Yet another alleged Maoist activist has been arrested in Gujarat giving indication that the naxalite movement has started gaining ground in the hitherto unaffected western State.

The police on Friday night picked up N. K. Singh, hailing from Begusarai in Bihar, from the Alang ship-breaking yard in Bhavnagar in the Saurashtra region where he was running a labour union. The arrest was made on the basis of the lead the police got from the mobile phone of another Maoist leader, Niranjan Mahapatra, who was arrested from Surat on Wednesday. The police said the two were in close contact with each other.

Niranjan, an alleged naxalite activist from Orissa, was arrested in Pandesara area of Surat where he was living in a small house in Jagannath Nagar area for the last couple of years. The police believed that he was trying to spread Maoist activities among the tribals in south Gujarat as well as among the diamond cutters and power loom industrial workers, both hit by the recent recessionary trend. The police claimed that both Niranjan and N. K. Singh were members of the outlawed CPI (M-L) Janshakti and were active in Gujarat for sometime.

While conjectures of left extremism gaining ground in the State were going on for some time now, the State police on February 26 had filed a comprehensive FIR against the outlawed CPI (Maoist) to probe into the outfit's activities and the people involved in spreading its network in the State.

Intelligence inputs had also cautioned the State police of growing naxal activities in the State, particularly in south Gujarat.

Kobad Ghandy link?

Their possible network in Gujarat was exposed by the arrest made in January by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad of Surya Dev Prabhakar who was believed to be in-charge of the naxal operations in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat also along with Maharashtra.

It was also learnt that Prabhakar was working in close tandem with the top naxal leader, Kobad Ghandy.