Kerala

Police suspect Maoist urban cell

Pamphlets distributed among estate workers in Wayanad

The Kerala Police have reportedly flagged the possibility that the proscribed Communist Party of India (Maoist) might have gained considerable influence in urban localities since 2016.

Last week, anonymous persons had visited the quarters of plantation workers in Meppadi in Wayanad and distributed pamphlets demanding a minimum daily wage of ₹800 for workers.

Simultaneously, the Press Club, Wayanad, received an anonymous letter stating that the police had illegally detained a few Maoists. The police suspect that an urban Maoist cell possibly based in Kalpetta is behind the poster campaign at Mundakkai in Meppadi and that such political units could exist in other citified localities clandestinely and behind the cover of the mainstream Left parties. They had strung up banners and distributed copies of their mouthpiece.

A senior official said the Maoists appeared to draw urban youth to their cause by exuding a latter day ‘Robin Hood’ image of taking from the rich to provide for the poor.

So far, the security establishment’s controversial drive against so-called ‘urban Naxalites’ had swept up at least two upfront activists of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Kozhikode.

Debate in LDF

It had also ignited a sharp debate on the blurred line between democratic dissent and insurgency. The Communist Party of India, a constituent of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), has not subscribed to the police view.

Apparently toeing the police line, CPI(M) Kozhikode district secretary K. Mohanan added a new dimension to the controversy by stating that fringe Islamist forces had found common cause with Maoists in towns.

An official said that both groups, though seemingly ideologically incompatible, had developed a symbiotic relationship due to their shared opposition to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

Several of their activists are in jail under the law, which offered limited scope for bail. They collaborated in prisons and often employed the same set of lawyers.

The focus on so-called covert Maoist political cells in mainstream society comes at a time when police commandos are engaged in anti-Maoist operations in the State’s forests contiguous with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The operations have so far in the death of seven insurgents with no causalities on the police side.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 4:37:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/police-suspect-maoist-urban-cell/article30080127.ece

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