The Maoists are closer than you think. The armed cadres of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) are in forests, but it has a formidable network of operatives and supporters across major cities of India.
CPI(Maoist), responsible for 721 murders in 2008 alone, is banned as a terrorist organisation under Indian laws.
The arrest of Politburo member Kobad Ghandy on Monday from the heart of Delhi was not a one off incident — four other members were picked up earlier from cities such as Ranchi, Patna, Kolkota and Raipur.
Politburo members Pramod Mishra, Narayan Sanyal, Sushil Roy and Amitabh Bagchi are in custody. Six are elusive, including general secretary Ganapathi.
Apprehending a major offensive by the Centre and state governments soon, the Maoists have stepped up efforts to make Delhi and suburbs the hub of their activities to discredit the government through a propaganda war, a recent intelligence report has warned.
Maoist documents seized by the Chhattisgarh police last year had detailed strategies to infiltrate NGOs, human rights groups, students’ organisations and labour unions. Maoists have stepped up these efforts in light of the coming government campaign, the report said.
The urban network is crucial to the Maoist operations for procurement of weapons and rations, treatment of injured cadres and sustaining a media campaign against the government through frontal outfits.
On August 6, according to the agencies, 18 outfits, including those perceived to have soft corner for Maoists (like the Release of Political Prisoners, Democratic Students Union, People Democratic Front of India and Revolutionary Democratic Front) held a meeting in Delhi to discuss human rights violations by security forces.
Many of the 37 members of the CPI(Maoist) central committee live in towns and cities. Police in different states have had inputs about having spotted Ganapathi and Prashant Bose, a senior Politburo member, in Cochin, Rourkela, Hyderabad, Kolkota and Raipur. Sources told HT, Ganapathi has serious knee problem and sought treatment in Bokaro in 2007.
A tour operator in Raipur, who has been a front for Maoists and arrested early last year, confessed to have transported both Ganapathi and Bose on different occasions to the borders of Bastar jungles from the city. In the absence of any photographs in public domain, Maoist leaders manage to move around rather easily, under different aliases.
In early 2008, the Chhattisgarh police sized a video recording the Maoist party Congress held in Bheem Bandh in Jamui district of Bihar in 2007. Photographs of several senior leaders, including Ganapathi and Bose, were extracted from it.