The orange city of Nagpur appears to be getting tinted red as Maoist elements have begun using it as a potential transit and medical utility hub.
Security agencies were keeping a close watch on this central Indian city in Maharashtra since there were enough indications that Maoists often used it as a transit point to travel to different parts of the country, sources said today.
The orange city's proximity to Naxal hotbeds of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand could be the reason behind the Maoists often using it as transit point.
Senior Maoist leader Azad, who was killed last month, was reportedly picked up from the Nagpur railway station.
Sources also said there was information that many Naxals have visited Nagpur for treatment and security agencies were keeping a tab on the patients taking medical care in the city's hospitals. Nagpur is also home to right wing Hindutva groups as it hosts the headquarters of Sangh founthead RSS.
Sources said security agencies believe that many of the senior Naxal leaders often take shelter in Nagpur and its nearby areas for its proximity to all key Maoists hub and also leaders are always kept away from the difficult areas.
They also said the security agencies were trying to target the top leadership of the Maoists as they feel that it would considerably weaken the whole Naxal movement.
Besides, they said, there has been a vacuum between the top leadership -- most of whom are in the age group of around 60 -- and the cadres, who are mostly in the group of either 20s or 30s. "There are very few between the two age groups," sources said.
The entire politburo of the CPI(Maoists) have not met in the past few years and whenever they have to take a decision, only three to four members sit together and take a call, they said.
There were reports that differences have come up among the cadres as most of the leaders are either from Andhra Pradesh or West Bengal while the bulk of the cadres are tribals, they said.
According to an estimate, about 40,000 sq km area in Naxal-affected states are under the control of Maoists.
Naxal violence has claimed the lives of over 10,000 civilians and security personnel in the last five years.
Out of a total of 10,268 casualties between 2005 and May 2010, 2,372 deaths have been reported in 2009 as against 1,769 in 2008 and 1,737 in 2007.
Besides, Naxals targeted 362 telephone towers, many school buildings, roads, culverts etc. in 2009 alone.