Gun-toting teenagers are being used by Maoists to carry out a massive pamphlet campaign against the Modi government across Madhya Pradesh, the police said citing a related seizure during a recent raid.
But, what’s catching eyes is the political timing the Maoists have chosen to go about it— when the NDA government is celebrating completion of two years in office with a series of programmes nationwide.
All this came to light when the police seized pamphlets, pictures of children, spotted many teenagers, including girls in Maoist fatigues during a 30-minute exchange of fire in Bijakhoh jungles on May 24, said Balaghat superintendent of police Gaurav Tiwari. Children’s notebooks suggested that the teenagers hailed from Chhattisgarh.
All these teenagers are between 14 and 19 years. The red pamphlets tear right into Modi government’s flagship schemes, including Digital India, Make in India, Smart City and Swachch Bharat Abhiyan. They are being distributed in villages in dense forests on the hillocks of Madhya Pradesh’s Balaghat district by cadres of the banned CPI (Maoists), police said.
Some pamphlets are even aimed at polarizing the haves and the have-nots to turn the latter against the BJP-led governments in the adjoining states.
Police officials said Maoists’ young army was also propagating the red ideology through pamphlets in Murum, Batranga, Dulhapur, Madi, Rasimeta, Bhagwandeeh and Jagla under the supervision of the most wanted Maoist leader, Kumar Sahay,’ who carries a Rs 50 lakh award on his head in three bordering states.
The spot scene
Three waterproof tents, several ground sheets, over 150 kg food grain, vegetables, fruits, besides remnants of lunch being prepared by the Maoists showed the Chhattisgarh children were not only being used in the political pamphlet war but also being trained like armymen for a future ambush.
A sentry post on a tree and adjoining stone bunker too had been built on the tallest Bijakhoh hillock to keep an eye on the police movement in the five kilometre radius.
The seizure contained a haul of live cartridges of self-loading rifles (SLRs), AK-47s and INSAS rifles. Gaurav said, “The circumstantial evidence revealed major plans by the Maoists to regroup in Balaghat and plan some big misadventure during the monsoon.”
Police sources said the teenagers were being trained in tactical warfare—informer spotting skills, carving safe escape routes, befriending villagers and possible police informers, hand-to-hand combat and strategic ambush techniques to neutralize security forces.
Sources said the training was being provided by senior Maoists, like Ashok, who is the secretary of North Gadchiroli Gondia Divisional Committee.
Pahad Singh is being assisted in the training by a local trusted aide David and other wanted Maoists, including Naresh who has Rs 30 lakh bounty on his head, Dipak (Rs 10 lakh) and Sampat (Rs 10 lakh), besides senior female Maoist Sangita, police sources said, adding that lure of money from tendu leaf and bamboo trade is regrouping Maoists in Balaghat, which had seen a thin presence of the red brigade after 2012 when a number of prominent leaders were killed in police encounters.
The recruitment of children appears to be a major step by the Maoists to regroup and get cracking again.
But, the big question is why the Red brigade is getting active in the BJP ruled states only.
Police investigations indicate that the Maoists are now active in at least 40 villages of Balaghat, which lie close to Gondia district of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district.
THE YOUNG ARMY
All these teenagers are between 14 and 19 years
The red pamphlets tear right into Modi government’s flagship schemes, including Digital India, Make in India, Smart City and Swachch Bharat Abhiyan
Maoists’ army also propagating red ideology through pamphlets