WB dealt with Maoist menace better, feel security officials

New Delhi, Sept 7: Central intelligence sources have claimed that Maoist violence in West Bengal has receded considerably, said a report published in Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika on Friday. According to them, joint ventures by forces have reined in the Maoist menace throughout the country and that after the death of Kishenji and arrest of some top Maoist leaders, they were afraid lot now, hiding mostly in the jungles of Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand. The intelligence officials, however, were not feeling complacent that the Maoists have become militarily weaker.

According to the report, the Maoists have already set up a new battalion at Dandakaranya in Chhattisgarh and were on the way to form a second one. Intelligence sources said the Maoists have been training up armed cadres from among local villagers and believe the extremists still have the firepower to retaliate.

Director General (DG) of the Central Reserve Police Force K Vijay Kumar said at a meeting of the top officials of West Bengal Police held on Friday that police ventures and development in the Maoist-hit areas should also be backed by political activism, the newspaper report said. He said in places like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, development work could not be started even after pushing back the Maoists due to a political vacuum.

The crippled panchayat systems and ineffective functioning of state or district administrative machineries have created such a situation, said the DG. In some places, the Maoists themselves are contesting rural polls and winning while at other areas, they are threatening the elected representatives, the report said quoting Kumar.

The DG and intelligence officials admitted that West Bengal was doing a better job in this regard, added the report. The Mamata Banerjee government has encouraged party activities in the Maoist-hit Jangalmahal area besides police action and development work. The CM’s frequent visits to Jangalmahal have also made some impact. State police DG Naparajit Mukhopadhayay also echoed the same, saying arrest of some top Maoist leaders and surrender of some others are results of the good work of the police and administration.

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde also admitted that the Maoists were adding to their military strength. The flow of arms to them was high, particularly from the north-eastern parts of the country, said the intelligence sources.

Officials have decided that the forces would try to restrict the Maoists in their own strongholds in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Quite a few Maoist leaders have paid the price by trying to come out in the open and work for the organisation. This has made them hide in the jungles, felt intelligence officers.

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