Thursday, June 18, 2009

Growing Naxal activities puts agencies on alert

17 Jun 2009, 0424 hrs IST, Pervez Iqbal Siddiqui, TNN

LUCKNOW: Intelligence reports on Naxals setting up new frontiers extending to Western UP (Delhi borders) at the state-level and towards Haryana as
well as Karnataka in the South, has set the alarm bells ringing for the security agencies. Reports say that the red brigade has set up its base in at least 12 more districts - most of them dotting the Delhi borders in addition to the 14 districts where their presence was established

What is all the more disturbing is the availability of sophisticated firearms and ammunition with the Naxals through their new-found coalition with the Maoists in Nepal. Till recently, the Naxals were known to be using the traditional .303 rifles of the World War II era (that they had robbed from the police) and countrymade firearms. However, specific intelligence inputs on Naxals now possessing lethal firearms like the US-made SMG, Thomson guns and AK-47 rifles apart from those of Russian and Chinese makes, has added to the worries of the security agencies. Sources in the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) posted along the Indo - Nepal border have confirmed the reports of regular joint sessions between the Naxals and the Nepal Maoists.

These reports have cited recent instances of Naxal violence to confirm the availability of sophisticated firearms with the red brigade. "Use of a rocket launcher by Naxals in the recent BSF camp attack in Rohtas (Bihar), sophisticated imported Nalco landmines in Orissa and recent seizures of latest arms by the CRPF only confirm the fears of the intelligence agencies.

Largely based on the confession of a top Naxal arrested by the police in Uttar Pradesh and the information thus obtained reconfirmed by the two Naxal women commanders arrested in Delhi recently, intelligence agencies believe that the red brigade has been into a quiet recruitment mode for quite sometime now. In their confession the two had even revealed details of their works in Jharkhand, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra and MP. "They confessed to have been asked to target six specific areas on the UP-Delhi borders for further recruitments," said a report.

The recent strike by Naxals in Sonebhadra district to eliminate an ALLEGED police informer Umesh Mallaha of Kanhaura village was though the only known attack by them on UP soil during the past few years. It is, however, being seen as a portent for heightened Naxal activity in the region. The death of a top Naxal identified as Shatrughan, a self-styled area commander, in an encounter with the police in Belach village of Sonebhadra too seems to have acted as a catalyst for the red brigade to add momentum to their nefarious designs. Shatrughan carried a reward of Rs 20,000 on his head.

Meanwhile, reports of fresh Naxal movement in Chitrakoot, Banda and other districts on the MP-UP border have also come in from the STF and the state Intelligence. The STF, during its offensive against the Bundelkhand brigands had come across ample evidences to establish movements of Naxals in new areas of the region, who had already started extortion from contractors of development works and those dealing in 'tendu patta'.

An officer with the STF privy to the report said a team from Bargarh police station of Chitrakoot had spotted a gathering in a village near Karvi area during night patrolling. When they went closer, the mob attacked them with arrows, forcing them to escape - some common weapons of the Naxals.

The state Intelligence has been issued directives to collect more information about Naxalite activities in Bundelkhand region. The PAC headquarters and the Crime and Law and Order cells at the DGP headquarters had also been asked to deploy force in the areas bordering MP to keep a vigil over Naxal activities, said an official in the home department.

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