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Naxalites trigger powerful blast in Bastar January 31, 2006

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Naxalites trigger powerful blast in Bastar

Jagdalpur: In the wake of a recent attack on a relief camp, Communist Party of India (Maoist) cadres triggered a powerful landmine blast causing extensive damage to Bijapur-Avapalli road in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada diistrict this morning, but there was no casualty, police said.

The earlier attack by the naxalites on Sunday night at Gangalur claimed 11 lives , killing eight villagers and three naxalites.

Police sources said the blast was apparently aimed at damaging the road leading to village Cheramangi where an anti-naxalite meeting was scheduled tomorrow.

Sources said Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh was scheduled to attend a meeting of ‘Salwa Judum’– which in local dialect means peace campaign– at Cheramangi tomorrow. They said it appeared that the naxalites had triggered the blast to disturb the meeting.

Senior Congress leader and leader of the opposition in the Assembly Mahendra Karma, who is heading the campaign, had undertaken a padyatra along with ‘Salwa Judum’ supporters on Bijapur-Avapalli road yesterday.

For the last six months, the tribals of Bastar are up in arms against the naxalites by launching the ‘Salwa Judum’ campaign so as to motivate the people to dissociate themselves from the extremists and to return to the national mainstream.

Several thousand tribals, displaced from their homestate following the hostilities between naxalites and the security forces,were given shelter in over a dozen relief camps in south Bastar.

Spl package for surrendered naxals in Andhra Pradesh: Jana Reddy January 31, 2006

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Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Home Minister K Jana Reddy today said the government was planning to set up a special package for the rehabilitation of surrendered naxals as per the recommendations of the Superindentent of Police (SP) of the naxal affected districts.

Addressing the press here, he said the SPs had recommended the special package for the surrendered naxals which would have separate funds to rehabilitate the ultras who surrendered before the police, at the two-day Collectors and SPs conference.

Stating that the Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy had directed the District Collectors to provide employment to the surrendered naxals, Mr Reddy said the surrendered naxals would be given jobs in private companies in their respective districts.

The government had approved to constitute two greyhound parties in Rayalaseema region and Visakhapatnam, which would tackle insurgency, factionalism and ISI activities, he added.

12-hr CPI(ML) North Bengal bandh affects life in Siliguri January 31, 2006

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Kolkata: A 12-hour CPI(ML) (Kanu Sanyal group) sponsored North Bengal bandh affected life in Siliguri and surrounding areas today.

The bandh has been called demanding reopening of closed tea gardens in Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling districts and protesting the ‘apathetic’ attitude of the state government to closed tea gardens.

The affected districts are Malda, South and West Dinajpur, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar.

Official sources said 30 Naxal supporters were arrested in South Dinajpur for disrupting life.

Sources said schools and colleges remained closed as did shops and other establishments in Siliguri and neighbouring areas.

However, the bandh had no impact in the hills of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong where tea gardens functioned normally.

Naxal leader Kanu Sanyal, addressing a press conference in Siliguri recently, threatened taking ‘extreme’ steps by February 8 to protest the “silent role” of the government towards tea garden workers

Jawan killed in Naxal attack in Jharkhand January 31, 2006

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Press Trust of India

Chatra (Jharkhand), January 31, 2006

Two persons, including a police jawan, were killed and two injured in a Naxalite attack near Bhangiya-Majhipara bridge in Chatra district.

The Naxalites fired upon a patrolling party on Monday, killing one jawan of the Special Task Force and a civilian travelling with police, DSP Sudarshan Mohan said.

An encounter took place soon after with both sides exchanging fire for over 90 minutes, he said.

The injured STF men were rushed to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, he added.

Chhattisgarh mulls group insurance cover in Naxal areas January 31, 2006

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Raipur: The Chhattisgarh government is likely to consider providing group insurance cover to the people in the naxalite infested areas of the state, Chief Minister Raman Singh has said.

”It’s a good suggestion which could be examined”, he told reporters at his residence here last night.

Mr Singh was replying to a question about the possibility of state government introducing group insurance cover to the people in naxalite infested areas in view of the increase in naxalite violence, particularly in tribal Bastar region.

Asked whether the state government would make arrangements for security in the villages as the people were being attacked by the Communist Party of India (Maoists) ever since the movement against extremists began nearly six months ago, he said it would not be practically possible to post security personnel in each and every village.

However, special police officers had been appointed and they were also imparted training to handle weapons, he said, adding these SPOs would assist the security forces besides extending support to the village defence committees. Efforts were being made to strengthen this system, he added.

Asked as to how long the state government would be able to accommodate more than 15,000 people in relief camps, the Chief Minister said clusters, comprising about 200 houses, were being constructed at different places to provide shelter to those people who had fled from their villages following naxalite threat.

He said these cluster of houses would be close to police stations and necessary social infrastructure like hospitals and educational facilities would also be provided close to these houses.

Strongly condemning Sunday night naxalite attack on a relief camp near Gangalur in South Bastar, in which eight villagers and three naxalites were killed, he said the attack was the outcome of frustation of Maoists as they were being isolated following the peoples’ revolt against them.

For the last six months, the tribals of Bastar are up in arms against naxalites and they had launched ”Salwa Judum”– which means peace campaign in local dialect– to motivate people to disociate themselves from extremists and return back to the national mainstream.

Naxals attack relief camp, 11 killed January 30, 2006

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Jagdalpur Chhattisgarh | January 30, 2006 7:38:44 PM IST

Eleven people, including three Naxalites, were killed and nine injured in an attack by the CPI (Maoist) ultras on a relief camp of displaced tribals at Gangalur in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewara district last night, police said today.
Among the injured were five Special Police Officers, who are local youths recruited by police on fixed honorarium to work as a conduit between the villagers and police in the Naxal-hit south Bastar region, bordering Andhra Pradesh.

Police sources today said three Naxalites, including a woman, were killed when police repulsed the ultras who killed eight villagers in the attack on the relief camp set up by the government to give shelter to tribals uprooted from their homes in the ongoing hostilities between the extremists and security forces.

The injured were being treated at the health centre at Gangalur, police added.

Several thousand tribals had been given shelter in over a dozen relief camps following the increased naxal violence terror after the local tribals with the support of political parties and administration launched a peace movement ‘Salwa Judum’ against the three-decade old Naxal menace.

Along with the peace movement, police had recruited local youths, including women, to work as Special Police Officers equipped with firearms after few months training. The SPOs assist the police in intelligence gathering and other operations.


Chhattisgarh: 7 killed in Maoist attack January 30, 2006

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January 30, 2006 18:09 IST

At least seven persons, including three naxals, were killed following an attack by Maoists at a government camp in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh Monday, police said.

“A total of seven bodies have so far been recovered, including that of four villagers, staying in Gangalur camp,” Bijapur police told PTI.

More than 300 armed naxalites attacked the camp, where about 5,000 people had taken shelter because of naxal violence, and killed four villagers, besides attacking a nearby police station, they said.

The ultras raided the camp for over an hour, in which four villagers were killed.

On hearing gunshots, security personnel rushed from the police station, but came under attack from the ultras, which was retaliated.

However, no security personnel was injured, they said. But in the counter offensive, at least three armed naxalites, including one woman, were killed, they said.

“Combing operation in the area is continuing and we are sure that more naxalites have been killed, whose bodies have been taken away by the Maoists with them,” police said adding, investigation was on to ascertain if the ultras have kidnapped tribals from the shelter home.

Why no special status for Bihar to combat naxalism ?: HC January 30, 2006

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Patna | January 30, 2006 5:38:02 PM IST

Patna High Court today asked the Centre to explain ”why special status should not be granted to Bihar like Punjab, Assam and Jammu & Kashmir to combat growing naxalism in the state ?” Hearing a Public Interest Petition, a division bench of the court comprising Chief Justice J N Bhatt and Justice R N Prasad directed the government to explore the possibilities of granting special status to Bihar to check the incidents of extremism in the state.
The Court asked the Centre to file a related affidavit by March 1.

The Centre was also directed to extend full assistance to the state government for modernisation of police forces to make it more effective.

Earlier, Bihar government and Union government had filed an Action Taken Report in wake of the intelligence inputs about the naxal movements on November 13, 2005, when the naxalites had engineered the Jehanabad Jail break.

IG (Operations), R R Verma informed the court that the state government had taken preventive measures after receiving the intelligence inputs about their attempt to strike vital installations in Jehanabad.

The State Home Secretary and the Director General of Police (DGP) were present in the court during the hearing.


Booming economy, stagnant politics January 29, 2006

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Friday January 27 2006 15:52 IST

Sushila Ravindranath

The other day I happened to be talking to one of the captains of our industry. I expected him to sound on top of the world. After all Indian economy is rocking and his particular industry is doing extremely well. But he sighed, “It’s all so surreal!”

Why ? He says whenever he has anything to do with the government it leaves him utterly depressed. “Who says corruption doesn’t exist,” he asks. His point is as long as you have nothing to do with administration, things move along smoothly. The states, which have everything going for them, have difficult governments.

Take Maharashtra, for example. The country’s once most dynamic state is fast losing it. It has an accessible Chief Minister but there is so much infighting in the party that no decision gets taken. Karnataka is in a bigger mess. Tamil Nadu’s politics of vendetta and the deep-rooted dislike of the two major leaders for each other scares off many potential investors in spite of a dynamic Chief Minister. Andhra has a Naxalite problem. And Kerala still has union problems. The problem-free states unfortunately don’t matter to the investor.

The problem is, business still needs government although not as much as it did before. For instance, the government tightly controls land. It controls infrastructure. It has to provide roads, electricity and water. It is not possible to start a mega project in the private sector without the government’s blessings.

The headlines of the last two weeks make one empathise with what the industrialist is saying. While everything in India (well, a lot of things) has changed in the last 10 to 15 years, the quality of politics seems to be at a standstill. It’s difficult not to laugh when MLAs are given a free holiday so that they are not purchased by other parties. Such holidays were common occurrences in an earlier era. Remember Chandrababu Naidu keeping his MLAs hidden away when he was taking on his father-in-law, NTR? One would have thought that the anti-defection bill would be a deterrent. But our MLAs and MPs sing to their own tunes.

Bihar Governor Buta Singh has been indicted by the Supreme Court for recommending the dissolution of the Bihar assembly. The judges have held the dissolution unconstitutional and illegal. But Buta Singh seems singularly unaffected, if one goes by his statements to the press. Then the widely-televised sight of Congress workers in Hyderabad genuflecting before Rahul Gandhi. Everything is so reminiscent of what one keeps hoping was a bygone era.

There is no closure of any sort in Indian politics. The guilty is never punished and cases drag on forever. For an entire generation that grew up post Bofors, what kind of values are we giving? I won’t be surprised if 20 years down the line, we are still discussing Quattrocchi and the frozen or defrozen or refrozen accounts. No one seems to want to know what really happened. It’s more a question of causing embarrassment to the people in power or otherwise.

The portrayal of politicians remains in our movies remains the same as it was in the 70’s, even though the entertainment industry has undergone spectacular changes and is today world class. The politician is always a powerful villain who does unspeakable things to the ordinary man. Have you ever seen a minister or politician shown in a good light in our films? If they are good and noble, they are invariably killed off by a rival. Has one ever paused to think why?

In the 70’s, the businessman had almost as bad an image as the politician. Remember in the Socialist era it was mostly the wheelers and dealers who flourished. The rules were so draconian that unless you knew how to fix, you disappeared. Proximity to Delhi was the most important skill you had to possess as an entrepreneur. Managing the environment led to success. So when India opened up and let foreign companies in, there were loud howls of protest from the business community. Everybody wanted a level playing ground. Many thought that the government should have allowed internal competition before allowing the foreigners in. There were fears that we were going to be colonised by monster multinationals this time round.

But what really happened? The Indian manufacturing sector, in a remarkably short time, got its act together. Survival became the name of the game. To survive, the industry learnt new tricks. It shed the flab, which it had been accumulating for years. It started paying attention to hitherto-ignored concepts such as quality and productivity. The country quietly became the hub for software exports and back room operations of the world. Slowly but steadily it is also becoming the production hub for many products including automobiles. Nobody ever doubts any longer that India is an emerging economic superpower.

So why is politics not moving on? We still have 80-year-olds dreaming of becoming Prime Ministers. We still worship dynasties. We still have a Left which draws its inspiration from Cuba rather than China and we continue electing them to power in two states.

So should we blame the politicians or ourselves?


Maoist Dy Commander surrenders January 29, 2006

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Visakhapatnam | January 29, 2006 9:46:57 PM IST

A Deputy Commander of Gurthedu Dalam of CPI (Maoists) today surrendered before the police at Narasipatnam in the district.

Speaking to UNI here, Officer on Special Duty Vineet Brijlal said G Nooka Raju alias Rajesh expressed a desire to join the mainstream.

Rajesh who belonged to Chapuratipalem Village of G K Veedi Mandal had been involved in various incidents, including the recent attack on Sileru Police Station and exchange of fire near Nerajartha village.

”The surrender of K Mahesh, a key member of Galikonda Dalam four days ago and government’s assurance that no cases would be filed against those who gave themselves up besides the promise of a rehabilitation package seemed to have had the desired effect,” Mr Brijlal said.

We expect more naxals to surrender in the district. This would include not just the tribal youth lured by the insurgents but some of their leaders as well,” Mr Brijlal said.

The OSD said, apart from some immediate relief, Rajesh would stand to gain Rs 50,000, which would be given to him to help him lead a normal life.