In a major shift in strategy, the Maoists are trying out new territories that have so far been untouched in their 43-year-long history and where the security agencies will least expect them.
But the central government is already on their scent, as Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said on Sunday during his visit to Lalgarh in West Midnapore district, about 160 km west from here: “Maoists are trying to regroup across the country.”
Chidambaram’s statement followed arrests of Maoist activists from different unexpected spots in the country. For instance, when Maoist activist N.K. Singh was arrested from Bhavnagar area on March 19, no one knew the rebels were trying to spread their influence in Gujarat.
“Maoists are trying to penetrate the tribal-dominated areas of south Gujarat and the migrant population in Surat,” a senior intelligence officer told Hindustan Times.
He said the Maoists were encouraging movements for creating new states in Vidharbha and Telangana. In Maharashtra, since the Maoists are hard-pressed in their stronghold Gadchiroli, they are seeking new areas such as Chandrapur, Bhandara, Gondia, Yavatmal and Nanded districts, all parts of Vidharbha.
Maoists are also trying to find a toehold in Sonbhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli districts in southeast Uttar Pradesh. The plans to build a network in UP was revealed during the interrogation of central committee member Balraj alias Chintan, an intelligence officer said on condition of anonymity.
In Bengal, pushed back from Lalgarh and surrounding areas, the Maoists are trying to establish themselves on the Orissa border.