The Maoists have infiltrated Kolkata and its suburbs once again, entrenching themselves in some of the very areas that were their strongholds during the first phase of their movement, 40 years ago.
They have raised an action squad of trained fighters, picked from areas with sizeable scheduled caste, scheduled tribe populations and brought them to the city.
<b1>Intelligence officials named specific areas in North and South Parganas and Howrah — the districts that surround Kolkata — in which the Maoists had once more established bases.
This was revealed to the police and intelligence agencies by Venkateswar Reddy, alias Telugu Deepak (44), state committee member and Bengal military commission chief of the party, arrested last Wednesday.
Deepak also said a section of government employees and former Naxal activists were working for the Maoists.
Intelligence officers, who have been interrogating him, told HT Deepak had selected a number of soft targets in the city for the squad to strike at with improvised explosive devices.
They said, quoting Deepak, that the Maoists were keen to avoid hurting ordinary civilians. They would hit government — specially security — establishments instead, to inflict heavy losses on the police and paramilitary forces.
“The Maoists can’t have a guerrilla-style hit-and-run operation in Kolkata. But they may plant IEDs at police camps,” an intelligence officer said.
They could also plant explosives in political leaders’ vehicles, a senior officer of the state police’s Criminal Investigation Department said. He said Deepak had developed a unique IED that could be triggered despite the detonating wire being spotted and disconnected.
Deepak also told his interrogators that the Maoist strategy was to place propagandists in lower middle-class suburban areas to transform people’s grievances into “revolutionary zeal”.
Deepak himself had camped in a tribal-dominated area in Howrah district and worked as a homoeopathic doctor to gain people’s confidence.