Jorhat (Assam): Maoists are planning to make fresh recruitments, specially targetting the age group of 12-year-olds and above as they were running short of manpower in Assam, according to sources in the security forces.
The Maoists have chosen the festival season to scout youths from tea gardens and ethnic groups in the tea belt for recruiting them into the insurgent fold, the sources said.
They were also planning to recruit youths through their allies sending details through WhatsApp about the youths' education, family background and location, the sources said.
Though the recruitment drive started a year back, the process has now been speeded up due to shortage of manpower in the Maoist camps as two batches after their 18-month training in Jharkhand and Odisha were ready to arrive by next January, they said.
In the belt along river Brahmaputra short documentary films are loaded in 1GB/2GB mobile hand sets so that the impressionable boys of age 12 to 13 years are influenced and brainwashed to join the Naxalite movement, said the sources.
The seven upper Assam districts of Dhemaji, Jorhat, Lakhimpur, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Sivasagar and Golaghat have borders with neighbouring hill states, while the belt along the river is a breeding ground for Naxal activities, the sources said.
In view of the Maoists using the latest technology for their communication, the security forces want police special branches at both the Centre and the state equipped technically to counter them.
The recent arrest of dreaded Maoist Aditya Borah at Dergaon in Golaghat district as he was coming from Merapani on the Assam-Nagaland border, however, was a big setback for the Naxal movement here, they said.
The Assam-Nagaland border areas in and around Merapani have witnessed Maoist activities in recent times but after Aditya's arrest it has come down though Maoists' movement is witnessed in areas of mass gathering, specially during festivals, the sources added.