BHOPAL: Are Maoists planning some big offensive in the jungles of Madhya Pradesh – to penetrate further into areas of the central Indian state? A dump concealing explosives, IED making material and live bullets of automatic weapons was discovered on Sunday morning by MP police teams engaged in anti-Naxal operations in the dense forests under Birsa police station area of Balaghat district – one of the two Maoist affected districts of the state.
The development happened just a day after two wanted Maoists, including a woman, were gunned down by the police in an alleged encounter in the dense forests of the Motinala area of the adjoining Mandla district.
Confirming the discovering of the explosives dump, highly placed sources in the state police in Bhopal told TNIE, “Though the explosives dump isn’t big, its tracking is alarming for the entire anti-Naxal security apparatus already on the higher alert and the Maoists plans of some major offensive cannot be ruled out.”
It’s the first time this year that such an explosives dump has been found in jungles of Maoist affected parts of MP.
Importantly, in recent weeks, the movement of armed Maoists in the jungles of Balaghat and Mandla district has been on the rise. As many as five wanted Maoists, four of them women have been killed in alleged encounters in the two districts during the last four months (with Friday-Saturday incident being the latest). Also, the outlaws had a fortnight back burnt vehicles engaged in road construction work in Lanji police station area of Balaghat district.
Of particular concern to the state police is the alarming trend of more women forming part of the platoons of the CPI (Maoists) Vistar Platoons – formed specifically with the task for expanding into more districts neighbouring Balaghat and Mandla districts of MP.
“Rising number of women cadres in the Vistar Platoon is a clear cut indication of the CPI (Maoists) effort to gain ground among the tribal villagers in the two districts now and in adjoining districts in future, particularly as the female cadres can easily create naxal sympathizers among villagers in the forest villages,” a senior police officer in state police’s anti-naxal apparatus confided to The New Indian Express.
While Balaghat which neighbours Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra has since many years reported by sporadic activities by CPI (Maoist) guerilla groups, including the Tanda, Darre Khasa and Malajkhand Dalams, it’s the Vistar Dalam/Platoon – which is tasked with creating a conducive ground to guerilla groups – that is of major concern for the anti-naxal security set-up in MP and Chhattisgarh in the recent years.
Highly placed state police sources claim that interrogation of key Maoists leaders in the past years has revealed that the Vistar Dalam/Platoon is the backbone of CPI (Maoist) Maharashtra, MP and Chhattisgarh-MMC Zone’s plans to spread out till the Amarkantak Plateau in the Anuppur district of MP.
Spreading till Amarkantak Plateau is critical for the outlaws, owing to its easier hilly connectivity not only with the three states of MMC Zone, but also other neighbouring districts.