Maoist cadre in India are now being allowed to use phones and WhatsApp for getting access to reading material, in what seems to be a bid to upgrade their propaganda machinery.
Maoist have so far shied away from using mobile phones and tablets because of the fear of being tracked by security forces.
The Indian Express quoted a 25-page document that was recovered during an encounter in April as saying, "Propaganda is being carried out via pamphlets, banners, posters, statements and these days through mobile phones and WhatsApp. After taking decisions, we must concentrate quickly on propaganda material and this must also be planned... We cannot depend only on computers."
However, reports suggest the usage of such electronic devices come with specific guideline on how to stay untraceable.
The Indian Express reported that the Maoist cadre have been asked to not use sim cards and use the device microchip for functioning. They have also been asked be weary of WiFi and internet mobile service, and have been advised to keep WiFi and Bluetooth turned off on their devices.
They have also been advised to store documents in memory cards and not in the phone memory. They have also been asked to be careful while downloading material since some website are under the watch of intelligence agencies.
Maoists have been using technology to their advantage for a long time now. While traditionally they have made use of pamphlets, posters and word of mouth it has been reported earlier that they have used social media to reach out to more people.
The Times of India had reported in 2013 that Maoists were using the internet and social networking sites to reach out to urban and semi-urban areas. The Chhattisgarh government had flagged several Facebook pages that were being used for propaganda.
More recently in 2014, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, Maoists were reported to have been sending bulk messages in Bihar asking people to boycott the polls.
Not just for communication, Maoists have reportedly used technology to their advantage to escape capture from security forces.
The Hindustan Times had reported in 2016 that hi-tech Japanese wireless sets, recovered from jungles in Chhattisgarh, indicated that they may have been using those to intercept wireless networks used by security forces for strategic planning.
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