Are anti-Maoist operations by Chhattisgarh police pushing cadres into Madhya Pradesh?

In third major success against left-wing extremists since December, MP police gun down wanted Maoist cadre in jungles of Balaghat district
image of Maoists used for representational purposes
image of Maoists used for representational purposes File photo | AFP

BHOPAL: Are the continued anti-Maoist operations in Chhattisgarh pushing the left wing extremists (LWEs) into the jungles of adjoining Madhya Pradesh?

A wanted Maoist Sohan alias Ukas alias Ayatu, carrying Rs 14 lakh bounty on head, was gunned down in an encounter with the Hawk Force (MP Police’s anti-Maoist operations specialised force) in the jungles of Kothiatola in Maoist-affected Balaghat district on Monday.

Hailing from Sukma (Chhattisgarh), the slain Maoist cadre was an expert in making Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and the area committee member of the Kanha Bhoramdeo (ACM of KB) division, which has particularly been active in the MP and Chhattisgarh districts along the Kanha National Park-Kanha Tiger Reserve in eastern MP.

A 315 bore rifle and a sophisticated wireless communication set was recovered by the anti-Maoist force’s personnel from the jungles after the gun-battle.

This is the third major elimination of key Maoist cadres in MP’s Balaghat district since December 2023, when Mohan Yadav became the central Indian state’s CM.

Earlier on December 14, 2023, just a day after Yadav was sworn in as MP CM, a wanted Maoist cadre Madkam Hidma (hailing from Bijapur in Chhattisgarh) was gunned down by the MP police in Khamkodadar jungles of Balaghat district.

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On April 1, 2024, two other wanted Maoist cadres, including a female cadre were gunned down in the forests of Balaghat district, which is neighboured by Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon and Maharashtra’s Gondia districts.

According to senior police officials at the state PHQ in Bhopal, Monday’s gun-battle between the Hawk Force personnel and 10-12 Maoists cadres not just led to the elimination of the wanted Maoist cadre Sohan, but is believed to have caused injuries to some other cadres, who managed to flee.

The slain Maoist was an active member of the banned CPI (Maoist) outfit since 2013 and has been involved in many incidents in Chhattisgarh. Sohan was a key aide of CPI (Maoist) central committee member Milind Teltumbde, who had sent him to expand the LWE operations in the Madhya Pradesh-Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh (MMC) Zone in 2019, the state police’s ADG-Anti Naxal Operations Jaideep Prasad said on Monday.

He was accused in at least eight cases of Maoist-related violence in MP. Information about his involvement in Maoist strikes in neighbouring states is being collected.

While this is the third major success for the MP police against the banned CPI (Maoist) cadres since December 2023, the development suggests that the aggressive action by police against Maoists in Chhattisgarh might be pushing the outlaws into MP.

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