In backdrop of the raging debate about ‘Urban Maoists’ in wake of the Bhima-Koregaon arrests, it would be prudent to remember that UPA-II had in an affidavit to the Supreme Court in 2013 stated that: academicians and activists in urban centres were controlling mass organizations “organically linked” to Maoists under cover of human right: these fronts, linked to CPI (Maoist) are in many ways more dangerous than cadres of the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA); Maoists kidnap officials to block development reaching marginalized sections but ideologues and supporters of CPI (Maoist) in cities and towns run concerted and systematic propaganda to project Maoists as champions of adivasi rights, and; Naxal warfare is part of the strategy of CPI (Maoist) to mobilize opinion linked to the party structure but which maintain separate identity to avoid legal liability. MHA had also conceded that initiating legal action against these ideologues, including academicians and activists often resulted in negative publicity for enforcement agencies due to the Maoist propaganda machinery.
In the instant case Bhima-Koregaon arrests, allegations by those opposed to government action range from throttling freedom of speech to murdering dissent, diversion from failed demonetisation and Rafale scam, to timing the arrests with next elections. Government on the other hand talks of conspiracy to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as evidenced by letters, as well as a diabolical threat to overthrow the government. Some on social media call the NIA is making arrests under trumped up charges. Questions are also being why anyone would put in black and white a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister and why the Supreme Court is the first court to deal with the arrests, why not lower court, since it leaves no avenue for higher appeal. The counter could well be that conspirators, like thieves, do make mistakes leaving leave tell-tale signs, and gravity of issues involved require it be dealt speedily by the apex court. While Maharashtra Police is reveling in the limelight, its notorious action of torturing Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit and fraudulently implicating him in the Malegaon blast cannot be condoned either.
Establishment of culpability or otherwise of those arrested in Bhima-Koregaon is now in hands of the Supreme Court, but it is necessary to examine what the aims and plans of Maoists are. The Maoist document titled “Strategy and Tactics for the Indian Revolution” scripted (possibly in Beijing) as late as 2004, states, “The central task of the Indian revolution is the seizure of political power. To accomplish this, the Indian people will have to be organized in the People’s Army and will have to wipe out the armed forces of the counter revolutionary Indian state and establish in its place their own state.” It further goes on to say, “As a considerable part of the enemy’s armed forces will inevitably be engaged against the growing tide of struggle by various nationalities, it will be difficult for the Indian ruling classes to mobilize all their armed forces against our revolutionary war.”
Another Maoist document titled “Urban Perspective: Our Work in Urban Areas” of same vintage had stated, “At present the revolutionary movement is advancing in a vast belt of people’s war encompassing the extensive areas of Dandakaranya, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar-Odisha border, north Telangana and Koel-Kaimur. We will be able to build these areas into contiguous areas of armed struggle with each area influencing the other.” Linked with subsequent events, it indicates that the critical phase of attacking the political fabric of Indian democracy had already begun. The issue needs to be viewed even more seriously considering that the brain of the Maoist ideology is in Beijing, they are receiving focused support from both China and Pakistan, and their over-ground elements are cloaked as intellectuals and social activists, even participating freely in seminars and debates in New Delhi. Propaganda through student-worker organizations is the ongoing strategy and ISI is constantly endeavoring to make inroads into universities and colleges, particularly in New Delhi.
As to the Pakistan ISI-Maoist nexus, the ISI had arranged mines / IED training for a core group of Maoists under the LTTE. As early as 2009-2010, Stratfor had warned Pakistan’s ISI was forging alliance with Maoists to destabilize India from within. In 2005, empties of bullets fired by Maoists were found with Pakistan Ordnance Factory (POF) markings. In 2008, IB reported 500 Maoists had undergone training under SIMI in Kerala. In November, 2010, it was reported that Maoists had acquired a vast and diverse assortment of foreign weapons, including rifles of .315 bore to .30-06 calibre and that more than three quarters of their US$70,000 plus budget was spent on procuring weapons and armaments – about US$ 20,604. Intelligence had also reported that the server hosting Maoists propaganda website was located in China. In order to mask its true location, the administrators of the website, in connivance server operators, tried to make it appear as if the server is hosted in Canada, by using proxy server.
Above website shared propaganda material, documents, and statements and views of Maoist leaders justifying killing of Indian security forces. Website administrators stated on the home page that the “website is not based in India or owned and maintained by people from India, nor it is connected to the Naxals”. However, it was operated by Maoists to gather support for their movement by justifying and legitimizing their violent actions. Post the CRPF column ambushed in April 2107 killing 25 CRPF personnel, Maoists released a statement on this website on May 25 last year stating that the security forces in Bastar were “killing” innocent villagers in the wake of the 25 April attack that was carried out by them. The statement “appealed” to journalists, civil society members, representative of Opposition parties and Left party members to visit Bastar in order to bring out the “atrocities” of the CRPF personnel, including “fake encounter killings”.
While MHA is busy figuring out how to overtake the Maoists strongholds in Abumajh area of Dandkaranya forest, Maoists have developed elaborate over-ground elements in urban India. How much money is pouring in to de-stabilize India from within irrespective of which government is in power has never been taken stock of, but the conspiracy is obviously of gigantic magnitude. Money would be pouring in from multiple sources, in addition to from Beijing and Islamabad, because who really wants a strong India? Indian Maoists links with Maoists of Nepal, combining of communist parties of Nepal and frequent visit of Indian Communist leaders to Bejing too are significant. We also appear to be ambivalent about organizations like the Kerala-headquartered Popular Front of India (PFI) that have been busy establishing similar urban fronts, and possible Maoists-PFI links. Ironically, in matters of national security, India has repeatedly glossed over such issues till the situation takes explosive dimensions.