You are here

Maoists in Delhi: Is the Police Prepared?

Dr. P. V. Ramana was Research Fellow at Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, New Delhi. Click here for detail profile.
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • May 03, 2010

    The detection of the presence of Naxalites of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in New Delhi persuades one to wonder if it is turning into an established safe-home. Also, because the rebels have not committed any ‘action’ in Delhi, the police may not have, possibly, paid adequate attention to understanding the rebels, their motives and modus operandi. The arrest of a few Maoist leaders and activists since September 2009 is, perhaps, the tip of the ice berg of the Maoist presence and activities in Delhi, and, therefore, the police would have to prepare themselves urgently in facing and defeating the Maoist challenge.

    Polit Bureau member Kobad Ghandy was the highest ranking leader arrested in Delhi, on September 20, 2009. He was arrested following a tip-off by the Special Intelligence Branch (SIB), the elite anti-Naxal intelligence-wing of Andhra Pradesh Police, which has turned into a role model for the other affected States. Investigations following Ghandy’s arrest are now leading the police to some more Maoists.

    On March 23, 2010, Lakkaraju Satyanarayana Murty (LSN) was officially arrested in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh. He was believed to have been picked up from Delhi a few days earlier. LSN’s interrogation led to the detention and subsequent release of Sunil Mandiwal, a college teacher. On April 28, a trade union leader, his wife and another associate were arrested. Possibly, a few more Maoists could be arrested in the weeks and months ahead, while many more would try to cover up their trail and move out of Delhi.

    In fact, the role of the Maoists was suspected in the strike in 2005 at the Honda factory located in Gurgaon, in the National Capital Region (NCR). After that, for a very long time, little was heard about the Maoist presence in Delhi. Also, little is known of the leaders who are trying to build a base and spread the Maoist ideology in Delhi. According to well-informed sources, the Maoists have formed a State Committee comprising six members to spearhead the movement in Delhi. This has been in operation since, at least, the past four to five years. It is believed that Maoist Central Committee member Sukanth has been entrusted with the task of ‘guiding’ the Delhi State Committee.

    There is nothing unique about the Maoist presence in a city like Delhi, other than that it is the national capital. The Maoist urban presence has already been detected in various cities and towns across the country – in Mumabi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Pune, Nagpur, Surat, Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Rourkela, Bhubaneshwar, etc.

    Moreover, since September 2005 there have been reports of Maoist activities in places which are a few hours’ drive away from Delhi, in Haryana, in Jind, Kaithal, Kurukshetra Yamunanagar, Hisar, Rohtak and Sonepat. In June 2009, Haryana police claimed to have arrested eight important Maoists in Kurukshetra, including Pradeep Kumar, the Haryana state secretary of the CPI (Maoist). Besides, the police also claimed that the Maoists have formed a number of front organizations in Haryana, viz. Shivalik Jansangharsh Manch, Lal Salam, Jagrook Chhatar Morcha, Krantikari Majdoor Kisan Union, Jan Adhikari Surakhsa Samiti and Shivalik Jansangharsh Manch.

    The Maoists, at the Unity Congress held in January 2007, decided to spread their movement to urban areas. In this wake, the Congress also created a five member sub-committee –– known as Urban Sub-Committee (USCO) -- with Ghandy as its head, and tasked it with preparing a plan. Perhaps, this was submitted to the all-powerful Central Committee in September 2007. This plan is known as the Urban Perspective Plan.

    The Urban Movement has a defined role in the political and military strategy of the CPI (Maoist). According to the CPI (Maoist), “… being the centres of concentration of the industrial proletariat, urban areas play an important part within the political strategy of the new Democratic Revolution.” The Maoists envisage that they would mobilise and organise the industrial workers and channel them towards playing “leadership role in organising the agrarian revolution by sending … advanced detachment to the rural areas.” The role of the Urban Movement within the military strategy of the Maoists has been best explained by Mao Tse Tung thus: “the final objective of the revolution is the capture of the cities, the enemy’s main bases and this objective cannot be achieved without adequate work in the cities.” The CPI (Maoist) holds that “[they] should, by building up a strong urban movement, ensure that the urban masses contribute to creating the conditions that will obtain success for the armed struggle in the countryside.”

    In the Maoist scheme of things, the objectives/tasks of the Urban Movement could be classified under three broad heads or categories: (a) mobilise and organise the basic masses and build the party on that basis; (b) build the United Front; and (c) Military tasks.

    The Maoists contend that the urban movement should be conducted through various types of mass organisations; the wider the organisations, the better. These organisations are of different types –– secret revolutionary mass organisations, open and semi-open revolutionary mass organisations, open legal mass organisations which are not directly linked to the CPI (Maoist). The last of these would include Maoist-inspired cover organisations and legal, democratic organisations.

    It is fairly easy for the Maoists to establish bases in urban areas. As a well-known authority of the Maoist movement, K. Srinivas Reddy, told this author, “because of the anonymity it accords, it becomes easy for the Maoists to stay and operate in urban centres.” Urban presence for the Maoists has the utility of (a) providing a place for rest and recuperation, (b) arranging for logistics and (c) mobilising students, youth and industrial workers.

    More importantly, if and when the Urban Movement catches on among the industrial workers, the state will have to deal with possible sabotage activities and workers/ industrial unrest. When the Urban Movement becomes strong, the state will then also have to deal with urban terrorism.