Security agencies achieved a significant breakthrough on Wednesday night, with the arrest of senior Maoist leader Rupesh alias Jogi, who heads the recently formed Western Ghats Special Zonal Committee, police sources said.
The arrest is seen as a severe blow to the Maoist movement’s efforts to regain its stronghold in the tri-junction of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
Acting on a tip-off from the Special Intelligence Branch (SIB) of the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh police, the ‘Q’ Branch CID of the Tamil Nadu police arrested Rupesh, his wife Shyna, Anoop, Eswaran and Kannan at Karumathampatti near Coimbatore. The formation of a special zone usually indicates that the Maoists have scaled up their activities from the organisational phase to guerilla warfare as they did earlier in Telangana, the sources said.
After months of tracking intelligence inputs, the SIB on Wednesday alerted the Intelligence Bureau and the Tamil Nadu police to the presence of Rupesh and others near Coimbatore. An armed police party surrounded the Maoists at a bakery. Police did not say whether any arms or ammunition were recovered, the sources said.
Rupesh, a law graduate from Thrissur, was allegedly involved in about 30 cases in Kerala. Police said he was among the most wanted Maoist leaders in the country. “It is a big catch. Rupesh was leading Maoist operations in the tri-junction and involved in the attacks on forest establishments in Kerala and also on some MNC retail outlets. His wife Shyna was working as clerk in the Kerala High Court and later joined the Maoists,” a police official told The Hindu .
Asked if the Maoists were targeting any establishment in Tamil Nadu, the official said: “They may have been here to organise logistics for movement of cadres or supplies. Tamil Nadu is sometimes seen as a place to rest and recuperate.”