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Maoists expanding clout in new areas in Chhattisgarh

National, Sun, 24 May 2009 IANS

Raipur, May 24 (IANS) Maoist guerrillas in Chhattisgarh have started expanding their base to new forested areas in the state's Raipur and Dhamtari districts, according to worrying police intelligence inputs.


The banned leftist insurgent outfit, Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), which roughly comprises 50,000 cadre in the state including 15,000 female members, commands since the late 1980s the interior tracts of the state's southern mineral-rich Bastar region spread over about 40,000 sq km.



However, fresh intelligence inputs received by the police reveal that the CPI-Maoist has been expanding to new areas in the state exploiting local issues.



'The growing impact of the Maoists outside their traditional base of Bastar was evident on May 10, when they carried out a deadly attack for the first time ever in Dhamtari district and killed 12 policemen and a civilian,' a senior intelligence officer told IANS.



'Earlier, the Maoists were restricted to Bastar's five districts - Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Kanker and Bastar - besides the western district of Rajnandgaon close to Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra, but now they have developed new bases in Dhamtari and even in Raipur district,' the official said on condition of anonymity.



He said they also had intelligence inputs of the Maoists building up bases in Raipur district's diamond-rich areas of Devbhog as well as Mainpur and Gariaband - a cause of alarm for the police. The authorities will have to urgently check the spread of the Maoists in Raipur district otherwise the situation will become similar to Bastar in a few years, he said.



Maoist insurgency broke out in India in 1967. The insurgency, which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described as one of the gravest threats to the country's internal security, has killed over 1,500 people alone in Chhattisgarh since the state came into existence in November 2000 carved out from Madhya Pradesh.


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