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Archive for December 3rd, 2007

POSCO opponents take up arms in Orissa

Posted by Admin on December 3, 2007

POSCO opponents take up arms in Orissa

KalingaTimes Correspondent
Jagatsinghpur/Bhubaneswar, Dec 2: Coming under the banner of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, hundreds of villagers on Sunday participated in a procession in the area earmarked for POSCO-India’s mega steel plant project in Orissa Jagatsinghpur district.

The agitating villagers, including a sizeable number of women and children, were armed with lathis, spears, bows and arrows and other sharp weapons.

Raising slogans against the state government and the South Korean company, the villagers marched through several hamlets in Dhinkia gram panchayat and adjoining villages to show their unity and strength.

The protestors also criticised the role of the local Biju Janata Dal legislator Damodar Rout for instigating people from nearby areas to attack their men.

The march ended with a meeting where their reiterated their resolve to continue their opposition to the State government’s move to acquire land for the steel project.

Abhay Sahu, president of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, told presspersons at Dhinkia that the villagers were left with no other option except taking up arms in the wake of the Thursday’s attack on them by hundreds of people who claimed to be supporters of the project.

“So far the people were agitating peacefully. The Thursday’s incident has compelled them to take up arms for protecting their life, land and livelihood sources,” Sahu said.

At least 18 persons, mostly those opposing the steel mill project, were injured when a large number of people descended at Balitutha and hurled crude bombs on those sitting on a dharna against land acquisition in the area and them.

The opponents are now apprehensive about further attacks on them by the proponents of the steel project in view of the statements made by government officials that land demarcation work for the project were likely to begin shortly.

The deployment of additional platoons of police in the area has also added to their fear.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had also told reporters in Bhubaneswar on Saturday that the government wanted the project to come up as per schedule.

The company has announced to perform the ground breaking ceremony of the project on April 1 next.

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Left demands pulling out of police from POSCO site

Posted by Admin on December 3, 2007

KalingaTimes Correspondent
Bhubaneswar , Dec 2: Orissa units of four prominent Left parties on Sunday demanded immediate withdrawal of police from the area earmarked for the proposed POSCO steel project in Jagatsinghpur district.

Addressing a press conference here, senior leaders of CPI(M), CPI, Forward Block and CPI(M-L) alleged that the Naveen Patnaik Government was now trying its best to crush the agitation by the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti by using police and anti-social elements.

Blocking roads to oppose attack on anti-POSCO activists

A total of 16 platoons of police were deployed in the area to `terrorise' the villagers opposing acquisition of their land for the POSCO steel project, they said.

The people of Dhinkia gram panchayat, who were peacefully opposing the government's attempt to hand over of their land to POSCO-India, have been virtually kept under house arrest with police restricting their movement from all sides, CPI leader Dibakar Nayak said.

Condemning the Thursday's attack on the Sangram Samiti activists at Balitutha locality, Nayak announced the launch of a statewide to condemn the attack on anti-POSCO activists and the attempts of the authorities to acquire fertile land for the POSCO steel project.

CPI(M) leader Subhas Singh said those who hurled bombs on the peaceful agitators at Balitutha were not supporters of the steel project, but anti-socials and people brought from far off places. The government was trying to create a divide among the people in the region to acquire land for the project, he said.

The Left leaders demanded that the government should convene a meeting of all political and the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti to resolve the controversy over the POSCO project.

Questioning the administration for not arresting those who attacked the anti-POSCO activists on Thursday, the leaders expressed apprehension that the anti-POSCO activists could be attacked again by the so-called supporters of the steel project.

Meanwhile, the Bhubaneswar district unit of the CPI(M) staged a road block agitation at Jayadev Vihar locality of the Capital city to oppose the attack on the anti-POSCO activists.

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How India’s Poor Fight Left & Right

Posted by Admin on December 3, 2007

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Written by Kalam Nishan Singh
Sunday, December 02, 2007

India has some 530 districts, Pakistan has less than half. In more that 200 districts, the writ of the Indian Government is seriously challenged. There are many districts where no public servant wants to be posted as the District Collector. But New Delhi’s foreign policy hinges on telling the world all the time that the Pakistanis do not know how to run their country.

In large swathes of India, the self-proclaimed great nuclear power and one of the world’s fastest growing economies, New Delhi’s helplessness is legendary before the umpteen people’s movements inspired by self-aspirational ideas or fights for land, security and self-respect.

In Nandigram, the world saw what the Indian state is capable of doing to its people. The mask came off from the face of even India’s so-called progressive forces. The pro-people communist government finally revealed its Dracula teeth and monster claws as the CPI(M) cadres went maiming, looting, threatening, raping, killing the poorest of the poor in Nandigram to help corporates like the Indonesia’s Salim group to set up a Chemical Hub in the region. The CPI(M) did something similar earlier in Singur where its cadres beat to pulp the opposition as the government acquired 10,000 acres of land for the Tatas.

But then this is the kind of stuff that India has been doing to its teeming millions for decades now, stealing their land, rivers, forests, security for the upper crust, the only crust to which the India International Center is cued in to.

What has been the response of the Indian government to the many many Nandigrams across India? In vast areas of Bihar, private armies of the thug-politicians and resistance groups are fighting ugly, armed battles everyday. In Chattisgarh, the writ of the government can be enforced in only small swathes. In Jharkhand, the Chief Minister publicly says he is only sure of his orders being followed in Ranchi. As for rest of the state, New Delhi is only a distant power.

The Government of India is merely a rumour in vast areas of the country.

In West Bengal, Chief Minister Budhadeb Bhattarcharya _____ said atrocities of the CPI(M) cadres on the poor was a way of paying them back in their own coin. Here, then, dear Indian Establishment, we bring you the saga of real India paying New Delhi back in its own coin.

In the small town called Sukma along Chhattisgarh’s state Highway 43, the only sign of the government of India are the lonely electric poles. Lonely, because there are no cables strung on them. Most roads are bad, not because the state PWD did not use good quality material, but because land mines meant to keep out the Indian state’s police and paramilitary forces are made of exceptionally good quality. Every time someone negotiates these paths, hawk eyed locals check you out with a piercing gaze to judge which side are you on.

State of statelessness starts here. Welcome to the territory where India is a distant entity, represented occasionally by a khaki clad gun totter representative of India who is too afraid to tip toe over the land mines. One hour flight distance away from Bombay, this too shows up on the map as India. On Manmohan Singh’s mindscape, this is marked out as the single most serious internal security threat to India.

And there are so many shapes and sizes of this threat, so many different intensities, that the simplistic-solution loving India which has always hated complexity and loved a linear reading of any problem has devised an all encompassing tag for it: Naxalism.

Globalization, booming Indian economy, 10 per cent growth rate, 11th Five Year Plan. Men like Manmohan Singh will be lost here. Unfortunately for the designers of the new India, a country exists outside the seminar rooms of the India International Centre also. Too bad, there is something south of South Delhi also. This is called the real India.

It is from this place that the have-nots of an unevenly prospering nation wage a grim war against the government, armed with weapons mostly stolen from “the enemy”, India’s security forces, and in many areas, with an ideology imported from the China of Mao Tse-Tung, from the 1960s.

There is no CPI(M) apologist here to talk about modern China. Alongside the local sesame, teak and mahua trees, an extreme doctrine has been sending deep roots into the tribal psyche, especially among the warrior tribes of Madias and Kois. The tribals allege that for decades, the government and its business cronies have carried out a multibillion-rupee trade in local tobacco and firewood, without sharing the spoils with them. So, the government has been shunted out. The state is recruiting boys and girls as young as 15 as special police officers. These armed youngsters patrol the roads.

On a recent excursion, Stevan Desai of the Hindustan Times, found how every government-run primary school, post office and hospital here has been taken over by Naxalites — the local engines of Maoist revolutionary thought who take their name from a 1967 peasant uprising in Naxalbari, West Bengal. Chhattisgarh now is the Liberated Zone’s bloodiest battleground. Desai is a brave reporter, and a sincere one. Not many of India’s pen pushers are now able to take time off to write about anything other than Indian Idol clown of its American counterpart, unless it is for some equally dumb film star.

In Maoist territory, a few rusty hand pumps are the only memories of a fugitive government. The schools, the dams, even the tax system, are run by the Naxalites. Villagers pay with money, or with food, shelter, clothes and medicines. Families who cannot even afford that in this desperately poor area where the monthly per capita income is Rs 200 (40 per cent below the national average) give their men and boys to the revolution as tax.

“The Maoists told my family we have a choice: either the men join the movement or pay up Rs 500. We were given three chances to pay, in food grains, if not cash,” says 19-year-old Pancham Dhulia at Kurti, the second of the five relief camps on the 80-km highway from Sukma to Konta where victims of the Maoists or people disgruntled with them live in constant fear of reprisal. “My family could not pay. They handed me over to the movement as tax.”

Such recruits ensure that your journey from Jagdalpur, 300-odd km from state capital Raipur, to Pamed, is a 20-hour detour through neighboring Andhra Pradesh.

There is a shorter road through a village called Chintalnar, where security forces have not ventured for months now. This road is heavily littered with Claymore landmines, which first earned their stripes killing thousands in World War II. Relentless sniper fire could make the road even shorter for the casual visitor.

The ambushed police station in Bijapur did not particularly want to be the last representative of the Indian state in this area. All other government institutions have withdrawn. Stevan Desai quoted Rajendar Vij, Inspector-General of Police (Bastar Range) as saying, “We had asked for its closure.” There are no telephones here, no cell signal, no electricity.

Policemen say there are several areas deep in Bijapur and Dantewada where they have not ventured for two decades. In Dantewada, the violence has wiped out 644 tribal villages. The Maoists are likely to re-distribute this land. Naxalites, like the police, have Insas rifles, Kalashnikovs, light machine guns, SLRs, and .303s. They also have more numbers.

The other road into the Liberated Zone, Highway 43, is the only bleak artery that the government retains in about 1.3 lakh sq km — that’s the size of 300 Mumbais — of Naxalite territory. Along the highway are the five relief camps that stay huddled beside CRPF shelters.

From here, the Indian state issues its nervous and disturbing answer to the siege. It recruits boys and girls as young as 15 as special police officers (SPOs), arming them with World-War-vintage .303 rifles. While the security forces concentrate on their own posts, these youngsters patrol the roads and guard the camps. These counter-insurgents are called Salwa Judum, ‘the movement to purify’, in the local Chhattisgarhi language.

Here, dear WSN readers, is the real face and strategy of the Indian Government. Get the poor to fight with the poor. Salwa Judam with Naxalites, poor CPI(M) cadre with the Nandigram poor, unemployed Sikhs recruited as SPOs with the Sikh militants.

At Konta town on the Andhra Pradesh border, there are 180 SPOs, many of them young girls. They joined so that they could support their families, left homeless and unemployed by the Maoists, with Rs 2,000-3,000 as monthly government allowance. “If I do not hold the gun, I will be killed, now that we are on the other side,” says a 16-year-old SPO, requesting anonymity. “Also, I get to earn to feed my family.”

Barely 2 km away in the red beyond, the children of India’s own intifada play cops and Maoists, in which little boys acting as comrades vanquish the “corrupt and evil” police forces. “The Maoist strategy of catching them young is eerily similar to that of the Khmer Rogue, the Maoist-inspired revolutionary party responsible for the Cambodian genocide,” says an article in the Washington DC-based magazine Global Affairs.

In scores of towns — Pamed, Narainpur and Koligoda — Maoists run the schools, distribute grain and construct dams to irrigate this lush, fertile land. A CRPF Sub-Inspector warned Desai not to cross Sukma, which houses the last petrol station and the last bottles of soft drink. His words should haunt New Delhi for many many years of the battles that are still in the future: “It’s a war and, forget winning, we do not know how to fight it.”

Listen to it, India. You do not know how to fight this war, because no nation state has ever devised a fool proof way of fighting its own people. You are arraigned against yourself. You are killing your own. You are killing yourself. What does one say to a suicide-minded nation? Go, take a jump!

Kalam Nishan Singh can be reached at

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Maoists call for spreading people’s war across the country

Posted by Admin on December 3, 2007

Monday December 3 2007 00:00 IST

RAIPUR: The banned CPI (Maoists) on Sunday called for spreading the people’s war to every nook and corner of the country while celebrating the People’s Guerrilla Army (PLA) week from Sunday.

The Maoists have pasted posters in the Bastar region, urging activists to take their war to all the corners of the country, a top police officer said here.

On December 2, 2000, the Naxalites formed the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) in the memory of three of their Central Committee Members – Shyam, Mahesh and Murali, who they claimed were killed by Andhra Pradesh Police in fake encounters.

After the Maoists Communist Centre of India (MCCI) and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) merged to form CPI (Maoists) on September 21, 2004, they converted the PLGA into PLA and vowed to step up their armed struggle, police said.

During the PLA week, the Maoists had been specifically targeting security forces, but of late they have started attacking strategic installations like telephone exchanges, railway stations and tracks and electricity towers, they said.

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Maoists kill policeman, derail goods train in Chhattisgarh

Posted by Admin on December 3, 2007

Raipur (PTI): Naxalites on Sunday killed a policeman and seriously injured an officer in Chhattisgarh where they also caused derailment of an iron ore-laden train in Dantewada district.

The Maoists’ attacks came a day when they began celebrating People’s Guerrilla Army (PLA) week from today in memory of their comrades.

Armed with sharp weapons, a group of Maoists attacked two policemen in front of a police station in Dantewada district, about 550km from here, and killed a Head Constable and seriously wounded an Assistant Sub-Inspector, Dantewada police sources told PTI by phone.

The extremists also looted an AK-47 and a .303 rifles from the policemen, they said.

In the other incident, a goods train derailed when the Maoists removed a portion of the track near Kamalur in Bailadila iron ore mining area in Dantewada, police said. The derailment badly affected railway traffic.

Meanwhile, about 150 armed extremists stormed the Rokel market of Chhindgarh police station area of Dantewada district but there was no report of any casualty, they said.

As Maoists began celebrating their PLA week, police are expecting more attacks in the coming days.

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States slow to beef up police, give Naxals more play

Posted by Admin on December 3, 2007

NEW DELHI: The states’ casual attitude towards filling vacancies in police forces is pushing up levels of Naxal activity. This is borne by the fact that the four states worst-hit by Left-wing extremism — Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa — are also the ones with the largest shortfall in police personnel against the sanctioned manpower.

The four states bordering each other are conducting joint intelligence-based counter-operations to bust Naxal hideouts in the contiguous forests, but lag far behind when it comes to policing manpower, both at the officer and non-officer levels. The shortfall of officers/men in these states ranges between 1,452 and 5,185 officers, and 5,892 and 14,439 men.

Bihar, which has the lowest and most disturbing police to population ratio at 0.6 and a whopping 19,624 vacancies, is arguably the worst-performing of all the Naxal-hit states. Unfilled posts in the state police account for over 30% of the total sanctioned strength. Jharkhand comes second, with a 0.9 police-population ratio and a good 24% shortfall in police officers (1,452) and men (11,746).

Chhattisgarh and Orissa fare no better, although the former has of late been making an effort to make up for the shortfall with fresh recruitment. However, it has a shortfall of 1,749 officers and 5,892 men (21.54%). Orissa has vacancies translating into 19.93% of the total sanctioned strength (3,032 officers and 6,662 men).

For the other Naxal-hit states too, the existing police vacancies pose a problem. In Andhra Pradesh, they constitute 7.72% of the total sanctioned strength of 51,355 officers/men; in Madhya Pradesh, 5.99% of the 78,779 sanctioned strength, Maharashtra 7.36% and UP 9.30%. Interestingly, West Bengal is one of the poor performers, with 18.94% posts lying vacant.

As per statistics put out by the MHA in its last status report on Left- wing extremism, incidents during the first half of 2007 went up from 173 to 225 in Jharkhand during the corresponding period in 2006, from 63 to 80 in Bihar and from 24 to 45 in Orissa. In Chhattisgarh, though incidents fell from 374 to 343, police casualties shot up from 53 in the first six months of 2006 to 109 in the corresponding period of this year.

The Centre has reminded the poorly performing states to augment their police strength to the sanctioned levels. But even though Chhattisgarh and Bihar have moved in the right direction by restarting recruitment, Jharkhand lags , being slow to recruitment of officers for the past several years.

The low recruitment has also affected the intelligence operations, with special branches of the police in Naxal-hit states not only understaffed, but also bereft of competent officers and modern surveillance equipment. In May this year, the MHA, on its own, wrote to Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa governments on the need to spruce up their intelligence mechanisms by increasing manpower, inducting competent officers and procuring better surveillance equipment.

The states subsequently submitted plans for modernisation of their police, including a separate plan for strengthening the special branches, for which the Centre sanctioned funds in September. However, the states are yet to utilise the funds. Given that the counter-Naxal operations are not up to the mark due to lack of actionable intelligence, the Centre is keen that at least the intelligence modernisation plans are implemented.

Towards that end, the MHA has convened a meeting with representatives of the Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa government next month.

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Naxal PLGA week begins

Posted by Admin on December 3, 2007

MALKANGIRI, Dec. 2: Naxal PLGA week (Pupils Liberation of Guerrilla Army) began here at Malkangiri from today amidst posters and bandh. It would go on till 8 December. Police patrolling in and outside the district headquarters and combing operations in various sensitive pockets have been intensified. All vehicles are being checked at all entry points of the town. Besides this, Naxalites had succeeded in sticking posters and banners even inside the town for the first time. The police have recovered posters and banners from the DNK Parade ground which is just a few metres away from the SP office and the police reserve office. Thousands of posters have been been pasted all the way from Malkangiri to Motu. Traffic has been disrupted in this region. The Malkangiri SP, Mr Stish Ku Gajbhiye assured that necessary measures have been taken to resume traffic movement from Malkangiri to Motu and said that the security has been put on an alert.

The Naxalites has called for strengthening of the PLGA unit by joining in large numbers in the posters. After the formation of PLGA in 2000, Naxalites blasted the Potteru police out post and the Dhalis house at Potteru in 2001. A police vehicle was blasted in 2002, rice was looted from various GP godowns at kalimela and MV-79 and MV 88 outpost were blown off in 2003 and 2004 December. In 2005, Dhalis house at MV 55 was blown off and arms looted from the security personnel on duty. Keeping this in view, security has been beefed up at Malkangiri. n sns

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