Though cornered and forced out of their strongholds in Jangalmahal, the Maoists are plotting new ways of marking a comeback in the region and are in the process of floating new fronts to regain lost ground.
In a clear bid to regain lost clout and acceptance among the locals, the rebels have reportedly tied up with some local political outfits, which couldn’t make much of an impression in the panchayat elections and are desperate to hold their own in the region.
Though peace has returned in Jangalmahal, there have lately been reports of a noticeable spurt in the movement of the outlaws in the region.
On a day the Naxals took out four BSF jawans in a deadly landmine blast in the Koraput area of Odisha, top district and security officials in West Midnapore met to take stock of the prevailing scene in the Naxal hotbeds of Jangalmahal.
While the police top brass held a high-level meeting to assess the prevailing security situation in the district, IG (western arrange) Siddhinath Gupta held talks with top CRPF officials over reports of a likely resurgence of the outlaws in the region.
“We reviewed the security situation in areas prone to Naxal attacks. While I can’t fully disclose what transpired at the meeting, we did take stock of the prevailing situation and put in our collective mind to drawing up a future course,” Gupta told Hindustan Times.
Sources said the rebels have lately been spotted regrouping in pockets of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia, the three districts that make up the Jangalmahal region. There have even been reports of the ultras moving around in Birbhum, said sources.
While the rebels have been on the back foot in the wake of the arrest and death of a clutch of top line leaders, including Kishenji, recent sightings of the ultras have spawned fears of a likely resurgence.
While several other top names in the Maoist ranks, including Jagari Baskey, Rajaram Soren and Suchitra Mahato, turned themselves over and have since been rehabilitated, the arrest of top commander Arnab Dam alias Bikram helped put an end to the Naxal upsurge in Jangalmahal.
There have already been reports of Maoist killings in Birbhum. Amarjit Balihar, the SP of Pakur district in neighbouring Jharkhand, fell to a Maoist ambush strike on the Birbhum-Jharkhand border a couple of months back.
Keen to revive the insurgency in their former strongholds and mark a footprint in Birbhum, the Naxals have reportedly floated a rash of new front outfits and are in the process of building a nexus with a motley political crew in the area.
A series of arms seizures also point to a likely resurgence of Maoists in Jangalmahal.
“We have stepped up vigil and search operations are on to nab suspects. We won’t let the Maoists back in,” a security officer said.