Sunday, December 23, 2007

‘Maoists’ trained in Chhattisgarh

S. Vijay Kumar

Two suspects admit to plans to establish training camps at Varusanadu and Muruganmalai

They were trained in making IEDs

Exposed to handling sophisticated weapons

MADURAI: Three of the five suspected Maoists arrested by the police last week at Varusanadu Hills in Theni district underwent arms training in Chhattisgarh.

They were exposed to handling sophisticated weapons and trained in making improvised explosive devices.

Confessing this to investigators, two suspects in custody admitted that they were planning to establish training camps at Varusanadu and Muruganmalai in Theni district, as the locality bordered with Kerala and a couple of districts in Tamil Nadu, making it easy for them to operate. Their strategy was to indulge in a systematic indoctrination of the Maoist ideology among the youth, particularly among the tribals and Dalits, and induct them into the movement, highly placed police sources said.

Besides arms, explosive substances and a wireless communication network, the police, who conducted a thorough search operation at Varsanadu Hills, found bags containing adequate supplies and life-saving drugs. A schedule of the training module to be imparted to “trainees” was also seized. Currency to the tune of Rs. 31,000 and leaflets of Maoist literature were found in their hideout.

M. Yogesh (24) of Ghadchiroli in Maharashtra is suspected to have joined the group last month.

The others were moving in villages abutting the forests and mountains of Madurai, Dindigul and Theni districts in the guise of cloth merchants.

“K. Mahalingam alias Nondi Palani (57), M. Balamurugan (25) and Muruganandham alias Churchill were exposed to arms training in Chhattisgarh. Mahalingam who went under cover since 1978 was wanted in a double murder case involving the deaths of a landlord and his assistant. They have made an attempt to establish training camps in Theni district,” Inspector-General of Police (South Zone) Sanjeev Kumar told The Hindu.

Villagers as informants

The lack of cooperation from locals was a setback to their operations.

In the four major crackdown operations on naxal activities in Tamil Nadu since 2001, villagers were the informants. “In Varsanadu, the Maoists were moving with weapons in a bid to create fear among locals. They are literates and technically sound. Among the five, M. Maruthu alias Lenin (27) of Manamadurai and T. Muruganandham of Vridhachalam are graduates.”

Giving credit to the intelligence team of Theni Superintendent of Police R. Sudhakar in the arrest of the “extremists,” the IGP said combing operations were on to unearth concealment of more arms and ammunition.

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