Fearing leakage of their strategies ahead of Lok Sabha polls, Naxals are keeping a close watch on people who could act as informers and pass on information using mobile phones in villages of their hot-bed Bastar.
In some pockets of restive Narayanpur district comprising a major part of the Abhujmad region, local cadres are visiting villages and collecting information about mobile users and even asking them to deposit the gadgets with rebels assuring to return them after the Lok Sabha elections.
"The strategy is being witnessed as a part of their plan ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. It could be an attempt to maintain secrecy of their evil design," a senior Intelligence Bureau official told PTI. "Mobile phone and telecom towers have always been a major target of Naxals in their stronghold of Bastar, but so far such a kind of move of collecting phones from villagers was never witnessed," the official said.
Naxals have taken up the task in Mad region villages - Kutulpara, Orchhameta, Kutul and several others, he said. Though these areas have less mobile towers, but at some places like in hilly areas, mobile network is there and these areas are frequently used both by villagers and security forces, he said.
Following their failure to execute deadly attempts during the recently-concluded state Assembly elections, Maoist's top leaders believe that the lower rank cadres have failed to maintain secrecy of their operations as the information about gathering of rebels, placement of IEDs and landmines was already leaked to police, he said.
As the rebels are now gearing up to create disturbance ahead of Lok Sabha polls, their top rung has asked them to keep a hawk eye on mobile users, whose numbers have increased in the recent past, and seize mobile phones from those villages where important operations will be held, he said. The recent crackdown on the urban network of Maoists in the state with the arrest of 17 alleged Naxal conduits has also posed problems for the ultras in monitoring the intelligence channel working inside forests, he said.
When asked about preparations by police department ahead of the polls, the IB official said instructions have already been issued to security personnel to stay alert as Naxal strikes were witnessed more during the Lok Sabha election as compared to Assembly polls in the past. Every kind of suspicious move is under the scanner in the disturbed zone, he added.