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  • India’s Maoists: The Party shall be over!

    Although there has been little change in the influence of Naxalites across the country over the past couple of years, patience and concerted effort shall no doubt make the Maoists irrelevant.

    September 07, 2012

    Nishant Turan asked: How and from where do the Naxalites procure their weapons?

    Anil Kamboj replies: The Naxalites procure weapons from different sources and by different methods. There are numerous reports that link Naxalites to a number of militant and criminal groups throughout South Asia. These groups have interacted with Maoists from Nepal, insurgent groups of India’s Northeast, ISI-backed Islamists from Bangladesh and criminals from Myanmar. Weapons flow among these groups without much check. The details of Naxalite’s sources of weaponry are as follows:

    1. Initially, the Naxalites collected weapons from the local people. These were old vintage type muzzle loader guns and locally made shotguns used for killing animals and hunting. Some of them also used bows and arrows. Their main weapon used to be their human strength, that is, their large numbers. Later they started looting arms and ammunition from the local police outposts in the Naxalite infested areas. After gaining confidence, they stared raiding the armoury and ambushing the police and security force patrol parties to loot/snatch their arms, ammunition and equipments, like bullet proof jackets, night vision devices, communication sets, etc.

    2. The Naxalites also obtained weapons by bribing or coercing members of the security forces to sell or give their firearms and the ammunition along with their equipment.

    3. Naxalites also have their own local arms factories. The manufacturing of arms demonstrate a wide range of craftsmanship, right from assembling makeshift weapons from discarded parts to more advanced forging process. These factories also produce homemade mortar rounds and components for improvised explosive devices. As reported, they even have laboratory to test the improvised explosive devices, land mines, claymore mines and other sophisticated explosives/ammunition.

    4. It was initially the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that had provided the Naxalites the training in the handling of weapons, mines and grenades at a camp near Bastar in Chattisgarh State. Later when the LTTE fighters fled Sri Lanka after their 2009 defeat, it is suspected that a few Tamil fighters began providing training of all types to the Naxalites in exchange for safe haven.

    5. The Nepalese Maoists have not only exchanged training and weapons with the Naxalites, but also their strategic planning.

    6. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) has helped Indian Maoists to procure weapons and ammunition through Myanmar and Bangladesh.

    7. There is a relationship between the ULFA and Naxalites to smuggle drugs through Bangladesh border in exchange of weapons and ammunition.

    8. There is no shortage of explosives with the Naxalites. They are able to procure the same from the mining contractors operating in the Naxalite -controlled areas, including fertilizer distributors and mining companies that maintain stocks of explosives, blasting caps and detonators.

    9. The Naxalites have also procured foreign weapons, ammunition and explosives from external militant and criminal groups operating within and outside of India. Such shipments are traded for smuggling services or purchased with funds from banditry, extortion or revolutionary taxes. Purchasing weapons from the outside is very expensive. According to an article published in 2009 by India Daily News, Naxalite expenditure reports seized by police showed that, over a six-month period, one zone command spent more than three-quarters of the unit’s budget on weapons. Such evidence suggests that their effort to procure weapons from outside have certain limitations; obtaining them locally is far cheaper and can be done by virtually any Naxalite fighter. The Naxalite arsenal is thus vast and diverse, consisting of arms and ammunition manufactured in China, Pakistan and India. How many weapons are held by the Naxalites is anybody’s guess.

    Harshal Gaikwad asked: Why government is not using Army for combating Naxalism?

    Reply: Please refer to the IDSA Issue Brief entitled “Anti-Naxal Operations: Employment of Armed Forces” authored by Brig. (Retd.) Rumel Dahiya. The Issue Brief, dated May 04, 2010, can be accessed at

    Disrupting Life and Economy: The Maoist way

    Repeated acts of targeting infrastructure speak of Maoist intentions: paralyse normal life, sabotage economic activity, dictate terms and allow life and economic activity only on their “terms and conditions.”

    May 31, 2012

    Hans Raj Singh asked: Why has India failed to tackle the problem of Naxalism despite so many policies in place?

    Anil Kamboj replies: The reason lies in the government’s inability to properly implement policies on the ground. Some of the key inhibiting factors in this regard are:

    a) Terrain: The areas where the Naxals operate are thickly forested, hilly, remote, and have limited roads and tracks. There are no proper detailed maps available as some of these areas have not been surveyed properly.

    b) Location of villages: The villages are located in remote areas separated by thick jungles. There are no good roads or tracks connecting these villages, with the result that there is lack of communication. Generally the local people move on foot. To approach these people living in such remote areas from the district/tehsil headquarters takes considerable time. A determined government machinery is the only device to approach the people in the region.

    c) Poverty: Most of the people live in extreme economic conditions as there are hardly any employment avenues available. Therefore, they are easily motivated and lured to join the Naxalite organisations.

    d) No Presence of Government Machinery: There is no presence of state government in these remote areas with the result neither these poor people are aware about the policies of the government and their benefits, nor the government has shown any interest to know about the needs of these tribal people. This has been taken advantage of by the Naxals to endear themselves to the local people.

    e) Deployment of Security Forces: There is no presence of police in some of these remote areas. Even if it is there, they are not effective. The Central Forces i.e. BSF, CRPF and the ITBP are thinly deployed as compared to the requirement. Moreover, the area has been heavily mined by the Naxals and therefore the security forces have not been able to dominate these areas.

    f) Lack of Proper Training: To operate against the Naxals, no proper training was imparted to the security forces at the time of their induction, and therefore, they initially suffered heavy causalities. Besides this, the central armed forces also do not enjoy special powers like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in these states. In addition, the fear of human rights violations has made the security forces adopt a defensive posture.

    g) No Development: The affected areas have been neglected by the state governments. These areas remain economically deprived and backward as the local government never tried to approach or communicate with the common people. Now several efforts are being made, but the development progress has been very slow.

    h) Political Attitude: The most important aspect is the political attitude of the state governments when it comes to implementing the programmes and taking necessary effective measures to deal with the Naxalite problem. While Andhra Pradesh has largely succeeded in controlling the situation, other States have failed to view and acknowledge the prevailing situation in the correct prospective.

    The Naxalites are well entrenched and are spreading their wings to larger areas. Their movement has so far been well planned and organised. Pro-Naxal activists have been placed at all strategically important locations to counter government plans. These activists not only agitate against government policies but also effectively resist the implementation of developmental policies. To neutralise the Naxalite movement, constant, determined and well- coordinated efforts are required on all fronts. There is an urgent need to ensure that the policies and programmes of the government reach the people. However, all this would take time may be a minimum of five to six years.

    Hans Raj Singh asked: What is the difference between Maoism and Naxalism?

    Anil Kamboj replies: Naxalism originated as a rebellion against lack of development and poverty at the local level in the rural parts of eastern India. The term ‘Naxal’ derives its name from a village called Naxalbari in the State of West Bengal where the movement had its origin. The Naxals are considered far left radical communists who support Maoist political ideology. Their origin can be traced to the split that took place in the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1967. It led to the formation of Communist Party of India (Marxist and Leninist). Initially the movement had its centre in West Bengal. Thereafter, it spread into less developed areas of rural central and eastern India, such as, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh through the activities of underground groups like the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

    Maoism originated in China as a form of Communist theory derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong. It was widely applied as the political and military guiding ideology of the Communist Party of China till 1977-78. It emphasised the advancement of people’s social and economic life by establishing a classless society through armed revolution. It was rooted in the anti-imperialist struggle and supported armed revolution in order to achieve political transformation. Naxalism is actually based on the principles of Maoism to achieve a similar transformation in India.

    Posted on 31 May 2012

    Growing Maoist Activism in Assam: Sinister and Calculated Moves

    Although law enforcement agencies have been receiving timely reports about growing Maoist activities in Assam, it appears that they do not pay much attention to the issue.

    February 24, 2012

    Maoists understand the limitations of Mine Proof Vehicles

    After a systematic study of the MPV deployed in anti-Maoist operations, the Maoists have come to the conclusion that “There is no such thing as a mine proof vehicle”.

    January 30, 2012

    Neeraj Kapoor asked: Keeping in mind that the naxals are Indians with guns and naxalism is a result of government apathy, what should be the right strategy against Naxalism?

    Kishalay Bhattacharjee replies: Naxalism, to begin with is not only the result of government apathy; that is just one approach to understanding Naxalism. Naxalism or Left Wing Extremism in India is an ideological war as much as an armed insurgency. Therefore it is imperative to counter the ideology that helps mobilise their support. The apathy feeds into this extremism. Therefore it is essential to address the apathy as well. But most importantly the authorities must be seized of the gravity of the Maoist problem. Maoists haven't struck in the cities yet and that could be one reason for the Government to have not responded to it immediately. Development must be all round and not concentrated only in Maoist dominated areas. Police reforms must be implemented immediately. The state and the centre must agree on the threat perception and follow a clear policy which is currently absent. The Government must choke funding of these organisations. Tactical negotiations must follow arrests of leaders to allow them to participate in the democratic process as proof that change is possible. Crucially, there has to be a genuine will to address the grievances of the people which in turn feed into these movements.

    Maoists in ‘Golden Corridor Area’

    The ‘Golden Corridor Area’ was reportedly formed by the Maoists in February 2008. It is essential to check their presence in this area in order to curtail their finances as well as to avoid industrial sabotage.

    December 19, 2011