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The latest news from various mainstream sources  in India

Shocking! An acquitted 'Maoist' speaks out

by Prasanna D Zore

Branded a Maoist by the Maharashtra police, Arun Ferreira was released on bail on January 5.

At his first press conference after his release, he spoke about his ordeal and how the State has been muffling the voice of dissent. Prasanna D Zore reports.

The sarcasm in 40-year-old Arun Ferreira's voice is not completely misplaced.


Jharkhand High Court acquits Jiten Marandi and others of Chilkari massacre

Jharkhand High Court acquits convicts of Chilkari massacre

Ranchi, Dec 15: Jharkhand High Court today acquitted four main convicts of Chilkari massacre who were awarded the death sentence by a court in Giridih on June 23.

A divison bench, comprising Justice R K Merathia and Justice D N Upadhaya, acquitted Jiten Marandi, Chhatrapati Mandal, Manoj Rajwar and Anil Ram due to lack of evidence.

Earlier on June 23, Additional District and Sessions Judge(First) I D Mishra had ordered that all the four accused be hanged till death for perpetrating the massacre.


Unresolved Land Issues Cause of Naxalism: Ramesh

Hyderabad | Oct 29, 2011--The trustworthiness of the administration among tribal population is "very low" due to unresolved land issues that have led to escalation in Maoist menace, Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh said here today.

Issues such as forcible eviction of people for land acquisition for projects, unsettled rehabilitation packages, degradation and unproductivity of land given to the poor have aggravated the Maoist menace in the Central and Eastern parts of India, Ramesh said.




The Democratic Front Against Operation Green Hunt, Punjab held a well-attended convention at Moga on the International Human Rights Day i.e. 10th December. The convention held in the back-drop of killing of M. Koteswara Rao @ Kishenji - the CPI (Maoist) leader in an "encounter" mired in suspicion; death sentence awarded to Jatin Marandi-the peoples singer and theater-artist of Jharkhand; brutal & inhuman torture inflicted by Chhattisgarh Police on a tribal teacher, Soni Sori and a decade long fast by Irom Sharmila, the indomitable woman from Manipur, in protest against continuation of draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act; was to focus on the significance of these events from the standpoint of human rights movement in the country and to chalk out its future direction.

As a prelude to this convention, a press briefing was held at Desh Bhagat Yadgar Halkl Jalandhar on 4th December on these issues. The fact finding report prepared by the Coordination of Democratic Rights Organizations (CDRO), about the killing of Kishenji was translated and printed in Punjabi and widely circulated amongst democratic sections throughout Punjab.

The convention venue, Shaheedi Park was decorated with flexes, banners and placards having photographs of Kishenji, Jatin Marandi & Irom Sharmila and slogans highlighting struggle and demands for protection of democratic rights.


The worse off the poor become, the richer India’s Ministers get

How the Cricket Caucus Made a Killing - by P. SAINATH

Mumbai--Air India might not be doing as well we’d like it to. But the braveheart who flew it fearlessly into dense clouds of debt is doing okay. Praful Patel (who no longer holds the aviation portfolio) added, on average, over half a million rupees (just under 50 rupees = US $1 ) every day to his assets in 28 months between May 2009 and August 2011. This might be an understated figure since it is based on his own word. Ministers tend to be modest in these matters. But given the official data, the math is inescapable.


Reds call shots in ‘liberated’ zones: Jairam Ramesh

RANCHI: In a rare admission by a senior Union minister, Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said there were "liberated" zones in the country dominated by Maoists, corroborating the rebels' claims that in west Jharkhand and south Chhattisgarh, the state's writ doesn't run.


"Mamata raising another Salwa Judum"

Kolkata, Sep 19 (IANS) Litterateur and Maoist sympathiser Varavara Rao Monday accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of raising an armed group similar to Salwa Judum, the anti-Maoist civil militia in Chhattisgarh, to crush the guerrillas in the state. Rao equated Banerjee with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, who had formed the infamous Salwa Judum that was recently banned by the Supreme Court.


Nov 28: Maoists call for 2-day Bharat Bandh on December 4-5

    November 28, 2011

    [1] http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2666037.ece

    The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) has called a two-day nation-wide bandh from December 4 in protest against what it described as "the brutal murder" of the party's Polit Bureau member Koteshwara Rao alias Kishenji in an encounter involving joint security forces in Burisole forest in West Bengal's Paschim Medinipur district on November 24.

    A "protest week" will also be observed by the Maoists from November 29 to December 5 in this regard.

    CPI(Maoist) Central Committee spokesperson Abhay blamed Congress president and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the "murder."

    Meanwhile, Gudsa Usendi, spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), said it would not be right to jump to any conclusion regarding allegations by a section of the media that Kishenji had been betrayed by his inner circle.

    Meanwhile, the preliminary reports of the autopsy conducted in Midnapore on Saturday before the body was handed over to Kishenji's niece Deepika Musthyala, reveal that there were six bullet injuries on his body and at least two shrapnel wounds.

    "We have not yet received the autopsy report and so cannot comment on it," said Gangeshwar Singh, Inspector-General of Police (Western Range).

    "He was tortured"

    Revolutionary poet and Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao insisted that Kishenji had been picked up a day or two before the "encounter," was tortured and then shot.

    Mr. Rao, who had seen the body in the mortuary at Midnapore Medical College and Hospital on Saturday, claimed that "the feet had been burnt... as if they had been held against an electric heater."


    [2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-15914519

    Maoist rebels in India have called for a two-day-long countrywide strike in protest at the killing of top rebel Koteshwar Rao leader last week.

    The rebels say they will disrupt traffic and shut down businesses and educational institutions on 4 and 5 December, a spokesman told the BBC.

    They have already called for protests, saying Mr Rao was murdered in an orchestrated or "fake encounter".

    Mr Rao was one of the rebels' most senior leaders.

    The BBC's Salman Ravi says his death in police firing in West Bengal state last week was a major setback for the rebels.

    In a pre-recorded statement sent to the BBC, a spokesperson for Communist Party of India (Maoist), Abhay, said the shut down early next month would focus on paralysing movement of rail and road traffic apart from asking the educational and business establishments to remain closed.

    "Intelligence agencies and the security forces arrested Kishenji and killed him in cold blood after a day. They tried to show as if he was killed in an encounter," Abhay said.

    Police say Mr Rao was killed after a gun battle between rebels and paramilitary forces in the Burishol forest in the Jamboni area of the state's restive West Midnapur district.

    Mr Rao was cremated amid tight security on Sunday in his hometown of Peddapalli in southern Andhra Pradesh state.

    His death came during intensified anti-Maoist operations in West Bengal despite the fact that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has publicly advocated a negotiated solution through dialogue with the rebels.

    Mr Rao reportedly suffered temporary paralysis in June 2010 when a police bullet hit him in the knee.

    Normally a regular communicator with the press, little was heard of him from then until January 2011 when he issued a statement saying he expected India to succumb to a Maoist revolution by 2025.

    Latest estimates suggest he commanded at least 20,000 armed fighters. They are said to get most of their weapons by raiding police bases.

    The rebels have a strong presence in more than a third of India's 600 districts, and have been described by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the country's biggest security threat.

    A government offensive against the rebels - widely referred to as Operation Green Hunt - began in late 2009. That year the top Maoist leader and ideologue Kobad Ghandy was also arrested in Delhi.

    The Maoists are fighting for the introduction of a communist state and for what they say is a more egalitarian society.

    More than 6,000 people have died in the insurgency, which began in West Bengal in the late 1960s.

    PUCL launches campaign against sedition law

    August 29, 2011--T

    HIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Peoples Union of Civil Liberties ( PUCL) has launched a nationwide signature campaign against the Sedition Act whose provisions went sharply against the spirit of democracy, leading human rights campaigner Dr Binayak Sen said here.

    "We plan to collect one million signatures and present them before parliament during the winter session", Dr Sen said.

    He stated this while delivering the "D C Kizhekkemuri memorial lecture", organised in memory of freedom fighter, writer and founder of publishing house D C Books.