Homeland Security

The naked truth of Naxalism
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Issue Vol 24.3 Jul-Sep 2009 | Date : 03 Nov , 2009

A couple hailed by the Indian Express for their stupendous social work in a village ‘Sabdo’ in Bihar were killed, because the Maoists felt that their influence was being eroded. A Maoist activist, Mushar by caste, committed suicide in a village of Patna district, because his wife was raped by the local Maoist leaders.

A group of humble farmers were compelled to donate a piece of land and money in return for unhindered agricultural activity. The entire money and land was appropriated by one Maoist leader on the plea that he had risked his life more than anyone else in the organization. A school in a remote area of Jharkhand had to close down because it could not meet the cash demands of the Maoists.

This is the story in the entire ‘Red-Corridor’.

the-red-corridor

Most Maoist leaders during the last two decades have acquired huge properties in the urban areas with the money that flows into the organization through extortion. By one estimate the Maoist extortion activity yields some Rs.3,000 crores.

The most irresponsibly used terminology is “˜land reforms. Where is the surplus land? In what quantity is it available? How many beneficiaries are to be targeted? The beneficiaries will land up with how much land? These are the questions no one answers.

Most teachers and doctors have been compelled to flee from the rural areas to towns and cities because of the Maoist threat. Armed forces personnel, going back to their homes on retirement are definite targets of extortion, because they are known to be carrying decent sums (commuted pension, gratuity and savings) of hard-earned money. Serving soldiers and their families are also not being spared. No contractor is allowed to create or improve infrastructure in the Maoist affected areas, covering some 160 districts and 40 percent territory of India, without paying abnormal sums of ransom to the Maoists.

Recently a contractor of a mega-project in Jharkhand has been arrested for supplying bullet-proof jackets to the Maoists.

Hospitals, schools and government offices are not the only targets, railway trains are being hijacked and railway stations are being blown. Banks are being looted. Given the logistics and expertise, the day is not far when they would replicate ‘Kandhar’ by hijacking aircraft, to bargain their demands. This situation, unlike insurgency in the border states which is area specific, obtains right through the heart of country and is pan-Indian in nature. Industry and agriculture in this vast swathe of Indian territory, has ceased to grow, it has rather regressed.

It can be observed that vast tracts of agricultural land lie uncultivated because of the Maoist menace. This is being done to a country which is grappling with food security for its citizens. Anybody with a modest alternative has shifted from the rural areas to nearby towns in search of better security. This is nothing but pure terror.

The Maoists are no revolutionaries, but pure terrorists, who thrive on terrorizing their own innocent countrymen. It can be checked from the records that most Maoist leaders at regional levels were hardened criminals in their previous ‘avatar’. Most of them continue to have links with mainstream politicians. They are not averse to taking huge sums of money to ensure that people likely to vote against their political benefactors are not allowed to exercise their franchise.

A Maoist leader recently stated that his organization wants to see growth in Islamic fundamentalism, as it is essentially anti-American.

I am aware of at least two occasions when Union Ministers asked the police to release some most wanted Maoist leaders with long criminal records, after they were arrested after great diligence. There is nothing ideological about the Maoist movement, as different paradigms operate in the different segments of the Maoist corridor. The Maoist leader in a given region generally belongs to one dominant caste or community, and invariably has truck with a political party or a political leader.

The armchair theorists never cease to prate about the lack of development, local grievances, and lack of land reforms as the reasons behind the growth of ‘naxalism’. I throw the gauntlet to any of these theorists to establish a school in the most remote and impoverished area in the ‘red-corridor’.

Those who have tried have faced the ire of the Maoists, because every development activity means fraying of their support base. If indeed, local grievances are the reason, then why is it necessary for the Maoists of Bihar or Jharkhand to import leaders from Bengal and Andhra Pradesh? In most recent Maoist armed actions in Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Chattisgarh, it is the Maoist cadres from Andhra, who have actively participated.

The most irresponsibly used terminology is ‘land reforms’. Where is the surplus land? In what quantity is it available? How many beneficiaries are to be targeted? The beneficiaries will land up with how much land? These are the questions no one answers. It is a fact that the annual legitimate income of a grade-IV government employee is much more than a farmer, owning ten bighas of land. Moreover, what is the incentive for the farmers to prosper and grow?

The naked truth is that the Maoists are anti-state and anti-people, and therefore enemies of the country.

If a MLA or an MP hankers to be a minister, if an IAS officer aspires to be the chief secretary, if a SP desires to become DGP one day, if a Colonel dreams of becoming a General, if an industrialist strives to expand his industry, then why a hardworking and enterprising farmer should be discouraged from increasing his land holdings? Instead of discouraging and harassing the modest farmers in the name of land reforms, these theorists should set an example by parting with any surplus urban property they have, and the most conscientious amongst them should part with at least one bedroom if they have a three-bedroom house/flat.

A Maoist leader recently stated that his organization wants to see growth in Islamic fundamentalism, as it is essentially anti-American. There is nexus between the Maoists and insurgent groups like ULFA. There is substantial evidence to prove the links between Maoists and Islamic terror groups in Bangladesh, as well as the ISI of Pakistan. Recently, a truck loaded with more than 1000 Kg of explosives and large number of detonators was apprehended in Bihar. The consignment was arranged by Maoists in India for the Maoists in Nepal.

The Maoists have received training in manufacture and use of IEDs from the LTTE. It is also known that the Indian Maoists have begun to manufacture rocket-launchers and claymore mines. Many so called ‘liberated zones’ are being used by the Maoists for opium cultivation.

The danger is for everybody to feel. Two generations in nearly half the country’s territory have suffered in terms of well-being and growth in varying degrees on account of Maoist terrorism. The State owes an explanation to them. The naked truth is that the Maoists are anti-state and anti-people, and therefore enemies of the country. If the police and the para-military forces cannot win this war, let the Indian Army do it.

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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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