Thursday, November 5, 2009

India Deploys 100,000 Troops Against Maoists Revolt

Is this the start of a bloody revolution by the poor and left-behind Indian masses? Does the size of the force of over 100,000 Indian soldiers represent the seriousness of the threat the Indian government face in fighting the rebels? Contrast this with the force of 30,000 soldiers Pakistan has deployed in South Waziristan, or the 68000 American troops in the entire Afghan war theater.

Indian author and activist Arudhati Roy has accused Indian government of mounting an assault on the poor by maligning them as terrorists. "You know, when September 11th happened, I think some of us had already said that a time would come when poverty would be sort of collapsed and converge into terrorism. And this is exactly what’s happened. The poorest people in this country today are being called terrorists", she said recently.

Gajurel, a senior leader of the Nepalese Maoists, has recently been quoted by Rajdhani daily as saying, "We have extended our full support and cooperation to the Indian Maoists, who are launching armed revolt."

There has been a surge in Maoist violence in India in recent months - the rebels have kidnapped and killed policemen, held up an express train, attacked police stations, and blown up railway lines and communication links in affected states.

The Maoist insurgency started in 1967 and has spread to cover a third of India's districts, forming a so-called "red corridor" in mainly central areas.

The rebels have a presence in more than 223 of India's 600-odd districts across 20 states, according to the government.

There have been more than 1,400 cases related to violence by Maoists between January and August, according to official records. Nearly 600 civilians have died over that period.

India’s rapid economic growth has made it an emerging global power but also deepened stark i nequalities in society. Maoists accuse the government of trying to push tribal groups off their land to gain access to raw materials and have sabotaged roads, bridges and even an energy pipeline, according to the NY Times.

The intensity of Naxalites' hatred for the Indian ruling elite can be gauged by the fact that their leader Ganapathi, a former schoolteacher, denounced Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaran as "terrorists." In a recent interview at his secret jungle hideout with the weekly magazine Open, he said "the people will rise up like a tornado under our party's leadership to wipe out the reactionary blood-sucking vampires ruling our country." At another point, the 59-year old Ganapathi declared: "Those (government) sharks want to loot the wealth and drive the tribal people of the region to further impoverishment."

The Maoists were once dismissed as a ragtag band of outdated ideologues, but the Indian government is now preparing to deploy nearly 100,000 strong force for a prolonged counterinsurgency campaign to hunt down the guerrillas in some of the country’s most rugged, isolated terrain.

By threatening to unleash a violent revolution if the Indian government went ahead with its planned large-scale offensive against his insurgent forces, Maoists leader Ganapathi has made the intentions of the rebels obvious. Already, his men, and even some women fighters, have carried out acts that are now normally associated with the Taliban. They have kidnapped and beheaded government officials, blown up electricity and telephone towers, destroyed roads and railway tracks, killed political opponents and attacked police stations and other official installations. The offensive against the Naxalites will certainly weaken and deprive them of some of their bases and hideouts, but the issue cannot be resolved by the use of force alone. Many members of the Indian intelligentsia sympathize with the cause of the Maoists and objective analysts see it as an economic issue and one concerning social justice. The Indian ruling elite needs to deal with the root-cause of the insurgency instead of applying force through the state apparatus to decimate the rebels.

Here's are two video clip about Maoists in India:

Here is British Writer William Dalrymple talking about India and Pakistan:

Related Links:

Bloody revolution in India

Arundhai Roy on Maoist Revolt

India's Maoist Revolution

NY Times on Maoists

Can Indian Democracy Deliver?

G rinding Poverty in Resurgent India

Pakistan's Choice: Globalization or Talibanization

The Tornado Awaiting India

Countering Militancy in FATA

Taliban or Rawliban?

Political, Economic and Social Reforms in Pakistan

Fix ing Sanitation Crisis in India

Western Myths About "Stable, Peaceful, Prosperous" India

Taliban Target Landed Elite

Feudal Punjab Fertile For Terror

Caste: India's Apartheid


Anonymous said...


That is the greatness of india. Everything is not seen as black and white but with some amount of humanity. Even the army has clarified that they will not take on the maoist.

India is still trying to get them on the negotiable table which will happen over the period of time.

Curse of democracy is corruption at the highest level and that triggers these extremist.

Anonymous said...

It might be the design of the friendly americans to destabilize the country.

HOpe the indian have sense to be alert on all. AFter all it learnt thelession that russian are not dependable when they let india down during the chinese war. Hope india remembers the lesson and be careful with america so that it does not be foolish enough to allow the history to repeat itself

Anonymous said...

Further my fear is that the guts have come due to the funding in money and arms by the western world to these so called corrupt leader.

In the world of gandhi where he fought with ahimsa for liberation where are these jonny coming from.

People like arundhati roy are cheap intellectuals who easily fall in prey without understanding the whole game of the scheme `masters.

Anonymous said...

proabably these maoist leader can take a leaf from naryana murthy who was a communist by belief but took the challenge of capitalism and won them by their rules.

He rather chose to create and distribute wealth rather create havoc and mayhem in the society

Anonymous said...

cat is out of the bog. Arms are supplied by the us, china, pak and iran.


US, China, Pak, Iran supply 80% arms

New Delhi: Home secretary G K Pillai on Sunday indicated that Naxalites might be smuggling small arms from China, though he declined to give the exact source.
Speaking at the conference organised by South Asian Free Media Association, Pillai said the small arms business was the largest and the most profitable in the world. He said he had attended an arms convention in Vienna where everyone wanted to have control on arms. The only condition that all the nations wanted to have was that every country, every arms units and ordnance factory should have a unique number.
You will be surprised that the only four countries which opposed the move were the US, China, Pakistan and Iran. Every other country in the world said yes. Because these four countries together supply 80% of the worlds small arms, Pillai said. If you cant stop small arms business in the world, if you stop something here, something will come there. It is because of continuous supply of millions of small arms. A bulk of it is coming into the Third World. Third World countries are suffering the most and all manufacturing is taking place in the four countries, he added. TNN

Riaz Haq said...

Biggest Land Grab After Columbus

By Devinder Sharma

14 November, 2009
Devinder Sharma Blog

I think the eulogisation of Tata's has gone too far. Behind all the glamour, sobriety and humanitariasm that we read and hear about Tata's, there is a dark hidden side which is kept under wraps. It is time we look at the destructive role Tata's have played over the years in uprooting thousands of poor families, and the resulting destruction of livelihoods and the environment.

To overcome their guilt, and that too aimed at pacifying the liberal voices in the urban centres, I am sure Ratan Tata would be thinking of setting up schools and funding some NGO activities in the tribal lands as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

What a sophisticated way to cover your dark underbelly !

I was quite taken aback today to see a frontpage headline in The Hindustan Times: The biggest land grab after Columbus. As the blurb says: Government report criticises corporate exploitation of tribal lands; tribals turn to new friends: Maoist. And if you remember only a few days back, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had publicly accepted, and made a promise: "The systemic exploitation of our tribal communities can no longer be tolerated."

Do you think Manmohan Singh will do anything to stop this? You bet, he will simply push for more such projects that will eventually destroy the social fabric of these tribal lands. If you think I am wrong, let us take the land-grab in Bedanji, a remote rural expanse in Bastar in Chhatisgarh, as a test case. The Tata's plan to set up a Rs 19,500 crore steel plant for which ten villages have to be emtied.

Interestingly, a report of the PM-appointed Ministry of Rural Development committee on Land Reforms has succinctly said: "This open declared war will go down as the biggest land grab ever, if it plays out as per the script." The Hindustan Times report quotes the just-released government report warning against the corporate takeover in the Bastar hinterland: "The biggest grab of tribal lands after Columbus."

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts from a BBC report by veteran correspondent Mark Tully:

Being central government forces and recruited from all over India they will be strangers, not speaking the tribal languages or understanding their ways.

The central forces are not exactly known for their softly, softly approach.

When they were very active in Kashmir, I remember having several conversations with the governor about the failure to punish police responsible for human rights abuses.

The governor was a humane man himself, and he had the honesty to admit the government feared the forces would be demoralized if action was taken against them every time they went too far.

The tribal people, who both sides claim to be representing, will be crushed between security forces demanding they provide information about Maoist movements, and the Maoists themselves who have already shown how brutally they treat anyone they believe has betrayed them.

Once again, the root of the problem is the Indian government's inability to provide what those they govern rightly feel is their entitlement.

Nowhere is this more manifest than in the callous handling of tribals who have been dispossessed of their land.

Reading Arundhati Roy, I was reminded of a visit I made to a resettlement villages for tribals, who had twice been evicted in order to make way for power stations.

When they complained to the official accompanying me that they were not being provided with electricity, he shot back: "Well you cannot afford it, can you?"

With that sort of callousness all too common amongst officials, is it any wonder that tribals support Maoists who promise to protect their lands?

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a report in the Indian media with an Indian official Syeda Hameed admitting that India is doing worse than Pakistan and Bangladesh on nutrition:

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) India is worse than Bangladesh and Pakistan when it comes to nourishment and is showing little improvement in the area despite big money being spent on it, says Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed.

'There has been an enormous infusion of funds. But the National Family Health Survey gives a different story on malnourishment in the country. We don't know, something is just not clicking,' Hameed said.

Speaking at a conference on 'Malnutrition an emergency: what it costs the nation', she said even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during interactions with the Planning Commission has described malnourishment as the 'blackest mark'.

'I should not compare. But countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are better,' she said. The conference was organised Monday by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Ministry of Development of Northeastern Region.

According to India's National Family Health Survey, almost 46 percent of children under the age of three are undernourished - an improvement of just one percent in the last seven years. This is only a shade better than Sub-Saharan Africa where about 35 percent of children are malnourished.

Hameed said the government's Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme, which is a flagship programme to improve the health of women and children, had not shown results despite a lot of money being spent on it in the past few years.

'We have not been successful in improving the status of health of our women and children,' she added.

The annual budget for women and child development (WCD) ministry in 2008-9 is Rs.72 billion. Of this, Rs.63 billion is for ICDS.

According to Unicef, every year 2.1 million children in India die before celebrating their fifth birthday. While malnutrition is the primary reason behind it, other factors like lack of health facilities, hygiene and good nutrition compound the problem.

Narrating her experiences while travelling the length and breadth of the country, Hameed said in many areas women were still starving and finding it difficult to feed their children.

She said emphasis should be given on inclusive breast-feeding for six months after a child's birth, maternity benefits for pregnant women and food fortification of ready to eat mid-day meals.

'We are concerned and worried that we are losing human beings in such a manner. It is a disappointment and a blot. We have just improved a fraction and we are determined that we do not let it get worse,' she said.

'It is frustrating to see this dark and dismal picture of undernourishment in the country. We have to learn the experiences from other South Asian countries,' she added.

The NFHS survey found that levels of anaemia in children and women had worsened compared to seven years ago -- around 56 percent of women and 79 percent of children below three years are anaemic.

Vinita Bali, managing director of Britannia Industries, said the problem was very critical and action was needed from both the government and the industry.

She said their 'Tiger' biscuits had been fortified with iron and had shown amazing results. These biscuits have been provided to children in Hyderabad with a midday meal.

'We conducted a study and found that in six months of taking these biscuits, the haemoglobin increased. The biscuits are not only healthy but also fortified,' she said.

'There should be a balance between prevention and treatment. Our focus should be to target the most vulnerable and then only we will have a much healthier future for India,' he added.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an LA Times report on the vicious cycle of poverty in rural India:

India has long been plagued by unscrupulous moneylenders who exploit impoverished farmers. But with crops failing more frequently, farmers are left even more desperate and vulnerable.

Reporting from Jhansi, India - She stops for long stretches, lost in thought, trying to make sense of how she's been left half a person.

Sunita, 18, who requested that her family name not be used to preserve her chance of getting married, said her nightmare started in early 2007 after her father took a loan for her sister's wedding. The local moneylender charged 60% annual interest.

When the family was unable to make the exorbitant interest payments, she said, the moneylender forced himself on her, not once or twice but repeatedly over many months.

"I used to cry a lot and became a living corpse," she said.

Sunita's allegations, which the moneylender denies, cast a harsh light on widespread abuses in rural India, where a highly bureaucratic banking system, corruption and widespread illiteracy allow unethical people with extra income to exploit poor villagers, activists say.

But here in the Bundelkhand region in central India that is among the nation's more impoverished areas, the problem is exacerbated by climate change and environmental mismanagement, they say, suggesting that ecological degradation and global warming are changing human life in more ways than just elevated sea levels and melting glaciers.

"Before, a bad year would lead to a good year," said Bharat Dogra, a fellow at New Delhi's Institute of Social Sciences specializing in the Bundelkhand region. "Now climate change is giving us seven or eight bad years in a row, putting local people deeper and deeper in debt. I expect the situation will only get worse."

An estimated 200,000 Indian farmers have ended their lives since 1997, including many in this area, largely because of debt.

A 2007 study of 13 Bundelkhand villages found that up to 45% of farming families had forfeited their land, and in extreme cases some were forced into indentured servitude. Tractor companies, land mafia and bankers routinely collude, encouraging farmers to take loans they can't afford, a 2008 report by India's Supreme Court found, knowing they'll default and be forced to sell their land.

"While a few people borrow for social status or a desire to buy a new motorcycle, in most cases it's for sheer survival," Dogra said. "When they see their children starving after several years of crop failures, many feel they have no choice."

Recent amendments to a 1976 law in Uttar Pradesh state have increased the maximum punishment for unauthorized money-lending to three years in jail, up from six months, but many loan sharks are well-connected and elude prosecution. The law specifies that lenders must obtain a state license, but the requirements for obtaining it can be vague, a situation that critics say gives bureaucrats significant leeway to enact arbitrary rules and exact questionable fees.

"I take occasional loans when we're desperate," says Jhagdu, 50, a farmer in Barora, 60 miles south of Jhansi, sitting on his haunches with teeth stained red from chewing betel nut. "When there's no rain, like now, you can't repay for a year, so the amounts can double."

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a recent piece by Arundhati Roy about India's war against Maoists:

"The government has announced Operation Green Hunt, a war purportedly against the "Maoist" rebels headquartered in the jungles of central India. Of course, the Maoists are by no means the only ones rebelling. There is a whole spectrum of struggles all over the country that people are engaged in–the landless, the Dalits, the homeless, workers, peasants, weavers. They're pitted against a juggernaut of injustices, including policies that allow a wholesale corporate takeover of people's land and resources. However, it is the Maoists that the government has singled out as being the biggest threat.

Two years ago, when things were nowhere near as bad as they are now, the prime minister described the Maoists as the "single largest internal security threat" to the country. This will probably go down as the most popular and often repeated thing he ever said. For some reason, the comment he made on 6 January, 2009, at a meeting of state chief ministers, when he described the Maoists as having only "modest capabilities", doesn't seem to have had the same raw appeal. He revealed his government's real concern on 18 June, 2009, when he told parliament: "If left-wing extremism continues to flourish in parts which have natural resources of minerals, the climate for investment would certainly be affected."

Right now in central India, the Maoists' guerrilla army is made up almost entirely of desperately poor tribal people living in conditions of such chronic hunger that it verges on famine of the kind we only associate with sub-Saharan Africa. They are people who, even after 60 years of India's so-called independence, have not had access to education, healthcare or legal redress. They are people who have been mercilessly exploited for decades, consistently cheated by small businessmen and moneylenders, the women raped as a matter of right by police and forest department personnel. Their journey back to a semblance of dignity is due in large part to the Maoist cadre who have lived and worked and fought by their side for decades.

If the tribals have taken up arms, they have done so because a government which has given them nothing but violence and neglect now wants to snatch away the last thing they have – their land. Clearly, they do not believe the government when it says it only wants to "develop" their region. Clearly, they do not believe that the roads as wide and flat as aircraft runways that are being built through their forests in Dantewada by the National Mineral Development Corporation are being built for them to walk their children to school on. They believe that if they do not fight for their land, they will be annihilated. That is why they have taken up arms."

Riaz Haq said...

The BBC is reporting that the Church of England has pulled its investments from India mining company Vedanta after criticism of its Orissa bauxite project:

The decision has been welcomed by campaigning groups including Survival International (SI) which has been lobbying the church to disinvest from Vedanta for more than a year.

SI says that the bauxite mine will destroy a large part of the Niyamgiri Mountain in Orissa, damaging the lives of Kondh tribes people who live in the area.

Needs 'ignored'

Vedanta has been accused of forcing tribal people off the land, damaging the environment and destroying wildlife.

No-one from the company was available to comment on the decision of the church.

But last year Vedanta argued that it had the support of the Orissa state government and the Indian judiciary - and that before it went ahead with the project it consulted exhaustively to assess its environmental and social impact.

The company accused campaigning groups of focusing their objections solely on the concerns of the tribal community and ignoring the needs of other people in the area for jobs and improvements in education and healthcare.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a recent BBC report on increasing Maoists violence:

At least 21 troops were killed when armed Maoists attacked a camp of the paramilitary forces in India's West Bengal state, officials said.

Nearly 50 rebels on motorcycles encircled the camp of the Eastern Frontier Rifles (ERF) at Silda village on Monday and started firing on it.

More fighters joined the assault on foot, firing from automatic weapons.

More than 6,000 people have died during the rebels' 20-year fight for communist rule in many Indian states.

The Indian government recently began a major offensive against the rebels in several states.

Indian Prime minister Manmohan Singh has described the Maoist insurgency as India's "greatest internal security challenge".

The rebels now have a presence in 223 of India's 600-odd districts.


The camp was overrun by the Maoists after the troops put up brief initial resistance, district magistrate of West Midnapore district NS Nigam told the BBC.

"The Maoists then burnt down the camp and planted landmines on the entire length of the road leading to the camp. Reinforcements with night vision and anti-landmine vehicles reached the camp late at night," Mr Nigam said.

At least 21 bodies have been recovered from in and around the camp and some of them are badly charred, he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an opinion arguing that India is a failed state:

Inspite of the fact that India has been living on the old crumbs of outsourcing for the last 10 years the situation has hardly improved in the cities and villages of India. The poverty in India is reaching its new hieghts with every passing day. Thousands and thousands of people commit suicide every year just because they either don't have enough to eat or they simply can't feed their children/family. The Socialistic economic system in India has suddenly been changed to capitalistic one but trickle down effect has hardly taken effect. The whole nation is facing terrorism from left right and center. 25% of the country (areawise) has no writ of the state as MAOISTS (Communists) have demolished the capitalistic structure in many districts of India. They have their own laws and their own courts. There are at least 10 insurgency movements in India starting from Kashmir in the east to the whole of North East which has 6 or 7 states. Indian Govt. seems helpless.

Riaz Haq said...

War on terror has degenerated into war against tribals: Prashant Bhushan published in the Hindu:

“For every 100 Maoists eliminated, thousands more are created”

“Suppression of dissent is fascist and will escalate into civil war”

NEW DELHI: Human rights activists, journalists and fact-finding
committees were being targeted to intimidate them so that there could
be no dissenting voices against the State’s alleged war on terror,
which had degenerated into a war against the tribals, advocate
Prashant Bhushan alleged here over the week-end.

He was speaking at a press conference held to protest against the
alleged labelling of civil rights groups and peoples’ movements as
Maoist front organisations.

Charge-sheet against Ghandy

Reading from the charge-sheet filed against Maoist leader Kobad Ghandy
by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, Mr. Bhushan said: “Their
other front organisations like Revolutionary Democratic Front,
People’s Democratic Front of India, Committee for Release of Political
Prisoners, Indian Association of People’s Lawyers took up the issues
of human rights violation, civil liberties, atrocities by the police…
Other civil liberties and human rights organisations i.e. People’s
Union for Democratic Rights, People’s Union for Civil Liberties
(PUCL), Association for Protection of Democratic Rights also take up
the issues of their outfit — CPI (Maoist). These organisations play a
very important role to broaden the base of the outfit.”

People, who expressed sympathy with human rights activists or exposed
and criticised government actions, were accused of being front
organisations of the Maoists, he added.

Tribals harassed

Mr. Bhushan said: “The government has done little for the tribals and
now they are trying to snatch their land. When tribals agitate
peacefully, the State security forces descend on them, harass them and
burn their villages.

“About 700 villages have been burnt in the past two years in
Chhattisgarh. People are bound to protest and take up arms. For every
100 Maoists eliminated, thousands are created through collateral

The country was turning into a fascist State through suppression of
dissent and this would lead to an escalating state of violence
resulting in civil war, he added.

Talks favoured

Stressing that the State could not use illegal means to curb violence,
retired Justice Rajinder Sachar said: “The State cannot be a
terrorist. It is the ultimate repository of law and order.

"Talks should happen between the government and the Maoists in an open
atmosphere where there is no fear. Both sides should cease hostilities
for dialogue to take place. The Maoist representative should be
granted immunity for the period of talks. In case the talks fail, both
sides should be able to return to their respective areas.”

To approach court

“PUCL will go to court to remove its name from the charge-sheet,” he

Concurring that the government and Maoists should have talks amid a
ceasefire, writer Arundhati Roy said: “Fight for civil liberties,
prisoners’ rights and mere thoughts are being criminalised. If those
who support human rights activists in their struggle are considered
front organisations of the Maoists, by the same argument the Home
Ministry too should be considered the over ground representatives of
big corporations.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's part of a personal story about Maoists in Jharkhand by a Newsweek reporter Sudip Mazumdar:

The Maoists finally got word that I wanted to talk. It was well past midnight when my mobile phone rang. The caller gave no name and spoke in a local Hindi dialect that I understand and speak well. He gave a little speech about "establishing a classless society." Before he could hang up, I asked him why the Maoists terrorize ordinary people. He denied harassing "the poor and the powerless." End of phone call.

It would have been nice if he had conveyed that message to the gang of Maoists who raided the house of a former village headman a few days earlier near Gaya, in the neighboring state of Bihar. The man and his son happened to be away from home when it happened, visiting a nearby village. Someone rushed to warn them that a company of Maoists had been spotted heading for their home village, and the son called the police immediately. The Maoists rolled into the village unchallenged and looted the house. Then they ordered the women out, dynamited the place to rubble and melted back into the countryside. The district police chief later claimed that a team of police was sent to the scene. Villagers said the cops showed up nearly 15 hours after the raiders left.

A few days later, nearly 100 Maoists swarmed into a village near the Jharkhand town of Hazaribagh in the dead of night. They seized a schoolteacher and dragged him away despite his wife's entreaties, accusing him of being a police informer. They tied him to a tree and tortured him to death.

The more horror stories I heard, the harder it was to understand how any government could tolerate such atrocities against its people. I decided to call on the deputy commissioner of Dhanbad district. A computer-science graduate from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Ajay Kumar Singh is the man in charge of both district development and law and order in Dhanbad. He's an earnest young man who lives in a well-guarded bungalow with a manicured lawn in the heart of the city. Singh blames the state's crushing poverty for the Maoists' influence. "It is a Catch-22 situation," he says. "There are no roads, so there is hardly any development. And when we go to build roads, the Maoists attack and destroy all efforts, because roads will expose their hideouts." Besides, he says, the state's officials don't live in the impoverished villages and therefore they have no stake in developing the backcountry areas.

For a senior government functionary, Singh is unusually candid. He's convinced that the Maoists couldn't prevent development if the politicians considered it important. "Human beings have built tunnels under the sea," he says. "Obviously we can build roads into remote villages." It's not as if the Maoist leaders were committed revolutionaries, he says; many of them are only hoodlums who use villagers as hostages and human shields. They keep the ill-paid local cops terrorized by attacking them with overwhelming force and no warning.

I asked Singh what happens when people get extortion threats. Most pay up, he said. The state can't provide armed guards for everyone who needs one. I didn't have the stomach to ask about people who don't pay. It was getting dark outside the bungalow. I asked Singh if I'd be OK driving to Giridih, about 40 miles away through some desolate stretches of forest. Wait until morning, he said. I walked out of Singh's bungalow into the dark streets. Until India's government gets serious about stopping the Maoists, I have no answer for my sister and her husband.

Find this article at

Riaz Haq said...

Indian home secretary Gopal Pillai says Maoists want to overthrow Indian by 2050, according to Times of India:

: Maoists have plans to overthrow the Indian democracy through their armed struggle and want to control the government by 2050, home secretary Gopal K Pillai on Friday said.

Addressing a seminar on "Left Wing Extremism Situation in India", Pillai said the Maoists might be getting the help of some former soldiers in carrying out subversive activities.

"The overthrow of the Indian state is not something they are willing to do tomorrow or the day after. Their strategy, according to a booklet they circulated, is that they are looking for at 2050, some documents say in 2060," he said.

According to Pillai, Naxals were not looking at to overthrow the Indian state in 2012 or 2013, it was a long steady plan and in the past 10 years they slowly build up the movement.

"Now they can bring many sectors of Indian economy into their knees. But they don't want to do it today. They know that if they do that now, the state will come very hard. They are not fully prepared to face the onslaught of the state machinery. So, they would rather go very slowly," he said.

The home secretary said the Maoists were a very highly motivated and well trained force like any armed force of any country and they could be help by some ex-army personnel.

"They are very highly motivated, highly trained. I am quite certain that there are some, may be some ex-army or some people who have been with them," he said.

Giving reason for this conclusion, Pillai said after launching any attack, the Naxals conduct a post-mortem and analyse the whole operation.

"After every attack, they do a post-mortem and analysis. The analysis is as good as armed forces of any country does," he said.

The home secretary said 908 people have lost their lives last year, the highest since 1971, in Naxal violence and it may go up in this year and next year become coming down.

"It is quite like that the violence will go up in 2010 or 2011 before the tide is begin to turn," he said.

According to Pillai, even though the joint anti-Naxal operations were going on, the Naxals have not suffered any significant reverses so far and the government would need seven to eight years to have full control over the areas which were lost to the Maoists.

"The operations have not hit even five per cent of hardcore militants. The real armed cadres are yet to come out," he said, adding unless they feel the heat they will not come for talks and whatever statement they were making about peace were not serious.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Maoist leader Kishenji threatening to overthrow Indian government "much before 2050", according to Times of India:

Tags:G K Pillai|Koteswar Rao|Kishenji
: A day after Union Home Secretary G K Pillai said Maoists had plans to overthrow the Indian state by 2050, top Naxal leader Koteswar Rao alias Kishenji tonight claimed it would be achieved much before that date.

"We will overthrow the Indian government much before 2050," Kishenji said from an undisclosed location.

He claimed the Maoists had their own army with the help of which it would overthrow the Indian state much before 2050.

He said the Maoists had offered a 72-day peace offer and "the question of regrouping does not arise. (Union Home minister P) Chidambaram is trying to divert the attention of the people from the real problem."

He said it was for the Centre to act on the peace offer. "We are fully prepared for a long-term revolution against the government and so we don't need any specific time to restructure ourselves."

On Pillai's contention yesterday that some ex-army personnel were helping Maoists, he said "we don't need the support of any army man. For the last 30 years, we know the type of war we do better than any military officer."

Reiterating that the repeated offer of talks by the Maoists had been turned down, Kishenji said "we have repeatedly offered talks to the government but it has been turned down."

Claiming that innocent people were being killed in the name of tackling Maoists, he said "we are trying to save them from state-sponsored terrorism."

He also denied West Bengal Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh's claim that arrested Maoist leader Telegu Dipak had links with ULFA and Kashmir militants.

"A lot of rumours are being spread deliberately about the arrest of Telugu Deepak. He does not have any connection with any terrorist organisation."

He said Deepak was not a member of the Maoist military commission as the ultras did not have any such organisation. "We have only a state committee, central committee and politburo."

Dipak, he said, was only a state committee member who was in charge of Nandigram.

Alok said...

for more details refer

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Ravi Rikhye, editor of Orbat, criticizing Indian home minister's boast about defeating Maoists in three years:

We told you speaking first thinking later is not just a Pakistani trait but is a subcontinental trait. Now the Indian Home Minister has announced that the Maoists, who are active in one-third of India's districts (counties) will be defeated in three years. What's so sad about this amazingly stupid statement is that the Minister is actually quite a brainy fellow and an effective administrator. The Maoist problem has plagued India for 40 years, and a lot of it tied up with social injustice. Its absurd to think its going to solved in three years when India has not been able to defeat straightforward secessionist insurgencies in its northeast for 40 years.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a recent BBC report on Indian operation against Maoists in Jharkhand:

"East Singbhum district in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand has been considered the heartland of the Maoist insurgency for more than two decades now.

"Either walk or ride a motorbike," I am advised by Faiyaz who is heading a group of paramilitary troops from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

We are in the forests of Derabasa in Ghatsila sub-district and Faiyaz tells me that the road is littered with landmines.

"Venturing in this terrain on a four-wheeler can be risky," he says.

Recently, a massive anti-Maoist operation was launched in the area by the federal home ministry and the Jharkhand state government.

Battle lines

Thousands of paramilitary troops, including the Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (Cobra) - the special force raised to tackle the Maoist insurgency in India - have been deployed in the operation.

Battle lines are drawn as the security forces take position to "liberate the forests" from the armed Maoist guerrillas.

The region has seen several violent incidents, including the killing of a member of parliament, Sunil Mahato of the state's governing Jharkhand Mukti Morcha party.

Last August, the insurgents killed 11 security personnel in the Burudih area in a powerful landmine explosion.

The rebels also blew up railway tracks derailing the prestigious Rajdhani Express train.
However, almost a fortnight into the biggest operation against the Maoists so far, the security forces have not made any significant breakthrough.

No weapons have been recovered, nor any big Maoist leader been caught. And no one knows how long this will go on.

"We are keeping our fingers crossed, waiting for the day when this all ends. We have not been to the forests and there is no other source of income for us. We pray that normal life returns soon," says a villager in Jhatijharna.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report about the deadly Maoists attack claiming 75 India soldiers' lives in Cahhattisgarh:

Maoist rebels have killed at least 75 Indian soldiers in a series of attacks on security convoys in the central state of Chhattisgarh, officials say.

A large patrol of federal paramilitary troops was ambushed at dawn by hundreds of heavily armed insurgents in a remote part of Dantewada district.

Rescue teams were later ambushed in attacks using landmines and gunfire.

Correspondents say it is the worst attack on security forces by the rebels since their insurgency began.

India's Home Affairs Minister P Chidambaram said the attack showed the brutality and savagery that the rebel army was capable of.

But he suggested lessons had to be learnt quickly by the security forces.

"Something has gone very wrong. They seem to have walked into a trap set by the Naxalites [Maoists]. Casualties are quite high and I am deeply shocked," he said.

Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai said that the rebels had booby-trapped the area of the ambush.

"Preliminary reports indicate that the Maoists planted pressure bombs in surrounding areas at places where the security forces might take cover," he said.

"As a result of this, the bulk of the casualties have arisen from the pressure bomb blasts."

The Maoists have stepped up attacks in recent weeks in response to a big government offensive along what is known as the "red corridor", a broad swathe of territory in rural eastern and central India where the Maoist rebellion has been gathering strength.

Nearly 50,000 federal paramilitary troops and tens of thousands of policemen are taking part in the operation in several states.

The rebels have tapped into rural and tribal anger among those who have seen no benefits from India's economic development and this attack is another chilling reminder of the growing threat they pose, says the BBC's Chris Morris in Delhi.

Riaz Haq said...

India(49) has more than twice as many billionaires as Japan (22) which is a far richer country.

Indian and UNICEF officials concur that Indians are much worse off than Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in basic nutrition and sanitation.

Meanwhile, India is worse than Bangladesh and Pakistan when it comes to nourishment and is showing little improvement in the area despite big money being spent on it, says Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed.

India might be an emerging economic power, but it is way behind Pakistan, Bangladesh and even Afghanistan in providing basic sanitation facilities, a key reason behind the death of 2.1 million children under five in the country.Lizette Burgers, chief water and environment sanitation of the UNICEF, said India is making progress in providing sanitation but it lags behind most of the other countries in South Asia.

Most of the 8-9% growth has fattened the bottom line of a small percentage of India's population, with the rest getting poorer. India's Gini Index has increased from about 32 to 36 from 2000 to 2007.

India now has 100 million more people living below the poverty line than in 2004, according to official estimates released on Sunday. The poverty rate has risen to 37.2 percent of the population from 27.5 percent in 2004, according to a Reuters report.

The rising gap between abject poverty and obscene wealth in India is fueling anger, and insurgencies such as the Maoists'.

Anonymous said...

the sad part is the casteism, that is rampant in this region. i heard a story, about a woman maoist sniper, who had played havoc with the security forces. they could not find her for three months, and toll was day by sheer luck, they caught her and killed her. she had fallen and the security forces just watched her die, gasping for breath, for they were afraid, that she might detonate a hand grenade. the officer of the troops however took a chance to approach her and give her water. she just spat that water on his face. he says there was a look on her face that he will take with him until his death. she was high up in the maoist hierarchy so the officer went ahead to check her background. he found that she was from a village in srikakulam, in andhra pradesh. she was married at 16. On her first night, it was not her husband who came to her, but the landlord of the place. a 60 year old man abusing a 16 year
old. it is a custom it seemed in that region, that the first night should be with landlord. she lost her mind after that night, recovered , left her husband and wandered ,eventually joining the maoists.

there are many indians here who blame pakistanis. we say Pakistan is going wrong because of its establishment. namely the mullah, military and rich anglican pakistani elite. dont we have that oligarchy here in india! do we not have the upper caste hindus, the landlord, the rich businessmen and the politicians forming an oligarchy? An oligarchy that is simply growing rich by exploiting the vast riches of our soil?
whatever we might say about Pakistan, please understand that atleast some of them, have opened their eyes to this oligarchy. have we in india done that? the answer is no.

there is a company called vedanta resources. it is headquatered in london, and they are billionaires. they want minig rights to a mountain hill in jharkhand, that a real rare find. it has amongst the best Bauxite content. but the gond tribes who are in that area say, our god lives on this hill! we have a temple there, so we will not allow you to mine!
you know what the company management said? We will rebuild a better temple for you in the plains? (take it from our corporate social responsibility account) WOW! great minds these MBA`s are from our management institutes?
we have a temple atop palani hill in tamilnadu. we have been praying over it for few thousand years, if vedanta or anyone tells us, hey there is gold in that mountain you guys better shift, then do you think we will allow that? we will skin those MBA`s right there and hang it to dry.
but then the poor gond tribals and their tribal god? thats fate isnt it?
the officer who told me this story, weeps at the guilt of having killed a poor girl. i left him saying if you carry fighting with guilt, you will get killed.
how many more lives will we corrode?

Riaz Haq said...

Chairman of the UCPN (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” on Saturday warned India not to interfere in Nepal's internal matters, according to a report in the Hindu:

Addressing thousands of party cadre here on the occasion of May Day, Mr. Prachanda said: “If India thinks that by backing Madhav Kumar Nepal, it will make everything all right; if it thinks that it now holds the command of Nepal Army and the Army would do whatever it says; and that the Maoists want to kill Nepali people, then the Indian leaders are making a mistake. We appeal them not to make this mistake.”

He said the party cadre had gathered to protect Nepal's sovereignty. The Maoists say the CPN (UML)-led government is “remote-controlled” and is a “puppet” of India.
Stance changed

Mr. Prachanda said the government's stance changed after Mr. Nepal's visit to Thimphu, Bhutan, where Mr. Nepal met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

He pointed out a recent announcement that the Nepal Army could be mobilised to control the Maoist movement. “I believe you would not listen to a voice that came redirected from Thimphu,” he told the gathering.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report on a Maoist female fighter in India:

The guerrilla fighter was tough, experienced, leading a platoon of around 60 insurgents.

"I am from a very poor family," the fighter told me.

"Life was very difficult. I joined the party and now I understand many more things. I think revolution is the only option."

One thing you should know about this hardline Maoist rebel - she is a young woman.

She is one of the growing numbers of poor Indians who have joined a four-decades-old Maoist rebellion, in which thousands have died. Last month the rebels killed 76 members of the security forces in a single attack.

More than 20 of India's 28 states are affected by the insurgency. The remote tribal villages of Jharkhand state, where the fields are still tilled by oxen, are at the centre of it.

The area is home to some of the country's poorest people, mostly members of indigenous tribes. There is little sign of India's economic miracle here.

Local people feel the government has neglected them. So the Maoists, or "the party" as the villagers call them, have got on with running the place.

Parallel government

"The government here has no health programmes… so our party sets up health clinics to help the people," one Maoist fighter told me.

"This area is plagued by illness... Our party gives free medicines in the clinics - and we get help from doctors and nurses. We run them in the rainy season when people are suffering most."

The Maoists have drawn a lot of support from poor villagers like Chachi.

"They are like our sons, our brothers," she says.

"Before, we were not allowed to go into our forests - the authorities used to cut the trees but we weren't even allowed to gather firewood. Now we can.

"The party makes sure there is no tension between rich and poor… that's why we want the party here."

But not everyone agrees. The Maoists have blown up schools because the security forces use them as barracks.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from an OpEd piece by Shoma Chaudhry in

FAKERY HAS always been a key instrument of power. But last week, as the President and Pr ime Minister of India made their Independence Day speeches, cocooned symbolically in towers of glass, the scale of that fakery shot skyward. Both leaders augustly urged the Maoists, yet again, to “abjure violence” and come for talks. Few among the millions of Indians who heard them would have caught the cynicism.

Swami Agnivesh certainly would have. It’s just over a month since the State shot down a man called Azad. There’s been some fitful noise over it. Civil society has protested valiantly; Mamta Banerjee has asked for a judicial inquiry. But for the most part, Indians have gone about their business, registering little and understanding even less. (I tried sharing some of its indignant shock with a public icon from Mumbai. He replied: “So what if they shot one guy?” The chasm was so wide, I subsided into silence.)

But the hard truth is the killing of Azad is a desperate new low in Indian public life. Azad was not just a key leader of the CPI(Maoist) — a mans whose death would be a face-saving notch on the carbines of competitive violence, one big fish to even the score for 76 jawans. He was a man mid-stream in a peace process initiated by the government itself. How could the State just ignore his death, then stand coldly on the ramparts of the Red Fort urging a new round of talks? Where are the certitudes that make the foundation of a civilised society?

Much of the events leading up to Azad’s death has been reported earlier in TEHELKA (The Maoist and the Undelivered Missive, 17 July, 2010), but it bears a quick retelling. Some months ago, as pressure mounted on him to defuse the civil war in the heartland, Home Minister P Chidambaram called Swami Agnivesh and asked him to bear a letter for the Maoists, urging them to come for talks. Agnivesh acted in good faith and sent the word out. It was a hopeful time. Significantly, Chidambaram’s letter did not merely make flamboyant demands asking the Maoists to give him “72 hours” to set the world right.

Instead, it asked them to announce a date for talks so the government could plan its response. It also promised that if the Maoists would lay down arms, “it goes without saying” the security forces would also suspend operations for the duration of the talks. The Maoists — mandating Azad to be their point person — responded positively. A mutual cessation of hostilities suddenly seemed possible. Apparently, a fixed date was imminent.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts of The Australian story on the eve of BRICS summit:

INDIA is routinely touted as a big emerging market and a rising global player. Tomorrow New Delhi will host the fourth BRICS summit of the non-Western powerhouses Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
Most major global corporations have a presence there, with substantial expansion plans. Many Indian corporations are expanding their footprints abroad, including in Australia, through investment, mergers and acquisitions. India's growing economic weight has translated into increased political clout.
And yet India has the world's biggest pool of poor, sick, starving and illiterate. It ranks 134 on ease of doing business indicators, 119 on human development, 122 on gender equality, and 87 on corruption. On average, more than 16,500 farmers have committed suicide every year for 13 years running. The annual road death toll is around 150,000, thrice as many as the US or, on a per vehicle basis, almost 20 times the US. Most of those killed in India's traffic accidents are pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and pillion riders - those from the poorer end of society.

Even this single statistic is a proxy for several ailments, including inadequate infrastructure that adds to road risks and public corruption that ensures weak compliance with driving skills and safety regulations.

A report published in January by the Hong Kong-based Political and Risk Consultancy rated India's bureaucrats the most inefficient in Asia with a score of 9.21 out of 10, below China (7.11), The Philippines (7.57), Indonesia (8.37) and Vietnam (8.54). Singapore was judged the best (2.25) followed by Hong Kong (3.53). The report was based on a survey of business executives. Respondents also highlighted onerous and complex tax, environmental and other regulations and a time-consuming, costly and unpredictable court system.

Also in January, the Program for International Student Assessment published its findings of comparative national academic performance of 15-year-old school students in maths, science and English. In the 73 countries tested, India came second last, ahead only of Kyrgyzstan. An eighth-grade Indian student fared the same as a South Korean grade three or a Shanghai grade two student.

Yet another study, also published in January, based on a survey of height and weight of more than 100,000 children in six states, found that 42 per cent of India's children were moderately-severely underweight, and 59 per cent suffered from moderate-severe stunting. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the results as a "national shame".

The following month a government committee concluded that Indian railways have been responsible for thousands of deaths. Some 15,000 people are killed every year trying to cross unfenced railway tracks, half of them in Mumbai alone.

The report called for urgent investment, but when the Railway Minister announced a fare increase to raise the revenue base to invest back in railways for modernisation and upgrade of services and safety, he was forced to resign by his own party, which is in the coalition government.

We read last year how India has more mobile phones than toilets. Some years ago, I had organised an international workshop in a resort along a beautiful stretch of India's eastern coast.

A European participant decided to go for a pre-breakfast run along the beach. I well remember his look of utter disgust and horror as he told us how he had to thread his way through the folks of the village squatting along the beach, defecating. According to a UNICEF survey last year, 58 per cent of the world's population practising open defecation lives in India....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Times of India story on Maoists new plans and strategy for "revolution":

RAIPUR: Outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) has formulated a comprehensive strategy for 'New Democratic Revolution' through a combination of military and political tactics to create base areas in the country side and gradual encirclement and capture of urban areas.

The CPI (Maoist) vision for it's 'protracted people's war' against the Indian state is elucidated in its strategy paper titled 'Strategy and Tactics of the Indian Revolution'. This Maoist document contains a comprehensive plan of action to capture political power and usher in the 'New Democratic Revolution' in India.

According to a PIB press release, union minister of state for Home R P N Singh had informed the Rajya Sabha that the CPI (Maoist) was the largest left wing extremist organization operating in the country and it was also response for almost 80 % of Naxal violence reported during the current year.

He said the objective involving creation of 'base areas', gradual encirclement and capture of the urban areas is sought to be achieved through armed warfare by the 'People's Liberation Guerilla Army' cadres of the CPI (Maoist).

Political mobilization through its 'front organizations' and alliances with other insurgent outfit, which in CPI (Maoist) parlance is called the 'Strategic United Front'.

Chhattisgarh has consistently remained the worst Naxal affected State with the rebels being active and have their presence in nearly half of the state's 27 districts. The Maoists are hyper active in tribal Bastar region, where they have established their liberated zone of 'Dandakaranya', spread over the forest regions of Bastar and parts of Andhra Pradesh. However, the state and security forces describe this region as "areas dominated by the Maoists".

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Aljazeera report on Indian Maoist insurgency:

"You people say that India [has] got a republican, independent government, we say NO it is not so, and between these two there is a contradiction. You people say that India got independence on August 15, 1947, we say power-transfer happened. Semi-feudal, semi-colonial. Politicians, rich people and land owners are looting the country, and benefiting. You may know the current police law is from 1898, from Victorian times, so what has changed? What has changed is a few faces who sit in the parliament today. Like a new cap on an old bottle. The content of the bottle is still the same. So the common people are still deprived and they will rise," said their spokesman Gaur Chakravarty.
A 40-year long civil war has been raging in the jungles of central and eastern India. It is one of the world's largest armed conflicts but it remains largely ignored outside of India.

Caught in the crossfire of it are the Adivasis, who are believed to be India's earliest inhabitants. A loose collection of tribes, it is estimated that there are about 84 million of these indigenous people, which is about eight per cent of the country's population.

For generations, they have lived off farming and the spoils of the jungle in eastern India, but their way of life is under threat. Their land contains mineral deposits estimated to be worth trillions of dollars. Forests have been cleared and the Indian government has evacuated hundreds of villages to make room for steel plants and mineral refineries.

The risk of losing everything they have ever known has made many Adivasis fertile recruits for India's Maoist rebels or Naxalites, who also call these forests home.

The Maoists' fight with the Indian government began 50 years ago, just after India became independent. A loose collection of anti-government communist groups - that initially fought for land reform - they are said to be India's biggest internal security threat. Over time, their focus has expanded to include more fundamental questions about how India is actually governed.

In their zeal for undermining the Indian government, Maoist fighters have torched construction equipment, bombed government schools and de-railed passenger trains, killing hundreds. In the name of state security, several activists who have supported the Maoists have been jailed and tortured. Innocent people have also been implicated on false charges. These are often intimidation tactics used by the government to discourage people from having any contact with the Maoists.

The uprising by Maoist fighters and its brutal suppression by the Indian government, has claimed more than 10,000 lives since 1980, and displaced 12 million people. Many of the victims are not even associated with either side. They are simply caught in the crossfire. And the violence is escalating as both sides mount offensive after counter-offensive.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece by Ananya Vajpeyi on exceptions to Indian "constitutional democracy":

By enforcing extraordinary laws, by sending in armed forces, by granting impunity to soldiers and paramilitaries for their actions against armed or unarmed civilians, by denying citizens redress, justice or compensation, by creating a war-like situation for a population that has political, social, cultural and economic grievances possible to address without force, it is the state that sets aside the Constitution. The Indian state has done this too many times, in too many places, and for too long.

It is time for citizens in the so-called ‘normal’ parts of the country to consider how they want to defend their Constitution against such misuse and ill-treatment by the state, a procedure that leaves millions of people exposed to both everyday as well as excessive violence, and ultimately turns them against India. If the Indian Union sees any attrition to its territory in the coming years on account of separatism and civil strife (not such an unlikely scenario as hawkish policy-makers like to believe), this will have come to pass at least partly because the state allowed the cancer of exception to eat away at the body politic, and did not administer the medicine of constitutional reinstatement and restitution in time. It bears repeating that periodic exercises in the electoral process do not always prove to be a sufficient counterweight to the toxic effects of the AFSPA, even if elections are relatively free and fair (a tough challenge), and even if significant percentages of the relevant populations do turn out to vote.

The state’s reasoning for why military, paramilitary and police must replace civil agencies in the work of everyday governance, a step which can and does go horribly wrong, is that disruptive violence (from secessionist and insurgent groups) has to be met with restorative counter-violence (from the state) in order to ensure overall security for the population, and preserve the integrity of the Union of India. Defenders of the AFSPA insist that this is a sound rationale. But inevitably, questions arise: What are the limits of the immunity that such an extraordinary law grants to the armed forces, when does the justifiable control of terror become overkill, and when should a quantitative assessment about the necessary degree of force give way to a qualitative judgment about whether force is necessary at all, over and above alternative – peaceful – means of addressing the situation?

There appears to be a dire need for a system of checks-and-balances, perhaps also originating from the Constitution, to be instituted, so that the explicitly democratic mandate of the Indian republic may be strengthened against an always lurking authoritarian tendency (a legacy of the post-colonial state’s colonialist and imperialist predecessor).

Riaz Haq said...

How Coal Fuels India’s Insurgency
In mineral-rich jungles Maoist militants find a foothold through violence and extortion.

By Anthony Loyd

The gunman at the jungle’s edge lived and died by different names. Some knew him as Prashant, others as Paramjeet. Occasionally he called himself Gopalji, trading the alias with another insurgent leader to further confuse the Indian authorities trying to hunt him down.

When I met him, he was fresh from killing, and called himself by yet another name. “Comrade Manas,” he said as he stepped from the shadows beneath a huge walnut tree, machine gun in hand, a slight figure, his frame and features burned out and cadaverous with the depredations of malaria and typhoid, war and jungle.

The day was already old and the sun low. The silhouettes of a dozen or so other gunmen lurked in the deepening green of the nearby paddy fields, watchful and waiting. Manas and his men were on the move and had little time to talk.

In India they are known by a single word, Naxalites: Maoist insurgents at the heart of the nation’s longest running and most deeply entrenched internal conflict. Their decades-long war, which costs India more lives today than the embers of the conflict in Kashmir, has been described by former premier Manmohan Singh as India’s “greatest internal security threat.”

In the spate of violence 24 hours before our rendezvous, Manas, just 27 years old, and his men had killed six policemen and wounded eight more in an ambush across the range of low hills at whose base we now met.

The attack had put the Naxalites back on the front pages of India’s newspapers, and security forces were on the move in angry response. Patrols and helicopters circled the area, sweeping through villages and probing into the jungle.

By rights, the Naxalites should have been relics of history, rather than fighting and killing in the name of Mao long after the Chinese communist leader’s death, in a country he had never even visited—a nuclear power at that. Yet their war, fought in the back blast of India’s energy boom, had been thrown a lifeline by the demands of development and the globalized economy, as mineral exploitation and land rights became catalysts of a revitalized struggle.

In this way India’s energy needs and industry’s hunger for raw materials linked the angry killers in the jungle to coal, steel, and power production, welding the Naxalites to some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country—the Adivasis, India’s original tribal dwellers. Rather than becoming an anomaly from the past, the Naxalite insurgency—fueled by intimidation, extortion, and violence—has come to symbolize a conflict prophetic of the future. It pits development against tradition, with India’s most mineral-rich states at the epicenter.

Indeed Manas, already a Naxalite “zone commander” despite his youth, seemed certain that the social grievances of the poor would eventually ensure victory for his cause. He regarded the overthrow of the Delhi government as an inevitability.

“An adult tiger grows old and dies,” he assured me, his eyes glowing with the luminosity of radicals the world over, “just as the government we are trying to oust is old, decaying, and ready to die. Our revolution is young and bound to grow. These are the laws of the universe. In a battle between politicians and a new society run by the people, the people are bound to win.”

He spoke until the last of the sun had dipped beneath the tree line, and then he slipped off into the shadows with his men. The security forces were getting closer, and they had no wish to become encircled.

The next time I saw his face, Manas was dead. It stared at me from a roadside shrine in the impoverished village where he had been born. Local people told me that he had been slain in a gun battle not long after our meeting. Only by reading the inscription on the stone did I learn the real identity of the insurgent with many names: Lalesh.

Riaz Haq said...

Are most terrorists in India Muslims? I have to chance to look at this following yet another avoidable incident this week.

Nigeria's ambassador to India has responded to a comment made by a Union minister.
The comment was made Giriraj Singh, who said: "If Rajiv Gandhi had married a Nigerian lady and not a white-skinned woman, would the Congress have accepted her leadership?" The remark revealed the casual racism that is so commonplace in India. Nigeria's ambassador OB Okongor was upset enough to say "I believe the prime ninister will do right thing on this. I am not going to lodge protest." The prime minister ignored it, once again as those who have observed his conduct on such things will have noticed, though the media was naturally outraged.

The website ran a commentary headlined '5 reasons why Giriraj Singh should shut up.' It included this statement of his from last year: "Isn't it true that all people caught in terrorist activities belong to one community? I am not trying to blame any one particular community. Why are all so-called secular parties silent on this?"

Presumably he means Muslims. He is of course not right in assuming that all people caught for terrorism are Muslims, but are Muslims responsible for most of the terrorism in India? Let's look at the data. The South Asian Terrorism Portal lists fatalities and incidents across India. Quite helpfully, it also does lists them by conflict theatre.

In 2014, there were 976 deaths from terrorism (or extremism, whatever name one wants to use for it) in India. Of these, the most (465) came in the North East. The second most (314) came from Left wing extremism, by a group of people called Maoists. Deaths in Jammu & Kashmir, assuming we want to attribute the whole lot to terrorism, stood at 193. Outside of these conflict theatres, Islamist extremism claimed four lives.

In 2013, the figure was most for Maoists (421), the second most for the North East (252) and the Kashmir plus Islamist violence outside the state again third (206). In 2012, we had a similar situation: Maoists (367), followed by the North East (326), followed by Kashmir (117). The total number of victims to Islamist terrorism outside these three areas, across India, was 1.

In 2011, Maoist violence claimed 602, the North East 246 and Kashmir plus Islamist violence outside the state stood at 225. This year, again the sequence is the same, though violence levels across India have dropped, as they have been doing for the past decade.As is obvious, most terrorists in India are Hindus, the ones whom we have conveniently labelled 'Maoist' instead of 'Hindu'. The second largest group of terrorists are the tribals, animists and perhaps some Christians, of the Northeast. Muslims are third. If one looks outside the separatism of Kashmir, their violence and terrorism levels are among the lowest in the world and they appear to be lest susceptible to terrorism not just by the standards of the world's Muslims but also India's Hindus.


The reason is that 'terrorism' is today accepted only that which is Islamist. And the reason for this is the narrative in the media, which has neatly conflated terrorism with Islam and Pakistan. News channels like Times Now run many more programmes firing middle class and Anglicised Indians up against 'terrorism' (ie Islamist/Pakistan) than they run shows on the North East and on Maoism, which claim a far greater number of lives as the figures show.

It is of course unfortunate that this should be the case, but we can explain away the common man using such arguments. For a Union minister to hold them as Gospel is frightening and shows how wrong headed the members of this government are....

Riaz Haq said...

Over 1,000 personnel dead in 10 years: Is Chhattisgarh's battle against #Maoists a failure? via @firstpost #India …

Initially in 2009, the government of India had decided to move 80,000 central paramilitary personnel to wage an offensive against the Maoists, strengthened by a fleet of 10 armed helicopters from the Indian Air Force. By mid-2012, about 100,000 paramilitary personnel were deployed by the Indian government in its anti-Maoist operations. They were from the CRPF, Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and CoBRA. On 3 January 2013, the government of India announced the deployment of 10,000 'more' central paramilitary personnel in Bastar, Odisha and some parts of Jharkhand. By May 2013, about 84,000 troops from the CRPF had been stationed in the 'Red Corridor' to strengthen the offensive. Apart from the paramilitary personnel, the SAPF personnel deployed in operations against the Maoists are estimated to number around 200,000.
The Indian Army has also been stationed in the 'Red Corridor'. The army, however, claims that it is present to train the paramilitary personnel in its fight against the Maoists and denied a direct role in operations. The Chief of the Army Staff and the 7 army commanders in mid-2011 had assessed that, if required, about 60,000-65,000 troops from the Indian Army would need to be induced in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal to battle Naxals. The Indian Air Force is operating MI-17 helicopters, along with the recently inducted fleet of MI-17 V5 helicopters, to "provide full support" to anti-Naxal operations.

Riaz Haq said...

Journalist Jailed in Eastern #India Over Social Media Post. #CPJ demands release #Naxal #Maoist #Modi #BJP

NEW DELHI — A journalist in eastern India was arrested after he posted a message on social media criticizing the police and calling for legal protections for reporters in the violence-scarred region, his lawyer said Wednesday.

The journalist, Prabhat Singh, who had worked for an Indian television network and had been posting news on social media sites after he was fired from the station, was detained on Monday in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh State, said Kishore Narayan, one of his lawyers. The post for which he was arrested was circulated on WhatsApp.

Mr. Singh was accused of circulating obscene material, Mr. Narayan said. In court on Tuesday, Mr. Singh said that he was beaten in police custody, Mr. Narayan said. The court denied his bail request.

A Maoist insurgency has been active for years in India’s tribal belt, which includes parts of Chhattisgarh. The rebels disrupt elections and frequently attack security officials. Human rights activists say that security officials trying to suppress the insurgency have committed human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings.

Two journalists were arrested in Chhattisgarh last year and accused of supporting the militants. Those arrests came at a time when the authorities were cracking down on people they called Maoist sympathizers, supporters of the journalists have said. Shalini Gera, a lawyer with the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group, which is representing the journalists arrested last year, said both men were innocent.

Ms. Gera said that last month she and her colleagues were driven out of Jagdalpur, which serves as the administrative headquarters of the Bastar district, by police officials who objected to their work.

On Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists, an advocacy group based in New York, called on the state’s chief minister to release Mr. Singh.

“The arrests and hounding of journalists and their defenders has given way to a climate of fear that risks turning parts of Chhattisgarh into a media black hole,” said Sumit Galhotra, the senior research associate of the group’s Asia program.

A senior police official in Bastar was not available for comment on Wednesday.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's Maoists insurgents world's 4th deadliest #terror outfit after #Taliban, #ISIS, #BokoHaram via @timesofindia

The world witnessed 11,774 terror attacks in 2015, in which 28,328 people were killed and 35,320 injured. India was the fourth worst-affected country after Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, with 43% of 791 attacks in the country carried out by Naxalites+ . A total of 289 Indians died in terror strikes.
Data collected by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism contracted with the US state department revealed that Taliban, Islamic State and Boko Haram were the three deadliest terror groups globally. They were followed by CPI(Maoist), a banned outfit.
The CPI(Maoist) was responsible for 343 terror attacks in 2015, killing 176 people. Taliban were involved in 1,093 strikes in which 4,512 people lost their lives, IS launched 931 attacks which claimed the lives of 6,050 people and Boko Haram was involved in 491 attacks killing 5,450 people. Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which rounded off the top five in the list, was involved in 238 strikes, killing 287.

Over half the terror attacks in India took place in four states - Chhattisgarh (21%), Manipur (12%), J&K (11%) and Jharkhand+ (10%). Chhattisgarh, which has been hit hard by Left-wing extremism, reported a doubling of terror attacks in 2015 - from 76 in 2014 to 167.
The report said there was great diversity in the perpetrators/terrorist groups involved in attacks in the country, with 45 outfits active across the country. The Naxals alone accounted for 43% of terrorist attacks in India last year. The report said the number of people kidnapped/taken hostage by terrorists and insurgent groups in India almost tripled in 2015, increasing to 862 from 305 in 2014. Of this, Naxals alone kidnapped/took hostage 707 persons last year compared with 163 in 2014. In 2014, there were no attacks in which 50 or more people were kidnapped or taken hostage while in 2015, there were seven such attacks, all of them attributed to Maoists.

Riaz Haq said...

When India's founding father Mohandas Gandhi started "Quit India" movement to seek India's independence from Britain, the colonial rulers of British India responded by imposing "The Armed Forces Special Powers Ordinance of 1942" on August 15, 1942.

After independence in 1947, the Indian government has made extensive use of the same colonial-era British law to crush legitimate demands for freedom by the peoples of Assam, Manipur, Kashmir and other regions. The Act has now been in force in Kashmir for 26 years.

While Indian government claims Kashmir as an integral part of India, it undermines its own claim by denying fundamental rights to Kashmiris, the rights that are granted by the Indian constitution to all Indian citizens.