Centre warns states against jailbreak bids by Maoists

The Centre has warned nine Maoist-affected states to tighten security in prisons where Naxals are lodged, fearing jailbreaks in a bid to set them free.

The Union Home Ministry has shot off letters to Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in this regard.

It said it has inputs that the Naxal leadership is desperate to get its leaders freed to fill the vacuum at the top.

The states have been asked to tighten security inside and outside jails where Naxal leaders are lodged, and strengthen intelligence networks to foil any attempt by the rebels to attack prisons, said sources.

The Home Ministry missive came after security forces recovered a letter reportedly written by the elusive CPI (Maoist) general secretary Muppalla Lakshmana Rao alias Ganapathy to some senior cadres.

The National Investigation Agency has recently announced a reward of Rs 15 lakh to those who help catch Ganapathy. Sources said the Maoist leader's letter talked about how Naxals outside prison should ensure that their jailed comrades come out, either by obtaining bail or by jailbreak.

Three naxals — Motilal Soren, Raghunath Hembram and Mangru Mahato — had escaped from the Chaibasa jail in Jharkhand in January 2011 by breaching the ventilators of their cells.

Several senior Naxal leaders, including Kishenji and Azad, were killed by security forces in recent years, while leaders like Kobad Ghandy, Amitabh Bagchi and Saheb Chatterjee were arrested and sent to jail. Except three, all central-committee leaders of the outfit have been arrested or killed, leading to a leadership crisis.

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