Maoist splinters becoming cause for concern for India too

26 02 2009

By Anand Gurung
The breakaway Maoist groups including the latest one led by fiery Maoist leader Matrika Yadav is not only a cause for concern for the ruling Unified CPN (Maoist) party and the country, but increasingly India too which is reeling under its own version of red terror.
Until recently, the Indian media was abuzz with speculation about breakaway Maoist group in Nepal collaborating with Indian Naxalites (Maoists). However, this serious issue concerning India’s internal security has now started to find its way into the floors of the Indian parliament – the Rajya Sabha.
This became clear after a senior Indian minister Wednesday denied rumors about Maoist splinters in Nepal collaborating with Indian Naxalites as baseless, saying that there is no valid evidence to suggest the same.
“There is no firm evidence of any breakaway Maoist group in Nepal collaborating with Naxalites here,” Indian Home Minister P Chidamabram was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India (PTI).
Replying to a query on the issue during the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, Chidamabram also denied any Naxalite activities in the Indo-Nepal border. He, however, said the government is vigilant and “would take firm action against Naxals”.
The Minister further said the government would welcome and rehabilitate any Naxalite if he/she wants to return to the mainstream.
Chidamabram also said that the aim of Naxalites “is to overthrow an established government through armed struggle”, and they are not for development. “Naxalites are the worst enemy of development as they are targeting schools, telephone towers and other infrastructure,” he said, adding that they are motivated by “misguided” philosophy.
According to PTI, a BJP lawmaker also wanted to know how the government would fight “Left-wing extremism” when it took support of the Left, drawing protests from the Left parties in the Rajya Sabha.
Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has described the rise of Maoists – also called Indian Naxals – as one of the “gravest threats” to India’s internal security
It is worth mentioning here that India had played a major role in engineering the Delhi agreement back in 2006, bringing the underground CPN (Maoist) closer to the agitating seven political parties in Nepal. The alliance led to the overthrow of former king Gyanendra led royal regime and ultimately culminated in the country becoming a republic with the first elected Maoist government in South Asia at the helms.
Political observers say the Maoist insurgency in India is also shaping up as an issue ahead of the Indian general election due by May. The Maoist rebellion is spreading like wild-fire in India, with reports claiming that 22 of the country’s 29 states are affected by it.
The rebels claim to be fighting for the rights of the farmers and the poor who make up the majority in a country with the world’s second largest population. Thousands of people have been killed since the uprising began in a village called Naxalbari in India’s West Bengal state in the late 1960s . Feb 26 09

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.

NIA may become law by weekend

17 12 2008

Source: TOI, IE

the accused to prove his innocence and allowed confessions before the police to be used as evidence — these were part of the Home Ministry’s original draft — were dropped following opposition by some ruling alliance partners and a few Congress ministers. The proposed measures provide for constitution of special courts to try offences under the NIA Bill and to provide for summary trial.

Under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, preventive detention of an accused can extend up to 180 days instead of 90 days as at present and no accused can be given bail without the prosecution being heard. Further bail can also be denied if the court feels that the chargesagainsttheaccusedareprimafacie true.

Foreign nationals who have entered the country illegally and are being accused under this law shall be denied bail.

Under the Bill, courts are empowered to presume the accused guilty of terrorism if arms or explosives have been recovered from him and there is reason to believe that these could or were used or his fingerprints or any other evidence was found at the scene of crime.

Raising funds for terror acts will attract punishment of a five-year term which may extend to imprisonment for ife with fine. Similarly, the punishment for organising terrorist camps and re cruitment of people will be a minimum five-year term or maximum of life impris onment with fine.

The Central govern ment will have the power to freeze, seize or attach funds and other financial assetsofindividualsorenti ties listed as terrorists and thosewhoaresuspectedto be involved in terrorism.

The NIA, which will be headed by a Director General, will not be able to take up suo motu investigation of any terrorism-related incident without prior approval of the Union Home Ministry.TheCentralgovernmentwillhave15 days to decide whether any case brought to its notice by a state government needs to be investigated by the NIA. Until then, the local police will be expected to investigate the matter on their own.

The Bill makes it mandatory for the state government where the case is under investigation to extend all assistance and cooperation to the NIA. It envisages setting up of special courts to try terror-related cases. The Supreme Court will have the power to transfer a case from one special court to another.

Other provisions include protection of witnesses by keeping their identity and address secret, holding in-camera trial, ap pointment of special prosecutors, fasttrack trial and appeal against decision of a special court to lie with the state High Court. The NIA will investigate cases under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, specific Acts for investigation, UNPA, Anti-HijackingAct,1982, Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Civil Aviation Act, 1982, SAARC Convention on (Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1993, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005, etc.

Introducing the Bills, Chidambaram said these had been brought forward as the country was a victim of large-scale terrorism sponsored from across the border. “There have been innumerable incidents of terrorist attacks, not only in militancy and insurgency-affected areas and those affected by Left wing extremism but also in the form of terrorist attacks and bomb blastsinvariouspartsofthehinterlandand major cities,” he said.

P DP president Mehbooba Mufti said today that if elected to power, her party would not allow any unilateral decision on extending any terror laws to Jammu and Kashmir, including the proposed National Investigating Agency (NIA).

She said any anti-terror law devised for the country can’t be extended to the state without the consent of its Legislature.

Pointing out the existence of existing laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Disturbed Areas Act in the state, she said: “This would particularly be an affront to the people who are trying to come out of the trauma inflicted by the two decades of violence and are sending strong signals of peace and tol erance through their current democratic exercise.” Addressing an election rally here, she warned that the “extension of any further curbs on the people here could reverse the positively evolving scenario”.

Mehbooba said the government led by Mufti MohammadSayeedhadrefusedtoenforce POTA when it took over in 2002 even after the Farooq Abdullah government had already extended it to J&K.

¦ The BJP said it would support even a “reluctant and incom plete” move of the UPA govern ment to create a National In vestigation Agency (NIA). ¦ BSP chief Mayawati also ex pressed her party’s support for the anti-terror Bill. ¦ However, the CPI(M) has come up with several objections and is planning to move amend ments in this regard in the Lok Sabha.

NIA may become law by weekend


“When I learnt about it, I got the shock of my life,” Shivramaiah said. “When people came knocking on my door, I was so shocked I didn’t know how to react. I am used to interacting with literatteurs and students. What do I know about a terrorist? Then, I was told he’d given a fake address.” TNN

New Delhi: The NIA Bill, introduced by home minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday, is expected to be taken up for discussion on Wednesday and may well be passed into law by the weekend. After the Lok Sabha clears it, the Rajya Sabha will take it up immediately after.
The schedule listing the Acts under which offences can be probed by the National Investigation Agency include the Atomic Energy act, UAPA, Anti-Hijacking Act and the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act. The quick-footedness, brushing aside the sensitivity about treading on the powers that have been cherished by states and pushing reluctant elements in the UPA while sealing BJP support highlighted the shift in discourse on terrorism after 26/11.

With the Congress keen to signal that it is serious about terrorism, the NIA will be another step in consonance with the process that began with the sacking of Shivraj Patil, followed by the appointment of Chidambaram as home minister, decapitation of the Maharashtra government and tough diplomacy on Pakistan.

Confounded that its terror plank did not cut ice with Delhi voters and failed in Rajasthan, the BJP quickly extended support. It argued that the Centre’s “reluctant and incomplete’’ step towards an effective anti-terror regime was a vindication of its campaign for strong laws.
The NIA is not short of ammunition to trigger a debate on the touchy subject of Centre-state relations. The NIA bill empowers the Centre to take suo motu decision if an offence was a federal offence, relegating the opinion of state to a secondary consideration in case of a difference of opinion. This issue has been a point of discord since the agency was mooted. The Left said it will seek amendments to demand that states should be associated with NIA probes. As of now the bill says states “may’’ be associated.

The cabinet saw the provisions for admissibility of evidence being rejected along with putting the onus of proof on the accused. Chidambaram was keen to include the admissibility of confessions, but this ran into political opposition from ministers like Lalu Prasad and Ramvilas Paswan. The option for a special law was also ruled out. Some of these apprehensions were articulated by minority affairs minister A R Antulay after the bill was brought in parliament, as he “did not rule out the possibility of the law being misused’’. He demanded that the same law be made applicable for communal riots.

The Congress’s push on the terror front is clearly a bid to usurp the plank from the BJP in the wake its victories in Delhi and Rajasthan. Since then, it has maintained a tough stance on Pakistan as well. The BJP’s bid to claim the original authorship on the government’s first tangible anti-terror move is clearly aimed at claiming some credit and also arguing that it had been more clear-eyed in assessing the dangers posed by terrorism.
While Mumbai has hammered home the reality of terrorism as a national threat, reining in the UPA allies prone to make a religious issue of it, the turnaround in the Congress’s fortunes has also helped in stalling the armtwisting.

The NIA, which will be be headed by a director general at par with the DGPs of states, will deal with offences of terrorism, counterfeit currency, violation of SAARC conventions like human trafficking, narcotics and organised crime, plane hijacking and violations of atomic energy act and weapons of mass destruction act among others.

Kasab ‘stayed’ at vacant site in Bangalore
Bangalore: The owner of a vacant site in
Nagarbhavi has become the undivided focus of media attention after the address on the identity card seized from Kasab by the Mumbai police was traced to No. 254, Teachers’ Colony here. This 30 ft x 40 ft site belongs to the family of critic and writer Professor Shivaramaiah, 68. It has been lying vacant for seven to eight years.


Common Provisions Staggering, Only A Few Fresh Clauses Added


New Delhi: Pota is almost back. Though the anti-terror law the government has sought to legislate does not have a few key provisions of Pota like admissibility of confessions, many other aspects like use of wiretaps as evidence and stringent bail conditions are now set to be part of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The Mumbai attacks have done what 20 other jihadi strikes on the Indian mainland outside J&K in four years could not do. The political opposition and Congress’ own lack of appetite for hard anti-terror laws melted before the staggering scale of the LeT strikes on Mumbai. Detention without bail for up to 180 days instead of 90 days, police custody of accused up to 30 days instead of 15 and life imprisonment for those involved in terror acts are some of the provisions in the UAPA which were part of Pota.

The bill has, however, not revisited one of the most stringent provisions of the Pota—treating confession before police as evidence. As far as banning an organisation or freezing its assets are concerned, the bill, unlike Pota, has taken into consideration the existing resolutions of the UN Security Council. Accordingly, it provides for extending ban on any outfit which has already been proscribed by the world body.

Considering this, if Jamaat-ud-Dawa is a banned outfit in the UNSC list, it will automatically come under the category of proscribed organisation in India. Referring to bail provisions and extension of detention to 180 days, the bill has taken into account the difficulties faced by investigating agencies in completing the probe within the stipulated 90-day period —particularly in terror-related cases with inter-state ramifications. The extension is, however, only limited to Indians involved in terror acts. The amendment is not so kind to foreigners who will be denied bail until proven innocent. Even an Indian national accused in a terror case cannot be released on bail.
The bill says that the court shall presume, unless the contrary is shown, that the accused has committed an offence for which he has been arrested, including possession of arms or explosives with a belief that these or such substances were used in the commission of a terror act. The amendment also provides for freezing and attaching funds held by individuals or entities engaged in or suspected to be engaged in terrorism. The proposed law has also for the first time included “seizure of credit or debit cards” as ones to be considered as evidence.

A new section has been inserted in the bill which says that those using explosives, firearms, poisonous chemicals, biological or radiological weapons with the intention of aiding, abetting or committing a terror act “shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years”. The bill says that anyone in India or in a foreign country who directly or indirectly raises or collects funds or provides funds for a terrorist act shall be punishable with at least five years imprisonment, which may extend to life.

Old wine in New Bottle

UAPA Bill: Repackaged Pota
Terror suspects can be held without charges for up to 180 days. Pota had same provision
Police custody can stretch to 30 days, the Pota limit
No bail if court satisfied allegation is prima facie true, similar to Pota restriction
UAPA incorporates Pota’s blanket ban on bail for foreign accused
Pota provision for drawing ‘adverse inference’ incorporated in UAPA as a ‘presumption’ against the accused

What’s new in UAPA Bill

Terror definition includes attack on any public functionary
To have a clause which provides for punishment if the funder had prior information that money is to be used for terror acts
Imprisonment up to 10 years for getting explosives, radioactive substances, nuclear devices etc with intention of abetting terrorist act
Life imprisonment for organizing terror camps or for recruiting any person for terrorist act
Empowers Central govt to seize funds of terrorist group and prevent entry into country of persons suspected to be engaged in terrorism

‘Dharti Ki Katha’, a film on naxalism

31 07 2008

‘Dharti Ki Katha’, a film on naxalism
source: Sahra samay

Posted at Thursday, 31 July 2008 13:07 IST New Delhi, July 31: Known for his strong performances in films like ‘Bandit Queen’, ‘Godmother’ and ‘Daayra’, actor Nirmal Pandey plans to direct a film based on very much a real issue – naxalism.

“I have been directing plays for a long time and since the subject is quite close to my heart, it prompted me to jump into directing movies,” says Pandey, who also holds a unique distinction of winning a ‘Best Actress Award’ for his role in ‘Daayra’.

Speaking about his directorial debut ‘Dharti Ki Katha’, Pandey says, “The root cause of the problem stems from the fact that development is yet to reach the villages and with basic needs of ‘roti’, ‘kapda’ and ‘makaan’ not being fulfilled the anger is vented in this manner.” He adds, “Not many films in the past have highlighted this issue in the best manner. I think bollywood should make films on social problems apart from making routine masala movies.” The film, which is being shot mostly in Maharashtra and Karnataka, has students from the National School of Drama (NSD), playing various roles.

“The main challenge was to bring alive the characters in the film and ensure that there were no superficial elements,” says Pandey.

Explaining the reasons to opt for the NSD passouts, Pandey says, “The youngsters add depth to the role and most importantly a director can cast them into a mould of his choice and according to the need of the script.” Commenting on the current state of Hindi theatre in the country, the actor says, “The need of the hour is proper marketing and support from the government, as there is a good audience for the same.” The actor, however, is quite happy with the quality of Hindi drama, which he says still have the potential to produce some of the great artists.

Pandey, who is also ventured into small screen and doing some television soaps, is quite critical of reality shows. “The shows do give a platform to the youngsters to exhibit their talent but care should be taken so that dishonesty does not creep in,” he says.

UP constitutes special task force to tackle Naxal menace

31 07 2008

Source: Express India
Lucknow, March 20
In the wake of seven more districts of the state coming under the Naxal influence, the government has now constituted a separate Special Task Force (Extremists) to tackle the Maoist problem. Sources said that a DIG-rank officer would head the new force.

The government’s move comes just after the conclusion of a meeting of the Naxal Task Force (NTF) in Lucknow this week. Earlier, only three districts of Sonebhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli were supposed to have a considerable number of Naxals but the recent reports of the central agencies point to the presence of presence of Naxals in other seven districts of the state, including Allahabad, Chitrakoot, Deoriya, Banda and Ballia.

“The problem of the Left wing extremism is in Allahabad and Chitrakoot districts as the Naxals have almost completed their preliminary stage of growth and have now established their own units,” a source said. The knowledge about the spread of Naxals to new districts of the state came after some Maoists were arrested from different parts of the state. “During their interrogation, they said about their attempt to make inroads in the remote areas of the state.

“The Bundelkhand region comprising Chitrakoot, Banda, and Mahoba have been Naxal target for long. They also want to spread it to Jhansi,” he said.

The officials believe that Naxals have made inroads in the state through the bordering Naxal-affected districts of Bihar. “Ballia district shares border with the Bihar’s Buxar district, which figured in the list of Bihar’s Naxal-affected part. Moreover, Bhabhua and Rohtas districts border Ballia,” the source. Presence of Naxals in Allahabad is not surprising as Shankargarh is notorious for explosive supply to anti-socials.

UP constitutes special task force to tackle Naxal menace

31 07 2008

Source: Express India
Lucknow, March 20
In the wake of seven more districts of the state coming under the Naxal influence, the government has now constituted a separate Special Task Force (Extremists) to tackle the Maoist problem. Sources said that a DIG-rank officer would head the new force.

The government’s move comes just after the conclusion of a meeting of the Naxal Task Force (NTF) in Lucknow this week. Earlier, only three districts of Sonebhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli were supposed to have a considerable number of Naxals but the recent reports of the central agencies point to the presence of presence of Naxals in other seven districts of the state, including Allahabad, Chitrakoot, Deoriya, Banda and Ballia.

“The problem of the Left wing extremism is in Allahabad and Chitrakoot districts as the Naxals have almost completed their preliminary stage of growth and have now established their own units,” a source said. The knowledge about the spread of Naxals to new districts of the state came after some Maoists were arrested from different parts of the state. “During their interrogation, they said about their attempt to make inroads in the remote areas of the state.

“The Bundelkhand region comprising Chitrakoot, Banda, and Mahoba have been Naxal target for long. They also want to spread it to Jhansi,” he said.

The officials believe that Naxals have made inroads in the state through the bordering Naxal-affected districts of Bihar. “Ballia district shares border with the Bihar’s Buxar district, which figured in the list of Bihar’s Naxal-affected part. Moreover, Bhabhua and Rohtas districts border Ballia,” the source. Presence of Naxals in Allahabad is not surprising as Shankargarh is notorious for explosive supply to anti-socials.

Melsunka: A haven for Naxals

31 07 2008

source: New Indian Express
Tuesday November 27 2007 08:41 IST

Manjunath Hegde

SHIMOGA: Melsunka village in Hosnagar taluk has neither road connectivity nor power supply, but people still stay here as KPCL paid them compensation in instalments after the village became a restricted area in the backwater of Mani Dam of Varahi Power Project.

Away from the civilian world, lack of facilities and impenetrable rainforests have made this village an ideal hub for Naxalites. It is feared that the youth here are slowly turning towards Naxal ideology.

Melsunka village of Sulgodu GP in Hosnagar taluk has 87 families and they have to walk 18 kms to Yadur to buy something.

They are cut off from the outer world. The only entry to the area is through Mani Dam, with permission from KPCL.Villagers of Kumribailu, Ultiga and Melsunka depend on forest products like bamboo and a few are engaged in agriculture.

After the entry of Naxalites, villagers say that the Forest Department personnel have stopped harassing them. A village without any civic amenities, Melsunka has become a favourite hide-out for the Naxalites. Whenever there is a fight between the policemen and the Naxalites in Amasebailu area of Udupi district, it is said that the Naxals rush to Melsunka region which is just a one-hour walk away through the ghat section. Whenever the police head for the village, Naxals disappear into the forests.

It may be recalled that a pamphlet was recovered from a camp deserted by Naxalites near Amasebailu, which showed that they had plans to blast Mani Dam, which is very near to Melsunka.

However, Hosnagar CIP SK Prahlada said no untoward incidents were reported from the area so far. Residents of this hamlet do not say a word either against policemen or favouring Naxalites. Alarmingly, a couple of Naxalites including Parvati, who was killed in Idu encounter, were from this village. Police say that the Naxal team wandering in the surroundings of Melsunka is ‘Varahi Dalam’, and they often visit Melsunka whenever they need grain and vegetables.

Interestingly, the village which had roads and electricity 30 years ago, has nothing but backwater and forests everywhere today. The youth here get offers from Naxals to join their group.

Why do Naxals hate NGOs? A case study of Bihar

31 07 2008

Monday, 02.04.2008, 01:20am (GMT-7)
Source: India post

Naxalism is a grave problem in Bihar. According to a March 2007 document of the Bihar Police, 30 of its 38 districts have been affected by Maoist activities. Maoist violence is endemic across the state’s territory. The fight against the state by the Naxalites is explicable.

But, why do they hate the NGOs? The ground reality provides many reasons for this hatred. First, the power of the Naxal outfits is the people, the masses. They fight for the downtrodden, the poorest of the poor, the lowest castes.

For instance, the Naxals fight against the state to bring social justice to the Dalits. At the same time, the NGOs also work for the betterment of the downtrodden and poorer sections of society. Thus begins the rivalry for custodianship between the two.

There are, however, fundamental differences in attitudes and approaches between them. The NGOs work at the grassroots and associate themselves with the masses. They seek to empower the Dalits through non-violent methods.

They inform the people about existing government schemes for the poor and often influence government officials to being proactive and helping the downtrodden. Through the Right to Information, many Dalits claim their rights to shape their future. These initiatives by the NGOs delink the Naxal outfits from the masses.

There are many such examples. The Musahar community is one of the most marginalized in Bihar that faces exploitation and discrimination. There are many NGOs working for their betterment in Bihar, but a number of them have received threatening calls to shut down their projects or face the consequences. A school run by an NGO was shut down in Gaya district, for example.

Children, who studied in the school, probably know nothing about the Naxalite movement, except that their school has been closed now because of the Naxals’ frequent demands for money. Second, the extortion money collected from government officials is immense.

There are many developmental projects for the poorer sections of society and the Naxalites claim their share in almost all these schemes. These projects are convenient and easy prey for the Naxals to establish a channel for sharing this booty. Their collection programs target forest contractors, businesspersons, civil contractors, villagers and government officials, including the police, in some areas.

The developmental activities run by the NGOs do not share the booty with the Naxals. The Naxals cannot directly demand a share from the NGOs, nor can they directly threaten them, as this would expose their pretensions to provide social justice.

The NGOs, therefore, become a consistent irritant for the Naxals. Third, there are many cases where school-going children have been picked up by Naxal outfits from the Dalit community. They advocate that education will not bring any change in their future lives, but that the bullet can restore their lost social status. Therefore, these children turn out to become hard-core Naxalites.

Fourth, since the Naxal outfits are unable to fight the NGOs directly, they have started their own registered organizations. There is speculation that a number of NGOs in Bihar are funding the training of Maoist guerrillas.

The writer is PGT, Teacher Koilwar, Bhojpur, Bihar

Now Naxals have a blog too!

31 07 2008

From Veerendra P M, DH News Service, Shimoga:

The Naxal discourse of the State has found new space in blogosphere. Titled, the blog presents details about the evolution of Maoist movement in the State, its strategies and split in the movement. Though there are a number of blogs on Maoist struggle across the world, rcpkarnataka is the first blog which is dedicated for discussion about the movement in the State.

The blog is promoted by Revolutionary Communist Party Karnataka, the breakaway faction from CPI (Maoist) Karnataka. The blog has interesting discussion about the reason for the split in the Naxal movement in the State. Though a section of party activists raised pertinent questions about hierarchies in party structure, but a discussion on the same was not allowed. The promoters of the blog said that absence of inner-democracy in the party resulted in the split.

The document ‘Our work in urban areas’ prepared by CPI(ML) (people’s war) of Andhra Pradesh in 2001 was immediate reason for the split of party’s Karnataka unit. According to 2001 census only 27.8 percent (35 crore) of the Nation’s population reside in rural areas. Urban areas contribute 60 percent of the GDP at present which is likely to increase in coming days. Taking the census report as referral point, a section of workers felt that party should consolidate its base in urban areas.

When the issue was neglected, they came out of the party and formed Karnataka Maoist Independence Centre an ad hoc body which was later renamed as Revolutionary Communist Party Karnataka in August 2007.

Introducing history

The blog presents details of the evolution of Maoist struggle in the State. According to a posting, Karnataka unit of CPI (Maoist) was formed in the year 1980 in Bangalore, open revolutionary magazine released in 1983, human rights organisations formed in 1984 and PRs (professional revolutionaries) were recruited next year. After failure to establish base in Raichur, party recognised Malnad as perspective area and in the year 2001, 25 comrades were sent to Malnad.

The blog states that RCP Karnataka wants to re-orient and re-organise the urban work with long-term strategical approach. RCP wants to establish base in urban areas through secret and open revolutionary mass organisations and legal democratic organisations. The blogspot also discusses in detail about the importance of media management to reach the mass. RCP has decided to mobilise large chunk of work force in unorganised sector (including those in ITES/BPO) in its favour.

RCP has also analysed the reasons of failure of Maoist struggle in the State. According to a posting in the blog, choosing Malnad as perspective area was strategic goof up as though Malnad’s topography favoured guerrilla warfare but the region was relatively developed with people growing commercial crops. RCP is also critical about Venkatammanahalli incident in which group of armed Maoists had opened fired on police. According to RCP any military action needs political justification but there was no strong justification for Pavagada incident due to which party was disgraced in the eyes of the public.

The blog has several links like kranthiya gathitarka, kalachida kondiya beseyuva prayatnadalli and others. RCP has underscored the need for going tech-savvy in coming days and foraying into the blogosphere seems to be first step in this regard.