After establishing their bases in rural areas of the country, including some places in Karnataka, left-wing extremists are trying to move into the urban areas — in line with the objectives of their 2007 Urban Perspective Plan (UPP).
Even as the State’s anti-naxal force remains busy in some of the ‘naxal-affected areas’, mostly in and around the Malnad region, the Maoists are spreading their tentacles in cities and semi-urban areas, including Bangalore.
Confirming this, a senior intelligence officer told Deccan Herald: “It is true that we are observing activity by left wing extremists groups in Bangalore. They are indulging in some over-ground operations and we are aware that certain people are involved in this.”
He said such groups, going by their modus operandi, use colleges and certain sections of the society to expand their cadre. “This is part of their overall strategy,” he said.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, P V Ramana, a security analyst working closely with the Maoist problem for years and a research fellow with the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, said: “Although there are no signs of any armed movement yet, Bangalore certainly has seen a growth in the number of people joining the Maoist cadre.”
He said that they take advantage of the anonymity of a metropolitan area to operate under the radar — making detection difficult.
Even though authorities spent hours at a reputed Bangalore college trying to discover if a local group of Maoist intellectuals and activists, the Karnataka Communal Harmony Group (KCHG), tried to influence college-going youth in 2007, the result remains unknown.
“Sundararajan, the then Karnataka State Committee Secretary, had insisted that the focus of the Maoists should be on urban areas and, owing to differences with other members of the State Committee, he split the outfit, walking away with nearly two-thirds of the total strength of the State unit,” Ramana said.
He elaborated that Maoists use places like Bangalore as a resting place, where they plan and recruit. Members of such groups, who are injured in encounters with the police, are sent to Naxal dens in metros for treatment, education and relaxation, he pointed out.
He said that it is not surprising that their activity have not received adequate attention in the media as their operations in the city are political and peaceful in nature.
At the same time, he said: “Because they are legitimate, over-ground and indulge in ‘democratic activities’, the State’s hands are tied. At best, it can keep a close watch on these organisations, but cannot halt their activities.”
The intelligence officer could not reveal if the intelligence personnel or other agencies have been able to spot any big names from the Maoist cadre in the city as it is important to keep mum about the information his personnel possess. However, he said these people generally use cities to remain low and expand their network.
“They use pseudo organisations to carry out their activities in a democratic and non-violent manner, which makes it difficult for us to act. However, we are keeping a close watch on this,” another senior official added.