Saturday, September 20, 2008

QUOTE OF THE DAY : Level of demoralization in police forces

The level of demoralization in police forces is well exemplified by a recent report from Hyderabad that says: "Police stations in at least 100 mandals across the state do not want to avail four and six wheelers fearing landmine attacks by the Maoists. This comes following intelligence inputs that cops deployed in the jurisdiction of these police stations run the highest risk of being targeted by the Naxals. Currently, there are 1,559 police stations in the state of which about 700 have no four wheelers for mobility. Though the police department provided at least 207 vehicles to the police stations through the Police Transport Organisation, the Naxal-hit areas have not been included. A senior police officer said, "There are several instances of Naxals targeting police personnel moving in four wheelers. Landmines and claymore mines are a big threat to the police teams travelling in jeeps and buses in the Naxal-hit Andhra-Orissa border, Khammam-Chhattisgarh border, North Telangana and surroundings of Nallamala.' Police usually move in private vehicles and sometimes on two-wheelers in the Maoist-hit zones."

Indian Mujahideen & CounterCurrents - Potential nexus


The famed 5 e-mails from the Indian Mujahideen have been making all the news as media and public attention have been turned away from an earlier less reported and even less investigated event.

For weeks now Offstumped has been researching in collaboration with others the unexplained 6th email which was sent on the 31st July 2008.

This e-mail was sent from the same email id that was used to send the Ahmedabad Blasts email however it was by faking the from address using SMTP instead of using the Yahoo web mail account directly.

The contents of this email have been sparsely reported in the media and have mainly to do with a bomb threat to India TV News.

Now along comes news that the latest e-mail from the Indian Mujahideen has text lifted from an article on, a delhi based Indian News watchdog (first brought to Offstumped’s attention by Prasanna).

Now the news story in the HT on this also alludes to the fact the is not a well known site, a fact attested to by this blogger for not having heard of thehoot before this. So it stands to reason that the lifting of the text may not have happened from directly but from other sites that reproduced the original article on thehoot.

Strangely enough less than 20 sites have reproduced this original article and first amongst them is, a radical left leaning Communal Socialist rag-tag packed with prominent apologists for Islamists like Ram Puniyani, Shabnam Hashmi and others.

Now here comes the clincher, this is where the 6th e-mail is important.

That e-mail did not originate from yahoo instead it originated from a U.S. based Internet Hosting Company called

Received: by (Postfix, from userid 1473975) id 7ED4D9865C; Thu, 31 Jul 2008 01:54:28 -0700 (PDT)
So whats the connection here ?

Well is hosted on DreamHost as well.

CounterCurrents on Jaipur Blasts

CounterCurrents on Bangalore Blasts

CounterCurrents on Ahmedabad Blasts

And finally this once again from Apologists par excellence Ram Puniyani and Shabnam Hashmi in the immideate aftermath of the Delhi Blasts.

When one adds the fact that CounterCurrents has been issuing Indian Mujahideen’s most passionate apologies starting from Jaipur Blasts to every single incident ever since,

with the fact that one of the emails from the Indian Mujahideen also originated from the same hosting site as CounterCurrents,

with the fact that it also prominently carried thehoot article which contributed content to the latest e-mail

it raises damning questions if there exists a nexus between someone at CounterCurrents and the Indian Mujahideen ?

Offstumped demands that be asked to verify the source of the 6th e-mail and CounterCurrents and its prominent apologists be investigated to establish if indeed someone may have been inspiring the Terrorists in private while they apologize for them in public.

Fragrance of fire

THE RIGHT VIEW,flstry-1.cms
20 Sep 2008, 1542 hrs IST, Tarun Vijay

Delhi is mourning the death of Inspector M C Sharma who dared to take on the terrorists hiding in Jamia Nagar. It's rare that police force gets such an appreciation and salute that is otherwise reserved for the armed forces. The reactions of the people and the anchors on the news channels were sad, moist and genuine.

Why did he have to have this martyrdom?

The men in Khaki are more known and portrayed in movies as lazy, corrupt, unintelligent and seekers of pleasure at public cost. Few know the trying circumstances they work in and the salaries they draw. They are facing the Communist terrorism in thirteen states, their martyrdom in action, go often less reported and almost unsung. They are given the most outdated rifles and equipment and the facilities to act against terrorists who are cunning, resourceful and heavily armed with modern weapons. The police laws are shamefully inadequate. Indian police was governed under the 1861 act of the British government that was meant for the colonial brute force to control subjugated natives till 2006.

As close as 16th July, the Maoists in Orissa killed 21 policemen. In 2007, Maoists had killed 22 policemen in Bihar. According to a newspaper report, Bihar, one of the worst Maoist affected states along with Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, has the lowest police-people ratio. Over 19,000 posts in the state police department have not been filled up. In March 2007 the Maoists had killed 50 policemen in Chhattisgarh. During Rajasthan's Gujjar movement in May this year, unruly protestors beheaded a policeman.

Every one, including the politician, loves to deride and insult police openly and get applause. But every one wants police to help them in times of distress and crisis. From a small traffic accident to domestic violence and petty thefts to Nithari 's cannibals and Arushi murder, it's the police that faces the public and is under constant pressure to show results. The politicians use them as domestic servants and commission agents, corrupting them and in turn helping out of turn the facilitator men in Khaki. Yet the most important task - to reform and modernize the police force - remains in cold storage till something like Delhi blasts occur and there is a huge pressure built up by people and media on the government. Then just to avoid the immediate criticism a few announcements are made to spend a few more crores on police force. No body knows how many years would take to see these announcements implemented.

It was in July 2006 that the Indian government had unveiled an ambitious Rs.52 billion plan for modernising the Central and state police forces. The money is yet to be utilized. Manipur, for example, which is declared 'A' class seeing high incidents of insurgency, didn't spend eight crores earmarked for police modernization yet showed it as 'spent' in accounts, which was detected in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Lack of men power, political interference, a tendency to demoralize the honest and upright officers, lack of coordination between different forces and a complete absence of a mechanism to share information and cooperate with each other amongst various shades of police forces, including para-military security organisations make the task of police more difficult and cumbersome.

The level of demoralization in police forces is well exemplified by a recent report from Hyderabad that says: "Police stations in at least 100 mandals across the state do not want to avail four and six wheelers fearing landmine attacks by the Maoists. This comes following intelligence inputs that cops deployed in the jurisdiction of these police stations run the highest risk of being targeted by the Naxals. Currently, there are 1,559 police stations in the state of which about 700 have no four wheelers for mobility. Though the police department provided at least 207 vehicles to the police stations through the Police Transport Organisation, the Naxal-hit areas have not been included. A senior police officer said, "There are several instances of Naxals targeting police personnel moving in four wheelers. Landmines and claymore mines are a big threat to the police teams travelling in jeeps and buses in the Naxal-hit Andhra-Orissa border, Khammam-Chhattisgarh border, North Telangana and surroundings of Nallamala.' Police usually move in private vehicles and sometimes on two-wheelers in the Maoist-hit zones."

Those who shoulder the responsibility to provide security to people are left high and dry when the question of their own security arises. Just a month ago an ambitious scheme has been passed by the Union Cabinet, which aims to strengthen police force in Naxal affected areas by raising 10 battalions (10,000 personnel) at a cost of Rs 1389.47 crore. After debating on the proposal for nearly eight months, the Union Home Ministry finally moved the Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for raising the Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA), which will be similar to 'Greyhounds' of Andhra Pradesh Police. The Left-extremism, termed by the Prime Minister as a "virus", has engulfed nearly 13 states.

But it's not just the Naxal affected areas but the entire police network that needs a complete and radical overhaul. Their training needs a Japanese touch which has the best of Eastern values and a tough power to eliminate the rogues. The first and foremost thing that needs to be done is to make the police set up autonomous and remove all the traces of colonialism from the police force, that essentially includes taking off the Khaki colour, which reminds of the imperial British brutishness. In UP and Bihar, old Willy's jeeps, reminding of the Sholay days and dacoit trail are in vogue with policemen wielding 303 guns.

The National Police Commission (NPC), created by the government in 1977, had submitted eight detailed reports during 1979-81, with comprehensive recommendations covering the entire gamut of police work. None was implemented completely. It was only because of a petition to the Supreme Court by one of the most able, honest and spirited police officers, Prakash Singh that the obnoxious Police Act of 1861 was struck down in one go in September 2006. That too happened, not surprisingly, having 'heard' the petition for ten long years. The Supreme Court said, "we think that there cannot be any further wait, and the stage has come for issue of appropriate directions for immediate compliance so as to be operative till such time as a new Model Police Act is prepared by the Central Government and/or the state governments pass the requisite legislations."

The Supreme Court ordered the establishment of three institutions at the state level with a view to insulating the police from extraneous influences, according functional autonomy and ensuring accountability. These were:

• A State Security Commission to lay down broad policies and give directions relating to the preventive and service-oriented functions of the police.
• A Police Establishment Board, comprising the Director-General of Police and four other senior officers to decide on all transfers, postings, promotions and other service-related matters of officers of and below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police. The Board was also tasked with making appropriate recommendations to the state government regarding the postings and transfers of officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police and above.
• A Police Complaints Authority at the district and state level to look into allegations of misconduct by police personnel.

In addition, the apex court ordered that the Director-General of Police should be selected by state governments from the three senior-most officers empanelled for promotion to that rank by the UPSC. It further stipulated that the DGP should have a prescribed minimum tenure of two years. Police officers on operational duty in the field, like the Inspector general (IG) Zone, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Range, SP in charge of a district and Station House Officer (SHO) should also have a minimum tenure of two years.

But hardly these have been followed because every time there is a regime change, the entire police set up too is changed buy the incumbent political masters, bringing in their protégés and punishing those whom they thing had side with their rivals. This affects the respect for the able in the force and the virus goes down vertically.
Certainly there are still good officers in the police force and they need protection of law. It's high time that the police forces' control be taken off the authorities of the political set up and put under a professional autonomous body so that the people are secured and the moral of the brave men in khaki is also restored.

Security forces, whether in khaki or olive green, represent the spine of the land and the life of public institutions and democratic mechanism depends on them. Sadly they are the most ignored and left out segments. How the relatives of those brave security personnel, who were killed in action saving the lives of the parliamentarians, felt compelled to return the decorations given to their children is the saddest stories of state's failure in recent times.

While we are nearing another anniversary of 13th December, when Parliament was attacked, can we hope that all the parties would come together to provide more teeth and facilities to our security forces and encourage their morale so that the best talent in our society feels a pride in joining forces and be the real 'bobby' of the people? They are the fragrance of the fire of nobility in our society; let that be preserved with all our support.

The author is the Director, Dr Syamaprasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Call for united war on rebels

Jamshedpur, Sept. 19: From now on, the police and paramilitary forces would work in a more co-ordinated way to combat Naxalism in Kolhan and other areas.

Deputy inspector-general (DIG), Kolhan, Manoj Kumar Mishra announced this after a meeting of senior police officers held in the background of a spate of Naxalite-sponsored attacks in Seraikela-Kharsawan and East Singhbhum in the recent past.

Those who attended the meeting included superintendents of police of the twin districts of Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan, the commandants of the Central Reserve Police Force and the Jharkhand Armed Police and superintendent of railway police, Tatanagar.

The DIG pointed out that this was the first such meeting convened here and, from now on, the fight against Naxalism would be more effective.

He said the police, like all the other forces, have a common objective — to fight Naxalites. But a lack of proper co-ordination often resulted in failure to curb the menace.

“But I have decided to adopt a strategy, wherein all the forces, including the police and paramilitary would share information and logistics about Naxalites and work in tandem,” he said.

Mishra admitted that the Maoist influence had increased in the state, especially in Seraikela-Kharsawan, parts of East Singhbhum, Chandil-Chowka and along National Highway-33, over the past six months.

“We cannot kill Naxalites even when we spot a squad. We have to warn them and ask them to surrender. That is what we have been taught to do. But Naxalites have only one thing on their mind — to shoot at the sight of a policeman. The police are always a soft target for Naxalites. Still we have to work to curb the menace,” said the DIG.

Though he expressed satisfaction over the law and order situation in the steel city, the officer pointed out that Jamshedpur was a sensitive place and terrorist attacks could not be ruled out here.

“We will always have to be ready to face any eventuality in the steel city,” he said, adding that the lack of proper co-ordination between security forces could make the job of terrorists all the more easy.

Salwa judum ‘atrocities’: Apex court seeks report

20 Sep, 2008, 0245 hrs IST,Sanjay K Singh , ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) report over the “atrocities” committed by the counter-naxalite salwa judum movement in Chhattisgarh, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the state government to come up with its stand on the remedial measures. The court asked the government to file its response before elections in the state schedule to be held later this year.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justice P Sathasivam and Justice J M Panchal said: “Part I of the report (filed by NHRC) speaks of various atrocities committed by salwa judum.” “When somebody is given arms he is bound to commit crime. It is a serious offence. Who is responsible for it” ? asked Justice Balakrishnan speaking for the bench.

Perusing parts of the exhaustive report of NHRC, the court said, ”Salwa judum has committed serious offences. The people are subjected to serious problems”.

Further, the NHRC report has recommended remedial measures to be taken by the state government, said Justice Balakrishnan.

The court asked the state government to detail the remedial measures it has taken while posting the matter for further hearing on October 23.

Senior counsel K K Venugopal appearing for state said that the government will submits its objections to the NHRC report. When another senior counsel Ranjit Kumar appearing in the case sought more time saying that the elections in the state were scheduled to be held around November, the court said, “It has nothing to do with elections”.

Earlier, the court had asked the NHRC to probe the allegations of human rights violations by the salwa judum (Peace Mission) in the state in response to the petitions filed by noted sociologist Nandini Sundar, historian Ramachandra Guha, E A S Sarma and activist Kartam Joga challenging the setting up of salwa judum.

The petitioners had alleged that in the guise of countering the naxal movement, the salwa judum was indulging in killings and committing atrocities against tribals. They had sought a direction to the state government to refrain from “supporting and encouraging” the salwa judum.

The government, however, had said that naxal menace in the state has reached alarming proportions and it cannot stifle any people’s initiative in the form of salwa judum movement to combat the violent illegal activities of the ultras. Centre also had backed the state government’s stand on the issue.

War on Terror - "NAXAL WATCH" Salute to India’s Pride

PATRIOT: Mohan Chand Sharma had won seven gallantry medals including a President's award.
CNN-IBN reports:


Delhi Police Special Cell officer Mohan Chand Sharma, who lead the team that killed two terrorists and arrested another in an encounter in Jamia Nagar on Friday morning, is dead.

The 43-year-old and seven gallantry award winner officer received several bullet injuries during the encounter.

He was operated upon at the Holy Family Hospital to remove bullets from his body but scummed to his injuries later in the evening.

The officer received bullet injuries on his upper abdomen, upper arm, left shoulder and right hip, the hospital said in a medical bulletin.

Delhi Police Commissioner YS Dadwal said Sharma was a highly decorated police officer and had won seven gallantry medals including a President’s award.

Sharma joined the Delhi Police as a sub-inspector in 1989 and got an out of turn promotion in 1995 when he was elevated to the rank of an Inspector

Naxalites urge Mamata to intensify agitation

19 Sep 2008, 0456 hrs IST,TNN

KOLKATA/SINGUR: The Trinamool Congress chief has started sounding out leaders such as Manik Mukherjee, Purnendu Bose and Samir Putatunda over the future course of the movement.

SUCI leader Manik Mukherjee will meet Mamata before the KJRC meets at Trinamool Bhavan on September 21.

Groups in Mamata’s resistance movement, such as the Naxalites and Party for Democratic Socialism (PDS), however, insist on resuming the agitation in Singur itself. “The government has cheated people in Singur. It has broken its promise. We should not spare the government,” PDS leader Samir Putatunda said.

Alimuddin Street, on the other hand, is determined not to yield to Opposition pressure. In fact, a section within the CPM is unhappy with the way the CM he tried to accommodate the Opposition by offering 70 acres from within the project area. They maintain that the Singur package has come handy for Trinamool and Congress agitators in Asansol and Siliguri.

Can’t counter hi-tech terrror with 19th-century laws’

Rating: Suman K Jha
Posted: Sep 19, 2008 at 0029 hrs IST

New Delhi, September 18 Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was anointed the BJP’s new poster boy as the party devised its anti-terror plank to hit out at the UPA Government at its recently concluded national executive in Bangalore. Modi is now slated to crisscross the country as the shadow of party’s prime ministerial candidate, L K Advani, with Delhi as his first stop-over this Friday.
In an interview with The Indian Express, the Gujarat CM says that the country needs a “dedicated cadre of Indian Intelligence officers” to fight terror. He also claims that during his meeting with the Prime Minister last fortnight, he gave Dr Manmohan Singh Intelligence inputs on two mainline cities (with Delhi one of them) that could be attacked by Terror agents. Excerpts:

The upshot of the recent three-day BJP national executive was an anti-terror plank with Narendra Modi as its face. Does it show a churning in the party?

More teeth to fight terror

19 Sep 2008, 0849 hrs IST, Prafulla Marpakwar ,TNN

MUMBAI: The city and Maharashtra will have Rs 75 crore for procuring state-of-the-art weapons, modern vehicles and new equipment, computerising crime records and creating a record 14,000 new posts.

Much of the new weapons, vehicles and equipment will be routed to the frontline of the war against terrorism and Naxal violence. Areas that the force will concentrate on in the city are hospitals and the coastline. The state home department, headed by deputy chief minister R R Patil, had submitted a Rs-100-crore plan to the centre; the centre's share was to be Rs 75 crore and the state's the remaining Rs 25 crore. "The centre has approved the plan and we are already in the process of implementing the modernisation scheme,'' a senior home department official told TOI on Thursday.

Elaborating on the multi-crore mega plan, the official said one part of the plan - worth Rs 27 crore - was submitted by the Mumbai Police commissioner for the city policing scheme and another part (worth Rs 62 crore) was submitted by the director-general of police for the rest of Maharashtra.

TOI got a detailed break-up of the plan for Mumbai on Thursday. Rs 3.38 crore will be utilised for improving the mobility of our police force; about 200 vehicles will be bought with this money. Rs 1.2 crore will go for the computerisation of records, Rs 12.64 crore will go into buying new equipment , Rs 4 crore will be devoted to improving the police force's communication network, Rs 5.44 crore

will go into constructing new police stations in the city.

What shows the government's commitment to fighting terror is the provision for Rs 2 crore - a firsttime occurrence - for the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad.

The state police force, too, will get a lot more teeth to tackle Naxal violence. Rs 16.42 crore has been provided for procuring nearly 500 vehicles (which includes 350 motorcycles ), Rs 5.56 crore will go to computerisation of records, Rs 7.16 crore will go for buying new weapons for the force and Rs 8 crore will be devoted to solely tackling the Naxal violence in the five districts of the Vidarbha region.

"Police officials deployed in the Naxalite-infested districts will be armed with AK-47 rifles and will have the service of modern vehicles,'' the official said.

The Forensic Science Laboratory, too, will not be left out of the modernisation plans; the home department has kept a provision of Rs 8.15 crore for this lab. Rs 3.06 crore will be allotted for homeguards. The centre launched the modernisation programme for police forces seven years ago and the benefits have already started being felt; a total of 3,655 old vehicles have been replaced even as Maharashtra has got 4,665 additional vehicles. The government has also decided to recruit more than 14,000 additional police personnel, of whom 10,000 will be constables. "The police wing is one organisation that will always be short of manpower . We will never be able to meet the norms prescribed by the Police Commission but we have recruited 20,000 personnel in the last two years,'' the home department official said.


Mumbai has been one of the top terror targets in India; here's what we have right now to fight terrorists


TOTAL personnel: 42,000 NUMBER of police stations: 86 CCTVS installed: BEST buses, major railway stations (CST, Churchgate, Dadar, Bandra, Andheri, Borivli, Wadala, Mumbai Central), 86 police stations, all major malls and multiplexes ANNUAL budget: Rs 700 crore VEHICLES at its disposal: 1,500


ATS personnel: 450 YEAR of formation: 2003 NUMBER of police stations: 1 police station and 8 units spread across the state EQUIPMENT: Glock pistols and AK-47 s


Here's how Mumbai and Delhi have bled because of terror


Bombs exploded at over dozen places, including the Bombay Stock Exchange building, Katha Bazaar, near the Shiv Sena Bhavan, Zaveri Bazaar, Century Bazaar, Mahim Fishermen's Colony and Plaze Cinema, on 12 March 1993; big-time terrorism came to India with these blasts in which 257 people died and an entire city was scarred for ever.


A series of blasts happened at several places, including outside Ghatkopar railway station (2 dead, 21 injured), at Mumbai Central railway station (25 wounded), Vile Parle Market (1 dead, 30 injured), Mulund railway station (11 killed, 65 wounded), on a BEST bus in Ghatkopar (4 dead, 32 hurt), between December 2002 and August 2003. The last blasts in this cycle occurred opposite Hotel Taj and at Zaveri Bazaar on 25 August 2003; the twin blasts killed 24 people and injured 150.


Seven blasts happened on seven trains on 11 July 2006, when the coaches were crammed with evening rush-hour passengers. 188 people died in the blasts at Matunga, Mahim, Bandra, Khar, Santa Cruz, Jogeshwari, Borivli and Mira Road.

1996 | 16 people killed in bomb blasts at the Lajpat Nagar Central Market.

1997 | 6 people died and more than 230 were injured in 6 blasts throughout the year (5 occurred in October); the targeted areas were diverse (including the Red Fort area) and the first blast of the year happened just opposite the Delhi Police headquarters at ITO.

1999 | Two blasts in April and June at Chandni Chowk and Holambi Kalan railway station left 2 dead and dozens hurt.

2005 | 59 people died in Delhi's bloodiest terror attack on 29 October 2005; there were three blasts at Sarojini Nagar, Paharganj and Govindpuri. Another blast on 22 May outside the Liberty and Satyam cinema halls killed 1 and hurt 60.


Serial blasts killed 24 and left 90 people injured on 13 September.

(There have been other attacks, both in Mumbai and Delhi, where no one died.)

Centre to upgrade anti-terror school

NEW DELHI, Sept 18 – In an effort to provide comprehensive training to the 10,000 strong elite anti-naxal force COBRA, the Centre has given sanction for upgradation of existing Counter-Insurgency and Anti-Terrorist (CIAT) School, run by the CRPF at Silchar in Assam, reports PTI. Senior officials of CRPF, under whose command and control the new force would work, said additional staff and infrastructure would be given to the school in order to enhance training capacity of 700 COBRA personnel every year.

Officials said the force would be set up at a cost of Rs 1,389.47 crore out of which Rs 898.12 crore will be spent on land and infrastructure while Rs 491.35 crore will be used for manpower training over a period of three years.

“While two Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) will be raised in the current financial year, four more would be raised in the next fiscal and the last four would be raised in financial year 2010-11”, an official said.

While the worst naxal infested state Chhattisgarh will get three battalions (nearly 3000 personnel), Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh will get two each and Orissa, Maharashtra and Bihar will get one battalion each of the new force.

The COBRA will be headquartered in the national capital under the command of an Inspector-General (IG) of Police.

Patil’s concern at ‘metro terrorism’

Rating: Express news service
Posted: Sep 17, 2008 at 0053 hrs IST
New Delhi: Terming the serial Blasts in Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi in the last few months as “metro terrorism”, President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday expressed her “serious concern” and called for innovative actions while dealing firmly against the perpetrators to prevent such incidents in the future.
“This emerging phenomenon of metro terrorism has given a new dimension to subversive activities and is a matter of serious concern,” Patil said in her address at the Governors’ Conference at Rashtrapati Bhawan today. “The state and Central Governments have to deal firmly with those who follow the path and culture of guns.”

Addressing the 42nd conference of governors and the first after she took over as the President, Patil called for modernisation of the police force with greater investment in cyber and technical intelligence, communication systems and forensic capabilities. “There is a need for an institutional mechanism to seamlessly share intelligence on real-time basis,” she added, suggesting that the help of ex-servicemen could be taken.

In his presentation in the evening, Home Minister Shivraj Patil apprised governors about the challenges in tackling Naxal and communal violence, and also talked about the need to modernise the police force and set up more police stations.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Three Maoists killed in Jharkhand gunfight

Chatra/Hazaribagh (Jharkhand), Sept 17: Three activists of CPI (Maoists) were killed on Wednesday in an encounter with the police at the hilly terrain and thick jungles in Chatra district of Jharkhand.

Superintendent of Police, Hazaribagh, Praveen Kumar Singh said the body of Jeetendra, stated to be the section commander of the action squad of Maoists, was recovered.

Acting on a tip-off about the gathering of the Maoists, Singh said a special task force of police and CRPF personnel reached the jungle at about 2.30 am and surrounded them amid heavy rains, triggering a gunbattle which lasted for 90 minutes.

The SP said the Maoists ran away with two bodies and the police have been searching for them.

The security personnel recovered an SLR and a .303 rifle, both looted from the police armoury, at the spot. Ten bags belonging to the Maoists, 450 live cartridges, four electronic detonators, Rs 19,000 in cash, posters in Hindi and jewelleries were also recovered.

Bureau Report

Treat Naxalites as terrorists: Moily panel

18 Sep 2008, 0225 hrs IST, Vishwa Mohan,TNN

NEW DELHI: If the government agrees to have tough a anti-terror law as recommended by the Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC), Naxalites will also be treated as "terrorists" as the panel has termed them nothing but those who follow "ideology-oriented terrorism" — a departure from the official line which has so far preferred to call them "Left-wing extremists".

The Commission's explanation putting the Red Ultras on par with jihadis is the first such 'official' move to treat both as "terrorists" after the repeal of Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) four years ago. Instead of calling Naxalites Left-wing extremists, the panel in its report — 'Combating Terrorism', which was made public on Tuesday — calls them "Left-wing terrorists" who, as elsewhere, are known for "resorting to violence in pursuance of their ideology" of a people’s revolutionary movement.

As the panel explains, the only difference between Naxalites and Jihadis lies in the factor which motivates them. While Red Ultras — who indulge in violence in as many as 13 states with the help of over 10,000 armed cadre — are part of ideology-oriented terrorism, jihadis are motivated by religious fundamentalism "which even overlap with political ambition" — like separatist elements in J&K.

Advocating a tough anti-terror law, the panel, chaired by Congress leader Veerappa Moily, says: "There is need to define more clearly those criminal acts which can be construed as being terrorist in nature." Incidentally, while laws in USA, Canada, UK, and Australia speak of the intention behind the terrorist act being the purpose of advancing a "political, religious or ideological cause", the existing Indian laws have avoided any such intention or purpose being incorporated to define or describe a terrorist act.

Besides insisting on defining terrorism, the Moily panel has also come out with a number of other recommendations which include making bail provisions tough for terrorists, increasing the period of police detention from the existing 15 days to 30 days and making confession before police admissible as evidence in courts. It has also pitched for setting up fast track courts exclusively for the trial of terrorism cases, providing for tough measures against financing terrorism and setting up a federal agency to investigate terrorism-related offences.

As far as setting up a federal agency is concerned, the Commission has looked into the crimes to be probed by such an agency which may be created as a specialised division in the CBI. For this purpose, it identified organised crime with inter-state ramification, terrorism, acts threatening national security, trafficking in arms and human beings, sedition, serious economic offences and assassination (including attempts) of major public figures as offences which can be probed by the federal agency.

Though the ARC has come out with these bold provisions by even going beyond the government's stated positions on Naxalism or anti-terror law, it toed the official line in not coming out with details of illegal immigration in the north-east — a factor which, security agencies believe, poses a major threat to internal security.

Suspected Maoist killed in encounter

Chatra (Jharkhand) (PTI): A suspected Maoist was on Wednesday killed in an encounter with security personnel near Ghamapahari in Chatra district, a senior police officer said.

Acting on a tip-off that a group of activists of the banned CPI (Maoist) had assembled at Gamapahari, a joint team of police and CRPF surrounded the area, Assistant Superintendent of Police Kumar Abhisek said.

On seeing the personnel, the Maoists fired at the security men. In the ensuing encounter, one Naxalite was killed on the spot.

After an hour of gun-battle, which started at 6 am, the Maoists retreated into the jungle, leaving the body of their cadre and two rifles on the spot, Abhisek said.

M L Kumawat will be new BSF Director General

Shri A K MITRA, IPS DG BSF exchanging views with Sh R S MOOSHAHARY. SH M L KUMAWAT, Addl DG BSF is seen on right of Shri AK MITRA DG BSF
New Delhi (PTI): M L Kumawat, a 1972 batch IPS officer, was on wednesday appointed as the Director General of the BSF.

Kumawat, who is currently holding the charge of Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the Home Ministry, will take charge from incumbent A K Mitra, who retires on September 30.

The Andhra Pradesh cadre officer earlier held the post of Additional DG BSF and was chief of the elite anti-naxal Grey Hounds force of Andhra Pradesh besides serving as Joint Director in the CBI.

PM addresses Governors’ Conference

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh addressed the Governors’ Conference in New Delhi today. Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s speech on the occasion:

“I am delighted to greet and welcome the Hon. Governors and Lt. Governors who have gathered here today.

This is an important conference of extremely important Constitutional functionaries. I wish to begin by emphasizing the importance of these deliberations. Each one of you has been charged with great responsibility at a critical time in the evolution of our democracy, and in the development of our polity and our economy.

India stands today on the threshold of a new beginning. There is unprecedented self-confidence in our people that we can overcome the constraints on our development. I have often said that the world wants India to do well, and our challenges are mainly at home. With each passing day this is becoming clearer. The recent decision of a diverse group of 45 countries belonging to the Nuclear Suppliers Group to extend to India special and exclusive treatment in the field of nuclear energy is proof again of this benign global environment.

India’s emergence as a modern, secular, plural, democracy is being welcomed the world over. Our successes in reducing poverty, ignorance and disease within the framework of an open society and an open economy, with Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights and the application of the Rule of Law are viewed with respect and admiration all over the world.

In the past four years we have witnessed an unprecedented upsurge in the creativity and enterprise of our people. Our economy has grown at an average annual rate of 9 per cent during the last four years. In the current fiscal year, growth prospects may be affected by the global economic slowdown, the steep rise in international prices of petroleum products and other primary commodities. Even then, the overall growth rate of the economy will still exceed 8 per cent, making India the world's second fastest growing economy.

Our effort has been to make our growth process more inclusive, both socially and regionally. Good performance in agriculture is especially necessary for this to happen. We have taken a number of initiatives in the agricultural sector and I am happy to say that our efforts are showing good results. After a decade of stagnation, the agriculture sector is reviving. The rate of growth of this sector has averaged 3.5 per cent in the last four years as compared to the growth rate of 2 per cent in the six years of the previous government. We have launched the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and the National Food Security Mission. The latter is especially targeted to attaining food security. Agricultural loans of about Rs. 70,000 crore have been waived to help our farmers. There has been a record procurement of about 225 lakh tonnes of wheat in Rabi season 2007-08. The procurement of rice in the kharif season 2007-08 has also risen sharply from 246 lakh tonnes to 267 lakh tonnes. Available indicators suggest that we are entering a decade of rising commodity prices, particularly in the case of foodgrains. It is therefore highly important that India should pay adequate attention to self sufficiency in foodgrains.

In the current fiscal year, inflation has emerged as an important concern of public policy. The reasons for the sharp increase in prices are to be found in the steep increase in import prices of petroleum products and other commodity prices. Government has adopted several measures to control inflation and to protect the poorer sections against the adverse effects of rising prices. Despite a significant increase in procurement prices, we have kept the issue price of wheat and rice unchanged under the Targeted Public Distribution System. This is to protect the vulnerable sections of our society against inflation. We have also kept the price of kerosene unchanged with the same end in view. I would urge Governors to advise their Chief Ministers on the importance of streamlining the Public Distribution System, especially for the poorer sections of our society.

I am aware that for the common man, inflation is a major problem. We are doing our best to control the inflationary trend, and especially to protect the poor from its adverse impacts. There are signs of moderation in the high inflation that we have witnessed recently. We are confident that the situation will improve further in the coming months because of the measures that we have taken. State Governments can assist in the control of inflation by keeping a strict watch on the activities of hoarders and unscrupulous traders.

If the world wishes to work with India, cooperate with India, trust India and invest in India, it is because the world recognizes that the people of India are on the move. But there is much that we have to do. In the past four years, it has been the effort of our Government to increase investments in the capabilities of our people - in their education and skill building, in their health and well-being, in the infrastructure of a modern economy, in the future of our young people.

This is the objective of the programmes we have launched. Like Bharat Nirman, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan the National Rural Health Mission, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, the extended Mid-Day Meal Programme, and so on.

Our “New Deal for Rural India” is unleashing a new phase of rural development in our country. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme which now covers all the rural districts of India will help to soften considerably the harsh edges of extreme poverty. I urge Governors to take special interest in the effective implementation of this programme.

We have stepped up investment in infrastructure – in roads, railways, power, irrigation, telecommunications and civil aviation.

Each of these programmes and each of these initiatives needs to be implemented well to be successful. Their effectiveness depends a great deal on the capacity and energy of the State Governments. The ability of the State Governments to maintain law and order, to deal firmly with terrorism and communalisation of our polity and pay adequate attention to delivery system for basic social services like education and health will be a crucial determinant of the degree of success achieved by our development programmes.

Unless we improve the efficiency of administration at the State and District level, unless State Governments can stand and deliver, our plans and our financial allocations will remain paper allocations. This challenge is altogether more severe in the less developed States, in the States of the North-East region, in our island UTs and in Jammu & Kashmir.

As a representative of the Union in the State and UTs, each one of you can make a difference. You can encourage our State and UT Governments to improve the quality of governance, the efficiency of administration and the vitality of the Panchayati Raj institutions at the grassroot level.”

There are new challenges that we face today. The challenge of climate change is one of them. There is now global consensus on the need for a comprehensive response to this challenge. India, on its part is committed that it will not increase its per capita emissions of Green House Gases beyond that of developed countries. We have formulated a National Action Plan so that our response can be focused and coordinated at the national level. It is important to recognize that addressing the problem should be one of our highest priorities. We will implement our National Action Plan through 8 missions which would cover the areas of solar energy, energy efficiency, sustainable habitat, water, the Himalayan eco-system, green India, sustainable agriculture and strategic knowledge for climate change. It is expected that the missions will become operational within a year. Their success will depend greatly on the ability of Central and State Governments to coordinate their activities.

The Governor in our scheme of things is also the Chancellor of many Universities at the State level. This is an important function of the Governor and an area of responsibility in which you can truly make a difference. Our Government has launched a series of initiatives in the field of higher education, for increasing opportunities in the field of higher education and for improving its quality. Quantitative expansion is easier to handle, though here too we face hurdles such as availability of teachers. Qualitative development is more difficult to ensure.

I would like our Governors to pay particular attention to the qualitative development of our Universities. I would like every one of our Universities to aspire to global best standards, in terms of students, teachers and infrastructure. University administrations have to be reformed, and university systems modernized. A mere increase in outlays will not ensure better outcomes without good leadership. That is where you can play an important role. I urge you to do so.

The President of our country has given a clarion call to make female literacy the touch stone of our efforts towards gender equality. We have made progress in this area though performance across States is quite uneven. I would urge Governors to persuade the State Governments to give this area their priority attention. We have already heard the Minister of Women and Child Development about the initiatives taken by the Central Government for the empowerment of women and for combating social evils like child marriage, female foeticide etc. These initiatives need to be taken forward. India has the largest number of women elected leaders in the world. There are about 12 lakh women who have been enabled by the 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments to move out of the confines of their homes into the public sphere. We should take advantage of this welcome development. I would request Governors to inspire this new leadership to play a catalytic role in improving the status of women and empowering them.

Naxalism and Left Wing Extremism continue to pose a challenge to development and the social and economic uplift of people in some of the most backward regions of our country. The States of Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa figure prominently in the list of areas that are affected. What is especially disturbing is the extent to which these extremists have improved techniques and the kind of improvisations that they have succeeded in making. Left wing extremists also appear to have a ready-made pool of disaffected elements, mainly from the tribal and other very poor sections of the society. The problem has acquired such scale in some regions that it cannot be dealt with by individual state Governments. We need better coordination between State Governments. We also need better coordination between States and the Centre.

Without peace there can be little development. We need an integrated approach that addresses both the challenges of maintaining peace and security for our people and providing livelihood security and promoting development.

I had convened a Chief Minister’s Conference on this issue. A Task Force has been set up under the Chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary to promote coordinated action across a range of development and security activities so that naxal problems in the affected areas can be tackled in a comprehensive manner.

To deal with the challenge, many States have set up specialized and dedicated forces. However, many State police forces remain under-staffed, ill-quipped and poorly trained. The Central Government has, on its part, sanctioned 15 additional battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force and created 10 specialized Command Battalions for Resolute Action which are trained in jungle welfare. It has also been decided to give financial assistance to State Governments to raise India Reserve Battalions. The command and control mechanism of the Central Police Organizations is being streamlined and the intelligence machinery of the Centre is being strengthened. We are also giving special attention to modernization of State Police Forces and their training.

It is not a coincidence that the areas affected by naxalite activity are also areas with a large representation of tribal communities. It was in recognition of this fact that many such States and areas have been included in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution. This provides for a special role for Governors. Our Government has enacted the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, which is a path breaking initiative empowering tribal families. The efficient and effective implementation of the provisions made in this Law needs close attention and monitoring. I hope Governors will take particular interest in this matter. We have also been paying special attention to the challenge of development in Jammu & Kashmir and the North-Eastern region. Our focus has been on investment in connectivity, in education and in infrastructure development. In Jammu & Kashmir we have placed special emphasis on infrastructure development. We must not lose focus of the development priorities in these States, even as we seek to deal with law and order and internal security challenges.

There had been a marked improvement in security in Jammu and Kashmir in recent years. The development packages announced from time to time, totaling to about Rs. 25,000 crore, the Round Table Conferences that were organized, the process of consultation with diverse sections of the people and the various confidence building measure had all contributed to this outcome. The recent controversy relating to the temporary allotment of land to the Amarnath Shrine Board has offset some of the gains that we had made. The situation is still fragile and needs careful handling.

In the North East, the levels of violence have come down in most States. In Nagaland the fighting between two factions of NSCN has led to increased killings. Talks with NSCN (IM) have not made any significant progress. The situation in Manipur and certain parts of Assam will also need careful handling. Overall there is room for optimism, but the activities of 50 to 60 underground outfits of different persuasions in the North East leave no room for complacency.

The serial blasts in Delhi four days back (September 13) and in Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Surat earlier are grim reminders of the internal security challenges that we face. Terrorism to-day is an ubiquitous global phenomenon and we are among its major victims. Terrorist outfits currently employ a variety of new skills and techniques – and also carry out suicide missions – which have resulted in their attacks becoming more devastating. The thrust, to-day, is on causing ‘mass casualties’ and most attacks take place where there are large congregations of people as in bazaars, malls, shopping places and mass transportation systems like commuter trains. Terrorist targets also include critical infrastructure and high profile economic installations.

There are many commonalities among the five or six recent blasts – the nature of the explosives used, the triggering mechanisms employed, the placement of explosives, etc. This suggests that the modules responsible are closely linked to one other. The role of Pakistan based terrorist groups can not be minimized but the involvement of local elements in recent blasts adds a new dimension to the terrorist threat. We have reports that certain Pakistan based terrorist outfits are constantly seeking to set up new terrorist modules within our country. This is a matter of utmost concern. We have increased vigilance on our borders. Coastal security is being tightened. But in view of the growing involvement of local elements, this is not enough. Our Security and Intelligence Agencies have, no doubt, been successful in thwarting and pre-empting several terrorist attacks, but as the recent blasts in Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Surat and Delhi indicate, there are still vast gaps in intelligence. These need to be overcome.

Several steps have been taken to improve both policing and intelligence, but a far greater effort is called for. The strength of the Civil Police Force needs to be greatly augmented. Greater emphasis will have to be paid to intelligence – both by the Central Intelligence Bureau and the Intelligence Agencies in the States. The involvement of the public has to increase, and the public made more alive to the danger of bomb threats and random placement of IEDs. This will need a massive people-to- people effort. Use of Closed Circuit TVs in areas where there are large congregations of people will need to be mandated. Greater use of technology, particularly relating to the detection of explosives and interception of Internet traffic will be required.

Let me take this opportunity to say, with the fullest emphasis, that there is no question of the Government being soft on terrorism. The issue is really one of examining the efficacy of the totality of the systems and the mechanisms that we have to deal with terrorist incidents.

The public debate on the issue of terrorism has, unfortunately, tended to get driven by politics, and has centered on certain laws enacted or repealed by Governments of different political persuasions. Our Government has no fixed, inflexible or ideological view in this regard. We have in fact taken the initiative to strengthen various laws like the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. We are actively considering legislation to further strengthen the substantive anti-terrorism law in line with the global consensus on the fight against terrorism.

The issues in contention, in the ongoing debate, basically relate to the procedural aspects of investigation and prosecution of terrorism related offences. Even this aspect is under consideration with the aim of identifying provisions which could be made to further strengthen the hands of the law enforcement agencies, and also, simultaneously, address the apprehensions which led, first to the repeal of TADA, and later of POTA, and about which there are cross party views which cannot be ignored.

A number of practical suggestions are on the table for tightening the machinery to deal with terrorism. One suggestion is to set up a Central Agency to investigate and prosecute all terrorist incidents. This need not necessarily be a Federal Investigative Agency, but could be a Central Agency which can assist the States in investigation whenever a major terrorist event takes place. As this Central Agency would have investigated other similar terrorist crimes in the country, they would have a great deal more of expertise in regard to the investigation and prosecution of such terrorist offences.

Another suggestion that has been made is about establishing a Central Agency to co-ordinate Counter-terrorism strategy. There are already a number of Central Agencies who are involved in determining Counter-terrorism strategy, based on extant situations. Perhaps, there is no need to set up a new Agency, and instead we ought to ensure better coordination and integration among the existing Agencies for devising an effective Counter-terrorism strategy.

Most important of all, to my mind, is closer cooperation between the Centre and the States and among the States themselves. This is particularly important to-day when as we have seen, there is a common strand running through each of the major terrorist incidents. I would welcome your suggestions for devising a more effective counter terrorism strategy.

Finally, I would like to point to the growing concerns and perception among the people at large about the dilution of the writ of the State.

It is a matter of serious concern that dissent and agitations, over any kind of issues, have been increasingly finding expression in mindless destruction of public property, attacks on police posts, and other Government establishments. I am constrained, and feel sad, to observe that all this is not in the national interest and will hurt our progress. In colonial times public property was a symbol of colonial power. Today it belongs to the tax-payer, to the same people who in a state of motivated frenzy, egged on by partisan interests, seek to destroy it.

This is a matter of the utmost concern, and calls for the most serious introspection at the national level. Increasingly, these types of outbursts are found to be centered on identity-based issues. At a time when the world looks upon India as a rising power, the Indian State can not be allowed to become so diminished that it cannot even protect public property. We have decided to call a meeting of the National Integration Council next month in which, I hope, we will be able to frankly and sincerely discuss some of these issues and reach a national consensus.

Let me end by urging you to reflect on these issues and show the way forward in your respective States. I am sure that your knowledge, wisdom and experience can help in a big way in meeting the various challenges that our country faces today. I am confident that through your efforts the office of Governor will acquire a new standing in the eyes of the people. I wish all of you all the very best.”

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Maoist outfit taking shape in state

Express News Service 17 Sep 2008 03:02:00 AM ISTKOZHIKODE: A splinter group within the Naxalite spectrum has formed a new Maoist outfit- the People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI)- , which also upholds the theory of armed struggle.

The CPI (Maoist) and the CPIML (Naxalbari) are the two Maoists organisations presently operating in the state.

PLFI is the frontal organisation of the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI), a Maoist outfit which has its presence in states like Bihar.

A major chunk of the MCCI had merged with the CPI-ML (People’s War) in 2004 to form the CPI (Maoist).

But a section in the MCCI stayed away from the merger and continued to operate independently.

The PLFI has been formed by the elements in various states which are opposed to CPI (Maoists) for various reasons.

The declared aim of the outfit is to ‘support the Maoists to establish a new democratic republic of India.’ Some of the persons in the state committee of the PLFI were earlier with the CPI (Maoists). The state secretary of the MCCI in the state is a person who was a state committee member of the CPI (Maoists).

A woman cadre of the CPI (Maoist) has recently joined the PLFI.

Majority of the workers of the PLFI/MCCI are from North Kerala.

The formation meeting of the outfit was held in Iritty a few months ago.

The PLFI in the state is working in close co-ordination with the units in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

It has brought out a magazine titled Communist.

The outfit has organised campaign against hike in the price of essential commodities and poster campaign on Charu Mazumdar Day on July 28.

The PLFI had decided to organise agitation against the eviction of families from Moorkan Paramba for the proposed international airport in Kannur.

It has hailed the attack on Grey Hounds in Orissa and ransacking of the NABARD Office in Kalpetta.

The PLFI has some serious difference of opinion with the CPI (Maoists), mainly over military tactics.

The PLFI believes that CPI (Maoists) has converted people’s war into mere militarism.

Secret service

17 Sep 2008, 0510 hrs IST,TNN

BANGALORE: The persistent beggar in the bus stand or the shrill coolie in the railway station. The ragpicker at the market or the shabby man who shuffles along the road. Most people brush them off as minor irritants, but they could well be the eyes and ears of the police department.

When blasts rocked Delhi recently, few expected that two ragpickers - who eke out an existence by foraging in dustbins - would come to the police's help. The police have refused to reveal details of another person who helped them defuse a bomb. In all probability, he is an informant.

'Alkattis' - as anti-social elements call them - are people who inform the police about dangerous or criminal activities, including robbery, illegal trade, drug rackets and even terrorism.

The police also use these people for work like emergency relief or penetrating criminal gangs. However, no policeman will publicly acknowledge the informant or reveal his identity. Instead, his needs are taken care of in the form of rewards.

"Informants play a crucial role in gathering intelligence. We have a personal bond with them. I will not share information about them with anyone. Exposing them would be dangerous, even life-threatening, as criminals may retaliate,'' said a city police inspector who has solved many cases based on informants' inputs.

Informants are often part of the group that carries out criminal activities, and will be party to all that happens in the gang. An informant on robbers and chain snatchers may be a drunkard who hangs around a bar that these gangs frequent. A person with information on the wildlife trade will be involved in it, in some way. Others could give valuable inputs on activities of Naxals and terrorists.

However, their information comes at a price. Every wing of the police department has a fund for this, but it's woefully short of what is required. While the CID Forest Cell has a monthly fund of Rs 20,000, information that leads to seizure of tiger skin or ivory will cost about Rs 30,000.

For a good haul of fake currency, informants seek Rs 10 lakh in advance, and the value of inputs on drugs and narcotics is anyone's guess. The state intelligence, which monitors terrorist, Naxalite and other activities pertaining to law and order, has a monthly allocation of Rs 16 lakh to Rs 25 lakh for this. This money has to be distributed among all districts for intelligence-gathering activities.

"We are already short of funds. Diversion of what little there is, worsens the crunch,'' police officials said.

We will hunt the chopper ourselves’

9/17/2008 8:09:51 AM

Aditi Singh, daughter of Captain VP Singh
Ignored by the government, desperate relatives of pilots of the missing Ran Air chopper, which went missing over jungles on the Chhattisgarh-Andhra Pradesh border with out any trace have decided to look for their loved ones by themselves in the dangerous naxal infested forests.

One and half months after the chopper went missing, there’s still no trace of either the crew or the chopper. Aditi Singh, daughter of Captain VP Singh, said, “43 days have passed already and we have been making our pleas to the state to help us. We have been making pleas to the Centre to help us, practically nothing is happening.”

The families of the missing crew are getting so desperate that they are now venturing into the jungles where the Bell 430 went missing. In fact Captain VP Singh’s son is camping in Dantewara, daughter of Capt VP Singh, said. “Life is important to us too but the people are too. So now we have decided to venture into the jungles. My brother is there and Captain Gaur’s brother is there and Santosh’s family also. They also ventured into the jungles themselves.”

Ran Air’s Bell 430 went missing on August 3rd. It took off from Hyderabad and was heading towards Raipur with a stopover at Jagdalpur. But it went missing in the jungles on the Andhra Pradesh-Chhattisgarh border. Security forces have been combing the area and are yet to find any trace of the missing chopper. Their search efforts hampered they say by the difficult terrain.

But Captain VP Singh and his co-pilot captain Gaur's families are not ready for any excuses. “The government is too scared of the Naxal activities there and the terrain they are talking about. Terrains are difficult in many places. People don't stop working because of that,” said, Aditi Singh.

Now, 45 days after Bell 430 disappeared, the families of the missing crew are venturing into the Naxal infested jungles in search of their loved ones and literally mocking the government for being a spectator.

(Rahul Singh)

Time to get tough

17 Sep 2008, 0006 hrs IST, PRAKASH SINGH

Terrorism seems to have the entire country in its grip. There is hardly a state which is not affected by the terrorist menace, though the shades may be different. There is ‘ethnic terror’ in the north-east, ‘Naxalite terror’ over vast swathes of central India and there is the ‘Islamist terror’ which, starting from J&K, has spread to other parts of the country. Of these, the last one is undoubtedly the most devastating by virtue of its linkages with the forces of global jihad.

Their objectives may be different — separatism for the north-eastern rebels, new democratic revolution for the Naxals, and azadi for the militants in J&K. But, in practical terms, these boil down to creating communal disharmony, disrupting the economy and destabilising the political structure. A grim scenario is building up which calls for a comprehensive strategy.

The salient features of the terrorist threat need to be clearly understood. First, it has today an all-India sweep, from Kashmir to Kerala and Mumbai to Manipur.

Second, the terrorists, with their sophisticated weaponry and expertise in the use of IEDs, pack an enormous punch. Third, the frequency of these attacks is now anybody’s guess.

Earlier, it was one major incident every quarter. Now another incident could happen tomorrow or just any other day.

Fourth, while the Naxalite movement is more or less entirely indigenous, the north-eastern insurgents and the Islamist terrorists have a significant nexus with external forces which enable them get weapons, ammunition and explosives from our neighbouring countries — apart from access to sanctuaries, training facilities and guidance.

Are we capable of facing the threat of terror? The answer is an emphatic yes provided we show the political will, chalk out a comprehensive plan and extend necessary legal and administrative support to the states irrespective of the governing party. There are three outstanding examples of our success against terrorism. Punjab offers the best illustration. The state witnessed what was one of the most lethal terrorist movements the world has seen, and yet it was vanquished. In Andhra Pradesh, which had become the epicentre of the Naxal movement in the country, the state police have been able to clear the affected districts of the Maoists, who have since fled to the neighbouring states.

In Tripura, the security forces have been able to break the backbone of the ATTF and the NLFT, the major insurgent groups operating in the state. There is no reason why the central and the state governments, working in tandem, cannot contain the terrorist threat we face today.

We should, to start with, define our anti-terror policy in unambiguous terms, and make it clear that the country shall not compromise in its battle with terrorism under any circumstances; that it shall be dealt with sternly and at all costs. At the same time, the state must give an assurance that legitimate political demands will be met and that genuine socio-economic grievances shall be addressed. This policy will have to be backed by appropriate structural changes in the law enforcement machinery. A federal investigating agency must be set up in view of the fact that terrorist crimes have interstate or even international ramifications. The state police agencies, with their compartmentalised approach, would not be able to do justice to such cases.

The state police units, it must be remembered, are our first line of defence against terrorism. These must be energised and motivated. The police stations should be strengthened and the system of beat patrol revived. Unfortunately, we have allowed the state satraps to politicise these forces and blunt their striking power. In a couple of states, the ruling parties are using them virtually as their private militias. The Supreme Court directions on police reforms should be implemented without any further delay. The apex court itself would have to crack the whip against the recalcitrant states. The investigation and law and order work must be separated in the metropolitan towns at least. Intelligence must be insulated from political influences and revamped on the lines recommended by the Saxena committee.

There is a Money Laundering Act on the statute book, but it needs to be made more stringent because the terrorist outfits continue to indulge in hawala transactions in a significant way. The UN Security Council Resolution 1373 lays great stress on choking the financial sources of terrorists.

A stringent anti-terror law is a must. The argument that the existence of TADA or POTA in the past did not finish terrorism is juvenile. Notwithstanding the existence of the Indian Penal Code, we still have incidents of murder and rape. Does it mean that the penal sections relating to these crimes could be abolished? Besides, if a particular law is misused, the answer lies in incorporating safeguards and ensuring that those overstepping the limits of law are suitably punished. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater is no solution.

We are a nuclear power. We aspire to have a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. But we are looking pathetic and clueless in the face of recurring terrorist attacks in our cities, including the national capital. A determined and firm response is called for. Veerbhogya Vasundhara (the brave shall rule the earth), say our ancient texts. The terrorist threat can surely be contained, if not demolished, once we decide that national security shall take precedence over all other considerations.

The writer is a former director-general of police, UP.

Speech by President of India at the Conference of Governors

Speech by Hon'ble President of India Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil at the Conference of Governors

12:4 IST
Hon'ble Vice-President, Hon'ble Prime Minister, Hon'ble Ministers, Hon'ble Governors and Lt. Governors and senior officials.

During my interaction with various Governors, I could sense that most of you were enthusiastically looking forward to the Conference of Governors. I am happy to have this opportunity today of meeting you all collectively. I extend a very warm welcome to you all.

I recall attending the last Conference in June 2005 as one amongst you. This time we have with us our new Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari. With a long and distinguished record of service to the nation, his breadth of vision would benefit us. Since this Conference last met, several Governors and Lieutenant Governors have demitted office. I thank each one of them for their valuable services and wish them many years of health and happiness. I would like to congratulate the Governors and Lt. Governors who are attending the Conference for the first time and offer my good wishes to everyone present.

I am glad that many of the recommendations made during the previous Conference have been translated into action. The achievements have been highlighted in the Action Taken Report already available with you.

Over the years, the Conference of Governors has served as a useful forum for constructive exchange of experiences and ideas on issues of national and regional concern. Bearing in mind the increasingly important role of Governors in view of the emerging challenges of governance and the growing expectations from them in ensuring the well-being of the people, certain contemporary issues of national importance have been identified for discussion during these two days.

I recall what Gandhiji commented about the role of Governors, "��Whilst I would resent much power of interference to be given to Governors, I do not think that they should be mere figureheads. They should have enough power, enabling them to influence ministerial policy for the better. In their detached position, they would be able to see things in their proper perspective and thus prevent mistakes by their Cabinets. Theirs must be an all pervasive moral influence in their provinces."

The big challenge facing us is the battle against terrorism, Left Wing Extremism and insurgency. Outfits with varying goals have been waging a long and enduring warfare against the State with some forming a mutually supportive grid in this proxy warfare. Intervention by trans-border elements also poses a threat to our security and integrity. Left wing extremism is fast becoming a vexed problem. The serial blasts which occurred on 13th September in Delhi is fresh in our mind. This emerging phenomenon of metro-terrorism has given a new dimension to subversive activities and is a matter of serious concern.

The State and Central Governments have to deal firmly with those who follow the path and culture of guns. Both the Governments have conjointly adopted a multi-pronged conflict-management and conflict-resolution strategy. During my visit to Shararat Post close to the Line of Control at Tangdhar in May 2008, I saw how our valiant soldiers guard our borders with dedication and a smile on their face. We are immensely proud of our security forces which have ably defended us from insidious forces. Their operational efficiency needs constant upgradation. We need to modernize our police force with greater investments in cyber and technical intelligence, communication systems and forensic capabilities. There is need for an institutional mechanism to seamlessly share intelligence on real-time basis to foil the attempts of terrorists and naxalites. A healthy police-population ratio needs to be maintained. It is for consideration whether the help of ex-servicemen who have experience in handling inimical forces could be enlisted in this effort. Some of the affected states, particularly in the North East, as reported have a deficit of one-fifth of the sanctioned strength of constabulary. Insufficient number of police stations affects police outreach. Fund allocations for security forces by the States has stagnated or grown marginally. All this has a crippling effect on the efficacy of the law and order machinery. Given your pre-eminent positions, you can provide the right lead in this direction.

As the Naxalite problem is also an expression of neglect, deprivation and disaffection amongst the downtrodden, the solution lies largely in our ability to deepen the democratic process, usher in good governance, rapid economic development, equity and justice besides expanding employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. While not showing any leniency to disruptive and separatist elements, we have to also sensitize our security personnel to exercise maximum possible restraint and show respect to local sentiments and gender sensitivity in the disturbed areas.

Our diplomatic initiative with our neighbouring country Bhutan and to some extent Myanmar has been fruitful in isolating and combatting militants. We need to embark on similar result-oriented strategies with other willing neighbours to create a climate of shared determination to extinguish terrorism from the common neighbourhood. Our Border Management policy measures include fencing, floodlighting, roads, border outposts besides strengthening surveillance of coastal areas. Governors can share their views on the operational effectiveness of our border management measures particularly on the Border Area Development Programme being implemented for balanced development of sensitive border areas.

Violence has no place in democracy. Consensus building is integral to nation building. We have to evolve an acceptable, peaceful political solution taking on board the unfulfilled aspirations and emotive sentiments of the people in these disturbed regions. I find from the reports of the Governors of North-Eastern States that there is a crystallisation of opinion in favour of peace. Encouraging signals have been received in the form of surrender of many militants. It is therefore equally critical that the surrenderees receive all the benefits due to them under the rehabilitation package and as Governors you can play a watchful role. The desire for peace through dialogues like the Naga Talks is a positive development which needs to be speedily taken up to its logical culmination.

Preserving a climate of peace, pluralism and harmony is as crucial as the fight against terrorism. Acceptance of all religions and different ways of life are values that Gandhiji taught us. The aberrations of fundamentalism, violence and bloodshed have disturbed the equilibrium in the society. Some States experienced communal and social strife which not only vitiated social harmony but also pulled back the nation economically. We have to exercise vigil to prevent such happenings. There is an imperative need to instil in our youth the philosophy and practice of tolerance, coexistence and harmony. We have to work together to create a sense of common belonging, common consciousness and common destiny.

By securing a better life for our citizens we can secure a society at peace with itself. Since food security ranks first amongst our hierarchical needs, food availability with right nutrition content and assured accessibility has to occupy centre-stage in the country's economic activity. The synergized endeavours of our policy makers, farming community, agricultural scientists and agri-business enterprises can help in attainment of the goal of food security for all. Agriculture being a State subject, the pivotal responsibility lies on the State government to protect and preserve farming as our living heritage.

We have to discover ways and means to produce more from the limited land available. While we must continue to respect and encourage the traditional wisdom of our farmers, adoption of new innovative farming practices is a must. This requires State-specific strategies based on local agro-climatic conditions besides institution and capacity building at the local level. Transfer of technology at the doorstep of farmers should be top priority of agricultural institutes. We may consider collaborating with advanced countries in research on development of better strain of seeds for dryland farming. We need to foster an evergreen revolution by consolidating the gains achieved and ensure new gains through enhanced investment in agriculture, diversification of farming systems, value addition and unshackling of the rural entrepreneurial spirit. Innovative practices like urban and peri-urban agriculture needs to be promoted.

Price-rise has become a pressure point in the economy. Rise in food prices has the greatest impact on common man's inflationary paradigm. This also lends to the paradox of sufficient food-grains in the granary co-existing with the incidence of hunger. While such distortions cannot be corrected by a single stroke of action, there is a need to monitor pricing and streamlined flow of essential commodities. We would hear from our Finance Minister of the do's and don'ts for effective management of the inflationary tendency.

We have a tradition to consider human-beings as an integral part of the eco-system. We have to harmonize ecological and environmental imperatives with our development strategies. Global warming, thinning of ozone layer, erosion in the Arctic permafrost and consequential climate change is emerging as one of the biggest threats to the bio-sphere. As Governors, I would urge to lend your stature and intellect to convince the people that the phenomenon is actually occurring and mobilize support towards sustainable development.

India has been playing an active role in addressing the climate change issues. Our Prime Minister released the National Action Plan on Climate Change in June, 2008 which emphasizes adaptation to climate and enhancing the ecological sustainability of our development path. It focuses attention on eight National Missions and recognizes the significant role that States will play in creating institutions to enhance the ability of the people to adapt to climate change. The consensus adopted recently by the Nuclear Suppliers Group on civil nuclear cooperation with India will help provide an enabling environment for clean energy. I compliment the Prime Minister for this historical achievement.

I also take this opportunity to express on my own behalf and others our sympathy and solidarity for the people of Bihar in braving the devastation caused by the Kosi. Time has come to go beyond post-disaster management approach and instead emphasize on prevention, mitigation and risk-reduction approach. I urge upon the concerned governments to ensure immediate and effective relief disbursal to restore normalcy and prevent recurrence of such calamities.

Another significant fact of our changing society is the transformation in the country's demographic profile. We need to nurture this vast and precious human capital to prepare for their march towards the country's progress. To my mind, our higher educational institutions must emphasize on experimentation and innovation. Only then the knowledge imparted would have an organic and living relationship with the societal needs and help in mediating the strands of challenges of a rapidly changing modern-day world. Also we should not overlook the need to have a system of education that teaches us positive values and makes us good citizens. As Chancellors, your sagacious counsel on how to guide the State University system will be of immense benefit.

Talking of education, one notes with satisfaction that we have been able to reduce the gender gap in enrolment. There is still lot more to be done for them. Inspite of their constituting 48% of our population, they continue to suffer from discrimination, disparity, indignity and exclusion from decision-making processes. I have been constantly focusing attention on the need for women's empowerment and elimination of social evils as they retard the progress of both society and nation. Any agenda for empowerment of women should cover gender needs at every stage of life beginning from protection in the womb by prohibiting female foeticide, checking female mortality through better nutrition, addressing gender preferences in families, giving equal educational opportunities to girlchild, making them economically independent by imparting skills, making work-places safe for women, building defence against domestic violence and allowing women to fully realize their capacities. A major milestone has been the setting up of over 2.2 million Self Help Groups at the grassroots level. Such initiatives could flourish with your support and encouragement.

We have to be ever vigilant to mainstream gender into laws, policies and programmes of the government. Special attention needs to be given to Gender Budgeting. While various departments implement schemes for development of women, they are often not implemented in close coordination thus making the approach fragmented. There is a need to bring about the right modicum of convergence so as to make the cause of women's development a collective concern. As a step in this direction, I am glad to state that at the instance of the Prime Minister, the Union Ministries have constituted Task Forces to identify specific action points on convergence of Government programmes for gender equality and fighting social evils. These would be integrated into a concrete Action Plan alongwith activities of the civil society and the private sector. This Action Plan is to be examined by a Committee of Secretaries under the Cabinet Secretary for implementation. Similar initiative can be made by the State Governments.

The Scheduled Castes who constitute 16% of our population still continue to remain a disadvantaged section of the society. There is a pressing need to ensure that they lead their lives with dignity and honour, free from atrocities. We have about 85 million tribal people in our country. There is a felt need for continuous intervention to ensure their speedy development and welfare. The Fifth Schedule of the Constitution dealing with the administration of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes envisages a specific role for the Governors. It empowers the Governor to direct whether a particular enactment shall apply with or without modifications or be not applied to any scheduled area. It also empowers the Governor to make regulations for peace and good governance.

In view of these special provisions, there is a feeling in certain quarters that the Governor should play a pro-active role. On the other hand, it is understood that court judgments and debates in the Constituent Assembly provide that the Governor is bound by the advice of the Council of Ministers in the exercise of his powers under the Fifth Schedule. This causes considerable uncertainty. Government could seek authoritative legal opinion to set at rest this ambiguity. Annual Reports required to be submitted by the Governors under Fifth Schedule requires streamlining. Further the Tribes Advisory Councils set up under this Schedule have not functioned with the vigour expected of them thus warranting remedial action at your end. We would be keen to hear from you about your views and perception of making your role in this regard more meaningful.

I understand that "The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996", (PESA) has extended Panchayati Raj to the nine States namely, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Rajasthan under Fifth Schedule. However, they are yet to frame requisite local enactments to comply with the PESA Act. Since the quality of government-citizen interface at the grassroots level determines the quality of governance, you may urge the State Governments to have informed discussions on this matter and chart out the most optimal path for the good of the people.

I want to advert your attention to another segment of the society where there is both need and scope to improve. We have about 21 lakh ex-servicemen and 4 lakh war-widows. The constant vigil of our security forces keeps us safe and secure. We must take special care of their welfare and rehabilitation. I had requested you all for a special report on the activities of Sainik Boards and Amalgamated Funds. While the focus of a few States seem to lack drive, some have embarked on innovative schemes like computerization of Sainik Board data in West Bengal, medical reimbursement in Goa, reimbursement of housing loan interest in Jharkhand, just to name a few. I would urge upon all the Governors presiding or chairing the Rajya Sainik Boards to hold regular meetings and impart greater dynamism to these Boards; take up resource-mobilization drives besides a prompt redressal of their grievances.

As regards emoluments, allowances and privileges of Governors, the Cabinet approval for enhancement of salary of Governors along with others is a reason for cheer. On the issue of pension and terminal benefits, we may hear from the Prime Minister and Home Minister how best they can address your concerns.

At the end, I would like to mention that the Governor's Monthly Reports, in some cases, are narrative and statistical. Their usefulness will be enhanced if important developments could be highlighted along with an assessment and analysis of the situation. Secondly, I would also suggest that Governors could take more intensive tours of their own States so that they appreciate the felt needs of the citizens better.

I have taken much of your time in sharing my thoughts. You have a heavy agenda before you. I expect that the discussions would enable us to arrive at suitable conclusions and map out a strategy which can be mainstreamed into the process of policy making. I have great pleasure in declaring the Conference of Governors open.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Misfire injures fake naxalite

Hyderabad | Senin, Sep 15 2008 IST

A fake naxalite sustained minor injuries when a gun of policeman accidently went off after he tried to escape by pushing him in the Sanath Nagar area of the city today.

Police said two persons posing as naxalites were taken into custody when they were extorting money from the public.

However, one of them tried to escape by pushing the police personnel. In the melee, a bullet from the gun of a police personnel misfired injuring him.

-- (UNI) -- 15MR13.xml

Naxal arson in Chhattisgarh

Naxal arson in Chhattisgarh
Jagdalpur | Senin, Sep 15 2008 IST

More than two dozen naxals torched a couple of tractors being used for road-laying near Narayanpur district's Bahmer village today, police said.

The vehicles' diesel tanks were broken before they were set afire. The rebels did not target a driver and labourers.

Protests spread from Nagpur

16 Sep 2008, 0620 hrs IST, Soumittra S Bose ,TNN

NAGPUR: Smoke from burning tyres spiralling into the sky. Roads strewn with pieces of glass and brick. Helmeted policemen chasing protestors or trying to douse burning tyres. These were common sights in Nagpur in October 2006 during the Khairlanji protests.

It was from Nagpur that the Dalit protests fanned out nationwide . As Dalit anger held the city under siege, the police faced a tough time controlling the rampaging mobs. State Transport buses, shops and other public property faced the wrath of the agitators who even battled cops.

What began as a subdued protest suddenly took monstrous shape when an angry mob set a police vehicle on fire at Indora. Policemen were indiscriminately attacked. The police chowky at Indora was almost burned down.

The police resorted to lathicharges and tear gas. "The aggravation at Indora Chowk prompted us to resort to stricter means to control the situation,'' said then zonal DCP Amitesh Kumar. "Some ill-advised leaders took advantage of the sentiment and provoked common citizens with their ulterior motives,'' said then zonal DCP Prabhat Kumar. "When the agitation fanned out to different parts of the city, we had to run around to save the city.''

The protests spread to Vidarbha , Kanpur, Osmanabad, Nanded and Nashik.

In Mumbai, more than 5,000 protestors halted the crowded Deccan Queen near Ulhasnagar and torched five bogies. Local trains were also set afire at Matunga and Ulhasnagar. Parts of Mumbai and its western and eastern suburbs witnessed violence as police had to resort to stringent measures to bring the situation under control.

Naxalites fanned the flames

Nagpur: Security agencies saw signs of Naxals inciting mobs to a considerable extent. Deputy chief minister R R Patil's similar observation gave the theory official support. Naxal leaders sent letters to the media condemning the killings. This was seen as a ploy to attract Dalits to their fold.

Former Naxalite Suresh Harami, who surrendered, revealed that Maoist leaders wanted to eliminate 13 people, including the 11 accused, an MLA and another villager.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

RSS chief blames 'foreign hands' for unrest in India

Monday, 15 September , 2008, 00:16
Last Updated: Monday, 15 September , 2008, 00:50

Ranchi: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief K C Sudarshan Sunday blamed "foreign hands" for terrorist and Maoist violence in the country.

"The disintegrating forces are becoming active in the country at the instigation of foreign hands and the role of the churches is also suspicious," Sudarshan told a rally here.

He was in Ranchi to participate in the Matrushakti programme of the Seva Bharati, an RSS affiliated organisation.

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"Foreign hands are behind the terrorist and Maoist activities in Jharkhand. In Hindu culture, social service is not done for any reward. But Christians and Muslims are expanding their bases in the country in the name of social work," he said.

Referring to the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Lakshmananand in Orissa's Kandhmal district August 23, which led to communal clashes, Sudarshan said: "He was killed as he worked to bring the converted people back to their original religion. Till now nobody has been arrested in connection with the killing. When the tribal people took to the streets to protest the killing, the Pope had problem. Why is the Pope interfering in India's internal affairs?"

Helipads at police station: Sonbhadra cops plan to combat Naxals

Manish Sahu
Posted: Sep 15, 2008 at 0205 hrs IST

Lucknow, September 14 Helipads, bunkers, improved armoury feature in the list prepared by Sonbhadra district administration to tackle Naxal threat.
Hit by surging strength of Naxal attacks, the administration wants its police to become more agile to tackle the menace, which was recently described as Number 1 internal security threat by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The proposal, prepared under the Centre’s Special Infrastructure Development Scheme for Naxal-Affected Area, involves an expenditure of Rs 100 crore and has been sent to the state government, which in turn will forward it to the Centre.
Once sanctioned, the proposal will be a part of the Central government’s Rs 800-crore package for strengthening the local police in Naxal-hit areas of the country.

Sonbhadra is one the three Naxal-affected districts in Uttar Pradesh listed for Centre’s “special attention”. The other two districts of the state are Mirzapur and Chandauli.

Superintendent of Police (Sonbhadra) Ram Kumar said: “We have submitted a detailed proposal demanding helipads, upgradation of police stations, outposts, renovation and construction of roads to combat Naxalism.”

In all, 15 roads have been listed for renovation. Besides, 30 police stations have been included for upgradation since police stations top the list of Naxal attacks.

While the construction of helipads would ensure hassle-free transportation during crisis, other infrastructure development would ensure safety of police stations and safe movement of staff during any emergency.

Eleven helipads are proposed to be built near the police station buildings.

Around two months ago, the Sonbhadra police had received a letter from the government, asking to submit a proposal for upgrading its force on the basis of their needs. “After the project gets sanctioned, we will start work on priority,” the SP said.

As per the proposal, the height of police stations’ boundary walls will be increased and watch towers installed at every corner.

Kumar said worn-out roads have become easy place for planting mines. After black-top roads are constructed, it will be much easier to detect mines, he added.

The helipads are meant to provide immediate help to the force. These would be useful when any road gets demolished by Naxalites to prevent reinforcements.

Maoists kill two abducted villagers in Chhattisgarh

13 Sep 2008, 0309 hrs IST,TNN

RAIPUR: Maoists on Friday killed two of the eight villagers whom they abducted last week on suspicion that they were police informers in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district.

According to Dornapal sub-divisional police officer O P Sharma, the villagers are residents of Palamargu village. "Police had killed three rebels in an encounter last month. The Maoists killed the two villagers suspecting that they were police informers," he said.

Sharma added that on September 4, about 50-60 armed Maoists reached the village and took eight villagers with them to the dense forest. "Initially, we received the information that about 40 villagers have been abducted, but on inquiry it was found that only eight were taken away," Sharma said.

The Maoists later released six of the villagers. They told police that two villagers, Panjam Podia and Hemla Nanda, have been killed by the rebels. Following their leads, police later recovered the badly mutilated bodies the two villagers, said Sharma.

All work, no time for training is BSF's big worry

13 Sep 2008, 0457 hrs IST, Anand McNair ,TNN

GANDHINAGAR: The Border Security Force (BSF) is besieged with the problem of not being able to provide continuous and in-service training to its personnel. This, at a time when it plans to raise 49 more battalions and induct hi-tech devices and weaponry.

The problem of training was one of the issues discussed at the two-day annual training conference of the BSF, which concluded at its Chiloda campus on Friday. "In-service training is a big casualty due to constant deployment of BSF personnel," said AK Mitra, BSF director-general , who chaired the meeting.

Ironically, while the force itself is in need of training, its already overstretched resources and infrastructure are being used to provide basic training to policemen from Karnataka, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and other states, particularly those faced with counter-insurgency and naxal problems.

BSF has nine basic training centres in different states. Each centre can train up to 840 personnel. At present, 3,000 policemen from various states and also from countries like Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan are undergoing training at the centres.
This role of BSF in the coming days will only rise putting pressure on the paramilitary force. The shortage of instructors is even more daunting when seen in the backdrop of induction of hi-tech devices and weaponry in the force. BSF recently bought around 50 anti-material rifles from ordnance factory. "We have been authorised to buy 113 anti-material rifles, each costing Rs 2 crore," he said.

Some 46 senior officers of paramilitary force took part in the conference, which focused on effective border management , optimum use of available manpower and review of ongoing and future training courses.