The Chhattisgarh Police on Tuesday announced they have arrested a suspected spokesperson of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). Abhay Devdas Nayak allegedly wrote and disseminated press releases for the organisation, The Indian Express quoted the police as saying.
“Nayak would use modern technological techniques to keep his identity secret and actively did propaganda for the party via online pieces, press releases and writings with the aim to bring the youth into the Maoist fold,” Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) Vivekananda Sinha said.
Nayak was involved with the Co-Ordination Committee of Maoist Party and Organisations in South Asia, the police said, adding that he was an important link in the “urban Maoist network”. The police had issued a lookout notice against him in May 2017 and arrested him from the Delhi airport on June 1, Sinha said.
The police reportedly got to know that Nayak was the rebels’ spokesperson after an improvised explosive device and some banned literature and pamphlets were recovered from the Darbha region of Bastar last year.
“Abhay Devdas Nayak alias Lodda who hails from Bengaluru, was under scanner of Bastar police and state intelligence branch for last one-and-a-half years,” Special Director General of Police (Anti-Naxal Operations) DM Awasthi told Hindustan Times. “He is from the team of urban Naxal wing and was engaged in propaganda.”
The police alleged that Nayak had links with several alleged Maoist sympathisers, including activist Rona Wilson and professor Shoma Sen. Wilson and Sen are among the five people arrested last week for being “top urban Maoists” who incited the violence in Pune district’s Bhima Koregaon town on January 1.
In 2017, Nayak visited 15 countries – including Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, Russia and Nepal – to gather support and money for Maoists, the police claimed, adding that he had travelled to Bastar twice.
Nayak, who spoke to the media in the presence of the police on Tuesday, denied the allegations and claimed he was a freelance journalist writing about Maoists. His father Devdas Damodar Nayak told The Indian Express that his son was innocent.