Saturday, January 05, 2008

Barbarians at the gate

It was waiting to happen all these days and it happened on New Year's Day. Nobody quite knows for sure how many of them were there -- some say there were four jihadis, others say there were three -- but there is little dispute over the ease with which they walked up to the sentry box of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Group Centre at Rampur after killing a rickshaw-puller sleeping nearby, hurled grenades, stormed the control room and mowed down seven jawans. It was only then that they faced some resistance. It is believed one of the terrorists was injured in the shootout that followed, but that did not stop his escape. The others escaped, too, leaving behind no clues. Since then, it has been a guessing game, although the Special Task Force of Uttar Pradesh is working on the theory that one or more militants-turned-jawans, who were inducted into the CRPF after they surrendered to security forces in Jammu & Kashmir, based at the centre may have provided crucial information to those who planned the attack. But any speculation at this point would be premature.

While investigations may or may not reveal the identity of those who attacked the CRPF centre at Rampur -- inquiries into other terrorist attacks in recent times have hit a stonewall -- what has been established by the daring strike, the first of its kind outside Kashmir Valley, is that the theatre of jihadi violence in India is rapidly expanding and is no longer restricted to big cities and towns. Seen from the perspective of the jihadis, this serves a dual purpose: First, it takes the message of fanatical Islam beyond urban centres to kasbas and villages which are ideal catchment areas for recruits to jihad's army; and, second, it facilitates the percolation of terror as more and more people are seized by a sense of insecurity, the debilitating impact of which cannot be overstated.

Meanwhile, as rapidly unfurling events in Pakistan demonstrate, the barbarians are at the gate. India is the new frontline state in the war against terror. We can either summon the courage and prepare for a counter-assault, and thus protect our national interest, or we can prepare for a siege that is more likely to end with the gate being smashed. Worryingly, the UPA Government appears to have settled its mind on exercising the second option. This is partly on account of key functionaries going into a denial mode, refusing to accept that the worsening internal security scenario is on account of jihadis expanding their territory of terror, and largely because of the regime's obsessive compulsive politics of pandering to minorityism.

A fallout of this game of blind man's bluff is Government's failure to acknowledge a simple fact: There has been a steep rise in the incidence of jihadi violence outside Jammu & Kashmir, which has coincided with the UPA rolling back anti-terrorism measures adopted by the NDA Government. The scrapping of the Prevention of Terrorism Act is only one example; the absence of demonstrative action to convey the Government of India's determination - Afzal Guru spends time in Tihar Jail confident that he will not hang for his crime of plotting the attack on Parliament House till such time the Congress is in power - is another. When confronted with tough questions, the standard response of the UPA Government is to point out that things were "no better" during the NDA years. Whenever the issue is raised in Parliament, Congress leaders are on their feet, taunting the BJP: "Parliament was attacked when you were in power. Raghunath temple was attacked when you were in power. Akshardham temple was attacked when you were in power. How dare you talk about terrorist attacks now?"

That's disingenuous, to say the least. Not only because, to use a cliché, two wrongs do not make a right, but also, and more importantly, because statistics prove the situation is far worse today than it was before the summer of 2004 when the Congress and its allies took charge of the nation's affairs. While it is true that there were high profile terror strikes during the NDA years, it is equally a fact that there has been a steep increase in the frequency and spread of terrorist attacks outside Jammu & Kashmir (the decline in jihadi violence in that State has been matched by the increase in jihadi violence elsewhere) and the loss of lives has been far more with the Congress at the helm than the cumulative toll during the six years when the BJP was in power. Let's look at the facts.

A quick scan will show that there were 12 major jihadi attacks when the NDA was in power from early-1998 to mid-2004. Of these, three resulted in heavy casualties: the massacre at Chhamba on August 8, 1998 (35 killed); the fidayeen attack on Akshardham temple on September 24, 2002 (32 killed); and, the bombings in Mumbai near Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar on August 25, 2003 (52 killed). In all, 148 civilians were killed in these 12 attacks.

There have been 12 jihadi attacks of greater severity between June 2004 and January 2008, spread across the country. The fidayeen attack on the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya on July 5, 2005 was an astounding display of jihadi fervour, but it did not have any collateral damage in terms of loss of lives, barring those of the terrorists who were shot dead.

But virtually every attack after that has extracted a terrible toll of human lives: The bombings in Delhi on October 29, 2005, resulted in 62 deaths; the blasts at Sankatmochan Mandir and Varanasi Railway Station on March 7, 2006, left 21 people dead; the commuter train bombings in Mumbai on July 11, 2006, created havoc and claimed 200 lives (the Prime Minister went on air and asked people to pretend all is fine); the Malegaon bombings of September 8, 2006, killed 40 people; the bombing of the Delhi-Atari special train killed 68 passengers, almost all of them Indians; and, the bombings in Hyderabad on August 25, 2007, killed 44 people.

In all, 466 innocent civilians have been killed in 12 jihadi attacks after the Congress came to power in half the time the BJP and its allies were in Government. If we were to add the number of people killed by insurgents, including Maoists, and jihadis in Jammu & Kashmir to this death toll, it would be a shocking grand total.

It does not require great mathematical skills to work out whether the situation is worse today than it was when the NDA was in power. Nor does it require much intelligence to figure out what has gone wrong between then and now. The next time the UPA's drum-beaters taunt the NDA, they should have the deadly numbers thrown at them. If that doesn't wake up the Prime Minister and his colleagues from their slumber and goad them into action, then people must prepare for the barbarians to break down the gate.

Death Penalties for 3 Former PWG Ultras

Patna: January 4, 2008

A fast track court in Patna on Friday awarded death penalties to the three members of the now-defunct People's War Group, a schism of the Maoist rebels, for their involvement in the 2004 massacre in Lahsuna in Masaurhi during which several people were killed for casting their votes in favor of Janata Dal (U).

Justice Om Prakash of the fast track court, however, ordered release of three accused in the lack of sufficient and credible evidence.

The carnage had taken place on May 18, 2004 when nearly a 100 armed Maoist guerillas swooped on Lahsuna village and shot them to death after dragging them out of their homes.

Those who were awarded the capital punishment are Sujit Kumar, Arvind Singh, and Manoj Singh. The court, however, set Umesh Singh, Sahdeo Singh, and Yogendra Singh free in the lack of sufficient evidence.

Maoist held for MPP chief’s murder

User Rating: / 0 Saturday, 05 January 2008

Hyderabad, January 05: The Cyberabad Police on Friday said Daragoni Srinu alias Vikram, a Maoist cadre allegedly involved in the murder of Amangal Mandal Parishad President Panthu Naik in Mahabubnagar district on December 1 last year, was also involved in two more murders and five cases of extortion besides other offences.

The police had seized an AK-47 weapon along with 50 rounds and Rs 10,000 in cash from 21-year-old Vikram who was arrested from a businessman’s house in Vanasthalipuram, where he had reportedly gone to extort money.

Vikram is a native of Amrabad mandal in Mahabubnagar district.

Announcing Vikram’s arrest at a press conference on Friday, Cyberabad Police Commissioner S Prabhakar Reddy said Vikram was involved in the murder of a Congress leader, Muddula Rao, of Vangoor mandal on June 28, 2005, and S Narasimha, a ration shop dealer, whom the Maoists branded as a police informer, in November 2005.

The commissioner said Vikram was also responsible for the attack on the police outpost at Amrabad in June 2005 and the burning of two RTC buses.

“In view of the surrenders of several Maoists in Mahabubnagar district, Vikram remained alone and decided to surrender only after making money.

Therefore, he along with other surrendered extremists - Shyam and Shekhar - extorted money from five persons,” Reddy said.


Orissa riots: Govt sees Maoist hand

Press Trust of India
Saturday, January 5, 2008 (Bhubaneswar)

The Orissa government today said Maoists had a hand in the violence in riot-hit Kandhamal district where nearly 800 houses and several churches were set ablaze and three police stations attacked.

''We see the attack on a police station at Brahmanigaon village as a Maoist attack,'' Home Secretary T K Mishra said while replying a question on the role of Maoists in the communal and ethnic violence in the district.

He said police had evidence that ''the attack on Brahaminigaon police station on December 27 was carried out strategically which was not possible by villagers. Trained hands could be behind the attack.''

He said the involvement of Maoists in the attack was confirmed after recovery of 12 unlicensed guns from the village.

He, however, said the nature of attack on two other police stations at Phiringia and Baliguda were different.

Official sources said Brahmanigaon village was close to Gajapati district's Maoist affected Adaba area.

''The guns seized from villagers, who are behind bars, were sophisticated and used by Maoists,'' said a senior police officer.

Maoists in the guise of villagers attacked the police station and opened fire. A police constable was injured in the attack while an unideitified villager killed.

Maoists were also suspected to have set afire several houses at Brahmanigaon village, the sources said.

They claimed though Kandhamal district had never witnessed Maoist violence in the past, it was used by the ultras as a haven for storing firearms.

Claiming that the riot remained confined to Kandhamal district, the Home Secretary said the CRPF posted in neighbouring Gajapati district had been alerted.

The police in other Maoist-affected districts have been asked to keep a watch on movement of Maoists and whether they tried to enter Kandhamal.

Maoists still to be banned in Jharkhand

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PoorBest Ranchi, Jan 5: The Communist Party of India - Maoist is not an organisation banned in Jharkhand, leading to a headache for the police.

Jharkhand is one of the states badly hit by Maoist terror. But the absence of a ban means the police can rarely frame a strong case against the rebels.

In December 2007, the police caught two employees of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) allegedly giving Rs.2 million in protection money to a CPI-Maoist rebel. The rebel was also caught. But all three were soon out on bail, which they would not have been if CPI-Maoist had been a banned organisation.

The state government had earlier banned the Maoist Coordination Committee (MCC) and People's War Group (PWG). But they merged into CPI-Maoist in September 204, which is not banned.

Maoists are active in 18 of the 24 districts of the state. The rebels have killed nearly 1,000 people in the last seven years.

Maoist prisoners, warden injured in clash

5 Jan 2008, 2029 hrs IST,PTI

SASARAM (BIHAR): Twelve prisoners and the chief warden were injured in a clash between a group of Maoist prisoners and other inmates of the divisional jail here in Bihar's Rohtas district on Saturday.

Maoist prisoners alleged that ailing members of their group were treated in cells while others were treated in the jail hospital and one of their member died recently, Jail Superintendent Sanjay Choudhary said.

He said that the Naxalites picked up a quarrel with other jail inmates alleging "discrimination" meted to their colleagues in treatment. Injured prisoners and chief warden were admitted in jail hospital.

Red alert in Kerala

Saturday January 5 2008 17:31 IST

M P Prashanth

In 1980, a group of four Naxalites from Andhra Pradesh entered into southern tip of Maharashtra which is now part of the ‘Dandakarnya region’. They were followed by six other small groups who went to Bastar, which was with Madhya Pradesh then. The mission of the teams was to spread the Karimnagar/Adilabad Movement in those areas.

After nearly three decades of sustained and well-orchestrated squad work, the Maoists are now a force to reckon with and are holding a parallel government in the ‘liberated zones.’ They have a support base of over 1.5 lakh with their own People’s Liberation Guerilla Army and people's militia. (Details from People’s March, January 2006 issue).

This piece of information is enough to send a chill down the spine of Kerala police because there are enough indications that the Maoists in the state are trying to replicate what they had done in Dandakaranya and many other parts of the country.

The fact that senior leaders of the CPI (Maoists) from Andhra — politburo member Sende Raja Mouli, Tamil Nadu state secretary Sunderamurthy and central committee member Malli Raja Reddy — had made vists to the state is enough reason for the police to press the panic button. Raja Reddy, who was picked up by the Andhra police from a hideout in Ernakulam district, had told the media that his mission was to build the party in Kerala and prepare its people for a revolution.

Kerala has the history of high-profile Naxalite activities which include annihilation of class enemies, attacks on police stations, taking officials as hostage and public trial of ‘corrupt’ government servants. Of late, their activities have been confined to more symbolic protests like attacking offices of the Asian Development Bank and retail outlets of big Indian companies.

The CPI-ML (Naxalbari) and the CPI (Maoist), the two Maoist outfits in Kerala, have a very limited presence in the state. There are only a handful of CPI (Maoists) activists in Kerala who were keeping a low profile till now. The outfit came under the scanner after the arrest of Raja Reddy. The arrest points to the fact that they have been engaged in underground activities of organising people from various sectors like migrant labourers, tribals and landless people.

That the Maoists would wait patiently for the right opportunity to strike is evident from their documents on protracted people’s war. The document on ‘Urban Perspective’ details how to operate in cities where the ‘enemies’ are in full control. “In such a situation, where enemy is stronger, we cannot have a short-term approach of direct confrontation in order to achieve quick results,” the document says.

It further addes that the cadres should “avoid engaging the enemy” and that “we should act chiefly on the defensive.” The aim of the initial phase of people’s war, it said, would be protecting, preserving, consolidating and expanding the party forces.

It also calls for forming legal and open mass organisations and to have secret party cells working underground. The document asks the cadres to actively engage in festivals like Durga Puja and sneak into sports clubs and gymnasiums.

How far the Maoists have penetrated into the Kerala society is yet to be acsertained. There are many who believe that the presence of the Maoists in Kerala is only negligible and is blown out of proportion by the media and the police.

They believe that innumerable splits in the movement have made it only a symbolic presence. Lack of leaders have incapacitated the activities of CPI (Maoists), which is now dependent on squads from Andhra Pradesh for carrying out the activities. Many of those who led the movement have now disowned it.

But the police are not taking any chances. They arrested P Govindan Kutty, the editor of People’s March, the unofficial organ of the CPI (Maoists) and raided its office.

“Globalisation has made the lives of the people all over the country miserable and there are revolts from various corners. Maoists are offering resistannce at some places. But the government is raising the Maoist bogey to suppress all mass agitations,”
says K N Ramachandran, general secretary of the CPI-ML (Kanu Sanyal) group.

Ramachandran’s reading is that the Maoists do not have the mass base without which no revolution is possible. And their activities amount to anarchism. “The Maoists have their base mainly among the adivasis. But Kerala is not Dandakaranya. What is needed now is a militant mass movement,” he says.

M N Ravunni, the general convener of Poraattom, believes that mass base alone would not suffice. “The CPM and the CPI have the mass base which does not serve any purpose. We need to revolutionise the masses.” Ravunni challenges the contention that people's war is not possible in Kerala. “It is being tried even in USA. Then why Kerala should be an exception?”

Earlier ‘actions’ of the Naxalites in Kerala were devoid of any purpose. “Actions like attacking police stations were not linked to the Maoist military line. But now the Maoists have a clearer idea,” he says.

CPI-ML (Naxalbari) has some difference of opinion with CPI (Maoists). “But we have a friendly relationship. We want a principled unity of all revoutionaries in India and some moves in this regard is taking place at national and international level.

Both CPI (Maoists) and CPI-ML (Naxalbari) are the members of Revolutionary International Movement (RIM) and Co-ordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisation of South Asia (CCOMPOSA).

Maoists attack forest department office in Orissa

Posted : Sat, 05 Jan 2008 11:54:04 GMT
Author : IANS

Bhubaneswar, Jan 5 - A group of Maoists, including two women, attacked a forest department office in Orissa's Sambalpur district and set ablaze over 10 vehicles, mostly seized by the department, police said Saturday.The incident, which occurred late Friday at Badrama, some 40 km from the district headquarters of Sambalpur and about 375 km from the state capital here, came to light after forest department officials informed police Saturday.'About eight to ten armed people including two women attacked the forest range office and burnt official records,' Surendra Panwar, inspector general of police of the region, told IANS.They also torched at least ten vehicles, he said. Nine of the vehicles set on fire were seized by the department.The leftist guerrillas also snatched Rs.15,000 and a gold ring from an official, he said.Maoists are active in 11 districts in the state.
(c) Indo-Asian News Service

Maoists torch forest range office in Orissa, beat up guards

5 Jan 2008, 1636 hrs IST,PTI

SAMBALPUR (ORISSA): Armed Maoists torched a forest range office and several parked vehicles at Badrama in Orissa, police said on Saturday.

A group of 20 Maoists, including two women, attacked the office late Saturday night, beat up six forest guards and locked them up in a room before ransacking the premises and setting it on fire, the sources said.

Seven jeeps and four motorbikes parked in the premises were set ablaze. Files and documents of the range office were also destroyed in the fire.

The Naxalites also attacked the residence of a forester K C Nath and took away cash, ornaments and mobile handsets, the sources said.

A combing operation has been launched in the area

West Bengal fights violent Marxist tribe : Congress-Marxist entente exposed

Congress-Marxist entente exposed
By Ashoke Dasgupta

The colossal failure of the Congress to ameliorate the distressed conditions of East Bengal people coming over to West Bengal let the Communists, by means of their agitation-propaganda machinery, to get hold over the struggling refugee people in West Bengal.

The struggle of Singur-Nandigram is not party oriented one, it emanates from the cultural–social conscience of the Bengal people and have been rightly tuned by the moral conscience of the entire nation—the national conscience, here is fighting back the Marxist regimentation.

Violence is an integral part of Marxism. There looms large a tendency towards violence behind the scenes of Marxist political agenda. Enter the Marxist world of verbosity, a host of fierce, berserk terms and the forms of ‘Isms’ stand there as shooting columns. Marxists, consolidating themselves, thus became a political tribe, opposed to the whole of the nation-society. Once a consolidated political tribe, a synchronised process forms ruthless coterie inside the party that commits grievous crimes against the people. Thus works Marxist dogma in which violence is a tenet. History, all over the world, has shown Marxism and violence are inextricable.

Marxists of various shades gained ascendancy in West Bengal and Tripura (Kerala entails something different) because heinous violence that was perpetrated on Bengal’s social life during and after the Partition days contributed to the consolidation of the Marxist Party in West Bengal.

Thirty million persecuted, robbed people had to seek refuge in West Bengal since 1947 because of the Muslim League barbarity in East Bengal—East Pakistan (the method is still in process in Bangladesh). People driven out of their ancestral land because of inhuman torture and violence by the Muslim League became the pray of Marxist agitation and propaganda machinery in West Bengal since 1950s. The secular Nehru Congress failed to redress, even partially, the grievous conditions of the rootless, pauperised people seeking refuge in West Bengal. Nehru collaborated, in implicit form—if not directly, to handover the fate of millions of Hindus to the Muslim League lording over East Bengal. The colossal failure of the Congress to ameliorate the distressed conditions of East Bengal people coming over to West Bengal let the Communists, by means of their agitation-propaganda machinery, to get hold over the struggling refugee people in West Bengal. Thus, the sordid, violent acts of the Muslim League in East Bengal prepared the ground for the ascension of the Marxists in West Bengal political sphere. One kind of gruesome violence on the Hindus in East Bengal paved the way for the incoming of another violent political tribe i.e. Marxists in West Bengal.

The Marxists, however, would never have the ascendancy as they have gained in West Bengal, had Indira Congress, following Nehru’s legacy, not let Marxists swell in West Bengal for confined party interest of Congress in Delhi. Indira Gandhi let West Bengal Congress became a pack of divided cards engaged more in internal feuds so that the Marxists find West Bengal a vineyard and stand as a political force, namely in opposition, but serving Congress in Delhi at crisis period by dividing, hoaxing the anti-Congress opposition parties in the Parliament. Thus, the rise of the violent political tribe of the Marxists in West Bengal was caused and fertilised by three different dimensions—Muslim League (exodus of millions of persecuted, pauperised the Hindus from East Bengal—East Pakistan); antipathy of Nehru towards East Bengal refugees; and Indira Gandhi’s tactics of providing space for the Marxists in a particular state so that the political tribe may play as her secret hand in the group of opposition parties. The cat of the said liaison came out of bag during the Emergency period 1975-77.

But no word is a last word in History.

National senses are gaining momentum in West Bengal and striking back the Marxists. Nationalist consciousness prevailed intensely in Bengal by last two centuries in the avant-garde sense of the term (national sense existed all over Bharat from time immemorial). Vande Mataram epitomised the entire flow right down from Rammohan Roy to Netaji Subas Bose, Syama Prasad Mukherjee—a flow from early 19th century when thousands suffered and dozens of sterling revolutionaries sacrificed their lives for the cause of national independence. The concept of Bharat Mata brightened the masses chanting Vande Mataram.

The Marxist political tribe, by their axioms, are opposed to the sense of nationalism. National feeling of the masses stand opposed to their design to have authoritarian command on the people. The brand-name of their efforts to denationalise peoples’ consciousness are ‘class struggle’ ‘proletariat dictatorship’ etc. As a result the passage of the rise of the CPM in West Bengal by last forty years is soaked with blood of CPI, RSP, Forward Bloc, SUCI, Naxalites, BJP and all other party activists and workers be that from peasant or working class or middle class people. During land grabbing programmes of 1967-72 CPM murdered scores of those party workers.

But the national consciousness cannot be erased from the conscience of the people as a whole, moral sense of right or wrong cannot be obliterated by the use of cunning, ferocious methods from the corridors of governance. It is that where Marxists fail anywhere, everywhere of the world. In West Bengal too the same thing is going to happen—for the basic reason that a violent political tribe cannot stand very long opposing the inherent national consciousness of the people. Singur and Nandigram are the fluorescing points of such national conscience. It is not an expression of simple political opposition.

The struggle of Singur-Nandigram is not party oriented one, it emanates from the cultural-social conscience of the Bengal people and have been rightly tuned by the moral conscience of the entire nation—the national conscience, here is fighting back the Marxist regimentation. The marauders and murderers let loose in Singur-Nandigram are the terrorists of violent political tribe the Marxists. When faced by the conscience of the people, the days become numbered for the oppressors.

The voice of national democracy was tried to be gagged by the promulgation of Emergency in 1975-77, that was chastised by the people in 1977, but the Marxists came in governance in West Bengal in 1977 following the Emergency. Begotten by Emergency politics, they continued their methods of social regimentation since then in West Bengal and the Congress was happy to let the boot of Emergency arrogance to CPM so that the party could walk to Congress for mutual political business.

The days of Marxist authoritarian governance in West Bengal are becoming numbered. The canvas of the Congress-Communist political entente waits serious reverses in the national plank too.

National conscience in Bengal is striking back the Marxists and the virtues of nationalism is again reappearing in West Bengal.

(The author a senior journalist can be contacted at 59/B Kankulia Road, Kolkata-700 029.)

Terrifying reality
Dinanath Mishra

Usually, I am optimistic. But looking at the events over the last few years, I have turned pessimistic about internal security as it has been reduced to votebank politics by the present rulers of the country, be it the ULFA in Assam or the PWG in Andhra Pradesh.

Non-compliance of Supreme Court orders of death sentence against Afzal Guru, the chief conspirator of attack on the Parliament, leaves no scope for optimism.

When the UPA Government assumed office at the Centre in 2004, the most potent anti-terror law POTA was repealed without concern about its adverse consequences. Undoubtedly, these steps have emboldened terrorists. This Government meekly surrenders to any threat from Muslims. Taslima Nasreen is a fine example of this.

I consider the attack on the CRPF camp at Rampur on January 1 as the most ominous symptom of accelerating terror activities. Eight persons including seven jawans were killed on the spot. The choice of January 1 as the date of attack on Paramilitary forces throws enough light on the future designs of the Islamic terror network. And look at the response. The Chief Minister blamed the Centre for it and the Centre passed the buck back to the State Government. The incident occurred despite Intelligence inputs warning of a possible attack. Whoever is at fault, seven CRPF jawans lost their lives which could eventually lead to demoralisation of Paramilitary forces.

It may be recalled that General Zia-ul-Haq got a book written on Islamic war tactics by a Brigadier in the Pakistan Army, wherein setting terror in the enemy's camp was described as top priority. They are doing exactly that in Jammu & Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, the North-East and Uttar Pradesh with UP fast emerging as a dangerous Islamic terror hub. It is not Rampur alone. One may recall attacks on three different court campuses in three cities killing scores within hours. The terror attacks on Ayodhya and Varanasi are also testimony to the fact. There is not much to differentiate between the Maoists, the PWG and the ULFA, for they comprise the ISI network of Pakistan whose sole target is to disintegrate India. The terror camps in PoK have been largely relocated to Bangladesh to attack the eastern part of India. ISI provides them training, arms, Intelligence and even resources. These are proven facts.

India has not learnt a lesson from history. One of the greatest historians of the 20th century, Will Durant, has written in his book The Story of Civilisation: "The Mohammedan conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. The Islamic historians and scholars have recorded with great glee and pride the slaughter of Hindus, forced conversions, abduction of Hindu women and children to slave markets and destruction of temples carried out by the warriors of Islam during 800 AD to 1700 AD. Millions of Hindus were converted to Islam by sword during this period."

And what is our response to it. We refer to it as Jehadi or Fidayeen attacks. We will not call spade a spade. Though it is not proved that every Muslim is a terrorist, but the fact remains that almost all terrorists are Muslims or their agents.

In the recent NDC meeting, the Prime Minister, while speaking on "internal security" largely bypassed Islamic terror and talked at length on the Naxalite problem. "Not a day proceeds without an incident of Left-wing extremism taking place somewhere or the other. They seem to have developed capability in some areas to launch frontal attack on police forces and establishments. They are targeting all aspects of economic activity, including vital economic infrastructure so as to cripple transport and logistic capabilities." His analysis is at many places contradictory like that of the Left.

He too blames under-development and poverty. First, there are dozens of other areas that are poor and more underdeveloped without the Naxal menace. He totally ignores the leaderships of the Naxal outfits who have well-defined goals of revolution and entrap vanvasis and the poor by selling them dreams.

There are flaws in our terror-fighting mechanism. First, it remains primarily a State subject. There is lack of information and data sharing and dearth of a tough legal framework. Therefore, fighting terrorism seldom goes beyond rhetoric. Anti-terror law TADA was allowed to lapse under hue and cry of Muslims. POTA, a potent anti-terror law too, met the same fate and was sacrificed at the altar of Muslim vote bank.

After 9/11, the UN asked member countries to frame potent anti-terror laws but India moved in the opposite direction, whereas many western countries framed serious anti-terror laws.

States failed to "distinguish between human rights activism and the Maoist movement" ?

For NGOs, 2008 is all about old causes, new initiatives(Social outlook for 2008)
Posted : Sat, 05 Jan 2008 05:09:02 GMT
Author : Azera Rahman

New Delhi, Jan 5 - Street children, child labourers, human trafficking, women's rights...the causes that Indian civil society groups espouse are many. And in the new year they are brimming with new ways to help this country's billion plus people.Some plan to dedicate a day to a particular cause, while others want to start new initiatives. The ultimate motive is betterment of society at large, a society where 28 percent are still below the poverty line and 30 percent are still illiterate.Babu Mathew, country director of ActionAid India, an international development agency, said his organisation this year would like to bring to attention what he called the Indian state's failure to distinguish between human rights activism and the Maoist movement.'Besides a whole lot of activities in various fields such as education, poverty and environment, to name a few, in which we already work in, we would like to draw attention to what we learnt in the year 2007,' Mathew told IANS.'There is an increasing trend of failure on the Indian state's part to distinguish between the human rights activities that work within the constitutional framework and Naxalism (as the Maoist movement is known). Whoever champions the cause of people in places where natural resources are extracted is labelled as Naxalite.

NAXALWATCH : States failed to "distinguish between human rights activism and the Maoist movement" ? These same worthy Five star Human Rights activists should look into the level of chaos these Maoists aka Naxalite are creating in the country . Government headed by Congress in AP earlier invited for a comprehensive peace talks which resulted in understanding how different these present day Maoists compared to Charu Mujumdar's . Charu wanted agricultural land distrubution , now these five start Maoists want Industrial houses and their lands distributed , ah what a metamorphism . More civilians are killed by these Maoists , seriously jeopardising internal security . Hamid Gul , former ISI chief and present advisor to Jihadi groups in Pakistan , told in an interview to AYR Tv that "maoists are doing our job" and our intelligence is telling us that arms are been routed via ULFA . Present day maoist movement is simply a terrorism orchistrated and crafted by foreign intelligence agencies to impede our progress using self styled Maoist leaders; who are well educated with agenda-- using uneducated and illitrate tribals as cannon fodder . Ironically these five star Human rights and civil liberties Activists are acting as catalysts to this murderous modern maoist aka Terrorism , to destablise India . Best example is Dr.Binayak Sen a self styled Doctor cum SOcial worker cum Gandhian working as a COURIER between jailed Maoists and leadership . Unfortunately PUCL found Gandhian Values in him . Having said that , bureaucrats and leaders should work hard for overall development of tribals to keep these Murderous Modern Maoists away from tribals . A new dimension has emerged with in Kandamal incident where Maoist - Evangalical nexus have shocked security experts . Therefore we urge NOG's to keep their work to should concentrate their work for "betterment of society at large" . Where is the condemnation from these groups when Parlimentarian was brutally killed , women cadre of maoists are used as comfort women and sex slaves . Where is the condemnation when these maoists are in Narcotics and extortion from contractors who are working on Public projects , and so say least beating workers .

This is set to increase in 2008.'Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research (CSR), said the focus of CSR in 2008 would be on the plight of women in India.'Although we have not zeroed in on the date as yet, some time early this year we are planning to observe a National Shame Day throughout the country,' Kumari said.'Whether it's Nandigram, Godhra or Guwahati, we saw how women have always been the target of violence. And all the while bystanders simply laugh or look on, showing no sympathy whatsoever. This attitude has to change.'Various NGOs working on the issues of children plan to continue fighting for their cause, advocating and sensitising both the government and the masses about their plight.Kailash Satyarthi, chairman of the Bachpan Bachao Aandolan (BBA), an NGO which works for the uplift of street children and rescued child labourers in India and South Asia, said that an amendment or a new law on trafficking for forced labour would be his group's demand and focus.'In 2008, our focal demand to the government of India is to either amend the old law or implement a new one on trafficking for forced labour. Till now the trafficking law only has commercial sexual exploitation in its purview,' Satyarthi said.'Also, we would like to make people aware of those areas where trafficking is very high. About 50 districts in Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar are the most trafficking prone,' Satyarthi said.
(c) Indo-Asian News Service

Evangelists tie up with Maoists to create mayhem in Kandhamal

By Debasis Tripathy in Bhubaneswar

The attack over the revered Swamiji opens the Pandora’s box of missionary activities in Kandhamal district. On the eve of Christmas day, the Christians made a decorative tent for the worship of Jesus Christ. It was forcefully built over a Hindu puja mandap, over which Hindus used to worship Goddess Durga. This misdeed of the missionaries was strongly protested by the local Hindus.

The aftermath of the attack on Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati is quite shocking. In the trouble-torn area of Kandhamal, the Hindus are worst affected as they are being victimised by the evangelist Christian hooligans. Their houses are burnt down, cattle are snatched away, women are outraged, followed by destruction of a good number of Hindu temples in different areas, even in the presence of the police. About four hundred Hindus have taken shelter inside the forests in order to save their lives from Christian attackers.

On December 24, when Swamiji was going to attend a religious satsang, he was attacked in the mid-way by a group of missionary goons. Despite the severe attack, his life was luckily saved. It is no secret that due to Swamiji’s relentless efforts since last 45 years, the evangelical activities of missionaries have suffered a lot. Swamiji is very much popular among the Vanvasi people, and has a very big influence over the natives particularly over the Kondh community. For his pro-Hindu activities, he was victimised by the missionary wrath in the years 1967, 1969, 1976, 1978, 1982, 1985 and 1995. And the recent attack was the simple repetition of those past years. The violence in Kandhamal district is not solely due to attack over Swamiji. It was simple a co-incidence which fueled the burning fire.

The Real Cause
The attack over the revered Swamiji opens the Pandora’s box of missionary activities in Kandhamal district. On the eve of Christmas day, the Christians made a decorative tent for the worship of Jesus Christ. It was forcefully built over a Hindu puja mandap, over which Hindus used to worship Goddess Durga. This misdeed of the missionaries was strongly protested by the local Hindus. It was finally turned into a clash between the two groups and the situation further aggravated when Pana Christians attacked the Kandhs.

According to the VHP sources, one such person promoting missionary activities in the area is R.K. Nayak, who after retirement from IAS has been elected to Rajya Sabha from Sonia Gandhi's Congress party. According to Swami Laxmanananda, Shri Nayak is a converted Christian but by producing false caste certificate as a tribal, he got himself selected for IAS. One can see a conspiracy in the fact that Swamiji was attacked in the ancestral village of R.K. Nayak. But Shri Nayak has cleverly clarified that he is not involved in the incident and he does not know who Swami Laxmanananda is! This statement of Shri Nayak is meaningless as even tiny tots know the revered Swamiji in the Kandhamal district, then how does this man of 65 does not know him? Among other such persons who are spewing venom are one John Nayak, a former DGP of state police and one Ijak Behera, an IAS (retd.). Both allegedly support the missionary activities, as they are converted Christians, revealed Shri Subhas Chauhan, national co-convener of Bajrang Dal.

“Demand for reservation to converted Pana Christians is the root cause of all problems. It creates turmoil among the Hindu Vanvasis. It is a matter of irony that even after having been converted to Christianity, the Panas enjoy all shorts of facilities meant for the Vanvasis,” said Sangh’s Prant Pracharak of Orissa Shri Ajit Prashad Mohapatra while talking to Organiser. “When a Vanvasi is converted from Hinduism to Christianity, he ceases his Hindu identity and as such he should not get any such facilities. In Kandhamal district, the government has no correct information regarding the real number of persons actually converted. The converted Christians also knowingly do not change their Hindu surnames even after the conversion. So they easily get all the facilities meant for Hindu Vanvasis. It is no secret that a number of Pana Christians have managed to get government jobs on the basis of false identification of being Hindu Vanvasis. It creates a havoc among Kandha Vanvasis,” Shri Ajit Mohapatra added with grave concern.

Destruction of Hindu religious places is another cause
The Pana Christians allegedly destroyed the shrines of Hindu Vanvasis, said Dr. Laxmikant Das of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, who has been working in Kandhamal for last one decade. He says that the idols of village Goddess, popularly known as Dharani Penu, are forcefully thrown away by the Christian hooligans. According to him , about two hundred such incidents have occurred since last four years.

Hindus are more affected
In the recent planned violence by the missionaries, the Vanvasis are the worst affected in the area. About 500 Hindu houses have been burnt down, five temples have been destroyed, two Hindus have been inhumanly killed and about 400 Hindu families have left home to save their lives. One Shiva temple of Brahmanigaon, one Hanuman temple at Jaleshpatta, one temple of Goddess Dharani Penu at Tumudibandh, one Shiva temple at Baliguda and one Hanuman temple at Daringbadi have been badly destroyed by the missionaries. Similarly two Hindus were brutally killed. One Khgeswar Mallik, aged about 30 years, of village Barakhamba is murdered by the Christian attackers by pelting stones. Another Hindu of Brahmanigaon, namely Sethi Taili is killed by Christian goons. Villagers of Gadapur and Kitingia have taken refuge into the forest in order to save their lives. The latest information reveals that no relief has reached to them from the state government. These distressed and helpless Hindus have no other way left, but to sleep under the open sky. On December 30, 70 Hindu families wrote a letter to the Chief Minister in which they appealed to him not to send them back to their villages as their lives are not secured in the hands of the evangelists. They have demanded proper security for their lives and faith.

Maoists Involved
Involvement of Maoists in the Kandhamal violence is becoming increasingly clear. They were summoned by the missionaries of this district to attack the Hindus. The nature of attack and arms and ammunition being used for that purpose make their suspected involvement more clear. If Superintendent of Police Shri Amitendra Nath Sinha, IPS, is to be believed, the fact is substantiated. Shri Sinha, who luckily escaped an attack at Brahmanigaon, told Organiser about what he experienced regarding the involvement of Maoists. “On December 28, I was at Brahmanigaon accompanied by 40 constables of OSAP and SOG. We saw that the attackers suddenly marched towards us. They set the Hindu houses afire. We warned them and fired tear gas shells. But they were undeterred. Suddenly, a member of them came forward, took position and started firing bullet on the police like a trained Maoist. That bullet passed by my right side and hurt a constable. Then the attackers fired 100 rounds of bullets and used automatic rifles for that. It astonished me because on the basis of my observation in police, I can say that it was not the work of mere rioters. However, our bullets killed one of them. Later we came to know that the deceased gunner was an outsider; he wore a white scarf on his head. But we were further surprised when the attacker’s dead body was taken away by his associates. The manner in which that was taken, is nowhere seen except in Maoist circle. I cannot deny the participation of Maoists in the attack,” he revealed. Shri Sinha’s statement is corroborated by the incident occurred at Brahmnigaon on December 31, in which 12 SLR guns, eight AK-47 rifles, 15 landmines and five bombs were seized by the police. How did these sophisticated weapons reach there which are only available to either police or to Naxals? It is an admitted fact that not less than 366 Christian agencies are working in Kandhamal district. They receive huge funds from abroad for their conversion activities, which are being spent through different NGOs. It may be recalled here that a news-item was published in Organiser (2-12-2007, page-17), titled as “NGO’s funds go to Maoists”. It was reported that the police administration of Western Orissa warned the government to ban the NGOs working in the tribal areas because, they alleged, the NGO funds directly go to the Maoists. If this is to be believed, the alliance between Maoists and Christians and participation of Maoists in the Kandhamal violence do not deserve an iota of confusion. Again, on December 31, the Maoists and Christians in two different press releases have demanded the arrest of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and ban on VHP and Bajrang Dal. Through this statement, the Maoists have already clarified that they are on Christians' side.

VHP meets the CM
A high-level delegation of VHP headed by its state president, Shri Bipin Bihari Rath presented a memorandum to the Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik. Shri Rath and Justice (Retd.) M. Pappanna told Organiser: “We expressed our concern over the plight of Hindus in Kandhamal and urged the government to take immediate action against the culprits who attacked our revered Swamiji. We also demanded the increase of security to Swamiji, a scrutiny into the church funds and implementation of the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act, 1967, followed by an amendment.”

Package for Kandhamal
On December 31, the state government has announced a package for the traumatised Kandhamal district. A high-level meeting was held at the state secretariat presided by the Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik. The government has declared the following package:

* Pana Christians will not get the status of Vanvasi.
* Caste certificates will be verified.
* Rs. one lakh compensation for every death.
* Rs. 10 thousand compensation for each broken house.
* New houses for every burnt house.

Courtesy Organiser

Policeman killed in Naxal attack

Nagpur (PTI): One policeman was killed and another injured, when naxals attacked them at Malewada in Gadchiroli district, police said here on Friday.

A group of around half a dozen armed extremists attacked the policemen when were taking lunch at a roadside eatery on Thursday, they said.

The naxalites tied both the policemen with ropes and then used an axe to assault them, killing Havaldar Dadaji Khapre on the spot and injuring Santosh Maraskolhe, they said.

The police, after arriving at the spot, fired at the ultras but they managed to flee.

The injured cop was admitted to a hospital on Thursday night.

Khapre was accorded a state funeral.

Friday, January 04, 2008

MAOISTS & COMMUNAL CLASHES : Facts on the Recent Religious Clashes

ORISSA, INDIA, January 3, 2008 (HPI note: This is another account of the latest events in Orissa, received at the HPI offices. We have been unable to verify its source and it is reproduced here as received.)

Reports of communal violence involving the converted Christians led by the Missionaries on one hand and the Tribals on the other, in Kandhamal District of Orissa by the media since 25th December 2007 are vastly distorted and motivated which in public interest need be clarified much before the national image is tarnished before the general public and the international community. The whole series of incidents started from unprovoked and preplanned attack on Vedanta Keshari Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati who was visiting his disciples in Darsingbadi village in Kandhmal District on 24 th December. Swamiji, 82 years old has been working relentlessly in the District since 1967 to protect the local population where more than 75% are below the poverty line and ar e not literate. He has opened schools and hostels, hospitals and temples to protect mainly the tribals and the down-trodden from the clutches of Missionaries who are operating with massive fund from foreign countries and pumped into NGOs in disguised operations to convert the local tribals into Christianity. Chief of such NGOs is one "WORLD VISION" patronized by one Mr. Radhakanta Nayak, a local of Darsingbadi village from "Pana" community but later got converted to Christianity. He happens to be an employee of the State Government promoted to the IAS and retired, and now a Member in the Rajya Sabha. His henchmen were the assailants who attacked Swamiji on 24 th December.

Meanwhile, the Kui tribals among the Kandhs in the District were agitating on the conspiracy by Mr. Nayak who is engineering for getting a Presidential notification under the provisions of the Constitution, to get his "Pana" community, who are scheduled castes relisted as scheduled tribe along wi th the Kui on the ground that the former also speak the Kui dialect. Various reservation facilities to which scheduled tribes are entitled are not available to persons converted to Christianity. On hearing the assault news on Swamiji, the already agitated Kui community reacted and protested through out the district against the "Pana" community converted to Christianity. Interestingly, the Maoist (Naxalites) activists in the district are also mostly from among the recent converts to Christianity. Among 47 Maoists arrested in connection with recent burning of villages inhabited by Hindus ( Brahmanigaon, Jhinjiriguda, Katingia, and Godapur) as a counter to attacks by tribals on the Churches, 20 guns have been recovered by the security forces from them.

It is evident that the Maoists and the Church are hands in glove with each other to spread fratricidal killings and clashes among the tribals which is evident also from incidents in Karbi-Anglong and North Cachar Hills districts in Asaam. Conversions of poor tribal villagers are being conducted on gun point and by spreading terrorism.

While in active government service Mr. Radhakanta Nayak IAS (Retd.) and Mr. John Nayak IPS (Retd.) both converted Christians were instruments of the Church to proselytize the poor and illiterate "Pana" and tribal communities in Kandhamal district of Orissa. Under guise of NGOs thousands of dollars are pumped into the country for conversion of tribals in Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and the North-East. Taking advantage of the poverty and lack of education, thousands have been converted who are also being trained for separatist movements like NSCN in Nagaland and Maoist insurgency in the aforesaid states. This trend is more pronounced since 1970 which is evident from the census reports till 2001. In Kandhamal District alone the Christian population has increased from 6% in 1970 to 27% in 2001, despite an Act enacted by Orissa Legislature in 1967 to prevent conversion by allurement, coercion, bribery and cheating. Swamiji has been fighting a lone battle by making the tribal district his home for last 40 years, who has been targeted by the Church to finish him. Earlier to the recent attack, there were two other lethal attacks on Swamiji in 1971 and 1995. Since then the government has provided armed protection to Swamiji. Inspite of that, he was attacked by armed assailants on 24 December 2007 in which he and his driver and armed security personnel were seriously injured and hospitalized in Cuttack Medical College Hospital. Hence, the recent clashes manifest the various ramifications of the socio-economic, political and cultural tribal issues and the deep-rooted conspiracy by the Church to destabilize our society and our economy. Let the Nation awake and protect our tribal brethren and the national media stop distorting the facts.

Ashok Sahu, IPS (Retd.), Former Inspector General of Police.

Police raids on to nab Maoists

3 Jan 2008, 0339 hrs IST,TNN

MUNGER: The district administration has demanded additional police force to counter the Maoists. Four SAP jawans were killed by extremists at Rishikund in the district on Tuesday.

IG A R Kinni said raids are being conducted to nab the Maoists responsible for the Tuesday incident. The police teans are being led by DIG (Munger range) Manohar Prasad Singh and Munger SP Shalin.

Kinni, however, said helicopters to locate extremists on hill tips or dense forest has not yet been demanded. A meeting, attended by divisional commissioner Hemchand Sirohi, Munger DM K Senthil Kumar and Munger SP Shalin, was held here on Wednesday. It was decided to eliminate extremists in the district and recover the stolen arms and ammunition, sources said, adding the border areas of the district have been completely sealed.

Extremists are on rampage in Munger, Jamui and Lakhisarai districts in 2005. On January 5, 2005, the then Munger SP KC Suendra Babu and five cops were killed in landmine blast near Bhimbandh. The extremists involved in the incident have not yet been arrested.

Several cases of attack by the extremists in the tribal areas of Chakai and Jhajha blocks of neighbouring Jamui district were reported in 2006. Maoists made railways their regular targets.

On February 22, 2007, extremists attacked a police picket in village Kahira under the Kajra police station in Lakhisarai district. Four BMP jawans were killed and three rifles were looted in the incident.

In another incident, more than 200 Maoists, including women, attacked the police picket at Kajra railway station and looted five rifles. One policeman was injured in the incident. Maoists had blown up an abandoned police picket at Banahara high school building under the Kharagpur police station during the summer in 2007.

Head in plastic bag hangs from tree


Burdwan, Jan. 2: The missing head of CPM leader Sisir Chatterjee was found hanging from a bamboo post in a paddy field today.
Villagers found the head, wrapped in a plastic sheet, around a kilometre and half from his house at Kanaidanga. Police said it was hanging from a nail.

Leaflets strewn around suggested the hand of a little-known Naxalite faction called the COC CPI(ML) in the murder in Mangalkot last evening.

Katwa subdivisional police officer Haroon Al Rashid said: “The outfit is active in pockets of Mangalkot. It has no link with Maoists.”

Chatterjee, a CPM zonal committee member, was riding pillion on party colleague Bablu Ghosh’s cycle on the way home from a meeting when a group armed with sharp weapons and rods stop- ped them. The assailants slashed Chatterjee’s throat and beheaded him. Bablu was thrashed and left unconscious.

Bablu told the police at Katwa Subdivisional Hospital today that there were five assailants.

Four persons, all residents of Kanaidanga, have been arrested.

Inspector-general of police (law and order) Raj Kanojia said in Calcutta: “Available evidence does not suggest Maoist involvement.”

One of the posters left behind by the suspected killers said in Bengali: “Plunge into an armed class struggle unitedly to fight for justice.”

SDPO Rashid said another leaflet named the CPM’s Ajoy-Bhagirathi zonal committee secretary, Durjodhan Sar, and member Nikhil Mondal as “class enemies”. Names of some local landowners also figured on the hit list.

Sniffer dog Rustam was taken to the village, 170km from Calcutta, where the head was found. Another dog, Steffy, was yesterday taken to the spot where Sisir was killed.

The secretary of the CPM’s Burdwan district committee, Amal Haldar, said Naxalites had killed two zonal committee members — Haraprasad Goswami and Gopeswar Pal — in 1994. “They were cut into pieces.”

“We can’t say whether the same outfit killed Sisir. We aren’t scared. We’ll fight them politically,” said Haldar.

Chatterjee’s body was brought to the party office at Mangalkot today after post-mortem and taken for the funeral in a procession.

CPM defeats split Oppn in Balagarh

3 Jan, 2008, 0145 hrs IST, TNN

KOLKATA: The CPM on Wednesday managed to retain the Balagarh assembly seat in the Hooghly district by taking advantage of the split among Opposition parties like the Trinamool Congress, Congress and the BJP. However, the Marxists lost nearly 10,000 votes compared to the 2006 assembly polls.

The seat fell vacant following the death of former CPM MLA Dibakar Routh, who had won the seat by a margin of about 18,000 votes. Bhuban Pramanik of the CPM bagged 60,101 votes against Asim Majhi of the TC, who secured 51,691 ballots. The CPM’s victory margin dropped by about 10,000 votes compared to the 2006 results despite the fact that all the Opposition parties had contested the elections independently and there was no electoral patch-up among them.

Strangely, the Congress emerged as the worst performer as far as vote share is concerned. While the BJP’s garnered 8,833 votes, the Congress could account for only 5,864 votes. Naxalite faction CPI-ML (Liberation), which had contested the elections, got 4,530 votes, a little less than the Congress.

Balagarh results clearly indicate the CPM’s eroding mass base in rural Bengal after the Nandigram issue. The result also suggests that the Congress leadership is fast losing its influence among the electorate which is basically anti-CPM. People in Balagarh did not take the Congress as an anti-CPM force.

On the other hand, the result also indicates that the CPM may continue with its winning streak unless the TC, Congress and the BJP manage to fight the polls jointly against it.

The three Opposition parties together got 66,388 votes

RSP supporter murdered

Statesman News Service
BALURGHAT, Jan. 3: Tension spread in the Tapan block of South Dinajpur district, following the murder of an RSP supporter. The victim, Mr Jagannath Hajra, who was employed with the food department, was found with a slit throat today morning at Manahali under the Tapan block of South Dinajpur district.

Locals confined the SP of South Dinajpur, following the discovery. They demanded proper inquiry into the murder. The locals and the RSP supporters also pressed the police to fetch police dogs to investigate the incident and threatened to hold back the body otherwise.

The police had to relent to public pressure, and in the end have promised to bring in sniffer dogs tomorrow, following which the agitators withdrew. According to the CI, Balurghat circle, Mr Arun Mandal, Mr Hazra was murdered while on he was on his way home from office yesterday evening. According to Mr Haripada Das, pradhan of number II Ajmamatpur anchal, Mr Hajra was an RSP supporter and a casual worker in the food department. “A sum of Rs 3,000 was found in the victim's pocket. It is strange that someone would kill him in this fashion,” he added.

The police are inquiring whether the victim, a food department employee, was in any way involved with a fake ration card racket, which might have cost him his life.
Residents of Jagannath's village, however, apprehend Naxalite hand behind the murder. According to a villager, Mohon Barman, the village Jagannath hailed from was earlier a strong Naxalite base.

Maoists camps along Indo-Nepal border in Uttarakhand

January 3rd, 2008 - 7:06 pm

Dehradun/Mahindernagar (Nepal), Jan 3 (ANI): Many Maoist camps are operating right under the nose of the administration along the Indo-Nepal border in Uttarakhand.
Interestingly, not only men but also women are being trained for Maoist activities in these training camps.

Besides being taught how to handle and operate guns, they are being brainwashed with ‘anti-India’ propaganda.

Senior Uttarakhand police officials say that all necessary steps are being taken to tackle the problem and forces are being deployed in the bordering villages.
Subash Joshi, Director General of Police, Uttarakhand said: “These border areas are basically forest areas. We have started a strict vigil for the past few days. Further, the officers out there have been asked to give us details of camps.”
Meanwhile, the residents say that they are well aware of the Maoists camps in and around the border areas. Many residents sympathise with the Maoists.

“These people are basically trying to help the poor and they are happy with them. But for the rich people, it is a matter of concern, they are afraid. These people (Naxals) are all set to emerge powerful and that is why they are working hard since the past 8-10 years,” said Shanker Nepali, a resident, Mohanagar. (ANI)

Chhattisgarh seeks more Central forces

Special Correspondent

Another 15 battalions needed for safe return of displaced people

Rise in incidents after the State’s offensive

NEW DELHI: The Chhattisgarh government has sought nine more battalions of Central forces immediately to deal with the increasing naxalite activities in the State.

State Chief Secretary Shivraj Singh and Director-General of Police Vishwa Ranjan made this demand during a meeting with Union Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar here on Thursday.

Entrusted responsibility

It was the first meeting after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had entrusted to the Cabinet Secretary the responsibility of tackling Chhattisgarh’s left-wing extremism following an emotional speech by the State Chief Minister, Raman Singh, at the Chief Ministers’ conference last month.

Mr. Raman Singh had sought additional forces, but made it clear that the war against the naxalites would be fought with or without Central help.

Long-drawn process

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Vishwa Ranjan said the State would require 15 battalions of Central forces to check naxalite violence and an equal number to ensure the safe return of the displaced people to their villages. The process was a long-drawn one but not impossible, he said.

At present, the State had 12 battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force and one Mizo battalion.

Dantewada incident

Chhattisgarh has seen major naxalite violence in the past couple of months. Several policemen lost their lives and property worth several crores were destroyed.

The recent incidents were the infamous jail break and the killing of 12 policemen in Dantewada district. The violent incidents increased after the State government launched an offensive on the naxals. There was also an influx of left-wing extremist cadres from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, and Maharashtra.

Under extremists’ control

Estimates showed that 18,000 sq. km. in Bastar, Dantewada, Narayanpur and Bijapur districts were under naxalite control, and this had to be reclaimed before any developmental work could be started there.

A well-trained force that could take on the extremists in one of the most inhospitable terrain had been the State’s demand for long.

Training camps

Some major naxalite camps were being run in the thick tropical forests of Dantewada. About 1,600 to 2,000 men from other States were being trained there in the use of the most sophisticated weapons. If not checked the menace could spread to other States.

Policeman killed in Naxal attack

Nagpur (PTI): One policeman was killed and another injured, when naxals attacked them at Malewada in Gadchiroli district, police said here on Friday.

A group of around half a dozen armed extremists attacked the policemen when were taking lunch at a roadside eatery on Thursday, they said.

The naxalites tied both the policemen with ropes and then used an axe to assault them, killing Havaldar Dadaji Khapre on the spot and injuring Santosh Maraskolhe, they said.

The police, after arriving at the spot, fired at the ultras but they managed to flee.

The injured cop was admitted to a hospital on Thursday night.

Khapre was accorded a state funeral.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Maoists’ midnight knock

Thursday January 3 2008 09:01 IST
Express News Service

ROURKELA: Maoists began the first day with a bang, literally. They made an abortive bid to blow up an outpost in Jharkhand close to Orissa’s Biramitrapur late Wednesday night.

The hours-long firing claimed a policeman and left six injured who were rushed to hospital here. Two Maoists are believed to have been killed.

The incident occurred at Baunsjhor outpost under Jaldega police station of Jharkhand’s Simdega district, a km from Biramitrapur of Sundargarh district.

The 12 policemen guarding the outpost showed nerves of steel and engaged the ultras for more than three hours even as hostile firing along with explosions were made from all sides. The Maoists were forced to withdraw after reinforcement reached there.

Sources said around 300 ultras took part in the operation. While one group guarded the entry point at Jharkhand’s Kirei valley, another took position in Biramitrapur.

They prevented traffic movement and blocked the road with trees and boulders.

Jharkhand DGP VD Ram and Simdega SP DB Sharma visited the spot Wednesday morning and took stock of the situation.

At least three unexploded cane bombs, seven crude bombs and more than 1,500 empty shells were recovered. Explosives had been planted along the walls of the outpost to blow it up.

Ram said the armed ultras in a meticulously planned operation laid siege to the outpost. Around midnight the ultras resorted to heavy firing and the policemen retaliated.

Based on the blood stains, he said the ultras also sustained heavy casualties, but no body was recovered as the ultras were believed to have carried the dead and the injured.

Security in Sundargarh district has, meanwhile, been tightened. DIG (WR) PB Acharya, Rourkela SP Ravi Kant and Sundargarh SP S Pravin Kumar also rushed to the spot and held talks with Jharkhand police top brass.

Policeman Sunil Sahay was declared brought dead by doctors at the Ispat General Hospital.

The injured policemen have been identified as ASI Amarnath Paswan and constables Md. Abrahim, Nicodin Kandi, Devnis Kerketta, Maheswar Mahato and Salampole Kerketta. All sustained bullet injuries and are recuperating.

The Jharkhand-Orissa border is porous and Maoists taking advantage of the forest stretch cross either side at will.

Even after committing crime in Jharkhand, they sneak into Orissa. For the police forces of both the states, it is almost impossible keep track of Maoists’ movements.

1 dead as Maoists hit police posts on Jharkhand-Orissa border

3 Jan 2008, 0204 hrs IST,Sonali Das & Sandeep Mishra,TNN

RANCHI: Maoists struck simultaneously at two police outposts on either side of the Jharkhand-Orissa border early Wednesday killing a constable and injuring seven more cops, a day when Union home minister Shivraj Patil was visiting Orissa.

Jharkhand police said about 150 Naxalites armed with sophisticated guns attacked the outpost at Bansjora in Giridih district close to the Orissa border.

"The Naxalites lobbed bombs and more than a thousand rounds of fire was exchanged between them and us," said DGP V D Ram. "We think at least five Maoists could have been killed in the encounter."
Constable Sunil Kumar Sahi died in a hospital in Rourkela where the other six injured cops, including the outpost incharge Amar Nath Paswan are being treated. The attack came less than 48 hours after the police destroyed bunkers of the CPI (Maoist) on the Parasnath hills in Giridih district.

As the Union home minister visited Kandhmal district in Orissa, which was hit by communal violence last week, Maoists attacked a police outpost at Baunsajhar in the state near the Jharkhand border. Police foiled an attack by ultras in Sundergarh district's Biramitrapur police station area. One cop was seriously injured. A high alert has been sounded across Orissa, officials said.

Maoists attack police station

Statesman News Service

Patna, Jan. 2: Stung by the daylight Maoist attack on a police team in Munger on New Year’s day yesterday, killing four retired Army jawans absorbed in police jobs on contracts, and looting their weapons, the police have launched a massive combing operation in east Bihar districts.

The absconding Naxalites turned merrymaking into mourning for the state government. Last year, Bihar witnessed about 200 incidents of Naxalite violence, indicating how the state police machinery was proving to be pigmy before the Maoists guerrillas. Sources said a huge police force has been engaged in the combing operation and recover weapons looted from the police. Reports said senior police officers are monitoring the combing operations in Munger and its neighbouring areas where, the police believe, the Naxalites may have taken shelter after committing the crime.
Witnesses said the Maoists, with the local revellers were celebrating the arrival of the New Year at Rishikund, a popular picnic spot in Munger surrounded by hills, when a police team in a jeep reached the spot to monitor law and order. On seeing the police jeep, the extremists, said to be more than 200 in number, resorted to indiscriminate firing, killing four retired jawans on the spot. The local station house officer saved his life reportedly by hiding in a bush nearby.

The Nitish Kumar-led government here has appointed more than 5,000 retired Army jawans on contract to tighten law and order. The government’s efforts have so far failed to bear any results, going by the number of Naxalite incidents reported in the last year. An official report said 39 people were killed in 175 Maoist-related incidents reported from 29 of the 38 districts of Bihar last year. Of the 39 killed, 22 were policemen, indicating how they have become soft targets.

Bastar artisans to get global identity

Aarti Dhar

KONDAGAON (Chhattisgarh): The artisans of Bastar are all set to get international identity — their names and villages will be mentioned on every item they make. An approximate 20,000 to 25,000 of them, known for their expertise in bell-metal, wood craft, terracotta and wrought-iron, will get identity cards from the government.

With the recent signing of six memoranda of understanding between non-government organisations and local panchayats under the Rural Business Hubs (RBHs) concept that was initiated by the Union Panchayati Raj Ministry, the Bastar handicrafts will have more access to markets.

According to Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh, in whose presence the MoUs were signed, employment opportunities and a larger market would lead to total development of the area.

“There is tremendous potential for promotion of Bastar handicrafts. It could also act as a social intervention in the naxalite-affected region. The idea is to bring this backward region on the handicrafts exports map and make it an engine for development,” he said.

Common facility centre

The government would focus on improving connectivity and increasing of production of handicraft items. A common facility centre that would provide financial service, quality control and design development service to the artisans would be set up. “The idea is to ensure that the benefit goes to the artisans families directly instead of the middlemen. If Bastar model is a success, it will be replicated elsewhere also,” Mr. Ramesh said.

The Kondagaon Block Panchayat proposes to establish a tie-up with Saathi, an NGO for producing and selling bell-metal handicrafts made by artisans of three villages. The Chhattisgarh State Handicrafts Development Board and State Bank of India would be involved in the initiative.

Of a total of Rs. 12,000-crore non-carpet handicrafts exported from the country last year, the contribution of Bastar handicrafts was only Rs. 30-40 crore.

Tribal Talk

Thursday , January 03, 2008
Updated: Wednesday, January 02, 2008 at 10:41:55

Bastar periodically jolts into our consciousness thanks to the ceaseless Naxalite violence in Chhattisgarh. But, even as terror attacks continued into December 2007, actor-activist Nafisa Ali worked on her own story of the region—a coffee-table book of photographs taken by Kolkata-based photographer Ahmed Ali, Nafisa’s father and a pioneer in commercial, industrial and advertising photography in India. It was, she says, her way of paying tribute to her father as well as recording for posterity people who are standing on the cusp of tradition and modernity.
Bastar: The Lost Heritage focuses on the culture of the region through 150 black-and-white shots by Ali between 1950 and 1963, when women of the Maria and Muria tribes hadn’t yet discovered polyester blouses and ankle-length saris and the men still wore headgear with peacock feathers. When the jungles abounded in boars, tigers and other wild animals that lured shikaris like Ali and provided locals a livelihood as beaters and helpers for hunters.

The pictures also reveal quaint traditions. In one, a young girl with four combs tucked into her hair looks on smugly. “Young men of the tribe gift combs to the girls they like. When a girl finally gets married, she must keep only the comb her husband has gifted her and return the rest,” explains Nafisa.

The Chhattisgarh government, whom Nafisa had approached to publish the book a few months ago, had reservations about pictures of the “topless” women, says Nafisa. “But, that’s how the women dressed. The Maria tribe went bare-bodied while the Muria girls threw a gamchha-type of cloth over their left shoulders. The saris had to be very short since the women worked in the jungles filled with wild animals. Unless their legs were bare, how could they run from the animals?” she asks.

The concern should be elsewhere, she says—-at the large number of Hindu temples and statues that dot the jungles though the tribals have their own God, Dateswari, and never pray at these temples. “Who built these temples? And where did they disappear?” she asks.

The genesis of the book, which is undergoing the final stage of proofreading, was Nafisa’s visit to Bastar five years ago. “I found that the people had changed their dress habits and lifestyle. Though I’m all for development of tribals, I realized that India must also preserve the unadulterated innocence of the Bastar tribal culture,” she says. In 2001, when Ali was diagnosed with cancer, Nafisa had decided to preserve his works.

The next year, she organized a travelling exhibition of his photographs in New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore. Work on Bastar: The Lost Heritage began 18 months ago. The original plan was to accompany Ali’s paintings with those Nafisa had taken of a modern-day Bastar. “But, my pictures were misplaced when we shifted house,” she says.

The photographs are accompanied by text by Ahmed Ali and Rosaleen Mulji. The book is likely to hit the stores in a month and will be priced at around Rs 2,400.

CPI(M) worker shot dead

Staff Reporter

Kolkata: A Communist Party of India (Marxist) worker was shot dead by a group of suspected Maoists on Tuesday night at the Balarampur area in West Bengal’s Purulia district.

A group of 10 to 12 Maoists crossed over into Jharkhand and shot dead 42-year-old Palhan Majhi, said Raj Kanojia, Inspector-General (Law and Order). Maoist posters were found at the site of the attack.

The Maoists had sneaked in despite recent exercises by the police to discourage their movement in the three districts of Purulia, Bankura and Paschim Medinipur that are believed to be the Maoist strongholds, he added.

In another incident, a decapitated body of a man, identified as Sisir Chattopadhyay, was found in the Khirgram area of Burdwan on Wednesday.

Police outpost attacked

PTI reports from Rourkela:

Armed Maoists on Wednesday attacked a police outpost and a bus in Jharkhand killing one policeman. Seven policemen were also injured, two of them critically, in the early morning raid on the outpost at Bansjor in Simdega district on the Orissa-Jharkhand border.

The injured were taken to the Ispat General Hospital here where Sunil Sahay was declared brought dead.

Twenty jawans manning the outpost beat back the Maoist attack. There were conflicting reports on the number of naxals involved in the attack.

2 CPM activists killed in Bengal

3 Jan 2008, 0205 hrs IST,TNN

BURDWAN/NADIA: CPM local committee member Pohlan Kumar was killed at Balarampur in Purulia while another party activist, Ramprasad Chakrabarty, was shot dead at Chapra in Nadia on Wednesday. Police fear that both the killings could be the handiwork of Maoists.

A group of suspected Naxals raided the house of Pohlan Kumar, 45, early Wednesday and asked him to come out. He was tied to a tree before the Maoists shot him dead, police said.

The CPM called a six-hour bandh in Balarampur police station area to protest the killing of Pohlan Kumar.

The killing came hours after CPM's zonal committee member and a teacher, Sisir Chatterjee, was found beheaded in Burdwan.

One policeman killed and 3 injured in Maoist attack

ROURKELA, Jan. 2: A policeman was killed and three others injured in a strike by Maoists at a police outpost bordering Jharkhand and Orissa. The incident took place just two km away from Orissa border. Meanwhile, it is time for Orissa and especially Sundergarh police to reassess the security measures here.
According to top officials in the Jharkhand Police the attack, on the Bansjore outpost, took place around midnight when over 50 armed cadres of the outlawed outfit surrounded it. And immediately they started ‘hurling petrol bombs’
The policemen in this interior but fortified station also retaliated. The gun battle lasted till the wee hours of the 2 January.
The police outpost looked like a war torn fort as the whole building was riddled with bullet marks. More than 1000 rounds were exchanged in the battle which lasted over four hours. The police recovered three live cane bombs and country grenades.
The official said, “constable Sunil Kumar succumbed to his injuries in and six others injured, including in-charge of the outpost, Amar Nath Paswan, are undergoing treatment”. In fact all the policemen were brought to Rourkela and kept in Ispat General Hospital (IGH).
The policemen were visibly shaken, as this reporter managed to sneak inside the hospital to have a look. “Over 300 Maoist rebels surrounded our outpost and attacked us with petrol bombs before opening indiscriminate firing near midnight yesterday night and we immediately fought back and are sure some of them must be injured or might have lost their lives as we have listened to their injury cry,” said one of them. In fact there was no agreement over the number of the cadres but, officials marshalling the spot informed that it could be 50-60.
Unofficial sources said 150 cadres waited near the Kedia Ghat, inside Jharkhand to attack any reinforcement. Besides, the Biramitrapur town was reported to be under a siege, according to some locals.
Deo Bihari Sharma, SP Simdega, under whose jurisdiction the Bansjore PS comes said, “ it certainly cannot be more than 60 to 70. And don’t you think with such huge numbers they could have overrun the outpost manned by just 20 persons." He did not say anything regarding the injury caused to the MCC.
Sources in the Jharkhand Police said, “there were mortality on the other side also because, we found large pool of blood at several places and that as indicative that there were deaths in their camps also”. Justifying his confidence he said, “ if the bleeding is so severe then the person cannot survive and we are sure of hitting at least three or four targets”. According to sources, so far two dead bodies have been found by the police.
There are confusing reports regarding the exact number of deaths amongst the ultras. But the police believed it was more than four.
The Naxals, as usual, planted landmines and put down freshly cut trees before they launched the attack on the outpost. “The idea was to stop any police and other reinforcements reaching the place and if anyone comes would be blown away into pieces”, said the official.
Meanwhile, the Orissa Police is on high alert on its side. The Bisra, Chandiposh, K Balanga and some other PS are under tight vigil and guard both by the state and central forces.
Bsidhnu Dayal Ram, DG Jharkhand, who visited the spot said, “ preliminary investigation shows we have killed six MCC cadres”. Besides, declaring incentives for the brave policemen who fought the cadres for four hours, the DG said, “ all the persons posted here would get one rank promotion and Rs. 10,000 besides, the deceased’s family will get Rs 10,000,00 from the government and a job in the same post from anyone in the family. And in case no one wants to join the job, the family will receive the salary till his retirement age and other benefits”.
Pranabindu Acharya, IG Western Ranger here, speaking to this reporter said, “at this moment both the Jharkhand and Orissa police are jointly conducting combing operation. Besides, we have asked all our bordering posts to be on high alert and also taking other precautionary measures to thwart any serious incidents”. In addition to these Acharya did not rule out the chances of security to this part. “Well I think there is a threat to us also since the incident has occurred in close vicinity”.

Armed might won't defeat the Naxals

Mohan Guruswamy

Source: REDIFF
January 03, 2008

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's [Images] clarion call on December 20 at the high level conference to discuss internal security to crush the Naxalites, now up in arms in several states, brought to mind a line from Zafar Gorakhpuri's popular qawwali featured in the 1972 movie Putli Bai. It runs: "Inke kalai dekho tho chudiyan uthane ke kabhil nahi, phir bhi talwar uthane ki dhamki" (See their waist and they look incapable of lifting a bangle, but still the threat is to pick up a sword).

I am not alluding to the weight of the PM's kada but to the worn out sinews of the state that are hardly capable of quelling any armed assault upon it let alone assuaging the causes that force normally compliant people to resort to violence. Having traveled several times through the 'affected' areas in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra I have little hesitation in testifying that the insurgency has much popular support. The police, forest and excise departments are truly hated and this is just about all the government the common people encounter.

The prime minister has a typical bureaucratic response to this major crisis now gripping the adivasi homelands in six states. The government will now raise 25 more battalions of armed police,mostly for the Central Reserve Police Force. It is unfortunate that the prime minister sees this as a law and order problem. One would have thought Manmohan Singh was more intelligent than that because more coercion by the state will only beget more against it by the people. It seems that, let alone intelligence, even common sense and good sense are kept out of that corner of South Block which houses the Prime Minister's Office?

It seems that the prime minister threat of more forces found favorable response with all the participants of the conference which included the Congress, the Communist Party of India-Marxist and Bharatiya Janata Party chief ministers. In his closing remarks, Dr Singh said conferences of this nature send a strong message that the "political leadership of the country can rise above our political and party affiliations when it comes to facing national challenges, particularly those concerning internal security." It seemed that the entire national political spectrum was not just speaking but thinking as one. Groupthink is a serious psychological disorder and means that when all are thinking alike nobody is really thinking. Signs of it among the nation's top leaders are an ominous portent of things to come.

The spread of Naxalism is an indication of the sense of desperation and alienation that is sweeping over of large sections of our nation who have been not only systematically marginalised but cruelly exploited and dispossessed in their last homelands. The late Professor Nihar Ranjan Ray, one of our most distinguished historians, described the central Indian adivasis as "the original autochthonous people of India" meaning that their presence in India pre-dated the Dravidians, the Aryans and whoever else settled in this country. The anthropologist Dr Verrier Elwin states this more emphatically when he wrote: "These are the real swadeshi products of India, in whose presence all others are foreign. These are ancient people with moral rights and claims thousands of years old. They were here first and should come first in our regard."

Unfortunately like indigenous people all over the world, the India's adivasis too have been savaged and ravaged by later people claiming to be more 'civilised'.

In the decades after Independence the exploitation has only become more rampant. The adivasi homelands are rich in natural resources and the new modernising and industrialising India needs these resources. Today all the mineral resources except oil that India boasts off are to be found only in these areas and the state has not been lax in exploiting them. The only problem is that the people whose homelands were ravaged to extract nature's bounty got little or nothing of it. Even the meager royalties the states receive are mostly expended by the authorities on themselves as salaries have now become the biggest single expenditure of the Indian states. At last count the total wage bill of India's government is a monstrous Rs193,000 crore or about 5.6 percent of the Gross National Product.

We all now know very well that big government in the absence of a responsive nervous system actually means little government, and whatever little interaction the people at the bottom have with the state is usually a none too happy one. In the vast central Indian highlands the occasional visit of an official invariably means extraction by coercion of what little the poor people have. It doesn't just end with a chicken or a goat or a bottle of mahua (the local brew), it often includes all these and the modesties of the womenfolk. Most tribal villages and settlements have no access to schools and medical care. Very few are connected with all weather roads. Perish the thought of electricity though all the coal and most of the hydel projects to generate electricity are in the tribal regions. The forests have been pillaged and the virgin forests thick with giant teak and sal trees are things of the past.

In Orissa over 72 percent of all adivasi's live well below the poverty line. At the national level 45.86 percent of all adivasis live below the poverty line. Incidentally the official Indian poverty line is a nothing more than a starvation line, which means that almost half of India's original inhabitants go to bed every night starving. Several anthropometric studies have revealed that successive generations of adivasi's are actually becoming smaller unlike all other people in India who benefit from better and increasingly nutritious diets.

What little the Indian state apportions to the welfare and development of indigenous people gets absorbed in the porous layers of our government. A typical instance of this is in the tribal majority KBK (Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput) districts of Orissa where over Rs 2,000 crore cumulatively spent ostensibly on social welfare and rural development schemes during the past three years has just vanished leaving little or no evidence of having done any of the intended recipients any good. The people are not having any more of it and have taken to coercing the state, dishing out to it what its minions have been doing for ages.

The armed police first went into Bastar, now in Chhattisgarh in 1966. The Gond people in Bastar revolted against the corrupt and exploitative ways of the Madhya Pradesh Congress government of D P Mishra. Pandit D P Mishra, a Sanskrit scholar of some repute, had few qualms in unleashing the police on the adivasis who congregated in Jagdalpur to pay the customary Dussera homage to their Raja, Pravinchandra Bhanjdeo. Not only did the MP police kill scores of adivasis, but they also shot down the Raja in cold blood.

Soon after this incident central forces were deployed in Bastar and one got a first hand look at the havoc they wrought. The military only repeated what they had done in the Naga Hills. In those days the armed forces used Lee Enfield .303 rifles and the adivasis used bows and arrows and the occasional muzzle loading gun. With the advent of the AK-47 capable of delivering over 650 rounds per minute combined with an intimate knowledge of the terrain, the Naxalites, now mostly adivasi volunteers, are not as disadvantaged as before. In the recent months the police have been at the receiving end and the prime minister is a worried man.

During my last visit to Bastar, I drove down from Narayangarh to Chota Dongar, deep in the jungles. The only sign of the state here were the pockmarked buildings that once housed government offices. At the village haat (bazaar) at Chota Dongar, as we stood watching cockfights a Naxal patrol quietly came along and took talashi (search) of our vehicle. They had a few good laughs over the cartons of mineral water we were carrying but refused to pose for pictures.

Two days prior to this the vehicle was stopped and searched in Andhra Pradesh's Warangal district by an armed police patrol. The sub-inspector leading the team was drunk, as were most of his men.

The first question was whether we were carrying firearms?

Then they wanted to know how much cash we were carrying?

Then things got a bit hairy.

They wanted to know as to how we had entered the forest area without 'permission'.
One got the distinct feeling that only our facility with English and the Delhi license plates prevented an encounter.

And now Dr Singh is proposing 25 more battalions of such fine fighting men to defend our democratic way of life and to uphold the Constitution?

Quite clearly the solutions lie elsewhere. There are several paradoxes that must be dealt with. The most important of these is that to provide good government in the worst of law and order environments. A better civil administration structure must come up in place of the one sent packing by the violence and by popular sanction. Instead of the state capital controlled government the instruments of government dealing with education, health, irrigation, roads and land records must be handed over to local government structures.

The police must also be made answerable to local elected officials and not be a law unto themselves. The local community must get all the royalties for the minerals extracted from their areas. We cannot have any more episodes like that in Kalinganagar where the Tata's got adivasi lands at a fraction of their market value. Tata's and others want to exploit Bastar's iron ore. They must pay the full value of this to the local community.

When Dr Singh first became prime minister, he promised that the reform of government was his number one priority. He promised us a government by the people and for the people. Instead of devoting himself to this he seems to have frittered his time schmoozing with the fat cats of the Confederation of Indian Industries and the World Economic Forum and running a government for them alone.

Guest Columns

Documents reveal India security threats

Official docments did not reflect Home Minister Shivraj Patil's claims of stable security situation in the country

Contrary to the Union Home Ministry's claims of a stable security situation in the country its own documents show that year 2007 was a chilling reminder of serious terror threats.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil at a recent Chief Ministers Conference on Internal Security presented figures that claim the situation was improving on all fronts.

The minister's focus included Jammu and Kashmir and Naxal violence, terror strikes in the heart of the country to secessionist violence in the North-East.

But documents circulated by his Ministry itself at the same venue presented a contrasting picture.

The hinterland has faced a major brunt of terror strikes with nearly 200 people killed by terrorists beginning with explosions in Samjhauta Express in February last year and ending with serial blasts in November.

A Home Ministry document said though there was a minor decline in the number of violent incidents, the casualty figure of civilians and security forces showed an increase, especially in the states hit by Left-wing extremism, where the number of police personnel killed was up by 62 per cent while the number of extremists killed declined by 53 per cent.