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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Naxalites setting up support centres in urban areas


NEW DELHI: Naxalites are effecting 'structural changes' in their movement by creating the support structures in urban areas in what is a strategic attempt to adapt to the changed security scenario. The break from traditional Naxal structure has baffled security agencies, enough for the home ministry to ask states to follow the changed pattern in battling the 'red menace'. Largely rooted in rural pockets, Naxal outfits are fast moving to urban centres. CPI (Maoist), the key outfit operating in India, is estimated to have 13 state-level committees. The outfit's dominance of Maoist insurgency in the country is evident from MHA figures, which state that it accounts for 96% of the total incidents. The outfit is now reported to be setting up bases in cities to act as a supply-line and public support structure to the main body. Home ministry has expressed concern at the spurt in overground mass organisations of Naxalite in urban centres. This is part of what observers call 'structural change' in Naxalite movement. Conventionally, Naxal outfits preferred staying in rural areas amongst its constituents in tribal and poor. Besides converting the locals into their fold, the forests and backward pockets served as ideal battleground to take on security forces. The move to urban centres, MHA feels, is aimed at supplementing the rural base in several significant ways. Overground outfits, with an entrenched structure and membership, would serve as the ideal foil to generate mass support. Given the increased sensitivity to human rights violations and presence of courts, these outfits could be used to check the offensive of security agencies. Besides serving as a propaganda medium, the urban sister outfits could be the link between foot soldiers and logistics support. Medical treatment is a prime need for cadres fighting in inhospitable, unhygienic conditions. Arms and ammunition, however, are the key responsibilities of link outfits in urban centres. Ever under the eagle eyes of security personnel, overground cadres are deployed to network with arms suppliers, inter-state or otherwise. The elaborate arms network stitched by the Naxalites came to light when consignments from Chennai were intercepted by Andhra Pradesh police in the Naxal heartland of Telangana last month. It was found that Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh had outsourced production of crude rockets to industrial units in Tamil Nadu. That it was part of an elaborate plan was revealed by the fact that parts of these rockets were being manufactured in separate units, which helped keep it a secret from police.

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