Growing Maoists threat to India
Maoists had abducted collector Alex Paul Menon from Sukma district of Chhattisgarh when he was holding a meeting as part of the government’s outreach programme ‘Special Gram Suraj Abhiyan’. Maoists demanded release of eight jailed leaders, including two women in Chhattisgarh and a halt to anti-Naxal operation for the release of Menon. He was released after 12 days but the details of the swap were not available.
Anti-Naxal operation in southern Odisha has already slowed down because of state’s own hostage crisis. Last month, Member of Legislative Assembly Biju Janata Dal was abducted by the Maoists that have become the biggest security threat faced by India. Former DGP of Odisha Police Gopal Nanda told Tehelka: “They prefer abduction to confrontation with the police personnel because it is almost risk-free and gives better results. They did that in Andhra in the past and got many people released from jail. In Odisha, unfortunately, in these three instances, the victims got themselves abducted by the Maoists and they detained them in order to get some demands fulfilled.”
This is indeed indigenous upheaval caused by the socio-economic disparities prevailing in India. Adrian Levy & Catherine Scott-Clark, in their book “The Meadow: Kashmir 1995 – Where the terror began,” released in March 2012 (UK) claimed that kidnapping of six western tourists, (two Britons, two Americans, one German and one Norwegian) in Anantnag district in July 1995 and their subsequent murder was carried out by group of Kashmiri militants who worked for Indian Army. The book compiles years of research and investigation and shows how Indian government itself was behind this brutal act. Evidence showed how Indian government deliberately undermined hostage negotiations and simultaneously put the blame on Pakistan to damage their reputation and religion. The authors argue with credible evidence that the Indian government used its own militants to kidnap and kill the hostages”. India blames Pakistan for the freedom movement or what it calls insurgency or militancy in occupied Kashmir but whom shall she blame for the Naxalite insurgency in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttaranchal and other Indian states?
Indian Government has realised that ‘Naxalites’ influence has been growing all over the country as out of the total of 12,476 police stations, Naxal violence was reported from 509 police stations in 11 states in 2007. It is believed that Naxalites is no more a law and order problem, but poses a threat to internal security as is evident from the declaration of a ‘Compact Revolutionary Zone’ of ‘Red Corridor’ from Nepal to Tamil Nadu —- accounting for almost a third of the country’s total area’. The Naxalite movement is a movement against economic deprivation and brutality of the state or central government’s law enforcing agencies. The Naxalites aim, as contained in their Central Committee’s resolution (1980) is: “Homogenous contiguous forested area around Bastar Division and adjoining areas of Adilabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, East Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrapur and Garchehiroli districts of Maharastra, Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh, Malkagiri and Koraput districts of Orissa would comprise the area of Dandakarnaya which would be liberated and used as base for spreading people’s democratic revolution”.
In 2009, India started military operation against insurgents in Lalgarh tribal region of West Bengal. In the wake of insurgency by the Maoists, the Central government of India had banned the Communist Party of India (Maoist), terming it a terrorist organisation. It invoked Section 41 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against the extremist outfit. The CPI (Maoist) had come into existence following the merger of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), the People’s War Group (PWG) and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC). Many states, including Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, had declared the CPI (Maoist) an unlawful association and a terrorist organisation. Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu had done so under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. In these eastern regions, Naxalites have established their writ running large in hundreds of villages.
But India continues to exploit the Mumbai terrorist attack for furthering its anti-Pakistan designs instead of unearthing the facts and looking inward also to avert such horrendous acts in future. There were too many holes in Indian version and the most striking was their silence about the local connection because no matter how sophistically—the strike was planned, it could never have been carried out without local support. To cover its own security lapses and failures, India accused Pakistan of almost every act of terrorism in India. In 2009, Indian court had issued non-bailable warrants of 22 persons purported to be involved in Mumbai attacks, and Hafiz Saeed topped the list. But Pakistan’s court exonerated Hafiz Saeed because there was no evidence of his involvement in the said episode. Pakistan has however assured that on receiving credible evidence they will be put on trial in Pakistan. So far, India has not submitted any evidence against him but continues to push the US to force Pakistan to hand over Hafiz Saeed to India.
Despite the rhetoric of having good relations with Pakistan, India is keeping the focus entirely spotted on Pakistan to demonise it as a state, denigrate its agencies and its military, to project it as a state sponsoring terrorism globally and to isolate it internationally. During her recent visit to India, Hillary Clinton said that the US and India had identical views about Hafiz Saeed, which was done to please India. But this path is fraught with dangers because the escalation of tensions and then war between the two nuclear states could be disastrous. It is therefore in the best interest of both India and Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues and resume composite dialogue process, when it has been established that Pakistan as a state is not involved in Mumbai blasts. What Indian leadership should understand is that India does not have the history of a cohesive nation except for a brief period under Ashoka and Akbar. If Indian leadership does not stop inhuman treatment to its minorities then there would be reaction from the insurgents and it will not be possible for it to keep India united.