ROURKELA: Fast losing ground in Saranda forest of Jharkhand without any fresh recruitments, Maoist leaders are desperate to use border pockets of Sundargarh district for hideouts and simultaneously push for the membership drive.
Despite frequent movements, the Maoists have not been able to taste much success in regaining strength in Sundargarh side of the border due to continuing pressure by Rourkela district police.
Reliable sources said in recent times, operatives of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) outfit have unsuccessfully held meetings at vulnerable border pockets under Lathikata and Chandiposh police limits to rebuild rapport with tribal villagers. The Maoists in a change of strategy are ‘desperately’ trying to convince gullible villagers that past mistakes would not be repeated.
In the last six weeks, Rourkela district police have ensured surrender of 17 runaway Maoists in four phases. Forest border stretching from Bisra to Topadihi of Bonai sub-division in Sundargarh besides a vast stretch of adjacent Keonjhar district are infested by the outfit’s Saranda-based Dakshin Chhota Nagpur Zonal Committee.
Another Maoist group owing allegiance to Sambalpur-Deogarh-Sundargarh committee is reportedly frequenting places under remote Gurundia police limits in Sundargarh along with Sambalpur and Deogarh districts.
For more than 30 months, Maoist movement, originating from Saranda - the erstwhile Eastern Regional Bureau (ERB) of the outfit - has touched all time low. The reasons are attributed to combined effects of heavy deployment of Jharkhand police and CRPF, non-cooperation from sympathisers and drastic drop in levy collection due to prolonged closures of mines along Odisha-Jharkhand border.
A top police official said the Left Wing Extremists (LWEs) will face extra pressure ahead with arrival of more forces for the upcoming Jharkhand Assembly election, while Rourkela and Keonjhar districts police with continuing ‘area domination operation’ are allowing no room to the LWEs to operate from fixed areas.
Rourkela-based Inspector General of Police (Western Range) RK Sharma said the Maoist outfit having drifted from its ideology is rapidly losing base with no fresh recruitment, while a sizeable section of the ultras is increasingly inclined to join the mainstream.
He said police of Rourkela and Keonjhar districts are working in close coordination with their Jharkhand counterparts besides Deogarh and Sambalpur to further tighten the noose on the LWEs.