Fading Maoist movement trying to recruit more women: K. Vijay Kumar

K. Vijay Kumar, Senior Security Advisor, Union Ministry of Home Affairs. File   | Photo Credit: Ragu R.

Maoists have been trying to get more women and girls into their ranks as the entire organisation is “lacking in recruitment,” but they have not been successful, said K. Vijay Kumar, senior security adviser in the Union Home Ministry.

The retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, who has been monitoring the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) scenario over more than a decade, told The Hindu that 80% of the killing of security forces is being reported from just two districts in Chattisgarh — Sukma and Bijapur. The officer added that more than geography, demography was the problem in Chattisgarh and the Maoists get to know even the stealthiest operations planned by the security forces.

However. Mr. Kumar said, with the death, killing and arrest of several senior Maoist leaders in the last couple of years, the movement is tottering and was on its last legs.

He said the recent arrest in Jharkhand of Prashant Bose alias Kishan Da and his wife Sheela Marandi, both central committee members of the banned CPI (Maoist) group was an important development.

“Both were arrested due to years of hard work of the intelligence agencies and the local police. Both Prashant Bose and Sheela Marandi were under watch, due to old age they moved in palanquins. It is after more than decade that CC members have been arrested in a well planned operation,” Mr. Kumar said.

He said the Maoists active in Odisha, Maharashtra, Telengana were mostly from Chhattisgarh.

On November 13, the Maharashtra Police gunned down 26 Maoist cadres which included top fugitive Milind Baburao Teltumbde. Known by his aliases ‘Jeeva’ and ‘Deepak’, Teltumbde was also central committee member of CPI (Maoist) and in-charge of the newly formed Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh confluence (MMC).

“Milind Teltumbde got a powerful network in Chandrapur, Gondia, Gadchiroli, Nagpur and Yavatmal districts of Maharashtra. He was moving smoothly from jungle to urban areas; his departure is a big blow to the MMC, they wanted to create a corridor till Jharkhand but that plan has been dented,” Mr Vijay Kumar said.

The other big setback was the death of another central committee member Akkiraju Hargopal alias Ramakrishna alias RK in forests of South Bastar in Chattisgarh on October 14, the officer said.

“RK was a very important character in the southern belt of Chhattisgarh; he continued to operate even after his son was killed (Prithviraj killed in 2016 at the Andhra-Odisha border) in an exchange of fire,” he said.

In 2017, Basavaraju who carries a reward of over ₹2 crore on his arrest replaced Muppala Lakshman Rao alias Ganapathi as the chief of the CPI (Maoists).

Mr. Vijay Kumar said that Ganapathi had become more of a mentor and a guide but Basavaraju, a B.Tech degree holder from Warangal in Telengana was dangerous and believes in achieving ends through violence. He added that their location was not known.

He said the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) Battalion 1 of the Maoists, led by Hidma in southern Chhattisgarh had inflicted huge damage in the past few years.

“A myth has been created around Hidma; the battalion is largely successful due to a combination of factors which includes local informers, who support them out of fear. Every movement at the security camps is watched. They use Improvised Explosive Devices, spikes, couriers and a very tactical fighting group,” Mr. Kumar added.

Hidma, a resident of Jagargunda in Sukma wields huge influence on locals and is suspected to be involved in a series of attacks against the security forces including the April 3 attack this year when 22 security personnel were killed.

In June, Haribhushan, the party’s Telangana State committee secretary died due to COVID in Chhattisgarh. “Haribhushan was assisting Hidma in preparing IEDs,” Mr. Kumar said.

He said most of the top Maoist leaders were ailing as they did not have access to medical facilities in the jungles of Chhattisgarh where most of them were hiding.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 7:31:43 PM |

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