Phony Maoists on the rise in Rayagada

KORAPUT: The arrest of nine fake Maoists in less than a week speaks volumes about the fast growing numbers of copycat cadres in Maoist-hit Rayagada district. On August 26, six persons posing as Maoists were arrested during a raid within Rayagada police limits. Again on Saturday, three fake Maoists were arrested under Doragura police limits.

In both cases, the fake Maoists were trying to extort money from traders and during interrogation it was found that they are not related to the Maoist organization in any manner. Police said it is easy to extort money in the name of Maoists because people seldom dare to approach police against the Red rebels out of fear. "Miscreants impersonate Maoists as it is easy to terrify people, especially traders, in the name of Red rebels and to make quick bucks. Though in several cases people have budged to their demands, now people are coming to police with their complaints," said SP (Rayagada) Rajesh Pandit.

The SP said the modus operandi of the fake Maoists is similar to that of the real cadres and it is very difficult to ascertain their identity in the initial stages of investigation. Police said adopting techniques as used by the Red rebels, the fake cadres try to make an impression that they are the real Maoists. They paste Maoist posters at the home of their target, issue threats over telephone and ask him to come with the extortion amount to an isolated place and even some times demands explosives from their targets. Government officials and traders are their soft targets.

Describing the trend as very disturbing and urging public to approach police, the SP said, "Lot of time is consumed in our investigation. Based on human inputs and technical support we are able to arrest the miscreants. There are few other groups who are functioning in the district in the name of Maoists and we are trying to trace them." "We urge people not to get scared whenever they get such phone calls and approach police," he added.

Police said it has directed the mobile service providers in the district to issue SIM cards to customers after properly verifying their identity as the miscreants frequently change cellphone numbers. On August 4, a person was also arrested in the district while demanding Rs 1 lakh from a goldsmith at Kenduguda in the district by identifying himself as a Maoist leader.


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