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Unkempt Social Welfare scheme

Unkempt Social Welfare scheme

Daal Bhaat yojana in unhealthy conditions: Story published: Hindustan Times, Jharkhand, February 19, 2013

The bridge facing mainstream

This is an opinion column with some reportage: read at your own risk

Brahmapur/ Berhampore (Odisha/Orissa), December 02, 2012

It is hot in Odisha right now. Only the weather though – it is quiet in the forests. An ominous silence with a promise of things to come going by a press release from the Maoists released on the 12th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army. Sources in the government and in the Maoists’ organisation said that they are regrouping in the Odisha-Andhra and Odisha-Chattisgarh border.

The biggest question on the mind of intelligence agencies in Odisha is who is the current boss here after the expulsion of leader-turned-renegade Sabyasachi Panda.

The national and local media claimed that Panda was expelled from the party for writing a letter to CPI (Maoist) general secretary Muppala Laxaman Rao / Ganapati / Ganpathy. In the said letter, Panda alleges major discriminative practices by Telegu cadres/commanders towards the Odisha Maoist cadres and their cultural practices, etc.

Now, a recent conversation with a government official and with a frontal reveals that the Maoists were actually tired of the spotlight hogged by Panda and they wanted to reduce him from the personality that he had become. While the official said he was becoming too much of a hero for the local cadres, the Maoists said that they had planned to dislodge him for quite some time and this had set off warning bells in his head. This was especially after Panda got into the spotlight for the two prominent kidnappings in Odisha, including that of the two Italian tourists.

Newspaper reports (maybe fed to the media, maybe not) suggest Panda seems to be in the tri-junction area of Ganjam, Gajapati and Kandhamal.

Another ordinary citizen, who has nothing to do with either cops or Maoists, said his men were spotted in civvies near Baliguda town in Kandhamal.

After being expelled, Panda formed his own left wing extremist organisation called the Odisha Maobadi Party. Panda claimed he was the Secretary, Orissa State Organising Committee of the CPI-Maoists, which cannot be verified, and is doubtful. Some claim that’s a post he gave himself.

What I have heard during my present visit to Odisha is murmurs that several mainstream political parties are interested in roping in Panda in their fold, considering his local popularity throughout the state. It works by Panda agreeing to law down arms and surrender to the state. He and his 12 buddies can walk into the SP’s office and get the benefits of the surrender package which has excellent sops, including cash for this that and the other (Read my report in Hindustan Times of September). He will of course have criminal charges filed against him for crimes committed, the surrender cannot help you escape penal action. The tough ones will be the sections on abduction, that of the Italians and former Malkangiri collector Vineel Krishna.

Some of his men were killed in an encounter recently, namely – Ghasiram Bagsingh, Yagu Padra, Samson Majhi, Laxmikanta Naik and Ludri Munda, as per http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-11-19/bhubaneswar/35204808_1_maoist-leader-sabyasachi-panda-bansadhara-division-police-hunt

Panda has of course denied they were his men and said the police dresse them up in combat fatigues to make it appear as a score against the rebels. But Panda is making other statements too. Recently, he said that 26/11 convicted terrorist Ajmal Kasab should not have been hung. A LWE guerilla leader makes a statement, after his own ilk has killed several villagers with or without ‘sentences’ in Maoist kangaroo courts.

The police official I spoke with said that Panda is now left with about 12 or so people and living by forcing people to take care of him.

After his expulsion, Maoist central committee member Modem Balakrishnan or Manoj had come to Odisha with about 300 of the Maoist militia with him and stayed here ‘reorganising’ the party, which, in English, means he was ensuring that other Odisha Maoist cadres did not follow their renegade hero. The Telegu Maoist cadres and commanders have been told to ensure that they take it easy on their comrades on Odisha and that fickle comments towards culture, dietary habits and so on will not be tolerated.

Modem left the reigns with some Odiya people but the organisation is tight-lipped about it as they do not want another Panda-like situation. One journalist had even compared Panda with Cuban revolution hero Che Guevara.

Another Maoist guerilla commander who is taking up similar space in the government dossiers is Kundan Pahan of Jharkhand who kept the Ranchi-Bundu and nearby areas, including Chalkad (birthplace of tribal hero Birsa Munda), in terror of his squad and has now allegedly risen up to be the Jharkhand State Committee Secretary for the Maoists.

The Maoists are now regrouping around the forests and they are planning some strikes here and there. Today is their 12th anniversary of the PLGA or people’s liberation guerilla army and the press release says it observes the death of leader martyred over the last year specifically that of their senior leader Kishen-ji or Mopalla Koteshwar Rao who was gunned down in West Bengal in an encounter with security forces.

The press release, dated November 30, is titled

Oppose the brutal offensives of the Indian Ruling Classes! Intensify People’s War & Defeat the ‘Operation Green Hunt’ – ‘War on People’!

It has been released on behalf of the

Central Military Commission – CPI (Maoist) On the occasion of the PLGA 12th anniversary celebrations

The Maoists are practically out of Saranda, at least from the Jharkhand part. They are hardly present in Garhwa or Latehar, where they traipse in from Chattisgarh occasionally for collections.

Their presence in Jharkhand is limited even in Giridih. There are poorly-trained cadres in Giridih and they prefer to use their comrades from across the Bihar border int he jungles of Jamui. The recent blow was that of releasing 8 comrades from a police van, which was returning from court, resulting in 4 casualties.

The PLGA week press release is more of a motivational tool than anything else. The Maoists have even taken this opportunity to speak against the UPA government’s fiscal revival policy of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail. The statement is more agains the United States of America, from where originates the alleged ‘threat’ of companies such as Walmart taking over the ‘kirana’ shops.

The anti-US policy is evident from the PLGA anniversary press release, which goes on to say:

  • The Indian ruling classes are implementing in a structured manner the counter-revolutionary LIC strategy under the guidance of the U.S. imperialists with the aim of wiping out the Indian revolutionary movement.

This is probably the reason that they recently avoided a meeting with a team of three American journalists who had come to Jharkhand to shoot a documentary on the conflict situations in India creating a contrasting backdrop to its claim of a fast-growing economy.

An extract of the press release reads as:

  • There are building 400 fortified police stations in the four tri-junctions – AP-CG-Maharashtra; AP-CG-Odisha; CG-Jharkhand-Odisha and Odisha-West Bengal-Jharkhand and strengthening carpet security. They are giving training, weapons and equipment to their forces to fight back any kind of attacks by our PLGA forces. They are speeding up their preparations for drone (UAV) attacks and are concentrating on annihilating the leadership in the field. The central government decided to build 2200 communication towers in areas of Naxalite influence.

It should not come as a surprise that India is trying to fight back. And why would it come as a surprise that there are to be more police stations. Secondly, the remark against installation of phone towers seems to be a message to the Maoist guerilla to make use of them in their exploits in the jungle.

Of course,

  • Rahul Gandhi, Robert Vadhra, central ministers Sarad Pawar, Salman Khurshid and BJP president Nitin Gadkari

find mention in the propaganda note for their corruption. And so do the crusaders against corruption :

  • Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal who are claiming that they would end corruption are all apologists of the exploiting system in our country. They would be able to bring only some namesake reforms like the Lokpal. Believing them would be deceitful.”
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Police atrocities during land acquisition row – II

Police atrocities during land acquisition row - II

Security personnel continue to beat up a tribal woman even after she fell. They kept raining blows on her as she lay unconscious till this reporter intervened.

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Police atrocities during land acquisition row

Police atrocities during land acquisition row

Four policemen fighting with one woman with a bamboo stick. She fought for a good two minutes till more personnel came in

Nagri land row: Police crack down on villagers

(published in Hindustan Times Ranchi, July 05, 2012)

Ushinor Majumdar
■ ushinor.majumdar@hindustantimes.com
RANCHI: Nagri land acquisition
row took an ugly turn with
security forces and villagers
exchanging blows on Wednesday.
While the police and
RAF lathicharged and injured
dissenters, the latter returned
the favour by pelting stones at
the security forces.
The fight broke out after the
ongoing row over setting up
campuses of the Indian Institute
of Management-Ranchi (IIM-R)
and National University of Study
and Research in Law (NUSRL)
and the country’s sixth IIIT at
Nagri village reached a boiling
point on Wednesday.
At 10 am, villagers gathered
near a wall around the land allocated
for IIM-R. A RAF team
was deployed at the site.
Villagers, armed with bamboo
sticks, axes, slings and catapults,
started breaking the wall,
brick by brick. Meanwhile, the
police rushed in. But they were
reduced to mere spectators, as
women and teenage girls comprised
the majority of the mob.
At noon, the situation worsened
when Aseem Vikram Minz
superintendent of police (rural),
Ranchi, Shekhar Jamuar, subdivisional
officer, the additional
district magistrate (ADM),
law and order, and deputy
superintendent of police (DSP)
Barnabus Tirkey arrived on the
spot. The police took prompt
action and irate villagers were
driven away into the land allocated
for NUSRL. This added
fuel to the fire, as villagers
turned more aggressive and
started shouting slogans against
the government.
Finally, the ADM and the
SDO ordered the police to take
some of the villagers into custody.
When the police tried to
detain tribal leaders, a fierce
fight broke out between the
securitymen and tribals.
The clash left quite a few villagers
injured. The police and
CRPF jawans also sustained
injuries. Minz had to receive a
stitch. His bodyguard and
Tirkey were also attacked.

Changing face of Ground Zero in Saranda

HT Special: Changing face of ground zero in Saranda

From tiny hamlets in Asia’s largest Sal tree forest (840 sq km), Saranda is set to change forever with 24 new CRPF camps (5 hectares each) of which 18 are already approved as of today.

Ushinor Majumdar

 

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