Spy scam: More than what meets the eye

The information allegedly passed on to Pakistani intelligence agencies by Madhuri Gupta while working in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad was not very serious in nature, Intelligence Bureau sources told rediff.com on Tuesday.

Gupta, 53, a promotee officer of the ministry of external affairs, was arrested in New Delhi four days ago on charges of spying for Pakistan.

According to IB sources, Intelligence officials are currently interrogating her to probe her links with a RAW official currently posted in Islamabad.

“She had passed on minor information regarding India’s plans in Afghanistan. She was a second secretary in the Media and Information Cell in the Indian embassy in Islamabad. It is impossible to get information on sensitive matters in her position,” said an IB official.

He added that the RAW official under scrutiny, who might have been working with her in passing on information to Pakistan, could have leaked crucial information.

But IB officials are confident that no major information could have been leaked by Gupta as she had been put under the scanner several months ago. “We had managed to cut off her sources and were able to prevent a major information leak,” said the official.

During interrogation, Madhuri told IB officials that she had agreed to spy for Pakistan’s intelligence agencies as she was dissatisfied with her salary.

Gupta told her interrogators that when the Inter Services Intelligence had offered her a large amount of money to pass on information, she had readily agreed. She had reportedly been working for the Pakistan spy agency for nearly a year.

Intelligence officials are interrogating Gupta to find out if another Indian was involved in the spying operation.

IB officials are trying to ascertain the role played by the RAW official in the whole affair.

“We need to find out if he had passed on any information. He could have discussed certain pieces of information to her casually, without being aware of Gupta’s plan. But he did abuse his position by discussing confidential information with a person who had no access to such information. We don’t have concrete proof of his involvement but we are investigating the matter,” said an IB source.

The IB sources also informed that they are probing the role of a man called Rana, who is believed to be Gupta’s handler in Pakistan.

They suspect that she was involved in a romantic relationship with him, and he could have been the man who got her in touch with the ISI.

The doctor who made education a business

The Central Bureau of Investigation has made several inroads into the illegitimate sources of income of Ketan Desai, chairman of the Medical Council of India.

The CBI arrested Desai last week for allegedly demanding Rs 8 crore for granting recognition to Gian Sagar College, a medical college in Punjab.

After initial interrogation, the CBI recovered Rs 2 crore from Desai that CBI sources say was just an installment of the total money that he received from the college.

CBI sources have called Desai a “big catch”, as he might know the details of others involved in the scandal.

As investigation progresses, CBI officials are bound to find more about Desai’s dealings.

The CBI is also probing into Desai’s associates who may have supported him in the scam.

The investigation is at a very early stage and we are still questioning the accused, the CBI said.

On the basis of the several hours of interrogation of Desai, the CBI has found that the disgraced MCI chairman owns 10 houses in Gujarat alone. He also owns several properties that have been booked under names of other members of the family.

Till now, the CBI has managed to recover 1.5 kg of gold and 80 kg of silver after raiding Desai’s properties.

Desai’s wife is also under scanner, said the CBI, adding that she played a vital role in investing the money Desai demanded as bribes from the real estate in Gujarat.

The CBI has also taken into custody a Delhi-based middleman, the vice chairman of the medical college in question and an official of the college.

Desai’s arrest will help CBI officials in investigating the involvement of other middlemen involved in similar scams, as they believe that Gian Sagar College cannot be the lone college to have approached Desai for illegal permit.

“We are trying to find more information on the other deals that he (Desai) may have struck and we are quite sure that there could be a lot many,” sources from the investigation agency said.

The case so far:

According to the CBI, an inspection committee had had found several irregularities in the Gian Sagar College and had due, to lack of adequate infrastructure, refused permission to admit students.

A member from the college approached a middleman in Delhi who in turn contacted had allegedly Desai. The MCI chairman proposed a deal that if the college would pay him a bribe of Rs 8 crore, he would do away with the mandatory requisites needed for the college to qualify for admitting students.

It was agreed that Desai would he would help get the nod so that the college could start taking in students for the academic year 2010-2011.

In exchange for the bribe, Desai also ensured that the college could commence without any need to comply with the objections raised by the inspection committee.

What the CBI recovered from Desai:

A plot in Ahmedabad city; an investment of 20 lakh in Hindustan Home Finance Ltd; a property in Sun Building Pvt. Ltd, Ahmedabad; a plot in Land holding Sun Village Project, Sanand; gold worth Rs 39 lakh; bank accounts in the Ahmedabad branch of Bank of Baroda under the names of Desai and his family worth Rs 1.8 crore.

Swami’s run ends

Swami Nityananda, who has remained elusive since the sex scandal against him broke out, was arrested on Wednesday by a Bangalore Police team from Solan in Himachal Pradesh.

A court in Sriperambadur, Tamil Nadu, had directed the investigating agencies to carry out the arrest and produce him before the court on April 20. However, the police were unable to carry out the arrest.

The police finally tracked the swami down to Himachal Pradesh where he had been in hiding ever since the case emerged. However, sources told rediff.com that the swami will not be brought down to Bangalore, where he is facing charges, but instead produced before the Sriperambudur court.

The Bangalore police will then seek custody of the swami and conduct further investigation.

HS Chandramouli, counsel for the swami, did not confirm the arrest, but added that the anticipatory bail plea will now become infructitious.

He stated that if his client had indeed been arrested, he will move a fresh application seeking regular bail before the Ramnagar court near Bangalore under whose jurisdiction the swami’s ashram falls.

A local court in Ramanagara in Karnataka on Wednesday dismissed the anticipatory bail application filed by self-styled godman Nityananda Swami.

Session Court Judge Hungund dismissed the bail plea after it was brought to the court’s notice that Nityananda had been taken into custody.

The judge had on Tuesday posted the case for orders today.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka high court today posted the hearing of Nityananda’s petition, praying for quashing of criminal cases against him, on April 23.

Tharoor’s Twitternama

Ironically, it was Twitter that did Shashi Tharoor in. Though the former minister of state external affairs has maintained a stoic silence on the micro-blogging site ever since his unceremonious exit, his followers are on the rampage.

Perhaps more than Thiruvananthapuram, his constituency where he won from by more than one lakh votes, the biggest support for the beleaguered minister still comes from Twitter. While many have started online campaigns, others chose to tweet, expressing solidarity with the former United Nations diplomat. In cricketing parlance, some give him benefit of the doubt in the whole murky affairs of the Indian Premier League.

Not that there are no brickbats for Tharoor. Many aver that being a minister who holds an important portfolio, he should not have tweeted the way he did. Politics, they say, is a far more important game.

We spoke to a cross-section of people active on twitter, to gauge their opinion vis-a-vis Tharoor. Some quotes have been taken from Twitter, while others were contacted over the phone.

Piyush: Tharoor’s past tweets did not contain any serious offence. His trackrecord as a minister seems good. He was a perfect junior minister who worked like a donkey and committed too many errors to get any promotion.


Arun Vipra: He is Twitter’s first victim. This is a lesson for Tharoor. I strongly believe that he will make a comeback and emerge stronger.


Ullas Nair, Tiruvalla, Kerala: I always felt that right from the beginning Tharoor was not fit for the post. He should have been sacked long back when he first created the controversy on Twitter. He was not fit to hold that post and should have been more sensible while tweeting. One should understand that he is not a common man and cannot speak the way he wants. Holding such an important post, he should have been more prudent.


Leo Mavely, Ahmedabad: It is rather unfortunate to see a minister with 24 years of spotless UN track record had to quit on alleged corruption charges. However, I feel he should have offered himself to a judicial inquiry to come clean on allegations and stay away from office until then. In politics, perception of corruption is more dangerous than corruption itself. He definitely had a long way to go as a minister who easily connected with public. Twitter has played an important role in his short stint but it didn’t cave him in, rather an unconvincing way of handling this allegation did.


Nikhil Narayanan, voter from Thiruvananthapuram, now in Bengaluru: Painful to see Tharoor’s exit. Dear MP, given a chance, I’ll vote for you again and again.


Biju Narayanan, voter, Thiruvananthapuram: On the brighter side, we could do better with a full-time MP


Channamallikarjun Basavanagouda: Being the external affairs minister, he should not have tweeted about the government issues in public. All politicians are nothing but businessmen after all.


CR: I have two things to say. Tharoor on Twitter: This is the first time a minister or an MP who was directly connecting to the people, many would be bots, but he did create his own following. This should be appreciated. He was speaking to people directly. This could not be digested by many leaders who wanted exclusives from the minister. So, first he created enemies within the media. They were waiting for a chance to get back at him. Last, but not the least, would the Congress allow a minister who is growing more popular than the Prince himself. Answers are not forthcoming. And also remember, the Congress has a long elephantine memory. Remember his holy cows & cattle class comments.

On Tharoor & IPL: He should have resigned the day the news about Sunanda Pushkar [ Images ] came out. It seems like Tharoor wanted to gate-crash into a party — read IPL– where he was not invited and made powerful enemies.


Sudhir Kumar, Hyderabad: In my opinion, there is one more important question that the media has not asked Tharoor. In his statement, Thaoor has accused Lalit Modi [ Images ] is trying to scuttle the bid for Kochi. If he knew Lalit Modi was scuttling the bid for Kochi, did he not complain to the IPL governing council? If not, why? If he claims to be passionate about cricket, why didn’t he raise this at the appropriate forums?

As commissioner of IPL, Lalit Modi is supposed to act neutral. The charge that ST has laid is no small one — he has accused the IPL commissioner of being biased, and doesn’t it become ST’s responsibility to bring it to the notice of IPL governing council? As someone who claims to have come into the system to be the change, wasn’t it imprudent of him not to take up this issue before? His first aim might be an IPL team to Kochi and not cleaning up IPL, but as a public official, can he really escape with such an argument?

Another point is the debate about whether Tharoor is a “misfit” in Indian politics. It is a shame that Indian politics has been stereotyped by the likes of Farooq Abdullah [ Images ] and entering into the murky world by “sophisticated” folks is being seen as unwanted. I always admire Tharoor for choosing to fight elections, instead of taking the Rajya Sabha route. However, IPL has clearly bought out a murky side of him. It is unfortunate that the bigger fish still survive in the government while he had to go — but that same argument cannot be used to spare him of this impropriety.


Saju Ramachandran, Bahrain: I feel let down by Tharoor, just as when a promising Sachin innings ends in a soft dismissal


Joseph John: He should get a new OSD who doesn’t shoot his mouth off. An OSD’s job is to attract attention to his boss, not to himself


Nakul Shenoy, Bengaluru: Does any media house have the gall to take up Tharoor’s side? We lose a most qualified & articulate minister to sick dirty politics?


Aravindan: Remember your Stephanian Slogan “Shashi Tharoor Jeetega Zaroor”. Time will heal and time will tell a telling tale. We need you.


Kenney Jacob on Twitter: Dear Gujarathis, We poor Keralaites didnt know that IPL was your family business. We apologise for having intervened.

The Death Of My Baby

June 23 2004 is one date I will never forget. It is a struggle I will
never forget. The day my tryst with technology began. Nokia had announced the launch of it’s 6600.
Browsing through the features online one thought came to my mind- could it get any better. A video camera a beautiful camera sync options and to top it all a blue tooth. I had to have it. But then the irony was- when will it launch in India? Those were the days when I took home a salary of Rs 6k and this phone cost 21000. Cut down on smoking, eating out and pulled out whatever little I had saved. I somehow
managed the money. Well then that done I had to figure out how I would lay my hands on the phone. Thought and pondered and as luck would have it a friend of mine told me he would be leaving for London. I left for his home at 9 PM on June 10 2004. Literally begged him to get the phone for me. After much argument whether it was worth spending so much on a phone he finally agreed and took the money from me.
Well the next 2 weeks were the best. The wait was never ending but worth it. A day before he landed I mailed him saying that I would meet him at the airport itself and also told him not to keep the phone in the check in luggage. He landed in Banalore at 2 AM and guess what, I was there to receieve him. He was irritated at first when I asked him where is the phone instead of how he was. He handed me the phone and I left for home before thanking him.
I must have rode back home like a maniac as I didn’t want to lose even a minute. At home I ripped the packet open and all through I kept shouting at my wife asking her how she could sleep when something so beautiful was about to happen. She couldn’t care less. I fixed the battery and inserted my Airtel sim and then switched it on. The display was something that I had never seen before. The sound of nokia on polyphronic was like the sexiest nightingale. I will never forget that moment as a tear rolled down my eye. I called office that morning and sought leave. Nirad my chief asked if you are sick why are u sounding as though you have had a child. I told him that I did have a child and I am too giddy with happiness. He didn’t argue.
The whole day was like a ride at Disney for me. The beauty was the more I did with it the more there was remaining. The cult phone of the world had arrived. Today every phone is derived from the 6600. Four years later too when I used to open the phone I used to wonder- wow man it can’t get any better.
Well I took care of it like my baby and never let it out of my sight. Well you guys might be wondering why I am writing all this. As much as I hate to say it this is an obituary to my 6 year old baby who died two days back. Really don’t want to go into the details of how and when since a death is a death and my baby has gone forvever. Before concluding I would like to take a moment to tell it that there is so much I learnt and I enjoyed every moment that I spent with you.
Wherever you are please be happy and remember I miss you like crazy. You were and will always remain the best. RIP :(((

Pak’s gimmick: Interpol’s help to get Kasab custody

Pakistan has made a last ditch attempt to get custody of Ajmal Kasab, the gunman from the Mumbai 26/11 attack whose fate will be decided on May 3. Pakistan has sought the help of the Interpol to get custody of both Kasab and Fahim Ansari who are standing trial in India in connection with the Mumbai case.

The question that is now being asked is if this move by Pakistan will have any effect on the sentencing of these two men which is slated for May 3? Experts say that India has got nothing to worry and this is nothing more than a gimmick in order to build up some pressure.

Joginder Singh, former chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation who was also the chief of the Interpol in India told rediff.com that Pakistan is trying to be holier than thou and this move by them is nothing but a gimmick. The Interpol is just a collection of bodies and is not bound by any legal framework. What the Interpol can do is issue a circular or a notice and circulate it. In the instant case, even if such a circular is issued and circulated it would have absolutely no bearing since Kasab or Ansari are not absconding and they are being held and tried legally in the Indian court. The court can go ahead with the sentencing and there is no need for us to respond to any such notice even if it is issued by the Interpol. The sentencing too can go on as scheduled since the Interpol has no legal bearing and the manner in which it works is through cooperation.

Justice Santosh Hegde, former judge of the Supreme Court of India says that the Indian courts will not be deterred by such a notice as it will not apply at all. We are holding these men legitimately and they cannot be handed over if such a notice is circulated. Pakistan is just trying to apply some pressure on India and it is clear that they are doing nothing but stooping so low internationally. They are well aware that Kasab is in our custody and there is a legitimate trial that is going on. Pakistan does have the tendency of acting in this manner. I would have to say that this is just a counter measure on the part of Pakistan in response to the dossier sent by us in which we have sought for the extradition of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba heads. It is a very poor tactic being used internationally despite them being blamed for the attack. India should just not bother about this and go ahead and sentence the accused in the Mumbai attack.

GSLV failure, a setback to ISRO

The unsuccessful launch of the GSAT-4 satellite aboard the GSLV-D3 is a major setback for the indigenous space program of the Indian Space Research Organisation. The GSLV D3 was powered fro the first time by a home made cryogenic engine which made India the 6th nation after US, Russia, Japan, France and China to possess such a complex technology. ISRO officials said that the Rs 330 crore mission failed minutes after the rocket lifted off at 4.27 PM. Although they would go ahead with the same mission next year, it is still considered to be a set back since ISRO had planned on using the GSLV rocket for its second moon mission.

ISRO Chairman however pointed out that the moon mission would be on schedule and the failure of this mission would not have any impact on the moon mission. ISRO is still looking into the reasons for this failure and a report on the same is expected in the next three days, We are not sure if the main cryogenic engine did ignite as the vehicle started to tumble. When we tested the cryogenic engine on the ground it got ignited.

This mission was unique for ISRO since in the past five flights of the GSLV, cryogenic stages which were used were procured from Russia. Besides, in the past the cryogenic technology was denied to India following US sanctions on Russia not to transfer this complex technology to India. Prior to the launch ISRO had said that the GSLV-D3 flight is significant as the indigeniously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) is flight tested in this mission. This is the first time GSLV is carrying the indigenious CUS as its third stage instead of the Russian supplied Cryogenic Stage (CS), which was carried during its earlier flights. In 2006 the (GSLV-F02), with INSAT-4C on board, launched from Sriharihota could not complete the mission.

Earlier GSLV launches

GSLV-D1 launched GSAT-1 on April 18, 2001 (Successful)

GSLV-D2 launched GSAT-2 on May 8, 2003 (Successful)

GSLV-F01 launched EDUSAT(GSAT-3) on September 20, 2004 (Successful)

GSLV-F02 launched INSAT-4C on July 10, 2006 (Unsuccessful)

GSLV-F04 launched INSAT-4CR on September 2, 2007 (Successful)

ISRO says that the set back is serious in nature. 18 years of labour has gone into this mission and Rs 330 crore had been spent on the same. The ISRO chairman said that it would bounce back within a year by launching a rocket powered by indigenously developed cryogenic engine. He also added that ISRO will be flying two more GSLV rockets fitted with Russian-made cryogenic engines to launch two GSAT series satellites. He further added that the primary issue is to be self reliant in rocket technology and today ISRO is able to realize a cryogenic engine for Rs 36 crore whereas if it is procured from outside, the cost would be Rs 90 crore.

India’s most wanted Naxal leaders

The brutal killing of 75 Central Reserve Police Force troopers and a Chhattisgarh head constable in the Naxalite-infested Dantewada district on Tuesday morning is a stark reminder of the murderous power that the Maoist terrorists wield today.

The Union home ministry has prepared a dossier with the help of police officers in Naxalite-affected states and the Intelligence Bureau, which identifies top Naxalite terrorists. While they have gathered some information about these dreaded outlaws, they are yet to put a face to most of them.

Mupalla Laxman Rao alias Ganapathy

General secretary of the Communist Party of India-Maoist.

Laxman Rao is said to have lived in the jungles for decades. According to security agencies, the 60-year-old Naxal terror leader is never stationary, and often changes hideouts in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal to avoid capture.

His tact, grasp of Maoist ideology and planning has earned him the rank of supreme commander of the movement and control of Naxal armies in over 15 states.

Born in Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar district, Rao is a science graduate and has a degree in education as well.

After the death of Kondapalli Seetharamaiah, the founder of the Peoples’ War Group, the main Naxal group in the 1980s, school teacher Rao took charge. Intelligence agencies say he has trains cadres in guerrilla warfare; he is also the final word on Naxal strategy.

Mallojula Koteswar Rao

Koteshwar Rao has given more media interviews in recent months than most ministers and movie stars have.

There has been speculation that Rao was injured in a recent police encounter in West Bengal, a state where he controls the Naxal terror forces, but the Naxals have denied this in an unusual faxed statement to the media.

Rao — who is called Kishenji by his cadres — is yet another Naxal leader who hails from Andhra Pradesh.

Born in Pedapalli village, Karimnagar district, the plight of farmers in his region is said to have driven him to Naxalism.

Rao — who has a degree in science — is believed to have worked in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh before he was sent to West Bengal where he revived the dying Naxalite movement. He is said to live in the jungles of Lalgarh, emerging usually to grant media interviews.

Katakam Sudarshan alias Anand

Sudarshan began fighting for Telangana’s farmers before he gravitated to the Naxalite movement. Bureau secretary of the CPI-Maoist’s central region he has been a Naxalite for nearly 30 years.

Intelligence Bureau sources believe he is in charge of Naxal operations in Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, two important Naxal states. Sudarshan is particularly influential in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada area and that is why security agencies believe Tuesday’s massacre could not have occurred without his intervention.

Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad

Is the Naxalite spokesperson, one of the movement’s senior-most leaders, in police custody?

His mother believes so as do Naxalite cadres who say Azad went missing some weeks ago en route to a meeting with other Naxal leaders.

An alumnus of the prestigious Regional Engineering College in Warangal, Andhra Pradesh, Cherukuri did his master’s in technology before leading the Radical Students Union during the Emergency.

He went underground thereafter, and is one of India’s most wanted men. Or is Azad no longer most wanted?

Prashanth Bose alias Kajal alias Mahesh

Bose — a rare Bengali in the Andhraite-dominated Naxal leadership — is the Naxalites’s international face.

Bose, whose name is said to have cropped up several times during the interrogation of Naxalite ideologue Kobad Ghandy, interacts with Nepal’s Maoist leaders.

Nambala Keshavarao alias Ganganna alias Basavaraj

Not much information is available on this Naxal who is believed to be 54 years old and a native of Srikulam district in Andhra Pradesh.

Mallajula Venugopal alias Bhupathi

This native of Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar district shuttles between Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and is Lalgarh Naxal M Koteswar Rao’s younger brother.

Balraj alias BR

BR is in charge of the Naxal publications which are printed in Bihar.

Andhra’s ‘Red’ hot bed

The dossier on Naxalites put out by the Union home ministry has several names of most wanted Naxalites in it and 99 per cent of the leaders in that list are from Andhra Pradesh, indicating how strong movement is in this part of southern India Vicky Nanjappa reports.

Ganapathy, Koteshwar Rao or Sudarshan, who hold important posts in the Maoist movement, all hail from Andhra Pradesh, and are primarily considered to be the men who have strengthened the movement.

It is largely believed that the Naxal movement in Andhra Pradesh has almost ended and the Greyhounds — a special squad set up by the Andhra Pradesh government — has neutralised them to a large extent. However, with the re-birth of the Telangana movement a couple of months back, security forces see a major danger — the return of the Naxal movement in the state.

The fact remains that the Naxal movement became strongest during the Telangana movement, almost 60 years back, and with the issue on a boil once again, security agencies do not rule out a Naxal resurgence again in Andhra Pradesh.

Each of the leaders in the most wanted list has had an affiliation with the Telangana movement prior to taking the Red route.

There are two versions to the story of emergence of the Naxal movement in Andhra Pradesh. A section claims that the birth of the movement originally took place when people were fed up of the atrocities of the Nizam of Hyderabad.

A group of people came together to protest these acts, and finally, took up violent means to counter the Nizam and safeguard the people.

However, the most common version that is quoted is the affiliation of the Naxal movement to Telangana movement, which was an off shoot of the poor living conditions and the barbaric zamindari rule in these regions.

Most of the leaders who now form a part of the Naxal movement were initially part of the Radical Students Union, and later the Telangana Sangharsha Samithi.

Most of the leaders who belonged to these movements then moved into the Naxal movement, and from there they started to take up larger issues such as farmers’ problems, while also demanding a separate Telangana state.

Sympathisers of the movement say that the Andhra government has always been hostile towards the problems of the farmers. The police force always suppressed the farmers when they tried raising their voice for better living conditions. The ruling class of Andhra Pradesh was always accused of using the political system to their advantage.

The Naxal movement became extremely popular in Andhra, since at that time, the violence was very limited in nature. The movement was considered to be the strongest in Adilabad, Warangal, Khammam, East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts.

Records show that unlike the rest of Andhra Pradesh where the movement spread with the help of armed squads in northern Telangana, the movement was mostly popularised by the labour class and students.

There was huge awareness in the Telangana region for the formation of a separate state, and the labour class and students unions decided to spread the ideology of Maoism through peaceful means.

However, this did not last long and blaming the government and the police for suppressing the movement, the armed squads reached the Telangana regions too, and the struggle became violent.

This struggle did manage to drive out the landlords, but that did not end matters. A new class of people called the ‘rich elite’ started flocking these areas and the poor people felt that the only way to keep their rights intact was continue supporting the Naxal movement.

The first signs of major violence by the Naxalites was in 1985. Two policemen were killed in separate incidents in Dharmapuri in Karimnagar and Warrangal. The war had come out in the open. The police retaliated with a host of encounters. The battle only got worse in the years to come.

In 1990 paramilitary forces were deployed for the first time in Andhra Pradesh. However, the Naxal movement had grown by now, and they had acquired a new skill of blowing up police vehicles.

As a compromise strategy, the government decided to hold talks and send the paramilitary forces back. There was even speculation that the Congress, which returned to power after the rule of the Telegu Desam Party, had permitted the Maoists to carry out their ‘political’ activities openly.

However, there was a fallout, as it is believed that the Congress did not live up to the promise of pre-election agreement.

The movement got even more aggressive then, and the Maoists declared that they would be in control of the whole of northern Telangana, the Nallamalla forests in the Krishna basin and also the Eastern Ghat hills.

Experts point out that it was the formation of the Peoples’ War Group by these persons in the 1980s which made this movement extremely violent in nature.

It is pointed out this was a battle which originally commenced for land reforms. However, the sympathisers of this movement allege that despite the Andhra government adopting several laws to this effect — such as the Andhra Pradesh Land Reforms (Ceiling and Agriculture Holdings) Act of 1973 — it was never properly implemented. It is alleged that most of the land that was distributed to the tribals were dry lands and of poor quality.

Although this problem existed in many states, Andhra has always been the epicentre of the problem. The movement gradually spilled into West Bengal, Maharashtra, Bihar and Orissa.

However, the very reason for the Andhra leadership of Naxals being so popular in the entire country is largely due to the fact that the movement turned into an arms struggle for the first time in this state.

The violent means adopted by the PWG had put the government on the backfoot several times and this encouraged the Naxal cadres of the other states to adopt to the same module.

The Naxal leaders from Andhra were preferred, since they had been using violent means from a long time and were well versed in this kind of ‘guerilla’ warfare.

After the advent of the Greyhounds in Andhra Pradesh, the movement was neutralised to a large extent, which in turn forced most of the leaders to leave the state. All these leaders then took shelter in other states such as West Bengal, Bihar and Chhattisgarh, from where they continue to operate even today.

However, it was not only the Greyhounds which played a major role in neutralising the movement. There is a big change in the mindset of the youth of Andhra.

They feel that there was a need to drive out the landlords from their villages and ensure equal rights. But they also point out that the Naxals managed to bring the police to their villages. This was a turning point, since the Naxal cadres started losing local support.

More naxal attacks to follow: IB

The attack at Dantewada in which 75 security personnel kill is sure a wake up call and according to intelligence agencies, there will be more such attacks in the days to come.

State Intelligence officials who are on the job at the affected areas told rediff.com that the reason behind the sudden surge in power for the naxals is that they had been a recruitment spree. The recruitment process is on fast track and there are crash courses which are being offered since they find the urgency to strike at regular intervals. It is no longer the prolonged procedure of training that is involved. They are very well aware that the security forces are trying to clean them up and they feel that they have very little time on hand. The crash course of the naxals just lasts two weeks. The training includes a very quick course on usage of weapons, conducting a recee, keeping a tab on security forces and attack.

The recruitments have been highest in the tribal belts and it is being increasingly noticed that they have managed to gain the support and the sympathy of the local population. This is a clear indication that the security forces have not been able to garner any support from the locals as a result of which they are not able to fight the naxals.

The IB says that the recruitment process is constant all across the red corridor and is not limited to one particular area alone. They have decided to speed up the process where the insurgency is highest, the IB also pointed out.

Mahendra Kumawat, former Director General of the Border Security Force and Special Secretary, Internal Security, Ministry of Home Affairs told rediff.com that this is a very serious issue. The forces who are being sent in should be well equipped and there is no way in which personnel who are not trained should be sent in to such combats.

The Naxal menace is the biggest internal threat to India and their primary aim to push India back and ensure that it never becomes a super power. They are growing in strength and in the days to come they would become more sophisticated since they have been procuring weapons from outside the country. I will not rule out the fact that they have tied up with other anti national forces like those from across the borders. This is a threat which has to be dealt with an iron fist or else it will only get worse as the days progress.

Kumawat further pointed out that there is a need to have a proper strategy to counter the naxals. The need of the hour is a specialized force to counter this problem.

Looking at the latest attack, one could say that there is definitely a need to increase the number of security personnel. The recruitment’sBSF by the naxals is on the rise and they are trying each day to outnumber our security forces. This strategy coupled with local support is what is making them such a strong force. Moreover they will continue to fight the security forces in the jungles itself knowing fully well that our forces are not very good at battling in the jungles. During their training and recruitment process they are specifically told that they will need to die for the cause and once such a mindset is instilled in them it will only make them stronger.

Speaking of the local support which the naxals have managed to garner while our security forces have not, the whole problem is regarding the tenure of the security personnel. He has to be given a long tenure in one place. What I have noticed is that to wage a battle of this nature, it is important that they have local support. More than once I have seen it happen that just when a security personnel is getting accustomed to the locals, he is moved out of that place.

In the backdrop of the latest incident, what our security forces need to do is sit down and analyse the situation just like how the naxals do. They will surely change their strategy the next time around since it has been noticed that after each attack, the naxals do hold a meeting where the attack is analysed, scrutinized and newer plans are deviced for the next attack. The interesting thing is that they analyse the mistakes more after every attack and ensure that the same thing is not repeated the next time.