Maoists aiming to spread tentacles around Delhi, Mumbai

By Sahil Makkar, IANS

New Delhi : Maoists, who have spread terror over many parts of India from their bases in the central forest belt of the country, are now aiming to penetrate cities, especially the national capital region (NCR) and areas surrounding Mumbai, an intelligence report says.

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Maoists are now aiming to strike a balance between consolidation of existing bases and expanding to new areas by exploiting issues like displacement due to formation of special economic zones (SEZs), says the report, prepared during the annual directors general of police (DGPs) conference in November last year.

“Their plan,” the report says, “is to penetrate urban areas to mobilise masses, for which four areas have been identified – economic corridor in NCR, areas surroundings Mumbai, mineral belt of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.”

The National Capital Region includes Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Bahadurgarh.

Delhi Police Commissioner Y.S. Dadwal told IANS that he was aware of the intelligence inputs and appropriate measures have been taken.

“Maoism is a national problem and we are fully aware of the intelligence inputs on their plans and strategies in the NCR region,” Dadwal said.

Asked if a special unit has been formed on similar lines as the Special Operation Squad (SOS) targeting underworld mafias and hardcore criminals, Dadwal said: “We don’t need a special unit for this. Delhi Police’s Special Cell is well trained to handle all such challenges.”

The report said that metropolitan cities like Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai also figured on the Maoists’ radar. The report said the Maoists were planning to expand their military wing.

A senior official said: “Left wing extremism had always been a major threat to our internal security. It is a matter of serious concern that they are expanding their bases to metropolitan cities by raising trivial issues.

“Intelligence inputs have also suggested that Maoists are targeting youngsters, mainly focussing on software professionals, through blogs and emails to involve them. The motive is to garner more support.”

Addressing the chief ministers’ conference last December, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had pointed out that left wing extremism continues to affect many districts of the country. “Not a day passes without an incident of left wing extremism taking place somewhere or the other.

“It is probably single biggest security challenge to the Indian state. We cannot rest in peace until we have eliminated this virus.”

According to latest figures from the home ministry, Maoists were involved in 1,285 incidents and 571 casualties of security personnel and civilians in January-October 2007, compared to 1,509 incidents and 610 casualties in the same period in 2006.

Among the 11 states officially acknowledged to be affected by Maoist violence, Chhattisgarh topped the 2007 list with 311 casualties, followed by Jharkhand with 123 and Bihar with 53.