Security forces claimed to have spotted top Maoist leader Mupalla Laxman Rao alias Ganapathy in the dense forest of Abujhmad trying to organise a meeting of cadres to carry out attacks ahead of Chhattisgarh elections.
While it is being considered a headway in the hunt for Rao, it has put security forces on their toes.
In an alert to Naxal-affected states, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said CPI(Maoists) continue “assiduous preparations” for largescale mobilisation of cadre, assembling and planting of IEDs on polling routes and booths, and forming small teams to locate ambush points to target polling parties and security forces.
Large groups of armed Maoists, along with senior leaders, have been noticed since October 1 in Narayanpur, Bijapur and Kanker districts. “With regard to elections, several small teams were assigned specific tasks to locate suitable ambush points, plant IEDs, detain polling parties and loot EVMs during meetings where suitable awards with promotions were announced for cadres on successful completion of assigned tasks,” the alert said.
The MHA has asked security forces to step up anti-Naxal operations in Maoist strongholds in Chhattisgarh and adjoining districts in Maharashtra and Orissa. “The security forces must remain in mission mode during the entire electoral process and ensure peaceful elections,” an MHA advisory said.
The Maoists have directed government teachers not to participate in election duty. “In Dantewada district, the outfit has asked some villagers to leave their village on November 10 and ensure none except children and the old remain in the village on polling day. In Sukma district, some villagers were asked to keep themselves away from polling booths, polling parties as well as four-wheelers from November 10,” it said.
The MHA said there have been inputs indicating procurement of incendiary materials and purchase of a vehicle by the outfit for executing its plan to disrupt polls. “The CPI (Maoist) is collecting names and mobile numbers of SHOs, sarpanchs and details regarding buildings where security forces would be accommodated,” it said.
Directing strict security drill, the Ministry said security of polling parties and EVMs needs to be strengthened in view of fresh inputs. Road-opening parties have been instructed to be alert. Identifying likely ambush spots, dismantling IEDs and other precautions were suggested.
The Centre also advised the Chhattisgarh government to work in coordination with Orissa and Maharashtra to check cross-border movement of Naxals.