Scheme to root out naxal influence

5 11 2008

source: TOI

1 Nov 2008, 0343 hrs IST, Satyendra Kumar, TNN

Now on the threshold of its third year, Aapki Sarkar Aapke Dwar, a pioneering scheme aimed at rooting out Naxal influences through development —

has emerged as one of the most successful programmes of the state government in Jehanabad district.

Conceived by the then home secretary H C Sirohy and launched by chief minister Nitish Kumar at Sikariya village on January 21, 2006, Aapki Sarkar Aapke Dwar (Asdwar) programme has brought down considerably cases of naxalite violence in the region and also won acceptibility among rural folk, police, academics and social organisations. This is something which is a huge feat considering that several such programmes launched in the district in the past like the Operation Rakshak and Operation Siddhartha were virtual non-events.

The success of the programme — both in winning critical acclaim at various local and state-level platforms and producing outstanding results at the ground level lies in its integrated development approach and sincere efforts of the district administration to sustain the programme despite all odds.

The Jehanabad district magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agrawal, who is working with a missionary zeal to impart a new tone and content to the whole programme, said the scheme envisages to bring development to the grassroots. Under Aasdwar programme our main objective is to sanitise the Naxal-affected panchayats in the distirct first and then saturate them with development in a phased manner, he added.

The scheme is currently underway in five naxalite affected panchayats of the district Viz Sikariya, Sewanan, Mandebigha, Surungpur — Bhawanichak and Jamuk, all in Jehanabad Sadar block. All villages under these five panchayats are witnessing a flurry of developmental activities on a war footing. The state government has come out with a liberal package of Welfare Schemes under Aasdwar including construction of Cement – Concrete lanes, drains, chaupals and link rods in these panchayats worth over Rs.29 crores. Other works include construction of buildings for schools and Aanganbadi centres, culverts and individual toilets.

Also resurrected is the Dangar reservoir project which wa slong confined to the dusty files of the water resources development department.

Doles under various welfare schemes to the tune of Rs.1 crore have already been distributed at mega development camps organised in these panchayats during the past two years.

Under the plan the state government has decided to construct panchayat Sarkar Bhawan in all these five panchayats at an estimated cost of Rs.2.20 crore. Work on them is likely to commence soon.

Sikaria panchayat once considered the naxalite capital of the state, now wears a completely changed look. Sikariya today boasts of being the first panchayat in the state with its own website: www.sikariyapanchayat.bih.nic.in. The website features all the information relating to the panchayat and the Aasdwar programme.

Sikariya panchayat headquarters in currently housed in a sprawling builidng complex . The panchayat office located in this unified campus offers single window system facilities to the local people. There is a village knowledge centre with Internet facility which offers computer training to the educated unemployed rural youths including girls.

The panchayat office is fully computerised with information felating to various state and Centre sponsored schemes. The office is manned by Assistant Project Officer, Rojgar Sevak, Panchayat Sevak and revenue Karmachari during working hours. There is provision for instant issuance of job cards to the landless labourers under the NREGA. A separate police post with 20 SAP jawans is also stationed on the panchayat office campus to look after the security needs.

There is a six-bedded additional primary health centre with two doctors and paramedics. The Sikariya panchayat building complex also houses a computerised extension counter of the Madhya Bihar Gramin Bank (MBGB), an artificial insemination centre, two PDS shops and a 500-ton capacity warehouse of the state food and civil supplies corporation. The Sikariya panchayat is also all set to win Nirmal Gram Panchayat Puruskar with work on most of the toilets to be completed in the next couple of months.

Parchas, pension benefits for the old, destitute, widows and the handicapped and cycles and scholarships to the students of weaker sections are being given within the shortest processing time in the Sikariya panchayat office. Jehanabad Dm Sanjay Kumar Agrawal has been regularly visiting all these five panchayats where Aasdwar programme is underway along with a large entourage of officials and employees.

The people at large seem to have embraced the state’s Aasdwar programme in a big way. What is most unusual is that the government officials now move around freely in these villages where once every government programme was boycotted by the villagers under threats from the banned Naxalite outfit, the people’s war group (PWG). There was a time especially during the stormy 1980s when there was no direct contact between the government and the people for years together.

The locals joined forces with the Naxalites in the hope that it would alleviate poverty. But with the changing times, the people seem to have realised that the Aasdwar programme offers all that the naxalites had promised an end to poverty, homestead land, drinking water and self-employment opportunities.

Once a dreaded and inaccessible place, Sikariya boasts of many economic activities-poultry and dairy farming, horticulture, Bindi and toy-making which fetches the locals considerable monthly income. Coordinated efforts are also being made by the district rural development agency to train men and women belonging to the under privileged section and promote entregreurship among them.

To begin with, at least 100 women from the most economically backward families of Sikariya panchayt have formed three self help groups (SHGs) to augment their income. In the first phase, 30 women have been given training in Bindi making. The district administration is extending financial and marketing support to promote various economic activities among these women.

However, this charge has not come without a stiff resistance from the naxalites. Even now, the naxalites tries to put spokes in the wheel of progress rolling in the area. But thanks to the rare show of solidarity of the local people for the Aasdwar programme , the naxalites have been left with no option but to bow under the popular pressure.





Red : The other color of terror

5 11 2008

Source: mutiny

The news that the convoy of Buddhadev Bhattacharya, the West Bengal chief minister escaped being mined and that naxalites are the ones being accused, will draw attention to Left wing terrorism once again. Although left wing terrorism and insurgency affects large pieces of the country, it has never had the kind of visibility that it needs to have, mostly because their terror is wielded largely in rural India where television cameras don’t whir.

This violence of course shows the level of fragmentation in the leftist movement within india over the decades and the “establishment” left – those who get to speak in parliament or the state assembly and become ministers and the others. The establishment leftists ride those white ambassadors, go to television studios and give press conferences and in states like West Bengal and Kerala, run industrial establishments that can give any traditional capitalist a run for their money.

The contradictions that are becoming evident between the ultra left and the left (ironically there was a time when the CPI (M) itself was considered ultra left!) will add another twist to the convoluted history of the communist movement of India. The Communist Party in India was founded in Kanpur on December 25, 1925 in the midst of an anti-colonial struggle which attempted changed India’s political landscape in a fundamental way. It placed on the agenda the creation of a state power of workers and peasants by workers and peasants to end all forms of oppression and exploitation.

The policies of the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Part of India (Maoist) and most other fragments of the communist movement that began 80 years ago is today a far cry from the revolutionary rhetoric posted in their web sites. The largest communist groups today are fine tuning their political positions to come to power just like any other bourgeoisie party that they supposedly have contempt for. The many fragments of the underground communists – supposedly allied to Maoist ideologies of various shades have only one thing in common – their penchant for violence.

Left wing violence( not calling it terrorism) is probably the oldest form of organized ideology terrorism that exists in India with its roots in the pre independence and immediate post independence era when BT Ranadive had launched an armed struggle in Telengana in the period around 1948-50. This was subsequently called off and Ranadive accused of “adventurism” but subsequently rehabilitated.

The next major bout of violence is now the subject of folklore and inserted the word”Naxalite” in the Indian political lexicon. It also was the first instance when insurgency and terror was successfully tackled by equally tough counter insurgency measures and state repression. State repression thought not new by this time – (it was always in use in the troubled North East), had matured enough.

Yet Naxalites were never completely wiped out, not quite. The Naxalite terror now extends to a dozen States, affecting 509 police stations. For the first time naxal activity has been recorded in two police stations in Haryana. The menace has spread to nearly 40 per cent of the country’s geographical area with the affected population going up to 35 per cent. Areas in many States, which looked too obscure to fall for naxal influence, are today witnessing naxal activity.

Although the cousins of the Naxalites in Nepal, the Maoists have been won over to the ballot, the Indian Maoists have so far resisted this – partly because they see the example of the main line communists which did join parliamentary politics and what they see of left front politics is not too inspiring or different from the bourgeoisie parties which they had sought to uproot.

Further more the government’s own response of treating this only as a law and order problem hasn’t helped very much, as it only made the Naxalites dig in their heels deeper and go further underground. One does not know where the left wing insurgents would be placed in the spectrum between cultural nationalists and plain terrorists given that this classification is religion based and the Naxalites are of course atheistic in their ideology. However, whatever it may be, given that this has been around much longer than most other forms of terror and insurgency, it wont get lost in the current melee where we seem to have time for only right wing terrorism and nothing else.





Day after blast, Bengal DGP admits to security lapse

5 11 2008

Source: Indian Express
Salboni, November 03
The West Bengal government has admitted to a lapse in security of the chief minister which suspected Maoists used to target his convoy in Salboni on Sunday. And the man to admit this was none other than West Bengal Director General of Police AB Vohra.

Six policemen were injured in the blast that ripped through a police jeep minutes after the convoy carrying Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan passed the spot.

Police said six persons had been arrested. Three policemen — an inspector and two constables — who were responsible for manning the blast spot have been suspended for dereliction of duty.

Vohra, who rushed to the blast site on Monday morning, also talked to the district administration and pointed out the lapses in CM’s security.

Later talking to reporters, he said: “The police failed to apprehend the attack.”

After receiving a primary report from the DGP, Home Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakrabarti described Sunday’s incident as “a serous lapse in security”.

“No one responsible for the incident will be spared, no matter how big an officer one is,” Chakrabarti said.

The CPM state secretary, Biman Bose, made it amply clear that the police and intelligence failure was the reason for Sunday’s incident.

“The administration should have had information that such a thing was about to happen. The Maoists had over a half-kilometer-long wire attached to the bomb. It ran through open fields and along a canal bank. It is very difficult to accept that no one saw them,” said Bose. Sources in the Chief Minister’s secretariat said even Bhattacharjee himself was unhappy about the role of the district police. He has pointed out the lack of intelligence inputs.

Apart from the inquiry initiated by the DGP, Bhattacharjee has directed his Chief Security Officer, AK Maliwal, to file a separate report on the incident. “The superintendent of police of West Midnapore cannot deny his responsibility,” said a senior official of the CM’s secretariat.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home minister Shivraj Patil, meanwhile, had a telephonic conversation with the Bhattacharjee on Monday. “Both asked about my well being and wanted to know the details of Sunday’s incident,” the chief minister told reporters.

Earlier in the day, both Vohra and Maliwal made a on the spot inquiry of Sunday’s blast. The officers traversed through the paddy fields adjacent to the blast spot and went to the point from where the Maoists reportedly triggered the blast.

They tried to comprehend how the high tension wire, overhead the blast site, snapped with the blast. The police are also trying to trace the escape routes that the Maoists could have used.

Both the officers were present for more than two hours on the spot and later Vohra held a series of meetings with the district police officers.


Lapses on part of West Bengal police for naxal attack on VIPs

New Delhi (PTI): Basic security drill was not ensured by West Bengal police ahead of the visit of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan to Maoist-infested Midnapore district on Sunday when the Left-wing extremists triggered a landmine explosion.

Sources in Union Home Ministry said the police had not carried the basic road opening exercise, a mandatory security drill, ahead of the VIP arrival to or departure from a foundation-laying ceremony of a steel project in West Midnapore district.

The remote-controlled mine was exploded by the Maoists at Salboni shortly after Bhattacharjee had passed through that area and Paswan was approaching the point in Jhargram district, adjacent to naxal-infested Midnapore district.

While state Home Secretary A M Chakraborty said it was not a timer but a remote controlled device used to trigger the blast, Union Home Ministry officials were surprised that the West Bengal Police had not sent a Road opening Party (RoP) ahead of the VIP visit.

The pilot car of Paswan was caught in the mine explosion which was followed by the fall of a high-voltage electricity wire that led to injuries to six policemen.

State Police Chief A B Vohra himself is conducting an inquiry and fix responsibilities in case of lapses.





Assam blasts: Sketch of suspected bomber released

5 11 2008

The police on Tuesday released the sketch of a suspect in connection with the Assam serial blasts that claimed 81 lives. (Watch)

Police said the sketch matches 77 per cent with the person suspected to be responsible for the explosion at the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Kamrup on October 30. The person, dressed in a white kurta, is said to be of fair complexion with short hair and a thin moustache.

The sketch is that of a youth with a light beard, a thin moustache and a broad face.

“The suspect is a fair complexioned man aged below 35 years and about 5.7 feet tall with an athletic build weighing about 68 kg,” another police officials said.


Sources said the sketch was prepared on the basis of inputs from five witnesses.

On October 30, there were six near-simultaneous blasts in Guwahati at about 11:30 am in crowded market places –Ganeshguri, Pan Bazaar Fancy bazaar and the District Court complex. The high-intensity blasts set off fire in several areas.

As Guwahati tried to get on its feet, news of other blasts from Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon and Barpeta came in. Ironically in Barpeta, the police found a bomb at 9 am but by the time they could find experts to defuse it, the bomb exploded.