Friday, April 18, 2008

'India didn't misread Maoists win in Nepal'

18 Apr 2008, 1322 hrs IST,PTI

NEW DELHI: India on Friday said it did not misread the situation in Nepal, where the Maoists romped to a surprise victory in the recent elections to the Constituent Assembly.

"No question of misreading," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said pointing out that India wanted to have a multi-party democratic system in Nepal.

"We requested the Maoists to join the multi-party democratic political system in Nepal and join the mainstream by giving up violence. They have done so," he told reporters on the sidelines of the India-Arab Investment Projects Conclave.

Mukherjee said the people of Nepal have voted a new Constituent Assembly which will now frame a Constitution.

Asked whether he was open to the idea of giving political asylum to the King of Nepal, Mukherjee shot back "I do not know whether anybody has sought any asylum. It is a hypothetical question."

The Maoists, who are set to lead a new coalition government in Nepal, have said the 240-year-old monarchy will be abolished within a month.

Maoists blast petrol pump in Gaya

18 Apr 2008, 1251 hrs IST,PTI

GAYA: Armed Maoist ultras blasted a petrol pump at Kahudag on National Highway-II in Bihar's Gaya district in the wee hour on Friday said.

Over two hundred heavily armed activists of banned CPI(Maoist) raided the petrol pump of former Gaya district board chairman Bindeshwari Prasad Yadav held its two employees captive and triggered a dynamite blast blowing up the pump equipments and its building, sources said.

They freed both the employees after the operation, they said.

Alleged refusal of extortion money demanded by the Maoists was believed to be the reason behind the incident, sources said adding raids continued at different places to apprehend the Naxalites.

Over 200 Maoists blast petrol pump in Bihar

Kahudag (Bihar), Apr 18 (ANI): A petrol pump at Kahudag on National Highway-II in Gaya district was blasted by armed Maoists today.

Over two hundred heavily armed activists of banned Maoists raided the petrol pump belonging to a former Gaya District Board Chairman Bindeshwari Prasad Yadav.

They held its two employees captive and triggered a dynamite blast.

The blast blew the pump equipments and its building.

Maoists freed both the employees later. Raids continue at different places to apprehend the Naxalites.

The Maoists had allegedly demanded money from the petrol pump owners, which was refused, they said. (ANI)

Orissa to submit blueprint to tackle Maoists

Bhubaneswar: In a bid to tackle Maoists menace in Rayagada and Malkangiri district, Orissa Govt. will soon submit a blue print on its preparedness to Centre. The State Government hopes to get Rs 25 crore from Centre under the Security Related Expenditure scheme.

Earlier the Centre has decided to spend Rs 500 crore under this plan in the 81 Maoists affected districts in a span of five years. In the first year, the Centre has decided to spend Rs 100 crore in the Maoist affected districts of the country.

In the first phase Rayagada and Malkangiri district, Orissa included under Security Related Expenditure scheme. Under this scheme, major thrust would be given on the overall development of infrastructure and improving the socio-economic conditions of the people of the Maoists affected areas.

The State Government hopes to receive Rs 25 crore under this fund. The funds will be spent to meet the critical gap like improving road net works, construction of school buildings, hospital and helipads.

In the second phase, the districts like Deogarh, Samabalpur and Gajapati would come under the security related expenditure.

In order to expedite the developmental process in the Maoists affected areas, a monitoring committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Ajit Tripathy. All secretaries and the DGP are the members of the committee

Anti-naxal unit chief is new head of Octopus

Hyderabad, April 17: In a major reshuffle, second such in the last one month, the State Government on Wednesday issued orders transferring 35 IPS officers of various ranks.

While on the one hand, Home Minister K Jana Reddy along with a team of IPS officers is on a tour to the US to study anti-terror measures being taken up there, on the other, AK Mohanty, Director General of Octopus, a unit formed after last year’s three bomb blasts in the city, was shunted out and posted as Chairman of AP Road Safety Authority!

Senior officer Ch Dwaraka Tirumal Rao, head of the anti-Naxal unit, SIB, has been posted in his place. B Shivdhar Reddy replaces Rao.

Though Octopus was created in October last, it has remained confined to the paper, allegedly due to serious differences between Mohanty and DGP SSP Yadav.

Another key posting was that of Damodar Gautam Sawang, who was on Central deputation with the Central Reserve Police Force for the last few years. He is back as IGP (Law and Order). Another senior IPS officer, SR Tiwari, who was also on Central deputation, returned as IGP (Organisation).

In Hyderabad, DCP (Traffic) Kripanand Tripathi Ujela, who was promoted as DIG, has been posted as Joint Commissioner of Police (Security and Coordination).

Even the West zone DCP N Madhusudhana Reddy was moved out and C Ravi Varma, Joint Director, ACB, was posted in his place.


Orissa government blamed for Maoist menace

By Deba Prasad Dash

Malkangiri (Orissa), April 18: An eerie silence prevailed and fear hanged over Motu and its adjacent areas when this reporter visited the area recently.

Bordering neighboring Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh on the other side of the river Saveri and situated some 100 km from the district headquarter town of Malkangiri , Motu has become a centre point for Maoist activities over the years.

The 100 km road passing thorough deep forest areas are full of potholes. In addition, river Saveri has also become a safe passage for the Maoists to escape into the neighboring Chhattisgarh after committing crime in Orissa and vice versa.

All-round development works still eludes the area and the government has to do a lot for the development of the area. During the day long visit to many bordering villages, people's resentment over the performance of the state government was clear.

Though the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) is in operation in the area, tribal villagers are seen going to the neighboring Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh for getting work under the same scheme there to earn their daily livelihood.

“We are getting comparatively more wages there,” told a tribal labourer to this reporter.

While many tribal villagers expressed keenness to migrate to either Chhattisgarh or Andhra Pradesh as the state government is yet to ensure their all round development like their counterparts just on the other side of Saveri.

Ironically, the people residing in the interior pockets nearer to Motu are still deprived of better road connectivity, electricity, safe drinking water and better health services.

The government is held responsible for the growing of Maoist menace in this tribal dominated Malkangiri district. “Had the state government acted in letter and spirit to find out a lasting solution to this decade long left wing movement then such a situation could have been averted easily,” remarked a government official in Motu.

Remarkably, Malkangiri is the state's worst naxal-hit district with Maoists having claimed lives of many police personnel over the years.

The construction work of roads particularly those of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) have remained stalled in the interior areas possibly because of the naxal terror, said a senior government official at Malkangiri.

While the locals hold the state government responsible for its failure to facilitate development, which they say has provoked the naxal attacks, ordinary people blame the government for failing to restore peace and ensure growth in the area.

The policemen are bearing the burnt for the state government's failure in ensuring development in the core areas dominated by the Maoists, and the government seems callous about the threat posed by the Maoists despite its tall claims and the police end up paying with their lives, a police officer observed.

Regrettably, the state government is yet to ensure proper development of the naxal infested areas like Motu, and with deplorable connectivity and lack of basic facilities the war against the left wing extremists is weakened, remarked a tribal leader at Kalimela.

“Unless food security and socio-economic development in the Maoist infested area is ensured and the construction of the Motu bridge over the river Saveri and the proposed Vijayawada-Motu-Malkangiri-Ranchi National Highway is completed, it would be a tough task on the part of the state government to get rid of the Maoist menace in the district, a senior administrative official pointed out.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Will Gyanendra take shelter in Rajasthan?

17 Apr 2008, 0305 hrs IST,Prakash Bhandari,TNN

SIKAR: As Maoists sweep Nepal polls, royalty-heavy Rajasthan is wondering whether King Gynanendra will flee from the debris of a dismantled monarchy in Kathmandu to the searing sands of Rajasthan. ( Watch )

With increasing speculation that King Gyanendra may take shelter in India, people in Sikar — no strangers to royalties themselves — are watching the developments in the faraway Himalayan nation with mounting interest.

Primarily a city of soldiers and businessmen, Sikar — about 140 km from Jaipur — is home to Princess Himani, wife of Crown Prince Paras Vikram Shah Dev, the son of King Gyanendra.

Part of the reason why Gyanendra's next move is in focus is because the Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, aka Prachanda, has made no secret of his distaste for the Nepalese royals, having regularly threatened to dethrown the monarchy if the Maoists won the Constituent Assembly polls.

While the Nepalese royalty doesn't own any property in this city of roughly 200,000 people, Himani's father, Rao Raja Vikram Singh — a scion of the Sikar royals — owns several properties here.

Incidentally, settled in Kathmandu, Vikram Singh also looks after the business interest of his son-in-law, and would have to return to Sikar if Gyanendra decides to move to Rajasthan.

However, some of Vikram Singh's friends and close relatives insist that Gyanendra is unlikely to come to Sikar even if Vikram Singh returns to his native place.

An old associate informs Vikram Singh had last visited the town about a-year-and-a-half-year ago. The Nepalese royalty have properties in Gurgaon, Delhi, Dehradun, Bangalore, Kolkata, Darjeeling, Varanasi, Patna, Guwahati and Ranchi.

But it's up to the Union government to decide on where to keep him in case he wants to move to India.

According to another source, the King and his son, Paras, may prefer living in separate places in India owing to security reasons and, in that event, it's Paras and not his father who might opt for Sikar.

Paras married Himani in October 2001, not long after the bloodbath at Narayanhity Palace in which King Birendra, Queen Aishwarya among other royals were murdered by an inebriated crown prince Dipendra, who too later died of self-inflicted wounds.

Himani and her two sisters — Reshma Singh, married to an MNC executive and Aparna Singh, a doctor — own the picturesque Reshma Mahal in the city.

The city in Shekhawati region also has close ties to Nepal since one of its previous rulers, Hardayal Singh, was married to the daughter of King Tribhuvan, the grandfather of Gyanendra.

Chhattisgarh taps solar energy to light up Maoist-hit areas

Raipur, April 17 (IANS) Chhattisgarh has lit up through solar energy a massive forested hilly area that has police installations and relief camps but has been vulnerable to Maoist attacks. “The government has spent Rs.14.05 million ($351,956) in the interiors of the state’s worst insurgency-hit districts - Dantewada and Bijapur - since early 2006 to light up 44 forested locations that have either police stations, police posts or relief camps,” an official statement said Thursday.

The solar street light facilities at 480 locations were arranged by the Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency (Creda). The agency has claimed that it will pump in millions of rupees in the coming months for lighting up more inaccessible pockets in the forested southern interiors, which are vulnerable to Maoist attacks.

Creda officials claim that lighting up the police stations, relief camps and police posts of inaccessible pockets of Dantewada and Bijapur will help the police better counter guerrillas, who have carried out dozens of attacks in the past two years in these districts under the cover of darkness.

The Creda has recently installed solar lights at Rani Bodli village in Bijapur where Maoists carried out a massive attack on a police camp March 15, 2007, and massacred 55 cops.

Chhattisgarh’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said it has planned to light up a little over 1,200 villages of the state’s remote hilly terrain with solar energy in the next two years.

However, the government’s top priority is to provide light to the police stations and the government-run relief camps in Dantewada and Bijapur.

According to officials, around 50,000 people, mostly tribals, have been living in these camps since the launch of the government-backed civil militia movement - Salwa Judum - in June 2005.

Railways soft target of Maoists in Bihar, Jharkhand

Patna, April 17 (IANS) With at least three attacks in the past week, the railways have increasingly become a soft target for the Maoists in Bihar, the home state of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad. The rebels Wednesday night blew up a railway track near Nathganj railway station in Gaya on the Grand Chord section of the East Central Railway (ECR), about 100 km from here.

The Maoists also abducted six railway officials, including the station master of Nathganj, but released them later. The attack held up rail traffic for nearly seven hours.

“The railways has become a soft target for the Maoists, they take advantage of lack of adequate security,” admitted a railway official at the ECR headquarters in Hajipur, about 30 km from here.

“It is easy for Maoists to target railways, including tracks and stations, and attack Railway Police Force (RPF) and Government Railway Police (GRP),” another senior railway official said Thursday,requesting anonymity.

The latest attack came an hour before the end of the deadline of a 24-hour strike by the Maoists. The strike began Tuesday night with a similar attack on Fesar railway station in Aurangabad district on Gaya-Mughalsarai section of the ECR.

Then too the rebels held three railway officials captive for nearly four hours.

The neighbouring state of Jharkhand also is facing the onslaught of the Maoists. During the strike call, rebels Wednesday blasted rail track between the Hazaribagh Road and Parasnath railway stations in Giridih district of the state.

The attack affected rail traffic on the Grand Chord section of Jharkhand, the main line that connects eastern and northern India.

Similarly, last Sunday the Maoists attacked Jhajha railway station in Jamui district on the busy Patna-Howrah mainline section in Bihar, killing six people, including four policemen, and looted arms and ammunitions.

Shocked by the spate of attacks that has virtually caught them napping, the GRP and the RPF have been issued fresh orders to increase patrolling, deploy additional forces at stations and launch search operations.

“In last one week, the railways suffered loss in crores (tens of millions) after Maoists attacked railways stations, blasted railway tracks and has forced cancellation of many long route trains,” a railway official said.

Maoists blow up railway track in Bihar

Patna, Apr 17 (ANI): Activists of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) blew up a railway track near Nathganj railway halt on Gaya-Kodrama rail section at midnight.

The blast affected rail traffic for over six hours.
Maoists also abducted six railway staff but later they were released.
According to sources, the train services have been restored since 7:00 a.m.
On Wednesday, about 20 Maoists blew up a four-meter-long railway track between the Hazaribagh Road and Parasnath Railway stations in Jharkhand’s Giridih District.
The blast had affected railway traffic on the Grand Chord section of Jharkhand, the main line that connects eastern and northern India. (ANI)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Naxalites storm railway station in Aurangabad

Aurangabad (Bihar), Apr 16 (ANI): Over 200 armed Naxalites raided the Fesar Railway Station on the Aurangabad-Mughalsarai section and held five of its employees captive for several hours, police sources said on Wednesday.
Railway traffic was disrupted for over two hours on the East Central Railway section. The railway employees were later freed by the Naxalites.
In a separate incident in neighbouring Jharkhand, armed Naxalites blasted a two-metre stretch of railway track at Choudary-Baandh in Giridih District in the early hours on Wednesday, disrupting train services in the Dhanbad division.
The Maoists also set afire a truck at Tamar, about 50 km from Ranchi.
A 24-hour shutdown was called by the Naxalites in Jharkhand and Bihar on Wednesday to protest against the killing of eight of their associates in an encounter near Garwah earlier this month.
According to reports, several long distances vehicles were off the roads due to the shutdown, affecting loading and unloading at mineral sites. (ANI)

Maoist strike call evokes mixed response in Bihar

Patna, April 16 (IANS) A strike call by Maoists evoked a mixed response in Bihar Wednesday. Urban areas were largely unaffected while normal life was hit in some rural areas. No major violence or attempt to create trouble was reported across the state during the state-wide 24-hour strike that started late Tuesday night, police sources said.

State police chief S.K. Jha told newspersons here that Maoist strike has so far passed off peacefully except for one incident. Five railway officials were held captive late Tuesday night at Saser railway station in the Aurangabad-Mughalsarai section. They were later released but it disrupted railway traffic for a short duration.

Jha said that a red alert has been sounded and police officers were asked to keep extra vigil.

Maoists had given strike call in Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa and Chhattisgarh to protest against the killing of their cadres in police encounters at Bandu forests in Jharkhand’s Garhwa district earlier this month.

Official sources in the home department said that the Maoist strike call evoked no response in urban areas including Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur and Purnea.

Normal life in some rural areas, regarded as Maoist strongholds, in Aurangabad, Arwal and Gaya districts were affected.

“Business establishment and educational institutions were affected by the strike in Aurangabad and Arwal,” an official said.

Railway sources said that over six passenger trains had been cancelled and some were diverted. Railway stations across the state were alerted Monday and the railway police hastily increased patrolling and deployed additional forces a day after six people including four policemen were killed in a surprise attack by Maoist guerrillas on Jhajha railway station in Jamui district on the busy Patna-Howrah mainline section.

Shocked by the attack that had virtually caught them napping, the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) issued fresh orders to increase patrolling, deploy additional forces at railway stations and launch search operations.

Force beef-up to take on red army

15 Apr 2008, 0248 hrs IST,Kumod Verma,TNN

Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF), a crack team within RPF, will be deployed at all ‘sensitive’ stations to prevent a repeat of Sunday’s Maoist attack at Jhajha station. Six persons, including five policemen, were killed, arms looted from the RPF post and the station extensively damaged. The Eastern Central Railway (ECR) has also decided to intensify track patrolling in Maoist-affected areas and operate light engines before mail and express trains.

These were among several major decisions taken at a high-level emergency meeting of the ECR top brass in Patna on Monday morning following the daring attack the previous evening. The unprecedented beef-up in security at all vulnerable places under ECR zone in Bihar and Jharkhand will take effect immediately.

In the meeting held at the residence of ECR general manager Girish Bhatnagar, Jasidih-Jhajha, Patna-Buxar, Patna-Gaya, Gaya-Dhanbad, Barkakana-Daltonganj-Mughalsari and Gaya-Mughalsari sections have been identified as extremely vulnerable to Maoist attacks.

In the past couple of years, Maoists have frequently targeted railways to create panic among the common people as well as to loot the railway armed force’s weapons. A passenger train was hijacked in Palamu in March, 2006.

There were three more attacks on stations the same year and an attempt to derail a passenger train. In 2007, Narganjo station was attacked twice. The losses following these attacks ran into crores.

Expressing shock at the incident, a senior railway official said the railways had decided to launch a joint operation with the government railway police (GRP) to check Maoists activities in and around railway premises. It was also decided that track patrolling will be intensified at the stretches identified as vulnerable. "There will be day and night patrolling at these stretches," a source said.

That apart, it has been decided to operate a light engine ahead of mail and express trains at these sections to prevent a major accident in case extremists are able to plant explosives. In Kolkata, railway minister Lalu Prasad blamed the Bihar government for Sunday’s attack. According to him, the government had failed to contain Naxal-related violence in Bihar.

"The Naxals have increased their activities in north Bihar, particularly along the Indo-Nepal border. The state government has failed to check the activities of Maoists," Lalu told reporters in Kolkata on Monday morning, demanding immediately combing operations to arrest those responsible for the attack.

"The railways have turned into a soft target for Naxals. At Jhajha, they blew up the GRP station. A jawan was killed and important trains like the Rajdhani Express were held up. The railways is the country’s property and needs to be protected at all costs," Lalu said. A GRP officer also said the force needed to be modernised to effectively counter Maoists.

Naxalites turn to cannabis to finance terror

16 Apr, 2008, 1606 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: The Maoists have now ventured into the highly profitable and illegal trade of cannabis to finance their terror operations across the country, the government said on Wednesday.

Cannabis cultivation and its trade have become a source of finance for the CPI (Maoist) in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa, minister of state for home affairs, Prakash Jaiswal, informed the Rajya Sabha.

Jaiswal said that Maoists also get protection money from narcotics traders who engage in trafficking and also safe passage money from narcotics smugglers.

"In its strongholds, the CPI (Maoist) collects 'levy' from licensee cannabis cultivators who cultivate excess land over and above the permitted limits," Jaiswal added.

Analysis of data provided to Lok Sabha regarding Naxalite violence and its casualties point to the fact that the Naxals have been able to make inroads into states where their activities were hitherto unknown.

As per data provided by the home Ministry, 1,565 incidents of Naxalite violence were reported from 13 states in 2007 whereas 1509 incidents were reported from 11 states in the preceding year.
Jaiswal also said there is no specific evidence available to indicate any nexus between the country's Naxals, the Maoists of Nepal and Pakistan's ISI.

Government Railway Police puts the blame on railways

16 Apr 2008, 0302 hrs IST,Kumod Verma,TNN

PATNA: The Government Railway Police (GRP) does not seem to agree with railway minister Lalu Prasad's remarks that the Bihar government is to be blamed for the recent Maoist attack at Jhajha railway station. On the contrary, GRP feels that the railways have miserably failed to provide adequate facilities to GRP, particularly at stations in Naxal-hit areas of Bihar and Jharkhand, to deal with any adverse circumstances effectively.

According to a GRP official, soon after the Maoist attack at Kajra station in Munger and loot of weapons in 2004, the railways promised that a separate and safe armoury would be built at each important station for GRP for protection of weapons. The railways also announced that boundary walls would be constructed along tracks, specially in Maoist-affected places. But nothing happened.

"Even today these remain still a distant dream for GRP personnel who are condemned to live in inhuman conditions at railway stations," he said. "GRP has neither the adequate number of personnel nor sophisticated weapons to take on the might of Maoists. In the last three to four decades, the strength of GRP has not been increased even as the number of trains and platforms went up considerably."

Besides, the volume of passenger traffic has increased manifold these days posing a tough challenge to GRP, he said adding various kinds of crimes have also registered a steep increase on running trains and at platforms.

According to sources, GRP requires immediate deployment of more personnel as even the load combination of each mail and express train has gone up to 24 compartments.

Ironically, the strength of GRP remains the same as it was in 1947. "GRP then used to deal with petty crimes. But today, GRP personnel have to confront extremists with their archaic guns," Patna GRP inspector Alok Kumar said.

Expressing shock at the recent Maoist attack in which several precious lives of policemen were lost, a senior GRP official said weapons dating back to the Second World War are not sufficient to combat the growing menace of Maoists in Bihar. "Aware of the fact that these Maoists are using sophisticated weapons, GRP personnel often lack courage to challenge them in any emergency," he said. "Moreover, GRP stations are deprived of wireless sets or other equipment needed to maintain direct communication with the armed squads escorting running trains."

Special security for naxal areas during election: DGP

Mangalore, April 16: Director General of Police K R Srinivasan held a meeting with the superintends of police (SPs) of Western Range comprising Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada and Chikmagalur districts, here on Monday, to discuss about the security measures during the elections scheduled to be held on May 16.

Speaking to media persons after the meeting, he said that the police officials concerned discussed about the steps to be taken during elections, the requirement of police personnel and reserve police for poll duty among other issues. The services of police personnel on poll duty in the first phase, will be utilised for the second phase as well, he said and added that special security will be provided at naxal affected areas.

Stating that tight vigil will be maintained in border areas, Srinivasan said that the SPs concerned will take steps to guard the border areas in association with the officials of the Excise department.

To a query on the transfer of police officers during elections, Srinivasan said that those police officers who have served for more than three years in a particular place besides the localites are being transferred. He also added that all the transfers are being made as per the guidelines of the Election Commission.

Meanwhile, he refused to comment on the protest staged by the police officers in Kolar over the alleged suspension of Kolar SP. “The police officers on protest have been attending duty since Sunday noon,” he said.

IGP (Western Range) A M Prasad was present.

Naxalites blow up railway track in Jharkhand

Ranchi (PTI): Naxalites on Wednesday blew up a stretch of the railway track in Giridih district, disrupting train services during a 24-hour bandh called by them in Jharkhand to protest the killing of their associates in an encounter last month.

Several trains were stranded after the ultras blasted a two-metre stretch of rail track at Choudary-Baandh in Jharkhand under Dhanbad railway division, police said.

The maoists also set afire a truck at Tamar, about 50 km from Ranchi.

According to reports, several long distances vehicles were off the roads due to the bandh, affecting loading and unloading at mineral sites.

The naxalites have called the bandh to protest against the killing of eight of their associates in an encounter near Garwah in Jharkhand earlier this month.

Security has been tightened in naxal-infested areas and police is patrolling railway tracks.

The police have intensified action against the maoists ever since the Chilkaridih massacre in Giridih district in which 20 people, including son of former chief minister Babulal Marandi, were killed six months ago.

MAHARASTRA : ANO guns to blaze from choppers

16 Apr 2008, 0255 hrs IST,Soumittra S Bose,TNN

NAGPUR: The state anti-naxal operation cell is finally getting a Dauphin N-3 helicopter to counter Maoist insurgency in the jungle terrain of some Vidarbha districts.

The services of a helicopter were last requisitioned in Vidarbha during an operation in January 2007 when a naxal commander was killed. Choppers were also used during the 2004 general elections.

Sources claimed that a 10-seater fighter helicopter from the central government-owned Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited is likely to arrive in the Orange city towards the end of this month. Apart from counter operations, the helicopter would be useful in transporting manpower, resources, medicinal help and other facilities.

Sanction of the helicopter was part of the various demands by families of police personnel affected by the naxal onslaught. The families of personnel killed or maimed in the anti-naxal operations wanted the helicopter to ensure that the injured are quickly transported from the jungles to the cities for better medical attention.

Initially sanctioned for two months from April onwards, the helicopter service is expected to be made a permanent feature in the near future. "The first two months would help the government to work out the logistics of using a helicopter in the counter-insurgency strategy on a long term basis," claimed a highly placed source.

The proposal, though mooted quite some time back, reportedly gained momentum in 2003 after the state government pursued it. Though newer technologies like Global Positioning Systems have already been introduced in the districts facing Maoist insurgency, the need for a helicopter was felt to effectively counter the rebels in the highly forested areas of Vidarbha.

Sources claimed that the proposal got a boost after the central government showed keenness to help the state with the approvals, when the naxal aggression started becoming a cause of concern in the neighbouring state of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh also. Union home minister Shivraj Patil, during his visit to Aurangabad in the first week of April, had reportedly expressed his eagerness to ensure the state gets the approval for the helicopter to strengthen its anti-naxal operation.

Centre backs anti-Maoist group

New Delhi, April 15: The Centre has thrown its weight behind a band of armed tribals floated to counter Maoists in Chhattisgarh, shrugging off months of reluctance to be publicly identified with the state-backed group.

The Union government today opposed the disbanding of the Salwa Judum, the group armed by the Chhattisgarh government to take on the Maoists, but agreed to a probe into alleged human rights excesses committed by individual activists.

“To assume that the Salwa Judum was an army of people with weapons and asking for it to be disbanded will be no more than asking for these people to be pushed out to be killed (by the Naxalites),” additional solicitor-general Gopal Subramanium told the Supreme Court. The court is hearing a batch of petitions seeking to have the group dismantled.

This is the first time the Centre is speaking out in favour of the Salwa Judum. Neither the Centre nor the Congress had done so before.

Union home minister Shivraj Patil is on record saying the government disapproved of arming individuals to fight Naxalites. Ajit Jogi, the seniormost Congress leader from Chhattisgarh and former chief minister, too, has been an outspoken opponent of the Salwa Judum and wants the offensive called off.

Both the Centre and the Congress believe it is the job of the state to counter the Naxalites, not of individuals or groups. Human rights groups in the state have called the 2-year-old Salwa Judum a state-sponsored civil war in which hundreds of lives have been lost. However, the Salwa Judum’s campaign continues in the Bastar jungles.

At the core of the problem is Mahendra Karma, Congress MLA and leader of Opposition in the Chhattisgarh assembly. The Salwa Judum is his brainchild. Karma is a tribal leader from the Naxalite-affected Bastar and has made common cause with the BJP government in the state against the Naxalites.

Last year, Karma was summoned by the Congress high command to New Delhi and told to disown the Salwa Judum. Karma refused and dared the party to punish him. The Congress’s hands are probably tied because Karma has built a strong tribal constituency around the Salwa Judum campaign and is in a position to hold the party hostage.

In the petitions to the Supreme Court, activists Kartam Joga, Nandini Sundar, E.A.S. Sarma and Ramachandra Guha have alleged widespread rights violations by members of the Salwa Judum. They have also sought an independent inquiry into the alleged human rights violations committed by the counter-insurgency force.

At the last hearing, the Supreme Court had criticised the government for arming citizens. “How can the state give arms to some persons? The state will be abetting in a crime if these private persons kill others,” the court had said.

However, when the hearing resumed today, the Centre said the situation was “alarming” and “serious” on the ground. “No policeman worth his salt was even willing to venture into the jungle,” Subramanium said.

He said the state government had only appointed a few special police officers to protect people who had been fleeing from the Naxalites and taking shelter in camps. But the petitioners alleged that 50,000-odd people had been displaced by the excesses.

Subramanium, however, agreed to a probe into the allegations of excesses and suggested one by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

The court then directed NHRC, which had issued a notice to the Chhattisgarh government, to send a fact-finding mission to Bastar and submit a report. The case will come up for hearing again after eight weeks.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sympathies may cross borders

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 02:00 IST

SRINAGAR: With Maoists poised to form the next government in Nepal, the Border Security Force (BSF) on Tuesday cautioned that Naxalities in India may get sympathies if not direct support from the newly empowered red brigade there.

“No direct links between Nepali Maoists and Naxalites in India have been established. But what turn it will take in the near future, your guess is as good as mine. When you have a Marxist government in Nepal, there may possibly be sympathies with Maoists here. It is too early to say anything,” said AK Mitra, BSF director general (DG) here.
Mitra was speaking to the media after the passing out parade of recruits at the Subsidiary Training Centre (STC) at Humhama.

Regarding reports of disappointment over the sixth pay panel recommendations, he said it is not necessary for the government to accept everything in the report.

“It is true that not every demand has been met. But it is not that we did not get anything. Yet these are only the recommendations and the government reserves the right not to accept them,” he said.

On reports of Kashmiri militants sneaking in through Bangladesh or Nepal, he said, “We cannot rule out the possibility of Kashmiri militants entering the hinterland from there but there is no definite evidence in this regard,” he said.

Naxals attack Koderma-Hazaribag-Barka-kana-Ranchi railway line

15 Apr 2008, 0248 hrs IST,Abhijit Sen,TNN

HAZARIBAG: Sixty armed Maoists headed by their sub-zonal commander Krishna Yadav raided the camp office of East Central Railway (ECR) contractor Sanjay Kumar Singh at village Bes Resham under Hazaribag Mufassil police station, about 30 km away from here, and set it on fire, said SP Praveen Kumar Singh here on Monday.

The SP said that property over Rs 3 crore was destroyed in the fire.

According to sources, the Naxals also severly assaulted the staff and workers.

"It was a major setback to the progress of the construction work of Koderma-Hazaribag-Barka-kana-Ranchi railway line which was oging on in full swing. Now all work has been completely stopped at the project site known as Reach 21. The contract for Reach 21 was allotted to the Ranchi-based company, Highway Hiden Company," said the SP.

According to reports, the Maoists were demanding 10 to 15 per cent levy and had allegedly threatened the contractor that if their demands were not fulfilled they will not be allowed to work.

As the contractor, Sanjay Kumar Singh, ignored the threatening calls and carried on his work, this made the extremists furious and they decided to strike, said a worker. According to some of the staff, due to non-availability of diesel no construction work was done on April 10 and 12. It was only on April 12, when the contractor purchased 1,000 litres of diesel and filled about 650 litres in various machines, when work resumed. The remaining 350 litres was kept in stock.The Maoists probably got this information and attacked the office after taking the staff as hostage. They then snatched the keys of the store room and brought the stored diesel and after pouring it everywhere they set the entire office on fire. The destroyed equipment include one pocklain machine, four Haiwa vehicles (dumpers), one jeep, one compressor machine, one wagon drilling machine, a dozer and a generator worth Rs 3 crore.

After the Maoists left the contractor rushed to Hazaribagh mufassil police station and lodged a case.

The SP said security forces along with STF, CRPF and the district police have reached there and started combing operation for nabbing the extremists.

He also alleged that the contractor did not inform the police about the threatenings which he received from the Maoists.

Had he informed the police about it this incident could have been averted. He also regretted that recently he had held several rounds of meetings with the deputy chief railway engineer but he also did not inform the police about any threat.

SC asks NHRC to probe Salwa rights violation

16 Apr, 2008, 0029 hrs IST,Sanjay K Singh, TNN

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the National Human Rights Commission to inquire into allegations of human rights violations by Salwa Judum (Peace Mission) activists in Chhattisgarh.

The Centre, however, backed government’s counter-Naxal measures saying that the ultras movement has reached an alarming situation in the state. A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice R V Raveendran directed NHRC to appoint a committee to inquire into alleged human rights violations in the state.

The court asked the commission to present a report on the matter within 2 months. Additional solicitor-general Gopal Subramanium appearing for Centre said: “The situation in the state has reached an alarming situation. The objective of the Naxal movement is two fold: Every people’s resistance is viewed as enemy aimed at destruction. Second, the Special Police Officers created to counter the menace is also viewed as opponent to be killed.”

Subramanium cited 211 killings by Naxals in which 3 politicians were also killed. He also said that the Naxals were behind the killings of 60 people with the feudal background.

“It shows that the situation has reached an alarming proportion which necessitates tough counter insurgency measures,” said Subramanium. To substantiate the claim of Naxal menace reaching an alarming proportion in the state, Subramanium produced the relevant material and photographs showing killings by Naxalites.

“Our stand is that of backing of the state government’s counter insurgency measures, irrespective of the political persuasion of the state government,” said Subramanium.

However, Subramanium said that the Centre has no difficulty into an independent inquiry of alleged human rights violations by the people’s movement of Salwa Judum. Chhattisgarh government, on the other hand, in an affidavit told the Supreme Court that Naxal menace has reached alarming proportion in the state and it cannot stifle any people’s initiative in the form of Salwa Judum movement to combat the ultras’ illegal activities.

Motu remains an unsafe corner of Orissa

By Deba Prasad Dash
Malkangiri (Orissa), April 15: Though Naveen Patnaik Government since long had promised to build a bridge with an estimated cost of about Rs 15 crore over river Saveri in Motu area of this backward district to provide better communication facility to the people of Malkangiri, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, particularly the security forces to have effective patrolling across the border to curb the naxal menace, but could not fulfill the promise till date.

The government's shortcoming has come as a boon for the Maoists, who have turned this bordering area into their home since long. Situated some 100 km from the district

headquarter town of Malkangiri on the banks of river Saveri bordering Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Motu still remains underdeveloped despite the tall claims of the state government to have undertaken welfare works here.

Had the state government been sincere in its approach to tackle the naxal menace, the Motu bridge could have been built much earlier, said a local leader of Motu.

Tender for this bridge worth crores of rupees had been made several times in the past, but to no use.

No agency, however, reportedly wanted to execute the work because of the naxal threat.

Despite the naxal threat the district police administration will give adequate security to the agency to be entrusted the bridge work by the state government for the smooth execution of the work, Superintendent Police Satish Kumar Gajbhiye said.

The anti-naxal operation across the border will be further strengthened with the joint operation by the police of the Orissa and Chhattisgarh, he added.

Expressing their displeasure over the state government's apathy towards Motu region, several locals blamed the government for the situation and told this reporter that the state government is not serious enough about the Maoist threat.

Moreover, communication infrastructure still eludes the area. And this has forced many government employees posted here prefer to stay in the district headquarter town or go on leave and later take transfer citing inadequate facilities like communication, accommodation facility, drinking water and electricity, apart from the Maoist threat.

“If Orissa government does not care for our problem, we would be left with no option but to merge with Chhattisgarh,” remarked a villager of Motu.

It is because of the geographical location, that the people at Motu do not feel safe even during the day time, thanks to the government's negligence.

It is still a punishment to work in Motu, admitted a Government official at Motu. While the area has been neglected by the successive governments, the people just on the other side of the river ‘Saveri' (Chhattisgarh) have been provided with better communication infrastructure by the Chhattisgarh government there, he said.

The prevailing scenario in Motu is the outcome of the negligence of the successive state governments towards Motu, remarked a Government official at Malkangiri.

Cannot stifle Salwa Judum: Chhattisgarh to SC

15 Apr, 2008, 0333 hrs IST,Sanjay K Singh, TNN

NEW DELHI: The Chhattisgarh government has told the Supreme Court that the Naxal menace has reached alarming proportions in the state and it cannot stifle Salwa Judum, a people’s initiative to combat ultras’ violent and illegal activities.

The state government said that the Centre supports its anti-Naxal measures and the view of Union minister of state for commerce Jairam Ramesh that the Salwa Judum movement should be reviewed in the wake of migration of tribals to Andhra Pradesh, was entirely his personal opinion.

The affidavit of the Chhattisgarh government states, “during 2007, Naxalites committed 635 offences in which 242 civilians and 125 policemen were killed in the state.

“During 2006, Naxalites committed 807 offences in which 39 police personnel and 326 civilians were killed, as against 604 offences in 2005 in which 46 police personnel and 130 civilians were killed. The main targets of Naxal violence were the security forces including special police officers (SPOs) and tribals associated with Salwa Judum.”

The government said that the Naxal outfits were targeting police posts, schools, panchayat bhawans, railway properties, electricity towers, mining and related activities. “They (Naxals) destroyed 55 primary school buildings, 8 panchayat bhawans, 9 ashram bhawans, 9 hostels, 8 anganwadi centres, 18 other buildings in the last three years. There were also cases of destruction of electric towers resulting in blackouts in many parts of the Naxal-affected regions,” the affidavit pointed out.

It said that the people of Chhattisgarh, due to the fear of Naxalites, were segregating in the camps. Even these camps were being attacked by Naxalites, it added.

Citing these data to substantiate its plea that the Naxal menace has reached alarming proportions in the state, the affidavit said, “the state cannot stifle any people’s initiative to resist a patently illegal organisation and its activities.”

The government said it had appointed 3,400 SPOs in accordance with the provisions of the Police Act. “The SPOs have been very useful in tackling grave problems like terrorism, insurgency in certain parts of the country and Naxalism. The role played by SPOs in controlling certain extraordinary situations of threat to national security has been lauded. For example, the state of Jammu & Kashmir has thousands of SPOs,” said the affidavit.

Refuting allegations that the government was arming civilians to counter Naxals, the state government, however, conceded that “it may be a sheer coincidence that certain members of Salwa Judum have also become SPOs.”

Monday, April 14, 2008

6 killed in Maoist attack on rly police in Bihar

Jamui (Bihar) (PTI): With a GRP personnel succumbing to injuries, the toll in the Maoist attack on Jhaha railway station in the district has climbed to six, officials said Monday.

Over 500 heavily-armed naxalites raided the government railway police station at Jhaha on Sunday and forced its employees and officials to leave before triggering a dynamite blast.

The police station was partially damaged in the blast.

The naxalites later engaged the policemen in a fierce encounter. While five persons, including four securitymen, died on the spot or on way to hospital, one died at night. Two persons were injured.

IG (operation) S K Bhardwaj said the Maoists looted 27 3.15 rifles, six self-loading rifles, two carbines and 898 rounds of ammunition.

Two persons, including a woman, were arrested in connection with the attack, he said.

Poor tribal youth drawn to Maoists groups in Orissa

Dhenkanal (Orissa), April 14 (ANI): Many unemployed tribal youth from Kankdahad Block of Orissas Dhenkanal district are being persuaded to join Maoist groups, who promise them shelter and livelihood.

Today, the Kankdahad Block has become a breeding ground for Maoists, who want to extend their influence among the tribals. The process has been on for the last couple of years.

An area covered by dense forests, Kankdahad is inhabited by tribals who live in appalling conditions. Forest produce has been their main livelihood for decades.
Maoists are promising the youth a better life. Young people are being lured to join the Maoist cadres.

The Maoists call the boys and girls of the village.

If the invitation is declined, their men start beating us. Due to this fear many of them have joined. On the other hand, the police have also been warning and threatening us not to help the Maoists. We are terrorised from both sides,” said Sita Hembrum, a villager, Kankdahad Block in Dhenkanal.
Home Secretary of the State says that the youth are lured into joining the groups because of unemployment.

“Actually it is a fact that unemployed youth are given some sort of inducement . Yes, there are instances of boys and girls inducted into cadres. We need some clues,” said T. K. Mishra, the State Home Secretary.

The implementation of the Forest Act has imposed restrictions, which made it difficult for people to collect wood or take out any kind of produce from the forests. People are forced to remain idle, as they have no other avenues of employment.
Facing pangs of hunger and poverty and exploitation at the hands of local leaders , the youngsters have little choice except to join Naxalites.
The local administration has been planning imparting training for alternate employment opportunity for youth, but the progress is slow. (ANI)

Massive manhunt is on to nab Naxalites in Bihar

Jhajha, Apr 14 (ANI): A massive manhunt is on to nab the Naxalites responsible for the attack at Jhajha Railway station and an alert has been sounded throughout the State.

In Sundays Naxalite attacks in Jhajha on New Delhi-Howrah line in Jamui district, five people including four security personnel were killed and four others were injured.

About 500 heavily armed ultras raided the Government Railway police post at the station and blasted it with dynamite. The ultras also engaged the policemen in a fierce encounter.

Several firearms including rifles and carbines and hundreds of ammunitions were looted from the armoury at the police post.

The attack had brought the rail traffic to a halt and several important trains including the Rajdhani Express were held up at different points as a security measure.

Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav has criticized the Bihar Government for not being able to tackle the law and order situation. He said it should deal with the terrorist activities with top priority.

Terrorist activities in North-Bihar and adjoining border areas of Nepal in the State are increasing day by day, he added.

The Naxalites operate out of jungle bases across a swathe of 13 Indian states running up the eastern flank of the country.

Their influence has been growing and now stretches across large parts of rural eastern, central and southern India. (ANI)

Gumla in Jharkhand resists Naxal violence

Gumla (Jharkhand), April 14 (ANI): For centuries, the place where todays Gulma district of Jharkhand exists, was a rendezvous for people from the hinterland who converged here to exchange goods under the barter system.

The place was then known as Gaw-Mela in which the Gaw stood for cows and the cattle and Mela for fair. But today, it is a tribal-dominated Gumla district and spread over an area of 5,327 square kilometers.

Having a populace of about 700,000, the place attracts attention, as almost every family here survives on traditional means of livelihood like agriculture. But the locals are affected by Naxalites.

As, it happened recently when the Naxalites attacked the villagers in Semra-Bhandratoli area and killed nine individuals, which included a child and three women. The deceased are reported to be members of a local peace group, the Shanti Sena, whose chief Bhado Singh was also killed.

I saw people crying and wailing. I asked them what was the matter. They told me that Naxalites had killed Bhado Singh and other people. The Naxalites also set on fire the vehicle of the victims with their dead bodies, said one villager.
Shanti Sena is determined to continue its work and help people of the area see a ray of hope in Shanti Sena.

They live with the hope that the Naxalite, who profess to be fighting for villagers rights, will give up violence. (ANI)

Three CPM men shot in Salboni by Naxalites

14 Apr 2008, 0508 hrs IST,Sukumar Mahato,TNN

SALBONI: A CPM leader and two party supporters were abducted and murdered, allegedly by Maoists, at Garmal in Salboni on Sunday. Four others were injured, but managed to escape. The killings have shaken residents of Salboni, Belpahari, Binpur, Lalgarh and Chandrakona. They fear more Maoist attacks in the run-up to the rural polls.

All the victims were engaged in road construction under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and working on Garmal-Salboni Road when they were kidnapped. Police found Maoist posters on the bodies of CPM Garmal branch committee secretary Mukul Tewari (31), Naba Kumar Murmu (47) and Jugal Murmu (30). Among the injured, the condition of Birendranath Singh is said to be critical.

"Ten of us were working near Garmal jungle when seven gunmen suddenly attacked us. I ran into the forest and instantly heard gunshots. After around 30 minutes, I went back and found three bodies," said Tapas Roy, who escaped unscathed. The attackers tied Manglu Murmu, Gopinath Hembram and Amiya Kisku to trees and shot them, but somehow, the three survived. Singh, who tried to fight them, was shot in the abdomen. He is still clinging to life.

According to the survivors, the Maoists asked if they knew the NREG scheme was riddled with corruption. "We know the CPM-held panchayat is running this project without caring for rules," they said. The workers remained silent.

Then, the Maoists asked who among them was a gram panchayat member. Local CPM panchayat member Madhusudan Singh was present there, but had hidden behind a tree when the Maoists attacked. None of the labourers gave him away.

Even as Singh watched, the attackers started shooting. They dragged three men and shot them in the head. The others were shot at too.

The incident has rattled the administration. The additional SP, DSP and other officers rushed to the
spot with a huge force. Combing operations have been launched, but no one has been arrested. Eight persons have been detained.

"I have instructed police to ensure that villagers are not scared of joining the job guarantee scheme," said Midnapore SDO Ashoke Saha.

"We are not sure if the Maoists killed our supporters though several posters have been found on the spot. Some of our workers suspect that Trinamool Congress hired goons to commit the murder and left the posters to distract people," said CPM's Salboni zonal committee secretary Shyam Pandey. "And, if it was the Maoists, everyone knows of their double standard. They kill the same poor people whom they claim they are fighting for."

Trinamool rejected the claim. "CPM is making false allegations against us because they are losing support in the area," claimed Trinamool district president Mrigen Maity.

SP R Raja Shekharan said it was too early to conclude that Maoists had killed the trio.

Mangalore: 'Stringent Security Measures During Elections' - DGP

Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore (MM)
Pics: Prajwal Ukkuda

Mangalore, Apr 14: K R Srinivasan, Director General of Police who visited city on Monday April 14 had a detailed discussion with the SPs of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Chickmaglur and Uttar Kannada districtst in connection with security arrangements during the forthcoming state Assembly elections.

Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, he said, additional forces will be deployed in the Naxal affected areas. He said that candidates who are facing threat to their lives will be provided with gunmen.

All the boarder areas of the state abutting other states will be screened a day before the election and suspicious vehicles, people will be checked.

All the superior police officers are alerted to take preventive measures to avoid untoward incidents, he added

Additional excise check posts will be opened at the boarder points to check illegal flow of liquor into the state. He also asked the police officials to be in touch with the SPs of boarder districts of neighbouring states during election time. Police officials were instructed to work jointly with excise department.

Central forces will also be deployed to maintain law and order.The strength of the Central force will be decided by the Central government, he said.

Speaking about the commissionerate status for Mangalore city police, he said that the new state government will take decision.

A M Prasad, western range IGP was present on the occasion.

Maoists hike their levies too

DNA Correspondent

Naxals earn Rs 1,000 cr in ’07, increase levies to set target of 1,125 cr for ’08

HYDERABAD: A revenue collection of Rs1,000 crore in 2007 and a target of Rs1,125 crore for 2008 with a 25% increase in levies.

These innocuous-looking figures are not part of the yearly fiscal report and projections of some government agency, but ominous snippets from the annual Maoist budget.
Recent documents and hard disks seized from Misir Mishra, a central committee member of the CPI (Maoist) arrested in Jharkhand last month, reveal that the naxals not only run a parallel government in certain pockets of the country but also have a well-organised ‘finance ministry’ which maintains a record of every penny earned and spent, hikes taxes and sets targets.

According to Mishra’s revelations, Maoists collected over Rs1,000 crore in 2007 through their state committees and have set a target of Rs1,125 crore for 2008.
The Andhra Pradesh police have discovered a long list of donors, contractors and industrialists who contributed to naxal coffers. Article 60 of the constitution of the CPI (Maoists) lists membership fees, levies, donations, taxes, penalties and wealth confiscated from enemies as the source of revenue.

According to the police, the last congress of the CPI (Maoists) held at Abujmad in Chhattisgarh fixed a revenue target of Rs1,125 crore for the current year and, accordingly, increased the levies on the state committees by over 25%. The documents showed that Andhra Pradesh had gone down in the fund raising ranking from the second to third spot after Bihar and Chhattisgarh.

Mishra is learnt to have told his interrogators that while Bihar raised Rs200 crore, AP’s collection came down from Rs300 crore to Rs100 crore last year.

Jharkhand raised Rs75 crore in 2007 and would raise Rs110 crore in 2008. Maharashtra raised Rs100 crore while Karnataka contributed Rs78 crore and Tamil Nadu pitched in with Rs35 crore in 2007.

Mishra reportedly told the police that some prominent Maoists leaders like Sambashivudu alone raised over Rs80 crore and party secretary Ganapati raised Rs285 crore in 2007.

“All the leaders operated their own bank accounts, funded their units and operations but reported to the central committee. They also contributed to the corpus fund of the central military commission separately for the maintenance of the provincial guerrilla army,” Mishra is learnt to have revealed.

Major sources of income for the Maoists were road contractors, contractors for forest produce like tendu leaves (beedi leaves), bamboo and wood. They have reportedly made deals with poachers, smugglers and liquor and timber runners in the forests. In the areas under their control, including district towns, Maoists levy a tax on small enterprises like spinning mills, beedi units, rice and flour mills, kirana, medical, cigarette, liquor shops and private doctors. All illegal operators, including private schools operating in villages and district towns, are coerced to pay.

On the expenditure side, police sources reveal, the Maoists spent over Rs175 crore in 2007 for purchasing weapons, including AK-47, landmines, rocket launchers, vehicles, uniforms and medicines.

According to the police, an Australian arms dealer has struck a deal with Maoists to supply via Malaysia-West Bengal drug route, a record 200 AK-47s by the end of 2008, they say. They have also acquired motor cycles with special tyres to make travel easier in dense forests and tough terrain.

Publicity and propaganda is another major head on which the Maoists spend considerably, according to the seized literature. Besides maintaining web sites, publishing party magazines Awam-e-jung (Hindi) and the CPI Maoists (English), they also operate a low frequency radio in the jungles to campaign against police and the administration.

The CPI (Maoist) also spent huge sums on communication equipment with mobile and satellite phones being the common issue. Very recently, Raipur police raided an urban Maoist network centre and seized account books for collection of Rs5 crore. The raid had also yielded receipts for purchase of uniforms for nearly six battalions supplied by a Mumbai-based textile unit.

CPI (Maoists) was born in September 2004 with the merger of Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) of Bihar and the Communist Party of India (ML) also called the Peoples War Group (PWG) of Andhra Pradesh. The group, based predominantly on the Maoists Leninist (ML) ideology, has operations in 12 states and has a mission to form a Red Corridor from Dandakaranya (AP-Chhattisgarh-Jharkhand) to Nepal.

Maoists target ‘informers’, kill four

Monday April 14 2008 12:12 IST

BHUBANESWAR: After lying low for over a month after the Nayagarh mayhem, the Left Wing ultras have struck with a vengeance by killing heads of four villages within a fortnight in Malkangiri district.

Official sources maintained that the village heads were killed as they were opposed to the holding of praja courts by the Naxals in their villages. The ultras wanted that posts of gram peda, nayak and chalan in the villages should be abolished to introduce the new justice dispensation system.

The killings have brought to the fore a more serious problem. The Naxals want to kill persons whom they consider police informers so that information about their movements do not reach the authorities. The activities of the Naxals had become restricted in the southern districts, their traditional stronghold, after security forces intensified their search operations.

Police, however, did not admit that the Naxals killed informers. Though no senior official wanted to be quoted, sources maintained that there is no special provision for the families of informers who get killed by the ultras.

Though there is a provision that the next of the kin of the deceased police personnel in anti-Naxal operations will be given a government job, there is no such provision for the families of the killed police informers.

The State Government has created a special intelligence wing (SIW) to exclusively deal with terrorist/Naxal-related activities. It has decided to strengthen it by augmenting its manpower strength. But, sources maintained that unless the families of the killed informers are taken care of, flow of information will dry up. A senior official said the SIW will be strengthened by suitably augmenting it.

Naxal's hunger strike: Stalemate continues

14 Apr 2008, 0355 hrs IST,TNN

NAGPUR: The issue of reported hunger strike of the 12 inmates held for their alleged association with the Naxal movement at the city's central jail is likely to take centrestage on Monday when state deputy chief minister R R Patil would be in the city. While the state anti-naxal operation cell is yet to begin the probe in full swing, the jail administration seems to be puzzled over the issue.

Patil, who recently ordered a probe into the charges framed against the Maoists and their sympathisers, is likely to take stock of the situation. Sources in the government security agencies had earlier indicated that the developments in Central Jail mirrored a Naxal strategy to create modules inside the prison to ensure a steady recruitment drive and continuous building of pressure on the government through protests in the jails.

Recently, a two-day convention had taken place in Northern India where frontal organisations had met to discuss the issue of freeing political prisoners from jails all across the country, sources told TOI.

ANO chief Pankaj Gupta has claimed that he was kept in the dark regarding the ongoing protest by naxals and their demands. "It seems that the Naxal inmates in the jail have formed some groups and are trying to mount pressure on the administration," said Gupta. "The ANO should have been informed earlier about the demands and developments of the Naxals in prison," added Gupta.

Meanwhile, jail authorities have claimed that the protesting Naxals are refusing to take their regular meals.

Suspected Naxals kill 3 CPM leaders

Express news service
Posted online: Monday , April 14, 2008 at 12:58:13
Updated: Monday , April 14, 2008 at 12:58:13 Print Email To Editor Post Comments

Kolkata, April 13 In what appears to be violence related to the upcoming Panchayat elections in west Bengal, suspected Naxals gunned down three local-level CPM leaders today in the Naxal-affected Shalboni in West Midnapore.
The district, along with its bordering ones, is set to go to polls in May.

District police sources said CPM local committee secretary Mukul Tiwari (26), committee member Jugal Murmu (42) and Krishak Sabha (Budmal) president Naba Murmu (30) were working on an NREGS road construction project near Jagannathpur village along with around 50 other NREGS card holders. The group also included Viren Singh, the local Congress block committee president.

Around 1 pm, some armed people emerged from the nearby jungle and approached the group.

They called Singh and asked him to identify the CPM leaders and two others — Amiyo Kishku and M Murmu. Then took away all six, including Singh, at gunpoint into the jungle.

According to Kishku and Murmu, who survived with gunshot wounds, the men opened indiscriminate fire on the group.

While Tiwari, Jugal and Naba were killed on the spot, the other three escaped and managed to raise an alarm.

West Midnapore District Magistrate Narayan Swarup Nigam told The Indian Express a massive manhunt had been launched by police in the Garmal jungles bordering Jagannathpur, from where the bodies had been recovered with their hands tied behind.

“At the moment, it is difficult to say who is responsible for the attack. It is an unfortunate incident and we can only offer more information after conducting an investigation,” he said.

Police sources added that some posters and leaflets had been found at the spot asking people to abstain from voting in the panchayat elections.

A search operation is being carried on, led by DSP (Operations) Shankar Prasad, but no one had been apprehended as yet.

CPM state committee secretary Biman Bose condemned the incident, saying it was aimed at vitiating the atmosphere in the state on the eve of panchayat elections. “Hired killers in the garb of Maoists are perpetrating this kind of violence,” he added.

CPI: Probe atrocities by SJ men

NEW DELHI, April 13: Seeking the Centre’s response to its call for disbanding Salwa Judum (SJ) ~ an anti-Naxal movement spearheaded by armed villagers in the BJP-ruled Chattisgarh ~ the CPI today demanded an urgent inquiry into alleged atrocities by the SJ members from the government.
“Far from being a peaceful campaign, Salwa Judum activists are armed with guns, lathis, axes, bows and arrows. There has been a breakdown of civil administration and the rule of law in Dantewada district (the place of origin of the Salwa Judum movement),” the CPI national secretary, Mr D Raja, alleged here in a letter to the Prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, today. n SNS