The recent spurt of Maoist violence in Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal is a matter of great alarm. This violence has taken a heavy toll on the lives and morale of the security forces operating in these areas. With counter-insurgency measures taken by Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh governments inflicting a severe blow on the underground insurgents, they seem to have shifted their concentration to softer terrains where the state administration appears to be addressing this challenge as a simple law and order problem. And the Maoists are stepping up their mindless killings to demoralise and make ineffective the local administration.
Although Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has repeatedly said that the Maoist insurgency is the greatest threat before the nation, the centre is yet to put in place a strategy to fight these criminal barbarians who have taken control of large swathes of tribal belt across the country. India’s political establishment does not give the impression that it has fully grasped the danger to the country’s sovereignty and integrity the Maoists are posing.
Viswa Rangan, DGP, Chhattisgarh, who has an excellent track record as a thinking police officer, has made an incisive study of the Maoist strategy in India. Intercepting their underground literature, interrogating the arrested top Maoists and studying their intelligence reports, he has come to the conclusion that the ultimate goal of the Maoists is to overthrow the democratically elected government in the country and create anarchy. He says, “The aim of Maoist supporters is simple. Demoralise the state machinery to such an extent that its will to fight the Maoists is completely shattered and the road to Maoist expansion is facilitated.”
The Maoists have succeeded in establishing a multi-layered network through their open and clandestine channels to deflect attention from their real motives. There are Gandhians, civil liberty operators, media personalities, writers and artists who are linked to the Maoist network and they try to camouflage the sinister designs of the Maoists. There is no premium on the lives of thousands of innocent policemen who get killed every year in Maoist violence. The collateral damage to civilian life, industrial growth and development has never been factored into these calculations. Often the big Maoist attacks pass off as isolated incidents in scattered remote terrains.
Reports say that the Maoists have joined hands with the jehadi groups, Church outfits and even the ISI to subvert the Indian State. The response of the State is, however, weak, dodged and inadequate. The security forces are not equipped with necessary resources or sophisticated weapons. The experts say that the Maoist army in the country has all the modern weaponry in its possession. Its extortion budget, according to these sources, is in the range of Rs 3000 to Rs 5000 crore. It buys thousands of rupees worth weapons every year other than the arms, ammunition and uniform looted from the security forces and arms depots at various places. Its macabre activities and gruesome killings are not correctly reported and even if they come to light they are glossed over by the friendly intelligentsia as just isolated cases. These groups magnify any retaliatory action of the police and government and try to rationalise the Maoist mayhem as a social problem needing sympathetic consideration. The civil groups supporting the Maoists in the open society justify the Maoist crimes as the result of poverty and underdevelopment in the adivasi areas but they conceal the fact that in areas where they are entrenched, they do not allow any development work, schools, hospitals or even roads to be built. It is high time the government woke up to the Maoist threat as the one that is out to destroy the country’s democracy. One only has to scan the pages of the Maoist Bible, Strategy and Tactics of the Indian Revolution, published by the Central Committee of the CPI (Maoist), to realise how deep and dangerous their ideas are. It states, “The central task of the revolution is seizure of political power through protracted people’s war.” With a quote from Mao who said, “The seizure of power through armed force , the settlement of the issue by war is the central task and highest form of revolution.” The book further elaborates saying, “To accomplish this central task, the Indian people will have to be organised in people’s army, and will have to wipe out the armed forces of the counter revolutionary Indian state through war and will have to establish in its place their own state.” The centre cannot afford to leave the fight against Maoists to individual states but it has to evolve an over-all national strategy with a central command and if necessary assistance from the military before it becomes too late.