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Maharashtra Timeline 2009



January 10

An encounter took place between the Police and the CPI-Maoist cadres during a search operation at Salangtola forest range in the Gondia District.

January 12

A newly-sanctioned Police vehicle, allotted to the anti-Naxal operation squad as part of the efforts to modernize the unit, was stolen by suspected CPI-Maoist cadres from outside the driver's residence in Nagsenwan under Yashodhara Nagar Police Station in Nagpur.

January 13

The CPI-Maoist has decided to strengthen the Maoist's influence in Maharashtra by merging of its Maharashtra operations with that of the larger and stronger Dandkarenya committee, active in Chhattisgarh, at a recent meeting in the jungles of Gadhchiroli District in Maharashtra. As of now, left-wing extremism in Maharashtra is confined to only 4-5 Districts, comprising of Chandrapur, Bhandara, Gondia and Gadhchiroli, and the Maoists did not pose much of a challenge to the State Police due to their limited operational capabilities. By the merger of Maharashtra operations with the more powerful Dandkaranya committee - which is successfully engaging counter-Naxal forces in south Chhattisgarh, including the Special Task Force, Central Reserve Police Force and the Commando Battalions for Resolute Action battalion - the CPI-Maoist cadres hoped to carry over the operational successes in Dandkarenya to the adjoining Districts of Maharashtra. This would also further facilitate the inter-State operations of the Maoists.

January 15

Activities of the CPI-Maoist have declined in Maharashtra as the insurgents in the Gadchiroli, Chandrapur and Gondia Districts of the State are facing a shortage of cadre following zero-recruitment in the last few years. There is a drop in the CPI-Maoist related crime as well their activity over a period due to cadre shortage and increase in the number of arrests as well as surrenders, the Additional DGP (Anti-Naxalites Operation), Pankaj Gupta, said. Further, major heads in Maoist related crime including blasts, attack on Policemen and civilians, arson, kidnapping, dacoity and robberies, sabotages and other offences have shown a downward trend since the last four years, Gupta said. According to statistics, only 85 such offences were recorded in 2008 against 114 in year 2007, 128 in 2006 and 134 in 2005. Besides, the number of encounters with Maoists was 24 in 2008 dropping from 34 and 40 in 2007 and 2006 respectively against 24 in 2005, he added.

About 320 Maoists have surrendered since August 29, 2005 when the State Government came out with a Maoist Surrender Policy, the Police official said. Also, a record number of 145 CPI-Maoist cadres have laid down arms during 2008 against 93 in 2005, 67 in 2006 and 39 in 2007, he stated. As per the surrender scheme, the State Government extended financial assistance to the tune of INR 16.3 million to them, depending on their rank in the outfit.

Speaking on the crime scenario, Gupta said Police succeeded in killing as many as 41 Maoists between 2005 to 2008 including a highest number of 22 in 2006 and 11 in 2008. The figures of extremists arrested in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 (302, 93, 138 and 123) are impressive considering the stiff resistance and indiscriminate use of firearms by them, he claimed. Six Policemen were killed in 2008, three in 2007, four in 2006 and 25 in 2005, he added.

January 18

Around 87 Under Barrel Grenade Launchers, also known as 'small artillery', are likely to be commissioned soon to be part of the State's Security Force's arsenal - particularly in anti-Maoist operations. The multipurpose launcher, which can be used for simultaneous assault, can be put into action for both exposed and hidden targets like those behind barricades, trenches or bunkers and also on the other side of slopes or any other artificial or natural blockade. The weapon, which can operate best within the range of 50 meters to 400 meters, can be lethal within six meters radius.

January 24

Speaking at a seminar on challenges of internal security, the Director-General of the Border Security Force, M. L. Kumawat said, "Pune is one of the top targets that Naxals had zeroed on, according to documents seized during recent investigations."

February 1

15 Police personnel, including a Sub-Inspector, were killed by the CPI-Maoist cadres when a patrolling party visited the forest area of Morke village in the Gadchichiroli District. The report adds that "seven to eight" Maoists were also subsequently killed during the encounter with the Police that followed the ambush. However, the Police have not recovered the bodies of slain Maoists. The Additional DGP (Anti-Naxal Operations) Pankaj Gupta said, "The encounter began at IST 10.50 am. It lasted for more than one and half hours. Fifteen of our people, including a sub-inspector, were killed in the encounter. I cannot say for sure as to how many Maoists were killed in the encounter. But, my guess is that seven to eight Maoists were killed in the encounter. We have not been able to lay hands on the bodies of the Maoists. Normally in this kind of situation, what Maoists do is that they drag away the bodies once their men are killed in the encounters."

The Maharashtra Home Minister Jayant Patil said the attack was pre-planned. "There is strong possibility of Naxals moving out to neighbouring States. We sent reinforcement after learning about the attack. We had summoned a helicopter from Chhattisgarh as well." The Maharashtra Minister of State for Home Nitin Raut said, ''''Not satisfied with killing the cops, the Maoists also placed explosives on the bodies of dead cops. They also took away the weapons.

February 4

The Maharashtra Government approved a sum of INR 13.86 billion for special action programme to develop infrastructure and other projects in the CPI-Maoist infested areas of six Districts - Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Gondia, Nanded Yavatmal and Bhandara.

February 5

13 cadres of the CPI-Maoist, who were involved in the attack killing 15 Policemen on February 1, were arrested by the Police during combing operation at three villages, including Markegaon, in the Gadchiroli District. The SP of Gadchiroli, Rajesh Pradhan, told, "They were nabbed during the combing operation launched last Sunday afternoon immediately after the attack." Around 200 villagers from Markegaon have gone missing since the attack and the subsequent Police action.

February 11

Three persons were killed by the CPI-Maoist cadres in two separate incidents in the Lekurbodi and Dobur villages of Gadchiroli District. According to Police sources, a group of around 30 armed Maoists stormed into the houses of two villagers, identified as Maharsingh Rama Naroti and Hariram Jairam Madavi, dragged them out of their houses and killed the duo accusing them to be informers of Gondia Police in the Lekurbodi village. The Korchi dalam is suspected to be involved in the killings, sources said.

The Maoists also dragged out another civilian, identified as Mangru Doke Parsa, from his house and beat him to death with baton and sticks in the Dobur village of Bhamragarh tehsil accusing him to be a Police informer.

February 14

The Maharashtra Police's Anti Naxal Operation cell, while analyzing the pattern of recent killings of civilians the State, said that the CPI-Maoist was trying to divert the attention of the SFs from the ongoing operations in the Maoist-affected areas by killing civilians. "We are intrigued as the Naxals took almost a year to react in Bhamragarh area of South Gadchiroli. It may be a concerted effort to distract the forces' attention, as an operation is currently on along the Gondia and Chhattisgarh borders… These killings are being carried with an aim to create panic and send a message to the villagers to stay away from the Police," said unnamed ANO officials.

February 19

A group of 15 CPI-Maoist cadres were arrested and a cache of arms and ammunition, including seven locally manufactured guns, bundles of wire and a mine, was recovered by the Anti-Naxalite Squad personnel during a combing operation in the Gadchiroli District. According to the ANS chief Pankaj Gupta, "The operation is the outcome of accurate intelligence inputs which we garnered, strict road blockades and massive combing operations by Security Forces in two sub-Districts infested with Maoists.

February 28

A gun-battle ensued between a group of CPI-Maoist cadres and Police personnel when the Maoists ambushed a patrolling party near Karka village under Jarawandi Police Station in the Gadchiroli District. Though no casualty was reported, blood stains at two spots at the encounter site suggested that at least two Maoists sustained bullet injuries in the encounter. The Police later recovered five nozzle-loading guns, two kilograms of explosives, camera flash, two detonators, four backpacks, wire bundle and other CPI-Maoist material from the incident site.

A group of CPI-Maoist cadres set ablaze two trucks deployed on a road construction site near Raspalli village under Jimalgatta sub-Police Station of the same District.

March 1

A team of the Police's Anti-Naxal Operations wing has left for Orissa to interrogate the senior CPI-Maoist cadres, including a central committee member. "The ANO personnel would be keen to know the latest decisions, targets and strategies adopted by Maoists from their central committee member," said a senior official, adding, "The details would be crucial in combating the Maoists in the Dandakaranya zones and adjoining areas."

March 26

Posters of the CPI-Maoist threatening a boycott of the Parliamentary elections scheduled to be held in April 2009 were found at Kotmi village in the Etapalli taluka of Gadchiroli District.

March 31

The CPI-Maoist called for a general shutdown in the Gadchiroli, Gondia and Chandrapur Districts on April 10. Police said Maoist propaganda material, issued jointly by the Maharashtra State committee, Gadchiroli division and Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of the CPI-Maoist, was spotted at three places near Yerkar bus stop and on the road connecting Dhanora and Murumgaon. The banners ridicule Police operations like Sarvodaya and Parakram and condemn Police action against villagers of Markegaon, Bandhur, Kosmi, Katezhari and Gudekasa. The banners also claimed that Police commandos torched houses in Bandhur village. They also demanded immediate withdrawal of the para-military Central Reserve Police Force from Gadchiroli.

April 2

A group of 30 to 40 armed cadres of the CPI-Maoist killed a father and his son at Heti village in the Gadchiroli District. The deceased were identified as Deorao Narayan Madavi and his son Swapnil.

April 6

14 CPI-Maoist cadres and three SF personnel were killed during a three hour-long encounter between a group of 300 CPI-Maoist cadres and around 30 SF personnel at Mungner village in the Dhanora tehsil of Gadchiroli District. The slain SF personnel were identified as Gopichand Netam, Dnyaneshwar Seph and Kalidas Wadde. Several commandos were injured during the encounter. The encounter took place when the SFs, led by Commander Munna Singh Thakur, were patrolling in the Dhanora area as a part of their regular operation. According to the Additional Director General of Police, Pankaj Gupta, "The heavily armed Naxals were in advantageous position in the hilly terrain. Commander Thakur's experience came handy in the crisis situation. The Naxals were tackled in a strategic manner by using the ammunition judiciously. Thakur ensured that the commandos advanced and try to corner the Naxals. The Naxals had rained bullets and also hurled mortars at the commandos. One of the commandos lost his life while trying to prevent the Naxals from fleeing with the bodies of their slain colleagues."

April 9

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan in a meeting directed the State Home department to chalk out an action plan on an immediate basis to tackle the CPI-Maoist menace in the State. "Eighteen Policemen and 16 civilians have been killed in 12 Naxal attacks in last three months. We need tight security to ensure that the elections can be carried out peacefully. Apart from the support from Chhattisgarh, the Naxalites are believed to be assisted by their counterparts from Sri Lanka and Nepal," a senior official of the Home department told Chavan during the meeting. The State Government demanded four helicopters and four battalions of central security agencies to be used for the election in Maoist infested areas. Chavan also asked the Home department to seek the Army's help if needed. "An action plan should be immediately chalked out and followed rigorously to ensure elections are conducted peacefully," he added. The Chief Minister has also written to the Union Minister for Home Affairs, P. Chidambaram, for 12 companies of the paramilitary forces exclusively for Gadchiroli and Gondia Districts to counter the Maoists.

April 16

The SFs neutralized a CPI-Maoist attack when the troops were escorting election officials to the Michgaon polling booth. "The polling party had decided to halt at Michgaon Thursday night fearing an attack. It had faced an attack earlier. We sensed the danger and worked out a plan. A reinforcement of C-60 commandos was sent to help the escorting party," said the Anti-Naxal Operations chief Pankaj Gupta, adding, "Around 120 Naxals (left-wing extremists) tried to attack the polling party near Godalwahi village. The Security Forces retaliated fiercely compelling them to retreat. The frustrated Naxals then triggered a blast. In fact, we are sure they have lost a couple of their men."

April 17

Security Forces dug out a landmine from the road connecting Allapalli and Bhamragadh at Perimili in Aheri and rescued a polling party from CPI-Maoist attack when the party was returning from Michgaon village in Gadchiroli District. The Bomb Detection and Disposal squad from Pranhita defused the mine recovering almost 15 kilograms of explosives.

May 20

A dalam commander of the CPI-Maoist, identified as Sinu, killed a fellow cadre due to personal rivalry in the Gadchiroli District. The victim was identified as Manohar Korke Madavai.

Eight CPI-Maoist cadres reportedly surrendered before the Gadchiroli Police.

May 21

16 Police personnel, including five women constables, were killed during a three-hour long encounter with a group of armed CPI-Maoist cadres near the hills of Hatti Tola in Gadchiroli District. The encounter took place when a team of 16 member Police party led by Inspector Ashok Aiyyar was busy in clearing the Dhanora-Murumgaon road of the District, which was blocked by the CPI-Maoist by felling trees during their two-day long bandh call from May 20 in the Bhandara, Gondia and Gadchiroli areas. The Maoists after killing all 16 Police personnel also looted their arms and ammunition and set ablaze the two Police vehicles.

A group of more than 70 Maoists, who were camping near Tabitola village, bordering the State of Chhattisgarh, opened fire on the Police personnel and triggered landmine blasts later, Superintendent of Police Rajesh Pradhan said. More than five dalams of Maoists, armed with AK-47 rifles and other sophisticated weapons, attacked the Police team, which was reportedly taken completely by surprise. This is the first time women constables have been killed in a clash between Maoists and the Police.

May 22

Following the killing of 16 SF personnel by the CPI-Maoist on May 21 in Maharashtra, Police have beefed up security in the State in May 22. "Security has been beefed up in the Naxal-infested areas of Kanker and Rajnandgaon Districts," said an unnamed senior Police official.

Home Minister Jayant Patil said the State Government has decided to set up a dedicated force of two to three battalions to tackle the Maoist violence and seek eight to 10 battalions of central paramilitary force to be Stationed in eastern Vidarbha region. Patil also said that he will convene a meeting in Mumbai in first week of June to chalk out a joint strategy with Home Ministers of the neighbouring States of Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Orissa. Expressing an immediate need of additional special forces from the Central Government to deal with the Maoist activities in Gadchiroli, he said; "Chhattisgarh has 16 battalions of central forces posted in its territory, Andhra Pradesh too has few such battalions, but Maharashtra has none. I am going to raise the demand with Union Home Minister to deploy at least eight to 10 central paramilitary battalions permanently in State. Besides this, we (State Government) will also raise two to three new battalions to deal with the Naxalites." Rejecting the theory of military solution to Naxal problem, he said that "military action at this stage is not acceptable. It will be the last resort."

May 24

Following the killing of 16 Policemen in Godchiroli on May 21, Maharashtra Home Minister Jayant Patil has called for a joint operation involving the neighbouring States. Patil said the new operation envisaged bringing together the Home Ministers of neighbouring CPI-Maoist affected States to counter the menace. It might include simultaneous combing operations. Maharashtra had placed orders for night-vision binoculars and some other equipment. "We are waiting for delivery of arms," he informed. The State would demand more number of Central battalions. Earlier, the Union Government provided two battalions, which were later withdrawn. SP Rajesh Pradhan told that there were around 235 permanent Maoist cadres in north and south Gadchiroli. Hinting at a change in Maoist strategy, he said that earlier the attacks were carried out by cadres in small numbers. However, now they came in large numbers, he added.

CPI-Maoists have opened a new front at their stronghold in Gadchiroli called 'Indravati Company,' christening it after the river that separates the States of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The revelation has come to fore recently, among other inputs, after surrendered Maoists revealed crucial details on being interrogated. 'Indravati Company', formed by amalgamating two platoon dalams having a strength of around 75 cadres, has been made functional to give impetus to the movement in the southern part of Gadchiroli, which is included in the ambitious Dandakaranya plan of the CPI-Maoists. The newly formed company, which is placed under Gadchiroli-based senior cadre identified as Suresh, has been assigned special responsibilities along with strengthening the movements in the stronghold.

May 28

The Mumbai Police recovered 917 live cartridges and arrested one person in this connection. The Joint Commissioner of Police, Rakesh Maria, said that Mumbai-based Mansood Khan was arrested along with 500 live cartridges and another 417 were found atop a public toilet. All the live rounds were reportedly of firearms .30, .32, 9 mm and .375 and 12 bore. They are good quality foreign-made cartridges, Maria added.

September 19

The State Government has decided to impart special training to the Special Task Force (STF) created to take action against the CPI-Maoist. The decision was taken to counter the increase in Maoist attacks at Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Bhandara, Yavatmal and Nanded Districts. The Additional Secretary (Home), Kailash Bilonikar, issued a notification directing the Force One battalion (created specially to tackle terror attacks), to impart rigorous training to the STF at Wadachiwadi in Pune from September 1. The training centre would use the resources of the Unconventional Operation Training Centre.

September 28

A disabled Police constable, Nagesh Payam (40) and his niece, Sunita (18), were killed by a group of nearly 25 cadres of the CPI-Maoist in the Kopela village of Gadchiroli District. The victims were visiting their native village. The official said the Maoists could have killed the constable suspecting him to be a Police informer.

October 3

A 60-year-old man was killed by the Maoists in the night at an unspecified place as his son had joined the C-60 commando force in 2008.

October 4

At least six cadres of the CPI-Maoist were killed during an encounter with the Police at Tadgaon in Gadchiroli District. N.S. Jagtap, spokesperson for the Gadchiroli Police, told that no body had been recovered till late evening. But blood stains found at the place where the Maoists were holed up during the encounter indicated that at least six of them were either killed or seriously injured. "The injured (or dead) are suspected to have been removed by the fleeing Naxal group," Jagtap said, adding that the combing of the area was in progress to track them down. He said there was no injury on the Police side as the information about the waiting Maoist ambush had been received in advance, enabling the Police to take proper guard during the encounter. The Police later recovered a 12-bore rifle, a claymore mine, eight detonators, two gelatin sticks, bundles of electrical wire (used to trigger mine blasts), and some literature and medicines, Jagtap said.

October 6

A young woman cadre of the CPI-Maoist was killed in an encounter with the Police in Gadchiorli District. A group of Maoists opened indiscriminate firing at Police patrol party which returned fire in the Pannemara forests near Murumgoan village of Dhanora taluka (administrative division). The exchange of fire lasted for about 30 minutes after which the Maoists escaped, Police said. Later the Police recovered the body of a woman Maoist aged between 17 to 19 years. Four locally-made rifles, one grenade and three bags were recovered from the incident site. Police also spotted blood stains at three to four places and suspect that some Maoists might have been injured or killed. However, there was no confirmation of this claim.

October 7

Maoists beheaded one person, identified as Suresh Alami, at Kurkheda in the same District, suspecting him to be a Police informer.

October 8

Cadres of the CPI-Maoist killed at least 18 Policemen, including Sub-Inspector C. S. Deshmukh, in an ambush in the dense forests near Laheri Police Station in Gadchiroli District. The incident occurred when a 40 member Police party came under heavy fire from 150 to 200 Maoists at about 1pm (IST) when it was returning after undertaking search operations following intelligence inputs that Maoists had assembled in the area. District Collector Atul Patne told, "As many as two platoons of BSF (50 personnel) and additional Police force was rushed to the spot and they could manage to save the rest of the Policemen caught in the heavy fire." Police sources said that about 15 Maoists were also killed in the gun battle.

A group of 30-35 Maoists set ablaze a gram panchayat (village-level local self government institution) office at Ramgarh in Kurkheda.

October 10

The Union Government dispatched 3,700 BSF personnel to arrest the CPI-Maoist cadres responsible for killing 18 Policemen in Gadchiroli District on October 8. Presently, there are 3,300 personnel of the Maharashtra anti-Naxal force- the C-60 -and the central paramilitary force. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has already pressed two Mi17 copters for the joint operations being carried out by the Maharashtra and the Chhattisgarh Police.

October 13

Cadres of the CPI-Maoist opened fire near Kasansur in Aheri block of Gadchiroli District shortly before polling commenced. However, Security Forces did not return the fire as part of a strategy since Maoists were not visible, Police said.

The State Government had received intelligence inputs that Maoists from neighbouring States have infiltrated into the State to foment trouble during voting for the Assembly elections, a senior Police official said.

October 13

Two MI-17 choppers and 450 troops were sent to Khamtala in the Gadchiroli District to evacuate polling officers on duty. The polling officers were struck in the post after being surrounded by cadres of the CPI-Maoist.

People in 22 polling Stations in the Maoist-affected areas of the State, where poll officials could not reach on the polling day, will be given another opportunity to vote, the Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla said in New Delhi. The Commission said the polling percentage in Maoist-affected Gadchiroli was 55 per cent and in adjoining Gondia it was 68 per cent.

October 15

Suspected CPI-Maoist cadres opened fire at four polling Stations in the Gadchiroli District where re-polling was completed. The Maoists opened indiscriminate fire at the Aeetalli polling Station in the Kotni sub-District, said the Additional Superintendent of Police M. K. Sharma. "There were nearly 200 security personnel and we retaliated with firing in their direction. The attackers later withdrew from the area and polling was conducted peacefully," Sharma said.

Later in the afternoon, the Maoists again started firing at the same polling Station as the voting ended and the poll officials were preparing to leave. Sharma said the Security Forces returned fire and escorted the poll team to safety. Similar incidents of firing took place at polling Stations in Burgi in Kotni sub-District, Tadgaon in Bhamragad sub-District and Korchi on the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border, Sharma added. Sharma said all the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and around 100 poll officials have been safely escorted by road or airlifted to the District headquarters.

October 17

Mahendrakumar Narote (26) was dragged out of his house and killed by a group of Maoists in Kulbhatti village under Dhanora tehsil (revenue division) in Gadchiroli District, suspecting him to be a Police informer. The Maoists took him to nearby jungle and slit his throat with a sharp weapon. Sources said that Narote was a painter and had come back to his village recently after a four-month stay in Chhattisgarh.

October 17

Cadres of the CPI-Maoist expelled Tukaram Rajaram Kerami, chairperson of Korchi Panchayat Samiti (local self government body) from his village Bellargondi in Gadchiroli District. Police said a group of around 35 armed Maoists reached village Bellargondi late in the night and summoned a meeting of all villagers at the main square. Kerami along with all other family members were taken to the meeting place where Maoists announced a diktat of expulsion of Kerami family out of village on charges of allowing his son to join the Police forces.

October 18

Cadres of the CPI-Maoist stabbed to death Birju Kiranga (32) from Kothi village in the Etapalli division of Gadchiroli District in the midnight alleging him of being a Police informer. Around 50 Maoists were involved in the killing, Police sources claimed.

November 16

Cadres of the CPI-Maoist set ablaze the Halewara panchayat (village level local self-government institution) office in the Etapalli Division of Gadchiroli District. Police sources said around 35 armed Maoists reached the panchayat office and vandalized the office furniture and set ablaze all the documents in the building. The Police claimed a loss to the tune of INR 30,000 in the incident.

November 19

Cadres of the CPI-Maoist shot dead Nagi Reddy (40), an engineer-contractor from Nellore District of Andhra Pradesh in Gadchiroli District of Maharashtra, apparently as a warning against executing any development work in this District. Having obtained a contract from the Maharashtra Government, Nagi Reddy was laying a 3-km-long road connecting Mahawada and Dudhnala villages. Nagi Reddy, who had settled down in Dhanora about 20 years ago, was expecting a lorry load of cement at the work site at about 10.30 a.m. when a band of 20 to 30 Maoistss arrived at the spot and shot him at point blank range.

November 22

A forest department bamboo depot was allegedly set afire by a group of 10-12 armed CPI-Maoist cadres in the Alapalli taluka (administrative division) of Gadchiroli District, Police said. The extent of losses could not be known immediately, they said.

November 24

A group of Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres killed a road contractor in the Gadchiroli District. The Maoists in the night killed one Umesh Bhiwapure, 30, in the Malewada area under Kurkheda taluka (revenue division) of Gadchiroli District. Umesh's throat was slit and bullets fired at him, Police added. The Maoists suspected him to be a Police informer.

December 15

A CPI-Maoist manual that has helped Maoists accelerate their activities in Gadchiroli has been recovered. After a subdued stint in Gadchiroli, the Maoists have resolved to recapture their turf in the eastern District of Maharashtra. Inducting new militia, modernisng weaponry and much more is the new Maoist strategy to carry out red terror in Gadchiroli. The manual is prepared by Kosa alias Satynarayana Rao, 'secretary' of the Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) militant wing. This report, prepared late 2008, is an analysis of the Maoists decline in Gadchiroli. A future strategy, that's found resonance in attacks this year, including the gruesome encounter in Laheri that killed 17 Policemen is mentioned in the report. The report also states reasons for an unsuccessful Maoist stint in Gadchiroli since 2003. According to Kosa's observations in the report, Gadchiroli has eluded Maoist attacks due to inadequate recruitment. The recommendations of the manual have now been taken very seriously. Three major attacks this year alone have massacred around 50 Policemen. Kosa's recommendations include, militia induction drives, classes for women in Upper Bastar based on new syllabus, formation of another revolutionary cell of locals and change from guerrilla warfare to mobile warfare. The Union Government's anti-Maoist operation 'Operation Green Hunt' is in its first stage. And Gadchiroli forms the first phase of this operation. Given this, Kosa's analysis could help the forces to beat the Maoists to their own game.

The Naxals (left wing extremists) are concentrating at the grassroots level as well as strengthening their military wing for giving an added edge to their already potent striking powers. At least 10 area dalams (squads) have been formed by the Naxals in Gadchiroli itself. This is to ensure that their mass base remains strong in the face of incisive onslaughts by the Security Forces. The area dalams have received training in deep forest camps with the active support of the villagers on the either side of the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border. Apart from the other routine work of recruitment and intelligence gathering, these area dalam members have been specially trained in planting explosives and triggering blasts. A recent blast at Chichoda near Fulbodi Gatta village in the Dhanora tehsil (revenue division) of Gadchiroli District that left three cops injured was the successful outcome of the experiment. The patrolling Police party was also fired at but there was no casualty. Sources also claimed that Naxals, which have already proved better tacticians than the cops, have planned to counter the newly-designed counter offensive against them by turning the District into a virtual minefield rather than trying to clash with the 18 Central Paramilitary Forces with their extra fire powers. Sources revealed that the Naxals were already making their plans even before the paramilitary companies landed in Gadchiroli after the State elections in October.

Naxals, which too has a potent intelligence wing, is learnt to have devoted their energies in building a stronger organizations at village levels. With a view to keep their mass bases intact, the Naxals focused on building as many area dalams as possible in different parts of the District. Their plan was to make Gadchiroli a liberated zone through establishing Janatana sarkars or their forms of Peoples' Government, like what they claimed to have done at Abujmadh. According to a local source, the Naxals have been fast forming smaller groups, comprising 10-15 members, for area dalams to conduct meetings in villages. These groups fan anti-Government sentiments, appeal villages to join the movement and cultivate hatred against Security Forces. "These area dalams are effective in giving shape to bigger sabotage attacks by combing their strengths, laying traps for cops or working as support with their military wings during encounter like removing the bodies of their cadres, distract the cops while fighting and also delaying the reinforcements," said an unnamed Policeman.

December 16

"It'll be bullet for a bullet in our fight against Maoists...We will not spare any Naxal in Vidarbha. They have already killed 52 Police jawans this year and it is high time we take a firm stand," said Chief Minister Ashok Chavan. Chavan said there was a rise in Naxal (left wing extremist) migration from other states to Maharashtra. "We cannot have any sympathy for them nor can we wait for them to surrender. So many lives have been lost. We will henceforth be more aggressive," he stated, adding, "Maoists from Nepal have infiltrated and provided firearms and logistics support to Naxals hiding in our jungles. We are, therefore, expediting the process of strengthening our Police machinery in Gadchiroli and other Naxal affected areas, and providing more funds for modern weaponry, helicopters and equipment." The State Home Minister R. R. Patil, had on December 14, announced various measures being taken by Government to tackle the Naxal menace.

However, he had harped on the surrender policy for Naxals and the need for development in the region. The CM has, however, taken an aggressive stand on the issue. Chavan said that the government was also encouraging IAS and IPS officers to take up posting is these areas. "I often see officers reluctant to take up such postings. But we are now giving them incentives to serve Naxal-hit areas," he stated.

December 23-24

A former CPI-Maoist 'commander' was shot dead by his old companions at his home in the Gondia District, Police said on December 24. Around 30 to 40 extremists entered the house of Raghunath Fagnu Markam (48) at Daharitola under Salekasa tehsil (revenue division) of Gondia District at 1am (IST) on December 23, took him out and pumped two bullets in his chest, killing the former Maoist on the spot, they said. Raghunath was associated with the Maosit movement from 1992 to 1999, before his surrender on November 25, 1999, they said. He has served as 'commander' of Tanda Dalam between 1992-'96, and was instrumental in attacks on Police party in the year 1993 and 1995 at Darekasa, Banjaritola and Murkudoh, Police added. Raghunath was also the man behind to blown up the BSNL mobile tower in the year 1994 at Darekasa, and was wanted by Chhattisgarh Police also, they said. After his surrender, the former Maoist served a three-year jail term and was living a peaceful life at Daharitola. Raghunath had also contested State assembly elections from Gondwana Gantantra Party from Amgaon seat and got 636 votes.





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