Red Terrorism: A Home Ministry confession and UPA inertia
By Alpana Thakur
With a Left-supported Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, Naxalites are fearlessly working towards their sinister design of creating a Naxal zone spreading from the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal down to the Vindyas and upto Andhra Pradesh. Not only this, the Naxal groups have now started making efforts to increase their control over new areas in the country. An indication to this effect has been given by the Union Home Ministry in its latest report, tabled recently in Parliament.
Carving out a Compact Revolutionary Zone, spreading from Nepal through Bihar and Dandakarnaya region of Madhya Pradesh, remains the prime motive behind the expansionist designs of the Communist Party Marxist Leninist-Peoples War Group and Maoist Communist Centre, India, together with the Communist Party of Nepal, accepts the Union Home Ministry.
Acknowledging the failure of Manmohan Singh-led Central Government, the Home Ministry'sAnnual Report 2004-05, admits that despite strenuous efforts by the security forces, there has been no let-up in the effectuation of CRZ with the gaps in north Bihar and north Chhattisgarh steadily plugged by the Naxalite outfits to link up their strongholds in Andhra Pradesh and Dandakaranya with those in Bihar and Jharkhand. Coupled with the steadily increasing Naxalite influence in north Orissa and south-east Jharkhand, it is apparent that the Naxalite groups remain steadfast in their efforts to realise the CRZ, it further says.
Underlying the emerging danger from regrouping of Naxal groups, the Home Ministry report says CPML-PW and MCC have been trying to increase their influence and operations in some parts of three other states, namely, Tamil Nadu, Karanataka and Kerala and also in certain new areas in some of the already affected states. The report even points out a new dimension of the Naxal scenario with the merger of CPML-PW and MCC on October 14, 2004 and the creation of single outfit called the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
Accepting the fact that Naxal violence in several parts of the country continues to remain a cause of concern, the report says the extent of Naxal violence has remained more or less at the same level as in the preceding year, though the problem has affected, in varying degrees, larger areas. At present, 76 districts in nine states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are afflicted with Naxalism, reveals the report. Naxalites have an assessed strength of 9,300 hard-core underground cadres and they hold around 6,500 regular weapons besides a large number of unlicenced country-made arms. The CPML-PW and MCC(I) have built up expertise in fabricating improvised explosive devices/landmines, which they use with telling effect, it further says.
In UPA government tenure, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra registered increase in violent activities of Naxalites.
Holding responsible the CPML-PW and MCC(I) for majority of Naxalite violence and deaths of innocent people, the report says that CPML-PW and MCC(I) continue to spearhead the Naxal violence in the country, accounting for about 91 per cent of the countrywide violence and 89 per cent of the resultant deaths.
In UPA government tenure, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra registered increase in violent activities of Naxalites. In Bihar the naxal violence as well as deaths increased significantly by over 29 per cent and about 34 per cent respectively, mainly on account of increasing belligerence of the CPML-PW, which clashed extensively, alongside the MCC(I), with the CPML Liberation, the report says. In Jharkhand, the deaths due to Naxal violence shot up considerably by 44 per cent during 2004 as compared to 2003.
A new trend in these states is direct attack on the police by Naxals, which has escalated the death toll of police personnel. Confirming this trend, the report says that the rise in casualties (in Jharkhand) was primarily on account of concerted attacks on the police by the Naxalites, particularly by the MCC(I), leading to loss of 41 policemen.
In Chhattisgarh, Naxal violence led by the CPML-PW sharply increased during 2004. The increase was primarily on account of coordinated Naxal attacks on the police as a part of the CPML-PW/MCC(I)-led poll boycott campaign, it further says.
Naxal violence is currently characterised by Jan Adalats, targeted attacks on police, police informers, ruling political class and soft targets like the railways, buttressed by steadfast militarisation including upgradation in military capabilities and change in tactics.
Admitting the increasing influence of Naxals in various parts of Maharashtra, Orrisa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, the report reveals that in Maharashtra, while the level of Naxal violence increased by 15 per cent during 2004 as compared to 2003, the CPML-PW continued to dominate the forest and mountainous tracts of Gadchiroli and Gondia districts and made efforts to extend its influence to the districts of Chandarpur and Yavatmal.
In Orissa, the CPML-PW consolidated its hold in the districts of Malkajgiri, Koraput, Gajapati and Rayagada while making inroads into the adjoining districts of Kandhamal, Nowrangpur and Ganjam in south Orissa. In Uttar Pradesh, the MCC(I) followed by the CMPL-PW were assiduously trying to establish their bases in the districts of Sonebhadra, Chandauli and Mirzapur, the report says.
The Home Ministry report accepts the fact that in CPM-ruled West Bengal, both the MCC(I) and the CPML-PW consolidated their influence in west Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts and were engaged in determined efforts to spread their ?revolution? to newer areas of north and south Bengal.
Acknowledging the failure of Manmohan Singh-led Central Government, the Home Ministry'sAnnual Report 2004-05 admits that despite strenuous efforts by the security forces, there has been no let-up in the effectuation of Compact Revolutionary Zone.
Among other marginally affected states by Naxal violence, Kerala witnessed Naxal violence attributed to the CPML Naxalbari. In Karnataka, the CPML-PW continued to mobilise support on the issue of eviction of tribals from Kudremukh National Park in the Malenadu region comprising of the districts of Chikmagalur, Shimoga, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Hassan and Kodagu, primarily through its front bodies like the Karnataka Vimochana Ranga and Kudremukh National Park Virodhi Okkuta, it says.
Raising serious concern about the continuation of Naxal violence and its increasing effect and admitting the failure of peace talks, the report admits that despite serious efforts at the Central and state levels to contain Naxal violence and initiation of peace process between the CPML-PW and the government in Andhra Pradesh, the overall quantum of Naxals remained more or less at the same level. The problem, however, has affected a larger area, in varying degrees. It is worth remembering that the CPML-PW and the government of Andhra Pradesh had initially declared a three-month de-facto ceasefire from June 16, 2004. The first round of direct talks between the Naxal groups and the state government concluded on October 18, 2004, but on January 17, 2005, the Naxal groups announced their withdrawal from the talks alleging killings of their cadres.
The report also reveals a dangerous fact of extra-territorial connection of Indian Naxal groups with Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists). The symbiotic relations between the Indian Naxal outfits and the CPN-M continue to grow with the MCC(I) and the CPML-PW extending their military training camp facilities to CPN-M cadres and availing arms training by senior cadres of the latter, it says.
Not just that, exchange of men and material between the MCC(I) and CPN (Maoist) continued unabated and contingents from Nepal were reported to have visited MCC(I) extremists, particularly in Giridih, Bokaro and Hazaribagh districts. While CPN-M leaders and cadres continued to take shelter in Indian cities including Siliguri and Patna, joint meetings of CPML-PW, MCC(I) and CPN(M) were also reported, particularly in west Champaran district besides adjoining Bara in Nepal, the report says. The serious dimension is that CPN-M is banned as a terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2004 whereas it is widely believed that the CPN-M had played a significant role in bringing the two outfits, MCC(I) and the PWG together.