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Archive for December 18th, 2007

CPI (Maoist) Central Committee Member Com.Malla Raji Reddy arrested from Kerala

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 18, 2007

Top Communist Party of India-Maoist leader and Central Committee member Malla Raji Reddy alias Sattanna — who carries a reward of Rs 12 lakh on his head — has been reportedly arrested by a special police party from Andhra Pradesh from a hide-out in Kerala [ Images] late on Monday night.

Though Andhra Pradesh police has not confirmed the arrest of Sattanna so far, Revolutionary Writer Association founder Varavara Rao alleged that the Maoist leader was taken into custody by a special police party from Angamaly in Ernakulam district in Kerala on a specific tip-off that he was hiding among migrant labourers. A tribal woman, who was suspected to be assisting him in underground activities, was also arrested by the police.

Demanding that AP police produce Sattanna in a court of law immediately, Varavara Rao told the media that he feared a threat to the life of the central committee member, since there were instances earlier when Maoist leaders who were picked up AP police were killed in fake encounters. Three central committee members of CPI-ML (People’s War) were nabbed from Bangalore and later killed in a fake encounter in December 1999. Two other central committee members were arrested and shot dead in fake encounters.

“We fear that the same would happen in the case of Raji Reddy. We have reliable information about the arrest of Raji Reddy along with a woman in Ernakulam. A lot of people who were witness to the arrest had also gone to the police station. Raji Reddy should be produced in the court immediately,” Varavara Rao said.

Hailing from Shastrulapalli village in Manthani area of Karimnagar district in Andhra Pradesh, Sattanna has been underground for the past 32 years. He worked in his native district before donning higher responsibilities in the Naxalite movement. He is wanted for a number of cases, including murders, abductions, landmine blasts and attacks on police stations and looting of weapons. He is a suspect behind the killing of former AP Assembly speaker D Sripada Rao.

Rediff

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Naxalites protest comrade’s suicide in Patna jail

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 18, 2007

Patna, Dec 18: In a replay of the jailbreak in Chhattisgarh, hundreds of agitating Maoist inmates took control of the inner wing of Patna’s high-security Beur jail Tuesday, protesting against alleged ill treatment by jail authorities.

“At present, Maoist inmates have taken full control of large parts of the jail,” a district official said.

It all started when Maoist inmates attacked police personnel on duty inside the jail, forcing them to flee. The inmates freed two top Maoist leaders, including Ajay Kanu, by breaking open the iron door of the cell where they were lodged.

Kanu was the mastermind behind the Jehanabad jailbreak when around 300 inmates, including 150 Maoists, escaped in 2005. He was later arrested and lodged in Beur jail.

The Maoists also reportedly assaulted some inmates, including a legislator, who tried to pacify them.

Maoists have been staging protests inside the jail premises for the last few days after Nagina Manjhi, 40, a member of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), committed suicide Dec 14.

Manjhi was found hanging from the iron gate of the jail infirmary where he was being treated for a minor ailment.

Official sources said over 300 Maoists were lodged in Beur jail. The Maoist inmates have found support from hundreds of other inmates.

According to jail officials, there are about 2,400 inmates in Beur jail, almost more than double the capacity of the prison.

Khabreine

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Negotiations on to end Maoist siege of Patna jail

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 18, 2007

Patna, Dec 18 – Hundreds of agitating Maoist inmates continued their siege of the inner wing of Patna’s high-security Beur jail Tuesday, protesting against alleged ill treatment by the jail authorities even as officials began a dialogue with them to end the stalemate.

Inspector General (Law and Order) Bihar Police Anil Sinha claimed the situation was under control in Beur jail and negotiations were on with the agitating Maoist inmates.’The situation is under control. We are continuing negotiations with the Maoist inmates and looking into their demands,’ Sinha told newspersons.He said top officials of the jail department, police and district administration were negotiating with the agitating Maoist inmates.’Hopefully, everything will be resolved soon,’ Sinha said.Downplaying the Maoists’ siege, Sinha said only 200 Maoist inmates have been agitating in support of their demands, including a probe into a suicide by a Maoist inmate, Nageena Manjhi, a few days ago in the jail.According to sources in the district administration, negotiations with the Maoist inmates could not succeed as they have demanded a compensation of Rs.2.5 million for Manjhi’s kin.Armed personnel of the Bihar Police, Special Task Force and Special Auxiliary Police have moved closer to the jail, ready to use force to break the siege, should that be necessary officials said.

It all started when Maoist inmates attacked police personnel on duty inside the jail, forcing them to flee. The inmates freed two top Maoist leaders, including Ajay Kanu, by breaking open the iron door of his cell.Kanu was the mastermind behind the 2005 Jehanabad jailbreak when around 300 inmates, including 150 Maoists, escaped. He was later arrested and lodged in Beur jail.The Maoists also reportedly assaulted some inmates, including a legislator, who tried to pacify them.Maoists have been staging a protest inside the jail premises for the last few days after Nagina Manjhi, 40, a member of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), committed suicide Dec 14.
(c) Indo-Asian News Service

Posted in Bihar | Leave a Comment »

Bihar: A film to expose Maoists

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 18, 2007

December 18, 2007

map_small1.gif

Ranchi :/ IANS 12/17/2007 / The Jharkhand police have drawn up a plan to fight a psychological war against Maoist rebels.

The Jharkhand police had sent a proposal to the state home department in November, seeking permission to launch a psychological war against Maoist rebels through television, radio and newspapers.

“A proposal has been sent to the state home department which includes making of a 30-minute film to expose the crimes of Maoist rebels. Radio and newspapers will also be used to expose their misdeeds,” a police official told IANS.

He said “the proposal was sent to the home department after formal discussion with the chief minister and other government officials.”

The proposal includes publishing photographs of Maoist rebels in newspapers, publishing lists of properties damaged by rebels in the last seven years, collection of illegal taxes by rebels and where the money has been spent, exposing the reportedly lavish lifestyles of its leaders and sexual exploitation of its women cadres.

Seminars at schools and colleges will also be organised to sensitise people about Maoist misdeeds, the officer said. Interviews of police officials will be aired on radio and television.

The 30-minute film will be shown to people through Doordarshan, which has a large reach in rural areas. It will include confessional statements of detained Maoist leaders.

“We cannot fight Maoist rebels unless we get the support of common people living in rural areas. Maoists provoke the rural people against police and the government. We must adopt methods to expose them in their strongholds,” the official said.

Maoist rebels have also come out with an audio and video CD to propagate to the masses how the ruling and business class have ruined the state.

The 22-minute film shows how the security personnel enter villages and harass people in the name of anti-Maoist operations. It also shows how police falsely implicate innocent people as insurgents.

The group has made nearly 5,000 copies of the film that will be shown in the villages for seeking support from people and instigate villagers against police and the government.

Maoist rebels are active in 18 of the 24 districts in the state. Nearly 1,000 people have been killed in terrorism-related violence in the state in the last seven years.

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Centre seeks ‘report cards’ on 33 Naxalite-hit districts

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 18, 2007

December 18, 2007

NEW DELHI: The Centre’s plan to fight Naxalism through development will be put to test during the chief ministers’ conference on internal security on December 20 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will seek the “report cards” of 33 districts which have been identified as worst affected by Naxal terror.

Chief secretaries of eight states, where these 33 districts are located, will have to tell the PM about the initiatives taken to ensure overall development in the past three months, sources in the home ministry said. The decision to seek “report cards” was taken by the home ministry after an inter-ministerial group (IMG), chaired by additional secretary Vinay Kumar, met to review the overall situation in these districts.

Incidentally, more than 20% of police stations in these 33 districts have reported Naxal violence with relatively higher number of casualties. “The states concerned will be asked to come with the progress report of these districts when their chief ministers attend the conference,” said a senior official.

Of the 33 Naxal-hit districts, Jharkhand accounts for 10 and Chhattisgarh for seven. These two states, in fact, accounted for more than two-thirds of the 571 deaths in the country due to Naxal violence till October 31.

The Centre has identified one district each in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh in the new category for overall development on priority basis. While six remaining districts belong to Bihar, five are in Orissa and two in Maharashtra.

Though the IMG meeting also took note of ongoing development works in other Naxal-affected districts across 13 states, the focus was on the new block of 33. Currently, 165 districts in the country have Naxal presence in varying degrees.

Besides senior home ministry officials, joint secretary-rank officers from the ministries of panchayati raj, rural development, tribal affairs, elementary education, health, forest, information and broadcasting, environment, women and child development and agriculture also attended the IMG meeting.

Source: The Times of India, December 18, 2007

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AP: Police confirm arrest of two Maoist leaders

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 18, 2007

Tuesday December 18 2007 13:45 IST

Express News Service

GUNTUR: Ending the week-long suspense, the police today announced that they have arrested CPI (Maoist) Prakasam District Committee Secretary Singa Prasad and Gundlakamma area committee member Juthavath Ramsingh Naik alias Keshav on Sunday night.

It may recalled that senior Maoist leader Sagar alias Panduranga Reddy, who was arrested a few days ago, claimed on December 10 that Prasad and Keshav were in police custody and based on their confession, the police unearthed a dump comprising nearly 10 kg gold articles and Rs 7 lakh cash in the Nallamala forests.

The police, however, denied the arrests. Producing the two Maoists at a media conference here, District SP Mahesh Chandra Laddha and OSD Ravi Prakash said that they were arrested at Mrutunjayapuram in Nujendla mandal on Sunday night.

Even the Maoists ‘vouchsafed’ the police version saying that they were held on Sunday night while making a phone call after meeting their party colleagues Murali, Ashok, Nirmala and Vimala.

Giving the details of the cases in which the duo were involved, Laddha said that Prasad, a native of Bommalapuram in Prakasam district, joined the movement in 2000 after he was influenced by Maoist leader Jeevan. He is accused in 10 murder cases.

Keshav, who is a native of Rajanayak Thanda of Bollapalli mandal in Guntur district, joined the movement a few years ago.

He was area committee member of Gundlakamma and also worked as sentry to district Maoist leaders. Keshav was involved in five murders cases.

The Maoists said there were no further recruitments and the party has become weak after holding talks with the Government in 2004. To a query, they said that senior Maoist leaders Jeevan and Sambasivudu were not in Nallamala at present.

Laddha said that the police initially mistook Prasad for another Maoist Meesala Prabhakar but later ascertained his identity. He also appealed to seven other Naxalites, including Prabhakar and Nagamani to surrender.

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Jharkhand: Maoist nexus

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 18, 2007

THE STATES

Maoist connection

VENKITESH RAMAKRISHNAN
in Ranchi and Patna

After Nandigram, the collusion between Maoists and some political parties is exposed in Jharkhand.

PTI

Communist Party of India (Maoist) cadre celebrate the founding day of their guerrilla wing, the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army, near Chainpur in Palamu district, Jharkhand, on December 8.

ONE of the issues that repeatedly came up in debates over the Nandigram flare-up was the Maoist role in the tumultuous events in that rural part of West Bengal. The Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led government in the State has maintained that the Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee (BUPC)- Trinamool Congress combine, which organised the nearly year-long agitation against the State government’s land acquisition plans, was infiltrated by cadre of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and that the Maoists had trained BUPC-Trinamool cadre to mount armed attacks against the Police and CPI(M) activists.

The role of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress in the Nandigram events has been highlighted by the CPI(M) leadership as a clear instance of a mainstream party colluding with an extremist outfit that has been named by a number of national security agencies as well as by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the “biggest threat to the country”. The Trinamool leadership, for its part, stated that there was no truth in the CPI(M)’s contention.

The issue of collusion between mainstream political organisations and Maoists and the utilisation of extremist cadre by leaders of self-professed democratic parties to advance their political and personal interests is increasingly coming into the focus in the context of the Nandigram developments. A series of happenings in Jharkhand, the State adjacent to West Bengal and one of the areas seriously affected by naxalite violence, barely three weeks after the Nandigram flare-up have accentuated this. The developments in the State have even led to demands from several quarters for a detailed, high-level probe into the collusion between Maoists and leaders of mainstream parties.

Central to the happenings in Jharkhand on this front was the arrest of CPI(Maoist) leader Balswarup Yadav alias Sridhar Ji on November 30. Balswarup Yadav is apparently an “area commander” of the military wing of the CPI(Maoist) and is an accused in several cases of murder, arson and dacoity in Jharkhand and Bihar. The arrest was a cause for celebration for the Jharkhand Police, and Superintendent of Police Deepak Verma paraded him at a media conference on December 2. At the conference, Balswarup Yadav stated in no uncertain terms that several Members of Parliament and the Legislative Assembly of Jharkhand and Bihar as well as top-level leaders of many political parties were in regular contact with the leadership and cadre of CPI(Maoist) and sought their help to advance their political and personal interests. Many MLAs and MPs even used Maoist cadre to garner votes and win elections, he added.

Balswarup Yadav also came up with an oblique, yet outrageous, revelation about Kamlesh Kumar Singh, Minister for Water Resources in the Jharkhand government. He said that he had heard one of his comrades saying that Kamlesh Kumar had employed Maoist cadre to blow up his own ancestral house at Kamgarpur in Palamu district. The incident happened 20 months ago, on April 20, 2006. Kamlesh Kumar belongs to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and has been a Minister in both the Arjun Munda-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Janata Dal (United) coalition government and after its collapse, in the Madhu Koda-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Ministry.

When the Arjun Munda government was formed, he went against the NCP’s general anti-BJP line and joined hands with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). By the time the Munda government fell, he had come back to the NCP’s anti-BJP, secular line and got himself a berth in the UPA Ministry in the State.

The scandalous reference about the Minister was further explained by Balswarup Yadav. He said that the talk amongst the Maoist cadre was that the Minister had engineered this “self-destruction” to intensify the threat perception of threat to him and thus get greater protection for himself from the State security agencies. An added threat perception, apparently, would have provided the Minister with the right to use the State government’s helicopter during visits to his constituency. In the North Indian political firmament, a political leader’s VIP status is often gauged by the security cover he has. Although Yadav did not mention it in so many words, he was obviously hinting at this.

Balswarup Yadav’s revelations, naturally, had a stirring effect on Jharkhand’s political atmosphere. Opposition parties and some partners of the UPA raised questions about the Minister’s integrity. Organisations such as the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha, led by former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi, who lost his son in a Maoist attack barely a month ago, stated that Kamlesh Kumar had no moral authority to hold a constitutional office. The Jharkhand Mukthi Morcha (JMM), the dominant component of the ruling coalition, as well as the Opposition BJP and JD(U) demanded a high-level probe into Balswarup Yadav’s revelations and also into the larger context in which they were made.

Interestingly, Kamlesh Kumar Singh himself made a similar demand. Speaking to Frontline, he said he wanted a thorough investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The Minister said that he had met Chief Minister Madhu Koda and pointed out that Balswarup Yadav’s revelations were part of a conspiracy to malign his image. He added that Balswarup Yadav as well as the Maoist rank and file controlled by him were at the beck and call of Sanjay Kumar Yadav, leader of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Palamu district. According to Kamlesh Singh, the Yadav duo have been trying for long to harm him physically and politically. Sanjay Kumar Yadav, incidentally, was the candidate defeated by Kamlesh Kumar Singh – by 34 votes – in the Hussainabad constituency in the last Assembly elections.

Since the elections, Kamlesh Singh said, Sanjay Kumar Yadav had been systematically using the Maoist cadre to harm him. Kamlesh Singh also asked, rather rhetorically, whether any sane person would have his property worth approximately Rs.45 lakh blown up merely to get enhanced security cover. In any case, he added, he had the right to use a helicopter to go to his constituency and did not have to resort to blowing up his own ancestral house to obtain that facility.

The statements made by Kamlesh Singh and Balswarup Yadav leave no doubt that collusion between Maoist parties and mainstream politicians is a way of life in Jharkhand. Commenting on the sequence of events, Inder Singh Namdhari, JD(U) leader and former Speaker of the Jharkhand Assembly, told Frontline that politicians of almost all categories in Jharkhand had to come to accept the Maoist influence in their day-to-day activities. According to him, the number of politicians who actively dare to oppose Maoist political practice and guerilla warfare can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

The remaining vast majority of politicians, he adds, can be broadly placed in two categories. “One section of politicians who still have faith and belief in the democratic political practice stay away from the Maoists, without criticising or supporting them. Theirs is a stay-aloof policy. The other section is actually hand in glove with Maoists on a day-to-day basis. They do their political activity in constant consultation with the Maoists and with their active support. This support extends from garnering votes in elections to eliminating political and personal rivals,” he says. Namdhari adds that the number of politicians in the latter category is increasing day by day.

There are many other legislators who agree with Namdhari. The former Speaker’s colleague in the JD(U), Khiro Mahto, admitted to Frontline that Maoists had forced him to ask certain questions in the Assembly. Naturally, these questions would have helped advance Maoist politics and action plans. According to MLA Radha Krishna Kishore, the majority of government contracts in infrastructure building – particularly contracts that come under the Public Works Department, such as road and bridge building – can be carried out only after Maoist clearance. “The rebels want our development fund to be utilised according to their wishes. And PWD work in any area can be completed only if the local Maoist group is paid protection money at various stages of work. In short, it is Lal Salam that works here, not Jai Hind,” Kishore said.

Namdhari is of the opinion that the mainstream politicians who operate along with the ultras have contributed in a major way to the persisting backwardness of Jharkhand. He observes: “These people have no perspective beyond their immediate political gains. They do not realise that the ultras need to be convinced and brought back into the mainstream for the overall uplift of the State. But they compromise with Naxalites and use them, ultimately, to cover up their own corrupt practices and also to make short-term benefits.”

In Namdhari’s opinion, Nandigram and several other parts of West Bengal could go the Jharkhand way if sufficient care is not taken. He lays stress on what he means by sufficient care. It is that mainstream political parties and their leadership should not fall prey to the lure of short-term political gains and compromise with the Maoists and their armed struggle tactics. Unlike many of his colleagues in the NDA, Namdhari is certain that naxalites would have infiltrated the BUPC. “That is their style of functioning. They are experts in following this strategy,” Namdhari pointed out.

According to Hanan Mollah, a member of the CPI(M) Central Committee and of the Lok Sabha, the Trinamool Congress, a former partner of the JD(U) in the NDA, is in no mood to listen to his advice. He notes: “The Trinamool is hand in glove with the Maoists in several parts of West Bengal. Nandigram, in fact, is only one of the examples. In the past, CPI(M) cadre in West Bengal have had to fight this collusion and also illegal occupation of land and property in many other parts of the State. These struggles were not noticed because they were not packaged with an emotive issue such as land acquisition for industry. Since that issue was in the background and because sections of the media and some social activists took it forward at an emotive level, the BUPC-Trinamool Congress-Maoist alliance donned a victim’s garb and were able, to a large extent, to get away with it.” Hanan Mollah is certain that the Trinamool-Maoist collusion would get exposed further in the days to come.

Maoist cadre in different parts of North India, including Jharkhand and Bihar, are excited that their activities are getting stronger in different parts of West Bengal. According to an assessment made by a section of the Maoist cadre in Jharkhand, a geographical belt in West Bengal ranging from Asansol to Bankura and parts of Midnapore is witnessing a new political phenomenon marked by Maoist resurgence.

So much so that the CPI(Maoist) and its front organisations have become the principal opposition to the CPI(M) in this region, overtaking all mainstream Opposition parties such as the Trinamool Congress, the BJP and the Congress. How much of these gains have been made employing the strategy of infiltrating into and colluding with mainstream parties may require yet another probe as the one suggested for Jharkhand.

Frontline

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Centre caught in red jail jolt dilemma

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 18, 2007


BHAVNA VIJ-AURORA

New Delhi, Dec. 17: Housing Naxalites in jails is proving to be a huge headache for the home ministry.

The Dantewada jailbreak has once again brought the tricky issue of imprisoning Naxalites to the forefront. The task force on Naxalites has failed to resolve the dilemma of whether to put the Maoists, who are in custody, together in one jail or spread them over in different jails.

“It has been noticed that if they are put together in one jail, they conspire and organise en masse escape. And if they are put separately in different jails, they tend to motivate other prisoners, converting them to their way of thinking. It may seem like a trivial issue but it is not,” disclosed a senior home ministry official.

Yesterday’s was the biggest jailbreak by Maoists after the Jehanabad jail storming in November 2005. The issue has figured in all the meetings of the task force, including the last one held on December 13 in Bhubaneswar. The issue of security and surveillance in and around the prisons was also discussed. It was also observed that though most states, affected by Naxalism, had managed to control the violence somewhat, it was Chhattisgarh which had failed to stem the incidents.

The home ministry today sought a detailed report from the state government about the major breach of security at the jail, which is supposed to be the most sensitive and the most-protected in the area.

“It is a well known fact that Dantewada is in the heart of Naxalism. The security of the area has been the highest priority. It is discussed at all coordination meetings of the affected states and the Centre. Yet the jailbreak happened. The administration of the area is extremely poor,” said the officer.

In fact, this observation was also made by cabinet secretary K.M. Chandrashekhar when he visited Chhattisgarh for a review in October-end. He had also noted that the “Salwa Judum”, the civil militia in the state, needed to be reoriented.

Home secretary Madhukar Gupta spoke to senior officers in Chhattisgarh administration, and also to the director general of police about the incident.

Sources said security in and around the jails had been an issue of great concern for the Centre and the ministry of home affairs had been writing to the affected states to beef it up. “In fact, a detailed action plan had been worked out about the steps to be taken to improve security of the prisons. The states had asked for additional companies of CRPF but the Centre told them to strengthen their policing instead by filling up the vacant posts,” the official added.

The states, specially Chhattisgarh, were advised on how to man their prisons better and also on how to train, equip and orient the jail staff, sources said.

Moreover, the state authorities had been asked to increase manpower in jails and install latest gadgets to keep a tab on the activities of jail inmates.


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Hunt on for escaped Maoists in jungles

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 18, 2007

Vinay Kumar

Centre concerned over jailbreak


NEW DELHI: Concerned over the daring jailbreak in Dantewada district, the Centre on Monday asked the Chhattisgarh government to pay special attention to tightening security in jails.

Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta spoke to Director-General of Police Vishwa Ranjan after the incident on Sunday, and pointed out that the Home Ministry had been advising the State governments to step up security and surveillance in and around jails.

The issue of further tightening the security arrangements in and around jails had also been discussed in meetings of the Task Force on Naxalism, the Home Ministry spokesman said. Minister of State for Home Affairs Sriprakash Jaiswal met Ministry officials connected with the anti-naxalite operations.

DIG suspended

The State government suspended DIG (Jails) P.D. Verma and arrested Jail Superintendent B. S. Mankar amid reports that the prison staff in Dantewada could be involved in the escape of 300 inmates. It was the biggest jailbreak in recent times, coming two years after the Jehanabad jailbreak in Bihar, where Maoist cadres attacked the prison and freed some 130 inmates.

The Chhattisgarh government also ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident, in which 105 naxal activists fled. A massive manhunt has been launched by security personnel in jungles.

Taking a serious view of the incident, Chief Minister Raman Singh ordered Mr. Verma’s suspension, saying prima facie it appeared he had not done his duties properly. According to Dantewada Superintendent of Police Rahul Sharma, police personnel were moving about cautiously as they suspected landmines could have been planted by Maoists. The jail in Dantewada, about 400 km from Raipur, had 383 inmates when the “pre-planned” action took place.

State Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam, who reviewed the situation after visiting the jail, said that if any personnel were found to be involved they would not only be terminated from service but also arrested and tried in a court of law.

The Hindu

Posted in Chhattisgarh | Leave a Comment »

Maoists had vowed to free jailed comrades in February

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 18, 2007

NEW DELHI: The daring jailbreak masterminded by Maoists in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh on Sunday may have caught the authorities napping but the ultras were merely doing what they had promised to do long back.

In February, the Maoists had held their ninth congress on the Jharkhand-Orissa border and resolved to free their comrades languishing in jails in several states. And if the Maoists stick to their word, jails in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra could be next in line where 48 of their hardcore activists have been behind bars for years. Incidentally, the resolution adopted at the congress is not a secret, and is readily available with the home ministry as well as the police of all 13 naxal-affected states.

Buoyed by their successful jailbreak operations in Jehanabad, Bihar (November 2005), and R Udaigiri, Orissa (March 2006), the Maoists had said in the resolution that they intended to carry out similar strikes in Chhattisgarh where 25 of their comrades were behind bars. The naxals held their ninth congress under the leadership of CPI (Maoist) in February at one of their forest hideouts along the Jharkhand-Orissa border where nearly 1,000 red ultras assembled and vowed to continue their armed struggle against the state. Security and intelligence agencies got to know about the gathering only when they dispersed, leaving copies of their resolution behind — a move viewed as an open challenge to the authorities.

The resolution, a copy of which is with the TOI, says, “This (ninth) congress resolves to strive to carry out every possible means to free our comrades from jails… with support from the masses, we had carried out historic actions such as the Jehanabad and R Udaigiri jailbreaks.” Perhaps, this warning was not heeded by jail authorities in Chhattisgarh, where the ultras managed to free around 105 of their comrades in the Dantewada incident.

According to the resolution, while six comrades are lodged in Andhra jails, 26 are in Tamil Nadu and 16 in Karnataka. Besides, the ultras also expressed the need to free five comrades each from Asagarh, Bhamragarh and Tipragarh areas of Gadchiroli division and five from Gondia division (all in Maharashtra) who have been serving life imprisonment in different jails.

Though Maoist literature and the resolution have not carried operational details and modus-operandi, it hold enough inputs to send warning signals to state authorities. Realising the threat to jails in naxal-affected states, Union home secretary Madhukar Gupta had written to all states in September on the need to increase security in prisons and address the problem of overcrowding. In his letter, Gupta had also mentioned the need for prison reforms.

Meanwhile, in view of Sunday’s incident, the home ministry, which reviewed the overall naxal situation on Monday, sought a detailed report from Chhattisgarh and directed the state government to beef up security and surveillance in and around jails. Incidentally, the Dantewada jailbreak came just two days after a meeting of the naxal taskforce in Bhubaneshwar on December 13-14, where the issue of providing more security in jails had figured prominently.

vishwa.mohan@timesgroup.com

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