Govt warns 9 states of Maoist strikes
A week after the arrest of Delhi University professor G N Saibaba for his alleged Maoist links, the Centre on Thursday alerted nine Maoist-affected states about possible strikes and asked them to step up security.
Quoting intelligence inputs, the Union Home Ministry issued an advisory to the states – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal – in which it said the top Maoist leadership have asked their cadre to carry out attacks on security forces as a retaliation to Saibaba’s arrest.
Officials in the Home Ministry claimed that the Maoists have denied that Saibaba is a senior member of the proscribed organisation but they have instructed their cadres to carry out retaliatory strikes.
Saibaba, a wheelchair-bound professor, was arrested from Delhi University campus last Friday. His arrest had triggered protests by university fraternity and activists, with former Delhi High Court Chief Justice Rajinder Sachar calling his apprehension "illegal".
The advisory also claimed that the Maoists have requested certain pro-Maoist activists and academics to campaign in Delhi and other areas demanding his release. Sources claimed overground workers of CPI (Maoist) have even sought the help of sympathisers in the media to highlight Saibaba's physical disability and depict police highhandedness.
The advisory said Maoist leadership was “extremely perturbed” by the arrest and the security forces should be fully alert and guard against possible IED attacks. The security establishment is also apprehending an aggressive propaganda war by the Maoists through its sympathisers on the issue of release of “political prisoners”.
“It is suggested that the state governments may keep strict vigil over the matter and take necessary preventive measures,” the advisory said.
In a separate statement, senior CPI leader A B Bardhan condemned Saibaba's arrest and demanded his immediate release, saying Maoist connection was a "usual charge" hurled at Left workers and social activists who raise people's issues. He said Saibaba is "a 90 per cent disabled man" and is being kept “in a non-descript prison under most unhygienic condition”. “Connection with the Maoists is the usual charge under which social and Left activists who oppose all police repression on tribals and other affected people under the guise of 'Operation Green Hunt' are arrested and harassed,” Bardhan said.