Meteoric rise of two Maoists poses new challenge for security forces
Rise of tribal leader, Ambedkar kin in Maoist ranks The meteoric rise in the Maoist ranks of two leaders, one tribal and the other Dalit, may force the government’s anti-Maoist think-tanks to do a rethink on their strategies. Hidama, 35, a tribal from Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, has made it to the Dand Karanya Special Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoist) in a short span of time, sending positive signals across the tribals working in the Maoist organisation. Milind Teltumbde, 49, known as Sahyadri, has recently made it to the Central Committee of the CPI (Maoist). Milind, a Dalit, hails from Wani town in Chandrapur. Incidentally, he is a kin of B.R. Ambedkar. Known for his cool mind and military planning, Hidama heads the Maoist military battalion no.1.
He has played an important role in some of the biggest attacks on security forces in Sukma, including the 2010 killing of 76 CRPF men at Tadmetla or the killing of 14 CRPF men at Kasalpara last year. On the other hand, Milind is known for his intellect. “Suvez Haque, an upright police officer, had inflicted huge setbacks on the Maoists in Gadchiroli of Maharashtra in the last two years. But once Mr. Haque was transferred out of Gadchiroli, Milind has rebuilt the party organisation in a very short span of time,” a party insider told The Hindu. Official sources said there is a strong possibility of these two leaders posing a big challenge to the Indian state. “The Maoists can also shed their image of being an Andhra-dominated party using these two leaders,” said the sources.
There are frequent reports of “infighting” between the tribal workers of the CPI (Maoist) and its Andhra-dominated leadership, but Maoists have called them “a tactic” by the government as part of its low-intensity conflict. The government which looked at it as an opportunity to foster divisions in the Maoist organisations may be forced to rethink its strategy because of Hidma and Milind. “But that will depend on how the Maoists treat them. Milind has been made a CC member, but his promotion will have to be ratified by a party congress. The same applies to Hidama. It depends on how the party’s senior leadership grooms both of them,” said a senior police officer involved in anti-Maoist operations in Chhattisgarh.
Anti-Naxal ops: Govt hires two private choppers for military sorties
New Delhi: The government has hired two helicopters from a private firm to provide air support to security forces deployed in the jungles of Chhattisgarh and its border areas which are hotbeds of Maoist activities. The much-awaited deployment of these air assets has come after more than a year of hectic efforts to find more helicopters for troops tackling Left-wing extremism (LWE). CRPF has inked the deal for leasing two private choppers which will not only carry troops for reinforcements but also evacuate battle causalities and supply arms and rations.
A team of two Bell choppers has been based at Jagdalpur in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, which is among the worst Naxal violence-affected areas, for operations under the command of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the lead force for combating the LWE challenge. “Two private choppers have been hired on contract for aiding the forces in anti-Naxal operations. The flying machines have begun operations and will be based in south Bastar,” a senior officer said.
‘Maoist offences under control currently in A.P.’
Four companies of Central paramilitary forces are being used to contain Maoists in Andhra Pradesh along the borders of Chhattisgarh and Orissa States, said AP Deputy Chief Minister Chinarajappa on Saturday. Interacting with media persons at AP Secretariat here, the Deputy Chief Minister holding the portfolio of Home said the State relied on Central assistance to thwart insurgence of Maoists from Chhattisgarh and Orissa into AP following bifurcation of the latter. The strength of the AP police dwindled after carving out of Telangana State and withdrawal of policemen from some areas by the Telangana government.
“These areas being close to Chhattisgarh and Orissa where Maoists are active, possibility of they attempting to regroup naturally increased,” said a police officer from A.P. seeking anonymity. Members of the paramilitary forces were deployed at strategic locations. They were being moved in the districts of East Godavari, Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam to check movement of Maoists. Stating that offences dipped in A.P. during the regime of the present government, Mr. Chinarajappa said there was shortage of 14,000 policemen in the lower rung in the State. “We are planning to recruit at least 50 per cent of the required strength at the earliest though the budgetary constraints are there,” he said.