Naxal activities are not limited to isolated areas of eastern Maharashtra, according to NCP head Sharad Pawar, who said on Thursday that “urban naxalization” is occurring in the state’s major towns.
He was speaking to reporters in the state’s Gadchiroli area, where at least 27 naxals were slain in an encounter with police last Saturday, including prominent Maoist leader Milind Teltumbde.
Pawar said the situation in the district, which borders Chhattisgarh, was improving when asked about the naxal threat.
However, he claims that there is a “new phenomena” in which some groups are attempting to incite animosity against the administration in other sections of the state.
“This is what we might term urban naxalism,” Pawar stated. “Some of these forces are active in Nagpur, Pune, Mumbai, and parts of the Sahyadri hills all the way to Kerala.” “There is a section that is attempting to incite public outrage and hostility toward the administration,” he stated.
Pawar’s party is part of the government in Maharashtra and its minister holds the home portfolio.
“Special caution should be taken about this aspect immediately, otherwise new problems would emerge,” the NCP chief, who was Maharashtra chief minister four times, warned.
Notably, BJP leaders have often used the term “urban naxals” to claim that Maoists have hidden supporters and sympathizers in urban areas. Pawar, meanwhile, advocated a push to industrial development through mining in Surjagarh in Gadchiroli.
Protests had been staged by locals against mining in the area recently.
To a question about fear that mining will take away local tribals’ livelihood from natural
resources, Pawar said farming should be improved to provide new job opportunities.
“I feel that to remove the frustration of the young generation here, they should get job opportunities. Surjagarh will give them this right and opportunity in a big way and an important and permanent industry will develop here,” he added