NAGPUR: A section of the security and intelligence agencies feel the Naxal operatives and their supporters have begun avoiding city as a hideout and venue of meetings. The heightened awareness and alertness of the different security agencies seems to be behind the sudden fall of preference for this city among the rebel ranks.
While Vidarbha continued to remain a preferred destination of Madhya Pradesh-based Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives who feel this region is safer as a hideout with MP police having adopted an aggressive strategy against them, sources claimed Naxal activists now fear getting caught here. The sources in agencies also said that several red rebels had revealed during custodial interrogation that they no longer felt Nagpur was no longer safe. Because of its central position, Nagpur was once a favourite destination for the rebels who would use this city as transport hub and also for other facilities like hospitals and a section of sympathetic population to find potential support base.
In Nagpur, Naxals had managed to trigger a major pro-dalit and anti-state demonstration during Khairlanji agitations in 2006. That also gave a wake up call to the security and intelligence agencies who started vigorous vigilance exercises. “The underground cadres mostly have shifted to places like Kolhapur and Sholapur in western Maharashtra where the security agencies do not have deep knowledge about their movement. The rebel guerrillas are using Wardha also as stop-over point before going to places like Gadchiroli and Chandrapur,” said a senior official. The official felt western Maharashtra had become their latest destination for rehabilitation and recuperation.
Naxals cadres are taking up small jobs in suburban localities in places where there is not much awareness about the movement. “In Vidarbha, intelligence agencies are well-equipped with the knowledge of the cadres. At least, names and aliases of most cadres are known. We also have photos of some of them,” said an official. “In western Maharashra, the security and intelligence personnel are more focused about terrorists than Naxals and so the rebel cadres feel safer there,” he said. The officer also suggested that different intelligence agencies should be merged to form a unified anti-Naxal and anti-terrorist unit under a single command for more focused action.