The 'urban Maoist' front
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An emerging thrust area in the Maoist movement is the building of a second-rung leadership in urban areas, say the Gadchiroli police, who cite as an example the visits by Hem Mishra and Prashant Rahi, both arrested for alleged Maoist links. Their visits should be viewed in that context, says deputy inspector general of police (Gadchiroli range) Ravindra Kadam.
It is following information allegedly provided by the two that Gadchiroli police raided the home of Delhi University professor G N Saibaba. On Saturday, Saibaba denied being a Naxal sympathiser while conceding that he had met Mishra.
Mishra and Rahi, both of Uttarakhand, were arrested at Aheri in Gadchiroli and Deori in Gondia along with alleged couriers for two senior Naxals. Narmada and Ramder.
"An eroding tribal cadre base due to depleting recruitment, as also the difficulties in intellectually equipping the tribal cadre well enough to take the movement forward, are the reasons why CPI (Maoist) leaders are looking up to the urban cadres to be ready to take over," Kadam says.
"The urban cadres have of late been discussing this subject with the central committee and have been seeking financial help to run urban activities and guidance on how to develop better coordination among the urban frontal organisations of the party," he says.
"One of the main subtexts of this programme is to cultivate urban cadre to lead militant activities that are facing a leadership crisis due to depleting recruitment, elimination of the existing cadres due to security operations and large-scale surrenders by senior cadres," Kadam adds.
The urban fronts, Kadam says, comprise organisations in "revolutionary democratic" activities, opposition to "war on people", displacement and "violence on women", and in "cultural" activities.
"They are, however, finding it difficult since urban cadres find life in the forest too difficult to sustain. The visits by couriers such as Mishra and Rahi are basically to help coordinate and streamline these activities," Kadam says.