Saturday, January 10, 2009

Anti-Naxal group members shot dead

11 Jan 2009, 0448 hrs IST, TNN

GUMLA (JHARKHAND): A local resistance group bore the brunt of Maoist reprisal on Saturday when two of its members in Anjan village were shot dead
by Naxals who ransacked the homes of two others, including that of the group's chief. Vijay Nayak and Charku Nayak were members of Shanti Sena, formed by villagers in Gumla district of Jharkhand with police help to oppose the Maoists.

Police said about 40 to 50 uniformed Maoists cadres arrived in the village, about 16 km from Gumla town, at 6 am. They shot dead Vijay and Charku when the two were on their way home from a nearby field.

They also ransacked the houses of village Shanti Sena chief Satyanarayan Thakur and another Sena member Rampyare. The Maoists also set a motorcycle on fire.

Shanti Sena was set up in Anjan village three years ago with the support of police. Some sena members were also given guns to fight the Maoists who had made the village their den.

Pool intel to nab Naxal top guns, Centre tells states

11 Jan 2009, 0501 hrs IST, Vishwa Mohan, TNN

NEW DELHI: The Centre has asked states to work out a joint strategy and pool their intelligence to trace and nab Naxal top guns, including their
"supreme commander” Muppala Laxamana Rao alias Ganapathi, who have been running the Red Ultra network.

At present, neither the state police forces nor the central agencies have any inkling of the whereabouts of the 14 top Naxalite leaders. These leaders — all members of the CPI (Maoist) politburo — take all the decisions on the entire Naxal operations across the country. Though the central agencies have some background and identification details of these leaders, the profiling has so far not produced any result. All those Naxals arrested so far have either been foot soldiers or middle-ranking leaders.

The matter was discussed in the chief ministers' meeting on the Naxal menace on Wednesday when Union home minister P Chidambaram expressed his concern and pointed out how the agencies were completely unaware of the top Naxal leaders' possible hideouts. He asked the states to work jointly to catch the senior leaders of the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) — the armed wing of CPI (Maoists) — as the Naxal leaders must be shifting their base from one state to another The CMs and senior police officers of Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh attended the meeting, which among other Naxal-related issues, stressed the need to step up efforts to nab the top Red Ultras.

Seven of the 14 Naxal politburo members are from Andhra Pradesh. While 60-year-old Ganapathi of Karimnagar (Andhra Pradesh) heads the command of the over 11,000 armed cadres, Prashanth Bose alias Nirbhay alias Kishanda works to propagate the Maoists' agenda through various means. According to the central agencies' dossier on these
ultras, Ganapathi is a science graduate who also has a B Ed degree. He has been frequently changing his hideouts for years. He is a medium built man with a height of 5'8”. He wears reading glasses and dyes his hair frequently.

Illicit opium cultivation, main source of income for naxals

New Delhi (PTI): Ever wondered how the naxals get the money to procure latest arms and sustain their growing cadre?

The answer lies in the obscure world of illicit cultivation of narcotic substances.

Sources in the country's anti-narcotic agencies say large scale illegal cultivation of opium and ganja takes place in naxal-affected areas especially in states such as Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

At places where the naxals do not directly get involved in the illicit cultivation, they charge money for providing protection to those involved in the practice.

"Illicit cultivation does take place especially in those areas where the local administration is not strong enough.

Three main states where it takes place as per the inputs that we receive are Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal," a senior official of Narcotics Control Bureau said.

He said the other states where such cultivation takes place include Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Chhattisgarh besides some states from south India.

"The naxals and certain insurgent groups in North-East thrive on the money earned from illicit cultivation other than that earned through extortion, kidnapping and other criminal activities," the official said.

Naidu does volte-face, turns champion of Maoists

10 Jan 2009, 0514 hrs IST, TNN

TIRUPATI: In his bid to return to power, TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu is even ready to woo the Maoists, his arch enemies.

Addressing media persons in Tirupati on Friday, Naidu said he would examine the socio-economic policies of the Maoists for implementation if voted to power. Turning into a defender of their cause, the TDP chief said the Congress government had `brutally eliminated' several Maoists in the name of peace talks.
"After all, they are also thinking about justice to all sections of people. What is wrong in that ? When we come back to power, we will definitely explore the socio-economic policies of the Maoists", he said.

When asked whether he would also invite them to be part of the government on the lines of Nepal, he said: "I merely stated that we will work out the feasibility of their policies. The Nepal context does not rise here", he added.

Naidu expressed confidence that the `Maha Kutami' would sweep the polls as there was a severe anti-incumbency wave against the government. On the PRP, he said the party was nowhere in the political reckoning.

When asked whether the people may give a chance to the new entrant PRP this time, he said, "the people have already committed a grave mistake by voting the Congress to power. They won't take another wrong step by voting in a new party which has no political experience".

Suspected Maoists kill four men in Jharkhand

Published: January 10,2009

Gumla (Jharkhand), Jan 10 Four villagers were killed by suspected Maoists in separate incidents in Gumla, Garwah and Latehar districts in Jharkhand besides vandalising machinery used for road construction, police said.

A group of about thirty suspected Maoists caught the two villagers Charku Nayak and Vijay Nayak at Anjan village in Gumla district and fired on them from close range early today, police said.

Their bodies were recovered, the police added.

In two other separate incidents in Garwah and Latehar districts last night, suspected Maoists killed a 50-year-old villager and set on fire the machinery of a construction company, the police said.

At Garwah&aposs Khuri village, a group of armed naxalites picked up one Raghunath Yadav and shot him dead.

In the third incident, another group of naxalites set on fire a generator set and other material of a road construction company in Latehar&aposs Hisri village, the police said.

Source: PTI

Centre asks Maoist-hit States to catch top rebel

Bhubaneswar (PTI): The Centre has asked the seven Maoist-affected states to trace Ganapati, the newly-elected supreme commander of the CPI (Maoist), official sources said.

The Centre's concern was expressed by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram at a meeting of chief ministers of the Maoist-hit states of Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal held recently in New Delhi.

Ganapati, elected as the supreme commander of the 7,000-strong cadre of red rebels, had influence in all these States posing a challenge for the Centre.

Though Ganapati, considered the brain behind recent Maoist attacks by the security forces, and his team stayed for nearly seven days in Chhattishgarh, where he was elected as the supreme commander earlier this month, the police there had no knowledge of his whereabouts, officials said.

Chidambaram during his interaction on January 7 had reportedly asked the police officers to prepare a strategy to catch senior leaders of the People's Liberation Guerrila Army (PLGA).

Maoists gun down Orissa businessman

Koraput, Orissa (PTI): Suspected Maoists have gunned down a businessman who they suspected to be a police informer at Ketalpeta in Orissa's Koraput district, police said on Saturday.

Two Maoist cadre, including a woman, in plainclothes came to 35-year-old Bhogi Ramesh's house and shot him dead from close range, police said.

The duo fled after committing the crime, they said, adding a massive combing operation was continuing to nab the ultras.

Senior police officials had rushed to the spot.

The police were also investigating whether anyone close to the victim was involved in the incident.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Jehanabad jail break accused arrested

Published: January 9,2009

Jehanabad (Bihar), Jan 9 A top Maoist leader and five other outfit&aposs cadre accused of Jehanabad jailbreak were arrested today with arms and ammunition at Bhagwanpur Matia village in Bihar&aposs Jehanabad district.

Superintendent of police, Manu Mahraj, said,"The self-styled area commander of Maiosts, Uday Yadav, who was absconding since Jehanabad jailbreak in 2005, was arrested along with two country made carbines and four country made pistols."

Mahraj said Yadav along with other Maoist cadre - Ashok Yadav, Madhusudan Yadav, Ajay Yadav, Dharmendra Yadav and Mahesh Choudhary - were arrested in a raid in the village when police got tip-off about their meeting there.

The police seized two country made carbines, four pistols and 38 live cartridges including the cartridges of SLR and police belts.

According to police, an accused in Jehanabad jail break, Yadav, was absconding since the jail break on November 13, 2005.

Maiosts had freed fellow Naxalites from Jehanabad jail during the jail break. A total of 389 Maiosts had managed to escape from the jail and 60 Maiosts were still absconding.

Source: PTI

16 Naxalites killed in police encounters

Raipur, Jan 8 (PTI) Fifteen Naxalites were tonight killed in an encounter with police in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district.
DIG police Pawan Dev told PTI that a police team was in search of Naxalites in a jungle for the last three days.

They came across the Maoists at a place under Kollapalli police station jurisdiction when the ultras opened fire, triggering the gun-battle in which 15 Naxalites were killed, he said.

In a separate incident, police killed a Naxalite in an encounter in Bijapur district, Dev said. PTI

Securing the home front

India Today Bureau
January 9, 2009

CloseIndia Today expert view on Securing the home front

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with ChidambaramUnion Minister of Home Affairs P. Chidambaram is acutely aware that he has very little time to deliver with the general elections due in May 2009. In a way it is fortuitous because what India needs after the Mumbai attacks is action, and fast. In the saddle for just over a month, Chidambaram at a meeting of chief ministers on internal security on January 6 said his immediate priority was to raise the level of preparedness to meet the increasingly sophisticated terrorist threats. Equally important was to enhance the speed and decisiveness of the response to a terrorist threat or attack.

Both these measures are key to inspiring confidence of the country that has been severely punctured after the Mumbai attacks. But even as Chidambaram gets cracking on the stiff agenda he has set for himself and the Government, he needs to examine the functioning of his Ministry more closely.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has to play a pivotal role if the war on terror has to be won. But in the past few years, the Ministry exemplifies what has gone wrong with the country’s management of internal security. In the six months, preceding the Mumbai attacks, there were blasts in Delhi, Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Guwahati that killed 215 and injured 1,000. Typically after these attacks, there were “security review” meetings which saw the buck being passed from one authority to another and no responsibility being fixed. Routine alerts were sent to states to tighten their security with no follow up.

After Mumbai, it was evident that the MHA had to radically change its approach. It has it hands in just too many issues. Apart from internal security and terrorism, its mandate is to tackle insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and the Northeastern states, Left wing extremism, border management, immigration, foreign funding, Centre-state relations, Union Territories, managing the Indian Police Service (IPS) and Central paramilitary forces, police modernisation and policy planning. Experts say, over the years the ministry has grown into a behemoth that is difficult to manage, has dragged its feet on key proposals like police modernisation, did nothing to sort out turf battles between intelligence agencies both at the level of the Centre and the states and has failed to come up with an effective anti-terror policy.

After 9/11, the George Bush administration decided that what it needed was a humongous Homeland Security Department that would, in the American President’s view, “make America safer because our nation would have one department whose primary mission is to protect the American homeland.” Bush decided that there would be only one department to secure US borders, transport sector, ports and critical infrastructure, apart from synthesising and analysing homeland security intelligence from multiple sources, training and equipping first responders and managing a federal emergency response.

Clearly, India can learn a lot from the American review of its homeland security. Given that bureaucracy tends to create more muddles in India, perhaps the solution lies in segregating the internal security aspect from other functions of the Home Ministry. The US Homeland Security Department does not deal with issues pertaining to police modernisation, procurement and other executive work. So it would probably help if there is a full-time Cabinet Minister to look after internal security, segregated from the MHA.

In the first flush of his tenure, Chidambaram has moved swiftly to get a National Investigative Agency set up to investigate terror cases across the country and also ensured greater co-ordination and sharing of information among intelligence agencies by reactivating the Multi-Agency Centre (MAC)and making it accountable. The focus now has to be firmly on prevention through enhanced intelligence coordination and sharing. He has also cut through the red tape and sanctioned long pending and muchneeded equipment for the paramilitary forces like bulletproof vests and rifles.

These would make a significant difference. But as important is pushing for fundamental structural and personnel changes in the Home Ministry. It could start by looking at the composition of those who head it. Of the eight special and additional secretaries in the Ministry, and 20 joint secretaries, only two are career police officers. Starting from secretary Madhukar Gupta, almost all in key positions are IAS officers with no experience of handling security issues. All officials handling key desks, including Kashmir, the Northeast, Naxals and Border Management are administrative service officers.

J'khand police,Army Intelligence interrogate arrested Naxal

Published: January 8,2009

Jalandhar , Jan 8 A team of Jharkhand police and officers of Army Intelligence today jointly interrogated a senior Maoist activists arrested in Punjab early this week.

"A 13-member team of Jharkhand police of today arrived in the city and interrogated Jai Prakash alias Anupam, a senior Maoist recently arrested from Phillaur area, along with a team of Army Intelligence", Pawan Kumar Rai, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) told PTI.

Since the accused was involved in as many as 25 cases including of murders and attack on police personnel, Jharkhand police was informed about his arrest.

Jai Prakash along with some of his supporters was living in Punjab for the last one and half year in an attempt to revive naxalite movement in the state, the SSP said.

During interrogation, it came to light that Jai Prakash joined the naxalite movement in 1994 as cadre of Maoist Community Centre (MCC), which later merged with Communist Party of India (Maoist, sources said.

In the year 1998, Jai Prakash, who originally hails from Baldevari village of Jharkhand, got his arm training at Jhamra Pahar area of the state. N 2001 he was appointed as" Zonal Commander:"of Northern Chhota Nagpur area of Jharkhand and was involved in active naxalite activities.

In the year 2005, the accused came in contact with Pramod Mishra, member of the central committee of the banned party, who later assigned him the task to strengthen party&aposs activities in Punjab and introduced him to one Manveer, State Secretary of the party in Punjab, sources said.

Source: PTI

Man nabbed on charges of naxal links

Published: January 8,2009
Chatra (Jharkhand), Jan 08 A man was today arrested on the charges of extorting money in the name of Maoists and Rs two lakh was seized from his house, police said here.

The police raided the rented house of one Vineet Kumar Soni at Kathotia locality in Chatra town and arrested him, the sources said.

A resident of Neem Chowk village under Chatra&aposs Chandua police station, Soni had allegedly been helping the Maoists.

Source: PTI

Cops defy Naxal threat, hold meet

Express News Service First Published : 08 Jan 2009 08:53:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 08 Jan 2009 03:19:14 PM IST

RAYAGADA: Despite threats from Naxals not to organise Maitri Milans (friendly get-togethers), the district police went ahead with their programmes.

Two days after the threats were issued by the Naxals, the Rayagada police today successfully conducted one programme in the Naxal-infested Jangili village under Pippaliguda gram panchayat, 35 km from here.

More than a 1,000 people of Allubadi, Pippiliguda, Karubai, Miraballi, Dongolodi and Baising GPs participated in various events. They later interacted with SP Asish Kumar Singh and complained of problems they have been facing in getting pension, water supply, road connectivity and houses under Indira Awas Yojana.

A magic show by constable Pintoo Patnaik entertained the children and elders alike. Later, Singh addressed the gathering and promised the villagers that police would stand by them at all times.

A couple of days back Naxalite posters had appeared in Bissam Cuttack block advising police not to hold Maitri Milans. They also sought the release of two officials of an engineering college held on charges of aiding the Naxals besides the money seized from them.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Police bags to counter Maoist poster campaign


A bag with an anti-rebel message. Picture by Pankaj Singh
Bokaro, Jan. 7: After posters, the Bokaro police aim to tame Maoists with bags.

In 2008, the Bokaro police had initiated a poster campaign against Maoists. Now, they have decided to distribute thousands of bags on which they have printed ways to curb the rebel menace in Jharkhand.

According to the police, the “bag war” against Maoists would help expose their misdeeds and help arrest top rebel leaders.

The bag states that Maoists are hurdles in the development of the society and are anti-poor as they extort money for selfish purposes.

Bokaro superintendent of police Priya Dubey distributed these bags at janta durbar at Tulbul (Gomia), about 75km from Bokaro steel city. But sources said villagers are afraid of using these bags in public.

After the poster war, which featured photographs of Maoist leaders, the police are now highlighting other misdeeds such as misappropriation of levy collected from villagers through the bags.

Sources said these bags would be distributed for free in rebel strongholds such as Jhumra, Gomia, Nawadih, Bokaro thermal, Petarwar, Kasmar and other red zones.

Maoists are also known to highlight the police atrocities on innocent villagers through posters, banners and bills. They show the police as “anti-poor”. After placing banners and posters against “dedicated cops” to demoralise them and create an atmosphere to get them replaced or suspended, they often call a “bandh” to win the sympathy of villagers.

The Bokaro police, through the bag campaign, have highlighted the “Maoists’ harmful agenda”. The police have also published two phone numbers (06542-242266 and 06542-242299) to help villagers connect with the police in times of emergency and to share vital information.

The Bokaro SP stated that this move would help counter Maoists. “Now after getting the bags, villagers would know about the real motive of Maoists and help in the fight to control Maoist activities in the region,” Dubey added.

Maoists demand money from businessman

Published: January 7,2009

Rourkela , Jan 7 A fresh incident of Maoists demanding money from a businessman at Raichhapala on Orissa- Jharkhand border has created panic among traders and common people.

Police said today an ultra group called&apos Jharkhand Badsa&aposhad entered a brick kiln last night and in the absence of its owner ordered the managerto pay Rs 10 lakh within 24 hours.

The group, which had about 8 members armed with pistols, also threatened the man with dire consequences if its demand was not met or the police was informed.

Police said as news of the threat spread panic gripped the area. Several businessmen had earlier left their homes and businesses in the border areas due to repeated threat by Maoists.

Earlier, a person was killed by the ultras at Raibaga after his businessman father ignored a ransom letter by the Maoists.

Source: PTI

NSS chief was also Maoist target


Jamshedpur, Jan. 7: Maoists had made an abortive attempt to kill Nagarik Suraksha Samiti (NSS) chief Shankar Chandra Hembrom, a day before they shot dead its general secretary, Dhanai Kisku.

This startling revelation was made Hembrom himself during an interview with The Telegraph today.

According to the NSS chief, two unidentified men came on a bike and stopped in front of his Musabani residence around 7pm on Sunday. They honked twice, expecting Hembrom to step outside. However, instead of him, one of his relatives, who was repairing a car, opened the door. He had a metal plate in hand and that, apparently, saved Hembrom’s life. Caught unawares, the two men mistook the shining surface of metal to be a gun and fled the scene.

Giving an account of the entire episode, Hembrom pointed out that in Musabani, and also in other pockets of Ghatshila sub-division where NSS leaders stay, the movement of people and traffic is restricted.

“Anyone visiting an NSS leader’s is frisked by his bodyguards. If the latter suspect foul play, they have the orders to fire,” Hembrom said. “Two strangers honking in front of the house after dusk and then fleeing the spot obviously raised suspicions. I immediately went to Kisku’s house and warned him. But, unfortunately, he was gunned down the next day.”

The NSS chief said that Kisku’s killing confirmed their suspicion that the two strangers were members of some rebel outfit. “My name was written on their bullets. I escaped by sheer luck. Had I stepped out of m house that evening, I would have been dead,” he said, hinting at a shift in the modus operandi of guerrilla warfare.

The rebels have become mobile, said Hembrom. In splinter groups and armed with weapons, they hunt for victims instead of blasting landmines in a jungle or commissioning a large — and vulnerable to arrest — ambush squad.

The murder of Kisku is the second such incident in six months. Earlier, on August 22, the rebels had killed another active NSS member, Krishna Mahto. Two-wheelers were used in both the incidents.

Maoists had used the same modus operandi to kill Sobhan Tudu, a para-teacher, at Kashiabera haat in the Ghurabandha police station area on December 20. Rebels in splinter groups killed Tudu in the busy marketplace before fleeing on motorcycles.

The East Singhbhum district administration has, meanwhile, stepped up the NSS chief’s security. Superintendent of police Naveen Kumar Singh said they would review the arrangements and, if required, further strengthen his security. At present, Hembrom has four police bodyguards who are armed with self-loading rifles.

Security is also being beefed up in vulnerable pockets of Musabani, which is home to several NSS members. “There will be more police pickets near the residences of NSS activists,” said Singh, adding that the police were doing everything they could to allay fears.

Meanwhile, functionaries of the anti-Maoist outfit operating in a bordering district of Bengal have expressed their solidarity with the NSS leaders.

Telangana leaders on Maoist hit-list

8 Jan 2009, 0209 hrs IST, TNN

NAGPUR: It is not just mobile networks that are under the Naxalite threat. If intelligence sources are to be believed, Naxalites have even leaders
of Telangana statehood movement on their hit-list
. This was also among the decisions taken by Maoists' Central Committee (CC) meeting held at Bijapur in Chhattisgarh last August. Apaprently, they have decided to constitute special teams to eliminate political leaders of statehood movement.

The Maoists, who actually support the formation of Telangana state, believe that political parties that do so have vested interests.

Jungle warfare training centre to be set up in Bhubaneswar

By Diptiranjan Kanungo
Last updated: 01/08/2009 20:07:21

Bhubaneswar(Orissa): In order to counter the growing Maoist menace in the State, the State Government is planning to set up a Counter Insurgency and Jungle warfare Training Centre near Bhubaneswar, said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik while speaking at the meeting of the Chief Ministers of seven Maoist-affected States in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The meeting was chaired by the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.

Expressing his concern on the upsurge in Maoist violence in the State, Patnaik said 17 out of 30 districts in the State are affected by Left Wing Extremist (LWE).

Patnaik also thanked the Centre to sanctioning of one COBRA battalion for the State which will be located in Koraput. Patnaik also requested the Centre to provide six more battalions of CRPF which would be deployed in the affected districts.

During his speech, Patnaik also informed how the State Government had undertaken socio-economic development of the Maoist-affected areas. "All major industrial and mining houses have been asked to set up IITs in the tribal areas," he informed, and added that 5 per cent of net profit of mining/ Industrial projects in scheduled areas would be spent on periphery development.

He has also informed that budget of the Home Department has been increased to Rs.1038 crores from Rs.437 crores in 2000-2001 to increase the capacity of the Police. He has further stated that the State Government has established a Special Intelligence Wing (SIW) to exclusively deal with all forms of terrorism including Naxalism and also created Special Operations Group (SOG) which is a dedicated striking force to carry out anti-Naxalite operations.
Further, special incentives, ex-gratia and other benefits have been extended to the police force to boost their morale and the State Government has also formulated an insurance scheme for the 14000 personnel engaged in anti- Naxalite operations.

To involve the tribals in policing, he has mentioned that the State Government is recruiting 2100 Adivasi youth as Special Police Officers (SPOs) in the tribal dominated districts and the recruitment process has just been completed. In addition, he has informed that 3150 ex-Army personnel are being recruited by the State Government.

States for joint anti-naxal operations

Vinay Kumar

NEW DELHI: A meeting of the Chief Ministers of seven States most affected by naxal violence on Wednesday broadly agreed to a suggestion of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram for launching effective joint operations by the States to deal with naxal elements in inter-State border areas.

The meeting, presided over by Mr. Chidambaram, was attended by Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and West Bengal. All the seven Chief Ministers agreed that the battle against naxalism must be fought on twin fronts of security as well as development.

Among their priorities was employment generation for local youth in the violence-affected areas and construction of roads. Some of the affected States have a dismal record of laying 10 km of road in a year, mainly owing to poor security situation in the area.

The Chief Ministers recognised the need to effectively implement the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. Several States said they had already formed specialised forces to deal with the naxal problem and some were in the process of raising such forces. The Chief Ministers informed the meeting about steps taken to fill up vacancies in State police forces.

The Home Minister drew the attention of the Chief Ministers to the need to train the police in jungle warfare. Responding to the request of some Chief Ministers to train their intelligence personnel, Mr. Chidambaram assured them that an effort would be made to augment the training facilities at the Centre. He was also not against defensive action by village community in the event of an extremist attack.

Some of the Chief Ministers stressed the need to streamline the grievance redressal machinery while others wanted technical support for training their police forces and strengthening intelligence gathering branches.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar favoured a holistic approach in dealing with the problem and said the Centre should desist from adhering to a piecemeal approach.

Chidambaram all praise for SPOs

8 Jan 2009, 0550 hrs IST, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: Settling the controversy generated by his recent statement in Parliament disfavouring law enforcement by ‘nonstate actors’ — interpreted
by many as a disapproval of Salwa Judum — home minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday praised the role of special police officers (SPOs) in fighting Naxalism and called for their appointment “wherever required.”

The home minister’s backing for SPOs is certain to silence critics of Salwa Judum, mostly bleeding heart liberals, who have been demanding disbanding of the movement citing alleged human rights violations by SPOs appointed from among tribals who have come out against Left-wing extremism.

SPOs have played a useful role and should be appointed wherever required, Mr Chidambaram said in his concluding remarks at a meeting of chief ministers of seven Naxalismhit states chaired by him here on Wednesday.

Chhattisgarh has successfully used SPOs, duly appointed under the Police Act, to lead and guide the anti-Naxal forces during operations in the inhospitable jungles of Bastar and also to keep guard at relief camps housing Salwa Judum families. These SPOs, both ex-Naxalites and those drawn from Salwa Judum camps and trained by the police, are paid an honorarium of Rs 3,300 per month, with government of India contributing Rs 1,800 and the state police pitching in with another Rs 1,500. Jharkhand is another state that has been successfully using SPOs to counter Leftwing extremists.

Mr Chidambaram, who heard the chief ministers patiently on the extent of Naxal problem in their respective states and the counter-steps being taken by them, stressed upon the need for effective joint operations by the concerned States to deal with Naxal elements operating in inter-State border areas. He called for training of the police in both jungle warfare and offered to augment the Centre’s training capacities to meet the states’ demand for training their intelligence personnel. Also insisting on the development aspect, Mr Chidambaram called for speedy construction of roads in the affected districts.

At the meeting, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan expressed concern at the shift in CPI(Maoist) tactics from guerrilla warfare to military operations, and insisted that the police in the affected states would have to upgrade
their training to match the new capabilities of the extremists.

The meeting saw the chief ministers seeking more Central forces and funds to take on the Naxalites. Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh briefed the home minister in detail on the counter-operations — he claimed to have liberated nearly 25,000 sq km of the total 75,000-sq km area under Naxal domination — and sought to clear at least 10% more area with each passing year. However, he said the Central forces and STF of the Chhattisgarh police were already overstretched in carrying out both area domination and intelligence-based surgical operations, and it would not be possible to move deeper into the Naxal-infested forests without force reinforcements. Mr Singh said the police strength was already being augmented.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said that the counter-Naxal strategy would have to be specific to each of the affected states. While the relatively less violence-hit Bihar could address socio-economic problems to tackle the root causes of Left-wing extremism, Chhattisgarh , which was already in the vortex of Naxalite violence, would have to fight the extremists before it could attend to socio-economic development.

Centre gives its tacit approval to Salwa Judum

8 Jan 2009, 0354 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: Toeing the Chhattisgarh line over Salwa Judum, the Centre on Wednesday said there was no harm in the village community taking defensive
action against Red ultras in the state or elsewhere, if needed.

The Centre also favoured the need to have "strong joint operations" against the naxalites by states -- a suggestion accepted by all the seven states participating in the meeting over the naxal menace here.

Making the Centre's line clear over the controversial Salwa Judum, which has drawn flak from civil rights groups, Union home minister P Chidambaram said: "The special police officers (SPOs) have played a useful role and should be appointed wherever required."

Though Chidambaram, while addressing the chief ministers of the seven states, did not specifically mention Salwa Judum, he referred to the statement of Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh.

Speaking in favour of the Salwa Judum campaign, Singh said it would continue giving protection to tribals who were involved in the "anti-Maoist" movement in the state. Chhattisgarh has over the years trained a number of SPOs from among the tribals who are part of Salwa Judum in the state which along with Jharkhand witnessed over 65% of the total naxal violence in the country in 2008.

Besides Singh, the CMs of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal also attended the meeting and pitched for an "integrated action plan" to deal with Maoists.

Asserting that naxalism is no longer a state-centric phenomenon, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said the Centre should "treat it like a national problem and has a big way assist the states" in tackling these problems both in strengthening law-enforcing agencies as well as on the development front.

Bihar along with Jharkhand also stressed the need for a formal surrender policy to help those ultras who want to join the mainstream. Kumar said his government has already notified a surrender and rehabilitation policy.

At the three-hour meeting, Chidambaram agreed that there should be effective joint operations backed by technology support. Noting that use of force alone would not suffice, he said development and police action should go hand in hand.

The matter was also referred to on Tuesday by PM Manmohan Singh, who said that naxalite groups were posing challenges of a "different" nature because of change in their ethos -- from an ideologically driven movement to one in which military ethos have become predominant.

Incidentally, on Wednesday, West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya stressed on the "ideological" aspect of the naxal movement and told the participants that the violence had no place in Naxalbari -- the village from where it originated in the state and later spread to other parts of the country.

Move us up on Naxal-hit list, says Bengal

Express News Service
Posted: Jan 08, 2009 at 0233 hrs IST

Kolkata A recent bid on the life of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee by Maoists in Salboni notwithstanding, West Bengal doesn’t figure in grade two on the list of Maoist-affected states in the country — something that has not gone down well with the state Government.

On the second day of the chief ministers’ conference in New Delhi, Bhattacharjee requested the Centre to place the state in the grade two of the list.

Bengal is included in grade three at present.

“As we were put in grade three (in the list of Maoist-affected states), it will not be possible for the Centre to pay attention to the Maoist menace in our state.

We have, therefore, asked the Centre to include Bengal in grade two,” Bhattacharjee told the mediapersons.

Earlier, former Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil had struck off Bengal from the list of grade two Maoist-affected states but Home Minister P Chidambaram had put the state back on the list. The state, however, is again missing from the list.

According to the police, Maoist activities in Bengal are confined to the forests of three districts — West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia — bordering Jharkhand. The state Government had claimed that Maoists hailed from Jharkhand and formed an alliance with organised groups in Bengal for operations.

“We want to conduct joint raids with bordering states against such armed groups and need Centre’s approval for the same,” the chief minister said.

Major Naxal-hit states strongly favoured joint operations

New Delhi, Jan 07: Major Naxal-hit states on Wednesday strongly favoured joint operations, jungle warfare training to policemen and more focus on development to tackle the menace.

CMs of naxal-affected states meetAt a three-hour meeting with chief ministers of seven Naxal-affected states, Home Minister P Chidambaram shared their view that there should be effective joint operations backed by technology support.

Noting that use of force alone would not suffice, Chidambaram said development and police action should go hand in hand.

There was a consensus that the battle against Naxalism must be fought on development as well as security fronts.

At the same time, the state policemen needed to be trained in jungle warfare, the home minister said and advised the states to raise special anti-Naxal force and impart training to special branch personnel.

With Left wing extremism posing a very big threat to the country's internal security, all chief ministers spoke in favour of development as a panacea to the menace.

The matter was referred to yesterday by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who said Naxalite groups were posing challenges of a "different" nature because of change in their ethos -- from an ideologically driven movement to one in which military ethos have become predominant.

The states that participated in today's meeting are Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and West Bengal.

Bureau Report

CM wants joint move against Naxals

Statesman News Service
BHUBANESWAR, Jan. 7: Chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik has stressed on the need for joint action with the neighbouring states to control the Left wing extremism.
Speaking at the meeting of the chief ministers of seven Naxal affected states chaired by union home minister Mr P Chidambaram in New Delhi today, he felt that though steps are being taken by the state to up grade the capacity of the state policy by procuring advanced weapon systems and communication equipment, difficulties are being experienced particularly when such equipment are to be imported. He urged Centre to either procure and supply to the states or assist the states in such procurement.

He iterated the state’s demands of six more battalions of CRPF in the affected districts, enhancement of the grant under the modernisation of police force scheme, inclusion of few more Naxal affected districts in the security related expenditure scheme, and providing dedicated helicopters for multi-purpose uses.
Expressing concern that there was an upsurge in Naxal violence during the last one year, and 17 of the 30 districts of the state are affected by the extremists, he appreciated the coordinated action of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattis-garh in effectively tackling the problem.
He highlighted various steps taken by the state government to contain the problem: opening of hostels of tribal students, subsidised rice at Rs 2 per kg, setting up of it is in tribal areas, withdrawal of 3,840 petty cases against tribal people, insurance cover against the anti-Naxal operation personnel, requisition of tribal youths as special police officers, and the state government’s steps for implementation of the scheduled tribe and Traditional Forest Dwellers' (recognition of forest rights) Act, 2006, figured prominently in Mr Patnaik’s speech, according to a statement issued by the CMO.

Senior Maoist arrested in Punjab

Published: January 7,2009


A top Naxal wanted in at least 25 cases including murder and attack on police personnel in Jharkhand has been arrested in Phillaur area of Punjab, police said today.

Jai Parkash Dubey, a senior activist of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) hailing from Hazaribad district of Jharkhand, was arrested in Mehsampur village on Monday and remanded to police custody, Pawan Kumar Rai, Senior Superintendent of Police told media.

Dubey, who was living under a false name in Phillaur area for the last one and half year, had been tasked with reviving the front organisation of Maoists in Punjab, he said. During investigation it was found that Dubey was wanted in as many as 25 cases including murder, attack on police personnel and blowing up of official vehicles in Jharkhand, the SSP said.

Some CDs and literature in Punjabi regarding the outfit were recovered from his possession. Dubey was part of a Central Committee formed by the outfit to revive its activities in northern states. The committee's head Pramod Mishra was arrested last year.

Source: PTI

Chhattisgarh to continue protecting tribals in 'Salwa Judum'

Tags: Maoist , Salwa Judum , Raman Singh , Chhattisgarh , Naxalism

Published: Wed, 07 Jan 2009 at 18:28 IST

New Delhi, Jan 7: Notwithstanding Opposition from the Union Home Ministry over its 'Salwa Judum' campaign, Chhattisgarh government today said it will continue giving protection to tribals who are involved in the "anti-maoist" movement in the state.

Denying that the Salwa Judum was sponsored by the state, Chief Minister Raman Singh said, "We will give protection to the tribals who are carrying out campaigns against Maoists for peace in the state." "Salwa Judum had not been sponsored by the state government. It was a mass movement executed by the tribals themselves against the Maoists," Singh, whose state is the worst affected by Left militancy, told reporters.

He also communicated this during the high-level meeting of Chief Ministers of naxal affected states organised by Union Home Ministry here.

"I also discussed it at the Chief Minister's meeting and stated that we will continue providing protection to the tribals who are engaged in anti-Maoist campaign or somehow helping the government in carrying out counter-extremism operations in the state," Singh said.

He appreciated the setting up of Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) by the Centre saying, "it is good initiative taken by the Centre".

"We have been assured at the meeting that Centre will provide us two battalions of COBRA to support anti-naxal operations in the state," he said.

During the meet, Singh said he highlighted the need for formulating an "integrated action plan" to counter terrorism and naxalism.

"During the meet, there was a common consensus on the point that joint operations should be carried out by the states to curb inter-state activity of the extremists," the Chief Minister said. Singh welcomed the formation of NIA and enactment of new anti-terror law, saying there was a need for such an agency and a "tough" anti-terror law to fight terrorism and naxalism.

However, he felt that suggestions of the state governments could have been sought by the Centre to make the NIA and the anti-terror law more powerful before it was finalised at Parliament.

To a question, Singh said his government has been taking "every possible care" of the tribals who have been displaced during Salwa Judum.

"As many as 50,000 tribals have taken shelter at government-run camps in the state. We are proving full protection to them. We are working for their rehabilitation," he maintained.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Maoists kill Orissa trader

Published: January 5,2009

Berhampur (Orissa), Jan 4 Suspected Maoists gunned down a trader in Orissa&aposs Koraput district this evening.

Two ultras in their early twenties went to the shop of Kanta Rao (40) at Bandhugaon and shot him dead, police said.

The duo fled the spot and a manhunt has been launched to nab them, police said, adding that senior police officers have rushed to the spot.

The motive behind the killing was yet to be ascertained, police added. PTI SKB SKN AMD


After Laxmanananda, Laxmi Baba on Maoist's target

By Santanu Barad
Last updated: 01/07/2009 21:20:20

Berhampur(Orissa): "I am ready for punishment. If Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda proves my involvement in the riot, then I would accept the punishment of the Maoists as well as of the administration", this was the statement of Laxmi Baba of the Mahendragarh Ashram located in the Mahendragiri hills in the Gajapati district.

Laxmi Baba had convened a press meet after the publication of the statement of Maoist Leader Sabyasachi Panda in an Oriya Daily newspaper indicating the involvement of Laxmi Baba in the riot in Kandhamal and Gajapati districts following the killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati at Jaleshpeta Ashram in Kandhamal.

Notably, Maoist leader has given a statement before one of the local representatives of an Oriya daily newspaper in which he had stated that they (Maoist) had not issued any threat to Laxmi Baba during the violence following Hindu Seer's killing.

He had said that seers like Laxmi Baba are instigating communal riot and if they would not refrain from communal riot, then they deserve 'death sentence'.

Reacting to such a statement of Maoist leader Sabyasachi, Laxmi Baba at the press meet in the city had stated that he was ready to accept any kind of punishment, if Sabyasachi proves his involvement in the riot, adding "I never involve myself in any kind of riot or violence.

Moreover, I had protected the people of minority community and church in the Gajapati district during the violence following the killing Laxmanananda Saraswati".

However, the people who had instigated were neither Hindu nor Christian, it was the outsiders with the active support of some foreign forces, were creating all such kinds of riots and violent situations in the country, added Laxmi Baba.

Laxmi Baba, while speaking on the threat on his life, stated that he had no enemy. So he did not see any danger and threat on his life. He was staying for last 25 years and even the Maoists had been staying in the hills for last 50 years, during which Maoists had never attacked him, stated Laxmi Baba.

Notably, the Gajapati police have informed Laxmi Baba about the threat from the Maoists citing the deployment of some CPI (Maoists) in the area. And round the clock security cover for Laxmi Baba is being provided by the police wherever he moves.

Speaking on Maoist leader Sabyasachi, Baba stated that he did not understand why the Maoist leader was involving him in the communal riots adding “Sabyasachi should lead a descent life in the mainstream society and should work for the welfare of the people".

Jharkhand Jaguars to take on naxalites in the state

Published: January 6,2009

New Delhi, Jan 6 Jharkhand has formed a special force -- Jharkhand Jaguar -- on the lines of Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh to tackle naxalism in the tribal state and established a Jungle Warfare school to give intensive training to security forces.

Addressing the meeting of Chief Ministers on Internal Security here, Chief Minister Shibu Soren said,"The state has formed a special force Jharkhand Jaguar on the lines of Greyhounds. Twenty squads of Jharkhand Jaguar are operating for checking extremism."

As it is imperative to give the security forces intensive training to counter terrorism and naxalism, the government has also established a Jungle Warfare school, he added.

"We have also prepared an elaborate action plan for the security of big industrial houses, sensitive public undertakings, religious places and buildings and will be soon approaching the Central government for modern equipment and training the security forces earmarked for it,"he added.

"The state has prepared two battalions of former servicemen to face terrorists effectively and deployed them after training,"he said.

An Analysis Wing has also been formed in the Special Branch headquarters for collecting, collating, analysing and transmitting intelligence, Soren said.

The chief minister said the state has made an elaborate plan of action to end the menace of Mafiosi and criminal gangs.

The state has made good progress in forensic science and the government has made mobile forensic labs in 18 districts, which have the facility for crime investigation and evidence gathering, he said.

Source: PTI

PM Inaugurates Chief Ministers’ Conference on Internal Security

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, inaugurated the Chief Ministers’ Conference on Internal Security in New Delhi today. Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s inaugural address on the occasion:

“We last met to discuss internal security issues in December 2007, a little over a year ago. The twelve months that have passed since then have been a difficult period for us. The security situation has, if anything, become even more complex. Many predictions made a year ago have unfortunately turned out to be true. In some cases the scale and magnitude of terrorist attacks appear to have been stepped up exponentially. In the prevailing circumstances we cannot afford to take a partial or segmented view. A holistic approach to our security concerns is definitely called for.

During the past year, we faced a severe challenge from terrorist groups operating from outside our country. Many of them act in association with hostile Intelligence Agencies in these countries. The attempt has been to exploit our vulnerabilities, and at times they do succeed as is evident from the terrorist attack in Mumbai. Our problems are compounded by the fact that we have a highly unpredictable and uncertain security environment in our immediate neighbourhood. The Governments in some of our neighbouring countries are very fragile in nature. The more fragile a Government, the more it tends to act in an irresponsible fashion. Pakistan’s responses to our various demarches on terrorist attacks is an obvious example.

We face multi-dimensional challenges of different kinds, but the most serious threats are those posed by Terrorism, Left Wing Extremism and insurgency in the North East. Left Wing Extremism is primarily indigenous and home-grown. Terrorism, on the other hand, is largely sponsored from outside our country, mainly Pakistan, which has utilized terrorism as an instrument of State policy. Insurgency in the North-East exploits disparities in income and wealth but it is also sustained by the sanctuaries provided to the leaders of insurgency movements in the neighbouring countries. There are, hence, fundamental differences in the way we need to view the internal security challenge and deal with the three threats that I had mentioned.

In the previous meeting it had been mentioned that terrorists were enlarging the canvas of threats. Increasingly, their concentration was on attacking economic, infrastructure, and iconic targets, apart from political, military and security ones. Mention had also been made of the fact that the sea route was now being exploited and explored as an alternative to land routes. It had, therefore, been suggested that there should be greater vigilance along our coast line and better monitoring of maritime activity in our territorial waters. The terrorists who carried out the attack on Mumbai on November 26, 2008 used the sea route, and managed to evade our coastal surveillance.

Calculating and responding to security challenges of this nature is in itself a complex exercise at the best of times. It becomes even more challenging in the circumstances I have just now mentioned. Our security calculus is a matrix of many imponderable factors, but there are two fundamental and underlying aspects, i.e., protecting the territorial integrity of the country and ensuring our internal security.

A strong sense of nationhood is important to withstand both these types of threats. Our nation is clearly united in our determination to defeat both external as well as internal security challenges. Our determination and sense of nationhood derives from our inheritance of a great historical experience of a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-caste and multi-lingual society. To-day, even as Pakistan engages in whipping up war hysteria, our nation remains steadfastly united and, if anything, the process of national consolidation is becoming stronger.

Dealing with internal security problems does not alter this dynamic. The situation may appear challenging and it is challenging but it is by no means beyond control. Concerns may exist that our defence mechanisms to thwart the numerous threats are inadequate. There may be criticism that the range of the instruments that we possess to deal with internal security threats, are not sufficiently sophisticated. Clearly, there is need to review the effectiveness of our set up for the collection of technical signalling and human intelligence. The training and equipment provided to our security forces also requires a careful review. I will admit that a great deal more can, and needs to, be done. Both the Centre and the State Governments must attend to this national task with speed, efficiency and utmost commitment.

Our external policies have been dictated by a desire to have a supportive neighbourhood. Unfortunately, we cannot choose our neighbours, and some countries like Pakistan have in the past encouraged and given sanctuary to terrorists and other forces who are antagonistic to India. We have tried to minimize the impact of such hostility by erecting certain defences. We have fenced our border along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, from where the vast majority of the infiltrations into India tended to take place. We are currently fencing our border with Bangladesh, from where also a number of infiltrations have been reported.

Consequent upon this, those in charge of the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan have resorted to other stratagems to infiltrate terrorists into India. Infiltration is occurring via Nepal and from Bangladesh, though it has not totally ceased via the Line of Control in J&K. We are aware that the sea route is another option that is now being exercised. A few interceptions have taken place, though we failed to intercept the 10 Pakistani terrorists who came by sea from Karachi on November 26.

The terrorist attack in Mumbai in November last year was clearly carried out by a Pakistan-based outfit, the Lashkar-e-Taiba. On the basis of the investigations carried out, including the Agencies of some foreign countries whose nationals were killed in the attack, there is enough evidence to show that, given the sophistication and military precision of the attack it must have had the support of some official agencies in Pakistan.

We are aware of the existence of different concentric circles of terrorism which impact on our security. The Mumbai terrorist attack fell into the category of one carried out exclusively by a foreign based outfit. There are other concentric circles of terrorism that often involve a combination of external forces backed by internal elements. There are still others which are essentially indigenous in character.

Recent patterns of terrorist incidents also suggest that increasingly the attacks have a pan-Indian and trans-national aspect. The terrorists are able to fashion new techniques and employ new skills. There is growing emphasis on ‘mass casualty attacks’. Terrorist communications have become state-of-the-art. Use of the Internet and Voice Over Internet Protocol connectivity, gives the terrorists greater anonymity and makes detection difficult for the authorities.

Attacks today are again less random than previously. In the case of Mumbai, a definite link can be discerned between our economic and security interests. Targetting of foreigners, specially from the West, was obviously intended to convey an impression that India was unsafe as a destination for the West and Western investments. We need to effectively counter this impression. We need to ensure that another major terrorist attack does not take place on our soil. We must implement the policy of ‘Zero Tolerance of Terrorism’ with total commitment.

Few countries have suffered so frequently or faced so much violence at the hands of terrorists as our country. During the past year, there have been terrorist attacks in Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Surat, Assam, Mumbai and some places in U.P. and these show higher levels of sophistication with each attack.

What makes terrorism particularly threatening at this moment is the impression of vulnerability combined with the display of greater sophistication in techniques and methodologies of terrorist outfits. The challenges before us are to demonstrate that we have both the capability as well as the sophisticated instrumentalities to anticipate and overcome the shifts and changes in terrorist methods. We cannot, therefore, afford to conceptualize narrowly. We must not react merely to immediate events.

This is the underlying message contained in the Home Minister’s letter inviting you to this Meeting. It is important at this juncture to demonstrate our combined will, and that we are effectively galvanizing the internal security system to deal with future terrorist attacks. Technology is empowering non-state actors across the globe and it is necessary for us to come up with a comprehensive strategy that combines the best of technological and human capabilities within the country to defeat terrorism in all its manifestations.

The Home Minister has already outlined a number of steps that have been taken in recent weeks to erect additional mechanisms to counter future terrorist attacks. The main message is that we need to break down barriers to information-sharing between the various agencies.

What I would add is that we need better intelligence and perhaps, more importantly, sophistcated assessment and analysis of the intelligence that is available. Complaints are often heard that the intelligence provided by the Agencies is not actionable. All intelligence produced is actionable, though it may not always be specific. It depends on the capability and ingenuity of those who assess the information to further develop and convert the fragmentary pieces of intelligence into a complete whole and for those who have to act on it to possibly pursue each and every lead.

Getting information early in time is vitally important and we need to encourage the setting up of an elaborate information system at the village, block and district level to report on any and all untoward events and incidents. Mobile telephones today provide opportunities for easy communication. Even our fishermen out at sea can use mobile telephones to report any untoward incident in our territorial waters. We must understand that no counter-terrorist action can hope to succeed unless it is based on the cooperation of the community and hence the importance of an expanded community policing system in our country. I would request the Chief Ministers to personally attend to this vital task.

The information available from diverse sources, thereafter needs to be properly channelized to reach a common point such as the recently revitalized Multi-Agency Centre in Delhi for collation and analysis. It will, hence, be necessary to establish Centers locally, at the State and lower levels across the country, to collate all the available information which might have a bearing on a potential terrorist situation. Other countries which have a federal structure similar to ours, like the United States, do have such centers spread across the country to coordinate local level responses to terrorism.

A large empirical data base will not yield results without using techniques such as structured analytic methodologies to convert the mass of information into actionable intelligence. Applications such as Threat Assessment Modeling and Artificial Neural Networks will have to be added to the existing analytic techniques. Three Dimensional Modeling of Critical Infrastructure is a new aspect that needs to be introduced. In several situations, we could even think of a Virtual Operations Centre.

I recently had occasion to mention in Parliament that the time had come for us to establish a permanent Crisis Management Group to handle the fall-out of major terrorist attacks anywhere in our country. This is now being established. We have also begun the process of strengthening maritime security against asymmetric threats from the sea. We have coordinated measures to plug loopholes in regard to our air space. The process of augmenting and strengthening our counter-terrorist forces has also begun.

What we hope to achieve is closer scrutiny and attention as well as a more rapid response to new and emerging threats. Our aim is to achieve the concept of total security.

Additionally, I would here also like to refer to the danger from Left Wing Extremism. Naxalite groups do pose a challenge, though of a different nature. Left Wing Extremism has been in vogue for four decades now, but the danger is that over time the nature of the movement has substantially altered. From an ideologically driven movement it has been transformed into one in which the military ethos has become predominant. The CPI-Maoist is perhaps the only militant organization in the country which has its own Guerrilla Army, though, as yet, this is of modest proportions. It is perhaps the only militant body to-day which has a rigid organizational structure. They also have some rudimentary capabilities to manufacture arms. They show increasing sophistication in the way they carry out attacks. They also do not seem to have any dearth of new recruits to the movement.

Quite a few States in the country are affected by Left Wing Extremism, notably Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. As the movement spreads, and becomes more energized and active, we must ponder deeply on how best to effectively deal with it. This is so, as the movement still retains a modicum of ideological appeal. It is still able to garner support from among members of Civil Society and Civil Liberties organizations. It still attracts sections of the youth. Choosing the right methods and adopting a proper strategy are therefore important so that the action we take does not give a greater fillip to the growth of the movement.

Finally, I would like to say that Terrorism should not be conceptualized solely in military terms. While taking all the measures necessary to prevent terrorist attacks, we must simultaneously ensure that the concept of terrorism is delegitimized through better investigation and superior intelligence. We must convince the world community that States that use terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy, must be isolated and compelled to abandon such tactics. We must engage vigorously in debates to press the point that ‘soft’ support for terrorism cannot any longer be endorsed. We must demonstrate that an alert pluralistic and secular society such as ours is the best defence against terrorist onslaughts. Terrorism, Naxalism and Insurgency in the North-East, Hon’ble Chief Ministers, constitute major challenges for our national security establishment. We need to mobilize all our wisdom, knowledge and experience to meet these challenges head on. I am confident that our nation has the resilience and will power to emerge victorious in this fight. I wish you all success in your deliberations.”

Naxalite groups posing challenges of a 'different' nature: PM

6 Jan 2009, 1920 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: The issue of Left wing terrorism again cropped up in the speech of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who today said the Naxalite groups were
posing challenges of a "different" nature because of change in their ethos.

"Left wing extremism has been in vogue for four decades now, but the danger is that over time the nature of the movement has sustantially altered. From an ideologically driven movement it has been transformed into one in which military ethos has become predominant," Singh said while addressing a day-long conference of Chief Ministers here.

Expressing concern about the exapanding appeal of the movement, PM said that movement still retained modicum of ideological appeal.

"It is able to garner support from among members of civil society and civil liberties organisations. It still attracts sections of youths," he said.

Mentioning about CPI-Maoist, one of the left wing extremist groups, PM said that the group did not seem to have any dearth of new recruits to the movement.

"The CPI-Maoist is perhaps the only militant organisation in the country which has its own guerrilla army, though as yet, this is of modest proportions. It is perhaps the only militant body today which has a rigid organisational structure. They also have some rudimentary capabilities to manufacture arms. They show increasing sophistication in the way they carry out attacks," he said.

"As the movement spreads, and becomes more energised, we must ponder deeply how to effectivly deal with it," Singh said.

"Choosing the right methods and adopting a proper strategy is hence important so that the action we take does not give a greater filip to the morvement," he added.

Naveen sought more help for modernization of Police forces

By Diptiranjan Kanungo

Bhubaneswar(Orissa): Addressing to the conference of the Chief Ministers’ on Internal Security chaired by the Prime Minister at New Delhi on Tuesday , the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik made an earnest appeal to put up a united front to fight against terrorism and extremism as the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai have affected the psyche of all of us.

This meeting will send a strong and clear message that the country is united to deal with terrorism and extremism firmly and expeditiously, he added.

He also pointed out that in the endeavor to eradicate the menace of terrorism including Left Wing Extremism (LWE), states are being severely handicapped by lack of resources, in terms of money, men and material and the country as a whole has not invested enough in tackling this problem which is spreading fast.

He has informed that 17 out of the 30 districts in Orissa are affected by Left Wing Extremist (LWE) violence.

He requested to the Centre for six more battalions of C.R.P.F. to be deployed in the affected districts. He has also requested the Centre to deploy a dedicated Helicopter at Bhubaneswar for aerial reconnaissance of naxalite affected areas, evacuation of injured personnel and quick movement of forces.

He informed the house that the unfortunate ethno-communal tension in the tribal district of Kandhamal was brought under control and the Christmas and New Year celebrations were event free.

He however, asserted that complete normalcy can return only after all the persons in the relief camps return to their villages and proposed that the withdrawal of the central forces should be phased over the next three months.

He outlined the need for continuance of the central forces in the district even after March, 2009 and a minimum contingent of about 20 companies should continue in Kandhamal which can help in the maintenance of law and order during the forthcoming general elections.

The Chief Minister requested the Centre to enhance the grant to the State to at least Rs.100 crores per annum with 75% share from the Government of India under the Scheme for Modernisation of Police Forces.

He pressed for inclusion of Deogarh, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Kandhamal and Nayagarh districts under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme as these districts are now substantially affected by left wing extremism and requested the Centre to consider lifting the ceiling in respect of reimbursement of SRE claims which is now capped at Rs.8.5 crore.

He has also stated that the State Government is in the process of raising a Special Security Battalion (SSB) for security of vital installations and persons at the State Capital and requested the Centre to assist in training this Battalion on the pattern of the National Security Guard (NSG).

He also emphasized the need for training Intelligence Personnel to enable them to keep pace with strategies to deal with modern day terrorism.

He strongly advocated to make coastal policing effective and purposeful as the State police personnel are neither trained nor equipped to work in the open seas and urged the Centre to help the State in training personnel and to provide the services of serving or retired Navy / Coast Guard Personnel.

One killed by suspected Naxalites

Published: January 6,2009

Raipur , Jan 6 Suspected Naxalites have killed a person at Dudbeda village in Bijapur district, some 450 kilometers from here, police said today.

The deceased, identified as Madpatti Sampat, was killed by suspected Naxals here yesterday, Bijapur Superintendent of Police (SP) in-charge J S Watti told PTI.

"We received information that a person was killed and a police team was sent to the village this morning. We are awaiting the team&aposs return for further details," Watti said.

Source: PTI

Lalit Mehta’s murderer killed by Naxals: police

Font Size Manoj Prasad
Posted: Jan 06, 2009 at 0003 hrs IST

Ranchi: The Ranchi police recovered a body from near Chatarpur block on Monday morning and claimed to have solved the murder case of social activist Lalit Mehta. “Now there is nothing to enquire into the Lalit Mehta case,” said Palamau SP Udayan Singh.

The body was identified as that of Raju Singh, a prime accused in the murder of Mehta, a close aide of economist Jean Dreze, whose body was found in a field along the highway in Bishrampur police station area, 10 km from Chatarpur, on May 15 last year.

A pamphlet recovered by the police from near the body stated that the CPI(Maoist) cadres had shot him dead on Sunday night because he was wanted in two dozen cases of highway robberies.

“Even Lalit Mehta was killed by him,” read the hand-written pamphlet.

Mehta was on his way back to Chatarpur on his motor bike on May 14 evening when he was attacked and killed. Apart from Dreze, a number of NGOs and social activists had suspected that Mehta was murdered by “people who siphoned off NREGS funds”.

The police team investigating the case, arrested one 19-year-old Behari Singh and recovered Mehta’s motor bike from near Chatarpur block. During interrogation, Behari confessed his involvement in the murder of Lalit Mehta and told the police that his accomplice Raju Singh had killed him.

“On Monday, the police recovered a body from near Chatarpur block and we have no doubt that it is Raju’s,” Udayan Singh asserted.

Now, the police are investigating the link between late Mehta, Dreze and Maoists.

Government asks truck operators to call off their strike

Jan 7

The Government has renewed its appeal to the truck operators to withdraw their agitation and hold talks with the authorities. Union Road Transport and Highways Minister T R Baalu have said in Chennai that the Centre is ready to look into their demands. The minister said the truckers should not push the government to a position where it may have to think of canceling their permits. Briefing the media in New Delhi on Tuesday, Transport Secretary Brahm Dutt said, the government is responsible to ensure that the consumers get adequate supply of essential commodities. He said most of the demands of the truckers have already been addressed.
On the other hand, the All India Motor Transport Congress has decided to continue their strike.
AIR correspondent reports that on the second day of the strike on Tuesday, the prices of essential items went up in the Capital.

Naxal threat hampering road construction in Chhattisgarh

Font Size Express news service
Posted: Jan 07, 2009 at 2316 hrs IST
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The Chhattisgarh Government is facing difficulties in implementing the Pradhanmantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) in the Naxalite areas, leading to delay in taking up construction of 441 roads in the state.

Minister for Panchayat and Rural Development Ram Vichar Netam, who reviewed the PMGSY progress at a high-level meeting here, asked the officials concerned to study the situation of these roads in Naxalite areas and to draw a plan to begin the construction.

“Construction of roads in remote Naxalite areas has to be taken up on a priority basis. We will seek the help of police and para-military personnel to provide security cover, wherever necessary,” Netam said.

An amount of more than Rs 309 crore has been earmarked for the construction of these 441 roads under the PMGSY in the Naxalite areas but the works either did not begin, or had to be abandoned at some places following threat from the Maoist rebels.

Road construction in the Naxalite areas, particularly in tribal Bastar region, has been a difficult task as the rebels obstruct the work by attacking those engaged in the work and setting ablaze their vehicles and other equipment

Monday, January 05, 2009

RANCHI : Naxalites kill Mehta accused

Ranchi, Jan. 5: Raju Singh, who was accused of killing social activist Lalit Kumar Mehta, was shot dead by suspected Maoists near Kelari in the Palamau district.

Palamau superintendent of police (SP), Udayan Kumar Singh, said the victim’s body was recovered this morning. He was one of the five accused in Mehta’s murder.

In a handbill that was recovered near Singh’s body, Maoists claimed responsibility for the murder and said Singh had killed Mehta on May 14 last year while he was returning home after a social function in the district’s Chhatarpur area. The rebels also threatened to kill the others accused in Mehta’s murder.

Singh was also wanted in over 10 robbery cases.

The state government had also ordered a CBI probe into Mehta’s killing and on June 30 last year one Bihari Singh was arrested, who disclosed the names of the other accused.

Nagarik Suraksha Samiti : The battle is not over yet

- Nagarik Suraksha Samiti has not given up, though Kisku’s place will be difficult to fill


Jamshedpur, Jan. 5: Dhanai Kisku’s battle against the Maoists may have ended, but the 250 members that constitute the Nagarik Suraksha Samiti are determined to fight on. The void, however, will be difficult to fill.

Shanka Chandra Hembrom, the president of the NSS, told The Telegraph that Kisku’s killing is bound to have an impact on the group’s activities. “He was our strength. We cannot replace him but we will fight terror vigorously. We will move ahead without Kisku, who not only helped us organise ourselves but also taught us ways to deal with the rebels,” Hembrom said.

Fighting rebels, the NSS has been a witness to such killings before. It was in March 2007 that Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader and MP Sunil Mahto was brutally murdered by the Maoists. But Kisku’s death is sure to be a major blow to the outfit.

Sources believed that unless the administration begins a proactive operation in the Ghatshila sub-division, the region would turn into a terror zone.

A top NSS leader expressed his anguish over the police administration. Requesting anonymity, he said, NSS members were provided with bodyguards but the group was not allowed to fight Maoists.

“We had consulted the district police authorities to carry out anti-Naxalite operations in the area, but we never got permission. Except for Arun Oraon, the former superintendent of police (SP), no other SP has understood our problems. In fact, we are looked at with suspicion,” the NSS member said.

Without co-operation from the police department, the members of the anti-Naxalite outfit feel they are like sitting ducks. Sources in the NSS also believe that the police neither have any strategy to combat Naxalites nor any viable intelligence set-up in rebel-dominated regions.

But the police disagree. East Singhbhum SP Naveen Kumar Singh said he would not allow the NSS to operate freely. “After all the police administration is there. Outfits have to work under the framework of the Constitution,” he said.

Even after having lost its leaders, for NSS it is not a battle against the rebels alone, but also a fight to prove its authenticity.

Focus on human intelligence, new SWAT teams as CMs brainstorm on terror today

Shishir Gupta
Posted: Jan 06, 2009 at 0424 hrs IST

New Delhi: In a paradigm shift, the Centre has urged Chief Ministers to reactivate human intelligence networks in their states without reducing emphasis on technical intelligence and set up SWAT commando police units for special operations, and informed them of the beefing-up of the Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) as the country’s core counter-terror mechanism. The Government has, through a classified order, put both the military and civilian apparatus at the MAC’s disposal in the event of a terrorist threat.

A 27-page agenda paper the Home Ministry has sent to Chief Ministers ahead of Tuesday’s meeting notes that human intelligence has got “considerably eroded” with an “increasing reliance on TechINT, which, although extremely and crucially important in its own place and requiring incremental development of capabilities, can never be a substitute for the former.”

The paper calls for the revival of the beat constable system, and urges state governments to develop domain intelligence by harnessing human resources within the community. Under the head of ‘Preventive Measures and Security Arrangements’, the Government has asked state police forces to carry out detailed security audits of soft targets like malls, multiplexes, hotels, hospitals and mass rapid transit systems with the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureaus in their states.

A key suggestion is to set up Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) teams to deal with terrorist situations. “Such teams would have the capability of rapid mobilisation, deployment and would have specialised weaponry, training, communications and protective devices.”
The Government has also decided that at least two companies in each of the 134 India Reserve Battalions would now have a commando component. A sum of Rs 6 crore has been approved per battalion.

At the heart of the proposal to enhance the internal security and intelligence apparatus is the December 31, 2008 order defining the role and power of the MAC under the Director, Intelligence Bureau. The order says: “It is necessary and expedient to establish a centre to counter terrorism and terrorist threats and bring under one body all matters relating to gathering, analysis and sharing of intelligence pertaining to terrorism, and devising strategies to vacate the threat.”

The Centre has informed Chief Ministers that subsidiary centres would be opened in all states, and that it is imperative that all data and intelligence inputs are forwarded to it.

The decision to redefine the powers of the MAC, originally set up on the recommendation of the Kargil Committee through a December 6, 2001 order, was taken in view of the agency’s failure to live up to its objectives and expectations. “While a (terrorist) database has been built, other aims of MAC have not been achieved; practically no data related to terrorist activities are received from the Central and state security forces and agencies.”

A home for NSG in Rajarhat? Bengal searches on

Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay

Kolkata In view of Centre’s decision to set up a NSG hub in Kolkata, the state government is in the process of identifying two plots, where the elite commandoes could be stationed and trained.

While it is looking for land at Rajarhat where a small unit of the NSG commandoes will be stationed so that they can be pressed into action in a short notice, the government is also keen to get a bigger tract of land where training facilities will be provided to the force.

“The second one will be similar to one situated at Manesar in Haryana where commandoes are trained. The first one will have to be near the airport and its services will be available not only for the state, but the entire North East,’’ a senior state government official told The Indian Express.

Since terrorists targeted five star hotels in Mumbai, the state government is planning to deploy armed police commandos at select five star hotels in the city.

“The hotels asked for permission for armed guards but on legal ground we can not do that. Thatis why we are planning to deploy armed commandos at the hotels,’’ the official said.

On Tuesday, when Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will be attending the chief ministers’ meet in New Delhi on internal security he will present steps taken by his government to tackle a terror attack.

“We have taken several measures which include beefing up security at hotels, shopping malls etc. We are also going to set up six coastal police stations and 17 checkposts,” the official said.

Bhattacharjee has already written to the Prime Minister asking for Rs 255 crore for upgradation of Kolkata police.

On Wednesday, Bhattacharjee will attend another meeting with six chief ministers of Naxal-affected states. Asked about Bengal’s preparedness in combating the threat, Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen said: “We are taking all possible measures.’’

Anti-terror control rooms in all Chhattisgarh districts

January 5th, 2009 - 10:30 pm ICT by IANS -
Raipur, Jan 5 (IANS) Chhattisgarh announced Monday it would take a number of security measures including setting up of a commando battalion and anti-terrorist control room in all the 18 districts of the states to combat Maoists and also to deal with possible terror attacks. In his address to the state assembly Monday, Governor E.S.L Narasimhan said: “Naxalism and terrorism are two sides of the same coin as they pose threat to internal security.”

“The Nov 26 Mumbai terror act shook the entire country but the act has strengthened peoples’ resolve to fight terrorism in all forms,” he said.

He announced that the state government has decided to convert a state armed force (SAF) battalion into a commando force to deal with any incidents of urban terrorism.

He added that the state’s police force strength has substantially increased to 46,425 as compared to just 22,592 when Chhattisgarh came into existence in Nov 2000 after it was carved out of Madhya Pradesh.

Terrorism, intelligence network on CMs' conclave agenda

New Delhi, January 6, 2009

India Today expert view on CMs' meet to discuss terror, security todayPrompt handling of terror attacks, toning intelligence network and security of key installations, including nuclear plants, will be high on the agenda of a brain storming conference of chief ministers to be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday in New Delhi.

In his first such exercise after taking over the reins of Home Ministry, Union Home Minister P.Chidambaram will elicit views from all state governments on measures to beef up the security machinery to check terrorism in the wake of Mumbai terror carnage.

The meeting will focus on strengthening intelligence network and toning up of coastal security, particularly in view of the fact that the terrorists involved in Mumbai attacks used the sea route to sneak into the metropolis.

Security of key installations, including nuclear power plants, will also figure prominently at the meeting to be addressed by the Prime Minister.

The Tuesday's conclave will be followed by a meeting of chief ministers of nearly a dozen Naxal-affected states, including Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa, on Wednesday.

The Wednesday's meeting is expected to give emphasis on how to fight the menace through development and security. Besides reviewing the security preparedness of the Maoists-infested states, the Union Home Ministry is also likely to take note of the progress of development projects initiated in 33 districts across nine states.

Maoists kill leader of anti-extremist outfit, injure two

Jamshedpur (PTI): A top leader of an anti-extremist outfit was on Monday shot dead and two others were injured when suspected Maoists fired at them near his house at Musabani under Ghatsila sub-division of Jharkhand.

Following the incident, one person was lynched by the villagers at Telta village on the suspicion of being a Maoist, police said.

Dhanai Kisku, who was East Singhbhum district president of Jharkhand Vikash Morcha's (JVM) ST/SC cell, received five bullet shots on his stomach and face when three Maoists fired at him when he had gone to have tea at a shop near his house at Copper Townshipon Monday morning.

Kisku succumbed to his injuries at Tata Main hospital here, Deputy Superintendent of police Madhusudan Bari said.

The bodyguards provided to Kisku by the district administration were not with him when the incident took place, he said.

A worker of the roadside tea shop and one of Kisku's supporters sustained bullet injury.

Kisku was on the hitlist of Maoists ever since Nagarik Suraksha Samity (NSS), an anti-extremist organisation floated by the villagers with the tacit support of the district police a few years ago, spearheaded a movement against the ultras and lynched 11 Maoists in Ghatsila sub-division of East Singhhum district four years ago.

Rebels gun down vigilante

Jamshedpur, Jan. 5: Senior leader and well known face of a popular citizen’s vigilante group that made a life out of fighting Maoist terror, Dhanai Kisku, was gunned down by rebels early this morning while he was having tea at a shop near his Musabani residence without the four bodyguards who usually accompanied him everywhere.

The 40-year-old leader, who was general secretary of the Nagarik Suraksha Samiti, was fired upon by two motorcycle borne Naxalites. They first shot him with a katta or country-made weapon and then sprayed him with bullets from an automatic rifle, killing him on the spot.

After the shooting, the rebels fired indiscriminately while fleeing. Two bystanders were injured. They were identified as Rajau Sabar (28), who works as a helper at the tea stall, and Harachand Murmu (50), a local villager belonging to the Ghatshila sub-division of East Singhbhum district, which is about 45 km from the steel city.

Both are serious but stable.

Kisku lay bleeding for around 10 minutes till his driver, Prakash Kumar, came to his rescue. By then, the officer-in-charge of Musabani police station, Ramashis Paswan, reached the spot and rushed Kisku and the two injured to a nursing home at Ghatshila. Later they were all shifted to the Tata Main Hospital where Kisku was declared brought dead.

Eyewitnesses said even while Kisku was sipping tea, the motorcycle-borne men had taken two rounds of the area.

The third time, the bike came and stopped near the tea stall where Kisku was standing. And before he could react, the man on the front seat took out his country-made pistol and shot him. Kisku fell down.

By then, the pillion rider had got down from the bike and he began spraying him with bullets from his automatic rifle which the eyewitnesses claimed was an AK-47. The men then fired indiscriminately while making their getaway.

Always among the prime targets of Maoists, Kisku was a resident of Janegora village in Dumaria, but shifted to Musabani to a vacant house of Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) for reasons of safety. He had four bodyguards.

Owner of huge tracts of land, the NSS leader had two houses. He is survived by his wife Jamuna and three children.

According to sources, Kisku would often leave his four bodyguards at his new house, about one-and-half-kilometres away from the spot of today’s shooting, to visit a long-time friend and companion Raimet. In fact, they maintained, the police had even warned him against moving about alone.

A post-mortem was conducted in the afternoon and doctors suggested that 12 bullets were fired on Kisku — one in the face and the rest in the chest and lower abdomen.

East Singhbhum superintendent of police Naveen Kumar Singh said Kisku’s killing was executed by a squad of six Naxalites, though only two appeared in the scene. They were in three bikes and fled towards Dumaria after the shooting.

Talking to The Telegraph, Singh lamented that Kisku wasn’t with his four bodyguards and revealed the NSS leader had met him on Saturday when he told him repeatedly not to move about alone.

Singh said a massive combing operation had been launched.

Kisku was also district president of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha’s (JVM) East Singhbhum Scheduled Tribe Cell. As soon as news of his killing reached partymen, they rushed to TMH. They also submitted a memorandum to Dhalbom sub-divisional officer Prabhat Kumar Kartik demanding Rs 20 lakh as compensation to his family and a government job for the next of kin.

Tougher law to fight terror

Dhanbad, Jan. 3: Besides suggesting ways of combating Naxalites, former chief minister of Jharkhand and leader of the Opposition Arjun Munda urged people to vote on national issues during the parliamentary elections.

“Local issues should not be considered as an issue alone. Regional parties can’t lead the country when it comes to national issues, which results in terrorism and militancy,” Munda said.

He was addressing the masses at a function held to mark the 18th death anniversary of former Dhanbad superintendent of police Randhir Verma, also observed as Anti-militancy Day in Dhanbad. Verma had laid down his life while fighting terrorists on January 3, 1991.

Munda stressed on the need of implementing a rule of law to prevent terrorist activities but also said that political leaders were not abiding by the rules themselves. Referring to the recent release of Naxalites, allegedly under the directive of the state chief minister, Munda said that the perpetrators of crime are protected by the state.

Highlighting the need of a strict rule to prevent terrorism, he said, the issue should not be approached from the point of view of politics. He even criticised the Congress-led government for repealing the anti-terrorism laws like Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) and Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act (POTA). “The government should have taken steps to prevent its misuse,” said Munda.

Jharkhand: Policeman hurt in encounter with naxalites

Medininagar, Jharkhand (PTI): A police constable was injured in an encounter with Maoists at Kusa village in Palamau district on Sunday, a senior police officer said in Medininagar.

The Maoists were lying in wait near the village when a joint operation against them was launched by the police and CRPF personnel.

As soon as the police reached the spot, the Maoists fired at them, injuring constable Mahadev Oraon in his stomach, superintendent of police Udayan Kumar Singh said.

Oraon was being brought to Medininagar sadar hospital for treatment, he said.

Maoist posters found


Bhubaneswar, Jan. 4: Tension ran high among residents of Bisamcuttack town of Raygada district this morning after Maoist posters had been spotted at several locations of the area demanding immediate release of two engineering college officials arrested recently.

The two private engineering college staff were arrested on December 30 for allegedly trying to donate about Rs 12 lakh to the Maoists. The rebels have also demanded the entire cash to be returned.

The two officials — college secretary Chandradhwaja Panda and administrative officer Jagannath Rao — were arrested while they were on way to neighbouring Gajapati district with the cash in a jeep.

Investigations are on to ascertain links between the officials of the college and the Naxalites.

The posters also demanded stern action against M2, supposedly a new extremist outfit. The outfit, reportedly grown after a split in the maoist group, had circulated leaflets calling for a bandh today at riot hit Kandhamal.

The 12-hour bandh called by the outfit was partially successful. While Gajapati district was partially affected, the bandh had little effect in Ganjam.

NSS: Wounded, but not defeated


Sailen Baskey, who was injured in a bullet battle with Naxalites
Braveheart Sailen Baskey, NSS member

Where: Kasiabera village

Vow factor: “I’ll carry on the fight.”

Wow factor: Fighting terror despite bullet attack

Jamshedpur: Bullets have whizzed past his ears more than once.

The Red hand was after Sailen Baskey’ life for being an active member of Nagrik Suraksha Samiti (NSS), an anti-Naxal village outfit. For the Naxalites, Baskey, an unassuming villager living in a thatched hut of Kasiabera village, under Ghurabandha police station of Ghatshila sub-division, was a menace.

But Baskey, whom many consider the right hand of NSS chief Shankar Hembrom, refused to give up his fight against terror. Unflinchingly, he paid the price. A Naxalite ambush has left him partially immobile. “Naxals attacked me on October 9, 2007. I suffered seven bullets on my back and limbs,” he recounts. Driving his two-wheeler with his wife Deepali as a pillion rider, he was heading home from the Ghura police station when rebels shot indiscriminately from their rifles and guns. With Baskey critically injured, both he and Deepali were dragged to a riverside. The rebels would have shot him clean in the head but for Deepali.

“She begged them to spare my life,” Baskey reminisces, eyes lit with emotion. “Thanks to her, I’m alive.”

Some would call it a poor sort of life. The pain in his back pock-marked with bullet wounds is immense. He lives in utter penury: the Naxalites don’t allow him to till his farm, nor do they allow him to employ anybody else. He was forced to vacate his village and lives with Deepali and three kids in Musabani, in a one-room abandoned quarter of Hindustan Copper Limited.

“I live on the monthly sum of Rs 1,500 given by Navin Kumar Singh, the SP of East Singhbhum. The government has done nothing other than footing my hospital bills. I stayed for almost two months at the Tata Main Hospital in Jamshedpur,” says Baskey.

But as long as there is life, there’s hope. “No matter what the odds I’m facing, I’ll carry on with the fight against terror,” he promises. “Since the past two months, I’ve even started to walk again.”

It may be a long walk. May it never be a lonely one.

Maoist leader killed in forest

Hazaribagh/Ranchi, Jan. 4: A special task force (STF) team and district police jawans today gunned down a self-styled Maoist sub-zonal commander and four others this evening.

Hazaribagh superintendent of police Pankaj Kamboj confirmed the exchange of fire and admitted recovery of the body of Babulal Munda alias Marandi, also known as Ramanji, the sub-zonal commander.

Few other bodies, however, were taken away by the rebels who had escaped because of poor visibility in the evening, Kamboj said.

According to sources, the police suddenly chanced upon information that a Maoist meeting was being held in Baish Resham forest area, nearly 30km from the district headquarters. Naveen Manjhi, a rebel zonal commander, was leading the meeting with 30-members of their hit squad that comprises Marandi.

Kamboj immediately constituted a team of officers, including Satish Jha, Sanjeev Singh and Arun Kumar, besides deputy superintendent of police Mani Lal Mandal. The team, led by Kamboj, reached the Baish Resham forest, known for strong rebel presence. The team reached the spot where the Maoists were planning an attack but a few of them sighted the men in uniform and opened fire. In retaliation, the police team also started firing and in this exchange of bullets, Marandi was killed.

Kamboj said they suspected that at least four Naxalites, too, had been killed as there was a lot of blood at the site. The police also recovered a pistol of Marandi and two batteries. Kamboj said that the recovery of batteries indicated that the rebels had planned to trigger landmine explosions somewhere.

Meanwhile, Mahadeo Oroan, an STF constable, sustained serious injuries during an hour-long encounter at Kusaha forest under Manatu police station of Palamau. Oroan was later airlifted to RIMS by a state helicopter. Palamau superintendent of police Udayan Singh said that the encounter took place between 12 noon and 1pm. “We fired more than 700 rounds while the rebels shot more than 1,000 rounds,” he said.

Singh expressed his inability to pinpoint the exact figure of the injured and dead. Singh said that the condition of the injured jawan was improving.