New Delhi, Jan 31: There has been an intelligence report from the United States that suggests that there would be a spike in Pakistan sponsored terror attacks in India.
Continuing the crack down on urban naxals, the police have arrested a blogger, who is a resident of Bengaluru. The Chhattisgarh police which arrested Abhay Devdas Nayak said that he was a member of the IT cell of the naxalites and also their spokesperson.
It seemed quite strange that the Maoists decided to criticise Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Terming that the state of Kerala is in a state of ‘undeclared emergency,” the Maoists said that. Vijayan is ‘enemy number one.’
The West Bengal police has said that the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) is preparing for a prolonged underground armed movement for a separate state and has hired Maoists from neighbouring countries as mercenaries to train its cadres.
Three years have gone by since Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister of India. It has been an eventful three years no doubt and his primary focus has been around the economy and black money. What do we expect in the fourth year.
Stepping up the heat against the Maoists, security forces will now conduct anti-naxal operations based on real time information. The information will be provided in real-time by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) so that the “traps” planted by the extremists could be avoided.
It is a 12,000-member team and is known as jan-militia. This is the backbone of the naxalites who are able to strike at ease and claim precious lives of the jawans. Breaking the jan-militia of the naxalites would be crucial in solving the problem. The centre with the help of intelligence has found that the jan-militia has around 12,000 members in it. This group is responsible for intelligence gathering, spreading ideology and also brainwashing people into joining the group.
A government commissioned study on the Maoist menace states that they spend Rs 140 crore annually to fight the Indian agencies in 8 states. While the government of India has managed to give us an estimate of their annual spend, there is no concrete mechanism in place which would help curb this problem so that the Maoists are hard up for funds.
For starters the issue that is daunting the agencies in the fight against the Maoists is the lack of a proper data base. The National Investigation Agency which is probing the various naxal attacks and also studying the pattern is unable to put out a proper data base on these people. They have a proper list of the ten most wanted naxals, but there is more that goes into the functioning of these persons which makes them extremely lethal. Continue reading “Naxal spending and lack of a data base”
The killing of 19 persons alleged to be Maoists has sparked up a major debate on the authenticity of the encounter. While the police forces maintain that hardcore naxalites wanted for crimes against human beings had been killed during the encounter at Sarkeguda, the villagers cry foul and say that the entire operation was fake.
It was a 40 hour encounter and according to the claim by the CRPF 19 naxals which included a 15 year old girl by the name Kumari Kaka and ten others in the age group of 15 and 28 had been killed. However security forces maintained that among the 19 were hardcore naxals which included those who masterminded the Dantewada jail break were was also killed.
The big question that arises out of this encounter is whether the security forces in a bid to go all out against the naxals also ended up killing some innocents in the group. However the counter attack to this argument is that the forces were brutal and in their bid to get their men ended up taking out innocent lives as well.
An officer involved in the operations told rediff.com that the villagers who have often been seen as the sympathizers of this movement are bound to tell their version of the story. The fact however remains that the forces do not unnecessarily kill off innocent people. This entire operation has been planned for nearly a year and only on specific information have the forces moved in.
Some of the villagers have been blinded by the theory that is being put out by the naxalites. The naxals thrive on the sympathy of the villagers and this is one of the main reasons why this movement has been successful.
However what transpired on that day when these 19 persons were killed is also interesting. In an operation of this nature it is very difficult to pin point the mastermind as he is never alone. Although they may claim that their live up to the social cause and show a lot of bravado when it comes to safeguarding their lives, they do put innocent lives at stake. Women, innocent villagers and even children are used as human shields by them. The security forces have not gone on any rampage and chosen to kill innocents, a source also said.
A retired official who was involved in naxal related operations says that it would be interesting to see what the outcome of the judicial probe on this matter would be. The security forces are battling a very tough opposition. These people do not come out in the open and fight. They use cover in the form of children and innocents and when they come in the line of fire during the encounter they make this a huge issue and dish up more sympathy.
Security forces have always found it extremely difficult to penentrate into the naxal movement. There are various levels of shields right from the locals in the village and also the members of the family who they use as a cover. In this particular incident too that would have been the same case.
The use of human shields in the form of innocents and children is sort of a newer trend among this movement. After the killings of Azad and Kishenji, they have found that their top leadership has shaken up and hence would go that extra mile to guard their leaders. They would not mind putting 10 children and an equal number of innocents on the line in a bid to protect their main leader and this is exactly what has happened in this encounter as well. Moreover it is also a strategy on part of the naxals to ensure the death of innocent villagers so that the hatred towards the police grows deeper. In some cases it is also seen that naxals have forcibly taken shelter in the houses of villagers as a result of which even those providing shelter come under fire.
The villagers of the area have however been claiming that there are no naxals in the group of 19 who were killed. There are allegation that none of the government officials visited their homes or conducted any autopsy which is contrary to the claim of Prashanth Agarwal, the superintendent of Bijapur who says that the post morten report was conducted. The villagers who cremated the bodies had however claimed that there was no indication of a post mortem and have sought a probe into the matter.
The other claim by the villages is that there was a lot of brutality in the encounter and the wounds found on the deceased were inflicted unnecessarily by security forces. This is a claim that has however been rejected by the CRPF and say that they do not indulge in brutality.
Sources in the force maintain that the men they went after were hardcore naxalites. Mahesh, Nagesh, Suresh, Somulu to name a few were part of the core committee and they were wanted for various crimes. They were part of the top rung and were crucial for security forces to get.
According to the villagers Nagesh was a 17 year old student whose body had been disfigured during the encounter. The other Madkam Nagesh is said to be drummer who played for children during the festivals. Somulu who hails from Andhra Pradesh was a farmer while Bichham according to them is an 18 year old orphan.
The argument by the villagers that the description of the security forces of these hardcore leaders cannot be believed is based on the ground that there are no criminal cases registered against them in the jurisdictional police station. However the CRPF says that when a centralized agency takes over a case it is not necessary that they have to chase persons with records in the jurisdictional limits. They have committed crimes in other parts of the country and our duty is to nab or neutralize them irrespective of the jurisdiction in which they are hiding. If a crime is committed in Bihar and these naxals hide in Chattisgarh this does not give them an immunity. It is only natural that these persons will commit a crime and move on to another place, sources pointed out.
Security forces however realize that in the days to come they will encounter more with the problem of naxals using innocent villagers and human shields to guard themselves. Experts on the subject say that at times mistakes do tend to happen during such a major encounter. They will need to re plan their strategy and ensure that innocent lives are not lost during such an encounter as this will only end up putting a question mark on the entire operation. Moreover if innocent lives are lost the sympathy for the naxal movement will only go up and our agencies need to be watchful and careful while executing such operations. However they also add that it is not as though the agencies are not trying. Even during the operation on hand they have tried their level best to coax the villagers to stay away or at least help them, but they do not seem to relent and continue to shield the hardcores in the naxal group. It is kind of a desperate situation that these agencies face and finally it comes down to an operation of this nature as at the end of it shielding a criminal wanted by the law is also a crime.
The accident caused by Maoists on a railway track in West Bengal on Friday morning, which killed at least 100 people, has raised questions about the lack of security on board long-distance trains in India.
During preliminary investigations, railway authorities found that the fish plates on the track had been taken off in order to derail the train. A fish plate forms a crucial link on a railway track as it is the metal bar that holds the tracks together.
The fish plate is made out of nickel silver and it helps maintain the alignment and electrical continuity on the track. The Maoists removed the fishplates to de-link the tracks, which caused the train to lose its balance and get derailed.
Authorities point out that it is not too difficult to take out a fish plate, as it is fixed to the track with bolts, which can be unscrewed in a matter of minutes with the right equipment. The fishplates are placed at regular intervals of the track and it is difficult to monitor each and every one of the numerous fishplates to spot a case of tampering, say authorities.
The Railway Protection Force, set up on the lines of the Central Reserve Police Force, has been entrusted the task of providing security and taking care of law and order on India’s lifeline. The RPF is also supposed to guard the tracks, though sources in the force admit that it is difficult to provide security all the time.
“There is a need for specific intelligence and without that, we are helpless,” said the source, adding that the RPF also has to deal with a shortage in staff. .
Given the extensive railway network across India, monitoring every part of it is extremely tough, said the source.
The RPF usually focuses on a specific area and needs actionable intelligence to do that, according to authorities.
According to intelligence officials, locals in Naxal-hit areas can provide valuable inputs, ut are reluctant to do so. “There is a list of suspects and we keep a track on such persons. Their movements can be known only with the help of local support. Despite so many inhuman attacks, locals do not share information easily. There is a need to educate these perople about the ill effects of Naxalism. Once the locals turn against the Naxals, it will be easy to address the problem,” said an IB official.