Archive for the ‘Chhattisgarh’ Category

Naga Battalions Reign of Terror comes to an end

August 2, 2007

Adivasi’s who have sufffered under their reign of terror for two years
must be heaving a sigh of relief but until the state sponsored terror campaign
Salwa Judum is disbanded nothing can be said about the future
of bastar or Chhattisgarh.

The big question now is will these criminals ever be punished for their crimes ?

Naga police battalion reign of terror comes to an end


A battalion of the Nagaland Armed Police (NAP) has left Chhattisgarh’s Maoist infested Bastar region after a two-year deployment during in which it was accused of massacring
several dozens of adivasi’s in the name of fighting the Maoists.The philosophy of the
Naga Battalion was best exemplified by the disgraceful deed in which a soldier
from the battalion shot dead a petty shop keeper for a 30 Rs Underwear !

India Enews

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Chhattisgarh for sale!

August 1, 2007

Chhattisgarh for sale!
BIJO FRANCIS
Column: Incredible India
Want to buy a river? Welcome to the state of Chhattisgarh in India! If you are not interested in a river, Chhattisgarh can offer you a forest or a hill. You can do anything you wish with these natural resources. Once bought, you can drain the river dry, bulldoze a hill or clear a forest. It is all yours! If you have any problem with the local people, the state government will take care of them. Those who protest will be charged with fabricated crimes and thrown into prison indefinitely.

There is something fundamentally wrong in Chhattisgarh. In addition to the indiscriminate sale of natural resources, the state government also sponsors armed conflicts between its people. Though the state is governed by an elected government, the Chhattisgarh state government has failed on several counts, including maintaining law and order within the state.

The state administration, which is in corporatization overdrive, is selling its natural resources to corporate entities. This zeal for selling the state’s natural resources to the highest bidder has alienated the government from the state’s population in remote villages. The direct consequence is an increased affinity of ordinary people to armed resistance promoted by the Naxalite forces operating within the state.

The state administration, in a failed attempt to curb the Naxalites, has armed the local population that it deems to be sympathetic to it to fight the Naxalites. This state-sponsored private armed militia in Chhattisgarh is called Salwa Judum, meaning Peace Mission.

Chhattisgarh, a state that was formed in 2000, has not witnessed a single day in its seven-year history without violence — either against the state by the rebelling factions or by the state and its private militia against the rebels. No state is justified in using violence to curb violence. The excuse the Chhattisgarh state administration offers for arming a faction of the local population is that the rebels within the state cannot be controlled without resorting to a strategy of counterviolence.

The Salwa Judum has been formed under the leadership of a local politician, Mahendra Karma. Even minors are armed with weapons and trained to kill. The “officers” of Salwa Judum are given a piece of cloth printed with the words “Special Police Officer,” and the cloth is pinned to their shirt. This badge of cloth guarantees impunity. Any crime committed by a “special police officer” is left unchallenged by the state’s law enforcement officers.

Violence within a state is usually the result of a government that fails to address the needs of its people. It is also often the whiplash effect of the uncontrolled use of force against a community. The fundamentals of governance include listening to and addressing the needs of the people. This normal process of governance, however, is not applicable to the Chhattisgarh state government.

Chhattisgarh is a state that has one of the worst records in India in terms of meeting basic human needs, like food security and the effective implementation of anti-discrimination policies. The state has the largest tribal concentration in India in terms of population ratio. The people of Chhattisgarh are neglected by their administration. Instances of abuse of authority by state officials, ranging from the Forest Department to the local police, are regularly reported in Chhattisgarh. Starvation deaths are common among the tribal communities. Health and sanitation conditions among tribals are the worst in the state.

Day after day the local population discovers that their natural resources are being sold by the state to corporate entities. The rivers, for example, are being sold to “water corporations.” Once sold, the corporation prevents the local community from using the river or its resources. Communities that were previously using the river find themselves isolated and subject to coercion overnight. Those who protest are arrested and detained under false charges.

Similarly, land-based natural mineral resources are sold to companies as well. To excavate minerals, the companies that obtain leasehold over the land want the people living on the land removed. Forced eviction is daily news in the state. The evictees are quarantined in camps throughout the state, camps guarded by special police officers from the Salwa Judum. Those who oppose their forced eviction are branded Naxalites, charged with fabricated crimes and imprisoned indefinitely.

These acts of encroachment into people’s personal liberties and fundamental freedoms have resulted in chaos and confusion within the state. Any place that is reeling in severe chaos due to malgovernance is fertile ground for the indoctrination of new ideas, even those that advocate violence. The people of Chhattisgarh, the descendents of heroes like Vir Narain Singh, are no different in their tolerance of neglect and abuse. It is natural for an ordinary person in such a context to think of the available options: to resist and fight or face impending death.

Instead of stopping this indiscriminate plundering of the natural resources of the local people, the state administration has resorted to violence to curb opposition to its policies that deprive the state’s citizens of the basic necessities they need to survive and live with dignity.

A government is not justified at any point in time in sanctioning the formation of private armed groups to silence the people who are crying out for help. Such a move reflects a government’s utter lack of concern for its people and their needs. By allowing, and in fact organizing, its citizens to fight among themselves, the state administration is implementing a policy of divide and rule. The result of this violent game is the state-sponsored anarchy that Chhattisgarh has become today.

A government that resorts to violence has no legal or moral standing to claim the privileges of an administrator of the people. The Chhattisgarh state government has made a mockery of the Constitution of the country. By resorting to violence, the state government has declared that it does not believe in constitutional mandates.

Chhattisgarh and its people require a democratically functioning administration. Such an administration would never plunder the natural resources of its people. Any state is justified in finding ways and means for the better use of its natural resources, but what one witnesses in Chhattisgarh today is a state administration gone mad with greed for short-term benefits.

The current administration in Chhattisgarh is not a government in any sense. It is nothing more than a bunch of brokers who would sell anything and everything to quench their greed.

(Bijo Francis is a human rights lawyer currently working with the Asian Legal Resource Center in Hong Kong. He is responsible for the South Asia desk at the center. Mr. Francis has practiced law for more than a decade and holds an advanced master’s degree in human rights law.)

UPI

Yesterday Iftiqar Gilani, Today Binayak Sen

July 30, 2007

By Subhash Gatade

26 July, 2007
Countercurrents.org

Does anybody remember the Delhi bureau chief of Kashmir Times, Mr Iftiqar Gilani who was hounded by the BJP government on fraudulent charges under the draconian Official Secrets Act supposedly for possessing some ‘secret’ documents. Interestingly when it was revealed that all the ‘secret’ documents purported to be in possession of Mr Gilani were easily available online, then the law and order people had no other alternative than to release him.

The world very well knows that why Mr Gilani was treated in such a humiliating manner. The only ‘crime’ the accredited journalist had committed was that he happened to be son in law of a famous Kashmiri leader.

Today the same fate awaits Dr Binayak Sen – a paediatrician by training and profession and a human rights activist by choice. This receipient of the famous Paul Harrison award for work in community health has received a new identity. – A menace to public safety – The Chattisgarh police whose own record of human rights violations would shame even the KPS Gills, has used the provisions of the draconian Chhatisgarh Special Public Safety Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act ( a substitute for POTA ) to detain Dr Binayak Sen in the wee hours of 14 th May. And the recent high court order has even refused him a bail.

It has been more than twenty five years that Dr Binayak Sen left his job at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi to dedicate himself to serve the poor and the downtrodden in Chhatisgarh. It was the time when a new workers- peasants movement was taking shape in Chattisgarh ( which was then part of Madhya Pradesh) under the leadership of the legendary leader Shankar Guha Niyogi. The martyrdom of more than eleven workers in Dalli-Rajhara in the immediate aftermath of the assumption of power by the Janata Party government was a news all over the country. Binayak Sen never looked back and continued working for the people despite many highs-lows of the movement. He played an important part in the formation of Shaheed Hospital at Dalli-Rajhara, a hospital run by the workers for the other downtrodden sections of society.

To further his concern for the really needy Dr Binayak donned many roles. He worked on community health projects, ran a clinic, also ran a organic farm near Raipur and was also adviser to the Chhatisgarh government for its community health project called ‘Mitanin’. He found himself drawn into the fledgling human rights movement in the state when violations of human rights saw a quantum jump. But for his intervention ( of course alongwith other members of the civil liberty movement) the rest of the world would have never known the killing of twelve innocent tribals at Santoshpur by the security forces of the state supposedly to curb the Naxalite ‘menace’. (31st March 2007) He was instrumental in forming an all India fact finding committee of civil liberty organisations to look into ‘Salwa Judum’ a campaign of arming tribals started by the government and using them as mercenaries. The report brought out by these organisations was an eye-opener. It showed how the state government has even allocated budget for this campaign which it calls a ‘spontaneous response of the tribals towards the Naxalite ‘menace’.

It was only last year that Dr Binayak Sen, – alongwith other civil liberty organisations and activists – had taken the initiative to organise a Convention in Raipur. The aim of the convention was to highlight the precarious human rights situation in the state, but an important item on their agenda was to focus the attention about a sinister move by the Chhatisgarh government to silence every dissenting voice. In fact Raman Singh led government had already made decisive moves in the direction of enacting a new law ‘Chhatisgarh Special Public Security Act’ (2006) which had several provisions similar to the (now lapsed) draconian POTA.

It was rigthly pointed out that the proposed act CSPSA not only included violation of the principle of certainty in criminal law (including vague definition of membership and support to terrorist organisations) but also absence of pre-trial safeguards (including insufficient safeguards on arrest, the risk of torture, obstacles to confidential communications with counsel). An important provision which rather made it worse than POTA was the ‘virtual impossibility of obtaining bail as there is no provision for remedy of appeal or review of detention.’

Little did any of the organisers or the participants to the convention had the premonition that Dr Binayak Sen himself would be charged under the act, detained for months together by denying bail on flimsy grounds.

Despite campaign by democratic rights activists which were joined in by voices of medical fraternity from the world over, the powers that be seem to be least concerned about his detention. For the powers that be it is not a matter of concern that world renowned intellectuals like Noam Chomsky, Romila Thapar and several others have expressed their ‘opposition’ to this unwarranted detention of Dr Sen. For them it is not a big thing that 1500 doctors spread in different parts of the world who have been acquainted with the work of their fellow doctor have appealed to the Chhatisgarh government that he be released immediately and all false charges against him be dropped forthwith.

It should be added that ‘Medico Friend Circle'(MFC) – a thirty year old organisation of doctors who are working to make health services more accessible to the poor and who have consistently opposed the corporate control over people’s health, recently held a press conference in Raipur to oppose Dr Sen’s detention. In fact they showed the media a thirty minute CD based on the work of Dr Sen, who is closely associated with MFC’s work since his youth. In fact more than thirty well-known medical professionals spread in different parts of the country made it a point to be present in the Press meet and declare their solidarity with their comrade.

But leave dropping charges or releasing him, the courts are is not ready to grant him bail.Dr Sen has been charged with ‘a prima facie case that the applicant was involved with some banned organisation’ .The high court did not deem it necessary to grant interim relief despite knowing the fact that ‘ the said meeting between leader of a Maoist organisation and Dr Sen took place in the jail premises themselves’ in the ‘presence of jail officials’ and the letters which the police claimed to have seized from Mr Sen’s house were sent from the jail themselves with due stamp of the jail officials.

The Chhattisgarh PUCL has termed this order of the Chhattisgarh High Court as “unfortunate” as the Court has not appreciated all the material facts and evidence of the case as presented by the legal counsel for Dr. Binayak Sen during the arguments. It has also decided to move the Supreme Court so that the highest courts of the country can decide on the merit of the case. It has also resolved ‘to take stock of the alarming situation in Chhattisgarh with regard to ruthless use of repressive laws and anti-democratic actions of the State Government and, in turn, formulate future strategy and action plan to defend democracy and restore the rule of law.’

These days media is agog with news of another innocent doctor called Dr Haneef who has been apprehended by the Australian police. It is for everyone to see to what extent the Australian police went in proving that he is a ‘terrorist’. It is a mark of the vibrancy of the Australian civil society that people there have stood up in Dr. Haneef’s defence. The consistent campaign by the civil liberty organisations with due support from the media has helped expose Australian government’s highhandedness in l’affaire Haneef. It is a matter of time that Dr Haneef would be released.

One just wishes that much like their Australian counterpart, the civil society in this part of the globe also wakes up to the innocence of Dr Binayak Sen and tell the powers that be that ‘We want him out’ !

If the Australians can fight for the human rights of an Indian, should the Indians maintain a conspiracy of silence when one of their own is being brutalised by the state.

Countercurrents.org

Nepal link hint in red strike

July 13, 2007

It is not difficult to understand why some people in the establishment
want to link this up to the nepal maoists.

Bull Shit Meter

Raipur, July 11: Hint of Nepali Naxalites’ involvement in the Monday night’s Naxalite strike near Errabore in Dantewada district and subtle changes in the rebels’ ploy have puzzled the security top brass.

The agencies probing into the attack that proved fatal to 23 personnel have sniffed involvement of Nepali Maoists in the incident.

“We have reports that several short people resembling Nepalis were part of the team that attacked the security personnel,” R.K. Vij, the inspector-general of police of Bastar range, told The Telegraph.

The investigating agencies are, however, busy establishing if the short Maoists engaged in the action were actually from Nepal. For, Naxalites from Bihar’s bordering areas (with Nepal) have similar appearance, he added.

The change in strategy and the operation of Maoists to trap the security personnel on Monday night has perplexed the senior officers working on the anti-Maoist operation.

The rebels executed their well-planned strategy with perfection to target the force and most of them were wearing bulletproof jackets to counter the security personnel, a senior police officer said.

The telegraph

Policemen walked into Maoists’ death trap

July 11, 2007

It was a well designed ambush. Three men appeared before policemen in a forest and said they could lead them to a Maoist hideout. Straightaway, 115 policemen walked into a death trap without any strategy or back up, leading to the death of 24 of them.F

A CRPF commander who survived the ambush and returned to Arabore base camp in Konta block of Dantewada district, over 500 km from here, recalled vividly the final moments before the policemen were slaughtered.

The commander told IANS over telephone: ‘Once the encounter began Monday afternoon in a thick forest over hilly terrain, policemen were standing in the open and firing indiscriminately while Maoists took shelter on trees and hills with huge stocks of arms and ammunition. Our forces could hardly hit them.

‘Initially the Maoists fired a few shots in the air that panicked us all. Then there was a brief silence and we thought they had run away. Some of the forces even started going back to the base camp.

‘But all of a sudden they attacked with mortars and AK-47s. The special police officers (SPOs) who were well aware of the local terrain ran away, and the CRPF men who were all outsiders were trapped.’

Sixteen of those killed were from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), six were SPOs and two were from the local police force, according to Girdhari Nayak, Chattisgarh’s inspector general of police in charge of Maoist operations.

The 115-strong force was led by 28 men from the ‘F’ company of CRPF’s 55th battalion. It included 84 SPOs and three local policemen.

Now senior police officers have been forced to change their strategy.

R.K. Vij, inspector general of Bastar range that includes Dantewada district, told IANS: ‘Now forces will be sent in the jungles for combing operation with a pre-laid strategy and with a sufficient number of back up forces.

‘The reinforcements will also be kept ready in enough numbers once the forces sneak into the forest for a major operation or in the areas called ‘death trap for police’ for years, mainly in interior regions of Bijapur, Narayanpur and Dantewada districts.’

Even with the help of helicopters, it took the police almost 24 hours to recover the bodies of their dead colleagues. The Maoists repeatedly fired at the reinforcements that entered the forest, first to look for the missing policemen and then to bring the bodies out.

A few of the bodies bore axe marks beside bullet wounds. The Maoists had looted five AK-47s and over a dozen Self-Loading Rifles (SLRs) from the policemen killed. They had also removed the socks and shoes from the bodies.

The police claimed there were casualties among the Maoists as well, but no body has been found. Rahul Sharma, Dantewada district police chief, said: ‘The Maoists have probably carried away the bodies.’

This was the second-worst massacre of policemen by Maoists in Chhattisgarh this year. In March, Maoists had stormed into a police camp in Bijapur district and killed 55 policemen.

indiaenews.com

24 Chhattisgarh security personnel found dead

July 10, 2007

Raipur, July 10 (IANS) The bodies of 24 Chhattisgarh security personnel, who had gone missing after a gun battle with Maoists in Dantewada district Monday, were recovered Tuesday even as rebels launched fresh attacks, police said.

Bodies of all 24 personnel, including 16 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers, six special police officers (SPOs) and two district policemen, have been recovered in Konta block, over 500 km from here, said Girdhari Nayak, inspector general (Maoist operations), Chhattisgarh.

“The search teams of CRPF and state police, assisted by helicopters, recovered the bodies from a hilly terrain of Konta block, close to Andhra Pradesh border,” Nayak told IANS by phone.

“A total of 115 policemen, including 84 SPOs, led by 28 personnel of CRPF’s 55th battalion went to the hilly Konta block Monday afternoon to bust a Maoist hideout but about 300-400 Maoists attacked the combing force. The encounter left two CRPF men and five SPOs critically wounded,” state Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam told the state assembly.

Police claimed there were casualties among the rebels side as well during Monday’s encounter though no militant’s body has been found so far.

“The Maoists have probably carried away the dead bodies or their injured comrades into thick forested areas,” said Rahul Sharma, Dantewada district police chief.

Meanwhile, a fresh gun battle broke out between armed Maoist militants and policemen Tuesday in Konta block, police said.

“Maoists opened indiscriminate fire on a state police team that had gone into thick forests in the area to search for the missing security personnel,” a police official said.

Police estimate that about 5,000 Maoists armed with AK-47 rifles and landmines are active in Chhattisgarh’s southern hilly districts. They are backed by about 20,000 cadres who carry self-loading rifles and traditional weapons like bows and arrows.

Khabrein

Naxal commander arrested in Chhattisgarh

July 3, 2007

NAGPUR: A top Naxal commander Subhash alias Aitu has been arrested in a swift operation by Chhattisgarh police.

The arrest was made in Dongargarh and later he was shifted to Rajnandgaon on Monday night, a top police official of Maharashtra said on Tuesday.

Aitu is a Darekasa Dalam commander and was involved in many offences. He belongs to Bastar and was operating across Chhattisgarh-Maharashtra border since long.

Police have recovered two AK-47 rifles and two Self Loading Rifles (SLR) from a hideout, sources added.

The Naxal commander had sneaked into Dongargarh town in Chhattisgarh, for some medical treatment following which the arrest was made.

A special team of Gondia police was rushed to assist the Chhattisgarh police in investigation, officials added.

TOI

Nod for Chhattisgarh intelligence revamp

June 21, 2007

NEW DELHI: In a move aimed at bolstering operations against Maoists in Chhattisgarh, the Home Ministry has approved an intelligence revamp plan that would cost Rs. 4.6 crore.

The decision comes a month after a landmine explosion that blew up nine policemen in Bastar. Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta wrote to the State last month, stressing the need to tighten the intelligence-gathering machinery.

Implementation

Official sources said the revamp plan would take a few months for implementation.

Jharkhand has also submitted a plan to revamp the intelligence apparatus, but the Home Ministry made some observations and asked the State to incorporate them in the plan.

It is learnt that Jharkhand would soon re-submit the plan.

A high-level Ministry team, led by the Additional Secretary (Anti-Naxal Desk) had visited Raipur and Ranchi and reviewed the security measures.

The Hindu

Objectives of Naxalism and countering their movement

June 21, 2007

Objectives of Naxalism and countering their movement


Naxalism in India came into existence about 40 years ago with the objec-tive of capturing the power of the state with the might of its armed strength or by the power that grows out of the barrel of the gun. Their strategy is to capture territories as much as possible and to establish their rule over the areas captured by them with the support of their armed guerilla.

As could be seen in the present situation, the Naxalites concentrate their dominance where the state power is weak and so their natural choice of target is the tribal areas were the state administration is poor and the areas neglected by the state. Their target is to capture the tribal belt in the country and convert it into liberated zone and develop their guerilla squads into regular army to defend their rule in the zones liberated by them.

After its birth in India the Naxalites have grown from strength to strength and with their anti-national activities occurring almost every day it seems to be achieving its objective of establishing their rule in the tribal belt of the country. Once the liberated zone comes into existence with their regular army to defend it, the nation may face a civil war situation like the one face by Sri Lanka with the L TTE. If such a situation arises, it could result in the division of the people of our nation with one group supporting the present democratic government and the other portion supporting the liberation of the tribal zones under the banner of Naxalism.

The Naxalites consider the state power as a weapon in the hands of the rich and the ruling classes which are against their movement. So their prime target is to destroy the state power in all its forms and create a new one of their choice and act merrily in the domain they have established for themselves. As the state power is based on the might of its armed forces their sole aim is to paralyze the police and the paramilitary forces.

The second target is the people’s representative of the state assembly and the parliament. They attack and kill democratically elected leaders and also the common people to create fear and panic among the public so that it remain docile to their rule. In order to let the people remain cut off from the police and the administration from fear of being brought to justice, they involve maximum people in committing heinous crimes like murder and rape.

The biggest threat that poses the nation’s democracy and rule of law today is Naxalism. Their naked dictatorship does not have any concern for the public opinion or their well-being. Coteries of ideological fanatics are dictating the people and it is abject slavery for the people under the Naxalite rule. With the tribal living below poverty line (BPL), the added rule of Naxalites is a cause of more miseries as the people have to go on leaving their home and hearth off and on. So the fight against Naxalism is a fight for defending the democracy of the nation and the freedom of the people already under their rule. It has nothing to do with socio-economic problems as some people believe. Naxalism thrives in areas which are socially and economically backward and where state government fails to enforce its rule of law and defend the people from the clutch of the Naxalities. It is a guarantee for the Naxalities that such areas remain perpetually backward and permanently cut off from the state power.

The Naxalites believe that their war is against dictatorship fighting for democracy which has led to the loss of many precious innocent lives including the police and para military forces. The Nagaland Police has its share of losing the life of gallant jawans in the fight against Naxalism. Unless the states and the centre stage a joint decisive war with Naxalism to defend our democratic rule at the earliest there is going to be more bloodshed and destruction in the country. /n the present situation of our fight, the Naxalites always have the initiative in their hands and so they are always in the offensive thereby causing more harm and damage to the state governments.

The history of Naxalite leaders reveals that they are past masters of manipulating and exploiting the media, legislature, administration and even judiciary. As a result, the government always appeared as a culprit for their stern action against the Naxalites before the public, judiciary and the media, whereas the Naxalites indulging in indiscriminate killing of the people get away under the cover of justice and human rights. In fact, the human rights groups see the state police and paramilitary forces as human rights abusers and keep silent on the killing spree of the Naxalites.

A government which is at the receiving end of its own organs must naturally be in a defensive position. So, before fighting the Naxals in the tribal forests, it is essential to identify, isolate and properly treat those elements, in the metropolitan cities including New Delhi, who are managing or manipulating the legislature, administration, judiciary and the media to create obstacles for the forces fighting against Naxalism. These highly intellectual elements are not mere sympathizers and supporters of the Naxalite movement as the government thinks but they themselves are the dangerously ambitious Naxalite leaders.

To counter Naxalism and wipe it out, the government should shed its defensive postures and resort to an all out offensive war. It is not possible without exposing and isolating the Naxalite intellectual leaders masquerading as media men, and human rights/social activists and without taking the judiciary and the media into confidence.
To win war is to fight like war with weapons and for that matter with superior weapons. It is essential to motivate the people to support such a war.

It is ridiculous to leave the mass of unarmed tribals to fight the armed Naxalites without weapons in the name of Salva Judum or any other name. Non-violence could be an effective weapon to fight against a civilized and democratically elected government, but it could prove farcical and suicidal in dealing with the killing Naxalite gangs.

Since the enemy at this stage is invisible to the state but visible to the public in general, this war is to be fought with the public participation. Salva Judum could succeed only if a good number of its selected member are fully armed and if they could take initiative in searching out Naxalities from their hide outs and wiping them out ruthlessly with the support of state police and paramilitary forces. However, this should be a movement of all infested states of the Naxalite at a time so that Naxalites don’t get away from one state to the other as is the case now when they are under attack.

Iherie Ndang, Chhattisgarh.

Nagaland Post

Have-Nots Rebel As India Blossoms

June 18, 2007

IN THE DHAULI FOREST, India (AP) – After the paved roads have ended and the dirt roads have crumbled into winding footpaths, after the last power line has vanished into the forest behind you, a tall, red monument suddenly appears at the edge of a clearing.

It’s 25 feet high and topped by a hammer and sickle, honoring a fallen warrior. White letters scroll across the base: “From the blood of a martyr, new generations will bloom like flowers.”

The monument is a memorial but also a signpost, a warning that you are entering a “Liberated Zone” _ a place where Mao is alive and Marx is revered, where an army of leftist guerrillas known as the Naxalites control a shadow state amid the dense forests, isolated villages and shattering poverty of central India. Here, the Indian government is just a distant, hated idea.

“The capitalists and other exploiters of the masses feel increasingly vulnerable. And they should,” said a 33-year-old man known only as Ramu, a regional commander of the Naxalites’ People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army. He cradled an assault rifle as he sat on the dirt floor of a small farmhouse, temporary base for two dozen fighters set amid the forests of Chhattisgarh state. “For them, the danger is rising.”

Initially formed in 1967, the Maoist army has taken root over the past decade in places left behind during India’s spectacular financial rise since its economy was opened up in the early 1990s. Outsiders rarely see their strongholds, but a team from The Associated Press was invited last month into a region they control.

As India has grown wealthier, the Naxalites _ officially called the Communist Party of India (Maoist) _ have grown larger, feeding off the anger of the country’s poor. There are now 10,000-15,000 fighters in an archipelago of rebel territory scattered across nearly half of the country’s 28 states, security officials say.

For years, the government here paid little attention. That began changing two years ago. Today, Chhattisgarh state backs an anti-Naxal militia called the Salwa Judum. And in 2006, India’s prime minister called the Naxalites the single largest threat to the country

Over the past two years, nearly 2,000 people _ police, militants and civilians caught in the middle _ have been killed in Naxalite violence. In March, 55 policemen and government-backed militiamen were killed when up to 500 Naxalites descended on an isolated Chhattisgarh police station.

The rebel patchwork reaches from deep inside India to the border with Nepal, where the Naxalites are thought to have informal ties to the Maoists who, after a long insurgency, recently joined in the Katmandu government.

The Maoist goal in India is nothing less than complete takeover.

“There is only one solution to India’s problems: Naxalism,” said Ramu.

The movement takes its name from Naxalbari, a village outside Calcutta where the revolt began in 1967. Inspired by Mao Zedong, founding father of the Chinese communist regime, they believe an army of peasants can one day overthrow the government. The Naxals are strongest in states such as Chhattisgarh that have large populations of “tribals,” the indigenous people at the bottom of India’s rigid social order.

More than ever, their once-marginal revolt seems like outright war, particularly in the rebel strongholds of rural Chhattisgarh.

India deals with other insurgencies, from Kashmiri separatists to a spectrum of ethnic militant groups in its remote northeast. But the Naxalites have proven different. They have support not just among the poorest or a single ethnic group, and have survived for forty years.

In places like the Dhauli forest, a tangle of vegetation unmarked on most maps _ 500 miles from Bangalore, 450 miles from Calcutta and 600 miles from New Delhi _ the Naxalites are more than surviving. They are winning.

“I won’t lie to you. We’re on the defensive here,” said a top Chhattisgarh police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. “We have the main roads, but they have the hills and the small roads.”

Here, government officials hold little power. Through much of the countryside, nervous policemen barricade themselves at night inside stations ringed by barbed wire. Politicians dismiss the Naxalites as criminals, but those politicians go nowhere without armies of bodyguards.

Victory, the Naxals insist, is coming.

“We don’t have the weapons. We don’t have the army,” said a young fighter named Soni. “But slowly, slowly, sometime in the future, we will succeed.”

That seems unlikely.

Most of the Naxalites’ guns are old or handmade. Their land mines are often made from pressure cookers, and bullets are doled out carefully. Their support in many villages has more to do with fear than genuine belief.

Their control can be fleeting. If security forces move into a Naxalite-run area, the fighters simply disappear into the forests.

But while there’s little chance they’ll overthrow the government, in this part of India their power is immense. Every day or so, another policeman is killed. Every few months, another politician faces an assassination attempt _ sometimes successful, sometimes not.

Inside their self-proclaimed Liberated Zones, the Naxals are, effectively, the government. They collect taxes, control movement, and trade in valuable hardwoods from the ever-thinning jungles. They refuse entry not only to the government but also aid organizations, arguing they are tools of an unjust state.

There is an informal Naxal bank, Naxal schools and Naxal courts to settle village disputes and try suspected informants. For those found guilty of helping police, the punishment is public beheading.

“If they kill us, we also have to kill,” Ramu said. “Innocent people will get hurt in the process. But what can we do?”

As for the long history of failed communist states, he was unconcerned: “We will learn from their mistakes.”

Outside, a thunderstorm shook the sky, and rain pelted the straw roof. Inside, a half-dozen fighters sat in the darkness of the mud house, listening silently as Ramu spoke. One carried an AK-47 assault rifle, but the rest were armed with ancient British-made Enfield rifles, some dating to the 1940s, or homemade single-shot shotguns and rifles.

Few appeared to know much about the teachings of Marx or Mao, though both men were spoken of reverently. Some fighters believed Mao, who died in 1976, remains China’s leader. Instead, their beliefs are simple: The revolution will bring an idyllic jungle paradise for the
tribals.

“One day we will get it back,” said Soni, the fighter, a tribal who spends much of her time in villages performing songs about their struggle. “The forest is ours.”

For now, until paradise comes, people live in mud homes on tiny farms. They grow rice and tobacco and harvest what they can from the forests. Better-off families have $12 shortwave radios or $45 Atlas bicycles.

In a village on the fringes of Naxalite territory, a teenager named Meetu Ram _ he thinks he’s about 17 _ talked about his life one recent evening. His family, by local standards, does well: They have a well-kept compound with three one-room buildings and a half-dozen cows.

Still, Ram has never been to a doctor, and has not even heard of telephones. Asked to name India’s prime minister, he shrugged.

Government officials “never come here,” he said in Gondi, the area’s main tribal language. “So we don’t know who these government people are, and who they aren’t.”

It is in places like this where the Naxalites’ appeal is most resonant.

India may have one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, but it also has vast _ and often growing _ rural poverty. In Chhattisgarh, that has been magnified by conflicts over everything from forest conservation to mining rights, with tribals often expelled from their jungle homes.

“The tribals make a good guerrilla base,” said Meghnad Desai, a scholar at the London School of Economics. They “are really poor, and have a genuine feeling of being taken advantage of … The Naxalites are exploiting that.”

Much of Ramu’s time is spent spreading the rebel message. On a recent afternoon, he summoned hundreds of villagers to a rally to decry the Salwa Judum.

While leaders of the government-supported Salwa Judum insist they are protecting villagers from Naxalite violence _ they have gathered some 50,000 tribals into dingy, guarded camps _ rights groups accuse them of widespread abuses.

“The Salwa Judum is killing people!” Ramu shouted at the villagers. “We are protecting the rights of the people!”

Many, though, don’t see heroes on either side.

Sanjana Bhaskar, 18, has spent more than a year in a Salwa Judum camp.

She hates the camp. “There is nothing here,” she said, gesturing to the one-road expanse. “But where else can we go?”

Federalnews

Let darkness prevail: The blackout in Bastar

June 18, 2007


Anoop Saha
has a post about the recent blackout in Bastar caused by the maoists

Let darkness prevail: The blackout in Bastar

Whatever a man does, he does it for a reason. Such says the psychological theory behind human motivation. By corollary, if something happens which requires human mind and labour, somebody must get some material, spiritual or emotional benefit out of it. This axiom is not always true as regards to the events of terrorism, or the actions aided by lunacy. The blasting of electricity towers in southern Bastar by the naxalites is an example of this kind of extreme perversion, something that lies in the realm of madness.

Since the first tower was blown away on 21st may, it took more than 21 days for the state government to restore power. In between, nearly 50 lakh residents of those places were forced to spend life in complete darkness. In between, the naxalites killed 3 CSEB “workers“, who had gone there to repair the lines. And they continued the mayhem by destroying more towers on 2nd and 4th june.

Some things become so integral to our life that its subtle importance is realized only when it is taken away for a substantial period. The problems faced by the people of Bastar in those 21 days were manifold. Excessive heat has made life miserable. People who use pumps for water had to look for other sources, or drink highly polluted waters coming from Bailadila hills. Medicines could not be saved in the fridge. No operation could be conducted in hospitals. There was an increase in cases of theft and robbery.

The train, which brings people from nearby Orissa and AP to sell their produce in local hats, could not run, thus hitting the livelihood of many. Mobile phones could not be charged. Petrol pumps could not run. There was no candles, no mosquito mats, no kerosene in the market. And of course, NMDC, the only large profitable PSU in these areas suffered huge losses of the tune of nearly 100 crores or more. And its 1000 strong staff had nothing to do for days on.

The question is what might be the motivation behind this despicable act by the naxalites? The posters that appeared near Bailadila provides some of the answers. According to them, 500 of their cadres were killed by Salwa Judum. The power cut was to protest these illegal killings, and taking revenge from people who support it. Agreed that in the name of Salwa Judum, a regime of unaccountable brutality has been unleashed over the people of Chhattisgarh for last two years. Agreed that the administration has been more than a facilitator in these extrajudicial killings, and there has been no relief in sight for the hapless people.

But have the maoists been above board at all times during this period? Manikonta, Darbhaguda, Errabore, Ranibodli, Kotrapal form ugly blots on them. The thinking that all signs of opposition must be annihilated, ran (runs??) deep among the maoist cadres and leadership. The killing of 8 villagers in Kotrapal (by the maoists) in the initial phase of SJ provided the spark that started the whole fire. Even now, the extremists believe that they will be able to take care of SJ by force alone. Of course, some among them think that the time is ripe for them to take on the might of Indian army, but that subgroup is a lunatic fringe in an almost insane orgaization.

Coming back to the forced blackout. The 3 CSEB workers were a constituency for socialism. By killing them while they were on their duty the naxalites have shown there rudderless leadership. Ostensibly the attack on vital power infrastructure was to give a punishment to the people, to force opinion against Salwa Judum, to stop NMDC from exporting iron ore and to protest the private operators in the mining sector exploiting the people and resources of Bastar. The powercut certainly led a dent in NMDC’s profits. However the private parties, most notably essar steel which uses iron fines from Bailadila mines for its pelletisation unit in Vishakhapatnam, were running smoothly. That’s because essar uses a pipeline to transport the ore and the its pumps were well outside the affected zone. Also most other units have backup ore, just to fight these kind of exigencies. These players were the least hit and the naxalites know that.

Similarly, if anything, their move will only strengthen Salwa Judum and its supporters. The power distress has been widely reported. Chief minister of Chhattisgarh and the home ministry mandarins have additional arsenal now in justifying the armed militia. Majority of residents of Dantewada district don’t support Judum. Now that they have seen the naxal designs, they will have second thoughts. Supreme court is entertaining a petition against Salwa Judum. The government will have a powerful argument now, one that is difficult to counter. Above all, further hate propaganda will be unleashed among the SPO’s and what further damage is done by them can only be seen in the future.

This attack has been a net loss for everybody. In Charla town, in CG-AP border, a huge rally was organised by CPI on 2nd june. According to an email by indefatigable JP Rao, “Advawsis from far off villages of Chintalnar, Usoor, Botetong, Benchchend and other villages walked around 200kms over three day to reach the meeting venue. Adivasis of bordering 30 villages in CG such as Maraiguda, Aavulapalli and Kishtaram etc also participated in the ralley. The local press estimated the gathering at more then 20,000. Manish Kunjam the president of the Mahasabha and the state Secretary of CPI addressed the rally. Kunjam in his address stated that more then 4000 advasis were killed by the Salwa Judum activist and 2500 houses were set on fire. Manish Kunjam’s convoy was attacked by the Salva Judum activsts at Dornapal while they were returning to Sukma.” (Actually Kunjam had already crossed the place, but the other CPI leaders were beaten by Judum) CPI is leading the local protests against the entry of big corporate houses like Essar in Dantewada and Tata in Bastar districts. This rally was reported sparsely in local and national media. An attack on his convoy did not find a mention or condemnation anywhere in press, except in an article in Daily Chhattisgarh. The blackout by the maoists dwarfed all such events of significance. Incidents like the Santoshpur encounter, that was gradually getting wider coverage, was lost in the din.

Lest it finds no mention, it is a shame for to all of us that a large proportion of people in Bastar were unaffected by the power problems. That’s because electricity never reached those villages. More than 75% households in south bastar have not been electrified. This when, CG is supposedly a power surplus state. Health services also never reached those villages. These are the people who form the core of naxal support base. Needless to say, they couldn’t see how continuous power cuts for a couple of weeks can raise such a hue and cry.

Still, uncontrolled violence is never an answer to any problem. In my articles, I have repeatedly asked the maoists to come to the negotiating table, and/or fight elections and change the system from within. It is better for them to give up arms from a position of strength than being forced to do so after all its major leaders are killed. I have no doubt that the group has a good number of well-intentioned, bright, responsible and diverse people. To have these people kill village sarpanch’s and get killed by a non-comissioned SPO is a “deadweight loss”. Just like the recent power cuts in Bastar.

Hyena Gill retreats from Chhattisgarh

June 18, 2007

KPS Gill no longer in Chattisgarh

Gill might have successfully led the fight against the Khalistani challenge in Punjab, but in taming the Naxalite terror in Chattisgarh he did not make any headway

Over a year ago the Chhattisgarh Government announced with great fanfare that it had hired the services of the ace cop K.P.S. Gill as an adviser to help it tackle the ever-growing menace of Naxalite violence in the State.
But now that they have dispensed with the services of the controversial cop, not a word is being let out. Why? Because both sides may have reasons to feel embarrassed by the one-year stint the former Punjab cop did in Chattisgarh. Gill might have successfully led the fight against Khalistani challenge in the Punjab, but in taming the Naxalite terror in Chattisgarh he did not make any headway.

Besides, the BJP Government of Chief Minister Raman Singh was put off by his extravagant demands. Enjoying the perks and privileges of a special secretary to the Government, Gill was put up in a bungalow in Raipur where he would often entertain his friends from outside. His unconventional private life itself was the subject matter of much gossip in the political and bureaucratic circles in the State.

All this would have been ignored by an indulgent state government but for his failure to register tangible gains in blunting the threat from the armed guerrillas of the Peoples’ War Group. As a result, his one-year contract has not been renewed. The controversial cop will no longer enjoy the facility of a second home in Raipur.

Cybernoon

500 rebels killed in two years, admit Chhattisgarh Maoists

June 17, 2007

500 rebels killed in two years, admit Chhattisgarh Maoists

RAIPUR: Maoists in Chhattisgarh have admitted that 500 of their rebels have been killed by cadres of anti-Maoist militia Salwa Judum movement in the last two years, a police official said on Tuesday.

The admission came through leaflets and posters found by police in Dantewada district, the worst hit by Maoist insurgency in Chhattisgarh.

“We recovered dozens of leaflets and posters in which Maoists said they had lost 500 fighters in the past two years,” Sant Kumar Paswan, Chhattisgarh’s acting director general of police, said.

He said the Maoists described their slain comrades as “martyrs” and have vowed to take “revenge” in the leaflets found in Bailadila hills, known to have one of the finest quality iron ore stocks.

National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), the largest public sector iron ore producer and exporter, has major mining facilities in Bailadila.

Last week, the rebels had set fire to a conveyor belt of NMDC, causing losses worth million of rupees to the firm.

“Maoists said they recently blasted power transmission towers to cause blackouts in four districts – Bastar, Dantewada, Narayanpur and Bijapur – as part of their revenge,” a police official said.

The anti-Maoist Salwa Judum (Campaign for peace) movement was started by tribals in June 2005 and was later supported by the state government.

Human rights groups say the government is endangering the lives of civilians and special police officers (SPOs) by sponsoring the Salwa Judum and putting them in the line of fire.

Nearly 50,000 tribals have deserted their forest villages in the state after the government-sponsored movement was launched due to threats from Maoists.

TOI

What makes an Ideal Indian Policeman ?

June 8, 2007

Ideal Indian Policeman


Source:Tribune
Link via Bhupindersingh

Related Posts

Khaki Rakshashas exhibiting their natural behavior

Maoist attack on bastar stops loot of country’s natural resources by criminal corporations

June 8, 2007

But I believe the public is undergoing enormous difficulty because
of the power outage.

Maoist rebel attack disrupts NMDC’s iron ore mining in Chhattisgarh
7 June 2007

Mumbai: Iron ore production in three central India mines have been disrupted following an attack by Maoist rebels on power lines in the region, an official of the National Mineral Development Corporation said.
.
Export of iron ore would not be immediately affected, Kumar Raghavan, spokesman for state-run NMDC that owns the mines, said.

“The loss of production is about 60,000 tonnes per day,” he said.

NMDC, which exports about 9 per cent of its output, has enough stockpiles at the ports but supplies will be a worry if the shutdown is prolonged, he said.

The stoppage was causing a daily loss of about Rs9 crore ($2.2 million), since the attack on May 31 in the Bastar region of mineral-rich Chhattisgarh, he said.

It could take another week to restore the power supply to the region, Raghavan said, adding the company would try to make up for the loss of production.

NMDC’s annual iron ore production is more than 25 million tonnes, and it accounts for about 15 per cent of iron ore production in India.

The disruption has stopped iron ore movement from the Bailadila mines to steel and sponge iron plants around Raipur, besides major customers, Raghavan said.

NMDC’s top customers include Ispat Industries, Rashtriya Ispatsend this article to a friendNigam Ltd. and Vikram Ispat.

The majority of the company’s output is from Bailadila region, known for its reserves of top quality iron ore.

domain-b

Salwa Judum Terror drives 50,000 adivasi’s into Andhra Pradesh

June 7, 2007

Salwa Judum excesses drives more than 50,000 tribals into AP
Wednesday June 6 2007 15:11 IST

KHAMMAM: The tribals of villages bordering Chattisgarh in Bhadrachalam division are living in constant fear.

Thousands of Adivasis have either migrated to Andhra or fled to forests in Chattisgarh due to the excesses committed by the Salwa Judum, a private army created by the Chattisgarh government to suppress the Naxal movement.

According to former MLA of Kunta in Chattisgarh Maneesh Kunja, about 50,000 Adivasis crossed the borders to save their skins. So far the activists of Salwa Judum killed 500 innocent Girijans on the pretext that they were assisting Naxalites, he added.

The Adivasis are sandwiched between Naxalites and Salwa Judum. About 2,000 houses of Adivasis have been reduced to ashes and they were robbed of their cattle, sheep and pigs, Maneesh said.

The exodus of Adivasis has become an headache for the Girijans this side of the border as Salwa Judum activists indulge in frequent raids pursuing their targets and forcibly take away their hens and sheep.

A public meeting held at Charla in Bhadrachalam division on June 2 denouncing the excesses of Salwa Judum was attended by 50,000 Adivasis speaks volumes about the intensity of the problem they are facing.

The Communist Party of India extended its support to the Adivasis and vowed to protect them from the Salwa Judum. CPI State secretary K Narayana and Maneesh demanded that the BJP government led by Raman Singh ban the Salwa Judum and file criminal cases against the activists of the latter.

The Salwa Judum was formed on June 4, 2005 under the leadership of opposition leader Mahendra Karma to wipe out the Naxalites.

But the Salwa Judum instead of killing the Naxalites were targetting the Adivasis, said All India Adivasi Mahasabha leader R Sankar Naik.

Thousands of Adivasis were leading a pathetic life in the camps run by Salwa Judum, he added. The Adivasis have been deprived of essential commodities as the Salwa Judum activists forced the closure of their weekly shandies, Sankar Naik said and demanded the withdrawal of Mizo and Naga forces from the Chhatisgarh, probe into the murders and lootings committed by the Salwa Judum, recall of migrated Adivasis and provide succour to them.

Otherwise he said the Adivasi Mahasabha would intensify its agitation in South Bastar in Chhattisgarh.

Centre clears move for using choppers in anti-Naxal operations

June 7, 2007

Centre clears move for using choppers in anti-Naxal operations
New Delhi, June 06: The Centre on Wednesday gave its nod to the Chhattisgarh government’s demand to hire helicopters from Pawan Hans for the next six months to help speedily transport security forces engaged in operations against Naxalites.

The Home Ministry cleared the demand so that the movement of security personnel during any operation is not hampered due to the Maoist tactic of mining roads used by the troops, official sources said.

The helicopters can also be used to evacuate casualties and to ferry supplies to security personnel operating deep within jungles of the state, they said.

For optimum use, Chhattisgarh will share the helicopters with Andhra Pradesh and Maharastra. The expenditure on the aircraft will be reimbursed from funds provided under the Security-Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme, a spokesman said.

Under SRE, a scheme implemented in states hit by Naxalite violence in 1996, the Centre supplements the efforts of the states to deal with the Maoist problem effectively.

The scheme was comprehensively revised in February 2005, increasing the rate of reimbursement from 50 per cent to 100 per cent and covering more districts and more items of reimbursement. The revision also permits the advance release of funds to states.

A total of 76 districts in nine states — Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal — are covered by the scheme and the ministry reimburses all expenditure incurred on security-related issues, including logistics and camp facilities for paramilitary forces.

Bureau Report

Chhattisgarh Terror Police exhibiting their natural behaviour

May 30, 2007

Khakhi Rakshashas exhibiting their natural behaviour

One Khaki Rakshas kicks the old adivasi in his face while another pulls his
hair , the other two Rakshashas watch with amusement,
while the old man breaks down into tears.

This type of behaviour can been seen all over Chhattisgarh and
more so in Bastar where msotly non-adivasi police personnel rape,
murder and loot the adivasi’s at will. Most adivasi’s
are considered sub-humans by caste hindus who now rule Chhattisgarh.

Related Posts

After British Raj it is now Bania Raj(rule of merchants) in Chhattisgarh

Link via

bhumkal

Chhattisgarh: Dr.Ilina is the latest target

May 30, 2007

After Dr Binayak Sen and Rajendra Sail now the Chhattisgarh Terror
Police is after Dr Ilina Sen..

Chhattisgarh: Dr.Ilina is the latest target

We invites all to join the huge rally protest of raipur on 31st. This will be a strong message to the repressive and undemoctaric state. . We hope you are already preparing to reach Raipur to join the voices of dissent.

Venue : KHALSA SCHOOL, near Pandri Bus stand, Pandri Accommodation: Pastoral Centre, near Holy Cross School, Baron Bazar Contact Person : Adv. Sudha Bhardwaj (mobile: 099266-03877)


Another major concern is about the threat of Dr. Ilina Sen getting arrested. This news is being spread by the CG police themselves and hence also the CG local press. Sources close to police confirm that they do plan to arrest her on the grounds of being owner of the house from where “incriminating evidence” was found.

This is ridiculous and should get on the nerves of anyone who has any allegiance to human rights or civil liberties. Friends, it is high-time we show the CG government that lawlessness and absolute human rights violations will not be tolerated by people. We hope the 31st programme becomes a common ground of this declaration.

From Delhi, we have friends including Shri. Achin vanaik (CNDP), Prof. Kamal Chenoy (JNU), Shri. Ashok Vajpayee, Shri Anil Choudhury (President, INSAF), Shri. J John (Chief Editor, Labour File) and Shri. Viraj Pattnaik (Centre for Equity Studies) among others who plan to be at the programme on the 31st at Raipur…

On Behalf of Delhi Solidarity Group and Sangharsh 2007, Sridevi Panikkar (09868099304) and Shreeprakash (09871880686) will be in Raipur to help with the coordination required… We are yet to get the names from PUCL, PUDR and MFC, as to who will be going…

However, the ground situation in Chhattisgarh continues to be extremely bad with more and more people’s movements and activists being targeted. Radheshyam Sharma is still in jail, but atleast he has ended his hunger strike and is not getting tortured compared to Piyush Guha or some others… Another issue is lack of pro-active legal support that is required from legal experts on HR issues and draconian legislations…

In Solidarity,
Vijayan MJ

via resistanceindia

Nine policemen killed in landmine blasts

May 29, 2007

Nine policemen killed in landmine blasts

Raipur, May. 28 (PTI): Nine policemen were killed when members of the banned naxal outfit CPI(Maoists) triggered a series of landmine blasts targeting a 12-member police party in Bastar district of Chattisgarh, police said today.

The maoists carried out two dozen blasts this evening when the motorcycle-borne policemen during an anti-naxal operations were passing through the Kudur area, about 435 capital from here.

Police said three cops who survived the attack returned to the Mardapal police station, 22 km from the scene of the attack, and informed the station incharge about the incident.

The maoists also looted weapons belonging to the policemen, police said.

The Hindu