Saturday, August 11, 2007

Maoists kill shop owner in Orissa

KalingaTimes Correspondent

Bhubaneswar: Living close to a police camp set up by the government to fight naxalites in Orissa seems to have proved to be dangerous for the innocent people living nearby.

This became evident with the recovery of the beheaded body of a villager in Orissa's Sambalpur district on Saturday morning.

The body of Arjun Dehuri, who was abducted at gunpoint from his house in Talab village under Kisinda police station in Maoist-infested Sambalpur early on Thursday, was reportedly traced by his father near the village forest on Friday evening.

Accordingly, police were informed and the body was recovered at around 10 am on Saturday.

Dehuri ran a grocery shop which was often visited by the Orissa State Armed Police personnel who lived in the nearby camp set up to curb Maoist activities in the area.

Dehuri was abducted by a large group of armed Maoists at around 1 am on Thursday.

After taking Dehuri with them, the Maoists had also abducted two more persons - Dutiya Naik and Anti Pradhan - from the nearby Kechbil village.

The extremists, however, had released Naik and Pradhan late on Thursday evening.

The killing of Dehuri has sent shockwaves among the innocent villagers in the area.

The villagers brought the body and blocked the national highway nearby demanding that the police camp be shifted to another place.

If the authorities fail to shift the camp the villagers, the villagers have threatened to leave the village for good and live in some other place.

Chhattisgarh bans international medical NGO for treating Maoists

11 Aug 2007, 0204 hrs IST,Amitabh Tiwari,TNN



RAIPUR: Claiming that it has authentic information about doctors from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) — or Doctors Without Borders — providing medical assistance to Maoists, the Chhattisgarh government on Friday decided to ban its activities in the Bastar region.

MSF, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999, is a non-profit international medical and humanitarian aid organisation set up in 1971 by a group of French doctors. It's principle is to serve people irrespective of caste, race, creed, politics, religion and gender, since every human has the right to medical care.

District collector of Dantewada, one of the worst Maoist-affected areas in the state, K R Pisda, told TOI, "The administration has been constantly receiving information about MSF's volunteers providing treatment to the injured and ailing Maoist cadres."

Quoting intelligence sources, police officials said MSF doctors had been moving in the conflict zone without informing the local administration. "They do this despite a clear instruction to them to tell us about their movements and whereabouts," a senior police officer said.

A MSF spokesman, however, said the organisation maintained neutrality in providing medical treatment in camps for the displaced people in Dantewada. "MSF medical teams also provide mobile health services and nutritional support to those in need in remote rural areas. They have been providing free medical services to conflict-hit indigenous people in camps and villages since 2006," he said. MSF was given the Nobel Prize for Peace for its exemplary service in providing health care across the world, especially in disaster and conflict affected zones

Naxal ‘spy’ held

Saturday August 11 2007 12:26 IST

MALKANGIRI: A senior member of CPI (Maoist)’s intelligence wing was arrested by police on Thursday night from MV 108 village.

The Left Wing extremist outfit has, of late, been planning attacks on some of the sensitive government installations such as hydro power plants, which makes the arrest of Gopinath alias Sheetal Mandal significant.

Malkangiri SP S K Gojbhaye said Mandal was gathering information regarding the hydro power plant at Balimela and other sensitive installations. Police recovered documents and maps from his possession. Mandal, he said, was providing information to the ultras over the movement of police and their deployment at different places of the district for the past eight months.

He was preparing road maps and inputs basing on which attacks were being planned, he said. Police also suspect Mandal’s involvement in blasting of two telecom towers in the district earlier this 2007.

Police believe that it was his intel input that led to murder of Mukund Madhi, suspected to be a police informer.

Ex-naxal, gang members held

Staff Reporter

An expert bomb maker Goverdhan Reddy is involved in 65 cases



PHOTO : P.V. Sivakumar.

Prize catch: City Police Commissioner Balwinder Singh examines a pistol seized from Goverdhan Reddy (at left) on Friday. -


HYDERABAD: Former extremist leader Patlola Goverdhan Reddy was arrested along with his three gang members on Friday.

Producing them before newsmen, Police Commissioner Balwinder Singh said Goverdhan was an expert in making parcel bombs. He was involved in 65 cases, including eight murders, and was absconding since 2005. He was wanted by the CBI in connection with TDP legislator Paritala Ravindra’s murder case.

Goverdhan joined the CPI (ML) CRC group while pursuing his graduation at Nizam College.

He later floated his own organisation called Revolutionary Patriotic Tigers (RPT) in 1990 and started settling land disputes.

He was also involved in kidnappings and extortions, the Commissioner said.

The other arrested persons include B. Vijay Kumar alias Vishnu, P. Shyam Sunder Reddy alias Teja and B. Venkat Reddy. Firearms were seized from their possession.

Later, talking to the media, Goverdhan Reddy issued a veiled warning to Madelacheruvu Suryanarayana Reddy alias Suri, prime accused in Paritala Ravindra’s murder case, for indulging in illegal activities. Suri will face the same fate as that of Ravindra if he failed to mend his ways, he said.

“Even after cautioning him not to indulge in such activities, he did not heed. Hence, we decided to put an end to his actions with the help of a person from Rayalseema region. A letter was also written to him seeking his help to form a gang,” Goverdhan told reporters. He had also prepared a list of high-profile personalities including two politicians, for their involvement in land grabbing cases..

Friday, August 10, 2007

Security stepped up in Orissa-Andhra border after Maoist attack

10 Aug 2007, 1257 hrs IST,PTI


MALKANGIRI: Security forces in Malkangiri have stepped up vigil following Thursday's grenade attack by Maoists at a checkgate at Sileru, just across the Orissa-Andhra Pradesh border.

Police sources said the forces were keeping vigil as the ultras pasted posters decrying the Independence Day celebrations after the attack at the checkpost which resulted in destroying of important government documents and caused damage to the structure, located about 90 km from Malkangiri.

They also attacked a nearby forest department office damaging documents.

An Andhra police official said that No one was injured in the attack.

A combing operation has been launched in the inter-state border areas following the incident.



Security beefed up after Maoists grenade attack
Malkangiri (Orissa), Aug. 10 (PTI): Security forces here have stepped up vigil following yesterday's grenade attack by Maoists at a checkgate at Sileru, just across the Orissa-Andhra Pradesh border.

Police sources said the forces were keeping vigil as the ultras pasted posters decrying the Independence day celebrations after the attack at the checkpost which resulted in destroying of important government documents and caused damage to the structure, located about 90 km from here.

They also attacked a nearby forest department office damaging documents.

An Andhra police official told PTI over phone that No one was injured in the attack.

A combing operation has been launched in the inter-state border areas following the incident.

GIS system to track Maoists in Jharkhand

10 Aug, 2007, 1802 hrs IST, IANS


RANCHI: The Jharkhand police plans to set up a Geographical Information System (GIS) centre to track the movement of Maoists in the state.

The state police would seek the help of the Jharkhand Space Application Centre (JSAC) to get a detailed report of the topography of the state. "We will set up a GIS centre which will help officials to crack down on criminals and Maoist rebels," a senior police official told IANS.

"The GIS centre will help in preparation of a detailed map of each district. We will compile information related to villages, blocks, colonies etc," he said. The topography of the state helps the Maoists to launch attacks on police and railway stations.

The GIS centre will have a detailed crime data of particular areas and criminals operating there. It will be under the direct supervision of the state special intelligence department.

In the last six years, Maoist rebels have killed 320 security personnel in the state. Most of the killings took place in the jungles. Police teams were ambushed twice in Saranda jungle in the last four years. In the first incident, 18 security personnel were killed in Dec 2002 and in the second ambush, 26 security personnel were gunned down in April 2004.

Adequate security provided to Cauvery reservoir

Mandya, Karnataka, Aug 9: Adequate police security had been deployed at the Krishnaraja Sagar Reservoir, across river Cauvery in this district, view of treats by terrorists and naxalities, Deputy Commissioner Manjunath Prasad said here today.

Issuing an order in this effect, he said that the action had been taken based on the police reports. The district police had taken necessary steps to beef up security at the KRS, movement of all types of vehicles had been suspended from the main entrance.

In the backdrop of increase terrorist activities in the state, the police had to step up the security. With the reservoir being full, there had been an increased influx of visitors, chances of some 'dangerous elements' sneaking in could not be ruled out, police sources said.

Entry was permitted through the gate near the boating pond. Other than police and department vehicles engaged in repair works, no other vehicle would be allowed inside the Brindavan Gardens. Without the permission of the police, no public vehicle would be allowed inside, police added.

--- UNI

Maoists take three hostage, release 2

Friday August 10 2007 10:33 IST

SAMBALPUR: Maoists struck again in Kuchinda subdivision of the district late on Wednesday night and took hostage three persons from villages Talab and Kechbil under Kisinda police limits. Later, they released two of them.

The trio has been identified as grocery shop owner Arjun Dehury of Talab and contractors Amati Pradhan alias Moti and Dutiya Naik of Kechbil.

Sources said around 20-armed ultras went to the house of Dehury Wednesday midnight and called him. When he answered the door, ultras tied his hands from behind and fled the village under the cover of darkness. Thereafter the ultras reached Kechbil located some few km away and took the small time contractors duo Pradhan and Naik into captivity.

The trio were made to wear towels and their hands tied behind their backs. On their return, the ultras accosted a woman from the village and asked her to accompany them. However, she was left at the border of the village with a warning not to inform the police about the abduction.

Although the villagers of Talab informed the SOG camp in the village after the abduction, the personnel reportedly said they would begin operation in the morning as it was difficult to move in late night.

The police reached the village well after the noon on Thursday. Sources said Pradhan and Naik had been beaten up earlier by the ultras for being police informers while Dehury is believed to have been picked as the SOG personnel loitered around in his grocery shop and also suspected to be a police informer.

The entire operation was led by newly-promoted Area Deputy Commander Ajit of Maoist-infested Meghpal village. He was involved in the recent killings in Deograh. Sambalpur SP S.Devdutt Singh confirmed the abduction and did not rule out the involvement of Maoists.

Latest reports said, the Naxals have released Nayak and Pradhan.

Maoists blast BJP MLA's house in Chhattisgarh

Press Trust Of India
Raipur, August 10, 2007
First Published: 17:11 IST(10/8/2007)
Last Updated: 17:15 IST(10/8/2007)

Armed Naxalites on Friday exploded the house of a BJP MLA in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh, police said.

"Using a tiffin bomb, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), the Maoists triggered the blast in wee hours on Friday and exploded the house of Vikram Usendi, a former minister and a current BJP MLA at Pakhanjur, about 210 km from the state capital," police told PTI.

Since the house was vacant, no one was injured in the incident, they said adding the IED blast had damaged a portion of the building.

The Maoists have also left some leaflets on the spot, police said.

More details are awaited from the spot, which is about 100 km from the district headquarters of Kanker, they added.

Usendi had earlier been attacked by the Maoists when he was a minister in the current Raman Singh government and he had also been provided armed guards, they said.

The purpose of blast was not immediately known, the police said.

Naxalites are hyper active in the entire Bastar region of Chhattisgarh.

Naxals in cops net in TN

NT Bureau
Chennai, Aug 10:

Three people, suspected to the naxals from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, were arrested by the special task force police near Veerapuram under Pothanaipatti Police station limits' in neighbouring Tiruvallur district last night.

Police said officials, who were engaged in naxalite combing operations, found three people moving under mysterious circumstances. As they tried to flee, police fired one round in the air to warn them and apprehended them, suspecting them to be naxals.

Of the three, one Gopal, was having a countrmade gun without valid license. He and two of his accomplice were arrested. On interrogation they said they had come to the area for hunting rabbits.

3 naxals hurt in encounter

10 Aug 2007, 0412 hrs IST,TNN

GADCHIROLI: Three naxals were injured in an exchange of fire with the police in Gadchiroli district on Wednesday evening, police sources said on Thursday.

According to information, about 70-80 naxals blew up three claymour landmines, lobbed hand grenades and fired indiscriminately at a police patrol party. The police team, comprising Gadchiroli police personnel, anti-naxal squad commandoes and a dog squad, were on a regular patrol in Jarabandi and Kasansur area, near Jarabandi village of Etapalli tehsil, Gadchiroli district.

The naxals, led by divisional commander Joganna of Etapalli dalam, platoon dalam and Kasansur dalam, hid on either sides of the road in the forest. When the police team reached there the maoists opened fire. The police team immediately swung into action and opened fire, in which a naxal was injured.

When the police tried to get hold of the injured maoist, the naxals hurled another hand grenade to prevent the police team from reaching them. Then the police started firing again, leaving two naxals injured. However, the naxals escaped in the forests along with the injured naxals. None of the police personnel were injured. The police recovered an SLR, cartridges and hand grenades pins. Following the incident, Gadchiroli superintendent of police Rajesh Pradhan and his team launched a massive combing operation in the area. Even as the naxal-sponsored ‘Martrys’ week’ passed off without a major strike by the maoists last week, the police machinery had decided to maintain the stepped up vigil in the naxal-dominated areas.

Pradhan had informed that the high alert sounded earlier would continue to remain in force till the end of monsoon. The police personnel are well-trained and well-equipped. It was this stepped up vigil that prevented a major casualty, police sources said.

Many states still ill-equipped in bomb disposal

New Delhi, Aug. 10 (PTI): As terrorists go hi-tech using remote-controlled devices, many states in the country continue to be ill-equipped to diffuse bombs, say experts.

Most states in the country are ill-equipped in carrying out bomb detection and post blast investigation and the country has only one -the National Bomb Data Centre (NBDC) at Maneshar in Haryana which is a specialised centre, says a retired army official.

Apart from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Addhra Pradesh, the remaining states in India are still following the traditional ways of bomb diffusing process, he adds.

"We are still backwards when it comes to bomb diffusing technologies. If you compare with USA or UK, they are far ahead of us. Even they use robots to diffuse the bombs," he says.

Colonel Ajay Ahooja, Director,National Security Guards (NSG), declines to comment on the present condition of BDS of other law enforcing agencies but says that NSG has all the facilities and equipment to fight the menace.

London BDS acted on time and diffused the bombs in jeep driven by Kafeel Ahmed with a great sense of planning and perfect implementation in the recent terror plot which took the whole world with surprise. But, on the other hand, Indian policemen looked helpless and without clue in diffusing bombs kept in tiffin boxes in the Hyderabad Mosque blast.

Newspaper pictures, which showed them diffusing bombs without having mask and cover, was a classic example of bravery and misfortune, experts say.

Two bomb disposal squad personnel of the CID were killed while defusing a bomb at the Maoist-infested Jhitka area under Lalgarh police station in West Bengal's West Midnapore district on September 21, 2006.

The blast occurred when a bomb concealed in an aluminium tiffin box found on a road, was being defused by the bomb disposal squad. Police and eyewitnesses said the bomb disposal squad personnel were using their bare hands and a chisel and a hammer to break open the tiffin box. Neither were they wearing protective jackets.

A similar blast was engineered by the maoists two years earlier at Bankisole in the same district killing six Eastern Frontier Rifle personnel.

"There are states using the modern equipment such as optical fibroscope for their Bomb Disposal Squad. They are Delhi, UP, Chhattisgarh, Orrissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Jammu Kashmir," says an official of a company which provides equipment to the BDS of different states.

There were 295, 354, 372 and 233 bomb explosions in the country during the years 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, according to a study conducted by the National Bomb Data Centre (NBDC).

The NBDC has been collating, analysing and disseminating information on bombing incidents to all government agencies. The NBDC forwards advisory reports to the states based on the lessons learnt from the various post blast investigation and analysis.

Now terrorists use (Improvised Explosive Devices) IEDs, which have been responsible for hundreds of casualtties in the terrorism affected areas of the country. In 2005, out of the national total of 233 bombing incidents, J-K dominated the national scenario with 97 incidents followed by Assam, Manipur and Jharkhand.

According to a security expert, naxal affected Jharkhand and Chattisgarh taken together witnessed more blasts in 2006 than J-K. Compared to 78 IED blasts in J-K in 2006, a total of 91 explosions took place in these naxal affected states.

Modern technology has enabled the terrorist groups to plan and execute over a larger canvas killing large number of people and presenting challenging task to the government agencies and that's why it can be easily seen that the number of blasts in the last few years have gone down but number of casualties have gone up. There has been growth of explosives made out of innocuons items such as fertilizers or plaster of paris.

"Till recently, terrorism was considered a regional phenomenon but with globalisation and advancement in science and technology, terrorists have now trans-national reach and their operations have become more lethal," says Brigadier (Retd.) Virender Kumar. "Behind every blast, the terrorist's basic aim is to cause injuries, create confusion. In most of the cases, BDS gets information regarding the bomb after the blast has already taken place," he says.

On policemen diffusing bombs without wearing mask or cover, Brig. Kumar says, "They are morons. They should wait for the full BDS team having sniffer dogs, endoscatic mirrors, video cameras and portable X-ray devices."

Suspected actuating mechanism of bomb explosion can be Anti Handling (device set off by handling), Command wire (device connected by long wire), Timed (device set to detonate at a predetermined time) and landmines.

An official of BDS team in New Delhi says, "our ninety per cent work is of Anti Sabotage Cell (ASC). We check the venue and the roads to which a VVIP is expected. A large number of the policemen are into safeguarding the life of these important personalities. There are very few people in the team who are experts in handling the bomb disposal. Most of the time we get hoax calls about bombs.

"In Orissa, the main security threat is of Naxalites. They use RDX, landmines and even some conventional bombs like nitro-glycerin, trinitrate, RDX C3, C4 and TNT," says a senior official of Orissa Intelligence.

The arms and explosive wing of German military developed high-stexplosive called trinitrotoluene' (TNT) in 1902 by the action of nitric and sulphuric acid on Toluene.

Then after manufacture of TNT, research and development explosive (RDX) was developed. Named chemically as yclotrimethylene trinitramine, it is cast with some amounts of TNT 40 to 45 per cent and is used where the highest degree or power of shattering effect is needed.

In Hyderabad Mosque blast, which claimed nine lives during Friday prayers, a highly sophisticated bomb with deadly RDX and TNT was used. The bomb disposal squad recovered 300 gm of RDX and TNT after defusing the unexploded IED.

Malegaon explosion that claimed 38 lives at a graveyard on the occasion of Shab-e-Barat in the textile town in Nasik district of Maharashtra, RDX was used in all the four bombs that rocked the communally sensitive town.

"Our BDS is divided into two wings- one looks after the security forces threat and the other for the safety of VIPs. Recently central government has granted a huge fund for the establishment of BDS at every police station in the state. We are working towards providing bullet proof vehicles to the BDS, which is now only available to the VIPs," he adds.

Bomb Disposal is an emcopassing term to describe the separate but interrelated functions in military (Explosive ordinance disposal) and public safety (public safety bomb disposal).

India to ban NGOs in Maoists-hit areas

Published: Aug. 9, 2007 at 4:13 PM

NEW DELHI, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- An Indian state government is planning to ban non-governmental organizations active in Maoist-hit areas to curb the insurgency.

The government of Chhattisgarh, which is the second-worst hit state by Maoist violence, says it is considering the move following intelligence reports that revealed Maoists were funded by NGOs on a large scale.

According to the government, it received reports of NGOs funding rebels in Bastar, the most-hit tribal district of the state.

“More than a hundred NGOs are said to be working in the remote areas of Bastar. They are basically involved in health, women and child development, public health, engineering work and other public oriented works,” said Vishwaranjan, the director general of police in the state, who goes by only one name.

He said the NGOs receive funds from different departments of the federal government and extend this money to rebels who use it to buy sophisticated arms and ammunition.

Vishwaranjan said he advised the government to prepare a list of NGOs active in Maoist-affected areas of the state and transferring funds to guerrillas.


NDTV

NDTV Correspondent
Friday, August 10, 2007 (Chhattisgarh)
The Chhattisgarh state government is planning to ban NGOs working in Maoist-hit areas.

The Director General of police says he is considering the move following intelligence reports that point to large scale funding of Maoists by NGOs in Bastar, the worst hit area.

DGP Vishwaranjan said NGOs receive funds from different departments for development projects but use this money to help rebels buy sophisticated arms and ammunition.

In response NGOs who work in the area say this was the governments way of putting pressure on NGOs to stop them from raising their voices against the government.

In the last couple of years, the government has been sharply criticised for promoting Salwa Judum a local anti-naxal force that has led to bloody clashes and massive migration among tribals.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Battle lines drawn for Jamshedpur by-poll

Statesman News Service

JAMSHEDPUR, Aug. 8: The battle lines for the Jamshedpur parliamentary by-elections have been drawn with all major political parties finalising their candidates and the procedure of filing nominations starting from today. And, it seems that this time, it will be a close call for the winner. The seat fell vacant after Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader and Sunil Mahato was gunned down in broad daylight by suspected Maoists last March.

The JMM has banked heavily on the sympathy wave and have projected Ms Suman Mahato ~ widow of Sunil Mahato ~ as the party’s candidate for the 29 August poll. The UPA has decided to rally behind Ms Mahato with the Congress and RJD have already announced their support for the JMM.

But, Ms Mahato’s task is not easy and only sympathy waves might not be the trump card for her as well as JMM, trying to desperately ensure a win after the arrest of party supremo Mr Shibu Soren. And, the stiff fight has come from an unprecedented quarter. Mr Salkhan Murmu, a firebrand tribal leader and a former BJP man is in the fray on a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket. Mr Murmu’s contesting the polls definitely means a dent in the traditional tribal vote bank, which remains committed till today, behind JMM. Mr Murmu has already completed his first round of campaigning in the extremism-ridden Ghatshila and adjoining areas, where in the recent past, no political party leader has ventured for campaigning. The urban vote in Jamshedpur town is also set to split between BJP, JMM and MrBabulal Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Democratic (JVM-D). Mr Bikash Mukherjee, a trade union leader-turned-businessman, contesting the by-election on a JVM-D ticket is expected to win a large chunk of votes from Bengalis as well as businessmen. Meanwhile, his political boss, Mr Marandi has already held a couple of meetings with Daltonganj MLA Mr Inder Singh Namdhari and has sought his support for Mr Mukherjee

Landmine scare, traffic stopped on Jhargram-Belpahari Road

Midnapore, Aug. 9 (PTI): Traffic movement along the Jhargram-Belpahari road in West Midnapore district came to a halt today as a wired metal container was discovered at Dahijuri area causing landmine scare.

Police took no chance as pamphlets and posters bearing the name of CPI (Maoists), were strewn around, and cordoned off the spot.

The bomb disposal squad was called to examine the steel tiffin box, police said.

The area, which falls under Jhargram sub-division, was also not far from Belpahari, a Maoist base.

Bengal cops claim victory over Maoists

9 Aug 2007, 0312 hrs IST,Jayanta Gupta,TNN


NEGURIA (West Midnapore): In the dead of the night, a herd of stumbling elephants in a forest can be mistaken for charging Maoist guerrillas. Or so it seems.

Tuesday's "fierce encounter" in Belpahari, in which policemen "bravely beat back Maoist attackers", has turned out to be only a bunch of panicky cops firing blindly at a herd of jumbos and a group of villagers trying to chase them off their fields.

"We fired 47 rounds. There were no casualties on our side, sir. But we did hear a scream from the other side. Somebody seemed to be have been hit," an officer from the Neguria police camp in West Midnapore’s Belpahari told his superior over telephone on Wednesday afternoon.

Little did the officer realise that villagers had already spilled the beans. Even forest officials confirmed the presence of elephants. But in Kolkata, IG (law and order) Raj Kanojia was still going by the Maoist attack story, telling reporters how rebels "fired 20 rounds and cops fired back".


West Midnapore additional SP Bharat Lal Meena was a little more candid. He admitted that villagers were chasing a herd of elephants but insisted that there were Maoists in the chase party. "The Maoists used the opportunity to launch an attack on the camp," he said.

But not a single empty shell was found in the area to substantiate Meena's claim. Since morning, the Neguria police camp was out of bounds for everyone, but officers were eager to speak about their "victory".

"Guerrillas attacked the camp from two sides. They were shouting slogans. We beat them back," said one of them. The villagers told the other side of the story: how they were fired upon and had to scamper for cover.

One of them pointed to a part of the corn field that had been flattened by the herd and said, "Every time an elephant is spotted, a hullah party is formed. We arm ourselves with sticks, spears and mashals (torches) and create a din."

India, born in violence, celebrates miraculous survival

FEATURE - India, born in violence, celebrates miraculous survival
Thu Aug 9, 2007 12:16 PM IST



By Simon Denyer

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Ranbir Rai Handa was just 14 years old when he was pitched into the madness of partition, forced to flee his hometown of Lahore on a train bound from newly independent Pakistan to India.

What he saw when he arrived in Amritsar on Aug 14, 1947 still keeps him awake at night.

Thousands of Muslims, men, women and children, all waiting to take a train in the opposite direction, savagely slaughtered before his eyes, killed, stabbed and beheaded.

Three or four trains full of Muslims were due to leave for Pakistan that day. None did.

"I saw Muslims being burnt alive, thrown onto bonfires, I saw bodies, I saw blood, I saw many things," he said. "The madness that very first day could have finished everybody."

About 12 million people, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus, fled for their lives during partition. Almost a million died. Entire trainloads of dead bodies crossed the border in both directions.

In 1931, Winston Churchill had warned that if the British left India, majority Hindus would gain "the armed ascendancy", public services would collapse and the country would fall back rapidly "into the barbarism and privations of the Middle Ages".

And yet, 60 years later, despite the violent orgy of its birth, India has survived and even begun to prosper, as the world's largest democracy and a broadly secular state.

"Despite the country being partitioned, and so much bloodshed, India became a secular, democratic country," said renowned historian Bipan Chandra. "I think that is one of the greatest achievements of modern times."


BATTERED BUT NOT BROKEN

There are many forces which divide India, from caste to class and economic inequality, from language to religion. All have caused conflict, sometimes brutal slaughter, and yet none have changed the map of India drawn in 1947.

Today, India's economic "emergence" is grabbing attention around the world, but the real success story of modern India is political rather than economic, writes Ramachandra Guha in his best-selling history "India After Gandhi".

It is too early to say if a "software boom" will lead to general prosperity, he says.

"But that India is still a single nation after testing 60 years of independence, and that it is still largely democratic -- these are the facts that should compel our deeper attention."

At every stage of post-independence history India's credentials as a secular democracy have been challenged.

In 1975 Prime Minister Indira Gandhi suspended democracy, jailed opposition leaders and imposed emergency rule. Two years on she climbed down, and was thrashed at the polls.

Her assassination by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984 provoked vicious anti-Sikh riots that killed 2,700 people.

But India's secular fabric was even more badly stretched by the rise of the Hindu right in the 1990s and communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 that killed 2,500 people, most of them Muslims.

Yet two years later the Hindu right was turfed out of power and into retreat after national elections in which 400 million people took part in the world's largest ever democratic exercise.

Introducing democracy to India was described as "the greatest gamble in history". Critics have argued such a poor, diverse and divided country could never sustain free and fair elections.

Today Indian democracy is far from perfect, but has taken root. Guha says it mostly succeeds in providing freedom of movement and expression, but mostly fails when it comes to the functioning of politicians and political institutions.

In Muslim-majority Kashmir its manipulation helped provoke an insurgency that has cost more than 40,000 lives since 1989.

Yet for all that, it provides a crucial pressure valve that has preserved a broader peace.

"The calibre of Indian politicians has declined over time, there is a lot of corruption, a lot of criminalisation of politics, but this does not take away from the fact we are a democratic country with civil liberties," said Chandra.


BOUND BY BOLLYWOOD

In a country of a thousand castes and subcastes, of 22 official languages and many more dialects, in a Hindu-majority country that contains the world's third largest Muslim population, its very diversity has been a source of strength.

In a sense, Indians realised there was no other way to live in peace. Compromise is a way of life in a nation where no one sect or group could reign supreme.

Early leaders, especially first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, gave the newly born India some breathing space by promoting and defending a secular, democratic national identity.

Today, a pan-Indian feeling has grown even as regions reassert their own identity, while the exuberant cinema of Bollywood has become a strong cultural glue by giving the nation a common passion.

Handa still remembers the Muslim and Sikh families who helped his parents during the Lahore riots of 1947, of his family's former Muslim driver who returned unbidden to risk his life by driving their car and belongings across the border to India.

Today his daughter is married to a Muslim. Handa calls that "lovely" and says he is deeply proud of secular India.

Yet the challenges have not gone away and will not just yet. The growing gap between rich and poor, and a Maoist insurgency that inequality has spawned, loom large on the horizon.

India will continue to "muddle along in the middle", Guha predicts, rather than become the great power it would like to be.

"Those earlier anticipations of doom greatly underestimated the resilience of the Indian state and the capability of the Indian political leadership," he told Reuters.

"And these new anticipations of our greatness overestimate the capability of the Indian political leadership and the resilience of the democratic ethos of the Indian state, because this has been corroded over the last 60 years."

Maoists Tap School Kids In Jharkhand

Thursday 09th of August 2007
Hundreds of schoolchildren in the forested areas of Jharkhand's Palamau district took out a rally and shouted slogans demanding that police reveal the whereabouts of top Maoist leader Madanji who was arrested last month.

'Police, bring Madanji before us. Reveal where Madanji is being kept,' the children shouted at the rally, which was reportedly organised by the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) rebels in Palamau, around 240 km from here.

Patna police arrested Madanji, a central committee member of CPI-Maoist, along with two other rebels last month when he had gone to the Bihar capital for medical treatment. Police have kept his arrest a secret and not revealed where he has been lodged.

Maoist rebels, who want police to reveal where he has been kept, are putting pressure on police to make Madanji's arrest public.

'Madanji has done a lot of things for the state. Police should make his arrest public and tell where he has been kept,' said Pintu, a school student who participated in the rally.

Echoing his sentiment, Sangita, another student, said: 'Police are deliberately not disclosing his whereabouts. They may kill him in a fake encounter.'

Police officials say the protest by schoolchildren is the handiwork of the CPI-Maoist to put pressure on the government.

'The arrest of Madanji is a big catch for us and a setback for Maoist rebels. We hope he will reveal many things which will help us in our combing operation against Maoists,' a police official told IANS.

Maoist rebels had called a state-wide strike last week to protest the arrest of Madanji.

Maoists are active in 16 of the 22 districts in the state. Around 830 people, including 320 security personnel, have been killed in the last six years in Maoist-related violence.

Maoists' diktat force farmers from tilling their land

From our ANI Correspondent

Kundhit (Jharkhand), Aug 9: Maoists' are demanding illegal taxes from farmers, forcing them either to pay up, or to stop tilling their agriculture fields.


Farmers of Jharkhand's Jamatada region say, Maoists coerce 10,000 rupees from each farmer as taxes to allow them to carry on farming and threaten those who are not able to pay.
"They have been demanding for money, if that did not happen, they threaten. They would not let us work in the farms," said Mani Mandal, a farmer.

"A boy named Rajiv Mandal was working in the field, when he was surrounded by around hundred men and chased away. They said, if we will not pay 10,000 rupees, they will not let us work on the field," said Mal Paharia, another farmer.

The police said that they have sent reinforcements to help farmers.

Hemanth Topo, Sub-Inspector said: "The Maoist cadres had posed a hindrance to the farmers and hence we have sent a police man to the place. As of now, people have been able to till their land."Maoists operate in 13 of 29 States along the "red corridor", referring to a stretch from the Indo-Nepal border to the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

According to Union Home Ministry report, 76 districts in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharashtra, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are 'badly affected by Maoist violence'.

Maoists say they are fighting on behalf of the rural poor and landless and want to build a Communist state.


Copyright Dailyindia.com/ANI

Sovereign interests

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 9 Aug 2007, 0009 hrs IST,Jug Suraiya

The Indian Left's opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal is getting curiouser and curiouser, as Alice said in Wonderland. Not only has it allied itself in opposition to the deal but has done so in alignment with a party that avowedly is its arch foe, the BJP. The Left's condemnation of the preliminary 123 agreement is based on the supposition that through the operation of the Hyde Act (whereby the US president has to annually review and confirm that India's foreign policy parallels that of the US, particularly vis-a-vis Iran), India's 'national sovereignty' will be compromised.

Our comrades' concern for our national sovereignty is touching, considering that the Communist Party of India originally dismissed India's struggle for freedom from British rule as a 'bourgeoisie movement' which it wouldn't touch with an ideological bargepole borrowed from the Soviet Union. Subsequently, when the communists first assumed office through the electoral route in Kerala, they did so with the stated intention of wrecking the Constitution from within. For the CPM now to aver that it will seek an amendment to safeguard from anti-national treaties the same Constitution its earlier avatar once wanted to trash is a remarkable feat of what might aptly be called 're-visionism'.

What the Left - and other critics of the Indo-US nuclear deal - miss out on is that national sovereignty is a portmanteau term: sometimes more weightage has to be given to one word and less to the other. For instance, during the days of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union was India's sole big-power friend, New Delhi studiously looked the other way when Russian tanks crushed freedom movements in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, to mention only two such instances.

Indeed, New Delhi's espousal of the so-called non-aligned movement (read anti-US, pro-Soviet) was a tacit recognition that India's national interests - as distinct from its sovereignty - were best served by maintaining a policy of pragmatic complaisance vis-a-vis Moscow. Similarly, that nation-within-a nation, the CPM's splinter group, the Naxalites, subsequently had no qualms about proclaiming for reasons of its own self-interest that 'Chairman Mao is our Chairman'.

Not even the staunchest supporter of the current Indo-US deal which is under such protracted and painful negotiation has deemed President Bush to be our president (Mrs Patil may rest assured). What sovereignty is India surrendering, and what national interests is it serving by acquiescing in a deal with the US, a deal incidentally that New Delhi took the first step in formulating and which the current US administration has been imaginatively reinterpreting its own laws to accommodate?

While the US - or more precisely, corporate America - stands to make some $150 billion out of selling hitherto embargoed technology and pro-ducts to India, New Delhi has much to gain - over and above the realm of nuclear know-how - by entering into what in effect is a strategic partnership with the world's last superpower standing.

In terms of trade, technology transfer, enhanced international prestige and recognition by the global community of its legitimate role in the region and beyond, New Delhi can gain much more on the swings of national interest than it might conceivably (and only conceivably, not inevitably) lose on the roundabouts of sovereignty by cementing an agreement with Washington which would end four decades of mutual mistrust. The world's most populist democracy and the world's most powerful democracy owe it to each other to collaborate in a venture which would be to the enlightened self-interest of both.

The comrades of the Indian Left must now decide what best serves their self-interest, and if this self-interest is congruent with that of national self-interest. Not to mention national sovereignty, whatever that might mean in the canon of pan-communism. Or, for that matter, in the saffron-tinted lexicon of Akhand Bharat.

CPI asks naxalites to join land struggle

Hyderabad, Aug 8 : Calling upon Naxalites to join the land struggle, the Communist Party of India in Andhra Pradesh today threatened to plant red flags on the residence of Pradesh Congress President K Keshava Rao, MP.

The party had no option but to intensify its land struggle with no favourable response from the Congress Government to their demands, including constitution of a land commission to deal with land-related cases and look into alleged irregularities in the implementation of housing programme for the weaker sections, CPI State Secretary K Narayana told a press conference here.

He asked the banned CPI (Maoists) to join their stir for cultivable land and house sites for the poor.

Terming ''irresponsible'' the PCC chief's comment that the Left parties would go to the extent of planting red flag on the famous Charminar in the city, an angry Mr Narayana retorted ''we will plant red flags not over Charminar, but the residence of Mr Keshava Rao.'' Taking strong exception to the Congress' claim that the Communists were illegally occupying private lands, he said only those lands assigned to Dalits, but usurped by ''influential people'' were being targetted.

Maintaining that the party had no faith in the Justice Panduranga Rao Commission, constituted by the State Government to probe the Mudigonda Police firing on the Left party activists, the CPI leader claimed that Mr Rao had justified the police firing in Chinnaganjam in Prakasam district in 2000.

--- UNI

SECURITY TIGHTENED AT KRS

Mandya, Aug. 9 (KCU)- Adequate Police security has been provided at KRS in view of threat by terrorists and naxalites. Issuing an order in that context, Deputy Commissioner Manjunath Prasad has indicated that the action has been taken based on the Police reports.


The District Police have taken necessary steps to beef up security. Movement of all types of vehicles has been suspended from the main entrance.


In the backdrop of increased terrorist activities in the State, the Police had to step up the security. With the reservoir being full, there has been an increased influx of visitors. Chances of few dangerous elements sneaking in cannot be ruled out, say Police sources. Entry is permitted through the gate near the boating pond. Other than Police and department vehicles engaged in repair works, no other vehicles will be allowed inside the Brindavan Gardens. Without the permission of the Police, no public vehicle will be allowed inside. Persons moving around suspiciously will be closely monitored.

Rifles snatched from cops in West Bengal

Krishnanagar (West Bengal), Aug 9 (PTI) Two patrolling rifle-toting police constables were caught unawares as five 'unarmed' youths suddenly pounced on them and snatched away their firearms in Kotwali area of Nadia district last night.
The constables, belonging to Anandamoyeetala outposat, were sitting on a culvert at around nine pm when they were accosted by the five men, police said.


The men, who were not carrying any arms, escaped with the two rifles before the stunned policemen could react, eyewitnesses said.

Senior police officers later went to the spot and a hunt was launched for the missing firearms and the youths in nearby areas.

Police were also investigating whether any Naxalite group, operating in the district, had any link with the incident. PTI

Youth from ‘Naxal’ villages get BPO jobs


— Photo: N. Bashkaran
S. Prasad



Bright future: Employees from Naxalism-affected villages at a rural BPO unit near Hosur.

Hosur: The first batch of students from ‘Naxalite’villages who completed plus 10 and were trained in BPO operations got their appointment orders. “About 24 trainees (agents) from Naxalism-prone villages in and around Hosur have completed training in the Rural Business Process Outsourcing unit-cum-call centre called FOSTeRA (Fostering Technologies in Rural Areas) at Chanachandiram near Hosur. The agents are involved in data conversion and XML tagging in the voice module sector,” District Collector Santhosh Babu told The Hindu. “While the forenoon session has been dedicated for the training programme the afternoon session will focus on commercial activities. The schedule for night shift operations will commence shortly. The selected candidates will get a salary of Rs. 4,500 to Rs. 5,000 per month,” Mr. Babu said. “Steps have been initiated to register FOSTeRA with NASSCOM. Talks are on with top-notch companies to get their back office work,” he said.

The BPO has already inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with major companies and will venture into voice module shortly.

Five computers would be allotted for this purpose. At present the accuracy rate on the job is 98 per cent with a speed of 65 words per minute. The call centre will also handle grievance petitions from the public registered online in the web-based grievances redressal system, Mr. Babu added.

Bengal seeks more forces to counter Maoists

8 Aug 2007, 2218 hrs IST,PTI


KOLKATA: Concerned by two attacks within four days by Maoists on police camps in West Midnapore district, the West Bengal government on Wednesday urged the Centre to despatch additional Central forces for deployment in Naxalite strongholds in the state.

"Six companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) are already deployed in south Bengal and north Bengal. We have urged the Union government for another six companies of CRPF to contain the Maoist threat in certain areas of West Midnapore," IGP (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said.

The state police's intelligence wing had been strengthened, he said.

Conceding that there had been a spurt in Maoist activities in Lalgarh belt, Kanojia said the rebels struck for the second time in four days when they mounted an attack on a State Armed Police camp at Niguria on Tuesday night. More forces were sent to Niguria, he said.

State Home Secretary P R Roy said Kanojia would soon go to the troubled area, while the DIG (Western Range) and the local Superintendent of Police have already visited the spot.

Referring to the incident in Niguria, Kanojia said a group of 20-25 rebels fired 20 rounds at the camp at around 8.30 pm. The SAP personnel retaliated by firing 35 rounds.

The shootout lasted about 15 minutes, after which the Maoists fled.

The attack came close on the heels of the blasting of a police beat office near Lalgarh on August four following the demolition of a structure erected by the rebels in Kumarbandh. Police now suspect both attacks were linked to the demolition.

Three Naxals injured in encounter in Gadchiroli

Nagpur, Aug. 9 (PTI): Three Naxalites were injured in a gun-battle with police in Gadchiroli district, police said today.
A group of 70 to 80 Naxals fired on a police patrol party yesterday in dense forest area of Kasanur area of Etapalli taluka.

The police retaliated and in the ensuing encounter which lasted for 20 minutes, three Naxals were injured.

Taking advantage of the darkness and dense forests they escaped, police added.

Naxals also hurled hand-grenades and triggered an anti-personnel mine.

Reward on Naxal leader Shankar’s head

Thursday, 09 August 2007



Sangareddy, August 09: The State Government has announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh on Dubash Shankar, a Naxal leader who draws strategies for attacks on orders from the Maoist higher ups.

Anyone who would inform about Shankar’s movement or help in capturing him would be given the reward. In case, Shankar himself surrenders to the police, he will get the reward amount.

The Government which had announced rewards on nearly 40 Naxalites belonging to the district has announced the highest amount of Rs 10 lakh on Shankar.

Shankar, a native of Chetlatimmaipalli in Doultabad Mandal, is now working in Andhra-Orissa Border as special zone committee member.

Police had registered cases against him in Medak, Mahaboobnagar and other districts. He is also accused in several murder cases. Apart from increasing the amount of rewards on Naxals included in the old list, it also added new names to the list and announced new rewards on them. Of the 40 Naxalites belonging to the district, some had already surrendered and some others died. Interestingly, the Government has announced rewards on some who were killed in encounters

Naxal surrenders before police

Ongole, Andhra Pradesh, Aug 8: One member of 'VIRASAM' (Revolutionary Writers Association) and Human Rights Forum, naxal frontal organisations, today surrendered before Prakasham District Superintendent of Police Vinit Brijlan.

In a release here, Mr Brijlan said M Janardhan, who had attended the CPI (Maoist) meeting in Mumbai, Guttikonda Bilam and Hyderabad, during the 'Peace Talks' between the naxals and state government in 2004, surrendered before the police due to ill health and disillusionment with the extremist ideology.

Janardhan, who was carrying a reward of Rs 20,000 on his head, was absconding since the naxal attack on former SP Mahesh Chandra Laddha.

--- UNI

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Maoists Attack Police Camp In West Bengal

Wednesday 08th of August 2007

Wednesday 08th of August 2007 Armed Maoists attacked a police camp in West Bengal's West Midnapore district and fired at police personnel, nearly a week after they blew up a forest office.

A group of over 20 rebels Tuesday night surrounded the Neguria police camp in West Midnapore, about 200 km from here, and opened fire.

'We are yet to ascertain the number of casualties. The group attacked the police camp and fired around 20 rounds. The police personnel retaliated. The gun battle continued for sometime in the dead of the night,' West Bengal Inspector General (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia told IANS.

He said the police chased the attackers but they escaped in the dark.

'Neguria is a very well-fortified police camp and about 100 trained police personnel are posted there with modern arms and ammunition. The police officials also fought a brave battle to thwart the Maoist attack,' Kanojia said.

Neguria police camp is situated at a very strategic location - at the tri-junction of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts, flanking Jharkhand.

The Maoists targeted the police camp as a part of their rapid domination strategy to set up a free corridor along Jharkhand and the three West Bengal districts.

On Aug 4, a six-member group of Maoist guerrillas blew up a forest office at Lalgarh in West Midnapore. No one was injured as the Maoists had evacuated all forest officials from the building before detonating the explosives.

On June 27, rebels burnt down the Birandih railway station in neighbouring Purulia district.

On May 28, the Maoists attacked the house of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Upen Mahato in West Midnapore district's Jabada village, killing his father-in-law.

Woman Maoist surrenders

User Rating: / 0 Wednesday, 08 August 2007


Guntur, August 08: The influence of Maoists is declining in the district and the police will facilitate implementation of welfare programmes being taken up in the Maoist-infested areas, Superintendent of Police Mahesh Chandra Laddha has said.

Producing a surrendered Communist Party of India (Maoist) platoon member Turlapati Tanuja (17) before the mediapersons, he said that influence of the Maoists was on the wane in the district and most of the active members were ready to give into the police.

Tanuja was an active member and was serving as platoon member, until ill health and the pressure from the police, spurred her to surrender before the police, he said. The Maoist was involved in several incidents, including the attack on the Chilakaluripet police station in December 2005, exchange of fire at Marrivemula in Prakasam district.

Among the major offences that Tanuja was involved were, attack on the Chilakaluripet police station in March 2005, exchange of fire at Marrivemula in Prakasam district in December 2005, murder of Chevuri Venkateswarulu and Jilla Guravaiah at Veldurthi mandal in May 2005 etc. A school dropout from Adigoppula village, Tanuja was attracted towards Maoist ideology in 2005 and was initially drafted into the Chandravanka dalam. She was later posted in Guntur platoon, he added.

--Agencies

Top Maoist’s guard killed

Wednesday August 8 2007 10:14 IST
KURNOOL: CPI (Maoist) Nallamala Forest Division Committee commander Gunti Jeevan alias Talari Krishna was killed and a Greyhounds commander injured in an encounter in the Nemalikunta forest area of Mahanandi Mandal on Tuesday.

According to District Superintendent of Police B Malla Reddy, the Greyhounds during their combing operations came across six Maoists and asked them to surrender. However, the Maoists opened fire and in the police retaliated.

In the exchange of fire, that lasted about 10 minutes, the Maoist was killed and a Greyhounds head constable, Bala Ankaiah, sustained bullet injuries. Ankaiah has been airlifted to Hyderabad and admitted in the Apollo Hospital. District Police Chief Malla Reddy rushed to Nandyal and consoled the injured police officer.

The slain Maoist was a native of Venkatapuram village of Kowdipalli Mandal of Medak district and was working as a guard of CPI (Maoist) State Committee secretary Sambasivudu.

The police recovered one .303 rifle, one SLR and Rs 6.6 lakh and six kit bags from the spot. District SP and Nandyal ASP Raja Sekhara Babu monitored the process.

Reward on Naxal leader Shankar’s head

Wednesday August 8 2007 10:16 IST
SANGAREDDY: The State Government has announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh on Dubash Shankar, a Naxal leader who draws strategies for attacks on orders from the Maoist higher ups.

Anyone who would inform about Shankar’s movement or help in capturing him would be given the reward. In case, Shankar himself surrenders to the police, he will get the reward amount.

The Government which had announced rewards on nearly 40 Naxalites belonging to the district has announced the highest amount of Rs 10 lakh on Shankar.

Shankar, a native of Chetlatimmaipalli in Doultabad Mandal, is now working in Andhra-Orissa Border as special zone committee member.

Police had registered cases against him in Medak, Mahaboobnagar and other districts. He is also accused in several murder cases. Apart from increasing the amount of rewards on Naxals included in the old list, it also added new names to the list and announced new rewards on them. Of the 40 Naxalites belonging to the district, some had already surrendered and some others died. Interestingly, the Government has announced rewards on some who were killed in encounters.

Encounter between Naxalites and CRPF

Statesman News Service
MALKANGIRI, Aug. 7: The MV 79 village area was sealed following an encounter between Naxals and Central Reserve Police Force today.
The Police sources said at least four Naxals had tried to waylay a CRPF patrol party when it was returning from combing operations.
The incident happened just 100 metres from the nearest police station. The security forces returned fire and cordoned the weekly market place at the MV 79 village.
A search operation was launched immediately to try and track down the naxals.
Nobody was injured in the encounter but the Naxals had fled when the CRPF returned fire, said police sources.
Talking to reporters Malkangiri SP Mr Satish Ku Gajbhaja said Srinivas, who was arrested by Malkangiri police a week ago has been shifted to Medak, under tight security, to be produced before CJM, there.
According to the police Srinivas has been involved in over hundred cases in Andhra Pradesh and was carrying a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head.
He was also involved in naxal activities in Masharashtra between 1987-2003. From 2003-2006 he was active in AP and from 2006 to till date he was in charge of operations in Malkangiri.
It may be noted here that the Naxals had struck after the arrest of Srinivas and killed one person suspecting him to be the person who had provided information to the police about Srinivas’s movements in Malkangiri.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Naxalite killed in encounter

Kurnool, August 7: A Maoist was killed and a security personnel sustained injuries today following an exchange of fire between Naxalites and the police in the dense forest areas here, police said.


A special police party while on a routine combing operation confronted the Naxals near Bogada area in Nallamala forest area, who opened fire at the police, district SP B Malla Reddy said.


In the exchange of fire, a Maoist was killed and a constable of Greyhounds, an elite anti-Naxalite force, was injured.


The deceased naxalite, who is believed to be senior cadre, is yet to be identified, Reddy said adding a SLR besides a rifle and six kit bags have been recovered from the spot.


A helicopter is being sent to Nallamala forest to shift the injured constable, Reddy added. (Agencies)



Published: Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bihar Maoists Kill Bear Cub

Tuesday 07th of August 2007 An armed group of suspected Maoists have threatened a bear rehabilitation project near Bihar's Bhimband Wildlife Sanctuary and allegedly killed a six-month-old bear cub, said officials.

Over 40 armed men chanced upon an unarmed keeper taking five bears for a walk inside the Rajavaran forest in the sanctuary Monday, threatened him and warned him against venturing into the area.

The walk was part of the project's efforts in acclimatising the animals to their natural wild environs. The bears were confiscated from bear trainers two months ago.

The keeper, Vinod, was about two kilometres inside the forest when he ran into the rebels, some in khaki uniforms. They threatened to kill him if he did not run away immediately.

The frightened keeper ran for his life leaving the cubs behind and reached the project's base camp near the Khorvawa forest check post at the reserve's boundary. While fleeing, he heard a gunshot but did not know what the Maoists, who are said to have camps in the reserve, had shot.

He returned to the forest with his colleagues three hours later and found that a cub had been killed.

'On being called, four bears emerged from the bushes ... The body of one cub was found a few feet away,' said Manoj Singh, divisional forest officer.

'This is absolutely mindless. If the extremists had a problem with the rehabilitation project, they could have just warned the keeper. Why kill a poor defenceless bear cub?' said Aniruddha Mookerjee, chief operating officer of the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).

WTI and The World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA) are providing technical assistance to the bear cubs being rehabilitated by the Bihar forest department.

'We will lodge a police complaint soon, but I doubt if the police will be able to catch the culprits,' Singh said.

'These gangs, who claim to be Maoists, have been creating nuisance but police have failed to take any action. They don't want our activities here since they have hideouts inside the forest. The place is no longer safe,' he added.

'We will shift the rest of the cubs to the Rajgir Range office, which is about 150 km from here, where they were housed before,' he said.

Maoists behead two in Jharkhand

Ranchi, Aug 7: In a gruesome incident of instant retribution, Maoist guerrillas in Jharkhand allegedly beheaded two people after finding them guilty of extortion and rape and dumped their bodies on a highway.

According to police, Hero Singh Munda, 55 and Rajesh Singh, 35, were killed after Maoist rebels held a 'jan adalat', or people's court, at Arki, about 40 km from here, and declared them guilty of rape and of extorting money in the name of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist).

Both had been picked up from their homes Sunday. Their throats were slit and they were decapitated after the 'jan adalat' gave them death sentence for their crimes.

The guerrillas then threw the bodies on the national highway where the police recovered them.

The Maoist kangaroo court also punished four people charged with petty crimes like theft but freed them after a thorough beating.

In another development, two Maoists described as hardcore by the police were arrested. They were described Karlos, alias Ashish, and his girlfriend, Varsha. Police said Karlos was a CPI-Maoist commander in charge of five districts.

Maoist rebels are active in 16 of the 22 districts of the state. Nearly 830 people, including 320 security personnel, have been killed in the last six years in Maoist related violence.

--- IANS

Maoists attack police station in Jharkhand

7 Aug 2007, 1324 hrs IST,PTI


MEDINAGAR: About a hundred Maoists attacked the Chainpur police station, 15 km from here, late Monday night but swift action by securitymen forced the ultras to retreat without any damage.

The Maoists fired first shots around 0100 hours last night, but retreated after being strongly resisted by the police, Superintendent of Police, Udayan Kumar Singh told reporters.

As soon as information was received that the Maoists were planning an attack, CRPF Commandant B K Sharma went to the spot with additional reinforcements, the SP said.

Bullets fired by the Maoists hit the walls of a nearby house, he said.

Hunt still on for absconding naxalites

K.T. Sangameswaran


Police teams fan out to places outside State


CHENNAI: Police teams have fanned out to places outside the State as the hunt for absconding naxalites continues. Simultaneously, efforts to identify the origin of weapons seized from those arrested in the wake of the aborted attempt to start an arms training camp near Periyakulam is continuing, a senior police officer said.

The police expected to get more information once the accused were taken into custody. A petition seeking police custody of one of those arrested, Karthi, a close associate of CPI (ML) State secretary Sundaramoorthy, is pending before a Periyakulam court.

The ‘Q’ Branch is continuing its hunt and the STF’s combing operations in the hill ranges is continuing, the officer said.

Weapons’ origin unknown

It was on the information provided by Karthi that the police seized a .315 rifle from Pallipattu in Tiruvallur district. The origin of the weapon and three other .303 rifles, which are usually given to the police, was not yet known. The rifles were seized following the arrest of three persons soon after an arms training camp was detected at Murugan Malai, near Periyakulam.

The police had informed other States, particularly those where there is naxalite activity, such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh, about the seizure of the weapons. Enquiries in Tamil Nadu revealed that the weapons did not belong to the State police. Besides being on the look out for the wanted persons in Tamil Nadu, police officers were making enquiries about them in other States. Also, the police were on the look out for those who supported the wanted persons.

NAXALS TO ENTER KODAGU, CH'NAGAR?

Bangalore, Aug. 7 (BRS)- Beware....! Naxals are heading for your districts also!


Having created terror and anxiety in 11 districts of the State so far, Naxal leaders are reported to be preparing for expanding their ambit of activities to five more districts of Karnataka namely Kolar, Bijapur, Gadag, Kodagu and Chamarajanagar.


After Saketh Rajan, a Naxal leader fell to Police firing in Menasinahadya, Noor Zulfikar alias Sridhar took over as a leader of the Naxals. The outfit has reportedly decided on expanding its activities under his leadership.


Naxals are prowling in Chikmagalur, Udupi, Shimoga, Dakshina Kannada, Tumkur and Raichur districts, it is learnt. Further, they have been observed in Mysore, Bellary, Uttara Kannada, Devanagere and Chitradurga districts. Their target is said to cover the remaining16 districts.


Their plans have come to light during the detailed study being pursued by Ashok Sahu, Additional Director General of Police on the countrywide activities of Naxals. He disclosed the matter of Naxal activities in Karnataka to scribes on Sunday with figures and other details.


It is learnt that Naxals who are in the process of spreading their activities across the State have begun to eye industrial areas, in addition to forest land. They are reported to have created their own exclusive zones, recruited teenagers and training them in the use of destructive weapons.

'Naxalites from Belgaum may attack police station'

Tuesday August 7 2007 13:35 IST

BELGAUM: A report seeking attention of the Maharashtra Home Ministry saying that the Chandagad police station, located 20 km from here in Maharashtra, may become the target of Naxalites coming from Belgaum.

The report which was sent by the then Kolhapur SP, says that the Chandagad police station which is away from the town may be attacked by the Naxalites, who are active in some parts of the Belgaum district.

The report said the police station is far away from the town and after the sun sets, except police officials no one was seen on the streets. Though the strength of the police station was 35, a few would be on leave and some on night duty. Every night hardly 10 to 15 police officials would be in the police station, the report added.

The report said Chandagad taluk is a backward taluk and it resembles like the Gadchiroli district which is a Naxal prone area. The people are poor and the youth does not have proper job, who may be attracted toward Naxalism, added the report.

However, the report said the Naxalites may come from Belgaum side and may attack the police station to loot the weapons from the police station. The Karnataka and Goa border was only 20 km from Chandagad and the Naxalites may escape within no time, the report said.

The report had suggested to shift the police station inside the town and provide sophisticated weapons to the police officials. Meanwhile, top police officials in Belgaum denied any Naxal activities in Belgaum. The officials said they were unaware of the report sent by the Kolhapur police to the Maharashtra Home Ministry.

Naxal threat: Police keep strict vigil

Tuesday August 7 2007 09:12 IST
MYSORE: With the Naxal menace in the central belt of the State posing a challenge to the government, the police of Mysore region are taking no chances.

They are at vigil to thwart any attempts to create Naxal support bases in districts like Hassan, Madikeri, Chamarajnagar and Mysore.

Rajvir Prathap Sharma, Inspector General of Police, Southern Range, told this website’s newspaper that there was no overt extremist activity in the region, including the neighbouring areas of Naxal-affected regions in Hassan and Madikeri districts.

A letter from Naxals found in Halebedu of Hassan district recently ‘‘is act of mischief,’’ he said. At present, the Southern Range police are working on a two-pronged strategy: stop the Naxals from creating a base and insulate districts prone to Naxalism from such influence.

Insulating districts from Naxalism meant creating a strong security chain across the borders. Police are working with the public. Community policing, strengthening of intelligence networks and allied activities with the help of people hold the key, he said .

He slammed former ADGP of Assam Ashok Sahu’s statements on the Naxal activity in the region. Any information given through the public channel needs to be discarded as publicity gimmicks.

Report in cold storage

A report seeking the attention of the Maharashtra Home Ministry saying that Chandagad police station-twenty kilometres away from Belgaum-located in Maharashtra, may become target of the Naxalites coming from Belgaum is locked in cold storage since the last two years.

The report, which was sent by the then SP Kolhapur, says that Chandagad police station which is away from the town may be attacked by the Naxalites, who are active in parts of Belgaum district.

The report said that the police station is located far away from the town and after 6 pm, except police officials no body would be around there. Though the strength of the station is 35, few will be on leave while some are posted on out side duty. Any given night hardly 10 to 15 police personnel are in the station, the report said.

Chandagad taluk is backward and it has the characters of Gadchiroli district a Naxal prone area. The people are poor and the youth do not have sufficient employment. These youth may be attracted towards Naxalism the report said.

However the report said that Naxals may come from Belgaum and attack the station and loot the weapons stored there. The borders of Karnataka and Goa are only 20 kilometres from Chandagad and Naxalites can escape with in a few seconds, the report said.

'Globalisation is targeting people’s movements’

Udupi, August 7: The president of Kudremukh Rashtriya Udyan Virodhi Horata Okkoota, Kalkuli Vittal Hegde, said on Saturday that the scope for pro-people movements was declining owing to the onslaught of globalisation.

He was speaking on the “Challenges facing pro-people movements”, organised by the Karnataka Janapara Vedike, here. Hegde said the Establishment did not like anyone questioning it on the problems facing the common man.

It used police force to suppress pro-people movements. The control that globalisation had over the Establishment was exemplified by the manner in which the multinational companies (MNCs) have managed to get the Government establish Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the country, he said. An atmosphere of fear had been created and the pro-people movements were not being allowed to function within the legal and constitutional framework.

The suppression of Gurgaon labour unrest and the recent police firing at Khammam in Andhra Pradesh showed the kind of force the Establishment uses.

He said he was involved in the fight for the rights of tribal people in the Kudremukh National Park (KNP) area. But the Establishment was labelling him as “naxalite supporter”.

Two forces, the communalists and the Government, were behind this move. Most of his time was spent in telling people that he was not a naxal supporter. Naxalite problem was not a challenge for the Government. But the Government was getting irritated by questions on the rights of tribal people raised by the okkoota. This was because the Government did not have answers, he said.

The Government wanted smooth implementation of the Kudremukh National Park project. Hence it was being alleged that the okkoota was provoking the tribal people to revolt against the Government.

The Government had failed to provide basic facilities such as giving title deeds for their landed property, appointing teachers to the “Ashram” schools in the KNP area and so on.

If a tribal man purchases more rice or kerosene, the police thought that it was meant to help the naxalites, Hegde said.

Writer Hayavadana Upadhya and convener of the vedike Sriram Divana were present.

Whose land is it anyway?

Asha Krishnaswamy



The regularisation of encroached forest land and the rehabilitation of families involved is a sensitive issue. Though armed with the necessary wherewithal, the Forest Department has still not been able to retrieve all its land from the encroachers...


Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on May 17 this year pulled up the top bureaucrats of the Forest Department for ‘harassing’ forest dwellers by forcibly evicting them from the encroached forest lands. He also set a deadline of three months for officials to prepare a detailed report on the status of encroachments in the forests of Kodagu, Chikmagalur, Hassan, Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada and Shimoga districts.

The CM’s outburst came after a group of legislators from Uttara Kannada and other districts complained to him that forest officials were forcibly evicting the encroachers. Kumaraswamy’s grouse was that forest laws which are anti-people are being implemented in the guise of conserving forests. The forest-dwellers have been harassed for no reason, he argued.

Probably, there would not have been any scope for politicians, including the CM, to speak harshly in this manner if the Forest Department had implemented the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 in letter and spirit. In June 1996, the Karnataka Government sent a proposal to the Centre requesting it to allow the regularisation of 14,000 ha of encroached forest land and rehabilitation of 19,000 families. The permission received was to regularise only forest land which was encroached before April 27, 1978 and the land holding by each of the family should not exceed three acres. There should be no regularisation of land in wildlife reserves and national parks. The State has no option but to abide by the Centre’s direction.







Though armed with Supreme Court directions and Government orders, the Forest Department officials have not been able to retrieve all its land from the encroachers. In fact, the department has been sluggish both in regularising the encroached land prior to the cut-off date as well as evicting those who have illegally occupied the forest land post-1978.

The statistics available with the Forest Department as of February this year indicates that 9,685 families encroaching 8,864.297 ha across 26 districts are yet to be evicted. These encroachments were prior to April 27, 1978. The actual encroachment was in an area of 12,389.912 ha. As many as 6,399.711 ha are yet to be regularised as of today.

The statistics post-1978 is shocking. The department has the daunting task of taking back 54,871.732 ha involving 86,645 families across 27 districts.

Why has the Government failed to repossess its own land over decades? The answers are numerous and sound mostly like excuses.

Among the reasons offered are the tribals’ stiff resistance to moving out of forests, poor compensation package worked out by the Government and the inordinate delay in releasing money by the Centre to the State Government towards rehabilitation. On top of it, many NGOs have been supporting tribals who are hell bent on not moving out of forests. Besides, political interference at times in support of tribals has also tied the hands of officials to implement the rehabilitation programme.

All these sound like excuses once you visit Bandipur from where nearly 152 tribal families were rehabilitated about a decade ago. Of course, the population of tribals here was small, unlike in Hunsur division which includes the Rajiv Gandhi (Nagarahole) National Park and the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary.

Contrary to Bandipur, in Nagarahole hardly 300 of the 1,700 tribal families have been rehabilitated. There are no tribal hamlets in Brahmagiri. No official in the division likes to place the reasons or the constraints for the delay on record. Off the record, however, they say that politicians should stop giving assurances to tribals that they can continue to remain in forests. Also, DCFs and their junior rank officers, who are sincerely and efficiently carrying out eviction and rehabilitation programmes should not be transferred till the work is completed. The Hunsur division has had seven DFOs in the last four years! Such frequent changes hamper the rehabilitation programme, argue forest officers.

They point out that those tribals who are living in Nagarahole seem to have been brainwashed by some NGOs who are getting huge foreign funds. When the law of the land says that there should be no human occupation in a national park, the Government has not been allowed to rehabilitate the tribals because certain NGOs put up a fight against the authorities under the banner ‘struggle for human rights’ and ‘save tribals’ campaign. When the whole world is progressing, some NGOs are arguing that tribals should remain as they are.

If the Government decides that Nagarahole should remain as a national park, then there is absolutely no room for human population here. Either humans or animals can exist in the forest. There cannot be co-existence because humans are greedy and the animal population will further dwindle. The argument that tribals are one with nature/ forest and they have been the saviours of forest wealth does not hold good now. Over the years, they too have ‘changed’ and many have been enlisted by people engaged in timber smuggling and poaching of animals.

The population of tribals has been steadily increasing as there is no family planning concept among them. If tribals fail to get formal education and gainful employment, then they may come under the influence of anti-social elements. So, the tribals should be treated as invaders of forest and should be rehabilitated elsewhere, the officers argue. When officers begin the process, there should be no room for political intervention, they say. However, they do admit that tribals cannot be forcibly evicted but they can be rehabilitated. They fear that forcible eviction may eventually push tribals into the Naxal fold.

So, what should be done to convince the tribals to move out of the forest? Many forest officers say that the Government must immediately establish a wing for implementing the rehabilitation programme. It is not the work of the Forest Department to rehabilitate tribals. Such tasks should be taken up by the Social Welfare Department or a separate wing should be set up for the same, they insist.

‘It’s hell here’
Tribals living in Nagapura resettlement colony speak out:

Hareesha: “I was working as a coolie in coffee estates when I was living in the forest. Now, I am functioning as a valve operator for the Grama Panchayat. As a coolie I was getting Rs 70 a day, but now my monthly salary is Rs. 1,000. I have just 3 acres of agriculture land. I cannot raise a loan on the house which has been sanctioned to me by the Forest Department because the Revenue Department has not yet given me the revenue transfer certificate.”

Shanti: “We cannot grow anything in our land because of the elephant menace. We do not get compensation when we lose our crops. The community hall is in a bad shape. Solar lighting system is not working. There is no anganwadi here. Not even a grocery shop. We walk at least 2 km to buy our daily needs.”

Kyatha: 87-year-old Kyatha says he became unemployed once he was moved out of the forest 8 years ago. “What can we grow when there is elephant menace here? My son is a daily wager in the Forest Department. I only get Rs 200 as pension and free ration. It is hell here.”

Resettled and unhappy
Relocation of tribals is a mega task. And, to a marginal extent the task has been met in the case of Nagarahole. The entire programme is funded by the Centre. According to the Forest Department’s 1989 report, there were 1,550 tribal families in Nagarahole. But it has increased to 1,730 according to the 2001-02 report.

The land identified for the relocation or formation of housing colonies is around 1,931 ha, all in Hunsur. The places are – Veeranahosally reserve forest (RF) – 401 ha, Sollepura RF – 330 ha, Shettally Lakkapatna RF – 500 ha.

So far, 280 tribal families have been relocated in Nagapura of Veeranahosally in Hunsur taluk. Though the process began in 1999, the progress is tardy. In the whole of 2006, hardly 30 families were moved out of the forest and in the current year, the target is to relocate 45 families. In Sollepura, which is on the fringes of Nagarahole, the Government has constructed 75 houses but they are yet to be allocated to tribals. In Shettally Lakkapatna, 500 ha were denotified in 1999 for constructing houses for tribals. But the work is yet to begin.

Those settled in Nagapura are not a happy lot. They have free houses, electricity, health care, schools and limited agriculture land to cultivate. They are vociferously demanding land at Shanthapura, Gonigaddhe of Nagarahole and Sujjilu, Bandihadlu, Anesathegaddhe and Eermanehadlu in Kallalla range, situated deep inside Nagarahole.

A majority of the houses in Nagapura rehabilitation centres are in a poor shape. Water leakage is a common complaint. An auditorium is also in a dilapidated condition. But the roads are broad and there are schools. But the very fact that they cannot access the forest easily has left them disgruntled.

- A K, on her visit to the relocation
centre in Hunsur.

‘This is our land’
A bunch of Jenukuruba tribals in Nagarahole speak out:

Annaiah, 37 yrs: “I have been living here with my family for many decades now. My wife is working in an anganwadi in the forest. We have no choice but to live here because we do not get employment elsewhere. We have been asked to move out of here. But this is our land. Why should we go?”

Raju, a nonagenarian: “We were born here and we are not going anywhere else. Those tribals who have been relocated in new housing colonies have become coolies in coffee estates. If we have to be translocated, then we have to be settled in the border areas of forests like Sujjalagudda.

Thimma, 36: Our ancestors have been living in forests for centuries now. We can only work in the forest and not elsewhere.”

Lakshmi, mother of Thimma: “The Whites (Britishers) did not allow us to live here. Now our people too are doing the same. Because of us, the forest is safe. Come what may, we will not go to Nagapura.”

AOB Deputy Commander surrenders

Chittoor, Aug 6 : Andhra-Orissa Border (AOB) action committee Deputy Commander A Chandrashekar surrendered before the Chittoor district Superintendent of Police Shashidara Reddy here today.

Addressing a press conference, SP said the 30-year-old Maoist, who was attracted to the Naxal movement at the age of 10, belonged to Yerpedu mandal in Chittoor district. He had worked in various dalams including talakona dalam.

He surrendered due to pressure from his parents, the SP added.

State government earlier announced Rs 20,000 reward on his head.

He was presently working as an AOB action committee Deputy Commander.

He was involved in 15 offences, including setting fire on a railway station and had taken away arms from a police station, the SP added.

--- UNI

Shimoga: 6 Held for Robbing in Guise of Naxalites at Tallur Angadi

Daijiworld Media Network – Mangalore (RD/GA)

Shimoga, Aug 6: The robbery case at Tallur Angadi near Agumbe has been solved the police. With the arrest of 6 persons including two women, the robbery for which Naxalites were blamed has been solved and the true robbers have been nabbed.

The prime accused has been identified as Shivaramachary from Tallur Angadi. B S Shiva Kumar (31), a resident of Bandinagowdanalli from Chamarajanagar, M N Vijay Kumar alias Ajay (24), Kolar Madivala, Rajesh alias Dinesh (27) from Eshwarahalli in Chikmagalur, Vijayalaxmi (25) from Chikkabasavanapura Krishnarajapuram and Ambika (24) were also being arrested.

The policemen from CCB and Shimoga police station were involved in the operation. They were picked up from Bangalore. The policemen have recovered gold and silver jewellery worth Rs 2 lac, Rs 10,000 in cash, a gun that was used to threaten while robbing a pistol, Tata Indica car, two stolen mobile hand sets and one jacket. Accordingly the police have replaced the dacoity case registered against Naxals with the accused already arrested.

Shivaramachary has been a history rowdy-sheeter with several cases pending against him in several stations. He was earlier employed in a jewellery shop in Udupi. There he was accused of forging signature of MLA. He had also masterminded several burglaries many more houses soon after this house burglary. Both the women who were arrested are the daughters of Basavalingappa, a retire policemen with Railway Protection Force.

Vijayalaxmi, a fashion design graduate seems to have worked in Hyderabad, Vijayawada before leaving the job to stay in Bangalore since a couple of months.

Ambika had deserted her husband who had criminal background and was staying with Rakesh, who was working in a bar at Sriramapur. Shiva Kumar who was involved in online lottery had been employed as assistant with a movie producer at Gandhinagar.

The torching of KSRTC bus near Tallur Angadi in Agumbe by alleged Naxals on July 2 had been followed by the series of burglary at 4 houses in the periphery of the same village. This had caused apprehension among the residents of Malnad. Since the area is known for Naxal menace, most of the residents had pointed accusing finger at Naxalites. However, the Naxalites had denied this and claimed that they had nothing to do with the robbery.

Now with the arrest with the real robbers, this has been proved true.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Manmohan Singh : Asleep in Chhattisgarh

It is not clear whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was able to sleep after he heard the news of the 24 policemen slaughtered by Maoists in the forests of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh on July 9, 2007, but it is clear that this incident did not merit a public reaction from him, in contrast to his fervently articulated anguish over the suffering of the parents of alleged Indian terrorists arrested in London and Australia. This is unsurprising, considering the sheer frequency of such incidents.


It is less than four months after Maoists massacred 55 policemen on March 15 at Rani Bodli in the Bijapur District. And, Maoists have already butchered a total of 119 security forces personnel in Chhattisgarh in 2007 (till July 15), in at least 31 significant attacks on the forces. The Prime Minister of India cannot be expected to respond to so quotidian a succession of events.


Significantly, the total Maoist fatalities in Chhattisgarh in 2007 stood at 58 on July 15 - more than two security forces personnel killed for each Maoist fatality. It is clear where the initiative lies in the conflict.


The growth of Maoist power in Chhattisgarh has been systematic and pre-planned, based on a tactical decision taken in December 1999 - January 2000 by the then People's War Group to permanently locate all important party cadre in the forest areas of the Dandakaranya 'Special Zone', principally centring around the unsurveyed and near-impenetrable Abujhmadh forest in the Bastar division of Chhattisgarh, which has since been declared the Maoist's 'Central Guerrilla Base Area'.


Seven years is a long time in a counter-insurgency context, but while the Maoists have vigorously built their movement now afflicting as many as 16 of Chhattisgarh's 20 police districts - the State's responses have been abysmal. Despite the hysteria that each major attack provokes, the tasks of capacity building have been persistently neglected.


Force deficits are endemic. The all-India average police-population ratio stands at 122 per 100,000. The UN norm for minimum police strength is 222 per 100,000 (1:450). Most Western countries have ratios between 250 and 500 per 100,000. Chhattisgarh has a sanctioned strength of 103 per 100,000.


The crisis is compounded by a tremendous gap between sanctioned and available force. In the Maoist-affected areas, deficits at certain ranks may be as high as 79 per cent (in Bastar division, only eight of 38 sanctioned posts for SIs were filled at the end of 2006). In the ranks from DSP to SSP, the deficit (as on December 31, 2005) was 29.9 per cent; at the rank of Sub-Inspector and Assistant Sub-Inspector, it was 36.6 per cent. Crucial posts in Maoist-affected areas remain vacant for extended periods of time, and as the police-population ratio indicates, sanctioned posts are themselves well below the needs of the State.


The ratio of police personnel to the total area of the State is also very poor. The all-India average stands at 42 per 100 square kilometres. The figure for Chhattisgarh is just 17 per 100 square kilometres. In the Bastar Division - the heart of Maoist violence - the ratio of sanctioned force is 5.62, and of actual deployment, just 3.55 per 100 square kilometres.


Efforts have been made to 'fill' this gap with Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMFs), but their numbers are a tiny fraction of requirements. Some 85 companies of CRPF are currently available for the whole of Chhattisgarh. By contrast, Manipur, a State of about 2.4 million people, has a police-population ratio of 535 per 100,000, and in addition has almost 350 companies of CPMFs deployed for counter-insurgency. Manipur's geographical area is just over half the Bastar division and the population of Chhattisgarh is almost nine times that of Manipur.


Worse, the utilisation of manpower is inefficient and unproductive. A bulk of forces has been kept out of the areas of intensive conflict. The Chhattisgarh Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School had, by February 2007, trained 2,590 police officers and men. A majority of these trained personnel are, however, deployed for static duties and in urban areas, reflecting a tremendous waste of trained manpower.


Of the total force in Chhattisgarh - State and Central - no more that 1,800 to 2,000 personnel are engaged in offensive counter-terrorist operations. More than 80 per cent of available force is deployed for passive defence. Crucially, the available force in the affected areas is simply too small and dispersed even to protect itself. In the Bastar division, for instance, an additional force of over 80 companies is required to protect existing police stations, police posts and important Government establishments and projects. Paramilitary forces, moreover, have obvious difficulties in operating in unfamiliar and difficult geographical and cultural terrain, and are starved of operational intelligence.


In the absence of basic capacities and will, other 'force multipliers' are destined to inevitable failure. Thus, the introduction of unmanned aerial vehicles to detect Maoist concentrations in the forests failed to produce results in the absence of rapid follow-up action. Some hare-brained schemes are now being conjured as a quick fix, based on a questionable understanding of the 'Andhra Model'. Reports suggest that 'a dozen' Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) of 'crack commandos' are shortly to be deployed in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, to be "air dropped in dense forests" to launch swift guerrilla operations.


What is missed out is that the Greyhounds in Andhra Pradesh operate within a pervasive policing environment that has been systematically strengthened and that has established overwhelming capacities for containment of Maoist operations. With small groups of Maoists dispersed over limited forest areas, and possessing relatively insignificant residual capacities for resistance, these groups are vulnerable to focussed attack by a highly trained and rapidly deployed force.


Within an enveloping environment of the breakdown of policing, the dominance of wide areas by the Maoists, and little capacity for immediate and massive reinforcement, a QRT dropped into a jungle would, in most cases, be overwhelmed and slaughtered.


State police sources estimate that the Maoists in Chhattisgarh have an armed cadre of over 5,000, equipped with sophisticated assault weapons, landmines and explosives. These 'full-time revolutionaries' are backed by at least 20,000 'people's militia'. The sympathetic base on which this armed capacity is founded is substantial.


Interestingly, Central agencies are currently and vigorously peddling the ludicrous fiction that the total armed strength of the Maoists across India is just 4,000, with 4,100 weapons - if that was even remotely close to the truth, we would have little to worry about.


Chhattisgarh simply does not have even the numerical capacities to contain an insurgency of this magnitude. Worse, existing capacities remain under-utilised and misdirected, and there is a progressive collapse of political will at the highest levels. Sadly, that means that many more security forces - thrown without plan, preparation or purpose into the conflagration - will fruitlessly lose their lives.


It can only be hoped that, eventually, someone, somewhere, in India's corridors of power, will lose a little sleep over this as well.

(Published in The Pioneer, New Delhi, July 25, 2007)

Economic & Social Structures of Terai Conflict

Economic disparities and local politics in Terai could ultimately lead to a civil war far bigger than the 10-years of Maoist insurgency, says MAGNUS HATLEBAKK, a Norwegian economist.

>> A full-fledged conflict involving Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) and the Maoists, could develop into a civil war of a larger dimension than the past 10-years of relatively low-scaled conflict, says Magnus Hatlebakk.
>> As the present Terai uprising is a struggle for political representation, and not for socio-economic change, we may in the future expect to see a Dalit uprising for socio-economic change, he adds.

As the Terai conflict intensifies, experts continue to make efforts to understand it fully, and donor agencies have begun to dig deeper in hopes of identifying sociological structures of the problem. The Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), an independent Norwegian research organization, recently commissioned a study to do just that. Dr. Magnus Hatlebakk, an economist whose research focuses on rural development, examines the conflict in the Terai in terms of economic and social structures. What follows is the summary of his brief study.


We describe, and explain, the decline in poverty in different regions of Nepal, with the main driving force being labor migration, which has contributed, first of all, with remittances, but also to a lack of surplus labor within Nepal, and thus an upward pressure on local wages. We also describe, and explain, the regional differences in economic activities, and development, within Terai. Only Eastern Terai has a large population of low-caste landless farm workers who work for a very low wage, and thus remain poor. The low paid labor force allows the farmers to spend their time on other income generating activities, and it keeps the labor costs down. This, in turn, implies that the landed households in the Eastern Terai are rarely poor, in contrast to the landed households in the Western Terai that have to do the farm work themselves. Thus, while the landless households are poor everywhere, the lower poverty rate among the landed households in the east explains the lower overall poverty rate in the Eastern Terai.

Based on our previous research on the socio-economic structures of rural Terai we conclude that the close relation between the landless workers and the landowners in Eastern Terai can be described as feudal principal-agent relationships, where the workers have no other option than accepting the payment, and working conditions, offered by the landlords.

The landlords are not only able to set contracts that leave only a small surplus for the laborers, they may even influence the laborers' outside option by collaborating with other powerful people in the village, or directly restricting the available contracts. We find, in particular, that the Terai Dalits are trapped in this kind of inferior relationships with the landlords.

These feudal relationships may also include political support for the landowners. The main traditional landlord castes are the Yadavs, together with the Tharu landlords. They now compete with hill migrants, not only as rural landlords, but also for political power at the local and national level. The relative success of the Maoists, and the new room for political, and military, struggle that has arisen after the peace accord between the government and the Maoists, may explain the recent political struggle that is led by the Terai landlords. The MPRF [Madhesi People’s Rights Forum], led by Upendra Yadav, is now in a position where they are considered as the representatives of the Terai population, and they can, due to the close landlord-laborer relationships in the villages, relatively easily mobilize the rural people for their cause. There is a power struggle between the MPRF and the Maoists at the village level, but due to the peace accord the Maoists will only to a certain extent use force. But, one has to be aware that this situation may change, and MPRF is of course aware of this as well. They thus appear to ally themselves with more or less criminal groups in Terai, and in the neighboring districts of India. A full-fledged conflict between MPRF and the Maoists, that may also include Nepali, and Indian, security forces, as well as more militant Terai groups such as the two fractions of JTMM, can develop into a civil war of a larger dimension than the past 10-years of relatively low-scaled conflict.

The way ahead must be to involve MPRF in serious discussions of political solutions that are not only acceptable to the political leaders, but do also not fuel new ethnic sentiments. The ethnic-based federalism that now appears to be the favored solution among the political leaders, in particular the MPRF and the Maoists, has the potential of fueling ethnic, and caste-based, sentiments. Any regional state in Nepal will have large minorities that may potentially meet even stronger discrimination within a federal state, than within the present unitary state.

The Terai Dalits, and other ethnic, and religious, minorities in the Terai, will not necessarily be better off in a Madhesi state ruled by the traditional Terai landlords. A federal state will also have large potential problems with redistribution of tax-income from the Kathmandu valley, and the wealthy districts of Terai, to the poorer hill districts.

As the present Terai uprising is a struggle for political representation, and not for socio-economic change, we may in the future expect to see a Dalit upraising for socio-economic change, as we have seen in states of India. To counteract such an upraising among the Dalits, and to improve their living conditions, we recommend feasible land reforms and educational programs that must be supported by local organizations for the most excluded Terai Dalits. National and international NGOs may support such organizations, but at a low scale, and they must avoid that higher caste activists, including higher ranked Dalit groups, take the control. Feasible land reforms may replicate the interventions into the Kamaiya system of Western Terai, where the poor got a small piece of land away from the village, and thus the landlords' control. The suggested Land-Bank may also be a feasible way of reallocating land to the landless based on loans where the allocated land is applied as collateral.

To read the full 24-page study, click here. This summary is republished here for its informational value and relevance to Nepal. The ideas and perspectives in this report do not necessarily reflect Nepal Monitor’s editorial views.