Monday, November 19, 2007

Naxal watch in Bangalore colleges

Sleuths visited famous St Josephs College to probe activities of a groupBANGALORE: After being a suspected breeding ground for terrorists, thetech city is in news again for being a hotbed of naxal sympathisers.

The Bangalore police have begun searching college campuses to track supporters of naxalites in the student community.

The state intelligence officials visited the famous St Josephs College and spent hours probing into activities of a group that recently gathered at the campus. The group, Karnataka Communal Harmony Group, which consists of intellectuals and activists, is suspected to be a sympathiser of naxalites in Karnataka, said an official on condition of anonymity.

The group came into existence three years ago when a suspected naxalite was killed in an encounter in rural south Karnataka. However, additional director of police (law & order) Shankar Bidari said that the probe revealed nothing. "Compared to other states, the influence
in Karnataka is very less," he said.

But intelligence officials state otherwise. Though it is touted that the influence is limited to only four out of 28 districts in the state, they have established a stronghold in rural parts and are
gradually planning to expand into the cities.

According to police, the naxalites have visited Nandagudi, where farmers are protesting against a proposed special economic zone.

"Protests and poverty are the tools used by the naxalites to spread their area of activity. Their target is to obtain support from villagers migrating to the city and the student community who can be easily lured into their ideology," an official said.

The previous coalition government of Karnataka had proposed talks with the naxalites to lay down weapons. However, the proposal did not come through.

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