Saturday, October 25, 2008

Plan panel for new initiatives in maoist-hit districts: Sen

Posted: Oct 26, 2008 at 0125 hrs IST
Updated: Oct 26, 2008 at 0125 hrs IST

Discuss Admitting that extremism had hampered development in some parts of the country, Planning Commission member Abhijit Sen on Saturday indicated some new initiatives would soon be taken to deal with the menace.

Sen who reviewed progress in various state and central welfare schemes being implemented in Orissa said the officials informed him regarding the problems in a few Maoist-infested districts.

Planning Commission would soon bring new initiatives with the help of rural development ministry to deal with the situation, he said, suggesting the state government to study some provisions of the commission on the issue.

Sen’s remark came after he was informed by state chief secretary AK Tripathy about many welfare schemes like Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutkaran Yojana (RGGVY), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) not being implemented in the districts due to extremists.

Recently, Orissa’s rural development department urged the Centre to ask Border Road Organisation (BRO) to assist completing a few roads under PMGSY in Malkangiri and other districts.

Also, energy and works departments converged to erect electric poles or bridges in sensitive places. Asked about state government’s performance in implementing central schemes, Sen said the implementation was good at some places and not up to the mark in others.

The state’s performance in implementation of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNURM) and Rastriya Krushi Bikas (RKB) Yojana was not satisfactory, he added.

On implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) Sen said while some districts were getting sufficient funds, others lacked them.


Maoist involved in 40 cases arrested in Uttar Pradesh

October 25th, 2008 IANS -

Lucknow, Oct 25 (IANS) A Maoist guerrilla, wanted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Bihar police in over 40 criminal cases, was arrested in Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh, the police said Saturday.”Sudama Urao, a Maoist, was arrested Friday late night in a forest area Vijayagarh,” Sonebhadra district police chief Ram Kumar told IANS over the telephone.

Sonebhadra district is about 250 km from Lucknow.

Urao carried a reward of Rs.50,000 each from the CBI and the Bihar police, he added.

While the police nabbed Urao and seized a rifle and several cartridges, three of his aides escaped.

Urao, who hails from Bihar, was on the run since 2002 after he killed a divisional forest officer Sanjay Singh in Rohtas district in Bihar, the police alleged.

“In Bihar alone, Urao has over 20 criminal cases pending against him,” said Kumar. “We have informed the Bihar government and the CBI about the arrest.”

Maoist activity surpasses militancy in J&K, northeast news analysis

The Hindu

K. Srinivas Reddy

HYDERABAD: Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil might want the country to believe that Left-wing extremism is not a big challenge to the internal security of the country, but his Ministry has now ‘unwittingly’ declared statistics which reveal that the Maoist activity had actually surpassed militancy in the north-eastern States and in Jammu and Kashmir in terms of killings of civilians and security forces personnel.

Status paper
The latest status paper on the ‘Internal Security Situation’ discloses that as many as 2,281 civilians and 821 security forces personnel were killed between 2004 and 2008 (up to August 31) due to Maoist activity.

The comparative figures for the same period show that militancy in Jammu and Kashmir resulted in the killing of 1,883 civilians and 789 security forces personnel. The militancy-related fatalities in the north-east were 1,909 civilians and 361 security forces personnel.

It was none other than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who cautioned the States — in December 2007 at a conclave on internal security — that Maoist insurgency was the single biggest challenge to security.

Just about two months later, Mr. Patil disagreed with Dr. Singh and said the Left-wing extremism did not pose such a danger to internal security.

Answering a question in the “Devil’s Advocate” programme on CNN-IBN, Mr. Patil argued that there was no need to create a fear psychosis among the people about the Maoist insurgency. Playing on words, the Home Minister pointed out: “If one said 10 States were affected, it would mean 30 per cent of the country. If one went by 130 districts affected, it would mean 25 per cent. But if one took into account the number of police stations, it would give a picture of only three per cent.”

And now the Ministry status paper points out that the Maoist violence has become extremely intense in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa.

“Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand accounted for 68.07 per cent of the total incidents and 58.56 per cent of total casualties.”

The Ministry puts it on record that the Maoist activity is present in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa and West Bengal.

However, intelligence officials unofficially admit there is widespread consolidation of Maoists across the country.

Naxalite arrested in UP

Lucknow (PTI): A notorious naxalite wanted in connection with the murder of a divisional forest officer has been arrested after an encounter at Mankala village in Uttar Pradesh's Sonebhadra district.

Police said, Sudama Uraon, carrying a cash reward of over Rs one lakh on his head, was arrested from the jungles of Sonebhadra yesterday. A gun and 30 cartridges were recovered from the insurgent.

A native of Bhabhua district in Bihar, Uraon had been absconding since 2002 after the murder of divisional forest officer (DFO) Sanaj Singh in Rohtash.

While the Bihar Government and the CBI had announced a cash reward of Rs 50,000 each for information about him, the Uttar Pradesh Police had offered RS 10,000. Bihar Government and the CBI were informed of the arrest, police added.

Naxal arrested from Sonebhadra

Times of India

A Naxal carrying a reward of Rs 50,000 each from the CBI and the Bihar government was arrested from the Mau Kala area of Sonebhadra on Friday. Sudama Urao, a native of Bihar, was on the run since he was named in the murder case of a divisional forest officer in Bihar on February 15, 2002.

Naxals damage church in Maharashtra village

Nagpur (PTI): Armed naxalites allegedly damaged a church in a village in Maharashtra, police said on Saturday.

They first locked the doors of houses from outside in Yenasar village in Gadchiroli district and then damaged the place of worship, breaking its chairs and tables yesterday, police said.

The ultras also shouted pro-Naxal movement slogans before fleeing, they said.

Pastor Robert Sebastain Kujur of the damaged church has lodged a complaint and police are investigating the incident.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Two Maoists held in Uttar Pradesh

October 24th, 2008 by IANS -

Lucknow, Oct 24 (IANS) Two suspected Maoists were nabbed with nearly 40 detonators and two country-made pistols in a Naxalite-affected area of Uttar Pradesh, police said Friday.”The Maoists were nabbed late Thursday evening in Maidhi village of Chandauli district, some 270 kms from Lucknow,” police inspector Pradeep Singh told IANS over phone.

He said preliminary investigations reveal that both the Maoists belong to Bihar and were planning explosions in Uttar Pradesh. Documents about forthcoming Naxalite meetings in the state were also recovered from them.

The Maoists are being interrogated, Singh added

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Indian eyebrow raised, China to train Nepal Maoists leaders

“The Maoist Party is trying to appoint the Maoists’ Central Committee member Nanada Kishor Pun aka Pasang as the chief of the reshuffled Nepal Army”.

This revelation was made by the Nepali Congress CA member Sobhakar Parajuli speaking at the Constituent Assembly meeting October 23, 2008.

“Nepal’s Defense minister on his last visit to China also managed a visit for Mr. Pasang and other four Maoists’ cadres to China for taking part in a special training”, said Mr. Parajuli.

The Maoists leaders are to be take part in a ‘National Defense Training’ sponsored by Defense Institute of China.

“Such China sponsored trainings in the past used to be given to those Army men who were the prime-candidates for the post of the Chief of the Army”, added Parajuli.

“The Nepali Congress will not tolerate the Maoist acts of politicizing the Nepal Army”, Parajuli said further.

In the mean time, The Times of India- the ruling Congress party tilted news paper in India commenting on the issue has said that “this is the first time that Beijing’s role has been questioned by a Nepali party. Usually, the hot seat is reserved for Nepal’s southern neighbor India. If the Indian Army had offered to train Pasang, it would have caused a storm”.

However, experts in Nepal opine that such distorted and biased analyses from the Indian quarters are normal.

“China has nothing to do in the case, as a friendly neighbor it has been inviting the Nepal Army men for undergoing the special training however, it is up to the government to decide who would take the training as such and where”, experts opine.

“The Nepal Army Generals too take part in India sponsored training programs, but India has never come under fire as is being projected by the bias Indian media”, experts add.

A CA member who was present at the CA meeting on Thursday talking to said that Mr. Parajuli’s words were not targeted against China, in fact he had criticized the Maoists’ led government for trying to send a politically indoctrinated leader of the Maoists party to take part in the training program.

To add, Nepal’s CoAS Rukmangad Katawal was also trained in Deheradun, India.

2008-10-24 08:14:52

Maoists: Mistake led to medical blast


Avijit, the son of Dhaniram Mandi, in Belpahari. Picture by Swarup Mondal
Oct. 23: Maoists today said they blew up a doctor, nurse and their driver in Belpahari by mistake, thinking that the victims’ red-cross-tagged vehicle was a police Trojan horse.

A statement by Kanchan, the secretary of the CPI (Maoist) Bengal chapter, said: “We had wrong information that policemen were patrolling in a hired Tata Sumo bearing a red cross. Our action squad thought the police were trying to hoodwink them by using a medical vehicle.”

The statement said the outfit always welcomed health workers who helped the poor. “We want to assure health workers that such an incident will not recur,” Kanchan said.

However, Kuldeep Singh, inspector-general (western range), said: “We are convinced they knew who they were attacking…. When police or other vehicles go, they watch and enquire about the occupants.”

The police are also probing if the Maoists had any grudge against any of the victims. “We are trying to find out if the doctor had refused to treat an injured Maoist or the driver refused to give them his car,” an officer said.

The police have arrested five persons allegedly associated with the Maoists. Two were identified as Ashok Karmakar, 32, from Shankhabhanga, and Bishu Singh, 40, of Simulpal.

The police said the arrested had links with the Maoists who put together the milk-can bombs that blew up the medical team vehicle in West Midnapore. “Ashok provided food and shelter to Maoists who attended a meeting at Shankhabhanga on the night of October 19. Bishu also had links with the guerrillas,” said West Midnapore superintendent of police Rajesh Kumar Singh.

The government today made an exception to the policy of compensating only families of slain policemen.

Chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb said the families of doctor Dhaniram Mandi, nurse Bharati Majhi and driver Pranay Mishir would get Rs 2 lakh each. “Also, a family member of the doctor and the nurse will be given jobs,” Deb said.

“I don’t know why the Maoists picked on my husband. He dedicated his life to the treatment of poor people. Six days in a week, he went to villages to treat them. My four-and-half-year-old son and I are left without any support,” said Aparna, Mandi’s wife

RPF inks 3 point pact with Maoists

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 23 2008: Apparently spreading its network and finding new allies, the proscribed, Revolutionary Peoples' Front has inked three resolutions with the CPI (Maoist) to carry on their respective struggle after a two day session held at Council Headquarters of the RPF from October 21 to 22 .

The joint resolutions were signed by Alok, Political Bureau Member on behalf of the CPI (Maoist) and S Gunen, Secretary General on behalf of the RPF.

The joint declaration which was made available to the press today, said that after a thorough discussion during the two day session, both sides unanimously agreed to honour and support the sovereignty of the two countries (the sovereignty of India and the sovereignty of Manipur); to extend full moral and political support to each other in the liberation struggles to overthrow the common enemy, 'the Indian reactionary and oppressive regime respectively and both sides to recognise and honour the historically endorsed territorial integrity of the two countries, namely Manipur and India.

A statement issued in this connection said that a two day joint meeting between the CPI (Maoist) and RPF was held at the latter's Council Headquarters on October 21 and 22 and during the meeting both sides unanimously condemned the hegemonic capitalist design of India.

The two sides have also agreed to consolidate the mutual understanding and friendship as well as stand firmly to overthrow the common enemy, the present reactionary regime of India, to gain political goals of the respective two parties.

The CPI (Maoist) also strongly condemned the 'annexation' of Manipur by India, said the statement and added that this was done under the instigation of the Indian Congress led by Gandhi, Nehru and Sadar Patel.

"The so called Merger Agreement of Manipur with the Dominion of India was indeed illegal and unconstitutional," claimed the two sides and added that this very verdict was given during the two day convention on Manipur Merger Agreement held at GM Hall on October 28 and 29 in 1993 .

Under the late Hijam Irabot a revolutionary movement was born to liberate Manipur from India, said the statement and added that as a continuation of the liberation struggle and a total revolution, the RPF has been struggling for political rights to self determination.

Therefore the CPI (Maoist) upholds the true revolutionary movement in Manipur and supports the liberation struggle to recognise the sovereignty of Manipur.

The RPF also stands and supports the revolutionary movement of the CPI (Maoist), said the statement further.

The downtrodden proletariat people all over India are facing the suppression and subjugation of India since the departure of the British from Indian soil.

Under the leadership of Comrade Charu Majumdar and Comrade Kanhai Chatterjee two streams of revolutionary movement was founded in 1969 to give the Indian people, the right to political emancipation, said the statement.

Charu Majumdar was assassinated in police custody, while Kanhai Chatterjee embraced martyrdom in 1982 suffering from a kidney failure.

In 2004, the two streams, the CPI ML (People's War) and MCC (Maoist Communist Centre) merged and formed the CPI (Maoist).

Following the footsteps of the two founding leaders, the CPI (Maoist) is still struggling against the Indian regime and bring victory to the people of India, said the statement.

The RPF "firmly believes that the general Indian people are not our enemy.

In fact they are under privileged and downtrodden people who are gravely suffering under the semi-feudal regime of India" .

CPI-Maoist and Manipur’s RPF forge alliance

Statesman News Service
IMPHAL, Oct. 23: In a significant development that could have far reaching consequences on insurgency and left-wing extremism in the country, the CPI (Maoist) operating in heartland India have joined hands with Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) of Manipur.

The RPF and its armed wing People’s Liberation Army is one of the main armed opposition groups operating in Manipur against what it calls “Indian occupation.”
A joint declaration by the two groups released here today said the decision to jointly fight the Indian government was taken unanimously in a meeting held at the Council HQ of RPF of 21-22 October 2008.

The declaration is jointly signed by political bureau member Alok on behalf of CPI(Maoist) and by secretary general of the RPF, S Gunen. The joint declarations says both sides have agreed to mutually honour and support the sovereignty of “India and Manipur”, to extend full moral and political support to each other in the struggle to overthrow the “common enemy” and lastly to recognise and honour the historically endorsed territorial integrity of the two “countries”, India and Manipur.

Jharkhands Birhor tribals still lead a primitive lifestyle

October 23rd, 2008 - 2:45 pm ICT by ANI -

By Girija Shankar Ojha

Chhatra (Jharkhand), Oct.23 (ANI): It could be surprising for many in the country but Birhor, one of the primitive tribes in Jharkhand, is surviving by eating roots and leaves from the forests for ages. They lead a primitive lifestyle here.

They depend on roots and leaves taken from the forest for their staple diet. But social scientists are concerned about Birhors survival. The fear stems from the knowledge that Birhors, at times, tend to eat even poisonous roots and leaves.

It is feared the habit may cause their extinction. Over two dozen persons, belonging to Birhor tribe, died in a fortnight recently after consuming toxic vegetation.

Besides, these people hunt for small animals and birds for their food from the interiors of jungles, particularly in Kolerma, Palamau and Chatra. These people mainly reside in Palamau, Garhwa, Singhbhum, Giridih and Lohardaga regions of the State.

“We have always undergone lot of problems. Life has always been tough and unfair to us. Previously, we used to have problems with the banks of rivers when the flood waters used to enter our villages. Now that problem doesn”t persist any more, but our tough time continues,” said Tusu Jhagi, a Birhor tribal.

These tribals complain of not having even the basis facilities to survive. They consume country liquor. Sometimes they even feed their kids with liquor, which at times creates serious health hazards for the kids.

“We even don”t have basic facilities of food, shelter and clothes, and because of lack of any mode to commute. Often we can”t take our dying people to hospital. It is very tough to live here,” said Suva Uthalu, another Birhor tribal.

Naxalites operating in the region are also a major fear factor to these helpless Birhors besides fighting malnourishment. They fear exploitation by Naxals.

“No we don”t get any help from administration. Sometime they send us clothes and sometimes they send Kadhi Chawal (rice and curry made from curds) for us. That’’s the only help we get from the Government. We have to manage things on our own and that’’s how we survive,” said Dunga, another Birhor tribal.

The government officials claim they are aware of the problem and say that they are making attempts to reach out to the needy tribals.

“Government is trying its level best to support Birhors. We make huts for them and also provide food for them. Government is planning to come up with more schemes for protecting them,” said Prahlad Purana, Block Development officer, Girdhor Block, Chhatra. (ANI)

Midnapore: Landmine by maoists blows up medical team

Published on Thu, Oct 23, 2008 at 10:54 in Nation section

Midnapore: Three people were killed in multiple landmines triggered by suspected Maoists in West Midnapore district of West Bengal.

Maoists are suspected to be involved according to Inspector General of Police

(Law and Order), Raj Kanojia.

The blast occurred at 2:30 pm on Wednesday afternoon at Belpahari when a medical van was targeted.

The doctor in-charge of the Belpahari primary health centre, Dhaniram Mandi and a nurse, Bharati Majhi were driving to a primary health centre at Chawkisole village under the Belpahari police station, near the Jharkhand border when the landmines exploded, Home Secretary Asok Mohan Chakraborty told reporters.

The van was making its way back from a pulse polio workshop.

All three were killed in the blast and the vehicle was detroyed. PTI reports that according to a report from the district, villagers said they had informed the police in the morning that the wires were lying on the road and that landmines could have been planted, but no action was taken.

District police are investigating the case. Senior police officials were at the spot. Police also add that they suspect more attacks by naxals.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Buy copters, chase naxals

Hyderabad, Oct. 22: The Centre has ordered state governments not to hold any peace talks with Maoists until they give up violence and lay down arms. The Centre, which was insisting on a holistic approach towards the Naxal problem, now prefers police action to peace dialogue with Maoists. The Union ministry of home affairs has sent a strong message to the states to improve the police response and pursue sustained action against Naxals indulging in violence.

In the status paper on the internal security situation by the ministry of home affairs, the Centre asked the naxal-hit states to buy helicopters for the police for improve surveillance. The Congress government in the state had gone for talks with the Maoists. The talks failed. The MHA in the status paper stated, "States should effectively implement surrender and rehabilitation polices for Naxals and use mass media to expose the violence."

The Centre has already set up Cobra (Combat Batta-lion for Resolute Action) that trains police personnel in guerrilla warfare. According to the MHA, overall Naxal violence has dipped due to the changed situation in AP and Bihar. An official of the state home department said, "MHA says 68.07 per cent naxal incidents were reported from Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and 58.56 per cent deaths were reported from the two states in 2008."

Experts attribute this to use of improvised explosive devices and landmines by Naxals, the officer said. He said naxal violence had also come down in Maharashtra. In Andhra Pradesh, there were 62 naxal attacks reported till August this year compared to 93 in 2007.

Milk-can bombs kill doctor

- Nurse and driver die in Belpahari, Maoist hand suspected

(From top) Nurses of the Belpahari health centre mourn for their colleague Bharati Majhi; the site of the blast. Pictures by Swarup Mondal
Belpahari, Oct. 22: A blast by suspected Maoists today killed a doctor, a newly wed nurse and the driver of their red-cross bearing car in Belpahari — the first attack in Bengal in which none of the victims was from the CPM or the security forces.
This is also the first instance of a woman being killed in the state in an explosion blamed on the extremists.

Police said the Naxalites had planted four improvised explosive devices stuffed in milk cans with the help of battery-operated flash guns that were attached to a wire.

The explosive devices were embedded in the mud path, about 2km from the Jharkhand border, in the Chowkishal jungles. The police found a 100m wire from the road that snaked into the thick bushes.

“Our investigation has revealed that the hired Tata Sumo crossed three of the crude mines. The fourth mine exploded,” said Rajesh Kumar Singh, West Midnapore superintendent of police. The area, about 250km from Calcutta, has seen several Maoist attacks.

“It appears to be handiwork of the Maoists from Jharkhand,” Singh said.

Doctor Dhaniram Mandi, 46, who was on contract with the public health centre in Belpahari town, died on the spot, as did 22-year-old nurse Bharati Majhi and Pranay Mishir, 46, the driver and owner of the Tata Sumo.

Bhushan Mahato, a labourer from Labani village sipping tea at a stall about 1km from the site, said: “I heard a loud bang and pedalled furiously on my cycle towards the spot. From a distance, I saw the remains of the car from which smoke was billowing. Mangled bodies were lying far away from it and a portion of a pink sari (of the nurse’s uniform) was hanging from a tree. I was scared and cycled back to tell a CPM leader, who informed the BDO.”

SP Singh said: “The green Tata Sumo has a red cross painted on it and is well known in the area. The car had been coming here for the past four years and is known as daktar babu’s car.”

He said the explosives were planted this morning. “Yesterday, there was heavy police presence in the area as about 150 policemen and CRPF jawans were out on a raid. The security forces left late last night. If the Maoists had wished to kill policemen or CRPF jawans, they could have done it yesterday itself,” Singh added.

The comments suggest the police think the medical vehicle was deliberately picked out for the attack.

Nurse Majhi, who was from Purulia and stayed at her quarters near the health centre, had got married two months ago.

Mandi, the doctor, stayed in a rented house in Belpahari town with his wife and four-and-half-year-old son.

Villagers near the Chowkishal jungles said a few minutes after the blast, two Hindi-speaking youths, their faces coated with dust, came on a bike to Simulpal and asked the way to Belpahari town. “We were so frightened that we pointed towards Belpahari and ran,” a villager said.

Bhaskar Pal, the block development officer of Binpur II under which Belpahari falls, said that every Wednesday, the medical team used to visit the health sub-centres in interior villages. Today the car left for Belpahari at 1pm. Half an hour later, the blast took place.

Road Linkages to Naxalite Areas

Lok Sabha

The Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways (Department of Road Transport and Highways) is primarily responsible for development and maintenance of National Highways only. Twenty one sections of National Highways (NH) covering a total length of 1320.53 km have been identified in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs and concerned State PWDs in Naxalite affected areas in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh to provide rapid access to paramilitary forces. For upgradation of the identified stretches, the tentative cost of Rs.1555.59 crore has been estimated. Presently, the development and the maintenance of National Highways are being done under Annual Plan from General Budgetary Support. Concerted efforts are being made to include and take up upgradation works of these NHs in the successive Annual Plans in a phased manner subject to availability of funds.

The projects will be implemented through the designated executing agencies of the Ministry which in this case are Public Works Department of the respective State Governments and Border Roads Organization.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Shri K.H. Muniyappa in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Maoist ambush in Ghatshila

Jamshedpur, Oct. 21: At least two rebels were injured in a morning encounter between the police and CPI(Maoist) in the Ghatshila sub-division of East Singhbhum district, about 70km from here.

The Jharkhand Armed Police, the Special Task Force and the CRPF were carrying out an anti-insurgency operation in the Bonadungri jungle of Ghurabandha when Maoists ambushed policemen. The 30-member gang started spraying bullets on them. The police returned fire.

The gun and grenade battle, which began around 7.30am, continued for over an hour. East Singhbhum superintendent of police Naveen Kumar Singh, leading the special operation, said police fired 76 rounds and lobbed two grenades. The rebels fled after firing about 100 rounds.

The police found empty rifle cartridges and two haversacks containing dry food, medicines and clothes. “Since we found two haversacks, we suspect two of the rebels were injured. The others helped them flee,” he said.

Singh said they had intelligence input that the Ghurabandha squad of Naxalite leader Putu Munda was active in the Bonadungri jungle and, so, had organised the special operation. He said the rebels struck Ghurabandha after a lull of four months.

Chaos of diversity and Indianness

Rage, Reconciliation and Security: Managing India’s Diversities, BG Verghese, Penguin Viking, pp 206, Rs 495.00.

When India became free in 1947, Winston Churchill, an India-hater if ever there was, predicted that it would not survive for long. He made some of the most outrageous remarks about its ability to stay united, but united India has remained in the last sixty years and is now on its way to become a power in its own right. It is Britain which is slowly sinking. Nothing can stop India from rising to its true stature as a civilised nation. That said, a word of caution is in order.

Has India really gotten over its past failings? Has it successfully met the challenges posed by internal subversion, misgovernance tribal revolt, poverty, Left wing extremism such as Naxalism, insurgency in the north-east and demands for autonomy, not to speak of demographic pressure on land, water and other natural resources, linguistic chauvinism and marginalisation of aspiring communities? They are not just premeditated phrases intended to raise fear and despair. The Red Corridor from the Himalayas to coastal Kerala is for real. The taking over of some 126 districts by Naxalite forces is for real, too. Millions are leaving their villages for jobs in cities and urban India. Eighty lakh (eight million) people have reportedly quite farming between 1991 and 2001. Per capita availability of food grain has been falling. Regionalism seems to be growing and Bihari peasants seeking livelihood in Assam, Jammu & Kashmir and Maharashtra are being driven out. Are those signs of things to come? Is India’s internal security in danger both from natural and man-made forces? What are the threates to India’s security, stability and consequent unity? Has anyone given any thought to it? Yes, some one has.

And that is B G Verghese and his latest work: Rage, Reconciliation and Security must be prescribed reading to all those concerned with the future of India. Verghese does not duck issues. He faced them fair and square. The research that he has done is enormous and commands ungrudging respect and attention. No book in recent times has mapped the Indian political, socio-economic and ethnic landscape with such thoroughness and finesses as this one.

Verghese is indeed very conscious of India’s “social democracy deficit” and what Naipaul was pleased to call “ a million mutinies”. They make one feel uncomfortable. Can India face all these problems which Verghese has recounted with considerable thoroughness, and come out a winner? Will the north-east states—the seven sisters—finally accept that their prosperity and progress rests in what Verghese calls “Participative development within a framework of imaginative cooperative federalism” and not in military confrontation? Verghese thinks positively. He is full aware, as the chapter on Communist terrorism in the Red Corridor shows, of the problems facing the country’s tribal areas and the vicious manner in which they are exploited by the CPI-ML and other Left-wing parties.

The Maoists have never believed in parliamentary democracy and the Indian Constitution on which it is founded, and have opted for annihilative violence. This, and the inevitable rise of the Salwa Judum, is discussed with deserving thoroughness. The Home Ministry has traced the rising graph of Naxalite incidents from 2002 to 2005; the number of incidents has risen to 1,595 and 516 civilians, 153 policemen and 223 Naxals have been killed. Parts of 76 districts in twelve states or 509 out of 12,746 police stations in the country were affected. The Naxal influence by 2008 has supposedly spread to 126 districts. That is ominous.

Verghese speaks about Naxalite coffers overflowing, and their income from levies rising to Rs 150 crore per annum in Jharkhand with a corpus of Rs 700 crore in Chattisgarh. Isn’t that a matter to be worried about? Marxists or Maoists are only one part of the security problem. Regionalism is on the increase. Kannadigas in Bangalore, as Shiv Sena in Mumbai seem obsessed by localism. The ULFA in Assam is targeting Hindi-speaking people who have migrated to Tinsukhia. The swamping of Tripura by Bengali speakers and of Sikkim by Nepalese have been causing disturbance. Dr Ambedkar in his Constitution Assembly speech had spoken of ‘fraternity’. We see anything by that in today’s India. It is always “we” and the “other”. Verghese reminds us that it has almost become a reflect in India to proclaim unity in diversity, as a magic mantra. The slogan is used as a mask to shield against differences or divisiveness and hence instability. We have to turn our fears into faith, in ‘ourselves’ and ‘others’. We have especially to make efforts to bring in the 85 million odd tribals into our cultural mainstream instead of forgetting their very existence. We have to rescue them from their primitive, remote and isolated existence and make them part of our larger society, even while respecting their value systems. That is going to be a difficult task.

Verghese is not a mere critic interested only in raising inconvenient questions. He has meaningful solutions to offer even if those in power may wish to dismiss him as a dreamer and an idealist. Verghese angues that there is no need to panic; that India’s unity is a fact, that the long night of separation of entities is ending, that while there is no ground for complacency, there is every reason for hope. That the Indian of today is far more united, democratically cohesive and stable than, for example, the India of 1947, 1952, 1964, 1975, 1984 or 1990. Regional parties are no threat to the unity of India, considering that while they may act locally, they will think nationally. One only hopes that Verghese’s idealism is not misplaced. But his book dismisses fears even while telling the story as it is.

(Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11, Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi-110 017.)

Better deal for cops promised

22 Oct 2008, 0216 hrs IST, TNN

BANGALORE: An internal security cell will be set up to review the security situation in Karnataka, and the new body will take under its ambit the antWhen Duty Calls: Personnel of the City Armed Reserve stand in formation on their commemoration day celebration on Tuesday. TOI Photo
i-terrorist cell and anti-naxal force, according to home minister V S Acharya.

“A meeting will be held on Friday in which senior police officials will plan the next course of action for tightening security,” Acharya told reporters on Tuesday. He was attending the commemoration day celebration at the City Armed Reserve (CAR) headquarters on Mysore Road.

Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, who also watched the memorial parade, announced many schemes for police personnel.

Their weekly allowance of Rs 50 will be hiked to Rs 100. CAR personnel who were not entitled to the allowance will also get the same. Head constables and others with 20 years of experience and above will be promoted soon.

“We’ll pay educational expenses of children of personnel who died while on duty,” Yeddyurappa said. He also announced several projects worth crores of rupees for the police department — Rs 43 crore for modernisation, Rs 45 crore for development of housing corporations and Rs 10 crore for the police welfare fund. “All the vacant police posts will be filled soon,” he added.

He gave compensation to families of 11 policemen who died while on duty between September 1, 2007, and July 31, 2008.

Security system to be streamlined

22 Oct 2008, 0234 hrs IST, TNN

BANGALORE: The government will set up a State Security Commission and strengthen the internal security wing of the police to tackle increased terrori
st and extremist activities in the state.

The commission, which will be headed by the home minister, will have experts and officials as members to ensure effective policing.

The Anti-Terrorist Cell, Anti-Naxal Force and related wings dealing with terrorism and extremism will come under the newly carved Internal Security Wing, headed by an officer of additional-DGP rank. Home minister V S Acharya said, “We are putting infrastructure, personnel and equipment in place.”

Acharya admitted there was no proper intelligence stream and the state, especially coastal areas, has become a place for smuggling and transporting explosives. He said he had brought these issues to the notice of Union home minister Shivraj Patil and sought help in upgrading and strengthening the security systems.

Maoists free abducted railway employees after paying ransom

Ranchi (IANS): Four abducted railway employees were freed after five days by Maoist rebels, police said on Tuesday.

The employees were freed by Maoist rebels around 11 pm on Monday in a jungle of Hazaribagh district. Police claim that it was their pressure which forced the Maoists to free the abducted railway employees.

Unconfirmed reports, however, suggest that the railways paid around Rs 20 lakh as ransom to ensure safe release of the employees.

According to police, a smaller group of Maoist rebels called the Jharkhand Prastuti Committee (JPC) had abducted two deputy station masters S.K. Kesari and S.D. Ekka, Assistant Station master (ASM) Kamal Kishore and guard of Barwadih railway station Munsi Praasad from Macluksignaj railway station, about 70 km from Ranchi, Oct 15.

Maoist rebels had entered the railway station and abducted the employees at gun point.

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad had also spoken to Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren for safe release of the employees.

"The released employees are shocked over the abduction. They are not divulging any information regarding their abduction and ransom demanded by the rebels," a source said.

Police said the smaller Maoist rebel outfits are eyeing the extra money given to railway employees after implementation of the sixth pay commission recommendations.

Maoist rebels are active in 18 of the 24 districts of the state. In the last seven years over 1,300 people have been killed, including 714 civilians and 320 security personnel.

Maoists too are bleeding State

Bijay Chaki I ENS First Published : 21 Oct 2008 08:54:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 21 Oct 2008 10:58:42 AM ISTBHUBANESWAR: The cup of woes for Orissa is overflowing. And it is not Kandhamal alone that is bleeding the State. Besides topping the chart in the number of communal riots in the country, Maoists have made deep inroads.

According to latest status paper on internal security released by Home Ministry, Orissa witnessed 71 Maoist incidents in the first eight months of the year—— 14 more than the corresponding period last year.
The trend is quite disturbing. Till the end of August, 993 incidents of Maoist violence were registered in the country as against 1,108 in the corresponding period last year. While the overall incidents decreased, the number increased in Orissa.

The report, however, states that Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand accounted for 68.07 percent of the total incidents and 58.56 percent of the total casualties.

Besides, there was a marked decline in the number of incidents in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

This year also witnessed a number of police casualties in Orissa, in double digit for the first time. The number stood at 72 which is highest in the Naxalite- affected states. The number of police personnel killed even in states like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand were 49 and 31 respectively.

By the admission of the State Government, Maoists have bases in as many as 20 out of the 30 districts of the State.

The Nayagarh mayhem in February made it clear that they can strike at will.

Official sources attribute the widening base of Maoists to several factors including poor intelligence network and alienation among the tribals.

Centre released Rs 168.41 crore for modernisation of State Police forces and Rs 23.4 crore under the security-related expenditure (SRE) scheme for strengthening security preparedness of the State. Besides, steps have been initiated to strengthen the intelligence wing.

Several welfare programmes including the Backward Districts Initiative (BDI), Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) and Special Infrastructure in Leftwing Extremism-affected States have been also been launched.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Govt's plan to clamp down on Naxals coming unstuck

21 Oct 2008, 0007 hrs IST, Vishwa Mohan , TNN

NEW DELHI: The Centre's plan to crack down on Naxals in eight worst-affected districts in four states seems to have boomeranged with the red ultras s
uccessfully targeting security forces one after the other in five of these eight districts in the last three weeks.

In the latest such attack, the Naxals ambushed a CRPF contingent in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, killing 12 jawans. The ambush, incidentally, came on the opening day of filing of nominations for the first phase of two-stage assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, which is soon going to have additional forces in view of polls.

Besides Bijapur, the other four districts where attacks were carried out are Dantewada (Chhattisgarh), Gaya in Bihar and Palamu and Chatra in Jharkhand. The Maoists killed 17 security personnel and burnt public property in these places since September 28.

These five districts are in the list of eight which the home ministry recently identified for strong anti-Naxalite action. Aurangabad in Bihar and Malkangiri and Rayagada in Orissa are the other three districts.

Though these eight districts witnessed relatively higher number of incidents earlier as well, the level of violence has increased with the government’s announcement of tough action. Maoists had, in fact, vowed to launch a bigger offensive to counter the Centre's move.

Three weeks before the Bijapur incident, four CRPF personnel, including a deputy commandant, were killed in a landmine blast carried out by Maoists near Marikoder village in Dantewada district on September 29.

On October 2, the Maoists blew up a school building in Chatra. The ultras had targeted the school as security personnel involved in combing operations were occupying it.

Earlier, the Naxals had blown up a school building in Chak village in Palamu district for the same reason on September 28. Another incident was reported from Gaya on October 19 when one Ashok Kumar Jha, an ex-army officer recruited for the special police force created to combat Maoist menace, was killed in an encounter with the rebels near Jhatpahri village in Gaya district.

State leaves family of slain constable high and dry

Rajulapudi Srinivas

OFFICIAL APATHY: The house of Anakarla Keshavulu remains without doors, windows and flooring.

NELLORE: Even four months after the death of police constable Anakarla Keshavulu in the attack by Maoists at Chitrakonda on the Andhra-Orissa border on June 29, the promised assistance has not reached his parents in full measure.

Notwithstanding the claims made by the government on the eve of the Police Commemoration Day on Tuesday about how it was coming to the rescue of slain police personnel, particularly those engaged in countering naxal violence, the situation on the ground was quite different.

When this reporter visited Kaluvai mandal, about 70 km away from the district headquarters, the parents of the slain constable – Chennaiah and Penchalamma – were living in a half-constructed house without doors, windows and flooring.

Keshavulu joined as constable in Andhra Pradesh Special Police in 2006. “My brother opted for service in the Police Department as we were living in poverty. We have lost him now and all of us are struggling to have two meals a day. Even after his death, my brother’s dream has not been fulfilled,” said Sridevi, younger sister of Keshavulu.

“The government promised to give Rs. 2 lakh under ‘Bhadratha’ scheme, a house, job to one member of the family and about Rs. 50,000, besides other benefits.

Except for depositing a sum of Rs. 9 lakh in an FD account for five years in the name of my parents, no other aid was given so far,” she said.

Half-constructed tomb

“We borrowed about Rs. 50,000 loan to perform the third and eleventh day ceremonies of my son. The tomb remained half-constructed in the graveyard on the village outskirts and we don’t have money to complete it. We are illiterates and we do not know whom to approach for help,”

12 CRPF jawans killed in ambush


Raipur, Oct. 20: Twelve CRPF jawans were killed in an encounter with Maoists in Bijapur district this afternoon.

Two rebels were also killed in the encounter while six jawans were injured. Three of them are reported to be critical and had to be later airlifted to Raipur for better medical attention.

About 30 jawans from the 170th battalion of the CRPF’s Modakpal base camp this morning left for a routine search operation. Ahead of the Assembly elections, patrolling in forested areas had been intensified in Bijapur district, which will go to the polls on November 14.

When the team reached near Kongupelli — about 22km from the Bijapur district headquarters and 400km south of Raipur — the Maoists opened indiscriminate fire on the jawans around 12.30pm.

Sources said the ambush was meticulously planned by the rebels, as they took position from all sides and sprayed bullets before the jawans could open fire.

“Besides heavy firing, the Naxalites also lobbed grenades on the security personnel,” deputy inspector-general of police (intelligence) Pawan Deo said. Most of the jawans died of bullet injuries, he added. Twelve jawans died on the spot.

As the message was flashed on the wireless sets by the jawans who escaped the attack, reinforcement was immediately rushed to the spot. The sources said with more reinforcement reaching the spot, the Maoists fled to adjoining forests.

The security personnel recovered bodies of two Maoists who succumbed to the bullets, senior police officers said. Two weapons were also found from the site.

Pawan Deo said that the rebels also took away eight weapons from the jawans. The senior police officers are verifying which kind of weapons were looted by the rebels.

34 Naxals held, 700 kg explosive seized in October: CRPF

20 Oct 2008, 1536 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: In a massive crackdown against Naxals, the CRPF has so far led to killing of two Left wing extremists besides seizing of over 700 kg of ex
plosives, 5200 detonators and arrest of 34 Naxals in the first fortnight this month.

The CRPF sources said this success resulted because of the more proactive and offensive operations initiated against the Naxals this month.

The maximum yield in terms of ammunitions and explosives seized has been in Jharkhand where the Force recovered 700 kg of explosives and 5400 detonators following interrogations of five hardcore Naxals arrested by it in the state.

The other state where the Force achieved significant success was Chhattisgarh where it apprehended 20 Naxals besides seizure of arms, ammunitions and explosives.

Closely followed by Chhattisgarh is Bihar where nine Naxals were apprehended too.

The CRPF is currently in the process of raising two new Battalions for the recently sanctioned special anti-Naxal force, COBRA.

According to sources two of the ten Battalion strong elite force which would be raised this financial year would be stationed at Chhattisgarh, a state infested with Naxals.

While the CRPF, which is involved in various counter-insurgency operations besides being responsible for internal security is yet to get its own intelligence wing, the new Force which would be under the command and control of CRPF would have an intelligence unit within each of its Battalion to counter Naxalism.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

‘Maoist’ threat to 17 CPM leaders

Sabyasachi Roy

SURI, Oct. 18: A Maoist letter threatening to kill 17 CPI-M leaders created a flutter in both political and police circles in Birbhum.
According to sources, names of some CPI-M district committee members were included in the list of 17 leaders, who were threatened in the letter for their alleged involvement in corruption and anti-social activities in Birbhum.
The letter was sent to the CPI-M district party office's letter box last Monday. A CPI-M district committee member said that the letter seems to be written by a person quite close to the party. The sender, however, claimed himself to be a CPI (Maoist) activist.
The letter stated that the leaders would be killed very soon since they are ‘enemy of democracy'. “They are not leaders but traitors. They have deprived the local people by siphoning off funds allotted for development of the local areas,” the letter states.
CPI-M senior district committee members said that the letter has been written and circulated by a section of their party cadres because of intra-party conflict. He also said that the letter mentioned things about a few leaders that are impossible for an 'outsider' to know.
The district CPI-M leadership held a meeting today and asked senior leaders to keep a close eye on the activities of the party cadres in their locality. The party has also been probing into the matter. Mr Dilip Ganguly, CPI-M district secretary said that they have received the threat letter carrying names like Mr Manasa Hansda, former Zilla Sabhadhipati, Mr Goutam Ghosh, chairman of primary education council, Mr Samir Bhattacharya and others.
He, however denied the possibility that the letter was written by some party cadres because of intra-party conflict. When asked why no complaint was lodged with police, Mr Ganguly said that they are capable of defending themselves by developing awareness among the people against the Maoists. Mr LN Meena, SP Birbhum said: “We have started a probe into the matter.”

10000 cops for Lalbazar siege

20 Oct 2008, 0403 hrs IST, TNN

KOLKATA: There will be unprecedented security in the city on Monday afternoon for Trinamool Congress’ planned siege of Lalbazar in protest against th
e arrest of party MLA Arup Biswas’ brother Swarup. More than 10,000 policemen — half the number deployed during Durga Puja this year — will escort the rally: one policeman for every two protesters.

Though Mamata Banerjee has promised that the rally will be peaceful, the element of threat remains. “If anything goes wrong, the government will be responsible. We demand that the government show restraint,” the Trinamool chief said on Sunday. What it means, in the least, for Kolkata’s commuters is the ordeal of sudden diversions and roadblocks.

The city police headquarters will be fortified with 40 pickets. The huge police force, including plainclothesmen, will take up positions at least four hours before the agitation starts at 2 pm. With SUCI and Naxalites in the 20,000-strong Trinamool rally, the police are taking no chances.

The Charu Market police station rampage, for which Swarup was arrested, put the cops on guard. Senior officers feel it was the beginning of a Trinamool campaign to target police.

Mamata claimed on Sunday that CPM’s student and youth wings have been mobilized to create trouble during the rally and pin the blame on Trinamool. “We have information that CPM’s youth wing will infiltrate our ranks and create trouble by attacking police,” she said, making it clear that she and her partymen will not accept the blame if there is any violence.
DYFI state secretary Abhas Roy Chowdhury rubbished her charges. “She is trying to divert attention and create anarchy. We have asked our supporters to be alert,” he said.

Taking on CPM, Mamata said Opposition parties need no permission from the ruling party for any political programme. “Who are they to tell police action should be taken against us? Have the home secretary and police commissioner become party card-holders? A political party has the right to hold agitations. This is a political programme and they should take us on politically. CPM’s lost ground and is trying to create trouble,” she said.

The Trinamool boss criticized police chief Gautam Mohan Chakrabarti’s statement against Leader of Opposition Partha Chattopadhyay. “If he wants to do politics, he should shed his uniform, join a party and contest polls. He has to be impartial as long as he is a government official,” she said.

Mamata, however, will remain “indoors” and monitor the progress of the agitation. “If I see there is any problem, I will go,” she said.

Two arrested for carrying detonators

Sunday, October 19th, 2008 AT 11:10 PM

LUCKNOW: Two persons have been arrested for carrying 370 detonators in Mirzapur district, police said here today. Acting on a tip-off, a joint team of Special Operation Group (SOG) and Kotwali police arrested two people from near Barkacha village with 370 detonators yesterday, they said.

Efforts were on to arrest the person who used to supply the detonators, police said, adding an FIR has been lodged in this connection. As per the preliminary inquiry, those arrested were not found to be involved in naxal activities.

SAP jawan killed in encounter with naxalites

Gaya (PTI): A jawan of State Auxiliary Police (SAP) was killed in an encounter with the Naxalites in the deep forests of Tarchuan on Bihar-Jharkhand borders on Sunday.

On a specific information that naxalites have assembled in the forest under Dumaria police station area of the district, police teams of Gaya and Aurangabad districts alongwith CRPPF jawans encircled two bunkers in which the naxalites were hiding, Gaya district Superintendent of Police R Mallar Vizzi told reporters here.

On seeing the policemen, the naxalites fired indiscriminately in which a SAP jawan, identified as Ashok Kumar Jha, was killed.

The slain SAP jawan was posted at Aamas police station in the district, the SP said adding the police also retaliated the fire but the naxalites managed to cross over to Jharkhand.

The police found two large boxes and three firearms which the naxalites left behind while fleeing.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (Magadh range) Pravin Vashist and the SP have rushed to the encounter site with reinforcements.

Nexus between terrorists & Naxals?

HarshaFirst Published : 19 Oct 2008 05:35:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 19 Oct 2008 12:32:06 PM ISTMANGALORE: New evidences unearthed during the busting of Mangalore terror network’s bomb-making modules in Koppa taluk have suggested a nexus between the terror outfits and groups like Naxalites.

Among the rich haul of tools and related articles needed for making bombs, police found an abnormal number of 20 shooting targets, an air gun and a bow.

When the possibility of a shootout was remote, why were shooting practices being conducted deep in forests? Have the Naxalites, sighted both in Hakkale Mane and Vittal Makki in Koppa taluk, benefited from the men with suspected links to terrorist outfits? These and more questions have been plaguing the top police brass in Mangalore.

IGP (Western Range) A M Prasad, who will be visiting Koppa to inspect the modules next week, does not deny the Naxal angle.

“We will not stop at four plus two arrests. We will continue to dig deeper, unearthing more information,” he said.

“The investigation into the terror network is being closely monitored by me and Dakshina Kannada SP Sateesh Kumar,” IGP Prasad stressed.

Bomb modules provide clinching proof The collection of tools and other materials needed for making bombs further confirmed Mangalore terror network role in a series of explosions at Surat, Bangalore and New Delhi.The presence of a voltmeter, chemical thermometer and others proved that bombs made at these modules were supplied in mysterious ways to New Delhi, Bangalore and Surat.

The arrested men who met at Pune split into two teams before heading to Surat. The bombs placed in second-hand cars were detonated by these terrorists. The police also recovered a unique boat-shaped hollow wooden structure.

These structures shaped into a boat by fine saws were filled with chemicals and tightly bound with a rope. These unique bombs with seven inch ignition were found to have been detonated mainly in New Delhi. The accused youth have confessed to making these boat-shaped bombs and supplying them to New Delhi. The bombs with electronic chips used in Bangalore were also moved from Mangalore.

The terrorists had supplied bombs with electronic chips, and they were made into live bombs at different places, IGP Prasad said.

1.15 lakh police posts in terror-naxal-hit states lying vacant

New Delhi (PTI): As terror continues to spread its tentacles, an astounding 1.15 lakh vacant posts in state police forces across the country are posing a serious question over providing effective security apparatus to citizens.

Figures compiled by the Union Home Ministry have said that terror and naxal-hit states such as Gujarat, Karnataka, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar have vacant posts ranging from 4,400 to 13,000 in the grade of Constables, Sub-Inspectors and Deputy Superintendents of Police.

On an average 24.15 per cent posts of DySPs, 20.76 per cent posts of sub-inspectors and 10.87 per cent posts of constables are lying vacant across the country.

"The Centre is deeply concerned at the laxity on part of some states in filling up vacant posts in their police forces which led to an abysmal police to population ratio," a senior Home Ministry official said.

Lack of speedy initiative to fill up vacant posts have been adversely affecting core policing, especially in tackling terror activities in major cities, Naxal-hit states, Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East, he said.

The figure says in Gujarat, which was targeted by terrorists with a series of bomb blasts recently, has a total sanctioned strength of 43,554 police personnel. But out of this, 8,549 posts, including 7,418 posts of constables, are lying vacant.

Karnataka, another terror-hit state, has a sanctioned strength of 59,442 personnel in its police force. But in the state, 9,429 posts, including of 8,235 constables and 72 DySPs, are lying vacant.