Saturday, February 13, 2010

Huge cache of firearms siezed from Naxals in Bihar

PTI Friday, February 12, 2010 20:21 IST

Patna: In a joint operation, the special task force (STF) jawans with the help of local police today raided Naxalite hideout at Chormara village in Bheembandh forest area of Munger district and seized sophisticated firearms and ammunition, official sources said.

Additional director general of police (headqarters) US Dutt told reporters here on specific information that the Naxals had taken shelter at Chormara village in Bihar's Munger district, the police team raided their hideout and seized large number of firearms and cartridges of different bores, can bombs and electronic devices to detonate land mine blasts.

Dutt said during the raid on the hideouts in Bihar's Munger and Jamui districts, the STF with the help of district police seized three regular rifles, two long range rifles, 23 cartridges, one can bomb and five electronic devices to detonate land mine blasts from the Maoists, Dutt said.

Dutt said Bihar police was fully prepared to take on the might of the Maoists for which the police had initiated a number of measures.

Armed rebels abduct BDO


A police sniffer dog at the Dalbhumgarh BDO office on Saturday. Picture by Srinivas
Dalbhumgarh, Feb. 13: Four Maoists, hiding AK-47s in gamchas, abducted a BDO today in the presence of over 200 people, including some policemen, around the same time chief minister Shibu Soren was presiding over public functions in Jamshedpur, some 65km away.

Prashant Kumar Layek (34), the BDO of Dalbhumgarh under Ghatshila sub-division of East Singhbhum district, had just about wrapped up a lok adalat that was being held inside his office compound when four Maoists who were waiting outside struck.

At 1.10pm, when Layek entered his office, two of the four Maoists slipped in from behind and accosted him.

They assaulted him with the butt of their rifles and forced him on one of the bikes and sped away.

Over 200 people had attended the lok adalat and were in the process of dispersing when the rebels struck.

“It all happened very fast. Layek was forced to sit on one of the motorcycles after the Naxalites assaulted him with the butt of their rifles,” said an eyewitness, too scared to reveal his identity.

Another eyewitness claimed the rebels also used the rear exit to take away Layek, who lives with his family in Ghatshila and had been posted to Dalbhumgarh around six months ago.

“They also left behind one of their gamchas,” he added.

The police later shut the office, but before that took sniffer dogs inside the BDO’s chamber where the red cotton towel had been left behind.

Today’s audacious rebel strike comes at a time when the Centre has announced preparations for a joint anti-Naxalite operation between Bengal and Jharkhand and days after the appointment of a new superintendent of police for rural areas of the district.

Chief minister Shibu Soren on his return to Ranchi, met officials to discuss ways and means of securing Layek’s release. Chief secretary Shiv Basant, home secretary J.B. Tubid and DGP Neyaz Ahmed were among those present at the meeting.

Soren also spoke to Layek’s wife over telephone and assured her that his government was taking all possible steps to secure the immediate release of the officer.

Meanwhile, the police have launched a massive combing operation. Zonal IG Rezi Dung Dung, DIG (Kolhan) Manoj Kumar Mishra, district police superintendent Navin Kumar Singh, SP (rural) Ranjeet Kumar Prasad have reached Dalbhumgarh to co-ordinate the search.

DIG Mishra told The Telegraph that the search party included paramilitary forces. “A massive combing operation is underway to trace the BDO. Sniffer dogs have also been pressed into service,” he said.

However, the police appeared to have little clue about Layek’s fate. “We have no information about where the BDO has been taken. We are combing the area,” said Navin Kumar Singh, police superintendent of East Singhbhum.

Intelligence sources indicated that the BDO may have been taken to Ghurabandha, about 20km from Dalbhumgarh. The location is densely forested and is close to the Orissa border.

Telangana bandh paralyses life

Agencies Posted online: Saturday , Feb 13, 2010 at 1034 hrs

Hyderabad : Normal life was partially disrupted in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday due to a bandh called by students of Osmania University in protest against the Terms of Reference of the Sri Krishna Committee on the statehood issue.
Services of the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) were disrupted at a few places. The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Osmania University Students exempted buses returning from Shiva temples in Telangana. Many pilgrims had thronged the temples yesterday on the occasion of Shivratri.

The bandh call had a partial impact on shops, business establishment and educational institutions. The shutdown was called by the students of Osmania University here, the nerve-centre of the separate statehood agitation, a day after the Telangana panel's agenda was announced by the Centre.

The mandate given to the multi-member committee to also look into the United Andhra Pradesh demand is nothing but cheating the people of Telangana, the JAC said.

Various political parties will be holding meetings in the day to chalk out their plan of action over the ToR. TRS MLAs said they would meet Assembly Speaker to submit fresh resignations. The resignations submitted en masse by MLAs, cutting across party lines, were rejected by the Speaker on the ground that they were not in proper format.

The Ministers and MLAs of the ruling Congress would today decide their future course of action, Civil Supplies Minister J Krishna Rao said last night. Telugu Desam leaders from Telangana as well as the all-party JAC would also meet today to chalk out their plans.

Naxalite killed in police encounter

Gaya (Bihar), Feb 13 (PTI) A hardcore Naxalite was killed and a police official critically injured in an encounter between Maoists and police at Majhiawa in Gaya district tonight.

SP S Khopade said acting on a tip-off, a police team raided a place at Majhiawa where Naxalites had assembled.

On seeing the policemen, the ultras fired and in the ensuing encounter one CPI (Maoist) worker was killed.

Police official Mithilesh Prasad suffered gun-shot injury and was being treated at a nearby hospital in critical condition.

Policeman and naxalite killed in encounter

Gaya (Bihar), Feb 13 (PTI) A policeman and a naxalite were killed in an encounter between them at Majhiawa in Gaya district tonight.

Superintendent of Police S Khopade said acting on a tip-off, a police team raided a place at Majhiawa where Naxalites had assembled.

The ultras fired and in the ensuing encounter one member of CPI (Maoist) was killed on the spot.

Policeman Mithilesh Prasad, who was injured in the encounter, succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.

UNESCO report focuses on school attacks by Maoists

New Delhi February 14, 2010

A UNESCO global report has equated the CPI (Maoist)'s attacks on schools in Naxalite-dominated states with the systematic targeting of educational institutions by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The report, titled 'Education under Attack 2010', cited these regions as places where "attacks intensified dramatically" over the past two years. The report documents the Maoist attacks on schools in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar. It also highlights the large number of children recruited by Naxalites in their armed struggle against the state and calls for international investigation into the issue.

The report says attacks on schools and teachers are "well publicised and the perpetrators" have "made public their intention to attack schools via published threats and orders". The report says 300 schools were blown up by extremists between 2006 and 2009. There was also an "increase" in the recruitment of children by Maoists between 2005 and 2007. Fourteen and 15-year-olds were recruited into armed squads in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. The report adds that armed groups in Jammu and Kashmir were reportedly actively recruiting children as young as 13 or 14 from schools and mosques.

Citing a Human Rights Watch report into the Naxalite attacks on schools in these states, it documents in detail the attacks on school property and buildings. The report says the Maoists, in 2006, defended blowing up school buildings claiming that they tended to be occupied by security forces such as the CRPF. The UNESCO report, however, says in many cases, they blew up schools long after they were no longer being used as camps. To prevent such incidents and suggesting a "deterrent", the UNESCO has called for such crimes to be taken up by the International Criminal Court. Describing this intensifying trend as "worrying", it has recommended that international pressure must be exerted on states to take action against the Naxalites.

The attacks by these non-state actors, according to the report, has a much wider impact; it is intended to restrict the individual and thereby society's growth and fulfillment for a just social order.

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Indian assets abroad in terror crosshairs: NSG

Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN, 11 February 2010, 04:04am IST

(Gurgaon): India may have had a relatively quiet 2009 on the terror front, but the lack of success could propel terror operatives to target Indian assets abroad. No less than NPS Aulakh, the director-general of the National Security Guard, issued this alert on Tuesday.

Addressing a seminar on national 'Counter-IED Paradigm Intelligence, Strategy and Technology' here, Aulakh said the nation's sensitive economic offshore assets and entities owned by big Indian corporate houses abroad are vulnerable targets.

The NSG head also said terror groups had acquired the capability to plan and execute attacks across countries. "The arrest of David Headley and Tahawwur Rana showed how operational planning, and not just terror logistics, has been decentralised by terrorists," he said.

Meanwhile, country-wide data compiled by the NSG's National Bomb Data Centre reveals that while the number of incidents of bombings has gone down in the past two years in Jammu & Kashmir, it has risen sharply in the Naxal-infested states. There were 79 blasts in J&K in 2009 (till December 15), compared to 103 the previous year. However, in the case of Naxalite-affected Jharkhand, there were 62 blasts in 2009 against only 21 in 2008.

Other states battling Naxalites have also registered a similar upturn. Bihar witnessed 44 blasts in 2009 against only 21 the previous year and the number increased from 13 to 34 in West Bengal and 13 to 30 in Orissa over the corresponding period. Chhattisgarh was the only exception among states facing the brunt of the Naxalites. There was also a remarkable decline in bombing incidents in the north-eastern states — Manipur, Assam and Tripura.

We were sexually exploited by comrades: Maoist women

Surrendered Naxals say they were told to ‘shut up’ by seniors

We were sexually exploited by comrades: Maoist women

Bhubaneswar/Patna, Feb 12, DHNS:

Maoists who shout from the roof-top for taking up the cause of the poor are reported to have sexually exploited their women cadres.

The startling revelation was made by a local TV news channel in Orissa and also by surrendered women cadres in Bihar. Quoting Sabita Munda who surrendered with a young male cadre Rahul Juang, OTV news report said Maoist women cadres who raise their voice against were instructed by senior leaders to remain silent.

“Whenever the exploited female Maoists raised these matters with their senior male cadres they were immediately told to shut their mouth,” the 20-year-old tribal girl who was holding the rank of an “area commander” told the news channel.

Sabita had joined the naxal movement in 2007. She admitted that she had taken part in a number of major Maoists operations in the state during the last three years.
Sabita and Rahul will be rehabilitated as per the government’s schemes for the surrendered naxal cadres.

Abuse rampant

Meanwhile, two arrested hardcore naxalites, Geeta Murmu and Anju Murmu, said they were also sexually exploited in the rebel camps.

The sisters were apprehended by the Banka police in Bihar and produced before the CRPF Commandant Rakesh Ranjan and Banka DSP Sanjay Kumar where they narrated their story.

“Twice I had to undergo abortion. On protest, I was told to keep shut or else I would be shot dead,” said Geeta, who was the “mistress” of sub-zonal naxal commander Chirag Da for the last two years.

Geeta gave graphic details of how they (a group of 200 woman naxalites) were exploited in the dense forest areas of Belhar, which is considered to be a citadel of Maoists. “Some time back, my sister Anju Murmu too joined the naxal group. One night, she was on duty manning the borders of Banka and Jamui forest, when another naxalite Battu gagged and raped her.” On the basis of their statement, two cases have been lodged at Munger and Banka police station, while the Murmu sisters were sent to jail for their involvement in several naxal attacks in the state.

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Page: 1 2
By: Harry
On: 13 Feb 2010 11:22 pm

It has nothing to do with ideology. it is organizational problem. It is not really possible to have total survellence on men on such outfits. Women should be smart enough not to join such groups or tough enough to kill their rapists in such organizations.

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By: venu
On: 13 Feb 2010 05:43 pm

what did u think abt the naxals?? they are GODSS or HOLY SAINTS?? when they dont think twice to kill some one?? will they spare a young girls?? that too in the forest,, awwwww .

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By: deba
On: 13 Feb 2010 05:34 pm

The terrorists are always terrorists. There should not be any option to say for good terrorists and bad terrorists. Killing of innocent men, women and children may not be justified by the name of any religion, ideology or any things.New types of kidnapping/highjacking/ Blackmailing were being carried out by the name of agitation in west Bengal,jhakhand,orrisa and bihar. Some terrorist group declared themselves as CPI (Maoists) ,and supported by Mamata Banerji In west bengal,Sibu soren in Jharkhand, by Nitish Kumar from Bihar ,capture some tribals or minorities villages situated at state border area, cutting roads ,obstructing National Highways and pushing the innocent tribal women and children in front of armed police force. And they not hesitate to rape innocent tribal comrade. All democratize civic people should condemned MAMATA,SIBU SOREN AND NITISH KUMAR those who support these criminals.

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By: Samual
On: 13 Feb 2010 04:33 pm

For the communists/moasists/leninists women are second class citizens. Is there a women in a prominent official position in any present or past communist country (eg USSR, China, Cuba etc - the answer is none. Brinda Karath in CPI(M) is just a show piece, the real dicisions are taken by grey haired men. Women when they join these parties should realise it!

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By: Veerendra Hegde
On: 13 Feb 2010 03:04 pm

When it comes to sex and money man will go any extent. Leave alone maoists, most of the politicians, policemen and people who call themselves celebrities do the same.

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By: Surajit Sen
On: 13 Feb 2010 06:47 am

It is all because of communism where ideology takes precedence over individual rights and the country.

Reply | Report abuse

By: reddy
On: 13 Feb 2010 04:40 am

This group is an arm of China to destablise India and must be eradicated as soon as possible.

Three hardcore Maoists arrested

Paralakhemundi (Orissa), Feb 13 (PTI) Three hardcore Maoists, including a woman, involved in several attacks on security forces were arrested and weapons seized from them in Orissa's Gajapati district today, police said.

Following a tip-off, the ultras were picked up from a hide-out in their village Jadingi, about 125 km from here, Gajapati district Superintendent of Police Sanjay Arora told reporters here.

Three rifles and some Maoist literature were recovered from the red rebels who had been active in Gajapati and Rayagada districts, he said.

The three were involved in a number of operations including attack on a forest department building and landmine strike against the elite anti-naxal Special Operation Group (SOG), the SP said.

The arrested ultras were interrogated in a bid to obtain information about activities of the CPI (Maoist) in Orissa and neighbouring states, police said.

Maoists feel it's the right time to enter the Telangana fray

K. Srinivas Reddy

The continuing political turmoil over the Telangana issue in Andhra Pradesh, appears to be providing a perfect chance for the Maoists to enter the fray. A definite indication to this was procured by intelligence agencies when they seized a letter written by the Maoist Central Committee secretary Muppala Laxman Rao alias Ganapathy.

Ganapathy's letter indicates that the Maoist party has already identified two persons, referred to as 'Pracharak' and 'Gaayak,' who would be the coordinators for participating in the agitation, albeit under different banners. Police did not hazard a guess as to who 'Pracharak' and 'Gaayak' were, but say the letter's tone and tenor, addressed to a certain 'Com. Sitapathi' expose the Maoist plans to infiltrate the Telangana agitation. Police believe that Sitapathi is Cherukuri Rajkumar, another Central Committee member, also hailing from Andhra Pradesh. This letter dated December 22, 2009, was seized in a raid conducted on a naxal den in North India recently.

That the Maoists feel it is the right time to enter the agitation is evident from the observation that "all progressive and democratic forces and all streams of people must be united under any banner" Ganapathy also points out that it is the "right time to rise" and asks his party colleague to issue a press release and write letters to 'Pracharak and Gaayak' on the issue.

The Maoist chief appears to be pitching for formation of four States {ndash} Telangana, Andhra, Rayalaseeema and North Coastal Andhra as he says "we should also demand firmly that Hyderabad should be in Telangana and the Central government must take complete responsibility to build capitals for the rest of A.P./Coastal A.P. and RS States."

Ganapathy said all sections must be educated that Telangana was not possible without struggle and "there is not much of any use of a new state without Hyderabad."

Calling for efforts to expose the TRS, the Congress, the TDP and the PRP, Ganapathy said his party endorsed the struggles launched by 'students, youth and employees' as they forced the Centre to accept the demands to some extent. Another interesting revelation is the Maoist plan to force all organisations involved in the agitation to prepare a 'charter of people's programmes' while intensifying the struggle.

The Maoist movement continues to be a 'setback' stage in Andhra Pradesh as conceded by the naxal leaders. Their understanding is that the naxalite party is unable to take advantage of the 'rising militant attitude' among people, as they lack the mass base. Intelligence officers who study naxalite activity say the ongoing turmoil over the Telangana issue could enable the Maoists to strike roots in Andhra Pradesh again.

Two Maoist rebels surrender in Orissa

Saturday, February 13, 2010,10:40 [IST]

The two rebels surrendered as they had become disenchanted with the working of the rebel group.

Sabita Munda, a surrendered woman rebel said, "We were being tortured by higher cadres. I didn't like this so I left the Maoist organisation."

"They had lured us to join their organisation. They tortured us, so we decided to leave them and fled away from the organisation secretly," added Munda.

The state police have claimed that their department is making proper arrangements to rehabilitate the surrendered rebels.

Superintendent of Police (SP) Keonjhar, Ashish Kumar Singh said, "They realised that the movement will not solve the matter at gun point. They felt that peace is important so they surrendered. We accept them and we will rehabilitate them as per government policy."

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had on Tuesday (February 9) asserted that the Government would reclaim the areas presently dominated by Maoists and asked them to abjure violence, saying it is the only option for initiating dialogues with the Government.

At a meeting called by the Centre in Kolkata to help the four Naxal-affected states of West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand to co-ordinate their campaign against the rebels, Chidambaram said that the Maoists must halt violence. (ANI)

Gadchiroli to be Naxal-free in a year: Pillai

Pranab Dhal Samanta Posted online: Sunday , Feb 14, 2010 at 0409 hrs

New Delhi : The silent, yet unprecedented, Naxal offensive that started just over a month ago from the Chhattisgarh-Maharashtra border has made considerable progress with officials claiming for the first time that Gadchiroli — the worst affected district in Maharashtra — will be free of Maoist elements within a year.
“Once the full complement of forces come, we should be able to clear Gadchiroli of all Naxal elements within one year,” Home Secretary G K Pillai told The Sunday Express when asked about the state of operations.

Buoyed by the success, the government is now all set to replicate the Chhattisgarh-Maharashtra joint operation model with Orissa after the state government came on board to conduct “seamless operations” across state borders.

As planned, five BSF battalions — about 5,000 personnel — will be moving to Malkangiri district and adjoining areas in Orissa to counter Naxals who are desperately seeking a safe haven following the operations in Chhattisgarh. The inter-state border will be sealed with checkpoints just as it is being done on the Maharashtra side, added sources.

Such is the pace of the operations that seven raids have been carried out in Chhattisgarh alone in the last 48 hours and more are happening. Sources said several lower rung leaders among the Maoists have either been apprehended or killed in the past one month. In fact, reports from the field to the Home Ministry are that locals have begun to cooperate with the forces and are volunteering to provide information.

Many of these operations were being carried out largely with the help of local intelligence, which has come as a big advantage for the forces deployed in the area. In Gadchiroli, the state government has agreed to recruit local tribes into the police. Some 3,000 such personnel will be inducted into the district soon, a move which the government feels will ensure that the area gets rid of Maoists quickly.

What seems to be working well for the anti-Naxal task force is the grid pattern of deployment which the Army follows in counter-insurgency areas, and has particularly worked effectively in the Northeast and Kashmir. This ensures that every area is optimally covered by at least a battalion. Also, there is an operating base, which is usually dynamic in location, and quick reaction teams are in place for carrying out raids on specific intelligence.

The entire operational area, for instance, in Chhattisgarh and Gadchiroli has been divided into grids identified by recognisable geographical features. And to ensure better coordination, each paramilitary force is handed over an area or a district. So if the CRPF is deployed on the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border, the BSF forces are being deployed on the Orissa side.

All these forces work with the state police forces and are operationally under the State DGPs, but to ensure better coordination, the anti-Naxal task force head, Vijay Raman, is stationed in Raipur. His primary job is to facilitate seamless operation and create this grid along with the state police so that Naxals are unable to take refuge in an adjoining state. At present, there are some 58,000 paramilitary personnel under deployment. And each deployment is done after the training capsule in Army’s jungle warfare school.

There have been concerns, however, over Jharkhand after the Shibu Soren government took over with sources pointing out that cooperation could have been better. At the same time, the state government officials have not reversed their stand officially in the coordination meetings and continue to assure full cooperation.

Now that a workable model is in place, going by the success in Chhattisgarh and Gadchiroli, sources said, efforts are on to replicate it soon in other affected states so that large chunks of areas can be cleared permanently.

Gaya cop, 3 Maoists killed in encounter

TNN, 14 February 2010, 07:13am IST

GAYA: A young police officer and three Maoists were killed in a fierce encounter at Manjhiawan village under the Konch police station of Gaya district late on Saturday evening.

The martyred cop, Mithilesh Prasad, was the officer-in-charge of Tekari police station in the district.

Reports reaching the district HQ here said a joint police team of the Konch, Atri and Tekari police stations and the Central Reserve Police Force raided Manjhiawan following a tip-off that the ultras had assembled in the village.

On seeing the uniformed men, the ultras started firing. The police party also retaliated. Amid heavy exchange of fire, Prasad was hit in the neck by a bullet fired by the ultras. He succumbed to his injury on way to Anugrah Narain Magadh Medical College Hospital here.

Three Maoists are also believed to have been killed in the encounter. According to Magadh range DIG Anupama Nilekar, the body of one Naxalite has been recovered while search is on for the two other bodies.

The DIG and SP Sushil Khopde were leading the combing operation launched in the area.

Khopde told this correspondent from the place of occurrence two rifles, 43 live cartridges and Naxal literature have been recovered by police.

Incidentally, Konch was once regarded as a Naxalite bastion. But the ultras had been lying low for after they were challenged by the Ranvir Sena.

Chikmagalur: Naxals shift their base to Sakleshpur?

Chikmagalur Feb 14: Naxal activities that shook Western ghats have become comparatively lesser over the years. The police and the local residents are analysing the trend in different ways. After a visit of the naxalites to a village in Sringeri about two months ago, the naxals have not shown up in any places in the subsequent days.

A general belief is that due to beefed up police combing in Sringeri area, naxals must have shifted their area of functioning elsewhere. According to police sources, it is said that there are all possibilities of naxalites having shifted to Sakleshpur forest area.

There has been no traces of B G Krishnamurthy, the leader naxal movement in Sringeri. Police are opting to take it as the ‘silence before the storm’ and are preparing themselves to confront the naxalites. Though the police have been visiting remote areas, collecting data on naxalites, they have still not found naxal hide outs.

“The naxals have given up their uniforms. There are informations on naxal visits to villages and we are trying to analyse their pattern of movement and predict their next move. The hide and seek is still going on but the naxal menace has been reduced comparatively,” says a senior police official.

However, an incident of a person from Bihar trying to hold meeting of tribals has come to light in Menasinahadya area. It is said that the villagers shun him away and later informed the police about the same. There are strong hear say in the Malnad region about new leadership showing up in the region. Koppa DySp Abdul Ahmed said that villagers have decided to stay away from influence of the naxalites paying heed to the words of government officials. This he says is the main reason for decline of the naxal movement. “The Government has changed its stand on vacating people from their lands, the wage for agriculture workers has been increased and cases are being booked against naxalite supporters. All these have contributed for the reduction in naxal activities,” he says.

Another notable point is that the so called self declared ‘intellectuals’ too have stopped giving out pro-naxal statements. Many police officials say that this has staggered the confidence of the naxalites.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Op Green Hunt groundwork begins in Bengal

Ajanta Chakraborty, Caesar Mandal & Sukumar Mahato, TNN, 11 February 2010, 05:20am IST

KOLKATA/MIDNAPORE: Operation Green Hunt, the Centre's military offensive to crush the Maoists in their jungle hideouts, will be launched this month-end or by mid-March. And it will kick off in Bengal with West Midnapore as the first target of the offensive.

The ground work for this "careful, controlled and calibrated" assault started within 24 hours of home minister P Chidambaram's meeting with delegations from the Maoist-hit states of Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand. Though the chief ministers of Jharkhand and Bihar skipped the meet, it is clear by now that they will actively cooperate in Operation Green Hunt.

Bengal DGP Bhupinder Si-ngh led a high-level security team to Midnapore on Wedne-sday to chalk out the nitty gritty of the battle plan and carried out a helicopter survey of Maoist-controlled stretches of Lalgarh and Salboni and the Jharkhand-Orissa borders.

According to sources, the Maoist corridor in these four states will be divided into 10-12 zones for operations. West Midnapore was picked as the first target because this is where the rebels have their strongest base, said an officer. "The Maoist network is most well-established here. With the help of PCPA, they have secured the sentiments of tribals," said an officer.

"Contrary to the Lalgarh operation, this mission will focus on penetrating the jungles along the 600-km inter-state Maoist corridor, chase away the leftwing extremists and reclaim the area so that government agencies can move in to start development work," said another officer.

The operation will begin with gathering information from disgruntled Maoists and breakaway factions. On the basis of field intelligence and aerial surveillance, the CRPF's crack force, the Cobra commandos, will spearhead the assault, say sources. There will be a lot of emphasis on infiltration operations. Cobra troops will track down guerrilla training camps in the jungles and destroy them. Two such camps were recently discovered at Ajnasuli in Lalgarh.

Cobra assault squads will undertake operations lasting 48-72 hours at a stretch. After sanitisation, bomb disposal squads will move in, backed by heavily armed paramilitary teams. As the forces make inroads, camps will be set up and areas dominated.
Unlike Lalgarh, security forces here will not leave the recaptured areas unmanned. But like Lalgarh, the forces will open fire only when they are attacked.

Operation Green Hunt will focus on avoiding collateral damage and civilian casualties.

In case the Maoists resort to their usual tactic of mobilising villagers and throwing women and children before the forces, the troops will avoid a confrontation with the human shields, say sources. The riot police will tackle the crowd as the main armed force splits and moves rapidly to encircle the Maoists from behind, thus minimizing bloodshed.

"We will make sure that no innocent person faces harassment at the hands of the forces. Many common people are helping us by providing information about Maoist movement. This is a positive change," said West Midnapore SP SP Manoj Verma, who attended Wednesday's war strategy meet with DGP Bhupinder Singh, district magistrate N S Nigam and top police and paramilitary officers.

Silent search operations have already started, and a report submitted to the Union home ministry, say sources.
According to one report, 20 senior Maoist leaders have fled the jungles and taken refuge in towns and subdivisions. "A section of the top Maoist rank is already away from the operational zone. They have moved out to areas where policing is not so intense and are living as paying guests."

As the DGPs of four states exchanged notes at Writers' Buildings on Tuesday, they were surprised to find that an automatic flushing out of top-ranking Maoist leaders had quietly been taking place over the last one month.

"This is quite a boost ahead of the main operation," said an official.

Eight Maoist leaders including Balraj, head of the northern regional bureau of the CPI(Maoist) and associate of Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy were arrested at Kanpur last Monday. Some others were held in Allahabad and Gorakhpur.

According to intelligence sources, Maoists have been pushed on the back foot as increased patrolling had made it difficult for them to smuggle arms and ammunition.

Union home minister P Chidambaram has spelt out a cut-off time of six months for Operation Green Hunt, but Bengal officials have stretched it to eight months or beyond. "It will be a simultaneous mission in more ways than one. It will happen in our neighbouring states as well, followed by intense developmental activity. A flexible time frame is needed to win over the tribals," a senior official told TOI.

Maoist rebels blow up railway track in Orissa

February 10th, 2010 - 2:10 pm ICT by ANI -

Bhalulata Village (Orissa), Feb 10 (ANI): Suspected Maoist rebels blew up a stretch of a railway track near Bhalulata in the Sundergarh region of of Orissa on Wednesday.

Eight bogies of a goods train has been derailed and train services between Howrah-Mumbai have been disrupted following the explosion.

However, there has been no report of any casualty.

This sabotage by the rebels has been viewed as a part of the three-day shutdown call given by rebels in Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa, as a mark of protest against the central government’s ‘Operation Green Hunt’ to track down Maoists.

Home Minister P Chidambaram held a key meeting with the chiefs and representatives of four Maoist-affected states in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Chidambaram later extended an olive branch to Maoist rebels and urged them to abjure violence to make headway on talks with the government.

Maoists claim they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers, but are fast losing credibility after attacking schools, hospitals and infrastructure projects. (ANI)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Maoist rebels set precondition for talks

By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Calcutta

There has been a surge in Maoist violence in recent months
A leader of India's Maoist rebels has said they are ready to begin talks with the government if some of their top leaders are released from custody.
Koteswara Rao said that at least four senior rebel leaders who are in prison should be released for talks to begin.
He was reacting to federal home minister P Chidambaram's offer to rebels of "once last chance" to open talks with the government.
The rebels are fighting for communist rule in many Indian states.
More than 6,000 people have died during the rebels' 20-year fight.
Last November, Mr Rao had said that the rebels were willing to talk to the government if it put off a planned offensive against them.
Now Mr Rao has told the BBC that the four arrested rebel leaders would have to be released so that they could participate in any talks with the government.
The four leaders are Kobad Gandhi, Amitabha Bagchi, Narayan Sanyal and Sushil Roy.
'Brutal campaign'
"These four leaders will be part of our delegation that will talk to the government of India.
"And [the offensive] which is causing huge misery for the poor and the tribals in several Indian states must stop. You can't talk to us by holding a gun to our head," Mr Rao said.
"We want to come to the table to save the people from this brutal military campaign."
On Tuesday, Mr Chidambaram offered the Maoists "one last chance" to open talks with the government after finalising a plan to intensify the offensive against the rebels.
"We only want the Maoists to stop violence. We can then talk," he said.
"If the violence does not stop, we will be obliged to continue the operations in a measured, calibrated manner."
Nearly 50,000 federal para-military troops are joining an equal number of policemen, to be equipped with helicopters and unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles, to take on the rebels, officials say.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the Maoists as the "country's biggest internal security challenge".
Nearly 600 civilians died in Maoist violence last year, the government says.
A total of 317 members of the security forces and 217 rebels died in Maoist-related violence in 2009.
The rebels have a presence in more than 223 of India's 600-odd districts across 20 states, according to the government.

Chidambaram tells Maoists to abjure violence

By Jayatri Nag
Posted On Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 02:10:40 AM
Kolkata: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has set a six month-deadline to reclaim the Naxalite dominated areas through a “slow and steady” offensive, which will be a “careful, calibrated and controlled operation,” he said.


He was attending a marathon meeting in Kolkata to review the status of operations in Maoist-infested states of Jharkhand, Bihar. However, he extended his invitation to the red rebels for talks again once they “abjure violence.”

Chidambaram sent out loud signals that a two-pronged attack — inter state and intra states — is about to begin. “Our purpose is not to kill anyone, as Maoists are also Indian citizens. But our object is to reclaim the authority of the civil administration in the Naxalite-infested areas,” said Chidambaram, adding that the offensive will be followed by developmental works by the chief ministers in the respective states.

“My appeal to Naxals (as the leftwing guerrillas are known) is to halt violence and we are we are prepared to talk to you,” the minister said.

Expressing his satisfaction about the progress of the operations in the Eastern states, Chidambaram also cited the arrests of some key Maoist leaders. “I am quite satisfied with work in the states though there are some inadequacies. We will stress and weaknesses and continue the operations,” he said.

Chidambaram met the CMs of Bengal and Orissa, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Navin Patnaik, Deputy Chief Ministers of Jharkhand Raghuvar Das and Sudesh Mahto and top officials of Jharkhand, Bengal and Bihar.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Jharkhand CM Sibu Soren however skipped the crucial meeting. Responding to Nitish’s reported remarks on the use of violence, Chidambaram said, “I had extensive meetings with Nitish Kumar. We believe use of force alone will not solve the problem. However, in order to end violence it is necessary to use force.”

When asked about CPI-M secretary general Prakash Karat and Bhattacharya’s repeated allegations about Mamata having close ties with the Maoists, Chidambaram said, “Nobody is colluding with Maoists. Maoists are fighting the state-they are against the parliamentary system, any party believing in parliamentary democracy could not collude with the Maoists.”

He however added, “Banerjee told me that our (anti-Naxal) operations in West Midnapur have not yielded the results we hoped to achieve when we started the operation. I have noted her point of view.”

For Chidambaram, old hand Narayanan comes in handy

Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay Posted online: Wednesday, Feb 10, 2010 at 0225 hrs

Kolkata : Union Home Minister P Chidambaram was today closeted with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Governor M K Narayanan at the Raj Bhavan for about 35 minutes. No other aide was present there.
The meeting took place after the lunch hosted by Narayanan for the chief ministers attending today’s meeting on the Naxalite problem was over. Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik and two deputy chief ministers of Jharkhand, Sudesh Mahato and Rajbar Das, were not present at the meeting at Raj Bhavan.

After taking over as Governor on January 24, Narayanan had said as a former National Security Adviser, he would offer his advice to the state government on security issues.

Meanwhile, at today’s meeting chaired by Chidambaram, it was agreed upon that a “pincer operation” will be launched along the borders of neighbouring states of West Bengal affected by the Naxalite menace.

“There will be pincer operation launched from two states, maybe West Bengal and Jharkhand or West Bengal and Orissa. It could be Bihar and Jharkhand. These will be concerted and synchronised operations to flush out the ultras. For this, all the states have asked for more forces. The Centre will now work out on the modalities and get back to us,” a senior state government official said, adding dates will be decided once the Centre meets the demand for extra forces.

While the Centre has promised six companies of central paramilitary forces that it took away from Lalgarh for Jharkhand elections, the West Bengal government has asked for 10 more companies.

The state government has also asked for helicopters from the Centre that can fly into enemy zones and take pictures of the camps. “These helicopters can fly for 3-4 hours at stretch and can be used in case of evacuation when an offensive is launched,” DGP Bhupinder Singh said.

Is the media fuelling vigilantism?

Karanjeet Kaur
New Delhi, February 10, 2010

The attack on disgraced former Haryana DGP, SPS Rathore by a National Institute of Design student Utsav Sharma has triggered a parallel debate on whether the sense of injustice fuelled by the media frenzy on the Ruchika Girhotra case was responsible for this act of vigilantism.

Analysts are raising uncomfortable questions on the way the media laps up police versions of cases, or brands suspects as "terrorists" and political activists as "Maoists", or just goes beyond its brief in sensational cases.

The unease of the critics is best expressed by Kavita Srivastava. The national secretary of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), says while she is happy justice is being seen to be done in the Ruchika case because of interventionist reporting, the media sometimes plays into the hands of the state apparatus.

"Labels such as 'Maoist' or 'Naxalite' are police labels," she said. The state apparatus, she added, did not brook questioning, so whoever took up the issues of poor people was branded a Maoist.

To support her view, she cited the example of Binayak Sen, PUCL's national vice-president and a doctor, who was detained in a Chhattisgarh jail for more than two years. When the media follows the state in labelling a person of Sen's impeccable credentials as Maoist, "the constitutional rights of the person get sacrificed" Srivastav said.

Media scholar Akhila Sivadas, executive director, Centre for Advocacy and Research, made a case for balance. "You can't hold one channel or media platform responsible for the way news is being presented. The interventionism is not at fault, but the media must be able to balance it with information and a diversity of voices," Sivadas said. She added the media must have its checks and balances.

Decision-makers in the media, though, don't buy the 'trial by the media' line floated especially by Rathore's lawyer-wife, Abha Anand. "The coverage has been objective and has ensured that justice is meted out and no one, however powerful, is spared," said G. Krishnan, executive director and CEO, TV Today Network.

"It's becoming fashionable to lampoon the media. It's becoming a trend for politicians who are exposed or accused in criminal cases to engage in media bashing," he said. The coverage of the Ruchika case, according to Krishnan, is an example of how the power of media is key to smooth functioning of a democracy.

Speaking on behalf of CNN-IBN, the channel that has been running a 'Justice for Ruchika' campaign, its managing editor Vinay Tewari agreed with the view that the media's principal responsibility was to report any issue that was in the larger interests of the public.

"If the media is only pursuing its responsibility, and someone decides to take the law into his hands, it can't be held responsible," he said, referring to the attack on Rathore.

Tewari said for every act of 'vigilantism', there are numerous cases where nothing untoward takes place, even though landmark cases are reported ever so often.

"The assailant Utsav Sharma's family has gone on record saying their son was undergoing treatment for depression. It is unfair to correlate the act of one person with a trend. Unfortunately, trend stories are all too common," Tewari said.

Investigative journalist and founding-member of Foundation of Media Professionals Aniruddha Bahal said the media followed a legitimate story about how Rathore misused his office to abet Ruchika's suicide, and later, got away with a light rap after being convicted. "In cases such as Arushi's murder, had the media not focused on it, the Uttar Pradesh Police would have got away with its shoddy probe. The media didn't hint that her parents were complicit in the murder; it was the police that floated the theory," Bahal said.

Of course, Bahal admits that sections of the media engaged in speculative reporting in the case, but he's quick to add a caveat. "We have to look at the larger picture -- the media ensured that the UP Police was held accountable," he said, pointing to the Nithari killings.

Sevanti Ninan of The Hoot, a media news and comment website, also agreed there was no evidence to link vigilantism with the media's reportage of high-profile cases. "It's just an assumption that there was a media overkill in the Ruchika case. We still don't know enough about it," she said.

Ninan added the media's sense of indignation and constant repetition of an issue is a way of whipping up public sentiment. "It also has a class character -- in this case, the victim, the perpetrator and the media, all belong to the upper middle class," she said.

Experts share her view of the media's role in influencing public opinion in cases of derailment of justice. Sociologist Shiv Visvanathan said it would be incorrect to hold the media and its exhaustive coverage responsible for the attack. "Ordinary people don't get justice in this country," he said. "On top of it, when you see visuals of a man such as Rathore walking out of the courtroom with a smirk, there's a feeling that powerful people are beyond the pale of justice." The more respected names in the profession, however, beg to differ. Senior journalist Kuldip Nayar cited the example of the recent attacks on north Indians in Mumbai. "The media overplayed it. For garnering TRPs, the media starts hankering after something. We should be careful not to cross the Lakshman Rekha ," he said.

Another senior journalist and director of Manorama School of Communications, Kottayam, Thomas Oommen, also focused on competition. "In any edition of a newspaper," he insisted in an email response, "there will be at least three instances (especially in local and mofussil reports) of uncontestable libel. But to require the person(s) libelled to pursue a court case is to require too much. So, the media has now come to believe it is responsible to no one." Rathore may have survived with light injuries after Monday's attack, but its repercussions will be felt for a longer time by a media still coming to terms with the conflicting demands on its collective conscience.

From JNU and Maoist choice for U-3

Lucknow, Feb. 9: Arrested social science scholar Chintan was working on a plan to make the Naxalites fill the vacuum caused by the elimination of dacoit gangs in Uttar Pradesh and pursue armed action for the rights of the poor.

Chintan, also known as Banshidhar Singh, has MPhil and PhD degrees in social science from New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University. The 64-year-old scholar from Bihar’s Champaran district, the epicentre of several uprisings involving land and social justice, was one of the leading guerrilla leaders of the erstwhile Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) which later merged with the People’s War Group (PWG) to form the CPI (Maoist).

A former member of the organisation’s central committee and politburo, the apex decision-making body, Chintan was tipped to be the future head of the three Us: Uttar (north) Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Police said Chintan was a close associate of Khobad Ghandy, the Maoist ideologue who was arrested from Delhi last year.

To spread the Maoist network, Chintan was working in tandem with Balraj alias Baccha Prasad, a resident of Chapra district in Bihar. Prasad, 51, was a science student of Patna University and had participated in Jayaprakash Narayan’s movement in the mid-seventies before joining the Naxalite outfit, becoming regional commander of Chapra-Siwan.

“He (Prasad) is soft-spoken, suave and well informed about the functioning of Maoist cadres,” said a police officer.

The Maoist duo were among 11 arrested in night raids on Saturday at Kanpur, Allahabad and Gorakhpur.

From the Maoist literature seized from the Naxalite leaders, the special task force has learnt that Chintan was targeting the poverty-racked districts in Bundelkhand region, many of which were dacoits hubs till recently.

Although most of the powerful dacoit gangs have been eliminated, a large chunk of backward caste leaders have plenty of weapons in their possession. These, the Maoists felt, could be used for future action.

Last week, the police had taken into custody Ratan Bahadur, 43, who was allegedly drafted by the Maoists to work among the families of the slain dacoits of Bundelkhand and make them join the Naxalite cause. Bahadur came in touch with the Maoists through a former Allahabad University union leader who has since gone underground.

To spread the network in Uttarakhand, the Maoists had supported to the movement against big dams. Chintan’s team was working for the thousands uprooted from their land by power projects in the hill state.

“The Maoists have got a cause for social action and support given that thousands of people have been rendered homeless and landless by the upcoming projects across the state, from Pithoragarh district in the Kumaon region to Chamoli in Garhwal. The projects have sounded the death knell for several towns and villages by submerging them,” said a police officer.

During the past three months, four suspects with alleged Maoist links have been arrested in Chamoli. They had earlier taken part in demonstrations on behalf of people ousted by power plants.

All these leaders were in touch with Chintan, according to information in the CDs seized from the arrested leaders.

“Chintan was in jail for several years and was out on bail too,” said Uttar Pradesh director-general of police Karamveer Singh.

Chintan, along with the other arrested Maoists, was produced before the Kanpur chief judicial magistrate today and remanded in judicial custody.

Activists of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) alleged that two of those arrested, Seema Azad and her husband Vishwa Vijay, were office-bearers of the organisation.

Social worker and PUCL official Sandeep Pandey said: “We know Seema Azad is our office-bearer. She cannot have Maoist leanings. We don’t know much about the other so-called Maoist suspects.”

S.R. Darapuri, organising secretary of the PUCL and a former inspector-general of police, also said Seema, the state secretary of the organisation, was innocent. “Possessing Maoist literature is no offence,” he said.

Karamveer Singh, the state police chief, took a hard stand when asked about the PUCL outcry. “Those sympathising with the arrested persons and trying to label them social workers ought to realise they are running the risk of associating with anti-nationals,” he said.


Co-operate more to fight Naxalites: Chidambaram to states

Rajat Roy / Kolkata February 10, 2010, 0:39 IST
Encouraged by the recent success in nabbing some top Naxalite leaders in UP, Bihar and Orissa, the Centre is urging the states to coordinate more with each other in their effort to conduct the anti-Naxalite operations in the eastern states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa and Bihar.

The Union home minister P Chidambaram held a meeting of these states today at Kolkata where “the inter state issues’ of conducting the anti-Naxalite operations were discussed at length and “some decisions were taken” which would be acted upon shortly, said Chidambaram after the meeting.

The Naxalites responded with landmine blasts in railway tracks in Jharkhand and Bihar in the last and third day of their bandh in the three states. Day before yesterday the Naxalites exploded landmine in railway track in Orissa. But Chidambaram is undeterred by these events.

He expressed confidence that in the next six months the operation would be able to “reclaim the areas dominated by the Naxalites.” Incidentally, at present large forest tracts in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh has virtually become “liberated zone” of the Naxalites and they roam freely in the forest corridors in Orissa, Jharkhand and part of south Bihar. But of late the Naxalites have faced some setbacks. Chidambaram claimed that in the recent past, there has been significant progress in inter-state operation and some key Naxalite leaders have been apprehended in the past few months.

“Contrary to what a section of media and NGOs believed, no massive carnage took place. We made it clear that the purpose of this operation is not to kill anyone. They are our own people, we care for them, for their lives. Our object is not to kill anyone. Our aim is to reestablish rule of law in areas which are now dominated by the Naxalites,” he said.

Today’s meeting was attended by two chief ministers Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Navin Patnaik of West Bengal and Orissa respectively, the Jharkhand chief minister Shibu Soren could not come as he suddenly fell sick and was admitted in a Ranchi hospital last night. The Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar was also unable to come as “he had some prior engagement”. Jharkhand was represented in the meeting by two deputy chief ministers and Bihar was represented by top police officials.

While talking to the media after the meeting Chidambaram issued an appeal to the Naxalites to abjure violence. “My appeal to the Naxalites is that you say a halt to violence, we are not asking you to do more, then we are prepared to talk to you,” said Chidambaram. At the same time he indicated that as of now there won’t be any let up in the operations. He observed that “unfortunately the past appeals have been spurned. Therefore, we are obliged to continue the operations.” But at the same time he tried to impress on the civil society the point that the ongoing operations have been more “controlled, calibrated and careful” so as to minimise the collateral damages and it could continue to be so.

Keeping in mind that there has been serious criticism from within the Union cabinet, Mamata Banerjee went public claiming that their joint operation has failed to achieve its objectives, Chidambaram commented, “I think, the progress will be slow but steady. We can’t measure the progress of the operation as we do in the case of a cricket match over by over.” Responding to a pointed question he said, “She (Mamata) has told me that the operations we are doing in West Midnapur are not yielding the result we hoped to achieve when we started it. She has a point of view and I have taken note of it. We will try to make it as effective as possible.” But at the same breath he negated the charge and counter charges hurled against each other by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Mamata Banerjee of abetting the Naxalites by saying, “As far as I am concerned, nobody is colluding with the Maoists. The Maoists are fighting the State. They believe in armed struggle, and consider the parliamentary system as pig sty. Any political party that believes in parliamentary system cannot collude with them.”

PC flashes Naxalite battle sign


Manmohan Singh
New Delhi, Feb. 7: Union home minister P. Chidambaram today sought to bring the focus back on an operation to flush out Maoists, asserting that if “a battle on the ground” is needed, “so be it”.

“We are clear in our view that the government must re-establish the control of the civil administration. Therefore, the (security) forces will be deployed in order to re-establish the control of the civilian administration,” Chidambaram told reporters after a conference of chief ministers on internal security.

“If that means confronting the Naxalites, if that means some kind of a battle on ground, so be it. Our forces are meant to put down violence and our forces will be deployed to put down violence. The chief ministers generally supported our response to them (the rebels),” he added.

The minister had built the tempo for an operation in the latter half of last year but compulsions tied to the Assembly polls in Jharkhand, one of the states worst affected by Naxalite violence, and perceived misgivings among a section of the Congress over the likely fallout of casualties had prevented the Centre from launching an all-out offensive.

However, low-intensity operations had been launched in some states.

Chidambaram’s comments today suggest the Centre is now ready to widen the offensive if needed. The minister is scheduled to attend a meeting of four states — Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa and Bihar — in Calcutta on Tuesday. Other than Bihar’s Nitish Kumar, who will be sending the chief secretary, the chief ministers of the three other states are scheduled to attend the meeting.

At the conference today, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described as “worrisome” the recent spike in killings by the Left-wing extremists, though Chidambaram said that the high casualties were part of the collateral damage as security forces tried to flush out the rebels and establish rule of law.

Singh drew attention to the problems in policing by states. Four lakh sanctioned police posts — 20 per cent of the total strength — were vacant across the country, he said, adding that the concern was deepened by the lack of modernisation of the forces.

He stressed the need for caution, saying the response to Naxalism “must be calibrated to avoid alienating our people, especially those in tribal areas”, and asked state governments to step up socio-economic development in these zones.

Chidambaram echoed the Prime Minister on the threat, and said the number of casualties would increase this year as security forces tried to reclaim rebel-dominated pockets, repeating a warning he had made last week.

The minister pointed out that more civilians and personnel had been killed in Naxalite areas last year than in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.

He said 591 civilians, 317 security personnel and 217 militants had died in Naxalite zones.

Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said Left-wing extremism remained a threat despite the joint operation in Lalgarh.

He said security forces had arrested 450 suspected Naxalites in the area since moving in there in June 2009.

In the coming months, security forces will form teams to move at night to prevent ambushes by the rebels, Bhattacharjee said.

New areas targeted by the extremists will be adequately policed and action will be co-ordinated with neighbouring Orissa and Jharkhand to stop easy passage across the borders for the rebels.

UP lauds central help in fighting Naxals

Express News Service Posted online: Wednesday, Feb 10, 2010 at 0256 hrs

Lucknow : The state government on Tuesday acknowledged the support and cooperation it has been receiving from the Centre in fighting the Naxal menace in the state.
Replying to the adjournment notice moved by Radhey Mohan Agarwal (BJP) on this issue during the Zero Hour in the state Assembly, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Lalji Verma said that the state had submitted several schemes for the development of infrastructure in Naxal-infested districts and the Centre is extending its cooperation to the state government.

Verma said measures were being taken to check Naxal activities, which is evident from the latest arrests made by the STF from different parts of the state. The state government was giving special attention to effectively check the menace, he added.

“Besides coordinated action with the neighboring state for action against Naxals, the intelligence units are being strengthened — resulting in no Naxal activity in the state since 2004,” said Verma.

Efforts are also on for the all-round development of Naxal-affected areas and to bring the people there in the mainstream. To win the confidence of locals and instill a sense of security, community policing is being promoted in these areas, the minister said.

Earlier, Radhey Mohan Agarwal expressed serious concern over the arrest of Naxals in the last couple of days from areas other than those identified as Naxal-infested in the state. ‘Arrests have been made from Gorakhpur, Allahabad and Kanpur which are not identified as Naxal-infested. Besides, ADG Brij Lal has also stated that Naxal activities were on the rise in Azamgarh, Deoria, Ghazipur and Ballia though as per government records, only three districts — Sonebhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli — are affected by Naxalism,” he said.

Taking a shot at human rights organisations, the BJP member said those who had come to the rescue of the Students Islamic Movement of India, after it was banned, are the same people and organisations now opposing the arrests of Naxals — terming it as a violation of human rights.

Naxals blow up two rail tracks in Orissa

Bhubaneswar: Maoists blew up two rail tracks between Bhalulata and Bishra in Orissa's Sundergarh district early Wednesday, an official said.

"Two tracks have been blown up between Bhalulata and Bishra. Both the down and up tracks in the Howrah-Mumbai route were targeted," said VK Srivastav, divisional commercial manager of Chhatrapur division.

The Naxals blew up the tracks using land mines at about 1.30 a.m. (IST). After the blast, eight wagons of a goods train derailed.

The freight train was travelling from Tatanagar near Ranchi to Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh.

Bengal-plus-two Maoist crackdown on radar

- Hint of covering Jharkhand, Orissa

Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik, home minister P Chidambaram and Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at Writers’ Buildings. (Pradip Sanyal)
Calcutta, Feb. 9: Union home minister P. Chidambaram today indicated that inter-state security operations against Maoists would be launched in Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa soon.

“We reviewed the progress of the intra-state and inter-state operations and found that there has been significant work (done) in this regard. We also discussed inter-state operations between Bengal and Jharkhand and Bengal and Orissa. We have taken certain decisions about these joint operations that will be implemented after I return to Delhi,” Chidambaram said after an 80-minute meeting with chief ministers, deputy chief ministers and senior officials of Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar at Writers’ Buildings.

He also clarified that the Maoists would have to stop killing if the Centre is to halt the security operations and sit for talks. “Halt violence. That is the precondition,” Chidambaram said.

“Over the past few months, key Naxal leaders were arrested and more forces were deployed. They (Naxals) are our own people and we care for them. Our objective is not to kill them but to re-establish civil administration. But we would be obliged to continue our operation if they do not halt violence.”

Bengal has not had any joint security operation with any state, though the state government had asked for it during earlier talks with the Centre. There is such an operation in progress involving Chhattisgarh and Orissa.

Sources said Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had spoken of the need for a joint operation in Jharkhand but the neighbouring state had complained of “lack of infrastructure”.

“We have to concentrate on our borders with Chhattisgarh and south Bihar to tackle the insurgency. We know east Singhbhum is a problem area for both our state and Bengal but we lack adequate infrastructure,” a Jharkhand government representative was quoted as saying at the meeting.

The Bengal government has asked for a helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from the Centre for tracking the Maoists in the jungles, it was learnt.

“The UAV, used by the army, is about eight-foot-long and helps take aerial pictures of camps and shelters in the jungles. In Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, the Centre had sent helicopters for their anti-Maoist operations. That’s why we also asked for these. There will be a second phase of the operation but when and how it will be launched hasn’t been decided,” said a Bengal home department official.

As for the progress in operations, the home minister, flanked by Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and his Orissa counterpart Naveen Patnaik in the rotunda of the Writers’, said: “We are confident of further progress in the next six months. It will be a slow but steady process. The measures will be careful, controlled and calibrated.”

The progress of the operation would not be like “a cricket match” with the “scoreboard showing how many runs have been scored”, Chidambaram said.

When pointed out that the Bihar chief minister had said earlier in the day that application of force would not be the solution, Chidambaram said: “Use of force alone can’t solve the problem. We are agreed on that. Our troops do not fire unless fired upon.”

Chidambaram asserted that development work would begin after reclaiming the areas under Maoist dominance. “We will reclaim the areas now dominated by the Naxals. Once the civil administration is established, the chief ministers have assured me that they will rush in with development programmes such as schools, roads, medical and drinking water facilities as well as job opportunities,” said Chidambaram.

Asim visit

P. Chidambaram today paid Bengal finance minister Asim Dasgupta a surprise visit at his Writers’ Buildings chamber. While walking down the corridor of Writers’ with Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik, Chidambaram chanced upon Asim Dasgupta’s nameplate. He said that he wanted to meet Asim and walked into his chamber.

Dasgupta later said: “I was working and was pleasantly surprised to see Chidambaramji walking into my chamber to say hello. We have a long working association since his days as the country’s finance minister.”