Thursday, September 25, 2008

Indian counter-terrorism

WORLD NEXT WEEK : Oxford Analytica

International tennis fans were disappointed twice when the Bangalore Open was postponed to next week and then cancelled altogether, owing to terrorist blasts. Four major cities have now been struck by bomb attacks within four months, bringing to a head a national debate about law enforcement and civil liberties, and politicians are grappling with the specifically Indian difficulties of responding to terrorism.

The prime suspect in these attacks is the Indian Mujahideen. This group has left intelligence agencies teasing clues, but kept hidden many details of its structure, leadership, and even objectives. What can be said is that, while the perpetrators may have spent time in Pakistan, they are Indian citizens. Their messages tap into grievances particular to Indian Muslims -- such as anger over thousands of deaths in Gujarat’s communal bloodbath of 2002 -- combining this with the globalised strand of revivalist Islam that has spread in the internet age. Worryingly, they can wreak panic and destruction in India’s cities with proven ease, planting crowded urban spaces with simple bombs.

Many countries have experienced a ‘defining moment’ terrorist attack since 2001, including Morocco and Indonesia, as well as Spain and the United Kingdom. Public fear typically empowers the government to take measures it deems necessary. Tighter law enforcement is then introduced, despite some ruing of lost civil liberties. Despite a limited return to a 'normal' balance of powers, judicial systems and police powers are altered in the long run.

The Delhi bombings of September 13 had this sense of a defining moment for India. They prompted a clamour of demand from media and politicians for a better intelligence service, tougher policing, widespread CCTV cameras and the creation of a new terrorist-fighting agency at federal level, to sit on top of the nation's police forces, which operate state-by-state. Yet this is where India departs from the typical experience, encountering a series of unique challenges.

Far from being neutral arbiters of law and order, India's police forces are often embroiled in local competition for the spoils of office. They are frequently implicated in settling scores among political rivals. Parties that win state governments - often by mobilising local caste identities - lose little time in appointing their own favoured personnel and transferring unsympathetic officers to far-flung outposts.

At their worst, state police forces have acted as agents of disorder within India’s democracy, which is itself pervaded with use of violence for political ends. Expanding police powers and loosening legal process, therefore, is likely to exacerbate violence. Since Muslims have frequently suffered police harassment in the past, there is a direct threat of exacerbating support for the Indian Mujahideen and their imitators by increasing police powers.

Moreover, relations between New Delhi and the state capitals will be complicated by the new terror clampdown. A perennial bone of contention is the constitutional power to impose ‘president's rule’ on disorderly states. Reacting against this threat of central control, state governments cling to their alloted powers, which include authority over policing. Despite fighting a large scale Naxalite insurgency in rural areas, poor relations between states and the centre have left India without a single agency able to deal with the problem -- allowing Maoist fighters to take refuge across state borders.

Discontent is running high at the manifest failures in basic policing exposed by the latest attacks, which demonstrate a clear cross-state threat. However, the creation of an Indian FBI would set state governments on edge, not least by threatening the powers of patronage and coercion that control over policing affords them.

SAP jawan killed, 3 injured in Maoist attack

Posted at Thursday, 25 September 2008 09:09 IST
Dehri-on-sone (Bihar), Sep 25: A Special Auxiliary Police (SAP) jawan was killed and two others were injured in an ambush by suspected CPI (Maoist) guerrillas in Bihar's Rohtas district last evening.

The Maoist rebels exploded a landmine near Koriarighat in Kaimur Hills when the SAP contingent comprising ex-servicemen was returning after an encounter with the Naxalites. The blast badly damaged the vehicle carrying the personnel, DIG (Rohtas range) A K Ambedkar said.

Before the security personnel could take position, the Naxalites sprayed bullets, killing constable Kanhaiya Singh on the spot and injuring three other jawans.

The injured were taken to a private nursing home here in serious condition, Ambedkar said.

Earlier in the day, the police had recovered a 75-kg landmine after a five-hour encounter with the Naxalites at Dhansa village, but there were no casualties.

A hunt has been launched by police to apprehend the Naxalites, Ambedkar added.

Lack of development helps Naxalism to grow

Express News Service 25 Sep 2008 11:54:00 AM ISTSAMBALPUR: Lack of development in interior pockets is helping the Naxals to regroup in the district. Capitalising on the backwardness of the people, Naxals are spreading their ideology and able to convince the people that it’s them not the Government who are concerned about their betterment.

The alienation of the people could be gauged from the revelation made by an arrested Naxal. Sayun (20), arrested in the wee hours of Monday, revealed that even womenfolk in their village Lankeswari are inclined towards the Naxal ideology.

A visit to Maoist-prone villages Sarada under Jamankira police station, Gariakhaman under Kisinda police station, Sitlenpalli under Dhama police station exposes how villagers are being alienated as development continues to be non-existent. None of the villages has electricity, road, drinking water and the list is endless. In village Sarada only three villagers possess BPL cards and a pond renovation awaits government nod for past couple of years. Similarly, in village Gariakhaman people are forced to drink water from a nullah running in the village. One can see wild pachyderms unleashing a reign of terror in the suburbs of Sitlenpalli.

Even the story of village Lankeswari is no different with a solitary tubewell and no school. Health services are poor and there is no road worth the name in the village leave aside electricity.

Recalling about the first meeting the Naxals held in the village in 2006, Sayun said they highlighted the miseries of the people and how they were being forced to pay tax for forest land which they had made cultivable for themselves.

With the State Government offering no additional incentives for execution of development works in Maoist-prone areas, no contractor is coming forward to take up the projects.

RPF calls for united struggle for liberation

The Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL, Sept 24: Irengbam Chaoren, president of the Revolutionary People’s Front, RPF, the political wing of the People’s Liberation Army, PLA, in a message on the eve of the raising day of the organisation pledged that his organisation will never give up the arm struggle until its set goal of winning sovereignty for Manipur is realised. He also extended his greetings to the people of Manipur on behalf of both the RPF and the PLA.
The statement said the PLA was founded on September 25 in 1978 with the steadfast objective of bringing back sovereignty to Manipur and has not looked back ever since.
It said after the pioneering path left by the revolutionary leader, Irabot, the momentum of the revolution had waned and it was with this added responsibility of rejuvenating the revolution that the PLA came into being in 1978.
The message further called for a united struggle by all revolutionary organisations in Manipur for with such a unity achieving the goal of sovereignty for Manipur is like to remain elusive for a long time.
This is also because this is a time India is rising in esteem before the eyes of the world, it added.
The message paid tribute to all who have laid down their lives for the cause of winning sovereignty for Manipur and called upon fighters who are carrying forward the campaign to leave aside differences and unite. The slogan should no longer be an advice for fractured organisations to unite, but to call for every organisation to become one in spirit.
Touching on sports, the message said the fact that India was able to return with only one gold and two bronze in the 28th Olympic Games in Beijing, it said this dismal performance is because of the politicized nature of sports in India, which would exclude and suppress talents from sports loving places like Manipur.
By contrast, it said China even allowed Hong Kong and Macao, although these are integral part of China, to participate as separate contingents. China acknowledges the territorial characteristics as international trade centres, of these regions, it added. China even gave its sworn adversary Taipei a rousing welcome, demonstrating its democratic nature. The result is as expected, shown by the 52 gold and a total haul of 100 medals placing it on the top of the achievement scale, it said.
Touching on international politics, the statement said South Oshetia and Abakhanjia are today independent nations after separating from Georgia because of support by Russia, China and three more countries, just as Kosovo became free because of support by the USA and the European Union.
The realisation from this fact should be that it is time for the struggle in Manipur to also reorient and seek a voice and support internationally.
Speaking on India’s nuclear deal, the message said what India is seeking is not peaceful power, but to build reactors capable of manufacturing nuclear bombs. This is because it is uneasy in its dealing with its neighours, it said.
The move also plays into the game plan of the USA which is keen to undermine the rise of China, it said.
On India’s fiscal policy, it said India is cosying up with the World Bank and the IMF and borrowing money so as to create billionaires on the one hand, but also to leave an impoverished masses into perpetual indebtedness.
To befool the latter it is also throwing in some eye washes such as the fraudulent NREGS national rural employment generating scheme). This is also meant to portray the revolution in Manipur in the wrong light. But the self proclaimed champions of the people have no qualms about making the Canchipur palace the toilet of its army, it said.
India is also bent on making the people of Manipur finish each other off, by setting one against the other, the release said.
This is evident in the policy of setting up SPOs taking advantage of some minor incidents involving militants and the anger evoked by these amongst the public. India has tried this in Kashmir and the Naxal heartland and has miserably failed as a constructive policy. Despite this it wants to force the “Salwa Judum” experience on Manipur it said.
The message said under the veil of democracy, India is forcing people to shout “peace” under duress but without giving them peace or freedom. It said peace will remain meaningless without freedom. The example of NSCN(IM), ANVC, NLFT, DHD, UPDS, NDFB are just some example of what India’s peace strategy is about, it said. All of these groups have ended up in fratricidal blood lettings, it added. The groups under the suspension of operation, are also being used in such fratricidal agenda, it said.
It pointed out a document brought out by the “Centre for International Development and Conflict Management, University fo Maryland” in which Manipur features on page 14, in the definition of peace.
Despite grave provocation, the message said RPF is sticking on to its policy of not hitting at the local forces. This is in acknowledgement of the fact that the wails of near ones from the graves of local man, grieves the party.
The statement also came out very strongly at the new trend of kidnapping children. This a handiwork of India through its proxies, it said.
In a message to the media, it said the RPF never considers the media as adversary or would it indulge in gagging it. It however said it is also aware that there are elements in the media who are the eyes and ears of the enemy. It called upon these elements to refrain from their ways. It said it considers the media as the legitimate mouthpiece of the revolutionary movement, and expects the media to perform its role in accordance. It also further called for a united struggle for liberation.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nitish govt violates Model Police Act

25 Sep 2008, 0543 hrs IST, Raj Kumar,TNN

PATNA: Running with the hare and hunting with the hounds, they say, is very difficult or impossible. Not so for the Nitish Kumar government which has accomplished exactly that by adopting the Model Police Act last year and ordering a premature transfer in blatant violation of the Act under political pressure.

When the state legislature passed the Bihar Police Bill, patterned on the Model Police Act, the state government sort of patted itself for being the first among the states to bring in police reforms as directed by the SC. The Bill provided police officials immunity from premature transfers apparently to safeguard their functioning from political machinations.

"The tenure of supervisory-category police officials will be ordinarily of two years," says the Bihar Police Act, 2007. They can be transferred prematurely, it adds, if
• The official has been promoted to a higher rank, or
• He/she has been convicted or charges against him/her have been framed by a court, or
• He/she is unable to execute his duties due to physical/mental illness, or
• There's a need to fill a vacancy caused by a promotion, a transfer or retirement, or
• There are other administrative reasons which are in the interest of efficient execution of duties.

The rules were damned when the government on Tuesday transferred Gaya SP Paresh Saxena only six months after posting him there in April this year. A 1994-batch IPS officer, Saxena has not been promoted. Nor does his name figure in a criminal case. Also, he is alive and kicking; in fact, had it not been so, the government would not have given him the responsible (sic) assignment of AIG (inspection) at the state police HQ. And, D N Gupta, Saxena's predecessor in the AIG (inspection) office, has not retired.

It would indeed be difficult to justify Saxena's transfer for "administrative reasons", the last category of reasons in the rule-book for a premature transfer. For, the crime figures of Gaya were not worse, if not better, than those of other districts or, for that matter, those during the period before Saxena was asked to hold the fort in the Maoist-affected district.

But then the state police HQ is least expected to come up with a plausible explanation on the matter. In fact, the cat was let out of the bag a week ago itself by Nitish's urban development minister Bhola Singh when he spewed venom against Saxena at a public meeting at Gaya and dropped enough hints that the cop should start packing up. The minister had later told TOI he was angry at the SP because he didn't visit the place where he and other ministers had put up at Gaya and because the SP did not come to the dais from where the famous Pitripaksh fair was inaugurated.

Ironically, Saxena was among the few "no-nonsense" IPS officials handpicked by the EC's no-nonsense advisor K J Rao and brought to Bihar from Central deputation for policing the November 2005 assembly polls. The polls resulted in the formation of Nitish government __ the "sushasan" which boasts of providing the rule of law.

Maoist scare

BHUBANESWAR, Sept 24: Maoist scare forced educational institutions and shops of Rajgangpur town in Sundergarh district to close down today. Panic stricken guardians and parents of children rushed to bring back their children from school and shops in the local market downed their shutters as rumours of Maoists having entered the town spread. Police teams swung into action and para military forces marched along the streets to instill confidence amongst people. It turned out to be a rumor, said police sources.
Some people, particularly school authorities received telephone calls saying Maoist had entered one of the schools in the town. This triggered a panic reaction and people started vacating educational institutions. n SNS

Landmine, detonators seized in Bihar

Sasaram (PTI): Police on Wednesday recovered a huge quantity of explosives, including a powerful landmine and several detonators, after a fierce encounter with armed activists of the banned CPI (Maoist) on Wednesday in a village in Bihar's Rohtas district.

Acting on an intelligence tip-off that hundreds of ultras had assembled at Budhua village on the occasion of the foundation day of the proscribed ultra-left outfit, a patrol party raided the village, leading to the exchange of fire between the two sides, Vaibhav said.

After a five-hour-long battle, the Naxalites managed to escape, the SP said, adding police recovered a 75-kg powerful landmine and several detonators from the spot.

Raids were on to nab the ultras, he said.

Live bombs recovered from Jharkhand railway tracks

Ranchi, Sept 24: Thirteen live bombs laid on the railway tracks of Jharkhand were seized by the police this morning.
"A villager passing through the railway tracks spotted suspicious objects kept on it. Police seized the bombs and they have been handed over to experts," a police official told IANS.
He said the size of the bombs was small. “Investigation is going on and we are trying to find out who planted them”.
The railway services are normal, he added.
The bombs were recovered from railway tracks near Taljharia railway station of Sahebganj district, around 550 km from Ranchi.

Major shake up in police dept, 24 IPS shifted

Patna, (Bihar Times): The state government on Tuesday transferred 24 IPS officers of the rank of DIG, SP and ASP. Six districts got new Supertendent of Police. Besides, 210 new posts have been created in the state intelligence to strengthen the department.

Gaya SP Paresh Saxena, who reportedly antagonized ruling NDA politicians
has been shunted to the post of AIG (inspection) in the state police headquarters. SP (security), S Malar Vij is now the new SP of Gaya. in Gaya.

Muzaffarpur SP (railway) Gandheshwar Prasad Sinha has been made SP of Arwal while Shyam Kumar, who was waiting for posting, becomes assistant director of the Bihar Police Academy in Patna. Jehanabad SP Arvind Kumar will take charge as SP (D) in the CID.

Begusarai SP Amit Lodha goes to Muzaffarpur as SP (railway) while Arwal SP Gopal Singh Bhadoria becomes commandant of BMP-1 in Patna. Banka SP Vinod Kumar Choudhary will become SP (railway) in Katihar.

Three ASPs of the 2005 batch have been promoted and made SP.

Hajipur ASP Manu Maharaj has been made Jehanabad SP while Hilsa ASP Jitendra Ram is the new SP of Banka. Sasaram ASP P Kannan has been made Begusarai SP.

ADG (railway) A S Nimbran has been given additional charge of the director of newly-created Bihar Police Academy (BPA). Saharsa DIG Shahab Akhtar becomes DIG (homeguards) with additional charge of DIG (BMP) in Muzaffarpur.

Munger DIG Manohar Prasad Singh replaces Akhtar in Saharsa in the same capacity while DIG (vigilance) B Srinivasan goes to Munger. Central range DIG (BMP) K M Lal will have additional charge of DIG (special branch).

AIG (Q) Anupama Nirlekar has been given additional charge of SP (security) while AIG (I) D N Gupta has been posted as SP (railway) in Patna. Gupta, who has been sent to Supaul for the time being, will take charge of his Patna assignment after the return of S Majid in Supaul.
BMP-14 commandant S Ravindra will take charge of BMP-3 commandant in Gaya.

The government also posted five 2006-batch IPS officers who were undergoing training at different places. While Sujit Kumar, who was undergoing training in Bhagalpur, has been made Barh SDPO, Siddhartha Mohan Jain, who was in Muzaffarpur, has been made Patna City SDPO.

Pankaj Kumar Raj, who was undergoing training in Bettiah, will take charge as Hilsa SDPO while Vivek Raj Singh has been made Sasaram SDPO. Garima Mallik, who was in Madhubani, has been posted as Danapur SDPO.

Besides, in an attempt to strengthen the anti-Naxal operation the state cabinet on Tuesday created 210 new posts in intelligence department. While 30 new posts will be of Deputy superintendent of police rank, 60 and 120 will be of the rank of inspectors and sub-inspectors respetively.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bhopal bar won’t defend Maoists, terrorists

Font size: ASIANAGE
23 September, 2008 06:48:27


Sept. 23: Public disgust over the anti-national activities of terrorists and Maoists is slowly building. To stress the clear line of distinction between nation breakers and other assorted criminals, members of the bar association in the state capital formally pledged on Monday not to take up briefs of persons charged with working against the country’s unity, specifically Naxalites and terrorists. A formal statement on behalf of the association said action would be taken against members violating its directive.

The president of the city bar association, Mr Rajesh Vyas, told this newspaper that the decision had been pending since the arrests of activists belonging to the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (Simi). Demand that Naxalites and terrorists against whom there were incontrovertible charges be denied the right to defend themselves in court had grown louder after the recent bomb blasts in Karnataka and Ahmedabad. "The blasts in Delhi was the last straw." Since innocents were being killed, those behind these incidents had no right to seek a legal defence.

Mr Vyas said though the initiative had been taken by the city bar association, similar pledges would soon be intoned by fellow associations in Jabalpur (the seat of the high court), Indore and Gwalior, and "hopefully the rest of the country soon". Asked if the lawyers were united on this score, he said there was complete unity, and that the stand of those representing the minority communities was no different.

Asked why Maoists and terrorists had been clubbed together, he said there was no difference between the two. Both were killing innocents, one in the name of religion, another in the name of an alien ideology which had been rejected by most of the world.

Hardcore Maoist rebels arrested in Jharkhand

Hazaribagh (PTI): Two hardcore activists of Jharkhand Prastuti Committee, a breakaway group of Maoists, were arrested here, police said on Tuesday.

DSP(Headquarters) Hazaribagh, Naushad Alam said Binod Mahto alias Deepak of Simaria in Chatra district and Sandeep Paswan of Keredari of Hazaribagh district were arrested while conducting a raid in their hideouts.

Alam alleged that Mahto and Paswan were accused of kidnapping traders and construction company staff for exacting money. They would abduct them and release only after payment of ransom.

They were also accused of bomb attack in the Court Hazat in the district and sessions judge, Chatra on September 12 in which one criminal managed to escape and 14 persons including three police and 12 under-trial prisoners were injured.

Naxalite arrested in UP

Sonebhadra (PTI): A naxalite, carrying a cash reward of Rs 5,000 on his head, has been arrested following an encounter with the police.

Mahendra Kharwar was arrested from near Anjani village in the jungles of Machi following an encounter, police said, adding that a looted SLR and some catridges were recovered from his pocession.

However, his accomplice managed to escape under cover of darkness, they said.

The recovered SLR was looted from a PAC camp in Khoradah in Mirzapur district about seven years ago, police said.

Militant Hindus – what a joke!

While there were millions of bytes and words flying around, castigating Hindus for being violent, no channel has thought of highlighting the atrocities perpetrated against them in Kandhamal by the state administration and Christian missionaries.
CJ: B D Narayankar , 3 days ago Views:612 Comments:7
IT’S BECOME a trend with the news channels to pounce upon a Hindu on rampage, ignoring the very cause of retaliation. I am referring to Orissa violence, where Christians were targeted and brutally assaulted. At many places even their homes were set on fire.

While there were millions of bytes and words flying around, castigating Hindus for being violent, no channel has thought of highlighting the atrocities perpetrated against the Hindus in Kandhamal by the state administration and the Christian missionaries, especially following the murder of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati. They have been targeted; their families have been threatened by other communities. They have no shelter and no food to feed their families. Their houses were burnt by the criminals, who did not even allow them to earn their bread and butter.

These conditions of the innocent Hindus were recorded by a high-level delegation led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), MP, Jual Oram, which visited Kandhamal district on September 4, to assess the situation after Swami Laxmananda Saraswati’s murder.

Always the Indian media, especially the electronic media, represents the Hindus as militants and persecutors that is really disturbing and sad. These news channels behave in most unpatriotic manner and report the stories like most of the foreign correspondents do, who lack understanding of India.

A peep into the history books will reveal how different religions profess militancy. It is necessary for the Indian media to bring forward a more balanced view of the sensitive problems. The gory past of Christian atrocities is forgotten now but history will never forgive culprits like Alfonso de Albuquerque who carried out the persecutions of Hindus in 1510. He burnt ’heretics’, crucified Brahmins, used false theories to forcibly convert lower castes and razed the temples to build churches upon them.

How can one forget one of the most fiery communal statements ever made against the Hindus. Claudius Buccchanan, a chaplain attached to East India Company, said, “Neither truth, nor honesty, honour, gratitude, nor charity, is to be found in the breast of a Hindu”. What a comment on a nation, that had welcomed these merchants because of the Hindu philosophy of universal brotherhood. This communal agenda of Claudius paved the way for British to trap the poor and simple tribals for conversion and bury their cultural identities for ever.

Coming to the recent violence in Orissa, the police, even before it could visit the spot where Swami Laxmananda Saraswati was killed, claimed that the murder was committed by the Naxals. Even media played up the story. The fact of the matter, however, is that there is a lot of enmity between the converts and the non-converts. The non-converts are furious over the Christian missionaries hogging up their lands to propagate Christianity and converting them through cash inducements and other ugly means. Missionaries, on the other hand, are frustrated over the hurdle created by Swami Laxmananda Saraswasti’s movement of bringing back the converts to the Hindu fold. Swamiji’s murder was a result of the simmering emotions between the converts and non-converts.

Sometimes back, it was claimed by the media that the burning of churches in Andhra Pradesh was the design of ’fanatic’ Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, but later it was proved that it was the handiwork of ISI to foment hatred between the Christians and the Hindus. Yet, the Indian media that went berserk at the time of the burnings, mostly kept quiet when the true nature of the perpetrators was revealed.

Missionaries, especially, the Indian priests, would like us to believe that democracy includes the freedom to convert by any means. But in France, a Christian nation, has a minister who hunts down non-Christian sects. The system is so ruthless that even the Scientology Church, favoured by some Hollywood stars such as John Travolta, is mercilessly hounded out.
Other Articles by B D Narayankar
Is India geared up for Formula One?
Khadiwale is the lad to watch: Bhave
Is Karnataka right for Nano?
Bringing books to people's doorsteps
D&B predicts further monetary tightening
more >> And what America, which is recognised as the largest democracy in the world, did to Osho movement in Arizona, or how innocent children and women were burnt down by FBI in Waco Texas, because they belonged to a dangerous sect?

Isn’t it surprising that India had been invaded by so many sects around the world, yet it did not lose its cultural identity. In fact, the aggressors had imbibed some of the cultural aspects of this great nation, which was deeply engrossed in spiritual philosophy and universal brotherhood. But will it survive the present Christian offensive? Many Hindu religious leaders feel that Christianity is a real threat today. It is therefore, necessary that Indians themselves become more aware of the danger that their culture and unique civilisation is facing at the hands of missionaries sponsored by foreign money. It is also necessary that they stop surfing and reading the Marxist-influenced English media, who defend the rights of the Christian missionaries to convert the innocent Hindus.

20-yr-old Naxal arrested

Sayun BilungExpress News Service 23 Sep 2008 10:48:00 AM ISTSAMBALPUR: A Naxalite Sayun Bilung (20), known as Sambit in Maoist circle, was nabbed from Lankeswari village during a joint raid by the CRPF and Sambalpur police in the wee hours on Monday.

Sayun was taken in as a Sleeper Cell member, involved in providing food and shelter, by the ultras in 2006 in which he participated with enthusiasm. Later, he underwent training in Saranda forest in neighbouring Jharkhand and was also instrumental in shifting injured Shatrughan alias Sonu to Cuttack. Sonu was hit by a bullet in an encounter with the police in Badrama forest in January this year.

Nursing a grudge against his parents for being abandoned by them, he revealed to police about being denied of parental love and how the Naxals were sympathetic towards him after being declared ‘illegitimate child’ by his villagers.

Orissa caught in Naxal spillover effect

Sampad Mahapatra
Monday, September 22, 2008, (Malkangiri)
The Naxal trail in Orissa begins in the deceptively beautiful Malkangiri district which lies on the southern tip of the state.

More than half of Malkangiri is dense forests and hilly tracts connected by a very poor road network.

The isolation of the terrain is further heightened by the rivers. River Sileru on one side separates it from Andhra Pradesh while Saberi on the other splits it from Chhattisgarh.

Malkangiri's Chittrakonda which lies near the Balimela Reservoir is the place where a motor launch carrying 50 Greyhound jawans capsized following a Maoist attack.

Thirty eight people were killed in the attack. This area is now known as the cut-off area where there are about 150 villages - all disconnected from the mainland.

The terrain is tough to traverse but for Naxals, it offers a suitable hideout as anyone trying to access the farthest point will take 10 hours on boat.

The government did try to ensure that there is some kind of connectivity for the area. The Gamon India bridge was meant to connect the area to the mainland but the Naxals ensured that never happened.

''It is really getting difficult on our part to complete the developmental work, especially that which can harm the interests of the Naxals like roads, bridges, culverts and all," said Nitin B Jawle, Collector, Malkangiri.

Malkangiri has always been Orissa's Naxal region and it's apparent from the fact that of the 280 incidents of Naxal violence in the state since 1991, 120 have taken place here.

But intelligence sources say that in the last two years, Naxals have decided to make Malkangiri their most critical long-term base. It saw a spillover of militia from Andhra when peace talks were on and now from Bastar as the government there gets tough.

''Peoples War Group, which is active in Telangana, made inroads into Orissa. On the other hand, what happened the Maoist Communist Centre, which was active in Jharkand and Bihar, made inroads into North and West Orissa," said S N Tiwari, Retired DGP, former Director, Special Protection Group.

A clear evidence of this spillover effect is the dramatic rise in attacks. On 16 February, 2008, 15 policemen were killed during a toot at the armoury in Nayagarh.

A couple of months later, on 16 July 2008, an anti-mine vehicle was blown up by the Naxals in Telarai killing 17 commandos.

These attacks are a signal to the security forces of renewed Naxal power. Their intent to rule this region has also been made clear to the villagers.

"Naxals don't come here. They move about only in the night. They are not visible during the day," said some of the villagers in Malkangiri.

Another cause of worry is a dearth of policemen or jawans in the area.

In these tribal villages there is no mobile connectivity, no road, no telephone, no electricity and no familiar signs of authority.

Even the Block Development Office that was constructed 25 years ago in Papermetla village was abandoned by the government in fear. This has led to a lot of brutality on the people by the Naxals.

"They removed the skin of a man here and asked him to walk. Can anyone walk in that condition? Then they removed the skin from his forehead and asked him if he could still see. Then they beheaded him," said a villager.

Malkangiri's tribals - about 58 per cent of the district's population - are among its most poor and marginalised. Thousands of them were uprooted from their native land by hydro-electric projects.

The fears of these tribals seem to be further aggravated in Tarlakota, another pocket of Malkangiri, where thousands of tribal families were settled following the Machkund Project since 1964.

But unfortunately, till today, they do not have pattas or rights over the land they till. Their anger had turned them against the state.

Thus, in 1967 when the Naxalbari revolution began there was support for it in Malkangiri. But the villagers never got any land and over the last 40 years, the Naxal saviours have become fearful oppressors.

Their violence has kept development out and fuelled greater poverty.

"They have given us NREGS cards, but no work. There are no jobs here. We have to beg and borrow to survive," said one of the villagers.

As Naxals get involved for the first time in ethnic and religious strife - taking blame for the murder of VHP leader Swami Laxmananand Saraswati in Kandhmal district - the strategy perhaps is to emerge from the depths of Malkangiri into mainland aiming for a larger political ground.

UPA has failed the nation on terror


By Shivaji Sarkar

Nobody can stand in defence of the Home Minister but is lampooning him the answer for tackling the present spread of terror? Is the Home Minister alone to be blamed for the inaction and chaos? Being the supposed “chief policeman”, it certainly is his responsibility. That the gentleman is too soft was not unknown when he was appointed for the position. It is possibly this very quality that had selected him to the key post.

In an obvious scenario the Home Minister is at fault. He has been failing for the past four years in many fronts. The then ally Left Front also had demanded his removal. And he continued with his failed report card. Just contrast it with the situation in US and UK except the 9/11 and 7/7 nowhere the terrorists were successful because it was dealt with an iron hand.

This makes it clear that it is the failure of the political leadership ruling the Centre. It is the lack of political will that has emboldened the terrorist outfits not only of the type of SIMI, HUJI and Lashkar-e Toiba. The record of the Centre in dealing with the Naxalites has been even more abysmal.

Delhi has not been hit for the first time. In 2005 too similar blasts had taken place at various market places in Delhi. It has been followed by blasts at Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi, courts in Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhiwandi in Maharashtra, Mecca masjid at Hyderabad, and trains in Mumbai.

North-east too has been burning with insurgent activities. This government has made the least progress in talks with the Naga groups. Jammu and Kashmir can be added to it. It is an overstretching list.

The failure is naturally dumped on the Home Minister. Does the Home Minister have the mandate to deal with the situations from his political masters? This is the question that should rock the minds. The Home Minister has not been given the mandate to deal with the situations because when it comes to terror more than the action, the religion of the terrorist is uppermost. They have to be handled softly, that is the ruling echelon seems to believe, for the sake of votes of minorities.

This answers the long pending execution of the mastermind of Parliament attack, Afzal Guru. The state does not strike back at terrorist is the obvious message.

But it strikes in BJP-ruled Gujarat. It arrests the SIMI terrorists from across the span of the country. The state also alerts the Centre of the impending events in Delhi. The Centre preferred not to act on it.

The party in power could easily be blamed for the misdemeanor. The same party was in power in 1971 and also in early 1990s. Had the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi succumbed to the minorityism, East Pakistan would never have turned into what is today Bangladesh. Her Chief Minister SS Ray, who was also known for his impeccable dress sense, eliminated Naxalism in West Bengal in 1971.

She was also a keen vote bank player. That had led Punjab into a morass. Vote bank politics creates frankenstein. It led to her assassination. It could be solved by Beant Singh as Chief Minister and KPS Gill as Director General of Punjab Police.

In all these incidents of 1971 and 1990s, the soft talk and negotiations did not solve the problems. The state struck with a heavy sledgehammer at all these terror elements. Ray’s police was ruthless in dealing with the Naxals. He also utilised the CPI-M cadre to eliminate them.

The problems could be solved because of strong-arm tactics backed by political will.

The lack of it has given rise to the present crisis. The then Chief Minister Lalu Yadav dealt Naxalites softly because he did not want to lose the votes of castes, which formed the core of the movement in Bihar that included present Jharkhand. Lalu Yadav is to be blamed for allowing Naxalism to grow and spread from his state. Lalu’s government did not probe the source of funding and arms for the Naxal groups. It was even then coming from Nepal and Bangladesh but his government overlooked it. Today, as the elections are drawing closer, he can strike back at the Union Home Minister forgetting it was he, who has been a vocal supporter of SIMI terrorists.

The problem of the UPA government has been such elements that can be dubbed only as political opportunists robbed of any commitment to the country. The Home Minister, unlike Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, is not the powerful minister. He is just a bara babu, who is safe in office till he does not function. Even if he had been a strong personality, he would not have been allowed to function by the political dispensation. Else there would have been law and action to restrain and eliminate the terrorists. Other democracies, such as the US and UK have done so with a fair degree of success. Following the 9/11 attack in New York and 7/7 London blasts, the US and UK have so far managed to prevent significant terror attacks. Terrorist plans to blow up planes flying out of Heatrhow airport in London were foiled, the impact of suicide bombers in Glasgow airport in 2007 was minimised.

India, on the contrary, has been cowed down several times. Each time the nation failed not because lack of police action but because preventing the police from acting. Everyone knows that the stretch from Ghaziabad, 20 km from Delhi, to Saharanpur, about 170 km from the national capital, has become the active shelter of terrorists and their supporters. The UP police often accept it. They are not allowed to act as that might upset the minority vote banks. The government and the nation need to act with active combing operations in this region and parts of eastern UP.

No political dispensation in UP, be it Samajwadi Party or Bahujan Samaj Party or the Congress, has the will to deal with the grave situation. The easiest way is to blame a minister and sweep the carpet over the dirt and filth of terrorism.

Let the nation accept that we are at war. The political will has to be to win this war against terrorists who with their subtle strategy has penetrated deep into the societal system. India has suffered the worst in the hands of terrorists in the past few years. The nation needs to resolve by eliminating it. We need special laws with stringent punishment. Unfortunately, the rulers are more concerned about their ministerial berths than the concern to save the nation. It is not the Home Minister but the entire political dispensation is failing the country.

(The writer is senior political journalist.)

Tight security for Modi in MP, Chhattisgarh

Santosh Chowdhury
Monday, September 22, 2008 04:25 IST

AHMEDABAD: As chief minister Narendra Modi gets set to play his key role as key campaigner for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the ruling party has already started drawing elaborate security plans for Modi well in advance.

Party sources in Bhopal said with terror threats looming, elaborate security plans have been drawn up for Modi, but these were being kept secret only to ensure his safety during his tour in these states.

“Modi’s security while touring Madhya Pradesh would be as stringent as that of the prime minister when he visits any state,” a party MP told DNA over in a telephonic conversation from Bhopal.

He added that Modi’s itinerary will be kept secret till the last minute. And the chief minister will be provided with a multi-layered security managed by commandos.
“The forthcoming assembly polls would take place amid unprecedented security. The news of terrorists planning to attack VIPs in Delhi has put security agencies on red alert in most states,” he added.

According to sources, Modi may want to campaign in Sarguja district in Chhattisgarh and so, the threat perception had to be evaluated before he tours the region.
The chief minister will be advised to avoid campaigning in areas where there is a possibility of Naxal attacks.

The Chhattisgarh government, on the other hand, has already directed its senior police officials to chart out security plans for Modi’s visit to the state, sources added.
In the last two years, Modi has attended several programmes in the Naxal-infested Sarguja district.

A contingent of the Gujarat police would be called in advance to both states before the chief minister hits the campaign trail.