With the recent arrests of Maoists from Surat raising an alarm and a possibility of the insurgents taking shelter (evading the hunt down in central India), the so far comfortable Gujarat is now training and sensitizing its police force about the threat of Left wing extremism in the state.
“The State so far has not witnessed any Maoist attacks (as seen in other places like Chattisgarh) but the arrests (of Maoists and sympathizers) from south Gujarat comes as an alarm. We started training and sensitization of our officers about the threat (that may be looming large),” Balvant Singh, additional chief secretary (home) told HT.
The move also comes at a time when a deadly Maoist attack killed about 75 CRPF commandos last week in Chattisgarh.
The strong message to the State Police, so far not trained in counter Maoist operations, is that the ‘Left Ultras are not far away from the State’, Singh said.
South Gujarat – from Dahod to Valsad – with thick jungles borders Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. With the Operation Green Hunt at its peak in central India and a possibility of the insurgents taking shelter in the ‘so far immune and unsuspecting state’, Police forces do not want to take chances.
According to Singh, they would send the Chetak Commandos - raised on lines of NSG to counter cross border terrorism - for special jungle warfare training once they return from their training in Jodhpur.
A special unit can also be raised and trained in jungle warfare to tackle any impending Maoist menace, a (another) senior Police official said.
“There is no threat as of now, but we need to be on look out (for the Maoists). We are training our forces for the same,” S S Khandwawala, DGP told HT.
Police officials are also taking the development message to the people -primarily tribals – to negate any influence of the Maoist ideology in these parts.
Surat is also a hub of industrial activity with thousands from Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh migrating here to work in textile units etc –among whom the Maosits can hide and propagate their message against the class enemy – in this case - the industrialists.
“We are explaining the people especially the tribals as what the government is doing for them (through various schemes) and their complaints are also being addressed promptly,” K G Bhati, Superindent of Police, Surat (Rural) told HT.
“At same time, we are telling our personnel not to think that they are safe and should be ready for any consequences,” Bhati said.
According to Singh, the State is raising three new groups of Special Reserve Police with 3600 personnel and also doubling its Chetak Units to eight from present four (about 500 commandos as of now).
Following arrest of one Suryadevara Prabhakar by Mumbai Police, the Gujarat Police arrested Niranjan Mahapatra and other accomplices from Surat and Bhavanagar in March.