Naxals ‘carve out new zone’ on Maharashtra-MP border

The Maoists have also appointed a separate leader, Pahad Singh, to look after the unit

In a bid to reassert their presence in central India, the Communist Party of India (Maoists) has carved out a new zone for their operations comprising Gadchiroli, Gonia and Balaghat areas in Maharasthra and Madhya Pradesh. According to security officials, they have renamed the area as North Gadchiroli Gondia Balaghat Divisional Committee and are now actively recruiting.

The Maoists have also appointed a separate leader, Pahad Singh, to look after the unit. The security officials are yet to identify all the Maoists behind the revival plan.

The rebels already have a strong presence in Gadchiroli in Maharashtra.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affair has taken a serious note of the resignations of 127 gram panchayat leaders and other public representatives under threat from the Maoists.

"The Maoists are coalescing smaller rebel groups with bigger ones and carrying out fresh recruitment in Gadchiroli area. In the last couple of months we have had good contacts with the Maoists and are giving them a tough fight," said Pranay Sahay, DG, CRPF

In the last three months, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had 10 encounters with the rebels. MHA data say 71 alleged Maoists have been arrested from the state. The CRPF has deployed around 6,000 men in the state, including a battalion of the CoBRA commandos.

A senior CRPF official involved in the operations said that Maoists want to take advantage of inter-state boundary disputes to strengthen their presence. "We have received intelligence inputs and this could be part of their new strategy to fight the state," the official said.

The new divisional committee would report to the Gadchiroli Zonal Committee is likely to cause problems in the two states.

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