Intelligence agencies see foreign hand in rebel arms source

Security and intelligence agencies have stumbled upon evidence that suggest the Maoists have new sources for weapons supply and they are no longer dependent only on arms snatched from the security forces. Following up on the recent foreign arms seizure, the security agencies have launched a massive operation to identify the source of these weapons. While the number of snatching incidents have hit an all-time low in the past two years, the recent seizures and intelligence inputs indicate an alternative source of armoury for the rebels. “It is evident that the rebels are no more dependent on just snatching weapons from the forces. This used to be their main supply of weapons, but now they are working in an organised manner procuring sophisticated arms from other sources,” a CRPF official said.

This year till October, only 43 incidents of the Maoists snatching weapons from the forces have been reported. Last year, 67 such incidents took place. In previous years the number was always more than 200 and it had peaked in 2008 when more than 1,200 snatching incidents took place. While the security forces began to believe this trend indicated that the movement could be reaching its all-time low, the CRPF fighting the rebels came across incidents where foreignmade weapons were used indicating that the movement is being supported from outside.

“We have evidence that exchange of weapons and training skills is very common among various groups. There has been information about terror groups using the Nepal route to infiltrate Maoist cadres to provide them with arms,” a top CRPF official said. In the past few months, there have been seizures where forces recovered weapons made in Pakistan and the US. Arms seized in October in Jharkhand included US-made carbines and a huge stock of bullets manufactured at the Pakistan Ordinance Factory. Italian pistols and UK-made bulletproof vests were seized earlier.

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