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CPI-Maoist declared terror outfit
2 Naxals killed in Orissa as bandh cripples life
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi, June 22
The Union Home Ministry today finally slapped a formal ban on the CPI (Maoist), declaring the group as a terrorist organisation.

After a high-level meeting here against the backdrop of security forces' operations in West Midnapore district in West Bengal, the Ministry brought the group in the list of terrorist outfits banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Home Minister P Chidambaram said the Centre decided on the fresh ban under the UAPA to avoid any ambiguity following the merger of CPI-ML (People’s War Group) with the Marxist Coordination Committee. “It was always a terror organisation and today an ambiguity has been removed that it is a terror organisation,” he said.

The Criminal Law Amendment Act 1908 enables the state government under Section 16 to declare an association to be ‘unlawful’. That declaration can be made if the state is of the opinion that the association interferes with the administration of the law or with the maintenance of law and order or constitutes a danger to the public peace. Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have already declared CPI (Maoist) as an unlawful association under their own state acts.

Meanwhile, two Maoists were killed in Malkangiri district in Orissa and an anti-landmine vehicle was targeted in Jharkhand, while life was hit in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district during the 48-hour bandh called by the outfit in five states today in protest against the offensive by security forces in Lalgarh. In Malkangiri, two Maoists were killed during an exchange of fire with the Special Operations Group, district superintendent of police Satyabrat Bhoi said. The Naxals attempted to blow up an anti-landmine vehicle at Chakulia in East Singhbhum district but failed as only one of its tyres got deflated in the blast and no harm was caused to police personnel on patrolling duty, said Inspector General of Police SN Pradhan in Ranchi. In view of the bandh call, long distance buses were off the roads and shopkeepers downed their shutters in Gumla, Simdega, Garwah and Palamau districts for fear of Maoist attacks in Jharkhand, where 18 of the 24 districts are Naxal-hit. The two-day bandh has been called by the Maoists in West Bengal, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa protesting action by security forces, which stormed Lalgarh and took control of the trouble-hit area.

Train services were badly affected in several parts of Jharkhand. A Jamshedpur report said Tata-Danapur Express, Tata-Purulia passenger train and Chakdradharpur passenger trains were diverted for security reasons. In Palamau, the police escorted trains passing through naxal-pockets. In West Midnapore district where the security forces were on a mission to reclaim areas from Maoist-backed tribals, life was hit with shops and establishments closed in Lalgarh, Jhargram and Midnapore town. Transport was also off the roads. In Purulia district, train services remained suspended on the Purulia-Chandil section since morning in view of reports of a landmine being planted on the tracks at Birandi station. GRP sources in Rourkela said the Maoists looted the mobile phone and searchlight of the cabinman, who was the lone person on duty.

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Left slams ban, says it’s no solution
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 22
The CPM today made it clear that it was not in support of the government’s decision to ban CPI (Maoists) in West Bengal, saying banning the organisation was no solution to the reigning Naxal problem.

“The Centre has powers to ban any organization but our stand on the issue is clear. Maoists must be combated politically and administratively.

We need to isolate them from the people they are mobilising,” said party general secretary Prakash Karat, setting the tone for the Left front government’s action in the state, two days after Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya said he would consider banning the organisation.

Contradicting CM Buddhadeb, Karat voiced the party’s larger view, reiterating that the banned Naxal organizations were known to surface under other names.

“How does a ban then serve any purpose?” asked Karat, adding that the CPM cadres in the state had been targeted only because they had been fighting a political battle to isolate the Maoists along the Bengal-Jharkhand border.

“As long as you can take administrative measures to see to counter the Maoists, it is fine,” the CPM said, referring to the killing of 53 CPM cadres in West Bengal in pre and post election violence.

The party also openly accused the TMC of using the Maoists in Nandigram and now again conniving with them in Lalgarh. While arguing against a ban and for a political and administrative solution to Lalgarh’s Naxal issue, Karat said, “We have won the Lok Sabha constituency of which Lalgarh is a part. We have also won the assembly segment in question. People of the area are with us, not with Maoists.”

With Karat articulating the CPM stand on the matter, it is clear that Budhadeb Bhattacharya would not have an easy time contemplating a ban on CPI (Maoists) in West Bengal. He said Saturday that he would consider the ban, as advised by union home minister.

“What the state CM said was his own view. I am voicing the party’s view on the subject,” said Karat.

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Forces gain control over 22 villages in Lalgarh

Lalgarh (WB), June 22
Security forces conducting the operation to liberate Lalgarh have cleared 22 of the 42 villages in the area of Maoist-backed tribal agitators and were further consolidating their positions, officials said today.

The troops comprising the CRPF, BSF, IRB, State Armed Police and the Eastern Frontier Rifles men were in full control of the national highway connecting the district headquarters with Lalgarh, a senior police officer said.

"Twenty of the 42 villages under the jurisdiction of the Lalgarh police station have been cleared off agitators," he said. The police station, which remained out of bounds since November, was retaken on June 19. All vehicles were being searched and people frisked.

Two forested areas on the highway connecting Midnapore and Lalgarh -- Pirakata and Jhitka -- were sanitised. Pickets of security forces have been set up all along the highway, which was also being patrolled, he said. The forces, which had launched the operation against the Maoists on June 18, were yet to move out of Lalgarh, he said.

The security forces were camping in strength at Lalgarh police station and nearby Bhimpur as also in various other places, the officer said. — PTI

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