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Archive for March 8th, 2007

Veteran Naxal leader dies in police custody in Bihar

Posted by Indian Vanguard on March 8, 2007

GAYA: Veteran Naxal leader Nathun Kahar, one of the prime accused in 19 different cases of Naxal-related violence including mass murder, died in police custody on Thursday morning. Kahar was earlier arrested from Khaira village under the Konch police station in Gaya district of Bihar on Tuesday.

Although Gaya SP Amit Jain confirmed Kahar’s death in police custody, he did not spell out the actual cause of death saying that the autopsy report is awaited. Magadh Range DIG Umesh Singh, however, said the Naxal leader suffered from asthma. He denied rumours making the rounds that Kahar died following “third-degree” method used by police during his interrogation. Specifically asked if Kahar was physically assaulted while in police custody, the DIG did not rule out the possibility of the Naxal leader having received “some blows” during the execution of his arrest by personnel of Central forces.

Meanwhile, Zonal IG Rajvardhan Sharma has directed the Gaya SP to get a criminal case instituted against the Konch officer in-charge and other policemen concerned in connection with Kahar’s custodial death.

The IG has also directed the SP to ensure strict observance of custodial death norms as stipulated by the Supreme Court and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) including inquest by a judicial officer and videography of the autopsy process. “A DSP-rank officer will be made the IO of the case against the OC and other policemen,” Sharma said. Police sources said Kahar was involved in several Naxal operations.

These include the January 1996 attack on the Tekari police station in which four policemen were killed and the armoury looted; the Bara and Senari massacres in which altogether 70 upper caste male adults were butchered in two separate operations conducted in February 1992 and March 1999. In 2003 the state government announced a hefty cash reward for the ultra’s arrest.

Kahar’s death put the district police in a spot given that it failed to comply with section 57 of the criminal procedure code which strictly prohibits detention in police custody for more than 24 hours and makes it obligatory for the police to produce the arrested person before the court.Asked why the police failed to produce Nathun in court within the stipulated period, the SP said he is trying to find out the reason.

In Kahar’s death the police have also lost the opportunity to get important information about the banned outfit such as its strategy, future programmes, chain of command, armoury, ‘tax’ collection etc.


Posted in Jharkhand, NEWS | Leave a Comment »

CPM leaders too are soft targets of Naxalites

Posted by Indian Vanguard on March 8, 2007

Naxalites determined to create Muktanchal in the bordering areas of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa while targeting the JMM leaders have also made CPM leaders their soft targets.

About 20 CPM leaders and ‘influential’ cadres living in villages spread across Jharkhand and West Bengal borders have fallen prey to Naxalite bullets since September 2005. In the last assembly polls in West Bengal, the Maoists used all kinds of pressure tactics to prevent the CPM leaders from participating in election campaign, killed some of the CPI leaders and cadres and even prevented CPM voters in their strongholds from casting their ballots.

Prominent CPM leaders killed along Jharkhand-Bengal border since September 2005 include Ravi Kar, Bhola Mahato, Kartik Mahato, Anandmayee Kar, Kamal Mahato, Mahendra Mahato and Ravi Das. The casualties from the JMM side include Sunil Mahto, Dhiren Mahto, Santosh Mahato, Prabhakar Mahato (All JMM leaders and sympathisers), Sahdev Khatri and Devraj Rai, Sunil Mahato’s bodyguards. The Maoists have also looted in all six INSA rifles, four from Jharkhand and two from Bengal territory.

The bordering West Bengal districts of Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore and Ghatsila, Dalbhumgarh and Chakulia blocks of Jharkhand are the worst affected areas on the border. The West Bengal government has already acknowledged the 5000 square kilometer area stretching from Raniband in Bandwan to Binpur in West Midnapore districts as ‘Red Zone’ and declared 70 per cent polling booths in this area has been declared highly sensitive. The Maoists now desperately plan to declare it as Muktanchal (Free Zone), where they literally run a parallel government.

According to Kartik Mahato, resident of Narsinghpur in Jharkhand territory, his relatives in West Bengal often get threat letters from the Maoists to disassociate themselves from the CPM or else face death. “With the killing of Sunil Mahto, the Maoists have also begun targeting the JMM leaders,” Kartik said.

Jharkhand police, however, has long been ignoring the gravity of Naxalite menace in the area till March 4 last when the Maoists gunned down Jamshedpur MP, Sunil Mahto. “The terrains on the borders are rough and inaccessible. The Bengal government has constructed several pickets to keep the pressure on the Naxalites. But we do not have any pickets in our territory. Still we have been ensuring minimum damage to our leaders and civilians from Naxalites,” said Ghatsila SDPO, Sailendra Burnwal. Hindustan Times

Posted in Bengal, NEWS | Leave a Comment »

Naxals set ablaze two vehicles in Nagpur

Posted by Indian Vanguard on March 8, 2007

NAGPUR: Naxalites set on fire two vehicles deployed for the zilla parishad elections in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, police said on Thursday.

The rebels stopped a vehicle used for canvassing by supporters of NCP candidate Bandopanth Mallewar at Kondawahi and asked the occupants at gun-point to get down. They later took the vehicle to dense forests and set it on fire on Wednesday.

In another incident, 25 to 30 Naxalites from Tipagarh dalam (group) stopped the vehicle of one Vinay Bapu Pawar at Karwafa and set it ablaze, police said.

A group of Naxalites also fired indiscriminately on a police party in Binagunda and the security forces retaliated.

The rebels escaped after the exchange of fire, police said in a statement.

Security has been tightened ahead of the zila parishad elections scheduled for March 11.

Posted in Maharashtra, NEWS | Leave a Comment »

Maoist violence may be spinning out of control

Posted by Indian Vanguard on March 8, 2007

By Murali Krishnan, IANS, [RxPG] New Delhi, March 7 – A surge in Maoist violence that killed nearly 750 people, including 520 civilians, in India last year threatens to explode with the brazen killing of Sunil Mahto, MP, during Holi festivities, demonstrating again that the ultra-left radicals have the ability and resources to attack at will.

This has been this year’s first high-profile attack by Naxalites, or Indian Maoists. The security establishment insists the Maoist movement has consolidated itself and the Maoists hold sway over wide underdeveloped areas across the centre, east and south of the country, forming a strategic geographical corridor.

To substantiate their point, intelligence officials cite the instance of the killing of a Congress leader in Andhra Pradesh Monday by Maoists as he inspected a road construction project in Mahabubnagar district.

‘It seemed like a coordinated attack,’ one senior official told IANS. Prakash, a member of the Mandal Praja Parishad -, was shot in Marikal, about 150 km south of Hyderabad.

‘It is obvious that there is coordination, especially after the merger of People’s War Group – and Maoist Communist Centre some years back’ to set up the Communist Party of India-Maoist, the official added.

Also the fact that the ninth congress of the CPI-Maoist met in an undisclosed forest area in Jharkhand less than a month ago would have helped the Maoists to close ranks and firm up their line of attack, the sources said.

At the end of January, there were 121 Maoist attacks across India with 27 civilians and 10 security personnel killed. And, like the previous year, both Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand bore the brunt of violence. Last year the two states alone accounted for a whopping 1,025 of the 1,509 attacks that left 512 civilians and security personnel killed.

That Jharkhand has been a perfect breeding ground for Left extremism is evidenced by the fact that almost 16 of the state’s 22 districts have been hit by Maoist violence. These include landmine attacks, one of which killed 13 police personnel three months ago, the assault on a Central Reserve Police Force camp and the raid on a prison.

Although an Empowered Group of Ministers headed by Home Minister Shivraj Patil promises to evolve strategies to deal with what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh describes as the country’s ‘biggest internal security challenge’, the rebellion continues to engulf huge swathes of the country’s centre, east and south.

Just this year, the government deployed 33 paramilitary battalions on anti-Naxalite duty and sanctioned a further 29 India Reserve – battalions, besides setting aside Rs.3.71 billion under the police modernization scheme for weaponry, telecommunication equipment and other infrastructure.

Acknowledging that poverty in Maoist strongholds was still a serious problem, the government also sanctioned Rs.24.75 billion under the Backward Districts Initiative – to fill in critical gaps in physical and social development in affected states.

However, officials in the tribal affairs ministry admit that distribution of development funds still remains a challenge because the delivery system is corruption prone with earmarked monies not reaching the intended beneficiaries. Similarly, Maoist-affected states like Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar have some of the country’s lowest ratios of police to population.

Despite the money allocated for police modernisation and expansion, many states have simply been unable to fill up vacancies in police stations despite five rounds of meeting of chief secretaries and directors general of police last year.

Counter-insurgency officials say that unless the government – including concerned state governments – redoubles its energies to contain the Maoist extremism, which currently affects 172 of the country’s 602 districts, the crisis can only escalate. RxPG

Posted in NEWS | Leave a Comment »

Medha hits out against Left

Posted by Indian Vanguard on March 8, 2007

Posted at Wednesday, 07 March 2007 20:03 IST

Bhubaneswar, March 7: West Bengal’s Left Front government is working for the interests of industrial houses and this is totally opposed to the basic principles of Leftist ideology, social activist Medha Patkar claimed today.

“Left parties, including the CPI-M, have virtually lost their ideology and prefer to join hands with industrial houses. They are no more with the poor people,” Patkar said, citing the examples of Singur and Nandigram in West Bengal, which have witnessed protests and violence over the issue of acquisition of land for industries.

“The people’s representatives who are supposed to fight for the interest of the common man are instead fighting for the interest of industries,” the Narmada Bacchao Andolan leader said.

She blamed the Central government for allowing the use of farm land to set up special economic zones. “We will fight against the government that works against the interests of the people, particularly farmers,” she said.

Patkar was addressing an “alternative legislative assembly” formed by different organizations for launching an anti-industry movements in Orissa.

Posted in NEWS | Leave a Comment »

CPI-M gram panchayat chief assaulted in Nandigram

Posted by Indian Vanguard on March 8, 2007

Nandigram, Mar 07: A CPI-M leader was allegedly beaten up today by members of a Trinamool Congress-backed body at Nandigram, where tension prevailed over yesterday’s incident of police firing.

Nandigram gram panchayat pradhan Ashok Bera was stopped and assaulted by members of the Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee at Maheshpur, East Midnapore’s Superintendent of Police G Niwas said.

Police had yesterday fired two rounds in the air to quell a mob of women members of the committee who tried to attack camps where CPI-M supporters are staying.

The women alleged that arms were stockpiled in the camps housing CPI-M supporters who fled their homes after violence sparked by rumours about the acquisition of land for a SEZ at Nandigram. The women gathered at Tekhali Bazar to launch an attack on the camps, CPI legislator Iliyas Mohammad alleged.

Police said two rounds were fired to disperse the women. And no one was injured in the action.

The situation in the area was tense, they said.

Six persons were killed in violence at Nandigram on January seven and an intelligence officer was killed there by a mob exactly a month later. Zee NEWS

Posted in Nandigram, NEWS | Leave a Comment »