Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Kandhamal killings split Orissa Maoists on religious lines

Berhampur (Orissa) (IANS): The killing of a Hindu leader and his associates that triggered attacks on Christians in Orissa have split the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) on religious lines for the first time, with many Hindu members breaking away to form a rival group.

The unexpected development, which have taken many by surprise, came to light when the breakaway faction put up posters threatening to target Christian members of the CPI-Maoist in the state.

The new group calls itself "IDGA-Maoist", which some posters say is the acronym for "Idealize of Democrat Garila (Guerrilla) Army (Maoist)".

According to informed sources, the new group's formal inauguration will take place Jan 3 at an undisclosed location under the leadership of a guerrilla identified only as M2.

The origin of the split is the Aug 23 gunning down of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swamy Laxmanananda Saraswati and four associates at Jallespata in tribal-dominated Kandhamal district.

It sparked off an orgy of violence against Christians, whom the VHP blamed for Saraswati's killing. About 40 people, mostly poor Christians in rural areas, were killed.

While the police blamed the Maoists for the killings, the VHP insisted that Christians were responsible. The CPI-Maoist claimed responsibility for the murder, saying Saraswati was creating a sectarian divide in the impoverished region.

The breakaway IDGA's posters have denounced the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA), the military wing of the CPI-Maoist, and its leader Sabyasachi Panda for the VHP leader's death.

A Maoist sympathiser close to the new faction told IANS that the main reason behind the break-up was the Kandhamal violence, for which he blamed Panda.

"Maoists don't have any religion. Their religion is to safeguard the vulnerable people and fight exploitation and oppression. But those under Panda are acting like a mafia," he said, requesting anonymity.

People familiar with the Maoist movement in the state believe that the split will result in escalation of violence.

Sixteen of Orissa's 30 districts are considered Maoist- dominated. Six southwestern districts - Malkangiri, Koraput, Raygada, Kandhamal, Nayagarh and Gajapati - are the worst hit.

The existing Maoist group active in southern Orissa is known as the Bansadhara Divisional Committee. This is expected to face the wrath of the splitters.

Nihar Nayak, an expert on Maoists at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, told IANS that if a split has indeed taken place on religious lines, it would mark a first in India's Left history.

"Since the Maoist movement began in India, they have never supported a specific religion or caste or community," he said.

Nayak added that the objective of the splinter group would be "to protect Hindus from Maoist attacks and retaliate by killing Christian leaders" in the state.

In its posters, the new group has threatened to kill one Christian on the 23rd of every month -- to avenge Saraswati's murder Aug 23.

The new group's area of influence includes three regions: southcentral Orissa, Ghumsar division in southern Orissa and Bansadhara division which shares a border with Andhra Pradesh.

Some police officials here fear the law and order situation in the region might worsen if the new group starts revenge killing, inviting retaliation.

"It is certain that violence will escalate and this split is going to be a major headache for the already burdened police force," a senior officer told IANS requesting anonymity.

Deputy Inspector General of Police P. Koche told IANS: "I don't have any information regarding this new Maoist group."

Sanjeeb Panda, another deputy inspector general of police, added: "We don't have any official information regarding the split. But I can't rule out that there has been a split among the Maoists."

Maoist 'commander' arrested, wife detained

30 Dec 2008, 0213 hrs IST, TNN

BHAGALPUR: A Maoist wanted in several cases of crime, including murder, dacoity and extortion, was on Monday arrested from a village in Bhagalpur
district of Bihar.

Chimat Rai, a self-styled commander, had been an absconder on police records for the last 15 years.

Rai's wife has also been detained by the police.

A member of the Shantipal group, Rai was arrested from his in-laws' house at Goradih village on a tip-off by local residents. Police sources said Rai was involved in several cases in Bhagalpur and adjoining Godda in Jharkhand.

Maoist violence marks year 2008

Deba Prasad DashFirst Published : 30 Dec 2008 10:01:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 30 Dec 2008 01:32:21 PM ISTMALKANGIRI: For Malkangiri, 2008 was a year which mostly saw Maoist-related violence. The ambush of 32 Andhra Pradesh Grey Hound commandos and a Orissa Police constable near Alampekka in Chitrakonda reservoir on June 29 was the greatest setback for both the Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. The Maoists blasted mines-protected vehicles near MV-126 under Kalimela police limits on July 16 resulting in killing of 17 SOG commandos including Police Reserve Inspector Sarat Chandra Mishra.

Earlier on May 27, the ultras dragged MV-79-based BJD leader Prabeer Mohanty at gun point from his house and later killed him in a nearby forest.

They once again showed their strength by abducting four OSAP 3rd Battalion jawans near a forest, five km from Chitrakonda on December 5 while the cops were travelling in a vehicle.

As many as 10 civilians were also killed by the Maoists on the suspicion of acting as police informers.

But in a major breakthrough, police were able to arrest 26 Maoists this year.

However, during first six months of the year, the district hit the headlines for success in several fronts. While Siba Prasad Panda and Manoranjan Khara of Malkangiri town qualified the civil service examination, K. Desiraju Acharya of Malkangiri got the first prize in a national-level painting competition organised by the Union Ministry of Forest & Environment. Dibyaprashna Tripathy of Balimela Government High School ranked fourth in the HSC examination.

A year State police would like to forget

Siba MohantyFirst Published : 30 Dec 2008 09:48:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 30 Dec 2008 01:23:43 PM IST

BHUBANESWAR: In the last conference of DGPs, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh termed Naxalism as the ‘most serious internal security threat to India’ a day after the then Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil had described it as a situation blown out of proportion by some.

The fact is the year 2008 did not provide scope for any such confusion. Not in India and not the least in Orissa which graduated from being one of those relatively-affected states to be amongst the most-hit ones like Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

If Home Ministry figures are to be believed, while states like Chhattisgarh and AP have shown about 40 per cent drop in Naxal incidents, Orissa has shown a rise. Such was the alarming ferocity with which the Red radicals targetted Orissa during 2008, a year Orissa Police would like to forget.

On a cool February 15 night, a sleepy Nayagarh town woke up to the deadliest attack carried out by outlawed CPI (Maoist) in Orissa. Holding the entire town to ranson, several hundred Naxalites gunned down in cold blood over one dozen policemen during simultaneous raids on Town Police Station, District Armoury, Police Training School, stations at Nuagaon, Daspalla, Mahipur and Tarsingh.

The death count stood at 14 cops and a civilian.

On their way back, away with large quantities of arms, ammunition including sophisticated ones.

What followed was one of the biggest anti-Naxal flushing-out operations launched in India ever. Although the security forces faced further fatalities in the operation, it managed to salvage large quantities of looted arms. ‘Operation Ropeway,’ as it was christened by the radicals, did dent confidence of State Police force.

Such was the impact that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik even declared to hold talks with the Naxals to buy peace.

But that was not to be. On June 29, a convoy of Andhra Pradesh Grey Hounds, was sunk in Chitrakonda reservoir by the Maoists who exposed the weakness of security forces in water warfare. A launch carrying over 60 securitymen was targetted while passing through a narrow point in Alempakka. The Naxals were waiting to take them by surprise.

While 29 managed to swim to safety, the rest met a watery grave. The vessel and the bodies remained trapped in the bottom of the reservoir and an imported ballon technology used by Indian Navy divers managed to bring it up seven days after the incident.

A fortnight later, more bloodshed was waiting to occur. A contingent of the Special Operations Group (SOG) personnel were killed when the mine protected vehicle they were travelling in to MV 79 was blown up by Naxals using RDX on July 16. Seventeen security personnel paid with their lives.

These major incidents apart, during April, they killed at least four village heads in Malkangiri suspecting them to be police informers. In December, two more in Keonjhar and Koraput districts were brutally killed by the Maoists.

The biggest surprise by Maoists, if one actually went by their claims, was gunning down of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and four of his associates in Kandhamal which triggered an unprecedented wave of communal violence not just in the district but also in other parts. Occurring on August 23, its ripple effect is still being felt as the violence drew international attention

Ordinance soon to extend CISF cover to pvt industries

30 Dec 2008, 0204 hrs IST, Vishwa Mohan, TNN

NEW DELHI: The government will soon promulgate an ordinance allowing Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to extend its cover to private sector
undertakings and joint ventures on cost reimbursement basis.

The ordinance is required as the Bill for this purpose could not be passed in Parliament due to paucity of time despite its introduction in the Rajya Sabha on December 18 amid support from different political parties.

Though Parliament, which met for less than 50 days this year, had rushed through a number of legislations on the last day of the just-concluded session on December 23, it could not take up the CISF (Amendment) Bill for consideration and passing.

The move to bring the ordinance assumes significance in view of the urgency shown by the home ministry post-Mumbai terror attacks. "Since vital private installations - particularly oil and natural gas units - are also on the terrorists' radar, CISF cover needs to be provided to them on a priority basis. Besides, Naxalites have also been targeting private telecom installations and oil installations in some states," said a senior home ministry official.

The ordinance, once promulgated, will also enable deployment of CISF outside the country in Indian embassies or on UN peacekeeping missions on the lines of other paramilitary forces including ITBP and CRPF.

Currently, CISF is only providing security to public sector undertakings and 54 airports across the country.

The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill said: "With the growing threat of terrorist outfits, industries in the private sector and joint ventures - which have contributed to the growth of economy - also require CISF cover."

State contained naxalism: YSR

User Rating: / 0 Monday, 29 December 2008

Mahabubnagar, December 29: Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy has claimed that naxalism and factionism was contained in the State and attributed this to the stable government which took up several development and welfare programmes.

Speaking at a convention of South Telangana Regional Mahila Samakya delegates at Wanaparthy on Sunday, he said that the youth in the State have weaned themselves away from Naxalites and factionists as the developmental and welfare programmes introduced by his government have reached even to the remote villages.

He said that the women in the State have achieved empowerment only because of his government’s loan scheme with three percent interest to mahila groups. .

Dr. Reddy said that his government was contemplating to provide pension to members of mahila groups who attained the age of 60 years. Explaining about the scheme, he said the one crore members of mahila groups would contribute Rs.1 each daily and the State government would contribute a matching grant and the total amount would be would be deposited with LIC.

Each member after completing 60 years would get a pension from Rs.4500 to 5000 basing on their contribution to the scheme.

Minister for Rural Development G. Chinna Reddy also spoke. Earlier Chief Minister had community lunch with selected leaders of mahila samakyas.

Top Maoist 'commander' held in Bihar

Bhagalpur, Bihar (PTI): A top self-styled Commander of the proscribed CPI (Maoist), wanted in several cases of Naxal violence in Bihar and adjoining Jharkhand, has been arrested in Bhagalpur.

Chimat Rai alias Kishan Rai, wanted in over 24 cases of murder, dacoity, loot and extremist violence, was arrested from the house of a relative at Gauradih village under Ishipur police station last night, official sources said.

Rai, in-charge of the underground outfit for Godda and Sahebganj districts of Jharkhand, was arrested on a tip-off, sources said.

The arrested Naxalite is a resident of Dighi village in Mehrama police station limits of Godda district, adjoining Bihar.

It is not yet known if any weapons were recovered from him.

Rly cops to go shopping for 'safe' stations

30 Dec 2008, 0409 hrs IST, Devraj Dasgupta, TNN

MUMBAI: Rattled by the fidayeen attack on CST, Director General (DG) of Railway Police Force (RPF) Ranjit Sinha on Monday said his department would
study busy stations all over the world to beef up security at big stations in India.

However, Sinha says no security gadget or techniques can be effective unless public access to railway stations is filtered as in airports.

In Mumbai to review security at city stations, Sinha said an RPF team would study security at other busy stations like Shanghai, Beijing and a few others in the West. "It would help us identify techniques and gadgets to be acquired to upgrade security in the busy stations of India,'' he said. Sinha added there is an immediate plan to install extra X-ray baggage scanners at important stations.

But while speaking of new gadgets, Sinha said these machines would be of no help if there are multiple entry and exit points at big stations. "There should be control on access to the station. What is the logic of five people coming to see off one passenger right inside the station,'' he added. To this extent, he said the RPF is discussing various means with the railways to filter the number of people coming inside stations.

"Maybe, the railways can make platform tickets costly. Something should be done to control access inside stations,'' he said.

Significantly, Sinha said the RPF has decided to convert 12 companies (1,200 men) into a commando strike force. "We have 70,000 men divided into 12 battalions. The RPF would select 1,200 men to create a strike force with separate uniforms and superior firepower,'' he added.

The RPF chief said the strike force would be deployed at all stations across metro cities of India.

Asked if RPF was planning to raise new battalions for Mumbai, Sinha replied in the negative. "We have to manage with available forces. Pulling out personnel from non-core activities like guarding rail hospitals, water treatment plants would free them for core activities,'' he said.

However, Sinha added that the RPF would soon raise three new battalions to guard railway property and passengers in Jammu and Kashmir, the north-east and naxalite-infested areas.

CCTV failure

RPF's DG Ranjit Sinha on Monday accepted that some of the CCTVs installed at the terminus for long-distance trains at CST failed to capture images of the terrorist attack on 26/11 at CST. "It’s a serious issue. We are making an assessment of why some CCTVs did not work on 26/11,'' he sa

It’s a horrible life

B.Satyanarayana ReddyFirst Published : 29 Dec 2008 07:51:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 29 Dec 2008 03:06:34 PM ISTKHAMMAM: Jogiah was a happy man. A more or less prosperous farmer with five acres in his name, a caring wife and three pretty children at home, life seemed wonderful. But that was all so long ago.

‘‘Life couldn’t be any worse than this. I can hardly feed my children. I wish I had died,’’ he sobs, signs of a defeated man writ large on his face.

Madivi Jogiah, was a resident of Bejji village in Chhattisgarh which hit the headlines three years ago when over 25 policemen were killed in a landmine blast triggered by Naxalites.

Subsequently, police and the Salwa Judum burnt down most of the houses in his village and killed many suspecting them to be Naxal informants and sympathisers.

Jogaiah managed to escape with his wife and children.

He thanked his stars and began life anew as a daily wage labourer. But today he repents having run away from his native place.

‘‘I can feed my children only once a day. They can’t go to school. And, the police here pester us to leave on the suspicion that we are Naxal supporters,’’ he laments. Jogaiah’s case is not an isolated one. He is one among many such who have crossed the border to settle in Paloancha and Bhadrachalam divisions. With the police breathing down their neck here too, even locals turned hostile forcing the poor families deep into the forests.

Over 60 people have died in the forests of the Bhadrachalam division alone in the past one year due to Malaria.

‘The nearest hospital for any of these Gotti Koya habitations is over 20 km. These people have no access whatsoever to any safe drinking water source. Most of their children, whose education has been suddenly stopped, might just get attracted towards the Naxals,’’ says an official on condition of anonymity.

Because of their alleged connections with Naxals, as is believed by the police, most employers in the nearby villages do not give them jobs. The government, which has only recently woken up to this unfolding tragedy, is still a long way off from providing them basic necessities.

Maoists kill SHG coordinator

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 28 Dec 2008 05:16:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 28 Dec 2008 01:16:50 PM IST

JEYPORE: Fear gripped Narayanpatna after suspected Maoists killed an SHG federation record-keeper Pobitra Khosla (33) at Bagam village, six km from Narayanpatna police station, on Saturday.

According to reports, three radicals fired indiscriminately at Khosla in broad daylight while he was going to a nearby village.

Khosla died on the spot. Senior officials and armed police led by SP Deepak Kumar rushed to the spot.

Combing operation has been mounted to track down the Maoists. Khosla was coordinating with different women groups of Narayanpatna for quite some time and was on Naxals’ hit list for his liaison with government officials.

In the past one year, six persons have been killed by Naxals in Narayanpatna police limits alone. Earlier, Tegala Bijay Kumar, Markanda Choudhury, Nalla Brundaban, Niranjan Bidika and Balaram Sahukar were killed.

Intellectuals said the Government should establish the proposed anti-Naxal Cobra Battalion in Narayanpatna instead of Sunabeda.

Me Mumbaikar

The gruesome battleground in South Mumbai has left us Mumbaikars fed up, scared, angry, willing to lash out, especially at the politicians. We now have an incoherent rant against "the other" or "the system". My heart goes out to the victims and this article in no way downplays the magnitude of the human tragedy. Yet as a lifelong Mumbaikar, I have not been able to shake a feeling that people have deliberately refused to grasp the essence of the problem because it is not conveniently gift wrapped with a bow on it.

Simply put, there is no "other" to blame. Mumbaikars over decades of greed and rapacity, have destroyed rule of law and corrupted the systems which should have protected us. We are the system. We are the reality of Mumbai. We are its pestilence. It is convenient to demand action, to demand results, somehow, anyhow.

Can we believe in a fantasy that a bureaucracy, government and law enforcement apparatus which have never delivered anything meaningful which we have ourselves strangled over the years, can suddenly start delivering results in one narrow sphere of security?
AIDS victims don't die of AIDS. They die because AIDS reduces immunity and invites secondary diseases to feast on the weakened host. An AIDS patient can die from a common cold. Terrorists only descended upon the enfeebled carcass of Mumbai to deliver the coup de grace. They are the opportunistic secondary infection.

Mumbai was always a symbol of opportunity and accomplishment, with the accompanying corruptions of any big city. But what is Mumbai today?

It's a ghettoized city of intolerance where Raj Thackeray can rouse lakhs of people into hatred of an "other", where vegetarians can discriminate openly against the "other" in their buildings, where Muslim enclaves make the "other" uncomfortable in their midst, where a parallel economy and a parallel justice system can thrive.

It is a city of corruption, where the police force has been emasculated, where constables have to take bribes to pay off the cost of their postings, where senior officials operate openly in collusion with industrial houses, where human trafficking and child abuse are openly tolerated in plain sight at traffic signals.

It is a city of decay, where greedy and corrupt builders can destroy every last inch of breathing space, documents can be faked, BMC officials bought off en masse, protesters can be bullied and threatened, restaurant owners can dump their daily trash in any quiet street corner.

It is a city of harassment, where kids on loud motorcycles can whiz about unstopped, where loud pandals and religious displays disturb people way into the night, where poor people live in constant fear of harassment by the police.

It is a city of neglect, where we cannot even point to one bylane free of potholes and garbage, not for technical reasons but because it fuels the perpetual motion machine of contracts and corruption.

It is a city where the local governance become an enemy of the people, grabbing parks, destroying open mangroves, dumping huge toxic waste in plain view of its citizens.

Ask a Mumbaikar from the slums what fun it is to get his kid's birth certificate from the BMC, to get past a police check, to get a lawyer who won't cheat him for common things,to get a judge who won't delay his case indefinitely. A poor "unconnected" person or a single woman would think thrice before walking into a police station to get help and even then would not do it.

Above all Mumbai is a city of temporary convenience and compromise with no core values left to hold on to.

The euphoria of economic growth justified every short cut and every depredation. Beneath the facade, Mumbai fell apart street by street, tree by tree, victim by victim. Mumbai is not an international city, it is an international joke.

It is easier to take offense or retreat behind cliches, than to sincerely ponder the truth of this statement. The city cannot provide roads, fire service, ambulance service, police safety to its people.

Those who feel it is "part of the charm" to walk past open garbage and people defecating, to drive on wretched roads, to not have any place to take your child to play, to have parks grabbed by local slumlords, are in denial about their hometown. They add to the apathy which keeps it in decline. We try to talk ourselves into believing that the human vibrancy covers up the physical dehumanization.

Each and every one of these acts is perpetrated by a Mumbaikar. Each incident is like an incident of unprotected sex which takes the victim closer to the fatal disease. Each instance of apathy is just like one who cannot be bothered to wear a condom.

A successful crime reduction effort in New York is called "Broken Windows". Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building.

Small crimes, if not stopped lead to large crimes, hence even a broken window should be pursued and punished by an alert citizenry, equipped police force and effective prosecution system. This indicates of the interconnectedness of things.

Sorry to say, neither protests nor candles nor political resignations can help us. Not even an election. Who will you vote for? Throw out Manmohan and bring in Advani? There is no "One" who will sweep in on a white horse and save us. The world is now too complex and too interconnected for a single Obama or some mythical Kalki to come in and sweep clean with a magic wand. That only happens in films.

Until and unless there is a mass movement of self-realization on the scale of the freedom movement, the city will continue to bleed. A corrupt, weakened and demoralized force is not suddenly going to wake up and become a crack squad. A polity used to the easy days and fat life is not suddenly going to snap into action when it has been unable (despite similar outcries) to even keep the Mithi clear or keep the highway free of potholes.

Let's not glamorize the spirit of Mumbai or the beauty. It is purely money power and film dazzle which keeps this image intact. Neither Mr. Tata with his billions nor Mr. Bachchan with his pistol was there to save us on Wednesday night.

We were saved by lower middle class jawans who on a normal Sunday would not even be allowed to enter the Taj or Oberoi by the security, who cannot even afford a Thums Up at Souk. Do we even deserve these amazing young men to fight and die for us when every public figure and Page 3 celebrity is on air spewing verbal diarrhea about our fear and trauma?

The very same businessmen who pay customs and excise officers to look the other way ten times a day, now want them to be vigilant the eleventh time and catch the arms. We have forgotten the RDX which landed under very noses of Customs in 1993.. The same citizenry which doesn't care if builders illegally encroach approach areas and roadsides, now want to know why fire forces can't do their job. The same contractors, who cheat and embezzle funds meant for equipment for cops, are now furious about the inadequate body armor and .303s. All because "our" Taj and Oberoi are under attack.

Where goes Mumbai, so the rest of the nation. Governance and rule of law are at an all time low. Rights of poor people and middle class urban dwellers are trampled brutally. The backlog of cases and toothless enforcement makes a mockery of the Constitution which has enough teeth in it for many common problems.

We had a window of unprecedented growth where we could have set systems and infrastructure straight. We did not, instead reveling superficially in our new -found easy wealth and sweeping any honest inquiry and intellectual thought process under the carpet.

Today we find that the much-feted titans of industry and finance were drunk on a global binge of easy debt and bogus stock valuations, and that the real growth has not traveled to the people who needed it, that real fundamental nation building value has not been created to the extent it was believed.

Today we need the army to throw out Lashkar from Colaba Causeway, what will we say when Naxalite cadets show up in Chennai? We always say "Me Mumbaikar Aahe". This is us. We are the ones who whittled away like termites at the gates and then threw down a red carpet of blood for terrorists to waltz in and shoot up our town like some drug-crazed teenagers on a weekend spree.

Only a Mumbaikar can truly understand that feeling of enraged impotence at the sight of these animals strolling down our historic downtown redefining forever the Mumbai taunt "Baap ka road hai" We are not to blame for their inhuman choice to perpetrate violence upon innocents. No secularist, no apologist, no CNN reporter, can justify that action. But we are to blame for our failure to protect ourselves and we are to blame for our inability to change the systems that made it possible from a fundamental level. Unless we re-engage our civic society as responsible and honest citizens of our own free will, we cannot expect better from our institutions.

Let's start with the hard, thankless and unglamorous task of fixing the broken windows and potholes. We have a very long way to go before reclaiming our Maximum City from what we have allowed it to become. Only then can we show the lead to the rest of the nation as we have always prided ourselves on doing.

With regards,
And be safe,

Naxal killed in encounter

29 Dec 2008, 2016 hrs IST, PTI

HYDERABAD: An unidentified Naxal was killed allegedly in an exchange of fire with police on Andhra-Chattisgarh border on Monday.

A special police party on combing operation exchanged firing with Maoists in deep forest on Andhra-Chhattisgarh border, police sources said.

The exchage of fire took place between Cherla police station in Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh and Pamedu police station in Chattisgarh state, sources said.

In the ensuing firing one Maoist, who is yet to be identified, died and five to six Naxalites managed to escape.

The police suspect that the deceased Maoist is member of Pamedu dalam active in Chattisgarh state. A claremore mine, grenade and kitbags recovered from the spot.

Policeman, two Naxals killed in Chhattisgarh

Published: December 29,2008

Raipur , Dec 29 A policeman was killed in an exchange of fire with the Naxals in Bijapur district, while two extremists were gunned down in a separate incident in the same district today.

Pramod Patel, of the District Force (DF), was killed in a gun-battle with the Naxalites near village Sawnar under Gangalur police station, police said.

The exchange of fire followed after a police team, acting on a specific information, set out to apprehend a group of Naxals moving in the area, they said.

There was no information about any casualty on the Naxals&aposside.

In the second incident, a police team killed two Naxalites near village Santoshpur, some six kilometers from the district headquarters, in the wee hours, police said.

The police also recovered a hand grenade and two tiffin bombs from the gun-battle site.

As many as 1,416 people have lost their lives in Naxal violence since Chhattisgarh came into being in November 2000. Of these, 212 were reported this year (till November 2008). PTI RM

Friday, December 26, 2008

Maoists appoint spokesman

Published: December 26,2008

Kolkata , Dec 26 With the West Bengal government not banning Maoists and instead proposing to tackle them politically, the ultras have appointed a spokesman to air their views.

Gour Chakraborty, a state committee member of&apos Ganapratirodh Mancha&aposresigned from his post to take up the new responsibility.

" They (maoists) have requested me to take up this responsibility and I have accepted it. I will try to air their political views publicly," Chakraborty told reporters here.

Asked if this meant the Maoists were coming overground, he said he could not comment on it as he was not connected with organisational matters.

Source: PTI

Maoists dare CPM near Jindal plant site

26 Dec 2008, 0252 hrs IST, Sukumar Mahato, TNN

SALBONI: In an open challenge to CPM, a band of 50 Maoists armed with rifles stormed Madhupur village near Sajjan Jindal's steel plant site in West Midnapore on Thursday and forced everyone to come out of their huts and parade with them.

All the villagers meekly followed them, except two local CPM leaders, who fled into a nearby forest. The Maoists barged into the duo's homes and set them on fire. Only a couple of days ago, Maoists had shot dead two policemen and injured a third in a crowded Purulia bazaar.

Thursday's show of strength by Maoists was apparently in response to CPM's comeback in Jangalmahal. The ruling party had drawn armed cadres from neighbouring Garbeta to re-establish its authority in the Maoist-dominated area. The guerrillas hit back to crush the resistance put up by CPM leaders Kamalkanta Singhadeb and Niranjan Debsingha in Madhupur.

It's the ordinary villagers who are caught in the tussle between CPM and police on the one hand, and the Maoists on the other.

The Maoist-led Committee against Police Atrocities is again on the warpath. Its spokesperson Chhatradhar Mahato announced on Thursday that they would resume the blockade of Jangalkhand from January.

"The government did not keep its promise. Police officers were supposed to go to Chhoto Pelia village to hold talks with the tribals. No one has even bothered to visit the village. We want the Lalgarh SP to apologize for the police repression," Mahato said.

Sensing the coming storm, a section of CPM wants Lalgarh SP Rajesh Sinha moved somewhere else, but the administration is dragging its feet because Sinha is apparently very close to CPM's West Midnapore district secretary Dipak Sarkar.

CPM's Debagram local secretary Bikash Ukil accused Trinamool Congress of joining hands with Maoists to terrorize villagers in favour of industry. "Worried by the impressive CPM rally here on Wednesday, Maoists retaliated a day later with the help of Trinamool. They have threatened villagers if anyone dares oppose them," Ukil said.

The Maoists are piling on the pressure. The Committee against Police Atrocities met Lodha Sabar Kalyan Samity leaders in Midnapore town on Thursday to up the ante against the government. They will start an indefinite fast in front of the DM's office from December 30. "The last time, we broke the fast in September when the DM gave us in writing that he would set up an eight-member panel to look after tribal welfare. The panel has not been set up yet," Samity vice-president Khagendranath Maity said. "No committee has been set up to probe the alleged torture on tribals, either."

Another Adivasi organization, Bharat Joan Gaonta, has called a 48-hour bandh in Jhargram town from February 9 to protest against police inaction in the murder of JMM leader Sudhir Mandi. "Police are adding to the scare by labelling people Maoists," Gaonta leader Munshiram Murmu said.

GRP escort killed in Naxalite swoop


Patna/Bhagalpur, Dec. 25: Naxalites gunned down a GRP jawan, injured another and snatched away assault rifles and ammunition in a daring afternoon attack on the Bhagalpur-Muzaffarpur Intercity Express near Jamalpur, Bihar, today.

Police said at least 30 armed members of the CPI(Maoist) swooped on the train between Ghoghal and Jamalpur on the Jamalpur-Keul section of East Central Railway. They cut the vacuum pipe, bringing the Muzaffapur-bound train to a halt, and waited till the GRP jawans, on escort duty, alighted from the coach to find out what was wrong. As soon as they did, the rebels started raining bullets.

Munger superintendent of police Sunil Nayak said that though taken by surprise, the jawans retaliated. “The gunfight last for more than 30 minutes,” he said. More than 20 rounds were fired. While GRP constable Ganesh Singh was killed in the encounter, another jawan was wounded.

Though Nayak claimed that no passenger sustained injuries, an unconfirmed reports said two took bullets. A report also claimed that four GRP men were injured in the incident.

After overpowering the jawans, the Naxalites snatched away at least four assault rifles, a carbine and several rounds of ammunition.

Railway officials said the attack delayed the train for three hours. It resumed its journey at 6pm after senior GRP officers and railway officials inspected the site.

A senior railway official admitted that the CPI(Maoist) had spread its tentacles in large parts of the hilly Jamalpur sub-division in Munger district.

Villagers of Abhaypur and Dharhara said they had spotted unidentified people carrying arms on Tuesday. Naxalites often organise training camps on hillocks, they said, and blamed the police for not paying heed to the rising threat from the rebels.

Gumla deaths

Maoist guerrillas beheaded two villagers and shot dead a man and his son in two separate incidents in Gumla district of Jharkhand early this morning.

The first incident took place at Govindpur while the second occurred at Srinagar village, about 17km away. Two of the victims have been identified as former armyman Augustine Ekka (50) and his son, James (20).

Sources said the rebels suspected the father-son duo to be police informers.

Police spokesperson and I.G (provision) S.N. Pradhan said all the four bodies had been sent for post-mortem. Paramilitary jawans have been deployed in the area.

Gun battle

Police and suspected Maoists today exchanged several rounds of fire in Chichikala forest in the Katkamsandi police station area of Hazaribagh.

Though unofficial reports claimed that six members of the CPI(Maoist) were killed in the firing, superintendent of police Pankaj Kamboj did not confirm the toll. “There was a gun battle between our men and extremists, but we did not recover a single body from the site,” he said.

State raises financial aid to Naxal victims

26 Dec 2008, 0235 hrs IST, ET Bureau

MUMBAI: After years of dilly-dallying, the Maharashtra government has finally decided to raise the financial assistance and compensation to the next
of kin of policemen who lose their lives fighting the naxals. Now, this will be on par with those who lost their lives during the recent 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai.

The state’s newly-appointed home minister Jayant Patil made this announcement at Nagpur where the state legislature is currently in session. “Martyrs of naxal attacks in eastern Vidarbha districts would be entitled to monetary benefits equal to those being received by terror martyrs of November 26,” Mr Patil said.

The state government, which has already announced a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to the kin of policemen killed during the last month’s terror attacks in Mumbai, has also decided to pay the full salary till the date of retirement to the families of deceased officers.

Maharashtra has a large area infested with naxals. According to official records, nearly half a dozen districts located along the naxal-infested regions of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and eastern Vidarbha have already been declared naxal affected.

Gadchiroli is seen as the Red bastion in Maharashtra, whereas Chandrapur, Gondiya, Yavatmal, Bhandara and Nanded districts are declared “naxal prone areas.” Apart from a favourable geographical setting, the economic backwardness and undulating terrain of these regions act as a fertile ground for Left extremism.

Besides, some districts bordering Madhya Pradesh are on the radar of naxals who want to create a contiguous Red Corridor from Bihar to Gujarat. Urban centres such as Mumbai, Solapur, Nagpur and Aurangabad are also seen as possible shelters. The state has already announced plans to set up an elite force of specially-trained men who would be provided with state-of-the-art technology to battle naxals.

The government’s decision comes in the wake of a severe criticism it faced over its handling of violence from the extreme leftist organisations. While the naxals were making inroads into the eastern Maharashtra, the government initially was terming them as merely the ‘spill-over effect’ from Andhra Pradesh. According to current official records, there are 15 naxal dalams (groups) that are active in Maharashtra. Of these, three — the Platoon dalam, Tipagarh dalam and Khobramendha dalam — are more violent and have modern ammunition, including LMGs and other sophisticated weapons. The CPI (Maoist) has around 250 full-time armed cadres and a strong contingent of 3,000 local supporters.

In another decision, the state on Wednesday announced a drive to recruit 50,000 more security personnel in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks. “Altogether, 50,000 security guards would be appointed through the state security board and proper training would be provided to them,” the government said.

MAHARASTRA: State wakes up to khaki plight

26 Dec 2008, 0327 hrs IST, Sanjeev Shivadekar, TNN

MUMBAI: Policemen fighting terrorists, Naxals and petty criminals would now be treated at par.

After assuring support for the families of the policemen who lost their lives in the recent terror attacks on Mumbai, the state government wants to extend similar benefits to the families of the police personnel who fight with Naxals in the hinterlands of Maharashtra, dacoits, criminals and gangsters.

In a cabinet meeting held immediately after the terror attack on CST railway station, Taj hotel and Oberoi, the state government announced compensation for the families of the police personnel who lost their lives fighting terrorists.

Besides a compensation of Rs 25 lakh each for the kin of the deceased, the government has promised to give a flat, monthly salary till the time the deceased was due to retire, and a job to one of the family members.

Following this announcement, a similar package was suggested for the police force posted in the interior areas of the state to counter Naxals.

Acknowledging that the state is developing a special hi-tech force to deal with the Naxal problem, a senior home department official said, "If any police official loses his life fighting Naxals, the family of the deceased will receive the salary till the time the victim was due for retirement.'' This compensation will be, in addition, to the existing one provided by the state government. The Government Resolution (GR) to this effect was issued on November 29, he added.

Significantly, those police officials killed in the Naxal attack on October 27 at Gadchiroli will be entitled to similar compensation. In the attack, four of 23 policemen were killed on the spot.

Though the GR was issued after the incident, the state government announced that it would provide financial assistance to the relatives of these policemen. The announcement to this effect was made by the state home minister Jayant Patil at the ongoing legislative assembly session in Nagpur. "Those who have lost their lives in the Naxal attacks will be entitled to monetary benefits equal to those being received by martyrs of the recent terror attacks on the city,'' said Patil.

Welcoming the move, additional director general of police (anti-Naxal operation) Pankaj Gupta said, "Sacrifice is sacrifice, whether it is in urban or rural areas. Those who sacrifice their lives for the security of the nation should be given equal treatment.''

"Fighting dacoits and gangsters is also a service to the nation and any casualties in such incidents should be treated at par,'' the home department official added.

Significantly, in 2004, during her assembly election campaign in Gadchiroli, Congress president Sonia Gandhi suggested that the party should pay more attention to the Naxalite problem before it gets out of control.

26/11 Compensation criteria:
Those who want to claim compensation should be ready with the following documents:

Police Report / FIR, death-cum-post-mortem certificate in the event of death, medical certificate in the event of permanent incapacitation, birth certificate of the claimant (if minor)and other documents for determining rightful beneficiary

The Procedure:

Based on hospital reports, the district committee would send recommendations to joint secretary of MHA in New Delhi in the prescribed form, with a copy to the Home department of the state government

All the documents would have to be verified and certified by the district committee.

The cheque would be deposited in the FD account of the beneficiary, with instructions to the bank that no premature withdrawal may be allowed.

The kin of victims can inform bank account details to:

Y R Bhalerao, deputy collector, Old Custom House, third floor, Shaheed Bhagatsingh Marg, Fort, Mumbai 400 001.

For deaths (and injuries) at CST, one can file claims with the Railway Claims Tribunal. For assistance, former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya can be contacted at kirit@vsnl.in or on 21634152. Somaiya is volunteering to give free medical aid to all victims and their kin. He will assist victims/kin in getting a job in the railways.

Railways to beef up security

26 Dec 2008, 0005 hrs IST, TNN

PATNA: The railways would beef up security measures on Kiul-Jamalpur section under Malda division of the Eastern Railway (ER) in the wake of the
Maoist attack on the Bhagalpur-Muzaffarpur Jansewa Express on Thursday evening.

The railways would also hold a meeting with GRP officials to check recurrence of such incidents in future on this particular route, said ER PRO B K Sharma.

According to Sharma, though law and order is a state matter, the railways would co-operate fully with GRP and the state police in launching a joint operation against the banned Naxal outfit. The railways would ensure that each train passing through this route is properly escorted, he said.

He informed that the Maoists had also snatched walkie-talkies of both the driver and guard of the ill-fated train with an aim to disconnect any communication with the control room or the nearest station. The railways have put all security personnel on high alert following this incident, he said.

Land being identified to station NSG around Chennai

Coimbatore (PTI): The Tamil Nadu government is in the process of identifying the land to station NSG commandos in Chennai or closer to airport, a top state police official said on Friday.

The NSG team would be stationed to depute to nearby places and States, DGP K P Jain told reporters here.

Replying to a question on the need to create a strike force in Tamil Nadu, in the wake of recent terror attacks in Mumbai, Jain said that the State already has an exclusive and well trained Tamil Nadu Commando Force and Special Task Force to meet any eventuality.

However, there was lack of proper equipment and vehicles like the NSG and the State has sent a proposal to the Centre to provide additional financial assistance, besides the normal annual funds, to upgrade and modernise the force. It would take a little time to train the personnel to handle new equipments, he said.

The Centre recently included Chennai as one of the metros to station an NSG contingent.

Jain was here to review the law and order situation and also the progress of unsolved cases pending since last year.

On Naxal activities, Jain said police have identified Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Dindigul and Theni districts as the possible Maoist-infested areas. However, the department has successfully foiled their attempts to get a foothold in Tamil Nadu, he said.

"We are aware that Naxalites are making attempts to sneak into these districts. But we are proactive and would prevent any such move," Jain said.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Maoists kill four villagers in Jharkhand

Ranchi (IANS): Maoist guerrillas killed four people, including a man and his son, in two villages of Jharkhand's Gumla district, the police said Thursday.

"Four people were killed by CPI-Maoist (Communist Party of India - Maoist) rebels in two villages of Gumla district," S.N. Pradhan, Jharkhand police spokesperson, told IANS.

According to the police, Maoist rebels killed a man and his son early Thursday morning in Govindpur village of Gumla district, which is around 160 km from here.

A man and his nephew were killed in Srinagar village of the same district by Maoist rebels.

According to the police, around 15 to 20 activists of CPI-Maoist raided Govindpur village and abducted an ex-army man and his son. The rebels shot them dead.

The police have reached the spot to assess the situation and ascertain the reason for the killing.

Maoist rebels are active in 18 of the 24 districts of the state. In last seven years over 1,350 people, including civilians and Maoist rebels, have been killed.

Joint raids by WB, Jharkhand police on Maoist hideouts

Kolkata, Dec 24 (PTI) The West Bengal and Jharkhand police have jointly raided Maoist hideouts in Jharkhand following the December 22 attack on the Berada police camp in Purulia district that left two policemen dead and another critically injured.
"Our police, in coordination with the Jharkhand police, raided Maoist hideouts inside Jharkhand shortly after two of our policemen were killed in the Maoist attack," Home Secretary Asok Mohan Chakraborty said today, while refusing to divulge further the outcome of the raids.

To a query, he said the DGP and IGP (Western Range), who had gone to Berada village to enquire into the attack incident, were yet to submit a report to the state government.

Chakraborty, meanwhile, avoided queries about police failure in the incident, but said that had there been CRPF deployment at the spot, the attackers could have been tackled better.

The Home Secretary said that it was being probed why the police action was delayed against the attackers.

The state government has informed the Centre and Jharkhand government about the spurt in maoist activities in West Bengal. PTI

Hunt for Maoists involved in Purulia killings

KOLKATA, Dec. 23 : The state administration today launched an intensive man-hunt to nab Maoists responsible for the brutal killing of two policemen in Purulia yesterday.
Mr Rajesh Yadav, district superintendent of police, said a massive combing had begun throughout the bordering areas of Jharkhand as the Maoists were believed to have fled towards Jharkhand after the attack.
The inspector general (western range) Mr Kuldeep Singh said all the policemen posted in the Maoist-infested areas had been asked to be on alert to tackle Maoist attacks.
The policemen who fired three rounds at the fleeing Maoists would be awarded, while compensation would be given to the family-members of the two victims, Mr Singh said..
The chief electoral officer, Mr Debashis Sen, will visit Purulia tomorrow to review the law and order situation before the Para Assembly by-election to be held on 27 December. A large contingent of armed police have been deployed at all the nine check posts of Purila district, Mr Yadav said.
Condemning the killing of two policemen at Purulia by Maoists yesterday Trinamul Congress chief, Miss Mamata Banerjee today appealed to the outfit “not to kill innocent people who don't even know why they are being attacked and killed.” Mr AB Vohra, director general of police and Mr Kuldip Singh, IG (western range) visited the spot during the day.
The Trinamul chief clarified that her party was against the politics of individual killings. In the same breath she said certain forces were trying to take advantage of the pent-up anger of the people suffering three decades of CPI-M “misrule.”

Maoists caught jawans unawares

24 Dec 2008, 0506 hrs IST, TNN

PURULIA/KOLKATA: The jawans of the Specially Trained Armed Company (Straco) did not even get time to cock their rifles when the 30-odd Maoists
attacked them at Bereda in Purulia on Monday evening.

A day after the ambush, police have got some clues that suggest that the squad that was involved in this attack had come from Jharkhand. Probe revealed that the team was led by two women, masquerading as villagers and carrying gunny bags. The jawans were on their way to the camp when they were ambushed. The remaining Straco members did not come out of the camp, suspecting that they could be trapped.

"There were about 40 jawans with Insas rifles, but they decided not to come out," said Kuldeip Singh, IG (western zone). DGP A B Vohra and Singh visited the spot on Tuesday and held a meeting with senior police officers.

The Maoist squad had meticulously planned the attack, choosing a day when the maximum number of people will be on the road, blocking the police. "Once they moved out from the spot, it was difficult to select the targets. Monday was the haat day and there were hundreds of people on the road. Had the police opened fire, many innocent people could have been hit. It was a difficult situation," said a senior police officer.

Apart from the haat, a daylong programme celebrating the 50th year of Bereda High School close to the attack site was on. Several CPM leaders, including the party's Purulia district secretary Manindra Gope, were scheduled to attend the programme.

Three jawans were walking towards the community hall when they were attacked. They were going to relieve Toton Seth, Chinmoy Mandal and Nikhil Pandey. Police suspect that Seth, Mandal and Pandey had made some mistakes, which made them easy targets. "They shouldn't have left the camp before the relief team arrived. Also, they should have walked in a single file, not side by side," a senior officer said.

When the jawans were close to the community hall, two women who had been squatting on the road stood up and took out two small firearms from a bag. They aimed at Seth and opened fire. Across the road is located a closed-down mill, outside which a group of 14 lungi-clad men were sitting. Witnesses have told the police that they had been there for at least 45 minutes. Seconds after the two women shot at the jawans, the men surrounded them and started firing. Seth and Chinmoy were shot at from point-blank range and couldn't even raise their rifles. Pandey, the third jawan, who was critically injured, tried to take shelter behind the Maoists, thinking they were locals, and was stabbed on the back. Before falling to the ground, he managed to fire in the air, alerting his colleagues.

The relief team at the camp heard the shots, but was not sure about the origin. When the three relief members reached the spot, they found two of their colleagues lying in a pool of blood. The assailants had melted into the crowd.

Buddha likely to take up Maoist menace with PM

KOLKATA, Dec. 24: The chief minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is likely to take up the Maoists issue, particularly about their strategy of escaping to Jharkhand after attacking targets in the state, in the meeting called by the PM on internal security on 6 January at Delhi.
The state is perturbed with the attacks by the Maoists who have base in Jharkhand and escape to the neighbouring state after the incident. The state home secretary said that in the past months all the attacks by Maoists had shown the same pattern. “They come, cause some mischief here and then return to Jharkhand. We also have some information about their hideouts in Jharkhand but we have no jurisdiction in those areas,” he said. He also said that the director general of police would also inquire whether the specially trained armed commandos posted in the camps during the incident had remained inside deliberately during the attack.
Meanwhile, the tripartite meeting on Gorkhaland would take place on 30 December in New Delhi. n

Huge response to Orissa recruitment drive to combat Maoists

Bhubaneswar (IANS): Officials in Orissa's troubled Kandhamal district wanted to recruit 500 residents to combat Maoists. They received over 3,000 applications.

In five Orissa districts - Malkangiri, Koraput, Gajapati, Rayagada and Kandhamal - the state government is recruiting 2,000 special police officers (SPOs) to fight Maoist rebels.

"We have (received) tremendous response in Kandhamal district," district superintendent of police S. Praveen Kumar told IANS by phone.

Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread communal violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23.

At least 38 people were killed in the state and thousands of people forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs. About 8,000 people are still living in government-run relief camps in the district. Maoists had claimed responsibility for the killing.

"The recruitment process is under way. The number of applications we have received were over 3,000 against 500 posts (in the district)," Kumar said.

"We want to fight Maoists. We are not afraid of them," said a resident who has been selected in neighbouring district Rayagada.

"The response we got in other districts was also good," said deputy inspector general of police Sanjeeb Panda.

"In Rayagada and Koraput, there were 1,800 and 1,200 applications against 400 posts each and we have completed the selection process," he said.

In Malkangiri, one of the worst Maoist-hit district, some 800 applications were received; 236 SPOs were selected.

Panda said if the authorities had lowered the eligibility criterion from those who had passed Class 8 to those who had passed Class 5, they would have got many more applications.

"We have requested the government to relax this norm," he added.

The officials said the selected SPOs would now be trained for three months before they were appointed.

Appointed on a contractual basis for the first three years, the SPOs would be paid Rs.4,000 per month in the first two years and Rs.4,500 in the third year.

Increasing Maoist-related violence over the past few years has become a major cause of concern for the government with officials expressing helplessness in tackling the situation.

The Communist Party of India-Maoist has influence in at least eight of the state's 30 districts. They are Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Gajapati, Sambalpur, Deogarh, Sundargarh and Mayurbhanj, an official said.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (Jana Shakti), another leftwing extremist outfit, has made its presence felt in the mineral rich tri-junction area of the districts of Keonjhar, Jajpur and Dhenkanal.

Fifteen out of 30 districts of the state have been affected by Maoist violence to some degree, the government has said.

But the recruitment has been slammed by human rights activists in the state as an attempt to replicate the controversial Salwa Judum movement of neighbouring Chhattisgarh.

Maoist rebels have appealed to the people not to join the special police force. They have appealed to the residents to join the Maoist movement instead.

"The spontaneous response by tribals despite the Maoist threat has established that tribals do not support the rebels," said another police officer.

Nurse missing, finger at rebels

Jamshedpur, Dec. 24: It has been four days since a nurse of Tata Meherbai Cancer Hospital went missing but the family members feel that Naxalites may have a hand in it.

Pratibha R. Paul (50) took an off on December 20 to complete some pending legal matters at Jamshedpur court.

Before leaving for the court at 9am, she promised her son to attend a Christmas gathering that was scheduled at the local church in the evening. She finished her work and came back at 12 noon. After having lunch with her husband she left home at 2pm without informing anybody.

Late at night when she did not come back home, her son Sanjay went to Sonari police station and informed the sleuths about it. After three days when she did not come return Sanjay lodged a missing report with the police and said they suspect the involvement of Naxalites in the episode.

Sanjay said on that day his mother said she had some pending work which need to be finished soon and so she has taken a leave. She promised to be there at the musical programme in the church.

“When she came back in the afternoon, I was not there. But when she left she did not inform my father about it. When she did not come back at night I suspected she had gone missing,” said Sanjay.

He said his mother has not been to any of their relatives house on that day.

A senior police officer said in the past Naxalites have abducted people specially doctors and nurses to help them with medical aid. An officer, on condition of anonymity, said they are trying to find out if Naxalites are involved in the case. “Naxalites have kidnapped doctors and nurse in the past to help them with medical help or for treatment of injured rebels. But there has to be a motive behind it and we have to find it out,” said the officer.

Sub-inspector of Sonari police station Adikant Mahto confirmed that they have registered a missing report.

Police sources said on December 19, a cancer patient Raj Kumar Prasad was discharged from Tata Meherbai Cancer Hospital. Prasad is a resident of Lohardaga district, a red-hit area and they suspect that there might be a link between the two.

Arik Tirkey, a close relative of the nurse, had met the deputy superintendent of police (city) Madhu Sudhan Bari and apprised him about the matter.

Bari told the The Telegraph that they are trying to contact the Lohardaga police to get some leads into the case.

Maoists kill two in Pirtand

Giridih, Dec. 24: In what seems to be a case of revenge killing, suspected Maoists maimed and murdered two villagers of Pirtand yesterday.

Investigations revealed that the two — one a resident of Masnatand and another of Palganj — were taken away by young men clad in military uniforms from their homes late in the night. It is suspected that they were taken to some undisclosed location were they were stabbed and their throats slit.

The bodies of Sunder Manjhi (57) and Bagga Majhi (37) were found on the Giridih-Dumri main road. Posters strewn around blamed the duo for the death of Maoist area commander Guru Manjhi.

Officer-in-charge, Pirtand police station, H.E. Siddiqui, however, claimed that Manjhi died after falling into a well.

There has been a spurt in crime and rebel activities ever since the transfer of former superintendent of police (SP) M.L. Meena here a fortnight ago. With the two fresh bodies, the toll rose to seven within a fortnight of the transfer.

Meena has been successful in pushing the Naxalites to the back foot by arresting several of their hardcore leaders. His forces have also killed rebels and confiscated huge cache of arm and ammunition.

In a separate incident yesterday, a gang of robbers attacked groups of Jain pilgrims hailing from Mumbai, Rajasthan and Gujarat, who were on their way to Parasnath hills. They snatched away belongings worth Rs 7 lakh from the pilgrims who were on their way to attend the Chaturth Mass festival that began in December.

The pilgrims were were robbed at Dhawatand under Nimiaghat police station area. The robbers also allegedly misbehaved with women pilgrims. Nimiaghat officer in charge Ratibhaan Singh, however, claimed that goods worth only Rs 2 lakh had been robbed and that no one misbehaved with the women.

Three robbers snatched a bag containing Rs 1 lakh from one Subhash Ram at Baniyadih under Muffassil police station area around 2pm today. Present Giridih superintendent of police A.V. Minz could not be contacted for his comments on the crime spurt.

Naxalites target mobile towers


A mobile tower in Ranchi: Threat to Naxalites
Ranchi, Dec. 24: To stop the police from eavesdropping into their telephonic conversations and to send a warning to telecom operators keen on expanding their network in the state, Naxalites are blowing up mobile towers.

In the current year alone they have blown up well over seven mobile towers of various cellular operators across the state, including the December 21 incident in Palamau.

The police fears that this trend is bound to increase in the coming days. Reason: the police are tapping their cellular conversation and using the information to nab them.

The state police has arrested as many as 42 Naxalites — from area commanders to politburo members — mostly through intervening into their cellular conversations and mapping their locations.

“We tap their (Naxalites) cellular conversation and learn about heir location. Then we raid them and catch them,” said Palamau superintendent of police Deepak Verma. As many as four such incidents have taken place here.

Sources in the state police said that the rebels are now being careful and not exchanging information on phones. But they cannot resist using cellphones, sources added.

“They do not want to be covered under the mobile operation network. And their frequent attacks on mobile towers is stopping several cellular operators from continuing with their expansion plans,” said an official of a mobile operating company, requesting anonymity.

Now new mobile operators are also hesitant in making a foray into the region.

The state police recently introduced Terrestrial Trunking Radio (Tetra), which has a specific frequency allotted by the Union government. Unlike wireless radios, which can be heard by a third person, this device works like a mobile phone limiting the exchange between two persons.

“At times, Naxalites demand levy from telecom companies and, if refused, they blow up mobile towers,” said inspector-general S.N. Pradhan, police modernisation and state police spokesperson.

Mobile towers are being blown up in the neighbouring states of Jharkhand as well. According to a recent revelation from the Union home ministry, as many as 43 such incidents have happened in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Orissa, besides Jharkhand.

NAGPUR : Five new police stations in city soon

25 Dec 2008, 0200 hrs IST, TNN

NAGPUR: The city would get five new police stations by March, minister of state for home Nitin Raut announced in the state assembly on Wednesday.
The police stations would be set up in Bajaj Nagar, Somalwada, Rameshwari, Mankapur and Shanti Nagar.

Presently, the city has 21 police stations and the police has not been able to start the 22nd at Hudkeshwar due to non-availbility of space.

Replying to a discussion initiated by MLA Devendra Fadnavis on city’s law and order situation, Raut said the city police’ infrastructure would be upgraded and government would try to fill up vacant posts as soon as possible.

Raut promised to provide global positioning system (GPS) to city police. This would help police in rushing its forces to trouble spots quickly. He also assured to increase the strength of intelligence wing.

The minister came down heavily on civic agencies for increase in number of accidents. “The accidents have increased because till date there are no parking and hawker zones in the cities.”

Admitting to high crime rate in the city, Raut said that Nagpur was a sensitive city because of Deekshabhoomi and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters. He said that the city was witnessing increasing in covert Naxalite activity. The crime rate might increase as Mihan project develops, he said.

Fadnavis in his submission said that Nagpur had the highest crime rate among cities of Maharashtra. The police infrastructure has not been increased in proportion to the population growth. He said that 1,800 posts of policemen were lying vacant in the city.

Koyas – the most gullible tribe - II

The Koyas are a tribe inhabiting the hills in the north of the Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh and are also found in Malkangiri District. They have a tradition of about two hundred years old and believed to have been driven from the plateaus.

CJ: Kishor Kumar..

THEY CULTIVATE tobacco leaf, Mandia, Maize and Bhatta paddy. Mohula and Salap are their ideal drink. They are primarily into shifting cultivation. But, with the change in time they have taken to settled cultivation. The Koyas are fond of hunting. Most of the times, they are found inside the forests in pursuit of wild birds, hare, squirrels and wild animals. Hunting is also one of the favourite recreations of the Koya people. In the hot season and especially in the month of ’Chaitra’, organised beats are held in which all the men and boys armed with bows and arrows, axes or spears take part. Such expeditions, as a matter of course, culminate in a feast .They also catch fish from the nearest river and ponds. The Koyas seldom milk their cows and they are used as an item in bride price. The cows are also sacrificed as offerings in festivals and funerals. They rear pigs, goats, cows and poultry.

Koyas, the Naxal sympathisers:

It is a fact that some of the Koyas are either supporters or sympathisers of left wing extremists and the reasons are manifold. Koyas are even today far away from modern civilization. Various factors like low literacy, lack of access to resources, under development agriculture, geographical isolation and lack of land reforms are the reasons for the socio-economic backwardness of the Koya people who are said to be supporters of the Naxals. A low literacy rate of less than 10 per cent gives them no understanding of what the government machinery is. Lack of infrastructural development like road communication, electricity, health facilities, education and drinking water has kept them away from the mainstream in Malkangiri District of Orissa. Intellectuals say that extreme low literacy rate among the Koya people together with other problems are the major hurdles in joining the mainstream in Malkangiri. While many believe that as the Koyas speak and understand Telgu well, and the Telgu speaking Naxals belonging to A.P easily succeed in pursuing them about their ideology and movement.

Development a key factor to end Naxal menace:

The Koyas inhabiting the interior, inaccessible and remote pockets of the district are deprived of basic facilities like education, road communication, health facility, drinking water and electricity, said Malkangiri MLA Nimai Charan Sarkar. The government should look into all these problems to bring an end to the left wing movement. Empasising on the need for educating the Koya people in their own dialect, he opined that if the Koya people become literate and the socio-economic factors will be redressed, the Koyas would have no option but to join the mainstream. Stressing on land reform-the root cause of the left wing movement, Sarkar said the government should look into the matter. All round development of the Koya people holds the key to end the Naxal menace, Sarkar asserted.

Koyas are peace loving:

It is the low literacy rate as a result of which the Koya people do not understand what the government machinery is, said Malkangiri former-Zilla Parishad President Nanda Kumar Kartami. A man from the Koya community, Kartami said the Koyas are quite peace loving. Stressing on education and more developmental works in the Koya dominated villagers, he said with the education holds the key to the all round development of the Koya people.

Without the socio-economic improvement of the Koya peoples, their all round development would not be possible. Literacy which holds the key to success of all government sponsored developmental programmes should be promoted among the Koya community before the situation goes out of hand given that they support the Naxalites. To sum up, sincere efforts should be made to bring these gullible tribes to the mainstream by ensuring their socio-economic development. If we deal simultaneously on the political, socio-economic, security, development and management fronts in a holistic and coordinated manner, it will definitely yield positive results.

Five labourers killed in Jharkhand, police blame Maoists

December 23rd, 2008 IANS -
Ranchi, Dec 23 (IANS) Suspected Maoist rebels shot dead five labourers in the Gumla district of Jharkhand, police said Tuesday. “We suspect hand of Jharkhand Liberation Tigers (JLT) behind the killing,” Superintendent of Police Baljeet Singh told IANS by telephone.

The labourers, working in a power house, were returning to their village Monday evening when suspected rebels of JLT abducted them near Raidih block of Gumla district, around 160 km from here.

The dead bodies of the labourers were recovered Tuesday morning by the police. They belonged to the same village.

According to police sources, the killed labourers were resisting penetration of JLT in their village which might have caused their death.

Two 'police informers' killed by suspected Maoists

Posted: Dec 24, 2008 at 1214 hrs IST

Giridih (Jharkhand) Suspected Maoists have killed two persons in Giridih branding them as "police informers".
The bodies with their throats slit were found on the Giridih-Dumri road near Palganj on Wednesday morning, police said.

The victims were identified as Bhubaneswar Sao and Sunder Manjhi, police said.

A note, found near the bodies, read that the Maoists have been successful in eliminating five persons whose tip-off allegedly led to the killing of the proscribed outfit's self-styled area commander Kawang in a police encounter earlier this month.

The Naxal-infested district witnessed eight people being killed by Maoists this month

Better police stations to help cops behave: DGP

25 Dec 2008, 0300 hrs IST, Gyan Prakash & Dipak Mishra, TNN

PATNA: All-out efforts would be made to improve the ambience of police stations so that both constables and junior police officials could live in a
hygienic condition and accordingly behave properly with people visiting them.

DGP D N Gautam, in his maiden media conference, said that the police headquarters' focus would be to improve the lot of police stations across the state so that the attitudinal pattern of cops could be changed. "I expect cops to behave properly with people and only then the face of the state police can improve," he said adding that charity begins at home and he expects all police officers to give due respect to constables.

In order to meet day-to-day exigencies, the government has sanctioned a "permanent advance" to police stations. While urban police stations would get Rs 25,000, those in Naxal areas would get Rs 15,000 while general rural police stations would get Rs 10,000. The respective SP of the district would give money to station house officers (SHOs). SPs would be given Rs 50,000 each for such purpose.

The DGP, however, ducked the question whether he succumbed to the political pressures in matters pertaining to transfers of SPs and also whether he was made the top cop in lieu of his favour to a former JD(U) MP who was facing criminal charges. Gautam gave a terse reply, "No comment."

Gautam said the Police Act is not being followed in totality in respect of transfers as there is an acute shortage of SP-rank officers in the state. He, however, did not spell out how this challenge could be overcome.

He urged people to shun negativity which most of the time unnecessarily created problems and presented a wrong image of the police. He said the police's work has widened so much that on the one hand they have to tackle terror while on the other handle mobs. Unfortunately, most of the time the police have to deal with uncalled-for mob fury which sometimes leads to burning of police stations.

The DGP directed the police officials not to come up with ifs and buts while lodging an FIR. Any such lapse would be dealt with severely, he warned.

At 67, he is the longest absconding naxal

24 Dec 2008, 0036 hrs IST, Radha Venkatesan, TNN

DHARMAPURI: He is perhaps the longest absconding naxal in the country. At 29, Nallapapillai Tamilvanan, a fierce naxal youth, went underground, and
38 years and four murders later, the Tamil Nadu police are still continuing their hunt for him.

Even the legendary bandit, Veerappan was caught and killed within 25 years, but Tamilvanan, who is wanted in four murder cases, continues to cock a snook at the cops for nearly four decades now. "We have specific intelligence that he is alive. And we are continuing our search for him. If we arrest him, it will be our major catch," Dharmapuri SP, Nazmul Hoda. While the police know he is alive and kicking, at 67, they believe he could be covertly operating in southern Tamil Nadu, where Maoists have found a new haven now.

The anti-naxal squad frequently visits his Panangadu hamlet, 10 kms from Dharmapuri, and questions his two brothers, who live there. "I saw him last when he came to attend my wedding nearly 40 years ago," says his brother Govindasamy, a small farmer.

As a student of Government Arts College in Krishnagiri, Tamilvanan, who was then called Ardhanari, was swayed by Communist ideology and met the Naxal leader, Charu Mazumdar, at a secret meeting at the famous Hogenakkal waterfalls, near Dharmapuri in 1969. From then on, Ardhanari turned into Tamilvanan and went on a killing or annihilation spree and Dharmapuri, which reeled under avaricious landlords and extreme poverty, became a naxal epicenter of south India. The Andhra naxal leaders too got their initial arms training in Dharmapuri.

On February 8, 1973, he along with five others stabbed to death a rich land lord, Dharmalinga Chettiar in Nagarasampatti, who exploited the farm labourers. His co-accused, Thimmakali, was convicted in the murder and spent 14 years in jail, and another accomplice, Dhanapal has died. "After I went to jail, I have not seen him at all," says Thimmakali, who is now 75 years, and manages a small farm in Tamilvanan's neighbouring hamlet, Puliapatti.
A year later, he struck at Nallampatti in Adhiyamankottai in Dharmapuri district, and hacked another landlord, Periyannachetti. As the police stepped up the hunt for him, he resurfaced in December

1976, and eliminated a mirasdar, Appasamy Chettiar in Athipallam. Two years later, he was arraigned in another murder case in Tirupathur in Vellore district.

But Tamilvanan has not been arrested even once in the last 40 years, though several naxals were killed and arrested in a ruthless police crackdown in the 1970s. And Tamilvanan is now said to be the "inspiring voice" for the emerging band of Maoists in Tamil Nadu.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Police constables in Karnataka switch to teaching

Published: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 at 17:00 IST

Bangalore, Dec 18: Overworked young police constables in Karnataka are resigning in droves and joining the teaching profession which gives them equal benefits.

A quarter of the trained police constables has quit their job in the last two years.

According to Karnataka's Director General and Inspector General of Police, R Sri Kumar, policemen in Karnataka are working 14-15 hours a day, adding, he himself sleeps "hardly two-three hours".

Speaking at a workshop of security management, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, he said police constables and teachers join as Group "C" workers at the time of recruitment. "Now, people who join the police rank, they find it better to switch over to the teaching job".

Stating that the attrition rate is 25 per cent, he said, "After giving them two years training, you find that suddenly they have left us and went to the teaching job".

Concerned over the requirement of police protection at religious and commercial places, Kumar said that situation has led to a shortage of police force for the other purposes.

"Everybody wants protection," he said adding Churches, masjids, temples, power grid and generating stations all are being protected.

Sri Kumar criticised "so called intellectuals" who question police action in encounter cases and speak on human rights of victims.

While human rights are important, "in war situation (similar to those of encounter with naxals and terrorists), human rights are not acceptable," he said.

"You have to talk about human rights of policemen (also)," the DGP said.

"While policemen give their best part of life in the line of duty, they don't get the support they require," he said.

KARNATAKA: 500 armed guards protect our VIPs

Bangalore : Karnataka is not a state associated with bombings or assassinations. Even then, our politicians find it necessary to have
gun-toting security personnel swarming them at all hours.

The state's VIP contingent is guarded day and night by over 500 armed guards. Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and governor Rameshwar Thakur lead the pack as they come with the land's highest security cover -- Z plus. Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, his son former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy and leader of the opposition Mallikarjun Kharge fall under Z category security cover.

Besides these high profile netas, other ministers, opposition leaders, MLAs from Naxal-affected areas and Bellary district, and judges also come under the special security ambit. IT czars N R Narayana Murthy and Azim Premji, business magnate Vijay Mallya and Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw are those from the corporate sector who are given special security.


The cost of maintaining this establishment is pretty substantial and runs into crores. It includes salaries, vehicles, fuel, vehicle repair and maintenance. Sources say it is not possible to quantify the exact cost as the security personnel draw salaries from different wings of the police department.


A security staff of 50 is deployed with the chief minister, headed by an officer of the rank of superintendent of police and accompanied by deputy SP and others. A security cordon of 14 guards him at any given point of time. Others maintain vigil at his residence in batches.


Security is of two types -- categorized and gun-man (a cop with a weapon or carbine). Threat perception decides on the kind of cover a VIP gets.

In Karnataka, around 35 persons get categorized security. Of these, three enjoy Z+ category, 9 get Z category, 21 are in Y bracket and two have X category cover.

Gun-man security is given to 200 including ministers, judges, Lok Ayukta and others. Here, the security personnel are drawn from the armed reserve police. The exception is labour minister B N Bachche Gowda, who has been given Y category security.


Z+ category

This is the highest level of security in the country. Prime Minister, former PMs, AICC president Sonia Gandhi, BJP prime ministerial candidate L K Advani, Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa are some who enjoy this cover. A bullet-proof car escorted by pilot car, screening of visitors, a 30-vehicle convoy and round-the-clock residential guards are the extras over Z cover. Plus, three gunmen work three shifts a day.

Z category

Two personal security officers move with the VIP everywhere. An escort comprising an officer, two guards and a screening person are provided. A squad does anti-sabotage check for explosives at airports, residence and other places hours before the VIP actually visits them. The personnel are equipped with a dog squad, bomb detection squad and metal detectors.

Y category

Security is divided into two sub-classifications. Union ministers visiting the state get an escort, residential guards and one personal security officer. In the second sub-category, only personal security officers and residential guards are provided. High court judges come under this category.

X category

Besides three personal officers working round the clock, local policemen are deputed. Guards are drawn from reserve police, local police and VVIP security department.

DF category

In addition to the four categories, DF category (dignitary foreigners) security cover is also provided. However, this section is restricted only to premier foreign delegates, who get security equal to Z+ protection. Visiting Prime Ministers, sportspersons and high-profile dignitaries are entitled.

CM issues directives to woo tribals in areas dominated by Maoists

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Express News Service
Posted: Dec 19, 2008 at 0241 hrs IST

Kolkata With Maoists’ influence growing in the tribal areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts, the state government has decided to expedite the implementation of the welfare schemes to improve the condition of tribals and to win their confidence.
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Thursday convened a high-level meeting and discussed the measures to be adopted.

The government has decided to send Minister for Backward Class Welfare Jogesh Burman and Minister for Panchayat and Rural Development Suryakanta Mishra to visit the districts from January 10 and supervise the implementation of all the poverty alleviation programmes launched there.

They have also been asked to submit a report to the chief minister.

Stating that the improvement of the condition of the people in these three districts will be the government’s priority now, Bhattacharjee has also instructed the chief secretary to issue a notification to all the SDOs to monitor the welfare programmes for the people belonging to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes.

Other decision taken at the meeting included quick disbursement of scholarhips among students, more efficient disbursement of old-age pension, building of hostels for the students and others.

“We had a very fruitful meeting and the chief minister gave us instructions on how to improve the condition of the people,” said Burman who today inaugurated the new website of his department.

Suspected Maoists set trucks on fire in Gumla

Published: December 19,2008


Suspected Maoists today set ablaze two trucks and exchanged fire with the police near a police picket here.

The police said that while one group of Maoists exchanged fire with the police at Banari, another group torched the trucks at a distance, the sources said.One of the trucks was laden with bauxite.

There was no casualty in the exchange of fire, the sources said.


Pamphlets threaten to kill Bhilai steel plant officials

19 Dec 2008, 1642 hrs IST, PTI

RAIPUR: Three pamphlets allegedly put up by naxalites at the Bhilai Steel Plant premises has issued a threat to kill senior management officials if
wages of the employees in this public sector undertaking are not revised.

The pamphlets written in blue ink using a sketch pen have asked the management to ensure justice to employees through wage revision.

"Do justice with the employees this time.. or two-four senior officials would be killed," it read. The BSP management has handed over the matter to Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) for further probe.

"The pamphlets have been given to the CISF and the plant has also put its own security mechanism to work for finding out its authenticity as well as to probe into how it reached the plant premises," BSP spokesperson Jacob Kurian said.

The police is also probing into the incident. Dipanshu Kabra, SP, Durg said that he has received a formal letter in this regard along with the photocopies of the pamphlet from the CISF.

"Generally, naxalites use red ink in their pamphlets. In the present case, we think this is the handiwork of some mischievous elements. However, we are not taking any risk and are investigating into the matter," he added

Two Maoist commanders arrested in Jharkhand

December 19th, 2008 - 9:44 pm ICT by IANS -
Ranchi, Dec 19 (IANS) Two area commanders of the outlawed guerrilla group, the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), were arrested from Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh district Friday, the police said.Acting on a tip off, the police raided two separate places in the district and arrested the duo identified as Kashi Yadav and Vinay Marandi.

Kashi Yadav was held from Mahutand village, while police nabbed Marandi from an area bordering Giridih district.

Police have seized two revolvers, live cartridges and Naxal literature from them.

Kashi Yadav was wanted in more than a dozen cases by the police of three districts of the state.

Maoists are active in 18 of the 24 districts of the state. In last seven years, more than 1,300 people, including civilians and security personnel, have been killed. According to government records, 714 civilians and 320 security personnel have been killed in Maoist related violence so far.

Hardcore CPI maoist arrested with detonators, carbines

Published: December 19,2008

Gaya , Dec 19 The police arrested one hardcore member of proscribed naxal outfit CPI (Maoist) from Bihar&aposs Gaya district and seized five detonators, two carbines and a country made rifle.

Superintendent of Police R Mallar Vizzi said today that acting on a tip-off the police raided the house of Suresh Paswan, a hardcore member of CPI (Maoist), at Raghunath village last night.

The police arrested Paswan and seized five detonators, two carbines and a country made rifle during the raid, the SP said adding that detonators had the label of Gomiya ordnance factory.

The police are interrogating Paswan&aposs involvement in other naxal activities, Vizzi said. PTI CORR AND rg

Two CRPF men suspended

Published: December 19,2008

Chatra (Jharkhand), Dec 19 Two CRPF jawans were today suspended after irate villagers demanded action against a group of securitymen who allegedly ransacked a number of shops at Pratappur in Chatra district.

&apos&aposThe CRPF personnel Gajnikant Pathak and Madhav Singh have been placed under suspension in connection with the incident,&apos&aposdeputy commandant of the CRPF Prahalad Paswan told newsmen here.

The action came in the wake of the villagers putting up road blockdade this morning, demanding action against the security men who allegedly ransacked a number of shops last night after picking up quarrel with a local person.

The personnel of the CRPF have been assisting the police in the anti- Naxal operations in Chatra.

NREGS in Naxal Affected Areas

15:45 IST
Lok Sabha

The Minister of State in the Ministry of Rural Development Shri Chandra Sekhar Sahu today informed the Lok Sabha in reply to a written question that there has been progress in implementation of NREGA over the years in areas affected by Naxal activities. As per reports received, during the year 2006-07, 2338023 households were provided employment and 45000 works were completed within the year. During 2007-08, 3143927 households were provided employment and 87000 works were completed within the year. During the current year (upto mid-November, 2008) 2038050 households have been provided employment and 62061 works have been completed.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Z security for Puri Sankaracharya

Subhashish Mohanty
Thursday, December 18, 2008 01:56 IST

BHUBANESWAR: After Maoists threatened to kill Puri Gobardhan Peetha’s chief Sankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati, the Orissa government has decided to provide him with Z category security.

Sankaracharya’s office on Tuesday received an anonymous letter, threatening to kill him. The letter was posted from Kandhamal, police said. A complaint was lodged at Sea Beach police station in Puri.

A man identifying himself as a Maoist warned the Sankaracharya against indulging in communal activities. “Those who spread communal hatred will be eliminated like Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati,” he warned. Swami Saraswati, 86, was a senior Viswa Hindu Parishad leader. He had been spearheading the anti-conversion movement in Kandhamal district. He was killed on August 23 by unknown assailants at Jaleshpata Ashram. The police also fear a Maoist attack on prominent RSS workers of Kandhamal.

An additional superintendent of police will remain in charge of Sankaracharya’s security. “We are taking utmost care so that no harm is caused to the Sankaracharaya,” said DGP Manmohan Praharaj.

Addressing a new conference here on Wednesday, the Sankaracharaya said he did not fear for his life. “I have received a number of threatening letters. I don’t give importance to such things,” he said, adding that he would continue to work for uplift of the poor and preservation of Hinduism.

Sankaracharya said he did not believe that the threat came from the Maoists. “They never interfere in religious activities. In the name of Maoists, others are trying to defame the Hindu religion and kill me,” he said.uri Sankaracharya

The child soldiers in Indian Maoist ranks

December 18th, 2008 IANS -

Minister of State for Home Affairs Sriprakash Jaiswal told the Rajya Sabha Dec 11 that the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) has set up a special squad of minors in Chhattisgarh. These child soldiers are forcibly recruited into Maoist ranks. But this is not a new phenomenon.For many years, child combatants have been used by Naxalites in many ways in their fight against the Indian state. In Orissa, the children are known as ‘Baal Sangam’. In Chhattisgarh they are constituted under the ‘Krantikari Adivasi Balak Sang’. The governments in both the states have outlawed these groups. According to a scholar on the Naxalite movement: “At least 300 children are being trained in the dense forests of Dhanbad and Giridih in Jharkhand under a crash course in the use of small arms.”

In Andhra Pradesh, the Maoists, in their earlier avatar, the People’s War Group (PWG), maintained for some years their own children’s corps, known as ‘Bala Sangham’. R.S. Praveen Kumar, the then superintendent of police in Karimnagar district, told this author in December 2003 that at one point there were some 800 children with the Naxalites in the state. Available reports indicate that the ‘Bala Sangham’ has been disbanded.

Similar reports of recruitment of children emanated from Chhattisgarh way back in 2002, if not earlier. At that time, parents in the vicinity of Tanda and Bagh rivers had sent away their children to far-off places when the Naxalites ordered each family to contribute at least one child to their ranks. Further, in the same year, media reports said the Naxalites trained boys and young women in the jungles in Palamau district, Jharkhand.

Two years later, the security forces rescued a group of girls from a camp of the erstwhile Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI) in the same area. Soon thereafter, they were admitted to a vocational training institute run by missionaries.

Amnesty International noted in a report titled “Children in South Asia: Securing their Rights” that the erstwhile PWG had recruited children between the ages of eight and 15 “believing that they could train children more effectively than women to resist police interrogation”.

Both boys and girls operate in rebel ranks. They have been utilised to gather intelligence, carry food and weapons, and to serve extortion notes. “These young children, being in an impressionable age, are susceptible to indoctrination,” explained Praveen Kumar.

A young woman who joined the rebels when she was 15 years old and quit the outfit a few years later told this author in 2003 that she was inspired by the lyrics sung by a Naxalite squad that visited her village in Warangal district, Andhra Pradesh.

Conversations over the past few years with residents of Naxalite-affected regions reveal the reasons for children joining the Maoists.

Some admire and ‘hero worship’ the weapon-wielding cadre or commander of the squads that frequent their area. Boys and girls from deprived sections of society are awestruck that the armed men ‘order’ and ‘threaten’ their village headman or a rich landlord, sometimes an upper caste person who otherwise looks down upon and humiliates the poor and the downtrodden.

Besides, the rebels become a source of inspiration for physically exploited women. In some cases, as has been reported from Bihar, joining the Maoists is a way out of poverty and starvation.

Young persons initially develop intimacy with the group and gradually turn sympathisers and spies. Some eventually join the rebels. A family member, relative or someone known to the family in the party could act as a facilitator.

Desertions from Maoist ranks and attrition in security forces operations are other reasons for the Naxalites targeting children. G.P. Singh, the deputy inspector general of police in Chhattisgarh, told this author in November 2008: “It is not uncommon for the Naxalites to eye inmates of welfare hostels run by the government for recruiting child cadres.”

Singh said that in Bastar, where he had served until early this year, high school passouts are potential recruits, especially because they have no other avenue to pursue.

In some instances, children move around in the jungles with the Naxalites for some weeks or months but return to their boarding houses after getting tired of the rigours of an underground life. In Andhra Pradesh, there have been many instances when they were lucky enough to be accepted again and have been able to pursue their studies.

Though exact statistics are hard to obtain, some children continue to be with the guerrillas while others join each year. Official sources indicate that their numbers are not a cause for concern.

Nevertheless, to prevent children from associating with left-wing extremists, security officials periodically visit hostels and counsel the students about the difficulties they could face if they join Naxalite groups. Children who understand the futility of joining the rebels keep pursuing their avocation while those who get carried away by the Naxalites leave their studies and enter the jungles to fight alongside their elder colleagues.

(18.12.2008-P.V. Ramana is Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. He can be contacted at palepuramana@gmail.com.)

Bill for CISF cover to private sector units, Indian Embassies

New Delhi, Dec 18 (PTI) Amid growing threat of terror attacks on industrial establishments, a Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha today to extend CISF cover to joint venture and private sector units as also Indian Embassies abroad.
The Central Industrial Security Force (Amendment) Bill, moved by Home Minister P Chidambaram, seeks to enable the deployment of CISF for security of private sector undertakings on cost reimbursement basis.

The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill says with the growing threat of terrorist outfits, industries in the private sector and joint ventures, which have contributed to the growth of economy, also require CISF cover.

It sought to extend CISF cover to Indian Embassies or UN Peacekeeping Missions abroad.

The move to amend the law comes in the backdrop of the terror strikes in Taj and Oberoi Hotels in Mumbai and the recent attack on Indian Embassy in Kabul. Besides, Naxalites have been targeting private telecom installations and oil refineries in some states.

The statement also said that for withdrawal of CISF, the management of a PSU should give three months' notice against one month now as it was inadequate for the Force to carry out necessary logistics and administrative arrangements. PTI