Friday, December 11, 2009

Police, Maoists trade fire in West Midnapore

December 11th, 2009

Kolkata, Dec 10 (IANS) Police exchanged gunfire with a group of Maoists in a village in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district Thursday night. While police said no one was injured, a union minister of the Trinamool Congress claimed one person was killed and six others injured in the gunbattle.
The state police control room here said no one was injured in the firing in Satpati village, but union Minister of State for Shipping Mukul Roy said one person was killed and six wounded in firing by the police.

An officer manning the control room told IANS that around 40-50 Maoists attacked the Pirakata outpost under Salboni police station around 8 p.m. “The police returned the fire. But there are no reports of any injury,” the officer said.

The outpost has been housing the combined security forces comprising central military troopers and state armed policemen who have been deployed to flush out Maoists from Lalgarh.

Roy, a senior leader of the state’s main opposition Trinamool Congress, alleged that the state police opened fire on an “unarmed crowd of villagers” who were protesting against an earlier instance of misbehaviour by the cops.

“The police fired indiscriminately. I have received reports that one person died while half a dozen others sustained injuries and had to be hospitalised,” he said.

‘We Reject The Maoist Line’

Gananath Patra, advisor to the CMAS has played a central role in the organisation for 15 years

Why did the CMAS start forceful land occupation in Narayanpatna?
The land in Narayanpatna belonged to Adivasis. Laws, records and government circulars prove this. Over the years, outsiders — especially moneylenders and liquor traders — cheated Adivasis of their land. We became outsiders in our own land. For years, we filed petition after application but how long can we wait? They treat us badly and want us to farm the land – all of which was once ours. It was humiliating. So we warned the moneylenders and the traders and then took over their land. Some of this was through force, since they would not hand it over.

But why demolish the houses of people in the process?
We only destroyed houses of Dalits who refused to cooperate with the CMAS. Up until 8 May, not a single house was destroyed. It was they who attacked us first, with lathis and guns and destroyed six of our houses in Domsil. As leaders, we contained the violence as soon as we could.

Is the CMAS aligned with the Maoists? Why the constant attempt by the government to brand you as Maoists?
They call us Maoists because we live in the jungles and oppose the state. Forget the leaders, ask the people in the villages if they know who a Maoist is or what Maoism means. As leaders, we can tell you that we reject the Maoist line politically. We are opposed to the left adventurism of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and follow a mass line.

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 50, Dated December 19, 2009

GRP man shot dead by Maoists on running train

Malda (WB), Dec 11 (PTI) One GRP man was shot dead and another injured tonight as a group of suspected Maoists fired at them in a running passenger train in Malda district, GRP officials said.

Constable Arun Bhadro succumbed to his injuries in the hospital after about seven Maoists travelling in Malda-Kathiya passenger train suddenly started firing at a group of four GRP personnel escorting the train, they said, adding the motive of the attack was yet to be ascertained.

The extremists got down at Milangarh station in Kathiya sub-division after injuring another GRP personnel and snatching away two loaded rifles from them, ADG (Railways) Dilip Mitra said.

"They (attackers) shouted Maoism slogans after getting down the train. It seems that their objective was not to hurt passengers but to take away rifles," he said.

The injured GRP personnel has been admitted to Malda district Sadar Hospital.

Maoists assault a villager in Orissa village

PTI Friday, December 11, 2009 13:08 IST Email

Rourkela: After a long gap, Maoists assaulted a villager suspecting him to be a police informer in Sundergarh district of Orissa.

Police said a group of 15 to 20 armed Maoists entered Mahupada village late last night and abducted one Harekrushna Singh (45) from his house.

Singh was taken to a dense jungle in neighbouring Jharkhand and severely assaulted.

The Maoists left him with a stern warning of death penalty if he continued to work as a police informer, the police said.

Singh was admitted to Bonai government hospital with multiple injuries where his condition was stated to be serious.

Following the incident, residents of Mahupada and its neighbouring villages were demanding adequate security.

Bonai sub-divisonal police officer Sudarshan Sethi who rushed to the villages has assured the villagers of their safety.

All security arrangements have been made to avoid Maoist attacks in naxlite prone Bonai police circle and night patrolling has also been intensified, he said.

NMDC resumes iron ore supply after hit by Maoist celebrations

December 11th, 2009 - 4:04 pm

Raipur, Dec 11 (IANS) State-run National Mineral Development Corp (NMDC) has resumed supplying iron ore to clients after dispatches were stopped over perceived threats of Maoist attacks.
Officials at NMDC, India’s largest iron ore producer, said rakes were not available at night between Dec 2-8 because the railways had cancelled goods train freight fearing attacks by outlawed Maoists at Kirandul and Bacheli mining complexes.

Maoists observed a weeklong celebration to mark the ninth anniversary of its military wing, the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army.

As a result of the perceived threat from them and cancellation of night freight, NMDC’s supplies fell by 25-30 percent during the period, the officials said.

The NMDC complexes at Kirandul and Bacheli are based some 400 km south of Chhattisgarh capital Raipur in Dantewada district, one of India’s worst-hit by Maoist violence.

“Nearly 15,000 tonnes of iron ore are transported daily from Kirandul and supplies fell by about 25 percent,” L.B. Singh, NMDC’s joint general manager of production at Kirandul, told IANS over phone.

According to a senior official at Bacheli, supplies from the unit fell by about 30 percent.

However, exports to Japan and other Asian nations were unaffected during the period, the officials said.

Ghandy wants to retract from 'forcible confession'

New Delhi, Dec 11 (PTI) Top Maoist leader Kobad Ghandy today moved a Delhi court expressing his willingness to withdraw the "forcible confession" made before the police following his arrest here in September.

Ghandy, a central committee member of CPI (Maoist), was produced before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja who sent him to the judicial custody till December 25.

Ghandy, 63, was brought here from Andhra Pradesh after being in custody there since November 18 to face charges under the Explosive Substances Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in a case registered in Karimnagar district in 2008.

In the application, he said he wanted to retract from the alleged "forcible confession" recorded by the police during his custody. The accused also alleged he was not aware of the contents of any such confessions as he was forced to sign on blank sheets.

The court took Ghandy's application into records.

Maoists blow up police outpost in Orissa

Bhubaneswar, Dec 12 (IANS) Maoist guerrillas have blown up an under-construction police outpost in Malkanagiri district of Orissa, police said Saturday.

‘It was an under-construction police outpost. Maoists blew up part of the building Friday night. We had planned this outpost to increase our presence by stationing more armed personnel there,’ Malkanagiri sub-divisional police officer Anup Sahu said.

According to police, about 40 armed Maoists were involved in the attack.

Malkanagiri is over 600 km from here.

Maoists fuel villager ‘anger’

- Roads dug up to protest Thursday’s police firing

An assembly of alleged Maoist-backed villagers on Friday night outside the Salboni police camp that was attacked on Thursday. The demonstrators allegedly snapped power lines in the area during the protest. Picture by Samir Mondal
Dec. 11: Maoists mobilised people in thousands who surrounded police camps in Salboni and protested a day after security forces killed a villager, firing on a mob that had besieged them.

The guerrillas, who instigated last evening’s attack and then joined the villagers with guns, seized the opportunity today to cash in on popular anger over the police firing.

The police said the more the rebels were getting cornered in Lalgarh, the more they were trying to build up “Lalgarh-type” resistance in other areas.

“Their might in Lalgarh is not what it used to be because the joint forces have been able to take control of the area to a large extent. So, the Maoists are now looking for fresh hunting grounds. That’s why they are killing CPM workers and attacking the forces in Salboni and parts of Jhargram,” an officer said.

The Maoist-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities has called a 24-hour bandh tomorrow in West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura.

Yesterday’s death has given a new lease of life to the committee, “giving it the opportunity to fuel people’s anger’’, the officer added.

One of those injured last evening, Tamal Shaw, 34, a quack, was brought to Calcutta today with three bullet wounds.

CPM workers Tilak Tudu and Panchanan Mahato were branded police informers and killed in Parulia and Paluiboni villages of Salboni late last night.

State police chief Bhupinder Singh said on the sidelines of a programme in Burdwan the police were helpless as far as preventing Maoist murders was concerned. “If their policy is to kill people, we are helpless. It is impossible provide security to one and all.”

In Calcutta, home secretary Ardhendu Sen said: “No matter how many villagers are at the front of a demonstration, armed Maoists are always behind them.”

The walls of the Satpati police camp in Salboni were found riddled with bullet marks this morning. “It shows how the Maoists had made the joint forces their target,” said West Midnapore superintendent of police Manoj Verma.

Led by committee leaders, villagers today felled trees and blocked roads between Lalgarh and Bhimpur. Efforts to do so failed in Salboni because of the heavy deployment of forces at the Satpati and Pirakata camps after last evening’s incident.

“The joint forces are torturing innocent villagers and firing at them. So, trees were felled in some areas to hamper their movement. We will build up our struggle against the joint forces by spreading out to places where their camps are located. Trees will be felled and roads will be dug up. We won’t tolerate their torture,” committee leader Asit Mahato said.

The district police chief said they had not attacked the villagers last evening. “We retaliated when fired at by the Maoists in the mob.”

742 civilians, security personnel killed in Naxal attacks in Jan-Oct

742 civilians, security personnel killed in Naxal attacks in Jan-Oct
Submitted by admin2 on Wed, 12/09/2009 - 18:49
in National
NetIndian News Network
New Delhi, December 9, 2009

As many as 742 civilians and security personnel were killed in Naxalite attacks in the Naxal-affected states upto October this year, while 170 Naxalites were killed by the security forces during this period, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken told the House in a written reply to a question today that 721 civilians and security personnel were killed in the Naxal-affected states last year while 199 Naxalites were killed during the period by security forces.

In Jammu and Kashmir, as many as 123 civilians and security personnel died during the first ten months of this year against 166 in 2008. The number of terrorists killed by security forces was 212 upto October this year as against 339 in 2008, he said.

In the North-Eastern States, 261 civilians and security personnel lost their lives while 497 extremists were killed by security forces upto October this year. As many as 512 civilians and security forces had died last year while the number of extremists killed was 640, Mr Maken said.

In other terrorist attacks and bomb blasts in Rampur (Uttar Pradesh), Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Malegaon (Maharashtra) and Modasa (Gujarat), as many as 168 people lost their lives in 2008. In the terrorist attack in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, a total of 164 people were killed, he said.

There has been no incident of major terrorist attack in the hinterland in 2009, Mr Maken added.

Maoists behead ‘police mole’ in faction fight


Lucknow, Dec. 11: Maoists beheaded a man in eastern Uttar Pradesh last night in the latest episode of a rare power struggle within the rebel ranks as they try to step up operations in a new area.

About a dozen Maoists held a kangaroo court at Pannuganj village of Sonbhadra district, 270km northeast of Lucknow, and beheaded Shiv Prakash, 24, accusing him of being a police informer.
Local sources said the police were using Prakash to instigate the area’s Kol tribals, including many who joined the Naxalite ranks five years ago, in their battle to prevent the dominance of rebel leaders from outside.

The CPI (Maoist) had forayed into three districts near the Bihar border — Sonbhadra, Chandauli and Mirzapur — during a tribal land movement in late 2004 and recruited many Kols. But, the police and local people say, the Kol recruits resisted when rebel leaders from Bihar and Jharkhand began giving them orders.

For about a year, Mayavati’s police have been trying to fan the Kol rebels’ anger against the “outsider” Maoists, telling the tribals the government would solve their problems.

Matters came to a head recently when the CPI (Maoist), bracing for a crackdown in traditional strongholds, began trying to step up operations in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

A week ago, Naxalite operative Ramvriksh Kol, a leader of the resistance against “outsider” Maoists, was killed in the faction fight, the police said. Kol allegedly aspired to be the CPI (Maoist) regional commander in Uttar Pradesh.

Two of his rivals, non-tribal Maoists Amarnath Kushwaha and Rakesh Mishra, were arrested last week and spilled the beans, the police said. Last month, the police killed sub-zonal Maoist commander Kamlesh Chaudhary, a Bihari, apparently on a tip-off from the Kols.

“Kol’s death is because of infighting: the regional committee opposed his pitch for leadership,” Sonbhadra police chief Pritendra Pal Singh said. Inspector Raveendra Singh said: “The Maoists beheaded Prakash to terrorise their own group.”

Maoist sympathisers acknowledge the power struggle and accuse the police of fanning it.

The Naxalites have never been seriously active in Uttar Pradesh, the only major incident so far being a mine blast that killed 15 policemen in Chandauli in November 2004.

In 2004, tribal women, mostly Kols, from the three districts began cultivating 20,000 hectares of forest land, angering landlords and a few mining companies eyeing the district’s rich coal and bauxite deposits.

“State oppression” like the arrest and alleged torture of social activist Roma helped the Maoists recruit cadres.

Mini gun factories supplying firearms to naxalites unearthed in Bihar

PTIThursday, December 10, 2009 15:30 IST Email

Munger: Four mini gun factories were today unearthed and six persons involved in manufacturing illegal firearms and supplying them to naxalite outfits in Jharkhand arrested here, police said.

Superintendent of police M Sunil Naiak told reporters that the police today arrested two arms smugglers, Chetlal and Kundan, for supplying firearms to naxalites in Jharkhand.

The SP said Chetlal and Kundan were hardcore naxalites and wanted by the Jharkhand police in connection with several cases of naxalite activities.

Naiak said both Chetlal and Kundan were involved in smuggling of firearms, including machine guns from Nagaland and supplying the weapons to naxalites in Jharkhand.

Two 9 mm pistols and 30 rounds of live cartridges were recovered from their possession, the police said.

During interrogation, they provided vital information about their modus-operandi and on the basis of information supplied by them, the police raided Bardah village in Munger district and unearthed four mini gun factories and seized 17 country made pistols and equipment used for making firearms.

Those arrested by the police have been identified as Md Saddam, Tanvir, Md. Shakeer, Md. Parvez and Md. Heera.

Five of the arrested persons were minors, the SP said.

Maoist gun runners held
Patna, Dec. 10: Bihar police unearthed four illegal gun factories set up in the notorious Munger district to supply arms to Maoists in Jharkhand today, 48 hours before fourth phase of voting is to be held in the ongoing Assembly polls.

The police arrested five “gun mechanics” from the site at isolated Bardai village in Ganga diara in Munger, 190km from here, and seized two 9mm pistols, 17 country-made guns, besides 30 rounds of live cartridges, in the raids conducted after the interrogation of two hardcore Maoist leaders, Kundan and Chetlal.

Wanted by both Bihar and Jharkhand for the last two years, the rebel leaders were nabbed in Jamalpur by the Munger police who were reluctant to reveal the exact date of the duo’s arrest.

“Chetlal is a veteran guerrilla and head of the CPI(Maoists)’s clandestine ‘arms procurement and supply committee’. Kundan is his accomplice and also a guerrilla trained in armed warfare,” said the Munger SP, M. Sunil Nayak.

Kundan, he added, was from Chatra district of Jharkhand, while Chetlal was from Khadagpur in Munger district.

The arrested gun mechanics, who have revealed they learnt their craft at a Maoist training camp in a forest near Bokaro, were identified as Md Saddam, the 25-year-old ring leader, and Tanvir, Md Shakeer, Md Parvez and Md Heera, all of whom are below 18.

According to the police, during interrogation, Chetlal and Kundan had provided vital information on the mode of Maoist operations in Jharkhand and bordering areas in Bihar.

They confessed they had smuggled several machine guns from insurgency-hit Nagaland for supply to Maoist guerrillas in Jharkhand. “Their interrogation is in progress. We will get to know more later,” said Nayak.

Security forces were continuing their search in Bardai village, not ruling out the possibility of stumbling upon more such arms factories.

Jharkhand police use helicopter gunship to take on Maoists

December 12th, 2009 - 12:30 pm ICT by ANI -

Ranchi, Dec 12 (ANI): Police in Ranchi used a helicopter gunship to flush out Maoists, eliminating two, on Friday.

The Paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force was involved in a joint operation with state police named ‘Jharkhand Jaguar’ which took place around here.

The security forces fired 500 rounds of bullets and also lobbed grenades in the encounter that lasted for almost one-and-a-half hour.

Two Maoists were killed in the operation.

A huge cache of arms and ammunition including 200 kilograms of lethal explosives, equal amount of ammonium nitrate, 100 detonators and 30 kilograms of can bombs were recovered.

Praveen Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Ranchi, said more operations using helicopters would be mounted in the area to nab the rebels.

“We used the helicopter gunship we had sent one team via helicopter while the encounter was going on and I visited this area via a helicopter because we have to carry out next operation in the same area,” Kumar said.

Maoists have stepped up violence across eastern and central India. They have attacked schools and police stations, and used landmines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) to disrupt infrastructure development projects.

The main objective of the Maoists is to prevent the development of infrastructure in remote areas, which so far has remained their exclusive domain.

Thousands have been killed by Maoists in the recent past. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the Maoist threat one of the gravest homegrown threats to India’s internal security.

The rebels claim they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers. (ANI)

Cops bust Maoist camp, 1 killed

TNN 11 December 2009, 10:22pm IST

RANCHI: In a major anti-Naxalite operation, police busted a rebel camp, reportedly killing a Maoist and injuring three others. The incident occurred
at Anteorda village at the tri-junction of Ranchi, Seraikela and West Singhbhum districts on Friday morning.

Acting on a tip-off about the movement of rebels in and around the area, police launched a well-coordinated operation with paramilitary forces and even an Indian Air Force helicopter was pressed into service for the first time in the state during the venture

Four district police teams moved in from different directions under the leadership of additional superintendent of police Apoorva and Bundu DSP Anand Joseph Tigga. A special operations group (SOG) of CRPF's 133 Battalion and Jharkhand Jaguar were constituted with three reinforcement teams, including 133-F Battalion of CRPF.

Police launched the operation in the jungles around 7 am and armed security forces had to travel around 10 kilometre on foot to reach the place where the Maoist camp was set up.

On seeing the movement of security forces, Maoists fired and the ensuing encounter continued for about two hours. Maoists were holed up on a hillock when the forces surrounded it.

"Police fired around 500 rounds, used four high explosives, 14 hand grenades in which one Maoist was killed while three were reportedly injured and the camp was busted by police," Ranchi SSP Praveen Kumar.

"Around 70 Maoists took advantage of the low visibility and managed to flee through a small stream. But local people confirmed that Maoists were spotted taking their injured counterparts with them," he added.

"Police recovered two single-barrel guns, one double-barrel gun, 200 kg ammonium nitrate, 200 kg semi-liquid explosive gel, two landmines weighing 30 kg, 200 detonators, 50 metre codex wire, 100 Duracell batteries, 25 camera flashes," said Kumar.

Among other things recovered by police were several kilo foodgrain meant for nearly 70 people, cooked food, 15 rucksacks of medicines for cerebral malaria, first aid kits and 200 soap cases to be used for making country-made bombs and two large barbed wire cutters.

"The IAF helicopter was largely used during a recce mission to guide the movement of securitymen through the thick jungle," said Kumar, adding that a company of security forces will move into the jungle on Saturday morning.

"Looking at the recoveries, it appears that Maoists were planning a major attack during the ongoing election or attack police pickets or a camp of security forces," he added.

Naxalite held, landmines recovered in Jharkhand

Press Trust Of India
Gumla (Jharkhand), December 10, 2009
First Published: 18:59 IST(10/12/2009)
Last Updated: 19:02 IST(10/12/2009)

A hardcore Maoist was arrested and three landmines were recovered on Thursday from different areas of Jharkhand, where the five-phased assembly polls are currently underway, police said.

The Maoist, identified as Joseph, was arrested from a village in Gumla district during a combing operation by CRPF personnel, they said, adding he was an expert in making IEDs.

In a separate incident, security personnel recovered three powerful landmines from Bidir village of Latehar district, which were later defused.

Seven Naxals killed in Chhattisgarh

Raipur, Dec 11 (PTI) Seven Naxals were killed in an exchange of fire with the police in Chattisgarh's Dantewada district, police said today.

The operation led by district police force took place in Aranpur jungles in Jangargunda area yesterday, Inspector General (Bastar range) R K Vij said.

Weapons including 303 rifles, grenades and IEDs were recovered from the Maoists, he said.

Bodies of all Naxals have been recovered, he said adding few of them had worn school uniform to mislead the police.

Naxals kill cooperative committee official

Raigarh, Dec 11 (PTI) Suspected Naxals have killed a senior official of the Small Forest Produce Cooperative Committee here in Chhattisgarh, police said today.

Brijlal Yadav, manager of the committee, was stabbed to death by unidentified persons in village Kindhra, Special Divisional Police Officer G N Baghel said.

The assailants, who had come in a jeep, abducted Yadav from his residence in the village on Wednesday night. His body was found last evening in a nearby forest, he said.

A case has been registered and investigation was on, Baghel added.

Naxals kill ex-deputy Sarpanch in Gadchiroli

Nagpur, Dec 11 (PTI) A 44-year-old former deputy sarpanch was killed allegedly by Naxalites in Gadchiroli district, police said today.

Hemant Krishna Ponalwar, former deputy sarpanch of Bedampalli village, had gone to Arkapalli yesterday where the suspected Naxalites killed him with some sharp weapon, they said.

The motive behind the murder could not be immediately known, the police said adding the Naxalites fled into Jimalgatta forest.

CRPF to procure micro gadgets, precision weapons

New Delhi, Dec 11 (PTI) The Home Ministry is in the process of procuring micro gadgets and precision weapons for the CRPF, which is preparing for a major anti-Naxal offensive.

Official sources said the Ministry is looking at buying night vision enabled sniper rifles for the force, which could be a major advantage for the personnel in anti-Naxal operations.

"The guns can prove to be of great help in operations as snipers can be used for undertaking precise strategic assault on Naxal hideouts," a source said.

The CoBRA personnel have already been provided with carbon fibre AK 47s, which are not only lighter than a normal AK 47 but are equally sturdy

Hunters thriving where Naxals tread 2 tigers

TNN 12 December 2009, 05:41am IST

Nagpur: The fact that poachers are actively carrying out their trade in the bordering areas in Chhatisgarh close to Maharashtra can be a major
concern for the forest ministry and green activists. It has been learnt that poachers feared to have killed two tigers and a leopard in the bordering Indravati National Park recently as some sources indicated that one of three skins have been smuggled into the state for sale. The national park, which is located in the naxal stronghold of Dantewada where the rebels have chilling presence, is mostly avoided by the government officials for the fear of being targeted.

A team of forest officials, getting wind of the poachers' fronts men sneaking into Maharashtra crossing over the Indravati river, had laid a trap along the possible route to nab the smugglers who are likely to be fleeing from village to village in Gadchiroli. Sources in the district claimed that the leopard skin has come to the state for sale while there are no confirmation about the tigers one. Despite a grave naxal threat, some forest officials of Gadchiroli have taken risk to venture into the deep jungles going after the poachers who managed to give them a slip at the last moment.

In naxal-affected Gadchiroli, forest officials claimed that the Andhra Pradesh-based sagwan smugglers likely to have compromised with the rebels to carry out illicit felling of the trees which have caused major depletion of the green cover in the tribal district. If sources are to be believed, around 1100 sagwan trees were felled earlier this year in the district from a certain range itself in South Gadchiroli. Apart from naxals cover, the forest officials also claimed that political interference too has affected their work in the district against illicit felling.

Just when it was expected that the forest officials working in Gadchiroli have been emboldened with the arms that was given to them viewing the increasing aggression of the Andhra Pradesh based teak smugglers, naxals blew the hope away of better guarding by looting an air gun, Self Loading rifle and 20 ammunitions from the Somnur camp. Worst, they also held nearly 35 forest personnel hostage for around six hours only to free them with threat of dire consequences in case they approach the cops.

A section of the forest officials, fearing that the naxals may start targeting them leaving aside the contractors who are now are under their threat, have suspended their deep jungle patrolling. The naxals have already set couple of bamboo godowns, belonging to forest department, on fire in the recent past. With the ongoing strike called by the Naxals to observe their People Liberation Guerillas Army week in the first week of December, forest officials feel that it is better to steer clear of the rebels. The forest officials are also on the backfoot after one of their senior officers had to face public wrath after he gunned down three alleged teakwood smugglers in the jungle.

IMP Box:

'Tiger bones transported in powder form, muscles fermented'

Soumittra S Bose / TNN

Nagpur: In a recent exposure, TOI has learnt through reliable sources that there is a smuggling syndicate active in Chhatisgarh state which are allegedly involved in the poaching activities in the Dantewada and Bastar districts. Being highly affected by Naxal insurgency, government officials generally avoid venturing into the heartlands of the rebels.

Apart from poaching, reliable sources claimed that the smugglers try to put every parts of the dead animals into use. While they process the skins of tigers and leopards in traditional methods in the remote villages, the bones are grinded to turn into it powder form completely. "There is little way to intercept bones in powder form which can be only best be decided at forensic laboratories. To the normal eyes, the bone powders can hardly be recognized," said a source adding that bone powder is far more useful than the skins or hair.

The muscles, it was known, would be fermented for days before it would be sent through distilling process to extract some kind of liquid form. The liquid would be then transported away to foreign countries especially China.

Man beheaded in UP, police allege Naxal link

Express News Service Posted online: Saturday , Dec 12, 2009 at 0459 hrs

Lucknow : In the first incident of its kind in Naxal-infested Sonbhadra district, a man was beheaded on Thursday. While the police say he was a Naxal and the murder was the fallout of a fight over extortion money, the Naxals alleged he was “close to the police.”

The body and head of Shiv Prakash Kushwaha (24), a resident of Rampur village, were found two kilometres apart in the area of Kon police circle.

The police alleged Kushwaha was a Naxal and a follower of People’s War Group (PWG) zonal commander Munna Vishkarma, who carries a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head. They say Kushwaha was involved in collecting extortion money from contractors and arranging safe passage for Naxalites. However, there is no case pending against Kushwaha, nor has he ever been arrested.

“We did not arrest Kushwaha because there was no direct evidence against him,” said Sonbhadra SP Preetinder Singh. However, the Songanga Vindhyachal Committee of the People’s War Group claimed that Kushwaha was not their member. “I have come to know that he was close to the police and was carrying an axe with him. I do not know who killed him and we are still collecting details about it,” said Songanga Vindhyachal Committee (SVC) secretary Jamuna.

The police claim that Kushwaha had collected extortion money from a mining contractor in Chopan area on behalf of the SVC, but kept it with himself and the dispute that followed led to the killing.

The story which is circulating in the area is that the Naxals, who suspected that Kushwana was a police informer, kidnapped him from the village on Tuesday. The next evening, some men came to the village and told the people to pick up his body and inform the police.

On Thursday morning, locals informed the police about the body lying in “Hariya Jungle” area. Initially, the police suspected it to be a trap laid by Naxals, but after making security arrangements, a team was sent to the spot which recovered the body.


Ghandy wants to retract confession

NEW DELHI: Accusing Delhi Police’s Special Cell of forcibly extracting a confession from him, Maoist leader Kobad Ghandy on Friday requested a Delhi Court to permit him to withdraw the damning document.

Ghandy pleaded with Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja’s court to allow him to retract from the “forcible confession” so that it was not used as evidence against him during trial. He alleged that he was not aware of the contents of the confession as he was “forced to sign on blank sheets”. The court sent Ghandy in judicial custody till December 25 and said it would later decide whether to grant his plea. Ghandy, 63, was brought to Delhi from Andhra Pradesh, where he was in custody in connection with a case against him in Karimnagar district in 2008. ENS

Relief to kin of informers killed by Naxals

TNN 10 December 2009, 07:05am IST

NAGPUR: The government on Wednesday admitted that the Naxalite violence was on the rise in Gadchiroli district and said it would soon launch an
anti-Naxal operation in coordination with neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

The matter raised through a calling attention motion in the state assembly by BJP first-timer Sudhakar Deshmukh and others drew the attention of the house that 32 forest department personnel of the vigilance wing were abducted on December 5 and released the next day after their arms were looted by the Naxalites.

The state has three battalions of Central paramilitary forces and policemen have been provided with necessary training and sophisticated weapons. "We would soon launch an anti-Naxal operation in coordination with Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh," home minister R R Patil told the assembly.

"There has been a spurt in Maoist activities in Gadchiroli district. At least 17 policemen were killed in a Naxal attack in Bhamragarh taluka of the district in October. A young road contractor was killed by a group of Naxalites on November 25," he said.

The minister informed the house that 52 policemen were killed by Naxalites between February and May this year. The extremists were also disrupting developmental activities and terrorizing contractors working in deep forests. "There have been instances of the ultras snatching arms and ammunition of Forest Department officials while they were on patrolling duty," he said.

Listing the steps taken to boost the morale of the police force and those assisting them fighting the Naxal violence, Patil said a decision has been taken by the government to provide compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of the police informer killed in a Naxal attack. In case of the informer is rendered permanently disabled in the Naxal violence, he would be given Rs 3 lakh as compensation. Already the government staff working in the district was being paid one-and-half times the salary as incentive besides rent free accommodation.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Red bandh evokes mixed response in S Orissa

TNN 8 December 2009, 10:04pm IST

KORAPUT/BERHAMPUR: Apart from isolated incidents in Rayagada and Kandhamal districts, Tuesday's 12-hour Maoist bandh was moreorless peaceful across the southern districts of Koraput, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Kandhamal, Ganjam and Gajapati districts.

The statewide bandh was called in protest against police firing at Narayanpatna on November 20, in which two Chasi Muliya Adivasi Sangh activists were killed and several others hurt. This bandh marked the end of the People's Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) week, which the Red rebels were observing from December 2.

While buses plied on their regular routes in Koraput district, public transport was completely paralyzed in Rayagada district. In Malkangiri district, buses remained off the road on the 100-km road between Malkangiri and Motu, the southernmost town of Orissa. Offices, schools, markets and weekly haats remained open in the southern districts. Vehicular traffic was also disrupted in parts of Kandhamal and Gajapati districts. But there was no impact on other life activities. "Vehicular traffic was hit in some parts of southern range," DIG of Police (southern range) RP Koche said. However, no untoward incident has been reported in the range, he added.

Fearing Maoist attack, Bhubaneswar-Koraput Hirakhand train was terminated at Rayagada. Police had made security arrangements to avert untoward incidents in the volatile blocks of Narayanpatna, Laxmipur and Bandhugaon in Koraput district. "The situation was normal across the district. Adequate force was deployed in the district," SP (Koraput) Deepak Kumar said. There were similar reports from Rayagada district as well, although Maoists felled trees to block the Jarpa-Chaitanyapur Road in Chandrapur block in the distrct. Sources said the rebels, through posters put up in several places, have asked villagers of Khairguda, Pendli, Madhuban and Karlaghati panchayats under Gudari block in
Rayagada district to stop using mobile phones. There were similar orders from the rebels in Koraput district.

"Fearing information regarding their movements may be passed to the police through cellphones, the rebels asked people to stop using them. Personal warning had also been issued to scores of villagers," sources at Gudari said.
Police have found some Maoist posters in several parts of Ganjam district, including Aska, Dharakote and Hinjili for the first time. "We have found a Maoist poster at the Biju Patnaik Chhak," said IIC (Aska) Dillip Kumar Tripathy. More posters were found in Dharakote and Hinjili, sources said. Police are on high alert after the posters were found in Ganjam district for the first time. People in the district are also in a state of panic following this development.

Some minor incidents were also reported at Gallery police outpost. Otherwise, the Red rebels did not indulge in any major violence, even though police suspected their presence in the bordering jungles of the district.

'Philippines expert, LTTE cadres trained Indian Maoists'

Vivek Deshpande
Posted: Dec 08, 2009 at 1158 hrs IST

Gadchiroli Maoist groups in India have been known to collaborate with their counterparts across the border in Nepal and also occasionally with sympathisers elsewhere in South Asia but a senior Naxal leader who surrendered in Maharashtra last week has claimed that a warfare expert from the Philippines visited and stayed in a Bastar Naxal camp in Abujmad for about a month to train cadres, indicating the global reach of the extremist movement.

“It was way back in 2001 that a man from the Philippines had come to train us in south Bastar,” Naxal leader Rainu told The Indian Express. “Also, two LTTE men had come twice for the same purpose,” he added.

One of the three tribal members in the 22-member Andhra cadre-dominated Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee created in 2007 to oversee activities in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, Rainu laid down arms saying he had had enough of what he called the romantic Naxal mirage of liberation after 22 years in the movement.

The Philippines has its own Maoist insurgent movement which operates under the banner of the New People’s Army. But Rainu’s claim has raised questions among security agencies of how a Filipino could manage to find his way to a Naxal camp in India.

“It is not very difficult for LTTE men to pass off as Indians, but how the Naxals managed a safe passage for a Filipino into territory where even the police can’t go, and back, is very curious,” said a security official who did not want to be named.

“For one month, the Filipino taught us how to carry out a mass attack. The LTTE men taught us how to lay mines and handle grenades,” said Rainu, who is alleged to have been part of the 2003 police ambush in Kumarguda near Bhamragarh in Gadchiroli in which five policemen were killed, and another one in Fulbodigatta in 2005 that claimed four policemen.

“As against popular understanding that the Nepal Maoists have a smooth relationship with their Indian counterparts, the fact is that the relationship has been marred by the latter’s move of participating in elections there,” he added.

“Ten years ago, the Central Committee members (of the CPI-Maoist) had personally trained in warfare tactics in Nepal,” Rainu said, adding that the Maoists got their first AK-47 as long back as in 1988.

“While some of the arms have been purchased, most have been seized in police ambushes. A huge cache of arms such as AK rifles, SLRs, LMGs, Insas rifles and two-inch mortar is generally recovered from the ambush spot,” he said.

Rainu said that Naxals continue to change their strategies based on previous experience, and have got advanced training in warfare. “That is one reason why Naxal casualties are generally low,” he said. For instance, the highest recorded Naxal casualties, he says, were 17 deaths in an encounter in Konta in south Bastar last year.

At Rani Bodli police station in Bijapur district of Bastar, where Naxals had carried out the biggest attack in history killing 55 policemen in a late night swoop, the insurgents lost seven men after a policeman hiding in the bushes opened fire while the Naxals were coming out raising slogans in jubilation, according to Rainu.

In various incidents in Maharashtra, in which over 50 policemen have been killed this year, only one Naxal, Mangesh, was killed in Lahiri, he said. Funds, he said, come from public works, bamboo and tendu contractors, as also from tribals who contribute to the “party fund”.

“Bamboo activity fetches crores of rupees annually,” he said.

Express News Service

First Published : 09 Dec 2009 02:19:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 09 Dec 2009 10:00:23 AM IST

MUMBAI: The revelations by the surrendered Maoist leader Rainu to Maharashtra Police that Philippine cadres and the LTTE cadres used to train the Maoists have added a new angle to the operations of the outlawed movement.

According to Rainu, it was way back in 2001 that a Philippine man had come to India to train the Maoists. Two LTTE men also came to India for the same purpose.

The revelations have baffled the security agencies as they were pondering how could a Philippine national carry out such a clandestine operation in the country.

Another revelation is that 10 years ago, all the central committee members of the CPI-Maoist had been trained in Nepal.

Andhra Police hints at Maoist hand in Telangana row


Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah on Wednesday said "anti-social elements" had joined the movement for a Telangana state. Police believe Maoists have penetrated the movement through students and other sympathisers.

While Rosaiah told reporters in the Assembly premises that his government had received information about "anti-social elements" and was looking into it, a senior police official pointed out that Maoists always supported the demand for separate Telangana state.

"Everybody knows the problems in states like Jharkhand. Telangana is their (Maoists) birthplace and naturally they will try to take advantage of the situation," said Inspector General of Police AR Anuradha.

The police crackdown on students at Osmania University also came following intelligence reports that Maoists had joined the movement for a separate state and might use the situation to recruit students.

Telangana was a traditional stronghold of Maoists but they were almost eliminated from the region in police operations during the last few years.

Telengana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leaders have alleged that a section of Congress leaders opposed to Rosaiah were trying to foment trouble in Hyderabad by bringing people from outside.

Addressing the Assembly, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu told the government that it was responsible for protecting the lives and property of people.

Rosaiah has said he would be in New Delhi Wednesday to greet party President Sonia Gandhi on her birthday and would discuss the Telangana issue with her.

Maoist unrest wrecking education in India

Wed, Dec 09, 2009

NEW DELHI - Fighting between Indian troops and Maoist rebels has derailed schooling for tens of thousands of children in the east of the country, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.

The US-based group's complaint came after another Maoist attack on a school in Jharkhand state on Tuesday and the rebel beheading of a teacher in adjoining West Bengal state last week.

Human Rights Watch said in a report that Maoists routinely destroy school buildings, and also accused government security forces of occupying many schools while fighting the left-wing insurgents.

"Maoists say they are fighting for India's poor, but their attacks on schools deprive children of the education they desperately need," HRW researcher Bede Sheppard said.

"At the same time, long-term police occupation of schools puts these children right in the midst of danger and trauma, keeps them from their classrooms, and frightens them away."

The insurgency began as a peasant uprising in 1967 and has now spread to 20 of India's 29 states.

"Primary schools have become soft targets because there is one in every village," Jharkhand's human resources secretary Mridula Sinha told AFP from the state capital Ranchi.

"It is a terror tactic to send the message that the Maoists can strike anywhere and it is also derailing education for the poorest of the poor," she said.

Dialogue in Democracy: Challenges for Government-Maoist Talks

Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 51, December 5, 2009

Tuesday 8 December 2009, by Manoranjan Mohanty

Public opinion in India seems to be building up strongly in favour of a dialogue among the government and the Maoists. This is despite the clear indications that the Central Government is going ahead with its preparations for launching the armed offensive in the Naxalite movement areas. Yet there are signs from both the government and the Maoists that they were amenable to the idea of talks.

Central-level Dialogue

One thing is clear: the Central Government has taken the initiative in the current round of anti-Naxalite operations. Union Home Minister Chidambaram, who has cultivated the image of a ‘tough’ Home Minister, has listed the ‘Naxalite problem’ as one of his main challenges, together with the task of countering terrorism. Even though he has often differentiated the two challenges calling the Naxalites as ‘our own people who have been misled’, he has linked the two together saying that the terrorist outfits were a source of supply of weapons for the Naxalites and also that both target civilians. In fact, both the phenomena have social roots in the alienation of groups and that is a relevant comparison. Anyhow the point to emphasise here is that the talks have to be held at the Central level. Even though State governments have to face specific situations, we have seen in the past that the work of coordination was carried out by the Centre. A coordination mechanism has been functioning at the Central level for over a decade now. Even the Salwa Judum initiative against Naxalites—the arming of the civilian population and setting up of camps for them outside the movement areas in Chhattisgarh—was a Centrally-supported BJP-Congress strategy at the State level. Notwithstanding indictments by the Supreme Court and the National Human Rights Commission that infamous initiative continues to exist. Similarly the operations in Lalgarh in West Bengal have been jointly organised by the Centre and the State government. That sometimes the State governments complain about the inadequate supply of Central forces for their inability to curb violence or that the Centre blames the concerned State Government for ineffective action cannot wish away the fact that in this matter the Centre today has taken the command.

Thus just as security operations are coordinated under the Centre’s leadership, the dialogue process has also to be initiated by the Centre under the auspices of the Home Minister. Since the Maoists also operate as an all-India movement, the talks should take place at the all-India level.

Focus on Tribal People’s Problems

One of the positive aspects of the current discussion in the media all over the country is that rather than focusing on violence and counter-violence or breakdown of law and order in some areas, the attention of the people in the country has shifted to the actual problems faced by the tribal people and the failure to meet their rightful demands which has pushed them to the path of armed resistance. Even the PESA and Forest Rights Act which were small yet welcome steps to respect the tribal people’s rights are not implemented fully. Home Minister Chidambaram, who had started this new phase of anti-Naxalite operations, declaring the main task as ‘securing the areas before development activities can be launched’, seems to have now nuanced his approach. One does not know how serious he is about this ‘composite’ approach. In his letter to former Lok Sabha Speaker Rabi Ray and other members of the Citizens Initiative for Peace (CIP) on October 20, 2009 Chidambaram said:

Like you and your colleagues, the Government of India is also concerned about the real issues that affect the people, namely, food security, land and forest rights, education, health and justice.

He was quoting from the CIP appeal dated October 15 which was signed by a wide spectrum of intellectuals, judges, social workers, journalists and human rights activists from all over the country.

But the real issues should not be discussed in the abstract. The tribal people have risen in protest against the steady process of alienation of tribal land. Then there are the burning issues of the current movement relating to land acquisition, mostly in the tribal areas, for mega projects and Special Economic Zones which is being resisted by the local people. In some cases the people have succeeded as in Nandigram and Singur in West Bengal because of strong and united campaigns and in Raigarh in Maharashtra due to the people’s campaign having won the referendum as well as having been able to obtain a favourable judgement of the Supreme Court. Unlike in these cases in areas such as Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa, where the mineral wealth of the Indian people is concentrated, the state and the ruling parties have come out fiercely in defence of the corporate interests, national and global. These areas have seen long years of neglect of the basic problems of the tribal people—it was good to notice that the Prime Minister talking about this in the Chief Ministers’ Conference on Anti-Naxalite Operations though he reiterated his view that the ‘Naxalites posed the greatest threat to India’s internal security’.

So the emerging scenario which has crystallised in the public imagination of the oppressed people of India today is that the government offensive against the Naxalites in Central India or Dandakaranya is to clear the area for mining and industrial projects such as steel plants and bauxite mines and aluminum industries of the giant companies like Tata Steel, Arcelor Mittal, Vedanta Sterlite and POSCO. These projects are needed as a part of the strategy to draw foreign capital to India and achieve a high growth rate in the process of globalisation and liberalisation of the Indian economy. This trend is being resisted in many parts of India where adivasis, Dalits, backward classes, religious minorities have forged united movements with women in the forefront. The resistance has acquired greater momentum with the deepening crisis in the countryside where the farmers’ suicides have spread to new areas and rising prices have further impoverished the poor.

Three kinds of oppression have converged into what amounts to be a war by the Indian state against its own people: one, persistence of poverty, malnutrition and distress migration; two, exploitation of the natural resources of these areas without the consent of the local people causing massive displacement and loss of livelihood and cultural estrangement; and three, the threat of a much escalated armed attack by the COBRA and similar dreadful paramilitary forces supported by the Army and Air Force that is bound to result in innumerable killings and injuries. All this in addition to the familiar terrorising practices by the security forces resorting to rape of women and harassment of common people in the name of tackling Maoist sympathisers which have been documented by the NHRC.

This operation of the government is thus aimed at all the movements which are resisting the displacement-generating mega projects and are fighting for land rights of the tribal people. The government has reduced all streams of resistance to a single stream of the Naxalite movement even though there are many movements on the ground which have nothing to do with the Naxalites. In Orissa, for example, the resistance movement against POSCO in the Paradip area is a movement of local people with the participation of many different parties led by CPI activists supported by socialist and Sarvodaya workers. The Kashipur movement against Utkal Alumina project in Koraput and the anti-Vedanta struggle in Lanjigarh, Kalahandi to save Niyamgiri, the Kalinganagar movement against Tata Steel are spearheaded by local tribal people supported essentially by socialists and Sarvodaya workers. Some Naxalite groups may be present in the areas. But to brand the entire movement as Naxalite or Maoist and then, using the bogey of fighting Naxalites, subject them to arrest and other harassment is absolutely unjustified. Similarly, the government is unable to differentiate among the many parties and groups among the Naxalites who differ on issues of strategy and forms of struggle and has often used the blanket term of Maoist. Even though all Naxalites share the broad ideology of Marxism-Leninisn-Mao Zedong Thought, the CPI (Maoist), which was formed in 2004 after the merger of the first People’s War Group with the Party Unity and then the resultant CPI (People’s War) with the MCC (active in Bihar and Jharkhand) is leading the armed struggle in the tribal areas of Dandakaranya. Even where Naxalites and Maoists are leading local people’s movements the state should respect the rule of law and go into the reasons as to why the people have accepted the leadership of Naxalites in solving their problems.

The important thing to note is that when mega projects are imposed on the people and their peaceful agitations fail to persuade the governments to reconsider the projects, then they very often resort to violent methods. That is how tribals of Dandakaranya have found protection from the Maoists who have given them a sense of dignity and voice to assert their rights over their local resources. Far from being opposed to development, the local people seek an alternative pattern of development that fulfils their basic needs and enables them to decide their future course of development.

Steps towards Dialogue

The CIP has given a call for unconditional dialogue. This can happen only when there is a ceasefire. The Home Minister has set a condition that the Maoists must ‘abjure violence’. He has elaborated this by saying that he did not ask them to lay down arms but ‘halt the acts of violence’. On the other hand, the Maoists demand that the state stop its offensive.

One of the lessons from the Andhra Pradesh peace talks in 2004 has to be kept in mind. Both sides accused each other of taking advantage of the ceasefire to strengthen their operations. In fact almost all the prominent CPI (Maoist) participants in the peace talks were killed in police actions in the succeeding months. The government accused the Maoists of spreading to new areas in Telangana. The fact is that the peace talks were followed by massive police operations that severely weakened the Maoist base in Telangana.

That experience is cited by many democratic forces to question the very idea of a dialogue. They believe that it would help the state to lay a trap to encircle the Maoists and liquidate them through the planned paramilitary operations with high tech deployment of forces using helicopters and even unmanned aircraft. The offer of peace talks may be meant only to legitimise the military action of the government. This cannot be ruled out at all. But the planned offensive of the government can only be stopped if we draw attention to the real problems of the people and for that acts of violence from all sides have to cease. The aim is to expand the democratic space in India to pursue the promises made to the people of India in the Preamble, Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of the Indian Constitution. That space is being steadily reduced by the ruthless imposition of mega projects on the one hand and militaristic offensives by the state on the other. The government has to be reminded that similar strategies to suppress Naxalites have not only failed in the past, these have pushed more and more people into their movement during the past four decades.

Therefore, the first step in this process is for the state to order the armed forces to stop the combing operations in the movement areas, vacate the public institutions such as schools, dispensaries and Panchayat Bhavans and stay in their barracks. It is the combing operations which have led to much harassment of the tribal people. Incidents of killing and rape by forces such as COBRA continue to come from the villages of Chhattisgarh. In Orissa recently, a peaceful demonstration of unarmed tribal people in front of the police station of Koraput’s Narayanpatna protesting against the combing operations in their area was fired upon by the police in which two tribals were killed on November 20, 2009. This was a movement led by Chashi Mulia Adivasi Sangh, which had conducted a peaceful march in July to restore tribal rights over illegally alienated tribal land. This is another classic case of a peaceful struggle for constitutional rights being subjected to the brutal force of the state which might push many of the tribals to the path of armed struggle.

As soon as the government ceases its operations, the Maoists should announce a suspension of their attacks. The recent incidents of blowing up police vehicles and killing security personnel as well as alleged police informers, holding up passenger trains and attacks on public institutions and properties do not augur well for peace efforts.

More than showing interest in the idea of talks, the government must announce some concrete steps to facilitate it.

Second, once the suspension of armed operations has taken place designated representatives can meet and formulate the issues for talks. The representatives of the Maoists must be guaranteed safe passage and immunity from arrest. Both sides must be prepared to have several rounds of talks.

Third, to facilitate the peace process a climate of dialogue must be created and temper-rousing postures must be avoided by all concerned. Statements have to be made with care. The Prime Minister’s high-pitch statement on the Naxalites being the greatest threat to internal security pictured the question wrongly as a zero-sum game. The Home Minister took the discourse to a new height by describing the task as the most important challenge of his career. His formulation that the space abandoned by the state to the Naxalites must be secured first for resuming civil administration had already departed from the earlier perspective proposed by the Planning Commission’s Expert Group that the Naxalite movement was basically a development challenge. As if the Home Minister’s incitement was not enough, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee vowed to ‘teach them a lesson’. The media has revelled in heightening the temper of the anti-Naxalite discourse. Their studio discussions and reports have hardly contributed to building an environment of democratic discussion. Everyone should realise that democracy is about careful reasoning on issues of justice, equality and freedom and that requires conditions of peace. Peace is not absence of conflict, but structural conditions for enabling humans to work to the best of the ability of one and all.

Democratic forces in general and human rights groups in particular once again have a duty to come together, as they were trying to do in the case of Jammu and Kashmir and North-East India, namely, to affirm that dialogue is central to democracy and the challenge in the Naxalite areas is to acknowledge the arrival of resurgent tribals and enable the struggling people to achieve their fundamental rights and dignity.

Prof Manoranjan Mohanty, who was formerly at the University of Delhi, is currently with the Council for Social Development, New Delhi.

Sabotaged Schooling

Sabotaged Schooling
Naxalite Attacks and Police Occupation of Schools in India’s Bihar and Jharkhand States
December 9, 2009

हिंदी में सारांश और पीड़ितों की आपबीती के लिए लिंक:

Since this report went to print, attacks by Naxalites on schools have increased. In the past month, through December 8, 2009, at least another 14 schools in Jharkhand and 2 schools in Bihar have been bombed. Local media have reported that the Naxalites have carried out these attacks to prevent security forces from deploying in the schools for the elections. However, Human Rights Watch's research on past Naxalite attacks on schools suggests that the spike in Jharkhand attacks is linked to the Naxalites' efforts to pressure voters to boycott the month-long local assembly elections.

In an additional update, on October 27, the Ranchi High Court gave the police a further six months to comply with its November 21, 2008 order to vacate all occupied schools by the second week of January 2009.

Read the Press Release
Read the ReportISBN: 1-56432-566-0

India: Protect Education in Naxalite Conflict

Schools Attacked by Maoist Fighters and Occupied by Government Security Forces

December 9, 2009
Related Features:

The Maoists say they are fighting for India’s poor, but their attacks on schools deprive these children of the education they desperately need. At the same time, long-term police occupation of schools puts these children right in the midst of danger and trauma, keeps them from their classrooms, and frightens them away.
Bede Sheppard, Asia researcher in the Children's Rights Division(Ranchi) - The ongoing conflict between Maoist insurgents and government forces is disrupting the education of tens of thousands of India's most marginalized children, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.

The 103-page report, "Sabotaged Schooling: Naxalite Attacks and Police Occupation of Schools in India's Bihar and Jharkhand States," details how the Maoists - known as Naxalites - a longstanding, pan-Indian armed militant movement, are targeting and blowing up state-run schools. At the same time, police and paramilitary forces are disrupting education for long periods by occupying schools as part of anti-Naxalite operations. The report is based on visits to 22 schools in Bihar and Jharkhand, and interviews with over 130 people, including 48 children, as well as with parents, educators, police, and local officials.

"The Maoists say they are fighting for India's poor, but their attacks on schools deprive these children of the education they desperately need," said Bede Sheppard, researcher in the Children's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch and author of the report. "At the same time, long-term police occupation of schools puts these children right in the midst of danger and trauma, keeps them from their classrooms, and frightens them away."

The Maoists attack schools because they are often the only government buildings in the remote rural areas where the militants operate. Undefended schools are a high-visibility, "soft" target.

In the past month, through December 8, at least 14 schools in Jharkhand and 2 schools in Bihar have been bombed.

Attacking them garners media attention and increases fear and intimidation among local communities, Human Rights Watch found. The government's failure to repair the bombed schools promptly prolongs the negative impact of these attacks on children's education.

The government security forces - both police and paramilitary police - occupy school buildings as bases for anti-Naxalite operations, sometimes only for a few days but often for periods lasting several months, and even years. Sometimes the security forces occupy school buildings completely, while in other places they occupy parts of school buildings, with students trying to carry on their studies in the remaining space.

Naxalite attacks and school occupations by security forces place students unnecessarily at risk of harm, and lead many to drop out or cause interruptions to their studies. Girls appear especially likely to drop out following a partial occupation of a school due to perceived or experienced harassment by the security forces. Students also reported being upset by witnessing security forces beating suspects on school grounds. Often, schools are closed altogether and students may not be able to attend at all or are forced to move into inferior sites, to study outdoors or, for those able to reach them, to travel to schools further away.

"The Naxalite leadership should instruct their fighters to end all attacks on schools immediately," said Sheppard. "The government should also reconsider its practice of using schools for military operations, which frequently comes at the expense of children's education, creating further grievances for the Naxalites to exploit."
The right to education is guaranteed under India's constitution and laws, and in international human rights treaties to which India is party.

"Access to education for India's most marginalized children is an indispensable ingredient for India's development," said Sheppard. "Children in these areas are being deprived of this right for years as this conflict plays out."

Children and parents tell their stories:

"This school has been badly damaged ... the whole building has been ruined, the windows are smashed and blown, and the floor is cracked, as are the walls and the ceiling. Even the door is broken. The wall outside that connects to the veranda is also destroyed, everything is in ruins."

- A 16-year-old student whose school in Jharkhand was bombed by Naxalites on April 9, 2009.

"Sometimes [the security forces] bring culprits back to the school and beat them.... I feel very bad when they beat them."

- A 16-year-old student whose school in Bihar was partially occupied by State Auxilliary Police, as of June 12, 2009.

"There was no fear before the police camp came, and we were free to have all kinds of fun in the school."

- A 15-year-old student whose school in Jharkhand was partially occupied by the Indian Central Reserve Police Force, as of May 30, 2009.

"The [Naxalites] have blown up the school.... Since the buildings are damaged there are no classes. So my children are not going to school. I am not able to send my children to study outside of the village. We are poor people. We live in the forest. We till the land to earn our livelihood. There were 250 students studying at the school and all of them are getting spoiled because of no class in the school.... [Now, my children] do not do anything. They play around the village ... grazing cattle and doing like that ... those who are able to send their children out of the village have sent their children to study in other villages. But poor people like us cannot send our children to study out of the village."

- A father of five children-three of whom were studying at a school in Jharkhand that was bombed by Naxalites on November 29, 2008.

Four killed in naxal blast in Dantewada

Raipur, Dec 6 (PTI) Four civilians were today killed when suspected naxals blew up a truck in a landmine blast in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district, police said.

Naxals blew up the truck near Keralapal village in the district, killing all the four persons travelling in the vehicle on the spot, Superintendent of Police, Dantewada, Amresh Singh said.

The truck had left Doranapal village in the district for Sukama with truck's owner Surya Narayan Raju and three labourers. As it reached near Keralapal village on NH-221, naxals triggered landmine blast, he said.

Police was trying to ascertain the identity of victims, Singh said.

30 Naxals still active in DK, Udupi districts: IGP

TNN 5 December 2009, 09:44pm IST

DAVANAGERE: Over 30 Naxalites are still active in Hosanagara, Varahi and other places in Chikmagalur, Udupi, DK districts, according to Eastern

Speaking to reporters in Davanagere on Saturday after inaugurating the observation of crime prevention month, he said after the arrest of Devendra, a Naxal leader, their activities have receded in the area. Earlier they moved in large numbers but now they have been spotted in twos and threes, the IGP added. Frequent combing operations have also checked their movements, he said.

Davanagere tops in crime detection: IGP

The IGP said that Davanagere district tops in crime detection in the entire Eastern Range, encompassing Chitradurga, Bellary, Shimoga and Davanagere districts.

He lauded the efforts of the Davanagere police for their timely action and the best recovery of public property. Davanagere district police should work hard so as to get the state-level award, the IGP said.

He has called on the public to cooperate with the police to bring down the crime rate. SP Sandeep Patil called on the public to go for central locking system in their houses to prevent thefts and other crimes.

CPI(M) activist shot dead in Midnapore

Midnapore (WB), Dec 7 (PTI) Suspected Maoists shot dead a CPI(M) worker early today at a village in troubled Belpahari where the ultras gunned down three Marxist activists last Friday.

Sushanta Pratihar was shot in his head in Pinboni village and the body was left on the Pinboni-Pirakata road in West Midnapore district, police said.

Some leaflets and a poster were found near the body which read "death penalty has been awarded at the verdict of the people."

Suspected Maoists shot dead three CPI(M) supporters, while a policeman was injured in a landmine blast on the fourth day of the bandh called by the 'People's Committee Against Police Atrocities' (PCPA) last Friday in Belpahari.

The bodies were left on the road with their hands tied.

Maiosts Blow Up 2 School Buildings in Latehar

Latehar (Jharkhand) | Dec 08, 2009

Maoists blew up two vacant schools while security forces saved a third when they recovered two powerful landmines hidden in its premises, police said here today.

Separate groups of Maoists last night went to a middle school at Newari village and a primary school at Bhargaon village and packed explosives there before triggering the blasts, they said.

There were, however, no reports of any casualty in the twin incidents.

A patrolling squad, meanwhile, recovered two landmines weighing 25 kg each hidden at a place in Meral Middle school in Latehar district.

Police said the explosives were meant to blow up this school too.

In Gumla, security forces found a 15 kg landmine planted on the Kurumgarh-Bamda road under Chainpur police station, police said.

While Gumla goes for polling in the fourth phase on December 12, Latehar is going for polls in the fifth and final phase of polling scheduled on December 18.

Maoists have a track record of blowing up schools to prevent security personnel from taking shelter during anti-naxal operations.

Sri Lanka - LTTE trained Naxalites - Naxal leader

A senior Naxal leader who surrendered in Maharashtra, India last week has claimed that two LTTE cadres had visited camps in India twice to give training to the Naxal terrorists.

Naxal leader Rainu said that the LTTE cadres had taught the Naxals how to lay mines and handle grenades, reported the Indian Express.

Maoist groups in India have been known to collaborate with their counterparts across the border in Nepal and also occasionally with sympathizers elsewhere in South Asia but the senior Naxal leader claimed that a warfare expert from the Philippines also visited and stayed in a Bastar Naxal camp in Abujmad, stated the Indian Express.

“It is not very difficult for LTTE men to pass off as Indians, but how the Naxals managed a safe passage for a Filipino into territory where even the police can’t go, and back, is very curious,” said a security official who did not want to be named, the Indian Express further said.

India's software industry on terrorists' target list: GK Pillai

PTI Wednesday, December 9, 2009 12:37 IST

New Delhi: India's globally acclaimed software industry is high on the terrorists' target list and sensitive installations like atomic plants and refineries located on the coastline are vulnerable to terror attacks, Union home secretary GK Pillai said today.

"We are world leaders in software. But software industry is high on the threat list," Pillai said addressing a conference on 'Challenge of Terrorism to India's Infrastructure and Economy' here.

Pillai said all software companies in India were now realising this fact and they were taking their own measures to protect themselves. "And the government is also in partnership with many of the companies making effort to provide adequate security (to foil any attempt by the terrorists to target them)," he said.

Indian software exports have risen from Rs28,350 crore in 2000-01 to an estimated Rs216,300 crore in 2008-09. The industry is expected to grow 16 per cent this fiscal and log revenues of $60 billion despite the global slowdown.

Pillai said India's western coastline hosting several petroleum and nuclear installations are vulnerable to terror strikes from the sea route. "Petroleum and nuclear installations located on the western coast are highly vulnerable," he said.

Pillai said steps were being taken to protect country's 7,500 km-long coastline through multi-layered security apparatus. "We have been trying to plug the loopholes in coastal security. There is a series of highly attractive installations in the West coast. No doubt it is still vulnerable," he said.

A good number of nuclear power plants, including Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, are located along western coast. Six refineries, including Reliance Industries Ltd, are also located along the West coast in places like Jamnagar, Mumbai, Mangalore and Kochi.

The Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists, who attacked Mumbai last year, came to the city through sea route. Pillai said the government has improved the intelligence gathering mechanism to a great extent during the last one year and the security agencies have successfully neutralised many terrorists who were planning fresh terror attacks.

According to earlier intelligence inputs, Lashkar-e-Taiba was planning to attack two schools -- Doon and Woodstock in Uttarakhand -- and hotels in Goa which are regularly frequented by foreign tourists.

The home secretary said government was taking steps to deal with Maoists problem and taking action. "Basic governance in naxal area is more critical than anything else," he said.

Pillai said state governments have realised that security would soon be a major election issue if they could not provide security to common people and started taking action.

Pillai said the time has come to "think the unthinkable" as terrorists were adopting new strategy to break the country's security. "As we have seen from the David Headley case that one can still slip through the radar. Because we are not looking for them. This is one of the big problem. Because nonbody would look for a US citizen, with a US passport and a business visa, you would not think that he is a terrorist," he said.

The home secretary said if it can happen to a US national, it can happen to citizen of any other country and favoured necessary steps to deal with such cases

Govt to procure 59,000 light-weight bullet-proof jackets

PTI Wednesday, December 9, 2009 17:20 IST

New Delhi: In what could be a major relief for central paramilitary personnel, the government will procure 59,000 light-weight bullet-proof jackets for them.

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been designated as the lead force to procure the jackets for six Central paramilitary forces. The other five forces include NSG, CISF, ITBP, Assam Rifles and SSB.

Official sources said a single jacket will weigh about six-and-a-half kg which is much lighter than the over 14kg each bullet-proof jackets presently used by security personnel.

They said the decision to procure light-weight jackets was made following inputs and demand from all paramilitary forces.

Security personnel on the ground had often complained about the heavy bullet-proof jackets, saying the weight was a hindrance to their movements.

On an average, each security personnel posted in counter insurgency or anti-Naxal operation carried about 20kg of gear including the jacket, gun and ammunitions.

Many a times, some of the jawans used to take off their jackets while trekking for long in the tough terrains where they operate. Such practices use to put them at risk in case of an ambush, they said.

The CRPF had floated an open tender on July 3 this year under a two-bid system for procurement of such jackets.

BSF personnel killed in Police-Naxal encounter in Jharkhand

By ANIDecember 8th, 2009

Dumka (Jharkhand), Dec 8 (ANI): A Border Security Force (BSF) personnel got killed and a police official was seriously injured in the Police-Naxal encounter in Shikaripada here today.

In another incident today, the Maoists blew up a school building in Latehar district.

The Maoists attacked the school, which was to be a polling center for the State assembly elections scheduled for December 18.

In recent times, the Maoists have increased their attacks on railways, power and telecommunication networks, trying to bring to an end the economic development in the region. (ANI)

The return of a Naxal

Vivek Deshpande Posted online: Wednesday, Dec 09, 2009 at 2322 hrs

Gadchiroli : He was an impressionable, idealistic boy of 14 when he joined the Naxal movement. He would rise through the ranks, becoming one of the three tribals in the 22-member Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee created in 2007 to oversee Maoist activities in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. Last week, after 22 years of life as a Naxal, a disillusioned Jalamsai Sadmek alias Rainu surrendered, becoming the highest-ranking Maoist in Maharashtra to do so.

It was in 1987, while studying in Class VII at his ashram school in Hindewada village near Bhamragarh in south Gadchiroli, that Rainu first came into contact with the Naxals. He was impressed by everything about them — their military fatigues, their guns, their songs of revolution. It wasn’t long before he followed the “awesome looking saviours of the poor” into the jungles, leaving a shocked father Lalsai, mother Durgi and his four brothers to deal with not only his loss but also police attention. “As a child, I was very interested in history, battles against oppressors. I thought I could really do something for my tribesmen. The Naxals showed the way by daring to beat up forest staffers who tormented us,” Rainu told The Indian Express.

After four months, his father managed to trace him and begged the Naxals to let him go. “He was afraid of police backlash,” says Rainu. The prodigal son did return, but it took him only two days to flee back to his comrades. What followed was years of suffering for his family.

Whenever in Hindewada, Naxals would visit Lalsai’s house for food, making him a suspect in the eyes of the police. Lalsai ended up in jail, where he remained for two years. He eventually reached breaking point and committed suicide by setting himself on fire. “I felt guilty and couldn’t speak for one week... But my seniors rationalised it, saying it’s all part of the revolution,” Rainu recalls.

The Naxals, meanwhile, continued to visit the Sadmek family, particularly Rainu’s eldest brother Kishore. “In 1990, he was among 11 suspects arrested in an incident in which a policeman was shot dead,” Rainu says. “He spent all his money fighting the case but was convicted under TADA in 2000. He is now serving a life sentence in Nagpur jail.”

Ironically, Kishore was also on the Maoist hit list for delivering “an anti-Naxal speech” at a police awareness rally. “I pleaded with my seniors on his behalf, but they didn’t listen. They beat him up and gave him a dire warning.”

It didn’t take long for Rainu to realise the predicament he was in, or that he wasn’t alone in it. “I started realising that being a tribal was a disadvantage and that Naxals, who ideologically oppose hierarchy, also function within a rigid framework where the Andhra leaders rule the roost,” Rainu says.

Meanwhile, Rainu found some succour when while serving in Etapalli dalam (squad), he met and fell in love with Bharati Ported. The two got married. “Coincidentally, Bharati too had started getting disillusioned with the movement since a hardcore Andhra leader called Shekhar and his wife Surjan Akka used to reverse decisions taken by tribal leaders. He disapproved of her act of beating up a rich villager at Gattapalli village who had grabbed a poor man’s land,” Rainu says. Bharati eventually surrendered in 2007. “For that also, I was blamed. Tribal cadres do all the hard work, but it has no value,” Rainu says.

Few dared question the top leadership, but Rainu was an exception. “I once asked the party’s (CPI-Maoist) Central Committee member Bhupathi why the tribal cadres don’t get equal status. He said there is no such problem.” But Rainu’s outspokenness turned party leaders against him. “They started blaming me for the police not falling in Naxal traps. I used to visit my family once in four-five years and would go with other members, but they still thought I was working against them then,” he says. “Besides, two of my cousins are in the police. It made me very sad to think that I was being viewed as a kind of police stooge.”

Rainu also grew increasingly uncomfortable with the Naxal system of ‘justice’ against cadres who didn’t toe the line. “At Otegatta, they killed Bandu two years ago for attempting to join the police. He used to serve us food and they still killed him,” Rainu recalls.

The former Naxal also claims to have clashed with his fellow cadres over the issue of development. He says while he was in favour of allowing some government works, his comrades were against it. “They had their own Janatana Sarkar (people’s government) idea where they would do works like lay bodis (ponds for paddy crop) and run schools where only revolutionary literature would be taught. Roads, they said, would be built only after the area becomes liberated.”

Twenty-two years after he got into the movement, Rainu says, the Naxal idea of liberation started feeling like imprisonment. Surrender became his release.

Now he wants a normal life. As a Naxal, he was not supposed to father children and underwent vasectomy. He says he will reverse it. “I want to have kids. I hope it is not a difficult operation,” he grins.