MP: Maoists wanted to influence tendu leaf plucking
The Maoists who had an encounter with Madhya Pradesh security personnel in Balaghat on Thursday were newly recruited from Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and wanted to influence tendu leaf plucking to broaden base, investigations have reveled.
A Maoist was injured in gun-battles with teams of Madhya Pradesh anti-Maoist Hawk Force, Central security force and Balaghat district police in the jungles between Chukkatola and Bhagwandeeh twice on Thursday.
The encounter took place almost four years after two Maoists were gunned down in Lanji area of Balaghat district on May 24, 2012.
The group of 25-30 fresh recruits were led by three hardcore Maoists, including Tanda Malajkhand area committee member Sangita, who carries a reward of Rs 7 lakh on head and is wanted by the Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh police.
The other two included Tanda Malajkhand area committee member Dipak, who carries a Rs 30 lakh reward on head, and divisional commander of North Gadchiroli Gondia committee Naresh, who carries Rs 20 lakh bounty.
The Maoists were camping in the jungles between Chukkatola and Bhagwandeeh in Balaghat district to extort money from contractors of tendu leaf plucking on the Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh-Maharashatra trisection, investigations have revealed.
Balaghat police sources said the Maoists had planned to fuel resentment among tribes people plucking tendu leaves by telling them that they are paid Rs 130 per hundred leaves instead of Rs 150 per hundred leaves.
Seven teams of the state Hawk Force, three of the CRPF and cops of three police stations of Balaghat are searching for the fleeing Maoists in the 80-km-long forest edging Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh.
The Balaghat police officials believe that the Maoist injured in Thursday’s encounter has sustained bullet wounds in the thigh and is being nursed somewhere in the border areas.
“While four Maoists are carrying their injured colleague, another group of 25-plus are still holed up in the other part of the jungles spanning in Roopjhar, Malajkhand and Lanji areas of Balaghat district,” Balaghat superintendent of police Gaurav Tiwari said.
Inspector general (anti-Maoist operation) RS Meena, Balaghat inspector general DC Sagar and Gaurav Tiwari are camping in the jungles to supervise the combing and search operations.