Beware, naxals are now at your doorsteps


Chief minister admits to Maoist elements making inroads into urban and industrial areas in state

Dhaval Kulkarni @dhavalkulkarni

Mumbai: In an indication of the challenge before the state as it counters rising left-wing extremism (LWE), the Maharashtra government has admitted to Maoist elements making inroads into urban and industrial areas and touching a chord with the Dalit youth.In a written reply to a query by Jaywantrao Jadhav (NCP) in the monsoon session of the legislative council, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds home portfolio, admitted that Maoist extremists are trying to create base in Mumbai-Nashik-Pune belt.

“It has come to light that in the urban and industrial belts in these areas, the Maoists are trying to clandestinely propagate their ideology and are creating an impression that they are raising their voice on Dalit issues and attracting Dalit youth to the Maoist movement,” noted Fadnavis.

He said the ‘Naxal-promoted’ Kabir Kala Manch was being used to attract youth towards Maoist thought through art troupes and street-plays. Cases have been lodged against Naxal activists at Harsul, Mumbai, Pune and Talegaon Dabhade.

In reply to another question by Manikrao Thakre (Congress), Fadnavis said the police have been provided weapons, ammunition, communication equipment, helicopters and anti-landmine vehicles and added ‘area domination strategies’ were used to provide security to people. Apart from the paramilitary CRPF, Cobra battalion, SRPF companies, district police and C-60 force have been deployed in those regions affected by Naxal violence.

Maharashtra has lost 159 police personnel since 2000 to Naxal attacks while 113 Naxalites were killed in police attacks. As many as 224 civilians were killed by Naxalites on suspicion that they were police informers.

“They are trying to capitalise on issues like Dalit atrocities and create law and order problems to bolster ranks,” noted senior journalist Devendra Gawande, who has reported extensively from LWE-affected areas and has authored Naxalwadache Avhan.

“They are unable to find cadre from rural areas and jungles and hence shifting focus to cities,” said Gawande adding that little seems to be happening at the government’s level to check this.

“Such tendencies arise as issues of the oppressed are not getting addressed through democratic means,” said CPI leader Prakash Reddy.

Former IPS officer Sudhakar Suradkar blamed the highly politicised police force for the state of affairs and noted that ‘injustice’ meted out to people is one reason why they turn to Naxalism.

Published Date:  Aug 05, 2015

— Story from page 1 – Front Page, dnaofmumbai