In a swift move that would surely choke the supply of weapons and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) to Maoist guerrilla fighters in different States, the police busted well-organised weapon-making units in Kolkata and Mumbai on Thursday.

Maoist cadres were using these workshops, in central locations of Kolkata and Mumbai, to fabricate rocket launchers, pressure-activated mines and hand grenades. The Kolkata and Mumbai raids led to seizure of bagfuls of parts of these weapons and IEDs, in addition to the arrest of nine senior Maoist cadres, including Sadanala Ramakrishna, a senior leader, who is a contemporary of Maoist chief Muppala Laxmana Rao alias Ganapathi.

Ramakrishna, informed sources said, was in charge of the Central Technical Committee (CTC), which is given the responsibility of fabricating weapons and explosives. The CTC consists of five or six members and works under the direct supervision of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the Maoist party.

Ramakrishna was found to have used the aliases Santosh, Vinod, Bhanu and Kasturi. Hailing from Antakkapet village in Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh, he did his B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from the Regional Engineering College (later named the National Institute of Technology) in Warangal in 1976. He went underground some time around 1978. Sources in the Andhra Pradesh police said the Maoist technical team was getting the raw materials for making rocket launchers and mines from northeastern States, Odisha and Bihar. The workshops were being used to fabricate the parts which were then transported to Chhattisgarh, where they were assembled to make weapons. Armed with information of different consignments of spare parts being transported to Chhattisgarh, police teams have been checking records of various transport companies in Raipur.

Thursday's raids are significant because the Maoist guerrillas have been engaging the security forces in prolonged gun battles in which rocket launchers play a crucial role. Similarly, the extensive use of pressure-activated mines and hand grenades changed the character of the low intensity conflict in forest areas of different States.

That the Maoists have the capability to make rocket launchers came to light when a Naxalite cadre ‘Tech Madhu' was arrested sin September 2006 in Andhra Pradesh. The police then recovered hundreds of rocket launchers in Mahabubnagar, Vijayawada and Prakasam. Within a week, the police busted several workshops at Ambattur, on the outskirts of Chennai, where rocket launchers were being manufactured.

The police raided a weapon-making unit in Bhopal on January 10, 2007 and another workshop in Rourkela on January 12, 2007.

Keywords: Maoists arrest

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