Daily Archives: March 19, 2012

Demands set by Maoists for Italian nationals’ release

Odisha government on Monday intensified efforts for the release of two Italian nationals from the captivity of Maoists. Maoists set 13 demands for the release of the foreigners.
Targeting foreigners for the first time, Maoists abducted the two Italian nationals, Basusco Paolo (55) and Claudio Colangilo (60), from the forested areas of Kandhamal district on Saturday evening. This came to light after the rebels, through an audio tape released to the media on Sunday, claimed responsibility for the abduction when the foreigners were found taking “objectionable” pictures of tribals in the district, about 300 km southwest of Bhubaneswar. While most of the demands are similar to those when the then Malkangiri collector R Vineel Krishna was abducted including release of “innocent” tribals, the Maoists categorically ask in one demand to “fulfil all demands agreed up during Malkangiri collector hostage crisis”.

The demands are as follows:

1.Tribals are not commodities for tourists and tribal areas not meant for tourism. This should be clearly announced by the state government and those violating this should be arrested and punished.

2.Halt operation green hunt. Except the existing police stations, withdraw all police camps immediately. Create conducive atmosphere for talks relating to people’s problems.

3.Withdraw ban on Communist Party of India (Maoist) and other people’s organizations.

4.Arrest and hold trials of the SP and police officials on charge of murder and rape for murdering Lalit Dehuri, Junesh Badarlat, Pradip Majhi in false encounter and gang raping Arati Majhi. Release Arati Majhi unconditionally.

5.Release all including Ashutosh, Kamalakanta Sethi, Sujata, Kishore Jena, Pratap and Majulata who were arrested in connection with Nayagarh armoury loot case.

6.Stop arresting people released by courts in again by imposing fresh cases. In this context, release all including Subhashri Das, Lalit who have been detained even after their release by courts.

7.Release all innocent prisoners including Shatrughan Biswal, Uttam, Shekarh, Sudarshan Mandal, Ramesh Nayak, Lata, Bijal and Ratna lodged in Rayagada, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Ganjam, Nayagarh, Sambalpur, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar.

8.Do not scrap the ST status of tribals including Kotia, Konda Dora, Acha Kui, Gauda Kui, Kumbhara Kui, Sahara, Odia Kanda and Khaira. Grant ST status to those tribals not yet recognised as ST.

9.Provide drinking water to Odisha’s all villages, irrigation to all land, free medical facility in all gram panchayats. Provide free education to students till high school level.

10.Stop police crackdown on all anti-land acquisition movements including those in Posco-Kalinga Nagar-Vedanta areas. Release anti-land acquistion movement leaders like Abhay Sahu and Narayan Reddy.

11.Release leaders of mass democratic movements like Gananath Patra and withdraw all cases against people participating in Mandrabaku, Nedingpadar, Gudari and Narayanpatna land movements.

12.Initiate enqiry by independent agencies into forced surrender of Maoists and unlawful detaintion of surrendered Maoists by police.

13.Fulfil all demands agreed upon for release of (the then) Malkangir collector from captivity in February last year.

Tight leash on matric exams

As a last-ditch effort to stop malpractices during the matriculation examination, the  Board of Secondary Education has, for the first time, decided to initiate disciplinary actions against centre superintendents and invigilators if students of their centres are found cheating. The examination starts on Monday.

As many as 5,11,443 students will appear in the matriculation exam at 2,362 examination centres. The board has formed 95 flying squads, who will keep a hawk’s eye on the centres, and will be directly monitored by the control rooms opened in the five zones-Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Berhampur, Sambalpur and Balasore.

“Checking malpractices during the matriculation exam is our top priority. We hope disciplinary action against centre heads will help curb cheating to a great extent,” asserted board’s president  Satyakam Mishra. Last year, over 7,000 students were booked for malpractice.

Earlier, the board used to follow a three-tier squad system to keep tab on the examination centres: Squads at the headmaster level comprising teachers of the school, squads at circle inspector level and squads at the zonal level. This year board the has been banking more upon flying squads, he explained.

“We have increased the number of flying squads from 80 last year to 95 this time. Experienced, reliable, honest and efficient teachers will be part of flying squads,” added Mishra. In total the board has formed 114 squads, out of which 19 has been deployed at the circle inspector level.

Directions have been issued to the district administration to prevent outsiders from gathering around exam centres, especially at the sensitive ones. Out of 2,362 examination centres, 410 has been identified sensitive. Similarly, special instructions have been given to centre superintendents for carrying out stiff frisking of examinees.

Board officials have requested the SPs of Maoist-hit districts to take appropriate measures to ensure peaceful examination in these areas. “We have requested police to co-operate with us and avoid any kind of disruption during the examination in Red-hit areas,” Mishra added.

This year, 17 prisoners will also appear for the exam. “Fourteen jail inmates from Berhampur circle jail, two from Bhubaneswar special jail and one from Puri jail are appearing for the exam this time. Special arrangements have been made by the board for such candidates,” said N R Mohapatra, secretary of the board. Notably, out of 5.11 lakh examinees, at least 4,56,981 are regular candidates while 54,462 candidates are appearing the exam in ex-regular stream.

The examinations will start at 7.30 am and conclude at 10 am. Meanwhile, the students were busy doing their last minute revision. “I have completed my revision, but still I am very tense and nervous about the exam,” said Dipty Patra, an examinee. The HSC exam will conclude on March 31.

Maoists gun down contractor

Close on the heels of the abduction of two Italian tourists in Kandhamal, the Maoists shot a contractor to death in Bargarh district on Sunday morning leading to a lot of panic in the region. The  deceased contractor – identified as  Mohd Itar Mahamad – was entrusted with the construction of a check dam at Patrapali, under Paikmal block in the district.

The Maoists came down in a group in the morning and forcibly took the contractor to a neighbouring jungle and gunned him down. Itar hailed from a neighbouring Badtunda village.

Police sources said the victim was involved in a dispute with locals over the ceiling on surplus land and had received threats for his forceful occupation of land belonging to some landless villagers. “Some poor villagers had received the land under ceiling surplus, but he was occupying the land forcefully. The matter was pending in high court,” said Padmapur SDPO, NC Dansana.

He said police recovered the dead body in the evening on Sunday and a case has been registered with the local police. The body will be handed over to the family of the decesed after autopsy on Monday.

“About 20-25 people in uniform came to the spot and asked the contractor to follow them. They also instructed us to stay calm as they did not want to do us any harm. We found him dead when we went to the spot after hearing the gun shot,” said a labourer engaged in the construction work.