Left wing Sepearatism, Terrorism : Watch

7 08 2008
Maoists blow up block office in Jharkhand
Press Trust of India, India – 41 minutes ago
Garwah (Jharkhand), Aug 7 (PTI) Maoists blew up the block office building at Dandai in Jharkhand’s Garwah district, police said today.

Maoists kill four in Chhattisgarh
Thaindian.com, Thailand – 23 hours ago
Raipur, Aug 6 (IANS) Maoist rebels killed four people in two separate attacks in Chhattisgarh, police said Wednesday. Insurgents killed two people in

Nandigram: CPM blames Trinamool-Maoist for fresh trouble
Zee News, India – 12 hours ago
Accusing Trinamool Congress and Maoists of launching attacks against CPI-M leaders at Nandigram where anti-SEZ protesters have locked horns with Left
No need to repay Rs 1.5b loan: Maoists tell farmers
Kantipur Online, Nepal – 5 Aug 2008
Some clients who used to pay interest regularly have also stopped after CPN (Maoist) became the largest party after the Constituent Assembly election.

Bike gang kills CPM leader in Nandigram
Calcutta Telegraph, India – 9 hours ago
The CPM has alleged that Niranjan’s murder was the handiwork of Maoists and the Trinamul Congress. “It is typical of Maoists to target CPM leaders and

Terrorism single biggest threat to S. Asia: Manmohan

3 08 2008

Terrorism single biggest threat to S. Asia: Manmohan Muralidhar Reddy and Sandeep Dikshit
Source : The hindu

‘Cannot afford to lose battle against the ideologies of hatred’

Stress on rapid integration along the lines of the ASEAN, says Prime Minister

Terrorism getting “institutionalised nurturing and support” in Pakistan: Hamid Karzai

COLOMBO: Terrorism was the dominant theme of speeches by the SAARC heads of state on the opening day of the summit here on Saturday. All the eight leaders were of the view that unless terrorism was defeated in all its forms and manifestations peace, progress and development of the region would be affected.

Regretting that South Asia had not moved as fast as one would have wished, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh identified terrorism as the “single biggest threat” to stability and progress. “We cannot afford to lose the battle against the ideologies of hatred, fanaticism and against all those who seek to destroy our social fabric,” said Dr. Singh, while pointing out that “we have only to see the rapid integration within Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its emergence as an important bloc in Asia to understand the opportunities that beckon.”

“Terrorists and extremists know no borders. The recent attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul and the serial blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad are gruesome reminders of the barbarity that still finds a place here in South Asia. We must act jointly and with determination to fight this scourge. We must defend the values of pluralism, peaceful coexistence and the rule of law,” he said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who opened his address with an apology to India for the attack on its Indian embassy in Kabul, charged that terrorism was getting “institutionalised nurturing and support” in Pakistan.

“Wildfires of terrorism are spreading across the region,” he said, adding that “these terrorist attacks are a rapidly growing threat, not just to Afghanistan or India, but for the entire SAARC region.”

“No amount of outrage and condemnation can suffice to express the anger and frustration we all feel when faced with such mindless brutality and violence. In Pakistan, terrorism and its sanctuaries are gaining a deeper grip as demonstrated by the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto.”

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa highlighted the need to strengthen regional legal mechanisms and intensify intelligence sharing to boost South Asia’s collective prosperity, peace and stability. Sri Lanka had seen the benefits of such cooperation in combating terrorism and Mr. Rajapaksa hoped terrorism in the region would be wiped out sooner than anticipated.

Fangs of terrorism

“The deadly fangs of terrorism are spreading across the region. They threaten to disrupt peace and stability. We must combat this menace of terrorism across the broadest possible spectrum,” said the Head of Government and Chief Adviser of Bangladesh Fakhruddin Ahmed.

“Terrorism has perpetrated brutal attacks in every part of the world. We condemn the heinous terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan in recent times, which caused unnecessary loss of valuable lives and property,” he added.

Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyonpo Jigmi Y. Thinley “unequivocally condemned these senseless and reprehensible acts of violence regardless of how sublime, noble and even desperate a cause may be.”

Pakistan joined other countries in condemning the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, with its Prime Minister, Makhdoom Raza Gilani, observing that terrorism had “shattered the entire value system of peoples and interferes with socio-economic development.”

Pointing out that Pakistan too had suffered from terrorism and lost the former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, in one such attack, Mr. Gilani said all countries need to fight terrorism “individually as well as collectively.”

He hoped the coming meetings of SAARC police chiefs and Home Ministers in Islamabad would focus on strengthening regional cooperation against terrorism.

Terror was the talking point

3 08 2008

Source: rediff.com

August 02, 2008 19:59 IST

The last time one woke this early for an assignment was to clear security at the White House on July 18, 2005. If you are not outside the Pearly Gates of the Western world by half past six, we were told, we could forget about being witnesses to history. There was no such incentive on Saturday morning so most of the press corps accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] to the 15thy SAARC summit in Colombo chose to extend their residency in Noddy Land. The motley bunch who marched forth at 6.30 on a muggy morning was prepared to endure the comprehensive frisking and grilling by Sri Lankan security.

As it turned out, the checks were almost cursory. Sure, our identification was scanned to ensure that the information and photograph matched, sure cameras and laptops were x-rayed, but there was, I thought, a rather chalta hain air to the whole business. Cell phones were not scrutinised and the security personnel accepted our word for what the gizmos were. Maybe they had done all the background checks earlier, but having witnessed the non-penetrative security cover they had thrown over the seafront the previous evening and hearing colleagues’ stories about the probing searches at checkpoints, I felt kind of let down.

As I was when I spied the grand-sounding Bandaranaike Memorial International Convention Hall. Built in the style fancied by the socialists of the 1970s, it is a near clone of such structures in places like Hanoi. The innards are more Shanmukhananda Hall circa 1960s than Vigyan Bhavan. The entrance has a wall to wall painting of Sirimao Bandaranaike, the world’s first lady prime minister, with her brood, including Chandrika Kumaratunga in dual avatars, as teenager and president.

For the leaders attending the summit, it must have been a sobering experience to light the stamp and release the traditional SAARC stamp under the watchful gaze of Messrs Mao and Zhou. Now, there is one leader who would have appreciated the busts of Chinese Communism’s initial presiding deities, but the Maoist Prachanda could not be elected Nepal’s premier in time and had to forego what was apparently a trip he much desired. A summit whose primary priority is to fight terrorism launched in Mao’s shadow. What was Mahinda Rajapakse thinking?

The Sri Lankan president seemed pleased as fruit jelly during the inauguration. The gallery overlooking the main hall was filled with Colombo schoolchildren smartly dressed in their uniforms and local dignitaries who applauded enthusiastically every time their Big Chief spoke. For all his last gunfight at OK Corral image, Rajapakse is not a fire and brimstone speaker unlike his attractive predecessor or a present day Cassius like the wily J R Jayawardene who Indians remember for luring Rajiv Gandhi into the IPKF fiasco. His style is more patriarchal, his speech and manner reassuring his Sinhala flock that they have in him their saviour against the marauding LTTE [Images].

Summit inaugurals are notable not only for the direction they set for the discussions to follow, but for all the tone employed at the outset. Based on a random poll of Indian listeners at the venue, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, making his official debut at a SAARC summit, stole the show. He won Indian hearts early into his speech when he mourned the loss of Indian and Afghan lives in the July 7 bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul.

Just 26 days have passed since that horrific event, and already it has been overwhelmed by fresh murderous assaults on the way we Indians live. Only Karzai and Dr Singh referred to the Bangalore and Ahmedabad bombings though all the leaders save two — Maldives [Images] President Abdul Qayoom and caretaker Nepalese Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala — made specific references to terrorism in their speeches. For the octogenarian Koirala — who was missing for a large segment of the inaugural speeches, presumably receiving medical attention — it was a sorry hurrah. Choosing to ignore his prepared speech, Koirala spoke extempore, rambling at random, and providing reason why politicians must sometimes retire.

The next SAARC summit could have an intriguing new addition if Prachanda is elected prime minister. It is difficult to say if the Maoist will play by the rules or be combative and complicate SAARC’s current attempt to be a truly transformational grouping like ASEAN or the European Union. He will not be the only new face at the next event. The Maldives will have its first multi-party election in two months (what if the islands elect an Islamist party?); Bangladesh Chief Adviser Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed — who made a fine speech — says the long-delayed elections are scheduled for December. And, of course, the world’s largest democracy will also visit the hustings, some say as early as November.

Also making his debut at a SAARC summit was Yousuf Raza Gilani, who Pakistan Peoples Party patron Asif Zardari has chosen to be that country’s prime minister. Even though India-Pakistan relations are at its lowest ebb in four years, the body language between the two leaders before the inaugural didn’t seem hostile. Perhaps it is their non confrontational personalities, but the images beamed from the lamp lighting and stamp release ceremonies showed Gilani in pleasant chat mode with both Dr Singh and Karzai.

It must have been a difficult time thereafter for the Pakistan leader, whom Sri Lanka’s [Images] Rupvahini television channel chose to focus on every time a leader mentioned terrorism (who would have thought that even Bhutan would be affected by it? Its St Stephens-educated Prime Minister Jigme Thinley referred to terrorism’s impact on his Himalayan kingdom in his speech).

Gilani was the last leader to speak, over seven hours after the Indian media party had set out from their hotel. We were all anxious to hear if he would defend his country against charges of being a major sponsor of terrorism. The Pakistan prime minister dwelt on why South Asia must become the world’s granary, why it is important to preserve the environment, and improve people to people contact. The Afghan president — who has often blamed his eastern neighbour for his nation’s continuing troubles — shook his pencil in some irritation at Gilani’s reluctance to come to the point. Then, the reference came — in a flash of four sentences, of how Pakistan was the world’s biggest victim of terrorism and how it has cost ‘Shaheed Shehzadi’ Benazir Bhutto her life.

That was all.

Gilani, who came under sustained fire during last week’s visit to the US for the ISI’s links to terrorism, especially in Afghanistan, quickly moved on. One doesn’t recall what he said thereafter. We had lost interest.

‘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.

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 http://www.rcpkarnataka.blogspot.com, 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.

Naxals news

31 07 2008

For more news on Naxals

Source: Indian Express
Full Coverage > Taking on Naxals

26 Mar 2008

Probe slams officers, staff for largest Naxal jailbreak

An administrative inquiry into Chhattisgarh’s Dantewara prison break on December 16, 2007 where 299 prisoners…

03 Mar 2008

Naxalites shift gaze to urban areas, think of car bombs, suicide missions

Seized Naxal laptop suggests bid to acquire urban warfare capabilities, training in anti-aircraft guns

29 Feb 2008

This station has weapons, Internet, mineral water, needs a few more cops

“I am giving you a constable. He will drop you off there and come back.” When Circle Inspector of Chennur police station…

28 Feb 2008

How do you win back 11 villages from Naxal control? Check with these 75 policemen

“One number sentryiiiiiiii…, hoshiyaaaar hai”. The loud, long-winding call in the dead of night breaks the silence in this village…

27 Feb 2008

If Naxals can have special squads, why can’t we, ask cops

Naxals frustrate Jharkhand cops by fleeing to adjoining states

26 Feb 2008

In Naxal’s latest den, police station can’t fill up vacancies

With barely a dozen cases being registered every year at the local police station…

25 Feb 2008

No electricity, no phone, this Bihar police station has only God to thank

Each day, when Sub Inspector R L Thakur gazes at the setting sun falling behind the hills facing his police station, he shivers.

24 Feb 2008

Fighting a war with two mobikes, one phone and no drinking water

A tiny room, one light bulb, a table and a chair, an AK-47 hanging from a nail on the wall, a cot in one corner with four bamboo sticks…

For more recent news features related to this topic, please click on a link to the left.

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Women naxal killed in an exchange of fire

Naxals hijacked two tourist boats
Blasts boats as retaliation to killing of naxals

Revolutionary organizations get together for merger
Two revolutionary women organizations come together

Naxals kill two constables

Naxals on the scene again

Naxals peace talks – Security responsibility by Police

September 30, 2004: PW and Janasakhti Rally in Hyderabad draws large crowd

September 20, 2004: 9 States conference on Naxals

August 26, 2004: Former PWG militant kidnapped in Kurnool

July 30, 2004: Cases against PW emissaries may be withdrawn

July 28, 2004: People’s War Warangal meeting a grand success

July 20, 2004: Talks with naxals are in progressive side – YSR

July 4, 2004: Proposed move on talks with naxals

June 14, 2004: No response from naxals for talks

PWG / Maoists
Maoists killed three police men at a close range.
CM visits family members of policemen shot dead

Maoists strikes Atmakur(M) Police Station
Kills SI, ASI and a Home Guard

Ban on Maoists extended for one more year
Decision taken at State Cabinet Meeting

Kidnapped constable killed by Naxals
Constable belongs to Sukuma Police Station

More features on Maoists

Naxalites destroying tiger reserves: Census

31 07 2008

Source: MSN

New Delhi: Tiger reserves in areas with heavy Naxalite presence and influence are the country’s worst, according to the Wildlife Institute of India’s latest tiger census report that has recorded a sharp fall in tiger population.

The reason for the fall in the number of tigers in these reserves can be anything-—from poaching to loss of habitat, it said.

Qamar Qureshi, WII’s chief tiger census investigator, said the tiger reserves in Naxal-affected Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa have fared poorly. “They are suffering because of Naxalism,” he said.

An official of the WII said forest officials in the three states have almost acceded control of the reserves to Naxalites. Five reserves-—Indravati, Palamau, Saranda, Valmiki and Simlipal-—are in huge contiguous forest areas, making it impossible for the thinly armed forest staff to move in, the official added.

The 34,000-sq km Indravati reserve in Chhattisgarh, identified by the WII as a “vital tiger reserve,” is now controlled by rebels. The reserve may be having tigers left in single digit as compared to 29 in 2001 census. “The figures are as per the local estimation. No census was done because of the Naxals,” a WII investigator said.

The fall in the numbers is clearly visible from the population estimation in Similipal (Orissa) and Valmiki (Bihar-Nepal border). Similipal has only 20 tigers against 99 in 2001. Valimiki has 10, down from 53 in 2001. Qureshi said conservation in these reserves is not working because of the Naxal threat, a charge the Orissa Government has refuted.

Jharkhand, which has 1,488 sq km of forests with habitat to support tigers, is in total disarray. The Palamau reserve, which had 32 tigers in 2001, did not report any tiger sign in the first phase of the census. “No further investigation was done because the state government’s data was not amenable for the census report,” Qureshi said.

Rajesh Gopal, member secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, estimated that the tiger density would range between 0.5 and 1.5 tigers for 100 sq km in most Naxal-affected reserves. “The tigers may have suffered due to direct poaching, loss of quality habitat or loss or prey,” Gopal said.

A WII official rated Jim Corbett, Bandipur and Kanha tiger reserves as the best. “These reserves have good prey base and a healthy supporting forest corridor to allow expansion of tiger population,” Qureshi said.

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