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Mao madness March 30, 2006

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Maoists in West Bengal recently despatched a group of comrades to Chattisgarh to gather first-hand information about Salwa Judum, or Campaign for Peace — an anti-Maoist government-sponsored movement in the central Indian state. Chattisgarh has witnessed plenty of Maoist violence of late and is a key component of the so-called red corridor running from Nepal to south India cutting across nine Indian states where left extremists are on the rampage.

The Salwa Judum campaign, apparently the brainchild of Chief Minister Raman Singh, is arming tribals disillusioned by Naxalism in one of the country’s poorest and least developed regions.

The administration is tapping tribals’ resentment against Maoist ‘dictatorship’ in liberated zones where there is no room for dissidents. Reportedly, anyone who dares to question the violent anti-government ideology is executed. Such intolerance has resulted in massacres with Naxalites killing dozens of tribals for refusing to toe the line.

Anti-Naxalite tribals are now being shepherded into camps which are protected by para-military forces. And the disenchanted men and women are being armed the state to take on Maoists if the need arises. The state government has high hopes the Salwa Judum campaign could help to finish nearly four decades of Maoist insurgency.

But all the campaign has achieved so far is to turn southern Chhattisgarh into a virtual war zone, with civilians in the firing line as the Maoists fight back ruthlessly. People are dying almost every day, 55 in a landmine attack on a truckload of Salwa Judum members on February 28.

The civilian death toll in Chhattisgarh may have already overtaken last year’s tally of 127 as the new campaign piles on terror and misery. West Bengal Maoists say the campaign is along the lines of Indian government schemes in the past to combat insurgencies in Punjab and Kashmir by recruiting locals to act as policemen or defend villages in more secure areas.

Human rights groups such as the leftist People’s Union for Civil Liberties say villagers are being forced to join the Salwa Judum, their houses and crops burnt, and allege up to 100 people may have been killed in the past few months. The government denies this, but officials admit it is impossible to be neutral in the villages of southern Chhattisgarh any more.

Naxalite slain March 30, 2006

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A naxalite, involved in the bombing of a PAC truck that left 18 jawans dead, was killed in a gunbattle with police here this evening.

Giri Nath Kol, a self-styled area commander of the Maoist Communist Centre, was wanted in connection with several heinous crimes, including the attack on a PAC truck last year, police said.

He escaped from police custody in February this year, they said adding a gun was recovered from his possession.

CCS approves acquisition of 20 advanced light copters March 30, 2006

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New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) today approved acquisition of 20 advanced light helicopters from HAL and seven radars from Bharat Electronic Limited.

The CCS, presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also decided extension of security-related expenditure for nine Naxalite-affected states for a period of five years, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters here.He said this year Rs.45 crore has been earmarked for such expenditure.

The hour-long meeting was attended, among others, by Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

Letter with Naxalite demands lands in newspaper offices March 30, 2006

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Bhubaneswar: Six days after armed Maoists abducted two officials from R Udayagiri in Orissa’s Gajapati district after a daring daylight raid, a handwritten letter today landed in newspaper offices here containing five demands by the extremists.

The letter, written in Oriya and addressed to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the Director General of Police, was purportedly signed by the two abducted officials – Ranjan Kumar Mallick, officer-in-charge of the local police station and Rabinarayan Sethi, Superintendent of the sub-jail at R.Udayagiri.

The government should not try to apply force by using the police but fulfill the demands “for our release”, the letter said.

Asked to comment on the letter, Chief Minister said ”We have not received any official letter. If any letter comes, we will examine it.” When family members of Mallick were contacted, his sister Dharitri Rout said the signature tallied with that of his abducted brother.

The letter demanded that all attempts to displace people in the name of industrialisation must stop and also the “imperialist” exploitation of mineral wealth.

It also demanded that all Maoists in jail be classified as political prisoners and their bail be allowed.

“The government should also take back cases it has lodged against tribals for participating in movements for land rights and for right to food,” the letter said.

It also asked the government to remove camps of security forces from the Maoist-affected areas and a halt to combing operations.

Naxal bandh call fails to evoke response in Gadchiroli March 30, 2006

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Nagpur: A bandh call given by naxal outfits in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra today, failed to evoke any response, official sources said today.

The naxalites had given a bandh call to protest the “peace march” started on March 21 by a group of socio-political workers, to highlight the “exploitation of tribals and innocent people by the naxalites”.

“But barring a few unsuccessful attempts to put up banners in Dhanora area, it was a total failure,” Superintendent of Police (Gadchiroli) Shirish Jain told PTI.

He said naxalites also tried to put up some road blockades but they were immediately removed by police.

Meanwhile the peace march, which had commenced from Aasarali, the southern most point in Gadhchiroli district, led by noted Marathi litterateur Suresh Dwadashiwar, reached Aheri today.

Quarterly coordination meeting on Naxal issue tomorrow March 30, 2006

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Union Home Secretary V K Duggal will chair the quarterly coordination meeting on Naxal issue tomorrow during which emphasis would be laid on having a synergy between various police and para-military forces deployed in the affected states.

Besides Duggal, Chief Secretaries and Directors General of police of affected state, officials from the Union Home Ministry, central para military forces and Intelligence Bureau would be participating in the meeting, which comes at a time when the naxal violence had increased to 11.4 per cent this year with major attacks Orissa and Chattisgarh.

During the meeting, the Centre is likely to ask the states to lay a special emphasis on developing synergy between various security agencies and police forces as certain lapses were found during the recent naxal attacks in Orissa and Chattisgarh.

The states like West Bengal, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand will be asked to take a look at the policies of Andhra Pradesh in tackling the Maoist violence as they had bore rich dividends.

With an increase of 11.4 per cent in the civilian and security forces casuality in naxal violence this year, the Centre would inform the state of adopting a multi-pronged strategy to tackle the menace which includes no peace talks with the naxal groups until the insurgents surrender.

In the current year (till February) while the number of incidents of naxal violence has decreased by 29 per cent over the corresponding period of 2005, civilian and security forces casualities have increased by 11.4 per cent.

The majority of deaths have taken place in Chhattisgarh state where 85 civilians and security personnel have been killed till February this year where as the figure stood at only six last year, the report said.

The Government also wants to strengthen intelligence set up at all state levels, pursue effective intelligence driven police action individually and jointly by all states and also accelerate development in naxal-affected states.

During a series of meetings with the police forces of other states, central security agencies gave some specific examples where “bunglings” had allegedly been done by the policemen in not acting on intelligence inputs provided to them well before time.

These issue would also be raised in the tomorrow’s meeting with them.

Orissa Government, which had claimed zero naxal-related incidents last year, would be conveyed that the level of violence was nil because the state police had not been confronting the naxals who were virtually having a free run in the state.

The Bihar Police is likely to be asked to take lead with the CRPF in anti-naxal operations rather then pushing them in inhospitable terrains and areas to fend for themselves.

They were also told about the system adopted by Andhra Pradesh Police by constituting “Grey Hounds” special squad police and had been successful in thwarting attacks from three naxal groups operating in the state.

India readies blueprint against Maoists March 30, 2006

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Intl. Intelligence

NEW DELHI, March 30 (UPI) — India has drafted an elaborate blueprint to protect railway property from Maoist attacks.

The Hindustan Times newspaper said Thursday the blueprint was finalized at a high-level meeting chaired by Interior Secretary V.K. Duggal made necessary by a recent spate of attacks by Naxalites, or Maoist rebels, on railway properties.

Maoist rebels recently hijacked a passenger train in western Jharkhand province and blew up a railway engine in central Chhattisgarh province.

“The (interior) ministry had specific intelligence that Naxal groups were planning fresh attacks on railway properties,” Duggal said adding, “but we have worked out an elaborate foolproof plan in coordination with the railway ministry and states to avoid any further strikes.”

Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Bihar are considered to be soft targets for Maoist rebels.

The Indian interior ministry has decided to provide specialized training to the railway protection force personnel for anti-Naxal operations. The training will be provided at various centers managed by Indian paramilitary forces and the army.

The federal government has directed the states affected by Maoist violence to undertake large scale awareness campaigns, highlighting the extremist atrocities.

“The states needn’t bother about cutting corners to fund the drive. The union home ministry will underwrite the expenses under its security related expenditure scheme. The center is ready to disburse $4,500 per Naxal-affected district every year,” a government official said.

Fight goes to enemy camp March 30, 2006

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Bhubneshwar, March 29, 2006

In a bid to flush out naxals from remote villages, the Union government has directed affected states to undertake largescale awareness campaigns highlighting the extemists’ atrocities.

And the states needn’t bother about cutting corners to fund the drive: The Union home ministry will underwrite the expenses under its security related expenditure (SRE) scheme. The Centre is ready to disburse Rs 2 lakh per naxal-affected district every year.

With the Centre bank-rolling the project, the Orissa government has already sprung into action. It has sent detailed guidelines to the SPs of naxal-affected districts to make villagers aware of the Red menace.

The messages to be sent around will include “various welfare and developmental schemes of the government, exposing unlawful activities and misdeeds of the naxals and their leaders, lack of development in affected areas due to fear and extortion by the extremists and benefits of peace”.

The MHA will also reimburse the expenses incurred by the state governments for appointing special police officers (SPO) in naxal-affected districts. The guidelines issued to SPs also mention that the Centre has asked states to consider the services of surrendered rebels, relatives of victims of terror attacks, ex-servicemen and ex-forest guards as SPOs. But these people have to be vetted the SRE Standing Committee.

Centre wakes up to Naxal terror March 30, 2006

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New Delhi, March 29, 2006

The Union home ministry has drafted an elaborate blueprint to protect railway properties from naxal attack. The strategy chalked out at a high-level meeting chaired by home secretary VK Duggal, on Wednesday, has been necessitated by the recent spate of attacks by naxals on railways. The naxals had hijacked a passenger train in Latihar, Jharkhand, some time back and had earlier blown up an engine in Chhattisgarh.

Duggal said the ministry had specific intelligence that naxal groups were planning fresh attacks on railway properties. “But we have worked out an elaborate foolproof plan in co-ordination with the railway ministry and the states to avoid any further strikes.”

According to sources, states where railways were considered a “soft target” are Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Orissa.

In a significant move, the government has decided to increase the strength of the RPF deployment in Naxal-infested areas. Both the CRPF and CISF will also be roped in to protect railway property.

The MHA has also decided to provide specialised training to the RPF personnel for anti-naxal operations. The training will be provided at various centres managed by CRPF, BSF and even the Army.

Koyas, better known as Naxal sympathisers March 30, 2006

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Thursday March 30 2006 11:10 IST

MALKANGIRI: It is a lesser-known fact that the Koyas had orchestrated an uprising against the British in 1880 under the leadership of Tama Dora. Today, the Koyas are better known as Naxal sympathisers for backing the decade-long socio-economic movement led by the Naxalites.

Spread across forest areas in Kalimela, Padia, Malkangiri and Korukonda, the Koyas are dominant among 10 tribal communities of the district but the most deprived of developmental programmes doled out by the government. With less than 10 percent literacy rate, it is not surprising that they are not aware of such programmes.

And the officials responsible for the successful implementation of such welfare schemes prefer to skip Koya-dominated villages fearing Naxal threat, said sources, adding lack of adequate initiatives by the government has pushed the Koyas to become sympathisers of the Left wing extremists.

And the Koyas’ resentment towards the government for neglecting them has reportedly come in handy for the Naxal outfits in their campaign against the government machinery.

With development and awareness eluding them, this community has learnt to suffer silently at the hands of the ultras, revealed sources. Koya heads known as ‘pedas’ said the tribals are merely considered veritable vote banks.

Better roads, drinking water, electricity and health care are far cry for the Koyas, whose tradition dates back to 200 years. But ironically these gullible tribals who have contributed significantly to the State’s culture and heritage are yet to join the mainstream.

Among other measures suggested by various voluntary organisations, a Koya development agency on the lines of Bonda Development Agency will ensure the tribe’s all-round development and bring over 1,40,000 of them (as per 1991 Census) to the mainstream of society.