Saturday, November 17, 2007

An intellectual loss

Swapan Dasgupta

18 Nov 2007, 0000 hrs IST,SWAPAN DASGUPTA

In 1956, after Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest and crushed the democracy movement in Hungary, Communist parties of Western Europe lost nearly one-third of their members. The exodus of those outraged by the Kremlin’s intolerance was described as ‘‘the revolt of the intellectuals.’’

The invasion of Hungary cost Communism its moral halo. The Soviet Union dissipated the goodwill it had generated during its battle against fascism. To many of the extremely talented individuals who became party members, fellow travellers and even Soviet spies in the 1930s, Communism became the ‘‘God that failed’’. By the time the Berlin Wall was breached in 1989, the Comrades in Moscow discovered they could no longer inspire a defence of the cause. The Bolshevik Revolution died unmourned - except in Cuba and West Bengal.

It is intriguing that the wave of disillusionment bypassed Bengal. Barring hiccups between 1972 and 1977, the Communist movement in the state has expanded steadily since 1947. After 30 years of uninterrupted power, the CPM today exercises control over almost every walk of life in Bengal. Its organisational stranglehold is complemented by a staggering degree of intellectual hegemony over an otherwise garrulous and fractious people. Intellectual relevance in Bengal has become synonymous with ‘progressive’ thought. Public discourse has been moulded to fit into an ideological structure. Heretics have bought one-way tickets out of Kolkata.

The framework of Left intellectualism was built around three principles: grievance, guilt and envy. Beginning from violent movements against rapacious capitalists and landlords and culminating in solidarity with all acts of anti-Americanism, the Left became the epitome of the permanently aggrieved. This was supplemented by a mindset that made suffering and morbidity a romantic fetish - particularly in arty Bengali films.

In the ‘progressive’ world view of Bengal, market economics and globalisation were vulgar because they were invariably accompanied by the symbols of a decadent cosmopolitanism. The capitalist virus having engulfed India, Left fundamentalists felt that Bengal must remain an island of enlightened backwardness.

The revolt of the intellectuals against the CPM for its conduct in Singur and Nandigram was not prompted by either an abhorrence of violence or respect for human rights. On both counts the record of Kolkata’s intellectuals is shoddy - witness its glorification of Naxalites and silence over umpteen examples of CPM hooliganism. They were agitated because they instinctively sympathised with all opposition to Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s reformism. In their eyes it was the chief minister who stood indicted for betraying the right of Bengal to live in a time warp.

The banner for last Wednesday’s impressive rally in Kolkata extended the ‘revolutionary greetings’ of intellectuals to Singur and Nandigram. Medha Patkar, a deity of the Flat Earth fraternity, was a star attraction; and an email of support from Noam Chomsky was read out. Berating those fellow-traveller intellectuals who have remained loyal to the CPM, poet Shankha Ghosh sneered: ‘‘Time will decide who are the real Leftists.’’

The intellectuals, who tore up their Communist Party cards in 1956, believed they had upheld the humanistic ethos of Marxism. Some, like the historian EP Thompson, never wavered from this commitment. Others travelled down the more abstruse by-lanes of radicalism and lost their way. A significant minority, however, went completely over to the ‘other’ side and became part of the neo-conservative nucleus. Their examples helped in the decimation of Marxism as a force in the erstwhile Soviet bloc after 1989.

The CPM should beware. The alienation of its committed intellectuals may yet trigger Bengal’s decisive break from decades of mental darkness

'I had to kill my own people’

November 17, 2007
Inside the Liberated Zone
Armed men wage a war against the government; schools, post offices and hospitals have been taken over. HT travels into an area of darkness a seceding, nation in the heart of our country and finds little evidence of the rules India lives by.
Red revolution brews...
Stavan Desai, Hindustan Times
Chhattisgarh, November 17, 2007
First Published: 22:34 IST(17/11/2007)
Last Updated: 23:01 IST(17/11/2007)

He is 19, brandishes a .303 rifle, wears combat fatigues and has the sharp gaze of a trained commando. He cannot reveal his name or identity, for he is high on the Maoist hit list he is a defector who was once trained by them to kill the very people he now defends.

He refers to the Maoists as ‘they’ and ‘them’ and talks matter-of-factly about the people who have died at his hands. But when it is time to leave, I can see he is fighting back the tears. He bids us a hasty goodbye, picks up his .303, checks if it is loaded and walks away. Then stops to turn towards us. “Happy Diwali,” he says, raising his rifle in salute. This is his story.

Every time my bullet killed a policeman, I asked myself, ‘Why am I killing my own people?’ But we were not allowed to ask questions.

I stayed with them (the Maoists) for 11 long months and I was part of many teams that ambushed police parties. Today I hold the gun They started harassing my parents and beat up my father. I could not take it and decided to join them.
to defend the people I once killed. They started harassing my parents and beat up my father. I could not take it and decided to join them.

I joined them because I thought it would put an end to my family’s misery. My father, like his father and grandfather, was the Patel (village chief) of Murliguda village near Konta, which is now part of the so-called liberated area. It was my father’s word that counted in the village, so they (the Maoists) wanted his support. But he refused to be part of the violence.

Every time they came to our village, asking for recruits, we would refuse and they would take Rs 500 from us. Then they started harassing my parents and beat up my father twice. I could not take it any more and decided to quit my class VIII studies to join them, hoping the harassment would stop. And it did.

They looked after me and trained me for those 11 months. But it was not easy. I had to kill my own people and however sick I felt while doing that, I could not open my mouth.

When I couldn’t bear it any longer, I fled the (Maoist) camp and crossed over to Andhra Pradesh, where I worked as a daily-wager at Kunawaram, near the border. Two years ago I heard my village had revolted and everyone had shifted to Konta. So I returned. And found many others from my village who had taken refuge there.

I became a Special Police Officer appointed by the government. I did not want to lie to them and told them everything about my days with the Naxals. I thought I would be put behind bars. Instead they commended me for my honesty and made me part of the core team.

But I wish they hadn’t, because that meant I had to accompany them on their combing operations. The first one was to my own village. And I discovered that my house had been burnt down. Whenever I think of it, I wonder, will I ever get to return to my village and my own home?

Naxals kill three renegade tribals

Saturday November 17 2007 10:16 IST


KHAMMAM: Stepping up their offensive, Naxalites of CPI (Maoist) hacked three tribals to death charging them with being police informers at Narsingapet village in the Bhadrachalam division in the early hours of on Friday.

This is the first time that tribals have been killed by the Maoists in a manner reminiscent of the executions of compromised tribals carried out in Chhattisgarh.

It is also for the first time that Maoist militia members carried out such an operations in the State.

Two of the victims were identified as Madakam Gangaraju, a CPM activist and a member of the Praja Natya Mandali and Sunnam Kanakaiah (50) of neighbouring Chhattisgarh. The third person was brought from Gollapalli Kistaram village in Chhattisgarh, apparently to identify the other two persons. The police are yet to establish his identity.

According to police, about 200 Gutti Koyas raided the village and asked Gangaraju and Kanakaiah to come out of their houses. After taking them some distance, the Maoists hacked them to death, rejecting their pleas for mercy. The Maoists said the three tribals were acting as police informers.

Kanakaiah, who migrated to the State, had two sons who were reportedly working in the Salwa Judum, a pro-Government organisation launched by the Chhattisgarh Government against the Maoists, in Kunta division of Chattisgarh.

The incident could be attributed to the recent medical camp conducted in the village by police and the frequent visits of police party to the village. Earlier, they killed one Srinu at Edugurallapalli of Chintoor mandal as he was taking part in Salwa Judum activities and another tribal Satyanarayana in June this year.

Surrendered naxals take out rally

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Visakhapatnam, November 15: Surrendered naxalites and family members of those killed by CPI (Maoist) in the Visakha agency area staged a protest in the city on Wednesday condemning the violence being let loose by the naxalites and the human rights and other organisations not condemning the same.

A few hundreds of them, including many women, started from Kailasagiri and went to Seethammadhara in vans and garlanded the statue of Alluri Sitarama Raju.

From there, they proceeded to Jagadamba junction and formed a human chain. From Jagadamba junction they marched to the Collectorate and presented a memorandum to the Collector condemning the Maoist violence.

They held placards and banners criticising the human rights and other associations for not condemning the violence by Maoists and innocent people being killed and the CPI (Maoist) for bringing in Gutti Koyas from other States to let loose violence in the district.

A former military platoon commander K. Appa Rao, who had spent 10 years in CPI (Maoist) before surrendering to the police in 2003 and at present working as a security guard in Andhra University, strongly criticised the violence being let loose by naxalites and warned of retaliation by the Girijans.

“From now on, we pull the family members of Maoists to our own Praja Courts and decide what type of punishment to be given to them or send them to jail. We may even kill them.

Why can’t we do it when they are killing innocent persons branding them as informers?”

He said there was no development in the agency area. The party instructed people not to participate in the elections but it could not develop the area. It promised to bring prosperity when it gained power, he said, and wondered when this would happen.

Kundapur: Naxals have Close Shave in Exchange of Fire with ANF

Local School with Global Standards

Green Valley National School - Shiroor

Daijiworld Media Network – Kundapura (RD)
Pics - Vinay Pais

Kundapura, Nov 15: The policemen from Anti Naxal Force (ANF) have given a new lease of life to Naxals here, this time. Their plant to catch the Naxals who had camped in the dense forest near Amavasebail-Thombottu area drew blank as the latter managed to escape with relative ease despite exchange of fire with ANF. The policemen after spotting a Naxal camp had hatched the plan to nab the Naxals alive on Tuesday November 13 at 11 am, in the dense forest of Ammigundy, under the jurisdiction of Amavasebail. The Naxal sentry who was guarding the camp from a distant place alerted his comrades who in turn managed to escape while leaving all their belongings on the spot.

No sooner the Naxals saw the policemen close to their terrain, they, abandoned all their belongings and fled. According to the Naxals principles, they are not supposed to abandon their weapons at any cost. However, in this case, the Naxals have abandoned their double barrel gun, plate-full of food etc. It is perceived that they might have been busy preparing for their lunch as chopped onions and some vegetables were found in the abandoned camp later.

To the utter shock of the police, they also found contraceptive pill and Velocit kit which is used to check pregnancy status through a urine test. This has exposed to the outer world another face of Naxals who live in the dense forests.

It seems that Naxals had camped in the area for quite sometime now. Some locals said that (there are a few Bovi community houses in the vicinity), a few armed Naxals had visited their houses on the previous day. But the formers had not opened doors to the Naxals and had even refused to give any food items.


The combined force of special police and ANF began the combing operations at Kortugundy – Charubachal, on Tuesday November 13, early morning. The Naxals camp was detected when Valentine D’Souza and Suresh Kumar belonging to special police force, were engaged in combing operations near Kortugundy. Though they could have easily killed the Naxals, they refrained from that in order nab the Naxals alive.

But Naxal sentry who was guarding the camp alerted his comrades and even fired two-three rounds of bullets towards the police. By the time police resorted to fire, the Naxals had managed to disappear in the dense woods within a few seconds. The policemen spotted two Naxal women among the group of Naxals.

However, the police recovered Naxals literature, a double barrel gun, rice and other items from the abandoned tent.

The locals have informed the policemen that ‘Laxmi’, a local girl who had left her house at Thombottu three years ago in order to join Naxal movement was in the group that escaped. There two or three more young men who were conversing in Telugu. Accordingly police have suspected that the group belonged to Varahi group of Naxalites.

The police force led by ANF SP Subhash Gudimane, Venkatesh, Valentine D’Souza, Suresh Kumar was involved in the combing operation, with the help of sniffer dogs.

Udupi in-charge SP Laboo Ram, DySP Nagaraj have visited the location and recovered the belongings that Naxals left behind when they escaped in the dense forest. ANF has relayed the information of Naxals to the neighbouring police stations at Hebri, Shimoga, since the Naxals were found to be active in the jungles of Kollur and Someshwar Reserve Forest area.

Cops put on alert for Maoist bandh

18 Nov 2007, 0155 hrs IST,TNN

PATNA: The state police is keeping its fingers crossed over the 48-hour bandh call given by the CPI(Maoist) from November 19 over the Nandigram issue.

“The issue on which the bandh has been called by Maoists does not concern Bihar. There is no Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Bihar,” said DGP Ashish Ranjan Sinha expressing hope the Maoists will understand the issue.

“Namdigram is far away from here,” the DGP said adding he did not think violence will take place in Bihar. Sinha, however, said that the Bihar police had been put on alert for the bandh period. “There are adequate forces in Naxal-hit places,” Sinha said.

The surfacing of a press release issued by the central committee of the CPI(Maoist) in Bihar called for “armed and unarmed” struggle against the CPM for the terror unleased by its cadre in Nandigram.

The Maoists’ track record indicates its ability to strike at railway stations and trucks at will demonstrating its strength in Bihar. However, the Bihar police is expecting the Maoists to penetrate into West Bengal this time. The Bihar government has been claiming that it has done a lot to check extremism in the state.

The government has pointed out that an ambitious programme started by it in the Naxal-hit Jehanabad district in January, 2006, named “Sarkar Apke Dwar (Government at your door steps)” has been extended to 23 blocks in the state.

They include blocks located in Patna, Gaya, Rohtas, Munger, West Champaran and East Champaran districts. The programme aims at all round development of these Naxal-affected blocks.

The government claims that scheme to curb Naxalism in the state includes long-term plans to bring in development, land reforms, economic empowerment, modernisation and strengthening of the police forces.

It claims that due to the drive launched by it to prevent crime, over one lakh criminals including 480 notorious criminals have been arrested and around 25 extremists had surrendered. Seventeen hundred arms and 1,500 kg of explosives have also been recovered from extremists.

Top Maoists nabbed

Thursday November 15 2007 12:02 IST


SAMBALPUR: Police nabbed four top Maoists, including hardcore commander Ganesh Mirdha (29), from a training camp deep inside the forests on the Deopali-Jarang zone near Meghpal on Tuesday.

A search team stumbled upon the camp and nabbed the commander after a brief exchange of fire. The training camp was destroyed.

Sambalpur SP Sanjay Kumar said the Maoists were preparing fresh training session for the new recruits. While most of the radicals managed to flee, police caught Ganesh and later nabbed three others.

Ganesh is considered to be a big catch for the police. He has 22 NBWs pending against him in Sambalpur, Rairakhol, Kuchinda and Deogarh. He was commander and secretary of the Sambalpur- Deogarh-Sundergarh zonal committee of CPI (Maoist) and was one of the foundermembers of the banned organisation

since its inception in the region in 2002. He was also involved in series of attacks and recent burning of forest beat house at Kadalipal under Jamankira police limits.

The other ultras have been identified as Nandalal Mirdha (27) of Laikerabahal, Anil Khes (20) of Sobanpur and Dasarath Pradhan (24) of Sitlenpali under Dhama police limits.

Police recovered two .303 rifles, eight rounds of live cartridges, two TV sets, one solar panel and a mobile phone.

Meanwhile, Ganesh has appealed to his wife and comrade Gita to surrender. Police said Ganesh also disclosed how Naxal leader Damdeo from Jharkhand had gone missing with heavy cash collected by them.

Naxals recruiting slum youths

15 Nov 2007, 0304 hrs IST,Amit S Upadhye,TNN

BANGALORE: From dense forests to the concrete jungle, Naxals have spread their network.

Anti-Terrorist Cell (ATC) sleuths have found that an organized wing of Naxals has been actively working in Bangalore. It's involved in luring youths to join its new units — forest land committee (FLC) and plain land committee (PLC).

ATC officials say this new strategy has been successful in Bangalore where youths in urban slums have been targeted. Slum-dwellers are being promised the right over the property they live on.

In return, the youths will have to join the movement. This came to light when youths from some slums claimed ownership of the land though it belonged to someone else. It's said that the youths were also promised land documents.

The police have identified four slums in Bangalore at Raja Gopal Nagar and J D Mara, where owners approached the police complaining against slum-dwellers.

"A person's land has been encroached upon by hundreds of huts. This led us to the new trend," said a police officer.

Several huts have come up in Raja Gopal Nagar on private land belonging to a businessman. When he asked the residents to remove the huts, he received threat calls. He was also manhandled by some residents and now, he is scared to go to his own land. Finally, he lodged a police complaint.

Based on the complaint, the police interrogated a few slum-dwellers and unearthed the influence of Naxal groups. "The Naxals have formed FLC and a PLC consisting of three and five members, respectively.

The prime task of PLC members is to provide manpower, logistics, mobilisation of resources and identification of youth to be recruited. The PLC will also provide basic training before they are recruited into FLCs. An FLC member will carry forward the movement deep in the forest," the officer explained.

"Increased police vigil in the four slums has curbed unlawful activities, but we cannot drop our guard. It's been learned that Naxal outfits have made several attempts to involve children from these slums. We need to clamp down on such activities before it extends to other parts of the city," the officer added

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Buddhadeb’s Taliban Act

Fresh Updates - Op-ed in the Telegraph echoing Offstumped on Buddha’s Taliban act.

We must fight to protect our innocent people against looting and killing

They had rendered great sacrifices in the past

They are ready to render more sacrifices for the protection of their land and their ideology

That was the Taliban in 2001 justifying its actions in the feudal wars of Afghanistan. You could very well have mistaken those words for Buddhadeb’s for the Comrade Chief Minister of West Bengal did a Mullah Omer today with these words

Do you think they were peaceful people?

They had for months attacked, harassed and evicted our people

the people who suffered were paid back in their own coin

The Taliban had demonstrated their Culture in Bamiyan, and now this former Culture Minister of West Bengal has shown us the “eye for an eye” culture that he stands for.

But then why should we be surprised of this Taliban act in Bengal with the active connivance of the West Bengal police, after all Buddhadeb in his former avatar was not just the Culture Minister but was also overseeing the Home Ministry.

So what we have here in West Bengal is actually self proclaimed culture aficionado with the intellect of a Taliban Warlord who would rather have his private armed militia (the Hormud Vahini) settle scores than have his police uphold the rule of law.

But the Taliban like Culture does not end there. It extends to deceit and subterfuge by the CPI-Mafioso. But then you have the top law enforcement official of Bengal, the Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy going on record to state there is no evidence of Maoist activity in Nandigram. This effectively nails the lie that was first perpetuated by Jyoti Basu, Biman Bose and later broadcast to the national media by Don Prakash Karat.

What is puzzling is what lead National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan to lend credibility to this subterfuge while he was in Moscow with no direct access to the facts on the ground. The NSA must withdraw his remarks and apologize to the nation or tender his resignation forthwith.

The NSA is but a small player in the sequence of events in Nandigram. The bigger culprits are Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi who have now cut a convenient deal with the CPI-M to look the other way while they tacitly support talks with the IAEA on the Indo-US Nuclear deal. The most eloquent comment on this comes from BJP Leader and Leader of the Opposition LK Advani saying the CPI-M had nuked the farmers of Nandigram. Mr. Advani has since demanded President’s rule after lauding the Governor.

While this post modern day Nero may get away with his complicity much thanks to Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, Offstumped would like to make it absolutely clear that this is not the end of this issue.

Buddhadeb may for now buy peace with bullet and bullion in Nandigram but one day he and his Comrades will be held to account for their Taliban Act in Nandigram.

Naxalites Blow up Block Office in Buxar District

Patna: Nov. 12, 2007

Maoist guerillas on late Sunday night in Buxar district blew up Kesath block office using powerful explosives sending a wave of panic in the area even as the state administration tried to downplay the blast saying the damage to the building was not as powerful as had been thought before.

"This was an ordinary incident and the damage was minimal but we are taking all precautions to ensure the extremists don't return to the area and execute any more of their sinister plans," Home Secretary Afzal Amanullah said.

The Home Secretary's shrug notwithstanding, there is a clear tension in the area where villagers were said to have gone into hiding anticipating more attacks.

Security has been tightened in Buxar and senior police officials are monitoring the situation closely, officials in Patna said on Monday

Udupi: Naxalites, ANF exchange fire

Kurtagundi (Udupi District), Nov 14: There was an exchange of fire between the Anti-Naxalite Force (ANF) and suspected naxalites at Charbathlu at Kurtagundi in Udupi District on Tuesday.

Kurtagundi village comes under the Amasebail Gram Panchayat and is considered by the police as an area frequented by suspected naxalites.

Acting on a tip-off, the personnel of the ANF and the Udupi District Police appeared to have taken the suspected naxalites by surprise at Charbathlu. After an exchange of fire, naxalities fled the scene.

There have not been any casualties or injuries on either side. But the naxalites have left behind various items such as a gun, 15 bullets, six tents, Maoist literature, three transistors, and cooking utensils behind. Half cooked rice and sliced vegetables, clothes and other belongings of the suspected naxalities could be seen at the spot.

Giving details of the operations at Charbathlu, Superintendent of Police of ANF Subash Gudimani told presspersons that the ANF had started its routine combing operations at 5 a.m..

When the ANF got information that a team of six naxalites, including three women naxalites, were at Charbathlu, additional forces were requisitioned from Kollur, Hebri and Karkala.

The personnel numbering 48 were divided into four teams.

He said when the ANF team neared Charbathlu, the naxalites became aware of their presence and fired two rounds on ANF personnel, who in retaliation, fired six rounds. The exchange of fire had taken place between 9.30 a.m. and 10 a.m. The naxalites then escaped from the place. It was possible that these six naxalites could be members of the “Varahi” team of naxalites, Mr. Gudimani said.

The in-charge Superintendent of Police of Udupi district, Labhu Ram, said the fleeing naxalities had left behind a gun, 15 bullets, six tents, three transistor sets, Maoist literature, and food items.

The district police had intensified operations after the exchange of fire. It was possible that the naxalites might have escaped to Shimoga district and the police there had been alerted.

However, there was one discrepancy, which was glaring in the ANF/police version, Deputy Superintendent of Police M.B. Nagaraj, who earlier talked to the presspersons (before Mr. Gudimani and Mr. Ram), said the exchange of fire had taken place at 10.05 a.m.

The team of ANF and the police had fired two rounds at the suspected naxalites. But the later had not returned fire, he said.

The Hindu

SRPF jawan killed in naxal attack

14 Nov 2007, 0326 hrs IST,TNN

PUNE: A city-based State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) Group II constable Shailesh Sampat Kamane (24) was killed in a naxalite attack on SRPF jawans in Gadchiroli district on Monday.

At Permili post in Gadchiroli, unidentified naxalites fired bullets at the jawans posted there when a bullet hit Kamane's forehead.

According to SRPF officials, Kamane joined the service on February 9, 2004. His family is based in Kolhapur. He was staying at SRPF Group II, at Ramtekdi in Pune.

The SRPF's H Company went to Gadchiroli on October 26. The company consisted four officers and 100 jawans. They were posted in a dense forest area

Police, naxalites exchange fire in Udupi

Manipal (PTI): A group of six naxalites and police/Anti-Naxal-Force (ANF) exchanged fire in the thick forest at Kothagundi near Shankaranarayana in Udupi district of Karnataka early on Tuesday, police said.

A police official clarified that two naxalites, who were suspected to be injured in the incident, were not hurt and all of them escaped.

The sources said during a routine joint combing operation,the group including two women was spotted and they were immediately surrounded by police and ANF.

Police said a gun, cartridges and utensils were recovered from the spot, adding, intense combing operations were continuing in the area.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on top of Maoists' hit list

Raipur, Nov 13 (PTI) Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh is now getting round-the-clock 'Z-plus' security as his name figures on "top" of the Maoists' hit list for supporting the Salwa Judum campaign to keep them at bay, government sources said today.
"Considering that Salwa Judum cadres are giving the Maoists a tough time in their strongholds, they have held the Chief Minister responsible for the campaign and put him on the top of their hit list," an official in the CMO said here.

He said a top-rung Maoist leader arrested recently by Bihar police told his interrogators Singh was the reason for the spread of the campaign.

Because of the "Naxal threat, he has been provided a 24-hour Z-plus security cover", he told PTI.

Principal Secretary (Home) S V Prabhat also said Singh's security had been tightened.

"It is a continious process to review the threat perception of top people and the government has been taking adequate steps in this direction," he said.

The chief minister's security arrangements were not discussed in the media "but all possible steps have been taken", Prabhat said.

Due to the intensified Salwa Judum campaign, the banned CPI (Maoist) discussed the matter in several meetings, senior officials said.

They made the Chhattisgarh government responsible for the people raising their voice against Left-wing extremism and made the chief minister "enemy number one", they said. PTI

Monday, November 12, 2007

Red terror grips Nandigram

13 Nov 2007, 0225 hrs IST,Nirmalya Banerjee,TNN

NANDIGRAM: The entire Nandigram town is now cloaked in red. CPM flags flutter from rooftops, shops and the wrecked checkpoints that were set up by Trinamul Congress and Bhumi Uchchhed Pratitrodh Committee to keep the Red brigade at bay. The streets are deserted. Houses closed and shops locked. Nandigram seemed like a ghost town on Monday.

The stillness only broken by bands of motorcycle-borne CPM cadres zipping around the empty streets, shouting slogans. Later in the afternoon, a strong CRPF contingent reached Nandigram. They have been stationed at Nandigram police station, awaiting deployment.

However, the "victory" may not yet be complete for CPM. It is Red fear that rules Nandigram now. "If CPM wants its victory to be really complete, it will have to win over the minds of the common people of Nandigram. That will not be easy. Our agitation against land acquisition will continue," BUPC leader Sheikh Samad told TOI on Monday.

CPM leaders are aware of this. They've been holding 'peace rallies' all over the town and even adjoining areas. "We want all the people who have fled from their villages to return home. We are making no distinction between CPM supporters and BUPC sympathisers. Even BUPC leaders can return and stay peacefully like earlier," CPM's Nandigram zonal committee secretary Ashok Bera said, as he led a procession of party supporters through Nandigram town on Monday.

"Only, the Maoists must leave." Bera admitted, though, that CPM leaders have not encountered many Maoists since they reentered Nandigram. The procession that Bera was leading started with peace slogans but it didn't take long for the mood to change. CPM supporters started shouting that Trinamul Congress would have to "answer for its actions."

Not surprisingly, BUPC leaders are not convinced that they would be allowed to return to Nandigram and stay in peace. Leaders like Samad, Abu Taher, Sheikh Sufiyan, Bhabani Prasad Das and Sayam Kazi were seen huddled together on the verandah of the BDO's office. "For the past seven days, we have been receiving threat calls," Taher said. None of them is going back home. "We are staying in Nandigram town, though our families are back in villages," they said.

Dozens of BUPC sympathisers, who were forced out of their homes during the weeklong CPM assault, are huddled in a Nandigram school. Many of them are in a state of shock.

"On March 14, I was beaten up so badly by CPM supporters that I had to be hospitalised. I am afraid to go back," said Mehroon Bibi of Jalpai village. "Those who are returning to their villages are being forced to participate in CPM rallies at gunpoint," said a Amgachhi villager.

Seven injured people are still in Nandigram block hospital, with bullet injuries. Places like Maheshpur and Gokulnagar, the sites of many shootouts in the past few days, wore a deserted look. The BUPC leaders fear the "Red terror" will continue till the next year's panchayat elections because CPM will throw in everything to win the polls. The Opposition is not sure if it can hold on to its support base any longer.

"Whenever common people face lack of security, their allegiance will switch to those that are more powerful," said a BUPC leader. Opposition leaders demand that all weapons be seized in Nandigram. "CRPF can do this if they are allowed to function independently," said a BUPC leader.

Nandigram’s Maoists - Karat’s imagination or reality ?

November 12th, 2007 by yossarin

Prakash Karat’s defense of his party’s mafioso operation in Nandigram rests on the fiction that Maoists had laid seige to Nandigram.

“How were the Maoists allowed to capture a small territory in a state where there is a legitimate and elected government? The governor, the high court and the central government should think about it.”

A very curious remark by Mr. Karat which strangely leaves out the one agency that is primarily responsible for preventing such a capture - the West Bengal State Government lead by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

So if the Maoists had indeed captured this territory, where did they disappear ?

For days now nobody from the outside world was able to enter Nandigram. It has been out of bounds for the media, opposition members, activists. Even the CRPF forces were prevented from entering by CPI-M activists, a fact confirmed by the West Bengal police.

So essentially you have this small piece territory that is completely encircled by the CPI-M and the local police who have kept it out of bounds for everyone from the outside world.

Now that the CRPF has entered Nandigram and the CPI-M cadre declared the region “terror free”, Offstumped poses the questin,

Where indeed did the Maoists go ?

Now the official death toll has not even crossed double digits. In fact the only figures the media quotes are in the 2s and 3s. Unless Mr. Karat would like us to believe his fiction that a motley group of 4 or 5 Maoists held forth in Nandigram to terrorise the 1500 CPI-M supporters he claims were uprooted and rendered homeless, where indeed did this army of Maoists go ?

Are the official death toll figures wrong ?

Did the attacking CPI-M cadre kill all the Maoists before dumping their bodies in mass graves ?

Did the Maoists dig holes and bury themselves out of public sight, the underground outlaws that they are ?

If Nandigram is now terror free as the CPI-M cadre claim it to be, did they catch the Maoists and hand them over to the local police ?

How come the only arrests on Nandigram came from Kolkota and not from the battlefield itself ? The only other arrests of course were those of wanted criminals the CPI-M was using in Nandigram.

If indeed an army of Maoists were indeed holed up till last week, they dont show up in the death toll, they dont show up in the arrested so where indeed did these Maoists that Karat is fearing, vanish ?

This leads us friends to the real and troubling question on the state sponsored massacre in Nandigram.

Are these Maoists that Karat keeps referring to actually the many villagers who were driven from their homes to seek shelter in schools and buildings ?

Mr. Karat’s boast in New Delhi was that from Gram Panchayat to the State Assembly his party had an absolute majority. So if his party has such a vice like grip on Administration

why is it that its law enforcement agencies not produced a single Maoist dead or alive who came from the outside into Nandigram to wage war against his party ?

By laying the blame on Maoists Mssrs Karat, Yechury, Jyoti Basu and Buddhadeb have set themselves up for serious trouble here.

Either the Maoists are all dead and buried in mass graves or they never existed.

Which is it ?

States' reluctance to implement reforms eroding police morale

12 Nov 2007, 0239 hrs IST,Dhananjay Mahapatra,TNN

Pakistan’s picturesque Swat valley is in the news for the wrong reasons. The Taliban militia has taken control of police stations there. The policemen and security officials have either fled their posts or joined the rebels.

Similarity to the Swat valley situation, though not exactly identical, is not unknown in India. In Naxal and Maoist controlled areas, the police have not deserted their posts. However, their presence is seldom visible, like that of teachers in rural schools.

The futility of the situation was writ large in the Prime Minister’s speech at the chief ministers’ conference in March this year. He stated that Naxal violence had spread to as many as 160 districts. And now, the Left government in West Bengal has found the Maoists’ footprints in the violence ridden fields of Nandigram.

Could the Naxals and Maoists have successfully spread their wings had there been a strong police presence at the grassroots level? Could they have struck at will if the police intelligence network been put to good use by the governments to take effective preventive measures?

The Supreme Court did not require Sherlock Holmes’s magical deductive powers to arrive at the conclusion that lack of reforms and state government’s refusal to loosen its stranglehold were eroding the morale of the police to maintain law and order.

The states’ unwillingness to let go its control over police stems from the penchant of ruling parties to utilise it as a tool to settle political scores, especially in the difficult era of coalition politics where friends and foes are separated by a thin line. The ultimate casualty is police reforms.

The apex court, in its September 22, 2006 order, had thought of bare minimum reforms and directed their urgent introduction to lift the morale of police force. None of the states did it within the stipulated three months time.
While granting more time to the states, the apex court had said, "The supervision and control has to be such that it ensures that the police serves people without any regard, whatsoever, to the status or position of any person while investigating a crime or taking preventive measures."

The states’ reluctance to implement reforms was self-explanatory, for it limited their role in administering the largest force at its command. The crux of the apex court’s directions were:

Setting up of National Security Commission for selection of chiefs of Central police organisations like CBI, ITBP and CISF, who would have a fixed tenure of two years

State Security Commission to ensure insulation of police force from political interference

Police Establishment Board to decide transfers, postings, promotions and other service related matters

Police Complaint Authority to look into accusations against police

Practically, all these directions meant an end to the ruling party’s control over the police force and to have their men in crucial positions.

The Supreme Court was at a loss to understand why states were dithering at the time of implementation of the judgment on police reforms, for they kept silent when their views were repeatedly sought during the hearing on a PIL on the issue that dragged on for years.

The court said, "When the arguments were heard, none of the state governments or Union Territories made any submission or suggestion that the recommendations given in the reports either by National Human Rights Commission or in Rebeiro Committee or Sorabjee Committee or in the Police Commission be not accepted."

The indifference was because no chief minister ever dreamt of the apex court actually taking the unprecedented step of directing implementation of police reforms to effectively insulate it from political interference.

But, they should realise that a professional police force would solve half of the chronic problems for which they keep giving excuses during every election.

Three CRPF jawans killed by Maoists in Chhattisgarh

Raipur (PTI): Naxalites on Monday ambushed a 14-member CRPF party and killed three of them in hyper-sensitive Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh.

Three CRPF jawans were killed on the spot in an ambush by the Maoists between Pamalwaya and Cherpal villages in Bijapur district, about 550 km from here, district police sources told PTI over phone.

The naxalites opened indiscriminate firing at the CRPF men when they were proceeding towards Bijapur in motorcycles, the sources said, adding 11 CRPF personnel escaped unhurt in the attack.

On October 29, about 200 naxalites had ambushed a police party and killed five policemen in the same district.

Bijapur is witnessing the worst-ever naxal violence along with Dantewada where gun battle between the rebels and government forces is a regular feature.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Nandigram Information blackout - sign of CPI-Mafioso Cyber Curtain
November 11th, 2007 by yossarin

If there ever was a doubt that the principal communist outfit was nothing more than an organised mafia operation, last week’s events in Nandigram and their aftershocks today in Kolkota should put those doubts to rest. The CPI-M today is perhaps the most lethal of mafia outfits the world over having subverted electoral democracy, to snuff out any semblance of a credible opposition, to usurp power unchallenged. It is today more lethal than its foreign inspiration, the Chinese Communist Party, which atleast is honest and transparent in its intolerance of political opposition. Masquerading as a participant in electoral democracy the CPI-Mafioso has covertly infilitrated every organ of the State in West Bengawith individuals committed to the supremacy of the party’s interests over constitution.

Last week’s events have also blown the cover off the moralising Mafia Bosses who run the CPI-M. While the nonagenarian god father Jyoti Basu perfected the art of passing the buck by questioning the role of the police, the party bosses in New Delhi Karat and Yechury took the art of denial to new heights. The most artful of the lot however was the party boss in West Bengal Biman Bose who excelled at manufacturing fiction with his theories of revenge and maoist threats. The one man who has come out completely stripped of any semblance of authority or integrity is West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. The man who until recently the mainstream media celebrated as “brand buddha”. Well now we know what “brand buddha” stands for - pusillanimous complicity.

The desperation in Nandigram is evident by the utter helplessness of the opposition BUPC which has resorted to bearing arms allegedly supplied by Maoists to battle the CPI-M hit men. The Trinamul Congress is down to issuing empty threats of paralysing the state idefinitely. Its chief Mamata Bannerjee has practically exhausted what little political capital she had with her hunger strike last year from which she had to ultimately capitulate. So inconsequential the Trinamul’s political threat to the CPI-M that Mamata who has been blocked from entering Nandigram had to pillion ride on a motorbike. A motley group of far left activists and ideologues ranging from the tireless Medha Patkar to the erudite Mahasveta Devi have been registering their protest in Kolkota but the only one listening seems to be the Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi. Adding glamor to the token protests in Kolkota are a bunch of film personalities from Aparna Sen to Moushumi Chatterjee but not having much of an effect.

The Congress in the Center is playing Nero while Nandigram burns with deafening silence from lame duck Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the sphinx Sonia Gandhi. While gutless wonder Shivraj Patil has been playing second fiddle to Buddha sending in a unit of the CRPF the National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan ensured official corroboration to Biman Bose’ fiction of Maoist activity in Nandigram. The only token protest from the Congress came from Priyaranjan Dasmunshi. Pranab Mukherjee please to be left alone on national television were the highlight of the Congress’ complicity to the tragedy in Nandigram.

Barring the BJP none of the major political parties have even voiced concern. The print media has been deafingly silent with the Diwali holiday season as a convenient excuse. Of the 24×7 news channels, Sahara Samay seems to be the only one with a semblance of activisim in following this story but it too had to live with interviewing a desparate Medha in Kolkota, Nandigram being out of bounds.The media blackout on Nandigram is in stark contrast to the activism with which the media covered events in Gujarat and elsewhere. The sanctimonious TV Today channels Aaj Tak and Headlines Today were back to their usual coverage of cricket, bollywood gossip and other baldergash. NDTV’s headliners with references to “Maoist Threat” were more reflective of the CPI-M’s spin than on reality. At the time of writing this post over at the CNN-IBN the husband wife duo Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghosh were nowhere to be seen with op-eds that they so routinely come up with expressing moral outrage and sanctimony.

The internet world has been surprisingly quiet as well unlike in the case of Mumbai Blasts and when rains had Mumbai marooned.

Why are we not seeing any bloggers reporting directly from the war zone in Nandigram ?

How come no YouTube videos giving a blow by blow account of the events in Nandigram ?

In this day and age one would have expected a flood of stories with citizen videos to hit the internet calling the CPI-M’s bluff.

It perhaps is a sign of the information culture that has come to pervade in communist ruled West Bengal.

One has to conclude that there is a cyber curtain in Bengal and it has enveloped Nandigram into the Dark Age of Information.

Offstumped is calling out to those with Internet Access in Nandigram to step up and fill the gaping void left by the media blackout in Nandigram.

The rest of India needs to see and hear what happened in Nandigram.

NSA points to Maoist involvement in Nandigram violence

By Smita Prakash

On Board Air India One, Nov. 11: National Security Advisor M K Narayanan today said that Maoists have intruded in Nandigram and neighbouring areas in West Bengal, and this is creating a problem which has become the concern of both the Centre and the West Bengal Government.

Terming the situation there (Nandigram) as 'tricky', Narayanan said that it is a clear case of Maoists' involvement.

Narayanan, who is accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a two-day visit to Russia, said that Dr. Singh is in constant touch with Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and is closely monitoring the situation there.

"We are concerned. The idea is that no more casualties happen there," Narayanan said.

At least two people have been killed as alleged CPI-M cadres are battling with activists of the Trinamool Congress under the umbrella of the Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee in Nandigram.

The Centre has already sent a battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) (1000 personnel) to West Bengal in the wake of the deteriorating law and order situation there.

Meanwhile, reports from Kolkata today indicated that the Forward Bloc, the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) have squarely blamed the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) for the continuing violence and killings in Nandigram.

"All the three Left Front allies hold the CPI-M solely responsible for the present situation in Nandigram. We do not support what has been going on there and unequivocally condemn the barbarism and spiralling violence taking place in the area," CPI state secretary Manju Kumar Majumdar told reporters after an emergency meeting of the three parties at the Forward Bloc office in Kolkata.

"We ask the Left Front government to immediately restore normality and peace in the area," he added.

The Left Front partners condemned the violence in Nandigram, but said they do not support Monday's opposition shutdown call.

While the Congress and the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) have separately called a 24-hour shutdown, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has appealed for a 48-hour shutdown from Monday.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has announced an indefinite stir to cripple the state from the same day.

The renewed violence from Saturday in Nandigram, about 150 km from here in East Midnapore district, has taken the death toll since January to 34.


Cops combat Naxalites in woods


Jamshedpur, Nov. 10: At least three members of an armed Maoists’ squad today sustained injuries during an encounter with a joint combing team of police near Barunia in Ghatshila sub-division of East Singhbhum district today.

The patrolling team opened fire around 11am today after the Maoists shot at them. The men in uniform recovered two pistols, a rifle, six grenades, 50 detonators, nine haversacks, a can bomb and food from the spot of exchange of fire. The rebels, the police said, can flee towards Mayurbhanj district in Orissa, barely 3km from the spot of encounter.

According to Naveen Kumar Singh, the East Singhbhum superintendent of police, the encounter took place when the rebels attacked a small contingent of district armed police and Jharkhand Armed Police while it was patrolling Satpatra jungle in Dumaria this morning.

“As soon as the rebels opened fire, the jawans retaliated and forced the Naxalites to retreat towards a dense jungle. The jawans chased the rebels further into the jurisdiction of Orissa,” Singh said.

“The rebels, who were about 15 in number, were fired intermittently till they disappeared in the jungle,” said Singh, adding reinforcement was sent to Dumaria as soon as the news of the encounter reached the district headquarters. He said unlike previous occasions, the police contingent engaged in the encounter did not return to the post after the encounter but chased the rebels deep into the woods.

“Since some of the Naxalites are injured, the Maoists will not be able to go far away. The contingent is trying to nail them,” Singh said, adding that this was the second major achievement in the anti-insurgency combat by the police in the past 48 hours.

Singh said he had alerted the Orissa police as the police contingents were pushing the rebels into the jungle.

Naxal-hit Jharkhand may find few takers for UMPP

11 Nov 2007, 1256 hrs IST,PTI

NEW DELHI: After Krishnapatnam, the 4,000-MW Tilaiya ultra mega power plant in Jharkhand, for which preliminary bids will close on Monday, is also expected to draw a lukewarm response as the proposed site falls in the list of highest Naxal-hit zones.

Power Finance Corporation, the nodal agency for ultra mega power projects, had invited fresh preliminary bids for the project at Tilaiya in Jharkhand.

The last date for procuring the request for qualification forms was November 5, while the deadline for submission is November 12.

However, PFC expects to receive bids only from a few firms that are already engaged in setting up other projects surrounding the site.

"We are expecting a very minimal response for Tilaiya. The site is a naxalite-hit area. Only 4-5 domestic firms, which are already present in the area, are expected to participate in the bidding process," a company official said.

Reliance Energy, GMR, Larsen and Toubro and state-run NTPC Ltd are few of the companies operating in Jharkhand, the official said.

Coal-rich Jharkhand is among the areas most sensitive to naxal attacks. Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Bihar are the others which fall in the line.

A 3,355-acre land near Tilaiya village in Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand was identified for the pit-head project by Central Electricity Authority in consultation with the state government.

Encounter between joint combing team and maoists

Jamshedpur, November 11: An encounter between a joint combing team and maoist ultras occurred near Barunia in extremist-hit Ghatsila sub-division of East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand on Saturday.

The encounter took place when a joint combing team of the district police and CRPF began conducting raids in the naxalite stronghold areas of the sub-division since morning
following a tip-off that a group of CPI(maoist) activists had gathered in a jungle near the village, police said.

The joint patrolling team fired after the maoists started firing at them, the police said.

The ultras wanted to make a hasty retreat in view of the mounting pressure from the police camp but were cordoned off from three sides by the police.

An intermittent firing from both camps were going on till noon, the police said.

No casuality was reported from the police camp till noon, the police said.

Meanwhile, the anti-naxal campaign by the police continued in the naxal-hit areas of east Singhbhum district ever since an encounter between the ultras and police took place a few days ago.

Naxalites injured in encounter

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

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

The security forces retaliated after the ultras opened fire on seeing them approach the jungle, Superintendent of Police Navin Kumar Singh said.

Intermittent firing was on, Mr. Singh said, adding that the neighbouring States of Orissa and West Bengal had been alerted.

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

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

The police had seized a rifle, two pistols, bombs, detonators, uniforms and other articles left behind by the ultras.


Nandigram rocks Bengal: Governor versus govt, cracks in Left Front

Subrata Nagchoudhury / Jayanth Jacob

Posted online: Sunday, November 11, 2007 at 0000 hrs Print Email

RSP minister wants to quit, Mamata announces resignation from Lok Sabha

Kolkata/ New Delhi, November 10:A day after he compared Nandigram to a “war zone”, West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi seemed to be heading on a collision course with the CPI(M), which launched an open, virulent attack today, accusing him of “outstepping his constitutional limits”.

Just two days after the state government claimed to have brokered peace between the two warring factions, Nandigram was again rocked by a bout of violence today in which three persons were killed and at least 15 injured as CPI(M) workers reportedly opened fire at a rally of Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) supporters. Local Trinamool Congress leaders put the toll at over 20.

“It was worse than March 20,” said Abu Taher, a BUPC leader from Nandigram. He claimed that many bodies were lying in the paddy fields after CPI(M) cadres fired indiscriminately at the procession near Maheshpur.

All roads leading to Nandigram were blocked by CPI(M) cadres in a planned move. Even ambulances were not given access. “This blockade will continue at least for another seven days,” declared party workers.

The violence took a toll on the Left Front unity, with ally Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) publicly joining Medha Patkar’s dharna in the heart of the city and describing the developments at Nandigram as “shameful”. The RSP’s PWD Minister, Kshiti Goswami, also urged his party secretary to relieve him of the cabinet post. Talking to The Sunday Express, he said: “After what the CPI(M) has done in Nandigram, it is difficult to show our faces before the public, and it is difficult to stay in the post any longer.”

Addressing a press conference, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee announced that she was resigning from the Lok Sabha and would inform the Speaker accordingly. She said she had already written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the violence.

In Delhi, the CPI(M) politburo criticised the Governor’s statement, saying “this is not the role expected from the office of Governor under the Constitution.” Both CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat and CPI general secretary A B Bardhan took up the issue with the Prime Minister at their meeting today.

They conveyed to the PM that the Governor had overstepped his constitutional limits by making public remarks. “The Governor has been fully appraised of the reasons behind this abnormal situation. The Governor is well within his constitutional role to communicate his views to the state government and the Central government. However, he has chosen once again to go public with a statement which is uncalled for,” said the politburo.

In his statement yesterday, the Governor had said the manner in which the “recapture” of Nandigram villages was being attempted was totally “unlawful and unacceptable”. He made it clear that “no government or society could allow a war zone to exist without immediate and effective action”.

The CPI(M)’s Bengal unit issued a separate statement accusing the Governor of “outstepping his constitutional limits”, adding that this would embolden the forces determined to destabilise peace and democracy in the state.

“The Governor’s agony for the ardour of Deepawali being dampened could have been better appreciated if this was expressed during the Id and Durga Puja festivals, when the Trinamool-Maoist combine was capturing village after village to evict people from there and attacking even refugee camps,” says the statement.

“Enough is enough. Peace and security can only be ensured in Nandigram by confronting the state within the state, and all those who provide nourishment to this most unconstitutional state of affairs,” it adds.

However, senior party leader Biman Bose, who handed over the statement to the media, refused to comment on whether they would seek the Governor’s recall. “Till now we have not thought of that,” he said.

Meanwhile, in view of the escalating violence, the Centre has finally decided to send about 1,000 central paramilitary forces to West Bengal. A CRPF battalion has been placed at the disposal of the state government, the Union Home Ministry said today.

The Centre has been “keeping a watch on the situation in the Nandigram area” and asking the state government to take urgent steps to “restore normalcy”, a Home Ministry spokesman said. Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil has spoken to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and urged immediate steps to help persons displaced due to the violence return home.

Mounting pressure on the government, film director Rituparno Ghosh and well-known film critic Chidananda Dasgupta boycotted the opening ceremony of the Kolkata film festival this evening as a mark of their protest on the Nandigram issue. Earlier, Aparna Sen had resigned from her position as an executive committee member of the Kolkata Film Festival.

Three killed in fresh violence

• Three more persons killed and at least 15 injured in fresh violence in Nandigram.

• Congress says situation “very serious”, criticises CPI(M) for the violence unleashed by its cadres. “There is a very thin line between cadres of a political party and state police force in West Bengal,” says AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh.

• BJP tells Centre to seek an immediate report from the Governor and take appropriate action.

• Several parties including the Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind, SUCI and various Naxal factions have called a Bengal bandh on Monday. Mamata Banerjee threatens to immobilise the state indefinitely from Monday.

• Centre to deploy about 1,000 central paramilitary forces to the state.

• After Aparna Sen, film director Rituparno Ghosh and well-known film critic Chidananda Dasgupta also boycott opening ceremony of the Kolkata film festival.

Marandi, family get Maoist threat

11 Nov 2007, 0144 hrs IST,Law Kumar Mishra,TNN

GIRIDIH: The Maoists have issued a fresh threat to former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi and his family members, barely a fortnight after they killed his son Anup Marandi during a football match.

Pamphlets have been distributed in about half a dozen villages asking people to hand over leaders of Gram Suraksha Dal and Gram Raksha Samiti leading the anti-Maoist movement for a 'trial' by 'people's courts'. The Maoists also pasted posters at Chataroo, one km from the Kodaibank home of the former CM.

Marandi is on the forefront of the anti-Naxal movement in Jharkhand. Marandi's son was killed by the Naxals along with 18 others on October 27 while they were watching a cultural programme during a football match.

Giridih SP Arun Kumar Singh told TOI that security of Marandi, had been stepped up after the Maoist posters were found three days back in the villages

On Naxal hit list, former Andhra CM seeks extra security

Hyderabad, Nov 10: Over two months after his miraculous escape from an assassination bid by maoists, former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Janardhan Reddy on Saturday demanded increase in personal security cover in view of the growing threat to his life.

Reddy wrote a letter to Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy appealing to him to direct the officials to revise his security set-up.

"It is shameful that I do not have proper security though I am top on the hit list of naxalites," the veteran congress leader told reporters at his residence here.

Seventy-two year old Reddy and his minister-wife N Rajyalakshmi escaped unhurt when maoists attacked their convoy by triggering a landmine blast in Nellore district on September 7.

Reddy, whose government had first imposed ban on naxalites in May 1992, blamed the police for being lax and said the attack on him could have been prevented if proper security drill was followed by the district police.

He lamented his security cover was "far less" compared to former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu who had also escaped an assassination attempt by maoists in October 2003.

Expressing displeasure over security measures provided to him, Reddy wanted the chief minister to issue directions to officials to upgrade his security cover.

As per the established guidelines, a committee comprising senior police officials assesses the security requirements of VIPs in the state.

Reddy, who comes under the Z category, has been on the maoist hit list ever since he had ordered ban on naxalites.

Bureau Report