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No ban on Maoists in Jharkhand means headache for police

Posted by Indian Vanguard on January 6, 2008

Ranchi, Jan 6 (IANS) The Communist Party of India – Maoist is not an organisation banned in Jharkhand, leading to a headache for the police.

Jharkhand is one of the states badly hit by Maoist terror. But the absence of a ban means the police can rarely frame a strong case against the rebels.

In December 2007, the police caught two employees of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) allegedly giving Rs.2 million in protection money to a CPI-Maoist rebel. The rebel was also caught. But all three were soon out on bail, which they would not have been if CPI-Maoist had been a banned organisation.

The state government had earlier banned the Maoist Coordination Committee (MCC) and People’s War Group (PWG). But they merged into CPI-Maoist in September 204, which is not banned.

Maoists are active in 18 of the 24 districts of the state. The rebels have killed nearly 1,000 people in the last seven years.

IANS

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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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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.

Statesman

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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

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‘Operation Bargarh’ comes to a knot with top Naxal’s arrest

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 7, 2007

Friday December 7 2007 10:38 IST

SAMBALPUR: The Maoists’ plan to strike the district armoury of Bargarh was spoiled after a top leader Misir Besra was arrested by Jharkhand police in September, police has revealed.

Besra, a member of the Central Military Commission of the outlawed group had spilled the beans which was communicated to Bargarh police on September 20.

‘Operation Bargarh,’ as the military intelligence wing named it, was planned meticulously with a threemember team conducting a reconnaissance of the armoury.

The strike would have helped the Maoists strengthen their base.

Police sources said, after scouting the area to assess vulnerability of the armoury, the team learnt that at any given point of time, 300 to 500 weapons could be found stocked in the armoury.

The intelligence wing, headed by Ashutosh, even visited Bargarh in July for a SWOT (strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats) analysis of the armoury’s security arrangement though they had begun their groundwork for the assault in May.

The team members, police revealed, had taken shelter on the outskirts of the town with their sympathisers.

While the team members camped at Bargarh, Ashutosh coordinated planning and movement from Deogarh, a stronghold of Naxalites.

However, after Besra spilled the beans, Bargarh police led by SP Sanjib Panda not only scaled down the armoury but also fortified the town with strategic lighting and cleaning operation.

Panda said they are still on alert and two units of Special Operation Group are deployed in Bargarh to provide security to the armoury.

Physical security has also been strengthened, vigil intensified and efforts underway to identify the place where they had taken shelter during their visit to the district.

Zonal Commander nabbed:

Even though Sambalpur police denies arrest of an hardcore Naxalite from Sambalpur Town on Thursday morning, reliable sources confirmed the arrest of Zonal Commander of the banned Maoist outfit, Chotu Turi alias James from a rented house in Jharuapada area of Sambalpur Town.

The police has also reportedly seized mattresses and incriminating documents revealing that the house was being used as a transit camp.

It is believed that proximity of both the states Chattisgarh and Jharkhand from Sambalpur and onward train communication could have led the Maoist to have a camp at Sambalpur town and elude police surveillance.

New Ind Press

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Jharkhand to have bike squad to fight Maoist rebels

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 25, 2007

Ranchi:Jharkhand police have decided to have motorcycle squads equipped with latest weapons to fight Maoist rebels in the state, officials said Saturday.

“The cops manning the squad will be given special training to fight the rebels. In hilly areas, Maoists take advantage of jungles while escaping. Bikes will be helpful as it is difficult to chase any one on four wheelers inside jungles,” a police official told IANS.

“In jungles, Maoists detonate vehicles by triggering landmine blasts. But it will be difficult to blast bikes,” he said.

Each squad will have at least 24 security personnel on 12 bikes.

There will be at least two bike squads in each of the Maoist-dominated districts. Latest bikes with maximum horsepower will be purchased and cops selected for the bike squad will be trained to fight Maoists in the jungles.

Jharkhand has constituted five special teams to fight the rebels. They include personnel of the Special Task Force (STF), Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) and Grey Hound Force. Despite all these efforts, Maoists have been killing civilians and security personnel in the state regularly.

Till now, 645 civilians, 290 security personnel and 144 Maoist rebels have been killed in the last six years. Maoist rebels are active in 18 of the 24 districts of the state.

–IANS

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Jharkhand Maoists issue CDs against Tata, Mittal

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 21, 2007

Ranchi, Nov 20 (IANS): Maoist rebels in Jharkhand have come out with audio and video CDs against the Tata and Mittal steel companies.

The audio CD has seven songs in Khotha, a tribal language. The first song calls the steel majors plunderers of the state’s resources.

“Mittal hai Jharkhand ke lutera, ekera ke bhaga debe re. Garib janata ke assu piye re Mitaal aur Tata ekere bhaga debe re. (Mittal is the plunderer of Jharkhand, we will force them to flee from the state. Tata and Mittal are drinking the tears of poor people, we will force them to flee from Jharkhand),” says the song.

Arcelor Mittal has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up a 12 million tonnes steel plant in the state with an investment of Rs.400 billion. Tata Steel has been in the state for the last 100 years and is working on an expansion plan.

“Around 20,000 copies of this audio CD have been made and they will be circulated in rural parts of the state. The recording of the music album was done in Mumbai to keep it a secret,” a source close to the Maoists said.

“Hamara raj dekh ke, hamar satta dekh ke, shosak shashak ghabara gaile re. Mohe ugrawadi bana dele re. (The government is scared of our rule and administration, so they have branded us extremists),” says the second song.

“Our Jharkhand is beautiful, the land emits gold and the jungle is silver but people are poor. This is the land of Birsa Munda and Siddhu and Kandhu who sacrificed their lives for the state. We will take our right on the land and forests by fighting the repressive class,” says the third song.

The video CD shows the beauty of the state and how the government and industrial houses have spoilt it. The video CD also has a short film of 22 minutes, which shows how security personnel enter villages and harass people in the name of the anti-Maoist operations. It also shows how innocent people are branded members of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) and booked by the police.

Sources said around 50,000 copies of the video CD have been prepared. The video CDs will be shown in villages of the state to garner the support of people and instigate villagers against the police and government.

http://www.kalingatimes.com/business_news/news1/20071120-jharkhand-maoist.htm

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Jharkhand:Maoists launch poster war

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 10, 2007

Dipankar Bose

GIRIDIH, Nov. 8: Maoist extremists have begun a poster campaign in Giridih district of Jharkhand, and Jamui districtof Bihar.
The campaign has been unleashed against the growing influence of the Grameen Suraksha Dal (GSD) or the village-level protection force formed by the villages of extremist-ridden Giridih.

Former chief minister and Koderma MP Mr Babulal Marandi, who is also a resident of Giridh, was one of the main persons behind the GSD’s formation. Maoists have been threatening him and his family members for a long time for their support to the movement targeted against the extremists.

The first round of posters was put up in Chatro Main Market on the night of 1 November, when a group of more than 50 extremists warned GSD members. Reports have been received about a second round of posters being splashed in about seven villages of Deuri block and three villages in Jamui. The posters, this time, have not only warned the GSD members but have also asked them to surrender before Maoist cadres.

In Chilkhari village of Deuri block, armed Maoists in the guise of CRPF personnel had fired indiscriminately on a crowd gathered to witness a cultural programme on the night of 25-26 October.

Through their posters, the Maoists have also expressed their condolences to the families of the “innocent” people, who died in the Chilkhari killings. They have termed the casualties as “unfortunate”.

The orders of surrender of GSD members in front of the outfit, only re-establishes the fact that the Maoists run a parallel government in the remote areas of Giridih, especially areas along the Bihar border. Frequent jan adalats (public hearings) are being organised in these areas. Deuri residents feel worse after the posters have come up.

http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=2&theme=&usrsess=1&id=175895

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Jhakhand: Battalion comprising ex-army-men to combat Maoists

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 8, 2007

Ranchi (PTI): Jharkhand would soon have a battalion comprising retired army personnel to combat ultra-left Maoists active in 18 districts of the state. “The government has approved of a new battalion. Ex-army personnel will be recruited in it to control extremism and, if necessary, other law and order related crimes,” Chief Minister Madhu Koda said here on Tuesday night. Koda said it was just a matter of time before the battalion comes into force.

The state had on October 28 witnessed one of the worst naxal attacks in which 19 villagers were mowed down by the activists of CPI (Maoist). Former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi’s son was one among the victims. The Maoists, who operate in 18 of the 24 districts, have been trying to get a foothold in the Santhal Pargana division, which is free from extremism.

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/004200711071616.htm

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Jharkhand Dy CM urges parties to fight extremism

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 7, 2007


Giridih, Nov 06: Jharkhand Deputy Chief Minister Stephen Marandi on Tuesday appealed to all the political parties to rise above politics to curb extremism.

“Statements and counter statements are issued soon after any incident involving Naxalites and continue for some time before it die down. It should not be that way. We should continue to ponder over how to curb the problem,” Marandi said.

Marandi, who called on former Jharkhand Chief Minister Babulal Marandi, who lost his son in the Chilkaridih massacre, to express condolences told reporters that all politicians should rise above party-level to address the long standing menace.

“We are in the process of reviewing the Naxal policy… Everyone should involve oneself in bringing about a concrete solution to the Naxal problem,” he said.

He said Jharkhand did have meetings with border states, Orissa and Bihar on Naxal problems and efforts were on for similar meetings with other border states.

http://www.zeenews.com

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