Maoists have started losing their sway over the people of Lalgarh and its surrounding areas in the wake of a sustained operation by the joint forces and the arrest of tribal leaders Chhatradhar Mahato and Sukhshanti Baske.
According to intelligence reports, the people whose confidence the Maoists had gained by espousing their cause, have stopped supplying food and medicine to the extremists, indicating an end to the bonhomie.
The reports said that a rift had emerged between members and supporters of the People's Committee against Police Atrocities following the joint forces operation and the arrest of the two tribal leaders.
The frontline leaders of the PCPA are increasingly finding it difficult to carry forward their movement due to intensified police operations, the reports said. Also the Maoists have few sophisticated arms left in their possession and whatever arms they have at present are primitive, the reports say.
Intelligence sources said that after the report reached the state police, Director General of Police, Bhupinder Singh along with other top officials held a meeting on Saturday to decide the future course of action. Underground Maoist leader Kishenji, however, rubbished the reports, saying they were without basis. "It is true we are at present having less programmes, but that is because of the festive season."
Speaking from an undisclosed location, the Maoist leader said they were concentrating more on solving problems of the local people than fighting the joint forces. Meanwhile, the police and the administration are using the "declining popularity" of the extremists to their advantage by trying to woo the people through an extensive public relations exercise.
West Midnapore Superintendent of police, Monoj Verma, told PTI over phone that recently they had held a football tournament in Ramgarh where 32 teams from 26 villages participated. At the end of the tournament on Sunday they arranged a picnic where not only the participants but also the locals took part.
"Sunday was the final of the football tournament and nearly 3000 people had their lunch in the picnic that we arranged," Verma said. He said a similar soccer tournament was held at neighbouring Kantapahari which was a "huge success".