Vistar Dalam’s expansion plan keep police on toes

Bhopal: The gunning down of a wanted naxalite in an encounter on MP-Chhattisgarh border on January 15 has once again brought to the fore the growing activities of Vistar Dalam, a group of 60-plus left wing extremists to create a new corridor in Madhya Pradesh.

Heightened alert has been sounded by state police in the districts bordering Chhattisgarh apprehending retaliatory attack by naxals, akin to the ambush by the outlaws in the jungles on the inter-state border last August, which resulted in killing of a Chhattisgarh police sub-inspector and a constable.

The security personnel deployed in anti-naxal operations on both sides of the inter-state border are hoping that the killing of the wanted naxalite and injuries to several other cadres will render a jolt to their plans to create a new red corridor in MP. However the security apparatus is also on its toes to deal with any retaliatory misadventure by the armed naxals to avenge the killing.

The encounter which continued for around five hours as part of joint anti-naxal operations of the Balaghat (MP) and Rajnandgaon (Chhattisgarh) police on January 15 in jungles between Katarbharri and Jhilmili under Bakarkatta police station area of Rajnandgaon led to the gunning down of the naxalite Ramesh. Twenty-five-year-old, deputy commander of Platoon 3 of the Vistar Dalam carried Rs three lakh reward on his head.

The gun-battle which possibly inflicted serious injuries to at least five to six more armed men of Vistar Dalam occurred just two km from Sayar village under Lanji police station area of naxal-affected Balaghat district of the State. “The blood stains found up to a long distance in the jungles adjoining our Balaghat district strongly suggests that many cadres of the Vistar Dalam have been injured in the joint operation of Chhattisgarh and MP police. Alert has been sounded in the jungles and search is on to trace the fleeing naxals on both sides of the border,” inspector general of police (IG-Intelligence) Makarand Deuskar told Free Press.

According to a key source of MP police forming part of anti-naxal operations in naxalite affected Balaghat district, in July 2017 two persons of the same Vistar Dalam were killed in an encounter in Gandai area of Chhattisgarh, close to Malajkhand police station area of MP’s Balaghat.
But a few weeks later, in August, the Vistar Dalam cadres struck back with a vengeance in Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh (close to MP border), killing a Chhattisgarh police sub-inspector and constable.

“Since then the Vistar Dalam has been active in doing recee for creating a possible red corridor in other areas of the two bordering states, spanning from Kavardha (Kabirdham) in Chhattisgarh to Mandla district of MP. Their movements have often been reported in Garhi, Moti Nala and other parts of Mandla district as part of extension and new cadre building exercise,” said Deuskar.

Sources added that owing to spurt in deployment of anti-naxal operative forces in Kavardha district of Chhattisgarh, naxals have moved towards Rajnandgaon. Acting on a specific tip-off, the security personnel had spotted on the activities of the naxal and the ensuing encounter had led to the killing of its key leader on January 15.

For last three years only three Dalams (groups) of armed left wing extremists, including Tanda, Darrekhasa and Malajkhand Dalam were active on the MP-Chhattisgarh border. However, the Vistar Dalam was shaped particularly to create a new naxal corridor in MP starting from Kavardha (Chhattisgarh) which fortunately came to the notice of the security forces on both sides of the border following seizure of literature revealing the naxal plans.