Friday, November 20, 2009

'Maoist attack' on railway derails India train

Maoist rebels in India have blown up a railway track, leading to the derailment of a passenger train in the eastern state of Jharkhand, police say.

At least two people were killed and 47 others injured in the incident, which happened near Ghaghra station.

Rebels are fighting for communist rule in a number of Indian states. They have a presence in more than 223 of India's 600-odd districts across 20 states.

More than 6,000 people have died during the rebels' 20-year fight.

Eight coaches of the passenger train plying between Tatanagar and Bilaspur derailed after the rebels blew up a portion of the railway track near Ghaghra halt station in Jharkhand's West Singhbhum district, police said.

"Maoists blew up a portion of the track that caused the derailment. Three coaches have been badly damaged," federal railway minister Mamata Banerjee said.

Ms Banerjee said two passengers travelling on the train had died after the coaches derailed. Six others were trapped in the coaches, she added.

The rebels set off several explosions near the tracks after the incident to prevent rescue workers from reaching the site, the railway minister said.

Rescue workers have reached the site and are trying to bring out the passengers who are trapped, a senior police official said.

'Biggest threat'

The incident happened at the same time as the rebels called for a 24-hour strike in Jharkhand. They are demanding that a rebel who was arrested recently by the police should be presented in court immediately.

Last week, the rebels abducted a former legislator in Jharkhand, and later released him.

Ramchandra Singh was canvassing for the forthcoming state assembly elections. Polls are to be held in five phases between 27 November and 18 December.

Police say they are unclear about the reasons behind Mr Singh's abduction and subsequent release.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the Maoist insurgency as the single largest threat to the country.

The rebels say they are fighting for communist rule and the rights of the poor peasants and landless.

There has been a surge in Maoist violence in recent months - the rebels have kidnapped and killed policemen, help up an express train, attacked police stations, and blown up railway lines and communication links in affected states.

Delhi: Court allows transit remand of Ghandy to AP police


Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja sent Naxalite leader Kobad Ghandy to the custody of Andhra Pradesh police.

Andhra Pradesh Police had filed an application before the court seeking transit remand stating that custodial interrogation of Ghandy is necessary in a case registered in Karimnagar police station in 2008.

The CMM allowed the transit remand and directed the Andhra Pradesh police to produce Ghandy before the local court there on or before November 20.

Ghandy was earlier arrested by Special Cell of Delhi Police on September 20 from a local hospital.

The Delhi High Court had stayed the narco-analysis test of Ghandy.


Naxalites blast track, train derails in Jharkand

The Naxals tried to hamper rescue work by attempting to trigger three to four more blasts. A relief train has been sent to the area, as rescue workers continue to cut through derailed coaches in an attempt to locate people who might be stuck inside.

CJ: Anand Krishnan Fri, Nov 20, 2009 10:14:21 IST

Mandore Express derails; five dead, 25 injured IN A tragic incident, Naxalites blew up a railway track in Jharkhand in wee hours of Thursday, November 20, which led to the subsequent derailing of a train. The incident killed one and left 55 people injured in its wake.

Four people are in a critical condition, as eight coaches of the train went off the tracks. The engine, as well as three of the derailed coaches of the ten coach train also overturned. The incident took place about 40 km away from Jamshedpur, in the Chaibasa district.

The Naxals also tried to hamper rescue work by attempting to trigger three to four more blasts. A relief train has been sent to the area, as rescue workers continue to cut through the overturned and the derailed coaches in an attempt to locate people who might be stuck inside.

Injured persons have been taken to nearby Chakradharpur and a helpline has been set for more information about the passengers of the train. The Helpline number is 06587-238072. Another has been set up at Rourkela 0661-2501072.

Due to the derailment six trains have been diverted from the route, including Azad Hind Express, Happa Howrah Express , Mumbai Hawarah Mail and Samarasta Express, while the Samleswari Express and Rajdhani Express would run till Rourkela only

Jharkhand: Naxals target train; 1 dead, 60 injured

One person has died and nearly 60 are injured as maoists have struck again by blowing up a railway track in Jharkhand just as a train was passing by.

Eight coaches of the Tata-Bilaspur passenger train derailed a little after 9 o'clock on Thursday night near Posaita station, 120 km from Jamshedpur, close to the Jharkhand-Orissa border. (NDTV Photo)

Helpline: 066-2501072 (Orissa); 06587-238071 (Jharkhand); 0657-1072 (Jamshedpur)

Maoists kill ration dealer ahead of bandh

Ranchi, Nov 20 (PTI) Suspected Maoists shot dead a ration dealer in Latehar district ahead of a day-long band called by the naxals today to protest the upcoming Jharkhand Assembly polls.

Latehar Deputy Superintendent of Police Ashwini Kumar said about 20 armed Naxalites took the ration dealer Kedar Baitha, whom they suspected to be a police informer, to Maruhao village and killed him last night.

Inspector-General of Police V D Deshmukh said elaborate security arrangements have been made to prevent any violence during the bandh and police personnel deployed at strategic points.

He denied knowledge of reports that at least 20 men had been kidnapped by Maoists from a village in West Singhbhum district.

"Some days back explosives were recovered from Dargoashai but we don't have any information on that," he said.

Naxalism major challenge before Jharkhand: Sonia

PTI First Published : 20 Nov 2009 04:03:06 PM ISTLast Updated : 20 Nov 2009 04:58:01 PM IST

DHANBAD/DUMKA: Terming naxalism as the foremost challenge before Jharkhand, Congress president Sonia Gandhi today said violence cannot be a solution to any problem and that everything can be solved through dialogue.

"Non-violence is the only way to solve all problems.

The Congress believes that problems can be solved peacefully and through dialogue," Gandhi said while addressing poll meetings in Dhanbad and Dumka.

This state (Jharkhand) has many challenges in hand with "naxalism being the foremost."

"There is no place for violence in democracy," she said, adding that youth have strayed away as they have been deprived of proper education and employment.

"The Congress would address problems of everybody," Gandhi said and promised welfare to all sections of the society, including tribals, dalits and backwards.

There would not be any displacement without proper rehabilitation, she said.

Appealing to the people to vote for the Congress/JVM-P to end political instability in the state, Gandhi, without naming anybody, said some groups had only served their own interests.

"Jharkhand needs a visionary leadership to change its fate. The UPA at the Centre has showed its leadership since 2004, and got the mandate again," she said.

Anti-Naxal unit constable found dead

MK Madhusoodan / DNAFriday, November 20, 2009 9:11 IST Email

Bangalore: Just three days after the Andhra police's anti-terrorist squad nabbed three Naxals from the suburbs of Bangalore city, an anti-Naxal force (ANF) constable of the Chikmagalur base, was found dead on the road in Shyamabattarapalya in Nelamangala taluk of Bangalore Rural district on Thursday morning.

DySP (Nelamangala sub division) Dharanendra said, "The body was noticed early Thursday morning at around 8am. The deceased belonged to the Battalion III of Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP), and was on his rest period when the incident occurred."

Police learnt that Krishna was at the battalion on Wednesday morning and had left Bangalore only in the afternoon. "We do not know why he travelled towards Nelamangala as his native place is Channasandra in Ramanagara district," police said. They found strangulation marks on his neck.

Of Naxals and rich land of the poor

November 20, 2009 11:20 IST

CommentIndia's [ Images ] mineral-rich areas have the largest number of poor and are Naxal-affected -- there's an obvious story here, says Sunita Narain.

Take a map of India. Now mark the districts of the country in terms of forest wealth. Then overlay on them the water wealth of the country -- the sources of streams and rivers that feed us.

On this, plot the mineral wealth of the country -- iron ore, coal, bauxite and all things nice that make economies rich. But don't stop here. Mark on these wealth of India, another indicator -- districts where the poorest people of our country live. These are also the tribal districts of India.

A picture will emerge: The richest lands of India are where the poorest people live. Now complete this cartography of the country with the colour red.

These are the same districts where Naxalites [ Images ] roam; where government admittedly is fighting a battle with its own people, who use the gun to terrorise and kill. Clearly, there is a lesson of bad development that we need to learn from.

Let's join these dots with events of these last few weeks. Madhu Koda [ Images ] was the chief minister of Jharkhand -- a mineral- and forest-rich but people-poor state -- for just about a year.

Today, enforcement agencies are unearthing the mother of all scams involving Rs 4,000 crore (Rs 40 billion), or even more, the illegal assets that he and his associates looted from the state.

Just consider, this is roughly a fifth of the annual budget of the state. But more importantly, this enormous wealth came from the same minerals that have never made his people rich.

It does not end there. In the past one month, when the BJP government in Karnataka [ Images ] was brought to its knees by defiant legislators, who wanted the head of the chief minister to roll, we did not connect this episode with the cartography of India.

The Reddy brothers -- Gali Janardhan Reddy, the tourism minister and his brother Gali Karunakara Reddy, the revenue minister in the BS Yeddyurappa [ Images ] government -- are mining barons.

Their wealth and power come from the rapacious mining in the same 'rich but poor' districts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The Reddy brothers' fiefdom, Bellary district, contributes some 20 per cent of the country's iron ore production. This ore is mined with little or no consideration for environmental safeguards -- water in the region runs red because of mine discharge, land is destroyed, forest is illegally mined and people's livelihood devastated.

This is the district with the largest number of registered private aircraft, but is ranked third from the bottom in the human development index of Karnataka and has 50 per cent literacy level -- a shame for the otherwise progressive state.

The Reddy brothers (like Madhu Koda) are products of the extraordinary wealth of the regions which we still call poor. Why, then, are we surprised when Naxalites profit from the anger of the local people caused by this loot of their region?

Take the forests. Some 60 per cent of the country's dense, most biodiverse and economically-rich forests are found in these tribal districts. This is where the magnificent tigers are found. Ask again: If there is extraordinary wealth, then why are the people living there so poor?

The fact is that we have never built a development model for natural resources, which is both sustainable and can benefit local economies as well as people.

The first phase of development took place when the state extracted and exploited the forests.

Large areas (much like what is happening with minerals today) were handed over to paper and pulp industry; swathes of dense forests were cut, land was denuded to build the economic wealth of the country.

But nothing was shared with the local people. This was the forest wealth that built fortunes of governments and private companies. But not of its people.

Then came the period of conservation. The nation decided that forests had to be protected; tigers and other wild animals had to be safeguarded.

But instead of building an economic model, which would have shared the benefits of conservation with the people, we once again marginalised the locals.

We believed that forests had to be protected from the people who lived on these lands.

Today, the callous implementation of the Forest Conservation Act, which does not allow (rightly in many cases) the diversion of forest land for non-forest purposes, has become the single biggest reason for anger and violence in the region.

The problem is that while clearance is given for mining, power or industrial projects in vast swathes of forest land, what is delayed and discounted is the little forest land needed by the local people to build a school, a water tank or an access road. Worse, the wealth of forests is never used to build their economies.

Conservation of the tiger happens on their lands, with little benefit to them. Are we, then, still surprised by their anger?

This is what needs to change. And there are opportunities. Some years ago, the Supreme Court passed an important order regarding the sharing of the mineral wealth with its people.

Today, there is the issue of protecting these forests for national and global imperatives -- from water to climate security. Can we use these to build new futures? Can we change the rich land-poor people cartography of India? Let's discuss this next fortnight.

Maoists force children to take up arms

20 Nov 2009, 1447 hrs IST

Maoists it seems will to any lengths to recruit more and more people into their fold, even going to the extent of recruiting children. TIMES NOW travelled to Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh to find Maoists ruling the roost on a recruitment spree, targetting innocent children. What is even more shocking is that some of these children were as young as 4 years old.

The visuals point to an organised indoctrination programme, in with Maoists brainwash hundreds of children, making them watch plays and songs laced with Naxalite ideology. Schools which refuse to let Maoists spread their ideology are reportedly demolished.

In the latest video, the camera has captured hundreds of children from a Chhattisgarh government school, foot marching along with armed Naxals.

Earlier TIMES NOW had aired exclusive visuals of children attending an armed Maoists drill and being brainwashed at a Naxal terror camp in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. Their forced recruitment drive, seen now inside a school in the same region, aims to get one child from every household and this adds to the poor tribals’ misery.

A civil war-like situation prevails in Naxal-infested Chhattisgarh, with children having to attend schools under the shadows of guns quite literally.

DG Chhattisgarh Vishwa Ranjan explains why Maoists prefer to catch them young. “The whole concept of the ‘bal sangam’ was that it seems that the Maoists found that the culture and various tribal traditions are too deeply ingrained into the psyche of the tribals. So he is not prepared to listen to a lot of things which the Naxalites will tell him. It is much easier to brainwash a child and to take him away from the influence of tribal culture.”

To get more and more children into their fold, the Maoists have started demolishing school buildings. Now the tribal children would have no option other than to join Naxals school. Some remains of school buildings in the deep forest areas reveal the Red army’s policy of terrorizing the young and catching them young for their terror rule.

India Steps Up Its Fight Against Naxalites

By Jessica Bachman / Kanker Friday, Nov. 20, 2009

Late-night digging along the back roads of Bastar, a dense jungle region in India's northern state of Chhattisgarh, can only mean one thing if there's nothing to show for it the next day: Maoist rebel activity. So when a group of villagers in the state's Kanker district, the gateway to Bastar, were kept awake for nights on end last month by repeated chinking from metal striking rock on a nearby road, they knew something was up.

They were right. The Maoists, commonly known in India as Naxalites, had dug a tunnel five feet under the surface of a paved back road that was used by security forces from the nearby Counter-Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College. The insurgents' tunnel's exit points, on the side of the road, were well concealed with alternating layers of sandbags and dirt. But before the Naxalites got around to booby-trapping the underground tunnel with improvised explosives cobbled together from scavenged pieces of iron and heisted explosive materials from state-owned mines, it had been filled in. The villagers had tipped off commandos from the college.
(See pictures of India's turning points.)

Naxalite rebels, whose leaders claim to follow Maoist doctrine on armed people's struggle, have been waging a guerilla war against the Indian government since their first uprising in the West Bengal village of Naxalbari in 1967. For over three decades a phlegmatic response from central and state security organs did little to prevent the then isolated Naxal insurgency from foraying into underdeveloped forest and jungle regions in central and eastern India where it gained support of impoverished tribal groups and villagers. By 2001, some Naxalites had gained sway over 51 districts, and with the state response mechanism to their movements still weak, that number quadrupled in less than a decade. Naxals now operate in 223 districts, spread out over one-third of India along a vertical belt commonly referred to as the Red Corridor.

In the 34 regions that the government considers to be the worst affected by Maoist activity, the rebel movement has taken on a particularly bloody dimension, with Naxalites orchestrating police massacres, bombings, bank and mine robberies, informant murders and kidnappings on a routine basis. By Nov. 2, "left-wing extremism" — Delhi's euphemism for Naxal terrorism — was responsible for 834 civilian, security-force and Naxal deaths throughout 10 states this year, according to data collected by the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

As in previous years, Chhattisgarh took the biggest hit, sustaining 237 casualties. While last month's brazen attempt in the state to attack India's only anti-Naxal police training camp reveals how low the insurgents' perception is of the state's ability to fight them, it also, says the college's director, gives the institution further insight into how to fight this battle. "I've always told our men that they can't win the war against the Naxals without gaining the trust of the villagers and forest dwellers," says Brigadier Basant Ponwar, who served in the army for 35 years as a counterinsurgency specialist before going to Chhattisgarh in 2005 to set up the college. "Now we see that even right in our own backyard the villagers are our eyes and ears."

Tucked away on 300 acres of hilly jungle terrain, just north of a notorious Naxal stronghold, the college is strategically positioned to drill police forces in a strategy that until recently was reserved for training select army special forces: fight a guerilla like a guerilla. "Police are trained for carrying out normal law-and-order duties. They're not prepared for jungle combat or jungle living, but that's precisely what they must know to take on Naxals," explains the state's director general of police, Vishwa Ranjan. For decades the state had dismissed the Naxal movement's creeping ascendancy over its southern districts and did little to buttress the strength of its security force. This year, the state's sanctioned police force stands at 46,000, more than double the number of officers on the ground in 2005, and all new recruits are being put through the college course in addition to basic training.

The college has already taught 11,500 police personnel from eight states how to raid Naxal hideouts, conduct search-and-destroy operations at gun-manufacturing camps, clear roads of improvised explosives using sniffer dogs, set up roadside checkpoints and set up covert outposts in enemy territory. During the 45-day course, commandos-in-training get up at dawn for early morning conditioning, including three-mile runs up steep, rocky knobs plus strength training, yoga and meditation. (Ponwar insists that all officers who still have a paunch by the end of the course are failed.) To dispel officers' fear of the jungle, the forces are taught how to catch (and eat) snakes, distinguish edible plants from poisonous ones and make camouflaged lean-tos out of sticks and leaves.

The college has been a bright spot in India's fight against the bloody insurgency. But Ajai Sahni, the executive director of the New Delhi–based Institute of Conflict Management, says that the high level of corruption and inefficiency in the state security apparatus cancels out whatever inroads the school has made. "Only a fraction of those that go through the college's training are later used for what they are being trained for, so the effort is often for naught," Sahni laments, comparing the police commandos to students trained in neurosurgery who go on to become store clerks. Only half of the college's graduates from Chhattisgarh are deployed in areas with substantial Maoist activity and, according to Sahni, police corruption and grasping politicians are to blame. "It's a well-known fact that if a police officer doesn't want to be deployed to dangerous district, he bribes his way out," he says. "Many of the warfare college's commandos are also scooped up by VIP ministers and politicians who want to be surrounded by impressive security details."

Meanwhile, national efforts to bring this decades-long insurgency to a swift end are also intensifying. India's new hard-line Home Minister, P. Chidambaram, is not convinced that states, if left to their own devices, will be able to reassert state authority over Naxal-dominated territories anytime soon. That's why this month, tens of thousands of paramilitary and border security forces were withdrawn from other regions and deployed in rebel districts in northern and central India. "Our newest strategy is to win complete control over small areas under Maoist influence, hold them, and not withdraw forces until development in the area is well under way," says director general of police Vishwa Ranjan. "We will repeat this pattern in other areas, a few at a time, until the enemy has nowhere to go. "

Still, considering it's taken four decades to get to this point, the process is bound to be a gradual one. In recent years, the state's action plan was to establish a minimum police presence in all Naxal regions, and little attention was paid to increasing the size of the ranks or improving the meager force's fighting abilities. But without strength in numbers or combat skills, the police have been unable to curb the spread of Maoist violence and defend the state's isolated police outposts. At the Indian Economic Summit in New Delhi on Nov. 10, Chidambaram said all heavily affected states would completely reassert control over their Naxal-dominated areas within two or three years. Director general of police Ranjan thinks four years is a more realistic time frame. "We're not taking any more shortcuts," Ranjan says. "This is going to be a long, drawn-out battle."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Three Maoists held on Bangalore outskirts

K. Srinivas Reddy

The already beleaguered Maoist movement in Karnataka has received another serious jolt when three important Naxalite leaders including Devendrappa Aalias Vishnu, a State committee member this week.

A special team of Andhra Pradesh police, which kept watch on the Maoists, nabbed them in Peenya police station limits on Bangalore outskirts.

Sources said the other two arrested were Laxmi alias Geeta, a district committee member and Asha, a district committee secretary. Asha was stated to be the wife of Nanda Kumar, a member of the Karnataka State committee.

The Maoist movement in Karnataka split vertically after there was debate within the party leaders on the relevance of following area wise seizure of power concept, which the Maoist party firmly believes in. A section of leaders who believed that the revolutionary activity should also be taken up in urban areas by mobilising people broke away and started their own party.

Red blast injures 10 cops in Ghatshila blast injures 10 cops

TNN 19 November 2009, 11:08pm IST

JAMSHEDPUR: Ten policemen were seriously injured in a landmine blast in Ghurabenda area of Ghatshila subdivision on Thursday evening. Around 3.30 pm, the Maoists allegedly triggered the blast in Bakar jungle, connecting NH-33 with Ghurabenda, blowing up the anti-landmine vehicle ferrying the securitymen.

Ten police personnel, including Ghurabenda PS officer-in-charge Indu Bhusan Kumar, sustained multiple injuries and were rushed to Tata Main Hospital (TMH) in Jamshedpur and Apollo Hospitals in Ranchi for treatment. (Police claimed that only six policemen were injured though the nine were admitted to TMH, while one was taken to Ranchi).

Ghatsila sub-divisional police officer Anup Virtherey said: "The incident took place when the anti-landmine vehicle was ferrying district police personnel from NH-33 to Ghurabenda PS. Barring one, all the injured have been rushed to TMH for further treatment." He, however, said there was no casualty in the incident.

Of the 10 injured, only Upender Singh, who is critically injured, has been air-lifted to Apollo Hospitals in Ranchi for treatment.

The other injured have been identified as Ghurabenda PS officer-in-charge Indu Bhusan Kumar, sub-inspector Ramjanam Baitha, hawaldar Brahamdev Prasad Yadav, hawaldar Jeetender Thakur, hawaldar Sanatanram Majhi, sepoy Nandkishore Mahato, hawaldar Shivman Luagan, Narpati Shunku and Parmeswar Mahato.

Meanwhile, putting rest to the rumours, SP Naveen Kumar Singh said the Maoists triggered only one blast and there was no report of any other blast in the Ghatsila sub-division.

This incident comes hours before the Maoist bandh on November 20 and has given the security agencies a reason for concern in the wake of elections in the state.

"All the six injured were administered first-aid in Ghurabenda and then rushed to the city for further treatment," said the SP.

Meanwhile, the district police have launched massive combing operations against the Maoists in the area with security personnel, including CRPF and district police jawans, fanning out in the jungle on Thursday evening. "We have launched combing operations in the area and security personnel in the district have been put on high alert," added the SP.

"Polling in three Assembly seats, including the Maoist-hit Jugsalai, will take place on November 25 and an incident of this nature is bound to affect the morale of the polling officials, especially those deployed in the Naxalite-hit areas," asserted a Class III official of the district administration deployed on poll duty.

Suspected naxalite killed in AP district

Updated on Thursday, November 19, 2009, 20:39 IST Tags:naxalite, killed, Andhra Pradesh

Kadapa (AP): A suspected naxalite was killed on Thursday in an exchange of fire with the police in Thoomulagunta village here, police said.

The encounter took place in the wee hours when a special police party was on a combing operation in Billaguntta mandal of the district and saw three suspected naxals moving in the area, District Superintendent of Police, D S Chouhan said.

When the extremists were asked to surrender, they opened fire, police said.

The patrol party retaliated killing a 30-year-old man while two others escaped the spot, they added.

Two pistols, three pin bombs and a kit bag were also recovered from the site, the SP said adding the slain naxalite is yet to be identified.

Bureau Report

'Centre has stopped aid to MP for fighting Naxals'

Bhopal, Nov 19 (PTI) The Madhya Pradesh government today alleged that despite wiping out Naxalism from Mandla and Dindori districts and curbing it effectively in Balaghat, the Centre has stopped the aid to the state for fighting the menace.

"Instead of rewarding for wiping out Naxalism from Dindori and Mandla districts and effectively curbing it in Balaghat, the Centre has stopped the aid given to the state to fight the menace," Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Uma Shankar Gupta said in the State Assembly, while replying to a debate on deteriorating law and order situation.

He said in Balaghat, Naxalism was not just controlled by the power of gun, but also by carrying out developmental works and by providing benefits of welfare schemes to the people.

Road contractor killed by naxals

Nagpur, Nov 19 (PTI) A group of naxalites today killed a road contractor at Mahawada in Dhanora taluka of Gadchiroli district, police said today.

37-year-old Nagi Reddy Chinchu Reddy, a native of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh had gone to supervise road construction work between Dudhwada and Mahawada when some 30 odd armed naxalites pumped bullets into him, police said.

The motive behind the killing was not known immediately, police said adding that Sub Divisional Police Officer, Balsingh Rajput has rushed to the site

Naxals derail train in Jharkhand, one killed


Ranchi: Naxals blew up a railway track in Jharkhand late on Thursday night derailing eight bogies of a passenger train in which at least one person was killed and 29 others injured.

Out of the 29 injured five are stated to be in a critical condition and they have been shifted to the Ispat General Hospital in Rourkela in the neighbouring state of Orissa.

The railway track between Manoharpur and Pasaita station in Chaibasa district was blown up on Thursday night at around 2100 hrs IST leading to the derailment of eight bogies of the Tata Nagar-Bilaspur passenger train.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Kolhan, Manoj Kumar Mishra said that one woman died in the derailment.

The Naxals also triggered three to four blasts, possibly to deter rescue work.

Speaking to CNN-IBN, Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee confirmed that preliminary reports suggest that the bogies have been badly damaged due to the derailment. She also said that the Railway Ministry was monitoring the situation and has been in touch with the state police.

"Government and Home Ministry are doing all they can but the problem is that railways have become a soft target for Naxals," said Mamata.

The guard of the train A Biswas said that rescue operation were still on.

"This happened as soon as the the train left Pasaita. There was a sudden jerk and the train stopped. There was a lot of dust outside and bogies overturned. Many were injured. We rescued some people but there are more who are trapped. Rescue operations are on," said Biswas.

The train comprised 10 coaches of which five derailed and three toppled along with the engine.

Railway also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the dead, Rs 1 lakh for critically injured and Rs 10,000 for injured.

At least six trains have been diverted following the blast. The trains 2129 Azad Hind Express, 2905 Happa-Howrah Express, 2809 Mumbai-Howrah Mail have been diverted via -Rourkela-Muri-Purulia route while 2151 Samarsata Express has been diverted via Adra.

Two more trains 8006 Samleswari Express and Howrah-bound 2442 Rajdhani Express have diverted via Bilaspur. The Rajdhani Express would be short-terminated at Rourkela, railways officials said.

Elections for the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly are scheduled to held in five phases from November 25 through December 18. Naxals have been opposing the elections process and put up posters in many areas of the state asking people to boycott elections.

Helpline phone number: Jamshedpur: 0657- 2290324

Helpline phone numbers: Rourkela: 0661-2501072. Chakradharpur: 06587-238072

(With inputs from Prabhakar Kumar)

Mines killed 3000 Indians in last 10 years

Binalakshmi Nepram

New Delhi, Nov 19: The historic disarmament Mine Ban Treaty entered its 10th year of entry into force in 2009. However even after ten years, India still has not signed this important treaty � with devastating consequences. According to the Landmine Monitor Report 2009, around 3000 Indians died due to landmines and over 2000 more were injured in the last 10 years. Most casualties occurred in Jammu and Kashmir followed by Manipur in the Northeast. The other states affected by landmines are Rajasthan, Punjab, Sikkim and Naxal affected areas in Eastern and Central India.

Moreover, India remains one of the few countries still producing antipersonnel mines. Its stockpile is estimated to be between four and five million, which is the fifth largest in the world. India`s last major use of antipersonnel mines took place between December 2001 and July 2002, when the Indian Army deployed an estimated two million mines along its 2,880km northern and western border with Pakistan in Operation Parakram. The operation directly affected more than 6,000 families across 21 villages and was one of the most extensive worldwide since the Mine Ban Treaty was signed in 1997.

Worldwide however, significant progress has been made in eradicating antipersonnel mines since the Mine Ban Treaty entered into force. Production has decreased, with 38 countries formally halting mine production, leaving only 13 countries as potential producers. No trade between states has been confirmed since 1999. Over the past decade, States Parties have destroyed 44 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines.

"156 countries have signed the Mine Ban Treaty. They are banning the use, production, stockpile and trade of landmines and their armed forces learnt to protect their borders without using landmines. 39 countries�including India, China, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States�have yet to join the treaty for various reasons. But India must join the process as non-explosive viable alternatives already exist", says Retired Ambassador Satnam Jit Singh, Diplomatic Advisor to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

Although casualty rates have decreased steadily over the past decade, the total number of casualties is still far too high. From 1999�2008 Landmine Monitor identified 73,576 casualties in 119 countries/areas. "In the next decade more countries must meet their obligations to clear areas of existing landmines and put more effort into educating affected communities about mine hazards. Governments must ensure that no more people are killed or injured by these indiscriminate weapons. And they must also ensure that people affected are adequately compensated", says Ms Binalakshmi Nepram, of New Delhi based think tank Control Arms Foundation of India (CAFI).

According to the Landmine Monitor Report 2009, the implementation of compensation appeared unsystematic in India. According to media reports some victims (or their families) have received compensation between Rs 10,000 and 3 lakh. Others reportedly received no compensation at all. In meetings with mine survivors in Poonch (Jammu and Kashmir) in 2009, Landmine Monitor found that none of them had been compensated. Field research revealed that, partly due to the long bureaucratic claims process, no compensation had been given in Poonch for four years. Survivors confirmed that they received a pension of Rs300 every six months, but said that they are not compensated for the long distances they must travel to claim it.

The Government of India has a responsibility for its people and needs to take a much more proactive role to control the use and spread of landmines before more innocent lives continue to be lost. According to Dr. Swaran Singh, Professor, JNU, "Ten years of Mine Ban Treaty represent an era or hope and expectations. Antipersonnel landmines ban is a `model for change` in disarmament diplomacy for the 21st century world. This treaty has since inspired several other initiatives in conventional disarmament where civil society, non-governmental organizations, and policy networks have clearly come to take the lead and pressed negotiations in terms of humanitarian laws".

Control Arms Foundation of India (CAFI), along with several other organisations has been working on the issue of landmines in India over several years. Ahead of the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty, the Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World, to be held in Colombia from 29 November�4 December, CAFI is launching the "Landmine Monitor Report 2009" on Saturday, 21 November 2009 at Conference Room, Control Arms Foundation of India, B 5/146, First Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110029.

The report will be launched by Dr Thockchom Meinya, Member of Parliament from Manipur.

The launch is followed by a Panel Discussion on "10 Years of Mine Ban Treaty and why India Still Haven`t Signed?" Panelists include Mr Iftikhar Gilani of Kashmir Times, Ms Medha Bisht of IDSA and Ms Binalakshmi Nepram of CAFI. Lt General (Retd) Dr BS Malik chairs the session.

About Landmine Monitor

Landmine Monitor is the research and monitoring program of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Each year since 1999 Landmine Monitor has reported on the humanitarian consequences of landmines, cluster munitions, and other ERW and scrutinized implementation of and compliance with the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Landmine Monitor Report 2009 reports on ban policy, demining, casualties, risk education, victim assistance and support for mine action in every country in the world and eight other areas not internationally recognized as states. It also includes a special ten-year review of progress since the entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty in 1999. Landmine Monitor Report 2009 and related documents are

Maoist suspect remanded in custody

Karnataka Bureau

SHIMOGA/MYSORE: Kiran Kumar, alias Mallesh (27), one of the four suspected Maoists arrested on Tuesday, was produced before the JMFC court here on Thursday and remanded in police custody till December 3.

The Shimoga police, who arrested him, said that Kiran was a mediator between Maoists and their supporters.

A police team caught the youth at the KSRTC bus stand in Shimoga city around 6.30 p.m. on Tuesday and questioned him. He was identified as a resident of Goragunte Palya in Bangalore. He hails from Bommanal village in Deodurga taluk of Raichur district.

The police said he used to supply material and information to naxalites hiding in jungles of the Malnad region.

The police refused to disclose information about the other three taken into custody.

Another of those arrested, Vishnu alias Devendrappa, according to sources, is from Tallur village in Shimoga district.

He escaped during the encounter that took place in 2005 when naxalite ideologue Saket Rajan and his accomplice, Shivalingu, were shot dead near Menasinahadya in Chikmagalur district.

Sources said Vishnu is an important person in the naxal cadre and the State leader of the naxal wing that operates in the Western Ghats. Vishnu has been in the movement for 20 years, and he was second in command when Saket Rajan was alive.

ANF constable found murdered

Express News Service

First Published : 20 Nov 2009 04:52:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 20 Nov 2009 06:36:06 AM IST

BANGALORE: A 32-year-old police constable serving with the Anti Naxal Force in Karkala, was found murdered in Nelamangala police station limits on Thursday morning.

The victim is identified as T H Krishna, who had come to the city on Wednesday morning at 6 am from Karkala on seven days leave. Krishna is said to have gone missing since 11.30 am from the KSRP quarters at Austin Town.

On Thursday morning at about 10 am his body was found abandoned near Gopalapura in Hesaraghatta main road. Police said that Krishna was hit and then strangled. He was identified with the help of his Id card, which was in his pocket. Police also added that the murder was not for money as the wrist watch and his wallet were found untouched. Police claim to have strong leads in the case.

Krishna’s elder brother T H Ramachandra is serving as a head constable with Hanumanthanagar police station

Maoist insurgency and guerrilla warfare and state response, part-I

November 19th, 2009

by Maloy Krishna Dhar

Published in Opinion and Editorials

Several readers and visitors ventilated their genuine and perceived anguish about Maoist threat to the country and the alleged poor state of counterinsurgency operations by the Union and State Law & Order and Intelligence agencies. The subject is vast with protracted historical background and hundreds of books and research papers are available on the subject. Detailed researches have been carried out by the US, UK, French, Greek and etc countries’ armies and intelligence apparatuses. The Indian army has also its Counterinsurgency doctrine which was developed in the light of experiences of Pakistan inspired tribal hoards attacking Kashmir in I947, Naga insurgency since 1948, other insurgencies in the Northeastern States, Punjab and Kashmir. The prime intelligence agencies of India and the State intelligence agencies are yet to formulate cohesive counterinsurgency and anti-guerrilla policies with symmetric adjustment with the doctrine developed by the armed forces.

Insurgency is organized armed rebellion by non-state players either for overthrowing the legally constituted State, or secede or establish free zones by paralyzing the state machineries and by establishing total ‘Mass Control’ on the populace and destroying legally constituted and mandated “Mass Control” mechanism of the State. This brief definition includes certain factors which are of paramount importance.

“In a Guerrilla warfare affected territory presence of the following basic elements are absolutely necessary:

1. A given territory, normally backward rural, mountainous and topographically not easily accessible.

2. There must be Peoples in that territory who have been neglected by the political administration, denied balanced developments, equal rights with the developed parts of the country, oppressed, depressed and who have been totally alienated from the system.

3. Ideologically inspired party and leadership to exploit the disillusioned Peoples.

4. Erosion of government “Mass Control” and gradual establishment of “mass Control” by the guerrilla forces, through propaganda, armed action against the government forces, penal action against the Peoples who refuse to submit to the guerrillas, and

5. Armed guerrilla groups, who have access to arms supply, People’s patronage, support from sections of intellectuals and human rights activists.”

Of these four important elements the most important one is the concept of “Mass Control.” The kernel of the Mass Control is mutual interrelation between the Peoples, the tools of governance and the responsibility of the State as mandated by the Constitution and empowered by the law to ensure balanced equal growth of economy, equal dispensation of wealth, equal social justice and equal amount of response of the State to the security and lives of the peoples.

Over years due to certain aberration in the mandated principles and actions by the State regional, ethnic, and economic balances have been distorted. Certain areas and peoples grow faster causing serious imbalances in certain sectors of the populace, regions and ethnic groups. Over years the peoples suffering from the impact of imbalances, inequality, social and economic justice tend to lose their FAITH in the capability of the legally constituted governments to protect, preserve and promote them as homogenous parts of the entire State. Imbalanced growth and urban-centric economic growth, neglect of the rural-agrarian sectors and ethnic regions, generate tectonic shift between the State and the peoples who develop doubt on the capability of the State in ensuring equal edification.

Through these gaps gradual erosion of “Mass Control” starts taking shape which is exploited by certain political thinkers and organized groups who believe that by applying sustained campaign, agitation and armed depredation they can develop “Counter Mass Control” on the peoples and congregate a parallel force that can challenge the established State. Certain political ideologies like Leninism, Maoism etc are borrowed to give ideological cover to the “Counter Mass Control” movements. Considered and crafty use of violence on the state governing tools gradually help in destroying state control and establishment of control by the rebellious forces. Systematic erosion of state authority allows FAITH and TRUST on the rebellious groups, who often punish the people by using violence and instill a parallel growth of FAITH and TRUST on the capability of the rebellious groups to deliver to them that State could not. The concept of “Mass Control” and “Counter Mass Control” is the kernel of insurgency and guerrilla warfare. People’s power, desire to challenge the State and their capability in destroying TRUST in the established government and promote their own control on areas and bases decide the course of insurgency and guerrilla warfare and success and failure of counterinsurgency strategies.

Before we enter into other aspects of counterinsurgency and guerrilla warfare it is better we try to understand the peoples and groups which are marketed as Maoists and Naxals. In an earlier article ‘Maoist Apparatus And Bridging The Old Fault Line’ published on July 2008, I had drawn attention of the readers to various causes that give triggering effect to the growth of Naxalism and Maoist movement. Therefore, I would try to project the various groups which are active (ideologically and militarily) in different states.

1. Communist League of India CLI(ML): Founded Feb 20, 1978 as a split off from CPI (ML) COC
2. Communist Party of India (Maoist) People’s War: Formed in Sept.21, 2004 as a merger of CPI (ML) and MCC (I). The largest and important revolutionary party. Engaged in guerrilla warfare.
3. Communist Party of India (M-L): Formed in January 2005 by merger of CPI (ML-Sanyal Group) and CPI (ML) Red Flag. A Right-Centre organisation.
4. CPI ML Bhaijee Group: Active in Bihar.
5. CPI (ML) Central Team: Formed 1977. In 1994 the Punjab section merged with other Groups to form CPRCI (ML).
6. CPI (ML) (Janashakti, Rajanna group, Ranadheer group, Chandra Pulla, Reddy Group, Other factions): Six ML groups merged in 199form this outfit. Takes part Guerrilla warfare.
7. CPI (ML) Samvad
8. CPI (ML) Liberation: Continuation of main CPI (ML). Probably the largest group believes in electoral process. Active in West Bengal, Assam and Bihar.
9. CPI (ML) Mahadev Mukherjee: Split from CPI (ML) 2nd CC. Doctrinaire and believe in Lin Biao line of revolution.
10. CPI (ML) Maharashtra
11. CPI (ML) Nai Pahal
12. CPI (ML) Naxalbari: CPI (ML) Rauf group, CPI (ML) MUC merged with this group. Affiliated to CCOMPOSA and RIM.
13. CPI (ML) New Democracy: Formed in 1988 by Yatendra Kumar. Active in Bihar. Believes in armed struggle.
14. CPI (ML) New Proletarian.
15. CPI (ML) Organizing Committee: Active in Bihar under B. N. Sharma
16. CPI (ML) Praja Pratighatana: Engaged in Armed struggle.
17. CPI (ML) Prajashakti-People’s Power: Engaged in armed struggle.
18. CPI (ML) Pratighatna, Phani Bagchi faction: Engaged in armed struggle.
19. CPI (ML)Provisional Central Committee: Formed in 1977 after merger with CPI (ML) of Satya Narayan Singh group. Follows centrist line.
20. CPI (ML) Shantipal: Formed in 1972. Active in Northern West Bengal and Bihar.
21. Communist Party of United States of India: Split from Janashakti in 1977 and engaged in armed struggle.
22. Communist Party Reorganization Centre Of India (ML): Amalgamation of several groups. Advocates of armed revolution.
23. Communist Biplabi Kendra aka Communist Revolutionary Centre.
24. Communist Revolutionary League of India: Ashim Chatterjee group. Leans towards social democracy.
25.Marxist- Leninist Committee: Eastern Andhra Pradesh, not engaged in armed struggle.
26. Revolutionary Communist Centre (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist): RCCI merged with MCCI in 2003. Logged to CCOMPOSA.
27.Revolutionary Socialist Party Of India (ML): Formed in 1969.
28.Unity Centre Of Communist Revolutionaries of India: Formed in 1975 by T. Nagi Redd and D. V. Rao. Believes in Mass revolutionary line.

Other Regional Revolutionary Organisations having Maoist influence

1. Jharkhand Liberation Tigers: Linked to Jharkhand Liberation Front. Believes in armed struggle.
2. Kangleipak Communist Party Manipur: Split group from PREPAK
3. NSCN (I-M): Nagaland and parts of Manipur and Assam.
4. People’s Liberation Army: Armed force of People’s Liberation Front. Formed in 1978.
5. People’s Revolutionary Army of Kangleipak: Formed in 1977. Believes in armed struggle. Has Maoist link.
6. Revolutionary People’s Front Of Manipur: Formed in 1979, an armed Maoist group.
7. Tamil Nadu Marxist-Leninist Party.
8. Tritiya Prastuti Committee: Counter revolutionary split from PWG in 2002.
9. United Liberation Front of Assam: Separatist group having Maoist tinge.

Besides the above there are about 22 old and non-functional Maoist groups of which the important are: Revolutionary Communist Centre, India (Maoist), Marxist Communist Party of India, Maoist Communist Centre (India), Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), CPI (ML) Second Central Committee, CPI (ML-Sanyal Group), CPI (ML) Red Flag, CPI (ML) People’s War Group, All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries etc.

National/International Associations:

Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA). Formed in June 2001 the main constituents are:

* Bangladesh Samyabadi Dal (M-L)
* Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist), Sri Lanka
* Communist Party of East Bengal (M-L) Bangladesh
* Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
* Communist Party of India (M-L) People’s War
* Communist Party of India (M-L) Naxalbari
* Maobadi Punorgathan Kendro of PBSP Bangladesh
* Maoist Communist Centre (India)
* Purba Bangla Sarbohara Party, PBSP CC Bangladesh
* Revolutionary Communist Centre India (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist)
* Revolutionary Communist Centre India (Maoist), Merged into MCC (I) in 2003.
* Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM): The RIM was formed in 1984. Signatories of the Declaration of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement and Participating Organisations in RIM (From A World to Win, #29, (2002), p. 88):
* Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist)
* Communist Party of Afghanistan
* Communist Party of Bangladesh (M-L) BSD(ML)
* Communist Party of India (M-L) Naxalbari
* Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist)
* Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
* Communist Party of Peru
* Communist Party of Turkey Marxist-Leninist
* Maoist Communist Centre (India) [Merged with CPI (ML) People’s War to form the CPI (Maoist) in Sept. 2004.
* Maoist Communist Party Italy
* Marxist-Leninist Communist Organisation of Tunisia
* Proletarian Party of Purba Bangla (PBSP) Bangladesh
* Revolutionary Communist Group of Colombia
* Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.
(Materials collated from

I have highlighted the facts of existence of Maoist groups in the Northeast and Bangladesh as well as Nepal to emphasize the fact that sophisticated weapons are inducted by the Indian Maoists from Chinese arms peddling mafia through the Maoists in Manipur, Nagaland and Assam. The Bangladesh based Maoist parties mostly active in the western part of the country are in cahoots with the Indian Maoists. They work as a conduit for supplying Chinese weapons to the Indian Maoists in India. Moreover, the Indian Maoists are suspected to receive financial assistance from the international community of Maoist organisations. International connectivity of the Indian movement is pointer to the rise of second phase of export of Maoist ideology by China. The first wave was generated by USSR inspiration and support. It would not be proper to evaluate the Indian Maoists as a mushroom growth. The seeds were sown in Andhra Pradesh under USSR inspiration, sprouted as Naxal Movement in West Bengal and several revisions and ideological twists have coagulated the Maoist movement to a spearhead with serious threat to the established system.

The Maoists earlier received weapons and explosives from LTTE sources through Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh coastal areas. Other reliable ground sources indicate that arms of Chinese origin are also inducted by the Indian Maoists by sea route for which the areas from Haldia, Kasba Naiaringarh (Midnapore) areas to areas like Khantapara, Baripada, Remuna. Balikuda and Berhanpur areas in Orissa are used by the armed guerrilla groups.

The Maoist movement is highly splintered but there is working coordination between groups active in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Maharashtra. The CPI (Maoist) is by far the largest of these, incorporating as it does the two largest pre-merger groups engaged in guerrilla warfare. However, the Rajanna group of Janashkti is also apparently quite active. According to an article in the Hindustan Times (May 9, 2002], “Of various radical leftists, People’s War Group and Maoist Communist Centre are most ferociously pursuing the Marx-Lenin and Mao-inspired protracted people’s war in at least seven states of India.” The article went on to say that their connections with the developing revolution in Nepal, and “reports of their bid to carve out a corridor from some areas of MP, AP, Bihar and UP up to Nepal have alarmed Indian government. There are some groups which are in favour of reformist line and participation inn the electoral process.

And in between these two extremes there is a whole large middle ground. Many of the organizations here favor what they call the “mass revolutionary line” or “Mao’s mass line”. I believe that most of these groups favor people’s war (and/or mass insurrection) at some point, but they think the ground is not yet prepared for it, at least in most places in India. Among the “mass revolutionary line” groups are:

* CPI (ML), a new party formed with the merger of CPI(ML) Red Flag and CPI(ML)-Sanyal Group in January 2005.
* Unity Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India (M-L)
* CPI (M-L) New Democracy- but this group seems to be leaning more to the left and toward guerrilla warfare now.
* Communist Party Reorganization Centre of India (M-L)
* Many smaller groups.
Many of the revolutionary groups in India have diverse currents of political opinion within them, and it has been a frequent occurrence for a section of a party in one of these three main groups to split off and join up with a party in one of the other three main groups. It seems that no party or group has yet been able to demonstrate to a majority of the communist revolutionaries of India that it has figured out the best path to revolution.

The above are brief accounts of the Maoist groups which have influenced the course of political history of India since 1966-67 with the Naxalbari movement. Greater details cannot be incorporated due to constraint of space.

Since the armed struggle by several groups have challenged the authority of the legally constituted governments in the name of Maoist ideology, it is necessary to have a brief glimpse into the tenets preached by Mao Zedong. According to him: “The general features of orthodox hostilities, that is, the war of position and the war of movement, differ fundamentally from guerrilla warfare. There are other readily apparent differences such as those in organization, armament, equipment supply, tactics, command; in conception of the terms ‘front’ and ‘rear’; in the matter of military responsibilities.” Mao Zedong on Guerrilla Warfare.”

Mao’s tenets observe that in guerrilla warfare, select the tactic of seeming to come from the east and attacking from the west; avoid the solid, attack the hollow; attack; withdraw; deliver a lightning blow, seek a lightning decision. When guerrillas engage a stronger enemy, they withdraw when he advances; harass him when he stops; strike him when he is weary; pursue him when he withdraws. In guerilla strategy, the enemy’s rear, flanks, and other vulnerable spots are his vital points, and there he must be harassed, attacked, dispersed, exhausted and annihilated. Only in this way can guerrillas carry out their mission of independent guerrilla action and coordination with the effort of the regular armies. But, in spite of the most complete preparation, there can be no victory if mistakes are made in the matter of command.

Mao also says: “What is basic guerrilla strategy? Guerrilla strategy must be based primarily on alertness, mobility, and attack. It must be adjusted to the enemy situation, the terrain, the existing lines of communication, the relative strengths, the weather and the situation of the people.” Ibid.

The general features of orthodox hostilities, that is, the war of position and the war of movement, differ fundamentally from guerrilla warfare. There are other differences such as those in organization, armament, equipment supply, tactics, command; in conception of the terms ‘front’ and ‘rear’; in the matter of military responsibilities.

When considered from the point of view of total numbers, guerrilla units are small and many, as individual combat units, they may vary in size from the smallest, of few individuals or several hundred men, to the battalion or the regiment, of several thousand. This is not the case in regularly organized units.

A primary feature of guerrilla operations is their dependence upon the people themselves to organize battalions and other units. As a result of this, organization depends largely upon local circumstances. In the case of initial guerrilla groups, the standard of equipment was of a low order and they depended for their sustenance primarily upon what the locality affords. Later they achieved success in procuring sophisticated weapons. The strategy of guerrilla warfare is manifestly unlike that employed in orthodox operations, as the basic tactic of the former is constant activity and movement. There is in guerrilla warfare no such thing as a decisive battle; there is nothing comparable to the fixed, passive defence that characterizes orthodox war. In guerrilla warfare, the transformation of a moving situation into a positional defensive situation never arises. The general features of reconnaissance, partial deployment, general deployment, and development of the attack that are usual in mobile warfare are not common in guerrilla war. The guerrillas establish preliminary and solid bases and through “Mass Control” mechanism gradually establish free areas and several free areas join together to dominate territories. When we discuss the terms ‘front’ and ‘rear’ it must be remembered, that while guerrillas do have bases, their primary field of activity is in the enemy’s rear areas. They themselves have no rear. As to the matter of military responsibilities, those of the guerrillas are to exterminate small forces of the enemy; to harass and weaken large forces; to attack enemy lines of communications; to establish bases capable of supporting independent operations in the enemy’s rear, to force the enemy to disperse his strength and go for splintered deployment which lead to better ambushing capability for the guerrilla forces

There are several considerations on which the insurgency and guerrilla warfare are evolved. Main points of consideration are: How guerrilla bands are formed, organized how to arm and train them and which elements of the populace should be considered as the hardcore elements of the movement? In the Indian context Charu Mazumdar had initially chosen the landless laborers, deprived tea garden employees who were mostly of tribal stock. Later he moved on to the idea of mass killing and urban guerrilla warfare. Now the pattern is to create bases in deprived rural areas, amongst the depressed classes and castes, forest dwelling tribals. The leadership is measured up by the standards laid down by Mao Zedong: They must be well educated in theories of class struggle, tenets of Lenin and Mao, well versed with the mood of the people and have better understanding of the basics of forming bases, selecting people to initial guerrilla groups, arranging weapons and lead the organized bands to isolated skirmishes with small police and paramilitary forces. From that basic concept the present day Maoist groups have graduated to establishing chains of bases, operating from the rear and flank of the enemy (state forces), procuring sophisticated weapons and explosive devices and even mounting surprise attack on sizeable police and paramilitary forces.

[Mao had suggested that all the people in an area should arm themselves and be organized into two groups. One of these groups is a combat group, the other a self-defence unit with limited military quality. Regular combatant guerrillas are organized into one of three general types of units. The first of these is the small unit, the platoon or company. In each given territory, three to six units may be organized. The second type is the battalion of two to four companies. One such unit should be organized in each dominated territory. While the unit fundamentally belongs to the designated area in it was organized for, it may operate in other areas as well. While in areas other than its own, it must operate in conjunction with local units in order to take advantage of their manpower, their knowledge of local terrain and local customs, and their information of the enemy. According to him each of the units has its own peculiarities of organization. A squad, the smallest unit, may have the strength of from nine to eleven men, including the leader and the assistant leader. Its arms may be from two to five rapid firing rifles, with the remaining men armed with rifles, other kinds of weapons and even spears, or big swords. Two to four such squads form a platoon. This too has a leader and an assistant leader, and when acting independently, it is assigned a political officer to carry on political propaganda work. The platoon may have about ten rifles, with the remainder of its four of such units from a company, which, like the platoon, has a leader, an assistant leader, and a political officer. All these units are under the direct supervision of the military commanders of the areas in which they operate.
The war field is a learning university for the guerrilla forces. Leaders emerge from continuous engagement with the enemy (State). They have immaculate information gathering mechanism, identified routes to advance and disperse but to reunite and mount fresh attacks. They create informers in the security forces and clear up the base areas and ‘free territories’ of enemy (State) intelligence personnel and do not hesitate to eliminate such villagers who are suspected as government informers. Normally the guerrillas do not torture the people, but in cases where the populace is not cooperative they establish ‘Mass Control” on them by selected killing and attacking police forces in or around such villages which obviously invite retaliation from the administration.

This cycle of gradual denudation of government authority by burning schools, health centres, demolishing bridges, culverts telephone and telegraph lines and attacking isolated railway stations give impression to the people that they can no more TRUST the State for their protection. They seek protection from the guerrilla forces. This methodology of scorched earth policy helped the guerrillas to establish firm control on public psychology and occupation of vast tracts of areas, like the Lalgarh in West Bengal. The forces have apparently cleared the area but the Maoist guerrillas have the capability to strike at will. Similar situation has been created in areas of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and parts of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. The security forces are present in the affected areas like whales in the sea; the guerrillas are present as fish in water. ]

Since the subject is very vast it would be necessary to understand the basics of Counter Insurgency and Counter Guerrilla warfare. Counterinsurgency, COIN in US combat lingo, requires joint forces to both fight and build sequentially or simultaneously, depending on the security situation and political will of the rulers of the day. The balance of these operations must be appropriate to accomplish the current phase’s objectives. Offensive and defensive operations in counterinsurgency that are predominantly aimed at insurgent combatants are counter-guerrilla operations. Insurgents, according to Mao’s thesis do not fight frontal warfare till they are able to take the weakened State on in open engagement. Hence, they are dependent on guerrilla warfare.

Stability operations are fundamental to counterinsurgency warfare. Stability operations address the core grievances of insurgency as well as drivers of conflict and are essential to long-term success. In India the emphasis so far has been on better police operations aided by the paramilitary forces. The Union and the State governments hardly underscore the needs for bridging the mind boggling imbalances, economic neglect, lack of developmental activities and exploitation of the rural masses and the forest dwellers by the bourgeoisie political leaders and the bureaucrats. Corruption in the system of administration is as lethal as the Maoist guerrillas. Without positive political, economic and social developments and corruption free administration the present phase of Maoist guerrilla warfare cannot be combated even if the State creates large Commando and operational forces.

To emphasize the Maoist concept of aggregation of factors and forces that go in making guerrilla warfare successful is narrated in bullet form:

* Survey and analysis of the target base, weaknesses of the government machineries and degree of deprivation and state of hostility dominating the populace.
* Arousing and organizing the people and getting them involved in isolated skirmishes, prolonged agitation and defiance of governmental authority.
* Achieving internal political unification of the peoples, indoctrinate them and set up example of viability of violence in achieving what was denied to them by the tools of governance.
* Establishing bases in areas where “Mass Control” of the government is comparatively weak.
* Exploit poor economic conditions of the peoples, and start works to mitigate their grievances as much as possible; play Robin Hood.
* Accrue own strength by training the cadre who mostly belong to proletariat classes.
* Educated, hardworking, enlightened and incorruptible leadership from the top to lowest formation.
* Equipping own forces with lethal weapons, including modern weapons, explosives, training them in making and exploding IEDs.
* Rigorous training to fight in squad, platoon and company formations; teaching the principles of guerrilla warfare-attacking the enemy from rear and flank and frontal attack when own strength accrues to battalion and regiment level.
* Creation of intelligence gathering mechanism and establishment of communication facility.
* Survey of the target of attack and explaining the modus of attack with element of surprise.
* Destroying enemy’s (government’s) strength and imposition of “rule of law” of the guerrilla forces.
* Gain more territory (liberate) and enlarge the bases.
* Create liberated zone and interconnect bases under own forces as well as parallel forces of liberation struggle.
* Collaboration with forces with similar objectives and obtain foreign help towards ideological as well as logistic support.
I do not want to chronicle the global history of Guerrilla warfare reportedly originating with Napoleon Bonaparte’s occupation of Spain. The USA counts the beginning of counterinsurgency and guerrilla warfare from the time of its involvement in Vietnam War; the UK counts the beginning with its counterinsurgency operations in the Malaya peninsula. India has vast history of tackling insurgency and guerrilla warfare in Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Punjab and Kashmir. In addition, the Maoist apparatuses have started developing as a new political challenge, which is not based on ethnicity. This ideology based insurgency is spread over vast areas in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra. The “Red Dagger”, as the phenomenon is perceived, has posed serious threats to the overall security of the country.

This requires some comments on the counterinsurgency warfare and Guerrilla warfare by the legally constituted governments in India. Having had the opportunity of serving in various insurgency and guerrilla warfare theaters of the country nearly for one and half decade I would like to explain the Indian modus operandi in counterinsurgency operations. The evolution of the Nagaland and Manipur models were different from the Assam and Punjab models. In Nagaland and parts of Naga inhabited areas of Manipur the influence of the legally constituted government exercised minimum “Mass Control” mechanism. The well organised underground political and armed movement had established ‘population control’ significantly. This was possible because of minimum or negative presence of civil administration in the modern concept of State presence. Indian and local officers ruled like colonial masters and they paid very little or no attention to the economic, social, developmental and other aspects of state control activities. Because of sparse spread of civil and police administration in adverse topographical regions the dictates of the rebels ran without hindrance. The rebels occupied the higher peaks, gullies in between rough and tough routes and forest hideouts. Often they operated from within well fortified stockade with observation posts. Almost the entire populace in bases created by the underground acted as informers for the rebels.

Police forces were not trained in operations in mountainous terrain and they possessed Second World War firearms and prehistoric wireless communications system. The insurgents had in possession sophisticated weapons and communication system supplied by Pakistan and China. Later the paramilitary and regular army established minimum company strength posts in viable locations, and the Village Volunteer Force raised from among the locals and trained by Indian governmental authorities established stockade fortifications in high peak locations and near about the villages known to be loyal to the guerrillas. With betterment of troop deployment and induction of better weapons and communication system the VVF, paramilitary and army contingents gradually dislodged the insurgents from their established bases, reestablished governmental “Mass Control” mechanism and writ of the legal authorities.

The local police forces were better trained and supplied with modern weapons. But the role played by the VVF and Central Intelligence agencies helped the operating forces with auxiliary people’s army and intelligence support. By 1973 the Guerrilla warfare movement in Manipur and Nagaland were brought under considerable control. Creation of Bangladesh, decimation of the Manipur valley movement and signing of the Shillong Accord between the Government of India and the Naga rebels in 1975 marked the end of the first phase of anti-guerrilla movement. The present phase resurfaced after 1980 for various combinations which is not the subject of discussion in this treatise. The core elements of the operations consisted of Peoples’ support like the VVF and Village Guards, better human intelligence, squad and company strength operations against the rebel hideouts and targeted elimination of high profile leaders. Route columns, jungle patrols with support of helicopter borne sighting and fighting support had tilted the balance in favour of Indian forces.

In Assam the experience was different. Starting with the All Assam Student’s Union movements against illegal immigrants from East Bengal/Pakistan and Bangladesh and better economic deal had vitiated general mood of the people. The prolonged movement itself established some kind of “Mass Control” in urban and rural areas in favour of the protagonists of the AASU movement. The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) had readymade grounds to influence the alienated mass psyche to support to the insurgents. In a way, barring certain areas in the Barrack Valley and Brahmaputra Valley the entire Assam could be treated as “bases” for the ULFA. The insurgents received weapons and training from China and Bangladesh/Pakistan sources. Over short period they grouped the volunteers to battalion and brigade formations with strop training centres and command positions. Assam police was not trained and equipped to tackle the ULFA offensive and gain of more territories. Operation Bajrang and Rhino were conceived by the Indian intelligence agency and the armed forces of the Eastern Command. Having had the opportunity of being a shadow partner in these operations, I realized that initial battalion and brigade level thrust of the Indian army on the basis of appreciable HUMINT had dispersed the ULFA from their bases and territories. The dispersed groups went over to Myanmar areas and obtained help from the Chinese, some leadership elements took refuge in Bangladesh and the operational forces were forced to operate as isolated guerrilla units. It was a stupendous job to militarily dislodge the ULFA from its bases clearing grounds for the political decision makers to implement “Mass Control” measures. Over time the Assam police and intelligence also graduated to combat readiness to fight the ULFA guerrilla forces.

The Union government and the state governments in Assam and Nagaland have been able to provide some developmental opportunities and political, economic and industrial impetus. However, in Manipur the political masters have miserably failed to dislodge the guerrilla forces from the valley and hill hideouts and the insurgents still control the peoples’ psyche and the governments continue to buy somewhat uneasy peace by closing eyes to ‘tax collection’ by the insurgents from all segments of the people. They run parallel governments. Presence of Army and invigorated police action provide some fa├žade of constitutional governance in doomed Manipur. The Union government and the governing political parties have failed miserably the people of Manipur.

Punjab experienced another format of counterinsurgency and anti-guerrilla warfare. Punjab police was well trained and motivated than the police forces in Nagaland, Manipur and Assam. Police as well as central intelligence agencies had accessed better HUMINT to support police and paramilitary operations. Known as traditional fighters the elements of Sikh terrorists were trained by some ex-army personnel, Pakistan and were equipped by Pakistan mainly. The Pakistani military intelligence, the ISI provided international connectivity with the Sikh Diaspora who also funded the movement. For about three years the insurgents were able to establish “Mass Control” through armed terror and also through religious preaching by the pro-separatist religious leaders, granthis, pathis and dhaddi and kirtani jathas. Police and paramilitary forces operated from new bases established in the heart areas of the bases of the guerrilla forces. Their task was facilitated as most the groups were disjointed and operated in defined areas in central (majha) and southern (malwa) and northern (doaba) areas of Punjab. Pakistan tried to bring some cohesion by assisting the Panthik Committees formed by some leading ideologues and commanders of the armed groups. But the writ of the PC was more ignored than abided by the guerilla forces. The religious fountainheads of the insurgency movement were also splintered.

Indian forces operated in squad, platoon and company detachments with able assistance from intelligence agencies and even from the peoples who were not loyal to the “Mass Control” measures of the insurgents. Their main mistake was to pull all their force in and around the Golden Temple. If Operation Blue Star (1984) had provided impetus to the disorganized terror groups to graduate to insurgent guerrilla detachments, the 1987 efforts of the militants to run the movement from within the Golden Temple invited doom for themselves. Operation Black Thunder was better conceived and supported by intelligence and the splintered groups gradually were either eliminated or succumbed to pressure to surrender and negotiate. Some core elements escaped to Pakistan. The Khalistan movement was based on religious bigotry that was exploited by Pakistan and some elements of the Diaspora. Of all the anti-guerrilla operations the Punjab experience was most successful.

The contemporary anti Maoist operations are deficient when contrasted with other global operations and even operations in Punjab, Assam and Nagaland. In the entire “Red Corridor” area the conventional police forces and the supporting paramilitary forces operate under commands of district police authorities and supervision of Director General of Police and other hierarchical formations. Police Stations are the main hubs of operations with basic structures like police outposts and detachments specially deployed for fighting the Maoists. Regular and special police patrol parties try to dominate certain areas mostly traversing along frequented roads and tracks. Police Stations in most of the affected areas are located in substandard, unfortified building, dilapidated rented accommodations. Some of the outposts are awfully understaffed and unsecured. Often such police stations are understaffed and are exposed to sudden attack and overrunning by the Maoist guerrillas. The police force mostly carries antiquated weapons against modern weaponry of the guerrillas. While the guerrillas set up ambushes on the basis of inside information, the police forces set up anticipatory ambushes without specific intelligence. The guerrillas have the capacity to take the police by surprise, hit and retreat only to attack again. The police forces are yet to graduate to the level of trained commando guerrillas. Only trained guerrillas can fight the outlawed guerrillas.

The paramilitary forces assisting the police and the recently introduced Cobra Commando Force are generally encamped near about police stations, special encampments. Being outside forces and not acclimatized with the terrain and the populace they try to operate by developing own intelligence or intelligence generated by State police. Chattisgarh has experimented with Salwa Judum (a peoples’ volunteer force) not yet trained by professional anti-guerrilla experts and not well armed to face the Maoist forces. There were furors from civil and human rights organisation against Salwa Judum and even the courts intervened. They all forget the in case the Maoists have the assumed right to impose “Mass Control” by force the peoples’ have also rights to organize themselves and form resistance groups to protect their constitutional and individual rights. The activists who oppose the Salwa Judum should not forget that peoples’ participation in the form of the VVF, Village Guards, Home Guards and Special Police Officers etc had contributed significantly in combating the insurgents and guerrillas in Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Assam and Punjab. This pattern of peoples’ resistance forces is an integral part of anti-guerrilla warfare. It is a pity that the States in the “Red Corridor” have not yet learnt lessons from global efforts in combating insurgents and guerrilla forces and suffer from misplaced political perceptions of keeping the peoples’ power unused thus exposing the Maoists to impose their “Mass Control” on the people.

Such misplaced political maneuvers offer opportunity to the Maoists to spread their tentacles, enlarging their bases and occupying more territories. The present political approach is contradictory to established theories and practices of effective anti-counterinsurgency and anti-guerrilla operations. Not the police alone but the combined powers of the police and the peoples can alone isolate the guerrilla forces. There is no law in the country to prevent the governments in recruiting Special Police Constables and Officers, Home Guards and Village Volunteer Force. The Courts and the human rights groups have a role to monitor HR abuses. It may also be remembered that counterinsurgency and anti-Guerrilla warfare have always been at cross-roads with the rights groups. In a war situation the State has an obligatory duty under the constitution to protect lives and properties and rule of law by waging war against the insurgents.

Lack of Human Intelligence, penetration inside the Guerrilla formations, lack of facilities to usefully apply Technical and Electronic intelligence and even Image Intelligence impede the ongoing operations. Helicopter borne surveillance, gathering aerial data by using micro aerial vehicles (MAV) are yet to be conceived and implemented by the respective State police forces. Without such Technical Intelligence aids to the ground forces the State is forced to operate like blind scapegoats to be sacrificed by the guerrillas armed to the teeth. Their intelligence network is superior to the state intelligence apparatuses.

Insurgency and guerrilla warfare are complex, dynamic, and adaptive. They can rapidly shift, split, combine, and reorganize. They can take the state forces by surprise, lay ambush, mine tracks and even fire mortar shells and rocket propelled grenades.

The present global ambience is typified by a volatile international environment, persistent conflict, and increasing state fragility. Long-standing external and internal tensions tend to exacerbate or create core grievances within some states, resulting in political strife, instability, or even insurgency. Moreover, some transnational terrorists/extremists with radical political and religious ideologies may intrude in weak or poorly governed states to form a wider, more networked threat. India is not a failed stets like Afghanistan and a collapsing state like Pakistan. However, India has several festering insurgencies and guerrilla groups inspired by Maoist ideology and certain ethnic demands.

Insurgents seek to gain power to overthrow or force change of a governing authority.

Insurgency is an internal threat that uses subversion and violence to reach political ends. Conversely, counterinsurgents seek to defeat insurgents and address core grievances to prevent insurgency’s expansion or regeneration. Typically the insurgents will solicit or be offered some type of support from state or non-state actors, which can include transnational terrorists who take advantage of the situation for their own benefit.

Counterinsurgency is comprehensive civilian and military efforts taken to simultaneously defeat and contain insurgency and address the core grievances of the people. Counterinsurgency is primarily political and incorporates a wide range of activities, of which security is only one. Unified action by the political rulers, bureaucrats, industrial and business houses is required to successfully conduct wholesome operations and should include simultaneous police (military) action and developmental activities. Civilian agencies should redress grievances of the people. The State police and polices forces of the Union may jointly and simultaneously attack the armed groups, weaken them and force them to come to the negotiation tables. In multi-party political democracy different political parties should not work at cross purposes. For example, the CPM government in West Bengal has woken up late to the Maoist menace. Whereas the Trinamool Congress is opposed to joint state and central police action. Political differences and vote bank compulsions should not create additional space for the Maoist guerrillas. The intellectuals suffering from misplaced human rights concerns may also like to consider that war against the state compels the State to live by the constitutional mandate and maintain law and order and protect lives and properties of the people by waging war against the Maoists, who use war to grab state power through violent means.

Successful counterinsurgency operations require comprehensive knowledge of the operational environment including an understanding of the insurgents, the scope of the insurgency, any external supporting elements, and possible support from outside players, which may benefit from a protracted conflict and especially the relevant population. Insurgency typically succeeds or fails based on the support of the population. These basic understandings are primary requirements before launching anti-guerrilla operations. The political masters must understand that police action is not the only answer to insurgency.

There are some prerequisites for an insurgency to be successful in an area—i. a vulnerable population, ii. leadership available for direction, and iii. lack of government control. When all three prerequisites exist in an area, insurgency can operate with some freedom of movement, gain the support of the people, and become entrenched over time. A population is vulnerable if the people have real or perceived grievances that insurgents can exploit. If insurgents can recruit, co-opt, or coerce local leaders or the local leaders are part of the insurgency, these leaders can direct the frustrations of the populace. Real or perceived lack of governmental control can allow insurgents to operate with little or no interference from security forces or other agencies. Unfortunately, in India the peoples in the Maoist affected areas have been historically neglected in pre and post independence years. Mere invocation of police action cannot help regaining of “Mass Control”. The political governments must implements people oriented developmental and economic policies and provide all facilities as provided to the urban areas.

The counterinsurgency and anti-guerrilla warfare is a multifaceted subject dealt with differentiated strategy and tactics by different countries. As far as real life counterinsurgency and anti-guerrilla warfare tactics and strategies in India and application of superior military program to demoralize and disperse the guerrilla forces are concerned, I propose to share the global thoughts, Indian experiences and my personal understanding of the ground situation in the next part of this essay. Till than the readers may like to enjoy this rather longish treatise.


Cops turn Gateway of India into living quarters

Mumbai, November 19, 2009

Mumbai's iconic Gateway of India has been turned into a dormitory for policemen guarding the nearby Taj Mahal Hotel.

Personnel of the State Reserve Police Force have turned the heritage structure into their makeshift home. The policemen have been staying there for the past two months following heightened security in the run up to the first anniversary of the 26/11 attacks.

The policemen were assigned the spot by the police in Colaba, under whose jurisdiction the Taj hotel falls. In the absence of any other shelter provided by the government, they have adapted the monument for use as living quarters.

The arches of the monument have been covered with plastic sheets to keep the rain and sun out. Nails have been driven into the walls to hang clotheslines.

The Gateway of India recently underwent restoration at a cost of Rs 1.9 crore.

Six policemen injured in landmine blast

Jamshedpur, Nov 19 (PTI) Six policemen including the officer-in-charge of Gurabandha police station were today injured in a landmine blast triggered by CPI(Maoist) at Bhakad in East Singhbhum district, about 60 km from here.

The policemen were returning to the police station on an anti-landmine vehicle following regular patrolling in Naxal-hit areas when the landmine exploded injuring six of them including Gurabandha police station OC Indu Bhusan Kumar, Sub-Divisional Police Officer (Ghatsila) Anup Birtheray said.

One of the seriously injured policemen has been airlifted to Ranchi for treatment, the SDPO said.

SP Navin Kumar Singh has rushed to the spot with additional police forces.

When ANF men turned agony aunts

MK Madhusoodan / DNAThursday, November 19, 2009 11:40 IST Email

Bangalore: In view of heightened Maoist activity reported from other states, a three-day intensive operation was conducted in the Western Ghats, in four districts of the state that have in the past seen Maoist activity--Udupi, Chickmagalur, Shimoga and Dakshina Kannada.

The Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) that conducted the combing operation comprised over 1000 police personnel. The effort was led by Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) AR Infant and Inspector General of Police (Western Range) Gopal B Hosur.

This time, however, the policemen engaged in a different manner of anti-Maoist activity. Instead of the regular combing operation, the policemen set about attempting to understand the situation on the ground, listening to the people and earning their trust.

"The three-day long operation, November 10-14, was intended to familiarise the ANF with the terrain, which is both vast and complex. But when our forces began work, they met several people with little contact with the outside world. There were no schools, no health facilities, and even electricity had not reached many of the settlements," said Infant.

Though the intention was to get the police personnel familiar with the terrain, the focus somehow shifted along the way. "We changed our strategy and sat down with the local population to discuss their problems," Infant said, asserting that it was high time that police personnel and senior bureaucrats do some introspection. Infant commended the forces for the humane touch they had lent to thecombing operations.

In Maoist badlands, state yet to fulfill its ‘restore school’ promise

Express News Service Posted online: Thursday , Nov 19, 2009 at 0354 hrs

Kolkata : More than a week has passed since Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had promised to withdraw security forces from the schools in Maoist-hit West Midnapore district. But till date, security personnel continue to camp in the schools.

During a recent trip to the district, the chief minister had set November 15 as the deadline for withdrawal of security forces from the schools. Admitting the administration’s failure, the district magistrate of West Midnapore, N S Nigam, said so far a few classrooms in the 13 schools of Lalgarh, Binpur and Salboni — where police camps were set up in June — have been vacated.

The teachers can now hold their classes in the vacant rooms but the security force would remain posted there, Nigam added. Though classes have not yet resumed, the district administration is hopeful that students will soon start attending their schools.

Superintendent of Police, West Midnapore, Manoj Verma said a section of security forces has been shifted from various schools in Binpur and Salboni to a separate location. But he did not specify how many schools are currently being occupied by the security forces. The People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), which has been protesting against the “occupation of government schools by security forces”, alleged that at least 30 secondary and primary schools in Binpur, Lalgarh, Salboni have remained closed since June.

“There is no sign of security forces withdrawing from Ramakrishna Vidyamandir, Kantapahari School and Gohamidanga School in Lalgarh,” said PCAPA leader Santosh Patra. Since the secondary examinations are slated for February, the teachers have started taking classes in temporary shelters on various school premises, said Patra.

Nigam, meanwhile, said the district administration has started constructing police camps at various places in the Maoist-affected areas.

The Calcutta High Court is currently hearing a PIL filed by West Midnapore Bhumija Kalyan Samity, a social organisation which has sought court’s intervention in resuming the normal functioning of the schools in the district.

The PIL was filed in September and the High Court had asked the state government to file a report on the status of the schools. The petitioner has alleged that police camps have been set up in 15 schools in Salboni block and functioning of schools in Lalgarh and Binpur has completely collapsed. The case is likely to come up for hearing on Friday.

Maoists threaten to kill politicians' kin

Satyendra Kumar, TNN 19 November 2009, 04:08am IST

JEHANABAD: Stung by hauls of arms and explosives in Patna, Gaya, Munger and Bokaro (Jharkhand) by the Bihar police in recent weeks, the CPI (Maoist) has threatened to carry out bloody reprisals against the kin of officers, ministers and politicians.

A two-page statement issued on Wednesday in the name of Gopal, spokesperson of the Bihar-Jharkhand-Orissa and Chhatisgarh Special Area Committee of the CPI (Maoist), said the arms and explosives seized by the police were all basically meant to protect the defenceless people against the fresh wave of state repression. "Putting national sovereignty to ransom, the UPA government at the Centre was playing second fiddle to imperialist masters led by the USA and the Indian masses are groaning under the yoke of a thoroughly degenerated politician-police-bureaucrat nexus", it said.
Charging the state police machinery with letting loose a reign of repression against the kin of a top Maoist leader, Arvind Kumar, and his aide Subodh Kumar at Shukulchak village in Jehanabad, it said if the repressive action against them is not stopped forthwith, its PLGA guerrillas are ready to give a befitting reply.

Regarding the recovery from the houses of Prabhat and Prince located in Patna, it stated it is a "white lie" as both of them are earning their livelihood on their own and have absolutely nothing to do with the CPI (Maoist).

The CPI(Maoist) warned "if police feel elated at the recent seizures, they should also prepare themselves mentally to shed tears sooner than expected".

Truth of Bastar will finally be told

Economy and Politics

Collateral gain of military offensive against Maoists: remote lands will open up, be accountable

Neelesh Misra

New Delhi: In a moment of rare frankness, the senior Indian Administrative Service official described how, on one of his official trips to rural Maharashtra, he saw a poster printed by Naxalites in the northern Gadchiroli region, making 40 demands of the government.

The fallout: Children at a school in Madded town in Chhattisgarh’s southern Bijapur district. The government blames the Naxalite rebels for blowing up 247 schools in Bastar. Satish Bate / HT

“Would you believe it? I agreed with 39 out of the 40,” he said. “I just disagreed with one: armed rebellion.”

For the first time, spearheaded by home minister P. Chidambaram, the government seems to be recalibrating its thinking on those lines on the 42-year-old Naxalite insurgency, as it prepares a joint national push—thousands of new troops being despatched to states such as Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, among the worst affected by rebel violence.

It seems ready to deal with the truth.

The effect could be a bit like what happened in the Andaman and Nicobar islands following the disastrous 2004 Asian tsunami. Faraway lands, where there was no accountability for government officials, were suddenly swarming with journalists, aid groups and officials, bringing an unprecedented level of national attention and scrutiny.

“I am so glad that finally journalists from Delhi are coming to Bastar,” said Suresh Mahapatra, editor of Dantewada-based newspaper Bastar Impact. “For a quarter-century, after the start of the Naxalite movement here, it has been totally ignored. Now the issues here, and the truth, will be portrayed in a correct way.”

That could be a battle as difficult in this mineral-rich heart of India as the campaign against Naxalites raging in an impossible terrain, in impossible conditions. Because the first casualty in insurgency land was the death of a sense of proportion.

Here is the truth of Bastar: This is not Kashmir. Indeed, paramilitary soldiers and policemen have carried out excesses, and Maoists have regularly done grisly killings. But Chhattisgarh is not a human rights gutter, unlike the blood-soaked prism many often view it through. That is not the most important issue in this conflict.

The real human rights violations in this remote region are crushing poverty, the impossible geography, and an oppressive lack of governance—all of which have contributed to the spiralling of the rebel movement.

And the police are not operating in some la-la-land.

“A few days ago, I went to a police station called Jagarguda, 40km as the crow flies. But there is no road, I walked 59km over two days to reach there from the nearest roadhead,” said Amaresh Mishra, superintendent of police in the rebel hub of Dantewada.

When police have to ferry rations to the Jagarguda police station once every three months, it involves the movement of a 1,000-member caravan that involves a security detail, a tractor full of sand, another with crushed stones, bomb disposal experts, sniffer dogs, cooks. Ambushes are common. Land mines are found frequently—mostly more than 100kg in weight, which no land mine-protected vehicle can survive.

“That’s how we deliver food to our men in Jagarguda,” Mishra said.

On 14 March 2007, Naxalites raided a police camp at Ranibodli village and killed and mutilated 55 policemen in retaliation against the anti-Maoist Salwa Judum movement.

“It was a three-column news item in newspapers, and a ticker ran at the bottom of the TV screen for a few hours,” a senior police officer said in Raipur, speaking on condition of anonymity. “This is not a part of India Shining. A person dying in Bombay in an accident gets more publicity.”

Even former home minister Shivraj Patil continued to dismiss the Maoist menace as only a police problem, limited to certain areas of the country.

The government has shrugged off the collapse of governance and the year-after-year non-use of development funds. The Comptroller and Auditor General’s stinging reports on insurgency-affected states were ignored by the legislature. Authorities rejected accusations of human rights violations by security forces, though several had taken place, according to the National Human Rights Commission.

“Last year, one day at 4am, the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) ordered everyone out and to one side. Then something happened, and there was shooting. A woman and a small child died,” said Nakka Bhima, a 60-year-old labourer in Cherpal village. “Once they took away a boy called Punen Ram, he was made to wear a green dress like Naxalites, and they were about to kill him. Somehow they backed off.”

Then, there are the activists, who slam the security forces but look the other way when Maoist rebels indulge in widespread violence—they hack off the heads of police and civilians, shoot people in the head in execution-style point-blank killings and mutilate bodies.

“The Naxalites cut the heads of eight people right before my eyes—I was hiding there, there in that small ditch,” farmer Kannam S. Raj, 45, said, pointing towards a clearing in the rural hub of Gangalur in southern Bijapur district. “They killed one here. They hacked two people here. They killed two here.”

Then Raj turns to his friend and whispers about the reporter: “He is a big officer from Delhi. They have started coming to Bastar now.”