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Archive for October 4th, 2009

Maoists Deny Role in Khagaria Massacre

Posted by Admin on October 4, 2009

Patna: October 3, 2009

Maoists Deny Role in Khagaria MassacreRefuting the allegations made by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad Yadav and his ally and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan, the Communist Party of India (CPI-Maoist) leaders, through a message to a local newspaper, denied having played any role in the Khagaria massacre that left 16 people, including 5 children, dead on late Thursday night.

Suspected Maoist leader Sanesh, while expressing sympathy for the families of the victims, in his message to a Hindi daily on Saturday said that it was an attempt to defame the organization and his outfit would trace the killers and punish them fittingly.

Earlier, both Paswan and Yadav had accused the Maoists of killing 16 people while also blaming the government for not providing security to the villagers who, they said, remained soft targets of the leftist ultras.

Maoists Deny Role in Khagaria MassacreThe state government, however, had been steadfast in its stand that the massacre was the result of an old land-related dispute and was not related with the Maoists in the region.

Meanwhile, the state officials on Saturday suspended Khagaria Superintendent of Police (SP) Indranand Mishra and Sub-divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Ajay Kumar Pandey for ‘dereliction of duty’.

Talking to the reporters, Principal Home Secretary Amir Subhani said while 11 people, including the alleged mastermind of the massacre O. P. Mahto, were already in police custody, raids were still going on in the district to apprehend other men who participated in the first such carnage since Janata Dal (U) leader Nitish Kumar became the Chief Minister of Bihar in 2005.

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Chhatisgarh chief minister seeks divine help to fight Maoists

Posted by Admin on October 4, 2009

Chhatisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh Saturday sought divine help to deal with naxal insurgency in the state. He prayed in the Samaleswari and Pataneswari temples in Sambalpur town along with his family members to seek "God’s blessings".

"Naxal menace is one of the biggest problems our country is facing. No big problem can be solved without Goddess’s blessings. Goddess has always emerged victorious against demons, in the duel between goddess and the demons. I sought the blessing of goddess that the evil in people’s heart be annihilated by the power of goddess Durga," Singh told reporters after offering prayer.

Chhatisgarh is one of the worst naxal affected state in the country. He also called for a coordinated effort among the naxal affected states to overcome the problem.

"I feel all the naxal affected states, whether it is Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhatisgarh, Maharastra, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh or Chhatisgarh, should come together to deal with the menace. All the chief ministers had discussed the problem with Union home minister and prime minister. I feel we will work together in future," he added.

Incidentally, he came to offer prayer in his personal chopper on a day, when the Maoists have called a nation wide bandh.


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Maoist leader challenges government to prove claims on Mahato

Posted by Admin on October 4, 2009

The West Bengal government and the police were out to malign arrested tribal leader Chhatradhar Mahato in a bid to take away people’s support for his movement in Lalgarh, top Maoist leader Kishenji claimed today.

“The government, by maligning Chhatradhar, who was spearheading agitations against alleged police excesses in Lalgarh, is trying to destroy a people’s movement,” he said.

He contested the police’s claim of Mahato owning huge property, bank accounts and an insurance policy of Rs one crore, saying, “if it is true let them seize the property and disclose the relevant documents to the press.” Speaking from an undisclosed location, Kishenji said, “Let Home Secretaries Ashok Mohan Chakraborti and Ardhendu Sen and DG Vupinder Singh declare the property owned by Mahato.”

Arrested former Maoist taken to Jharkhand

The Jharkhand-based Maoist squad commander, arrested by a team of West Bengal’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Friday from Hooghly district, was taken to Jharkhand on Saturday on a four-day transit remand.

Chandrabhushan Yadav was arrested on the basis of information given by Mr. Mahato. Anuj Sharma, CID’s Deputy Inspector-General, told reporters that Mr. Yadav held the rank of commander in the Jharkhand Maoist squad and looked after the organisation’s functioning in four districts, including Latehar, Gumla and Lohardaga.

Mr. Sharma said 16 cases of murder, abduction and extortion were pending against Mr. Yadav with the Jharkhand police, who announced a reward of Rs.12 lakh on his arrest. A sum of Rs.67,000 in cash, six mobile phones and documents were found in Mr. Yadav’s possession at the time of arrest, he added.

Mr. Yadav was produced before a court at Chunchura in Hooghly district, from where a Jharkhand police team took him to Jharkhand.

‘Police ploy’

Polit bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), Kishanji, however claimed that Mr. Yadav is a former Maoist who left the organisation “long ago.”

Speaking to The Hindu over telephone from his hideout in Lalgarh, Kishanji alleged that Mr. Yadav’s arrest was a “ploy of the police to carry on with its misinformation campaign.”

Meanwhile, top-ranking police officials interrogated Mr. Mahato in several rounds throughout the day. According to police sources, the interrogations are focussed on extracting information on about Mr. Mahato’s links with city-based Maoist sympathisers and fundraisers.The Hindu

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Red Alert coming soon to a screen near you

Posted by Admin on October 4, 2009

NEW DELHI: Wedded to the gun and determined to manufacture an armed insurrection, the radical Reds have spread their tentacles across large swathes of the country. And Bollywood is ready to capture the growing menace in a forthcoming flick, ‘Red Alert: The War Within’.

"The film couldn’t have been more timely," says director Ananth Mahadevan. He adds, "When I showed the film in Stuttgart, people around the world recalled their own rebellions. They had the same question that the film raises: does the end justify the means?" Viewers might also find shades of Kobad Ghandy in one of the film’s characters played by Vinod Khanna, says Mahadevan.

Since the late 1960s, the Naxalite movement has strongly appealed to a section of urban youth as well as rural masses. But there have been few films on the subject. Films such as Mrinal Sen’s ‘Calcutta 71′, a searing study of naxalism, violence and corruption in the politically-charged Seventies, and Khwaja Ahmad Abbas’ ‘The Naxalites’ (1980), starring Smita Patil and Mithun Chakraborty, were exceptions rather than the rule.

Trade expert Komal Nahta offers an explanation. "Films on naxalism are generally perceived to be depressing and, therefore, find few producers. The common man is not aware of the subject. Hence, it has a sectional or intellectual appeal" he says.

Sudhir Mishra, whose ‘Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi’ (2003) dealt with the problem, offers a different view. "Most Bollywood filmmakers mentally live in New York and London. They are illiterate about real India and find it unfashionable to pick up topical subjects," he says.

Sudhir finds naxalism appealing because it made some of the brightest men from affluent backgrounds, leave the comforts of their homes in pursuit of an idea. "When you explore Indian reality, you realise that over 150 districts are prone to naxalism. That speaks volumes of its reach. Here, the violence is in malnutrition and lack of justice," he says.

There have been some other films on naxalism. Sanjiv Karambelkar’s ‘Lal Salaam’ (2002), starring Nandita Das and Sharad Kapoor, is based on true incidents of victims of police brutality in Nagpur turning into armed rebels due to an unresponsive government. The film flopped in most territories but became a surprise hit in the naxal-infested regions of Bihar.

‘Red Alert’ will also incorporate Y S R Reddy’s chopper crash site in the Nallamala forests. "We replicated the entire forest in Khandala," says Mahadevan. His art director, Sanjay Jhadav, canned shots of Telengana’s signboards, activities of the dalams (naxal groups), market streets and the village square where the cops were hanged and recreated them in Khandala. TOI

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Orissa: Maoists cut off Malkangiri, again

Posted by Admin on October 4, 2009

KORAPUT: Maoists imposed a bandh in Malkangiri on Saturday by blocking the Govindpally Ghat road, the southernmost district’s lifeline to the rest of the state.

The Red rebels had called the 24-hour bandh to protest against the recent arrest of Chhatradhar Mahato, a key leader of a Maoist-backed outfit in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district.

Police said CPI(Maoist) cadres had felled trees on the road connecting the district with Bhubaneswar. Even the 100-km forest road from Malkangiri to Motu, the southernmost town in Orissa, wore a deserted look because no vehicle ventured beyond Malkangiri. The Maoists had also blocked roads at several places between their strongholds of Kalimela and Motu.

"Life has been completely thrown out of gear in the district. Most weekly haats and markets in Maoist-dominated areas remained closed. No person dared to ply his vehicle on the Malkangiri-Motu road. People are facing problems due to the frequent bandhs called by Maoists," a Malkangir resident said.

Police said anti-Maoist operation has been intensified in and around the district. Security forces are on high alert to prevent possible influx of the rebels from Andhra Pradesh and Chattisgarh into the state.

"At present, the situation is under control. Though traffic has been badly hit no Maoist violence has been reported from the district. Security personnel are on high alert to thwart any untoward incident. We are trying to lift the road blockades," a police officer in Malkangiri said.

The district had remained cut-off from rest of the state for over a week due to blockades put up by rebels at Govindpally road in May. The extremists had felled over 200 trees at that time.

In a separate incident, traffic between Machkund and Lamtaput in Koraput district was hit as Maoists dug up the road to obstruct vehicular movement.

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Bihar killers were criminals, not Maoists: Police

Posted by Admin on October 4, 2009

Criminals—not Naxals — may have carried out Wednesday night’s massacre of 16 people on the outskirts of Amousi village in Bihar’s Khagaria district, some 200 km from Patna, investigations have revealed.

Police had earlier claimed that the outlawed CPI (Maoist) was responsible for the killings. Police now suspect the involvement of a gang led by Boran Sada, who is said to have a support base among the Musahar caste in the riverine belt of Kosi.

Most of the victims were backward caste Kurmis.

Sada was a member of the CPI (Maoist) till a few years ago but was thrown out of the outlawed organisation. Another gang led by Sada’s relative Sikandar Sada and Sajjan Choudhary could also be involved, sources said.

“We are still carrying out investigations. But the possibility of Maoist involvement is less,” Superintendent of Police of Khagaria Indranand Mishra told Hindustan Times.

Mishra, however, reiterated that a land dispute between the Musahars and Kurmis led to the massacre.

Direct Maoist involvement also looked unlikely because Maoists usually do not target children (five children were among the victims) and of late have started using sophisticated weapons during their operations, the police said.

“Sophisticated weapons were not used. We have only recovered bullet casings of .315 bore,” said Mishra.

Seven people have been arrested in connection with the killings. Thirty-seven people, mostly from Amousi village, have been named in the FIR lodged in the case.

Sources said Boran Sada, Sikandar Sada and Sajjan Choudhary have been active in the area for four years, after snapping ties with the CPI (Maoist).

Sada and his men have been mobilising Musahars to assert themselves and grab land that belonged to the erstwhile estates in the Kosi region. HT

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Former BSF chief questions Maoist fight

Posted by Admin on October 4, 2009

Veteran questions Maoist fight
04bsf.jpgKumawat, the former BSF chief

New Delhi, Oct. 3: One of India’s topmost anti-Naxalite strategists has questioned the Centre’s new “crackdown-first development-later” credo and warned that any use of air power against Maoists could saddle the nation with “Afghanistan and Iraq-like” security liabilities.

“Development must go hand in hand with the fight against Naxalites; deprived people in the heartland cannot be expected to wait on their misery until the government is done with its long-haul campaigns,” Mahendra Kumawat, who retired as director-general of the BSF last month, told The Telegraph today.

“The government is going to lose more hearts and minds to the Maoists if it forges ahead with a strike policy that brings nothing but bloodshed and disruption to people in the affected zones. That is going to multiply our problems, not solve them. I wish the government all the best, but it isn’t going to work.”

The scorch-then-salve policy, advocated for long by hardline think-tanks, has found favour with home minister P. Chidambaram, but it has also alarmed sceptics within the security establishment who believe strictly police solutions are a “counter-productive half measure”. Recently unshackled by retirement, Kumawat may be articulating their concerns.

Kumawat speaks from a decade’s “on ground” experience of dealing with Naxalites in the Andhra-Orissa-Chhattisgarh triangle. Before assuming command of the BSF, he was also chairman of the national anti-Naxalite task force in the Union home ministry during Shivraj Patil’s tenure as internal security boss. Read the rest of this entry »

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Khagaria operation not our handiwork: CPI (Maoist) leader

Posted by Admin on October 4, 2009

PATNA: Two days after the killing of 16 people, including five minors, in Bihar’s Khagaria district, the CPI (Maoist) leadership on Saturday expressed ignorance about who executed the killings and why.

"Had our boys done it, we would have come to know about it the very next day. Also, our boys follow up our operations by leaving behind pamphlets and wall writings. We even issue press notes to the media. None of these followed the Khagaria carnage," a top leader of the banned outfit told TOI over phone from his hideout.

The Naxal leader has been trying to get in touch with the ‘local cadres’ to ascertain the facts. "We will let you know if they confirm their involvement but that doesn’t look even remotely possible," he said.

He also pooh-poohed police’s theory that the massacre was engineered by an ex-Maoist. "Police are trying to plant all kinds of stories," he said adding, however, that if one goes by what has appeared in media reports, the carnage seems to be a result of a ‘class conflict’.

Naxal watchers, meanwhile, said the Maoists need to sit up and do something about preventing Khagaria-like killings. After they drew flak from even their sympathisers for killing 42 villagers, including women and children, at Dalelchak in Aurangabad district in May 1987, they released a press note vowing they would not kill women and children in future.

They have by and large kept their word till date. In 1999 they slit the throats of 34 upper caste Bhumihars in Jehanabad’s Senari village. TOI

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Maoist leader Kishanji vows to intensify struggle

Posted by Admin on October 4, 2009

KOLKATA: Maoist military strategist Koteswar Rao alias Kishanji has vowed to carry on the war against the state administration until a "liberated zone" is carved out in Jangalmahal.

He also said that the arrest of Chhatradhar Mahato would not cripple the PCPA movement, as the organization had other competent members to lead it.

While disowning any direct connection with PCPA, Kishanji said Maoists did extend moral support to the movement."Our ideology is different from that of PCPA. But police are treating Chhatradhar like a criminal. They blindfolded him and took him to the CID office in Kolkata for leading a democratic movement for tribals fighting for their rights," he said, adding that Jangalmahal had leaders capable of filling in Chhatradhar’s shoes. "The people will continue their struggle with greater intensity," he said.

Kishanji also hinted at a major retaliation against the state and CPM, naming two district CPM leaders in West Midnapore as their immediate target.

He was critical of the role of intellectuals who had slammed the killings in Jangalkhand but remained silent on Mahato’s arrest. "Across the state, several people have been killed in political clashes between democratic’ parties like CPM and Trinamool Congress. It happened in Nandigram. But intellectuals did not retract their support. Instead, many campaigned directly for a political party," he said.

He appealed to intellectuals to support the Lalgarh movement and not be dissuaded by police’s attempt to brand the PCPA spokesperson and his aides as Maoist accomplices.

Justifying the killings by Maoists in the recent past, the rebel leader argued: "The murders were needed to protect the democratic movement organized by the masses of Jangalmahal. Only those people were killed who conspired to paralyze the movement led by tribals."

But he did not take responsibility for all murders in Jangalmahal since the Lalgarh uprising in November 2008. Many killings, he said, were the spontaneous outcome of mob fury against corruption. TOI

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CPI leader Bardhan against army role

Posted by Admin on October 4, 2009

04bardhan.jpgA.B. Bardhan

New Delhi, Oct. 3: CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan has said his party is opposed to using armed forces in Maoist-infested areas, including Lalgarh, over fears communists and trade union workers may end up being targeted.

“This (the operation against Maoists) can target any-one who says lal salam and salutes a red flag. And they include all communists and trade union workers,” Bardhan said.

The stand appears at odds with the stance of partner CPM, which feels “there is little scope for debate” on the army’s involvement as the guerrillas have been operating almost like an army. “The Maoists are operating as a regular army and they can be dealt with effectively by an army response,” Benoy Konar, a member of the CPM state secretariat in Bengal, had said last month.

Asked what his stand would be if the army was called into Lalgarh, Bardhan said yesterday: “We will oppose it.”

Bardhan tried to argue that the army wasn’t needed. “They (CPM) asked for more forces. There is police and there is paramilitary to deal with the situation,” he said, asked if his stand contradicted the CPM. TT

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