PM Modi’s demonetisation drive has hit the backbone of Maoist activities in several Indian states.
Chhattisgarh police had said the ultras may find it difficult to dispose of their cash, apparently in hundreds of crores, concealed in insurgency-hit regions of the state. Reports suggest that Naxals have stashed over Rs 7,000 crore at their dumps in Bastar region.
As a result of the move, 564 naxalites and their sympathisers have surrendered in the past one month. Out of this, 70 per cent of the surrenders have been reported from Malkangiri district in Odisha.
According to Special Director General of Police (anti-Maoist operations) D M Awasthi, Maoists collect crores of rupees through levy and extortion and keep cash with them or in the dumps in forests for their activities and distribution among their cadres and supporters.
With the Modi government putting curb on old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, Naxalites are now also looking at other ways to deposit the money or exchange it in banks through local supporters or villagers.
Notably, police had recovered unaccounted cash of Rs 44.25 lakh, in the denomination of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, and jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh from possession of a man in the Naxal-affected Kondagaon district in Chattisgarh. The person was unable to produce valid documents to explain the cash and jewellery he possessed.
Security forces have been alerted to keep a track of activities of Maoists and their supporters.
According to police, Maoists in Bastar impose levy and collect it through local cadres from miners, tendu leaves and transport contractors, local traders, who fear them.
The cash is then transferred to senior Maoist leaders who use it to buy firearms, ammunition, medicines, commodities of daily use, besides distributing it to commander rank cadres to run the banned movement in their respective areas.