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Maoist court worry for govt

New Delhi, June 19: A marked jump in the number of Maoist kangaroo courts this year points to an expansion in rebel “guerrilla zones” and “liberated zones” in central and eastern India, government sources have said.

The Maoists initially form “guerrilla areas” by pushing in militia and introducing the local people to their writ. These develop into “guerrilla zones” in the second stage and into “liberated zones” in the third.

The so-called liberated zones in Maad and Saranda, the thickly forested areas of Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand, have increased in the past two years or so, a government official said.

None in the government was, however, willing to put a figure on these zones. The most visible indicator of the expansion is that the number of Maoist kangaroo courts or jan adalats has doubled to 46 in the first five months of 2011 from 22 last year, home ministry statistics suggested.

Jharkhand led the tally with kangaroo courts jumping to 22 from six; Chhattisgarh had nine, up from six; Bihar had eight, up from five; and Maharashtra one.

According to M.L Kumawat, former BSF director-general and current chairperson of the Rajasthan public service commission, the jump indicates that there is need for tighter governance.

Intelligence sources said the Maoists virtually control the whole of the southern Bastar area in Chhattisgarh and the Malkangiri district in the Orissa-Chhattisgarh border area. While the “entire Saranda forest area” in Jharkhand is under their control, the rebels have overrun huge swathes in Palamau and East Singbhum districts in the last two years.

There is cause for concern in Orissa where Mayurbhanj district is deep in Naxalite territory. Over the past two years, Nuapada, Bolangir and Bhargadh areas have been sucked into the “liberated” zone, government sources said.

No wonder there has been little opposition from the government to the army’s training battalions in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur area, also a “liberated” zone. Sources said army troopers were the only personnel in uniform in the area besides the Maoists in green outfits.

In Bihar, large areas in the Koel and Kaimur (Bhabua) region have been taken over by the Maoists, government sources said.

“There is need for huge operations and it is possible to reoccupy, but the casualties would be so high no one wants to risk that politically,” a source said. There are close to 70,000 central forces in central India, almost the same as in Jammu and Kashmir.

But social activists said the Maoists were still not fully in control in these areas. Activist and Delhi University teacher G.L Saibaba said the Maoists have never claimed to have “liberated” zones.

“These are guerrilla zones,” he said, adding jan adalats were usually conducted in areas that are held “fifty-fifty” by the government and Maoists.

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