Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Kandhamal killings split Orissa Maoists on religious lines

Berhampur (Orissa) (IANS): The killing of a Hindu leader and his associates that triggered attacks on Christians in Orissa have split the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) on religious lines for the first time, with many Hindu members breaking away to form a rival group.

The unexpected development, which have taken many by surprise, came to light when the breakaway faction put up posters threatening to target Christian members of the CPI-Maoist in the state.

The new group calls itself "IDGA-Maoist", which some posters say is the acronym for "Idealize of Democrat Garila (Guerrilla) Army (Maoist)".

According to informed sources, the new group's formal inauguration will take place Jan 3 at an undisclosed location under the leadership of a guerrilla identified only as M2.

The origin of the split is the Aug 23 gunning down of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swamy Laxmanananda Saraswati and four associates at Jallespata in tribal-dominated Kandhamal district.

It sparked off an orgy of violence against Christians, whom the VHP blamed for Saraswati's killing. About 40 people, mostly poor Christians in rural areas, were killed.

While the police blamed the Maoists for the killings, the VHP insisted that Christians were responsible. The CPI-Maoist claimed responsibility for the murder, saying Saraswati was creating a sectarian divide in the impoverished region.

The breakaway IDGA's posters have denounced the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA), the military wing of the CPI-Maoist, and its leader Sabyasachi Panda for the VHP leader's death.

A Maoist sympathiser close to the new faction told IANS that the main reason behind the break-up was the Kandhamal violence, for which he blamed Panda.

"Maoists don't have any religion. Their religion is to safeguard the vulnerable people and fight exploitation and oppression. But those under Panda are acting like a mafia," he said, requesting anonymity.

People familiar with the Maoist movement in the state believe that the split will result in escalation of violence.

Sixteen of Orissa's 30 districts are considered Maoist- dominated. Six southwestern districts - Malkangiri, Koraput, Raygada, Kandhamal, Nayagarh and Gajapati - are the worst hit.

The existing Maoist group active in southern Orissa is known as the Bansadhara Divisional Committee. This is expected to face the wrath of the splitters.

Nihar Nayak, an expert on Maoists at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, told IANS that if a split has indeed taken place on religious lines, it would mark a first in India's Left history.

"Since the Maoist movement began in India, they have never supported a specific religion or caste or community," he said.

Nayak added that the objective of the splinter group would be "to protect Hindus from Maoist attacks and retaliate by killing Christian leaders" in the state.

In its posters, the new group has threatened to kill one Christian on the 23rd of every month -- to avenge Saraswati's murder Aug 23.

The new group's area of influence includes three regions: southcentral Orissa, Ghumsar division in southern Orissa and Bansadhara division which shares a border with Andhra Pradesh.

Some police officials here fear the law and order situation in the region might worsen if the new group starts revenge killing, inviting retaliation.

"It is certain that violence will escalate and this split is going to be a major headache for the already burdened police force," a senior officer told IANS requesting anonymity.

Deputy Inspector General of Police P. Koche told IANS: "I don't have any information regarding this new Maoist group."

Sanjeeb Panda, another deputy inspector general of police, added: "We don't have any official information regarding the split. But I can't rule out that there has been a split among the Maoists."

Maoist 'commander' arrested, wife detained

30 Dec 2008, 0213 hrs IST, TNN

BHAGALPUR: A Maoist wanted in several cases of crime, including murder, dacoity and extortion, was on Monday arrested from a village in Bhagalpur
district of Bihar.

Chimat Rai, a self-styled commander, had been an absconder on police records for the last 15 years.

Rai's wife has also been detained by the police.

A member of the Shantipal group, Rai was arrested from his in-laws' house at Goradih village on a tip-off by local residents. Police sources said Rai was involved in several cases in Bhagalpur and adjoining Godda in Jharkhand.

Maoist violence marks year 2008

Deba Prasad DashFirst Published : 30 Dec 2008 10:01:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 30 Dec 2008 01:32:21 PM ISTMALKANGIRI: For Malkangiri, 2008 was a year which mostly saw Maoist-related violence. The ambush of 32 Andhra Pradesh Grey Hound commandos and a Orissa Police constable near Alampekka in Chitrakonda reservoir on June 29 was the greatest setback for both the Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. The Maoists blasted mines-protected vehicles near MV-126 under Kalimela police limits on July 16 resulting in killing of 17 SOG commandos including Police Reserve Inspector Sarat Chandra Mishra.

Earlier on May 27, the ultras dragged MV-79-based BJD leader Prabeer Mohanty at gun point from his house and later killed him in a nearby forest.

They once again showed their strength by abducting four OSAP 3rd Battalion jawans near a forest, five km from Chitrakonda on December 5 while the cops were travelling in a vehicle.

As many as 10 civilians were also killed by the Maoists on the suspicion of acting as police informers.

But in a major breakthrough, police were able to arrest 26 Maoists this year.

However, during first six months of the year, the district hit the headlines for success in several fronts. While Siba Prasad Panda and Manoranjan Khara of Malkangiri town qualified the civil service examination, K. Desiraju Acharya of Malkangiri got the first prize in a national-level painting competition organised by the Union Ministry of Forest & Environment. Dibyaprashna Tripathy of Balimela Government High School ranked fourth in the HSC examination.

A year State police would like to forget

Siba MohantyFirst Published : 30 Dec 2008 09:48:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 30 Dec 2008 01:23:43 PM IST

BHUBANESWAR: In the last conference of DGPs, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh termed Naxalism as the ‘most serious internal security threat to India’ a day after the then Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil had described it as a situation blown out of proportion by some.

The fact is the year 2008 did not provide scope for any such confusion. Not in India and not the least in Orissa which graduated from being one of those relatively-affected states to be amongst the most-hit ones like Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

If Home Ministry figures are to be believed, while states like Chhattisgarh and AP have shown about 40 per cent drop in Naxal incidents, Orissa has shown a rise. Such was the alarming ferocity with which the Red radicals targetted Orissa during 2008, a year Orissa Police would like to forget.

On a cool February 15 night, a sleepy Nayagarh town woke up to the deadliest attack carried out by outlawed CPI (Maoist) in Orissa. Holding the entire town to ranson, several hundred Naxalites gunned down in cold blood over one dozen policemen during simultaneous raids on Town Police Station, District Armoury, Police Training School, stations at Nuagaon, Daspalla, Mahipur and Tarsingh.

The death count stood at 14 cops and a civilian.

On their way back, away with large quantities of arms, ammunition including sophisticated ones.

What followed was one of the biggest anti-Naxal flushing-out operations launched in India ever. Although the security forces faced further fatalities in the operation, it managed to salvage large quantities of looted arms. ‘Operation Ropeway,’ as it was christened by the radicals, did dent confidence of State Police force.

Such was the impact that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik even declared to hold talks with the Naxals to buy peace.

But that was not to be. On June 29, a convoy of Andhra Pradesh Grey Hounds, was sunk in Chitrakonda reservoir by the Maoists who exposed the weakness of security forces in water warfare. A launch carrying over 60 securitymen was targetted while passing through a narrow point in Alempakka. The Naxals were waiting to take them by surprise.

While 29 managed to swim to safety, the rest met a watery grave. The vessel and the bodies remained trapped in the bottom of the reservoir and an imported ballon technology used by Indian Navy divers managed to bring it up seven days after the incident.

A fortnight later, more bloodshed was waiting to occur. A contingent of the Special Operations Group (SOG) personnel were killed when the mine protected vehicle they were travelling in to MV 79 was blown up by Naxals using RDX on July 16. Seventeen security personnel paid with their lives.

These major incidents apart, during April, they killed at least four village heads in Malkangiri suspecting them to be police informers. In December, two more in Keonjhar and Koraput districts were brutally killed by the Maoists.

The biggest surprise by Maoists, if one actually went by their claims, was gunning down of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and four of his associates in Kandhamal which triggered an unprecedented wave of communal violence not just in the district but also in other parts. Occurring on August 23, its ripple effect is still being felt as the violence drew international attention

Ordinance soon to extend CISF cover to pvt industries

30 Dec 2008, 0204 hrs IST, Vishwa Mohan, TNN

NEW DELHI: The government will soon promulgate an ordinance allowing Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to extend its cover to private sector
undertakings and joint ventures on cost reimbursement basis.

The ordinance is required as the Bill for this purpose could not be passed in Parliament due to paucity of time despite its introduction in the Rajya Sabha on December 18 amid support from different political parties.

Though Parliament, which met for less than 50 days this year, had rushed through a number of legislations on the last day of the just-concluded session on December 23, it could not take up the CISF (Amendment) Bill for consideration and passing.

The move to bring the ordinance assumes significance in view of the urgency shown by the home ministry post-Mumbai terror attacks. "Since vital private installations - particularly oil and natural gas units - are also on the terrorists' radar, CISF cover needs to be provided to them on a priority basis. Besides, Naxalites have also been targeting private telecom installations and oil installations in some states," said a senior home ministry official.

The ordinance, once promulgated, will also enable deployment of CISF outside the country in Indian embassies or on UN peacekeeping missions on the lines of other paramilitary forces including ITBP and CRPF.

Currently, CISF is only providing security to public sector undertakings and 54 airports across the country.

The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill said: "With the growing threat of terrorist outfits, industries in the private sector and joint ventures - which have contributed to the growth of economy - also require CISF cover."

State contained naxalism: YSR

User Rating: / 0 Monday, 29 December 2008

Mahabubnagar, December 29: Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy has claimed that naxalism and factionism was contained in the State and attributed this to the stable government which took up several development and welfare programmes.

Speaking at a convention of South Telangana Regional Mahila Samakya delegates at Wanaparthy on Sunday, he said that the youth in the State have weaned themselves away from Naxalites and factionists as the developmental and welfare programmes introduced by his government have reached even to the remote villages.

He said that the women in the State have achieved empowerment only because of his government’s loan scheme with three percent interest to mahila groups. .

Dr. Reddy said that his government was contemplating to provide pension to members of mahila groups who attained the age of 60 years. Explaining about the scheme, he said the one crore members of mahila groups would contribute Rs.1 each daily and the State government would contribute a matching grant and the total amount would be would be deposited with LIC.

Each member after completing 60 years would get a pension from Rs.4500 to 5000 basing on their contribution to the scheme.

Minister for Rural Development G. Chinna Reddy also spoke. Earlier Chief Minister had community lunch with selected leaders of mahila samakyas.

Top Maoist 'commander' held in Bihar

Bhagalpur, Bihar (PTI): A top self-styled Commander of the proscribed CPI (Maoist), wanted in several cases of Naxal violence in Bihar and adjoining Jharkhand, has been arrested in Bhagalpur.

Chimat Rai alias Kishan Rai, wanted in over 24 cases of murder, dacoity, loot and extremist violence, was arrested from the house of a relative at Gauradih village under Ishipur police station last night, official sources said.

Rai, in-charge of the underground outfit for Godda and Sahebganj districts of Jharkhand, was arrested on a tip-off, sources said.

The arrested Naxalite is a resident of Dighi village in Mehrama police station limits of Godda district, adjoining Bihar.

It is not yet known if any weapons were recovered from him.

Rly cops to go shopping for 'safe' stations

30 Dec 2008, 0409 hrs IST, Devraj Dasgupta, TNN

MUMBAI: Rattled by the fidayeen attack on CST, Director General (DG) of Railway Police Force (RPF) Ranjit Sinha on Monday said his department would
study busy stations all over the world to beef up security at big stations in India.

However, Sinha says no security gadget or techniques can be effective unless public access to railway stations is filtered as in airports.

In Mumbai to review security at city stations, Sinha said an RPF team would study security at other busy stations like Shanghai, Beijing and a few others in the West. "It would help us identify techniques and gadgets to be acquired to upgrade security in the busy stations of India,'' he said. Sinha added there is an immediate plan to install extra X-ray baggage scanners at important stations.

But while speaking of new gadgets, Sinha said these machines would be of no help if there are multiple entry and exit points at big stations. "There should be control on access to the station. What is the logic of five people coming to see off one passenger right inside the station,'' he added. To this extent, he said the RPF is discussing various means with the railways to filter the number of people coming inside stations.

"Maybe, the railways can make platform tickets costly. Something should be done to control access inside stations,'' he said.

Significantly, Sinha said the RPF has decided to convert 12 companies (1,200 men) into a commando strike force. "We have 70,000 men divided into 12 battalions. The RPF would select 1,200 men to create a strike force with separate uniforms and superior firepower,'' he added.

The RPF chief said the strike force would be deployed at all stations across metro cities of India.

Asked if RPF was planning to raise new battalions for Mumbai, Sinha replied in the negative. "We have to manage with available forces. Pulling out personnel from non-core activities like guarding rail hospitals, water treatment plants would free them for core activities,'' he said.

However, Sinha added that the RPF would soon raise three new battalions to guard railway property and passengers in Jammu and Kashmir, the north-east and naxalite-infested areas.

CCTV failure

RPF's DG Ranjit Sinha on Monday accepted that some of the CCTVs installed at the terminus for long-distance trains at CST failed to capture images of the terrorist attack on 26/11 at CST. "It’s a serious issue. We are making an assessment of why some CCTVs did not work on 26/11,'' he sa

It’s a horrible life

B.Satyanarayana ReddyFirst Published : 29 Dec 2008 07:51:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 29 Dec 2008 03:06:34 PM ISTKHAMMAM: Jogiah was a happy man. A more or less prosperous farmer with five acres in his name, a caring wife and three pretty children at home, life seemed wonderful. But that was all so long ago.

‘‘Life couldn’t be any worse than this. I can hardly feed my children. I wish I had died,’’ he sobs, signs of a defeated man writ large on his face.

Madivi Jogiah, was a resident of Bejji village in Chhattisgarh which hit the headlines three years ago when over 25 policemen were killed in a landmine blast triggered by Naxalites.

Subsequently, police and the Salwa Judum burnt down most of the houses in his village and killed many suspecting them to be Naxal informants and sympathisers.

Jogaiah managed to escape with his wife and children.

He thanked his stars and began life anew as a daily wage labourer. But today he repents having run away from his native place.

‘‘I can feed my children only once a day. They can’t go to school. And, the police here pester us to leave on the suspicion that we are Naxal supporters,’’ he laments. Jogaiah’s case is not an isolated one. He is one among many such who have crossed the border to settle in Paloancha and Bhadrachalam divisions. With the police breathing down their neck here too, even locals turned hostile forcing the poor families deep into the forests.

Over 60 people have died in the forests of the Bhadrachalam division alone in the past one year due to Malaria.

‘The nearest hospital for any of these Gotti Koya habitations is over 20 km. These people have no access whatsoever to any safe drinking water source. Most of their children, whose education has been suddenly stopped, might just get attracted towards the Naxals,’’ says an official on condition of anonymity.

Because of their alleged connections with Naxals, as is believed by the police, most employers in the nearby villages do not give them jobs. The government, which has only recently woken up to this unfolding tragedy, is still a long way off from providing them basic necessities.

Maoists kill SHG coordinator

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 28 Dec 2008 05:16:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 28 Dec 2008 01:16:50 PM IST

JEYPORE: Fear gripped Narayanpatna after suspected Maoists killed an SHG federation record-keeper Pobitra Khosla (33) at Bagam village, six km from Narayanpatna police station, on Saturday.

According to reports, three radicals fired indiscriminately at Khosla in broad daylight while he was going to a nearby village.

Khosla died on the spot. Senior officials and armed police led by SP Deepak Kumar rushed to the spot.

Combing operation has been mounted to track down the Maoists. Khosla was coordinating with different women groups of Narayanpatna for quite some time and was on Naxals’ hit list for his liaison with government officials.

In the past one year, six persons have been killed by Naxals in Narayanpatna police limits alone. Earlier, Tegala Bijay Kumar, Markanda Choudhury, Nalla Brundaban, Niranjan Bidika and Balaram Sahukar were killed.

Intellectuals said the Government should establish the proposed anti-Naxal Cobra Battalion in Narayanpatna instead of Sunabeda.

Me Mumbaikar

The gruesome battleground in South Mumbai has left us Mumbaikars fed up, scared, angry, willing to lash out, especially at the politicians. We now have an incoherent rant against "the other" or "the system". My heart goes out to the victims and this article in no way downplays the magnitude of the human tragedy. Yet as a lifelong Mumbaikar, I have not been able to shake a feeling that people have deliberately refused to grasp the essence of the problem because it is not conveniently gift wrapped with a bow on it.

Simply put, there is no "other" to blame. Mumbaikars over decades of greed and rapacity, have destroyed rule of law and corrupted the systems which should have protected us. We are the system. We are the reality of Mumbai. We are its pestilence. It is convenient to demand action, to demand results, somehow, anyhow.

Can we believe in a fantasy that a bureaucracy, government and law enforcement apparatus which have never delivered anything meaningful which we have ourselves strangled over the years, can suddenly start delivering results in one narrow sphere of security?
AIDS victims don't die of AIDS. They die because AIDS reduces immunity and invites secondary diseases to feast on the weakened host. An AIDS patient can die from a common cold. Terrorists only descended upon the enfeebled carcass of Mumbai to deliver the coup de grace. They are the opportunistic secondary infection.

Mumbai was always a symbol of opportunity and accomplishment, with the accompanying corruptions of any big city. But what is Mumbai today?

It's a ghettoized city of intolerance where Raj Thackeray can rouse lakhs of people into hatred of an "other", where vegetarians can discriminate openly against the "other" in their buildings, where Muslim enclaves make the "other" uncomfortable in their midst, where a parallel economy and a parallel justice system can thrive.

It is a city of corruption, where the police force has been emasculated, where constables have to take bribes to pay off the cost of their postings, where senior officials operate openly in collusion with industrial houses, where human trafficking and child abuse are openly tolerated in plain sight at traffic signals.

It is a city of decay, where greedy and corrupt builders can destroy every last inch of breathing space, documents can be faked, BMC officials bought off en masse, protesters can be bullied and threatened, restaurant owners can dump their daily trash in any quiet street corner.

It is a city of harassment, where kids on loud motorcycles can whiz about unstopped, where loud pandals and religious displays disturb people way into the night, where poor people live in constant fear of harassment by the police.

It is a city of neglect, where we cannot even point to one bylane free of potholes and garbage, not for technical reasons but because it fuels the perpetual motion machine of contracts and corruption.

It is a city where the local governance become an enemy of the people, grabbing parks, destroying open mangroves, dumping huge toxic waste in plain view of its citizens.

Ask a Mumbaikar from the slums what fun it is to get his kid's birth certificate from the BMC, to get past a police check, to get a lawyer who won't cheat him for common things,to get a judge who won't delay his case indefinitely. A poor "unconnected" person or a single woman would think thrice before walking into a police station to get help and even then would not do it.

Above all Mumbai is a city of temporary convenience and compromise with no core values left to hold on to.

The euphoria of economic growth justified every short cut and every depredation. Beneath the facade, Mumbai fell apart street by street, tree by tree, victim by victim. Mumbai is not an international city, it is an international joke.

It is easier to take offense or retreat behind cliches, than to sincerely ponder the truth of this statement. The city cannot provide roads, fire service, ambulance service, police safety to its people.

Those who feel it is "part of the charm" to walk past open garbage and people defecating, to drive on wretched roads, to not have any place to take your child to play, to have parks grabbed by local slumlords, are in denial about their hometown. They add to the apathy which keeps it in decline. We try to talk ourselves into believing that the human vibrancy covers up the physical dehumanization.

Each and every one of these acts is perpetrated by a Mumbaikar. Each incident is like an incident of unprotected sex which takes the victim closer to the fatal disease. Each instance of apathy is just like one who cannot be bothered to wear a condom.

A successful crime reduction effort in New York is called "Broken Windows". Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building.

Small crimes, if not stopped lead to large crimes, hence even a broken window should be pursued and punished by an alert citizenry, equipped police force and effective prosecution system. This indicates of the interconnectedness of things.

Sorry to say, neither protests nor candles nor political resignations can help us. Not even an election. Who will you vote for? Throw out Manmohan and bring in Advani? There is no "One" who will sweep in on a white horse and save us. The world is now too complex and too interconnected for a single Obama or some mythical Kalki to come in and sweep clean with a magic wand. That only happens in films.

Until and unless there is a mass movement of self-realization on the scale of the freedom movement, the city will continue to bleed. A corrupt, weakened and demoralized force is not suddenly going to wake up and become a crack squad. A polity used to the easy days and fat life is not suddenly going to snap into action when it has been unable (despite similar outcries) to even keep the Mithi clear or keep the highway free of potholes.

Let's not glamorize the spirit of Mumbai or the beauty. It is purely money power and film dazzle which keeps this image intact. Neither Mr. Tata with his billions nor Mr. Bachchan with his pistol was there to save us on Wednesday night.

We were saved by lower middle class jawans who on a normal Sunday would not even be allowed to enter the Taj or Oberoi by the security, who cannot even afford a Thums Up at Souk. Do we even deserve these amazing young men to fight and die for us when every public figure and Page 3 celebrity is on air spewing verbal diarrhea about our fear and trauma?

The very same businessmen who pay customs and excise officers to look the other way ten times a day, now want them to be vigilant the eleventh time and catch the arms. We have forgotten the RDX which landed under very noses of Customs in 1993.. The same citizenry which doesn't care if builders illegally encroach approach areas and roadsides, now want to know why fire forces can't do their job. The same contractors, who cheat and embezzle funds meant for equipment for cops, are now furious about the inadequate body armor and .303s. All because "our" Taj and Oberoi are under attack.

Where goes Mumbai, so the rest of the nation. Governance and rule of law are at an all time low. Rights of poor people and middle class urban dwellers are trampled brutally. The backlog of cases and toothless enforcement makes a mockery of the Constitution which has enough teeth in it for many common problems.

We had a window of unprecedented growth where we could have set systems and infrastructure straight. We did not, instead reveling superficially in our new -found easy wealth and sweeping any honest inquiry and intellectual thought process under the carpet.

Today we find that the much-feted titans of industry and finance were drunk on a global binge of easy debt and bogus stock valuations, and that the real growth has not traveled to the people who needed it, that real fundamental nation building value has not been created to the extent it was believed.

Today we need the army to throw out Lashkar from Colaba Causeway, what will we say when Naxalite cadets show up in Chennai? We always say "Me Mumbaikar Aahe". This is us. We are the ones who whittled away like termites at the gates and then threw down a red carpet of blood for terrorists to waltz in and shoot up our town like some drug-crazed teenagers on a weekend spree.

Only a Mumbaikar can truly understand that feeling of enraged impotence at the sight of these animals strolling down our historic downtown redefining forever the Mumbai taunt "Baap ka road hai" We are not to blame for their inhuman choice to perpetrate violence upon innocents. No secularist, no apologist, no CNN reporter, can justify that action. But we are to blame for our failure to protect ourselves and we are to blame for our inability to change the systems that made it possible from a fundamental level. Unless we re-engage our civic society as responsible and honest citizens of our own free will, we cannot expect better from our institutions.

Let's start with the hard, thankless and unglamorous task of fixing the broken windows and potholes. We have a very long way to go before reclaiming our Maximum City from what we have allowed it to become. Only then can we show the lead to the rest of the nation as we have always prided ourselves on doing.

With regards,
And be safe,

Naxal killed in encounter

29 Dec 2008, 2016 hrs IST, PTI

HYDERABAD: An unidentified Naxal was killed allegedly in an exchange of fire with police on Andhra-Chattisgarh border on Monday.

A special police party on combing operation exchanged firing with Maoists in deep forest on Andhra-Chhattisgarh border, police sources said.

The exchage of fire took place between Cherla police station in Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh and Pamedu police station in Chattisgarh state, sources said.

In the ensuing firing one Maoist, who is yet to be identified, died and five to six Naxalites managed to escape.

The police suspect that the deceased Maoist is member of Pamedu dalam active in Chattisgarh state. A claremore mine, grenade and kitbags recovered from the spot.

Policeman, two Naxals killed in Chhattisgarh

Published: December 29,2008

Raipur , Dec 29 A policeman was killed in an exchange of fire with the Naxals in Bijapur district, while two extremists were gunned down in a separate incident in the same district today.

Pramod Patel, of the District Force (DF), was killed in a gun-battle with the Naxalites near village Sawnar under Gangalur police station, police said.

The exchange of fire followed after a police team, acting on a specific information, set out to apprehend a group of Naxals moving in the area, they said.

There was no information about any casualty on the Naxals&aposside.

In the second incident, a police team killed two Naxalites near village Santoshpur, some six kilometers from the district headquarters, in the wee hours, police said.

The police also recovered a hand grenade and two tiffin bombs from the gun-battle site.

As many as 1,416 people have lost their lives in Naxal violence since Chhattisgarh came into being in November 2000. Of these, 212 were reported this year (till November 2008). PTI RM