Sunday, June 16, 2013

Red Terror-1

Naxal, Naxalite and Naksalvadi are generic terms used to refer to various militant Communist groups operating in different parts of India under different organizational envelopes. In the eastern states of the mainland India (Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha), they are usually known as, or refer to themselves as Maoists while in southern states like Andhra Pradesh they are known under other titles. They have been declared as a terrorist organization under the Unlawful.Leaders of the movement have been found to have hideouts located in China.
The term 'Naxal' derives from the name of the village Naxalbari in West Bengal, where the movement had its origin. The Naxals are considered far-left radical communists, supportive of Maoist political sentiment and ideology. Their origin can be traced to the split in 1967 of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), leading to the formation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist). Initially the movement had its centre in West Bengal. In later years, it spread into less developed areas of rural southern and eastern India, such as Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh through the activities of underground groups like theCommunist Party of India (Maoist).For the past 10 years, it has grown mostly from displaced tribal and natives who are fighting against exploitation from major Indian corporations and local officials whom they believe to be corrupt.
Supporters Mao Zedong provided ideological leadership for the Naxalbari Movement advocating that Indian peasants and lower class tribals overthrow the government and upper classes by force. A large number of Urban elites were also attracted to the ideology which spread through Charu Majumdar’s writings, oarticularly the “ Historic Eight Documents’ which formed the basis of Naxalite ideology.
And again in 1967 Naxalites organized the All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR). Later it gave birth to the Communist Party of India (CPI) One thing that’s noticeable is that Central government did nothing about the activities or movements.
                       Starting of violence
During 1970 Naxalites gained a strong presence among the radical sections of the student movement in Calcutta. Students left school to join the Naxalities. Charu Majumdar to entice more students into his organization declared that revolutionary warfare was to take place not only in rural areas but every where. Schools were shut down. Naxalities took over Jadaypur University and used the machine shop facilities to make pipe guns to attack the police.  Headquarter became Presidency College Calcutta. They got good support from elite groups and Delhi’s prestigious St. Stephen’s College, many contemporary Indian leaders and thinkers became a hotbed of Naxalite activities.

The chief minister, Siddhartha Shankar Ray of the Congress Party, instituted strong counter-measures against the Naxalites. The West Bengal police fought back to stop the Naxalites. The house of Somen Mitra, the Congress MLA of Sealdah, was allegedly turned into a torture chamber where Naxal students from Presidency College and CU were incarcerated illegally by police and the Congress cadres. CPI-M cadres were also involved in the "state terror". After suffering losses and facing the public rejection of Majumdar's "annihilation line", the Naxalites alleged human rights violations by the West Bengal police, who responded that the state was effectively fighting a civil war and that democratic pleasantries had no place in a war, especially when the opponent did not fight within the norms of democracy and civility.
Large sections of the Naxal movement began to question Majumdar's leadership. In 1971 the CPI (ML) was split, as the Satyanarayan Singh revolted against Majumdar's leadership. In 1972 Majumdar was arrested by the police and died in Alipore Jail. His death accelerated the fragmentation of the movement.
                                Naxalite movement as a failure

Ø  The Naxalites wanted to surround the towns and cities by the villages, i.e., they wanted to encircle the urban centres with organized peasant forces of the villages. If the peasant militia could have occupied the cities, according to Majumdar, the so-called bourgeois government would fall making the passage to the coming of a socialist government; but the Naxalites could not and did not come up to a stage capable of organizing the peasants and thereby encircling the towns.

Ø  Majumdar gave sole importance to secret organization, and justified the policy of continuing the Movement without the need to build any popular mass base, forgetting or ignoring the fact, popular mass base is the basic criteria of any Communist-Leftist Revolutionary movement.

Ø  Kanu Sanyal the original founder of the Movement vehemently did oppose this wrong action plan, while being interred in the 'Parvatipuram Conspiracy Case'. Armed training for the purpose of eliminating 'Class Enemies' was preached, but the educating the cadres on the Marxist-Leninist thought process was never taken up, resulting in a lions majority of the cadres coming out of an urban-frustrated-middle class background without any Revolutionary teaching and zeal, and who were desperate for senseless actions. As the Naxalites did not have mass level organization, they lacked mass support. With only a few armed elements, and those not properly educated in the party line, little could be accomplished.

Ø  "Khatam" (the action of eliminating the so-called class enemies in villages) was a wrongheaded attempt at political mobilization based on the individual murders of a select few people whose political class and character was never adjudged by their socio-economic conditions or the properties they possessed but very often only by their political affiliation or by the name and colour of the party or parties they directly or indirectly belonged to. For example, in Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar they killed some petty jotdars who otherwise could have been comrades in action against the capitalists or could be friends in a revolution for radical change. And which blatantly shows the 'Myopic' lack of vision of the so called leadership and the party workers.

Ø  Recruitment in the Naxalite party took place in the absence of proper judgment and scrutiny of the political characters and behaviors of the recruits. It was not uncommon for recruits into the Naxalite party to vent their personal animosities by identifying their personal enemies as class enemies, to be killed with the help of the Naxalite organization. Even murders and Homicides were carried out by anti-social and hoodlum elements directly under the patronage and protection of the ruling Congress(I) and the main opposition the CPI(M) party, to discredit the Movement.

Ø  The ruling Congress party inserted spies inside the unguarded Naxalite organization to gather information about its secret bases and arrest its supporters. Government intelligence personnel and police disguised as Naxalite sympathizers/supporters could easily infiltrate the party’s inner organization and arrested many of its leaders, including Charu Majumdar. Thus police had information about the movements of Majumdar after he had gone underground in 1970, and he was arrested in Calcutta in July 1972. He died in jail days after his arrest, probably in the night of 27 or 28 July. It is not known how he died, although the government reported that he died of a heart attack. After the arrest and detention of the original founders of the movement-Kanu Sanyal and Jangal Santhal who were based amongst the peasant-farmers and the tribal labourers of the tea gardens of rural North Bengal, the leadership passed into the hands of people, majority of whom belonged to the urban-educated-opportunist-middle class, the movement lost the character and feel of an 'agrarian-rural-peasant-laborer-Communist revolutionary' movement. Thus Naxalbari Movement after losing its genuine character and nature, came to an 'incomplete' end.
So did we accept the Naxalite movement as a legal authority? If we look at the statistics of Naxal movements we can not deny the fact that even election commission made it easy for them to do such activities when we see Naxalite groups have become legal organizations participating in parliamentary elections eg. Communist Party Of India ( Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, the Communist Party of India (Narxist-Leninist) Janashakti.
                    Massacre by Maoist  
Ø  2012 Maoist rebels kidnapped two Italians in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, the first time Westerners were abducted there.[31] 12 CRPF personnel were killed on March 27, 2012 in a landmine blast triggered by suspected Naxalites in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra

Ø  25th May 2013, Naxalites attacked a rally led by the Indian National Congress in Sukma village in Bastar Chhatisgarh, killing about 29 people. They killed senior party leader Mahendra Karma and Nand Kumar Patel and his son while in the attack another senior party leader Vidyacharan Shukla was severely wounded. See: 2013 Maoist attack in Darbha Valley.


The People's War Group (PWG) intensified its attacks against politicians, police officers, and land and business owners in response to a July ban imposed on the group by the Andhra Pradesh government. The government responded by tightening security, allegedly ordering attacks on suspected PWG members by state police and the "Green Tigers". Police forces continued to have virtual impunity for the killing of PWG rebels during police encounters. The Maoist Communist Center rebels intensified their armed campaign against Indian security forces following the killing of their leader by police in December. An estimated 140 people were killed in fighting between the PWG and government forces throughout the year. According to government reports, 482 people have died during the conflict that year.


The conflict in Andhra Pradesh intensified as Naxalite rebel groups, in particular the PWG, continued guerrilla attacks on police and government targets while the security forces stepped up counter-insurgency efforts. An October assassination attempt on Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu was consistent with the PWG’s practice of targeting government officials to draw attention to their cause. According to independent media reports, as many as 500 people were killed in the conflict this year, half of these Maoist rebels.


Sporadic, low-intensity fighting between the PWG and government forces continued for most of the year. Attacks on police and TDP party officials, believed to be carried out by the PWG, accounted for most major incidents and deaths. A three-month cease-fire, announced in late June, led to failed negotiations between the government and the PWG. A few days into the cease-fire, an attack attributed to the PWG placed the cease-fire in jeopardy. More than 500 people were killed in sporadic, low-intensity fighting, a reduction from previous years. Most victims were members of the police forces or the Telugu Desam Party (a regional political party).


Violent clashes between Maoist rebels and state security forces and paramilitary groups increased following the breakdown of peace talks between the PWG and the state government of Andhra Pradesh. Rebels continued to employ a wide range of low-intensity guerrilla tactics against government institutions, officials, security forces and paramilitary groups. For the first time in recent years, Maoist rebels launched two large scale attacks against urban government targets. Fighting was reported in 12 states covering most of south, central and north India with the exception of India’s northeast and northwest. More than 700 people were reported killed this year in violent clashes. Over one-third of those killed were civilians.


Maoist attacks continued, primarily on government and police targets. Civilians were also affected in landmine attacks affecting railway cars and truck convoys. Clashes between state police and rebels also resulted in deaths of members of both parties, and civilians that were caught in the crossfire. Fighting differs from state to state, depending on security and police force responses. In the state of Andhra Pradesh, security forces have been somewhat successful in maintaining control and combating Maoist rebels. The other state that is most affected, Chhattisgarh, has seen an increase in violence between Maoist rebels and villagers who are supported by the government. In 2006, 500 to 750 people were estimated killed, fewer than half Naxalites, and approximately one-third civilians.


Fighting continued between Naxalite Maoists and government security forces throughout the year. The majority of hostilities took place in Chhattisgarh, which turned especially deadly when over 400 Naxalites attacked a Chhattisgarh police station, seizing arms and killing dozens.
In November 2007 reports emerged that anti-SEZ (Special Economic Zone) movements such as the Bhoomi Uchched Pratirodh Committee in Nandigram in West Bengal, which arose after the land appropriation and human displacement following the SEZ Act of 2005, have joined forces with the Naxalites since February to keep the police out. Recently, police found weapons belonging to Maoistsnear Nandigram. Civilians were forced to choose between joining the Maoist insurgence or supporting the Salwa Judum and face coercion from both sides. According to news reports, this conflict resulted in 650 deaths during 2007; of these 240 were civilians, 218 security personnel and 192 militants.


Civilians were most affected in the ongoing fighting between Maoist rebels and government security forces. Of the 16 states touched by this conflict, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand were the most affected. One positive note for Chhattisgarh was that fatalities, although still high, were significantly down from 2007. Similarly, Andhra Pradesh, the state with the most Maoist activity a few years ago, has improved security with a corresponding drop in fatality rates. Unfortunately, as conditions have improved in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, the Maoist forces seem to have shifted their operations to the state of Orissa where conditions have worsened. South Asia Terrorism Portal’s fatality count across the six states that saw the majority of the fighting (Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, Maharashira, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh) was 794. This included 399 civilians, 221 security force personnel and 174 insurgents.


In 2009, Naxalites were active across approximately 180 districts in ten states of India.
In September 2009 India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh admitted that the Maoists had growing appeal among a large section of Indian society, including tribal communities, the rural poor as well as sections of the intelligentsia and the youth. He added that "Dealing with left-wing extremism requires a nuanced strategy – a holistic approach. It cannot be treated simply as a law and order problem." In the first half of 2009, 56 Maoist attacks were reported. The South Asia Terrorism Portal reported 998 killed in the conflict: 392 civilians, 312 security forces and 294 rebels.


During February the Silda camp attack killed 24 paramilitary personnel of the Eastern Frontier Rifles in an operation the guerillas stated was the beginning of "Operation Peace Hunt", the Maoist answer to the government "Operation Green Hunt" that was recently launched against them. According to Crisis Watch and various news sources, between 500 and 600 people were killed this year. Of those killed, approximately 366 were civilians, 188 were government troops (including police) and 27 were Naxalites. According to South Asia Terrorism Portal and government sources, over 1,000 deaths occurred in the conflict this year. This includes 277 security forces, 277 Naxalites, and more than 600 civilian.
On 6 April, Naxalite rebels killed 76, consisting of 74 paramilitary personnel of the CRPF and two policemen. Fifty others were wounded in the series of attacks on security convoys in Dantewada district in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.[59] The attack resulted in the biggest loss of life security forces have suffered since launching a large-scale offensive against the rebels. On 17 May, a Naxalite landmine destroyed a bus in Dantewada district
, killing up to 44 people including several Special Police Officers (SPOs) and civilians.
On 28 May the derailment of a Kolkata–Mumbai night train killed at least 150 persons. Maoists were responsible for the sabotage which caused the disaster.
On 29 June, at least 26 policemen are killed in a Maoist attack in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.
On 29 August, a joint team of BSF and district police was attacked by the rebels in Bhuski village (Chhattisgarh) under Durg Kondal police station in the district while they were conducting routine search operations in the wee hours. Following the attack, the forces retaliated and in the action they lost five security personnel, including three BSF jawans.
On 29 and 30 August, rebels ambushed a joint paramilitary-police team in Bihar, killing 10, wounding 10 more, taking 4 prisoners and robbing more than 35 automatic rifles from the state forces.The Naxalites later freed 3 of the policemen after Naxal leader Kishenji met with worried family members.
On 12 September, Naxalites killed 3 policemen and took 4 more hostage in an ambush in Chhattisgarh. The 4 policemen were later released without conditions after Naxal leaders listened to the appeals of family members. The freed policemen also promised the Naxals to never take up arms against the insurgency again.
On 5 October, rebels killed 4 Police officers as they were on their way to a market in Maharashtra.
On 7 October, Naxalites attempted derailment of Triveni express, a train of Singrauli-Bareilly route, by removing 4 fishplates and 42 sleeper clips.
On 8 October, Naxalites triggered a landmine in the border area between Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. The attack killed 3 Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) jawans, wounded 2 more and destroyed a military jeep.


During May, Naxalites killed and dismembered ten policemen, including one senior officer in the Gariyaband, Chhattisgarh area on the border with Orissa. In June, the total fatalities of both the police and the paramilitary was 43.
On 21 July 2011, Maoist rebels in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh blew up a bridge, killing four people and wounding five others. The attack happened when the Congress party chief of the state, Nandkumar Patel, was returning from a party function.
Despite the continued violence in 2011, the most recent central government campaign to contain and reduce the militant Naxalite presence appears to be having some success, the 2011 toll of 447 civilians and 142 security personnel killed having been nearly 50% lower than the 2010 toll. Some states experiencing this sharp reduction in Naxalite hostilities, such as Madhya Pradesh, attribute their success to their use of IAP funds for rural development.


In mid-March, Maoist rebels kidnapped two Italians in Orissa. They later released one, while the government of Orissa negotiated for the release of the second. The Maoists released the second hostage in the middle of April. The Member of the Legislative Assembly(MLA) of Laxmipur constituency (Orissa), Jhin Hikka, was abducted by the Maoists in March, who demand the release of 30 Maoist cadres (presently in jail) in exchange for the freedom of the MLA. The Orissa Govternment is negotiating with the cadres with the help of arbitrators to free the MLA.
On 27 March, an explosion blamed on Maoists killed 15 Indian policemen in Maharashtra.


The 2013 Naxal attack in Darbha valley resulted in the deaths of around 24 Indian National Congress leaders including the former state minister Mahendra Karma and the Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel.

The roots of the problem lie in the alienation of the tribal’s. Extreme sensitivity is required to tackle the issues involved. Rough and ready methods of using force may prove counterproductive in the long run, says Colonel (retired) Anil Athale.
The ambush by Naxalites in Bastar area of Chhattisgarh on a convoy of Congress party men returning from a rally on Saturday has sent shock waves in that party and central government led by it. But the latest clarification by the Naxalites makes the issue clear. This was a revenge attack against two individual Congress leaders, Salwa Judum founder Mahendra Karma and state Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel, for their role in the anti-Naxal vigilante group and ‘Operation Green Hunt’ respectively.
This has clarified the issue somewhat as most of us were a little surprised as to why Naxals would target a party that has been pushing for a ‘soft line’ on Naxals. It is likely that the rebels feared that the party may come to power under these two and make life difficult for them. The elimination of these two leaders has left the field open for Ajit Jogi, known to favour a soft approach to Naxals. While there was much VIP tear shedding for Patel, Karma, died unsung. My tributes to Karma who was abandoned by his own party and even in death remained a victim of ‘left wing’ sway over his party.
But the casualness of the security provided to the victims and ‘apparent’ confidence of the Congressmen that they had nothing to fear, is both strange and callous. Even a total non VIP like this author was provided at least 10 soldiers for personal protection while moving in Manipur! This was in spite of the fact that whole route was manned by soldiers at 200 yards interval! When this author queried about this, he was told that this is ‘routine’ and Standard Operating Procedure for any movement.
In another instance, this time in Kashmir valley, one vividly recalls how a junior officer chided senior colonels of the army for violating convoy discipline! As per the army SOP all persons in a convoy have to obey the convoy commander, irrespective of their rank!
Time and again, the Indian police and para-military forces have failed to display professionalism and paid the price.
The Naxalite phenomenon is unique in many ways. Here is a movement of tribals led mostly by non-tribals from Telangana. Imagine Naga insurgents being led by Assamese or Kashmiri separatists led by Biharis? The truth is the Naxal revolutionaries, are not there to solve the problems of Adivasis. They are there as the forests offer sanctuaries for training and rest. The general neglect of the area, callous forest guards/police and power vacuum, made the task of the Naxals easy.
Once having helped the adivasis through their ‘Robin Hood’ methods, they now intend to milk the adivasi support for the ‘higher purpose’ of ushering the Marxist revolution throughout India.
The saddest part is that far too many arm chair ‘welfarists’ have been taken in by the pro-tribal rhetoric of Naxalites and never challenged the Naxal ideology.
The Salwa Judum or armed mobilisation of tribals by Karma to target the sangham (over ground sympathisers) members, hit at the weak point of the Naxals. Their meagre armed strength is useless without the sangham members and passivejanata. The fact that all the top leaders of Naxals are non-tribals was a major factor in this breach between the two.
Mao had once famously said that the guerilla and popular support is like fish and water. Without the support of the masses the insurgent/guerilla cannot survive.
Alarmed at the erosion of popular support and fear of being isolated, the over ground wing of the Naxalites in cities and the capital New Delhi launched a fierce campaign against Salwa Judum. The media with its inherent leftist bias went to town over alleged atrocities by Salwa Judum members. The courts, human rights commission and civic activists were utilised to defame the resistance. It was dubbed as state government’s attempt to get tribal killed by tribal.
Everyone conveniently forgot that village defence forces being organised to fight rebels has a long history within India and outside. The central government with woolly-headed thinking and to get Naxal help in national elections ultimately succeeded in winding up the potent movement.
Emboldened by the ‘victory’ over Salwa Judum, the Naxals went about consolidating their hold over the forest areas and by 2010, were bold enough to take on the para-military forces in open confrontation. The May 27 incident is a logical culmination of the winding up of Salwa Judum and Operation Green Hunt. 
Do the Naxals seriously believe that ‘revolutionary conditions’ as described by their guru, Che Guevara, really exist in India for their revolution to succeed? All this leads one to the conclusion that essentially the Naxals are a gang of thugs and robbers much on the lines of Sandalwood smuggler Veerappan, who also put up a charade of ‘Tamil pride’ to hide his criminal activities. 
The roots of the problem lies in the alienation of the tribals on two counts -- one due to the unfair forest legislation, their natural habitat and second due to the glaring gap between the lifestyle and living standards of the tribals and plains men. Extreme sensitivity is required to tackle the issues involved. Rough and ready methods of using force may prove counterproductive in the long run.
Thus there is a dilemma of sorts, while urgency demands action sensitivity to tribal identity merits caution and preparation. What is needed is a completely new model of administration to be evolved based on sensitivity, realism and continuity. A re-look at erstwhile Indian Frontier Administrative Service like organisation may be worthwhile in light of our experience of repeated administrative failure in these areas.
Rule of law must replace the rule by the outlaw. Here the quality of administrator and law enforcer would matter a great deal. Tribals are war-like people and proud of being so. The history of Gonds and Santhals in resisting all manner of invaders should never be forgotten, nor their stand in support of the late Pravir Chandra Bhanjadeo (external link). In bringing the tribals to modernity care must be taken to be gradual and transition should not be from no clothes to a three-piece suit.
The three step approach to ideological conflicts is to contain-neutralise and reform. In this important aspect of the battle, media and communication (both verbal and non verbal) plays a major role The common perception of murgi chor (chicken stealing) soldiers or policemen do greater damage to the legitimacy of counter-insurgency than any amount of adverse propaganda.
In the heat of the battle there is a temptation to target the sympathisers for acts of violence by the armed insurgents. There is a major debate as to what agency/organisation must be used and for what task. There is a marked reluctance on the part of the armed forces to get involved in a domestic quarrel where there is no clear external element.
The para-military forces are expected to carry the major burden of fighting such wars. But there is a major problem here. At the level of section or platoon, where the guerrilla war is fought, these operations are in no way different than similar operations in conventional wars. The para-military forces are neither trained nor equipped to fight a war and are often found wanting. The principle of adequate force means that the armed forces cannot use their full range of equipment, a sort of fighting with one hand tied behind back. A way out of this dilemma is a middle path where in the armed forces act in support of the para-military.
For instance the searches and neutralisation may be carried out by the police, the armed forces lay the outer cordon to prevent escapes.
The South Africans faced a similar problem when they faced the African National Congress-led sabotage and subversion operations inside the country while a full-blown guerrilla war raged in South West Africa and Angola. 
This worked since the ANC was unable to launch guerrilla war inside South Africa proper. But the South Africans created special police units to do this task, which were organised and trained on the lines of special forces of the army. South Africa also consciously took a decision to not occupy territory and instead organised mobile, high-tech company groups to hit at the rebel bases and keep them unbalanced. This was a lesson learnt from the Vietnam War where the Americans entered the swamps and fought the guerrillas on their own terms.
It is very difficult to make any definitive judgement on this issue but suffice it to say that counter insurgency must be fought as a multi-agency operation and with a suitable mix of military, police, intelligence and high tech special forces.
Are we ready to accept as nation that one cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs?
(Detailed study can be found in Quest for Peace, Studies in Insurgencies and Counterinsurgencies, Vij Books, New Delhi, 2011)
Colonel Anil Athale, former Chatrapati Shivaji fellow of the United Services Institution and a student of insurgency for the last 35 years. He has researched Kashmir, the north-east, Sri Lanka, Naxal, South African and Northern Ireland insurgencies during this period.

There are few questions that raise the heads are:
How it’s never been a concern for the governments when there are full camps to train the youth by Naxalite groups?
 Can any one fight a battle with out proper training and weapons? Of course not!! Then from where these Naxalite groups get funds for such high-tech weapons?
And if we look at the Guerilla warfare system of maoist then we find it very developed while we send our army to tackle each and every thing to settle down. Do not you think that there should be a special forces to fight with Naxalite groups in forest who are trained in Gurellia warfare?

Is it possible with out any political party’s support that they carry on with such dangerous weapon and training with in the terroary of India and no one is there to have a proper check what’s going on? Then who is supporting them? Who is funding them? Why we are not able to implement any strategy against Naxalite groups since 1969-2013? 

1 comment:

  1. Note: Above data has been collected from various websites.