SAMBALPUR: AFTER sitting idle for a couple of months, Maoists are now out to augment their strength by recruiting local youths in the interior pockets of the district.
Confirmed sources said at least five youths of Naxal- infested Naktideul block of the district have been freshly recruited by the red rebels. They were recently sent to dense Saranda forest bordering Sundargarh and neighbouring state of Jharkhand, better known as the safe haven for the left ultras, for training.
Earlier, more than hundred rebels with sophisticated weapons had infiltrated into the interior forest of the Maoist-dominated region of the district after the Nayagarh mayhem and have already made their foothold in the region. At present, they are trying to woo the village youths to draw them into their fold and busy in tightening their grip on the region. Led by SP Sanjay Kumar, police had managed to crush the extremists in the region by using both offensive and public relations methods, which saw an encounter in which two Naxals were killed and a host of others surrendered. Some hardcore Maoist cadres were also arrested.
Even Kumar had earlier confirmed the presence of the Maoists in the region but denied that the police had become complacent after getting success in curbing Maoist activities. He had also said police were trying to bring out the rebels from their hideouts and strengthen intelligence in interior pockets to nab the extremists.
Although the police have successfully won over the people residing in Maoist infested areas by taking advantage of the silence of the rebels with some proactive steps at the grassroots level, the Maoists are readying to strike to make a statement. Contacted Kumar, who is on leave, said he has no information about the youths being sent to Saranda forest for training but would investigate the matter after joining duty.