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Naxal Terrorists bomb police jeep in central India, 8 killed May 31, 2005

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BOMBAY (Reuters) – Suspected Maoist insurgents set off a bomb under a police jeep in central India, killing seven policemen and the vehicle’s civilian driver, a police officer said on Tuesday.

Two policemen were wounded in the blast late on Monday near Salekasa town in Maharashtra state, about 1,000 km northeast of Bombay, India’s commercial capital.

The policemen were part of a unit providing protection to officials supervising the construction of a nearby dam in an area with a strong Maoist presence, the police officer said.

Maoist guerrillas, who operate in at least eight Indian states, say they are fighting for the rights of poor peasants and landless labourers and regularly ambush police patrols.

The latest attack by the rebels came as police in the eastern state of Bihar arrested a Maoist leader who was wanted for the murder of 80 policemen in the past decade.

Bihar police said Maoist leader Kameshwar Baitha, who was arrested late on Monday night, was wanted in three Indian states and had a reward of 200,000 rupees on his head.

“This is the biggest achievement of Bihar police,” Director General of police Ashish Ranjan Sinha told a news conference in Patna, the state capital, on Tuesday.

He did not say from where Baitha was arrested.

Officials say Indian Maoists have links with Maoist rebels in Nepal who are fighting to overthrow the rugged nation’s monarchy.

(Additional reporting by Anita Mishra in PATNA)

‘Most wanted’ Naxal commander held May 31, 2005

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In a prize catch, ‘most wanted’ self-styled commander of the proscribed CPI (Maoist) Kameshwar Baitha, who was carrying a cash reward of Rs five lakh on his head and was evading arrest for the past one decade, was nabbed by the STF from the city, a top official said today.

Acting on a tip-off, STF commandos assisted by local police and STF men from Uttar Pradesh carried out intense search operation and captured Baitha from the outskirts of the city last night, Director General of Police Ashish Ranjan Sinha told a press conference here.

Baitha, who was also wanted by Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand police in some criminal cases, was allegedly responsible for the murder of more than 70 policemen, the DIG said. Soon after his arrest, he was brought to the Kotwali police station where he was subjected to interrogation by the STF personnel, Sinha added.

STF personnel from Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand too are arriving here to question the dreaded naxalite leader.

While Bihar and Uttar Pradesh governments had announced cash reward of Rs two lakh each for the person providing clues about him, Jharkhand also had announced a cash reward of Rs one lakh for those who would help in arresting the naxalite.

Baitha, believed to be an expert in laying and manufacturing landmines and other explosive devices, was wanted by police in connection with a number of landmine blasts claiming several lives, murders and incidents of abduction of government officials and attacks on police stations, official sources said.

Significantly, no sophisticated weapons were recovered from Baitha’s possession, Sinha said. Baitha was the chief of the outlawed erstwhile People’s War Group (PWG) before its merger with the banned Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) to form the new outfit CPI (Maoist) last year.

In another operation, dreaded naxalite Rambachan Yadav of the same outfit was arrested by STF personnel from a village in Rohtas district today, police said.

Yadav was one of the accused in the killing of Sanjay Singh, Divisional Forest Officer (Rohtas range) near Sasaram on February 15, 2002.

Seven policemen killed in naxal mine blast May 31, 2005

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Nagpur: UNI

Eight people, including seven policemen, were killed and two other police personnel injured in a landmine blast executed by naxalites at Bevartola village in Gondia district.

Inspector General (IG), Nagapur range S M Mushrif, who is camping in Gondia, told UNI over phone on Tuesday that two sub-inspectors and seven constables were returning from Kadvanda dam when the incident occured at 4:00 pm on Monday in the village located in Salekasa taluk. The police personnel had visited the area to protect the explosives stored there for blasting purposes, he said.

The deceased have been identified as Waman Gadekar, Kirankumar Jhodape, Sagar Raut, Amberraj Bisen, Bhajrang Dhabhare, Ravikumar Javanjal and Mulchand Bhoyar. The driver of the vehicle was also killed in the blast.

Constables Jayant Kumar Ukare and Sachine Sonole sustained injuries in the attack.

Naxalism hits 30 crore people: Raman May 31, 2005

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Bhopal, May 30 Admitting that Chhattisgarh’s Bastar and Sarguja districts were in the “area of influence” of the Maoist Communist Centre, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Raman Singh today pointed out that the naxal menace was impacting on six surrounding states, and added that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Union Home minister LK Advani were `clearly told’ to perceive the issue in a national perspective.

“Such extremism is affecting a population of about 30 crore across more than 100 districts. An integrated action plan is required and the problem cannot be resolved in a year. There is a need to strengthen the police force and we proposed that a ten-year ‘special status’ be granted on the development front to naxalism-affected states,” he told a packed press conference here on Monday. This was the visiting chief minister’s first formal interaction with the state capital’s media after he assumed the post in 2003.

“The will exists for the formation of a unified command for naxalism-affected states but there’s no concrete plan. When it came into being, Chhattisgarh had a below-average police force that translated into a mere 21 personnel per 100 sq km. Night-vision equipment and anti-landmine devices were the need of the hour,” he pointed out.

When quizzed on whether his government would adopt a policy of ‘blood and iron’ or a soft rehabilitative approach towards the rebels, Dr Singh said, “any state-level action plan has a safety valve. If a person is willing to abjure violence and join the mainstream, he may do so.”

A Chhattisgarh reserve police force was formed and if the Centre provided a green signal, locals could be trained within the state itself and would have the added advantage of being familiar with the terrain. When it was pointed out that the number of extremist incidents were comparitively far more in Chhattisgarh, Dr Singh shot back, “our police reaches even the remotest of villages while conducting operations and retaliation is natural.”

Claiming that Chhattisgarh topped in the previous fiscal with regard to ”actual investment inflow,” the Chief Minister put the figure at a whopping Rs 7,300 crore.

“My tour of Europe and the United States was very successful and Chhattisgarh’s identity and potential were advertised. I met NRIs at no less than eight places. Presentations were made before local investors and some MoU inked right then. But more importantly, the lack of awareness regarding my state was met with help from media such as Asia TV,” he explained.

On the power front, Dr Singh said that the subject was related to the Centre. As opposed to a demand of 900-950 MW at the time of creation, Chhattisgarh now required 1,800 MW. “Industrialisation will only multiply demand. However, first 280 MW and then 90 MW were slashed from the Central quota. But work has begun on generating projects including Korba and – in the next five years – we will have 8,000-10,000 MW of additional electricity,” he claimed.

Every year, a whopping Rs 25 crore are spent by the Bastar-Sarguja development authority that also implements both Central and State-level programmes. When quizzed on missionary activity, the chief minister said that organisations toiling in the education and health sectors would be allowed to continue their work sans hindrance.

“My government will ensure that no conversion takes place on economic basis. Any social service organisation is welcome,” he added. On the recent Supreme Court ruling against the state’s private universities, Dr Singh said that more than a 100 such varsities immediately ceased to exist but individual legislation would be framed for saving the better ones among these institutions.

“E-governance has found maximum use in the education sector where medical and engineering colleges are being linked to other institutions. The chief secretary and other senior bureaucrats can E-confer with officials in district headquarters,” he explained.

Indicating a spurt in tourism, Dr Singh said that “after Niagara, the second such horseshoe-shaped waterfall was in Chitrakoot.

“Tremendous possibilities exist, good hotels are being set up and proper roads laid,” he said. Claiming that his government met 50 per cent of electoral promises, including easy loans and irrigation, the chief minister said, “over the past roughly 15 months, I tried to meet the state’s foremost priorities.”

On media, Dr Singh said that the Fourth Estate’s role was increasing in the global village. “Both politicians and media persons ought to be alert as what we say and what you report affects society,” he felt.

Karat did meet Nepal Maoists, admits party May 31, 2005

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Aloke Banerjee

Kolkata, May 30, 2005

A secret meeting between CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat and top Maoist leaders of Nepal did take place in the second week of this month, according to CPI-M central committee leaders here.

Karat told the Maoists to give up violence and join the political mainstream, sources said.

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) confirmed to the Hindustan Times that a high-level delegation, including Baburam Bhattarai and Krishna Bahadur Mahara went to meet Indian political leaders.

In an e-mail message, CPN (Maoist) chairman Prachand said the objective of the meetings was to gauge India’s stand if the CPN(Maoist) were to accept a multi-party system as a political solution to the ongoing civil war in Nepal, and agreed to work with other political parties in a constituent assembly.

Karat, a friend of Bhattarai during their days in JNU, has denied having met the Nepalese leader, who carries a red-corner Interpol notice.

In his message, Prachand said, “Taking constituent assembly as the means of minimum political solution, the party is maintaining relations with different political parties and forces not only within the country but of the world including India, Europe and US.”

“To learn the position of Indian political parties, including that of the Indian government, and also to explain the party’s viewpoints, the central office had dispatched Comrade Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Comrade Baburam Bhattarai for this purpose,” Prachand said. But he did not mention the political leaders or the parties in India who had been approached.

`Centre-state action plan will beat Maoist menace May 30, 2005

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Bhopal | May 30, 2005 9:44:28 PM IST

Bhopal, May 30 : Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh Monday called for an integrated action plan between the central government and the affected states to combat Maoism.

“A long-term policy is needed to solve the Maoist problem. It cannot be solved in one month or a year. It may take 15 years,” he told reporters here.

The Maoist menace should not be considered just the problem of a particular state, Singh added. “An integrated action plan by the central government and the states inflicted with the problem is needed.”

The problem affected 300 million people in 120 districts of the country, he added.

He said all Maoist-infested states should be given a special status for development.

Singh lamented that the formation of an integrated action plan was taking a lot of time. “I feel that it should be given shape as soon as possible,” he said.

“A lot of inter-state movement by the rebels is there in Chhattisgarh,” said the chief minister.


No plans to give arms to the people of naxal affected villages: DGP May 30, 2005

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Tuesday May 31 2005 00:00 IST

TALCHER/CUTTACK: Director General of Police Bipin Bihari Mishra has ruled out any plan to give arms to the people of naxal affected villages in view of the recent violence in Sambalpur district.

However, he said that police will go to each of affected village to restore the confidence of the people.

All aspects including the safety of the weapons will be taken into account before police decides in favour of arming affected villagers, he said.

Mishra reviewed the situation at a high level meeting at Talcher attended by senior officials of the Department. He said that the police has chalked out a new plan to effectively counter left wing extremists. Focus will be on to block the escape routes of the fleeing naxalites during combing operation.

The DG said a fresh request has been made to the Centre to include Sambalpur and Deogarh districts under the centrally sponsored security scheme. He said that the Government will launch effective policing as well as take steps for socio-economic development of the tribal dominated areas to tackle the activities of the left wing extremists.

Meanwhile, the State police has decided to impart self-defence training to villagers in naxal-dominated border areas in a bid to protect them from extremist attack. The decision was taken in the wake of gunning down of three villagers in Burda of Sambalpur district by suspected Maoists on Friday last.

The training of villagers will begin in Burda and then in the other extremist-dominated border villages in phases. Mishra said that the training programme will start after the combing operation is completed

Kodgi: No root for Naxal cause May 30, 2005

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TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ SUNDAY, MAY 29, 2005 10:58:53 PM ]

Surf ‘N’ Earn -Sign innow

UDUPI: As Naxalite movement in and around the forest ranges bordering Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Chikmagalur and Shimoga districts becomes more visible, landlords put the blame on harsh government policies.

No parallel can be drawn between Karnataka, which has gone a long way in ensuring land reforms and literacy, and Naxal-infested states like Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, they insist. State BJP vice-president A.G. Kodgi, a farmer with large agricultural holdings in Amasebail, feels the Naxalites have been capitalising on people’s feelings against revenue and forest authorities.

“We have heard that Naxal movement began in West Bengal as an armed protest against the exploitation of the economically backward people by the landlords and the rich. But what is the reason for Naxalites to choose areas in Udupi district where the economic and social status of the people are comparatively higher than other parts of the state?” the former MLA asked.

He sees no meaning in the Naxalites propagating the violent Maoist ideology in a region totally free from social evils like bonded labour. There are not even many landless people in the area as the Land Reforms Act has been successfully implemented way back in 1967, he said.

He said many of the landlords had voluntarily handed over land to their tenants when the government introduced the Land Reforms Act. Unlike Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, literacy rate in the region was high as no child was deprived of primary education, if not higher learning, he said He admits, however, that some poor people living in encroached forest lands face problems from revenue and forest department officials who often harass them. “But these are minor problems that can be solved through talks or by making certain adjustments in the rules and regulations. This in no way compels people to raise arms against the government,” he said.

Being a resident of the Naxal-infested area, he feels that the extremists would never gain the people’s support here. He said he had heard about the Naxalites extorting money from landlords in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, but no one has ever come to him or any of his kind with such a demand.

“It is only through media reports that I have learnt about Naxalites visiting and holding meetings in the houses of labourers in and around Amasebail village. While their activities were limited to holding meetings in sympathisers’ houses and distributing Maoist literature, no local person has yet joined their groups,” he said and added that he had no information about the Naxalites trying to instigate the agricultural labourers in the area to revolt against the land owners

Centre asks states to use its money in time to fight Naxals May 30, 2005

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Ranchi, May 30: The Centre today asked states facing Naxalism to use its funds fully and timely to fight radical leftists and cross-border terrorism, citing one of its schemes promising full reimbursement for money spent on security items in 76 districts on the affected belt.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil told the Eastern Zonal Council meeting that Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Orissa governments were also required to put special emphasis on equipping themselves better to deal with organised mafia and extremism.

The meeting, held after 13 years since the Council came into being as a forum for the four eastern states to coordinate and discuss issues of common concern, was attended by Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda, Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, Orissa’s Navin Patnaik and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Bihar Governor Buta Singh, under NDA fire for recommending dissolution of the state assembly, however, did not turn up for the event.

”The (Central) scheme for reimbursement of Security Related Expenditure (SRE) enables states to undertake more effective anti-Naxalite action. The scheme covers 76 districts of the nine Naxal-affected states and the Ministry of Home Affairs reimburses 100 per cent of the expenditure incurred on security-related items,” Patil said in his address.

He asked states to improve criminal justice system and conditions in their prisons that, he said, required urgent reforms.

”Today, a prison is no longer considered a place for punishment and its functions have changed from (being) custodian to coercive to corrective. Reformation, rehabilitation and re-socialisation are the basic components of correction,” the Home Minister remarked.

Patil also underlined the need to prevent misuse of power, saying effective implementation of laws and timely corrective action were key to good governance.

Also, the Centre was worried over a low priority accorded by police to trafficking in women and children, the Home Minister said, adding state governments were required to evolve a comprehensive strategy to effectively deal with such crimes.

Patil, however, appreciated the standing committee of the Eastern Zonal Council to have included a wide range of issues facing the region on their agenda for the meeting.

The meeting discussed drug abuse, mineral royalty, flood management, soil erosion, labour migration, tourism and eco-biodiversity besides security and other inter-state issues.

The Home Minister asked the states to plan disaster management through coordination with different agencies and among themselves.

”The tsunami experience should become an example and a guiding force for tackling an unfortunate disaster that may visit us again,” Patil said, adding states should set up their own disaster management authorities.

Bureau Report

Shivraj Patil says 4% reduction in Naxal violence May 30, 2005

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Asked about the present status of Naxal activities, Mr Patil confirmed the Maoist links of the radical Leftists, but said there was an overall four per cent reduction in Naxal violence.

”But certainly, this four per cent does not mean a complete end of Naxalism.” The Home Minister, however, regretted that states were not using Central funds aimed at modernising their police force. He told reporters on board Avro, the BSF plane flying him from Latur to Ranchi yesterday