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Archive for March 16th, 2007

Kundapur: Suspected Naxal Woman Sent to Mangalore Prison

Posted by Indian Vanguard on March 16, 2007

Kundapur, Mar 16: Chennamma, a suspected Naxalite who was arrested near Amavasebailu near here on Sunday March 11 has now been sent to Mangalore women’s prison after producing her in the court on Thursday March 15.


Chennama alias Suma has now been remanded to judicial custody upto Wednesday March 28. She was produced in the court after initial investigation in the police custody. As per the details provided by her during the investigation her first nexus with Naxalites was some 3 years ago when she met Naxal leader Neelaguli Padmanabh when she was active in the Thungabhadra protests. She has studied only upto class 3.


Neelaguli in the later days managed to establish rapport with the parent of Chennamma. Being a good singer she lent her voice to several revolutionary songs penned by him. She was taken to Chikamagalur subsequently and from there she was sent to Amavasebailu along with comrade Mahesh.


During her stay in the Varahi Group of Naxals which is primarily operating in Amavasebailu and surrounding areas she learnt various skills such as using guns, mountaineering etc. She was also the part of the Naxal group which was indulged in a shoot-out with police sometime ago.

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Posted in Karnataka, NEWS | Leave a Comment »

Civil rights groups protest Nandigram violence

Posted by Indian Vanguard on March 16, 2007

New Delhi, March. 15 (PTI): Expressing anguish over Nandigram violence, several civil rights groups and ultra-left outfits today staged protests here.

“The CPI(M) has lost all moral rights to be called a left movement under a red flag, after the repressive act of yesterday, the Budhadeb Government in West Bengal needs to resign owning responsibility of the incident,” CPI(ML) General Secretary Deepanker Bhattacharya demanded in the rally.


Social activist Medha Patkar termed the Nandigram violence in which 14 villagers died as a “pre-planned” and “deliberate” attempt of the West Bengal Government to foil the genuine people’s movement against land acquisition for building Special Economic Zones (SEZs).


“From the kind of force deployment and the earlier statements of the government, it is clear that yesterday’s attack on the villagers was pre-determined and deliberate. It shows that the West Bengal Government has turned violent,” she said.


Speakers at the protest rally also demanded that government should “repeal SEZ Act 2005 and promote agrarian reforms co-operative and collective farming to avoid agrarian crisis”, a release by the Anti-SEZ Front, the organiser of rally said.


The protest was also participated by the CPI(ML)- New Democracy, CPI(ML)-Liberation, SUCI, RDF, CSWTU and Krantikari Yuva Sangathan and many other civil rights and left political groups. The Hindu

Posted in Delhi, NEWS | Leave a Comment »

Lurching Towards A Crisis

Posted by Indian Vanguard on March 16, 2007



The killing of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Member of Parliament (MP) Sunil Mahato on March 4 bore all the elements of a typical Maoist ‘surprise attack’. As the 38-year old MP watched a football match organised to mark the Holi festival at Bakuria village in Jharkhand’s East Singhbhum district, cadres of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) numbering around 40-45, including women members, who were already present among the spectators, suddenly overpowered the bodyguards, snatched their weapons and fired at the MP, his associates and his bodyguards. The MP was killed on the spot along with one of his party colleagues and two bodyguards, while another party colleague succumbed to his injuries subsequently. The Naxalites raised slogans before leaving with four INSAS rifles and ammunition looted from the guards.


The CPI-Maoist on March 6 claimed responsibility for the killing by putting up handwritten posters in the villages of Hadia and Lango areas under the jurisdiction of Ghorabandh police station in Dhanbad district, far from the site of the killings, thus arousing suspicions that Mahato could have been the victim of his personal rivalry with the Mafia, not the Maoists. The posters, however, claimed that Mahato had instigated villagers at Lango to kill 11 Maoists, and further that Mahato was killed for two reasons: for telling contractors not to pay ‘tax’ to the Maoists; and, for supporting the anti-Maoist movement being led by the Nagrik Suraksha Samiti (Citizens Defence Committee) in East Singhbhum and West Singhbhum districts. The posters declared: “He instigated innocent tribals. He asked them to kill us with arrows. We killed him with bullets.”


Unlike the Jharkhand government, which preferred an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the killing, the union government was convinced of the fact that the act was the handiwork of the Maoists. Union home secretary, V.K. Duggal, stated on March 5, “Apparently, it looks like retaliatory action because as a key functionary of the Nagarik Suraksha Samiti, Mahato had been raising his voice against Naxals.” The union minister of home affairs, Shivraj Patil, in a suo moto statement in the Rajya Sabha on May 6, before the Maoist posters claimed responsibility for the killing, provided a vivid description of Mahato’s assassination. He also spoke of the customary reinforcements, ‘sealing’ of borders and combing operations to nab the culprits.


It was, however, nobody’s belief that Mahato’s killers would actually be caught. There is even less faith that the unlikely event of their arrest could dent the reign of the Maoists in Jharkhand. While the ministry of home affairs (MHA) maintains that Left Wing extremism in the country has declined by 6.15 percent from 1,608 incidents in 2005 to 1,509 in 2006, fatalities in Jharkhand have actually risen from 119 in 2005 to 124 in 2006, though this rise is marginal. According to an estimate in August 2006, as many as 21 of the 22 districts of Jharkhand were affected (highly affected – 12, moderately affected – 4, marginally affected – 5) by Left Wing extremism. [There are wide variations in these estimates. While the MHA maintains that only 16 districts are affected, the Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda in December 2006 stated that 18 of the state’s districts are affected.]


Interestingly, the East Singhbhum district, where Mahato was killed, was in the ‘moderately affected’ category. Intelligence inputs indicate that most districts affected by the Maoist movement are in the “mass mobilization” stage, but pockets in the state are now in the advanced “guerrilla warfare stage”. Jharkhand is the part of the CPI-Maoist’s Eastern regional bureau that looks after Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand and the Coastal belt.

The state is also an integral part of the Compact Revolutionary Zone (CRZ) and the ‘Red Corridor’ that runs along India’s eastern board, from Andhra Pradesh to the border with Nepal.

Mahato’s killing was preceded by several operations by the Maoists in the state, in the first two
months of 2007 alone. On February 5, a group of 200 CPI-Maoist cadres attempted to overrun
a Police picket at Lawalong in the Chatra district. In the ensuing encounter a civilian was killed
and two others were injured. On February 27, CPI-Maoist cadres detonated an explosive device
and destroyed an under-construction building of the state Tourism Department at Madhuvan in Giridih district. The Maoists had warned against the construction, but the government had chosen to go ahead. Earlier, on January 23, a consignment containing spares for arms, including assemblies for mortars, sent from Indore in Madhya Pradesh to the CPI-Maoist ‘area commander’ Rajendra Oraon, was seized from a private transport firm in Ranchi. A man, identified as Prabhu Sao, was arrested in this connection.

The preceding year, too, was no exception. Major attacks by the Maoists in Jharkhand in 2006 included the following.

June 1: At least 12 police personnel were killed when CPI-Maoist cadres triggered a landmine explosion in the West Singhbhum district.

June 3: Maoists killed three civilians in the Hadian village under the Ghorabandha Police Station of East Singhbhum district.

June 26: At least 400 Maoists attacked a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp, killing one CRPF man in the Hazaribagh district.

December 2: Fourteen police personnel belonging to the Special Task Force of the Jharkhand Police were killed and three injured in a landmine blast detonated by suspected CPI-Maoist cadres at Kanchkir in the Bokaro district.

December 10: CPI-Maoist cadres stopped the 346 Tata-Kharagpur passenger train near the Kanimouli Station on the Gidhni-Chakulia line in the East Singhbhum district bordering West Bengal for about two hours. Maoists also looted two rifles and cash from the Railway Protection Force personnel escorting the train, and snatched walkie-talkie sets from the guard and driver of the train.

Mahato’s killing could just be the starting point for the escalation of the Maoist ‘people’s war’ through out the country, which appeared to have weakened temporarily. Premonitions of such a trend were provided by a statement released by the CPI-Maoist on February 19, 2007, to mark the successful completion of the outfit’s ‘Unity Congress’ in January-February 2007 at an unspecified location (widely speculated to be in Jharkhand). The statement declared:

The Unity Congress… resolved to advance the people’s war throughout the country, further strengthen the people’s army, deepen the mass base of the party and wage a broad-based militant mass movement against the neo-liberal policies of globalization, liberalization, privatization pursued by the reactionary ruling classes under the dictates of imperialism.

The conclave, attended by 100 senior Maoist leaders from 16 states, re-elected Muppala Lakshman Rao @ Ganapathi as the ‘General Secretary’ of the Party. Ganapathi is reported to have remarked: “No more hit and run. Now time has come to spread in the towns and identify specific targets, hit them precisely and with impunity.” There is overwhelming apprehension that the Maoists have started finalizing plans for executing hits involving high-profile targets.


Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, on March 6, indicated that the state was exploring options of adopting the ‘Andhra Pradesh model’ to tackle the Maoists, and also to “review the surrender policy for extremists.” Only a day later, on March 7, the Union Home Minister made a statement in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of the Indian Parliament) noting that Andhra Pradesh had achieved “note-worthy success in controlling the problem through Special Forces, namely, Greyhounds, and other measures”. However, given Jharkhand’s past record, replicating the ‘Andhra model’ is easier said than done.

Reports indicate that Jharkhand has not being following the directions laid down by the union government for Left Wing extremism-affected states. The Jharkhand Police has an alarming vacancy rate of 29 per cent and there has been little attempt by the state government to recruit additional personnel. The state also has a poor police-population ratio of 85 per 100,000, compared to the national average of 122. Similarly, the density of police personnel (policemen per 100 square kilometre area) in Jharkhand is 30.8 against an all India average of 42.4. Given the fact that nearly 30 per cent of the state’s geographical area of 79,714 square kilometres is forested and consequently virtually un-policed, such a profile of the state’s Police Force can hardly make the task of countering the Maoists easier.

In addition, the state government is known to have failed to utilize the central funds released under the Police modernization scheme. According to the MHA, Rs 1.827 billion were provided to Jharkhand in six financial years between 2000 and 2006 under the scheme. Utilization has, however, been abysmal. In 2004-05, for instance, the utilization of the Rs 220 million released was a minuscule 7.33 per cent.

Jharkhand appears to have faltered miserably in executing the development schemes that the union government supports in the Left Wing extremism affected districts. The state has an unutilised balance of Rs 2.4 billion allotted to it under the Backwards districts Initiative (BDI) component of the Rashtriya Sam Vikas Yojana (RSVY) and other schemes to fill in the critical gaps in physical and social development. Under the BDI Scheme, an amount of Rs 150 million per year is sanctioned for each Maoist affected district for three years. The state government shares 25 percent of the expense on BDI. There have also been allegations of widespread corruption in the implementation of schemes like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). Interestingly, lack of finance has never been cited as a reason for the poor implementation of projects by the Jharkhand government.

In a way, Jharkhand represents all that’s currently lacking in most of the states affected by Maoist activities. Union home minister Patil, on March 6 informed the Rajya Sabha that a strong mechanism for ‘monitoring’ Left Wing extremist activities had been put in place. However, as the Maoists bid to intensify the peoples’ war throughout the country, there appears to be little hope that a comparable mechanism will emerge that goes beyond a role that simply ‘monitors’ to one that effectively counters the extremist depredations.


Bibhu Prasad Routray is Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management. Courtesy, the South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal

Posted in Jharkhand, NEWS | Leave a Comment »

Purulia alert after Maoist threat

Posted by Indian Vanguard on March 16, 2007

Statesman News Service

PURULIA, March 15: “Don’t participate in the three-tier forthcoming panchayat elections to be held soon”, appealed a group of Maoist supporters, through leaflets and posters, which were lying in front of the Keroa and Ghatbera Gram Panchyat office in Balarampur of Purulia last week. They also hoisted their flags and cautioned against the blasting a land mine.


Apprehending the presence of a land mine at a place the police cordoned off the site with sacks of sand. But nothing was found in the area. However, they seized all the leaflets, posters and flags, reportedly kept by a Maoist supporter.


According to a police officer “A group of Maoist supporters, probably of Jharkhand areas, are trying to create chaos among the villages bordering the Purulia district of West Bengal,” admitted a police official of Balarampur thana areas, 50 km from Purulia town saying: “We are taking the matter seriously and we are ready to tackle any untoward situation, if that might arise, at any moment.”


Meanwhile, a poster was found on the wall of the CPI-M district committee office, at Namopara in Purulia town, a few days ago. The Purulia MLA Mr Nikhil Mukherjee was threatened by a new party, MLMCC which said: “We demand Mr Mukherjee to be decapitated as he supports the eviction of hawkers.” The message was written on a white paper with red ink, said the police of Purulia.


Purulia SP Mr Ashok Kumar Prosad, however, ruled out the possibility of Maoist support, judging from the style of writing.


MLA Mr Nikhil Mukherjee, and the members of Purulia district CPI-M committee, had disagreed to stress on the threat: “We came to know the issue and persons, involved, so now we will combat the problem politically also.”


In the meantime, residents of Kantadih in Arsha of Purulia live in fear. The business community remains alert as one of its members, Mr Mantu Kundu was attacked by a gang of armed dacoits. They observed a six hour bandh demanding safety and security in the area. The Statesman

Posted in Bengal, NEWS | Leave a Comment »

Nandigram killing: an operation against Maoist?

Posted by Indian Vanguard on March 16, 2007


PRONAB MONDAL
CPM supporters march in Tekhali. Around 3,000 workers and supporters took part in two processions — the second one was from Bhangabera — to Sonachura on Thursday. A CPM zonal committee leader said supporters were being informed that they could now return home. Picture by Amit Datta

Tamluk, March 15: Before police began firing at the wall of protesters in Nandigram yesterday, a senior officer had second thoughts. But his superior turned down his request to backtrack and ordered the force to open fire, according to an official who was part of the mission.


The official today said a team of 350 policemen had landed in Sonachura to clean Nandigram of suspected Maoist weapons.


The policemen, however, knew they would face stiff resistance from the villagers. “We anticipated it. When we reached near Bhangabera bridge and faced heavy brickbatting and bombing from villagers, we realised the operation would claim several lives. An officer of the rank of superintendent of police wanted to backtrack,” the official said.


But his superior refused, saying Sonachura had to be “captured” because the higher secondary examinations were scheduled to start from Friday and the police would not be able to enter the area in the next one month.


Giving a blow-by-blow description of yesterday’s operation, the official said: “Anticipating heavy resistance, every policeman was told to wear a bullet-proof jacket and helmet. Before heading to Sonachura, two teams were sent to Maheshpur and Adhikarypara to stop people of these areas from reaching could not reach Bhangabera bridge to help the villagers.”


The team of 350 policemen then set off for Sonachura.

“As soon as we approached the bridge, we started announcing to the villagers they should not resist the police. But they started throwing stones and hurling bombs. So we lobbed tear gas shells,” said an officer. “The situation worsened because of the wind condition. The tear gas blew back towards us. We were not prepared for it and most of the policemen did not know what to do. The officer then told his superior ‘Sir, we should not proceed because it will lead to firing’. But he ignored him and ordered the force to open fire.”


A Maoist threat to stockpile arms in Nandigram apparently drove the long arm of the law to action, just two days ahead of the higher secondary examinations. The police, however, are not officially willing to make any comment.


“There was no time to lose,” said a senior police official. “We had information that Maoists were up to something that could have dangerous consequences for not only the area but also for the state and we had to act fast. There was no time to waste and we had to strike fast,” he added.


“The raid was conducted on the basis of a report submitted by the intelligence branch of the state police which mentioned that armed activists of the CPI (Maoist) and their sympathisers are entering the remote pockets of Nandigram and setting up a strong base. So we had a specific instruction from Writers’ Buildings to clean out the area from the clutches of Maoists,” the official said.


“The government was told by the agency that everyday, members of the action squad were reaching Nandigram from West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia. So we were told to carry out the clean-out operation before the higher secondary examinations start.” The Telegraph

Posted in Nandigram, NEWS | Leave a Comment »

Bengal makes public Tata plant concessions

Posted by Indian Vanguard on March 16, 2007

– Govt to give Rs 200-crore soft loan, cites competition from other states to justify sops
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Calcutta, March 15: The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government will give the Tatas a soft loan of Rs 200 crore along with concessions on lease rent and value added tax (VAT) to set up their small-car project in Singur.

“Unless we give these concessions to the Tatas, other states will wean them away and that would be a big jolt to our efforts to effect a turnaround for Bengal. Two years hence, every MLA sitting in this House will be able to watch how the state’s economy would change with the advent of the Tatas,” industries minister Nirupam Sen told the Assembly today in the first detailed official disclosure of the terms of the land deal.

Participating in the debate on the governor’s address, Sen said the Tatas would invest Rs 1,700 crore in Singur, out of which Rs 1,200 crore would be for the mother plant and Rs 500 crore for the vendor park housing ancillaries.

Of the 997 acres of land acquired in Singur, the plant would come up on 645 acres for which the Tatas will not have to make any upfront payment, but only pay a lease rent that will be periodically revised (see chart).

The vendor park will come up on 290 acres, for which an upfront payment will be required and an annual lease rent of Rs 8,000 per acre charged. Sen did not specify the upfront amount, but said the total payment — also including the lease rent for both the mother plant and the vendor park — would exceed Rs 850 crore.

The West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) will give a “soft term loan” of Rs 200 crore to Tata Motors on 1 per cent annual interest. Sen did not say when the loan amount, raised through market borrowings by the WBIDC, is to be repaid. “Government money is not being spent for this purpose. Profits of joint venture companies and sale of equity in state undertakings would be the means for providing subsidy to the car plant,” the minister said.

On the VAT concession, Sen said the “refund would not be as grants. They would take the shape of loans, carrying a very nominal interest rate”.

Sen justified the concessions, saying Uttarakhand had offered 100 per cent excise exemption to the Tatas while Himachal Pradesh was ready to exempt excise payment for 10 years and corporate tax for five years. He said that in the long run, the state would benefit “hugely” from the Tata project and earn Rs 400-450 crore a year in revenue. The Hindu

Posted in Bengal, NEWS | Leave a Comment »

Bihar

Posted by Indian Vanguard on March 16, 2007

6 June 2007

24 May 2007

8 May 2007

5 May 2007

2 May 2007

30 April 2007

24 April 2007

22 April 2007

21 April 2007

20 April 2007

17 April 2007

16 April 2007

15 April 2007

9 April 2007

8 April 2007

7 April 2007

4 April 2007

3 April 2007

2 April 2007

1 April 2007

25 March 2007

14 March 2007

6 March 2007

27 Feb 2007

24 Feb 2007

22 Feb 2007

.

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Chronology of recent major Maoist attacks in India

Posted by Indian Vanguard on March 16, 2007

By The Associated Press

Some major attacks in recent years by India’s Maoists

_September 2005: Maoist kill 20 policemen in a land mine blast in the Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh state.

_February 2006: Maoists set off land mines under four truck carrying civilians returning from a rally held by an criminal salwa judam militia in Chhattisgarh state. At least 50 people are killed.

_March 2006: Rebels seize train in the state of Jharkand for 12 hours but passengers unhurt.

_March 2006: Rebels kill 13 civilians after detonating land mine underneath their jeep in Chhattisgarh.

_July 2006: Nearly 500 maoists fight a pitched gunbattle with police and paramilitary forces in Chhattisgarh, leaving 26 villagers and four rebels dead.

_March 2007: Maoists shoot and kill a prominent lawmaker in Jharkand, Sunil Mahato, as he watches a soccer game. Two bodyguards and a civilian are also killed.

_ March 15, 2007: At least 49 policemen are killed when Maoists attack a police in a remote part of Chhattisgarh.

The preceding year, too, was no exception. Major attacks by the Maoists in Jharkhand in 2006 included the following.

June 1: At least 12 police personnel were killed when CPI-Maoist cadres triggered a landmine explosion in the West Singhbhum district.

June 3: Maoists killed three civilians in the Hadian village under the Ghorabandha Police Station of East Singhbhum district.

June 26: At least 400 Maoists attacked a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp, killing one CRPF man in the Hazaribagh district.

December 2: Fourteen police personnel belonging to the Special Task Force of the Jharkhand Police were killed and three injured in a landmine blast detonated by suspected CPI-Maoist cadres at Kanchkir in the Bokaro district.

December 10: CPI-Maoist cadres stopped the 346 Tata-Kharagpur passenger train near the Kanimouli Station on the Gidhni-Chakulia line in the East Singhbhum district bordering West Bengal for about two hours. Maoists also looted two rifles and cash from the Railway Protection Force personnel escorting the train, and snatched walkie-talkie sets from the guard and driver of the train.

International Herald Tribune

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