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UP Naxals kill 15 policemen November 21, 2004

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UP Naxals kill 15 policemen

The incident comes a day after an explosion at a state forest ranger’s house in Chandauli in which two guards were killed.

LUCKNOW, DHNS:

http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/nov212004/i5.asp?headline=UP~Naxals~kill~15~policemen

In a grim warning of the increasing Naxalite threat in the state, 15 policemen, including jawans of the provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), were killed as Naxals blew up a culvert on the border of Varanasi and Chandauli districts on Saturday morning.

The policemen and PAC jawans were on combing duty in Naugarh police station area in Chandauli district when the incident took place. According to UP’s Inspector-General of Police (Law and Order) R K Tiwari, nearly 150 Naxalites had laid an ambush for a truck carrying the 36th battalion of the PAC, which was scheduled to pass over the Narkati culvert in Chakia, a rocky sparsely populated area some 100 km east of Varanasi.

While two jeeps, moving ahead of the truck, crossed the bridge unharmed, the explosion occurred as soon as the bus approached the bridge. According to eye witness reports the bus was tossed up almost 30 feet by the impact of the explosion.

The mishap occurred at around 8.00 am. Thirteen policemen including nine PAC jawans were killed on the spot while the injured were rushed to the nearby hospital.

Later, two of the seriously injured succumbed to their injuries in the hospital, while two others are still fighting for their lives, according to information from the DGP’s office.

The Naxalites escaped after the explosion. The incident comes a day after an explosion at a forest ranger’s house in Chandauli, killing two forest guards and injuring two others on Friday.

Senior police officials reached the spot and the area has been cordoned off. A massive combing operation launched has also been launched. Uttar Pradesh DGP V K B Nair also rushed to the spot as soon as news of the mishap came in.

Taking a tough stance, Mr Nair said: “This is the first time the police (in Uttar Pradesh) have been attacked in such a gruesome manner and we are not going to spare them (the rebels).

Naxal challenge to be met firmly, says Centre

New Delhi, Nov. 21. (PTI): Taking a “serious note” of the killing of 17 police constables and wounding of several others by suspected naxalites in Uttar Pradesh, the Centre on Saturday said the challenge posed by armed activities of naxalites would be met firmly.

“State and Central agencies have been asked to immediately launch operation to track down the culprits and neutralise the threat posed by naxalites to internal security and law and order,” a Home Ministry spokesman said.

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/000200411210301.htm?headline=Naxal~challenge~to~be~met~firmly,~says~Centre

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1. Anonymous - November 22, 2004

While We Were Sleeping

http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20041122&fname=ajai&sid=1

VISIT : http://naxalwatch.blogspot.com

In the first operation of this magnitude in Uttar Pradesh; in the first major strike since the formation of the CPI (Maoist), 17 policemen were killed in cold blood on November 21, 2004.

AJAI SAHNI

In the first operation of this magnitude in Uttar Pradesh; their first major strike since the unification of two major Left Wing extremist (Naxalite) groups — the Communist Party of India – Marxist-Leninist Peoples’ War (or Peoples War Group, PWG) and the Maoist Communist Centre — under the banner of the Communist Party of India – Maoist (CPI-Maoist); and one of their most significant strikes against Security Forces since the commencement of the ‘peace process’ in Andhra Pradesh, militants of the CPI-Maoist ambushed and killed 17 policemen in cold blood on November 21, 2004, at a culvert in the Chandauli District of India’s largest (and among its worst-governed) state(s).

A reported eyewitness account of one of the survivors is chilling: Some 31 personnel of the PAC Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and from police posts in Chandoli and Mughalsarai were traveling in a convoy of two jeeps and a truck. The jeeps managed to pass the culvert, but as the truck crossed over, a landmine went off. However, none of the men died in the explosion. They were injured. The policemen in the jeeps fled in fear on seeing an estimated 50 to 150 Naxalites gunning for the survivors. The Naxalites then rounded up the wounded and killed each one by shooting them in the head.

Police authorities in the state have blamed the incident on an ‘intelligence failure’, admitting that they were several portents of escalating Naxalite violence in the area. On November 19, the Naxalites had attacked a Forest Department outpost in the District and had killed two forest guards. Later, the same night, they had set fire to the hut of the sarpanch (village head) of the Laharui village in the district. The Inspector General of Police (Varanasi zone) was to visit the site of these incidents, and the ambuscade was on his projected route. November 21, moreover, was the first death anniversary of a prominent MCC ‘commander’ in the area, Gauri Harijan, and the Naxalites were expected to execute a major strike to ‘commemorate’ the occasion.

The ‘failure of intelligence’, however, is more an abject failure of common sense. The Chandauli incident is only a clear declaration of intent that the Maoists remain committed to a radical extension of the areas of their violence and consequent influence, even as the state government seeks to appease them in Andhra Pradesh, encouraged by the Union Minister of Home Affairs who has articulated the desire to extend his indulgence to those he regards as ‘our children’ who need to be shown the ‘right way’. The Home Minister is apparently undeterred by the fact that many of ‘our children’ – particularly their top leaders, with whom the government wishes to ‘negotiate’ a solution – are well into their sixties, and have spent the better part of the last four decades in the enterprise of murder, intimidation and terror.

The dramatic expansion of Naxalite activities from just 55 Districts across nine states in the country in November 2003, to as many as 156 Districts in 13 states (of a total of 602 districts in the country) by September 2004, has been outlined earlier. However, there is little sense of urgency in even the highly affected states, and virtually no sense of a crisis in the states that are presently marginally affected or targeted by the Naxalites. Chandauli now demonstrates how abruptly an area can be carried across the threshold, from a moderately, marginally affected or targeted area, to an area of escalated violence.

It is useful to see the sheer spread of the existing Maoist network beyond the ‘core states’ of Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Bihar.

Beyond these states of Naxalite dominance, the sweep of Naxalite ambitions is manifested in the sheer dispersal of the areas of their current mobilisation. Among the ‘marginal’ states, they are concentrated in six districts in Uttar Pradesh (UP), bordering Bihar – Bihar itself is now almost completely covered. Mirzapur, Chandauli and Sonebhadra in UP are moderately affected, while Gorakhpur, Ghazipur and Ballia are targeted. Mirzapur had witnessed the murder of two private security guards at a stone crushing company in the Chahawan village on June 30, and an MCC activist and some weapons had been seized in the Sonebhadra district in September. More significant than incidents and arrests, however, have been the reports of continuous mass mobilization in the region, and the state’s police is at least apprehensive in its movement through the affected areas.

The infant state of Uttaranchal (formed in November 2000 after a bifurcation of Uttar Pradesh) has five of its 13 districts, in areas bordering or proximate to Nepal’s Far West Region, already ‘targeted’ by the Maoists. Significantly, an unspecified number of weapons and ammunition were recovered at a Maoist training camp – believed to have been set up for the Nepalese Maoists by the Indian group – in the Champawat District on September 6. Earlier, on August 30, five suspected Nepalese Maoists had been arrested in the Saufutia forests of the Udham Singh Nagar District.

In West Bengal – the state shares borders with Naxalite affected areas in Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar, and also has to contend with ethnicity-based insurgencies in its North, bordering Assam, as well as a sensitive, extensive and demographically destabilized border with Bangladesh – as many as 16 of a total of 18 districts are now afflicted by Maoist activities. On October 16, six personnel of the Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) were killed in a landmine attack in the Ormara forest in West Midnapore district. In another major incident on February 25, eight SF personnel, including five from the EFR, were killed and four injured, when a powerful landmine exploded at Golabari in Midnapore district. Intelligence sources indicate that the Maoists are now poised to unleash a wave of terror in the state. West Bengal was the source and primary focus of the original Naxalite movement (the name derives from the village of Naxalbari in the Darjeeling district of North Bengal), which commenced in 1967, and was comprehensively crushed by the early 1970s. The state had been largely free of Naxalite activities after 1973 till the end-1990s.

Madhya Pradesh has five affected districts, primarily in the tribal belt in the South of the state, bordering some affected areas in Maharashtra and Chattisgarh. Maharashtra itself has six affected districts – at least two ‘highly affected’, another three marginally, and one that is ‘targeted’.

In India’s South, Karnataka currently has 12 affected districts all along its North-East and South. Four districts located roughly along its Eastern region, are now affected in Tamil Nadu. Three districts – along its borders with Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and the coastal district of Ernakulam, are currently under the Naxalite area of operation in Kerala.

To these, of course, are to be added the 99 districts in the ‘heartland’ states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Orissa.

Nor, indeed, is this sum of the problem. Beyond these districts already designated by intelligence agencies as variously afflicted by Naxalite activity, is a much wider network of covert mobilization. Indeed, districts are added virtually by the week – as the pace of expansion over the past year demonstrates.Unconfirmed reports indicated Naxalite ‘political activity’ in a sampling of supposedly ‘unaffected’ states across the country, including Haryana and Punjab in the North and Gujarat and Rajasthan in the West, far from the current areas of concentration in India’s East and South.

Ominously, the students’ wing of the CPI-ML (the parent entity of the Naxalite movement) won the president’s post in the Students’ Union election at Delhi’s prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University in October this year. It is useful to recall that some professors at JNU are quite proud to list Baburam Bhattarai, the ‘ideologue’ of the Nepal Maoist movement, as an alumnus of this University.

In the meanwhile, the union and state governments continue to fail to impose the law of the land across expanding regions of violence, choosing, instead, to strike unprincipled deals with continuously proliferating violent groups in the deluded expectation that they can stanch the bleeding from a thousand self-inflicted wounds. They continue, equally, to fail to do what governments are intended and elected to do – provide the rudiments of governance, security, justice, development and basic welfare services – in ever widening areas. Appeasing violent groups has now become the natural response of a political leadership that has a bad conscience, is in bad faith, and is itself substantially criminalized. In the meanwhile, the uniformed services — the police, the paramilitaries and the Army — continue to pay a limitless price in lives.

——————————————————————————–

Ajai Sahni is Editor, SAIR; Executive Director, Institute for Conflict Management Courtesy, the South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal


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