100-day anti-terror plan gets green signal

24 02 2009

Source: Indian Express , India
Maneesh Chhibber
Posted: Feb 23, 2009 at 0323 hrs IST

New Delhi: A 100-DAY plan to make the country a safer place is ready and sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) say P Chidambaram has already ordered its implementation. The go-ahead was given at a high-level meeting chaired by him on Friday.

The plan was one of the first things that Chidambaram told bureaucrats to work upon after assuming charge as Home Minister of the country, after the Mumbai Terror attacks. His lead probably came from the speech of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a conference of state police chiefs recently, in which he suggested a 100-day plan to develop an integrated mechanism to fight terrorism and Naxalism.

The Indian Express was provided exclusive access to the blueprint of what is the biggest-ever exercise undertaken by the MHA to counter terrorism and give more firepower to the forces and other agencies.

Among other things, the plan aims to secure the country’s porous borders, make the state and central police forces better equipped to counter foreign terrorists and Naxalites, construct more roads along the India-China and India-Pakistan borders, develop more integrated border check-posts and immigration checks posts, fully activate the newly set-up National Investigation Agency by May 31, amend the Official Secrets Act, launch more operations in Naxalite-affected areas, operationalise the four new National Security Guard hubs and provide more personnel and better arms to the CRPF and SSB.

Under the plan, the scheme for flood-lights for 2,840 km of Indo-Bangladesh border would be completed by January 20, 2012. This, the ministry, hopes would help check inflow of illegal Bangladeshis.

The ministry is also seeking the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for constructing 509 border outposts — 383 on the Indo-Bangladesh border and 126 on the Indo-Pakistan border.

To secure the coasts, the MHA plan provides for inducting the first batch of 24 interceptor boats by April. These would include 12 boats each of 12 tonne and five tonne capacity. Sources said the ministry had already started working on updating the standard operating procedure (SOP) for terrorist outrage under its crisis management plan. As part of this revamp, it also intends to upgrade the MHA control room.

To counter Naxalism, the ministry is reviewing its guidelines for incentives for surrender and rehabilitation of Naxalites under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme. It has also decided to include the Khunti and Ramgarh districts of Jharkhand in this scheme. Anti-Naxal operations have already been launched in Gadchiroli (Maharashtra) and Kanker (Chhattisgarh).

Advertisements




Red storm risingRed storm rising

9 02 2009

Presley Thomas,
Source: Hindustan Times

Gadchiroli, February 07, 2009

IST(8/2/2009) At the ramshackle teashop in Gadchiroli, where locals gather for their morning tea and the town’s favourite snack, poha, local banter is run-of-the-mill. Most of it is centred round Bollywood’s latest action adventure, Chandni Chowk to China and with the cinema house as a backdrop just behind the teashop, villagers dissect Akshay Kumar’s antics in the movie. “How about a ticket for the afternoon show? I want to see the movie again,” says a young man. The film may have been declared a flop but it sure is a hit in this outpost, even if Gadchiroli has seen enough adventure and violence around it in the last few days.

Gadchiroli town, a three-hour drive from Nagpur, is the headquarters of a district spread across 15,000 sq km, where left-wing extremists have been waging an ‘armed struggle’ for close to 30 violent, bloody years now. Last Sunday’s massacre of 15 policemen was just the latest in a disturbing list of incidents that have all but wiped out the rule of law in this desperately poor, exploited part of India. The local populace has long learnt to balance those on either side of the law. When we ask taxi driver Pavan if he will take us into the hinterland, he looks at us warily, weighing the profits and dangers of the trip. “What time will you return?” he asks. And doesn’t wait for an answer as he declares, “Nobody travels on those roads after 6 pm. We’ll have to come back before that. Only then will I take you.” Before we can indicate our assent (we have no ch

Growing influence 1980 :
Kondapalli Seetharamaiah, legendary Naxalite leader, sets up the Peoples’ War Group of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist). It infiltrates Gadchiroli after a police crackdown on Naxalites in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and makes news in September when activist Peddy Shankar is killed in a police encounter near Sironcha, near the AP border.

1990 :Ten years after the Naxalites’ entry, the movement has taken hold and 113 incidents of violence and 16 deaths are reported.

1991:The number of violent incidents drops to 96, but deaths shoot up to 30. Naxalites kidnap Dharmarao Baba Atram, former Maharashtra minister, who was compelled to resign for poaching chinkaras near Etapalli. He is later let off in exchange for the release of their leader, Shivanna. In November, 10 SRPF jawans are killed and 13 policemen injured in a landmine blast triggered by Naxalites near Etapalli.

2003: A landmine blast kills five policemen near Hemalkasa in Gadchiroli district.

2005 :Seven police personnel killed and six injured on February 22, when a landmine is triggered near Bhamragarh, bordering Chhattisgarh.

2006 : Seven police personnel killed in a landmine blast in April at Bewartola village in Gondia district, adjacent to Gadchiroli.

2007: Naxalite leader Shivanna, now secretary of Gadchiroli division, killed in a police encounter. Murali alias Satya Reddy, divisional secretary of North-Gadchiroli, arrested along with Mumbai professor Arun Ferreira. Two more leaders, Vernon Gonsalves and Sridhar Srinivasan, are arrested in Mumbai.

2008 : Four policemen killed on October 26 in an ambush near Korepalli village in the Aheri tehsil.

2009: Fifteen policemen killed in an ambush on February 1. oice anyway) he adds, “And I will charge you extra because I’m risking my life to take you into Naxalite territory.” THE

INVISIBLE PRESENCE To begin with, the tarmac laid out across the countryside is a joy to ride on. Then, we notice that the forest has become denser. And when we spot a milestone that tells us we’re 70 km away from Gadchiroli town, we realise we have not seen a single human being for the last few kilometres. In fact, we’ve barely seen any signs of habitation.

The turning point, literally speaking, comes at Gyarapatti, where we take the diversion into red territory. “Here, it is the Naxalites who call the shots,” Pavan tells us, and then goes silent as he keeps a sharp eye on either side of the road. Any new person or vehicle entering this region is monitored. And we have to be prepared to step out of the car for an interrogation at any point. Fear hangs heavy in the air here and villagers have been forced to choose between the law and the outlaws. They most often tilt towards the Naxalites.

At Bhurgi village, some 150 km from Gadchiroli, for instance, a tribal youth was hacked to death before a numbed village audience. Those who witnessed the incident are reluctant to speak about it, much less identify themselves. “I just know that there was a fight between two parties, and in the morning I saw the boy murdered,” says one woman. Probe further and she replies, “I will have to bear the consequences if I open my mouth. ‘They will be at my doorstep in 10 minutes.”

At Tumbargunda village, five kilometres away from Bhurgi, the panchayat office was blown up. With it perished all the villagers’ precious documents. “They want to keep a gap between the locals and the political set-up,” explains a police officer. Tumbargunda is just 10 km away from a police station. But villagers sneer, “The police do not dare enter this area.” Even vehicles rarely pass through the 200-km long Ettapalli-Pendri-Michgaon-Lekha-Dhanora stretch in which the village sits.

THE SPILLOVER EFFECT The guerilla zone or ‘liberated zone’ is one that the Naxalites have carved out systematically since

1980. It was easy for them: Gadchiroli district is sandwiched between the Naxalite-dominated areas of Rajanandgaon, Kanker, Dantewada and Bijapur in Chattisgarh; and Karimnagar and Khammam in Andhra Pradesh. The Intelligence Bureau estimates that about 500 full-time CPI (Maoist) cadres are active in Gadchiroli district and have a base of nearly 4,000 to 5,000 local supporters. The Naxalites have divided Gadchiroli district into three operational divisions:

South Gadchiroli, North Gadchiroli and North Gadchiroli/Gondia. The divisions have under their command more than 20 guerilla squads and platoons. Though they earlier operated in ‘dalams’ of 15 to 20 cadres, they’ve switched to a military-style hierarchy now, of local guerilla squads, platoons, battalions and divisions. And there is hardly any police presence to deter their operations.
One senior police official who has spent almost his entire tenure in the Naxalite belt admits that the problem could have been contained much earlier. “When the Naxalites entered Maharashtra from Andhra Pradesh (see ‘Growing Influence’), our government chose to see it a just a ‘spillover’. And we are paying the price now.” Governmental apathy continues. And the Centre seems to have its head buried in the sand even now — the turbulence in the underdeveloped tribal pockets of eastern Maharashtra is conspicuously absent in the Ministry of Home Affairs’s Annual Report (2007-2008).

And the state government has yet to respond satisfactorily with enough development plans for the region. It has taken some measures, though. Pankaj Gupta, chief, anti-Naxalite operations, states that a cash reward of Rs 3 lakh has been announced for villages that follow the Gaon Bandhi scheme in which villagers opt not to provide any support to Naxalites. “When the programme started only a few villages came forward,” admits Gupta. But now, he says, “More than 500 villages in Gadchiroli district have done so.” Gupta also claims that the government’s surrender policy done well. “About 145 Naxalite cadres, including a divisional committee member, have surrendered.

They have been rehabilitated and given police protection,” he says. And Rajesh Pradhan, superintendent of police of Gadchiroli district, claims, “We have managed to restrict the Naxalites to the fringes of Chattisgarh and the Andhra Pradesh border. He adds, “Strategies are being revisited and revised, to counter the leftists’ plans.” How successful those plans will be is a matter that, unfortunately, the police alone do not decide.





Maoist rebels kill 15 police in India: officer

3 02 2009

Source: AFP

23 hours ago

MUMBAI (AFP) — Fifteen police officers were killed in the western Indian state of Maharashtra in a shoot-out with leftist militants, police said Monday.
They were ambushed Sunday in jungle near a village in the east of the state, a stronghold of so-called Naxalites — Communist-, Maoist- and Marxist-inspired groups who claim to represent oppressed, landless rural dwellers.
“The patrolling party was ambushed by the Naxalites and 15 of our men died. The encounter went on for nearly one and a half to two hours,” state police chief A.N. Roy told AFP by telephone.
“Our people also fired, killing and injuring some Naxalites.”
Roy said there were regular skirmishes between police and militants in the area, which is close to the border with neighbouring Madhya Pradesh and some 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) by road from the Maharahstra state capital Mumbai.
Indian media on Monday said the militants fled with police weapons, including automatic assault rifles and a mortar shell. But Roy categorically denied reports that the policemen’s bodies were mutilated.
The worst Naxalite attack on police in Maharashtra had shocked the force, the officer said, adding that there was a “renewed determination” to tackle the militants.
“We will continue the fight and not let their sacrifices go in vain,” he said.
The Maoist insurgency, which grew out of a peasant uprising in 1967, his hit more than half of India’s 29 states and the rebels use a heavily forested region in Chhattisgarh as their headquarters.





Blasts in Guj, Malegaon kill 8

2 10 2008

Modasa Mirrors Mehrauli: Youths On Bike Throw Bag With Explosive: TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Source: TOI

Ahmedabad/Mumbai: In near simultaneous attacks across neighbouring states, two crude bombs hit Malegaon in Maharashtra, killing seven — including a 12-yearold girl — and injuring 30, and Modasa in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat, killing one and injuring 10 others.
The Modasa attack mirrored the one last Saturday in Mehrauli in Delhi. In both cases, youth on motorcycles threw a plastic bag containing low-grade explosive, killing innocent bystanders. The blast in Modasa took place on the eve of Navratri on Monday at around 9.30pm, hours after the recovery of 17 crude bombs in Kalupur area of Ahmedabad.
The Malegaon explosion took place around the same time in Bhikku Chowk area outside a building that used to house the SIMI office, leading to suspicion among authorities that it could be a retaliation to the Indian Mujahideen strikes in Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Delhi. The blast in communally sensitive Malegaon led to police fighting off a mob of violent protesters. The wounded were rushed to the nearby Noor Hospital and Faran
Hospital. Two of the wounded were reportedly injured when police opened fire to disperse the mob. Three policemen were also reportedly hurt in the violence.

A Hero Honda motorbike, which was parked at the blast site, was completely mangled. Additional SP (Malegaon) Sanjay Patil said the explosion took place on the motorcycle. ‘‘Soon a huge mob gathered and pelted stones at the police. We fired five rounds in retaliation. The crowd prevented the police from entering the area. There is tension and we have summoned additional forces. The exact number of injured people cannot be quantified now, but the mob attacked us brutally,’’ an officer said.

Versions differed. While some police officers said the blasts were triggered accidentally by a cylinder, angry local residents insisted bombs had been planted and then set off. Four companies of the state reserve police force have been deployed in the troubled area. Malegaon sub-divisional magistrate Ajay More said that the situation on Monday night was quite tense.
‘‘Three policemen, including an IPS probationer, Viresh Prabhu, are injured. Prabhu was hit by a stone and has a big gash on his head. We have admitted the policemen to Wadia Hospital,’’ he said.

The Malegaon blasts took place when a special Ramzan prayer was being offered in mosques across the town. This is the second time that Malegaon has been hit by blasts. On September 8, 2006, four bombs were planted on cycles and went off in the textile town, killing 31 and injuring 297 others. Nine SIMI suspects had been arrested for the 2006 blasts.

Residents of Malegaon alleged that Monday’s blasts were a conspiracy to disturb the law and order situation two days prior to Eid. ‘‘I saw people running helter-skelter on the road and youths were taking the injured to the hospital,’’ said Khaleel Ahmed, a resident.

BLOODY TRAIL Malegaon blast: Shoppers were target

Ahmedabad/Mumbai: Monday’s blast in Malegaon took place in the historical Bhikku Chowk area, hardly 300 metres from Mushwerath Chowk, the site of the 2006 blasts. Thousands of women were shopping at the time of the blasts. Bhikku Chowk is located between three mosques. The SIMI office, which is located on the first floor of a building, was functional till the outfit was banned on October 24, 2001.

In Modasa, the area of the blast was cordoned off as forensic experts rushed in to pick samples. ‘‘One person was killed and 10 injured in the blast that took place at Suka bazaar.
Police reinforcements have been rushed in to the spot while injured are being shifted to the hospital,’’ said Sabarkantha district collector M Thennarasan.

Here too, people were out shopping when the bomb was set off. ‘‘This is a minority-dominated area and people were out shopping for Eid. It is Ramzan and Shuka bazaar is usually bustling at this time,’’ said Razzak Khan, an eyewitness.

As news of the blasts reached Delhi, Union home secretary Madhukar Gupta got in touch with authorities in Gujarat and Maharashtra to take stock of the situation.





Tribunal lifts ban on SIMI

5 08 2008

So now terrorists can be innocents ….?!

8/5/2008 10:29:28 PM
Courtesy: Times Now

Simi Chief Safdar Nagori

A specially-designated tribunal on Tuesday (Aug ) lifted the ban imposed by the Centre on the activities of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

Justice Geeta Mittal of the Delhi High Court, who headed the tribunal, held that there was no new evidence submitted by the government against the SIMI to justify the extension of the ban, a top law officer said.

The government only came out with the evidence of Malegaon blast in Maharashtra in 2006 to show the complicity of the organisation in unlawful activities which was not sufficient to come out with the notification to ban it.

The ban was first imposed on the SIMI in 2001 under Unlawful Activities (prevention) Act and since then it has been extended after every two years.

The last notification on the ban, which was challenged in the tribunal, was issued by the Home Ministry on February 7 this year and was supposed to be in force till 2010.

The tribunal during the hearing had asked the government to bring new facts to justify its decision.

The SIMI had challenged the notification issued by the government contending that there was no fresh evidence against it and the ban cannot be continued on the basis of previous evidence.

During the proceedings the tribunal had expressed its dissatisfaction with the notification saying that there were no fresh facts given by the government for extending the ban on the SIMI.

The tribunal had directed the Home Ministry and Intelligence Bureau to place before it all evidence against the organisation.

Initially, the tribunal had conducted the proceedings in an open court but later it decided to hear the matter in-camera in the presence of Home Secretary and senior IB officials who placed all the documents collected by the government against SIMI.

Home Ministry to challenge tribunal order lifting ban on SIMI

The Union Home Ministry tonight said it will challenge the order of a tribunal which lifted the ban on Students Islamic Movement of India. “The ministry will examine the order of the specially-designated tribuanl in detail and take remedial action on a priority basis,” a Ministry spokesman said.

He said a preliminary perusal of the tribunal’s order indicates that it has not confirmed the ban on SIMI on technical grounds.

BJP reacts sharply to revocation of ban on SIMI, blames Centre

Blaming the “incompetence” of the Central government for the revocation of the ban on SIMI, the
BJP today said it reflects the “real face” of UPA.

“UPA has been incompetent in defending the ban on SIMI. This reflects the real face of the government and its soft attitude towards terrorism,” party vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

The BJP would oppose this decision with all its might as it pertains to the issue of national security and safety of citizens, he said. “SIMI is terrorism and terrorism is SIMI. The co-relation is known to all. The government is shying away from the fact and endangering the civil society by its soft approach to terror,” he added.