Saturday, March 21, 2009

Two persons shot at by suspected Maoists

Published: March 21,2009

Rourkela , Mar 21 Two persons were seriously injured after being attacked by four suspected Maoists at Bijabahal chowk under Biramitrapur police station, about 30 km from here today, police said.

The motorbike borne ultras suddenly opened fire on Bulu Topo and Mangara Topo while they were playing carrom in a rest-shed by the side of NH-23, they said.

Bulu, a contractor, was hit two rounds on his stomach while Mangara was fired on his heap once. The attackers also hurled a crude bomb before leaving the place by two motorbikes.

Police had seized particles of the bomb and a write-up in a letter-head of Jharkhand Badshah ( Radhamohan Group) owning responsibility stating that Bulu was a police informer and did not abide by group&aposs instructions despite several warnings.

Both the injured were shifted to Ispat General Hospital here where Bulu is battling for his life in the ICU ward while Mangara was undergoing treatment in the surgery ward.

Source: PTI

Police and Maoists exchange gunfire in Lalgarh


Published: March 21,2009

Midnapur (WB) Mar 21 Security forces and Maoists traded gunfire at a forest in Lalgarh in West Midnapur district today, official sources said.

A six member India Reserve Battalion (IRB) patrol on way to Bodopelia village from Chhotopelia, were fired at by Maoists hiding in the Bhaluk Khunia forest, District Magistrate Narayan Swarup Nigam said.

A police company proceeding towards Chhotopelia village fired back at the maoists, he said.

Casualties in the incident if any, were not immediately known, he said.

Earlier, in the day members of tribal platform, Police Santrash Virodhi Janagan Committee&apos, who have been boycotting the police for last one month, surrounded the IRB patrol at Chhotopelia questioning their presence in the area.

The Committee, however, had released the patrol after commandants explained that they had been posted in the area from their camp in Durgapur in Burdwan district and hence they were unaware of the boycott, Nigam said.

The Maoists fired on the patrol when the team, on their way back, was passing through the forest near Bodopelia.

A police patrol, which was informed about the IRB men being held by the Committee and was heading to Chotopelia came to the rescue and fired back at the Maoists, Nigam said, adding, the exchange of fire lasted for about half an hour.

Maoist outfit clears stand on murder charge, hits back at CPM

KOLKATA, March 21: Communist Party of India (Maoist) today brushed aside the allegation of murdering Sujit Pandey, a DYFI leader of Lalgarh, and issued a leaflet claiming that Pandey's murder was the fallout of an inter-party rivalry of the CPI-M.
Pandey, a DYFI leader was shot dead at Dharampur near Lalgarh on 13 February by some unidentified miscreants. The CPI-M, alleged that he was murdered by Maoists. The CPI(Maoist), today issued a leaflet to this effect. CPI(Maoist) state secretary, known as comrade Kanchan in the party circle, said: “Sujit Pandey was killed in firing at a gambling den owned by local CPI-M men. The incident took place following a dispute with others over sharing money. The CPI (Maoist) has nothing to do with the murder of Pandey."
The Maoist outfit further alleged that the CPI-M, in an effort to hide inter-party feud, is hurling charges of murder at the CPI (Maoist) and Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee ~ an organisation of indigenous people waging war against police atrocities on tribals. "Similar incidents have been reported at various places because the CPI-M has become a party of criminals," a Maoist leader said. SNS

Growing again in the shadows

C ShivakumarFirst Published : 22 Mar 2009 11:31:00 PM ISTLast Updated : 22 Mar 2009 08:27:54 AM IST

The giant statues loom large over the lush green paddy fields. An epitaph is engraved on a pillar adorned with the hammer and sickle of communism along with four stars. Nearby stands a giant hoarding with images of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao.

This is Nayakankottai in Dharmapuri district, the only village in the whole of Tamil Nadu to have statues of its Naxalite leaders, L Appu and Balan. The epitaph marks their contribution to the movement.

It was in their time the late 1970s that the movement reached its peak. Says Siddhanandam, one of the pioneers of the movement: “We were successful in doing away with the double tumbler system (one for Dalits and one for other castes), which was discriminatory. ”

The 54-year-old, who has eluded police for the last 24 years, has been witness to the transition of communist China and the fall of the Soviet Union. Today, the recession has brought a smile to his face. “American capitalism has lost. Everybody believed in it. Now look what it has brought. It is the victory of socialism.”

The Maoist movement in Dharmapuri was disbanded in 2003 after many of their leaders were either killed or arrested. These days,

however, the party is positive about regaining its base in the state. Its leaders believe current neo-liberal policies that have led to an “increased socio-political polarisation” favour it. “More and more people are joining the movement,” says a Maoist source. “The party may have gone underground, but there has been a shift in strategy.”

These days the Maoists focus on urban areas instead of the traditional rural pockets. The reason, again, is the same. They believe the new economic policies have created a divide within the urban population. The special economic zones have displaced millions of people in the urban (and rural) areas, spawning slums and deepening poverty. A late surge in the number of unorganised labour due to growing infrastructure activity gives the Maoists an ideological tool to win over people deprived of any guarantee of a dignified life.

Says a Naxal source: “Tamil Nadu has more than 40 cities with large numbers of migrants. A majority of them are poor. Besides the financially backward in the urban areas, we are targeting the middle class. They are fed up with corruption and failure of the state machinery in resolving their woes.”

And then he adds. “Do you know Tamil Nadu is a state that has attracted huge investment, most of it in the rural areas? Multinational companies and Indian conglomerates have invested nearly Rs 3 lakh crore in the state, buying rural land for export-based trade. This has affected small-scale farmers and industries.”

But why the sudden shift now? Has the movement failed to penetrate the rural areas? Some naxals agree. The say it could not penetrate the hinterland partly because of the Dalit movement and parties. “Recruiting cadres is tough due to the presence of Dalit parties who consider them their vote-bank. There have been many instances where they have turned police informants,” says a party cadre.

The other reason is the failure to attract youth they constituted the mainstay of rebel activity in the early 1980s. “For every movement to succeed,” says the cadre, “you require the support of youth. However, the rise in rural unemployment and lack of pro-farmer schemes has led many to migrate to the cities. This has affected our movement.”

Some Naxalites believe the lack of proper planning crippled the movement in the last few years. “Even before it strengthened down south, the high command moved the whole cadre to Dharmapuri. Initially, the plan was to form a triangle linking the rebels in Tamil Nadu with Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka,” says a Maoist-turned-sympathiser of the movement.

“But a lack of proper training and foresight saw the movement crumble as the police crushed it decisively,” he says. “Even Maoists in Karnataka were forced to move their base to Shimoga from where they operate successfully.”

The Maoists admit to links with other separatist movements in South Asia, though they say the LTTE doesn’t figure. All these movements come under one umbrella — the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and the Organisation of South Asia. They include parties from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Balochistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Kashmir. In fact, the Maoists have developed a variety of fraternal and non-fraternal ties with militant groups, including United Liberation Front of Asom, within India, the South Asian region and beyond.

A senior Naxalite says ULFA does provide arms to the Maoists, but not the LTTE. “Their arms are too sophisticated. They aren’t suitable for our kind of operations.” Another ultra says most of the weapons are of indigenous make. And sometimes they steal arms from the police. The seizure of parts of rockets and launchers from Ambattur near Chennai a few years ago provides some evidence that the manufacturing units are located in the state. But with police hot on their heels, the Maoists refuse to provide any information on training camps.

Crucially, a few years back, police successfully busted an arms training camp near Periakulam in the southern Theni district. “The party allocates nearly Rs 15 lakh for operations in Tamil Nadu. Most of it is through nidhi (fund-raising) and through funds allocated by the central committee,” he says.

“Most of it is spent on party literature and payment of wages for full-timers, who number around 60,” he adds.

What is the reason for the movement, which was completely crushed in the 1980s and 1990s, regaining its vitality? “It is mostly due to economic policies, failure to stem corruption and also failure to implement land reforms,” says a Naxalite in a cocksure tone.

Even the report of an expert group to Planning Commission highlights similar reasons for the spread of the Maoist movement in India. “Naxalites typically operate in a vacuum created by inadequacy of administrative and political institutions, espouse local demands and take advantage of the prevalent disaffection and perceived injustice among the underprivileged and remote segments of the population.’’ The paper goes on to add that Naxalism ‘‘is not merely a law and order problem; it has deep socio-economic dimensions.”

So far, the Central government has released Rs 3,677.67 crore to the Naxal-affected states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jhar­khand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. In 2006-07, nearly Rs 434.61 crore was allocated.

According to an Empowered Group of Ministers, the police alone cannot resolve the problem. States should address socio-economic issues such as land reforms, employment generation, healthcare, economic development and poverty alleviation.

As Siddhanandam points out, “For every action, there is a equal and opposite reaction.” And it may be true. As Mao Zedong stated, “Fish were the militants, and the disgruntled peasantry constituted the water. So long as there was dissatisfaction among the peasantry, militants could operate freely.”

Focus now on the masses

The Maoists are increasingly deploying their female cadre to expand their base in semi-urban and industrialised areas. The non-implementation of labour laws and the plight of unorganised sector workers and farmers in various parts of the country have helped the Maoists. “The female cadres are not involved in violent activities. They take jobs as labourers and through their interaction with the people, try to bring them into the Maoist fold,” says a senior Naxal leader.

In the southern districts, the Maoists are making their presence increasingly felt. This area includes Theni, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Coimbatore and Ramanatha-puram. They are also trying to use the Sri Lankan Tamil issue to broaden their appeal. They feel nobody can do politics in the state without the issue. “If you can back Palestine, Kosovo and other separatist movements, then why don’t you back the Tamils in Sri Lanka for a separate Eelam?” one of their leaders asks. Their pro-Tamil stance has enabled the Maoists to recruit more people.

But do the Maoists have LTTE connections? “The Tigers don’t back any movement waging an armed struggle against the Indian state,” says a senior Naxalite. But he adds that some ex-LTTE cadre did give them arms training. “These people came to India after leaving the organisation, and formed communist groups,” he says.

The clear and present danger

Siba MohantyFirst Published : 22 Mar 2009 11:37:00 PM ISTLast Updated : 21 Mar 2009 10:02:26 PM IST

In the southern tip of Orissa’s Malkangiri district, part of the Dandakaranya region, villagers are caught in a frenzy of excitement. A band of masked men in fatigues left a bunch of posters on March 14. “Leaders of Biju Janata Dal, Bharatiya Janata Party or Congress must refrain from campaigning or pay with their lives”, it says in bold, red letters.

As the general election draws closer, the CPI (Maoist) is back in business, issuing warnings even to village and panchayat heads to stay clear of political activity in one of Orissa’s worst Naxalite-hit districts.

By the state government’s own admission, 16 of the 30 districts have been deeply infiltrated by Naxalites, and their base is growing. In the last one year, the state registered a significant rise in Naxalite activities,

including some of the most ghastly attacks on security forces in recent history. Their ability to strike lethally and at will, and their intention to scuttle the democratic process poses a serious challenge to the government. But it is not clear how far their threats will affect the turnout.

In 2004, assembly elections went off fairly peacefully despite Naxalite threats. Turnout in the Malkangiri assembly segment was over 66 per cent, in keeping with the state average. Chitrakonda, another Naxalite stronghold, recorded 60 per cent polling. Coming to think of it, of the seven blocks of Malkangiri district, the Naxalites run parallel administrations in at least six. Analysts believe the Naxal hostility during elections is a deliberate tactic. They do it to instill fear among the population and administration, and ensure that their writ runs, whatever the outcome. They neither have political ambitions nor do they support any group, thus don’t want to sway the electorate one way or the other. They only have to make their presence felt, and hence the noise. But this does affect the campaign, as the threat of ambush is real. In the last few years, it has greatly restricted the movement of political leaders in these areas. Political parties are aware of it and tread a cautious line.

Some leaders are pretty sanguine about the threat. Malkangiri MLA Nimai Sarkar, who escaped a bid on his convoy a couple of years ago, says he has no problem moving around freely. “The Left extremists enjoy the sympathy of the tribals, but so do I,” he asserts.

This time, though, the CPI (Maoist) seems to be in a fix over the changing political equation. As part of its ideological pledge to fight communal forces, it openly sided with the minorities and launched a war against saffron outfits in Kandhamal, leading to the murder of Swami Lakshamananda Saraswati.

The subsequent communal riots gave the Naxalites an opportunity to train their guns on the BJD-BJP alliance, holding them responsible for the mess. But the scenario has changed radically after the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD broke with the BJP. With the ruling party now reclaiming its ‘secular’ tag, the red radicals are at a loss over what to do next.

The threat exists, nonetheless. So the state police are leaving nothing to chance. “We are aware that they will resort to disruptive activities and we are ready to counter it,” says a senior police officer.

The state will vote in two phases (April 16 and 23) and the first round comprises the northern and southern districts covering large parts of the red stronghold. The CPI (Maoist) has gone on record asking voters to boycott the polls in southern districts.

Last year, just across the border in the neighbouring Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, the red radicals mounted one of the fiercest campaigns against the election process, targeting Congressman Mahendra Karma who had conceived Salwa Judum, the controversial anti-Naxal camps. The result: the Raman Singh-led BJP Government, which had taken on the Left extremists by mobilising the anti-Naxalite army, registered a thumping victory in the Assembly elections.

Real but unrecognised threat

An anti-Naxal combing operation on in the Western Ghats near Sringeri in Chikmagalur district.Oliver Pritchet First Published : 22 Mar 2009 11:49:00 PM IST

Last Updated : 22 Mar 2009 08:38:14 AM IST

For Karnataka’s Naxalites, it’s a change of role ­— if not reversal. The insurgents, who batted for the Congress during last year’s Assembly elections in the Western Ghat region of Chikmagalur, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Shimoga districts, are preparing to play a two-pronged role in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. They are inciting people to boycott polls in some parts and campaigning against the BJP in others. And they have got off to a flying start even before political parties even finalise their candidates.

The People’s Liberation Guerilla Army is contemptuous about the current government. B G Krishnamurthy, its leader in the Western Ghat region, derided the rulers at a March 5 meeting in Talagar village of Chikmagalur district. In Dakshina Kannada and Udupi, also Naxal-infested districts, the activists have distributed pamphlets and painted graffiti that call for poll boycotts. They proclaim the Naxals’ determination “to expose the Sangh Parivar and its anti-people, fascist designs and acts”.

But how influential are the Naxals? During last year’s assembly elections, they campaigned against the BJP in the Sringeri constituency. The saffron party eventually won, but by 5,000 votes less than it had originally estimated. Enthused, the Naxals are trying these tactics again. They have ensured that the media highlights Naxal-related violence, thereby creating fear and repugnance among the common people.

It seems to be working, going by what BJP leaders from Sringeri feel of late. In Bangalore last week, they told state president D V Sadananda Gowda, who will be contesting from the Udupi-Chikmagalur constituency, that they were not prepared to work for the BJP in the regions as they had received threats from the Naxals.

This is an area where the Pejawar Mutt of Udupi and Sharada Peeth of Sringeri have taken up development activities. They provide power, drinking water, houses and toilets. Though Pejawar head Vishwesha Theertha identifies with saffron outfits, he has not tried to influence people politically. The Naxalites, who openly appreciate the work of the two mutts, have taken advantage of their political silence.

Neither the state nor any political party has taken note of the Naxalite factor. While the administration is focused on ensuring smooth elections, leaders have ignored the growing influence of the insurgents.

The authorities have identified 280 polling booths in three Lok Sabha constituencies as “hypersensitive” due to Naxalite activity. The number may go up after reviews in the days to come. For the moment, though, no one bothers to look at the significance of the Naxalite presence. It’s still a mere law and order problem, though there is little doubt that their political influence in the Western Ghat region is increasing.

(With inputs from: Harsha, Dinesh Kini, Prabhakar Karanth, Chandrashekar, Jagadish Sampalli and Thippe Rudrappa)

It’s a season of tactical retreat

R Prithvi RajFirst Published : 22 Mar 2009 11:35:00 PM ISTLast Updated : 21 Mar 2009 09:59:16 PM IST

This summer in Andhra Pradesh, the woods of the Eastern Ghats and the dense jungles of North Telangana will probably remain quiet except for the usual jungle sounds as villagers prepare for the forthcoming elections. The guns could well be silent, with no sound of firing or battles between the Maoists and police to disturb the peace. Candidates of all parties may be able to campaign without the nagging fear of ambush by the Naxalites.

The reason is simple. A great many of the Maoist cadres, including senior leaders have been killed over the past four years in what have been described as encounters. This has forced them into a tactical retreat to protect themselves from their enemy — the police.

In 2004, the Maoists had a clear agenda: defeating chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on whose life they made an unsuccessful attempt at Tirupati. Their anti-Naidu campaign was said to have benefitted Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, at least in pockets where the ultra-left cadre can influence the electorate.

This time around, the situation is different. The Maoists hate Rajasekhara Reddy. He had called them for talks in accordance with his pre-poll promise. The talks failed, but the information the police gathered during this process (this was the first time ever that top leaders came overground) was utilised to deal a severe blow to the movement through the systematic elimination of its functionaries.

About 300 of the cadre have been killed. The Maoists have struck back occasionally, as when they killed 35 elite Greyhound personnel on the Andhra Pradesh-Orissa border last year, but that was more a case of the policemen walking into a trap.

The Maoist presence is evident in 10 to 15 assembly constituencies that share a border with Orissa, 20 to 25 along the Chhattisgarh border and about 40 in the Telangana districts. It is a far cry from the past, when the Maoists ran a parallel government in 30 to 40 constituencies and were in a position even to decide the outcome of elections. This time, the tactical retreat into the deeper woods or migration to other states has meant that the Naxal strongholds have been rendered more or less sterile. The retreat was a result of rethinking in the party on the need to protect the remaining cadre. As a result, informed sources say that in this election the ultras might not be able to influence voters.

This time too, they have given a call for a poll boycott, but many see it as more of a ritual than anything else. The police do not rule out stray attacks on political functionaries but do not expect them to have any major impact on the elections.

“In our state,” says a senior police official, “the Maoists have lost heavily. Their presence is felt only in the Andhra-Orissa border area. They will play it safe this time. Maybe they will ask people in the remote areas not to vote for either the Congress or the TDP, but they are unlikely to do anything more.”

Another reason why the Maoists might let the elections go on as usual is the growing realisation that people don’t like the democratic process to be disturbed. “This is one of the reasons why no significant incidents of violence took place during the 2004 elections,” says Dr K Balagopal. A civil rights leader who has been a keen watcher of the Maoist movement from the 1980s, he says, “The situation might not be different this time either.”

But it cannot be construed from this that there will not be any violence at all. Police reports note the movement of cadres along the Karimnagar-Khammam-Warangal zone and indicate that they might resort to stray incidents of violence to remind the police that they are still out there. Corroborating the view, another analyst who happens to be a Maoist sympathiser feels they are likely to leave a skeletal presence in the areas where they used to be strong and might even target some Congressmen. “But their presence in good numbers is very unlikely,” he says.

CRPF faces acute shortage of communication experts

Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, March 22, 2009
First Published: 10:40 IST(22/3/2009)
Last Updated: 10:43 IST(22/3/2009)

Saddled with the task of maintaining internal security, CRPF faces acute shortage of communication units, resulting in over-stretching of existing communication experts within it.

The force had recently sent a proposal to the Union Home Ministry seeking additional communication experts but it has been shot down.

The force, which at present has five Signal Battalions, is stretching the duty limit of its communication experts by nearly four times to cater to the communication needs, official sources said.

Ideally each Signal Battalion (1,150 personnel) is supposed to work with 10-12 other battalions (about 12,500 personnel).

"At present, each of the Signal Battalion is catering to nearly 40 other fighting battalions. This has led to lot of operational difficulty as the personnel are being stretched. Maintaining communication system is becoming a problem," the sources said.

They said the force had recently sent a proposal to the Home Ministry seeking nod to raise five additional Signal Battalions in view of the shortage. CRPF had also asked permission for immediate recruitment of nearly 2,000 technicians and experts till the time the new battalions are raised.

"There is dire need of communication personnel but the proposal to enhance the staff has been rejected by the Home Ministry," the sources said.

At present, Signal Battalions, which look after the communication of the force besides repair of communication sets used by the CRPF personnel, are headquartered each at Kolkata, New Delhi, Nimach (Madhya Pradesh), Hyderabad and Chandigarh.

The battalion posted in Kolkata looks after the communication needs of the CRPF personnel in the Northeastern states, which are prone to insurgency. The other battalions also work as regional hubs.

"While the fighting force has been growing, the personnel who are supposed to look after the communication, which is a crucial element of any operation, remains the same," the sources said.

Last year, the CRPF was given the go ahead to raise 10 battalion-strong Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) to fight the Naxal menace.

To counter the communication problem, the force had created a special unit in each of the COBRA battalion to act as signal men.

Special police team conduct raids in Palamu district jail

Medninagar (Jharkhand), March 21: A day after the shoot-out incident in Ghaghidih divisional jail in Jamshedpur which claimed the lives of two inmates, a special police team on saturday conducted raids in Palamu district jail.

A special police team led by the sub-divisional magistrate, Ravindra Singh, conducted the raid and searched the cells thoroughly, superintendent of police Ravi Kant Dhan said.

Naxalite literature, three mobile phones alongwith chargers, a knife and ganja were recovered during the raid.

Security arrangement has been tightened inside the jail and para-military personnel were deployed outside the jail to keep vigil on the anti-social elements.

Meanwhile, a Jamshedpur report said the inmates belonging to the rival gangs today raised slogans against each other and exhanged abusive words.

The district officials rushed to the spot to monitor the situation, sources said.

Paramjit Singh, a notorious criminal facing trial in over a dozen criminal offences including extortion and murder, was shot ded by the shooter of rival gang headed by Akhilesh Singh, while he was taking bath inside the jail yesterday.

The shooter, Pramod Singh alias Gautam, an undertrial and close aide of Akhilesh Singh, was also lynched by Paramjit's supporters following the killing.

Bureau Report

Kandhamal again on the boil: BJP

Express News Service

First Published : 21 Mar 2009 09:29:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 21 Mar 2009 01:05:40 PM IST

BHUBANESWAR: A Day after an RSS activist was murdered in cold blood in Kandhamal leaving the district once again on the boil just ahead of polls, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expressed apprehensions of chaos in the days to come.

The way CPI (Maoist) has unleashed a reign of terror, the party said it now fears for the lives of leaders and their supporters during the election. The law and order situation has crumbled in Orissa as radicals are on the rampage, national vice-president Jual Oram said.

He accused the BJD of nexus with radicals. ‘‘The party had tried wooing CPI (Maoist)’s Orissa organisational committee head Sabyasachi Panda’s brother to contest the elections,’’ Oram told mediapersons here.

The party leadership met Chief Election Commissioner and sought protection to the candidates as well as party functionaries.

On Wednesday, a CITU leader was murdered by suspected Maoists in Sundargarh while an RSS activist Prabhat Panigrahy was shot dead in Kandhamal yesterday. ‘‘Situation in Kandhamal is nothing sort of explosive, and needs to be dealt with iron hands. The Naveen Patnaik-led Government has failed to handle it,’’ senior leader Biswabhusan Harichandan said.

The BJD Government has not quit even after being reduced to a minority one, but it should own up responsibility for failing to control deteriorating law and order and resign, Harichandan said and blasted the State Police for its claims of carrying out combing operation.

Refuting charges of Biju Janata Dal that murder in Kandhamal is handiwork of Sangh Parivar, the former minister said, the administration has failed to control the situation there which is why it is resorting to such gimmicks.

The party charged the BJD of using government machinery for elections and issuing work orders on back dates to influence the voters. The EC has been apprised of it.

Centre issues security alert

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 21 Mar 2009 01:39:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 21 Mar 2009 12:40:36 PM IST

KOCHI: In the backdrop of the intelligence inputs that terrorists and naxalites are planning to unleash a wave of terror to derail the election process in the country, the Centre has issued an alert to prevent any terror strike during the elections including rallies to be attended by top political leaders.

Sources in the police department said the intelligence coordination between the state police and the central intelligence wing had been strengthened to make sure that all minute details collected by the intelligence officers from the field go well scrutinised.

Sources said the Home Ministry had directed all the police chiefs of the states to initiate security steps like manual frisking, putting door-framed metal detectors and total sanitisation of the venues where top leaders would address the gathering.

The Ministry had also asked the states to ensure installation of CCTVs at the venues.

State Director General of Police (DGP) Jacob Punnose said the Centre had been issuing timely alert to the state after assessing the intelligence inputs.

Bharatiya Janata Party condemns UPA government for its double standard

Submitted by Business Desk on March 21, 2009 - 13:36

Bharatiya Janata Party condemns UPA government for its double standard applied in two states of Orissa and Meghalaya. In Orissa the voting on the floor of the house was not properly conducted and was not even recorded. The Governor also has submitted report to this effect. BJP has demanded immediate imposition of President's Rule in Orissa. UPA government turned deaf ears to the demand and allowed Shri Naveen Patnaik Govt. to continue in office. This is clear violation of the spirit of Constitution. On the other hand in Meghalaya UPA government imposed President's Rule even though a proper voting was carried and registered on the floor of the house. The government survived on the casting vote of the speaker in Meghalaya.

The UPA government resorted to imposition of President's Rule on selective basis as a political game plan. This is nothing but subversion of democracy. UPA has done this time and again to subvert democratic institutions in its five year of misrule. BJP demands imposition of President's Rule in Orissa and restoration of government in Meghalaya.

UPA government's claim of taming the inflation and that of Bharat Nirman have been exposed by the tragic incidence of attempt by seven members of the family to commit suicide in the National Capital. The poor family, which was suffering from hunger for several days, had to resort to this extreme step even though girls in the family were topping the school exams. The whole concept of social security net has gone haywire. Even the hunger index published by the world body has placed India at the lower position than its earlier position.

The inflation figures indicate deflation setting in and not ground reality faced by the common man. The prices of all essential items like rice, wheat, atta, edible oil sugar, tea etc. have not come down. And the Consumer Price Index has remained at 9%.

Bharatiya Janata Party condemns Orissa government for its total failure to maintain Law and Order and pleading helplessness in front of Maoists. BJP demands full fledged inquiry into the killing of Shri Prabhat Panigrahi because it is feared that the killings will continue. Even it is doubted whether the killers are Naxalite or Christian militants under the guise of Naxalites. Shri Panigrahi was eliminated as he knew the conspiracy to kill Swami Laxmanada Saraswati.

Train services hit as naxals blast Bihar track

Gaya/Patna, Mar 21 (PTI) Maoist rebels bombed a railway track in Gaya district, disrupting train services on the Gaya-Mughalsarai section today.
Traffic was also hit on the Delhi-Howrah route after the pantry car of Delhi-Patna Rajdhani Express caught fire in the wee hours.

An unspecified number of CPI(Maoist) rebels blasted the down track between Paraiya and Guraru stations just past midnight, bringing to a halt train services on the Gaya-Mughalsarai section of East Central Railway (ECR).

The track has been uprooted in a stretch of about four feet, ECR chief public relations officer A K Chandra told PTI.

A live bomb was found on the tracks near the blast spot and a bomb disposal squad has been called to defuse it.

The local police, RPF personnel and Railway engineers have reached the spot and repair work is on, he said, adding it will take a few hours before the track is restored.

In another incident, the pantry car of Delhi-Patna Rajdhani Express caught fire just after the train had left Kuchman station in Uttar Pradesh around 1.30 a m.

The overhead traction wires were damaged due to the fire causing disruption of traffic on Delhi-Howrah main line, he said.

Nearly 12 trains, including Delhi-Sealdah Rajdhani Express and Delhi-Ranchi Rajdhani Express are stranded at various stations, Chandra said. PTI

Maoists blow up railway track in Bihar

Mar 21

In Bihar, outlawed Maoists blew up railway track between Paraiya and Guraru on Gaya - Mugal Sarai rail section of East Central Railway in the wee hours on Saturday.

Rail traffic has been stopped on Grand-chord rail section following damage of the railway track.

No casualty has been reported in this incident.

AIR Patna correspondent reports that mail and express trains are running via Patna. Maoists have given a 24 hour Bihar bandh call on Saturday in protest against their arrested leaders.

The state government has stepped up security in naxal infested areas of the state.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’’s conclave begins in Nagpur

March 21st, 2009 - 1:12 pm ICT by ANI -

Nagpur, Mar 21 (ANI): A three-day conclave of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has begun here and will chalk out strategy for the upcoming general elections.
The RSS said that it would support the front where it is respected.
“If you look at the national political fronts, RSS is welcomed in one of them, but we want that every front should do that, where there is respect for Hindutva. RSS has its presence in large numbers where it is respected. We request the people to vote and with what viewpoint they should do this. This will also be discussed,” said Manmohan Vaide, publicity head of the RSS.
The meet will discuss and assess the current national scenario and pass resolutions on issues such as the initiatives of the United Progressive Alliance Government for peace and progress in Kashmir, the situation in Nepal and Naxal violence in the country.
Exceptional relief work undertaken by the RSS and its affiliates in tsunami-affected areas will be reviewed. Besides, future plans for rehabilitation of the victims will also be announced. (ANI)

Maoists, not Christians behind killing of RSS leaders: Orissa DGP


Bhubaneswar, March 20: The Orissa police today rejected the Sangh Parivar claim that Christians were behind the killing of RSS activists in the state and urged for peace in the communally sensitive Kandhamal and elsewhere in Orissa.

"Police have got specific indication of Naxal involvement in the killing of Pravat Panigrahi who was gunned down yesterday in Kandhamal," DGP Manmohan Praharaj said.

Asking the Sangh Parivar not to target a particular community for the crime, Praharaj said, "A number of senior Maoist leaders had earlier claimed responsibility of killing VHP leader Laxamananda Saraswati."

Pointing out that Naxals were not necessarily Christians, he said, "Ashutosh, Adzad and Sabyascachi Panda, the Maoists arrested for Saraswati's killing, are not Christians. So, it is not justified to come to a conclusion that Christians killed Saraswati."

He said police were not aware that Pravat Panigrahi was facing a threat to life.

"I request the persons facing threat to life to contact the police. We will certainly provide security to them," Praharaj said, asking political leaders to inform police regarding their tour in Maoist-infested areas.

He said Orissa required at least 50 more companies of central force for deployment during elections.

BJP demands CBI inquiry

Condemning the Orissa government for failing to maintain law and order in the state, the BJP on Friday demanded a CBI inquiry into the killing of right-wing activist Prabhat Panigrahi.

"BJP condemns Orissa government for its total failure to maintain law and order and pleading helplessness in front of Maoists. BJP demands CBI inquiry into the killing of Prabhat Panigrahi," party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporter here.

Raising doubts on Panigrahi being killed by Naxalites, Javadekar said, "Even it is doubted whether the killers are Naxalite or Christians under the guise of Naxalites. Panigrahi was eliminated as he knew the conspiracy to kill Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati".

RSS leader Prabhat Panigrahi, who was arrested in connection with anti-Christian riots last year, was gunned down by suspected Maoists in Orissa's Kandhamal district on March 19.

The BJP pulled back its ministers and support to the state ministry after Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government snapped its 11-year old ties with the party after the seat-sharing talks between them failed.

Bureau Report

Friday, March 20, 2009

RSS leader shot, rebel hand suspected


Bhubaneswar, March 19: Suspected Maoists gunned down an RSS leader in Kandhamal early this morning, rekindling tension in the communally sensitive district after a brief lull.

Talking to The Telegraph, Kandhamal superintendent of police S. Praveen Kumar confirmed the incident. He said Prabhat Panigrahi, the head of the RSS’s Kotgarh block unit, was shot by a group of 15-20 “suspected Maoists” at Rudiguma village.

Eyewitnesses said the group of armed men descended on the village around 2am, called the victim out of his house and sprayed bullets on him. Printed posters were found pasted on the walls of his house. The posters decried “Hindu communal politics”. “Those who are doing politics in the name of the Hindu religion will be punished,” a poster read.

Kumar said senior police officers had reached the spot to investigate the killing. “A combing operation has been launched in neighbouring areas,” he added.

Panigrahi’s death triggered strong resentment among the local Hindu community. Irate residents blocked the Kotagrah-Muniguda road, demanding protection and a Rs 10 lakh compensation to the RSS leader’s family members.

Additional forces have been deployed in and around the village to prevent any untoward incident. However, the forces reached the village late because the approach road was blocked by felled trees, police sources said.

The deceased RSS leader had reportedly been arrested for his alleged involvement in the Kandhamal communal riots that began after the murders of VHP leader Laxmananda Saraswati and his four associates on August 23, 2008, in Jaleshpeta ashram. He was released from the Baliguda jail on bail on March 14 and was staying at the house of an RSS activist.

Sources said Panigrahi was on the Maoist hit list and the rebels had issued threats, through posters, to award “death” to those who were allegedly involved in the communal riots that killed several innocent civilians. The incident is likely to precipitate tension and figure in the BJP and the Sangh Parivar campaigns for the coming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections scheduled to start soon.

Union leader killed

In another incident, Maoists abducted a Citu leader and labour contractor, Ravi Oram, from Sundergarh and beheaded him yesterday night.

The headless body of the 35-year-old leader was found late in the night in a forested area near his home in Renjda village. A Maoist poster was also recovered from the spot. It said that the party had awarded death penalty to a “police informer”. Rourkela superintendent of police Santosh Bala said that they had begun a probe into the case.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that some 20-25 masked men were reportedly seen abducting Oram on Tuesday. The Citu has called a bandh tomorrow in protest against the incident.

Class 9 boy shot and stabbed by Maoists outside school

Indo-Asian News Service
Raipur, March 20, 2009
First Published: 15:30 IST(20/3/2009)
Last Updated: 15:32 IST(20/3/2009)

A Class 9 student was gunned down and then stabbed by Maoist guerrillas before shocked teachers and fellow students as he came out of his school in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region, police said on Friday.

Surju Nareti, 15, the son of a special police officer who was killed last year, was shot dead after he finished an exam and came out of the government school in the forested interiors of Koyalibeda in Kanker district, a Maoist stronghold in Bastar about 300 km from the capital Raipur.

Ironically, Nareti, who was accused of being a police informer, had been living in Koyalibeda police station a short distance from his school.

"Nareti was surrounded by three Maoists clad in civil dress when he completed his exam and came out of the school complex. Fearing for his life, he ran back into the school and the Maoists chased him and shot him dead," Ajay Yadav, district superintendent of police, Kanker, told IANS.

Nareti's father was Mane Singh who was killed by Maoists in December last year. But the threats to the family did not stop and he moved to the police station, Yadav said.

The brutal daylight murder shocked the community. And many students as well as teachers said the killers were allowed to walk away freely with no policeman coming out to help.

Investigating officials said eyewitnesses reported that the guerrillas pumped three bullets into Nareti and then stabbed him with sharp edged weapons.

Chidambaram reviews security in Orissa

20 Mar 2009, 1342 hrs IST, IANS

BHUBANESWAR: Union home minister P. Chidambaram, who arrived here Friday to review the security arrangements for the upcoming Lok Sabha and assembly
polls, said he has asked the Orissa government to take adequate measures to tackle Maoist insurgency and communal conflict.

"It is the duty of the state government to maintain law and order in Kandhamal and other Naxalite affected areas," Chidambaram told reporters after reviewing the security situation.

Last year, at least 38 people were killed in communal violence in Kandhamal district following the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram on Aug 23.

Chief Minsiter Naveen Patnaik said he had appraised the home minister about the various security arrangement made by his government.

Official sources said Chidamabram had met senior administrative and police officials along with the chief minister at the state secretariat.

Chidambaram had assured Patnaik that Orissa will be provided adequate central forces to ensure free and fair elections.

Official sources said Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami and Election Commissioner Naveen Chawla also arrived in the state earlier in the day to review poll preparedness.

They are scheduled to meet the leaders of all political parties and senior government officials.

Orissa will go to polls in two phases on April 16 and 23 to elect 147 members to the state assembly and 21 members to the Lok Sabha.

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Naxalites kill RSS leader in Kandhamal

Soumyajit Pattnaik, Hindustan Times

Bhubaneswar, March 20, 2009
First Published: 03:07 IST(20/3/2009)
Last Updated: 03:09 IST(20/3/2009)

Violence returned to Orissa’s Kandhamal district when suspected Naxalites shot and killed Prabhat Panigrahi, a local RSS leader, in Rudiguma village, 330 km from Bhubaneswar, on Thursday.

According to the police, it appears to be a revenge killing for Panigrahi’s alleged role in the Kandhamal riots. His name figured in the hit list released by the Naxals after the district was rocked by anti-Christian violence following the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in August 2008.

Kandhamal SP Praveen Kumar told HT: “Panigrahi was associated with the RSS. He was arrested for his alleged involvement in the communal violence but was released on bail on March 14.” Since his release, apprehending danger to his life, he had been spending each night at a different place. On Thursday, he was in Rudiguma village. At about 2.00 am, around 15-20 armed Naxals tried to break open the door of the house Panigrahi had taken shelter in. He tried to escape but “the Maoists shot him down,” a police official said. The assailants left behind posters in the name of CPI-Maoist that said: “All those who misuse religion to incite communal riots and interfere in the dietary habits (eg., oppose beef eating) of the local people will meet the fate of Saraswati.”

Tension ran high in the area after the murder. Angry villagers, demanding security, did not allow the body to be taken for post-mortem. The district administration defused the situation after assuring that they would be provided security.

The Hindu , Chennai

RSS activist gunned down in Kandhamal

Sib Kumar Das

BERHAMPUR: Prabhat Panigrahi, a Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh activist, was gunned down allegedly by Maoists at Rudiguma village in Kandhamal district in the early hours of Thursday. The sangh parivar has called a Kandhamal bandh for Friday.

In another incident, the beheaded body of a CITU leader, also allegedly slain by Maoists, was found at Renjada on the Orissa-Jharkhand border near Rourkela.

Mr. Panigrahi was among 14 persons on a hit-list prepared by the naxals after last year’s communal violence in Kandhamal. He was arrested for his alleged involvement in the rioting, and lodged in the Baliguda jail. He came out on bail only on Saturday.

Mr. Panigrahi, a resident of Bandapipili village, was staying at the house of another RSS activist when he was shot dead. According to sources, 15 armed men reached the house and shot Mr. Panigrahi from close range. The assailants left a poster saying anybody trying to follow in the footsteps of the slain VHP leader Lakshamanananda Saraswati would face death.

Throughout the day, the village remained cut off as residents did not let the police or anyone enter it.

As for the other incident, police sources said they suspected that CITU leader Ravi Oram was beheaded on Tuesday but the news reached them late as people were afraid of Maoists. Through a poster, the naxals alleged that the CITU leader was a police informer. The body was found near the rail track between Topadihi and Renjada.

Orissa faces dual security threat: Chidambaram

Published: March 20,2009


Asking Orissa government to remain extra careful during elections, Union Home minister P Chidambaram today promised additional security forces saying that the state faced a dual security threat from naxalites and communal elements.

Promising support to the state during elections, Chidambaram who was here for a two-hour visit said additional central forces would be provided considering the threat it faced.

On the state government's demand for a helicopter for aerial patrol during the polls, the home minister said he would look into the matter'seriously'. Stating that the Centre had provided a helicopter to Orissa for patrol during the communal riots in Kandhamal, Chidambaram said the situation there was well under control, while the while naxal menace has been checked to some extent.

It was the responsibility of the state government to ensure peaceful elections in Kandhamal and elsewhere, he added. He also said"I am informed that the state is raising commando forces and security battalions and augmenting the police system to meet challenges."

"We have demanded augmentation of funds for police modernisation and security related expenditure for upgrading forces to meet the challenge from naxalites," Chief minister Naveen Patnaik told media.

Source: PTI

Sringeri: Additional Manpower, Change in Strategy to Control Naxals

Daijiworld Media Network - Sringeri (SP)

Sringeri, Mar 19: Speaking at a press conference here on Wednesday March 18, state director general of police Ajai Kumar Singh said, the department will further strengthen the Anti-Naxal Force by infusing additional officials besides making strategic changes to control naxal activities in the Western Ghats.

Earlier in the day, he had convened a meeting of high-level officials in the town, in the backdrop of the incident in which the naxals had targeted policemen by planting landmines near Matolli in the taluk on Tuesday March 17, in which a policeman was injured. "Four deputy superintendents of police and 200 personnel will be provided additionally to the Force," he said.

Besides bringing some changes in strategies as discussed in the said meeting, the department will give more attention to earn the confidence of the public and keeping a close liaison with them, he explained. Relating to the call for poll boycott given by the naxals, he said they had given similar call in the last election, but about 80% of the people cast their votes. "I am confident that the people will exercise their right and responsibility of casting their votes without any fear this time too," he asserted.

Karnataka State Reserve Police inspector general of police Kempaiah and western range inspector general of police Gopal Hosur were present.

Home > States > Andhra PradeshCops on high alert in Warangal district

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 19 Mar 2009 03:41:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 19 Mar 2009 02:03:56 PM IST

WARANGAL: Though there is a lull in Maoist activities in the district, there is a lurking fear among the police that the banned extremist group may strike during the forthcoming general elections only to prove their presence.

Making the apprehensions true, police discovered arms dumps in Tadwai, Kothguda and Eturunagaram mandals.

In the neighbouring Khammam district bordering Chattisgarh, Maoists pasted wall posters asking people to boycott the general elections. Similar wall posters appeared in Venkatapuram and Vajedu mandals in Khammam district.

According to information available with the police, Bade Nageswara Rao alias Haribushan, secretary of the North Telangana South Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoists), recently visited certain places in the district. This was confirmed by Warangal SP V C Sajjanar at a media conference.

There was a steep fall in the Naxal activities in the district following measures taken by the government and several Maoist leaders, their dalams moved to the neighbouring Chattisgarh.

In all likelihood, they may come from Chattisgarh, strike the targets and retreat. About six action teams and about 70 Maoists are reportedly shadowing the politicians.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Constable killed by Maoists in Jharkhand

March 18th, 2009 - 1:56 pm

Ranchi, March 18 (IANS) A constable was killed by Maoist rebels in Jharkhand’s Giridih district, police said Wednesday.
On a tip off, security personnel raided a Maoist hideout near Bhaliaahi village of Giridih district, 190 km from here, Tuesday night.

“When security personnel asked the rebels to surrender, the members of Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) retaliated. In the gun battle that lasted more than two hours, one constable Surendra was killed,” a police officer said.

He said the rebels managed to escape from the spot.

In Jharkhand, Maoist rebels are active in 18 of the 24 districts. More than 1,450 people have been killed in Maoist-related violence in the last eight years.

3 CPM leaders killed in Bengal poll violence

18 Mar 2009, 2200 hrs IST, PTI

MIDNAPORE/BURDWAN: Three CPM leaders died and seven others suffered injury in poll-related violence on Wednesday in West Midnapore and Burdwan
districts of West Bengal.

Suspected armed Maoists shot dead CPM's Banspahari local committee member, Durgapada Deshwali (45) and Santosh Mahto (40) at Bhulabheda market in West Midnapore district on Wednesday evening.

Superintendent of police, West Midnapore, Manoj Verma said, "They died on the spot. Durgapada's brother, Palaram, suffered bullet injuries in his right leg after five Maoists shot them as they got down a bus and entered a tea stall."

They were returning home at Bhulabheda village after attending a CPM leaders' meeting in Silda.

Palaram!limped home with his bleeding leg. A large contingent of police has rushed to the spot, Verma said.

Police said Maoist guerrilas chanted slogans and left Maoist posters at the spot before melting into Ukhuldoba jungle.

According to locals, the market worn a deserted look with all shops downing shutters and panicked people rushing home.

Another CPM leader, Sairob Ali Dewan (40) was killed and 6 others injured in an attack allegeldy by Trinamool Congress at Bontirgram village in Burdwan district.

Maoists call for boycott of general elections

18 Mar 2009, 1437 hrs IST, IANS

PATNA/RANCHI: Maoist rebels have called for a boycott of the Lok Sabha elections scheduled in April and May, said a statement issued by the banned
outfit Wednesday. The call was given by the Bihar-Jharkhand-Chattishgarh special area committee of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist).

"After five years of misrule, India is again going for election. The present Lok Sabha election will empower the political parties to misrule the state for another five years," a press release issued by the Maoists said.

"Another political mandate for five years will promote hunger and repression against common people the country. The policies of next government will only increase the unemployment," the statement added.

The CPI-Maoist has also painted walls in some parts of Jharkhand asking people not to vote. Jharkhand police have found such wall paintings in Latehar and Palamau districts. They read: "Do not vote in election or be ready to face the consequences. Boycott elections."

In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections Maoist rebels had chopped off the thumbs of two voters in Jharkhand.

"We want to exercise our voting right but we feel threatened by the Maoist rebels. During every elections we live under fear," said Ganesh Manjhi, a villager of Latehar district.

A police official involved in anti Maoist operations said: "Maoist rebels use pressure tactics in rural areas. The rural voters came out to vote despite boycott call of Maoist rebels 2004 Lok Sabha elections. The voting percentage was more than 55 percent in rural areas."

The Maoists in Bihar have also warned petty contractors and middlemen to stay away from election related activities.

The rebels directed their cadres to mobilize public support to boycott the elections. CPI-Maoist spokesman Gopal stated that the government will deploy central paramilitary forces in large numbers to suppress the boycott call. "But we will give it a befitting reply this time."

To be safe at home, keep an eye on neighbours


New Delhi, March 18: Are we safer?

It is a famous, or notorious, argument that former home minister Shivraj Patil often used to seek cover from criticism — that compared to 36,259 incidents and 11,714 civilian deaths during the BJP’s tenure, there were only 25,042 incidents and 6,646 deaths during 2004-08. Even so, his perceived lapses had piled up so high he had to quit in the immediate aftermath of 26/11.

It could be argued that terror, by its very nature, is seldom easy to counter or contain, but then a democracy demands responsibility and Patil had to pay the price for dereliction.

His tenure as boss of the home ministry was replete with incidents that put the nation on edge. There were terrorist attacks with unprecedented impunity in Guwahati, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Varanasi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Hyderabad and Bangalore that were allegedly perpetrated through local modules of mostly Pakistan-based groups. There were also attacks on the railways, one of them on the Samjhauta Express to Pakistan shortly after it left Delhi.

Since 2006, hundreds were killed or maimed in these attacks and millions of rupees worth of property lost. Public confidence lay shattered. The attacks left a deep scar on the collective psyche of the nation. People began to think, very justifiably, that no place was safe.

India may still be a safer place than most others in the region, but things are changing fast. And a lot of that has to do with the grim security scenario in the neighbourhood — the expansion of jihadi and Taliban elements in both Pakistan and Bangladesh, in the main. Internal security is becoming more and more a function of keeping an eye on external factors.

The UPA government constituted the National Investigation Agency (NIA), one more to add to the long list of security agencies after the shock of Mumbai. The intelligence gathering mechanism was strengthened by sanctioning the hiring of 6,000 more people and measures for better co-ordination. The scope of security agencies like the CISF was expanded and the number of paramilitary forces increased by more than two lakh.

After the spectacular attack in Mumbai, the government decided to secure India’s 7,500km maritime boundary and set up a better co-ordination mechanism involving the navy.

Each of these desperate measures after the country was hit hard on November 26, 2008, however, are also “incremental” and do not give the “critical mass” to the security apparatus to deal with the situation, say experts. Therefore, though the NIA has been constituted to shut up political criticism, the agency does not have an office and only a paltry Rs 10 crore was allocated in the first financial year.

Two, in the process of looking at new things, the obvious was often overlooked. Attempts have been made to improve intelligence, but age-old systems proven efficacious were left to die.

The watch-and-ward system, which for years served as the eyes and ears of law enforcers at the lowest level, was allowed by successive governments to simply lapse into revenue functions rather than active reporting at the grassroots level.

Similar disadvantages have accrued from the failure of the governments to prevent ghettoisation of places like Ahmedabad. The age-old culture of living together and, as a result, watching and restraining one another, disappeared with the separation of communities.

Security can be compromised if crime and seeds of terror are inevitably sown in the ill-ventilated shanties of ghettos like Juhapura. There was no dearth of rhetoric in Delhi, but concerted action was missing.

Yes, in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast the government can pat its back for a combination of measures it took.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the government has successfully manoeuvred to bring terror groups under control and even allowed a pullback of troops from Srinagar, bringing down tension. This may be partly attributed to the changed situation in Pakistan but Delhi put its heart in getting things back on track.

In the Northeast, Tripura sprung into action on the development front by defeating insurgency and leading in horticulture; in Assam, the Ulfa is on the run; and in Nagaland, the peace process continues with hope. People in Manipur continue to suffer but Mizoram is raring to go.

The home ministry got tough with insurgent groups and successfully allowed space for development while balancing regional interests. At the same time, it was able to convince Bangladesh and Myanmar of discouraging Indian insurgent groups. Although reports suggest Chinese incursions continue in Arunachal Pradesh, the writ of Naga militant groups in Changlang and Tirap is greatly reduced compared to five years ago.

Loss of marks for this government in the first half of its tenure came with the rise in Left-wing extremism but it made up for the losses with some out-of-the-box measures. The integrated development-cum-security projects are working wonders in tandem with vastly modernised police forces in Naxalite-affected states.

It is this region of more than seven states that could cost the Indian nation a lot as Naxalites seem on the warpath. But then, home minister P. Chidambaram too has declared war on the “nihilists and anarchists”.

Any government who comes to power in May/June will have fixed challenges — terrorism, Naxalism, porous international boundaries and rabid communalism — which will need constant doses of antidotes.

No breakthrough in Chhattisgarh explosives recovery

March 18th, 2009 - 10:38 pm

Raipur, March 18 (IANS) Chhattisgarh police Wednesday searched several locations in the state but failed to make any breakthrough in the recovery Tuesday of a huge cache of explosives.
“Simultaneous raids were carried out at Raipur, Durg, Bilaspur cities to achieve breakthrough (in the case),” Deputy Inspector General Pawan Deo told reporters.

The police Tuesday seized 17,750 rounds of bullets for 12-bore guns and 1,550 rounds of bullets used for 9-mm pistols from a truck close to the border with Jharkhand. The driver and helper escaped when they saw the police approach.

The police suspect the explosives were meant for Maoist guerrillas to step up violence in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls. Chhattisgarh will vote April 16.

The police said the truck number and other papers that showed the consignment was coming from Bihar’s Muzaffarpur for delivery at Raipur’s Pandri area were found to be fake.

2 ex-Naxals held for extortion in land dispute

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 18 Mar 2009 03:30:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 18 Mar 2009 01:55:59 PM IST

HYDERABAD: Two surrendered Naxalites were arrested Tuesday by the Cyberabad police for extorting money from a person to settle a land dispute.

Earlier, four persons were arrested for hiring the surrendered Naxalites.

The arrested surrendered Naxalites are - Pochaiah alias Srinivas of Medak and Rajeshwar alias Sagar of Kamareddy in Nizamabad district. Both of them are members of Revolutionary Patriotic Tigers (RPT) of Patlolla Goverdhan Reddy, which is involved in several cases of extortions and murders.

Nacharam police inspector V Venkateshwarlu said Pochaiah worked as a deputy commander of Indrapriyal dalam of Maoists in Medak between 1990-99 and surrendered. The other surrendered Naxalite, Sagar, worked with the Bheemgul dalam in Nizamabad.

According to police, the two surrendered Naxalites were hired by one Surender, to settle his 20-year-old land dispute with Rama Rao.

The surrendered naxalites threatened and extorted Rs 50 lakh from Rama Rao a couple of months back. Surender along with his relative, Rajaram, and two others - Jaffer, a former sarpanch of Medak, and Janardhan Reddy were arrested earlier. Police recovered Rs 1 lakh from the surrendered Naxalites.

The two were also involved in the murder of a realtor, Nageshwar Rao, at Saidabad about an year ago, Venkateshwarlu said.

Poll preparations on in Naxal-infested areas

Statesman News Service

MALKANGIRI, March 18: The district administration of Naxal-infected Malkangiri has started the poll preparations even as the Red rebels have started terrorising the electorate, political parties and leaders to refrain from election-related activities.
Keeping the threat perception in mind, the district has demanded three choppers including two MI-17 and one Chetak helicopters and as many as 25 company of paramilitary force from the centre. District collector Dr Nitin Bhanudas Jawale informed that the choppers will be used for dropping and airlifting of polling parties to the sensitive and remote, inaccessible booths besides maintaining surveillance.
“These demands have been made keeping the violent activities in the district and neighbouring areas including Dantewada during the Assembly polls there. We try to ensure a free, fair, fearless and peaceful election in the district,” he said.
Besides the choppers and more force, the district will need six motor launches for cut off villages at Chitrakonda reservoirs, and besides required number of buses, trucks, mini-buses and light motor vehicles.
The superintendent of police Mr Satyabrata Bhoi informed that all necessary security measures has been taken and area domination and combing operation has been started now itself to keep the ultras away.
As Malkangiri has been always been the soft target of Red rebels, election has become a challenge for administration at Malkangiri. The Red rebels have already threatened to boycott the polls in this region through posters.
Sources said that many posters have been found in Balimela, Chitrakonda region, through which the Naxals have threatened even the political parties not to participate the poll. If anyone dares to disobey the diktat, the consequence would be too furious, the posters read.
This time in both Malkangiri and Chitrakonda Assembly constituency, a total of 1,92,924 and 1,59,689 voters are to cast their vote respectively and almost 80 per cent of them are having photo identity cards.
Of the 224 booths, 47 have been specified as hypersensitive and totally inaccessible, official sources said.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

IG sounds poll alert after Maoist arrests


CRPF jawans defuse a bomb at Uparghat in Bokaro on Tuesday. Picture by Pankaj Singh
Bokaro, March 17: A poll alert has been sounded.

After the arrest of four Maoists in Bermo last night, inspector general (IG) of North Chhotanagpur commissionerate K.S. Meena summoned the commandants of paramilitary troops and district SPs today and asked them to step up vigil in rebel strongholds in the wake of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The IG’s concerns are particularly related to the rebels’ poll boycott call and their increased movement in Uparghat, Gomia, Jhumra, Bokaro thermal, Mahuatand and Nawadih in Bokaro district, Parasnath in Giridih and Tundi in Dhanbad over the past few days.

The arrested Maoists have been identified as Md Shahid, Md Alam, Md Muslim and Md Minhas. Three bombs, a couple of police uniform, daggers and receipt books of levy connection were found on them.

During interrogation, the arrested revealed to the police the details of their action plan for Lok Sabha polls. According to sources, the arrested told the police that the command to tackle the security forces has been handed over to area Naxalite commander and in-charge of Jharkhand Navin Manjhi, who has roped in the services of the rebels of Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Bihar.

The rebels have further revealed that the Maoists have already ferried huge quantities of explosives from Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh on trucks carrying fish.

“Had not our forces been alert, the Maoists would have killed them at Govindpur where explosives were planted,” the IG said.

Cops connect with family to ease rebel surrender

Jamshedpur, March 16: After announcing a surrender policy for Naxalites, the East Singhbhum district police are now motivating their family members to nab more rebels.

East Singhbhum superintendent of police Naveen Kumar Singh said that for an effective implementation of the surrender policy, the district police would have to convince family members. “We will have to talk to the kin of the Naxalites and take them into confidence. Newspaper advertisements highlighting the features of the surrender policy would no longer suffice,” Singh said.

According to the state’s surrender policy, a hardcore rebel, if he surrenders with weapons, would be entitled to a maximum amount of Rs 12 lakh and a minimum of Rs 30,000 from the state government. There is also a provision for getting remuneration for weapons and explosives surrendered. The administration would also provide rebels with a plot of land and Rs 50,000 for constructing a house.

With so many benefits on offer, the police feel the family route would be ideal to reach out to them and perhaps the relatives could add emotional pressure on the rebels, too.

According to the SP, there are about 20 Naxalites, including three hardcore rebels in the Ghatshila sub-division of the district. He said the Naxalites are active in the Patamda block as well.

The fact that the surrender policy — claimed to be one of the most lucrative policies in the country — failed to make any dent here came to the fore after the police arrested two hardcore Naxalites from the Ghurabandha police station area in the Ghatshila sub-division of the district recently. Those arrested, revealed that they were unaware of the surrender policy, which was declared by the government in the first week of March.

One of the rebels, Anil (23), revealed that he and several others wanted to return to the mainstream but party functionaries did not support their decision. During interrogation, Anil said, he had joined the Naxalite outfit five years ago with a specific purpose, but he felt he was nowhere near his goal.

A resident of Nadia district of Bengal, Anil told the police, that due to fear and uncertainty, several young rebels were unable to break out from the Naxalite community.

Anil also said that growing frustration amid the general cadre of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) had led to internal bickering and anarchy in the rebel outfit.

Suklal Munda from Gian village under Ghurabandha police station was also arrested last Wednesday. During the raid the police recovered a sophisticated pistol, two magazines and 10 rounds of cartridges from their possession.

Naxalites spur sensitive tag


Securitymen on guard outside a booth
Jamshedpur, March 16: More than 80 per cent polling booths in the Jamshedpur parliamentary constituency have been declared sensitive and hypersensitive.

While 595 booths have been placed in sensitive category, another 776 were declared hypersensitive.

Only 255 of the total 1,626 booths have been placed under normal category.

Most of the polling booths in sensitive and hypersensitive categories are located in remote villages. The administration has considered the Naxalite presence in various areas before finalising the list of sensitive and hypersensitive booths.

Senior administrative officials said that the final list of sensitive and hypersensitive booths would be released over the next couple of days. The administration has also identified 1,093 buildings in the district that would house the polling centres.

The local administration would require around 2,200 private vehicles for conducting the election smoothly. The transport office has started the process to ensure availability of private transport during the election. Officials said that the transporters would be requested to provide their vehicles to the department.

District transport officer Shivendra Singh said that a meeting of transport association and petrol pump owners in the city has been called on March 18 to discuss the issue.

Singh added that the administration would require the vehicles at least five days before it goes to poll on April 21.

Three killed by Maoists in Bihar

Lakhisarai (Bihar) (PTI): Maoists gunned down three men and critically injured two women at a village in Lakhisarai district, in retaliation to the killing of a hardcore naxalite by the villagers on the day of Holi.

Heavily-armed CPI(Maoist) ultras raided Khaira village late last night and sprayed a hail of bullets killing Damodar Yadav, Mukesh Yadav and Wakil Yadav.

Two women, Usha Devi and Rahvo Devi, suffered gun-shot injuries in the attack. They were being treated at a government hospital here where their condition was stated to be critical, the sources said.

People of Khaira including some women had lynched Ravidas alias Badal, a self-proclaimed area commander of CPI(Maosit), after he entered the women's house and teased them at gun point during Holi celebrations in the village on March 11.

Police raids were on in various areas to apprehend the naxalites, they added

Truck laden with explosives seized

Wednesday, March 18, 2009 2:21 IST Email

Jashpur (Chhattisgarh): Chhattisgarh police seized a truck carrying a huge quantity of explosives near Lodam barrier in Jashpur. The truck was carrying 12-bore SLR cartridges in large numbers, bullets of 315-bore rifles, hand grenades and gelatin sticks.

The truck was coming from Muzaffarpur and was heading for Surguja in Chhattisgarh. It was also carrying bags of rice and wheat from Muzaffarpur. The consignment was in the name of Sitaram Gaurishankar Traders, Durg (C'garh). The truck driver and helper managed to flee.

The police said the truck driver had a spat with a cop who questioned him about the consignment after which an SP insisted on a thorough search of the truck.

Apart from the explosives, hand gloves -- probably used to prevent skin damage while making the bombs -- were recovered.

The police said the people who were due to receive the consignment could be terrorists. The truck is presently in police custody.

Explosives, bullets seized from truck in Chhattisgarh (Second lead)
March 17th, 2009 - 11:27 pm ICT by IANS -
Indo-Asian News Service
Raipur, March 17 (IANS) The police in Chhattisgarh Tuesday seized a huge cache of explosives from a truck close to its border with Jharkhand. Officials suspect that the material was meant for the Maoists to carry out attacks in the run-up to the general elections.A truck was seized at a check-post at Lodam area in Maoist-affected Jashpur district, 450 km of here, and was found to contain five tonnes of explosives, including ammonium nitrate, gelatin sticks and chemicals used for making landmines.

It also had 17,750 rounds of bullets for 12-bore guns and 1,550 rounds of bullets used for 9-mm pistols. The driver and helper escaped when they saw the police approach.

“It’s a full consignment of explosives. The forested area where the truck was seized has been cordoned off. We suspect the supply was for the Maoists to step up violence in the run-up to the polls,” Pawan Deo, deputy inspector general at police headquarters, told IANS.

He said the truck entered the state from Jharkhand. According to police officials in Jashpur, the vehicle was registered in Bihar.

Jashpur district superintendent of police Akbar Ram Korram told IANS over phone, “The explosives were stuffed in sacks in the truck along with rice and some other food items.”

“The truck was on its way from Bihar’s Muzaffarpur town to Raipur’s Pandri area. A police team has left for Bihar to gather details,” Korram said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Raman Singh praised the police for the recovery of explosives, which he said were “definitely meant for terrorism activities in the state”.

Naxals lob grenades at police, one injured

Bangalore, PTI:

The Naxals opened fire on the ANF team, which retaliated, Chikmagalur Superintendent of Police M N Nagaraj said.

Maoists ambushed an Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) team at Kerekatte village in Chikmagalur district on Tuesday, injuring a police constable.

The Naxals opened fire on the ANF team, which retaliated, Chikmagalur Superintendent of Police M N Nagaraj said.

The Naxals then lobbed three grenades before fleeing the scene, he said.

The ANF personnel were on their way to the village after learning about the movement of Naxals in the area when a group of about 12 Naxals attacked them, injuring the constable who has been hospitalised, sources said.

Additional police personnel have been deployed in the area, they said.


Chikmaglur, Mar 18: The Naxals opened fire on the ANF team, which retaliated, Chikmagalur Superintendent of Police M N Nagaraj said.

Maoists ambushed an Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) team at Kerekatte village in Chikmagalur district on Tuesday, injuring a police constable.

The Naxals opened fire on the ANF team, which retaliated, Chikmagalur Superintendent of Police M N Nagaraj said.

The Naxals then lobbed three grenades before fleeing the scene, he said.

The ANF personnel were on their way to the village after learning about the movement of Naxals in the area when a group of about 12 Naxals attacked them, injuring the constable who has been hospitalised, sources said.

Additional police personnel have been deployed in the area, they said

Police official killed in Naxal attack

Published: March 17,2009


Naxalites have killed a special police officer in Dantewara district, police said.

Police official from the district told�media over phone that Ramaram Mincham, who was living in a Salwa Judum camp alongwith his family for safety reasons, was killed in a Naxal attack at weekly market in Chindawar village yesterday evening.

Mincham, a resident of Satwa, alongwith his family members had gone to the market where Naxalites attacked and stabbed him to death, they said.

Source: PTI

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Maoists behead one in Bokaro

15 Mar 2009, 0416 hrs IST, TNN

BOKARO: Suspected Maoists beheaded a person in a "Jan Adalat" branding him a dacoit. They then threw the body on Hirak road near Khakra village
under the Mahuatand police station. Police on Saturday recovered hand-written posters of Maoists lying near the body.

Though the head was missing, police identified the deceased as Sanjay Oraon hailing from Borwapani in Hazaribag district. The name was mentioned on the posters. The posters claimed Oraon was killed for being a dacoit.

ASP Bermo Kranti Kumar said the body has been sent for autopsy. "It is yet not clear whether Oraon was killed by Maoists. Police have launched search operation in the area following the incident," Kumar said.

Maoist warning: Death punishment for Orissa leaders if engaged in election campaign

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Report by Deba Prsad Dash; Malkangiri: The leaders of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP),Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Congress will be given death penalty if they campaign for the party in the ensuing assembly constituencies in the two constituencies of the district, warned CPI (Maoist).
In hundreds of posters and pamphlets displayed at Chitapari-III and near Balimela BSNL Telephone Exchange under Orkel police limits on Saturday late night,the Maoist outfit has asked the people to boycott the election.The ‘Sarpanch’who supports the political leaders and parties will even not spared, the poster reads.The vehicles to be engaged in the election duty will be burnt,the organization said.
They have also warned the leaders not to go for campaign in the cut-off region of Chitrakonda Reservoir.According to two eyewitness of Chitapari-III village just some 2 km from Balimela Police limits,about a dozen of armed Maoist cadres arrived the village at about 10 pm in the night and pasted the posters and leaflets at several places.Later,the Maoists asked the villagers to boycott the ensuing assembly and parliamentary election. Peoples residing at several places under the Chitrakonda and Malkangiri assembly constituencies have become frightened after the incident and many prefers not to cast their their votes and boycott the political leaders in view of the Maoist threat.
In fact,an atmosphere of fear has prevailed in the interior pockets of the district after the Maoist warning and even the villagers of many tribal pockets are most likely to stay indoor on the election day.The leaders of various political parties seems much panic following the threat and it is likely to affect the campaign process.

Rebel shadow on rail link grows longer

- Hazaribagh project cost soars by Rs 500cr in 10 years as state, police engage in blame game


Hazaribagh, March 15: The inordinate delay in completion of the Hazaribagh-Ranchi-Koderma railway link has jacked up the project cost by nearly Rs 500 crore.

Railway officials blame Maoists for the delay. A “dormant” administration, not taking action against the rebels, has allowed frequent attacks on the project. On several occasions, construction companies were targeted and expensive machines set on fire. Railway officials confirmed that due to the Maoist threat, only 80km out of this 200km project had been completed.

Officials hinted that the ambitious project would take another six to seven years to be completed. Earlier, the cost for completion of this project was estimated to be Rs 1,033 crore. Now, costs have increased to more than Rs 1,500 crore.

Of this, the state would have to bear 67 per cent and the railways would cough up the rest of the money. “Between Ranchi and Barkakana, 67.3km of tracks will be laid at an estimated cost of Rs 393 crore. For Koderma and Hazaribagh, the total amount needed is Rs 332 crore to lay tracks and construct 15 big bridges,” said a railway official, adding that over the past 10 years, only a 5km track had been laid.

Pointing out that over the past 10 years, only 15 per cent of work had been completed, railway officials raised fingers at the state machinery for not co-operating with them.

But Chatra superintendent of police Akhilesh Jha said that the contractor firm, Khazana Company, had never demanded security from them. He said that they were ready to provide adequate security to the company for safe and smooth completion of the project.

Sources said that Maoists had often attacked railway lines between Katkamsandi (Hazaribagh) and Simaria (Chatra) areas. On March 13, they had targeted machines resulting in losses of Rs 3 crore to Khazana Company of Calcutta. The company is now finding it hard to work on the 30km stretch between Katkamsandi and Badgaon of Simaria as rebels had disturbed the work a number of times demanding hefty amounts as levy.

Gobind Yadav, who suffered loss in rampage of Maoists on March 13 night, said that he was now busy removing machines from the spot. Lakshman Prasad Yadav also said that they had come there with dumpers to work there but the Maoist rampage had created terror in the area. “The Maoists also passed instruction to stop work or face dire consequences,” he added.

Work on constructing a station in Hazaribagh has also not begun so far.

“Thanks to the slow pace of the work, I am sure that only our grandsons will be able to see a train in Hazaribagh,” local residents Alok Parwar and Md Shamshad Yusuf, the managers in a multi-national company, joked.

One killed as Maoists fire at bus in Chhattisgarh

March 16th, 2009 - 12:33 pm

Raipur, March 16 (IANS) One person was killed when armed Maoist guerrillas opened indiscriminate fire on a passenger bus in Chhattisgarh’s restive Bastar region, police said Monday.
Two people were also injured when Maoists stopped a mini-bus in a heavily forested area in Bijapur district, about 420 km from here, Sunday night. Government teacher Pradeep Amla, 28, succumbed to injuries on his way to hospital, said Deputy Inspector General Pawan Deo.

Two men received gunshot wounds in the leg and have been admitted to a hospital in Bijapur.

At least eight passengers were in the bus, which was on its way to Bijapur town from Jagdalpur, headquarters of Bastar district.

Maoists set afire construction company equipment worth Rs 3 cr

15 Mar 2009, 0413 hrs IST, TNN

HAZARIBAG: The ongoing construction work on the Koderma-Hazaribag-Ranchi railway line suffered a big setback as 35-40 Maoists, led by sub-zonal
commander Makhsudan alias Krishna Yadav, raided the site "Reach 13" near Khilari under the Simaria police station of Chatra district at 2.30 am on Saturday and set afire equipment worth Rs 3 crore.

The place also happens to be near Katkumsandi police station of Hazaribag district.

Police sources said Maoists raided the construction office of the Kolkata-based company, Khazana, and asked company "munshi" Pappu Miyan and three other workers how they dared start work without paying levy to them. They then forcibly entered the store room, took out the diesel stocked there and at set afire three trucks and other vehicles parked there.

Maoists also thrashed Pappu and three other labourers. They have been admitted to a local hospital. The Maoist also looted cash, several mobile phones and other valuables.

On getting information, Chatra SP Akhilesh Jha rushed to the spot. The SP said neither the construction company contractors nor the railway officials concerned informed the police about the Maoists' threat to the construction site.

The SP said massive search operation has been launched to nab the Maoists.

Two Maoists killed in Jharkhand

March 15th, 2009 - 7:32 pm

Ranchi, March 15 (IANS) Two Maoist rebels were killed after a two-hour-long shootout with police in Palamau district of Jharkhand Sunday, police said.
Acting on a tip-off, a police team raided a hideout of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) near Barijharia village under Chainpur police station in Palamau district, 180 km from the state capital, and asked the rebels to surrender.

However, the rebels opened fire at the police, who retaliated. In the ensuing gunbattle which lasted more than two hours, two Maoists were killed. However the rebels, who were more then 10 in number, managed to escape with the bodies.

Police say the rebels were drawing strategies to disrupt the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Maoist rebels are active in 18 of the 24 districts of Jharkhand. More than 1450 people have been killed in Maoist-related violence in the last eight years.

Spl police squad to keep Maoists, criminals at bay

15 Mar 2009, 2249 hrs IST, TNN

BOKARO: The Bokaro district administration has set up a special police squad called " Tiger mobile" to keep a check on possible threat from Maoists
and criminals in the run-up to the parliamentary election.

Police personnel attached to this special mobile squad are sharp-shooters who would be on patrol duty on motorcycles armed with AK-47 and INSAS rifles. Personnel attached to Tiger Mobile would man the roads across the district to ensure security and safety of resident.

Bokaro SP Laxman Prasad Singh said the squad has been formed to curb crime and gain confidence of residents.

Eighty young and energetic policemen of the department have been picked for the Tiger Mobile squad. Tiger Mobiles members would keep strict vigil on roads round-the-clock apart routine patrolling conducted by policemen attached to local police stations.

The SP said Tiger Mobile groups have been formed __ one in-charge of Maoist-prone areas and the other in-charge of the township. While 30 motorcycles have been given to Tiger Mobile personnel in Maoist areas, a group of 22 Tiger Mobile personnel alongwith 11 motorbikes have been assigned for the city, the SP said.

Moreover, in view of the slew of road accidents in which several people lost their lives during past few months, special police team have been formed to conduct checking of helmets.

Police would also seized the vehicle of any person driven without valid papers, Singh said adding that this would help keep a tab on criminals.

Maoists in a fix over strategy for LS polls

15 Mar 2009, 0318 hrs IST, Arun Kumar , TNN

PATNA: With their poll boycott call given during Chhatisgarh assembly polls having boomeranged, the CPI(Maoist) leadership is in a fix to finalise
its strategy for the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar and Jharkhand where the outfit has a meaningful presence. In Chhatisgarh, the poll boycott by Maoists helped the BJP in winning almost all seats in Maoist-dominated tribal areas.

The Maoists have been known for issuing poll boycott call in Bihar and Jharkhand often ending up boosting the electoral chances of many candidates in their pockets of influence. Earlier, they had generally been doing it to help particularly those belonging to the RJD and in some cases a few candidates having mafia background.

The Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI), which in 2004 merged with erstwhile PWG and formed CPI(Maoist), had earlier been perceived as RJD's `B team'. RJD leaders too had been in the habit of describing their support as "natural", stating that both the extremists and RJD fight for social justice. They used to say while Maoists use violence as a weapon to fight social injustice, the RJD believes in non-violent methods.

The poll boycott in Chattisgarh, where their writ runs large in tribal hinterland, had resulted in the victory of BJP candidates. Chattisgarh experience has emitted a wrong signal nationwide -- much to the dislike of the Maoists' Central leadership.

On the other hand, according to the Maoist insiders, the RJD now being firmly in the pro-US camp, its Central leadership is now reportedly wary of RJD chief Lalu Prasad. For it they have many other reasons too.

In such an atmosphere, what strategy would the Maoists adopt this time? A new Bihar-specific poll alliance, United Left Bloc (ULB), comprising CPI, CPM and CPI(ML), has surfaced on the political map this year. Though the Maoists have sharp differences with the ULB constituents, ideologically speaking, Maoists might see a meeting ground with them on the count of anti-US policies, their being pro-poor and originating from similar ideological stream.

CPI National Executive Committee member Jalaluddin Ansari expects a matured decision from the CPI(Maoist) Central leadership. CPM legislature group leader in Bihar legislative council Basudeo Singh too feels that in spite of sharp political differences over many issues between the Maoists and ULB partners, a pro-poor strategy is expected from CPI(Maoist) leadership for the Lok Sabha polls.

Maoists have formidable presence in 18 districts of Bihar and almost all the 24 districts of Jharkhand.

Rebel patrol begins


End to red rule?
Jamshedpur, March 15: Police and paramilitary forces today began a joint, anti-insurgency operation against Naxalites in areas bordering Bengal and Orissa.

During the exercise that began early in the morning, the police conducted long-range patrolling in Kuchai, Saranda and Ghatshila sub-divisions under Seraikela-Kharsawan and West and East Singhbhum.

The Ghatshila operation was led by East Singhbhum district superintendent of police Naveen Kumar Singh. In Saranda, SP (West Singhbhum) Sudhir Kumar Jha led the long-range patrol, while in Kuchai, deputy superintendent of police Madan Mohan Lal conducted the operation.

In Ghatshila, police and paramilitary forces climbed the Damra and Paura hills in Ghurabandha and combed jungles considered as a haven for rebels. During the exercise, personnel met villagers to discuss the rebel and police problems with them. Similar operations were also conducted in Purulia and West Mednapur of Bengal and in Mayurbhanj, Sundergarh and Keonjhar districts of Orissa.

The joint and simultaneous operations were launched after a meeting between senior officers of the three states that was held in Ghatshila on March 9. The meeting was attended by M.K. Mishra, the deputy inspector-general of police (Kolhan) and Pravin Kumar, the DIG of Midnapore, among others.

Officers chalked out a strategy to combat both rebel forces as well as criminals in their areas of jurisdiction. The meeting’s purpose was to work coherently and weed out criminals from respective districts.

SP (East Singhbhum) said patrols are conducted on a regular basis, but the one that started today was a simultaneous operation being conducted in three states. “The exercise began today and will continue for four-five days,” said Singh, hoping that the exercise will leave a dent in Naxalite activities in the region.

Gun Factories Unearthed; Large Cache of Arms Recovered

Patna: March 14, 2009

In a massive pre-election anti-gun drive in Bihar on Saturday, officials busted a dozen mini gun factories and seized a huge cache of country-made firearms and live cartridges meant to be sold to political goons and criminals in the state.

Additional Director General of Police (ADGP, Headquarters) Neelmani, while talking to reports on Saturday said the factories were discovered in Munger, Nalanda, Lakhisarai, Banka, and East and West Champaran districts.

Altogether 90 country-made pistols and six-shooters and nearly 700 live cartridges were recovered in the sweep that is expected to continue for next several days across the state, Neelmani said.

Munger, which is notorious for clandestine gun factories and supplying arms to Naxals and other criminals, topped the list with four gun factories. This was followed by Lakhisarai, Banka, and West Champaran with 2 gun factories each, and one factory busted in Nalanda and East Champaran, officials said.

Criminals hiding in Maoist areas

Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, March. 15: Areas dominated by Maoists and splinter Naxal groups in Bihar and Jharkhand have emerged as the preferred hiding-place for a notorious inter-state crime syndicate. The gang has been involved in eight robberies in West Bengal since 2006.
Two members of the gang, Bablu Ansari and Nasim Khan, disclosed the information to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The two men were arrested several months ago and interrogated at Bhawani Bhavan.

Based on the information provided by the duo, a CID team has been sent to a Maoist-dominated area in Gaya district to round up other members of the gang. According to a top CID source, the gang has around ten members.

A senior CID officer, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Statesman that robbers belonging to the syndicate frequently take shelter in Gaya and Dhanbad giving money to Maoist groups in the area.

Many of the hideouts are located in Barachati, Sherghat and Hilsa in Gaya and remote places in Dhanbad and Nalanda district, the officer said. One of the top members of the gang is a 40-year-old man and former student of the MBA.

The man, who is linked to Maoist and other Naxal groups, had until recently lived in Gaya. Police have launched a hunt for him. Other members of the syndicate are computer professionals.

“The gang has been involved in at least eight robberies in West Bengal since 2006, including attacks on banks in Purulia, Serampore, Sheoraphuli and Durgapur. They have taken in excess of Rs 5 crore. The gang's members have not been involved in criminal activities in their home states. Bihar and Jharkhand police do not raid their hideouts because they fear Maoist attacks,” the officer said.

He added that Maoists collect a levy from the gangsters in exchange for shelter. Most members of the gang, apart from Bablu and Nasim, belong to the Hindu community. Police said that the bank robbers chose to shelter in very remote places, making it difficult to conduct night-time raids.

Mobiles, cash, Naxal literature recovered in jail raid

Published: March 15,2009

Jehanabad , Mar 15 Police today seized four mobile phones, cash and Naxalite literature during a raid on the jail in this Bihar district.

While one cell phone was recovered from Kundan Sharma, an activist of the banned militia of upper caste land owners Ranvir Sena, two phones were found behind ward numbers four and five, while another was found near the toilet of ward number six, police sources said.

Rs 2,000 cash and Naxalite literature were recovered from the possession of one Lalji Das and Rs 600 from one Biran Yadav.

The district administration has ordered an inquiry to ascertain how such articles reached the inmates and whether there was any complicity of the jail staff in the matter.

Source: PTI