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Archive for August 27th, 2009

Andhra grapples with Maoists

Posted by Admin on August 27, 2009


Beyond the urban bling of Hyderabad lies territory that is giving Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy headaches. At a New Delhi conference of chief ministers to discuss internal security, convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in mid-August, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh said he wanted three districts by the state’s border with Orissa to be formally declared Maoist-affected.

Despite several years of anti-rebel operations—a mix of specially trained forces, better weapons, infiltration, better equipped police posts, utter disregard for human rights niceties, and rehabilitation packages for Maoists—the fire burns.

While Maoists have retreated in the north, central and southern parts of the state, the forested, hilly and coastal east tells a different story. Reddy’s key concern is that several power, irrigation and mining projects planned for the east would be in jeopardy. “Maoists find such activities as ideal pastures,” he said.

Maoists do, as these activities typically involve displacement of populations, and the imperfect exercises breed great resentment—rebel tinder. Alongside, Maoists have taken common cause against Special Economic Zones and the effects of globalization, not just in Andhra Pradesh but across the country.

The rebels have bureaus in most states tasked with recruitment, agitation and raising the level of cadre strength and “awareness”. This is to seed rebellion in several ways, a prelude to “protracted war” to gain political power.

This is a lateral expansion of thought and activity to keep up with the times, as it were, extending the Maoists’ traditional turf of fighting for agrarian, tribal and caste issues.

This is the continuation of a process from as far back as 2004, when a definitive Maoist document, Urban Perspective: Our Work in Urban Areas, recommended that “The centres of key industries should be given importance as they have the potential of playing an important role in the People’s War”—what Maoists call their armed movement.

In 2007, Muppala Laxman Rao, the chief of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), stressed another thought from the document. “We have to adopt diverse tactics for mobilizing the urban masses into the revolution,” said Rao, better known by his nom de guerre Ganapathy, “take up their political-economic-social-cultural issues …”

Reddy is described by Maoists, relatively gently, as “mercenary”. His predecessor, N. Chandrababu Naidu of Telugu Desam Party, even five years after losing the chief ministership, is mentioned in Maoist journals as “the known and despicable American stooge”. This is in great part for Naidu’s unabashed worship of Bill Gates, and PowerPoint frenzy to tout “Cyberabad” at both local and global investment seminars even as large swathes of the state lay in tatters; and farmers killed themselves by the thousands, driven by debt and desperation.

Congress’ Reddy learnt from Naidu’s mistakes and opted for more inclusive policies. Among other things, he launched the Indiramma (Mother Indira) project with fanfare in early 2006. A double entendre of pleasing masters and political economy—the acronym expands to Integrated Novel Development in Rural Areas and Model Municipal Areas—it sought to cover every village panchayat in three years and provide what the state has not in decades. Primary education to all; health facilities where there are none; clean water; pucca houses with latrines; electricity connections to all households; roads; and so on.

The halting success of the project, in bits reborn as the Andhra Pradesh Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, contributed to Reddy’s re-election earlier this year. However, his recent remarks are revealing.

Andhra Pradesh has battled post-Naxalbari rebels for three decades. It raised a now-hardened special force, the Greyhounds, to combat rebels. But the stick-and-carrot policy of the state has proved patchy.

Policing and brutal suppression of Maoists has not effectively been replaced in these areas by development works and delivery of dignity to the poor and marginal. And so, these places continue to be deeply vulnerable to Maoist activity. Reddy is understandably nervous about developments in eastern Andhra Pradesh, both for their immediacy and potential to reignite churn elsewhere.

To battle Maoists and other forces such as radical Islamism, Reddy at the New Delhi conference said Andhra Pradesh has established a new force: OCTOPUS. It stands for Organisation for Counter Terrorism and Operations.

The state already has at hand several Union government-controlled paramilitaries, in their acronyms CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force), IRB (India Reserve Battalion), and the newly formed and giddily named CoBRA (Combat Battalion for Resolute Action), aimed at Left-wing rebellion.

As Reddy must realize, acronyms with aggressive intent can only go part of the way.

Sudeep Chakravarti writes on issues related to conflict in South Asia. He is the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country. He will write a fortnightly column on conflicts that directly affect business. Respond to this column at rootcause@livemint.com

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Death penalty for 2 Maoist activists

Posted by Admin on August 27, 2009


ISHVENDU JAIPURIAR
Hazaribagh, Aug. 26: A fast-track court in Chatra awarded the death penalty to two Maoists for killing a policeman, looting arms and torching a government vehicle in 1998.

The fast-track court-III of Srikant Rai went through the evidence provided by the police — they had built a watertight case — and heard all 13 witnesses before coming out with the death verdict today, a first by any court in the district.

According to sources, on November 24, 1998, a police team was in Atampur village of Simaria conducting raids. The group was ambushed by armed Maoists, who killed three persons on the spot.

They were two policemen — Binod Singh and Yogendra Kumar Vats — besides a chowkidar’s son.

The Maoists later looted the arms of the policemen and set their vehicle ablaze before fleeing.

An FIR was lodged in Simaria (case no 85/98) and later two rebels were arrested — Krishna Ganjhu and Ramdev Mahto.

Though this was a landmark judgment in Chatra, rebels have been awarded the death penalty before.

In 2003, three extremists were awarded the death penalty by a Hazaribagh court for killing 14 people in Beltu, a remote village in Keredari block in April 2001.

Chatra has suffered for long due to Maoist terror, having had to forgo any kind of development and associated benefits.

When planners and those with construction projects came to the district, the rebels would strike, triggering panic and ensuring that others with similar ideas stayed away.

Several policemen have been killed and, over the years, residents have come to terms with following Maoists’ diktat in order to live in peace.

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Kashmir government asked to pay Rs.500,000 for death in custody

Posted by Admin on August 27, 2009


New Delhi, Aug 22 (IANS) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to pay Rs.500,000 to the family of a man who was allegedly “tortured” and electrocuted six years ago by the state police.

The NHRC has also asked the state government to submit within two months a compliance report with proof of payment made to the victim’s family.

Mohan Lal of Amritsar was arrested by the police July 1, 2003, from Jammu for his alleged involvement in a burglary case.

“He was tortured during the interrogation following which he died on July 2, 2003, in the Police Line Hospital of Jammu. The first postmortem conducted at Government Medical College Jammu disclosed 16 ante-mortem (fatal) injuries on Mohan Lal’s body,” the rights body said in a statement.

Lal’s relatives then took his body to Amritsar and did a second autopsy which “revealed that there were 41 ante-mortem injuries, including six marks of electric shocks”, the statement added.

The commission, which took up the matter on a complaint filed by human rights activist Suhas Chakma, issued notice to the Jammu and Kashmir government.

“The state government failed to submit reply to the notice,” the statement said, adding that the commission then recommended that the Jammu and Kashmir government pay monetary relief of Rs.500,000 to the deceased’s next of kin.
Sindh Today

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Kashmiris to continue liberation movement: JKLF

Posted by Admin on August 27, 2009


Srinagar, Aug 22 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front has said that the people of Kashmir will continue their liberation struggle till its logical end.

The JKLF Acting Chairman, Bashir Ahmad Butt Bashir Ahmad Butt, while addressing a public gathering at Bihama Chowk in Ganderbal, said that lakhs of people had offered supreme sacrifices of their lives since 1947 for the Kashmir cause and their mission would be accomplished at all costs.

“We can’t forget their sacrifices and will take their mission, which is their trust with us, to its logical end. We are trustees of the martyrdom of all martyrs including Shaheed Muhamamd Maqbool Butt, Ashfaq Majid Wani, Sheikh Abdul Hamid,” he added.

The party leaders, Showkat Ahmad Bakhshi and Noor Muhammad Kalwal also spoke on the occasion. »

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Jharkhand: Maoists attack on CRPF patroling party

Posted by Admin on August 27, 2009


Bloodshed in bandh final hour
RAJ KUMAR

Ranchi, Aug. 26: A villager playing police guide was killed and a CRPF jawan injured when a squad of rebels led by sub-zonal commander Kundan Pahan ambushed a 38-member security party in Bundu barely an hour before the 48-hour CPI(Maoist) bandh drew to an end last night.

Deputy superintendent of police (DSP), Hatia, Rajeev Ranjan, who survived the attack, said police and CRPF personnel were returning from Ulida after a long-range patrol when the rebels struck.

Tired as they were, the jawans had stopped for some rest at Nawadih Middle School. The school, nestled between dense forests and hills about 35km from the capital on the Ranchi-Jamshedpur highway, made them easy targets.

An armed squad of 100 rebels surrounded the campus around 11pm and began firing indiscriminately from semi-automatic rifles. The security personnel scurried for cover, many taking shelter in classrooms on the 1.8-acre campus.

“Sukhram Munda, a village youth who was guiding us, was killed in the first hail of bullets. CRPF jawan Shivshankar Yadav was injured. We took position in eight classrooms and a gun battle ensued,” Ranjan said, adding that they exhausted 800 rounds during the encounter that lasted for three hours.

The DSP said that the rebels tried to demoralise the force by heckling them and asking them to surrender. “They kept saying that they had laid siege to the campus and we could not escape. Pahan himself was hollering at us,” he added.

Officer in charge of Lapung police station Kuldeep Toppo, who also survived the attack, admitted that he had never faced such a tricky situation. “It was a difficult challenge for us because we had no long-range firearms. I found myself helpless with a 9mm pistol. The encounter ended only after reinforcement and anti-landmine vehicles reached the spot. Bundu sub-divisional police officer Anand Joseph Tigga led the additional force to the school around 2am. We stayed on the campus till 7am,” he said.

A section of police officers said the patrol team had made a strategic mistake. “It was foolish to use the same route for entry and exit, besides entering a forested stretch at night,” one of them said not willing to be named. Senior police superintendent, Ranchi, Praveen Kumar, however, claimed that the security team had been caught unawares.

CRPF jawan Yadav has been admitted to hospital, where his condition is said to be stable. TT

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Maoists attack CRPF camp in Ranchi village, 1 killed

Posted by Admin on August 27, 2009


RANCHI: A group of about 100 armed cadres of CPI(Maoist) attacked a CRPF camp at Nawadih village under Bundu police station in Ranchi district on
Tuesday night leaving a villager dead and a CRPF personnel injured. Two companies of 133-Delta battalion of CRPF are stationed in the village which is located in a Naxal stronghold.

Bundu SDPO Anand Joseph Tigga said the CRPF personnel were returning to their base camp at Bundu at around 10.30 pm when the Maoists launched the attack.

Tigga said the Maoists encircled the temporary CRPF camp at Nawadih and opened indiscriminate fire on the personnel. “The CRPF men opened retaliation fire. However, a jawan Shiv Shankar Yadav suffered a bullet injury in his neck,” he said.

The encounter continued for nearly two-and-a-half hours in which the CRPF fired three mortar rounds, six high explosives bombs. The two sides also exchanged about 2000 rounds of small arm fire. By the time reinforcement arrived, the rebels retreated into the jungles.

The body of a villager, identified as Sukhdeo Munda, was recovered at the encounter site on Wednesday morning with bullet marks on his back and leg. It is believed that Munda was killed in the crossfire.

Tigga said the Maoists squad was led by “zonal commander” Kundan Pahan.

“It seems they were on a look out to carry out attacks on NH-33 but got into an encounter with the CRPF personnel quite by chance,” he said.

Sources said the Kundan Pahan-led Maoist squad were on the lookout to carry out a major strike on the security personnel following the arrest of seven hardcore rebels, including Maoist “sub-zonal commander” David by ranchi police on August 24. TOI

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