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Archive for October, 2007

Maoist network spreads to Nandigram

Posted by Admin on October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 10:56 [IST]

Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri

Kolkata: In a significant breakthrough, the intelligence branch (IB) of the West Bengal police have come to know how arms and ammunition are being sent to activists of Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee (land eviction resistance committee) that is spearheading a movement to retain control over Nandigram.

What is even more alarming, according to IB findings, is that their firepower has increased significantly over the past three months. This is due to uninterrupted supply of sophisticated arms by Maoist guerrillas. The IB report has further pointed out that a group of six Maoist explosives and firearms specialists have already reached Nandigram to train the activists.

According to IB sources, all six members of the group are in the most-wanted category, with several cases of murder against them.

The six-member team includes Ranjit Pal, Gauranga Chakraborty and Sangita Pal, all of whom are wanted for a series of insurgency activities in the districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia.

As per the IB findings, apart from country-made single shooter guns, muskets and revolvers, the committee is in procession of at least two AK47 rifles, three selfloading rifles and over 60 mortars of various ranges.

“All of these came into Nandigram is different consignments along with the Maoist guerrillas.We suspect that these Maoists have also brought to Nandigram the high quality explosive Neogel 90 along with them,” a senior IB official said.

The IB has also secured information that these sophisticated arms are not supplied free by the Maoists. “We have come to know that Maoists are selling these items at a nominal cost to the committee activists. However, we are not yet sure who is proving the funds,” the IB official said.

Source : DNA

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Maoists blamed for nandigram violence;CRPF requisitioned; Mamata firing trashed

Posted by Admin on October 31, 2007

Statesman News Service

KOLKATA, Oct. 29: Holding the Maoists responsible for the recent trouble in Nandigram, chief minister Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said the state government had requisitioned Central forces to establish a rule of law in the trouble-torn area (The Union home minister called the chief minister last night to take stock of the situation). But at the same time, Mr Bhattacharjee, made it clear that the state would not initiate police action at the moment as he did not want to repeat the 14 March incident in which 14 people were killed in police firing. He preferred to deal with the situation politically instead. He said the Opposition parties lacked political will to solve the problem and trashed Miss Mamata Banerjee’s claim that her convoy
had been fired upon yesterday.

He said that the state government’s writ had not run in Nandigram for the past 10 months, despite an announcement that no land would be acquired there for a proposed chemical hub. (In fact, the Centre too got into the act today to try and calm the situation, stating that there was no proposal to set up an SEZ at Nandigram. A Union commerce ministry statement said: “No SEZ is being set up at Nandigram. Also, there is no application proposing to set up an SEZ at Nandigram”).

The chief minister said no development work could be undertaken in Nandigram-I block and in parts of Nandigram-II block. Block development officials were coming to work but have failed to
operationalise, as it were, any development plans. Panchayats had the money, but no work could be undertaken, he said. A police station was there but policemen were prevented from moving freely, he added. “But armed persons and Naxalites are moving freely there (in Nandigram). We have specific information of the Naxalites. Maoist leader Ranjit Pal who is accused of killing Sudhir Mahato, is present there with his group. APDR’s outfit Bandi Mukti Committee also has a
presence there. But we want peace. We are appealing to the Opposition to hold talks with the district authorities so that problem could be solved,” Mr Bhattacharjee said.

“People are suffering as no developmental work could be undertaken. 1,500 CPI-M supporters are yet to go back to their villages. They had been driven out of their homes early this year. But we are still willing to talk to the Opposition,” he added. When asked why the state government had failed to straighten the law and order situation in Nandigram,

the chief minister said: “I won’t call it a failure of the state government. Inhospitable terrain helps the gun runners. I have not thought of deploying Army because I believe good sense will prevail.

Union home minister Mr Shivraj Patil had called me yesterday to find out how things were in Nandigram. I told him that the state has requisitioned one battalion of CRPF personnel,” Mr Bhattacharjee added.

The chief minister also questioned Trinamul chief Miss Mamata Banerjee’s will to solve the problem. “We have declared no land would be acquired there but still the Bhumi Uchched Protirodh Committee exists. I ask why? If there is a political will, the problem can be solved.” Referring to reports of an attack on Miss Mamata Banerjee’s motorcade in Nandigram, Mr Bhattacharjee said: “There is no basis of her allegation. She had adequate security.”

The West Bengal Human Rights Commission suo motu sought a report from the chief secretary on the recent violence in Nandigram.

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Interview whith Maoist leader Ram Bahadur Thapa. (Nepal Times.)

Posted by Admin on October 31, 2007

“I stand with the revolution”
Interview with Maoist leader Ram Bahadur Thapa in Nepal, 28 October

By raising demands on the eve of the constituent assembly elections, the Maoists are accused of being against polls. Why are you going against the very agenda you raised?
On a superficial level, it looks like the CPN-M was behind the delay in elections. But if you take a closer look, you’ll see that the NC and other parties are the main culprits. Take a look at our demands, and see if they are legitimate or not. The parties are responsible for the election postponement because they refused to budge.

Don’t you see that you are endangering the peace process and a return to war?
We have seen that danger. If the government tries to suppress our peaceful revolution with weapons then it will be clear that they have no desire to hold elections or change to a republic. I don’t think they’ll make such a stupid move. But history has shown that in extreme cases, people do resort to stupidity. So we haven’t dismissed that possibility.

In the span of one-and-a-half years, what have you accomplished and what have you lost?
Our recently concluded fifth plenum answers this question. There were forces that tried to isolate us by labelling us terrorists. They have failed. The middle class no longer misunderstands us and we have established international relations. But there have also been losses. We have had trouble making the changes we wanted. We failed to make the people understand many of our agreements. Regressive forces have made use of that. Our weaknesses in madhesi, janjati and republican issues have been exposed.

Are you a hardliner?
No. There are right-wingers, middle-of-the-roaders, and leftist factions in our own party and they are in constant conflict.

So where do you stand among those factions?
We are revolutionaries and I fall into that category. Our party follows the revolutionary code. I am on the side of revolution and if the party line goes against my beliefs, then I will stand with the revolution.

It is said that you have tried to establish yourself against Chairman Prachanda.
That is also part of a conspiracy. I do not surface in public much, and that is my weakness. This rumour has spread because certain factions wish it.

You have said that you do not want a republic like that in Iraq or Sikkim.
We want a Nepali republic, where Nepalis make the decisions. Foreign help will be required, but not foreign direction. If foreigners try to direct us instead of just helping us, it will be an attack on our national integrity.

You have maintained that there is an Indian hand in everything, but we do not see you opposing it.
Our line on India is clear. There are many treaties and agreements with Nepal that need to be changed. We don’t want to ruin our relationship with India, we want to make it better in the future. But our party will oppose India’s incorrect actions. Certain factions in India are hatching a conspiracy against the movement of the Nepali people. This is an attack on our independence. The madhesi incidents are also anti-national.

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Naxal explosive seized in bihar

Posted by Admin on October 31, 2007

naxal explosive seized in bihar

The Principal Home Secretary of Bihar Afzal Amanullah has warned that the naxalites may carry major attack in Bihar in coming days. On Monday, Bihar Police seized more than 400 kg of explosives, including high-powered gelatin sticks stacked by the Maoists, in Bihar’s Naxal-hit Gaya district.

After receiving information from state intelligence, Bihar Police conducted raids and seized explosives from a hut in Ghurenabandh jungle under Barachatti police station in Gaya on Monday.

Gaya Superintendent of Police, Amit Kumar Jain, said:

Acting on a tip-off, that the naxalites were clandestinely transporting the explosives including high-powered gelatine sticks in two bullock-carts to the jungle for a major operation, police raided the hut and seized the explosives. The police also arrested one Ramswaroop Bhuiyan in this connection.

Earlier on Saturday, the BJP held the UPA government’s “soft policies” responsible for the development of naxal network across the country. The party also criticized the biggest civilian killing occurred in Jharkhand that claimed seventeen lives. The BJP leaders also attacked on Madhu Koda government in Jharkhand for overlooking security concerns in the state.

According to BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy, the UPA government has to be squarely blamed for the naxal killings in Jharkhand. Due to the government’s soft policies, naxal activities are spreading rapidly.

He said:

The Madhu Koda government is more interested in individuals and their constituencies. It has overlooked the interests of the state and security concerns. The government has no responsibility towards the people of the state. This is the complete failure of a government where an independent MLA is CM with the support of RJD, Congress, JMM and other UPA allies.

Rudy further said that the Koda administration has used the huge funds, actually meant for police modernization, for purchasing vehicles for ministers and providing amenities for the ministers in the state.

Tags: BJP, Bihar, Gaya, Naxalites, Jharkhand, Amit Jain, India

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Cop suspended for Maoist strike, starts fast unto death

Posted by Admin on October 31, 2007

Ranchi, Oct 30 – A Jharkhand policeman has protested his suspension for alleged dereliction of duty after Maoists killed 19 people in Giridih district of Jharkhand, and has gone on a fast unto death.Vidhu Bhushan Dwivedi, a police inspector, said he has been made a scapegoat in the
incident and Sunday sat on a fast in the same field where the massacre occurred.

His wife and his 16-year-old son are also protesting with him.’Why am I being made a scapegoat? I am being targeted at the behest of the Giridih superintendent of police (SP) Arun Kumar Singh,’ Dwivedi said Tuesday.’If my suspension is not revoked, I will end my life here,’ he threatened.Dwivedi said he has had to face problems in the past as well.’My son underwent a
kidney transplant and I had to fight in the court to get the reimbursement from the government. I have to fight for everything.

‘I have to spend Rs.15,000 per month on my son’s treatment. How can a suspended person afford such an expensive treatment?’ he asked.Dwivedi was suspended along with three other policemen for dereliction of duty.At least 19 people, including son of former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi, were gunned down early Saturday at a function in Chilkhari village of
Giridih district. When the incident took place, no security personnel was present at the spot. The suspended policemen had reportedly left before the function ended.

Indo-Asian News Service </>

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Giridh:Reprisal for anti-Naxal stand

Posted by Admin on October 29, 2007

NEW DELHI: Mainline politicians are rarely the target of Naxalites in trouble-torn Jharkhand, where Maoists run a parallel show in 18 of its 24 districts — and, the reason is not far to seek. Most politicians have now accepted Naxalites to be an inseparable part of the system at grassroots.

So much so that poll-time boycott calls of the extremists are often “bought off”, whatever their party affiliation.

Jharkhand is reeling under abject poverty, which, along with its hilly and forested topography, offers the Naxalites a conducive environs to spread their wings, and the number of affected districts has grown from eight in 2000 to 18 now.

The family of former chief minister and Koderma MP Babulal Marandi, whose 21-year-old son was killed, along with 18 others, in the anarchic Giridih district, has been on constant target because he is the only leading politician to have openly spoken out against the Maoists.

Marandi admitted as much on Saturday evening: “It is true that my family and I have been on their target because I have opposed the violent ways of the Naxalites.”

“Had the other politicians been honest enough in fighting the reign of terror with some degree of unity, I would not have lost my son, who had nothing to do with the Naxalites,” the state’s first CM told TOI from Giridih.

When contesting the Lok Sabha election in 2004, and later a by-poll for the same seat in 2006, Marandi made anti-Naxalism his major campaign plank.

He had escaped an ambush by the Maoists in 2003 in which three persons, including two policemen, were killed. The Maoists continued their campaign in Giridih, Marandi’s home district, and killed 16 people in Bhelwa Ghati in September 2005.

A senior police officer, who has served in Naxalite-affected districts of the state, agreed with Marandi. “He is the only politician talking against them, and very openly at that.

Most politicians have a pact with the extremists during elections. That is why boycott calls are not enforced in areas for which the Maoists have been compensated,” the police officer said.

“A former MP CM, during his campaign for polls, started speaking against the Naxalites. The local candidate panicked so much that he later asked the politician not to utter a word against Maoists or else he would lose the race,” the police officer recounted.

During the cultural programme on Friday, the Maoists had actually come looking for Marandi’s brother Nunulal, whose conduct, according to them, had not been good.

They announced this from the stage in presence of a large crowd. In March too, the Maoists killed JMM MP Sunil Mahto because he was “anti-people”, and not due to his political activities or for taking an ideologically opposed stand. CM Madhu Koda said his government would look for a solution in a new surrender policy and by speeding up development work in the affected regions.

JMM chief Shibu Soren pinned his hopes on the large-scale intake from the rural areas in the proposed police recruitment plan. Clearly, they are not talking Marandi’s language.

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Indexing inhumanity, Indian style

Posted by Admin on October 29, 2007

P. Sainath

It took minutes for the top guns to swing into action when the Sensex fell by several hundred points. But no Minister came forward to calm the nation when India hit the 94th rank in the Global Hunger Index.

It all happened around the same time. The day the Sensex crossed 19,000, India clocked in 94th in the Global Hunger Index — behind Ethiopia. Both stories did make it to the front page (in one daily at least). But, of course, the GHI ranking was mostly buried inside or not carried at all that day. The joy over the stunning rise of the media’s most loved index held on for a bit the next day. The same day, India clocked in as the leading nation in the number of women dying in childbirth. In this list, the second, third and fourth worst countries put together just about matched India’s 1.17 lakh deaths of women in childbirth. This story appeared in single column just beneath the Sensex surge.

Next came the fall of several hundred points in the Sensex. That is, barely a couple of days later. It took minutes for the top guns to swing into action. Fingers were in every dyke. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram lost no time in reassuring worried investors via the media. Other top officials were all over television, doing the same. “FM soothes the Market’s nerves” ran the ticker. The barrage — both media and official — kept up through the day. The panels of experts convened to celebrate the 19K summit were reconvened to explain why they’d tripped off the cliff. They then droned on about the merits of P-Notes, regulation and the future. What stood out, of course, was the swiftness of both government and media response to each twitch in the index.

No Minister came forward to calm the nation when India hit the 94th rank in the Global Hunger Index. That’s out of 118 countries. The daily, DNA, though, did capture the essence of the story with its report: “Ethiopians manage hunger better than us.” For indeed, they do these days. At least by the measure of the International Food Policy Research Institute’s Global Hunger Index. Ethiopia ranks a notch above us at 93. Draw the baseline anywhere in the 1990s, and you’ll find Ethiopia worked better at reducing hunger than we did. Pakistan ranks ahead of us, too, at 88. China logs in at 47. All our South Asian neighbours do better than us on this index, except Bangladesh. And who knows when it will overtake us? None of the countries boasts an economy growing at 9 per cent a year.

You’d think it was an issue worth some attention. But it was hard to find panels debating this on television. Or any editorials in the newspapers doing the same. No Ministers or top babus soothing the nerves of the hungry. No experts with furrowed brows warning that the trends could continue, even worsen.

The GHI is by no means the only measure of what’s happening. The United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organisation put it simply in 2006. Its State of Food Insecurity in the World report confirmed yet again that we have the largest number of undernourished people in the globe. The 2004 edition of the report had shown that India had added more people to the “newly hungry” in the planet than the rest of the world together. There, too, nations much worse off had done far better. Between the years 1995-97 and 2000-02, hunger grew in India at a time when it fell in Ethiopia.

There was also another link begging to be made. Not just between the Sensex and hunger stories. Let’s revert to the latest maternal mortality figures released by the WHO and others. Some 536,000 women died in childbirth in 2005. Of these, every fifth one of them, at least, was an Indian. That is, 117,000 of them. A total that could only be matched by Nigeria, Afghanistan and Congo together. Almost 99 per cent of all these deaths worldwide occurred in developing countries. Much of this, again, is amongst the poorer sections of the population.

If we were to look at specific groups or communities, this would be even clearer. Let alone on the hunger index, India’s rank in the U.N.’s Human Development Index is anyway dismal. There, at 126, we are below Bolivia, Guatemala and Gabon. Yet even that rank does not tell the full story. If we were to isolate the rich and the better off as a group, they might enter the top 10 nations. Efforts last year to look at adivasis as a group led pretty much in the reverse direction. One study found that if we were to derive the HDI for our tribes only, they would rank in the worst off 25 nations of the world.

That’s quite easy to believe. Canada has always been among the top 10 nations of the world in HDI rankings. In fact, it occupied the top slot for some years. Yet, a survey of its native or indigenous people towards the end of the last decade placed them at rank 63. That is, all those natives living on “reservations.” Across the world, tribal people mostly have a poor HDI profile.

And so it is in India, too, where they are pretty much at the bottom. The study that found their HDI to rank amongst the bottom 25 nations of the world, also found things to be worse by the region. The tribes of Orissa, it reports, fall below even the low end of the HDI of sub-Saharan African nations. This is by no means the only study to tell us how India’s tribes are doing. There are tons of official data to show us that in great detail. But there’s no rush to debate their survival in expert panels. They mostly get covered when they resist displacement. Often with loss of life. They make up just eight per cent of the population. But account for over 45 per cent of those losing their lands to projects.

The furore now on the import of wheat is welcome. At least the media have begun to look at the issue. But surely, it is also worth discussing how we came to import wheat in the first place. And how a nation with so many in hunger ended up exporting millions of tonnes of grain this decade. That too, at prices lower than those we offer to millions of poor people in this country.

New heights of misery

And no matter how the Sensex is doing, the misery index for the poor scales new heights in one sector after another. Health costs still mount. They push people into debt even faster than before. A study done for the WHO in six Indian States found that 16 per cent of households it looked at were pushed below the poverty line by heavy medical costs. Nearly 10,000 families from lower income groups were covered by the survey for the years 2002-05. Some 12 per cent had to sell their assets to meet health expenses. Over 43 per cent had to resort to loans for the same reasons.

Our answer to this has been: more of the same. More privatisation. Less and less of a public health system. In Mumbai, extortion by hospitals has become so frequent as to actually find mention in the media. But journalists do not get to make the link between the gutting of public services and the public’s misery. Much less can they track this in terms of private profiteering. That would go against the publication or channel’s stand of privatisation as a cure for all ills.

More than once this year, the Bombay High Court has warned hospitals against the cruel practice of holding back the body of a patient — demanding lakhs of rupees from the family before returning it. It still happens, though. Now even at government hospitals leased out to private managements. So a low income family is suddenly told it owes the hospital a huge sum of money. And that the body of its five-year-old girl will be released only when that sum is paid. A fine example of public-private partnership as it works today.

In fact, it would be good to devise a health index spanning the reform years. One that looks at how both rich and poor have done health-wise. How many years of life, for instance, are taken away from you by ill-health if you are one of India’s less well off citizens? In the world of the media, though, only one index matters: the Sensex. Watching which has spawned a whole little industry in itself. The numbers who pronounce on and debate it (in the media, anyway) are impressive. The oracles reading equity’s entrails for omens. Maybe we need a media relevance index. An MRI scan of mass-produced mediocrity.

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The CRPF deployment in northeast and naxal-affected states are 47 and 32 battalions respectively.

Posted by Admin on October 29, 2007

This year, Ahmed said, CRPF had liquidated 213 militants across the country and caught another 1,800, he said adding the casualty on CRPF side was 55.

Disclosing that there were 37 cases of suicides and two fratricides, Ahmed said they have started a ‘Sanjeevani’ programme to help the stressed personnel.

Asked about the proposed insurance programme for paramilitary personnel, he said the matter was under the consideration of the Home Ministry.

On the cancellation of recruitment process in Bihar due to “irregularities”, Ahmed said he was yet to receive the enquiry report and only after that he would be able to comment whether any CRPF official was involved in the case.

He admitted that the satisfaction level in the housing of personnel was a dismal 12.6 per cent despite best efforts.

“Welfare of our personnel has been receiving our highest attention, but we still have much more to achieve in improving their living and working conditions. We aim to achieve the target of 25 per cent satisfaction level within next five years,” he said.

The CRPF chief said the force has given training to personnel from Sri Lanka and Nepal while in the coming days it will impart training to personnel from Bahrain.

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New method to curb Maoist menace

Posted by Admin on October 28, 2007

Statesman News Service

MIDNAPORE, Oct. 25: Having failed to contain the Maoist activities in Midnapore West, Bankura and Purulia over the years by various means like organisation of football matches, setting up of health camps, construction of tube wells, opening up of schools and other projects to improve the police-public relations and to keep the people of the region happy, the police have now taken steps to choke the income line of the ultras.

According to the police, the Maoists thrive on money collected from businessmen, contractors and thikadars of the areas which are under threat.

The police have spread a dragnet to identify those businessmen who supply money to the Maoists and, if intercepted, stringent action would be taken against them.

But the leaders of the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) said that the businessmen alone should not be harassed for financially supporting the Maoists.

Apart from the ultras, the ruling party cadres also force traders, contractors and thikadars to give money to build up a buffer fund in order to organise massacre as they had perpetrated in Kespur, Garbeta, Nanoor, Nandigram and many other places, Mr Dipak Bose, a central secretariat member of the APDR, alleged.

“Then why do the police single out the Maoists and have set their guns against the traders and the contractors for helping the extremists?” Mr Bose asked. In fact, traders and contractors would not have yielded to the threat and the pressure tactics of the Maoists, if the police had come to their rescue in a big way, Mr Bose said. The truth is that the police are afraid of the Maoists themselves. A case in this point is the incident in which a Maoist squad stormed a contractor’s tent at Chhurimara in Belopahari on the Bengal-Jharkhand border on 22 November 2006.

The ultras torched four trucks, three pay loaders and a generator by pouring 12 drums of diesel stacked by the contractor.
They also took away two-wheelers and set fire to two thatched sheds, besides hitting his workers with rifle butts.
But the jawans of the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) did not dare to challenge the Maoists during the two-hour long operation, though they had camped barely 100 metres away.

The contractor allegedly did not pay the Maoists. He was engaged in the construction of a 14 km-stretch of road to Kankrajhore from Chakadoba under the Prime Minister’s Gramin Sarak Yojna. The work of the Rs 2.5 crore project has been suspended since the incident.
It has, however, been learnt that work will resume soon as the contractor has agreed to concede to the demands of the Maoists.

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Rizwanur Rehman:Maoists dub it a murder

Posted by Admin on October 28, 2007

Anjan Chakraborty
KOLKATA, Oct. 26: Maoists in the state have termed the “unnatural death” of Rizwanur Rehman as murder, which they believe was “carried out in collusion between Mr Ashok Todi and senior Kolkata Police officers”.

Breaking their silence on the issue that has raked up public sentiment for more than a month now, Maoists have claimed that Rizwanur “was murdered as he had dared to fall in love and later marry a Hindu girl”. In a statement issued on 15 October, state secretary of the CPI (Maoists), Mr Soumen, alleged: “The chief minister is not able to shield the guilty officers of Kolkata Police because of the public outrage against administrative high-handedness.”

The statement was issued just two days before Calcutta High Court ordered a CBI inquiry into the death of Rizwanur, while terming the CID inquiry as “illegal”.
Taking a dig at the way the state government had handled Rizwanur’s case, Mr Soumen, while terming the state government’s role as nothing short of a drama, claimed: “People of the state will not forget the drama that chief minister Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and some CPI-M leaders were enacting. Even during Eid, both Hindus and Muslims, had taken out a procession in Rizwanur’s memory, demanding punishment of the accused.”
Maoists also called on the people to boycott all events and functions organised by CPI-M leaders and stay away from makeshift book stalls being put up by the party’s branch committees at pandals during festival days. “We should not forget the injustice meted out by this government and the CPI-M, be it in recent incidents involving Singur, Nandigram, Rizwanur Rehman or corrupt rationing practices, even as we get together to celebrate Durga puja,” the statement said.
The statement of CPI (Maoist) that has been in circulation for the past seven days, has caught the attention of the CID’s Naxal Cell and the state’s Intelligence Branch.
Even the Special Branch of Kolkata Police has been asked to keep an eye on anyone who may be seen to be distributing the statement in areas around Rizwanur’s house in Tiljala Lane.
Some pamphlets (scanned copies above) containing the statement have been seized from areas in South 24-Parganas, Nadia, Midnapore, Hooghly, Midnapore East and West.

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One killed in Nandigram violence, gun battle rages

Posted by Admin on October 28, 2007

Kolkata/Nandigram, India: A villager was killed while several people were injured in a gun battle between activists of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and an anti-land acquisition group in West Bengal’s trouble-torn Nandigram Saturday.
‘One person was killed in fresh violence. The number of the injured is not immediately known but several were injured,’ East Midnapore Superintendent of Police G.A. Srivinas told IANS.

‘The gun battle between the two groups is still raging. The situation is tense,’ he said Saturday afternoon.

The Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC), opposing land acquisition for industry, said the victim – 39-year-old Kaum Kazi – was its member. Kazi died in Takapura area of Nandigram, about 150 km from Kolkata, in East Midnapore district.

‘The administration is solely responsible for the death since a police camp at a Takapura school was removed despite our warning. We want immediate removal of the superintendent of police because he is squarely to be blamed for the violence,’ BUPC leader Abdus Samad said.

‘The CPI-M men are entering the area with full force and the police are facilitating only that,’ he said.

Bengali TV channels said Debabrato Jana, another member of BUPC, also received serious bullet injuries in the gun battle.

‘There were reports of firing and bombs being hurled in Nandigram,’ West Bengal Inspector General (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said in Kolkata.

The incident unleashed fresh tension in Satengabari, Takapura and Bahargunge areas.

With the death, the toll in the Nandigram violence has risen to 24 since January this year when the region erupted in protests over proposed land acquisition for a special economic zone (SEZ), including a chemical hub, in collaboration with Indonesia’s Salim group.

On March 14, at least 14 people were killed and over 100 injured in police firing while protesting against the land acquisition in Nandigram and entry of policemen in the area.

The chemical hub planned there was finally scrapped by the state government in the face of violent protests but the region continues to be tense with the rival groups keeping the issue alive in the run-up to the panchayat elections next year.

Communist patriarch Jyoti Basu Friday said the West Bengal government will pay compensation to families of all those who died in the March 14 violence in Nandigram, irrespective of whether they were killed in police firing.

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Tactical counter-offensive campaign by Maoists

Posted by Admin on October 28, 2007

K. Srinivas Reddy

Chikhadia massacre aimed at maintaining stranglehold in Jharkhand, Bihar

Bound to become a point of discussion among Maoist leadership

Jharkhand government should have been prepared

HYDERABAD: The massacre of 18 persons, including the son of the former Jharkhand Chief Minister, by Maoists in Chikhadia village of Giridih district is part of the Maoist Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) aimed at consolidating their stranglehold in Jharkhand and Bihar.

The victims were mostly tribals and their killing without any compunction, after the suspected target Nunulal Marandi fled the scene, is bound to become a point of discussion even among the Maoist leadership, which had all along been professing that the ‘revolutionary cadres’ would not target civilians but only ‘class enemies.’

The massacre is reminiscent of the killing of a Congress legislator C. Narsi Reddy and eight others in Andhra Pradesh on August 15, 2005. The Maoist hit team had fired with automatic weapons on a meeting where the national flag was unfurled and killed innocents. The Maoists subsequently apologised but the deep resentment among the public about the indiscriminate killings still continues.

The latest massacre comes close on the heels of the assertion of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the police forces should ‘redouble their efforts’ in controlling naxalism. While addressing the police chiefs at the annual DGPs conference in Delhi on October 4, Dr. Singh emphasised a full-fledged security response to the problem.

In a meeting of the Central Committee held in January last week this year, the party decided to continue the Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) in ‘struggle areas.’

The killing of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MP, Sunil Mahato on March 4, 2007 in East Singhbhum district was also carried out on similar lines. Along with the MP, two of his body guards and a party worker were killed in a raid. Mahato, a staunch opponent of Maoists, was watching a football match when the naxalites sneaked into the audience and opened fire.

The abortive attempt on the life of Visakhapatnam MP and former Chief Minister Nedurumalli Janardhana Reddy and his wife, Minister Rajyalakshmi in Andhra Pradesh, last month is also part of the TCOC.

The Maoist chief, Muppala Laxmana Rao, too had announced that the focus of ‘our movement had gradually shifted to Dandakaranya and Bihar-Jharkhand.’ The severe setbacks to the movement in Andhra Pradesh, he claimed, had taught them valuable lessons.

“The situation is qualitatively different from that of earlier periods in that we are now able to advance the movement in a number of States even if we suffer losses and setbacks in one or two States,” he said in a recent interview.

The Jharkhand government should have initiated counter measures in the face of such assertions, especially when there is no dearth of funds for developmental activities and modernisation of the police forces. A recent MHA document on Internal Security in India discloses that Jharkhand had been provided Rs. 182.72 crore under the police modernisation scheme in the last six years, a special grant of Rs. 15 crore for buying communication equipment and weaponry this year, Rs. 20.92 crore under Security Related Expenditure (SRE) reimbursement, Rs. 450 crore under Backward Districts Initiative (BDI) so far.

In addition to providing 16 armoured vehicles, the Centre had also provided five battalions of Central Paramilitary Forces to assist the Jharkhand police in combating the Maoist problem. Yet Jharkhand continues to suffer.

Dr. Singh himself hinted at the problem in his speech at the DGPs’ meeting. He said greater commitment was needed to eliminate the naxalite problem. “…there are many elements to the problem of naxalism. While concerted efforts are being made on the development front to remove any feeling of alienation, the police forces need to redouble their efforts to control the spread of this phenomenon.”

There seems to be a widening gulf between what is being professed and what is being practised at the grassroots level both on developmental and security solutions in Jharkhand

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