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Archive for December 22nd, 2007

Tamilnadu: Arrested Maoists produced in court

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 22, 2007

Yoghesh ( Chhattisgarh) and Balamuruk
in police custody

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Chhattisgarh: Death shroud on kidnapped cops

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 22, 2007


Raipur, Dec. 21: Maoists kidnapped 12 policemen in Chhattisgarh last evening but officers don’t know if they have been killed — because search teams haven’t been able to cover the 15km to the spot till tonight.

A regional TV channel, however, aired footage of the bodies of 12 policemen and claimed it was reporting from the scene of the ambush in Maoist stronghold Dantewada.

Although senior officers wouldn’t confirm the deaths, PTI quoted an unnamed Dantewada police source as saying: “All the 12… are killed and their 11 self-loading rifles and one AK-47 weapon have been looted by the rebels.”

The police struggled to explain why their teams had failed to reach the spot after setting out from the Golapalli and Kisteram camps this morning when TV crew were apparently there long ago. Besides, of the 33 policemen ambushed, 21 made it to the Golapalli camp, negotiating the same terrain.

“The difficult terrain is causing problems. Besides, the ambushes laid by the rebels at various places makes our teams move with caution,” Bastar inspector-general of police R.K. Vij said.

He suggested the TV crew may have reached the spot from Bhadrachalam or Khammam in Andhra Pradesh.

Dantewada is the district where about 100 Maoists broke out of jail on Monday, and where most of the rebels’ central leaders are believed to be staying.

The 5pm ambush took place near Tarlaguda, about 500km south of state capital Raipur, while the jawans were returning to Golapalli from Kisteram. Of the missing jawans, eight are from the Special Armed Force and four from the District Force.

An officer said it was more likely the hostages had been killed “since there were no officers among them” who might have enabled the rebels to negotiate for a prisoner trade-off.

“The search parties are near the spot,” Vij said, adding that the combing would resume tomorrow. Once the teams reached the site, he said, he would be in a position to speak officially about the casualty.

Usually, villagers inform the police if they discover any bodies but even this network seems to have collapsed, a source said.

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Posted in Chhattisgarh | Leave a Comment »

Naxalites incited Nandigram and Singur flare-up, Buddha tells P

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 22, 2007

KOLKATA: West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has submitted a report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in which he has squarely blamed the Naxalites for inciting farmers not merely in Nandigram, but also in Singur, against relinquishing their land for industrialisation.

While the CPM and West Bengal government have always blamed the Naxals for the violence in Nandigram, this is perhaps the first time they have alleged their involvement in Singur as well. The note, which was submitted on Thursday, also talks about the alliance between Trinamool-backed BUPC and the Naxals.

“It may be noted that Left wing extremists (LWE) have stepped up their propaganda pertaining to the espousal of the causes of farmers by raising the issue of displacement of farmers from their own land for industrial and infrastructural projects. A frontal organisation of LWE activists named the Gana Pratirodh Manch carried out propaganda against the acquisition of land in Singur and have also generally opposed land acquisition for large projects throughout the state,” says the report.

The note goes on to add that Maoist activities have spread rapidly to areas in and around Nandigram. “It has been confirmed that some CPI (Maoist) activists started arms training in Nandigram to build up a base there, and in this effort, they have also received necessary support from the Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee.”

The chief minister’s comments assume significance, especially in the backdrop of the ongoing CBI investigations in Nandigram. Bhattacharjee, on the sidelines of his meeting with the Prime minister, had also hinted that CBI had leaked information indiscriminately to the media about its report on the killings of the March 14 incident and that the state government would take up the matter with the Centre immediately.

Explaining the extent of Maoist menace in the state, Bhattacharjee said, “the major security threat being faced by the state in the past few years have been linked to left wing extremist activities largely in the districts of Purulia, West Midnapore and Bankura.

After the merger of the MCC and the People’s War Group, the LWE activists in the state have become more active. All districts bordering West Bengal, who share a common boundary with Orissa and Jharkhand are worst affected by Maoist insurgent activities.

Laying down the details of Maoists in the state, chief minister stated that compared to other affected states, West Bengal has witnessed less of violent activities from the LWE groups. In 2005, there were 13 incidents of LWE violence in which 10 CPM activists and one policeman were killed. In 2006, there were 27 incidents in which 9 CPM activists were killed.

The report also says that LWE activists have been targeting prominent CPM leaders and some important civilians in the state. There are also suggestions of close linkages between Maoists and KLO/KPP groups of North Bengal, whose nexus with ULFA has already been established.

Economics Times

Posted in Nandigram | Leave a Comment »

West Bengal: Maoists begin 2-phase overhaul of operations

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 22, 2007

Ajoy K Das
Saturday, December 22, 2007 03:45 IST

KOLKATA: With the security beefed up in the wake of the Dantewada jailbreak, the Maoists active in West Bengal have initiated a two-pronged overhaul of their operations. First, the Maoists have decided to dig deep into their strongholds in jungles across Bankura, West Midnapore and Purulia, which even state home secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy has acknowledged the administration is unable to penetrate.

Secondly, the extremists are linking up insurgent and terror outfits along the Indo-Bangladesh border in North Bengal with the red extremists in Nepal. This will help them flee to Bangladesh after hit-and-run operations. The Maoists have already established such alliances with terror outfits in south Bengal districts such as Nadia and Murshidabad bordering Bangladesh.

The new risk assessment of Maoist extremism emerged at a series of meetings of various state intelligence organisations. The meeting was held at the same time when the National Development Council chaired by Manmohan Singh was deliberating measures to combat the “biggest internal security threat”, as the Prime Minister termed Maoists extremism, in Delhi.

Recently, a high-level meeting was also held in Siliguri in north Bengal between chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and RS Naluya, IG, North Bengal, and Gaurav C Dutt, IG, Intelligence Bureau.

A senior Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer of the West Bengal Police said, “Maoists links with Harkat-ul-Jihad Al Islam (Huji) have been established. Now, we have fresh inputs that apart from Huji, the Maoists have linked up with underground organisations in north Bengal to open up a second front after south Bengal.

The officer said while the Maoists planned to operate in alliance with Huji in south Bengal, they are expected to increase violent aggression in north Bengal with extremist elements of Kamtapuris and Bhupalis.

Bhupalis are Bhutanese of Nepal origin ousted from Bhutan and currently living in different refugee camps in Jhapa, Nepal and Kalchini, Looksan, Beerpara and Bagrakot in Jalpaiguri in north Bengal. Recently, the Bhupalis adopted an aggressive and violent posture against Indian border security agencies while trying to forcibly cross over into Bhutan.

IB officials said the Bhupalis are being sought after by the Maoists to help them find safe havens in the jungles along the Bhutan border. The IB has cautioned the state government that the next time the Bhupalis try to cross over into Bhutan, they are likely to be better equipped in terms of trained manpower and explosives, sources said.

d_ajay@dnaindia.net

Posted in West Bengal | Leave a Comment »

HC respite for Vernon Gonzalves and Shridhar Shrinivasan

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 22, 2007

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday restrained the state police from transferring two suspected leaders of the banned Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Peoples’ War) from Chandrapur in Vidarbha till the next hearing on January 11.

The Anti-Terrorism Squad had arrested Vernon Gonzalves and Shridhar Shrinivasan from Mumbai on August 19. They were handed over to the Anti-Naxalite Squad in September. Gonzalves’s wife Susan Abraham, a practising lawyer, filed a habeas corpus petition seeking to know the whereabouts of her husband and Shridhar.

While Shridhar is an alumnus of Elphinstone College, Gonzalves is a gold medallist from Mumbai University and a former lecturer at Ruparel College and HR College. Their family members have denied that they are Naxalites. The police, however, claim to have recovered incriminating documents and explosives from the duo.

Abraham’s lawyer Anand Grover told the court that the duo was being transferred from one police station to another and kept continuously in police custody for over 61 days. By law, police custody cannot exceed 15 days.

DNA India

Posted in Maharashtra | Leave a Comment »

Reaching victims of India’s hidden war

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 22, 2007

A MSF health worker treats a child in Injaram camp in Chhattisgarh state. India 2007 © Erwin Vantland/MSF

In the heart of India, clashes between Naxalites—the local Maoists—and the Indian government have displaced tens of thousands of people. The fighting, which affects large swaths of Chhattisgarh state, flared up in 2005, and since then an estimated 56,000 civilians caught in the conflict have been forced to move to government-run camps. Thousands of others are hiding in the dense forest in the south of the state in Naxalite-controlled areas, or have taken refuge in settlements for the displaced near villages across the state border. Living in fear, they are left destitute and have difficulty accessing health care. MSF is among the very few humanitarian organizations that are supporting these people, and is striving to provide medical assistance on both sides of the conflict.


Violence lurks behind a peaceful façade

In the early hours of the morning, an MSF four-wheel drive vehicle is speeding along the bumpy road that leads to Injaram, one of 23 internally displaced persons (IDP) camps scattered throughout Chhattisgarh. The team runs a weekly therapeutic feeding program for malnourished children in three IDP camps and provides basic health care to their families.

The drive along the Chabari River offers a peaceful glimpse of India’s rural life—vast stretches of land with mango trees lining the road and hills looming in the distance. Groups of women are bent over in rice fields, while young boys guard cows, goats, or buffaloes. Yet, just a few kilometers away, a violent guerrilla warfare has claimed scores of lives, displaced tens of thousands, and is spilling into several neighboring states, including Andhra Pradesh.

Tribal people, or Adivasis, who belong to one of the lowest castes in India, bear the brunt of the conflict that remains largely ignored in the rest of the country. The Koya and Gothy Koya tribes who inhabit the area led a secluded and traditional life until recently. Cut off from modern life, they eked out a living in the forest to the rhythm of harvests and festivals. But guerrilla warfare has torn them from their land and even turned them against each other. While the government is pushing villagers to leave their homes and go to the camps, thousands have decided to flee and hide in the forest.

“Everyone needs to accept that we are not taking sides in this conflict. We provide health care to all victims whatever side they’re on and we need to have unhindered access to all those who are affected.”

MSF Field Coordinator Robert Rowies

Communicating neutrality

MSF strives to provide medical assistance to all those affected by the conflict and one of the biggest challenges has been to make all parties involved understand its mandate.

“Explaining our neutrality and impartiality is critically important in this context, both for our security and for being able to work efficiently,” says field coordinator Robert Rowies, “Everyone needs to accept that we are not taking sides in this conflict. We provide healthcare to all victims whatever side they’re on and we need to have unhindered access to all those who are affected.”

Running malnutrition programs in the camps, as well as bringing mobile clinics to the people who have fled into the forest, is part of MSF’s balanced effort.

As the car approaches the camps, the military presence becomes more obvious. Attacks around the camps have intensified in recent months. Along the way, groups of women and men from the camps are busy doing road work while others are loading some wood into trucks under the escort of armed men in black and army fatigues. Further away, young men in civilian clothes are guarding the entrance of the camps with 1940s Enfield rifles slung across their shoulders. Called Salwa Judum, they are young tribal people who are trained and armed by the government.

MSF staff measures a child at Injaram camp to help determine if he is malnourished during a visit by MSF’s mobile therapeutic feeding program. India 2007 © Erwin Vantland/MSF

Nutritional care in the camps

With its red-brick roofs and 3,000 inhabitants, Injaram looks more like a village under construction than a displaced camp. MSF has been running a therapeutic feeding program here since November 2006. Children enrolled in the program come every week to have their weight checked or to receive consultations for basic health problems. The peanut-based food used in the nutritional programs has sometimes posed problems. “If the children have diarrhea they tend to stop taking it,” says health promoter Parvez Pasha, who visits the families each week to make sure the therapeutic food is taken properly. “Parents often leave in the morning to go working on road works around the camps and leave their children unattended.”

Through its presence in the IDP camps, MSF also aims to stress that those living there are also victims of this conflict. They have lost their homes and suffer from a radical change of life. Muttamma is one of the women who have brought their children to the clinic. After a series of attacks on her village, she was forced to leave everything behind. Like most of the refugees, she longs for her old life and waits in the hope of coming back to her village. “We used to be happy in our village. We sold our harvest, and celebrated the festivals, and were free,” she says. “Here, there is no freedom; we wait, doing nothing. I’m scared to go to the forest; it’s too dangerous. If I go to pick up some wood, the Naxalites will think I’m with the police because I live in the camp and the police will think I have contacts with the Naxalites,” she says. “Our children are getting killed; there is no happiness here.”

Reaching those who are hiding

Those who refuse to join the camps have fled into the dense forests of Chhattisgarh or to villages in Andhra Pradesh where the Naxalites have a strong presence. Red flags are a common sight in this area. MSF provides a weekly mobile clinic in what it calls a grey area, a zone off-limits to the police for security reasons. Providing basic health care to this part of the population has proven challenging.

“The most difficult part was to find the people who are hiding but need health care. We felt we were chasing ghosts for a long time,” explains Robert Rowies. “The people are very scared. At the beginning, when our mobile clinic visited them, they would flee,” he remembers. “Gaining people’s trust was difficult, but the team has seen improvement and has worked hard raising awareness of their work.”

“Our work at the border indicates that more medical assistance is needed deeper
in the forest where more people are hiding. We hope we will soon have access to all those affected by this conflict.”

MSF Field Coordinator Robert Rowies

After months of screening the area to reach the most affected populations, MSF now sets up its weekly clinic at a border crossing, just inside Andhra Pradesh, in Mallempeta, where tribal people come from Chhattisgarh to trade their harvest in the nearby villages. The Adivasis stop on their way to the market for a health check. Some will bring their children to the feeding program.

As MSF’s staff hang up the weight scales for babies in a mango tree, silhouettes slowly trickle from the forest; men, sometimes so thin they buckle under the weight of the bags hanging from a pole slung across their shoulders, and women carrying baskets of fruits and seeds on their heads. Some come cycling through the forest. They rest their bikes against the trees and huddle together on a rug waiting patiently for their turn.

The queue can be long. MSF doctors see on average 50 to 60 patients a day. Most of them come for rashes, scabies, malaria, and malnutrition. “This morning, I saw a child who was nearly disabled. His scabies was so bad, he could hardly use his hands,” says MSF doctor Jorund Aswall, who supervises the team.

A little tent is set up to provide a bit of privacy to the patients during the consultations. Behind the plastic sheet, they talk about their health problems, the living conditions, the scorched villages, and about those who are not fit enough to trek the 30 to 40 kilometers (20 to 25 miles) through the forest to come for a consultation.

Currently, MSF is able to work in the camps, as well as along the border
with Andhra Pradesh and in other areas of Chhattisgarh. “Our
work at the border indicates that more medical assistance is needed deeper
in the forest where more people are hiding,” says Robert Rowies. “We hope we
will soon have access to all those affected by this conflict.”

Docters with Out borders

Posted in Salwajudam | Leave a Comment »

Red corridor expands

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 22, 2007

Naxal cadres (file)

The Naxal movement of Andhra Pradesh and Chattisgarh has now found fresh breeding ground in states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala, from where it had once been completely uprooted. And this has becoming a matter of grave concern for the internal security of the country.

After a fierce gun battle, in the dense jungles along the Western ghats in Theni district five hard core Naxalites were nabbed by the Special Task force of the Tamil Nadu police on Friday (December 21).

Over the past six months, over 15 dreaded Naxals – all trying to spread their agenda in the border areas – have been arrested.

And now Tamil Nadu is finally waking up to the harsh reality: that it has become a haven for these dreaded extremists. This has been admitted by Chief Minister Karunanidhi for the very first time.

“The intrusion is upto Theni… So far, we have managed and they had been prevented from infiltrating further. When compared to other states, the infiltration is very less in Tamil Nadu,” said Karunanidhi.

The Naxal tentacles have not just stopped with Tamil Nadu; in neighbouring Kerala, two members of the People’s War Group of Andhra were arrested only a few days ago trying to move weapons and set up ‘DALAMS’ – or cells.

These incidents are a clear indication that Left-wing extremism. which was thought to be non-existent in the southern most states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala – is nowfast gaining ground.

This confirmation has come from none other than the Prime Minister himself. PM Manmohan Singh spoke yesterday at the Internal Security meeting of chief ministers, where he said: “Naxals have been achieving some degree of success in enlarging their areas of militancy… Not a day passes without an incident of the Left-wing extremism taking place somewhere or the other.”

Clearly, the Naxal menace needs to be treated as seriously as terrorist activity.

On paper the Union government has called for “improved intelligence gathering” and better coordination between the Centre and states – but a situation check on the ground proves that the southern states are far from controlling Left-wing extremism.

The Naxal movement of Andhra Pradesh and Chattisgarh has now found fresh breeding ground in states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala, from where it had once been completely uprooted. And this is becoming a matter of grave concern for the internal security of the country.

(By Durga Nandini)

Posted in NEWS | Leave a Comment »

Naxalite extortion puts brakes on UPA flagship project

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 22, 2007

New Delhi: It’s not just jailbreaks, landmines or kidnappings, 2007 has also been the year when Naxalite groups have been systematically targeting development work.

Their extortion has led to a situation where work on the flagship project of the UPA government.

The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana has come to a standstill, especially in a Naxal-affected state like Bihar.

Sources tell CNN-IBN that work connecting nearly 10,000 villages has come to a halt as Naxals demand up to 10 per cent of the tender value from the contractors which include giants like NHPC, NBCC, NPCC, IRCON and CPWD.

Now, their refusal has led to attacks on men and machinery.

“They want to exploit lack of development. They don’t want development to take place,” says Madhukar Gupta, Home Secretary.

The seriousness is reiterated in an internal report of IRCON underlining the Naxal threat across Bihar in Naxalite affected areas.

Contractor is not able to work due to threatening for high demand by extremist.

The Prime Minister has emphasised the need for anti-Naxal force and not just to contain incidents like this but to also ensure support and security for basic development work as well.

Naxals targetting government work is not new but holding crucial projects like the PMGSY and NREGA to ransom is something that the Government of the aam admi has to ensure stops if it insists on connecting and developing it’s villages on the national highway.

IBN Live

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Malli Raji Reddy produced in Manthani court

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 22, 2007

KARIMNAGAR: CPI Maoist Central Committee Member Malla Raji Reddy alias Sattenna, arrested along with his wife and Maoist Sangita, by the AP Police in Anganamaly in Kerala on December 18, was produced before the First Class Judicial Magistrate of Metpally amid tight security.

The magistrate remanded him to 14 days judicial custody and refused to send him to police custody.

A native of Shastrulapalli village in the district, the 57-year-old senior Maoist leader carried a reward of Rs 12 lakh on his head.

Raji Reddy, who studied upto Intermediate, was attracted to the movement and joined the Radical Students Union in 1975 and attended the second district conference two years later.

He participated in the military camp in the forest area of Tadicherla prior to December 1999 where another senior leader Nalla Adi Reddy alias Shyam, Erram Reddy, Santhosh Reddy, Sheelam Naresh and PWG member Singam Lachi Rajam were killed in an encounter.

He was arrested by the Dharmapuri police in 1977 and went underground after release.

He worked as dalam member and leader in Mathani, Mahadevpur areas between 1977 and 1981.

He also worked in Maharashtra forest division and Bastar area in Madhya Pradesh (now Chhattisgarh) till 1996 and was elevated as Central Organising committee of PWG in 1997.

He was involved in unearthing of a huge cache of weapons and cash at Bangalore in 1992, attack on Sirpur police station in Adilabad killing a Sub-Inspector and 12 constables in 1986.

He attacked Karakagudem police station in Khammam district killing 16 police personnel and took away 32 weapons with 1,624 rounds of ammunition, blasted six landmines and an equal number of claymore mines at Kusansur in Gadchiroli district killing six policemen in 1998 and snatched Rs 4.4 lakh from the RPF Jawans in Mudkhed-Hyderabad train.

The top Maoist leader, involved in 21 cases was not allowed to talk to media and only his daughter Latha and his advocate BSA Satyanarayana were permitted to talk to him.

In another blow to the revolutionary movement, two women, suspected to be members of CPI (Maoist), were shot dead in an alleged exchange of fire near Tiger Camp in the Rampachodavaram agency area on Friday.

The police recovered five weapons, including three 303 guns and two 12 bore guns, from the spot.

Newindpress

Posted in Malla Raji Reddy | Leave a Comment »

Bihar: Ranvir Sena activist held

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 22, 2007

JEHANABAD: In a major breakthrough, the Jehanabad police on Thursday night arrested the self-styled divisional commander of the Ranvir Sena, Ajgaybee Sharma, along with five associates from Pokhwan village under Shakurabad police station in the district.

Ajgaybee, wanted in two dozen cases of extortion, murder and massacre, registered with Tekari, Konch and Belaganj police stations of Gaya district and Goh and Uphare police station of Aurangabad district, had been evading arrest for the past several years. While in hiding, he had been coordinating the activities of the banned outfit in the Magadh division.

The most gruesome incident in which Ajgaybee is alleged to be involved is the massacre at Miyapur village in Aurangabad district when he and his associates reportedly shot dead 34 persons and injured another 20.

A police team headed by Shakurabad PS OC Ashok Kumar, raided a house in Pokhwan village around midnight and arrested Ajgaybee and his associates including the owner of the house, Sachidanand Sharma.

Two country-made pistols and live cartridge were also recovered from their possession.

Timesof india

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