Is Gujarat becoming Naxalite hideout?

AHMEDABAD: On October 5, the city police showed the arrest of Ramsuhag Rudal (Paswan), 23, a zonal committee commander of Bihar Maoist force, as the first Naxalite capture in the city. During questioning, Rudal told police that he had travelled extensively to areas such as Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Kutch, and Banaskantha before starting work as a labour supervisor at Santalpur in Patan district. The arrest came two days after that of Pavan Dhanraj Rai, a sub-zonal area commander of Communist Party of India (Maoist) from Chikhli village of Navsari district.

Along with Rai, two local supporters were also caught. “The arrest of these leaders from two different areas in a matter of three days is posing a serious question,” said a senior crime branch official. “Have these leaders – who claim to have changed their lives – come here to seek refuge and lie low, or to make inroads into the large migrant population working in factories and at construction sites? So far we have got nothing except their records from the special task force of Bihar.”

Police are undecided on the question because even after a string of arrests of people allegedly involved in Naxalite activities in 2010, not a single case was reported throughout 2011. A senior police official who spearheaded the anti-Naxalite campaign in south Gujarat told TOI on the condition of anonymity that nobody can deny the presence of sleeper cells of Naxalite leaders in the state. “However, most of the arrested have been released or have been given bail due to the lack of evidence,” the senior official said.

“We believe there will be no violence or capture of territory here, but Naxalites can make a dent in industrial empires by winning the confidence of trade unions.” The state police had sent IPS officers to other states to get a perspective. Officials added that with the state being home to a large population of migrant workers, the task of weeding out Naxalite sympathizers would be onerous. The labour market is highly unorganized and there is no way that a background check of each and every worker can be carried out, an official said.

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