Anti-Maoist event postponed due to Naxal threat
Salwa Judum offshoot Vikas Sangharsh Samiti will have to wait to unveil its first mega event so as not to put villagers at risk. The first mega event of Vikas Sangharsh Samiti, an anti-Maoist group formed by the leaders of erstwhile anti-Maoist militia Salwa Judum, has been postponed due to the “Naxal threat” and “indifference” from the Congress party. “We have received inputs that the Maoists are threatening people against participating in our anti-Maoist movement. We can’t afford to put the villagers at risk so we have decided to postpone the first mega event that was slated to take place in Faraspal village of Dantewada on the second death anniversary of my father,” Salwa Judum founder Mahendra Karma’s son and VSS convener Chhavindra Karma told The Hindu. However, preparations are being made for a big event at Faraspal on May 25 and all the Judum leaders from different parts of Bastar will be present during the event, said a Judum leader. “People will gather in Faraspal on May 25 in remembrance of my father on his death anniversary. He was a popular leader in Bastar with a large mass following. But the event has got nothing to do with our Samiti,” said Mr.Karma.
Sources in Chhattisgarh Congress said Chhavindra Karma was called to Raipur two days ago by senior State Congress leaders, who expressed their “apprehensions” over his initiative. State Congress president Bhupesh Baghel, senior leader T.S.Singh Deo and Ajit Jogi have already announced that the Congress party would not support Mr. Karma’s initiative. The announcement of the formation of VSS, which is being perceived as the second edition of Salwa Judum earlier this month, met with criticism from rights groups, political parties and activists. The Maoists also threatened “violent backlash” and appealed to the people of Bastar to oppose Chhavindra Karma’s initiative.
Reds kill ex-SPO, warn against joining police in Gadchiroli
NAGPUR: The brutality of top Naxalite leader of south Gadchiroli Ashok Pendam, alias Aitu, claimed the life of former special police officer (SPO) 25-year-old Ravindra Sunkri at Kamlapur village. The rebels said his killing was the decision of People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) as he was a ‘traitor’. Ravindra’s father Shankar, the local police warden, intriguingly was known for his proximity to the rebels whose son’s killing now has irked the security forces. The Naxalites, who had abducted Ravindra four days ago, brought him back to Kamlapur village and gunned him down in the wee hours of Thursday. The rebels, through their pamphlets distributed in the village, issued threats to the youngsters serving as SPOs.
The rebels also warned youngsters against preparing for police recruitment saying such jobs in the department were against the interest of the masses. The Naxals claimed government was to be blamed for unemployment. The latest murder also underlined the aggressive decision of Aitu who has already played key role in five civilian killings this year. Ravindra was the second SPO to be eliminated by Aitu this year after one near Aheri. It is reliably learnt that Ravindra’s father Shankar, a former Naxal sympathizer, had tried to free his son by offering himself in the rebel’s captivity a day before his cold-blooded murder. Sources stated the Naxals had an exchange of fire near Kamlapur with a patrolling party of C-60 commandos who had launched a search operation to free Ravindra.
Naxals are learnt to have killed Ravindra in retaliation holding him responsible for bringing the commandos to their den. Building on public resentment over Ravindra’s murder, police have vowed to take on Aitu and his men, who have been targeting civilians, through intensified action. Aitu, mostly using the Aheri Local Organizational Squad (LOS), Company 10 and Sironcha LOS formations of Naxalites, has been dominating the south Gadchiroli after being sent back to Maharashtra from Dandakaranya in Central India.
Paramilitary’s Presence in Tribal Areas Draws Flak
COIMBATORE: Following the arrest of the five Maoists in Karumathampatty earlier this month, Naxal Special Division (NSD) forces have stepped up patrol and combing operations in tribal hamlets. However, activists have criticised the presence of the armed division, which they feel, without proper regulation, could lead to police excesses in the tribal belts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The NSD team, which was formed a couple of months ago to deal with the “spread” of naxalism, is an armed paramilitary force involved in gathering intelligence about alleged Maoist movement in the tribal belt. According to a resident of Thoovaipathy village near Anaikatty, teams visit villages regularly and ask for information about “suspicious movements of strangers” in the region.
However, tribal rights activists have spoken out against the setting up of such armed divisions in tribal hamlets, as they feel it unjustly criminalises tribal population living along the belt. Speaking to Express, P A Pouren of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in Kerala, pointed out that tribal hamlets extended between Nilambur and Agali in Kerala and alleged that forest department, in collusion with police were preventing tribals from collecting forest produce, grazing, and fishing, under the garb of preventing poaching. He added that commandos from Kerala Thunderbolts — a paramilitary wing, as well as the CRPF and forest department were also preventing the entry of journalists, activists and civil liberties groups into the tribal hamlets.
Despite the Salwa Judum, an armed militia which was outlawed by Supreme Court in 2011, Pouren said the current Kerala Home Minister, Ramesh Chennithala had announced that 200 tribals would be recruited directly to the ranks of police, which he said was akin to the arming of local militia. He said this could cause a division between tribal communities and lead to increased violence in these areas. Echoing his views, lawyer and activist D Nagasaila said rather than instituting armed police divisions to combat left-wing radicalism, the core issues surrounding tribal welfare such as implementation of Forest Rights Act need to be resolved.