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Archive for October 9th, 2009

Pen Drive New Tool for Maoists to Hoodwink Police?

Posted by Admin on October 9, 2009


Pen drive appears to be a key tool for tech-savvy Maoists like Kobad Ghandy in operating their laptops without hard drives, police sources said today.

In a bid to ensure that "secrets" are not leaked in case of its seizure by police, sources said, Maoists are using laptops without hard disks and whenever they wanted to operate one, they use a pen drive.

The laptop of Ghandy, which was seized from him by Delhi Police’s Special Cell after his arrest on September 21, did not have a hard drive and investigators were left high and dry as it did not reveal much about the plans of the outlawed CPI (Maoist).

"Ghandy’s laptop did not have a hard drive. Maoists are using laptops without hard drives. Hard drives are loaded in pen drives. Once the laptop is used, they take out the pen drive," a senior police official said.

The official said they were interrogating Ghandy, one of the nine members of the CPI (Maoist) Polit Bureau, to know the operational details of the banned organisation.

Police claimed, probe revealed that Ghandy travelled to some foreign countries, including China, Nepal and Belgium, allegedly using forged documents.

Officials had claimed that Ghandy appeared to have managed to procure a voters identity card in a different name from the national capital.

Police seized the voter identity card bearing the photo of Ghandy but with a different name ‘Dilip Patel’ using an address in west Delhi’s Janakpuri.

"We are verifying the voters card with the Election Commission. We want to check whether the card is procured using forged documents or it itself is a fake one," the official said.

Ghandy, who was residing in a rented accommodation in Badarpur and allegedly working to set up the base of the naxalites, was charged under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for being a member of the banned organisation.Outlook

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Activists protest against detention of tribal leader Chhatradhar Mahato

Posted by Admin on October 9, 2009


KOLKATA – Hundreds of activists of the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) took out a rally here on Thursday protesting against the detention of tribal leader Chhatradhar Mahato.

The activists, who were supported by the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), demanded that the government should open talks with the banned organisations.

“We demand the unconditional release of Chhatradhar Mahato and others who are booked under UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) and falsely implicated in criminal cases under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. We demand that joint forces must be withdrawn, UAPA must be repealed and dialogue must be opened with Janashadharan committee, which was inconclusive and if required government should open dialogue with now banned organisation,” said Sujato Bhadra, APDR secretary.

Mahato, the leader of People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), which has been spearheading the agitation against alleged police atrocities, was nabbed from the Pirka region, near Lalgarh village.

Police nabbed Mahato when he was about to give an interview to a journalist who was being followed.

Mahato had been giving regular interviews when the paramilitary forces and the state police had launched the anti-Maoist operations in Lalgarh, a place declared as a liberated zone by the Maoists, on June 19 forcing him to go underground for some time.

The tribals under Mahato had a free run for nine months with the police withdrawing from the camps, before the paramilitary troops captured Lalgarh from the Maoists who were fuelling the tribal agitations. (ANI)

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Statement by Progressive Indian Intellectuals against Indian Governments military offensive against the Maoists

Posted by Admin on October 9, 2009



Friends,

A collective of activists/academics who have been working in solidarity with peoples’ movements in India by providing information and analysis (www.sanhati. com) have taken the initiative in circulating a statement against the Indian government’s proposed military offensive against alleged Maoist rebels.

The statement has been drafted/endorsed by progressive intellectuals like Arundhati Roy, Sandeep Pandey, Amit Bhaduri, Manoranjan Mohanty, Gautam Navlakha, Prashant Bhushan and others in India and your endorsement will lend it more weight and make the voice of democratic protest stronger. Along with the statement, there is also attached below a background noteon the current situation.

Kindly send a reply to this email address –
sahatiindia@ sanhati.com
you would like to endorse the statement. Also, please circulate as widely as possible.

The endorsed statement will be sent to the Indian and international media in an effort to build public opinion against this disastrous move of the Indian government.



TEXT OF THE STATEMENT

To
Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister,
Government of India,
South Block, Raisina Hill,
New Delhi,
India-110 011.

We are deeply concerned by the Indian government’s plans for launching an unprecedented military offensive by army and paramilitary forces in the adivasi (indigenous people)-populated regions of Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa and West Bengal states. The stated objective of the offensive is to “liberate” these areas from the influence of Maoist rebels. Such a military campaign will endanger the lives and livelihoods of millions of the poorest people living in those areas, resulting in massive displacement, destitution and human rights violation of ordinary citizens. To hunt down the poorest of Indian citizens in the name of trying to curb the shadow of an insurgency is both counter-productive and vicious. The ongoing campaigns by paramilitary forces, buttressed by anti-rebel militias, organised and funded by government agencies, have already created a civil war like situation in some parts of Chattisgarh and West Bengal, with hundreds killed and thousands displaced. The proposed armed offensive will not only aggravate the poverty, hunger, humiliation and insecurity of the adivasi people, but also spread it over a larger region. Read the rest of this entry »

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Release Sarkhal and Chatterjee Now : Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF)

Posted by Admin on October 9, 2009


Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF)

All India Committee

rdfindia,

Press Release

6 October 2009

Raja Sarkhel, all Indian Executive Committee member of Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) and Secretary of the West Bengal State unit and Prasun Chatterjjee, Executive member of state unit (Gana Pratirodh Manch) have been arrested by West Bengal police on the evening of 5th October in Kolkata and implicated them in fabricated cases under the Unlawful Activities (Amendment) Act 2008 by showing false links with CPI (Maoist). The West Bengal police have claimed sources of information regarding the supposed links of these senior people’s activists with CPI (Maoist) based on false and fabricated confessions supposedly obtained from Chatradhar Mahoto, the spokesperson of People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities, who was illegally and immorally arrested and continuously tortured under illegal police custody.

Raja Sarkhel is a committed people’s activist for the last three decades in West Bengal and is well-known to the people of the state working for various mass movements including Singur, Nandigram and Lalgarh in the recent years. Prasun Chatterjjee has been actively working for the people’s cause for more than a decade. While Raja
Sarkhel was picked up from a street while he was returning home, Prasun Chatterjjee was whisked away by the police from his residence when he was taking rest after his eyes were treated in a hospital.

The arrest of these two well-known activists of our organisation has come in the background of a vicious campaign orchestrated against the progressive and democratic intellectuals in Kolkata by the ruling CPI (M) leaders, the Chief Secretary, Asok Mohan Chakrabarti, the Home Secretary, and Mr Ardhendu Sen along with a number of police
officials. Like Dr Binayak Sen who was incarcerated in Chhattisgarh by the right-wing communal BJP government for more than 2 years for bringing out the facts to the world outside the worst kind of atrocities committed on the tribals by Salwa Judum, a state-run armed mercenaries, these two selfless people’s leaders tirelessly brought out all the details of the people’s movement of Singur, Nandigram and Lalgarh including the worst atrocities committed against the struggling people by the CPI(M) armed goons and the police and paramilitary forces. This is the crime they committed.

The RDF calls upon the people of this country to defeat CPI (M)’s fascistic witch-hunt of progressive and democratic writers, artists, intellectuals and activists of Kolkata by raising voice of protest collectively. It’s time for all the democratic voices to come together firmly against the fascistic onslaught of the Indian ruling classes represented in the Union government or the state governments like that of CPI (M) led left front government or BJP Government in Chhattisgarh on the revolutionary and democratic struggles in South Asia.

Revolutionary Democratic Front demands immediate and unconditional release of Raja Sarkhel and Prasun Chatterjee by withdrawing the fabricated charges under UAPA act.

Rajkoshore

General Secretary

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Mahato slipping out of UAPA muddle, top cops go in a huddle

Posted by Admin on October 9, 2009


The confusion over application of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) has led a virtual standoff between the state’s investigating agencies and a section of the judiciary.

Yesterday, the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) at Jhargram, while extending the police custody of the arrested PCAPA leader Chhatradhar Mahato by three days, said he could not extend it by 18 days as asked by the police since the evidence produced by them was inadequate and did not justify the application of the UAPA.

The judge, Vishal Mangrathi, had earlier said he was not convinced about the application of the UAPA on Mahato since the state government was yet to issue a notification banning the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), which the police say is a frontal organisation of the banned CPI (Maoist).

On the other hand, state DGP Bhupinder Singh today said there is no need to issue any notice declaring imposition of the UAPA since it was a Central Act.

The police brass is clearly divided. “No case against Mahato, Sukhshnti Baskey (treasurer of the PCAPA) and the others booked under the UAPA will stand the scrutiny of the higher court as there are serious procedural lapses over the application of the Central Act on the part of state government. This is quite evident after the CID was not granted 18 days of Mahato’s custody,” said a senior CID official.

Meanwhile, the police and CID brass today met Balai Roy, the advocate general of the state, to seek legal help.

“We have pressed charges against Mahato under Section 35 of the UAPA that deals with terrorist organisations. Moreover, the Central Act mentions that all the frontal organisations of the CPI (Maoist) should be banned. We have collected evidence against the PCAPA and about its links with the Maoists. So, there was no need for issuing notification about it,” said Neeraj N Pandey, IG, CID.

Ashok Bakshi, the public prosecutor, said: “We have no clue why the magistrate was not convinced and our plea was not granted. We provided all evidence. We will try to file stronger evidence in the next hearing.”

There are four cases against Mahato under the IPC. “We could have slapped more cases against Mahato under the IPC and CrPC. But in such cases, the maximum period of remand is 14 days. We needed more, so we filed cases under the UAPA that allows for 30 days of custody,” said a CID official.

Significantly, in other Naxal-hit states like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, police action under the UAPA follows a prior notification. “We have made a list of all the frontal organisations of the CPI (Maoist) and the state government has banned all the organisations by issuing notification. The state needs to renew the notification every year. Until and unless the notification is issued through official gazette and newspapers, no case under the UAPA will stand in the court. Apart from the UAPA, we also slap charges under Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005 also,” said Pavan Dev, a DIG engaged in anti-Naxal operations in that state.

Meanwhile, Sukh Shanti Bsakey, the treasurer of the PCAPA, was produced in Jhargram court today. The CID got eight days of his custody, though they had requested for 21 days IE

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Baskey remand: Court declines police appeal

Posted by Admin on October 9, 2009


JHARGRAM/KOLKATA: The state government was in for a jolt yet again on Thursday when the Jhargram SDJM Court refused to allow police custody for
PCPA treasurer Sukhshanti Baskey for a further 21 days under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). His police remand has been extended by eight days.

The court made it clear that it had considered Baskey’s charges under IPC provisions and gave a police remand of a total 15 days, the maximum under CrPC. UAPA, on the other hand, provides for a maximum police remand of 180 days.

Taken aback by the court order in the Chhatradhar case the day before, director general of police Bhupinder Singh called on advocate-general Balai Ray to find out whether such a notification was mandatory. Lawyers, however, argue that UAPA is a central Act and the notification has already been made by the Centre.

The advocate-general has advised the DGP to send a note from next time, stating that a notification from the state banning CPI (Maoist) is not essential. Home secretary Ardhendu Sen echoed the view, saying police arrested them as individuals, not as members of any organisation.

"CPI (Maoist) is a banned outfit, but many other organizations are supporting and acting with them in tandem. Even if they are not banned, they continue to have legal liabilities for their action," Sen said.

Baskey’s lawyer Kausik Sinha told the court that the state has not come up with a notification to include PCPA in the schedule of UAPA, which he held was mandatory before booking the accused under the law. Sinha also alleged that police submitted a "fake seizure list" to the court. "How can police prepare a seizure list without taking the arrested to the spot?" he asked.

The home secretary said the state government felt no need to involve the army in crackdown against Maoists here. Regarding statements made by the Centre that army might be deployed, Sen said, "The state has to agree if there is such a proposal. We don’t think army’s involvement is essential now." TOI

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I condemn the beheading… but we have to see it in the background of state violence:BINAYAK SEN

Posted by Admin on October 9, 2009


Chhattisgarh-based doctor BINAYAK SEN was arrested in May 2007 for his alleged links with Naxalites. Following a public campaign for his release, he was granted bail by the Supreme Court in May 2009. In this interview with VINAY SITAPATI, he speaks on the beheading of an abducted police inspector by Naxalites.

Inspector Francis Induwar was kidnapped and beheaded by Naxalites in Jharkhand recently. Whatever your ideology, is this not cold-blooded murder?

I condemn the beheading. It is absolutely unacceptable. There is no way I can approve of the killing. There are some questions about who has carried it out. If the CPI (Maoist) has carried it out, I condemn their action. Having said this, it is important to remember that the violence of resistance is a consequence, not a cause. We have to see it in the background of state violence.

But Induwar was in a market when he was captured and then later murdered. How can this be consequential violence?

I have already said that I condemn this action. It is murder and has no justification. But the general violence is a consequence of the state violence — both structural and direct. The vast majority of the poor people are kept in poverty because of the state. Today, the state violence and the violence of resistance are locked into a tragic cycle. This cycle needs to be broken. Both forms of violence need to be brought to a halt. We need to halt military engagement and start talking.

Naxalites have never executed a kidnapped police officer before. This seems to be much worse than the normal “tragic cycle” of violence and counter-violence you refer to. Has Naxalite violence reached a new level?

I hope this is an aberration. I would like to believe that this is an aberration. But I also don’t think this kind of brutality is new for either side. I think similar incidents have occurred before.

For the record: Are you associated with the CPI (Maoists) in any way? Do you agree with their demands?

I am a member of the People’s Union of Civil Liberties. That is my only affiliation. I am not a member of any other group. I don’t condemn the Naxal demands for a just society. I am condemning their resort to violence and brutality.

You say state and Naxal violence are equally illegitimate. But state violence has some checks. In your case there is a judicial trial, you finally got bail. But the Naxals killed Inspector Induwar without any semblance of ‘due process’. How can you equate violence by the state and Naxals?

I am not equating anything. I am holding all violence to be illegitimate. I don’t want to get into the business of saying one is worse than the other. But this idea that state violence is more benign is not true. In south Bastar [in Chhattisgarh] lakhs of people have been displaced and hundreds have been killed by state violence. What happened to me is not as bad. Similarly, what happened to Inspector Francis is much worse that what the state has done to me.

You believe that Naxals feed on local grievances against state violence. But in that case why does not a single political party or mass movement support them. Even the LTTE had a mass base. Where is the popular base of Naxals?

This is not my area of expertise. But I don’t agree with you. I don’t think the Naxals could survive as a force if they did not have some local public support.

There is debate currently on whether the government should tackle the Naxals head on, or whether it should facilitate development first. Do you support the argument that development in these impoverished parts will end Naxal violence?

The definitions of development that different classes in society have are different. The kind of development that the ruling classes want is privatisation and widespread displacement. That may not be the idea of development that people living in these areas have. We cannot have a form of development which is a reassertion of the hegemony of a few.

You’ve been out on bail for several months now. How does it feel to be free?

Well, my trial is proceeding in Raipur. One more chargesheet has been filed by the Chhattisgarh government. It is as absurd as the earlier ones. At a personal level, my wife has been diagnosed with cancer, and my life is concentrated on getting her well. I am also in anguish over increasing state-Naxal violence. There doesn’t seem to be any scope for dialogue. It is like watching two locomotives racing towards each other. IE

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Indian Air Force against Maoists: Wrong strategy

Posted by Admin on October 9, 2009


”Maoists’ threat is political in nature.”

The proposal to use the firepower of the Indian Air Force against Maoists is a sign of lack of understanding of the nature of the naxalites’ threat and their tactics. The IAF has sought permission from the defence ministry to open fire at the insurgents in the campaign to be launched against them soon. The government has given indications of an all-out campaign against them. Maoist attacks have increased recently. Last week 16 people were killed in Bihar. A police officer, who had been kidnapped last week, was found beheaded in Jharkhand on Tuesday. Every day incidents are reported from the naxalite-infested areas. The insurgency is growing in strength and spreading to new areas. But to use the IAF against it will only worsen the situation.

IAF has not opened fire even against Kashmir insurgents. An air force offensive against the Maoists will take the fight against them to a new level where the insurgents will have an advantage. Conventional methods of war are of no use against the Maoists who conduct a guerrilla warfare against the state. This has been time and again proved in many strife-ridden regions of the world. IAF chief Air Marshall P V Naik has hinted at the possibility of collateral damage also in the form of civilian deaths in such operations. That will mean that innocent people will be killed, the disaffection against the government will grow and Maoists will get new recruits. Maoists are good at drawing the forces into such situations. They melt into the population when it is needed and can make good their escape at the right time. The government is yet to fully realise that the threat posed by the Maoists is political, social and economic in its nature. There cannot be a military solution to the problem. The use of armed forces in any operations should best be limited to logistical support for the police personnel whose brief it is to fight internal threats.

Home Minister P Chidambaram seems to be receptive to this wrong idea. The home minister also recently said that he wanted the Maoist-controlled areas to be liberated before any development initiatives are to be made there. This is also a wrong strategy. Maoists gained influence in many areas because there was no development. Development efforts should be an important part of the strategy to defeat them. To think that they can follow the campaign is to put the cart before the horse. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/29055/wrong-strategy.html

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IAF to deploy commandos in choppers flying in Naxal-hit areas

Posted by Admin on October 9, 2009


HINDON: The IAF on Thursday said it will deploy its commando units to defend its helicopters and men on board in Naxal-infested areas, but made
it clear that they would not carry out any "Rambo-style" operation against the Maoists. ( Watch Video )

IAF chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik told reporters here that the Garud special forces would be present in the helicopters flying in Maoist-hit areas for rescue operations and would defend their personnel and equipment by warding-off attacks by Naxals on them.

"It is not a free for all like ‘Rambo’ that we will go and fire in the countryside. The helicopters operating for casualty evacuation will be mounted with guns and the Garud force will man them," Naik said on the sidelines of the 77th Air Force Day parade here.

Asked about the IAF request to the government to allow opening of fire in self-defence, he said the Cabinet Committee on Security will decide the matter.

"I want to reiterate that I am totally against armed forces — Army, Navy and Air Force — being used in internal situations. We are meant to defend threats from across the border," he said.

Naik, however, said, "If the states requires any help we are always there to give it in terms of casualty evacuation and insertion (of security forces)."

Referring to the killing of an IAF personnel in a Naxal attack on a helicopter during Chhattisgarh Assembly elections last year, Naik said this made the IAF request the defence ministry to permit it to open fire in self-defence.

He said the request was to ensure that the IAF could protect its personnel and platforms and suppress the fire coming on to a helicopter.

"We are not indulging in any armed aggression against any citizen of India. We would only like to undertake operations to protect our helicopters and men and women who fly these (air) hospitals," he said.

Stating that the helicopter’s commander should give permission to open fire in case of a decision by the CCS, Naik said, "There will be very stringent stipulations to help identify where the fire is coming from, and where to use minimum force to ensure minimum collateral damage."

He maintained that the Air Force was not deploying its armed helicopters or aircraft to bomb any area in Naxalite- affected regions. TOI

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Gadchiroli: Maoists gun down 18 policemen

Posted by Admin on October 9, 2009


GADCHIROLI (Maharashtra): Naxals on Thursday struck with killing 18 policemen when they ambushed a police patrol in dense forests in this district ignoring stern warnings by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram asking them to give up violence or face action.

In a rerun of the beheading of a Jharkhand police intelligence officer by the Maoists near Ranchi in a Taliban-type action early this week, a police informer identified as Suresh Alami met a similar fate in Gadchiroli just before the third major naxal strike in this district.

The daring attack occured when a police party of nearly 40 personnel came under heavy fire from 150 to 200 naxals at about 1 PM near Laheri police station of the district when it was returning after undertaking search operations following an intelligence input that Maoists had assembled in the area.

The policemen, who were outnumbered by the heavily armed naxals, retaliated and their encounter lasted for nearly three to four hours in an area adjoining the Maoist infested Bijapur district of Chattisgarh.

At least 18 policemen including sub-inspector C S Deshmukh were gunned down and several injured after they were attacked indiscriminately, police said. About 15 naxals were also killed, they said. The attack took place five days before the Maharashtra Assembly elections.

The encounter came barely hours after the Maoists set on fire a gram panchayat office in Gadchiroli district.

The attack coincided the Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) meeting presided by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi to discuss the rise in Naxal violence.

District Collector Atul Patne told PTI that Alami’s severed head was found near his body as naxals had suspected him to be a police informer.

Patne said the Left-wing extremists used sophisticated weapons on the police party which was completely outnumbered.

"As many as two platoons of BSF (50 personnel) and additional police force was rushed to the spot and they could manage to save the rest of the policemen caught in the heavy fire," he said. The killing took place two km from Lahiri police post in Bhamragad tehsil of the district.

In February, 15 policemen were killed in Naxal attacks and in May, 16 police personnel, including five women, lost their lives in another Naxal strike in the district.

Taking stock of the situation, the Centre rushed additional paramilitary forces to the area, Home Secretary G K Pillai said in New Delhi.

Inspector General of Police, Nagpur Surendra Kumar said combing operation were underway but said the terrain was very difficult.

"We could send some relief parties there and they have secured the area," District Superintendent of Police S Jaya Kumar said adding efforts were being made to airlift the injured.

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said, the state government will not be cowed down by the naxal strikes. "We will repel any attack. We will return the fire."

IG (Nagpur) Surendra Kumar said two policemen received bullet injuries in hand and leg and were out of danger but the bodies of those slain were yet to be recovered.

"The retreating naxalites have felled trees to block the advance of reinforcements. A combing operation is underway to track down the fleeing naxalites and retrieve the bodies, but the task is difficult given the difficult terrain and the night," he said. TOI

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No need for separate notice on UAPA: WB Home secretary

Posted by Admin on October 9, 2009


;Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, 8 OCT: The state government today maintained that there is no need for issuing a separate notification for the Unlawful Activities Prevention (Amendment) Act by the state, arguing that it is a Central Act applicable across the country. Senior state government officials and police blamed the lack of awareness among the government counsels for the gaffe, a day after the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM), Jhargram remanded Mr Chhatradhar Mahato, charged under UAPA, to only three days of custody instead of 18 days, as initially asked by the police. Mr Mahato’s lawyer had argued that the state was yet to notify the act.

The state home secretary, Mr Ardhendu Sen said: "There is no requirement to issue a separate notification banning any organisation since the Central Act extends to the whole of the country.”

The director general of police, Mr Bhupinder Singh pointed out that the act was originally enacted in 1967 and there has been only a recent amendment.

The DG said: "The order did not mention these issues. Let those people who are opposing our move to charge Mr Chhatradhar Mahato under UAPA go to High Court and get this quashed.” A person charged under this act is liable to get lifetime punishment and fine. Mr Sen went on to add that the state need not set up a committee before booking any accused under the act."The Centre will form a review committee to decide how long the ban would be in place in regard to any particular organisation," said Mr Sen. When asked whether organisations like Lalgarh Sanhati Mancha, Bandi Mukti Committee had links with Maoists, Mr Sen said that they have got evidence against some of these organisations. These organisations including the People’s Committee against Police Attrocities (PCPA) are not banned but still they are liable to be prosecuted under the UAPA because of their links with the Maoists. The home secretary also said there is no need to call in the Army to fight the Maoists. The state police has proposed to the state government to provide risk allowance to personnel working in Left Wing Extremists area. The Statesman

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Cabinet Committee on Security clears anti-Naxal plan

Posted by Admin on October 9, 2009


CCS clears anti-Naxal plan

;SNS & PTI
NEW DELHI, 8 OCT: With Naxals striking at will, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) today approved the Government’s new plan to counter Maoists under which the infested states will have an effective coordination and police taking a lead role.
The CCS presided by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh gave the clearance to the plan, a day after Union home minister Mr P Chidambaram warned the Maoists to “abjure” violence or face action. According to the plan worked out by the Union home ministry, the anti-Naxal operations will be undertaken in states affected by Left wing extremism and would be assisted by CoBRA( Commando Battalion for Resolute Action), a central force. The two-hour CCS meeting did not discuss whether or not the IAF should be given permission to fire at Maoists.
The CCS clearance came in the backdrop of a police inspector being beheaded by Naxals in Jharkhand, a week after kidnapping him, and on a day when 17 policemen were gunned down by Maoists in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district.

The home ministry went to CCS for its approval after the plan was discussed threadbare with chief ministers of Naxal-affected states in the second week of September. Officials said the plan envisages the anti-Naxal operations to be led by state police while Central police forces will lend assistance. According to the plan, once an area is cleared of the Maoists, developmental activities could be carried out in full swing so that the Maoists cannot return.

Air Force and BSF helicopters will be used for reinforcements and evacuation of casualties only but not for any offensive. The operations will be carried out in 20 states affected by the Maoist menace and they will also share intelligence. The police will have the mandate to cross inter-state borders in the hunt for the Naxals.
Dr Singh last month described Left wing extremism as the gravest internal security threat and called for a nuanced strategy to tackle Naxal violence which, despite best efforts of the security forces, continues in many parts of the country. Mr Chidambaram has said the Maoists have their influence in 20 states across the country. “Over 2,000 police station areas in 223 districts in these states are partially or substantially affected by the menace,” he had said.

‘Rambo-style’ operations ruled out

Ruling out “Rambo-style operations,” the Indian Air Force (IAF) today said it would deploy its commando units to defend its helicopters and men on board in Naxal-infested areas.
“We have approached the government to fire in self-defence to protect ourselves. It is not a free-for-all where you go like Rambo and fire at everybody. There are laid down procedures. You have to ensure minimum use of force, minimum collateral damage, firing has to be permitted by the captain of the helicopter and so on,” the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, said at a function to mark the 77th anniversary of the IAF at Hindon near here.

He said the IAF request for permission to fire in self-defence did not mean an all-out “armed offensive” against the people of India. The IAF was only taking counter-measures to defend itself against firing from the ground by Maoist guerrillas who are increasingly becoming aggressive across the country.

“We are not indulging in armed offensive against the people of India. We are trying to protect our men, women and crew who fly these machines,” the Air chief said.The Statesman

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