New Delhi: Tension is palpable in the naxal heartlands of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, as security forces have received intelligence on likely heightened attacks during the coming week. The outlawed group will mark ‘Martyr’s Week’ from 28 July to 3 August.
‘Martyr’s Week’ marks the death anniversary of communist revolutionary Charu Majumdar, who was among the top Maoist leaders to have spearheaded the peasant uprising in Naxalbari in North Bengal in the 1960s that paved the way for Naxalite movement.
The next week is also crucial for the outlawed forces as it follows the killing of top Naxal commander Madkam Hidma in Chhattigarh’s Sukma district, earlier this week. Naxals have issued warnings and distributed pamphlets in the districts of Sukma, Dantewada, Kanker, Bastar, Narayanpur and Bijapur in Chhattisgarh and Gadchiroli in Maharashtra.
In Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and the state police personnel have been put on high alert.
“The Naxals have been issuing threats and warnings. We are not leaving anything to chance. Adequate forces have been deployed across the red zones in both the states and sanitation exercises have already begun to avoid any casualty," said a senior Union home ministry official, seeking anonymity.
Security forces have received inputs on likely ambushes in sensitive areas, especially in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur, Bijapur and Sukma districts – which are the hotbeds of Naxal activity, given their proximity to the armed cadres’ headquarters in Abhujmaad in south Chhattisgarh. The security forces have started combing the areas for the presence of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
“During the monsoons, because the earth is damp, often IEDs can go unnoticed. We are being extra alert to search for pressure IEDs," said a senior Chhattisgarh state police official, requesting anonymity.
Security forces have stepped up vigil in villages, with information on likely mass meetings between Naxalites and villagers in the coming week.
The Naxalites have alerted local villagers to participate in the “commemoration" services. Having distributed warning pamphlets across the red zone, the Naxalites have said the meetings with villagers will focus on the “Centre and State’s anti-people policy and fake encounters by government agents."
“Search and combing operations have been intensified to avert any mishaps and security has been beefed up across all states with Naxal presence," said the home ministry official cited above.