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Archive for December 9th, 2007

Reliance undecided on Bengal outlets

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 9, 2007

Kolkata, November 30 Even after the state government’s assurances of “all sorts of protection”, Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Fresh is undecided on whether to go ahead with its plan to open outlets in the state.

The company had put on hold its plans for West Bengal following a spate of attacks on the retail outlets by Forward Bloc activists and Trinamool Congress and BJP.

The president and chief executive of the lifestyle division of Reliance Retail, Bijou Kurien, said that the company was planning to open 400 Fresh outlets across India soon. When asked how many of these would be opened in Bengal, Kurien said: “None”.

Reliance also plans to open 30 hypermarts in the country by the end 2008 fiscal but none has been slated for Bengal. Kurien said: “If the government makes up its mind then you can see everything. If the government cannot reach a consensus on the entry of Reliance Fresh into the state, there is no way. West Bengal has great consumption potential,” Kurien said.

On the issue of the relocation of staff recruited for Reliance Fresh in Bengal, Kurien said that most of them have been shifted on their own will.

He added that those who were keen on staying back in Kolkata were asked to do so while the company waited for the other retail initiatives to come into the state.

Around 1000 employees recruited for Reliance Fresh centres in Bengal and Uttar Pradesh have been given placements.

Kurien said that a clear national policy was required with respect to the marketing of agricultural produce to do away with the ambiguity and laws that varied from state to state.

Retail shop inauguration sparks protest in Belghoria

Tension erupted on Feeder Road in Belghoria area of the city on Friday morning after local shop owners protested against the inauguration of a private retail shop in the area.

According to police, the Spencer’s outlet was scheduled to open today and preparations were on since morning. “The inauguration was cancelled as about 150 local shop owners and workers under the Byabsayi Samiti agitated in front of the shop and protested against the opening,” said a police officer.

“A contingent of policemen was sent to bring the situation under control. The crowd dispersed around 1 pm,” said added the officer.

A leader of the Byabsayi Samiti, Swarnendu Saha, said: “Our business will be affected and our families will die of hunger. We will not allow Spencer’s to open here. It is a question of our livelihood. We are demonstrating peacefully today.”

RPG Retail has plans to increase the number of Spencer’s retail outlets across the country from the present 125 to 2,000 within the next two years.

Express India


Posted in Retail trade, West Bengal | Leave a Comment »

Tamil Nadu cops nail woman Naxal

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 9, 2007

Express News Service

Chennai, December 7: The “Q” Branch of the Tamil Nadu Police on Thursday arrested a woman Maoist leader who had taken refuge in Minjur in suburban Chennai and was wanted by the Andhra Pradesh Police in several cases. Madhavi (28) had arrived in Minjur about 40 days back and was living with another Naxalite leader, N Panduranga Reddy.

The two lived as a married couple, posing as traders dealing in firewood, and were missing for a long period of time, Q Branch sources said. Their frequent absence from their rented house led to suspicion and a police team arrested Madhavi from the house on Thursday at around 6 pm. According to the sources, Madhavi and Reddy, got married about eight months back before settling in Minjur.

Police said Reddy, a top-rung Maoist leader, wanted in such cases as an assassination bid on former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu about four years ago and the recent attack on former CM N Janardhan Reddy in Nellore, was picked up by the Andhra Police on Wednesday in Prakasam district.

There were rumours on Thursday that Reddy had been arrested in Tamil Nadu. However, the state police, including Tamil Nadu DGP P Rajendran, denied this. On Friday, Q Branch officials said he had been arrested in Andhra.

Madhavi, hailing from Hyderabad, is said to have at least six cases against her, including her involvement in the Nallagunta attack on a group of policemen and Anakapalli culvert attack, targeting senior officials, both in Andhra Pradesh. According to police, she led many of these attacks, targeting politicians and policemen. When questioned by the Tamil Nadu Police, she said she had come to Minjur to recuperate after an illness.

The Tamil Nadu Police have registered a case against Madhavi under the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act as she belonged to a banned organisation. Several cases have been registered against her in Andhra Pradesh, including under the AP Public Security Act, Explosive Substances Act and attempt to murder.

Posted in Andrapredesh | Leave a Comment »

Repression in name of Posco protection?

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 9, 2007

Statesman News Service

BHUBANESWAR, Dec 8: Former speaker of Lok Sabha Mr Rabi Ray and a host of eminent social activists, including Mr BD Sharma and Mr KN Pandit today, decried the state-sponsored repression taking place in villages falling under the proposed Posco steel plant site in Jagatsinghpur district.

Dhinkia village, which is the stronghold of a peoples resistance movement against the project, is now under virtual siege with goons and police guarding all entry and exit points, charged Mr Sharma after visiting the spot. Entry and exist are completely controlled by the police who work in tandem with hired people, charged Mr Sharma.

The objective is to seal and cut off Dhinkia, there is a virtual economic blockade and people of Dhinkia village are holed in for one week now, they said. The villagers are determined to lay down their lives fighting to protect their land.

Mr Sharma demanded immediate withdrawal of police force, arrest of all hired goons and a judicial probe to the incidents of violence that had taken place since 29 November. He pointed out that everybody including the district administration was unaware of the rights of owners of erstwhile forest land.

They can no longer be termed as encroachers, he said. A Nandigram like situation has developed with the government out to terrorise people and snatch their land, said Mr Pandit.

Posco-India, a subsidiary of South Korea steel major Posco, today announced merit scholarships for students from poor families that are being displaced due to its construction activities. Yesterday, the company’s TJ Park Foundation, a non-profit welfare organisation awarded merit scholarships to 29 students from various educational institutions in Orissa. The foundation is funded and supported by Posco.

The Statesman

Posted in Posco | Leave a Comment »

Outsiders in khaki in Nandigram firing confirmed

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 9, 2007

NANDIGRAM: CBI investigators probing the Nandigram firing on March 14 have identified at least 27 outsiders in khaki who moved with the police force to break the barricade that the Trinamul Congress-led Bhumi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee supporters had put up in the villages.

Investigators got the lead from the video footage of the carnage recorded by none other than the police and cross-checked it with on-the-spot interrogation of more than 50 villagers and two police officers present on the day of the firing.

CBI officers then summoned villagers, owing allegiance to both the parties — CPM and BUPC, and questioned them with video footage on display. The process helped them to spot the men in khaki — a little different from police uniform difficult to differentiate from a distance. These men, according to CBI, were heavily armed and moving with the police. The footage showed that these men, unlike the police, had no shoes.

It was evident from the footage that while the police posted on Bhangabera Bridge was busy asking villagers to make way for the police, these “cops” sneaked into the crowd with batons and started chasing them. According to the CBI, this was enough provocation for the crowd to turn violent. Angry villagers then started pelting stones at the police.

In the melee, these men chased some of the BUPC supporters with fire arms. Locals reportedly identified them as CPM workers. CBI officers have recorded their version and verified their presence in the procession from the footage. Their statements corroborated the video recording of the incident by and large. Investigators have reasons to believe that these outsiders on khaki sparked the violence.

Four CBI teams on Saturday visited Sonachura, Adhikaripara and Gokulnagar villages in Nandigram. A team met Sushil Das Adhikari whose brother Salil Das Adhikari sustained bullet injuries on March 14. Sushil was also with the procession. Both brothers were present at the Gokulnagar’s Malpara where BUPC supporters had assembled.

The CBI team is now looking for men in khaki. It has interrogated a few local CPM activists who reportedly refused to identify them. They claimed that some CPM supporters of Sonachura and Bhangabera villages were present with the police as they were forced to join and guide them. But they denied the charge that these men were carrying firearms and chased away BUPC supporters.

CBI officers on Saturday recovered more charred bones and fire arms — a .303 rifle and an improvised gun from the Talpati Canal. They said the charred bones along with those found at the five graves at Khejuri might have a connection with the March 14 carnage.

That explains why the team has also collected a detail list of the missing persons since March 14. While the CBI did its bit, a CID team under IG (I) D P Tarenia visited the dreaded spot at Bamanchak village on Saturday from where the charred remains were recovered only the other day. Family members of Bacchan Garudas, Srimanta Das and Sunil Bar killed in a blast on October 27 at Sherkhanchawk, claimed that the bones were those of their relatives and asked the police to hand them over.

Within a day after the state government ordered the CID inquiry into the mystery graves, the police rounded up 15 people including a CPM local committee member on charges of rioting and attempt to murder.

Posted in Nandigram | Leave a Comment »

How chasing Maoists is making Jharkhand cops smarter…

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 9, 2007

How chasing Maoists is making Jharkhand cops smarter…

Dipankar Bose
SARANDA, Dec. 8: Jharkhand police have always been in a quandary over this issue. Over the years, they have done their best to tackle the Maoists, but have failed to match the latter’s Intelligence-gathering abilities, guerrilla tactics and strategies that have converted the seven-year-old state into a Maoist den.
Lately, the West Singhbhum district police are facing their worst nightmare ~ a blackout of vital Intelligence inputs about Maoist movements in and around the Saranda forests, one of the several “hyperactive” areas of the extremists. The reason behind the blackout was a calculated move by the Maoists. It is paying rich dividends. After the Chilkhari massacre, where the youngest son of former chief minister Mr Babulal Marandi was murdered with 17 others in Giridih, the Jharkhand home department had issued orders to intensify patrolling and counter-offensive operations across Jharkhand against the Maoists.

Patrolling has been increased in such districts as Latehar, Chatra, Palamu, Lohardaga and parts of Ranchi, where the extremists have strongholds. Bunkers were being destroyed and frequent encounters taking place, with the police nabbing extremists of rank in the banned outfit and also confiscating arms and ammunitions. The tables seemed to be gradually turning against the Maoists but the extremists’ counter-strategy proved more effective, at least in West Singhbhum. Between 18 and 26 November, four people were shot dead by Maoists and all of them were branded “police informers” by the extremists. The persons killed were villagers from in and around Saranda. Two deaths were reported from Tetlighat village and one each from Hathnaburu and Dikubonge villages, all three in the Saranda forest area. Resentment grew in the villages against the police. District administrative bosses huddled to find a solution. Finally it was decided that the police would not entertain village informers here.

They would neither seek assistance from villagers nor take any sort of facilities from them during execution of duty. New guidelines have been issued for long range patrolling personnel here, Mr Sudhir Kumar Jha, SP, West Singhbhum, said.

The guidelines direct LRP personnel to always carry water bottles. The same is applicable for food items. In case of vigilance activities, steps have to be taken clandestinely and with caution. Personnel attached with an LRP group will not patrol the same route for more than two days at a stretch, so that villagers do not get familiar with them. “The recent killings by Maoists targetted policemen on patrol duty. The people murdered had no links with the police and were falsely branded as police informers to create resentment. But at the end, we have limitations and cannot carry out our duties without the local people’s confidence,” Mr Jha said, adding that one of those killed in Tetlighat and identified as Labia Sidue, a local Munda(headman), was a Maoist informer. He also gave them logistic support. The police were keeping a close watch on him and his murder was probably committed to create distrust against the police.

“The villager killed in Hathnaburu had his house on the village periphery. The LRP personnel may have asked for water from him on certain occasions and sought information from him. After the killings, I camped at four police stations in the highly sensitive zones,” Mr Jha said.


Posted in Jharkhand | Leave a Comment »

Jharkhand police worried as Maoists use beacons on cars

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 9, 2007

Ranchi, Dec 8 – Jharkhand police are facing a harrowing time as Maoist rebels have started moving around in vehicles fitted with red beacon lights, used only by ministers and senior government officials.State police chief V.D. Ram in a letter to police superintendents (SP) in 24 districts has advised them to keep a close watch on red beacon fitted vehicles. In his letter last week, Ram asked the officials to check such vehicles without any hesitation.‘We have received reports that Maoist rebels use beacon-fitted vehicles to avoid police check. Police usually do not check beacon fitted vehicles,’ a senior official told IANS Saturday.

He said, ‘The red and yellow light fitted vehicles are used by senior government officials and ministers, hence cops do not check those vehicles. It appears the Maoists now are taking advantage of this situation.’After Jharkhand state was created in November 2000, the number of beacon fitted vehicles increased many fold.

According to an estimate, there are more than 1,100 beacon fitted vehicles in the state.What has compounded the problem is the use of new vehicles such as Tata Indigo, Tata Safari and Scorpio, by VIPs in place of traditional Ambassador cars. Even senior police officials use these vehicles, making it difficult for police to spot criminals.According to police, rebels use these beacon fitted vehicles to transport explosives and other materials.

In the recent past, three Maoist leaders were arrested while moving around in red beacon fitted vehicles.Maoist rebels are active in Jharkhand’s 18 of 24 districts. According to an official estimate, over 1,000 people have been killed in the last seven years in the state. Of the total, 645 were civilians and 290 security personnel.

(c) Indo-Asian News Service

Posted in Jharkhand | Leave a Comment »