for Naxalites.

“Though we should be alert, there is no need to take an alarmist stand,” said Jadhav. Intelligence reports have stressed on the Naxalite strategy of tapping into ‘urban discontent’ by involving themselves in controversies over SEZs and other
development issues.

Naxalites abduct villager in bihar

Gaya, (PTI): Armed activists of the proscribed CPI (Maoist) on Sunday abducted, Yogendra Mahto, from Cheridhan village under Imamganj police station of Bihar's naxalite affected Gaya district.

Acting Superintendent of Police, Saurbh Kumar, told PTI that about 50 armed naxalites raided the village and abducted Mahto from his residence.

Kumar said the borders of the district had been sealed and efforts were on to release Mahto from the naxals.

Maharashtra Minister gets Naxal threat, security beefed up

Zee News, India - 2 hours ago
... said, "I have written a letter to chief of Mantralaya security, informing them of the threat," the minister was allegedly kidnapped by Naxals in 1991. ...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Left With an Alternative§ion=0&article=103165&d=4&m=11&y=2007
M.J. Akbar,

The Indian left is much larger than its most visible face, the Communist Party of India (Marxist). It is split three ways, each currently pointing in three directions. The CPM, CPI and their smaller partners represent the institutional-democratic element. The Naxalites, or Maoists, are the unstructured, undemocratic but increasingly potent dimension.

The recognized parties are restricted to one large, one medium and one small state. There is reasonable dispute over the true strength of the Naxalites. Some argue that many state governments are too eager to declare some of their districts Naxalite-infested because this translates into nonbudgetary assistance from the center to curb the “Naxalite menace” in the name of that variable virtue called “law and order”. But even if the Naxalites are not as powerful in the claimed 170 districts, there is no doubt about their influence in over 80 districts — sufficient to direct the course of the vote if they choose to do so. The Naxalites do not have a coordinated view on important issues, but it may be relevant to note that they were the first political force in the broad opposition spectrum to take an unambiguous view of the Indo-US nuclear deal. They rejected it comprehensively. We do not know if this will be reflected in the elections within those 80-odd constituencies, but it might if, as seems likely, the nuclear deal becomes a central focus of the next general elections.

A third aspect of the left base goes largely unrecognized because it is not obvious. This is the vote that would have gone to the left, if the left had existed on the electoral map of that region. This is the “poor” or “ garibi” vote that once automatically went to the Nehru-Indira Gandhi Congress, but which no longer recognizes the party. Congress sensitivity is so heavily magnetized by the Sensex that it has no space for any parallel reality. This vote has switched twice, in the north, to regional parties. The first time it did so was in 1967; the second time was after 1989. The patterns in the south followed a different course, but there too the vote has shifted or swung between the Congress and regional parties.

The latest beneficiary of this phenomenon has been Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party. There are two reasons why the BSP could break out from the limits of provincial success. Its core base, the Dalit, is spread across the country. The Dalits and Muslims constitute the only powerful nationwide vote blocs. Other vote blocs may be national in their sentiment, but they are not nationwide in their presence. There is also great overlap between the Dalit, Muslim and “poverty” identities. If Mayawati can harmonize and then mobilize these identities, she can extend her UP numbers into a much larger calculus.

Mayawati is essentially occupying the space left vacant by an absent left. This is why she cannot make much headway in the states where the left is entrenched. Alternatively, she succeeds handsomely where the Congress has ebbed.

What are the chances of a left crumble, if not collapse, in the next general elections?

Kerala is a seesaw, so the Marxists cannot hope to repeat their success of 2004. They will succeed, however, in tiny Tripura, because they have delivered on the two basics of good governance: Distributive economic growth and social harmony.

Uncharacteristically, the CPM has fumbled on both counts in the critical state of Bengal. While Nandigram may continue to dominate the headlines, Bengal’s Marxists should be equally worried by the riots against ration shops in their heartland constituencies, like Birbhum. Food riots destroyed the Congress before 1967, and they will eat into Marxist margins in 2008.

One of the curious myths, sponsored by the current mania within the upwardly mobile middle class, is that the underprivileged are either unreasonable in their demand for exclusive attention, or, worse, simply unworthy of too much attention since they are a drag factor on economic growth. It is obvious that such self-comforting panaceas have infected Bengal’s Marxists. The truth is that the poor are far more realistic than they are given credit for. They do not believe that there is some magic wand. They have more patience than the better off; not because they are more saintly, but because they have fewer options. What the poor do possess, however, and have every right to retain, is a powerful sense of justice. They can read a signal, or detect a nuance quickly, for they do not have the luxury of complacence. The Bengal government has increasingly indicated that it prefers middle-class coziness to street sensitivity. The manner in which, for instance, it has repeatedly snubbed Muslim sentiment is spectacular in its amateurishness.

How big a price will the party pay? The Marxists may still be rescued by the stand that the national leadership has taken against the proposed strategic alliance with the United States that constitutes the core of the so-called nuclear deal. In real terms, this strategic alliance means involvement in American conflicts in the Middle East. The Muslims have a rather unique distinction: They are possibly the one Indian community with a foreign policy. They have no sympathy for George Bush, and there could be electoral rewards for the Marxists in Bengal and Kerala, if they retain the clarity to find it. This will compensate for some of the malfunctioning in governance.

But the true opportunity for the Indian left lies in the phase or politics after the next general elections, between 2008 and 2012. And this opportunity will open up in the Hindi heartland. One can see the impetus that created the groundswell for regional parties (most of them splinters of the old Socialist movement) beginning to fade. We might not see the explosive self-destruction of 1971, but it will be difficult for the regional parties to hold their own against the resurgent claimants of this space. The Hindi heartland will probably return to one of the two mainline parties by 2012, either the Congress or the BJP, depending on which of them has managed to preserve its credibility. The outside option in this game is the BSP, but its rise will only be a consequence of Congress implosion, since their vote base is similar if not the same.

The only alternative to either the BJP or the Congress will be a Left Front on the lines of the Bengal or Kerala model. The Kerala model, in fact, may be more relevant, but with a northern manifestation of the Muslim League thrown in.

The ground for such a collision will have many seeds, from the old Socialist movement of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia to the spadework being done by the Naxalites in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. The Naxalite tactic of violence cannot be an end in itself; it must be the means toward a more sustainable political objective.

The future of the left does not lie in the continuation of poverty. That is negative bias disguised with clever semantics. No one has a vested interest in poverty, least of all the left. The future of the left lies in justice, not poverty; in an economic program that can create wealth without handing it over to a narrow apex.

That apex, however, is crowded by an orchestra of sirens. Can the left leadership, as it negotiates its way through troubled waters in the next five years, resist the lure of those sirens?

11 bodies recovered from ambush site in Chhattisgarh

Raipur (PTI): Eleven bodies of policemen have been recovered from the ambush site of Bijapur district on Saturday, where a large number of armed naxalites attacked a police party on Friday, a top police officer said.

"We have recovered the dead bodies of eleven policemen, including three from the Chhattisgarh armed forces and eight from the district forces," Bastar Range Inspector General of Police Rajinder Kumar Vij told PTI over phone.

Some of the bodies had bullet marks and some others bore arrow marks, which indicated the naxalites laid a well planned ambush to trap the police party, he said.

Police officers said there were 21 policemen in the party that was ambushed by naxals.

Last evening five policemen reached the Pamed police station and informed their officers that 15 policemen were killed by the naxals.

Since Pamed police station was not having telephone facility, one had to travel via Andhra Pradesh to reach the area.

Along with Friday's five policemen, today five more policemen, who had gone missing, returned.

Chhatisgarh seeks Andhra Pradesh's help to catch hold of Naxals

From our ANI Correspondent

Raipur, Nov 3: Chhatisgarh police has got in touch with Andhra Pradesh cops to track down the Naxals, who are believed to have fled across the border after killing 16 Chhatisgarh policemen on Friday.

A combing operation has been launched in the Tong Guda village area, bordering Andhra Pradesh, which is said to be controlled by the Maoists.

On Friday, Maoist ambushed a group of 21 policemen from Chhatisgarh armed police and the district police, and killed 16 of them.

The policemen were on their way to Pamed police station in Chhatisgarh's Bijapur District from Cherla village to collect their salary when the Maoists triggered a massive explosion and opened indiscriminate firing on the policemen.

The Pamed police station is reportedly the last sign of government presence in the region, and a proposal to shut it down had already been submitted.

Friday's attack comes on the heels of one carried out on October 29, in which five Special Police Officers (SPOs) were killed.


Police seize cache of ammunition from Naxals

Hyderabad (PTI): Police on Saturday seized a huge cache of arms and ammunitions from the Maoist stronghold in a forest area at Andhra and Orissa border.

Weapons including rifles, revolvers and ammunition were recovered from the Maoists' possession, police said, adding some literature, wire bundles and a camera flash were also seized.

Police said the operation was launched after a tribal, who was suspected of helping the Naxals, was taken into custody early this morning near Parvatipuram.

On questioning, the tribal led police to a place in the forest where Naxalites were taking shelter, from where it recovered arms and ammunition.

The extremists, however, managed to escape, the police added.

Centre to appoint more sleuths to gain intelligence

New Delhi, Nov 04: With Naxal attacks on the rise, particularly in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, the Union Home Ministry is seriously considering a proposal to jack up ground level intelligence collection by appointing more sleuths and raising additional battalions of Paramilitary forces.

The proposal also comes in the backdrop of recent terror attacks in Ludhiana and at Ajmer Dargah and in the light of Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil`s warning that public places, crowded areas and places of worship might be targeted.

A senior Home Ministry official said that serious efforts were underway to appoint a large number of sleuths so that actionable intelligence was available to the police to foil attempts of Naxals and terrorists to unleash violence.

In the latest Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh, 15 policemen were killed on Friday in Bijapur district. On October 29, five policemen were killed in the same district by the Maoists.

Jharkhand too has witnessed a sudden rise in Naxal violence and in the latest attack in Giridih district on October 27, 17 people including a son of former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi, were killed.

The attack was reminiscent of the killing of sitting JMM MP Sunil Mahto on March 4 this year by Naxals in east Singhbhum district.

The MHA official said the security establishment was examining CRPF`s proposal for raising 118 battalions over the next 10 years and BSF`s suggestion for having an additional 39 battalions over the next decade as part of their basic perspective plan sought by the Home Ministry. While CRPF has 201 operational battalions, BSF has 157.

Bureau Repor

Training, terror intelligence: Jadhav’s top requests to Centre

Training, terror intelligence: Jadhav’s top requests to Centre
Smita Nair

Updated: Sunday , November 04, 2007

Mumbai, November 3 A state-of-the-art training institute for serving policemen that will be a dedicated space within the city led directly by the Mumbai Police—that is the top demand of the Mumbai Police in a series of proposals sent to the Centre. “It will offer training closest to crime in real life,” is how Police Commissioner D N Jadhav put it, talking to Newsline at the centenary celebrations of the State Police Training Academy at Nashik on Saturday.

Stressing on the need to offer skill upgradation and training to serving officers and policemen, Jadhav said officers need to be updated on the nature of crime, changing fastest in Maharashtra. He was echoing a view expre-ssed at the centenary celebrations event by Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil, who pointed out that Mahara-shtra is the only state where terrorism and naxal violence continue to rise alongside the increasing instances of white collar crime.

The consensus, after discussions with assistant commissioners, deputy commissioners and additional commissioners of police, is that while proper training grounds exist at the induction stage—there are seven training centres in the state—training on the job is lacking. So Mumbai, which annually inducts and trains 1,000 policemen many of whom also take up service in other states, could now have an exclusive training space for its own policemen. “This could be either within the Marol training centre or we could look for space elsewhere in Central Mumbai,” Jadhav said.

Jadhav said the Mumbai Police are awaiting funds and additional help from the state and the Centre to improve in-service training at every level. “Currently, it is done in an ad hoc manner, as and when training spaces are available. We would like to do this in a much more organised manner, with a proper system and syllabus in place,” he said.

Training for the traffic police can be improved greatly too, said Jadhav, pointing out that the Nagpada training centre, one of the oldest such institutes, is in the doldrums. “We have proposed to the State to grant it a premium status, by facilitating the creation of a complex and an upgraded training centre, complete with proper syllabus.”

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil also stressed that with the number of police recruits increasing in all states in the last three years, their training requirements increase proportionately. He said he would ensure that the Centre urgently processes these proposals for strengthening the police force. “I feel that top priority should be given to intelligence and training, two vital areas for Maharashtra.”

Meanwhile, with Mumbai’s most iconic spots continuing to remain on terror alert, the Mumbai Police are also keenly awaiting the Centre’s nod on adding to a plan for coordination among various Central and state law enforcing agencies a “protection component” specifically for sensitive installations. Jadhav said the idea of networking with other agencies for protecting key Mumbai structures is a top priority. “This will help us in upgrading infrastructure for gathering terror-related inputs and also help build a good network for intelligence gathering, which is the need of the hour.”