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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Looming threat of Maoists

By Afshain Afzal

      Never in the history of India, New Delhi linked the left wing Maoist movement with Pakistan. But in a recent conspiracy of Indian Intelligence agencies various resistance groups to Indian rule are being linked with Pakistan. The sole aim of this strategically acrobatic move is to malign Pakistan internationally.  In this context, in a recent statement, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while admitting that his government failed to achieve much success against Maoists maintained that infiltration through various routes was going up. Where Indian Prime Minister described the Maoists movements as the gravest internal security threat, the Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram admitted presence of Maoists in 17 states and disclosed that they are responsible for 90 percent of the violence in the country. In fact Indian Prime Minister has for the first time openly admitted that despite efforts, the level of violence in the affected states is continuously rising. Recently, while addressing state Police chiefs at a three days conference at New Delhi, Chidambaram disclosed that last year alone there were 1,591 incidents of Maoist violence resulting in 721 killings while this year until August there had been 1,405 incidents, resulting in 580 deaths spread over 11 states. In fact, as the time is passing, it is becoming more and more difficult to control Naxals but no one is ready to accept the responsibility of bringing the situation to such a critical stage. 

      The Indian Government sources at New Delhi, quoting Indian Home Secretary GK Pillai, claim that India is all set to launch joint Army, Air Force and Para Military Forces operations against Naxals in November 2009. The Indian Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) had recently approved the Government's plan to counter Maoists in the six affected states. Initially the operation would be carried out in four states namely Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Maharashtra, where according to Indian Intelligence reports most of the Maoist infrastructure, training camps and strongholds are located. On the basis of results of operations in said four states, joint Indian forces will be moved into remaining two states as well as other effected areas. In all, joint operations will be carried out in phases in 20 Naxals affected states. Troops from Indian Army, Indian Air Force and personnel of CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action), a Central force, with State police in frontal role have already been earmarked for the next month’s operations. Although, Indian Union Home Minister P Chidambaram during his recent visit to Maoist-affected states of Chattisgarh and Jharkand ruled out that there is any move to involve the Army in the fight against Naxals but this is what India is hiding. The government at New Delhi has already allowed Indian Air Force to retaliate if it is attacked by Maoists. Similarly, unusual movement of Indian troops have taken place in Maoist affected areas/

      The Intelligence summaries submitted in the month of October 2009  by Indian Military Intelligence (MI), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) highlighted that Naxal menace can be wiped out from across the country only through joint operations of Indian Air Force, Indian Army and Para Military Forces. The operations against Naxals, according to a rough estimate, would last for more than two years in which Israeli and US commandos would assist India with arms and expertise. The government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is confident that they can wipeout Naxals in a period between 12 to 30 months. Before Prime Minister Singh orders ‘go’ to its joint forces against Naxals, there is a need to make an independent assessment about India’s brutal action against Sikhs in the past. Even today any security plan is not complete without mentioning the names of a number of Sikh organizations in possible terrorist attacks. Where the action against Sikhs was generally confined to only one state, what repercussions India has calculated after joint operations against Naxals in 20 affected states. India still has time to rephrase the plan against Naxals before it is too late. Even if talks with Communist Party of India or other groups repeatedly fails, still there should be room for another round of talks, aiming at removing their grievances and carrying out massive development work in Naxals affected areas. One wonders, why Indian politicians and members of civil society are reflecting ignorance on the issue. It is right time to lobby against all those who are interested in misadventure against Naxals as it would lead to popular movements for separatism, allowing foreign conspirators to interfere directly in the internal affairs of the country.

Author has completed Masters in History and International Relations and currently pursuing M Phil in Rural Development. Email: afshainafzal@ymail.com

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