After the Indian Mujahideen, Maoism spreads its tentacles in Pune

May 28, 2014, 08:00 IST | Salil Urunkar

DIG Ravindra Kadam says city's proximity to Mumbai, and the fact that it is home to many colleges and intellectuals, has made it a crucial pawn on the insurgents' chessboard

Pune is seeing red.

Top police officials have revealed that Delhi University Professor G N Saibaba, arrested on charges of being a member of the banned insurgent organisation CPI (Maoist), helping it recruit people and providing logistics to it, was in touch with several ‘prominent’ people based in Pune.

Pune sees red: Police are now carrying out investigations to ascertain whether the people in the list were just sympathisers or were actually involved in Maoist activities. Representation Pic

Members of the Anti-Naxal Operations (ANO) cell have recovered a list of contacts from Saibaba containing the names of such citizens and investigations are on to establish whether these ‘contacts’ were limited to being sympathisers or were involved in Maoist activity.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Deputy Inspector General of Police (ANO) Ravindra Kadam also emphasised that the strategic location of Pune city has made the Maoists give it high importance as one of the best places from which to carry forward the movement. Kadam was speaking on ‘Maoist movement, its front network and Pune city’ at a press interaction organized by the Pune Union of Working Journalists at the Patrakar Bhavan in Navi Peth.

Elaborating on the role played by Saibaba in spreading the Maoist ideology, DIG Kadam said, “Saibaba was just short of being conferred the title of ‘professional revolutionary’ by the Maoists. He was responsible for the coordination between various front organisations and it is he who has really projected the Maoist movement in India.”

“Saibaba was in touch with several ‘democratic’ and ‘women’s rights’ organizations. We have recovered a list of contacts from him and are investigating the role of every person on it. The names of many prominent citizens feature in the list,” he added.

Asked how strong the case against Saibaba is, Kadam said, “We have sufficient evidence against him. We had obtained an arrest warrant from the court, which obviously did not issue the warrant blindly. The evidence we have will be subjected to scrutiny during trial.”

Warning bells: DIG Ravindra Kadam. Pic/Mohan Patil

Pune focus
Stressing on the importance of Pune for the Maoist movement, Kadam said, “Pune is close to Mumbai and is home to many colleges and intellectuals. Considering its strategic location, Pune has been marked as an important city by Maoists on their map.”

The Maoists had established the Western Maharashtra Committee focusing on Pune city in 2009 and several front organizations, including the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), were started around 2002. Angela and Milind Teltumde were the architects of the movement In Pune and played a key role in spreading the Maoist network in the city.

Even today, more than seven activists of the KKM are under the scanner of police agencies, while nearly 13 associates of Saibaba have gone underground after his arrest.

Big arrest

Delhi University Professor G N Saibaba was arrested on May 9 by the Anti-Naxal Operations cell of Maharashtra Police from the university campus. He was earlier questioned by the police over his alleged links with CPI (Maoist). Police had also searched his house in September 2013 and seized pen drives and other reading material.

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