BHUBANESWAR: With the big fish in the net, the State Police is keeping its eyes and ears close to the developments in the CPI (Maoist) which, in all likelihood, would try and reclaim its dominance over central and parts of adjoining southern Odisha where Sabyasachi Panda once held sway.
While Sabyasachi had unsuccessfully attempted a patch-up with CPI (Maoist) late last year, his arrest has now paved the way for the outlawed outfit to regain control.
In districts such as Kandhamal, Gajapati, Rayagada and Ganjam, the Maoist leader built his control step by step over the last two decades. He not only had underground men to strike, the overground support was huge too. Although the strength of his military unit weakened following fall-out with the Maoist party, his support base remained almost in tact. This is where, police sources say, the CPI (Maoist) would like to cash in on.
“If he had formed a structure-based outfit after his exit from CPI (Maoist), he would have had a second-in-command who would take over control or even merge with the mother unit but it did not happen because of the conflict,” said the Intelligence sources.
Besides, it was his control over Central Odisha that allowed the CPI (Maoist) to create a Red corridor through the State to connect Chhattisgarh. Now that he is behind bars, the Naxal outfit would try to regroup and create its own base.
Director General of Police Sanjeev Marik said the State Police is keeping a watch on the possible realignment among the Maoist groups in the region as well as influx of cadre members from neighbouring Chhattisgarh.
The State Police is wary that the ground-level propaganda mechanism will be put back by the CPI (Maoist) which would resort to terror tactics to gain base.
“Since Sabyasachi had considerable influence in Central Odisha, the CPI (Maoist) will make every attempt to take advantage of the situation. We are aware of the fallout of his arrest and are keeping a watch on the movements of the Naxals,” the DGP told this paper on Sunday.
He said anti-Maoist operations will be intensified to neutralise any effort by ultras from Chhattisgarh to enter Odisha in days to come.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) has criticised the State Police for arresting Sabyasachi. Central Committee member Sekhar, in a press release, said the Maoist leader had shunned violence for about two years.