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24 Maoists, policeman killed on Andhra-Odisha border

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Bhubaneswar/Visakhapatnam, Oct 24 :  As many as 24 Maoists, including eight women, were killed by security forces in a gunbattle which also left a Greyhounds commando dead near the Andhra-Odisha border on Monday, police said.

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Acting on intelligence inputs, a combined team of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha Police carried out the operation in the Bejjangi forest in Odisha’s Malkangiri district early in the day.

“A total 24 Maoists have been killed in the encounter and a jawan succumbed to his injuries,” Malkangiri Superintendent of Police Mitrabhanu Mohapatra told IANS.

He, however, said the dead Maoists would be identified only after the bodies reached the district police.

The Maoists belonged to the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist.

Of the two personnel of Greyhounds — an anti-Naxalite force of the Andhra Pradesh — injured and flown to the King George Hospital in Visakhapatnam for treatment, Md Abu Bakar succumbed to his injuries.

Mohapatra said they had got the information about the presence of around 40 Maoists in the area.

Top Maoist cadre Ramakrishna alias RK is said to have managed to escape during the fighting.

Ramakrishna’s son Munna is believed to be among the slain Maoists. Munna recently joined the CPI-Maoist.

The dead also believed to include some other top leaders of the Maoist outfit from Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

“We had information about the gathering of members of Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zone Committee,” Odisha Police chief K.B. Singh said.

“The joint operation was led by the Andhra Pradesh Police and Greyhounds played a major role in it,” he said.

The officer said 10 .303 rifles, two SLRs and four AK-47 guns and some Maoist kits were seized from the spot.

Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police N. Sambasiva Rao said in Visakhapatnam that police asked the Maoists to surrender but they opened fire, forcing the police to retaliate.

The police chief said the exchange of fire continued till the evening as Maoists rejected the call for a ceasefire.

He said a helicopter was rushed to the scene to bring the injured personnel as well as Maoists to Visakhapatnam for treatment.

The DGP visited deceased Greyhounds commando Abu Bakr’s house in Gajuwaka area in Visakhapatnam and consoled his family members. He announced compensation of Rs.40 lakh for the commando’s family.

This is the first major gun battle since division of Andhra Pradesh to carve out Telangana state in 2014.

The incident dealt a huge blow to the Maoist outfit, which weakened over the last decade and is now confined to Andhra-Odisha and Telangana-Chhattisgarh border areas.

In Hyderabad, revolutionary poet Varavara Rao alleged that police killed the Maoists after attacking their meeting.

Varavara Rao demanded that a murder case be booked against the policemen involved in the attack.

“Did Maoists carry out any attack after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh? Then where was the need for this fake encounter?” asked Rao, a leader of Veerasam, a body of revolutionary writers.

Rao also demanded an inquiry into the incident by a sitting judge of the high court.

In a related development, the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on Monday directed the Andhra Pradesh government to preserve the bodies of the Maoists killed in the gunbattle till October 27.

The court gave this direction on a petition filed by a civil liberties activist.

The petitioner had sought comprehensive probe into the incident and action against the policemen involved as per Supreme Court guidelines about encounter killings.

The state government informed the court that the incident occurred in Odisha and that bodies of slain Maoists were yet to reach Andhra.

Stating that it cannot pass orders on the petition at this stage, the court directed that the bodies of the Maoists be preserved at King George Hospital in Visakhapatnam.

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India

Amit Shah to meet injured Delhi Police cops

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New Delhi, 28 Jan : Two days after the violent clashes with the agitating farmers during the ‘Kisan Gantantra Parade’ in which several police personnel were injured, Union Home Minister Amit Shah will visit two hospitals in the national capital here to meet them.

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Put farm laws on hold or we will do it, Chief Justice Bobde tells government

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New Delhi, 11 Jan : A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde on Monday toughened its stand on the farm laws and said the court has made up its mind to stay the implementation of the three farm laws, which have led to the protest by thousands of farmers at various Delhi borders.

“What is going on? States are rebelling against your laws”, a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde told the Centre. “We are extremely disappointed with the negotiation process,” he said.

“If the Centre does not want to stay the implementation of farm laws, we will put a stay on it,” the CJI added.

“We don’t want to make any stray observations on your negotiations but we are extremely disappointed with the process,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

The apex court, which was hearing a clutch of pleas challenging the new farm laws as well as the ones raising issues related to the ongoing agitation at Delhi borders, said it is not talking about the repeal of these farm laws at the moment.

“This is a very delicate situation,” the bench said, adding, “There is not a single petition before us which says that these farm laws are beneficial.”

“We will stay implementation of laws,” the CJI said. “You can carry on the protest. But the question is whether the protest should be held at the same site,” he added.

“Some people have committed suicide, old people and women are a part of the agitation. What is happening?” he said.

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Farmer agitation enters 47th day, all eyes on SC hearing pleas on protests

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New Delhi, 11 Jan : The farmer agitation on the borders of the national capital entered the 47th day on Monday as the farmers have taken to the streets protesting against the three central farm laws. But now all eyes are glued on the Supreme Court which would conduct a hearing on various pleas related to the farmers’ agitation and the new farm laws on Monday.

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