Monday, July 21, 2008

Red bandh against N-deal

Dhanbad, July 20: The Centre will face opposition to the nuclear deal from a rather unusual sector: Naxalites languishing in jails. But that’s not the only thing the prisoners will protest against.

On the direction of Pramod Mishra, one of the topmost Naxalite commanders now in jail, rebels have constituted an organisation, Akhil Bharatiya Rajnitik Bandi Rehai Samiti (All India Political Prisoner Liberation Association), to pressurise jail authorities to treat prisoners with respect.

Samiti sources said that they would observe a bandh on July 22 in Jharkhand, Orissa, Bengal and Bihar against the nuclear deal.

Posters written in Bengali, Hindi and some in Santhali have been pasted at Ghatshila, Nawadih, Chatra and Chakulia through which Maoists have proclaimed that they are against the nuclear deal.

Moreover, on September 13, Naxalite prisoners have decided to observe a daylong fast to agitate for “more humane treatment” from jail authorities.

Home ministry sources said that the message to observe the fast has already been passed on to Maoist prisoners lodged in jails in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Bengal and Jharkhand. The agitation order has been communicated to all Naxalite leaders across the country through visitors who meet the Maoists lodged in different jails and through mobile phones that have crossed the jail threshold, thanks to heavy bribes.

The decision of prisoners to go on a mass fast has forced the home ministry to write letters to all jail authorities concerned to be extra vigilant on the date. Authorities fear that violence may erupt in jails and district superintendents of police have been asked to be ready to face any untoward incident.The inspector-general of the coalbelt, B.B. Pradhan, said that all the superintendents of police under his jurisdiction have been asked to be extra-cautious to “give a befitting reply to Naxalites, who are now trying the Gandhigiri method” to seek sympathy.

He said that policemen have been asked to be more vigilant in their long-distance patrolling during the bandh on July 22. Police sources revealed that extremist posters calling for peoples’ participation for the July 22 bandh have been spotted at Chakulia, Dhalbhumgarh and Ghatshila. The posters have asked the people of adjoining areas of Bengal and Orissa to observe the July 22 bandh.

Police sources, however, stressed that precautionary measures had been initiated to maintain law and order throughout the state during the bandh

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