Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Maoists shifting base to urban areas of Uttar Pradesh?

Deepak Gidwani / DNAWednesday, April 21, 2010 1:27 IST

Lucknow: Are cities in Uttar Pradesh on Maoists’ hit-list? This question has been worrying the UP Police of late.

Sources say central and state intelligence organisations have come across new information on this count which confirms that Maoists are developing their bases in big cities of the state. Certain incidents in the recent past point to this possibility.

Since the information is still being developed by police and intelligence agencies, no one is willing to go on record. But sources say the interrogation of Maoist leader Kobad Ghandy had revealed that Maoist groups were establishing bases in prominent UP cities including, Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi and Meerut.

The discovery of an explosive planted on board the Sampark Kranti Express in Mahoba in UP’s Bundelkhand region has added to the worries of the UP Police.

“The bomb was planted rather conspicuously as if someone wanted to demonstrate their firepower and intentions,” additional DG (railways) AK Jain said.

Police were looking into the Maoist connection as several Bundelkhand districts bordering Madhya Pradesh are known for Maoist activity, he said.

Another incident which sent out a danger signal was the Maoists’ plan to attack the train carrying Ghandy through UP. A week ago, the Delhi Police were taking him for a court appearance in West Bengal when the UP Police got the alert. Ghandy was taken to Delhi by air.

A senior police officer involved in the exercise said, “It is for the first time that Maoists have shifted their activities from rural to urban areas.”

Ghandy’s interrogation, sources say, revealed that Maoists had started “operation urban base” to organise their activities in cities by recruiting poor and unemployed youth to fight for their “cause”. Kanpur-based CPI (M) politburo member Balraj alias BR was co-ordinating this operation. He has been arrested, but police are still hunting for his two aides.

Ghandy also reportedly told Delhi Police that with help from BR, he had formed a sub-committee on mass organisation to shift Maoist bases to strategically crucial urban centres and organise local support and recruits in these places. They had also formed a state committee for women to ensure their participation in large numbers.

The UP Police is redrawing its map of “red zones” which indicate areas with Maoist trouble. Some of its top officials have also been in touch with Bihar and Madhya Pradesh Police to draw up a joint strategy to tackle the menace.

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