As a part of larger game plan, the Maoists establish tactical and strategic linkages with other anti-national and extremist groups
The CPI (Maoist), or Maoists, have established both fraternal and non-fraternal external linkages right from the time of their earlier avatar as the People’s War Group (PWG).
Every May, the Workers Party of Belgium (WPB/PTB) hosts the International Communist Seminar in Brussels. In the past, the Maoists have, in, fact participated in this seminar. In fact, Maoist representatives participated in, or co-hosted, similar conferences in other countries as well, including in Germany, Nepal, etc.
Moreover, as a well-known Maoist authority, Shri K Srinivas Reddy, told this author, Bert de Belder, an important leader of the WPB, toured, in 1996, North Telengana, then the flagship guerrilla zone of the Maoists, and wrote articles in the European media praising the Maoist movement there as “the best people’s movement he saw anywhere in the world”.
Responding to a question in the Rajya Sabha (Unstarred Question No. 240), on March 14, 2012, Minister of State for Home Affairs Jitendra Singh said, “The Maoists have participated in seminars/conferences conducted in Belgium and Germany.” For instance, Vernon Gonsalves alias Pradeep alias Vikram, a member of the Maharashtra State Committee of the CPI (Maoist), who was arrested on August 19, 2007, participated in the International Communism Seminar in 1996 and presented a paper entitled, “Armed Struggle in India”.
The CPI (Maoist) has close links with Maoist organisations in the Philippines, Turkey, etc. The Minister further disclosed in the Rajya Sabha that “The so-called People’s War being waged by the CPI (Maoist) against the Bharateeya state has also drawn support from several organisations located in Germany, France, Holland, Turkey, Italy, etc.”
According to a senior Intelligence official from Andhra Pradesh, Kobad Ghandy, Polit Bureau member of the CPI (Maoist), who was arrested in September 2009 in New Delhi, and is currently under detention at Tihar Central Jail, visited Canada and the United Kingdom (UK) in 2005, to forge linkages with like-minded people and organisations. He visited Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton in Canada, for five weeks, and London, Birmingham and Bradford in the UK for a week. He is said to have distributed 400 CDs containing two Maoist propaganda films––Blazing Trail and Bhoomkal––and a few documents of the outfit. Kobad Ghandy, incidentally, was also the head of the Central Propaganda Bureau (CPB) of the CPI (Maoist), and the head of its editorial board. All literature of the Maoists is prepared and distributed through the CPB. According to a former chief of the SIB, during these visits abroad, Kobad Ghandy raised funds to the tune of Rs 2,06,000.
Besides, according to an internal document of the Maoists, they have fraternal ties with 21 groups spread over as many countries across the globe, stretching from Peru to New Zealand. Some of these groups include: Shining Path (Peru), Revolutionary Communist Party (USA), Maoist Communist Party (Italy), Marxist-Leninist Party (Germany), Revolutio-nary Communist Party (Colombia), TKP-ML (Turkey) and Communist Party of Philippines.
Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA)
CCOMPOSA was originally founded on July 1, 2001, and a press release announcing its formation was issued on July 21, 2001. Until now, five conferences of CCOMPOSA have been conducted, the last in March 2011. In fact, at the conclusion of the fifth conference, members issued a joint press release on March 23, 2001. The press release was signed by Dil Bahadur of the Nepalese Maoists and convenor of the Standing Committee of CCOMPOSA. The press release said: “This Conference is being held when the Bharateeya new democratic revolution continues to confront the serious challenge of “Operation Green Hunt” launched by Indian state. While the initial victories in beating back this ‘war on the people’, politically as well as militarily, give better conditions to the revolutionaries, the gravity of the challenges they face remains.” It went on to add: “It is a declared fact that CCOMPOSA has been formed to unite the Maoist revolutionaries of South Asia and fight Bharateeya expansionist hegemony and imperialism in the region. Apart from accomplishing its responsibility in this region, CCOMPOSA, as a part and parcel of the international communist movement, must discharge its internationalist duties to further the cause of world proletarian revolution.”
Chandra Prasad Gajurel alias Gaurav, head of the International Department of the Nepalese Maoists, and Oken of TKP-ML, Turkey, attended the 9th Congress of the then PWG, which was held in Abuj Maad forests, in the Maoist heartland of Bastar, in the Central Bharateeya State of Chhattisgarh.
In 1995, a year before the Nepalese Maoists launched their People’s War, a PWG leader, Suresh, and Prachanda, Nepalese Maoist supremo, signed a joint statement condemning ‘Indian expansionism and hegemonism’. As recently as in 2006, in its Annual Report, 2005-2006, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) noted: “Available reports indicate continued fraternal and logistic links between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and Indian Naxalite groups”.
Also, the Maoists, in their earlier avatar as the PWG, were co-founders of the International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) as well as the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS).
Mumbai Resistance 2004
The Maoists had organised a conference of like-minded organisations known as Mumbai Resistance 2004 (MR 2004). Besides Bharateeya groups, a total of 24 international outfits participated in MR 2004. Participants at the event and in the massive public rally were mobilised from Balaghat, Gondia and Gadchiroli districts, all relatively close to Mumbai, and where the Maoists claim to have established a guerrilla zone of domination.
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
Besides, there also existed entirely opportunistic, non-fraternal linkages with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of Sri Lanka. Indeed, these ties are old and have been well documented by the government. Speaking on the floor of the Andhra Pradesh State Legislative Assembly, the then Home Minister of the state Shri MV Mysoora Reddy said on August 20, 1991, that the People’s War Group (the earlier avatar of the Maoists) “bought 20 SLRs and 60 AK series rifles from the LTTE”. In fact, a former chief of the elite anti-Naxalite intelligence wing, Special Intelligence Branch, of Andhra Pradesh, told this author in an interview in April 2004 that “ex-LTTE cadres of Sri Lanka had trained PWG cadres in land mine technology in 1989-1990”.
All these external linkages have served one important purpose. It has given the Maoists visibility and propaganda in different parts of the world. Thus, they have been able to mobilise international political support from fraternal groups. Moreover, these linkages have only very occasionally brought-in money and weapons.
United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA)
According to a media report of May 12, 2012, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that he has been speaking for long about Maoists-Ulfa nexus. He reportedly said, “There is no doubt about it now after Paresh Baruah himself has given his moral support to the Maoists, which is more than enough to establish the nexus”.
It has been noticed by the National Investigation Agency that some people who had earlier worked with the ULFA were later found to be associated with the Maoists and have been arrested. Aditya Bora is one such person, as was his associate Pallab Borbora. The most important linkman between the Maoists and the ULFA/PLA has been Indranil Chanda who was arrested in Kolkata by the NIA in 2012.
According to a media report of November 17, 2011, Maoist Polit Bureau member Mallojula Koteswar Rao alias Kishenji, who was later killed in Largarh, West Bengal, was reported to have visited Assam and was believed to have gone to either Bongaigaon or Kokrajhar district. At that time, the security forces said they had “definite inputs” that a few ‘former members’ of the ULFA were assisting Kishenji to enter Assam to establish the Maoists’ bases in the North East and develop further contacts with other rebel groups there.
The People’s Liberation Army of Manipur (PLA)
The CPI (Maoist) and the People’s Liberation Army of Manipur/ Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) have, on October 22, 2008, signed a three-point Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The text of the MoU says:
- That, both sides will honour and support the Sovereignty of the two countries (the Sovereignty of Bharat and the sovereignty of Manipur).
- That, both sides will extend full morale and political support to each other in the liberation struggles to overthrow the common enemy, the Bharateeya reactionary and oppressive regime, respectively.
- That, both sides deem to recognise and honour the historically endorsed territorial integrity of the two countries viz. Manipur and Bharat.
According to experts the Maoists chose to tie-up with the PLA because of various reasons. One, the PLA is a monolith and has no factions. Two, the Maoists were impressed with the techniques of guerrilla warfare being followed by the PLA and were keen to learn from them. Three, the Maoists also liked the PLA’s networking style and wanted to adapt it.
Following the arrest of three PLA operative and one of their Maoist counterpart, officers of National Investigating Agency (NIA) have now evidence that both parties are in close terms for past six years and senior leaders of the both party have personal contacts.
Surprising the investigators, probe revealed that a 10 member delegation from CPI (Maoist) comprising party general secretary Ganapathy, Eastern Bureau secretary Prasanta Bose who is also the second in command of the red rebel brigade, Northern Bureau Chief Janardan and's military wing head Prakash met three PLA delegates in Dandyakaranya at a Maoist camp to discuss over the joint cooperation strategy. The meeting held on May 23, 2009.
In a chargesheet submitted against three top PLA operatives N Dilip Singh alias Wangba, in-charge of outfit foreign affairs, Senjam Dhiren Singh alias Raghu and Arnold Singh alias Becon, NIA officers claimed that since 2006 both organisations have been operating a Kolkata office for better liaison between two outfits. Dilip Singh and his team was entrusted to keep contact with the Maoists,said the 24-page long chargesheet submitted at Guwahati.
The NIA charge sheet said that Dhiren and Arnold were the key men to run the Kolkata office through which Maoist had paid Rs 50-lakh to PLA for a consignment of advanced communication devices. The amount was withdrawn by Dhiren at Mizoram.
Pallab Barbora alias Praful was associated with the ULFA and had also maintained contact with the PLA. Besides, a few of those arrested were reported to have admitted that they have attended the Congress of both the Maoists and the PLA. These linkages with the North-east based militant groups, is, thus, essentially for arms and training.
PV Ramana (The writer is a research fellow at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses New Delhi)