Inputs on Maoists put security agencies in Madhya Pradesh on high alert | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Inputs on Maoists put security agencies in Madhya Pradesh on high alert

Intelligence input of a ‘Vistaar’ platoon of Maoists operating in the area, discovery of raw materials for making IEDs in Langi district by a police patrol and arrest of two sympathisers ring alarm bells in Madhya Pradesh.

india Updated: Jun 18, 2017 12:25 IST
Punya Priya Mitra
Police with IED seized in the Sitapala jungle, close to the border with Maoist-hit Chhattisgarh.
Police with IED seized in the Sitapala jungle, close to the border with Maoist-hit Chhattisgarh. (HT Photo)

With only a year-and-a-half left for Madhya Pradesh to go to polls, the Maoists are slowly strengthening their presence in Balaghat district, one of their main areas of operation.

The recent intelligence input of a ‘Vistaar’ platoon of Maoists operating in the area, discovery of raw materials for making Improvised Explosive Devise (IED) in Langi district by a police patrol and arrest of two sympathisers made the security agencies go on high alert.

The job of the Vistaar platoons is to scour the area to find the area for operation.

“It is in the nature of the Maoist movement that they will try and expand their base for which they have long-term planning and Vistaar platoons are part of the strategy team, though of course there is no guarantee that armed action will follow,” says Maoist expert and journalist Ruchir Garg, who is based in Raipur, Chhattisgarh.

Of late, the Maoists have increased their operations in Chhattisgarh and killed 37 CRPF personnel in March and April in Sukma, and Balaghat is situated some 440 km south east of Bhopal and forms a trisection with Rajnandgoan in Chhattisgarh and Gondia in Maharashtra.

The latter two districts have significant extremist presence.

Their recent decision to carve out a separate divisional committee — going by the acronym GRB (Gondia in Maharashtra, Rajnandgoan in Chhattisgarh and Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh) — out of the existing North GGRB divisional committee is also worrying the central and state agencies.

By carving out a separate divisional committee, they have indicated that they want to focus in the area, which so far has not seen any major bloodbath, even though Balaghat forms part of the so called ‘Red Corridor’ of the Maoists” says an intelligence official.

However, contrary to common perception that the recent spate of killings on CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh will mean Maoists taking refuge in Madhya Pradesh, intelligence source said in most cases they hide deep inside the territory known

to them and do not run somewhere else in case of police pressure.

According to the state government, there are nine districts in Madhya Pradesh where Maoists are said to be present. But of these, the worst affected are two tehsils – Lanji and Baihar.

According to officials there are three dalams or area committees – Tanda (named after the river) and Malajkhand (famous for its copper mines) and Darre Khasa operating in Balaghat. There is also news that they are trying to revive the Paraswara dalam, which disappeared in the mid-nineties.

After a gap of few years, the movement of Maoists in Balaghat had increased in 2016.

These included killing of two police informers, burning of trucks among other things, which has already alarmed the local police and intelligence agencies.

Though there has been no major incident this year, that their presence is quite significant was borne by the arrest of two of their sympathisers who were raising money for the Malajkhand Dalam last week. This was followed by arrest of the contractor from whom the money was extorted.

The police recovered ?3.4 lakh from them. In the middle of May, a police patrol found raw materials for making IED on the road leading to Katema in Langi tehsil.

In mid- April, a team of the central reserve police force (CRPF) had also found a similar explosive dumped in the Sonewani jungle, also in Balaghat district, where Maoist groups, including Malajkhand, Tanda and Darre Khasa Dalams, are active.

Balaghat SP, Amit Sanghi said that they are aware of the challenges and without disclosing much he said, “We have made certain changes on the ground operations to become more effective and so far it has paid off.

This is a crucial period for us because the tendu patta plucking season is going on at present.