Friday, May 01, 2009

One killed and two injured in firing by CRPF jawan

Tags: Dharmasthala (Karnataka)

Published: Fri, 01 May 2009

Dharmasthala (Karnataka), May 1 : A CRPF constable on poll duty today opened fire, killing a young man and injuring two people in a fit of rage after an altercation between the paramlitary force and a group of locals playing cricket here.

The altercation broke out after the ball hit one of the CRPF jawans at a play ground where their buses were parked.

As locals pelted stones, the CRPF men from Andhra Pradesh resorted to a lathicharge, leading to escalation of tension.

A constable then opened fire from his rifle, killing 26-year old Aithappa and injuring two others whose identity is yet to be known, police said.

Two CRPF constables were arrested in connection with the firing, they said.

As the news of the firing and the death of the local man spread, about 500 people blocked the CRPF personnel's buses, demanding their arrest.

The mob continued to pelt stones, damaging four buses carrying the CRPF personnel who were here to visit the famous Manjunatheshwara temple.

The 80-member CRPF contingent had been drafted for security in naxal-infested areas of Belthangady in Dakshina Kannada District for the second phase of Lok Sabha polls yesterday.

Superintendent of Police Subrammanyeshwara Rao told PTI that the situation in the temple town was under control now and the CRPF personnel were escorted to Mangalore, 90 km from here, where further investigations would be carried out. (MORE)

Naxals could not stop them

2 May 2009, 0218 hrs IST, Prafulla Marpakwar, TNN

MUMBAI: Most Mumbaikars, who preferred to stay indoors on election day, need to take lessons from illiterate villagers in the Naxal-dominated
Gadchiroli district.

In the backdrop of the worst-ever terror attack on the metropolis, it was expected that a large number of Mumbaikars would exercise their franchise but unfortunately, the response was dismal, as less than 42% of the electorate participated. Significantly, Gadchiroli district, where the Naxalites had threatened to chop off fingers if a villager exercised his franchise, recorded 65% voting, the second highest in the state. The highest 67% was recorded in Bhandara-Gondia.

"We are surprised at the lowest-ever voting percentage in the metropolis. It appears that voters are losing faith in the political system. We will have to initiate stringent measures to restore the faith,'' said BJP leader Vinod Tawde.

Gadchiroli police chief Rajesh Pradhan said despite a constant threat from the Naxals, the district witnessed a huge turnout. "Despite the fact that we had taken all security measures, we were not expecting such a massive response from the voters as the Naxalites had threatened to either kill or chop off the fingers of those people who exercise their franchise,'' Pradhan told TOI.

Even before the EC declared the poll schedule, Pradhan had completed inspection of the district, particularly the Naxal hideouts. "All our operations were successful. We nabbed some prominent Naxal activists-two were killed in our operation, while two were caught alive,'' Pradhan said.

A week before the polling, the Naxalites had given a call for Gadchiroli bandh and poll boycott. Some Naxalites from Chhatisgarh and Andhra were in the process of entering Gadchiroli. "We sealed all borders of Gadchiroli so that no Naxalites from these states could reach our district,'' he said. Pradhan said his biggest success was that he was able to instil confidence among the villagers.

In Mumbai there was no response from the voters. "After 26/11, people had criticised the ruling party. So we were expecting that they will express their anger in the ballot box, but that did not happen,'' Tawde said.

Maoists barred many from voting: Biman

1 May 2009, 0509 hrs IST, TNN

KOLKATA: Left Front chairman Biman Bose congratulated voters for braving an atmosphere of terror and exercising their franchise in the 14 Lok Sabha
constituencies that went to the polls on Thursday.

Talking to the media, Bose conceded that Maoists had been able to persuade voters to boycott polls in some booths. "Braving an atmosphere of terror and provocation, people in general have queued up at polling booths in the first phase of elections. We thank them for maintaining the true tradition of our state," he said.

But the Left Front chairman sounded upset with polling in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong under the Darjeeling constituency. "Polling in these areas could not be free and fair. We will collect information from the district and then think whether we should demand repoll in some booths," Bose said.

Bose wondered how a high turnout of voters was recorded in the hills despite heavy rains. "We will have to examine certain things so far as voting in the Hills is concerned," he said. Bose came down heavily on the Opposition for making all efforts to terrorise the CPM candidates and supporters in some areas. For example, in Malda North constituency, the election agent of the CPM candidate Sailen Sarkar, Ambar Mitra was beaten up by goons on Wednesday night when he was returning home. " In Malda South efforts were on to create disturbances as well. But, major incidents could be averted," Bose said.

Bose expressed his unhappiness at the manner a section of voters was stopped by Maoists from casting their vote in some areas of West Midnapore and Purulia. Referring to Lalgarh and Bandwan, Bose said that low turn out in some booths proved that the boycott call issued by Maoists could influence a section of voters.

However, Bose refused to comment whether this trend was pointing to the fact that the Maoists were gradually gaining strength in some districts in the state.

The Left Front chairman lamented the fact that the Trinamool Congress candidate from Ghatal had slapped the presiding officer when he was barred from entering the booth. Bose lambasted the Trinamool-Congress alliance, saying that Trinamool kept oscillating between Congress and BJP.

WB: Maoists trigger blasts, kill 3

1 May 2009, 0526 hrs IST, Jayanta Gupta & Sukumar Mahato, TNN

LALGARH/BELPAHARI/BANSPAHARI: Serial blasts ripped through the Jangalmahal area spread over West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia, before and after
the Lok Sabha elections on Thursday, killing two poll officials and their driver.

The first landmine blast of the day, at Biramdihi in Purulia, came as early as 8.30 am.

The last one at Khusibani forest near Jamboni happened around 6.45 pm.

A Mahindra-Max carrying officials from the polling booths in Belpahari was returning to Jhargram Raj College when it was blown up on the main road while passing by Khusibani forest, 22 km from Jhargram. The jeep was way behind the motorcade, escorted by a police van in front. The blast occurred seconds after the police escort and other cars passed over.

The police officers were taken aback at the huge blast behind them and informed their superiors. However, they did not wait for the victims as is the rule in this zone. Later, a convoy with paramilitary forces reached the spot and identified the two poll officials killed as Prasad Ranjan Banerjee and Saugata Karmakar and the driver as Sanjay Das.

The Maoist operation is similar to the one in Binpur block, where a medical van was blown up and for which the rebels apologised later. In both cases, the landmines were planted in such a way that they triggered two other blasts.

India among world's most terror-afflicted countries: US

1 May 2009, 0857 hrs IST, PTI

WASHINGTON: Ranking India among the world's most terrorism-afflicted countries, the United States on Friday said that none of the perpetrators of
the major terrorist attacks in that country last year have yet been prosecuted.

Besides the 26/11 Mumbai attack, the annual "Country Reports on Terrorism 2008" of the US state department has listed seven other major terrorist attacks in India during 2008 -- prominent among them being the Jaipur bombings, attack on Indian Embassy in Kabul and the terror strikes in Ahmedabad, Delhi and Assam.

"In addition to the Mumbai attacks, the rise in terrorist attacks and their coordinated nature throughout India suggested the terrorists were well-funded and financially organized," the report said.

Blog: Kasab trial or circus?

As for the Mumbai attack, the report said Indian authorities believe that the terrorists used various funding sources including credit cards, hawala, charities, and wealthy donors. Illicit funding sources that may have been exploited to finance terrorist operations were being closely investigated, it said.

According to the report, Indian government assessed that Islamic extremist groups including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Harakat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami (Bangladesh) as well as indigenous groups were behind major terrorists attacks.

In its report, the US also praised India for having an "excellent record" of protecting its nuclear assets from terrorists.

India is taking steps to improve further the security of its strategic systems, it said.

In May the Indian Parliament passed the Weapons of Mass Destruction and Their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Bill, designed to prevent the transfer of WMD, delivery systems, and associated technologies to state and non-state actors, including terrorists, the US reported.

And in August, India announced a new policy on airplane hijackings that included directing ground crews to obstruct a hijacked plane from taking off, and a clearance procedure for authorizing the shooting down of a hijacked plane in flight that might endanger civilians on the ground.

Observing that the terrorists staged hundreds of attacks on people and property in India in the year 2008, the report said the most prominent terrorist groups are violent extremist separatists operating in Jammu and Kashmir, Maoists in the "Naxalite belt", and ethno-linguistic nationalists in India's northeastern states.

Tattoo adds to train mystery


The train being removed from the accident site in Chennai on Wednesday. (AFP)
Chennai, April 30: A possible Naxalite link has emerged in yesterday’s collision involving a “hijacked” train after investigators came across a tattoo in Telugu on a body found at the crash site.

The tattoo on the arm was noticed during the post-mortem of the unidentified body, which investigators said may be that of the mystery driver who took over the suburban train and crashed into a stationary goods train yesterday morning. The other three persons killed in the accident have been identified.

“Only the second part of the name, Raju, was visible, the rest was smudged. We have sought the co-operation of Andhra police and informed our border districts,” additional director-general (crime) Archana Ramasundaram said.

While the tattoo itself doesn’t directly establish a rebel connection, the investigators are looking at the possibility because of a 2006 case that showed Naxalite operatives were using Chennai as a haven.

In September that year, an engineer, said to be from the rebel ranks, was arrested with his wife for allegedly designing grenade shells and having them produced in forging factories around Chennai. The case is going on.

Until the tattoo was spotted, the police, led by the facial features, thought the man found dead on the tracks was a north Indian.

“We suspect he could have jumped out of the driver’s cabin just before the train collided with the goods train. His identity is the key to the investigation,” said S.N. Seshasayee, DIG of the crime branch.

Police officers said the face of the person, though disfigured a little, was good enough for possible identification.

An important lead has emerged from an STD booth operator at the Central station, from where the train was “hijacked”.

The operator, shown photos of the unidentified dead man, claimed the person had been making calls from his booth for almost a month — always early in the morning. Yesterday, too, he had spoken to someone, in Hindi, the operator has claimed. The calls are being traced.

The police officials are also looking at footage of the closed-circuit cameras installed at the station. But the scan may not yield many clues as railway officials said there were no such camera near the motorman’s cabin.

Villagers caught up in trouble, post-Naxal attack

Statesman News Service
KORAPUT, April 30: The Naxal attack on the Nalco mine area earlier this month has drawn attention to villages like Talameting which were otherwise invisible as far as the state was concerned.
The lone school in Talameting has not opened for 12 years - needless to say no child of the village has ever gone to school. If that speaks volumes against the much hyped 'universalisation' of education and the Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan, here is another shocking fact – the lone tube well in the village has never functioned since the day it was installed. Villagers trek to the nearest natural source of water.
Located on the foothills of the Nalco mines, Talameting would never have drawn attention, had it not been caught up in the recent Naxalite attacks.
The villagers - 32 households in total - were suddenly in the thick of trouble. The Naxal strike on 12 April at the Nalco mines came as a major jolt for these villagers. They had learned to live with poverty and deprivation, they were reconciled to the fact that they did not exist in the eyes of government agencies. Post-12 April, however, they have been faced with a new threat – policemen.
"The villagers are scared," said Mr Nihar Ranjan Patnaik, who had led a fact finding team to the village. Mr Patnaik is president of the Bar Association, Koraput.
The team was constituted to ascertain the veracity of alleged police excesses and indiscriminate firing in the village on 13 April when combing operations were launched.
"The team had recovered a bullet that was stuck in the mud wall of a hut and taken pictures of numerous scars on other walls in the village caused by bullets," said Mr Patnaik.
It was at this village that one Katru Huika was killed by police forces. Villagers complained to the team that at least 20 jawans had entered the village and fired indiscriminately. Huika had no links with any Left wing outfit, and was returning home when he was shot dead, they alleged. The villagers also charged that four youths of the village have been missing since the fateful day.
The team has indicted the police and district administration as well as Nalco authorities in its report to the National Human Rights Commission.
The committee has demanded a judicial probe by a sitting High Court Judge into the entire police operation carried out in the area in the wake of the Naxal attack on the Nalco mine

Three top officials of Jharkhand's Latehar district removed

Ranchi, May 1 (PTI) Three top officials in Jharkhand have been removed from their posts in the wake of widespread naxal violence in Latehar district disrupting the first phase polling on April 16, official sources said today.
Those given the marching orders are Latehar's Deputy Commissioner Sarvendu Tathagat, Deputy Inspector General of Police Nandu Prasad and Superintendent of Police Hemant Toppo.

While Tathagat has been asked to join the personnel department, both Prasad and Toppo have been asked to report to the state police headquarters, the sources said.

The action of the authorities in the state, which is under President's Rule, comes a fortnight after widespread naxal violence shook Latehar district, including the naxal seize of a passenger train near Hehegarha in that area. PTI

Naxal duo nabbed in city

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 01 May 2009 12:55:54 PM ISTLast Updated :

HYDERABAD: A dalam member of the CPI-ML Praja Pantha party and a former member of CPI-ML Janashakthi group were nabbed in the city on Thursday and their plan to kill a Praja Pratighatana dalam member was foiled.

The duo were nabbed near Shahinayathgunj on a tip-off and an axe and sword were recovered from them.

Kandula Venkataiah alias Venkanna, a resident of Karmanghat and B Balaswamy are both natives of Nalgonda district. Venkanna, who used to attend grama sabhas of Rythu Cooli Sangham (RCS), got attracted to the ideology of Praja Pantha of CPI(ML) party and joined it in 1987.

Venkanna was later appointed as a division committee member of Nalgonda district. In 1989, differences arose between CPI(ML) Praja Pantha and the then PWG and Venkanna along with six others killed PWG organiser of Munugodu mandal, Jadala Papaiah.

Venkanna got involved in extortions, land and financial settlements under the leadership of RCS secretary, Achuta Rama Rao, and RCS Nalgonda town president, Meka Ram Reddy. Later, he migrated to the city fearing harm from rivals. On the other hand, Balaswamy, a native of Nalgonda district and a graduate, joined the CPI (ML) Janashakthi Group of Rajanna faction. After a year, he surrendered before the police.

A year back, Balaswamy came in contact with Achuta Rama Rao. “Achuta Rama Rao instructed Venkanna and Balaswamy to kill a Praja Pratighatana dalam member, Nagaraju, as he was threatening a Praja Pantha party member, V Yadaiah, demanding money. The duo had come to the city to kill Nagaraju and were nabbed, Task Force DCP V B Kamalasan Reddy said on Thursday.

Naxals target mobile phone towers to cut off 'informers'

1 May 2009, 1713 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: Naxals, who have unleashed a reign of terror during the ongoing electioneering, are involved in attacks on mobile telephone communication
systems particularly in the last three years.

During the period, the Naxals have blown up as many as 62 mobile telephone towers in six Maoist-hit states.

Home Ministry sources said the highest number of towers, 20, were destroyed by the Naxals in Chhattisgarh where last year alone 14 mobile telephone towers of both private and government networks were attacked by the Maoists.

Towers located in Bihar, too, faced the brunt of Naxal attacks as they blew up 14 of them last year. Four other states which faced the Naxal attacks on mobile telephone towers are Orissa, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Maharahstra.

"Maoists believe many police informers use mobile network to inform security forces about their movement and activities which resulted arrest of several of their leaders and that is why they try to target the towers," an official said.

Jharkhand, which did not see any attack on mobile towers till 2007, saw nine such attacks which disrupted communication network in several Naxal-hit regions.

In 2005, the Maoists had blown up eight mobile towers while in 2006, they targeted just five. In 2007, the Naxals destroyed six mobile towers and in 2008, an abnormally high 43 towers were attacked.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Maoists blast power supply tower in Chhattisgarh

April 30th, 2009 - 10:08

Raipur, April 30 (IANS) About 700 forested villages in Chhattisgarh’s restive southern Bastar region were plunged into darkness as Maoist militants blew up a power supply tower, police said Thursday.
Armed guerrillas of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) late Wednesday night stormed into a forested interior village, Bodli, in Bijapur district, some 500 km from capital Raipur, and set the explosives under a supply tower and blasted it off.

“At least 700 villages of Bijapur district have been blacked out after rebels detonated a 33-KV supply tower,” Ankit Garg, superintendent of police, Bijapur district, told reporters at district headquarters Bijapur town.

The power department rushed officials and technical staff from Raipur to the blast site under police escort Thursday to repair the damaged lines. The power supply is likely to be normal by late Friday or Saturday, the official said.

Two jawans injured in landmine blast in Purulia

30 Apr 2009, 0923 hrs IST, PTI

PURILIA: Maoists exploded a landmine near a polling booth at Biramdih in West Bengal's Purulia district on Thursday, injuring two Central
paramilitary force jawans.

The jawans were patrolling the area when the Maoists exploded the landmine at around 7.50 am following which polling was suspended at the booth, superintendent of police Rajesh Yadav said.

The SP said security reinforcements have been rushed to the area.

The main contest in Purulia Lok Sabha seat is between Narhari Mahato (All India Forward Bloc) and Shantiram Mahato (Congress) supported by the Trinamool Congress.

Purulia district is 295 kms from Kolkata.

West Bengal hot spots go to poll today

30 Apr 2009, 0433 hrs IST, TNN

KOLKATA: From the hills in the north to the trouble-torn Maoist belt of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia in the west, a total of 14 Lok Sabha
constituencies go to poll in the first phase today, the most difficult and diverse among the three-tier elections in West Bengal. Poll officials fear a fresh spurt in violence in the Jangalmahal area as well as the foothills of Darjeeling during the day.

All through Wednesday, chief electoral officer Debashis Sen was a worried man. Till evening, the Maoist-led People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) had put up new barricades against police in Banspahari and Chakadoba in West Midnapore and parts of Bankura and Purulia.

The state government has asked the Jharkhand government to seal the border with Bengal, following inputs from Delhi on the possibility of fresh landmine blasts in the area. Security at booths has been tightened. In the Maoist belt alone, 119 companies of central forces have been deployed along with the state police. Some Adivasis in the Ayodha hills of Purulia are campaigning for a vote boycott. Three helicopters will be pressed into aerial surveillance on poll day. If required, forces can fire at extremists from the helicopters, the home secretary said.

Elections will be held for a total of 14 seats — Darjeeling, Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Raiganj, Balurghat, Malda North, Malda South, Ghatal, Jhargram, Midnapore, Purulia, Bankura, Bishnupur — covering the hills and the plains with such conflicting agenda as the creation of Gorkhaland to the ‘liberated’ zones in Lalgarh.

The Left held sway over 10 of the 13 seats in North Bengal and Jangalmahal till the other day, with Congress holding on to only Darjeeling, Raiganj and Malda. Malda North is a new constituency that has come up after delimitation. This time, Left Front will fight some of its toughest battles here.

Among the heavyweights in the fray are Jaswant Singh of BJP from Darjeeling, Deepa Das Munshi from Raiganj and Subrata Mukherjee from Bankura. Left heavyweights Basudeb Acharia and Gurudas Dasgupta are in the race from Bankura and Ghatal.

In Darjeeling, Bimal Gurung’s Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and its support to Jaswant have queered the pitch for Congress, while CPM’s Jibesh Sarkar is banking on the population in the plains. But beyond the broad division over Gorkhaland, the ethnic and religious minorities in the Hills and the plains seem to hold the key. For instance, the Hills have a considerable population of Lepchas and Bhutias, religious minorities such as Muslims and Christians whom the GJM president had threatened the other day. CPM expects these groups and GNLF supporters to vote for it. On the other hand, there is a considerable Nepali population in Siliguri spread over Gurung Bustee, Pradhannagar, Champasari, Bagdogra and Naxalbari. This apart, there is a chunk of Muslim population in Chopra that usually votes for Congress.

Wedding bar on Maoist girl

30 Apr 2009, 0045 hrs IST, TNN

PURULIA: She cannot marry, for, a tribal community does not allow the marriage of a girl who has been to jail. But what was the fault of the
19-year-old Rebecca Soren that forced police to put her behind bars? She was suspected of being a Maoist.

This girl from Duhutand in Kotshila at the Bengal-Jharkhand border used to regularly visit her sister's in-laws' place in Maoist-dominated Sundru village under Juridih police station of Bokaro district in Jharkhand. Branded as a Maoist action squad leader, Rebecca was tortured by police a number of times at Purulia Sadar PS in the name of being grilled.

Her father had to sell off cattle and ornaments to get her bail. Her mother Tulsi said the family has given up all hopes of Rebecca's marriage. And, the girl, out of sheer disgust, has decided not to enroll herself as a voter.

Naxals remain a headache for election panel

30 Apr 2009, 0106 hrs IST, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: Naxalite violence continues to be a concern in the third phase of polls — covering 107 parliamentary constituencies spread over nine
states and 2 Union territories — with as many as 15, 193 polling stations identified by the Election Commission as Maoist-infested.

These affected polling stations are concentrated in 10 parliamentary constituencies in all, of which seven are in Bihar and three in West Bengal. As these go to polls on Thursday, the EC has all the security measures in place, including maximum force coverage and airlifting of poll personnel by three dedicated choppers, two of which will be deployed in West Bengal and one in Bihar.

It be recalled that widespread Naxalite violence had claimed 18 lives in the first phase of polls on April 16 covering the states worst hit by Left-wing extremism. The second phase was relatively peaceful, though five polling personnel were killed as they travelled from the polling stations to the base camp.

The “vulnerable” polling stations where voting will be held in the third phase, number 19,763 in all. Apart from Naxalites, the sources of the vulnerability of these booths could be anti-social elements or history-sheeters. Nearly 45,843 persons resident in the constituencies going to polls on April 30 have been identified as causes of vulnerability and put under a constant watch.

Nearly 14.40 crore electorate will exercise their franchise in the third phase that covers UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, J&K, Sikkim and the two UTs of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu. Sikkim will also have simultaneous assembly polls.

As many as 1,567 candidates are in the fray, of which 101 are women. With the completion of the third phase, the fate of 372 parliamentary seats would have been sealed in the EVMs. As for the remaining 171 seats, they will be go to polls in the fourth phase on May 7 followed by the fifth and final phase on May 13.

Bihar Bengal security beefed with Helicopters &Paramilitary

April 30th, 2009 - 11:55 am

Bihar and West Bengal has more than 15,000 polling stations spread over ten parliamentary constituencies classified as those falling in Naxal- violence affected areas.

HM official said “We cannot be complacent. We are taking necessary actions,” he said, adding appropriate security arrangements have been made and the priority is to ensure that the polls are held smoothly and efforts to disrupt the democratic process foiled.

More than 20,000 villages have been identified as vulnerable to intimidation of voters and 45,843 persons would be kept under watch in these areas.The central security forces have been instructed to keep a close watch on the prevailing situation in the troubled state in the first phase on 16th April saw large scale violence, the second phase on 23rd April passed off by and large peacefully.

To have electrol process in peace the Home Ministry has made available two helicopters to West Bengal and one to Bihar to meet exigencies in view of the Naxal problems in some areas in these two states, the official said.

The helicopters will provide better logistical support to security forces and give an edge over the Maoists.

“Helicopters have been provided to states hit by Naxal violence to meet any eventuality,” Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta said.

Sphere: Related

‘Naxals cashed in on lack of development’

Express News Service First Published : 30 Apr 2009 02:42:00 AM ISTLast Updated :

JEYPORE: While the post-mortem on Maoist attack on Nalco mines at Damanjodi is still on, preliminary investigation said lack of development in peripheral villages fuelled the locals’ anger against the authorities. Cashing on the local resentment, Naxals drew up the strategy and mounted attack on the mine with the help of villagers.

The Naxals had set up dozens of base camps near Panchpatimali hill before launching an attack on the bauxite mine. And they took the advantage of absence of basic amenities to build their base.

According to reports, Naxals also underwent training for three months and gathered vital information regarding the explosive depot and bauxite mine after mixing with local tribals.

The investigation shows that absence of proper communication network in nearby villages favoured the Naxals who went on giving final touches to their plan of action. The Naxal activities could not be known to outside world despite their camps being a few km from the plant area due to inaccessibility of the villages.

About 10 villages near Panchpatimali hilltop virtually turned into safe haven for Maoists of the state and neighboring states. The locals have been demanding development of peripheral areas since long through demonstrations but in vain.

The pent-up anger against the authorities further helped the Naxals to draw up their master plan. ‘‘Lack of peripheral development was a major reason rather than intelligence failure for the attack, said a senior police officer of KBK districts. Meanwhile, pressure is mounting from different quarters for instituting a high-level judicial enquiry into the mine attack case.

Even the CISF personnel working in Nalco site had took up the issue of development with CISF top brass.

Meanwhile, Secretary, Ministry of Mines, Santa Sheela Nair visited Damanjodi along with senior State and Nalco officials. The secretary visited mines fire station, magazine house and Naxal attack site and reviewed the security measures with senior police and mine officials.

She lauded the brave fight by the CISF jawans and assured all possible steps to augment the safety measure in and around Nalco areas. The mines secretary would report to the central government for further course of action.

Sources said a commission of inquiry will be instituted by director, mines, Government of India, G.Srinivash, who is appointed as one-man commission to report on the situation post-attack.

Nalco CMD C.R.Pradhan, executive director P.K.Mahapatra, District Collector B.Dash, DIG Sanjeev Panda, SP Deepak Kumar accompanied the secretary.

KORAPUT: In another development, Nalco periphery villagers under the leadership of zilla parishad president Ashok Kumar Pangi and sarpanches of five panchayats demanded before the mines secretary Nair to remove Nalco CMD CR Pradhan from his post. Pangi alleged that the CMD is entirely responsible for the Naxal attack.

Pangi also said Nalco has recruited land-losers as well as displaced persons in Angul, but in case of Damanjodi only displaced persons were taken in to consideration for recruitment. Mathalput sarpanch Bijaya Muduli demanded compensation and job for a family member of Katru Huika who was allegedly killed by SOG jawans suspecting him as Naxal on April 13.


* The Naxals had set up dozens of base camps near Panchpatimali hill

* They also underwent training for three months and gathered vital information regarding explosive depot and bauxite mine

* Naxal activities could not be known to outside world due to inaccessibility of the villages

* About 10 villages near Panchpatimali hilltop virtually turned into safe haven for Maoists.

No Maoist violence in third phase of Indian election

April 30th, 2009 - 9:49 pm

New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) The third phase of Lok Sabha elections Thursday was largely free of extremist violence, unlike the previous phases, the Election Commission said here.
“There were many polling booths under the the 10 Naxal-affected parliamentary constituencies in West Bengal (7) and Bihar (3),” Deputy Election Commissioner R. Balakrishnan told reporters.

“In West Bengal some parliamentary constituencies were affected by the leftwing extremism. In Lalgarh some arrangements were made to relocate the polling stations. By and large, the election process was absolutely peaceful,” he said.

Two Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were injured in a low-intensity landmine blast at Balarampur in West Bengal.

During the April 19 first phase polling, at least 19 people, mainly policemen, were killed in Maoist violence across three contiguous states in eastern India.

Udupi: 'Combing Operations on in Naxal-affected Areas’

The Hindu

Udupi, Apr 30: Superintendent of Police Pravin Pawar said on Wednesday that tight security arrangements have been made for the Lok Sabha election on Thursday. Combing operations were on in naxalite-affected areas of Udupi district, he said.

Mr. Pawar told The Hindu that 10 teams of police were involved in the combing operations. So far, no untoward incident had been reported from the naxalite-affected areas of the district. “We have taken all steps to ensure peaceful polling in the entire district on Thursday,” he said.

Two cases of confiscation of liquor had been reported from Byndoor and Hiriyadka, Mr. Pawar said.

Police officer dead

Mr. Pawar said that a sub-inspector of the Andhra Pradesh Special Police force, who was posted for election duty at Karkala in Udupi district, died of a heart attack on Tuesday. He said that the Sub-Inspector, Rajagopal (53), from Hyderabad suffered a heart attack at 5.35 p.m. He was rushed to a hospital in Karkala, where he died later, Mr. Pawar said.
28 Apr 2009, 2253 hrs IST, TNN

MANGALORE: Ongoing police operations against Left wing extremists in Malnad region received a shot in the arm with the arrest of 35 alleged Naxal
supporters in the run up to the elections in the area on April 30.

Of these 35 persons, five, according to Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Western Range) Gopal B Hosur, have reportedly confessed to their direct involvement in two incidents involving Naxalites.

Hosur, also the commander of Anti-Naxal Force (ANF), told reporters here on Tuesday that the arrests are the results of comprehensive review of 100 cases involving Naxalites in the state since 2002. "Few persons had gone missing, some cases were under investigation, and in various stages," Hosur said and added all these were handed over to a special investigation team, whose meticulous work has resulted in this development.

Hosur said 30 of those arrested were nabbed for providing logistical and financial support to the Naxalites. Of the remaining five, three are involved in serial improvised explosive devise (IED) blast at Mathohalli in Sringeri police station limits, and other two for murdering a person on charges of being an informant at Odeyaramath in Jayapura PS limits in Chikmagalur. The arrest of the first three is more significant, Hosur stated.

Checks for IEDs, landmines

Asserting that necessary bandobast arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful conduct of polls in 81 villages spread across eight taluks and encompassing 20 police station limits with acknowledged Naxal presence, Hosur said 15 police personnel will be posted to each of the 162 polling stations in this region. "These 15 policemen, suitably armed will be drawn from civil, DAR, KSRP and central paramilitary forces," he said.

Around 40 to 50 policemen each in 30 police camps have begun area domination exercise by occupying vantage points, he said. The routes being taken by the election staff and policemen to reach the polling station are being `sanitized' on a regular basis to ensure that they are free from IEDs and landmines. Thermal imaging cameras too are being used at night to check for any suspicious movements in the forest terrains, he noted.

Poll disruption will be crushed

There are an estimated 1-lakh voters in the above-mentioned areas, he said and added the central paramilitary forces have conducted a recce of the area for area familiarization. Personnel adept at ambush and counter assault have been specially drafted in to the ANF, he said and assured voters that the police is more determined than ever to ensure that even the slightest attempt to disrupt polling in the Naxal-affected areas is put down.

Naxals free to surrender

Any Naxalite(s) wanting to surrender is free to do so, but legal process against them, if any will not be stopped, DIGP said. "If convicted, such Naxalites will have to undergo imprisonment as decided by the court," Hosur said. Nazeer, one of those nabbed recently by Chikmagalur police with cache of explosives is not only a Naxal sympathiser, but was attempting to recruit girls in to the Left wing extremist movement.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

SOG Jawans nab Maoist ‘sympathiser’

Express News Service First Published : 28 Apr 2009 03:31:00 AM ISTLast Updated : RAYAGADA: The SOG jawans nabbed a Maoist ‘sympathiser’ Inder Pradhan from Tada village under Bissam-Cuttack gram panchayat, about 60 km from here yesterday.

SP Ashis Kumar Singh said four land mines and one grenede were seized from Pradhan’s possession, who is associated with the Bansadhara Divisional Committee of the CPI(Maoist). The SP added that Pradhan used to supply essentials and medicines to the Maoist outfit

Maoists kill girijan youth

28 Apr 2009, 0503 hrs IST, TNN

Maoists gunned down a girijan youth at Kaliveru village in Charla mandal on Khammam-Chhattisgarh border on Monday. A Maoist dalam of four members
came to the village in the early hours and took him away the girijan youth. They shot him dead from a close range on the charge that he was acting as a police informer. Before leaving the place, they left a letter warning the tribals of dire consequences if they inform police about their movements.

Woman, 2 children commit suicide: A woman committed suicide along with her two children at Vavilla village of Vidavaluru mandal of Nellore district on Monday. The woman consumed a pesticide after administering it to her children. Sources said family disputes led the woman to resort to the extreme step. Police shifted the bodies to the government hospital for an autopsy.

Robbery in RTC bus: Unidentified robbers struck terror in an RTC bus at Gujjalapalli village on Guntakal-Gooty road in Anantapur district in the early hours of Monday. The four robbers injured some of the passengers when they resisted. They pelted stones from the roadside forcing the driver to stop the bus coming from Nellore and took away 10 tolas of gold, six cell phones and Rs 40,000 cash from the passengers. Sources said the robbers were armed. Before the police entered the scene, the robbers escaped into darkness. The bus was on its way to Bellary in Karnataka. Police have launched an investigation.

Maoist fear hits development, villagers allege govt apathy

- Glorious journey of McCluskieganj on way to end

Iron beams lie scattered at McCluskieganj railway station, where a project of an overbridge remains incomplete. Picture by Prashant Mitra
McCluskieganj, April 27: Maoist menace hasn’t affected them, but the government apathy over the years has made their lives miserable.

The tiny hamlet of McCluskieganj, known for predominance of Anglo-Indian community, is making an utmost effort to retain its past glory amid reports of presence of ultra-Left outfits.

Even during the election season, the 3,000-odd villagers cry for basic amenities like safe drinking water, healthcare and uninterrupted power supply. The 8km road between Khelari and McCluskieganj, about 65km from here, is in extremely dilapidated shape, while the lone tank constructed by the railways never worked towards fulfilling water requirement of the local population.

Villagers claimed that they had not faced any problem with the Naxalites but they feel quality of leadership is a sad part. “Neither the BJP’s Ramtahal Choudhary nor the Congress’s sitting MP, Subodh Kant Sahay, ever paid attention to local problems,” said one of the villagers. For a mild fever, they have to trudge the 8km of dusty road to a health sub-centre in Khelari.

The president of local chapter of the All-India Anglo-Indian Association, Angela Norman, said only about 30 families of Anglo-Indian origin are left in McCluskieganj, founded by Ernest McCluskie in 1932. “There used to be over 50 families of Anglo-Indian origin till the ’90s. Tourist rush to bungalows, set against the picturesque hills, was at its peak till the last decade. But now we find tourists only during the Durga Puja when mostly Bengali tourists throng the place,” said Norman, a teacher at ICSE-affiliated Don Bosco School run by a society of Anglo-Indians.

Tourism industry over, the only other money-spinning sectors are a cement plant, located about 20km from the village; Don Bosco School, where at least 900 students are enrolled and mango, guava and fruit plantation. The students stay at local lodges, once created for tourists, as the institute has no hostel on its campus.

Norman’s husband, Michael, a railway employee said that the construction of Khelari-McCluskieganj road and a foot over-bridge at McCluskieganj station was abandoned apparently because of Naxalite fear. “The local administration never intervened towards ensuring completion of both the projects, while the railways did nothing after constructing the water tank during early ’90s,” said Norman.

Sexagenarian A.G.D. Rozario, a former MLA representing the Anglo-Indian community and director of the Don Bosco Anglo-Indian Educational Society, feels that good roads, regular electric and water supply, health facilities among others would have solved many a problem.

Maoist mine traps send shivers down Saranda spine


Jamshedpur, April 27: Travelling along dirt tracks in the deep, dark forests of Saranda, it is not the fear of wild animals that grips forest officials.

It is Maoist landmines and the spectre of a sudden explosion ripping through the forest that sends the chill down their spine. The mine traps are, in fact, for police and paramilitary vehicles, but that is little solace.

More so in the wake of reports of increased Maoist activities in the Saranda area of West Singhbhum.

On April 21, two days before the second phase of Lok Sabha polls, West Singhbhum district police unearthed a powerful landmine from Aurangjee village under Bandgaon police station area in Saranda.

On April 23, the headman of Karampada village was picked up by a squad of armed Naxalites from his home. His bullet-riddled body was later found in the nearby forest.

Saranda divisional forest officer S.R. Natesh admitted that his staff — beat officers and field workers — have been afraid of venturing into the forest, especially via dirt tracks. “On April 24, a day after the polls, some officials had gone on a routine patrol to the Kiriburu range. After travelling a while, a section of villagers there warned them not to tread on the mud road as they had heard reports of rebels having laid landmines at several places. The officers had to take a detour that took them deeper into the forest,” Natesh told The Telegraph.

The senior forest officer admitted that the news of abductions and murders further demoralised his men.

Spread over 850sqkm, the Saranda forest, known for its sal reserves, has been a haven for rebels and has often served as a battlefield for police-rebel encounters. Between December 2001 and May 2004, several incidents of landmine blasts have occurred here claiming many lives. During this period, Naxalite activity was reportedly at its peak.

Over 60 policemen and CRPF jawans were killed in separate Naxalite-sponsored attacks.

After a lull of three years, Saranda now is more silent and perhaps more dangerous. West Singhbhum superintendent of police Sudhir Kumar Jha admitted that the force, too, received reports of landmines planted to keep police and paramilitary forces at bay particularly during the poll season. “We have succeeded in locating only one landmine from Saranda and understand that there may be others. We are trying to locate the rest,” he said.

Natesh believes that it would take quite some time before the fear is dispelled from the minds of his staff, who have to frequently move deep into the interiors. But, the department head added, the help of local villagers would go a long way to boost confidence.

More police to patrol naxal areas in DK, Udupi

By Team Mangalorean Bangalore

BANGALORE, April 27, 2009: Following naxal threat to peaceful holding of elections in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha constituencies on April 30, the Election Commission has decided to deploy more police personnel to ensure free and fair poll.

Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) M. N. Vidyashankar told the media on Monday the deputy commissioners of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Chikmagalur had sought deployment of additional Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) and other battalions in some of the polling booths on account of naxals threat to disturb polling. As many as 148 polling stations have been set up in three districts, he said.

However, the CEO has refused to give the exact number of police to be deployed in three districts on the polling day.
He said a delegation led by Chief Election Commissioner of Bhutan will visit Karnataka for four days from Tuesday to study the process of conducting Lok Sabha elections in the State.

The delegation led by CEC Dasho Kunzang would arrive in Bangalore on Tuesday morning and hold discussions with Mr. Vidyashankar.

The delegation would leave for Mysore on Wednesday for three days to study the election process. The delegation would also meet the Bharat Electronic Limited officials and discuss the manufacturing and functioning electronic voting machines, Mr. Vidyashankar said.

Naxalism: The danger within

The Naxal movement is targeted at the government. It has joined hands with Pakistan?s security agency, the ISI, to destabilise India, their common goal. Unemployed youngsters fall prey to the Naxals since starvation is a serious alternative..

CJ: Richa Dwivedi,

THE NAXALS are a communist group, an outcome of the Sino-Soviet split, at the height of the Indian communist movement. In the first few years of its birth, the group remained confined to the jungles of West Bengal. Underground activities of organisations like the Communist Party of India (Maoist) supported them and thus helped them spread their tentacles into the remote areas of Central and Eastern India, particularly Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. They have been agitating against the Indian government for the past 50 years. The Naxals are scattered across an area accounting for 40 per cent of our land. 20,000 insurgents are currently involved in the Naxal movement.

In recent years, the activities of Naxals have increased manifold, mainly in eastern India. The government of India reckons that the Naxal movement is being aided by the Pakistani security agency, ISI, to enable it to carry out anti-national activities in the country and thus destabilise it.

Asinine though it is, the Naxals may have joined hands with the Islamic terrorist movement in India, since they share with it the ideology of vitiating the country’s peace.

The most unfortunate part of it all is that the youth of the country are being influenced by the Naxal ideology and as a result, involve themselves in the Naxal movement. Some of the main reasons for this are the growing problems of unemployment and poverty. The Naxalites have money to offer to youngsters, the prime need of the latter in this hour and as a result, the movement gains strength.

The problem does not end here. Naxalism is a growing menace in the country and poses a greater threat than the terrorist organisations from across the border. The looting and killing in the polling booths during the recent Lok Sabha election shows the intensity of their activities. Serious efforts have to be made to curb this movement before it cripples the very survival of democracy in India.

Maoist leaders produced in Khammam court

Express News Service First Published : 28 Apr 2009 02:35:00 AM ISTLast Updated : KHAMMAM: Former CPI (Maoists) central committee members, Tushara Bhattacharya and M Raji Reddy were produced in the district court here today in connection with a murder case.

Tushara Bhattacharya and Raji Reddy were brought to the Khammam district court from the Cherlapalli jail near Hyderabad under tight security in connection with the killing of Katti Venkateswara Rao, who was murdered in 1976 at Peruru village in Bhadrachalam division. The two Naxal leaders, prime accused in the murder case, were arrested a few years ago and are currently lodged in the Cherlapally jail.

Speaking to mediapersons outside the court, Tushara Bhattacharya and Raji Reddy appealed to the government to immediately release political prisoners.

They said that separate Telangana can be achieved through revolution. Tushara and Raji Reddy were taken back to Cherlapally jail in Hyderabad immediately after the court hearing was completed.

Kundapur: Villagers Caught between Devil and Deep Sea

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 12:49:22 PM (IST)

Daijiworld Media Network - Kundapur (SP)

Kundapur, Apr 28: The deputy commissioners of both Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts, who happen to be the District Election Officers, have said that all steps to ensure free and fair poll have been taken in the naxal-infested areas. Security has been beefed up particularly in view of the poll boycott call given by the naxals in the twin-districts, and the forces deployed to these places have been conducting marches to instill confidence among the people.

In the meanwhile, some villagers living at the foot of the Western Ghats say that the policemen have been arresting villagers on the suspicion that they are naxal sympathizers. It is learnt, the policemen who disguise themselves as naxals, approach the villagers and place demands just like the naxals. If the families meet their demand out of fear, they arrest them, accusing them of being sympathetic towards the naxals. "We are sandwiched between the naxals and the policemen," the villagers explain.

The police forces said, para-military forces have been deployed at the foot of the Western Ghats to provide tight security during the polling. As most of the naxal-prone areas like Amasebail, Jaddinagadde, Tombattu, Devarabalu, Shankarnarayan and parts of Karkala and Beltangady taluk have been categorized as hyper sensitive, the security men have been provided with modern weaponry. In addition, home guards have also been deployed. The Anti-naxal Force has been conducting operations with the support of local police stations. Mobile police units have also been pressed into service.

Senior police officials along with the deputy superintendent of police Shashidhar, held consultations on Monday to review security arrangements at these places.

CRPF acquires land for setting up operational HQs of COBRA

Published: April 28,2009

New Delhi, Apr 28 The CRPF has acquired land in Chhattisgarh and Orissa for setting up operational headquarters of its anti-naxal force COBRA.

The land has been acquired at Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh and Koraput in Orissa for setting up operational headquarters of the newly created Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA), CRPF officials said.

The headquarters of COBRA are located in Delhi.

Two firing ranges have also been developed in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

With personnel facing housing problems, the force has now decided to construct 798 family quarters in Hyderabad and Silchar in Assam in the next two years with an outlay of over Rs 63 crore.

While 410 family quarters would be constructed at Hyderabad, 388 quarters would be come up at Silchar.

The force is also building a state-of-the-art 50 bed hospital in Pune in Maharashtra, at a cost of over Rs 14 crore.

Source: PTI

Binayak Sen , naxal courier ,had "close" relations with Naxals

CM alleges Sen had "close" relations with Naxals

Published: April 28,2009

Bhopal , Apr 28 Amid a demand by rights bodies for the release Binayak Sen, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh today alleged that the activist, detained since May 2007 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, had enjoyed"close relations"with those involved in naxal movement.

"Dr Binayak Sen has close relations with the people associated with the naxal movement and as far as the issue of his release is concerned, his bail plea is pending in the apex court," Singh told reporters yesterday.

He said that it would be better if people talk about thousands of children being orphaned, women becoming widowed and a large number of people rendered jobless and homeless due to the naxal violence, instead of Binayak Sen at the national and international level.

Clearly peeved at the demand for Sen&aposs release, Singh claimed that people talk about him more"in places like Delhi, Chennai, New York and Tokyo, but in the lanes and by-lanes of Chhatisgarh he is a non-issue".

Binayak Sen, vice president of NGO People&aposs Union for Civil Liberties and a gold medalist paediatrician, has been jailed in Chhatisgarsh for nearly two years for his alleged closeness with those associated with the naxal movement.

When asked about the naxal violence in the state, the chief minister said the problem will not be solved till the local tribals join the mainstream and his government was making efforts in this regard."We are successful in this and naxalites are retreating in the affected areas.

Source: PTI

Ten constituencies in Bihar and West Bengal naxal-affected

New Delhi (PTI): A total of 15,193 polling stations spread over ten Parliamentary constituencies in Bihar and West Bengal have been classified as naxal-affected areas in the third phase of Lok Sabha polls on April 30.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and BJP leader L K Advani are among the 1,567 candidates, including 101 women, in the fray for 107 seats in nine states and two union territories.

Over 14.40 crore voters would be eligible to exercise their franchise in over 1.65 lakh polling stations, Deputy Election Commissioner J P Prakash told reporters here on Tuesday.

He said as many as 19,763 villages have been identified as vulnerable to intimidation of voters and 45,843 persons would be kept under watch in these areas.

Mr. Prakash said that simultaneous polls would be held to the 32 member Sikkim Assembly for which 167 candidates including 15 women are in the fray.

While 31 Assembly constituencies would have geographical boundaries, voting for one seat would be held for the Sangha monks spread over Sikkim, Mr. Prakash said.

The Sangha monks can vote anywhere in their local areas and each polling stations would have two EVMs -- one for the normal votes and another for Sangha monks. There are 3,058 Sangha voters in the State.

Five Naxals held in Karnataka

28 Apr 2009, 1652 hrs IST, PTI

MANGALORE: Five Naxals and 30 of their sympathizers were on Tuesday arrested as a preventive measure in the wake of the rebels' call for boycott of
the Lok Sabha polls ahead of the third phase on April 30.

Three arrested Naxals were involved in triggering off an explosion by throwing hand grenade at Matholli in Sringeri recently, in which two policemen were injured, Gopal Hosur Western Range DIG told reporters here.

Two others were wanted in connection with a murder case in Odeyarmath in Sringeri, he said.

As many as 162 polling stations coming under Naxal affected areas, including Shimoga, had been provided with adequate security, Range said, adding roads in all Naxal hit areas would be subjected to thorough checking.

Election was held to 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in the first phase in Karnataka on April 23 and the remaining 11 will go to polls on April 30.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Maoist commander held in Aurangabad

Published: April 26,2009

Aurangabad , Apr 26 A self-styled commander of proscribed CPI (Maoist), wanted in connection with several criminal cases, was today arrested in Bihar&aposs Aurangabad district.

Acting on a tip off, police raided a place in Mufassil police limits and captured the Maoist leader, Naga Paswan alias Guddarji, when he was going to attend a social function, Superintendent of Police R Shankaran said.

The rebel leader was being interrogated, he said.

Naga Paswan was wanted in connection with several criminal cases related to attack on patrol parties, extortion and murder, he said.

Source: PTI

Nalco blames CISF intelligence failure for mines attack

27 Apr 2009, 2023 hrs IST, Rakhi Mazumdar, ET Bureau

KOLKATA: The country’s largest aluminium producer, National Aluminium Co (Nalco), has claimed it was critical lack of intelligence and surveillance
failure that led to the recent Maoist strikes at its bauxite mines in Damanjodi, Orissa.

What is even more shocking is that the attack appears to have been perpetrated with connivance of casual workers employed at the mines. This comes at a time when union mines ministry has initiated a detailed investigation to ascertain Nalco’s response to various intelligence inputs on a possible attack.

A top Nalco official who did not wish to be named told ET: "We did not receive any intelligence report at the director or CMD-level about the attack. A Naxalite threat of this scale should have been intimated by the CISF directly to the company’s top brass and not merely at the site. With more preparedness on the CISF’s part, the whole incident could perhaps have been thwarted."
Incidentally, the company spends over Rs 20 crore annually to maintain a 415-strong CISF security contingent headed by a commandant at its mines and refinery at Damanjodi.

Though CISF forces battled the intruders, they lost 10 men, as a result. While Nalco will bear the entire amount of compensation of Rs 10 lakh per head, its employees are also planning to donate a day’s salary to families of CISF jawans who died during the attack.

"The main objective of the attack was an attempt by the Maoists to get publicity through a calculated but symbolic attack on a navratna PSU. This is in contrast to popular perception that the Maoists had targetted the mines to mainly grab arms, ammunition and explosives," the source said.

At Panchpatmali Bauxite Mines in Damanjodi, the most sensitive point is the Magazine House, where nearly 50 tonnes of explosives used for mining are stored. The Magazine is located in a secluded spot, some 3 km from the Mines Main Gate. Considering its vulnerability, the Magazine House has a 22 strong team CISF team guarding it on a 24 X 7 basis.

Businesses in Jharkhand grapping with Naxal terror

27 Apr 2009, 1623 hrs IST, ET Bureau

JHARKHAND: Businesses in Jharkhand are desperate for a way out of the terror raj. Surendra Bengali is languishing in Hazaribagh Jail, but when he
"ruled" Ranchi along with Anil Sharma in the mid-90s, nothing moved after dark. Life came automatically to a total standstill, such was the reputation of these two crimelords. It was then that a fairly unassuming senior superintendent of police, a certain Amitabh Choudhary, moved into office and picked up the two dreaded gansters almost as if by magic and restored Ranchi’s peace.

At Ranchi today, ordinary people recall those days. "The present day Red-terror reminds me of those dreadful days of Anil Sharma and Surendra Bengali when there were no night shows and nobody would venture out after 7 pm. How can we do business in such an environment," asked Bikash Singh, a Ranchi-based industrialist and former president of Jharkhand Small Industries Association (JSIA).

Talking to ET, Singh said that though he voted on polling day, he was really pained that none of Jharkhand’s politicians ever raise the issue of how this terror raj is affecting small businesses. And not small businesses alone.
According to a Central Coalfield Limited (CCL) official, truck movement had come to a halt on as many as 88 days in the financial year. "Production went down as a result and our business could have been much better only if trucks had a free run," he said.

Indeed, movement on highways have got really hit due to the fear of Naxalite depredations. A survey made recently claims that while trucks run 350-450 kms on average a day in South India, in Jharkhand it is limited to just about 125-200 kms. According to Uday Shankar Ojha of the Jharkhand Truck Owners' Association : "Except for the Grand Trunk Road and the Patna-Ranchi-Jamshedpur National Highway 33, we cannot even think of moving on the road after sunset." While some 35-40,000 trucks ply within Jharkhand every day, about 10-15,000 also pass through to adjoining states. This gives an idea of how heavy the truck movement in the state actually is and most of these trucks actually ferry ore and coal to different industrial units.

"There are six points of exit from Ranchi, but except for NH 33, none are safe at night. So no trucker from Ranchi would move towards Gumla (connecting Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Gujarat), Daltonganj (connecting UP and MP), Khunti (connecting Chaibasa, Barbil and Orissa), Silli for West Bengal for Patratu for Barkakana after 6 pm. Same is the situation with buses," said Ojha.

There are also problems of no-entry in the state capital. So in a way, trucks run only 12 hours in Jharkhand and they remain stranded for the other 12 hours. Then you have the frequent bandhs that Maoists call and truckers have no option but to stay put. If a truck owner earns Rs 2000 a day, 25,000 truck owners in Jharkhand would lose about Rs 5 crore a day whenever there is a Maoist bandh", Ojha said.

With 18 out of 24 districts in their pocket and them running parallel governments in places like Chatra and Latehar, Maoists and Naxals really have a field day. With the administration crippled and politicians corrupt, businessmen are at the mercy of extremists. In the last four months alone, Maoists have called bandhs on 16 days and all of them were successful. Nothing moved.

Two Naxals killed in encounter in Chhattisgarh

Raipur, Apr 25 (PTI) Two Naxalites were killed today in an encounter with police and large amount of ammunition recovered from them in Bijapur district.
"Naxalites fired at a team of policemen and special officers on patrolling duty when they reached near Bodla Pusnar," District Superintendent of Police Ankit Garg told PTI.

The police fired in retaliation following which two Naxalites were killed, Garg said.

Police have recovered a .12 bore rifle, one hand grenade, 38 detonators and other ammunition in large quantities from the spot, he said.

No one from the security men was injured in the gunfight, he said.

During the first phase of elections here on April 16, seven persons on poll duty including two CRPF jawans were killed by the Naxalities in Rajnandangaon. PTI

Maoist involved in Nalco attack held

KORAPUT, April 26: Chitru Sirika, a Naxalite from Talametingi village under Laxmipur block of Koraput district was arrested from Sunabeda yesterday.
The superintendent of police, Koraput, Mr Deepak Kumar confirmed the arrest.
Mr Kumar said that Sirika was moving around with the cadres of Left wing extremists over the last three months. He was acting as a local guide, courier and used to arrange logistics for the Maoists, informed the SP.
"He was also involved in the recent attack on Nalco mines by the Naxals and had been to the hilltop carrying a single barrel gun and had organised people for lifting the explosive bags," said Mr Kumar.
It might be recalled that following the attack on Nalco mines by Naxals on 12 April, four Naxalites were shot dead by the CISF and one man was killed in an encounter. While four people were detained by the police in suspicion, this was the first arrest being made by the police after the incident. n sns

Woman Naxal surrenders in Andhra

26 Apr 2009, 2128 hrs IST, PTI

HYDERABAD: A woman Maoist, Kaveti Vijaya Laxmi alias Shyamala on Sunday surrendered to the Mahabubnagar police in Andhra Pradesh. "Shyamala carrying
an reward of Rs 2 lakh, is the wife of CPI (Maoist) former State Committee secretary Konepuri Ilaiah alias Sambashivudu, who had surrendered to Andhra Pradesh police in Feburary this year," Mahabubnagar District Superintendent of Police T V Shashidhar Reddy said.

“A native of Thirumalgiri here, Shyamala got attracted to the Maoist party ideology through one Durga, who motivated her to join CPIML PWG party in 1995,” Reddy said. “Shyamala worked as a state committee courier and worked towards attracting women to join PWG besides participated in two exchanges of fire in 2001 at Amrabad and Achampet area,” the SP said.

"In 2008, she approached one Ramchandar State Committee member and expressed her desire to surrender due to ill health. In turn she was produced before Ramakrishna Central Committee member, who did not agree for her surrender.

"However, she came out of the party and surrendered today," Shashidhar Reddy said. Meanwhile, sources said Shyamala might have quit the movement following Sambasivudu's surrender.

Soon, secure mobile towers in Gadchiroli

27 Apr 2009, 0144 hrs IST, Soumittra S Bose, TNN

NAGPUR: Mobile telephone operators wary of erecting towers in Naxal-affected Gadchiroli areas will soon have secured places like police stations and government premises at hand to ensure better connectivity.

Poor communication facilities in Gadchiroli district often hamper smooth functioning of the police and forest departments besides the people in general. Except for public sector undertaking Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the private companies are reluctant to install mobile towers due to repeated threats from Naxals who view the strengthening of communication facilities as strategic support for the police machinery and its informer base.
Naxals had destroyed two towers of different companies and an unmanned telephone office in 2006 and targeted villagers keeping mobile phones, suspecting them to be police informers. Following the attack, the police had to provide security to enable the cabling work for telephone lines.

District collector Atul Patne said that mobile telephone companies have been invited to set up installations in Gadchiroli. “Police stations and other well-guarded premises are ideal places to erect towers as total protection could be given to service providers. The initiative would also save the companies from identifying safer places in the Naxal-dominated areas, he said. There are 43 premises of police department. These include 14 police stations, 13 subs-stations and some armed outposts.

Although the government had okayed this proposal about a year ago, but no initiative on this front was taken in Gadchiroli so far. Patne said that mobile connectivity will be a boon for both the government machinery and villagers. “Forest guards and officials find themselves in a spot due to lack of proper connectivity inside deep jungles. If mobile companies installed bases, these personnel could give quick information about incidents like tree-felling and poaching.

“Better mobile connectivity would lessen the dependence of the police department on wireless communication which is regularly intercepted by Naxals,” said Patne. He has plans to use police premises for educational and recreation purposes for school dropouts and other children.

Proper connectivity would also help villagers during emergencies. “Villagers can contact the district administration in case of emergency situations like flood or epidemics. They can also use mobiles for contacting hospitals for getting ambulance services,” said Patne.

Additional director general of police Pankaj Gupta, chief of the anti-Naxal operations cell, said that the proposal to install mobile towers was under the consideration of central government officials. “Mobile towers have always been in Naxal crosshairs. Police also understood the need to ensure special protection to the towers but the idea could not take off as no mobile companies came forward,” he said.

Maoists blow up school, health centre in Bihar

27 Apr 2009, 0332 hrs IST, Abdul Qadir, TNN

GAYA: In the second strike in 24 hours, about 500 heavily armed Maoists encircled a village in Gaya district of Bihar and blew up a primary health
centre, a middle school and community hall.

Earlier, the Maoists had blown up a police building in the same Chonha village on Saturday morning. It was the eighth Maoist attack in the district this month.

The Maoists also raided the two-storeyed house of a big farmer and former mukhiya of Narainpur panchayat of the Naxal-infested Dumaria block. Using walkie-talkies, they directed the farmer's wife, daughter and two maid servants, to move out of the house before dynamites were thrown in.

The farmer's son Rizwan Khan said the Maoists looted about 100 quintals of rice, an equal quantity of wheat, 10 quintals of potatoe and onion and some jewellery from the house.

According to Rizwan, he was in a neighbouring village when the Maoists started encircling his village. He immediately informed senior police officers, "but the police reached only after everything was over''.

Admitting that she got information about the movement of the Maoists, Magadh Range DIG Anupama Nilekar claimed that immediate steps were taken and police parties dispatched to the village.

Maoists rampage unabated in Gaya

26 Apr 2009, 2347 hrs IST, Abdul Qadir , TNN

GAYA: In their second operation within 24 hours, about 500 heavily armed Maoists encircled Chonha village under Dumaria police station of Gaya
district on Saturday evening and blasted the primary health centre, middle school building and community hall in the village using dynamite sticks and other explosives. Earlier, the Naxalites had blown up a police building in the same village in the morning. Incidentally, it was the eighth Maoist attack in the district this month.

After blasting the three centres, the Maoists raided the two-storey house of Maqsood Khan, a big farmer and former mukhiya of Narainpur panchayat of the Naxal-infested Dumaria block. Using walkie-talkies, they directed the four female inmates of the house, including the farmer's wife, daughter and two maid servants, to move out of the house as they were going to blow it. Once the womenfolk came out, the Maoists conducted what they call "seizure of the movable assets".

After emptying the house -- according to the former mukhiya's son Rizwan Khan, the Maoists looted about 100 quintals of rice, an equal quantity of wheat, 10 quintals of gram, potatoes and onions, clothes, about 100 grams of gold jewellery and one kg of silver ornaments besides utensils -- the Maoists blew up the sprawling two-storey house.

According to Rizwan, he was in a neighbouring village when the Maoists started encircling his village. He immediately informed all senior police officials about it. But the police reached only after everything was over.

Admitting that she got information about the movement of the Maoists, Magadh Range DIG Anupama Nilekar claimed that immediate steps were taken and police parties dispatched to the village.

According to the villagers, the police reached the place about eight only on Sunday morning, a good 15 hours later. The police team was greeted by "go back" slogans as angry villagers protested against the apparent police failure. The villagers also raised slogans against senior police officials.

Jharkhand's insurgency, there are no rules, just fear

27 Apr 2009, 1620 hrs IST, ET Bureau

Suggested understrap: In Jharkhand’s insurgency, there are no rules, just fear. Not content with the dominance born out of political patronage,
money and arms, Maoists are now reaching out to take over the reins of power. For the locals who have been living under the shadow of terrorism in a state helmed by short-sighted corrupt politicians for years now, the only thing that matters anymore is peace.

"Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today"
-- Mahatma Gandhi

There were masked, hooded men before too, men who moved like shadows in the dark of the night, a high-calibre rifle cradled carelessly on the arm, men who caused the police and administration of three adjoining states decades of fitful sleep, men who killed for honour, the Baaghis of Chambal.

But there was romanticism surrounding Man Singh, Panna, Sultan, Lakhan Singh, Madho Singh, Mohur Singh, Chidda Singh Sikarwar, Lukka Daku or Lokman Dikshit as he was born.... . Villagers feared them, but they adored them too. Honour ruled their activities and stories about them usually portrayed them as custodians of moral righteousness, even if they were not entirely so.

In Jharkhand, masked men rule too. However, they change their names to suit the area they operate in and they sport a trademark "ji" suffix in all non-Christian areas. So Mukulji of Dumka is Kundanji at Latehar or Salimji at Pakur which is Muslim dominated.

The same person may be John at Rajmahal or Zakaria in Littipara, where Christians form the majority. They aren’t baagis; they are de-facto zamindars. They virtually control 18 of the 24 districts in the state, have paralysed the constitutional authorities who are supposed to run the administration, bludgeoned policemen into submission and killed well over 1,400 people just to make their cause known. They are sometimes referred to as Naxals, sometimes as Maoists, but essentially they are followers of a sect that believes in creating anarchy as a self-sustaining realisation of a revolutionary dream to create a classless society.

Welcome to Mao-land Jharkhand, where six successive state governments since its formation in 2000, have all tried their damndest best to topple the other in order to rule and in the process, have befriended Maoists to spread anarchy during the other’s regime.

Very simply put, you cannot exterminate Maoists in Jharkhand by use of force, because every local political honcho wants them on their side, irrespective of party colour. And the motive is entirely selfish, because unless you can destabilise the ruling government, you cannot come to power yourself and so on... . Naturally therefore, everything has taken a backseat in Jharkhand. Only the Frankensteins rule. A taste of that this country witnesses in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

Cut to this very powerful politician, an MLA who spoke to ET about the Naxal menace last week. "A road which was supposed to be built under a government scheme in my constituency, was not getting built. So I asked about the delay. To my utter shock and dismay, the engineer in charge told me that there was a delay because extremists have demanded a levy and if it was not paid, they wouldn’t allow the road to be built.

There was so much of public pressure for the road, that I had to ask the engineer to do whatever was required so that the road gets constructed. I was helpless, but I cannot escape the ground reality."

Obviously, money had to be given as ransom for the road and in all likelihood the MLA paid out of his pocket or shelled out party funds or maybe funds from other sources. But that’s what Naxalism or Maoism in Jharkhand is all about. No matter who you are, or what you want, you need to keep them happy first.

That Maoists rule with political patronage is an accepted fact. No political party in Jharkhand has raised the issue of Naxal menace prominently in their manifestos. There are vague references to bringing back "those who have been misguided to the mainstream", some appeals to "shun violence", but nothing more than that.

Re-polling held in Chhattisgarh amid Maoist boycott

Tags: LS polls , Raipur , Chhattisgarh

Published by: Noor Khan

Raipur: Re-polling at 25 polling booths spread over three Lok Sabha seats in Chhattisgarh was carried out largely peacefully Monday, barring incidents of firing by Maoist rebels in two booths in the Bastar constituency, election officials said.

No polling officials or securitymen were injured in the firing by Maoists guerrillas who tried to terrorise the voters in Dantewada district, officials said.

Election officials said that polling was peaceful with an estimated 22.69 percent voters exercising their franchise in the 20 booths in Bastar while 60 percent voting was recorded in four polling stations in Rajnandgaon. A 74.16 percent voting was recorded in one booth in Korba. Polling began at 7 a.m. Monday.

Heavy security arrangements were made, especially in the forested Bastar region where two helicopters kept aerial surveillance on Maoist insurgents.

Polling booths of Bastar seat wore a deserted looks as Maoist rebels had called for a boycott of the parliamentary polls and threatened to chop off the hands of those casting their votes.

The state went to polls for all 11 Lok Sabha seats April 16. The Election Commission ordered re-polling in 25 booths due to disruption of voting by Maoists.

Maoists had killed seven people April 16- five poll officials in a landmine blast in Rajnandgaon district and two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in a gunbattle in Dantewada district of Bastar region.