Gadchiroli encounter shows how Maoists are moving out of Bastar to new havens
Chhattisgarh security forces say the attacks in Dandakaranya have led to disputes between Maoist leaders and the cadre.india Updated: Apr 24, 2018 23:43 IST
Maoist rebels are under pressure from security forces in Dandakaranya forests of east-central India, their traditional stronghold, and are trying to build a new bastion, according to interrogation reports of Maoist leaders and documents seized by police of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, a reason why they may be congregating in Gadchiroli.
Dandakarayana is spread between the borders of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Odisha, and the Maoists call it a free zone. The Communist Party of India (Maoist) has divided Dandakaranya into nine divisions, each comprising three/five area committees; every area committee is composed of several local organisational squads ( LOS ) and local guerrilla squads ( LGS).
South Gadchiroli is one of the nine divisions of the Maoists in Dandakaranya where 37 Maoists have been killed by security forces in the last three days, including 31 in an encounter on April 22.
“The recent activities of Maoists in Rajnandgaon, Khawardha (both in Chhattisgarh), Balaghat and Mandala (both in Madhya Pradesh) proves that they are moving to new regions in the MMC, of which Gondia and a tip of Gadchiroli (both in Maharashtra) are part. As per details available with us, there are about 180 armed cadres who have shifted to this new MMC area,” said a senior intelligence officer posted in Chhattisgarh who did not want to be named, referring to the Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh or MMC region.
According to security forces officers in Chhattisgarh, the attacks by security forces in Dandakaranya have led to disputes between Maoist leaders and the cadre.
On February 9, Gadchiroli police arrested Ramanna, also known as Srinivas Madru, and his wife Padma, both Maoist operatives. Ramanna was one of the founder members of the Peoples’ War Group (PWG) that merged with another rebel outfit, Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI), in 2004 to give birth to the unified CPI (Maoist).
Ramanna allegedly told the police the CPI (Maoist) is now concentrating on the tri-junction of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.
“We have documents which suggest that owing to pressure of the security forces in Dandakaraya region, they are now shifting to MMC... They are armed with automatic weapons but steps to contain them are going on,” said DM Awasthi, special director general (anti-Maoist operations), Chhattisgarh police.
A letter recovered by the security forces in February 2017 from Bastar points to increasing pressure from security forces in the region forcing Maoists to shift to MMC.
The letter written to a Maoist rebel, identified as comrade Surendra, from comrade Somru said: “Oppression is rising. The enemy are opening camps. Villagers are fleeing from the area and we are working in difficult conditions.”