Saturday, May 21, 2011

Indian Maoists Have Stepped Up Action

Indian Maoists have stepped up its activities when the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force ( CRPF) deployed to combat the red rebels are currently undergoing Yoga class to battle the enemy within - stress and fatigue. At least 11 persons were killed in Maoist attacks during this fortnight in Bihar and Jharkhand. Final round of Panchayet election in five districts of Bihar on Wednesday (May 18) has been postponed for fears of Maoist attacks. "EC does not want to put election officials' lives in danger for conducting polls," election official AB Pandey said last Tuesday announcing the postponement of polls in Gaya, Aurangabad, Banka, Jamui and Rohat districts.    Meanwhile, Maoists have called for 48- hour strike from May 21 in six states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Orissa. Announcing the strike CPI (Maoist) spokesperson Abhay on Tuesday demanded immediate release of three central committee members arrested from Bihar on April 29. Security forces fear that the Maoists may go for an offensive during the strike to keep pressure on the government. They said the rebels are likely to attack on government establishments to boost up the comrades.    According to latest available information, at least seven paramilitary troopers were killed in a landmine attack in Chhatisgarh last Tuesday night. A 3- vehicle convoy of CRPF was passing through highway in Dantewada district when Maoists detonated a landmine. Explosion ripped apart the last vehicle killing five soldiers on the spot while two more died soon after taken to hospital.         High suicide rate    Over the last few years, the 300 , 000 strong CRPF force has been affected by high and increasing rate of suicides. Senior officials admitted that the troops suffer from mental, emotional and psychological problems that they developed during their long duty hours, away from their families for longer period and always remaining in danger of being killed or maimed in encounter with the dreaded Maoists - better trained and equipped with sophisticated arms.    Scanty reports percolated from across the border said the Maoists have killed two election officials in Bihar during the panchayet polls last Sunday. The rebels have blasted landmine killing two officials and injuring several others. Seven polling officials were abducted on the same day. They could not be traced out till Tuesday. Police said the Maoists have demanded the release of some of their leaders in exchange of safe return of the officials. The Bihar government has shown flexibility in securing the release of officials but the central government viewed such swapping will create bad precedence and weaken the anti-Maoist operation.    In a similar case in Orissa, a district collector and an engineer were abducted by the Maoists couple of months ago. Their release was secured through negotiations after accepting all the 14 demands including immediate cessation of anti-Maoist Operation, release of more than 600 tribals thrown into prison for their suspected involvement in Maoist movement and cancellation of agreements with multinational companies giving the lands of the tribals. But the central government did not implement any of the demands. Maoists vowed to strike for violation of the agreement. Since then joint forces came under frequent attacks during their anti- Maoist campaign in the forest area. Last Sunday, government forces fought gun battle with the rebels. Officials denied any casualty.    The Telegraph of Kolkata reported that 250 armed Maoists, 50 of them in black uniform, on May 14 plundered the office of contractor engaged on construction of the four-lane Hazarika-Ranchi highway. They set ablaze 47 heavy vehicles used in road development purposes causing colossal damage. Patrol police came in only to retreat in the face of Maoist fire. Police admitted one of their officers was killed. The contractors have said that the Rs. 625 crore road development project will be delayed by years because of frequent attacks. Maoists dared to pull off the operation only 13 km from the district town.         MP's house blasted    The Maoists also blew up the house of Kameshwar Baitha, an MP of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, on May 11. A former Maoist leader Baitha contested the 2009 election from prison and returned with support of the Maoists. But coming out of the jail he asked the Maoists to shun violence causing anger amongst his former comrades.    Maharashtra police claimed to have arrested 10 Maoists. But apparently they were poor tribals aged in 20 s came in search of employment from the trouble-torn West Midnapore district of West Bengal. They were thrown into prison further antagonizing the tribals who have been accusing the police of atrocities.    A police vehicle was blown up by landmine in Chhattisgarh on May 10. Police admitted some of them were wounded but none died.    Rising Maoists activities in Bihar, the state bordering Nepal on the north, has worried the government. Intelligence sources officers feel that the Maoists of the two countries are coming closer. They believe the Indian Maoists will be able to secure safe passage in Nepal and procure weapons from China through Nepal. The Red Brigade has already spread its tentacles in different parts of Assam and trying to open a new Maoist corridor through the north eastern states (Seven Sisters) of India. Intelligent reports say a senior Polit Bureau member of CPI (Maoist) has been assigned to keep liaison with half a dozen outfits fighting for independence from India.         Police in yoga class    This being the situation CPRF, the main force deployed in the red corridor to combat the Maoists is undergoing yoga class. Yoga instructor Anoop Shukla conducts classes for troopers to help them increase their alertness, concentration after long duty hours. He has so far held five classes in two weeks at the Bawana-based 89 th Battalion of the CRPF in Delhi.    Faced with a high suicide rate, the CRPF has over the last few years been making concerted efforts to make life easier for its personnel in insurgency areas of Jammu and Kashmir and those under Maoist influence. Official figures released late last year show that since 2007 , 143 of the 300 ,000- strong force had committed suicide, which is double the figure for the Border Security Force (BSF). Seventy-five BSF troopers have ended their lives since 2007.    A substantial number of troops posted in the Maoist hit areas have resigned from service. Fratricidal killings have also alarmed troopers posted in insurgency areas, where CRPF personnel slog through gruelling conditions of fighting insurgents in areas outside the domain of the Indian Army.    Yoga instructor Shukla said constant exposure to conflict operations put tremendous psychological pressure on soldiers that erodes their morale. Some 500 personnel and officers have so far participated in the yoga and mental alertness training.