Maoists have managed to make major gains during the suspension of armed operations following recent high-profile kidnappings.
As expected, most of these have been in Orissa and Chhattisgarh. The Ultras have managed to lay out a vast network of landmines during this period.
This is revealed in a classified report, in Deccan Chronicle’s possession, sent by Central intelligence agencies to Maoist-infested states last week. It claims intelligence-gathering work had also been badly affected.
Intel reveals that the landmine network is a deliberate ploy as the weapons are extremely lethal and could severely cripple movement of central para-military forces in the entire Naxal dominated region.
The report adds that anti-Naxal operations have been hampered due to the kidnappings of Italian tourists, Paolo Bosusco and Caudio Colango, BJD MLA Jeena Hikaka and recently that of Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon.
According to the classified note, the areas where the Naxal made gains in Orrisa are Rayagad, Deogarh, Gajapati, Malkangiri, Sambalpur .
While in Chhattisgarh the districts are Bastar, Dantewada, Kanker, Rajnandgaon, Surguja, Narayanpur and Bijapur.
During the suspension of operations, the Naxals have also managed to recruit new cadres and procure more arms.
“In a situation where our forces are fighting the Naxals, each and every day is extremely crucial. But we have now given an edge of almost two months to the Naxals which is a huge setback for the para-military forces,” a senior security official said.
What was even more disturbing was that the local intelligence units were unable to keep a watch and monitor activities of Naxals.
“The intelligence gathering should continue independent of suspension of armed operations by the forces,’’ the report revealed.
Highly placed sources said all State Multi Agency Centre (SMACs) working under the Intelligence Bureau have been categorically told to ensure that intelligence work is never hampered in Naxal affected States.
Senior security officials claim landmines could stop security forces from chasing down Maoists, particularly when they move from one State to another.
“The Naxals are familiar with the territory and know the exact spot where they have put the landmines. But for the forces, this turf is absolutely alien and if troops move on mine-infested tracks the casualties will be huge,” an official reasoned.