Saturday, June 20, 2009

5 CRPF ment killed in landmine attack by Naxals in Dantewada

20 Jun 2009, 2234 hrs IST, PTI

RAIPUR: Five CRPF personnel were on Friday killed and 10 injured when the truck in which they were travelling was blown up by Maoists in a landmine
blast in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.

The incident took place late evening at Kokanara village, nearly 375 kilometeres from here, Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) T J Longkumer said.

Ten personnel were injured in the blast. They are being taken to a hospital in Jagdalpur.

The CRPF personnel were returning from patrol duty to Tonagapal from Sukama and had taken lift in the truck when they were ambushed, police said, adding Maoists and security personnel also exchanged fire.

Fresh blue print to tackle Naxalites

20 Jun 2009, 2155 hrs IST, Kapil Dixit, TNN

ALLAHABAD: The increasing threat of Naxalites in Mirzapur, Sonbhadra and other areas has prompted the state police authorities to devise a plan to
impart special training to policemen posted in such places so that they could tackle the situation efficiently.

The state police authorities, after witnessing the growing menace of Naxalites, have selected as many as a dozen senior IPS officials (IG rank), giving them special assignments to chalk out a fresh blue print as far as security status and studying the reasons behind the problem are concerned.

Inspector general (GRP, Allahabad zone), Pramod Kumar Tewari has been given additional assignment of chalking out fresh security plans of Sonbhadra and Mirzapur districts, the two naxalite-infested districts of the state. After camping in these districts, he has chalked out fresh training drill for cops posted there.

Explaining about the programme, Tewari said that apart from training sessions which include arms training and security drills, the policemen would also be taught about lessons related to studying the factors behind increasing Naxalism in these areas.

He added that a team of 30 policemen, including three sub-inspectors, two head-constables and 25 constables, would be given one-month special training at the Reserve Police Line of these districts from the first week of July.

The fact is that policemen, who are posted in naxal affected districts of Mirzapur and Sonbhadra, are not aware about the meaning of naxalism and they should be apprised about the meaning of naxalism and factors which are responsible for forcing the people join such groups.

The police have been asked to stress more on addressing the genuine problems of people and initiate action accordingly. Cops would be imparted training to handle sophisticated weapons from INSAS rifles to LMGs (light machine guns), said Teweri.

It requires time to understand the topography as well as situation prevailing there. As every cop faces similar problem, there is an urgent need to brief each and every policeman properly so that he will be able to tackle the problems or public grievances in a perfect manner, asserts the IG.

Teams of 30 policemen in both districts have been constituted and it would be compulsory for each policemen posted there to attend the training. The training would help policemen to know about the area as well as measures which could help them in order to tackle the problem. Five police station areas of the two districts are worst affected, cops admit.

Security forces reach Lalgarh, partial victory, say police

Saibal Gupta

Lalgarh (WB) Jun 20 (PTI) Security forces today stormed Lalgarh and without much resistance reclaimed the police station under control of Maoists, who had cut off the area in West Midnapore district for eight months.

"It is a partial victory. The hundred per cent operation is yet to be completed. It may take days, even weeks to do this," DIG (Midnapore Range) Praveen Kumar told an impromptu press conference outside the Lalgarh police station.

An anti-landmine vehicle cleared the path for the security personnel who reached the police station to take charge of the building.

Central forces, comprising men from BSF and CRPF, fanned out in the forests for combing operations against the Maoists. The securitymen donning camouflage and bullet-proof vests sanitised the five-km stretch of Jhitka jungle, a Maoist area near here.

AK-47 and Insas rifle-toting securitymen came under intermittent fire from Maoists at the Pingboni-Sarenga road today, Superintendent of Police Burdwan Humayan Kabir said adding two landmines planted on the road were defused.

Lalgarh police station was out of bounds since November last year when tribals under the banner of People's Committee Against Police Atrocities launched a boycott of police to protest raids on their homes following a landmine blast targeting Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee's convoy. PTI

Lalgarh operation: First hand report

20 Jun 2009, 1750 hrs IST, Tamal Sengupta, ET Bureau

PINDRAKHALI: Maoists drew first blood, triggering a landmine blast at Pirakata market around 8.30 pm on Friday evening in which the Domkal
sub-divisional police officer’s (SDPO) jeep was blown off and three police personnel got critically injured. Throughout the day, Maoists and their sympathisers kept the huge security presence in the area guessing about what their next move might be. So successful were they in their plans, that security personnel remained camped at Bhimpur throughout the day with Lalgarh lying just about 10 kms ahead.

Around 10 pm, Maoists blasted a culvert at Pindrakhali, between Pirakata and Bhimpur and the very spot where Team ET along with about 30 media personnel got stranded in a cross-fire earlier in the afternoon. At 10.30 pm, the Maoists were reported to have opened fire with some medium artillery weapons on Lalgarh police station, where a number of policemen have been kept under seige for a few weeks now.

This is supposed to be a crack army type operation. And yet, it was inexplicable why security forces under the command of Praveen Kumar, DIG Midnapore Range, and Manoj Varma, SP, West Midnapore remained glued to Bhimpur, giving Maoists some vital time to recoup. No information was passed on to media, but it was pretty clear that the security field command wasn’t too sure about engaging trained Maoist guerillas with sophisticated weaponry in the 6 kms of dense forest, known locally as Jhikita jungles, that lay between Bhimpur and Lalgarh.

What was even more ironical was the fact that after progressing to Bhimpur from Pirakata on Thursday at a rapid pace, the security forces did not quite think of keeping the stretch they had already traversed, properly sanitised. This turned out to be a monumental blunder, because Maoists and their sympathisers re-grouped at the security forces’ rear and threatened to cut off the line of retreat. It was a very clever move on part of the Maoists, but it perhaps should have been anticipated nonetheless.

What happened therefore was pretty alarming even for the media. Since the road from Pirakata to Bhimpur lay unattended, resistance groups found ample time to dig up the stretch at various points and plant landmines. Hearing about this, a section of forces from Bhimpur rushed back just after noon towards Pirakata to assess the damage, followed by media.

At Pirakhuli and Pindrakhali, they met with a hail of bullets from resistance groups, who lay low among the grass on either side of the road or among the line of trees just beyond, sniping at the security personnel who were on the main road and therefore quite easy targets. The security forces fired back, but largely at an unseen enemy which had the advantage of knowing the terrain so well that they could afford to stay largely out of sight and yet do the damage.

As bullets flew thick and fast, the media team got trapped and were chased by a section of the state police, which suddenly got belligerent and started targetting anyone with a camera. Team ET, along with others of the media, were forced by security forces around 3 pm to sit huddled on the open fields close to Kuldiha Primary School at Pindrakali, some 6 kms from Pirakata.

Taking shelter in the school building was ruled out too since there was no knowing when the next bullet might fly that way. After nearly three tense hours at Pindrakhali, security forces finally evacuated stranded mediamen beyond Pirakata on the way to Midnapore town. No sooner did the media team leave, than the Maoists triggered off the landmine blast.

From wherever he is now, Koteswar Rao alias Kishanji, must be chuckling away to glory. On Thursday, he had the cheek to appear before television camera, careful that his back was turned towards it ; he gave interviews over telephone to whichever media requested it; he threw an open challenge to the advancing security forces, who seemed intent on nabbing him come hell or high water.

He was believed to be at Boropelia beyond Lalgarh till about 1.30 pm on Friday, but had slipped out of the security dragnet comfortably afterwards. Even the state administration at Writers Buildings confessed as much.

Obviously, there is a masterplan and it is assumed that the security forces at Bhimpur are waiting for further reinforcements to arrive before moving in for the kill. Apparently, Operation Lalgarh is being worked out on a pincer plan. Security forces are supposedly moving in from Sarenga, Dahijuri, Jhargram, Gowaltor and along the Midnapore Town-Pirakata-Bhimpur trunk route. The entire area is teeming with security men, although the inexplicable delay at Bhimpur may have given the Maoists some vital time to recoup.

However, a number of things stand out pretty clear. First, the fact that if this huge security bandobast is to nab hardcore Maoists only, then the plan is flawed. The real threat comes from thousands of Maoist sympathisers among ordinary villagers in the Lalgarh area, who have successfully distracted security forces enough on Friday to keep them engaged in several places at the same time.

Many of the dwellings on both sides of the approach to Bhimpur are shut and padlocked from outside. The immediate impression is that the houses are deserted. Even security forces who have tried to storm some of these houses have found nobody inside. The villagers, however, are all there in the vicinity. They materialise out of the blue and disappear into the foliage just as suddenly without leaving a trace. Shooting villagers is a risk that security forces aren’t taking, because that will lead to an even bigger problem. Neither can they afford to ignore them, because that’s where the biggest threat lies.

On Thursday, when Operation Lalgarh had started, security forces had a fairly easy passage upto Bhimpur. It’s here that the prospect of entering the Jhikita jungle stretch daunted them on Friday. While they deliberated on their next forward move, Maoists and their sympathisers created enough noise at the rear to keep them engaged. What has happened therefore, is that security forces at Bhimpur may have now started feeling a bit insecure. The "enemy" is both out at the front and at the back and it includes thousands of ordinary village folk who cannot be killed perhaps for fear of triggering human rights subsequently.

Till the time of going to press, the guns were still booming and security personnel were kept very busy indeed. Reinforcements would be rushed on Saturday morning and it remains to be seen how Day 3 of Operation Lalgarh turns out.

Two security men injured in land mine blast in Lalgarh

June 20th, 2009 - 7:27 pm

Lalgarh (West Bengal), June 20 (IANS) Two security personnel were injured when a land mine planted by Maoist rebels exploded in Goaltor in West Midnapore Saturday - on the third day of the operations launched by the West Bengal government to free this trouble-torn area from leftwing radicals.

“Two personnel got minor injuries in their hands and the gunfight between the security forces and the Maoists is still on in the Goaltor area intermittently,” Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia told IANS.

Sujit Sarkar, director general of police, said: “Maoists must have planted land mines at many places in the region. We are sending reinforcement to the area.”

Using mine-proof vehicles and land mine detectors, security forces marched five km through a forest, considered a Maoist den, to reach the Lalgarh block headquarters Saturday.

A day after their advance was slowed down in the face of stiff resistance from the Maoists, who Friday carried out surprise attacks and engaged the forces in heavy gunbattles besides triggering land mine explosions, the central and state forces treaded with extreme caution as they combed the Jhitka Jungles on way to this area in West Midnapore district.

Two security personnel were injured in a land mine blast in the area Friday.

Lalgarh has been on the boil since last November when a land mine exploded on the route of the convoy of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and then central ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada.

Complaining of police atrocities after the blast, the angry tribals launched an agitation virtually cutting off the area from the rest of the district.

During the last few days, the agitators have torched CPI-M offices, driven away the party’s supporters and forced the police to leave, thereby establishing a virtual free zone.

Maoists are active in three western districts of the state - West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia. They also backed the Trinamool-sponsored movement against the state government’s bid to establish a chemical hub at Nandigram in East Midnapore district.

Paramilitary trooper dies in Lalgarh of heat stroke

Lalgarh (West Bengal) (IANS) A paramilitary trooper, participating in the security operation launched to flush out Maoist rebels from this trouble-torn zone, died of heat stroke on Saturday, a police official said here.

"The (Central Reserve Police Force) CRPF jawan died due to heat stroke apparently after falling sick in the Jhitka jungles," Inspector General of state police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia told IANS in Kolkata.

The trooper's body was brought to Midnapore for post-mortem examination.

This is the first death among security forces after they started marching through the forest, considered a Maoist den, to reach the Lalgarh block headquarters.

Saturday is the third day of the ongoing operations.

Maoists Supporters Hijack Bus for not Plying on Route

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Report by Deba Prasad Dash; Malkangiri: More than hundred Maoist sympathizers from Bhejangwada, Chintalwada and Gompakunda Gram panchyats under Kalimela Block today at about 8.00 am forcibly stopped a private owned bus at M.V-66 near Gompakunda some 20 km from here and asked the passengers to get down.

Later,the irate sympathizers boarded the bus and forced the driver to take it to Bhejangwada some 8 km from Kalimela police limits for not plying up to Bhejangwada though permit has been granted by the Transport Department to run between Jeypore & Bhejangwada.Instead, the bus was plying up to Kalimela only violating the permit.On contact,the Superintendent of Police Satyabrata Bhoi confirmed the incident and informed that the bus was at Bhejangwada after the incident.

The irate villagers were reportedly held the driver and other staff as hostages and demanded the Jeypore based owner to come to Bhejangwada for a dialogue to meet their demand for plying the bus up to Bhejangwada.According to reports,the irate villagers earlier moved from the pillar to post to put forth their grievance, but to no effect.

The Maoists also earlier asked the bus staff to ply up to Bhejangwada. We were facing a lot of difficulties as the bus was not plying on the route since long despite our best efforts,said a resident of Bhejangwada to this website.

Maoists hijack bus in Orissa, let off passengers
Malkangiri, Orissa (PTI): Armed Maoists hijacked a bus, but let off the passengers before driving it away in Orissa's Malkangiri district on Saturday.

A group of 20 Maoists, demanding reintroduction of bus services to remote Bejingwada area, stopped the private bus near Gamphakunda Chowk , about 35 km from here, District Superintendent of Police Satyarat Bhoi said.

They asked the passengers to alight and drove away with the bus to Bejingwada, taking with them the driver and the staff, he said.

Earlier, there were two buses to Bejingwada, but the owners stopped running them in view of the Maoist menace in the area.

The bus owner was "summoned" by the Maoists at Bejingwada, he said.

The bus was going from from Motu to Nunduli in Babarangpur district via Malkangiri.

Naxal leader denounces use of human shields in Lalgarh

Siliguri (PTI) A veteran Naxal leader on Saturday denounced the Maoist strategy of fielding women and children as human shields against advancing security forces at Lalgarh in West Midnapore.

"Using women and children as human shields is not a Maoist strategy. Those who are doing it have no knowledge of Maoist strategy," Kanu Sanyal, a founder of the naxalite movement, told PTI.

He also said the use of security forces to flush out "so called Maoists" from Lalgarh was also not the ultimate solution of problems there.

"The people there had lost faith on the Left Front government in West Bengal. It did nothing for them in the last 32 years of its rule," Mr. Sanyal charged.

He asked Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to hold talks with the agitators, "who should put forward a proper agenda for discussion".

Lalgarh is not a Communist Movement: Kanu Sanyal

With heavily armed state forces marching fast to end Maoist dominance at Lalgarh, a major bloodshed could be in the offing in the tribal hinterland. In an exclusive interview with Bappaditya Paul, founder of the Naxalbari uprising, Kanu Sanyal, expresses his views on the Lalgarh turmoil


Q Do you support the Lalgarh agitation spearheaded by the People's Committee?

A No, we don't. Because the Lalgarh agitation is strictly an ethnic insurrection by the Adivasi community and it is not inclusive of other communities living in there. It is easy to name an organisation as “People’s Committee” but that does not necessary mean it represents all people cutting across the various communities.

Q Given that the Maoists are actively participating in the Lalgarh agitation, do you consider this a Communist struggle?

A I just told you that Lalgarh agitation is confined within the Adivasi community alone. How can an ethic uprising be termed a Communist struggle? Lalgarh is certainly not a Communist uprising. The Maoists are only exploiting the situation by using the Adivasis as stooges to carry forward their agenda of individual terrorism.

Q Activists of the People's Committee are now taking to arms to resist the police and paramilitary foray into Lalgarh. Do you think they are doing the right thing?

A See, the Adivasis hardly have access to sophisticated arms. Whatever arms they might be equipped with now, have been supplied selectively by the Maoists. But the handful of arms and ammunitions can barely resist the march of the state forces. The resistance will be crushed in no time.

Q How do you weigh the Centre and the state's role on the Lalgarh turmoil?

A No one is wiling to take charge of the situation. Rather both the state and the Centre are trying to pass the buck on each other.
The CPI-M-led state government allowed the Lalgarh crisis to escalate by not addressing the genuine grievances of the Adivasis on time.
And now the Congress and Trinamul are on the look out to exploit the situation to dislodge the Left Front from power either immediately or in the 2011 Assembly election in the state.

Q What would be your suggestion to end the siege at Lalgarh?

~ Both the People's Committee and the state government must instantly launch an unconditional dialogue.
The People's Committee should place their demands in clear words and the state will have to address them earnestly.

Q Should they keep the Maoists out of the process?

A It's for the local people to decide.

Q Would you support a ban on the CPI (Maoist) in West Bengal?

A State suppression can never be the answer for tackling any sort of terrorism. You ban one outfit today and another would crop up tomorrow.
Thus, the need is to alienate them by going close to the poor people and address their grievances fast.

Police enter Lalgarh after 7 months

West Bengal may consider merits of banning Maoists
Hardnews Bureau

The security forces finally entered Lalgarh town, in West Midnapore district of West Bengal, on Saturday morning. Since November, Lalgarh was out of bounds for the police and the administration.

On Saturday, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee also met Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in Delhi to discuss situation at Lalgarh. He also met the prime minister. Speaking to the media after the meetings, Bhattacharjee said, "The home minister has advised us to ban the Maoists, as it has been done in states like Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. We will consider it and give it a serious thought." Declining to comment on whether Maoists were running a parallel government in Lalgarh, he added, "I have no answer to this."

The virtual takeover of Lalgarh town, 150 kilometres from the state capital Kolkata, by the Maoists and strong criticism of the alleged "inaction" of the ruling state government is being considered one of the strongest reasons behind this decision, Hardnews learnt.

On Saturday, state home secretary, Ardhendu Sen and director-general coordination, Bhupinder Singh reached Lalgarh. According to Sen, Kishenji has already fled Lalgarh.

Meanwhile, three days after the state police and Central paramilitary forces launched joint operations at Lalgarh, the Communist Party of India (Maoists) offered to talk to the government. In an interview to a Bengali television channel, top Maoist leader Koteshwar Rao alias Kishenji also asked West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to come to a designated place at Lalgarh for talks. He also invited intellectuals to come to Pirakata and assured that the Maoists would offer them protection. Kishenji appealed to the state government to stop the security operations. "Don't get waylaid by the Central government's provocation," he said in the interview.

Meanwhile, a combined force of CRPF, BSF, state armed police, Eastern Frontier Rifles and the Kolkata Police crossed the Maoists stronghold of Jhitka jungle and entered Lalgarh without a single casualty.

The forces resorted to retaliatory firing when bullets came flying from dense jungles allegedly fired at by Maoists. Despite moving in armoured, anti-landmine vehicles, the security forces were slow in approaching the area because of roadblocks and surprise attacks by the rebels. Also, landmines planted by the Maoists in large stretches slowed down the security forces. They resorted to tear gas and baton charges to disperse the rebels and reclaim areas.

The state government is trying to use the situation to reach out to the people in Lalgarh. Alongside the police action against armed Maoists, the government has organised relief operations for villagers who have had to flee their homes and taken shelter in village schools in the current situation. The chief minister instructed officials to take special care for the relief of the affected villagers.

The state government is sending 500 metric tonne rice and other relief materials worth Rs 10 lakh. Earlier, the state government had airdropped pamphlets across Lalgarh appealing to people to stay away from Maoists and not to resort to violence of any kind.

Now, even though the Maoists are offering to talk, it's unlikely that the state government will stop operations and accept the offer, Hardnews learnt. Halting operations will only enable to Maoists to regroup and strike again with renewed vigour. Also, this is a tactic of guerrilla warfare waged by Maoists - one step forward and two steps backward.

But, the state government is open to talks with the common people to address their grievances, Sen said.

Suspend operations and hold talks: Maoist leader

Kolkata (PTI): Maoist leader Koteswar Rao on Saturday said the West Bengal overnment should stop the police operation in Lalgarh and hold talks with the people to find a solution to their problems.

"If the Left Front government wants to have discussion with the people of Lalgarh, the operation by the police and security forces against them should end by this afternoon," Rao, a member of the CPI(Maoist), told a TV channel.

"Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee should come to Dalilpur Chak (a place near Lalgarh) and talk to the people.Many of the demands can be met through discussion," Rao, also known as Kishenji, said.

Referring to the ongoing joint operation by the State police and the paramilitary forces, he advised the Left Front government "not to dance to the tune of the Prime Minister or the Union Home Minister".

"If the CPI(M)-led government does not want any bloodshed, it should take a stand on its own," Kishenji said.

Though there was speculation that Kishenji had left for Jharkhand, he claimed that he was present in Lalgarh.

Kishenji said that Friday night's landmine blast at Pirakata bazar was triggered after the people in many villages sent him messages advising that they should not wait any further and strike at the forces.

Asked how the Maoists would resist the security forces, he replied, "I cannot say right now."

The Peoples' Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) had made several demands which needed to be looked into, he said, underlining that they should not be rigid on the demand that the police would have to apologise for "atrocities against the people".

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Rule of law will be established in Lalgarh, says police official

June 20th, 2009 - 5:16 pm

Lalgarh (West Bengal), June 20 (IANS) High on confidence after steam-rolling the Maoist resistance to reach Lalgarh, security forces Saturday threw a challenge to the leftwing rebels in West Bengal saying “We have surprises in store for them”.
Soon after establishing a base camp at the Lalgarh police station, on the third day of their operation to flush out the radicals, Deputy Inspector General (Midnapore range) of state police Praveen Kumar said the security forces would establish the rule of law in the entire troubled area.

The Maoists and the tribal body People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) have declared Lalgarh as a “liberated” zone and the police had kept themselves locked from inside for the last few months fearing their own security,

Kumar said the Maoists as well as the PCAPA leaders against whom there were cases would be arrested.

“Reaching Lalgarh is one part of the story. The remaining part has to be completed now. We now have a tactical advantage and that should not be lost. Our main objective is to see to it that the authority of the constitution, the state is restored by establishing the rule of law,” Kumar told a media conference at the Lalgarh police station.

Thanking the central forces for their tactical help in achieving the primary target of reaching Lalgarh, 200 km from Kolkata, he said: “Our forces launched a 36-hour non-stop operation. They have even been sleeping on the road.”

The state and central forces, comprising the Central Reserve Police Force and the Border Security Force, launched Thursday the operation to flush out Maoists, who had established a virtual free zone in the area by torching police camps and setting afire and ransacking party offices of the state’s ruling Communists.

Kumar warned the Maoists that the forces would pay them back in the same manner if they were fired upon and the rebels would be put behind bars.

“If they fire on police, then if they have to be neutralised, we have to fire back… The central and state forces know the tactics of the guerrillas. There can be surprises, but we also have surprises for them,” the tough-talking police officer said.

Kumar said they have got help from the locals and many political parties who said they were so far supporting the PCAPA and Maoists out of fear.

On why it took the forces three days to reach Lalgarh, around 39 km from district headquarters Midnapore Town and about 20 km from the force’s starting point Pirakata, Kumar said: “It was a tactical decision”.

The security forces will now re-establish the administrative machinery in the villages, but ensure that lives of common people were not lost. “We would never like to attack anybody other than the Maoists. But when there are human shields against us, then some things happen on the spur of the moment. But we will show restraint as far as common people are concerned.”

On the landmine blast Friday in which two policemen were injured and the exchange of fire with the Maoists who attacked from the rear, Kumar said: “Our effort is whenever we have a forward position, we ensure a back supply. Yesterday’s thing will be looked into.”

He said the operation could take time as the security forces have to ensure that common people did not become victims.

The forces have visited roadside villages, where they found people, including the elderly and women, too afraid to talk. “We will instil in them confidence as their friends. We have to establish rapport with them.”

Maoist strategy: Shoot & scoot

20 Jun 2009, 0240 hrs IST, Nirmalya Banerjee, TNN

KOLKATA: Writing for a national daily last April, Lieutenant General A S Kalkat, commander of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka, explained
why LTTE had lost. According to him, LTTE committed the mistake of forgetting that it was basically a guerrilla force and tried to take on a regular army in a conventional war.

If the Maoists in Lalgarh, therefore, decide to scoot without offering a full-fledged fight to the combined force of paramilitary forces and state police, it may be sound guerrilla strategy, which even Mao Zedong himself could have endorsed, say analysts. For, if they decide to stand and resist the entry of the forces to Lalgarh, they will be outgunned and outnumbered. At best, they can delay the forces by planting improvized explosive devices and loosing off a few shots as they did on Friday to cover their retreat.

In fact, according to these observers, much of the success of the operation would depend on how many Maoists the security forces manage to "neutralize" rather than how much area they manage to "capture."

In his military writings, though written in the context of a much bigger canvas of resistance against Japan and also in a different time, Mao had described as "desperate recklessness" the strategy of "only advance, never retreat." According to him, one of the objects of war is also "self-preservation". Mao had also pointed out that for a guerrilla force, it was easier to fight a numerically superior force in a mountainous area than in a plains area, which Lalgarh is. In fact, in the entire Maoist-dominated area in Midnapore West, Purulia and Bankura, there are at best hills and jungle terrain.

Whether the Maoists would be able to recover the ground they are set to lose, or whether the law enforcing agencies are able to establish the supremacy of the government, depends on who finally wins the sympathy of villagers.

According to a source in Belpahari, the Maoists had already lost some of the public sympathy they had earlier enjoyed because some of them had started "tax collection" from the villagers. Because of this, the resistance movement of People's Committee against Police Atrocities against the police onslaught may not be as determined as feared earlier. Maoists would also have to identify themselves with the tribals living in the area, and their problems.

So far, the rallying point in Lalgarh has just been the issue of resistance against "excesses committed by police".

On the other hand, merely occupying the area by a show of strength without addressing the basic issues of poverty and deprivation faced by the tribals will not solve the problem for the government, say observers. It is not possible for the paramilitary forces to continue area dominance indefinitely. As soon as there is a semblance of normality, the administration needs to reach out to villagers with a patient ear and generous heart.

If people remain aggrieved, the Maoists will have their chance once again when vigil relaxes. The government has admitted on occasions, even on the floor of the Assembly, that the Maoist trouble is the consequence of socio-economic problems faced by tribals of the area. With police atrocities being an issue, how the police force now entering the area conduct themselves would also have a bearing on the future course of events.

Indian police take back eastern town from Maoists

Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:27am
By Sujoy Dhar

KOLKATA, June 20 (Reuters) - Indian police on Saturday said they had regained control of a West Bengal town captured by Maoist rebels in one of the most brazen attacks in recent years that sparked unease among investors in the communist-ruled state.

Marching behind an anti-landmine vehicle, hundreds of police in flak jackets and combat gear entered the town of Lalgarh, about 170 km (100 miles) from Kolkata, capital of the eastern state.

"Our forces have reached Lalgarh town without any resistance. We are on the move to clear the entire region of rebels," Raj Kanojia, the state's inspector general of police, told Reuters. The police would now launch a second assault on the Maoists, who are believed to have set up camps 4 km from the town. "We will complete our job and establish rule of law so that people can live without fear," Praveen Kumar, a police official in charge of the operation, told reporters on Saturday.

In the past week, hundreds of Maoists, who are expanding their influence across the country, had chased away police and killed government supporters from around Lalgarh, which they declared a "liberated zone".

India's JSW Steel Ltd (JSTL.BO), the country's third largest steel producer, is setting up a $7 billion, 10-million tonne steel plant near Lalgarh, and the growing presence of Maoists across swathes of rural India has worried many investors. "It is a bad sign for industry ... the government must find a long-term solution," said Harsh Neotia, chairman of Kolkata-based Ambuja Realty.


Earlier in the week, police used teargas and fired rubber bullets to break through "human walls" of Maoist-backed villagers armed with bows and arrows, and engaged in fierce gun battles.

Besides injuring a policeman in a landmine blast on Friday, the rebels have killed at least 10 members of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist this month in the region.

State Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Saturday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram in New Delhi to seek more help in cracking down on the rebels.

"The state police and central police have jointly started a campaign against the Maoists. It will take some time to get rid of the Maoist menace, but we are determined," Bhattacharjee said. India is battling Maoists across eastern, central and southern India, an insurgency Singh has described as the biggest internal security challenge since independence.

For a Q&A on the threat posed by Maoist rebels in India see [ID:nDEL189848] (Additional reporting by Jayanta Shaw; Writing by Rina Chandran; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Security forces reach Lalgarh police station

Pirakata (PTI): Pushing deeper into besieged Lalgarh, security forces on Saturday reached the police station in the area, which was cut off by Maoists for months.

An anti-landmine vehicle cleared the path for the security personnel who reached the police station without much resistance to take charge of the building, which was locked from inside.

Central forces, comprising men from BSF and CRPF, fanned out in the forests for combing operations against the Maoists.

The securitymen in camouflage and bullet-proof vests sanitised the five-km stretch of Jhitka jungle, a Maoist area near Lalgarh in West Midnapore district.

Lalgarh police station was out of bounds since November last year when tribals under the banner of People's Committee Against Police Atrocities launched a boycott of police to protest raids on their homes following a landmine blast targeting Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee's convoy.

AK-47 and Insas rifle-toting securitymen came under intermittent fire from Maoists at the Pingboni-Sarenga road today, Superintendent of Police Burdwan Humayan Kabir said.

Two landmines planted on the road were defused, he said.

A bridge over a shallow river was blown up earlier by Maoists creating a temporary obstacle. However, the personnel could cross the stream on foot.

Related stories:

Police, paramilitary forces sanitize key Maoist corridor

20 Jun 2009, 0243 hrs IST, Jayanta Gupta & Falguni Banerjee, TNN

SARENGA (BANKURA): Police and paramilitary forces on Friday sanitized a key Maoist corridor along the strategic tri-junction linking West Midnapore,
Purulia and Bankura near the Bengal-Jharkhand border but it came a day late. Intelligence inputs say Maoist strategist Koteswar Rao alias Kishanji and some top rung leaders may have used this route to cross over to Jharkhand on Thursday.

The march to recapture the liberated' zone began from Sarenga a forested area between Goaltore and Ranibandh, 12-13 km from Ramgarh at 2 in the afternoon with Bankura additional SP Shish Ram Jhajharia and subdivisional police officer Anoop Jaiswal leading a force of 200 CRPF, Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) and state police personnel towards the West Midnapore border.

The road that leads to Lalgarh is diagonally opposite the one from Pirakata, along which another contingent is moving towards Lalgarh. Domination over, this tribal territory is viewed as vital to the mission.

"We intend to clear the entire stretch in Bankura up to the West Midnapore border and have complete area domination so that the forces can move directly to Ramgarh and then into Lalgarh if required," a police officer said. The contingent marched 6 km through villages that police had not been able to access ever since the Maoist-backed people's resistance against cops began nearly eight months ago.

Cooped in police camps for months and demoralized by the people's boycott, the go-ahead to launch Operation Lalgarh has visibly enthused police personnel. The force was well prepared to face resistance, carrying automatic rifles and mortars.

A PWD team was also in place to clear tree trunks from roads. The logs were loaded on a truck so that they could not be reused to block the roads again. The message from the advancing team was clear: we mean business.

The advancing forces encountered road blocks at several points, including Parulia and Tadiha-Gargaria. But nowhere did they face the sea of human resistance that the other party from Pirakata faced on Thursday. As the force approached the district border, the frequency of blockades increased. The force searched passing vehicles and often surrounded suspected Maoist hideouts.

In a show of strength, police personnel also stopped at several villages and dared those who had opposed their entry into the zone for months to step ahead for a confrontation. Again, the challenges were met with silence.

At Bamundiha, police called locals to a ground where People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) leader Chhatradhar Mahato was to hold a rally later in the day. In front of the villagers, police demolished the stage.

The message delivered, police continued on till they reached Kargil More. Here, they encountered a different kind of hurdle. A culvert had been partly demolished to prevent vehicles from crossing over. Ramgarh the heart of the Maoist resistance zone is just 5 km from Kargil More. With dusk approaching fast, Jhajharia decided to call it a day and return to the camp at Sarenga. The foot march had taken close to three hours. The return trek would be slightly less.

The decision to move on foot was deliberate. It was a safeguard against improvised explosive devices that Maoists could have planted along the road. The move was also directed to have an impact on the locals. "Police and paramilitary personnel marching through villages carries more weight than forces driving past in vehicles," a police officer explained.

The march to Kargil More and back, while being termed a success, also exposed the lack of fitness among state police personnel who had been confined in camps for months. Several times during the journey, policemen had a tough time keeping pace with CRPF and EFR jawans. Panting and out of breath, the pot-bellied cops had to request the advance troops to slow down so that they could join them.

"Don't worry, if this march continues for a week, they will all be back in shape," a CRPF officer remarked.

LeT member motivated, hired Maoists

20 Jun 2009, 0642 hrs IST, Rahul Tripathi & Smriti Singh , TNN

NEW DELHI: Key Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operative Mohammad Umer Madani reportedly motivated and recruited Maoist fighters from Jharkhand and Bihar.
Madani, who was arrested on June 4, disclosed this to the police during his 14-day remand. He was produced in court on Friday, following which his remand was extended by another week.

Madani revealed names of several Maoist leaders he was in regular touch with. On his current visit to India, Madani was scheduled to meet them in Bihar and Jharkhand. "He had been instructed by his bosses at LeT to recruit Maoists and forge a relationship with them with the help of money and firearms. It seems that LeT wanted to exploit the areas which are under the control of Maoists to smuggle arms and explosives," said a senior police officer.

Sources said Madani also planned to train those recruited from other parts of India in Maoist strongholds before sending them to Pakistan for further training. "We need to catch his contacts who will shed more light on the talks that Madani had with them," added the officer. Madani was produced before duty metropolitan magistrate Manish Yaduvanshi.

"Along with LeT, Madani was also supposed to recruit Maoists in Jharkhand. He acted as conduit for LeT and provided training to recruits in POK and sent them to India to carry out terror strikes," said Rajiv Mohan, the public prosecutor, while seeking Madani's remand.

Meanwhile, the police added that they would take Madani to Jharkhand and other places in Bihar to trace the entire network. "We are also in the process of verifying his visits to other countries to find out the source of money he accumulated," said a police officer.

Madani, who had established a base in Nepal, was wanted in India for quite some time as his name was revealed with the arrest of three associates in 2002.

Madani was carrying foreign currency including USD 8,000 which he had received from Italy to carry out terror activities in the country at the time of his arrest. Meanwhile, the police also received the details of his two accounts at Himalayan Bank and Everest Bank in Nepal and learnt that there had been several transactions over past few months, amounting to more than Rs 25 lakh

Delhi asks West Bengal Govt to ban Maoist Naxalites

Published by editor India Jun 20, 2009 By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

New Delhi, 20 June, ( As the Marxist communist government in West Bengal is battling the Maoist menace in Lalgarh, which is less than 200 kms from state capital, Kolkata, the Manmohan Singh government in Delhi asked for a Bengal ban on the Left wing extremists.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting, the Federal Minister for the Interior, Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters that he endorsed the appeal of the chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee for negotiations with the Left Wing extremists and the local tribals. ‘I endorse that appeal. If they wish to talk, they should come forward to do so. We will be happy to facilitate the talks’.

About the anti Maoist operation, Chidambaram said, ‘the operation is going according to plans but they (police and paramilitary) must be prepared for the unexpected. Progress will be slow… An operation of this kind will take some time. In fact, it will take considerably more time than was anticipated ….I sincerely hope that with the kind of action we have advised, the operation will be successful’.

He indicated that the security forces could expand their operations to adjoining districts of Bankura and Purulia.

The Minister denied the Marxist charge of Congress –Trinamul nexus with the Maoists.

‘I think it is completely unjustified and unwarranted to insinuate that CPI-Maoists was being supported by Congress and Trinamul’.

The Federal Minister skirted the question whether it was a war-like situation in Lalgarh, saying ‘Government does not go to war with is own people. There they may have grievances. But there is a way to resolve the grievances in a democracy’. He asserted that the operation in Lalgarh was aimed at establishing civil administration in the area. He made it clear that the operation was not aimed at local tribals but at the Naxals who have been dominating the area. Any grievances the local people had, would have to be resolved by the state government. But the militant organization cannot be allowed to capitalize on the accumulated grievances.

No Army Development

Defence Minister A K Antony has ruled out the possibility of sending armed forces to fight Maoists at Lalgarh area in West Bengal.

‘Armed forces can give only logistic support (to the local police). There is no idea to directly involve armed forces to fight Maoists’, Antony told reporters on the sideline of an Army function in New Delhi on Friday.

Terming the Maoist violence as a matter of serious concern, he expressed confidence that the state police and paramilitary forces would be able to meet the challenge.

- Asian Tribune -

Six Naxalites arrested in Bihar

Sasaram (Bihar), June 19: Six members of proscribed CPI (Maoist) outfit were today arrested in Rohtas district.

Acting on a tip-off that some Naxalites were hiding in a house in New area locality of Sasaram town in the district, a police team cordoned the area and arrested the extremists, SP Vikash Vaibhav said.

The arrested six had earlier demanded 'levy' from a tendu leaf contractor in the district.

Bureau Report

Police officer suspended for Koraput Maoist attack

Kalinga Times Correspondent

Bhubaneswar, June 19: Odisha government on Friday ordered suspension of a senior police officer for dereliction of duty with the regard to Thursday's incident in which nine police personnel were killed in a landmine blast triggered by the Maoist in Koraput district.

“Sub-Divisional Police Officer of Laxmipur has been placed under suspension for having disobeyed standing instructions to be followed while carrying out anti-naxalite operations,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik informed the state Assembly.

While making a statement on the landmine blast incident, Patnaik said that the Deputy Inspector General of Police of South Eastern Range was directed to submit a detailed report on the killing of the policemen within a week.

Patnaik made a statement on the issue in the Assembly after his return from Koraput where he reviewed the situation in the aftermath of the Maoist attack.

Intensive combing operations and follow up action was underway in the area by the Central Reserve Police Force and the State police, he said.

The government had come under attack on the second consecutive day in the Assembly with the opposition parties – Congress and BJP – blaming it for the frequent Maoist attack in the state in the recent weeks.

The nine police personnel who were killed in the Thursday's landmine blast at Palur near Narayanpatna in Koraput district include an Assistant driver of the State police and eight men of the Odisha Special Striking Force, who were all ex-servicemen from different parts of the country.

State seals Bengal border


Jamshedpur, June 19: Jharkhand sealed areas bordering Bengal in the Ghatshila sub-division since late last night and set up a floating force of 100 commandos to prevent movement of rebels across Chakulia and Dhalbhumgarh after security forces launched an operation against Maoists holding siege to Lalgarh in West Midnapore district of Bengal.

Till now, the administration in Jharkhand, known to be a training ground for Maoists, has been keeping a close watch on the events unfolding in Lalgarh and had sounded an alert along its borders with Bengal on Wednesday after deputy inspector-general of police (Kolhan) M. K. Mishra held a meeting with the SPs of three adjoining districts of East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan.

The decision to seal the borders in the Ghatshila sub-division was taken last night in consultations with the state police headquarters in Ranchi after the Bengal government ordered 300 CRPF men and 100 riot policemen to begin their long march to Lalgarh.

State police spokesman S.N. Pradhan said Jharkhand was in touch with senior officials of the Bengal government, including the DGP. “We are not ruling out infiltration of Maoists from Lalgarh. But I expect the rebels to move out to other parts of Bengal since the CPI(Maoist) isn’t a banned organisation in the state,” Pradhan said.

“Only those with connections in Jharkhand will cross over here,” he added.

East Singhbhum SP Naveen Kumar Singh said they were in touch with West Midnapore police to stay updated on Lalgarh. “Soon after the operations were launched yesterday in Lalgarh, we sealed the borders and beefed up security to prevent influx of rebels,” he said.

Singh said all entry and exit points in the Ghatshila areas bordering Bengal had been sealed (see map).

The floating force, comprising commandos with training in anti-insurgency operations, had begun patrolling the border areas of Ghatshila, Dhalbhumgarh and Chakulia — the nearest from Lalgarh at 55km.

“Apart from the usual entry points to Jharkhand from the Naxalite-infested West Midnapore and Purulia districts, there are a few other areas from where rebels could cross over,” Singh said.

The floating force, which is under the command of the SP, would remain in the border areas until the operations in Bengal were over. “The force will otherwise patrol the areas and keep in touch with intelligence officials in both states,” he said.

Now that the security apparatus was in place, the state would concentrate on gathering intelligence from Bengal about the movement of Maoists. “As the Maoists are trained in guerrilla warfare, we will have to bank more on the intelligence inputs than the deployment of forces along the border,” Singh said.

With inputs from our Ranchi bureau

Regained, lost, regained… Forces caught in repeat battles


People with bows and arrows run to block state police in Goaltore, from where a road leads to Lalgarh, on Friday. The police are trying to open another flank at Goaltore which lies to the north of Pirakata from where the first wave of security forces launched the operation on Thursday. Picture by Sanat Kumar Sinha
Malida (West Midnapore), June 19: A light machine gun is mounted on a tripod and the soldier from the Border Security Force takes position behind it as his section of 30 men creeps across the fallow farmland on the road to Lalgarh here this afternoon.

Cries ululate in a chorus across the field. Through the sights of the machine gun, are hundreds of villagers — too numerous and too far away to be counted. The cries rise and fall as the crowd comes closer and then retreats as the soldiers advance.

The battle of Malida will be fought before the road to Lalgarh is taken.

This was the road taken by the security forces last afternoon as they marched, lathi-charged and tear-gassed their way to Bhimpur, about 5km from here. The first barricade — the “human shield” as the government said of the Maoists — was put up here. It was no match for the might of the state forces.

But in 24 hours, Malida has struck back. The road to Bhimpur, where the security forces are setting up a major staging post for the mission, has been cut again. Rocks have been placed on the road. It is three hours since the road was barricaded and the battle started.

On the road this side of the barricade towards Pirakata are two companies of the Border Security Force, inducted from Murshidabad, Alpha Company of the Central Reserve Police Force’s 50th battalion inducted from Sindri, a busload of India Reserve police, three carloads of Calcutta’s Police Rapid Action Force, two busloads of West Bengal Armed Police and about 15 utility vehicles carrying the officers of each of the forces.

They carry Insas rifles, carbines, RPG7 shoulder-firing rockets, light machine guns. They are reinforcements heading to Bhimpur to relieve or to add muscle to the offensive that began yesterday.

They were told the road was clear, that it was secured. This is the route that all supplies and reinforcements, all rolling stock to the Bhimpur staging post will take. Yet, in less than 24 hours, the security forces have lost control over it.

They regained it after sundown. But to secure it, the government will have to press in more forces, conduct road-opening parties, and sanitise the fields to the north and south of the road that runs east to west.

Each of these tasks will take up more troops and more time. The reinforcements — the contingent that was stuck between Pirakata and Malida this afternoon — were not expecting to do battle so soon.

If the battle at Malida today is an indication of the nature of the operations in Lalgarh, Bengal could be staring at a long hard period of insurgency and counter-insurgency missions here.

Central forces run the risk of being converted into armies of occupation for indefinite periods of time if they get bogged down. Bengal already had 11 companies of CRPF in parts of Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore for well over three years. Lalgarh could turn out to be an extension of the militarised zone in Bengal unless dramatic and surprising action gives the offensive a different direction.

Multiple approaches by the security forces — from the Bankura side and also from west of Lalgarh — may open such an opportunity.

But on day two, there is a slowdown and a re-emergence of an opposition in Malida where the security forces thought there was none.

“We were going to our location,” said a BSF trooper — he did not want to be identified. He is not sure if his location will be Bhimpur. “We were in Kharagpur and were told to proceed along this road and the Bengal police is to tell us where we have to set up camp”.

He points to two trucks loaded with BSF paraphernalia — camp cots, bedding rolls, tarpaulin, tents, ammunition boxes. But now he is here, waiting for his section of 30 men drawn from the two companies in this contingent. The companies have drawn troops from at least three battalions — 105, 90 and 191. The section is fanning out now.

Brigadier Ponwar, the director of the Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare School in Kanker, Chhattisgarh, that trains state forces in counter-Naxalite operations, says the BSF is “probably the most disciplined of the paramilitary forces”. This is not the BSF’s task.

The troops that are here are supposed to be on guard on the Bangladesh border in Malda-Murshidabad but Bengal is finding new borders being drawn inland.

The BSF men in the fields going after the villagers — there really cannot be that many Maoists though the police gathered on the road here insist they all are — are fanning out now. The villagers are gathered in groups in a clump of trees and bush.

From the road, they can be discerned only because they are in a crowd and then they let out the ululating cries.

The villagers are not within firing range of the BSF troopers. The advance party has gone about 1,000 yards into the field. The villagers are at least 2,500 yards away. “This afternoon some five or six shots rang out,” says the BSF soldier on the road watching, his colleagues along with the rest of the party that is heading towards Bhimpur but is now stalled.

“And then the police leading us (the convoy) came and told us there is a barricade. We would have been in the camp by now,” he says.

Brigadier Ponwar says the security forces should lay such a siege of Lalgarh that no Maoist who is inside can come out and no “undesirable element” can get in.

As of this moment, when the sun is about to set on the second day after the operations in Lalgarh were launched, a contingent of heavily armed police and paramilitary cannot get into Bhimpur. The barricade here means that those in Bhimpur where the staging post is being set up cannot come out till it is cleared.

The BSF advance party creeps about 10 paces and then the men lie down on the field. In the distance the villagers retreat, vanish and suddenly they are there again in sight, several hundred heads bobbing above the brush. A loud explosion breaks the stalemate and the villagers flee.

A friendly BSF soldier on the road sniggers. “That’s a smoke bomb to scare them away,” he says.

There is no tear gas being fired here. Up ahead constables of Bengal police are still trying to clear the road of stones and rocks that were piled up. The road vanishes into a forest turning darker by the minute as the sun sets. The cries ululate again.

Where violence is ‘normal’

Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay
Posted online: Saturday , Jun 20, 2009 at 0330 hrs

Kolkata : In the 1970s the walls of various buildings of Kolkata and the districts were dotted with graffiti of a paraphrased quote from Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung: “Gram diye sahar ghero, Paschim Bange muktanchal tairi koro (surround the cities with villages, liberate West Bengal from bourgeois rule).”
Almost 40 years after the Naxalites dreamt of a “liberated zone” in West Bengal, it came true in Lalgarh in West Midnapore, where the village remained inaccessible to the police and the administration since November last year.

And as the Naxalites amassed arms and ammunition in that area, began killing CPI(M) leaders and demolishing their houses, the state Government had no other option but to swing into action and launch an operation to flush out Maoists from that area. But this is not the first time political violence has rocked the state.

The first United Front Government came to power in 1967 riding piggyback on the food movement that saw more than 100 people losing their lives because of police firing and lathicharge. And the decade between 1967 and 1977, the year the Left Front government came to power, saw one of the most choppy times in state politics, with instability in the government and a raging Naxalite movement that claimed the lives of hundreds of people. Ironically, the Left Front government promised peace and development and one of the first actions that the government led by Jyoti Basu took was to release all political prisoners, including a large number of Naxalites.

But with the Congress getting weakened, the CPI(M) started suppressing all opposition and the first manifestation of the Marxists crushing any sign of dissent was evident on April 30, 1982, when 17 monks of the Ananda Marg were burnt to death by goons, allegedly CPI(M) activists. Interestingly no case has been filed and no arrest has been made in connection with the gruesome killings.

In the ’80s, a movement that saw a lot of bloodshed was the 1986-87 movement in Darjeeling for a separate state of Gorkhaland, which was spearheaded by the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) led by Subhas Ghishing. The resulting violence that set the hills on fire claimed about 300 lives. It was at the initiative of the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi that a tripartite agreement was signed between the state government, the GNLF and the Central government, culminating in the formation of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.

Another violent incident that marred the image of the state government was the police firing on a Youth Congress rally led by then Youth Congress president Mamata Banerjee on July 21, 1993, that led to the killing of 13 people. Both the Congress and the Trinamool observe martyrs’ day on July 21 every year.

In fact, according to state Home Department figures, police firing took place 2,747 times between 1978 and 1993 and claimed the lives of 1,021 people.

Between 1998 and 2002, Keshpur, Garbeta and Kotulpur area of West Midnapore saw clashes between the CPI(M) and the Trinamool Congress. The conflict first started after Trinamool Congress candidate Bikram Sarker won the by-election from Panskura parliamentary seat in 2000 defeating CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta. Spanning over four years, the clashes were actually triggered by the efforts of both the parties to take control of the area. Several deaths took place and ultimately, after the assembly elections of 2001 in which CPI(M) candidate Nandarani Dal won by a margin of more than 1 lakh votes, the Marxists ‘liberated’ the area from the Trinamool Congress.

The next major political violence was witnessed over the issue of land acquisition and the agitation took the bloodiest form in Nandigram in East Midnapore district where the state government proposed to set up a chemical hub. In all about 40 people were killed—14 of them on March 14, 2007, in police firing.

Violence also erupted in Singur over land acquisition for Tata's small car factory, with the Trinamool Congress spearheading the movement. Several instances of alleged police brutality marked the agitation in which farmers protested against the Left government. The conflict started as soon as the fencing off of the factory land began in 2006 and lasted until the Tatas finally pulled in October last year.

Naxalite violence, which was at its peak in the ‘70s but lost steam, has now come back with a vengeance, affecting the three districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia. The Maoists have killed both CPI(M) men and policemen. According to one source, in West Midnapore district alone, 55 CPI(M) men died at the hands of the Naxalites between 1993 and 2009.

Action plan put in place

Express News Service First Published : 20 Jun 2009 10:48:44 AM ISTLast Updated :

BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today announced in the Assembly that a detailed action plan is being put in place in order to address the land-related issues of tribals of Narayanpatna.

Making a statement in the House after returning from Koraput, Naveen said the revenue administration has been instructed to take special steps to detect cases of unauthorised occupation of tribal land by the non-tribals. Settlement of these lands will be made as per law in a time-bound manner.

Naveen announced that the long-standing issues of tribals relating to the forest land will also be resolved after following the due process of law.

The Chief Minister said intensive combing operations and followup action are now underway by the CRPF and State police, including the Special Operations Group (SOG). The SDPO, Laxmipur has been suspended for having disobeyed standing instructions to be followed while carrying out anti-Naxalite operations, Naveen said, adding that DIG, South-Western Range has been directed to submit report within a week. Describing the martyrdom of the killed securitymen as an exemplary act of bravery, Naveen said they were on duty trying to open communication lines in Narayanpatna block when the incident took place. He said the road between Narayanpatna and Laxmipur was partially blocked by extremist elements from June 15 onwards.

New SP ready to face Naxals

PARALAKHEMUNDI, 19 JUNE: “Maintaining Law and Order especially in the Naxal prone areas will be my priority” said the new SP, Mr Sanjeev Arora, while addressing the first Press meet at his office yesterday.
The SP who has joined very recently in place of Mr Safin Ahmed Khan, shifted as SP vigilance was very pragmatic and optimistic that the Naxal menace could be controlled in this district .
“There are a few blocks where the radicals are active, but it is very important that the local who are helping or cooperating them should refrain from doing the same” he said adding: “It is ultimately the villagers who support them will be the worst sufferers in the end.”
The SP said that the armed police in Gajapati are well motivated and prepared to meet the Naxal challenge or any other eventuality in the worst scenario.
Another significant worry for all was the communal tension which had protruded its ugly head during the post Kandhamal riots. In the Rayagada block, there were violent clashes amongst the two communities who had been living in peace and amity all these years.
While the police and administration were initially unable to control the mob fury and riots that spread in a few panchayats, it was the heavy deployment of paramilitary forces that helped in controlling the situation.
The SP said that during the forthcoming Rath Yatra festival, adequate police forces will be deployed in various sensitive blocks with able officers in control.
“Our police stations have improved a lot and there has been a lot of infrastructural development which has gone a long way in controlling crime and helping in maintaining law and order” said Mr Arora.
During his hour long deliberation with the Press, whose cooperation he promptly requested, the SP addressed various other issues like traffic, land problems.
When reporters highlighted the ongoing land controversy in various districts of south Orissa, the SP confessed that this could be a major problem for all concerned. But it was the responsibility of the administration to sort out the land disputes as quickly as possible to defuse such situations.
"The role of the police will be limited to controlling the law and order situation and making positive efforts to initiate peace process as and when required," he said.

Naxals trigger twin blasts, force cops to redraw plan

20 Jun 2009, 0512 hrs IST, Caesar Mondal & Jayanta Gupta, TNN

LALGARH: The battle that everyone expected since the beginning of Lalgarh operation erupted just as the sun was setting on Friday. Maoists fired on
central forces in Kuldiha — one of the areas cleared by police the previous day.

Two hours later, an IED blast hit the Domkal SDPO's car in Pirakata, critically injuring three policemen. A culvert was blown up in Nimtala. And around 9pm, gunfire was heard near Lalgarh police station. The Maoists have drawn first blood.

What surprised police was that all the attacks occurred in areas that security forces had swept through on Thursday. It was a classic case of an attacking army moving faster than the generals expected. The forces covered 12 km on day 1, but found their lines stretched thin. No force was deployed in the 7-km stretch between Pirakata and Pirakhali, which had been taken over by security forces on Thursday.

With the twin attacks, the Maoists have forced police to redraw the battle plan, commit forces to new areas and redeploy units. The guerrillas now aim to cut off forces advancing from Pirakata from those stationed at Bhimpur. Roads have been dug up at various points, blocked with trees and even mines are believed to have been laid.

Another contingent of central forces has started moving from the Sarenga end (a forest area between Goaltore and Ranibandh) towards the West Midnapore border. This road leads to Lalgarh and is diagonally opposite the one from Pirakata along which another contingent is moving towards Lalgarh. After Thursday's rapid-march operation, security forces seemed to hold back a little on Friday. They started advancing from Pirrakhali at 6am. After marching for about an hour, they came to a halt at Bhimpur. Minesweepers and detectors were used to locate explosives. But the operation was suddenly suspended and the forces moved into Bhimpur High School where they stayed put for the next six hours.

Chidambaram: Why aren't Maoists banned in Bengal?

20 Jun 2009, 0837 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: Free of Left shackles, the Centre on Friday finally told West Bengal what security and intelligence agencies had been urging it to do for
a long time -- ban Maoists in the state.

Questioning the wisdom of Left-ruled West Bengal for not banning CPI (Maoists) in the state, home minister P Chidambaram said, "I believe there are voices in West Bengal which have raised this issue. We think they should be banned in West Bengal as in other states."

This was the first time in five years that a home minister openly stated the need to ban Maoists in West Bengal when the outfit is banned by the central government and all naxal-affected states.

Security and intelligence agencies have been raising the issue for long, arguing that West Bengal has become a shelter for Red ultras who take refuge there after committing violence in neighbouring Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa and also in faraway states like Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

Besides asking the state to ban naxals, the Centre unequivocally extended its support to West Bengal for its suggestion for talks with Maoists -- provided the ultras laid down their arms.

After a Cabinet meeting which also took note of violence in Lalgarh and adjoining areas, Chidambaram said chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya had conveyed to him his readiness to speak with Maoists or tribal leaders.

"The CM told me that he had made an appeal to Maoist and tribal leaders that the state government was willing to talk. I endorse that appeal. If they wish to talk, they should come forward to do so. We will be happy to facilitate the talks," he said.

"We are dealing with a situation where there is a militant organisation and we want them to lay down arms and come to talks if they have any grievances," he added.

Referring to the operation against naxals in Lalgarh, the home minister said police and paramilitary personnel would take more time and the forces should expect the "unexpected".

"Progress will be slow. They (forces) are making progress... So far, the operation is going according to plan but they must be prepared for the unexpected. I sincerely hope that with the kind of action we have advised, the operation will be successful. An operation of this kind will take some time. In fact, it will take considerably more time than was anticipated," he said.

He added that forces were "moving and moving cautiously" and the operation was not against tribals but only against naxalites.

Asked whether security forces could expand their operations to adjoining districts of Bankura and Purulia, he said since both districts were near Lalgarh, the ongoing operations "could take them to Bankura and Purulia too".

Five Naxals held, explosives recovered

20 Jun 2009, 0452 hrs IST, TNN

PATNA: Huge amount of explosives and detonators were recovered in a joint operation by the STF and Nalanda police from a truck on the
Nalanda-Biharshairf Road on Friday. The police also arrested five hardcore Naxalites, including Prawesh Mishra, the brother of top Maoist leader Promod Mishra.

“It is a major achievement. These explosives were meant to be used for subversive activities,” remarked IG (special branch) Binay Kumar.

He said that interrogation of arrested persons was still on. “Initial interrogation has revealed that the explosives were loaded on the truck in Koderma (in Jharkhand) and was on its way to Nepal. Perhaps the explosives would have been down loaded in between,” said Kumar.

Over one ton of explosives and 6,000 detonators were detected on a truck camouflaged as a truck carrying stone chips.

“The detection was made on the basis of a secret information we had received,” remarked Kumar stressing that the Prawesh was brother of top Maoist leader Promod. “The entire family has links with Maoists for a long time. Prawesh has been arrested as a supplier of the explosives. Apparently, Prawesh is the mediator between the supplier and the receiver. We have yet to establish the agency which loaded the consignment in Koderma,” he remarked. The IG (special branch) said that among the arrested were Maoists looking like Nepalis. “But that has yet to be established,” he said. He stressed that various Naxalite groups in Nepal were trying to gain strength.

“But we have to find out if the explosives were meant for Nepal or some other place,” Kumar said. The huge catch of explosives were brought to Mithilesh Stadium in Patna where the five Maoists were being interrogated.

Op Flush Out reaches its decisive stage

20 Jun 2009, 1158 hrs IST, AGENCIES

Operation Flush Out has entered the third day, as West Bengal Police assisted by paramilitary forces are attempting to drive out Maoists from West Midnapore's Lalgarh area. Security forces on Saturday (June 20) entered Lalgarh to reclaim it from Maoist-backed tribals and were closing in on the police station there. The personnel of paramilitary forces and the state police were just two km away from the Lalgarh police station, which is under Maoist control, a senior police officer said.

The securitymen from CRPF, BSF, State Armed Police, Eastern Frontier Rifles and the Kolkata Police entered the besieged area after crossing a five-km stretch of the Jhitka forest, a Maoist stronghold, he said.

They were moving in armoured vehicles fitted with anti-landmine devices and mortars and were carrying mine-detecting units.

The security forces were moving cautiously for the last two days to avoid civilian casualties. They checked the route with mine detectors yesterday as tribals blew up a bridge and set off a landmine in a bid to stall their advance.

AK-47 and Insas rifle-toting securitymen came under intermittent fire from Maoists at the Pingboni-Sarenga road today, Superintendent of Police Burdwan Humayan Kabir said.

Two landmines planted on the road, which was also blocked with felled trees, were defused, Kabir, who was leading one of three teams headed for Lalgarh from Binpur, said.

Another two teams were led by IGP (HQ) Harmanpreet Singh and Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Ranvir Kumar. A bridge over a shallow river which had been blown up earlier by Maoists created a temporary obstacle, but it could be crossed on foot.

When the security forces were driving from Pingboni, they were obstructed by a number of women.

Firefights with the Maoists occurred at two places between Pirakata and Bhimpur and near Pingboni last night with the villagers fleeing to safety, the police said.

The elite Anti-Naxal CoBRA forces have joined the operations. Last night, the Maoists fired on the Lalgarh police station, with the police retaliating.

At one place a group of journalists had a narrow escape and now the state government has issued an advisory to the media persons covering the war zone.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen said, "A very disturbing development is that journalists and reporters have been attacked. So we are appealing to all journalists to be extremely cautious and not try to follow police parties into more dangerous areas where the police is now going to go."

Ousting the Naxals from the bastion is not going to be easy for the forces as the Naxals have blocked roads leading to Lalgarh. Landmines have been planted close to bridges. Locally trained armed Maoists are overseeing the blockades. Most of these groups are led by fighters from the Maoist Core Group, while the big leaders masterminding the seige are holding fort near the jungles bordering Jharkhand.

Lalgarh has been out of bounds for the police since the landmine attack near Salboni on the convoy of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and then union ministers Ramvilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada in November last year.

The tribals under the banner of the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities, led by Chhatradhar Mahato, had begun boycotting the police since the last few months. They allege that the police indulged in "atrocities" during raids on their homes following the landmine blast.

West Bengal Govt may ban Maoists: Buddhadeb

West Bengal Government is considering banning the CPI (Maoists) after the Centre's suggestion to the state government in this regard following the Naxal violence in Lalgarh.

"Home Minister Chidamabarm advised me to ban this organisation. We have to give it a serious thought," West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram.

"We have started thinking what to do," he said.

Chidambaram had said that the state Government should ban the Maoists. "We think they (Maoists) should be banned in West Bengal as in other states," he had said.

Bhattacharjee said the Home Minister assured him that if the state Government required more forces, he would be ready to send them. The West Bengal government has already deployed about 1,300 personnel of CRPF and about 600 BSF men.

The state police and the other security forces were working in tandem against the Naxals in Lalgarh, he said.

When asked whether a parallel government was being run by the Maoists in Lalgarh, the Chief Minister said "I have no answer on this."

At the same time, he alleged that "Trinamool Congress has strong links with the group of so-called People's Committee against Police Terror" active in Lalgarh.

"The leader of the group Chhatradhar Mahato is very much a member of Trinamool Congress," he claimed.

Nalco to minimise ‘explosive’ threat

Express News Service

Express News Service First Published : 20 Jun 2009 11:06:37 AM ISTLast Updated :

BHUBANESWAR: In an attempt to reduce vulnerability of the magazine house from Naxal attacks, the National Aluminium Company Limited has decided to drastically reduce the storage of explosives at its Panchpatmalli bauxite mines in Koraput.

As per the latest strategy, stock of explosive material like booster-explosives has been reduced from 21.75 tonne, a month before Naxals attack on April 12, to just 2.25 tonne. Similarly, stock of column explosives has been slashed from 10.12 tonne to 1.15 tonnes while ammonia nitrate stock is down from 3.9 tonne to 0.70 tonne. The overall reduction in stock-holding now stands at 90 percent.

This was achieved after the company decided to keep a stock of just four to five days at the magazine house of the bauxite mines though this will mean a rise in pressure on company’s logistics system. In view of security scenario in Naxal-affected Koraput, the alumnium major has put its traffic department on job to handle the explosives movement efficiently. Reduction in stockpile of explosive will considerably minimise the threat perception for the future, an official release of Nalco said.

Besides, Nalco which came under fire for its security measures installed at the hill-top utilities has augmented the steps in Mines and Refinery Complex at Damanjodi. The strength of CISF personnel has been increased from 417 to 682 while more number of bullet proof jackets with helmets have been supplied to them.

Fortification of the magazine area is now complete with concertina fencing, power fencing and strengthened watch towers and more high tower morchas for safety.

Nalco is also exploring possibilities of ‘blast-free’ mining methods which require no use of explosives. These measures would help Nalco significantly reduce Naxals threat and carry out its mining operations.

The April 12 midnight attack had led to serious loss of life at the Nalco utility

Naveen visits Koraput

KORAPUT/BHUBANESWAR, 19 JUNE: Chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik asserted that the CRPF and police had launched an intensive combing operation to track down Maoists who had triggered a land mine at Palur yesterday killing eight personnel of the Orissa Special Striking Force jawans and their driver.
"The Laxmipur sub divisional police officer has been placed under suspension and the DIG South Western Range has been directed to submit a detailed report within a week," said Mr Patnaik after conducting a review meeting at Koraput with the DGP Mr Manmohan Praharaj and other top officers of the police administration.
It is pertinent to note that yesterday BJP leaders had raised the Narayanpatna attack issue in the Assembly and said that the chief minister should visit the spot, review the situation and then make his statements in the House.
"The SDPO, Laxmipur has been suspended for disobeying standing instructions to be followed while carrying out anti-Naxalite operations,” said the Chief Minister.
Making a statement in the Assembly after his visit to Koraput today, Mr Patnaik said the road between Narayanpatna and Laxmipur was blocked by extremist elements since 15 June.
Yesterday an attempt was made to remove the obstruction from the road by sending police personnel and a jeep carrying the eight ex-servicemen inducted into OSSF moved from Narayanpatna police station. The vehicle came under land mine attack near Palur killing all the occupants, he informed.
"The next of kin of the deceased will receive an ex gratia of Rs 8 lakh each and an insurance sum of Rs 10 lakh each," he said.
The CM informed that during his visit to Koraput today, he had also reviewed the situation arising out of the demands made by the Chasi Mulia Sangha in Narayanpatna area.
A detailed action plan is being put in place in order to address the land related issues of the tribals of the area. The revenue administration has also been directed to take special steps to detect cases of unauthorised occupation of tribal land by non-tribals and settle these cases in a time-bound manner.
Long-standing issues of the tribals relating to the forest land will also be resolved after following the due process of law, said the Chief Minister.
Earlier, at Koraput, the chief minister, DGP and other senior officers paid glowing tributes to the slain policemen. A guard of honor was conducted and the bodies of the policemen were to be sent to their respective native villages.
Mr Patnaik held a three hour long discussion with the top ranking officials and issued directions for early solution to the unrest that had taken place in Koraput district, particularly in the Narayanpatna region.
Meanwhile road communication to Narayanpatna block from the district headquarters remained cut off even today. There was no untoward incident but the entire region was tense following yesterday’s deadly Maoist strike.
Meanwhile, the Opposition kicked up a storm in the Assembly today demanding discussion on yesterday’s ghastly Maoist attack at Palur in which eight jawans of OSSF and a driver were killed.
While the BJP members protested and staged a walkout, the Congress trooped into the Well raising slogans and forcing several adjournments.
Ruling BJD members and ministers tried to explain to the agitated Opposition that the chief minister has already left for Koraput and was taking stock of the situation.
But this failed to pacify the angry Opposition which charged that the government had failed to tackle the Naxal menace because it lacked the will and sincerity to do so.

While the BJP members protested and staged a walkout, the Congress trooped into the Well raising slogans and forcing several adjournments.
Ruling BJD members and ministers tried to explain to the agitated Opposition that the chief minister has already left for Koraput and was taking stock of the situation.
But this failed to pacify the angry Opposition which charged that the government had failed to tackle the Naxal menace because it lacked the will and sincerity to do so.

Maoists ambush security forces

IAF choppers comb W Bengal forests

Prasanta Paul, Lalgarh (West Midnapore), DH News Service :
Saturday, June 20, 2009

Resorting to guerrilla strikes, armed Maoists ambushed security forces from the rear at Pirrakhuli, about 15 km from here, on Friday, triggering a heavy exchange of fire.

The Maoists had initially conceded some ground to the combined Central and state paramilitary and police forces.

While reports of casualty, if any, was not immediately known, reinforcements from neighbouring places were being rushed to assist the commandos caught in the gunfight on the second day of the operation to flush out armed Naxalites from their self-declared liberated zone at Lalgarh, officials here said.

Authorities pressed into service IAF choppers, which took off from the Kalaikunda airbase near Kharagpur early Friday morning.

The helicopters reached Bhimpur High School premises here, signalling a larger scale of operations against the Maoists.

Even though the guns fell silent once darkness set in, the security forces have sent an SOS for searchlights in order to secure their positions as the Maoists are believed to be mining some strategic exit points for the police who have even prevented some mediapersons from leaving for Bhimpur, the fortrifed zone two km away where the forces have set up camp.

It was apparently a strategic blunder on the part of the officials in charge of the operation, as it was evident from Friday’s exchange of gunfire that the area was yet to be sanitised despite the forces making an overnight stay there.

Rebels’ plan

In fact, on Friday morning the Maoists allowed personnel of the specialised anti-Naxal force called COBRA, to move into the interiors of the Jhitkha forests.

Once the heavily armed COBRA commandos, divided into two groups, skirted the road and entered the jungle through fields and proceeded some two kms inside the forest, the militants who had recaptured their positions the previous night, emerged from the neighbouring villages.

They almost sprang on some of the media vehicles trailing the police and Central Reserve Police Force jawans and ordered the newsmen to deposit their mobiles and asked to leave the area for their safety and to ensure the news of their presence did not reach the police.

However, after the police and CRPF jawans got the “smell” of action, they alighted from their vehicles and were immediately fired at.

Media at Maoists’ receiving end

Prasanta Paul, Lalgarh (West Midnapore), DH News Service:
Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mediapersons covering Operation Lalgarh by security forces to flush out Maoists were on Friday stopped by the rebels.

The shocked media persons, who desperately looked for cover, could still spot armed militants quickly disperse into small groups and mounted gunfire on the police and CRPF personnel who were not prepared to face such an attack from behind and heavy gunfight ensued at Pirrakhuli shortly after noon. The sporadic gunfire continued for nearly three hours as the jawans and police were seen advancing by crawling over fields to identify areas where the militants were holed up.

Four held

But it proved to be a difficult task as the militants kept changing their positions and their movements behind thick foliage in villages. The troops, who made some brave efforts to neutralise the gun fire, finally managed to arrest four ultras alongwith arms, officials said.

Another report from Bhimpur said that pro-Naxal tribals in the locality dug up the main road to prevent the force from either retreating or blocking reinforcemnents from reaching the spot. Authorities are believed to have sent messages for deploying IAF choppers to look for positions where militants are holed up.

In fact, the police were wondering why there was no resistance from the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) activists since Friday morning.

They suspect the activists wanted them to advance into areas where booby traps and landmines have been laid near Jhitka forest. The entry point from Jhargram to Lalgarh via Dahijuri and Dherua was cut off by PCAPA activists last night, SDO Jhargram Ulaganathan said.

Earlier in the day, teams of state police and paramilitary forces started approaching Lalgarh from four sides – Sarenga in adjoining Bankura district, and Goaltore, Pirakata and Dahijuri fronts in West Midnapore district.

“This is a pincer move to cut off the escape routes of the holed-up militants,” an official told Deccan Herald here. But progress from the Sarenga and Goaltor fronts has been stalled in the wake of dug-up roads and felled trees on the key roads. Another approach from Jhargram is now being worked out to encircle the militants from all sides, he said.
Yet, intelligence reports said that a few thousand PCAPA tribals armed with traditional arms are massed at a point beyond Pirakata to stall the advance of the forces.

A fierce confrontation between the forces and the tribals is likely on Saturday when the former alongwith COBRA personnel will strive to push them away to take control of Lalgarh police station, currently under the siege of the tribals.

At least 200 COBRA troops who undertook the job of sanitising a 4 km-long stretch of the Jhitkha jungle, a Maoist stronghold en route to Lalgarh, were understood to have halted their operation and camped at Bhimpur in the wake of Friday's ambush.

The march of security forces also faced stiff resistance in Malida by a “human wall”, comprising hundreds of tribal carrying traditional weapons like bows, arrows and shouting pro-Maoist slogans.

BSF to reserve 20% jobs from Naxal areas

19 Jun 2009, 2324 hrs IST, Debasis Sarkar, ET Bureau

KADAMTALA: An aggressive approach alone cannot keep Naxalite activities under control. It needs a social approach too. With this as objective,
Border Security Force (BSF) is now going to follow a policy of 20% reservation in recruitment for youths from Naxal-hit areas.

"The youths will have to fulfil the basic physical, mental and academic needs for the respective posts," said IG BSF (North Bengal Frontier) Nand Kishore on Friday.

"Though the policy was formally introduced in 2007-08, BSF is going to follow it strictly from now onwards," said Commandant J Prasad, BSF North Bengal Frontier spokesman. In addition to this, there is another 20% reservation in BSF recruitment for youths in border areas.

With the quantum of central government appointment low for the past couple of years, reservation could not yield much for the beneficiaries. But BSF has now undertaken a huge expansion plan. By 2013, 29 new battalions will be added to the existing 157.

"Moreover, the average border coverage length of 5.5 km under each border outpost (BOP), will be reduced to 3.5 km. This requires huge manpower," said Mr Kishore.

Meanwhile, according to the BSF brass, the eastern India border, mainly with Bangladesh, is being given equal priority with the western border with Pakistan. "Northeastern militant outfits, especially Ulfa, are desperate to find safe haven in Bangladesh. That makes the over 4000-Kmlong Indo-Bangla border more important," the officials said.

The issue will figure in the next DG level talks between India and Bangladesh.

CPM for dual strategy to resolve naxal menace

Friday,19 June 2009 23:8 hrs IST

- New Delhi: The CPM on Friday suggested that a dual-strategy of law and order management and political solution be adopted to resolve the Naxal menace. "As far as our party's stand is concerned, we have always said that a dual strategy has to be adopted to tackle the Maoists activities -- it is a law and order problem and needs a political solution," CPM leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters here after the party's politburo meeting. "If this dual strategy is not adopted, no final solution can be achieved. Whatever decision the Centre takes on this matter, we cannot comment on it," Yechury said.

Describing the Naxal violence as "a grave matter," he said the violence in Lalgarh in West Bengal, ruled by the party-led coalition, should not be "pitied or politicised." Asked why the CPI(M) in West Bengal was reluctant to ban the Maoists or declare them as terrorists, he said, the issue fell in the realm of centre-state relations and both the governments were seized of the matter. "This question will be taken up by the State government with the Centre.

The operations to flush the Maoists out of Lalgarh has begun and beyond that I do not think anybody else should opine on this matter," he added. Yechury also pointed out to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's remarks last year that the Naxal violence was a bigger threat to internal security of the country.

NCC move to open 4 new units in Orissa

19 Jun 2009, 2149 hrs IST, Hrusikesh Mohanty, TNN

BERHAMPUR: In an attempt to increase its strength, the National Cadet Corps (NCC) directorate is working on a plan to open at least four more units,
including a Naval one, in the state by this year.

Currently, there are 24 units comprising 44,000 cadets in the state. The operating units include 19 army wing, one air wing, three naval wings and one girls division.

"While the proposed naval unit will be set up at Bhabanipatan in Kalahandi district, the others will come up at Malkanagiri, Nabarangapur and Rayagada," NCC (Orissa) deputy director general L K Agrawalla said. "About 5,000 to 6,000 cadets will be deputed in the proposed units," he added. Agrawalla was here to inspect the group office here and to visit camps of cadets at Tamapara, near Chhatrapur in Ganjam district.

"The proposal for the new units was pending at the ministry of defence for approval," the DDG said. "NCC's director general has already approved the proposal to set up additional units in Orissa," he added.

"NCC cadets in the proposed units will help the government to combat the Maoist menace in the area apart from taking part in other social services," he added.

Malkanagiri, Nabarangapur and Rayagada have been identified as Naxal infested districts. Nine security personnel were killed in Koraput district on Thursday in a landmine blast.

"The new cadets will assist the government to minimize Maoist activities in the area," he said. NCC's main objective is to maintain discipline and do social service.

On the June 24 Rath Yatra, 400 NCC cadets will help manage the crowd along with the cops. On the next day, they will clean the temple. "The temple administration has requested us in this regard," Agrawalla added.

CII organizes seminar on Road Infrastructure & Security Challenges

Friday, June 19, 2009 Email

Balasore : The issues concerning road infrastructure and security challenges at Northern Districts of Orissa has assumed paramount significance with the expansion of industrial activities in Balasore and the adjoining districts. A smooth and effective communication network is a prerequisite to the sustenance of industrial boom in this zone. What has worried the industries and society alike is that movement of vehicles is becoming difficult day by day inside the city of Balasore because of congestion on the road. The situation needs urgent attention to prevent a complete collapse of the traffic regulation in the next 5-10 years. Secondly, the recent spurt in ethnic conflicts and other forms of violence in some districts of Orissa has thrown normal life out of gear.

In view of these, Confederation of Indian Industry, North Orissa Zonal Office organized a seminar on “Road Infrastructure & Security Challenges” on June 19, 2009 at Hotel Tulip, Balasore. At the inaugural session, Mr. M.B.S. Nair delivered the welcome address. Mr. Vishal Dev, Collector & District Magistrate, Balasore shared “District Development Plan’ with the delegates. He said that definition of infrastructure encompasses not only the industries’ conditions but also the quality of life of the people in the industries. The most important component of infrastructure is road, he said. According to Mr. Dev, the roads in rural areas in Balasore have undergone tremendous improvement in the last four years. He pointed out few bottlenecks impeding the development process.

Fund Constraint

Multiplicity of Agencies of Districts

The level of responsibility of citizens of Balasore must improve along with the Government.

Immediately following the inaugural session, there were two technical sessions:

Session on Road Infrastructure

Mr. Harihar Sarangi from Regional Transport Office, Balasore talked about the licencing procedures and the stringent measures employed by RTO in issuing of licences. Mr. A.K. Ray, Project Director, National Highways Authority of India came all the way from Bhubaneswar to speak on the construction of NH 5 as a prerequisite to industrial development. Ms. Sujata Das, Chairperson, Balasore Municipality stressed upon the need to issue directives to schools, colleges to arrange parking facilities inside the compound to avoid congestion on road and prevent accidents. She also admitted that Balasore Regional Improvement Trust (BRIT) has allowed opening of institutions in crowded places adding fuel to the fire. She would talk to the concerned state authorities to redress such problems.

Session on “Security Challenges”

Mr. Y.K. Jethwa, DIG of Police, Eastern Range, Balasore said in his speech that Orissa is surrounded by Naxal affected states and hence the breeding ground of Leftist extremism. He cited the example of Malkangiri district which has witnessed a huge influx of terrorists due to its geographical locations. Lack of literacy, lack of road infrastructure and other essential amenities cast a pall of gloom in the lives of the inhabitants of the place and as a result, they have taken recourse to armed struggle against the prevailing system of politico administrative ideology. He stressed upon the need to evolve a long tern strategy to recruit more police personnel and provide highly specialized training police personnel to counter guerilla warfare and surprise attack.

The programme was sponsored by Balasore Alloys Ltd, Birla Tyres and Emami Paper Mills Ltd and was attended by over 60 partcipants large and small industries, in North Orissa, academic institutions and media.