Maoists, Naxilites’ threat to India
The Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF) of India has approached the ‘Ministries of Communications and Information Technology’ and ‘Science and Technology’ with a view to acquiring sophisticated communication equipment, and improving on their fire power.
The CPRF wants to acquire this equipment to help its troops tackle the Naxal problem in 80 Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts in nine states. According to the annual report of the UN Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict, “Maoist armed groups were recruiting and indoctrinating children and constituted children’s squads and associations such as Bal Dastas, Bal Sangham and Bal Manch, as part of mass mobilization”. The Maoists are using strategy of Salwa Judum, anti-Maoists group supported by the Government, in which children were being recruited through intimidation and abduction. Apart from that, the Maoists recently abducted railway employees, including a station master in Bihar’s Jamul district of India but later released 16 of them in a forest.
The Maoists threat in India is waxing while India is deliberately downplaying the issue to prove that India has neither major law and order problem nor centrifugal tendencies. But the world has started understanding the realities on ground which India has been trying to hide. India has been blaming Pakistan for the freedom movement in occupied Kashmir, what it calls insurgency, but who is to blame for the Naxalite insurgency in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttaranchal and other Indian States? It is widely felt that Naxalites is no more a law and order problem, but poses a threat to internal security, as is evident from the declaration of a ‘Compact Revolutionary Zone’ of ‘Red Corridor’ from Nepal to Tamil Nadu - accounting for almost a third of the country’s total area’ (The Statesman - August 28, 2006). The Indian Government’s ‘multi-pronged approach’ had no effect on rising Naxalite influence. The Naxalite movement is a movement against economic deprivation and brutality of the state or central government’s law enforcing agencies. The Naxalite ideology has great appeal for marginalised strata (particularly dalit and adivasis) of India’s caste-ridden society. The Naxalites’ aim, as contained in their Central Committee’s resolution (1980) is: “Homogenous and contiguous forested area around Bastar Division (since divided into Bastar, Dantewada and Kanker Districts of Chhatisgarh) and adjoining areas of Adilabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, East Godavari Districts of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrapur and Garchehiroli district of Maharastra, Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh, Malkagiri and Koraput districts of Orissa would comprise the area of Dandakarnaya, which would be liberated and used as base for spreading people’s democratic revolution”. The term “Naxalite” has the origin in Naxalbari village (West Bengal) where Kanhu Sanyal had presented the concept of forcible protest against the social order relating to holding of property and sharing of social benefits.
For him, the objective was “organizing peasants to bring about land reform through radical means including violence”. Charu Mazumdar had initiated the Naxalite movement in 1965, and the world came to know of the movement in 1967 when the Beijing Radio reported about peasants’ armed struggle at Naxalbari (Silliguri division of West Bengal). In July 1972, the police arrested Charu Mazumdar and later tortured him to death on the night of July 27-28. Anyhow, the Naxalites vow to carve out an independent zone extending from Nepal through Bihar and then to Dandakarnaya region extending up to Tamil Nadu to give them access to the Bay of Bengal as well as the Indian Ocean. The populist appeal of the movement’s ideology reflects that it would soon assume international dimensions. India’s Lieutenant General K.M. Seth - who retired from the army in 1997 and was governor of Chhattisgarh, Tripura and Madya Pradesh – had lamented: “Unfortunately, the threat to internal security from Naxalites has assumed dangerous proportions and can no longer be whisked away. They have suffered and bled heavily, and also caused huge human casualties exceeding 13,000 uniformed personnel and 53,000 civilians during the last 25 years”.
In this backdrop, Naxalites would remain a pain in the neck for India for a long time to come. It is unfortunate that the US and the West do not see any threat of disintegration of India and threat of its nukes falling in the hands of insurgents, terrorists or Communists. According to South Asia Terrorism Portal’s report 2007, “at least 231 of the country’s 608 Districts were afflicted, at differing intensities, by various insurgent and terrorist movements. Terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir (12 of the States 14 Districts), in different States of the Northeast (54 Districts) and Left Wing extremism (affecting at least 165 Districts in 14 States) continues to pose serious challenges to the country’s security framework. In addition, wide areas of the country appear to have ‘fallen off the map’ of good governance, and are acutely susceptible to violent political mobilization, lawlessness and organized criminal activity”. In this backdrop one can conclude that India is awash with home-grown terrorist organizations and can implode from within without any outside effort.
Despite the rhetoric of having good relations with Pakistan, India is keeping the focus entirely spotted on Pakistan to demonise it as a state, denigrate its agencies and its military, to project it as a state sponsoring terrorism globally, to isolate it internationally so that Pakistan is not entrusted with any role in post-drawdown Afghanistan. But this path is fraught with dangers because the escalation of tensions and then war between the two nuclear states could be disastrous. It is therefore in the best interest of both India and Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue, when it has been established that Pakistan as a state is not involved in Mumbai blasts. What Indian leadership should understand that India does not have the history of a cohesive nation except for a brief period under Ashoka and Akbar. If Indian leadership does not stop inhuman treatment to its minorities then there would be reaction from the insurgents and it will not be possible to keep India united.