Naxals now focus on recruiting Nagpur lads
NAGPUR: Security agencies may be upbeat over the recruitment crunch that Naxalites are facing, but reality presents a different perspective. While security agencies are highlighting the depleting strength of dalams in the forests, records show that youths, including women, from metros are increasingly getting drawn towards the rebel movement. It is learnt that a Nagpur-based person, Anil Nagpure alias Vikas, is now working as divisional committee (DVC) member of Korchi-Khobramenda-Kurkheda (KKK) dalam which is part of the North Gadchiroli Gondia Balaghat division. Security agencies sources claimed that Vikas was fluent in several languages. Another senior cadre from Nagpur, Nandu Behade, alias Aryan, is learnt to be close to Milind Teltumbde, secretary of Maharashtra state Rajya committee, which also functions in North Gadchiroli Gondia Balaghat division. Behade is learnt to be engaged in jungle warfare apart from implementing the agenda of CPI (Maoist) in the city. It is also learnt that nearly half a dozen cadres have moved to different cities in September 2012 on various assignments.
The latest information regarding the presence of urban cadres in Naxal dalams and the responsibilities entrusted to them were provided by a senior cadre who surrendered to Yavatmal district police a few months ago. The police records also labelled Nagpur resident Prem Wanjari, a postgraduate in social work, as an urban cadre, who worked under the pseudonym Shekhar Thakre. Wanjari, a resident of Prem Nagar, had committed suicide when cops started quizzing him for his Naxal connect. Sushma Ramteke, alias Shraddha Gurav, a resident of Yogi Nagar in Ajni, was arrested from Pune in 2011 for her close connection to senior woman cadre Angela Sontakke, who was engaged in giving shape to Naxal’s agenda of creating a golden corridor in western India. Sontakke was nabbed in Thane.
“The city-based front organizations are the platform to draw in the young cadres. The determined, fighters and tough ones are handpicked and sent to the jungles,” said a senior police official involved in anti-Naxal operations. “We have seized documents during anti-Naxal operations suggesting that party wants cadres from the city who are better equipped to understand and propagate the ideology than the tribals,” the official said. Records available with security agencies show there are at least 15 youths recruited from different cities elevated to senior ranks in Naxal hierarchy. Seven of these are from Pune, six from Chandrapur and two from Nagpur. They are operating full-time in North Gadchiroli Gondia Balaghat division and also for Maharashtra State Rajya Committee. A senior official claimed interrogation details of JNU student Hem Mishra and freelance journalist Prashant Rahi, both arrested by Gadchiroli police last month, showed how the Naxalites had made inroads in several colleges and organizations connected to labour, women and backward sections of the society. “Several city-based intellectuals, literary personalities and such people are engaged in garnering mass support base for carrying out Naxal agenda and create opportunities for recruitment,” said the official.
Naxal cadres prefer crowded places
The Naxals’ urban cadres, couriers and other operatives, prefer to meet at crowded places like cinema halls, railway ticket counters, busy junctions, colleges and such prominent places or landmarks for exchanging information and couriers. According to senior officer of anti-Naxal operations, Dadar railway station, ticket counters, temple on its eastern side, railway platforms and places around Chitra Talkies are some of the favorite places in Mumbai where the Naxal operatives prefer in Mumbai. The interrogation of senior Naxal cadres revealed that Vashi Railway station and Lakeside in Pune are learnt to be two other venues preferred by them. “The Naxals prefer railways, and other public transport against private vehicles. In jungles and villages, they take buses plying in the interiors apart from tractors or bikes of the local residents,” the senior claimed.
Maoists scaring away foreigners, staff: HAL to Orissa
The August 27 landmine blast triggered by Maoists in Koraput, in which four BSF men were killed, has cast its shadow on Navratna PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s factory in the district with foreign nationals, mainly Russian engineers, reluctant to visit there fearing similar attacks. In two separate letters to Orissa Chief Secretary Jugal Mohapatra last month, HAL Executive Director Anirudh Kumar said that apart from the Russians, vendors and suppliers from different parts of the country are reluctant to come to Sunabeda — where the factory is located — to provide necessary supply and support for machineries and other equipment. “Our employees and their family members are also worried in view of the deteriorating law and order situation. Officials from other divisions of HAL located in Bangalore, Nasik, Kanpur, Lucknow and Hyderabad are reluctant to visit Sunabeda on official work or being posted on transfer.
The transfer requests to move out of Sunabeda is increasing,” Kumar wrote. “Such an incident not only affects the operations of the factory, but also puts expansion and new projects in jeopardy. It is requested to take appropriate steps to mitigate the situation for the sake of the defence requirements of the country, smooth operation of a vital installation in Orissa and in the interest of around 25,000 direct and 1 lakh indirect beneficiaries,” he wrote. The HAL factory at Sunabeda, set up in 1995, manufactures engines for the MiG series and Su-30MKI fighter aircraft for IAF, Navy, Coast Guard and BSF. Although the district has seen Maoist presence for several years now, the August 27 attack on NH 26 in Pottangi area of Koraput has triggered the fears.
The blast spot is just 35 km from the HAL facility. The HAL official said that since Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh is the nearest point from where they can get rail and air connectivity to other parts of the country, they have no other option but to travel on the Pottangi route. HAL Koraput also uses the same route to send aircraft engines directly to IAF bases. The PSU has also demanded revival of the Jeypore airport, about a km away from its facility for better air connectivity and landing of AVRO and AN-32 carrier aircrafts. The Jeypore runway was in use till 1987.
In the letters, HAL has also raised the issue of encroachment, saying three hamlets in its land pose a risk to its township. HAL complained that people of these hamlets are making unreasonable demands like return of their land by state government, employment, free medical and education facilities and resorting to agitational methods. FEAR on highway Visakhapatnam, which is 180 km from Sunabeda, is a vital travel point for HAL employees as well as the facility’s vendors and engineers. National Highway 26 is important as it connects Sunabeda with the Andhra port city, which has the nearest rail junction and international airport. The August 27 landmine blast, targeting the BSF convoy, took place in Pottangi area on NH-26, which is just 35 km from Sunabeda and is one of the points the HAL employees regularly cross.