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Notes on Binayak Sen case

Posted by Indian Vanguard on June 14, 2007

Since there appears to be some confusion about the exact status of the case against Binayak Sen, this note is being circulated to fill in the gaps in information.

1. Binayak has been in custody since 14.5.2007 in case FIR No. 44 of 2007 at Police Station Ganj, Raipur alleging offences under Sections 10(a)(1), 20, 21, 38, 39.2(b) & (d) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and Section 2(b) (d), 8(1)(2)(5) of Chhattisgarh Vishesh Jan Suraksha Adhiniyam 2005.

2. The above FIR, in fact, was lodged on 6.5.2007 against Pijush Guha who was searched on suspicion at the Raipur Railway Station and found carrying three letters written by “some senior Commander of Naxalite Organization from jail to two other leaders of Naxalite Organization”, and Rs.49, 000/- in cash.

3. But Pijush Guha, at the first production before the Magistrate on 7.5.2007, recorded the fact that he had been illegally detained since 1.5.2007. It is upon a protest having been made regarding his illegal custody and a fax sent to the media in that connection, that this FIR was hurriedly recorded and the custody acknowledged in this illegal fashion six days later.

4. The FIR does not give any details of the dates of the letters, their contents, the names of the writers or the recipients, nor the name of any (banned) organisation that the writers or the recipients belong to. There is no recovery or search memo, or independent witnesses. The FIR, if filed correctly, should have contained these details. Even as per the prosecution, arguing before the Session’s Court, the letters speak of nothing more than mere boycott of the Lok Sabha elections.

5. The conjecture on which Binayak has been arrested is that he had carried the letters, which were allegedly recovered from Pijush Guha, from jail to Pijush Guha. This seems to be based on the fact that Binayak had made visits to the jail as part of his PUCL-based jail reforms and legal aid work. But all these visits were made with the express permission of the Deputy Superintendent of Police and Jail Superintendent and conducted in the presence of the jail officials.

6. Although not mentioned in the FIR, it was argued by the state during the hearing of Binayak’s bail application at the Session’s Court on 25.05.2007, that he had been helpful in getting a house on rent for Anita Srivastava, an academic from Allahabad University, who is now branded by the state as a Naxal. However, while Binayak denies being instrumental in procuring the house, this cannot be construed to be an “illegal” activity.

7. The Sessions Court, while rejecting bail, said that there was reason to believe that Binayak was acquainted with Narayan Sanyal, Anita Srivastava, and Pijush Guha. Pijush Guha had also given a custodial statement, but that cannot be used as evidence in a court. In this respect, the Sessions Court does not seem to have applied the well settled principles of law to determine whether mere acquaintanceship can lead to an inference of guilt.

8. As far as Narayan Sanyal goes, he is an undertrial prisoner held for offences under Sections 302 and 147 of the IPC, and not either under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act or the Chattisgarh Vishesh Jan Suraksha Adhiniyam – although Sanyal seems to be the pivot around which a spate of arrests has taken place recently under these two Acts. In fact, in January 2006 the State of Chattisgarh had stated before the High Court that he was not held by it. He was held in the State of AP and released on bail by the AP High Court but the State of Chattisgarh arrested him in connection with FIR 9/2005 in a pre-existing case.

9. The Sections under which Binayak is sought to be prosecuted are:? Being a member of an unlawful association, but the name and details of the organisation are not specified.? Being a member of a terrorist gang or organisation; again no details are given. ? Holding the proceeds of a terrorist act, which is not even alleged? Giving support to a terrorist organisation; again without substantiation. ? Soliciting contributions, and aiding an unlawful organisation, which is equally unsubstantiated.

10. In the search that was conducted of Binayak’s home on 19.5.2007, the police seized articles on jail reforms, the Naxal movements, and on American Imperialism, written in respectable journals. The police have made insinuating statements, carried widely by the media, that PUCL is an organisation supporting Naxals, and that Binayak was a virtual absconder. The truth is that PUCL is a perfectly legitimate organisation, and Binayak voluntarily went to the police station on his return from Kolkata, when he was arrested in spite of previous assurances by the police.

11. Binayak was produced before the court on 05.06.2007 and remanded to another 15 days in judicial custody. This was the first occasion on which the lawyer from Delhi (Nitya Ramakrishnan) could argue before the court and thus get an opportunity to inspect the entire case file. A petition for bail, prepared on the basis of the case file and the details given above, is now going to be filed before the High Court on 11.06.2007, at which time a date shall be fixed for the hearing.Some more updateThe bail petition for Binayak could not be filed before the High Court on Monday 11th even. It is now going to be filed tomorrow, 13th and the date for hearing will not be before 25th. This, apparently, is because there is a consensus amongst the laweyrs in Chhattisgarh that “that is the way the Courts function in Chhattisgarh and the High Court is not willing to give early hearings”.Ilina was also being threatened with arrest according to newspaper reports, but she now has got anticipatory bail yesterday because, when faced with the newspaper reports, the police made a statement in Court that they had no plans to arrest Ilina and the newspapers had printed their own version of the news.

By Dunu Roy

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Chhattisgarh Maoists kill two Informers

Posted by Indian Vanguard on June 13, 2007

Raipur : Two tribals, who had been captured by Maoists last week, were killed by the Maoists and their bodies were found dumped on the roadside in Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Dantewada district, police said Wednesday.

The two men, part of nine tribal daily workers taken hostage by Maoists June 9, were axed to death, a police official said.

The tribals, including three women, were kidnapped from Konta area near the Andhra Pradesh border, over 500 km from here. Maoists had freed four men on June 10 and had not put forth any demands for releasing the remaining five.

“We found the bodies of two hostages early Wednesday from Konta area. They had multiple injury marks, mainly from axes, around the neck,” the official told IANS from Dantewada.

He said three women were still being held captive and that state police teams, along with a Mizo battalion, were combing the forested hideouts of Maoists to secure their safe release.

According to police estimates, around 5,000 hardcore Maoists armed with AK-47 rifles and landmines, backed by nearly 20,000 cadres, are active in Chhattisgarh, mainly in the southern districts of Bastar, Narayanpur, Bijapur, Kanker and Dantewada districts.

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6 more C’garh dists to get anti-Naxal cells

Posted by Indian Vanguard on June 13, 2007

RAIPUR, JUNE 12 : Accepting that the Naxalite menace has spread to almost the entire state, the Chhattisgarh Government has decided to establish Anti-Naxalite (Operations) Cells in six more districts, which were till now free from left wing extremism. The new cells will come up in Raipur, Kawardha, Rajnandgaon, Dhamtari, Durg and Mahasamund districts.

After the establishment of these special units only four districts, Bilaspur, Korba, Raigarh and Janjgir remain classified as non-Maoist affected. Ten out of the 20 police districts, Bastar, Kanker, Bijapur, Dantewara, Narayanpur, Sarguja, Korea, Jashpur, Balrampur and Surajpur, already have cells to tackle the extremist menace.

The step comes after intelligence inputs and interrogation of top arrested Naxalites revealed that after strengthening its base in tribal areas, the Maoists were now planning to spread its base in the plains of Chhattisgarh.

Elaborating on the plan, Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam said the proposal was forwarded by late Director General of Police O P Rathore, who had feared that the Naxalites had started to spread their base to non-tribal areas of the state as well. “A proposal for creation of these units was submitted under Rathore’s tenure. It has been approved by the Government, as we want to be prepared to deal with extremists,” the Home Minister added.

Acting DGP S K Paswan said the Government has taken the decision after receiving intelligence inputs that Maoists were planning to spread to more parts of the state. “We believe these districts are next on target. The interrogation of Dandakaranya Divisional Committee chief Satyam Reddy, alias Gopanna, who was arrested in May has revealed that the extremists are now planning to spread their roots in these districts,” Paswan added.

Chhattisgarh Police had arrested Gopanna, along with two accomplices, Surendra and Suresh, from Gariyaband area of Raipur district. Gopanna has a Rs 5-lakh reward on his head.

Sources said Naxalite cadres had been visiting these areas regularly and were trying to woo the local residents with Maoist literature. “Naxal literature seized by the police also points towards the direction that Maoists are planning to spread to,” the sources added

“Once these Anti-Naxalite (Operations) Cells are established, additional police forces will be stationed. The district police in these areas will also be provided with specialised training to tackle with the Maoist menace,” sources added. The cells will be directly reporting to SSPs and SPs.

Power supply restored

RAIPUR: After 12 days of darkness, the power supply to Bastar, Narayanpur, Dantewada and Bijapur districts was partially restored on Tuesday. “It could take a few more days to complete the work as currently there is heavy rainfall in Narayanpur,” a spokesperson for Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board said. Normal life in the Bastar region was thrown into disarray after Maoist extremists blew up the Bhilai-Barsur high tension transmission structures near Narayanpur on May 31. The restoration of power supply was affected after Naxalites blew up a truck on June 5, killing three CSEB workers and injuring five security personnel.

Indian Express

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500 Maoists killed in two years, admit Chhattisgarh Police

Posted by Indian Vanguard on June 12, 2007

RAIPUR: Maoists in Chhattisgarh have admitted that 500 of their rebels have been killed by cadres of anti-Maoist militia Salwa Judum movement in the last two years, a police official said on Tuesday.

The admission came through leaflets and posters found by police in Dantewada district, the worst hit by Maoist insurgency in Chhattisgarh.

“We recovered dozens of leaflets and posters in which Maoists said they had lost 500 fighters in the past two years,” Sant Kumar Paswan, Chhattisgarh’s acting director general of police, said.

He said the Maoists described their slain comrades as “martyrs” and have vowed to take “revenge” in the leaflets found in Bailadila hills, known to have one of the finest quality iron ore stocks.

National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), the largest public sector iron ore producer and exporter, has major mining facilities in Bailadila.

Last week, the rebels had set fire to a conveyor belt of NMDC, causing losses worth million of rupees to the firm.

“Maoists said they recently blasted power transmission towers to cause blackouts in four districts – Bastar, Dantewada, Narayanpur and Bijapur – as part of their revenge,” a police official said.

The anti-Maoist Salwa Judum (Campaign for peace) movement was started by tribals in June 2005 and was later supported by the state government.

Human rights groups say the government is endangering the lives of civilians and special police officers (SPOs) by sponsoring the Salwa Judum and putting them in the line of fire.

Nearly 50,000 tribals have deserted their forest villages in the state after the government-sponsored movement was launched due to threats from Maoists.

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Chhattisgarh: Dr. Ilina Sen’s letter to NHRC

Posted by Indian Vanguard on June 11, 2007

Related post Next target is Dr. llina sen.

Submission to the NHRC team investigating arrest of human rights Defender, Dr Binayak Sen.
7 June 2007

Since my return from Delhi on the 30th, I have had occasion to examine the court file in this case together with our lawyer, ms Nitya Ramachandran. To my horror, I found that letters from the Jail Supdt. to the district police establishment asking for security guards to escort Dr Sen to the court for extension of remand already refer to him as a hardcore naxalite prisoner. This is particularly shocking as neither has the chargesheet in the case been filed nor, understandably, the trial taken place. If the jail supdt draws this kind of conclusion unilaterally, it is only fair that we seek to discover the authority under which he does so. At the jail premises also, every time we visit Dr Sen, we are made to sign in a special register pertaining to naxalite prisoners. This is uncalled for and preposterous in a country where an accused is held to be innocent until proved guilty, and indicates the malafide intent of the state of Chhattisgarh in first identifying its victims, and then seeking to build up concocted cases against them.

In keeping with the pattern observed during the arrest of Dr Sen, in which a media vilification campaign was mounted prior to actual arrest, I found, after the 30th , that a similar campaign had been let loose against me alleging that my relationships and activities would be investigated I learnt today that a special investigating team led by a CSP has this morning visited my mother’s home in Kolkata and enquired about my antecedents and tried to find out WHY we chose to work in Chhattisgarh.

It is useful to point out that while both Dr Binayak Sen and I have been publicly critical of Salwa Judum and have drawn attention to its many repressive features ,our work has always been in the public sphere and completely overboard for the last 20 years and more. I believe that the right to hold dissenting political positions is a fundamental right guaranteed by the constitution, and that the state of Chhattisgarh is operating under a presumption that ‘you are either with us or against us’.

This is quite apart from the fact that any Indian citizen has the right to live and work in any part of India. The kind of monolithic thinking that the present government of Chhattisgarh holds is lethal to the democratic way of life. If this trend is allowed to continue, the Indian nation and national values will be destroyed from within quite without the assistance of the naxalites. The arrest of Dr Sen is a test case for Indian democracy.

I may be out of station after tomorrow, but will be happy to talk to the team on phone if they contact me on 94252-06875.

(Dr Ilina Sen) 7.6.07

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Govt deploy Jungle warriors to fight Maoists.

Posted by Indian Vanguard on June 10, 2007

June 9: Forests in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are set to witness Hollywood-style action with deployment of Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs), crack commando units specially trained for jungle warfare.

A dozen such units are being deployed in the two states for the first time.

They will be air dropped in dense forests and will be equipped with carbines, grenades, jungle knives and a week’s ration. They have been trained at the Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorist Training Centre in Silchar.

“Members of these teams have been handpicked from the CRPF for their toughness, agility and quick response,” said a home ministry official.

“Like Grey Hounds of Andhra Pradesh, their brief would be to launch swift guerrilla operation against Maoists. These teams would be able to go cracking in a matter of minutes on getting information about a Maoist attack or movement.”

For swift movement of QRTs, the Centre has allowed Chhattisgarh to hire a helicopter. Similar offer is likely to be made to Jharkhand soon.

The QRTs will work in close co-ordination with the modern control centre coming up at Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh.

Four bomb detection and disposal squads (BDDS) — three in Chhattisgarh and one in Jharkhand — are also being deployed.

“Mines have caused maximum damage to our security forces. Four more BDDS will be placed in the two states by the end of September. For bigger troop movement, six more mine-proof vehicles are being given to the two states,” said officials.

The two states will also get six UHF jamming devices to check remote-controlled and mobile phone-operated blasts.

“Though no such blasts have taken place in the two states, UHF jamming devices are being given as intelligence reports suggest that the Maoists are moving from wire-controlled blasts to remote-controlled and mobile-operated blasts,” said an officer.

Police in Jamshedpur, meanwhile, admitted that the Maoists have been trying to encircle the steel city.

The Maoists, who shot and assaulted a group of JMM supporters late on Thursday night at Patamda, on the outskirts of the city, had come from across the border in Bengal. They were demanding levy from traders of country liquor.

Police claim to have identified three local “rebels” who helped the outsiders. A manhunt has been launched to nab them and long-range patrols are being conducted in the area.

In Bokaro, superintendent of police Priya Dubey on Saturday displayed the landmines, grenades, detonators, rifle, police uniforms, Maoist literature and flags recovered from a bunker at the foothills of Jhumra hills. The rebels, however, managed to escape the joint combing operation by the police and CRPF.

Though the rebels are on the run, the officer added, the Jhumra range continues to be their stronghold.


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3 killed, 5 injured in Naxal blast in Chhattisgarh

Posted by Indian Vanguard on June 5, 2007

Three employees of the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board were killed on Tuesday and five Special Task Force personnel seriously injured in a landmine blast in Naryanpur district of Bastar region.

“The Maoists blew up a cement-laden truck near Kapsi, about 250 km from the state capital, by triggering a landmine, killing three CSEB employees, including the truck’s driver,” a police source in Narayanpur told PTI.

The injured STF personnel were admitted to Narayanpur district hospital, police said.

The incident occurred when the CSEB employees were going to Jharaghati with cement to repair three high-tension electricity towers that were blown up by Naxalites on June 1.

The damage to the towers has resulted in 27 lakh people of five districts in the Bastar region going without electricity for the past five days.

Police had earlier said the Maoists had planted landmines to target people being sent to repair the damaged towers.

Hindustan Times

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Blackout creates security threat in Bastar

Posted by Indian Vanguard on June 4, 2007

RAIPUR: Security forces in Chhattisgarh have been put on high alert to prevent any Naxal attack following a blackout in Bastar region after Naxalities blasted three high tension transmission towers.

Intelligence and jail authorities have received inputs that taking advantage of the darkness and communication problems due to power failure in the entire Bastar region, Naxalites could attack some vital installations including jails to take out their associates, officials said on Sunday.

Since it would take another ten days to restore the power, the jail headquarters reviewed the situation and directed all the jails of that area to shift the jail inmates, who are accused of being Naxalites, to safer places to prevent any jail break, jail department officials said.

As a part of that at least 60 such accused of Dantewada district jail, involved in Naxal related violence, have already been shifted to Jagdalpur Central jail, the officials said.

The jail Department had so far identified 182 such people, who had been housed in various jails of Bastar region on charges of involvement in Naxal violence and the authorities have been directed to take permissions from the local court to shift them to safer places, they said.

The Maoists had earlier unsuccessfully attacked some jails, including Narayanpur jail, when there was no power in the area and the current blackout could provide them with an opportunity, they said.

The Times of India

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CPI workers, Salwa Judum activists clash, 7 hurt

Posted by Indian Vanguard on June 4, 2007

Raipur, June 3: No less than seven CPI members, including a Panchayat representative, were today seriously injured in a clash with activists of anti-naxal movement Salwa Judum in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.

“All the seven injured have been admitted to Dornapal Hospital in a serious condition,” CPI national executive member Chitta Ranjan Bakshi told PTI from Dantewada.

When contacted, Dantewada police confirmed the incident and said the SP Rahul Sharma had left for the spot.

The incident occurred near Dornapal when the CPI leaders and workers were returning from Cherla in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh after attending a meeting against the Salwa Judum and naxal threat, police and CPI leaders said.

About 20,000 people had left their villages in Dantewada district because of the Salwa Judum and naxal threat and took shelter in Andhra Pradesh and it was a CPI organised meeting in Cherla against their forced ouster, Bakshi said.

Initially vehicles of CPI leaders were blocked near Injeram, because of which they returned to Konta block headquarters and with police escort they crossed the Konta police station area, CPI leaders said.

After crossing the Konta area they were passing through Dornapal area when Salwa Judum activists stopped their vehicles, they said. “Initially there was a verbal duel followed by the attack in which at least seven CPI leaders and workers were seriously injured and admitted to Hospital,” they said.

Among the injured was one Rama Sodhi, who is an elected Panchayat people’s representatives from Dantewada district, police added.

Sahara Samay

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Naxal blast hits power in Chhattisgarh

Posted by Indian Vanguard on June 2, 2007

Power supply to five districts of extremism-affected Bastar region of Chhattisgarh was hit after Naxalites blew up three high-tension transmission towers.

The Naxalites triggered landmine blasts and damaged three towers of high tension electricity lines in the deep woods of Narayanpur district, Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board officials said.

”Although the damaged area had been identified but it would take at least ten days to restore power supply,” they said.

Because of the blasts, power supply to entire Bijapur, Bastar and Dantewada districts and maximum areas of Narayanpur and Kanker districts are affected.

The Naxalites damaged the towers in inaccessible and deep jungle area, which do not have roads, because of which the repair work was being hampered.

Besides train movement, work in NMDC iron ore mines, located in Dantewada district have adversely been affected.

Four Maoists killed in India’s Chhattisgarh state

New Delhi – At least four Maoist militants were shot dead on Saturday in armed clashes with police in India’s central Chhattisgarh state, IANS news agency reported. The gun battle broke out in the Sendra forests in the southern Bijapur district when the guerrillas fired at the policemen who were conducting counter-insurgency operations, IANS reported quoting police officials.

“The security forces retaliated and gunned down four rebels but several others managed to melt into the forests,” an unnamed police official was quoted as saying.

The Bijapur district, which lies over 500 kilometres south of state capital Raipur, is one of the strongholds of the Maoists.

The Maoists currently have a presence in 13 of India’s 28 states and seven federally-administered territories. They are most active in Chhattisgarh, eastern Jharkhand and southern Andhra Pradesh states.

The Maoists reject parliamentary democracy and aim to capture political power through an armed struggle based on guerrilla warfare. Although the Indian government has intensified operations against the rebels, Maoist-related violence is showing no signs of slowing down.

In 2006, 749 people including rebels, security personnel and civilians were killed in Maoist-related violence, while there were over 250 dead in the first four months of 2007.

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