The arrest of a top Maoist commander in Uttar Pradesh has laid bare plans by the Leftist rebels to set up bases in the urban centres of the country’s most populous state.
Chanarik Das alias Chandan, commander of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), central zone, was arrested by the Special Task Force (STF) from a bus station in Meerut on Monday.
Chandan was involved in the October 19, 2012 attack on a police team in the Dumariya area of Gaya where he had managed to kill seven security personnel by triggering a landmine.
The Maoist leader was arrested two days after the district magistrate and superintendent of police of Mirzapur received identical letters, purportedly written by the rebel group threatening to blow up the district collectorate and other government establishments.
After the letters were delivered on Saturday, security for both the officers has been beefed up.
A senior Uttar Pradesh police officer said that the banned outfit was working towards expand its base in the urban centres of Uttar Pradesh after finding a foothold in the tribal-dominated areas of Sonbhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli.
According to the officer, the bases in the towns and cities are planned to serve as "safe hideouts" for procuring arms and ammunition to run their war machine.
UP inspector general (law and order) Amarendra Kumar Sengar said that Chandan, a native of Salaitand village in Gaya district of Bihar, was hiding in Muzaffarnagar for several months.
Police claimed that he was in touch with arms dealers for arranging weapons, explosives and cartridges for Maoists in Bihar.
Interrogation of Chandan was continuing and police hope to gather more information on the Maoists’ plans in the state.
In fact, Maoists have been active in the state for quite some time now, giving sleepless nights to security forces and intelligence agencies.
A couple of months ago, police had managed to arrest eleven members of the CPI (Maoists) from Allahabad, Kanpur and Gorakhpur.
During interrogation, police officials found that the Maoists have established links with local arms supplier and were smuggling out arms and ammunition to cadres of the People's Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) cadre in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
PLGA is the armed wing of the CPI (Maoists).
Around half-one-dozen arms dealers were also taken into custody.
What has become a major worry for the government is the manner in which Maoists managed to "infiltrate" police armoury for weapons.
On June 15 last year, the STF arrested three policemen in Hamirpur district involved in smuggling of firearms and cartridges. Two carbine, a rifle and cartridges were recovered from their possession.
During investigation it was found that the policemen used to sale firearms and cartridges stocked in the armoury to Maoists in Uttar Pradesh and neighbouring states.