Maoist top gun Kishenji’s death has dealt a body blow to the rebel leadership in West Bengal, but they still have the men and firepower for retaliatory strikes, according to an intelligence report sent to the union home ministry.
The subsidiary intelligence bureau (SIB) — a central intelligence agency — report details the status of Maoist squads active in Jangalmahal (forest areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia) and other districts after Kishenji’s death in an encounter on November 24.According to the report, a copy of which is with HT, nine Maoist squads with more than 100 members are active in West Midnapore and Purulia districts and all members are being given firearms. The biggest among these is Purulia’s Ayodhya squad, with nearly 40 members.
The report lists the rebels as having 30 sophisticated firearms including five AK-47s and five INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) rifles, apart from a host of other weapons.
“As per our information, Maoists at present are suffering from an ammunition crisis. But they do not have a shortage of firearms. Kishenji’s death is a major blow to the Maoists. They are taking time to absorb it. But at the same time, they are preparing themselves to strike back. We are keeping a watch on the situation,” said Banibrata Basu, additional director general of state intelligence branch.
According to the report, Maoist squads in Belpahari, Jhargram East, Jhargram West, Jamboni, Binpur, Nayagram and Lalgarh are active in West Midnapore district. Among these, Belpahari is the biggest, with more than 20 members under the leadership of Madan Mahato.