Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Maoist cadres still in villages' Sonali Das, TNN, Mar 15, 2010, 11.23pm IST

Maoist cadres still in villages'
Sonali Das, TNN, Mar 15, 2010, 11.23pm IST

RANCHI: Close on the heels of the joint forces conducting search operations and sanitizing the forests of Bundu and Tamar in Ranchi and Khunti districts, home to the most wanted Maoist leader, Kundan Pahan, information reaching here indicated that the Maoist cadres were still in the villages having assimilated with the locals.

The rebels have also hidden their arms and ammunition in the houses of those villagers that were least likely to come under the police scanner.

When the forces were engaged in almost simultaneous search operations in the Maoist-hit districts of the state on Monday, targeting Naxalites, who were on the move from one internal corridor to the other, police conceded to have made no major breakthrough apart from defusing a landmine in the Nawadih-Dumri area of Bokaro district.

According to reports, far from leaving the areas where police were conducting operations, the Maoist cadres have mingled in groups in the villages and were proving to be an invisible enemy of the paramilitary and police forces.

"The fight against the rebels has always been an elusive battle. But if they have shifted to the villages and urban areas, they have made the job easier for us," claimed CRPF DIG, Alok Raj, agreeing at the same time that the identification of the cadres would certainly be a long-drawn process.

The police and the paramilitary forces, however, are relying a lot on their spies inside the villages to give them specific inputs about who is a mehman (guest) in the villages. Unlike Lalgarh, Maoists do not seem to enjoy the mass support of the villagers here, feeding and accommodating them only out of fear, police claimed.

"There is no need to exert any kind of pressure or torture the villagers. For, it is only a matter of time before we are able to instil confidence in them about their security and then, they will surely come around," said Kuldeep Dwivedi, the superintendent of police of Latehar, who has played an active role in curbing Naxalite violence in that district.

According to sources, villagers have been strictly instructed by the Maoists not to talk to any outsider. "The movement of armed squads of Maoists which was frequently spotted in the forest areas bordering the villages have almost disappeared now," a source said, adding that the rebels have instead scattered in small groups in the villages and hidden bombs, fuses and other ammunition at places, which are least under the police scanner.

"Police have a detailed report of the Maoists, especially those who are leading the "dastas", though it would be initially difficult to identify the cadre," said Dwivedi.

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