Uttar Police claim major crackdown on Maoists (Second Lead)By IANS
Monday, February 8, 2010
LUCKNOW - The Uttar Pradesh police Monday claimed to have neutralized a major Maoist group in the state with the arrest of eight “active members” of the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist in Kanpur district and two People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) activists on Sunday.
State Director General of Police Karamveer Singh told a press conference here Monday: “With the arrest of as many as 10 Maoist leaders from different parts of the state over the past 24 hours, we have pushed their terror network at least 10 years behind.”
He described the operation as a “result of two years of sustained tracking of the Maoist group.”
Eight top Maoists were arrested by the state’s Special Task Force (STF) from Kanpur on Monday while two were taken into custody from Gorakhpur and Allahabad on Sunday. Those arrested on Sunday were People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) state secretary Seema Azad and her husband Vishwa Vijay, was also a PUCL activist.
Even as PUCL leaders took strong offence to the arrest of the couple, terming the STF action as a “frame-up”, the state police chief claimed, “This group of Maoists had plans to unleash major violence and make strikes at different places in UP and Uttarakhand, where they were also planning a heavy anti-India propaganda blitz.”
According to him, “The arrested persons were in Kanpur to get seditious literature printed.” He said, “We have enough evidence to establish that this particular group had been involved in repeated strikes in different places in Bihar, including killing of special armed guards in Raniganj and Gaya, besides murder of a railway employee at Jha-jha railway station.”
Describing the arrested people as activists of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), Karamveer Singh alleged, “There was enough reason to believe that they were plotting against the state.”
He also suspected the arrested people had nexus with Maoists engaged in anti-India campaign in Nepal. “We will also be probing their connections with Maoists in Nepal.”
The arrested were identified as 51-year-old Balraj alias Baccha Prasad, a resident of Chapra district (Bihar) who was an alleged member of the banned outfit’s Central Committee and its Politburo, Chintan alias Banshi Dhar Singh (64) hailing from Champaran, Bihar, Naveen Prasad Singh, 54, a resident of Patna, who was also a member of Bihar zonal committee and convenor of Tactical United Front of CPI (Maoist).
Among the others were Ambareesh (40), resident of Banka, Bihar, who was a member of the Uttar Pradesh State Organising Committee, Deepak (24), resident of Samastipur, Kripa Shankar (35) hailing from Kushinagar, besides Shiv Raj Singh (66) and Rajendra Kumar (33), based in Uttarakhand.
While Balraj was described as a science graduate, Chintan holds a PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and was regarded as the organisation’s think-tank.
Police said they have seized seditious literature, CDs, pen drive, Rs.8.16 lakh in cash from the arrested persons.
When the DGP’s attention was drawn to PUCL’s protest against the arrests, he shot back, “Those sympathizing with the arrested persons and trying to label them as social workers ought to realize that they are running the risk of associating with anti-nationals.”
Retired IPS officer S.R. Darapuri, who was state vice president of PUCL, proposes to lead a protest demonstration against the arrests in Lucknow on Feb 13.
Expressing shock at the arrest of PUCL activists Seema Azad and her husband Vishwa Vijay, he asserted, “Possessing Maoist literature is no crime. Cops have been targeting human rights activists and branding them as Maoists; we will oppose such oppression tooth and nail,” Darapuri told IANS.
Replying to questions on the arrest of Seema, who was also the editor of a monthly magazine ‘Dastak’, that was involved in raising issues relating to the rights of tribals and Dalits in and around Allahabad-Mirzapur region, the state police chief asserted, “The arrests were made after prolonged investigation, which clearly revealed their involvement in anti-national activities.”