NEW DELHI: After facing some reverses in their strongholds, the CPI (Maoist) has formed a ‘Golden Corridor Committee’ to build its base in hitherto untouched industrial areas of Gujarat and Maharashtra, stretching from Pune to Ahmedabad, including commercial hubs like Mumbai, Nashik, Surat and Vadodara.
Besides, the Red Ultras have planned to expand their movement to Nagpur, Wardha, Bhandara and Yavatmal districts of Maharashtra in addition to their existing bases in Gadchiroli, Gondia and Chandrapur in the state.
Maoists’ game-plan is to make foray into these unexplored areas was disclosed by the Union home ministry in response to a question in Parliament on Tuesday. The ministry informed the Lok Sabha that Maharashtra alone had witnessed 221 deaths in naxal incidents from 2008 till November, 2011. The state has reported more deaths (51) this year as compared to 2010 when it had witnessed 45 killings in Red violence.
Security agencies had first got to know about the Maoists’ plan to set up another theatre of their activities through the ‘Golden Corridor Committee’ after arresting a number of Ultras in Maharashtra in the past six months, including the first batch of 10 Maoists – all belong to West Bengal – in Pune in May. All the Ultras were working as casual labourers in different industrial units.
“Their questioning and subsequent arrests of many more Maoists gave us lot of details about the Ultras’ plan to set up their bases in the industrial areas of Gujarat and Maharashtra,” said an official.
Though the CPI (Maoist) had planned to set up the ‘Golden Corridor Committee’ in February, 2008, it took shape recently when Urban Unit of the Red Ultras started recruiting cadres in different cities of both the states – primarily from among those who are working in various industrial units.
Western India has become one of the eight strategic areas for Maoist activities. Establishing organizational bases in north-eastern India is yet another ‘new’ strategic area, where they have forged relations with insurgent groups to meet their military requirements.
In response to another question in the Lok Sabha, the ministry said that the CPI (Maoist) had developed “close fraternal ties with north-eastern insurgent groups like the Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of Manipur. Both the outfits have agreed upon mutual cooperation in the areas of training, funding and supply of arms and ammunitions”.
Referring to Maoists’ north-east agenda, the ministry said: “The Upper Assam Leading Committee (UALC) of the CPI (Maoist) is presently operating in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and has been involved in incidents of looting of weapons and extortion from local villagers”.
Stating that the UALC has also engaged in recruitment and training of cadres for the outfit in Assam and these cadres have been utilized in extensive propaganda against mega dam in Assam, the ministry said: “In this backdrop, Assam-Arunachal border has emerged as another theatre of Maoist activity. The outfit is also establishing separate channels in the north-east, particularly in Nagaland, for procurement of ammunition.”