Homeland Security

Maoist Threat and Politics
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Issue Vol 25.1 Jan-Mar2010 | Date : 13 Dec , 2010

The previous issue of the Indian Defence Review carried a letter from a serving air force officer Group Captain RK Prasad to the Home Minister of India. The officer and his family had been mentally and financially tortured by their own countrymen, who like to call themselves ‘Maoists’. The younger brother of Gp Capt Prasad was kidnapped in Jharkhand in his and his father’s presence. His father and the kidnapped brother had served in the army as well. Overnight, Gp Capt Prasad had to arrange Rs.10 lakh, which the Maoists had demanded as the price for his brother’s release. The police expressed its helplessness and the Governor had only sympathies to offer. Incidentally, Gp Capt Prasad was one of the air force officers responsible for coordinating air effort during the 26/11 attack in Mumbai. This is just one story, but there are many more stories about armed forces, para-military and police personnel, both serving and retired, and their families being victims of extortion and kidnapping by the Maoists in the so-called Red Corridor extending from Tirupati to Pashupati.

The fact of the matter is that the Maoist movement is aided and abetted by China. A major part of the red corridor lies in Indias mineral heartland. It is a deliberate attempt to slowdown or derail Indias economic development.

Not a thought is spared when security personnel are killed in combating the Maoists. The initial stance of the newly elected Jharkhand Chief Minister, wherein he had ordered the security forces to halt all anti-Maoists operations, clearly expatiate the malaise with regard to the criminal neglect and insensitivity to security issues and security forces on part of a large section of our political class and bureaucracy. For them, power and perks of office, and political expediency overrides all other concerns even at the cost of the rapid erosion of the writ of the state. It is for this reason that the Maoists have been able to manipulate our political system and expand their areas of influence that cuts right through the heart of India.

In an earlier article ‘The Naked Truth of Naxalism’, I had pointed out the nexus between the Maoists and the mainstream political parties. This was clearly evident during the recent assembly elections in the Jharkhand and subsequently from the statements of the Chief Minister. Reportedly, in many seats that the ‘Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’ (JMM) emerged victorious was due to the hidden support of the Maoists. Press reports also suggested that the state government had issued verbal instructions to the police to not to intercept the mobile phones of Maoists. Also four BSF battalions were diverted to Chhattisgarh as the state government did not give them the green signal to commence operations against the Maoists. Nothing can be more humiliating to security forces. These developments were reported even as the Home Minister P Chidambaram accompanied by high level intelligence and security officials visited Raipur to discuss and coordinate the ongoing joint operations against the Maoists. The meeting was attended by Mr Raman Singh – Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Mr Naveen Patnaik – Chief Minister of Orissa and Mr RR Patil – Dy Chief Minister of Maharastra. Also present in the meeting were the respective DGPs of these states. The Chief Minister of Jharkhand was not part of the meeting even as 18 out of 23 districts of his state, is impacted by the Maoists menace.

Ostensibly, under the pressure of his coalition partner, the BJP, Mr Soren backtracked and issued a statement that he was misquoted and he was not against the special police operation (Green Hunt). Nevertheless, from the posturing of Mr Soren, the Maoists in Jharkhand, have received a major boost. This approach has been atypical of many politicians, who even while paying lip service to the need of curbing Maoist movement, have secret understanding with the Maoist leaders. It is for this reason that the Maoist cadres never have the difficulty in finding safe havens in one or more of the seven worst affected states in the red corridor. Therefore, it would not be misplaced to say that the some of the Maoist affected states are enemies of each-other and in the ultimate analysis are untrustworthy for the integrity of the Union of India.

The Telangana movement, it is well known, is being actively supported by the Maoists by way of militant manpower and financial contributions. Some of the areas in Telangana are virtual Maoist territories for past three decades. The Telangana movement, therefore would acquire even more violent overtones in the future due to the involvement of the Maoists. The Maoists along with the members of CPI (ML) Janashakthi are trying to hijack the Telangana movement and are regrouping in their strongholds of Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal districts. The Maoists are also trying to galvanize people in the interior villages, while the Janashakthi leaders are engaged in mobilization of the masses in urban and semi-urban areas. If the Telangana state were to materialize, the Maoists would have a state to themselves, which would serve as a formidable base for their pan-India aspirations.

The Maoists are not necessarily creations of underdevelopment and neglect. If that was the case, then they would not be destroying critical infrastructure like schools, hospitals, highways, communication towers and railways. If it was a crusade against underdevelopment and for betterment of the people, there would have been no indiscriminate extortions and kidnappings, and their leaders would not have amassed the wealth that they have. And most importantly, if their movement was for positive and benign reasons, the word ‘Mao’ would have never figured, and if Mao is their inspiration so must be his philosophy: ‘power flows out of the barrel of the gun’.

For China, the Maoists are the most reliable tool in the proxy war that it is waging against India. In the event of an Indo-China armed conflict the Maoists would act as “˜fifth columnists.

The fact of the matter is that the Maoist movement is aided and abetted by China. A major part of the red corridor lies in India’s mineral heartland. It is a deliberate attempt to slowdown or derail India’s economic development. The Maoists are engaged in illegal mining with the tacit support of the political dispensations in some areas. The people of that area have revealed to this author that minerals like iron ore, illegally mined by the Maoists, gain legitimacy through bona fide mining concerns by intimidation and inducement, and are transported to Haldia port in West Bengal from where it is shipped to China. For China, the Maoists are the most reliable tool in the proxy war that it is waging against India. In the event of an Indo-China armed conflict the Maoists would act as ‘fifth columnists’. The nexus of the Maoists in India with Maoists of Nepal is well established. The linkages between the Maoists and insurgent groups like ULFA as well as jihadi terrorist organizations are also known. A Maoist leader has on record said that he supports the growth of Islamic fundamentalism, as it is essentially anti-American.

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The Maoist leadership, therefore, are not a bunch of alienated and dissatisfied people. They have a definite agenda, which is scripted outside the country. They have not been averse to being used by the mafia, politicians across the political divide and elements inimical to India, even Pakistan’s ISI. They have elaborate network. On their payroll are page-3 intellectuals, who surface on the media from nowhere when going gets tough for the Maoists. They also have an elaborate financial, legal and medical network. Some of the ultra leftist political parties, who are overtly in the electoral politics, are actually part of the Maoist network to manipulate the political processes and creation of urban bases.

The Maoists have in effect declared war on India, therefore, the Union of India, must respond not only because of the external dimensions of the problem, but also for the security and well-being of its affected citizens, who for long have endured the Maoist cruelty because of the fear of the gun. If a government of a particular state becomes a burden or distraction in the ongoing war against Maoists, the central government should not hesitate to dismiss that government for the sake of the country.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

RSN Singh

is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW and author of books Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and The Military Factor in Pakistan. His latest book is The Unmaking of Nepal.

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