RAIPUR: The Communist Party of India (Maoists) has carved out a new zone for its operations — Gadchiroli-Rajnandgaon-Balaghat (GRB), straddling the border trijunction of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
News of the new Maoist battle order has spurred security forces in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh to intensify operations. A battalion of MP’s counter-terror group Hawk Force has already been moved deep into the Chhattisgarh forest, said sources.
The old North Gadchiroli-Gondia-Balaghat and Rajnandgaon (NGGBR) division has now been converted into GRB zone/division, and Maoists and are already surveying and recruiting in this region, said police sources. This will drive security agencies back to the drawing board to realign forces according to the new setup.
Balaghat, Rajnandgaon, Gondia and Gadchiroli come under a division of Maharashtra State Committee of CPI (Maoists). Officials engaged in anti-Maoist operations say the new GRB division is headed by Surendra, Dama and Santosh, who were associated with the Malajkhand and Tada dalams for long.
This worrying information was revealed by 19-year-old Waman Mandavi, a member of the cultural wing of CPI(Maoist), who was arrested from Gondia district of Maharashtra in April last week, said police. A resident of Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada area, Mandavi was left by Maoists in Gondia to recover from injuries he had suffered in a bear attack. “Since he was injured severely and his condition was worsening, Maoists left him in Gondia. The rebels did not want him to return to Dantewada. We nabbed him on a specific tip-off,” said a police officer.
Balaghat IG G Janardhan said, “Maoists have started a new division from the old Gondia-Gadchiroli division. We have inputs that they are carrying out surveys in some villages in Balaghat and surrounding areas to explore new locations. We are following their movements and checkmating them everywhere.”
The Tada and Malajkhand Dalams are active in Balaghat region of MP. A 20-year-old student was executed by Maoists in Balaghat in April 2016 on suspicion of being a police informer. There hasn’t been any more Maoist bloodshed in MP since then, but the administration is taking no chances.
At a meeting chaired by home minister Rajnath Singh on Monday, the Madhya Pradesh government asked for new choppers for anti-Naxalite operations. State home minister Bhupendra Singh said helicopters were immediately needed for deployment of security forces and other operations. There are six companies and a battalion of CRPF in Balaghat, the only Maoist-infested area in the state. The last major achievement of the security forces was the arrest of rebel commander Dilip Guha from Balaghat, who was also said to be a part of the conspiracy behind the 2013 Bastar bloodbath that wiped out the Congress frontline leadership of Chhattisgarh, say sources.