Friday, May 29, 2009

Foreign weapons make way into Maoist camps

Gyan VarmaFriday, May 29, 2009 1:56 IST Email

New Delhi: Maoists are often underestimated as a badly-equipped group of rebels but not any more. According to sources in the ministry of home affairs, Maoists are getting foreign-made weapons, especially Chinese ones, from northeast-based militant organisations.

Security forces have recovered Chinese, American, Israeli and Belgian guns, small arms, rifles and grenade launchers during encounters in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh in the past two years. Home ministry officials have confirmed that of the total number of arms seized, roughly placed at 230, there are about 80 Chinese ones.

Senior officials of the home ministry said arms were being smuggled through Bihar and distributed along the red corridor that stretches down to Karnataka. "It is no longer about ideology. Both the Maoists and northeast militants have a common agenda and that's the only reason why arms are being supplied to the red brigade," an official said.

Maoists are also using Russian-made AK series rifles in their war against the system. "The fire power of Maoists have improved considerably," said the official.

He said Maoists had become much more organised than what they were some years ago. Their immaculate planning was evident during the elections when paramilitary forces guarding polling booths suffered heavy casualties. "It was for the first time that not only securitymen but polling officials were also targeted in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Earlier, the attacks were limited to men in uniform," said the official, adding that the threat of Maoists was so strong that most political parties did not campaign in areas infested by them.

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