The Union home ministry has kept Uttarakhand out of the list of left terror-affected states but the state government and intelligence agencies say the ‘red threat’ is very much alive in the state citing past incidents.
State home minister Pritam Singh said the government was not taking the red footprints lightly. The threat of Maoist terror had been a topic of hot discussions during internal security meetings of even former chief ministers Ramesh Pokhriyal, Vijay Bahuguna and BC Khanduri.
Singh said, “The government cannot take chances. I have asked officials to be an alert (to check left extremist activities).” Intelligence officials admitted that there hadn’t been violent incidents so far in the state, however, the state couldn’t be termed Red terror-free. They expressed wonder as to why Uttarakhand had not figured on the list which was placed in the Lok Sabha by the union home ministry on Wednesday.
The list carries the names of 106 districts of 10 states, including Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
Intelligence officials said the threat in Uttarakhand was more alive as the state shares its borders with Uttar Pradesh, which is on the red list, and Nepal, which is one of the hubs Left extremism.
The officials referred to the recent incident in Almora where Maoists had tagged posters at an under-construction site of international school to assert their presence.
In 2005, the state police had reportedly unearthed a Maoist training camp in the forest of Lalkuan in Nainital district in 2005. A few incidents of people keep surfacing in Nainital and Almora districts every now and then, officials said.
In 2010, the Uttar Pradesh police had arrested Rajendra Fulara, a Maoist leader, who was trained in Uttarakhand in 2005. In April 2015, some posters were found in in Someshwar and Almora town under the banner of ‘Janmukti Chapamar Sena’ slamming the Narendra Modi government. In May 2014, the police held four persons of ‘Krantikari Janwadi Morcha’, which is a Maoist frontal organization in Almora district, after its members were found with some ‘extreme leftist’ posters.
However, those associated with the Left parties said ‘Left extremism’ was a buzzword to create panic in the state. Indresh Maikhuri of the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) said the government and officials usually created “artificial fear to suppress the voice of mainstream activists raising genuine issues” by spreading rumours about red threat.