Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sacrifices necessary for separate Telangana: senior Congressman

February 23rd, 2008 - 7:27 pm ICT

Hyderabad, Feb 23 (IANS) A day after the failure of talks with Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy over the issue of separate statehood to the Telangana region, senior Congress leader G. Venkatswamy said the separate state could be achieved only through sacrifices. The Congress party’s deputy leader in Lok Sabha said a separate Telangana could not be achieved through talks and hinted that a movement similar to the one witnessed in 1969 was required.

“The movement then had taken 350 lives and I don’t know how many more lives it requires,” he told a seminar on development issues in the backward Telangana region.

He said a separate Telangana would help address the Maoist problem. He was referring to the argument by opponents of a separate state that it would strengthen Maoists.

Referring to his dinner meeting with the chief minister Friday, the former union minister said he made it clear there would be no compromise on the demand for a separate state.

The talks between the chief minister and senior leaders headed by Venkatswamy at the latter’s house had failed to break the ice. During the 90-minute meeting, Rajasekhara Reddy failed to mollify the group, which decided to continue to agitate for formation of a separate state before next year’s election.

After the meeting, Venkatswamy, who is a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), told newsmen that the chief minister unfortunately failed to give any specific assurance over the issue.

Venkatswamy told Rajasekhara Reddy that if he took the initiative, a separate Telangana would become a reality.

The chief minister reportedly told the senior leaders that it was not proper to criticise the party leaders as this would cause damage to the party.

The meeting came in the backdrop of mounting criticism by the senior leaders after they were denied an appointment with party president Sonia Gandhi to convey their sentiments over the issue. Venkatswamy had even stated that the denial of appointment to a senior leader like him was an insult to the party.

The demand for separate statehood to Telangana region comprising 10 districts including Hyderabad is over four decades old.

The Congress leaders from the region intensified their efforts in the wake of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) threatening to resign en masse from parliament and state legislature to mount pressure on the Congress-led UPA government.

Orissa seeks five more IR battalions to fight Maoists

BHUBANESWAR, Feb. 23: Chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik today requested home minister Mr Shivraj Patil to sanction five more India Reserve battalions for Orissa. This is in addition to the three such battalions already sanctioned by the Centre for the state.
It may be noted here that of the three IR battalions, Orissa has been able to raise only one while recruitment for the other two is still on. Meanwhile, the ongoing combing operation yielded arms and ammunition buried by fleeing Maoists in the forests of Gosama hill range today. It is learnt sniffer dog squads pressed into service were able to identify the spot and the arms were dug eventually out.
The Chief minister said the police had recovered 30 Insas rifles, 17 revolvers and pistols, two SLRs, 40 303 rifles and 3,000 rounds of ammunition. Mr Patnaik said several suspects had been picked up for interrogation in Ganjam, Rayagada and Nayagarh districts. Official sources have claimed that the week-long combing operations have been successful in the sense that already more 60 per cent arms and 70 per cent ammunition looted by Maoists from Nayagarh armouries have been recovered. SNS

Maoist top gun lands in net



Calcutta, Feb. 23: Plain-clothes detectives today arrested the top Maoist leader in Bengal, CPI (Maoist) state secretary Somen, from a railway platform after identifying him from his stutter.

Somen, whose real name is Himadri Sen Roy, has been charged with waging war against the state and plotting the killings of several CPM leaders and police officers.

A Maoist since the 1970s, the 52-year-old had been on the run for years but had never been arrested before.

“This is a breakthrough in our war against the Maoists,” said CID special inspector-general Rajeev Kumar, who oversaw the bid to catch Somen, launched after a tip-off. “He is a prize catch and every law-enforcing agency in the state was looking for him.”

CID officers said Somen had plotted the killings of CPM leaders Rabi Kar and Mahendra Mahato in Purulia, Barikul officer-in-charge Prabal Sengupta in Bankura and Bandwan OC Nilmadhab Das in Purulia. They also believe he ordered yesterday’s murder of CPM leader and school headmaster Karamchand Singh in West Midnapore’s Belpahari.

Officers said they had received a tip-off that Somen would meet an associate this evening on platform No. 2 of Hridaypur railway station in North 24-Parganas, 25km from Calcutta.

The Maoist leader arrived around 5pm and began talking to the associate. Immediately, two CID officers in plain clothes approached him and struck up a conversation.

“We wanted to verify his identity. We knew Somen stammered,” an officer said. “As soon as he began speaking, we knew we had our man.”

The two officers grabbed Somen. His associate Dilip Mandi alias Deba was chased and caught.

Somen struggled to break free and screamed for help to bystanders, saying dacoits had attacked him. But the officers pulled out their identity cards.

The prisoner was taken to a tea stall where local people guarded him till more policemen arrived. Somen was taken to Barasat police station and then to the CID headquarters in Calcutta.

The police, who want to separate the two Maoists to pre-empt rebel bids to free them, officially declared Deba was arrested from Kamarkundu, Hooghly. “Tomorrow, he will be produced at a Serampore court and Somen at Barasat,” an officer said.

In a recent article in CPI (Maoist) organ Biplabi Yug, which Somen edits, the rebel leader had said his outfit had formed the front line in the Nandigram land war.

“We were in Nandigram right from the beginning,” he wrote. “We led the movement at every step…. We were in Nandigram, we are in Nandigram and we will continue to remain in Nandigram.”

Somen, who is from Suryanagar in Khardah, North 24-Parganas, joined the Maoist Communist Centre in the ’70s and later the People’s War Group.

Since the CPI (Maoist) was formed a few years ago, Somen has been overseeing its Bengal operations.

He is known for his organisational skills, and the police believe the arrest is a crucial blow to the rebels.

Maoist mastermind in police net
24 Feb 2008, 0327 hrs IST,TNN

KOLKATA: The man who gave the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government sleepless nights, having masterminded Maoist operations in West Bengal for years, has finally been arrested.

A special CID team nabbed Communist Party of India (Maoist) state secretary Somen from Hridaypur railway station in North 24-Parganas around 6 pm on Saturday.

He was accompanied by Deba, a comrade, who gave police the slip before being arrested minutes later.

CID DIG (Operations) Ranvir Kumar confirmed that the person picked up from Hridaypur is the Maoist state secretary.

The sleuths took hours before confirming Somen’s arrest because the Maoist leader used to conduct rebel activities from underground.

Very few had seen him or would have even looked twice at the 60-something nondescript man with a next-door-neighbour image. The only possible clue was that he stammered a little.

CID had been working on the cellphones handed over by the Giridih police that they had found along with a laptop recovered near the Paresh Nath temple in Jharkhand’s Madhuban area.

Somen is an assumed name, the kind used by Maoists to hide their identity from the media. The rebel leader’s real name is Himadri Sen Roy.

A resident of Khardah in North 24-Parganas, he assumed the name Somen after taking over the reins of the Maoist organization in West Bengal.

On Saturday, Somen was his usual self, clad in a simple khaki shirt and trousers, on his way from one camp to another. Journalists and lensmen present at the spot couldn’t believe this was the man the state police had been hunting for.

A photographer couldn’t check his curiosity and asked him whether he was Somen. "Yes, I’m Maoist Somen," the man replied.

"How could a Maoist leader openly disclose his identity?" the lensman wondered till CID confirmed the arrest.

4 ‘suspected Maoists’ to be quizzed

Sunday February 24 2008 06:58 IST


BALANGIR: Town police on Saturday handed over four of the 34 arrested Naxals to Rayagada police for further questioning. The rest were released on PR bonds. All were picked by police from Bhubaneswar-bound Tapaswini Express at Balangir railway station yesterday on the suspicion of being Maoists.

Balangir police were tipped off that persons having links with Maoist camps in Rayagada were travelling by Tapaswini to attend a meeting in Bhubaneswar. During interrogation, it was revealed that all of them belonged to Rayagada district. Muniguda police station IIC Asit Mahanty rushed to Balangir and identified the four persons as Abhin Tading, Trinath Saina, Rajendra Wadka and Simanchal Kuturka.

Mahanty identified Simanchal as a Naxal sympathiser said initially he was indulged in antisocial activities.

“Simanchal provides logistic support to Maoist cadres in Muniguda and also leads a group which indoctrinates people through revolutionary songs,” the IIC said. He said Simanchal owes allegiance to Lok Sangram Manch which is a local wing of CPI-ML.

Police desperate to track them down

Sunday February 24 2008 07:00 IST


PARADIP: With the Naxalites giving the police a slip after the recent mayhem in Nayagarh district, police are now out to track them or their sympathisers down.

From beggars to mentally deranged persons, sorcerers and non-Oriyas, all are their target. Police have been raiding all areas and persons in the villages of Erasama and Balikuda blocks to find clues about Naxal activities.

In one incident, a resident of Bihar now staying in Marichpur village was mistaken to be a Naxal by the villagers and they handed him overt to police. He was arrested.

All these after police came across a diary with addresses of some Naxal cadres during a raid on woman Naxal Manjulata Muduli’s house at Laxamanpur village. Manjulata was arrested by Bhanjanagar police in connection with Nayagarh mayhem.

The panic-stricken parents of Manjulata said their daughter is a social activist working for the uplift of the downtrodden people and not a Naxal.

As Maoists plan to set up their base in Paradip and Erasama areas capitalising on the Posco imbroglio, police are leaving nothing to chance.

SP R.K. Sharma said personal verification by police is on after an information regarding the presence of Maoist sympathisers in coastal villages of Balikuda and Erasama was received by them.

Cops hopeful of more findings: CM

Cops hopeful of more findings: CM
Saturday February 23 2008 10:49 IST


BHUBANESWAR: A week after the State Government launched combing operations against the retreating Naxalites who attacked Nayagarh town and other areas on February 15, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced in the Assembly on Friday that the police is hopeful of further findings.

Making a statement, Patnaik said that some persons have been arrested for interrogation. The Special Operation Group SOG), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Grey Hounds have formed themselves into different groups and mounted an extensive search in the forest areas bordering the districts of Kandhmal and Ganjam, he said.

Naveen said that sustained anti-Naxalite operations have also been launched in Nayagarh, Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada and Kandhmal districts. Six companies of CRPF, five units of SOG and Grey Hounds have been deployed at different places along with the district police in these districts.

Besides, forest personnel, dog squads, bomb disposal and detection units have been pressed into service. Describing it as one of the biggest search operation in the country following a Naxal attack, Naveen said that this is still continuing.

In the course of the search operation success again came to the police with the recovery of another large haul of looted weapons including one hundred and fifty 303 rifles, six INSAS rifles, one short machine gun and more ammunition.

This is in addition to the huge cache of arms and ammunition recovered by the security forces on February 18. Together, they constitute 60 percent of the weapons and more than 70 ammunition looted by the Naxalites, he said.

`Orissa failed in Due Diligence for Posco plan`

Q&A: Ajay Maken

Nistula Hebbar / New Delhi February 24, 2008

Minister of State for Urban Development Ajay Maken tells NISTULA HEBBAR the Congress wants to keep a distance from the Jharkhand government's failures.

The Congress has been consistently opposing Korean steel company Posco in Orissa, yet the government at the Centre is looking at investments. How do you reconcile the two attitudes?

Let me assure you that the Congress is not opposed to industry, investment or development. We have some very specific concerns as far as the Posco steel plant is concerned. First of all, mining operations, especially steel, require a lot of water. In this project, it was seen that irrigation water would be diverted for mines, affecting the second winter crop. This is just not done. Second, the company should take all environmental clearances and undertake an impact assessment. Fertile farm land and multiple crop land cannot be handed over to Posco. Third, we have not been assured by the state government that rehabilitation will be done to the satisfaction of the people. And lastly, the state government needs to carefully weigh whether captive mining and captive ports — which are major part of the project — will benefit the state exchequer or just the company concerned. We do not think the state government has undertaken due diligence as far as that is concerned.

Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi is supposed to embark on a tour of Orissa, but the state police, which is in the middle of a massive combing operation against Naxalites, has expressed security-related apprehensions. Will the tour go ahead?

It is the state government’s duty to provide security. If all political activity is halted because of security concerns, we will be playing into the hands of extremists. In fact, it is the continuance of political activity that is the best antidote to extremism of any kind.

The Congress gave a deadline of January 15 to the Madhu Koda-led Jharkhand government before considering withdrawing support. Do you now find yourself satisfied with the government?

No. The Congress had presented a charter of 19 demands on development to the Jharkhand government. Our party workers, MLAs and others have said that they are dissatisfied with the Jharkhand government. Let me point out that we have only nine out of 81 seats in the Jharkhand Assembly and the government is run by independents and allies supported by the Congress from outside. Despite making a great sacrifice by not taking any post, we have found that the government is not running to our satisfaction. Everyone in the Congress feels we should not continue with the present corrupt and inefficient government. However, we are in a coalition both in the state and the Centre. We are speaking to our partners in the state, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, and are requesting them that we should collectively distance ourselves from the failures of this government.

Coming to Delhi and urban development, was the collective resignation of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC), headed by noted architect Charles Correa, a surprise?

Well, I don’t handle the DUAC. All I can say is that all members of the DUAC are eminent people in their field and their resignation, just two months before the term of the present commission was to end, is unfortunate.

As a minister for the last two years, what would you call your achievements in the ministry?

Well, Delhi has just been through one of its most turbulent phases after Independence with the sealing drive. We are happy that the courts have accepted the latest Master Plan and in the next few years we will see the fruit of this Master Plan in the development of Delhi. The new Master Plan is a great achievement in that it provides a concrete blue print for the city. Other than that, the Jawahar Lal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission has met with considerable success. I would like to especially point out that the state-level legislative work has been commendable. For example, the repeal of the Land Ceiling Act has happened in most states, a reduction of stamp duty, which was as high as 19-20 per cent in states like Bihar to nearly 5 per cent, is also an achievement. Rent control Acts have also been rationalised in most states and work in municipalities like computerisation, easy payment procedures etc have occurred and have made a real difference to the lives of ordinary people.

The Assembly elections in Delhi in December will probably be the first that you will miss since the Delhi Assembly was constituted. Do you miss Delhi politics? Do you want to go back?

I am not willing to go back. I am happy with the responsibilities that the party has given me. The ministry and the states that I am in charge of provide enough work for me to keep me gainfully occupied. I feel I have used my time well. While it is true that these will be the first elections to the Delhi Assembly where I will not be present, my ministry is such that I have been in touch with Delhi’s problems regardless.

What do you have to say about the controversy over “one man one post” since so many ministers are engaged in state-level party politics?

As Congressmen, we are prepared to be employed by the party in any capacity that we are considered fit for. Our leader decides what responsibilities we are to be delegated and it is for her to decide these matters. Even on this, the people concerned will decide.

Do you think the delimitation notification will change the face of Delhi politics?

Delhi is a very small area and leaders in Delhi are leaders of the entire city. Even when I was an MLA, people from all over Delhi used to come to me with their problems, workers in the city are clued in to each other and the level of interaction is such that the delimitation will have little effect on actual political activity. One cannot say, for example, that I or Jagdish Tytler or Sandeep Dikshit are leaders of just our constituency.

2 Naxalites killed in den

- Arms recovered in Orissa

Ranchi/Bhubaneswar, Feb. 23: Two Maoists were killed in an encounter in Garhwa while four suspected Naxalites were arrested from a train in Bolangir today.

A team of Garhwa police had put an offensive on the rebels during a combing operation in the forests of Bhengura village under Ranka police station area.

The team surrounded the rebels who were trying to flee and took shelter in the dense forest. The gunbattle, started at 1.30 in the afternoon, lasted for about two hours, said Garhwa sub-divisional police officer Satyendra Singh.

Singh said that no policeman was injured in the incident. The police were also assisted by members of the special task force and CRPF personnel in the combing operation, he added. A cache of firearms, including live cartridges, were also found from the place where the bodies of two rebels were recovered.

In Orissa, the police also claimed to have recovered another large haul of looted weapons.

Acting on a tip-off that a few Maoists would be travelling on the Bhubaneswar-Rayagada Tapaswini Express, Bolangir police raided the train late last evening and picked up 34 suspects. Of them, 16 persons have been released after preliminary interrogation and the rest 18 had been detained, said Bolangir superintendent of police Himanshu Lal.

Most of them hail from Muniguda police station area. Muniguda police later identified four Maoist supporters, including one Simanchal, associated with Lok Sangram Manch, a banned Maoist frontal organisation. The inspector in charge of Muniguda police station, Asit Mohanty, said he knew Simanchal’s association with the manch.

At Assembly, chief minister Naveen Patnaik said several suspects had been picked up for interrogation in Ganjam, Rayagada and Nayagarh districts. He said looted weapons, including 30 Insas rifles, 17 revolvers and pistols, two SLRs, 40 .303 rifles and about 3,000 rounds of ammunition, were recovered in Gosama forest today

Bihar police arrest seven Naxalites

Sunday February 24 2008 00:00 IST


NAWADA: Police in Bihar’s Nawada District have arrested at least seven suspected naxalites and seized a truck laden with explosives.

Superintendent of Police Vinod Kumar said the truck was intercepted near Makhor village, which falls under the Akbarpur Police Station’s jurisdiction.

Around 8,640 detonators, 6,000-kg gelatin wire, 10-kg fuse wire and three sets of cell phones were recovered. A Maruti van was also seized along with the truck, Kumar said.

The seized truck was coming from Guna in Madhya Pradesh and the explosives were to be delivered to the naxalite infested areas of Sheikhpura, Jamui, Lakhisarai and Munger, he added.

The arrested are being interrogated.

The Year 2007 witnessed a rise in overall fatalities in Left Wing Eextemism (LWE)-related incidents in Bihar.

According to provisional data, 49 fatalities were recorded in 2007, as compared to 51 fatalities in 2006. Whereas fatalities among the Maoist ranks remained at comparable low levels, there was a sharp dip in civilian fatalities (down from 40 to 23), with a corresponding and alarming rise in security forces (SF) ranks, registering more than a four-fold increase – at 21, up from five in 2006.

The dominance of the Maoists in the State was demonstrated in the proliferation of ‘swarming attacks’ – coordinated assaults by large numbers of Maoist cadres and ‘people’s militia’, principally on Police and SF posts, camps and establishments.

Of the 42 swarming attacks conducted by the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) through out the country in 2007, 12 took place in Bihar alone. Significantly, there were just nine swarming attacks by the Maoists across the country, in 2006, of which only one was located in Bihar.

Interestingly, at the beginning 2007, Bihar was being projected as a ‘success story’. The State witnessed a decline in LWE-related activities from an alarming 323 incidents in 2004 to 186 in 2005 and to a further 107 in 2006.

The Maoist dominance is well documented and officially confirmed. According to a March 2007 Bihar Police document, 30 of the State’s 38 Districts are currently affected by Maoist activities. Nine of these have been designated 'hyper-sensitive'. A further nine Districts fall into the 'sensitive' category, while the remaining 12 Districts are categorised 'less sensitive'.

According to the Institute for Conflict Management’s database, Maoist activities – though not necessarily Maoist violence – in 2006 and 2007 (till December 20), was reported from 32 Districts. While Maoist influence has been most visible over the southern and central Districts, the northern Districts, sharing border with Nepal, have also been witnessing increasing mobilisation as well as the actual orchestration of attacks, indicating a comprehensive expansion of the Maoist strength across the State’s geographical spread.

Bihar remains a critical centre for the Maoist strategic outreach. In spite of significant arrests, the at least 2,500 strong cadre of the CPI-Maoist has found it easy to retain its strongholds in the State.

6,000 kg of gelatine sticks seized in Bihar

24 Feb 2008, 0029 hrs IST,TNN

NAWADA: The Bihar police on Saturday recovered 6,000 kg of gelatin sticks, 8,640 detonators and 23 fuse-wires which, cops claimed, could have caused destruction similar to the 1993 Mumbai blasts.

Sources claimed the consignment was meant for Maoists.

The consignment, packed in cartons and loaded in a truck, was seized near Maoist-hit Makhar village along National Highway-31 in Nawada district. Seven suspected Maoists were arrested and a Maruti car, escorting the truck, was also seized.

Nawada SP Vinod Kumar claimed one big or two small cities could have been blown by landmine blasts with the use of the seized explosives.

"We had prior information about the truck crossing through the district," he said and added police are interrogating the arrested people.

Police said the truck, bearing Rajasthan number, was coming from Guna in Madhya Pradesh and, according to preliminary investigation, was on way to Sheikhpura and Munger districts.

The two districts are known Maoist strongholds. Those arrested have been identified as Man Singh and Raju of Rajgarh in Rajasthan, Dayanand and Munna Kumar of Sheikhpura district, Subodh Singh and Karu of Akbarpur block in Nawada district and Sanoj Kumar of Nalanda district.

More arms recovered

Sunday February 24 2008 06:51 IST


BHUBANESWAR: Even as the State police mounted surveillance on the movement of suspected Maoist cadres and their sympathisers across the districts, security forces trailing the retreating ultras recovered more arms and ammunition from Gosama forests on Saturday.

The combing parties, assisted by sniffer dogs, found 46 .303 rifles, 36 Insas rifles, 17 revolvers and pistols and about 3,000 rounds of ammunition buried in the jungle.

This is the third haul in the last six days. The securitymen have so far laid their hands on about 65 to 70 percent of arms and ammunition looted from the two armouries in Nayagarh last week. About 1,000 weapons and 1 lakh rounds of ammunition were taken by the extremists.

While there has been no trace of the Naxals following the flushout operation, the recovery of arms has come as a relief to the policemen. On Saturday, like the last few days, there was no exchange of fire and cops were busy scanning the forests in Ganjam, Nayagarh, Kandhamal, Rayagada and Gajapati.

Police have mounted surveillance on public transport system points, hotels and lodges across the State to keep a tab on the movement of the ultras and their supporters. Over 60 persons were detained and are being quizzed in this connection.

Of the 40-odd people detained yesterday at Balangir railway station, four were suspected to have links with the Maoists and sent to Rayagada for interrogation. The others were let off after thorough questioning.

Meanwhile, the Government has requested the Centre for more India Reserve battalions. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told the State Assembly on Saturday that the Union Home Minister has been requested to sanction five more IR battalions.

Cops say slain naxals 'big fish'

24 Feb 2008, 0351 hrs IST,TNN

CHANDRAPUR: Three of the naxalites who were gunned down on Friday morning in police encounter at Dobru hills in Bhamragarh tehsil, were from Platoon Dalam number 7 of the rebel outfit. Police sources said the male naxal, killed in the exchange of fire, was a commander of naxal dalam.

"The women naxalites were identified as Radha alias, Kamla Holi (30), a section commander of platoon dalam number 7, Rajita alias Nili (18) and Mano Punsali alias Kume (18), both members of platoon dalam number 7. They were residents of Kosmi Gairapatti, Halware and Pengunda villages under Bhamragarh tehsil," police sources said.

The male rebel was identified as Jaggu (25), a DVC staff commander of naxal dalam and a resident of Kaner in Chhattisgarh.

Meanwhile, another police-naxal encounter was reported from Raspalli jungle in Aheri tehsil on Friday evening. However no casualties were reported from either side.

It has been learnt that a C-60 team of Gadchiroli police was conducting a search operation from Zinganoor jungle in Sironcha tehsil to Jimalgatta sub-police station in Aheri tehsil on Friday evening.

"While this search party was passing over Raspalli jungle, some 5 kms from Jimalgatta, at 5.45 pm on Friday, a group of naxalites who were camping in the area opened fire at the police team.

Police team retaliated and the gun battle continued for about 15 minutes. However the naxalites managed to flee the spot, leaving behind their belongings.

Police recovered a single barrel gun, 2 detonators, 3 grenades, a wire bundle, 2 uniforms, four pittus (back packs), medicines and other naxal material from the camp.

A police team led by P B Jadhav, SDPO, Aheri is conducting a search operation

Man detained for Maoist link

KOLKATA, Feb. 23. Officers belonging to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) detained a man for his alleged connections with the leaders of CPI (Maoist) from Hridaypur railway station in North 24-Parganas today. Preliminary interrogation revealed the man has close connections with the West Bengal state committee secretary of the CPI (Maoist), Somen.
Acting on a tip off, sleuths picked up the man from the railway station around 2 p.m. today. He was taken to CID’s headquarters at Bhawani Bhawan where he is being interrogated. An officer posted at the Naxal cell of the agency said, the man in their custody claimed to be a resident of Khardah in North 24-Parganas. The CID officers refused to disclose the name of the man detained. SNS

Discussion on this Bengal item



Fighting a war with two mobikes, one phone and no drinking water
Nitin Mahajan

Posted online: Sunday, February 24, 2008 at 2346 hrs Print Email

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calls it the most serious internal security threat the ountry faces. The toll in Naxalite violence has surged over the last two years to almost one death each day. The Sunday Express reporters travel to police stations in the heart of Naxal country in six states. To find out how and why security personnel at the frontlines of this war are little more than sitting ducks

Koylibeda Police Station (Kanker), February 23:A tiny room, one light bulb, a table and a chair, an AK-47 hanging from a nail on the wall, a cot in one corner with four bamboo sticks jutting out of its sides to prop up a mosquito net. This is the office and “residential quarters” of Inspector F Kerketta, the man in charge of the Koylibeda Police station in Bastar, whose job is to win one battle in the ongoing war against Naxalites whom Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calls the biggest internal security threat to the country today.


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Beyond the police station are the forests of Abujhmad (literally meaning unknown forests), the strongest Naxalite bastion in the state for the past three decades. Two police personnel were killed and five injured here in an ambush by Maoist extremists on February 10. The area, long claimed as a “liberated zone” by CPI-Maoist cadres is also a confirmed spot used by Naxalites to run a training camp.

You wouldn’t know this if you looked around the police station.

To monitor an area of 25 square km in some of the most treacherous terrain in the state is a group of just 43 police personnel: 33 from the district police and 10 men from the Chhattisgarh Armed Police. Forget winning, the battle they fight is just to “hold the post,” the last semblance of any administration in Kanker district. “At least a company level force of 100 personnel has to be placed at this station,” says Assistant Platoon Commander Manohar Lal Soni who is 55 years old.

It’s not surprising then that the police have themselves blocked the road leading to their station with tree trunks and boulders to ensure that any approaching vehicle has to take a detour of over 200 m.

Admits Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) R K Vij: “We definitely need more personnel and there is a need to improve the infrastructure and other logistical requirements for our policemen.”

Consider what the government has given — or not given — as weapons in the fight:

• The police station is a decrepit cluster of small, one-storeyed buildings built in the 1990s. The 10 Chhattisgarh Armed Police personnel are put up in a hall opposite Kerketta’s room. This hall is also used to store kitchen provisions and vegetables.

• There is a two-storeyed unfinished structure in the courtyard where construction started in 2003-04 but was abruptly stopped. “We were told the contractor refused to work in the area,” says Kerketta. But so cramped is the space that police personnel have moved into two bare rooms and have used hay for the floor in three other rooms.

• The entire station has just two motorcycles and 10 bicycles. There is not a single four-wheeler.

• Even the motorcycles and the bicycles tell their own story of how serious the government is about the campaign against Naxalites. Says Station House Officer Kerketta: “We had 10 motorbikes, eight of these are now at the Kanker Police Lines undergoing repairs for the past two months. We had 25 cycles, 15 of these have been shifted to CRPF outposts located at Antahgarh and Tadoki.”

• To visit district headquarters at Kanker, about 110 km away, police personnel have to board a private jeep which ferries villagers between Koylibeda and Antahgarh. “This is a dangerous prospect each time as there is always a chance that Naxalites have been informed about our movement and they can abduct or kill the policemen,” Kerketta says. Two personnel Shiv Charan Markam and Ajanya Ram Nateri, constables at Koylibeda, were kidnapped by Naxals on September 10 last year.

• Says Soni: “The nearest security force post, from where a rescue party can be sent, is 30 km away at Antahgarh. In the case of an attack, we are left with just one choice — to keep fighting and hold the post as we can’t expect any help to reach us within six hours.”

• Another dilemma policemen face is on a personal front. “I could not get leave to attend my brother’s wedding and was unable to convince my wife why I could not come home. It becomes frustrating when many of us cannot talk to our families for days to tell them we are alive,” says a constable who did not wish to be named. Next to the SHO’s room is the post’s “communication hub”: a wireless operator and one BSNL landline, installed in Kerketta’s room. Mobile coverage is not available in Koylibeda.

• The remote location means the police station doesn’t receive rations and other provisions meant for its personnel on a regular basis. “We have to make purchases out of our pockets if we want to keep the kitchen fire going in the official mess,” says Kerketta.

• Night is when the station is on its toes, especially the watch-tower sentries. Bhakesh Patel, in his early 20s, is a new entrant, and has been entrusted with the LMG point (light machine gun) at a watch-tower. His job is to keep scanning the forests with the searchlight and alert the staff on any suspected movement. Almost every night, there is a power-cut for at least three to four hours.

• Although the government installed solar panels for power backup, these panels aren’t working leaving the personnel to depend on generators.

• Three jawans are entrusted with preparing food served twice a day: at 11 am and 7 pm. The menu: dal, a vegetable and rice along with chapatis. It’s only on special occasions, like birthdays or the visit of a senior officer, that a non-vegetarian stew is served. Ironically, while there is no additional allowance for policemen posted in Naxalite areas, they are entitled to a “nutritious diet allowance” of Rs 650 a month.

• A TV set and a VCD player in a tin shed is the post’s entertainment room but basic amenities like safe drinking water are missing. Several security personnel have been killed not by Naxalites but by contracting water-borne diseases by drinking contaminated water. For, the only source of drinking water is a borewell sunk in the middle of the police station — the same well is used for morning ablutions, washing, drinking and cooking.

Almost every policeman posted here agrees that the government should ensure a fixed tenure of service in such “hyper sensitive” Naxalite areas.

Says Head Constable Umendra Singh Thakur: “I have served almost my entire service in Naxal-affected police stations. I have spent over two and a half years at Koylibeda while before this I was posted at Bande (three and a half years), Bhanupratappur (one year) and Aamabeda (three and a half years). The government should definitely think about its transfer and posting policy and try to provide respite to personnel who are posted in such areas.”

As if tackling the Naxalites wasn’t enough, the Koylibeda police station have to ensure the safety of a Doordarshan transmitter installed inside the station premises is also their responsibility.


• Chhattisgarh has the worst record in tackling Naxalites. Of the 20 police districts in the state, 16 are officially called Naxalite affected.

700 people including about 250 security personnel, have been killed in Naxal-related violence during the last 2 yrs.

368 deaths in 576 Naxal-related incidents in 2007 alone. One of the biggest ever Maoist attacks took place last year on March 15 on the Rani Bodli outpost in Bijapur in which 55 security personnel were killed.

• The latest attack was on February 18 in which five CRPF personnel were killed in Bijapur.

Salwa Jadum

A controversial tribal militia movement was started to take on the Naxalites but this is now being seen as another reason for the rise in attacks.

• The state's shared borders with Naxal-affected Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, MP, Jharkhand, Orissa and UP also help in the movement of Maoist cadres


Vinay Jha

Sunday, February 24, 2008 at 1515 hrs

THE attacks on the armoury, police station and police training schools in Orissa's Nayagarh on February 15 was evidence enough, if any was needed, that the Naxalites are in the process of consolidating their presence in the region. Over a week after the attack, the state police feel that the weapons looted from the armoury were part of an ongoing plan to upgrade the network in the state.

‘‘This is evident from the ferocity of the attack and large number of arms looted,’’ a senior officer maintains. The Naxal strike seemed to fit in with what Misir Besra, the top Naxalite leader arrested by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) from the jungles of Jharkhand in September last year, had told his interrogators. That the Naxalites were trying to consolidate in states contiguous with a base area in the Dandakaranya forests on the Chhattisgarh-Orissa border. And they were planning to raise new ‘‘companies’’ and ‘‘platoons’’ to boost their strike capabilities in eastern India.

The 9th Congress of the Maoists in the Bheemband forest on the Bihar-Jharkhand border, part of the so-called ‘‘liberated’’ zone, in January 2007 saw over 100 delegates discuss the road ahead. They decided to form an Eastern Regional Command that has now been given 17 platoons of 20-odd armed members each. Enrolment of new members continues. According to the Institute for Conflict Management, Jharkhand alone has seen a threefold increase in the number of armed cadre over the last three years. In fact, Besra’s questioning had also provided the first warning that Naxalites were planning a major attack on an armoury in Orissa. He spoke of Bargarh as the target. The Naxals eventually struck at Nayagarh, the change in plan perhaps being necessitated by Besra’s arrest. His questioning also provided what is perhaps the most exhaustive insight into the organisational structure of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) yet—a network that involves four ‘‘regional bureaus’’ and 17 ‘‘state bureaus’’; a two-year budget of Rs 60 crores and urban units to target a plan to raise new ‘‘companies’’ to boost its striking capabilities in central and eastern India.

Here’s what the Naxalite leadership appears to be like. At the top, you have a 14-member politburo and a 17-member Central Committee headed by Ganapathi. The politburo, incidentally, has seven members from Andhra Pradesh, including Ganapathi who hails from Karimnagar district. The Central Committee oversees four regional bureaus covering the East, North, South-West and Central parts of the country. The Eastern Bureau handles Lower Assam, West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand. The Northern Bureau is called 3U since it covers Uttar Bihar, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh and also handles Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. The Central Bureau is in charge of Andhra Pradesh, including North Telangana and parts of AP bordering Orissa. Operations in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat are looked after by the South-West Regional Bureau. Below the regional bureaus are the 17 state bureaus. And then there are committees and groups that look after specialised tasks. The Naxal’s budget is no less painstakingly-compiled than a government’s. Rs 60 crore for two years (2007 and 2008), most of it—about Rs 42 crore—allotted for logistics. The Central Technical Command gets another big chunk, Rs 10 crore, with communication receiving nearly Rs 5 crore. Intelligence (Rs 2 crore) and technical work (Rs 1 crore) complete the list.

A nine-member Central Military Commission is in charge of procurement of arms and ammunition, communication and electronic equipment. Then there is the Central Technical Committee that is tasked with production of arms including country-made weapons, grenades…even rocket launchers.

Last year, raids in Chennai led to the discovery of a unit that was assembling rocket launchers. Training is a meticulous affair, says a police officer who has been tracking their growth over the years. ‘‘A recruit from Bihar or Jharkhand could be sent as far away as Kerala for training,’’ he points out. The system is such that there is a core group of armed personnel in each area of operation. They are supported by armed militia whenever needed, for instance during ‘‘swarming’’ of a police station or camp. The militia return to their villages once an operation ends but the core armed personnel function on a full-time basis. Intelligence inputs suggest that the militants have begun using bullet-proof vests and might even have access to night-vision devices that they could use to their advantage during attacks on security personnel and police camps. A wide range of sophisticated devices, including Claymore mines, camera flashes, mobile phones and radio signal detonation devices are now being used in attacks.

‘‘There is a move to create a new unit to make gelatine slurry,’’ an officer said. And as if to leave no one in doubt about its abilities, the organisation also has its own MI (Military Intelligence) and Central Instructors Team.What has security agencies worried is the revelation that the Maoists have recently established a network in Assam to procure arms and ammunition. ‘‘Their target is to have a stockpile of 200 rounds of ammunition for each weapon they have,’’ says an officer. The arrested Naxalite leader also confirmed that they had drawn up a hit-list of politicians who mobilised popular support against them; the Government has braced itself for more attacks like that on JMM MP Sunil Mahato in Jharkhand last year. But the Government may be hamstrung by the fact that Central forces are stretched thin and despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s exhortation to ‘‘eliminate’’ the ‘‘virus’’, state police forces are just not equipped to counter the challenge being mounted by the Naxalites. ‘‘The Naxalites have a leadership in place throughout the country. They’re extremely focused, their daily survival is based on it. But the Government does not seem to be focused enough,’’ points out Ajai Sahni of the Institute of Conflict Management. The only consolation—if it can be called that—is that there is no concrete evidence so far of foreign help in their operations.

‘‘They liase with like-minded groups in other countries, including Nepal, but their operations are largely based on their network across India,’’ says a senior police officer. The 9th Congress held last year also resolved to drum up popular support in new areas, including states in north India. Urban sub-committees have since been set up to target industrial workers, develop mass organisations and form town committees in areas hitherto untouched by Naxal ideology.

In fact, the manner in which the Congress was planned gives an insight into their organisational capabilities, says an officer. For the Congress, they had separate teams handling computers, medical emergencies, photography, documentation and communication. This and the attack in Orissa are worrying signs of a growing Naxal presence that needs an urgent response from the government.

Attack and ReactThe latest response from the government is creation of a specialised force to operate in Naxal-infested areas on the lines of a suggestion made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a conference on internal security last month. To begin with, two battalions (about 2,000 personnel) are likely to be handpicked from the Central Reserve Police Force that is already deployed in these areas. They will receive training in jungle and guerilla warfare before deploying them to take on the Naxalites.Government sources say nearly 10 such battalions might need to be raised in due course to make the security forces more effective in the fight against Naxalism. ‘‘The answer is not in numbers but in the level of training. There are adequate training facilities across the country for the special force that will be raised,’’ says an official of the Union Home Ministry. But security analysts feel this is just not enough and point out that no more than 15,000 Central paramilitary personnel are combating Naxalites across the country. ‘‘The CRPF is not being used as a counter-terrorism force in areas where they are deployed. In any case, it is more of an emergency response force. Here, we are looking at a protracted battle and it is the state police that have to come into play more effectively,’’ says Ajai Sahni.

Existing mechanisms include a Task Force headed by the Special Secretary Internal Security in the Union Home Ministry that periodically reviews security measures in the Naxal-affected states. States like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand are in the process of revamping their intelligence apparatus and the Centre has assured them all help. Naxal-affected states spending money on upgrading their police infrastructure get 100 per cent reimbursement from the Centre under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme.

52 detained for suspected Maoist links

Bhubaneswar (PTI): Widening the anti-naxal campaign after CPI (Maoist) attack on police installations in Nayagarh district, police rounded up 52 people for suspected links with ultras and carried out raids in different places of the state, police sources said on Saturday.

As many as 40 people were detained at the Balangir railway station for their suspected involvement in naxalite activities following a tip off, they said adding that four of them were formally arrested and handed over to Rayagada district police for further action.

Deputy superintendent of police N Dandsena said the four were sent to Rayagada in connection with some old cases, while the rest were released after proper scrutiny and verification of their records and thorough questioning.

As many as eight persons were picked up from the railway station here in the state capital since yesterday following intelligence inputs about possibility of maoists likely to enter the city by trains, they said.

Though all of them, caught during separate searches, were let off after thorough interrogation and verification of their credentials, police mounted a close vigil on railway station as well as the bus stands in order to prevent entry of ultras into the state capital, they said.

+All the eight were let off after we were convinced that they had no maoist links,+ deputy commissioner of police Amitabh Thakur said.

Similarly, three persons were held near the Sri Jagannath temple in Puri on the suspicion of having naxal connections yesterday, but later allowed to leave following verification of their background, they said.

TRS will show up Cong in true colours: KCR

User Rating: / 0 Saturday, 23 February 2008

Adilabad, February 23: Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) president K Chandrasekhar Rao today said that his party would expose the ‘true’ nature of the Congress and the Telugu Desam towards separate Telangana to the people in the next few days.

Addressing a well-attended public meeting at Ramayampet as part of his Aseervada Yatra in Medak district, the TRS chief asserted that Telangana can be realised only through political means. "We will dictate but not beg the Congress for carving out separate Telangana," he said.

Accusing Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy of killing the Naxalites in cold-blood on allegations that they were disturbing law and order, Rao wondered was the Chief Minister not aware of the issue when inviting them for talks in 2004.

"Let the State Government distribute the surplus lands among the landless and Naxal problem will be resolved within no time," he felt.

Launching a tirade against TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu, the TRS chief charged him with shedding crocodile tears for the sugarcane farmers now while selling off the Nizam Sugar Factory units in the region during his rule.

TRS ideologue K Jayashankar, MLC R Satyanarayana, MP Ravindra Naik, MLAs T Harish Rao and M Padma Devender Reddy and others were present.

NIZAMABAD: Addressing road side meetings at Bhiknoor, Kamareddy, Krishnajiwadi and other places enroute Adilabad, Rao called upon the people to teach the Congress a befitting lesson for cheating them on Telangana issue.

The State Government has sold lands worth Rs 15,000 crore in the region but has not spent even Rs 5 crore on the Gulf victims, he pointed out. TRS district unit president E Ravinder Reddy and others were present.

ADILABAD: With many TD leaders set to join the TRS, the party has made elaborate arrangements for the public meetings to be held in six various places in Adilabad district, as part of the TRS Aseervada Yatra scheduled to reach the district on Feb 22.

All the six places were painted pink with big banners and huge cutouts of party chief being erected near the daises. Party president K Chandrasekhar Rao will address public meetings in Adilabad, Indervelli, Utnoor, Jannaram, Dandepalli and Luxettipet and participate in roadshows enroute. He will be in the district for the entire day on Friday.


Two naxals killed in Jharkhand, arms recovered

Saturday, February 23, 2008 16:42 IST

NEW DELHI: Two naxalites were on Saturday killed by security forces during a gun battle in Jharkhand and arms and ammunition were recovered from them, a senior CRPF official said here.

During a special action christened "Operation Victor" at Garhwa-Palamu border, the official said, two naxalites were eliminated during a joint operation by personnel of 13-Battalion of CRPF and Special Task Force.

Arms and ammunition were recovered from them and combing operations are on, the official said.

Government had, on February 12, decided to dispatch an additional 600 personnel of para military forces to Jharkhand to tackle naxal violence.

Channelise adolescence to check 'bal militia’: Experts

Saturday February 23 2008 11:33 IST


SAMBALPUR: With reports of indoctrination of children into Maoist cadres and the Naxalites known for following the LTTE strategy, which has large number of child cadres, the State Government should productively engage children to stop the trend, feel Naxal experts.

And there are reasons why adolescent children are soft targets of ultra groups to raise ‘Bal Militia’. Members the militia are trained not only in handling arms but also to collect intelligence without being suspected.

Adolescence is a dangerous transient phase and during this period the children have an identity crisis caught between adolescence and adulthood. Being in a turbulent period, the children become easy prey as they can be misguided and mishandled.

Ultras merely capitalise on children’s spirit of adventurism, arrogance and aspiration. Apart from combat operations, they are used as decoys to spot movement of security forces and ammunition. And sometimes they are used as cooks.

To add to all these, the children in hilly and rural areas have neither job opportunities nor avenues for recreation. And with no family responsibility or pressure, the Maoist make them feel like Robinhood and inspire them to ‘fight against injustice and exploitation', experts say. They are brainwashed and the Naxalites end up as ‘heroes’ in their eyes.

Admitting that adolescent is a ‘volatile phase’ in the life of children, Head of Department of Psychology, G M College, Chapala Mishra said it is very important that children are productively engaged in capacity-building activities, particularly in rural and hilly areas.

This will prevent them from being ‘wrongly inspired and guided by the ultras’. Proposing the formula of ‘catch them young’, Mishra said to prevent further growth in the cadres of the ultras, the State Government should immediately launch programmes which will attract the adolescents to channelise their grit and determination in nation-building.

Sabyasachi Panda: Orissa's most wanted man

Sabyasachi Panda: Orissa's most wanted man

Jajati Karan / CNN-IBN

Published on Sat, Feb 23, 2008 at 08:16, Updated at Sat, Feb 23, 2008 in Nation section

Bhubaneswar: The Orissa police believe that the Nayagarh Naxal attack that killed 15 policemen and one civilian last Saturday was led by one of the top Naxal leaders in the state.

39-year-old Sabyasachi Panda, who gave up a career in politics, to realise the dream of revolution, is leading it. Last week’s Nayagarh attack is just one stride in what he believes is a march for a communist social order.

As the most-wanted Naxal in Orissa, this comrade on the wrong side of the law has many admirers.

“His voice is the voice of 57 per cent people in Orissa who have only Rs 12 to spend per day. It's this injustice against poor, which made him a Naxal. I admire his ideas but disapprove of his violence,” deputy leader of opposition Narsingha Mishra says.

Sabyasachi's father and brother, who left the CPM, have been members of the ruling Biju Janata Dal for several years now.

That probably explains why the Naveen Patnaik government was soft on Panda for a long time. Today, a 1,500 strong anti-Naxal force is unable to find him. The government, though, says it is determined to capture him.

"Those who indulge in such violence are criminals and we will deal with them like a criminal. We will soon nab those responsible for this violence," Orissa Home Secretary Tarun Kanti Mishra says.

Sources say that Sabyasachi Panda is so popular among the politicians in the state that many offered him a ticket in election.

But it is believed that Sabyasachi refused the offer saying that he has gone too far to return to the mainstream.

Orissa police recover more arms

Orissa police recover more arms

Special Correspondent

BHUBANESWAR: Continuing their search, the Orissa police on Friday recovered a large quantity of arms and ammunitions looted by Maoists from two armouries in Nayagarh district last week.

In a statement in the Assembly, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said one hundred and fifty .303 rifles, six INSAS rifles, one short machine gun and some quantities of ammunition were recovered. Some persons were arrested for interrogation.

Earlier, security personnel seized a huge dump of arms and ammunitions left behind by the naxals near Gosama village in Ganjam district on February 18.

“Together, the seizure on both occasions accounts for more than 60 per cent of the weapons and more than 70 per cent of the ammunition looted,” Mr. Patnaik said.

The Special Operation Group of the State police, the Central Reserve Police Force and Greyhounds had formed into different groups and mounted an extensive search in the forest areas bordering the districts of Kandhamal and Ganjam.

Sustained anti-naxal operations were going on in Nayagarh, Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada and Kandhamal districts, he said.

The operation to track down the extremists started on February 16, a day after hundreds of armed Maoists raided two police armouries, three police stations and a police outpost in Nayagarh district.

The police in the other districts of the State also launched a drive to see if any of the retreating naxalites had sneaked into their areas. Several persons had been taken into custody in the coastal districts for questioning, sources said

Cop, 4 naxals killed in encounter

23 Feb 2008, 0117 hrs IST,TNN

CHANDRAPUR: A policeman and four naxalites, including three women rebels, were killed in a fierce gunbattle between the cops and naxals in the jungles of Dobru hills in Bhamragarh tehsil of Gadchiroli district on Friday morning. Police sources claimed that at least eight naxalites were killed, however, bodies of only four were recovered.

Just on Thursday, anti-naxal operations in the district had received a major boost when police gunned down Chaitu, a commander from the Platoon Dalam of the outfit.

Police sources said that two C-60 teams of Gadchiroli police, working on a tip-off, initiated a combing operation in the hilly terrain of Dobru. As soon as the cops reached the spot, at around 6.30 on Friday morning, the naxals opened fire at them.

"The cops retaliated and the gun battle continued for over two hours. A police jawan, Shriniwas Ellaiyya Dandikwar (25), died in the exchange of fire. Four bodies of naxalites were recovered, however they are yet to be identified," sources said.

A huge cache of naxal material, including three 303 rifles, pittoos (back packs), four guns, 21 detonators, two grenades and a walky talky were also recovered from the spot.

Trupti Deshmukh, PSI of Gadchiroli police, said that more than four naxals were killed, but the bodies were dragged away.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Orissa police find more arms looted by Maoists

February 22nd, 2008 - 5:37 pm

Bhubaneswar, Feb 22 (IANS) Security forces in Orissa Friday found more of the arms and ammunition looted by Maoists when they raided a police armoury last week and killed 15 people. The arms and ammunition were found in Gosma forest, located on the border of Kandhamal and Ganjam districts.

The rebels had taken shelter in this forest after looting the armoury last Friday night in the district of Nayagarh, nearly 85 km from Bhubaneswar.

Earlier, security forces had found 115 rifles and about half-a-truckload of ammunition in the same area, a top state police official told IANS.

On Friday, police found at least six Insas rifles, 120 .303 rifles and 20,000 rounds of ammunition, the official said on condition of anonymity.

More than 1,500 policemen and personnel of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Special Operations Group and the Greyhound Squad are continuing their combing operation in the area as well in the neighbouring districts, he said.

The government had earlier claimed that at least three security personnel and 20 Maoist guerrillas were killed in a fierce gun battle in the Gosma forests.

While the bodies of the security personnel have been recovered, the police said the bodies of the rebels have not yet been traced. Their comrades might have taken the bodies away, the officer said.

Jharkhand cop insults judge, sent for mental check-up

February 22nd, 2008 - 8:35 pm ICT by admin - Email This Post

Ranchi, Feb 22 (IANS) A police officer in Jharkhand, Nirmala Chaudhary, was Friday sent for a mental check-up after she allegedly insulted a judge by branding him a Maoist leader and threw his belongings out of his room at a guest house here. Chaudhary, an inspector general of police in the vigilance department of Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB), and her security personnel had Thursday evening forcefully entered the room of B. Venkateshwar Rao, a judge staying in Khukri guest house here.

She insulted and branded Rao as a Maoist leader and threw his belongings out of the room in the guest house. Rao is at present a judge with the Central Administrative Tribunal in Bangalore.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda has asked state police chief V.D. Ram to submit a report on the matter. Ram suspended seven policemen who helped Chaudhary throw the judge’s belongings out of his room.

Chaudhary has now been sent to the Ranchi Institute of Neuro and Applied Science for a check-up.

“The woman is not mentally sound. She is behaving abnormally and that is why she was sent for a mental check-up,” a police official said.

Chaudhary had three days ago sought protection as she claimed to have received threatening calls and SMSs from the underworld.

Her husband, Amitabh Chaudhary, an inspector general with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), is also facing troubled times.

The home department has recommended his suspension for violating service rules as he sought the prosecution of state chief secretary P.P. Sharma on corruption charges

India's Naxalite Insurgency Grows, Targets Landowners, Business

By Jay Shankar

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- India's communist rebels, known as Naxalites, are winning support from the rural poor as they expand an insurgency into 17 of the country's 28 states, targeting landowners and industry, Mehda Bisht, a defense analyst, said.

The government has deployed a force of 1,500 soldiers and policemen in the eastern state of Orissa where the rebels last week killed 14 policemen.

``Naxals are very incipient now,'' said Bisht of the independent Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi. ``Down the line, it may become a body like'' the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which has waged a 25-year fight for a separate homeland in Sri Lanka, she added.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Dec. 20 the extremists are the ``single biggest security challenge to the Indian state'' and called for a special force to tackle the groups. The rebels operate across India in regions that contributed about three-quarters of the country's $775 billion gross domestic product in the financial year ending March 2006, according to government figures.

The states include Maharashtra in the west, Uttar Pradesh in the north, the eastern state of West Bengal and the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

The rebels, inspired by China's former leader Mao Zedong, have killed 598 security personnel and 1,894 civilians in the four years until Oct. 31, according to the Indian government. They operate in tribal and rural areas and fight for jobs and land for the poor.

Rebel Attacks

At least 25 people were killed and 80 others injured in an attack by Naxalites in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh in July last year. Last March, rebels shot dead a member of parliament, Sunil Kumar Mahato, in Jharkhand state. Former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, N. Janardhan Reddy, and his wife, escaped an assassination attempt in September, the Times of India newspaper said in a report at the time.

A group of about 500 gunmen attacked five police posts late on Feb. 15 in Nayagarh in Orissa, stealing arms and ammunition, state-run broadcaster Doordarshan reported Feb. 17. The attack left 14 policemen dead.

The Naxalites have their origin in Naxalbari village in West Bengal state. An uprising led by communist leaders Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal began in May 1967 after a laborer was attacked by a landlord in the village.

Groups such as the People's War Group, Maoist Communist Centre and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) merged in September 2004 to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Fighting Back

``In the short term, the problem will continue,'' M.L. Kumawat, special secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, said in a telephone interview from New Delhi. ``In the long term, the states' comprehensive strategy will succeed. People will not allow those elements who want the democracy of this country to be lynched. They cannot capture power with weapons. No state will ever allow that.''

Chhattisgarh, a state with mineral resources such as iron ore, bauxite, diamonds and coal, is the ``epicenter'' of the rebels now, Kumawat said.

The economic opportunities that are opening now ``are being shut by the Maoists,'' especially in Chhattisgarh, said Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute of Conflict Management, an independent organization researching internal security in South Asia. ``By far this is the most serious problem that is confronting the country.''

In Chhattisgarh, 311 security personnel and civilians were killed by the rebels last year while 123 people were killed in neighboring Jharkhand state, according to the government.

New Strategy

There are about 80,000 supporters of Maoists in India and 7,000 are armed, said Paul Soren, a researcher at the New Delhi- based Observer Research Foundation. After targeting industries, rebels are now attacking government establishments and policemen.

``They have a presence in urban centers such as New Delhi,'' he said.

Hundreds of thousands of poor people, particularly from India's tribal belts, are joining the Naxalite militia to conduct raids and participate in attacks, Varavara Rao, 67, a communist and Naxalite sympathizer based in the southern city of Hyderabad, said in a telephone interview. ``The main reason is globalization.''

Economic Zones

So-called special economic zones are displacing people in India and even the communist-ruled state of West Bengal is trying to give away land to international companies, Rao said.

``The poor have no land, no water, no clothes, no food and no shelter,'' he said. ``The movement will gain momentum as more peasants are joining in. They are the people who are marginalized by globalization. Now they are fighting back.''

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya's government in March last year abandoned a plan to acquire land for trade zones after protests led to the deaths of at least 14 people in Nandigram.

The Maoists are getting more sophisticated weapons and forging links with groups in Nepal and Bangladesh, Soren said.

``This is not a terrorist module. It is an insurgency'' and the Maoist strategy is to mobilize people and then arm them, Sahni said. ``The hiatus between these two can be anything between three to five years. The government thinks it is a peripheral issue which they can manage through an emergency response.''

To contact the reporter on this story: Jay Shankar in Bangalore at

Last Updated: February 21, 2008 18:20 EST

Police destroy opium crop worth over 20 million rupees in Bihar

February 22nd, 2008 - 5:10 pm

Manjhar (Bihar), Feb 22 (ANI): Police has destroyed opium crops worth over 20 million rupees, reportedly grown by Maoists in Bihar’s Manjhar village. Following intelligence reports, police personnel swooped down on the village where a poppy was being grown on over one and a half acres of land. “It was planted in one and a half acres of land in different plots. The produce is worth over 20 million rupees in the International market. Investigation would be carried out to identify the culprits,” said Amit Kumar Jain, Superintendent of Police, Gaya. According to the police, Maoists often force villagers to cultivate opium on their farms to fund their operations. The farmers oblige in anticipation of acquiring a rich dividend. Thirty-two out of 38 districts in Bihar are Naxalite affected. Bihar shares borders with Nepal, one of the biggest markets for opium. (ANI)

Naxals gun down three in Bihar

Motihari: Three persons were shot dead by suspected CPI (Maoist) activists at a village in Bihar's East Champaran district, police said on February 22.

Heavily armed activists of the banned outfit descended on Pipra village under Darpa police station around midnight and shot dead three persons said to be farmers, Deputy Superintendent of Police A K Singh told PTI.

He said contingents from Raxaul and other neighbouring police stations have been rushed to the village and a combing operation has been launched.

© Copyright 2008 PTI. All rights reserved.

Four Naxals, constable killed during police encounter

Nagpur (PTI): Four Naxalites and a constable were killed on Friday morning in an exchange of fire between the insurgents and police in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.

Police constable Shrinivas Yeliga Dandigwar, from the C-60 district police team lost his life after suffering fatal injuries in the exchange of fire with Naxalites, police said.

The encounter took place at Tophar near Bhamragarh, bordering Chhattisgarh around 0630 hours, they said.

"We have recovered all the four bodies and the identification of the deceased is on," Pankaj Gupta, Additional Director General of Police (Anti-Naxalites operation), said.

Gupta said that police have recovered three 303 rifles and one self-loading rifle (SLR), which suggests at least one of the dead Naxals was a high ranking one.

Three Naxals, including platoon Dalam Commander Chaitu were killed on Thursday in Sironch area of the district during an exchange of fire between the extremists and the police party.

Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police Rajesh Pradhan had claimed that the body of Chaitu was recovered while the Naxals managed to carry away the remaining bodies.

Predator on the prowl

Anand Sankar / New Delhi February 23, 2008

With an alarming dip in the number of tigers in the wild, will human-beings succeed in eliminating them altogether? Anand Sankar argues that there’s still a fighting chance of their survival provided we control our greed.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has a new number to mull over — 1,411 — and this one isn’t going to grow at 9 per cent annually.

With just that many tigers in the wild, according to the recent National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) report, it’s hardly surprising the Prime Minister is personally leading the inquest into the disappearance of the royal Bengal tiger — first from the Sariska National Park, prompting Manmohan Singh’s Tiger Task Force (TTF) to conduct a post-mortem into the “Sariska Shock” and deliver a comprehensive report on the issues facing the tiger in India. It’s first concrete outcome, a report on the Status of Tigers, Co-predators and Prey in India, has been released by the NTCA, the re-named avatar of Project Tiger.

The Prime Minister’s reaction to the dwindled numbers has been to post a Tiger Conservation Plan to the states, and he will soon chair a meeting with the stakeholders to finalise a plan for its implementation.

Valmik Thapar, conservationist and a panelist of the TTF, bluntly summed up the conundrum facing Dr Singh: “The Prime Minister has to see now how many tigers this country can manage, and where?”

The latest status report on the tiger, compiled over three years, is billed the most “scientific” assessment ever. It has covered all existing tiger landscapes in the country except the Sunderbans and the large swathes of jungle in the grip of the Naxal insurgency in Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Jharkhand.

The numbers are being hailed across the board for definitively debunking the earlier “pugmark census” which, for years, has been accused of grossly inflating tiger numbers, both due to genuine misinterpretation and mass malpractice.

Instead, the median of 1,411 has been arrived at using a combination of data collection (animal sightings and presence indicators), satellite imagery (layered with inherent factors such as habitat quality, human presence and livestock density), camera traps for direct imagery and, finally, tracking individual tigers using GPS and radio tracking.

But what is one to make of the number?

Dr Rajesh Gopal, member secretary, NTCA, says “the tiger numbers can be more”. The report addresses the long-standing issues plaguing the tiger — direct poaching, subsistence killing of prey by humans and habitat degradation and loss — but an analysis actually helps in identifying areas where the tiger has the best chance of survival.

These are “Nagarhole-Madumalai-Bandipur-Wayanad (south India), Corbett (Uttarakhand), Kanha (Madhya Pradesh) and possibly the Sunderbans (West Bengal) and Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong (Assam).” They are the last remaining contiguous tracts of forest for the tiger to roam in.

The common call for saving the tiger has been due to its position at the apex of the ecological food chain. But over the years, realisation has sunk in that the tiger is the “key piece” in a myriad, multi-layered jigsaw that encompasses a variety of interests — primarily economic.

The TTF 2005 report points out that typically, tiger habitats are the most fertile and resource rich, thus facing the most acute human and development pressures.

Scientists Ullas Karanth and Raghu Chundawat have been the biggest proponents of using science for studying and managing the tiger in India. After years of being “sidelined”, they are finally being credited for their efforts, though Dr Karanth remains short of actually “endorsing” the report.

He says that using previously identified density benchmarks “there is habitat for up to 6,000-7,000 tigers. We can sustain that tiger density, it is doable”, blaming the large-scale subsistence hunting of prey “in the vast forests of the North-east, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa” for the disappearance of the tiger there.

When Project Tiger was envisioned in the ’70s, a minimum of about 2,000 sq km of core habitat was deemed necessary for a breeding population. It was soon revised to 1,500 sq km and now stands at between 800 and 1,000 sq km.

“That is the number needed for a breeding population of, say, 20 female and 10 male tigers. If there is good prey density, that can result in support for a total of 60-70 tigers, which includes cubs, juveniles and dispersing individuals,” says Dr Gopal.

Dr Gopal and his co-researchers have identified that 31,111 sq km needs to be the country’s “core tiger habitat”, which should be inviolate to human presence. For this purpose they have suggested that Rs 10 lakh be set aside to relocate and resettle each family settled in villages inside these areas.

If events during the TTF in 2005, when the panel was polarised on the issue of relocation and resettlement, are a barometer, it remains to be seen how the process will be smoothened now.

There is also the matter of the Forest Rights Act being passed. Shankar Gopalakrishnan, who is part of a campaign called Campaign for Survival and Dignity, insists that defining Critical Tiger Habitats (CTH) under the Wildlife Act a day before passing the Forest Rights Act, which already contained the Critical Wildlife Habitat (CWH) clause, was unnecessary and done in hurry.

“The notion that because of the Forest Rights Act one cannot relocate people, and that with the CTH people have no rights, is wrong. People have rights and relocation can be done only if it is voluntary and proven absolutely necessary. You need the right compensation packages, not just a financial package. You need a provision for alternate livelihoods,” he argues, insisting on a review of how these habitats are identified.

Gopalakrishnan cites cases of improperly implemented relocation attempts, such as at Sariska, where the relocated returned to the reserve because it is said the land they were granted by the state was “barren”.

He stresses on the need for alternate livelihoods by pointing to examples such as the Soliga adivasis in the BR Hills of Karnataka, who generate 60 per cent of their income from wild honey.

“We need a transparent process to monitor resettlement because there are huge sums involved,” says Gopalakrishnan. Others are pressing for a “Director of Resettlement” drawn from outside the government cadre to oversee the process autonomously.

Rights activists say the biggest threat is not humans but resource exploitation, and question the role of the Supreme Court’s Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) on forests, of which Valmik Thapar is a panelist.

They quote data which says: “Forest diversion for other uses from 1980-2001 (before the CEC) was 8,27,857 hectares or an average of 37,629 ha per year. From 2002 to April 2006, with the CEC, 3,38,345 hectares or an average of 78,139 ha per year — a rate of forest diversion 2.08 times greater than before the committee.”

Thapar insists that “every little patch of forest given was scrutinised in detail”. “We need to question the model of development. Everybody is after the land of the tiger, and this development is most going to affect the lives of simple people,” he says.

He adds that the CEC’s task is doing a thorough “double check” and cites the case of its coming to the aid of the people against Vedanta Alumina’s bauxite mining initiative in the ecologically sensitive Niyamgiri hills in Orissa’s Kalahandi district.

To give a fillip to the population of tigers, both Dr Gopal and Dr Karanth feel genetic exchange between surviving isolated populations is critical. While Dr Gopal’s team might soon reintroduce tigers to Sariska from Ranthambore, Dr Karanth and Thapar feel it is an expensive proposition that only “distracts attention”.

“We need to identify critical habitats outside current protected areas as some current areas are write-offs. We can use the money to resettle the right villages in the right habitats,” they argue.

What is worrying now is a perceived “rift” between the state governments and the centre. The Orissa government has a lot of explaining to do after the NTCA released camera trap images of subsistence level hunting of the tiger’s prey. Dr Gopal says the loss of prey is the biggest reason for just 20 tigers being identified at Simlipal.

Next in line is the Sunderbans. Despite the West Bengal government’s protests, official sources in the centre and eminent scientists say a “rude shock” awaits the nation when the numbers are officially released.

With more states expected to follow Orissa’s example of ordering an independent count based on the “pugmark method” to prove increased numbers, it remains to be seen how much time the tiger has, at least in the wild.

Median of estimated tiger population (excluding the Sunderbans and reserves under Naxal insurgency) — 1,411

Number released during last census in 2001, using the pugmark method of counting — 3,642

Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, home to the largest number of tigers at 300 and 290

Highest tiger density — Corbett at 19.6 tigers per 100 sq km

Biggest shock — Simlipal, where poachers were camera trapped, and the count has revealed only 20 tigers compared to the 100 claimed in the 2001 count

The Orissa government has gone on record to dispute the latest count and ordered an independent count using the old method


31,111 sq km of core tiger habitat identified in 17 states in the current report compared to 17,612 sq km in the TTF report in 2005

Since Project Tiger was launched in the early ’70s, 80 villages and 2,904 families have been relocated

Largest relocation — Kanha in Madhya Pradesh, in the 1970s and 1980s, and also the most criticised

Most-lauded relocation — Bhadra in Karnataka in 1998. The centre spent Rs 11.68 crore and the state Rs 4.65 crore. 439 families were settled in “extremely productive and irrigated land” at a cost of Rs 8.3 lakh per family against a stipulated Rs 1 lakh.

Current report recommends Rs 10 lakh per family

The TTF report estimated the relocation of 1,500 villages within the 28 tiger reserves. That is roughly 65,000 families or 3,25,000 people

NTCA gets about Rs 600 crore in the current five-year plan, and the final bill could be around Rs 1,600 crore

Six reserves — Panna and Kanha, Melghat, Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam, Indravati, and Bandipur — contain 217 of the 273 villages in the core areas. 79 per cent of the human habitations in the core areas of tiger reserves are found in these reserves

NTCA gives each tiger reserve Rs 2 crore annually. Its 2007-08 budget allocation was Rs 60 crore; the 2008-09 budget might raise it to Rs 80 crore. Total funds spent on the tiger since 1972 could be around Rs 2,000 crore

Ranthambore in 2003-04 saw 1,11,375 visitors, which earned it a revenue of Rs 1.67 crore. But the larger monies go to the hospitality industry, which has been known to charge up to Rs 30,000 for a night’s lodging and on occasion has been known to offer “guaranteed tiger sightings”

The conservation lobby has often been accused of being elitist and having a stake in the booming tiger tourism business

Upto $25 million is rumoured to have been pumped into Tiger NGOs by foreign donors

No danger to internal security: Jaiswal

Bijnor (UP) (PTI): Dismissing opposition charges that India was facing threat from terrorist outfits, the Centre has said there was no danger to internal security of the country.

"In Jammu and Kashmir, terrorism is at fag-end after 20 years. The naxal-affected Andhra Pradesh is quite calm. There is no danger to internal security of the country," Union Minister of State for Home Shriprakash Jaiswal told reporters here on Thursday.

He charged the opposition parties with misleading people about the danger of terrorist outfits.

"The opposition parties are making a noise and misleading the country on this. But during their regime the terrorists attacked Parliament and other religious places," he said.

Jaiswal said the Centre was providing all possible help, including paramilitary forces, helicopters and other resources to naxal-affected states to fight the maoists..

Claiming that there was no problem of terrorism in Uttar Pradesh, he blamed the CRPF authorities and the state government for the terrorist attack on a CRPF camp in Rampur recently.

Asked about the alleged delay in hanging of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru, Jaiswal said normally it took six years for reaching any decision on such cases.

Why the opposition is making such a hue and cry on this issue in just two years when a decision on assassins of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was taken only after eight years, he said.

Orissa to give Rs 10 lakh naxal attack victims

Bhubaneswar (PTI): Orissa government on Friday announced Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of the home guard, who succumbed to injuries inflicted during naxalite attack in Nayagarh, besides raising allowances of village guards.

The state government has decided that an amount of Rs 10 lakh would be paid to the next of kin of home guard Chintamani Sahoo, who succumbed to his injuries on February 20 during treatment at SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a statement in the Assembly.

The chief minister also announced enhancement of the allowance of village guards (gram rakhis) to Rs 500 per month with effect from April one, 2008 from Rs 400 per month being given to them at present.

In addition, the uniform allowance for gram rakhis was also increased from Rs 110 to Rs 200 which would be paid once in two years instead of once in three years, Patnaik said.

Internal Security Threat No. 1


By declaring the poorest the country’s enemies, the PM has failed the founding fathers’ legacy, says ANAND K. SAHAY

WHEN NAXALITES were first heard of about the midsixties, and later as they gathered steam, they made no bones about preaching and practising armed violence against the state with a view to overthrowing it. They were the only dissenters then to challenge the system with arms. The age of terrorism, as the word is now understood, had not dawned.

The Indian State, for its part, spared no effort to crush the Maoists. On both sides, the fight was noteworthy for its brutality, particularly in West Bengal where it all started. And yet, no high functionary of the state then went so far as to categorise the Naxalites as the country’s internal security threat number one.

Such prognostications are now routine, however. Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has told us that he thinks there is no greater internal security concern than that presented by the Naxalites. But he is yet to spell out his reasons. In this context it may be useful to note an altered feature of the Naxalite movement which tells us who they exactly are.

In the early days, top Naxal leaders as well as local ones, indeed often even the cadre, were middle class revolutionists drawn from the urban milieu who thought they were engaging in class struggle at its purest, ridiculous as the belief was. Attacks on visible symbols of government, such as buses, police stations, post offices and minor officials at local levels were not so common. But killing the “class enemy” in the countryside was. Even middle level peasants were labelled “jotdars” and eliminated.

Today the cadre and local-level leaders are generally the rural poor, and this is the big difference from the past. In several regions of Bihar and Jharkhand, sons of even the middle peasantry are running away to join the armed struggle because the land can’t always support them.

In sum, the Naxalites are segments of the poorest sections of the country’s rural and tribal population who come from some of the agriculturally most depressed parts of the country. The areas where they have been the most successful, such as Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhatisgarh are, however, India’s prime mineral belt that multinationals and top Indian companies are falling over each other to exploit for profit. It is hard to miss the irony.

For all practical purposes, then, the prime minister has declared the poorest sections of the country to be its leading internal security threat. This is hardly the spirit of the development model pursued in India since independence or the spirit of the constitution adopted after the end of colonial rule. One wonders what someone like Nehru might have thought of such branding, or the Mahatma who exhorted all to think of the effect of their actions on the last Indian.

THE NAXALITE violence has grown conspicuous in the last two years and has been on the rise for about a decade. This is the time when the economic growth rates took off. It is apparent that accelerated growth has not meant accelerated development for the poorer regions and the poorer people. Those who did not run away to cities to become vendors or beggars or unemployed lost souls have become Naxalites by choice or circumstance.

Some Naxal formations and their leaders are indeed likely to be mixed up with gun-running or hobnobbing with foreign terrorist outfits. The State must isolate them and fight them. It must act against those who throw bombs or shoot. But the critical weapon in dealing with the poor going over to the side of violence is to invest more in agriculture and irrigation.

This is a truism. When the government loses sight of it, it locks up people like Binayak Sen and looks upon those who sympathise with the Naxalite poor as traitors.

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 8, Dated Mar 01, 2008

CRPF recovers huge cache of arms in Orissa

New Delhi, Feb 22 (ANI): A Central Reserve Police Force battalion on Friday recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunitions from a dump in Ganjam area of Orissa that were suspected to be hidden by the Maoists.

A Central Reserve Police Force battalion on Friday recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunitions from a dump in Ganjam area of Orissa that were suspected to be hidden by the Maoists.

The Vijay 127 battalion of the paramilitary force has recovered 157 weapons which appear to be the ones looted from police stations in Orissa, Inspector General (Operations) A P Maheshwari said.

Maheshwari also said that the cache was having a covering of IEDs.

He said that this battalion was airlifted from Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal to carry out operations against the Maoists.

On Thursday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had said the success of police in last few months seems to have triggered the recent attack by the Maoists in Nayagarh district.

The Union Home Ministry has sent 400 CRPF personnel to Orissa for a long haul against Maoists involved in the Nayagarh attack.

The 'Greyhound' anti-naxal squad from Andhra Pradesh are assisting the personnel to hunt the attackers who shot dead 14 policemen and a civilian and looted armouries in Nayagarh on February 15 night. (ANI)

© 2007 ANI

Did Naxals get safe passage through tribal belt?

Friday February 22 2008 10:59 IST

JEYPORE: A group of armed Naxals of Malkangiri and Koraput who are suspected to be part of the Nayagarh mayhem last week apparently got a safe passage through Koraput district to return home and reach their hideouts.

According to sources, some select cadres of Maoists of Kalimela, Motu and Koraput dalams were present in Malkangiri during Nayagarh attack and two of them were caught by police in Bhanjanagar on Saturday.

The Naxal activities in Kalimela, Motu, Podia, Chitrokonda, Bandhugam, Narayanpatana, Nandapur and Padua areas which fell silent after the Nayagarh incident once again started yesterday with the rumours of death of one person.

One person was allegedly killed by Naxals in Kalimela forest and the police too came across the obstacles placed by them on the Malkangiri-Motu route during their return journey.

Sources said, after taking part in the Nayagarh operation the Maoists took the tribal belt to reach their destination in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh river route two days back.

Combing operation is on in the Naxal-infested areas of Malkangiri and Koraput following the five-day bandh call given by the Maoists from February 20, police said.

No untoward incident was reported during today’s bandh. Police are also checking vehicles in the border areas anticipating the movement of Maoists and arms from neighbouring states.

Maoist mayhem: Clueless after a week

Friday February 22 2008 10:54 IST

BERHAMPUR: Nearly a week after the Naxal attacks at different places in Nayagarh district the police is yet to get any clues which could lead them to the Naxals.

However, on Thursday police rounded up four youths each from Soroda in Ganjam and in G. Udaygiri in Kandhamal district for interrogation.

Meanwhile, combing operation continues in Gasama forest on the Ganjam-Kandhamal border besides several other places in Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada. Four more companies of CRPF and four sniffer dogs have been pressed into service.

With the rumours that Naxals are still present in the jungles doing rounds the SOG, STF, APR, CRPF and greyhounds are on their toes along with senior officials. A group of officials believe that the radicals holed up in the forest would venture out once there face food crisis.

Meanwhile, police who have nabbed a woman and a man from Kupati forest on Saturday identified the two as most wanted Naxals. They have been identified as Pratap Ginibaka and Rina alias Manjulata Muduli.

Police also claimed to have seized a pistol which was looted from Nayagarh.

ORISSA: Man-woman duo claim role in attack Two red arrests after a week

- Man-woman duo claim role in attack

People look at scorched remains of vehicles at Nayagarh police station after rebels attacked the building. File picture
Bhubaneswar, Feb. 21: The Orissa government, “red-faced” after drawing a blank in the publicised six-day-long combing operation, today claimed to have nabbed two rebels — one of them a self-styled area commander.

The two — a woman and a man — were identified as Manjulata Muduli alias Rina and Pratap Kimbaka.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik while informing Assembly members said the arrests were made in a forest near Bhanjanagar in Ganjam.

Providing details, Ganjam superintendent of police S. Devdutt Singh said Bhanjanagar police nabbed the two “suspected Maoists” in the Kupati forest.

A sharp weapon and a pistol without cartridges were seized from them.

During interrogation, the duo reportedly confessed to have played a part in the Nayagarh operation on the night of February 15 that led to deaths of 15 policemen.

Manjulata, a resident of Lachhamakana in coastal Jagatsinghpur, has allegedly been a member since six years. She is the member of the Sambalpur-Deogarh zone committee and was involved in Naxalite operations in Sambalpur, Deogarh and Nayagarh.

Pratap, a tribal youth from Chandrapur under Muniguda police station in Rayagada, was responsible for incidents of violence in neighbouring Khandhamal, Koraput and Kalahandi, besides the recent Nayagarh operation.

On the night of February 15, some 500 heavily armed rebels carried out simultaneous attacks on Nayagarh town police station, district police armoury, police training school, and on two neighbouring police stations at Daspalla and Nuagaon, besides Mahipur outpost. Sixteen people, including 14 personnel, a home guard and a civilian were killed in the attack.

Speaking in the Assembly, the chief minister also conceded that a group of militants was intercepted in Gosama hills under Tikabali police station of Kandhamal on February 16 after the Maoist attacks. He added that there was “heavy” exchange of fire between rebels and forces.

“In this encounter Maoists suffered casualties and their exact numbers are being ascertained,” he added.

“This is the first time that a counter attack of this magnitude was launched so soon after a Naxalite attack.”

On February 18, substantial arms, ammunition and equipment were recovered from the operation site in Gosama hill, added Patnaik.

Though the combing operations are still on and four more companies of CRPF have been pressed into the operations — so far the combined personnel have made little progress.

Raids in villages growing opium

22 Feb 2008, 0343 hrs IST,Abdul Qadir,TNN

GAYA: Incidence of opium cultivation, a serious offence under the NDPS Act has come to light in the Mohanpur area of Gaya district.

The Gaya DM, Jitendra Srivastava, and SP Amit Jain jointly raided Anjawan, Majra and Nauka Tand villages of Mohanpur block of the district.

The district officials unearthed illegal opium cultivation in an area spread over 1.5 acres in these villages.

According to Shamim Akhtar, deputy director, public relations, all the male members of these villages absconded and as such, identification of the opium cultivators could not be immediately ascertained. Revenue officials have been directed to verify the ownership of the land where the illegal cultivation was going on.

A case has also been instituted under the NDPS Act carrying a sentence of ten years' imprisonment against the unknown offenders. The Gaya DM has also sought public co-operation in detecting opium cultivation in other parts of the district, promising complete confidentiality and suitable reward for the informers.

Mohanpur, it may be recalled, is a Naxal stronghold and as such the possibility of opium cultivators enjoying Naxal patronage in exchange of protection money can not be ruled out at this stage, say sources.