Thursday, March 26, 2015

India - Naxal posters: Three years on, cops still look for clues


Naxal posters: Three years on, cops still look for clues
Several persons from Pune have been arrested for their alleged Maoist links in the last few years, but investigators have not been able to get any clue about the persons who put up the posters of the banned Naxal outfit Communist Party of India (CPI – Maoist) in the city on March 23, for two consecutive years, in 2012 and 2013. Investigators suspect that underground operatives of CPI-Maoist are active in the city. March 23 is remembered as ‘Shahid Din’ to mark the martyrdom of freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev and the CPI-Maoist marks this day.
The Maoist posters were found at prominent and strategic spots in the city including the entrance of Patrakar Bhavan in Navi Peth, Garware College, S P College, Shramik Bhavan, Swargate junction, Shaniwar Wada, Balgandharva and Shivajinagar court. The posters in 2013 mentioned that the period between March 23 and March 29 should be marked as a “saptah” (week) in support of the movement, demanding rights for “revolutionaries” lodged in jails, on the occasion of martyrdom of “Comrade Shahid Bhagat Singh”. The posters also mentioned six demands regarding the rights that should be given to fellow comrades lodged in jails. Posters found in 2012 called for a bandh and demanded unconditional release of comrades Kobad Ghandy, Vijay, Vikram, Madanlal, Mahesh, Bhanu and Anjela Sontakke.
The state ATS had arrested Angela, alleged secretary of Golden Corridor committee of CPI- Maoists, along with her aides, including Kabir Kala Manch artistes, between April-May 2011, under sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Angela allegedly operated from a house in Paud area of Pune. ATS claimed that the suspects were allegedly spreading the Maoist ideology of armed struggle against the government through their activities among different sections of the society.
While no case was registered for putting up posters in 2012, in the 2013 case, police registered an offense under the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act. CCTV footage from Patrakar Bhavan showed three young men arriving on a motorcycle and putting up posters on March 23, 2013. But the trio have not been identified and traced yet. Police said the Golden Corridor committee of CPI- Maoists is aimed at recruiting youths from urban areas of Pune, Mumbai, Thane, Nashik and Ahmedabad.

After Angela’s arrest, alleged Maoist couple Arun Bhelke and his wife Kanchan Nanaware, both hailing from Chandrapur, were handed over the responsibility of the Golden Corridor committee. The ATS managed to arrest Bhelke and and Kanchan in September 2014. Their interrogation revealed how Maoists were allegedly trying to indoctrinate youths particularly the Dalits, minorities from slum areas and other weaker sections.

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