Bhopal: The group of armed Naxals who attacked the forest department staff in Mandla district are possibly part of a 50-strong cadre of naxalites from South Bastar (Chhattisgarh) or Telangana who are gradually spreading its wings in the MP district.

Eight to ten Maoists – possibly hailing from South Bastar district of Chhattisgarh or adjoining Telangana – had assaulted forest guards in the dense forests in Moti Nala area in Bichiya block of Mandla district on Friday. The matter was reported by the forest staff to Mandla district police on Sunday. The naxalites had snatched three mobile phone phones and wireless sets from the forest guards.

Importantly, the attack that comes at the beginning of bamboo cutting season in forests of Madhya Pradesh and its neighbouring Chhattisgarh has send alarm bells ringing in the two states for both the anti-naxal security apparatus and the forest department of the region.

Earlier, too during this period, the activities of the Naxals had gained momentum. Last season, they had either set ablaze vehicles of contractors engaged in bamboo cutting for not meeting their extortion demands or else killed individuals suspecting them to be police informers.

Importantly this attack on forest department outpost could well be a sign of bigger Naxals misadventure in days to come in Mandla district, which has been largely untouched by Naxals extremism,” said a police officer posted in Mandla.

The left wing extremist (LWE) cadres which attacked the forest department are believed to be from the Vistar Dalam, a new group of CPI(Maoists) which has been tasked since early 2016 with building new 250-km corridor from Kawardha (Chhattisgarh) to Umaria district via Mandla and Dindori districts of state MP.

Whereas the sources claimed that the burst in movement of Naxals in Mandla district and attack on forest department outpost could also be part of the CPI(Maoists) Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCIC) which generally goes on between February and June.

Primary investigations have revealed that the Naxals were speaking in some South Indian language, which suggests that they could be either from adjoining state Chhattisgarh or Telangana.

“It’s an unusual development, as never in the recent years the Naxals have assaulted or looted equipment from forest department staff anywhere in Naxal affected Balaghat district or the Mandla district, through which they are eyeing to build a new jungle corridor,” IG-Intelligence Makarand Deuskar while talking to Free Press on Monday.

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