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  • India’s Internal Security: The Year That Was, The Year That May Be

    India’s internal security situation in 2011 was relatively better than in previous years. To ensure that 2012 also turns out to be a quiet and secure year, New Delhi not only has to consolidate the gains made in 2011 but also undertake new initiatives to address these gaps.

    December 13, 2011

    Maoist People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army

    The Maoist military machine has acquired a certain versatility and lethality and the security forces would have to possess and display immense capacities to fight the Maoists militarily.

    December 12, 2011

    Maoists Down, but not Out

    Kishanji’s demise would put to rest any possibility of negotiations between the Maoists and the government in West Bengal. His killing in an encounter, no doubt a serious blow, does not practically undermine the Maoists’ capabilities either in West Bengal or at the pan-India level. However, his unique organizational ability shall be missed.

    November 29, 2011

    The Maoist-Business Nexus

    While businesses, especially industries, face a real dilemma, the long-term solution is the isolation of the Maoists by winning over the local people through projects that benefit local communities.

    October 03, 2011

    Measures To Deal With Left - Wing Extremism/Naxalism

    Measures To Deal With Left - Wing Extremism/Naxalism

    The assertions by the Ministry of Home Affairs that the Maoist challenge could be dealt with in three years seems to be ambitious, given present-day the ground realities. If coordinated action is taken, perhaps, their challenge could be defeated in approximately seven to 10 years. A welcome development is that the various state governments and the Union Government have begun to evince willingness to deal with the issue. Doubtless, the Maoist challenge can certainly be defeated.

    ‘Golden Corridor’ Turning into Maoist Hub

    The urban presence and activities of Naxalites of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) [CPI (Maoist], or Maoists, in short, is fast picking pace. On May 13, police arrested 10 Maoists in Pune, though they actually belonged to West Bengal. Nine of them were working as casual labourers while their leader was using the cover of a labour contractor. Four pistols and Naxalite literature running into 300 pages were recovered from their possession.

    May 20, 2011

    Arming the Unarmed

    Given lack of training, combat exposure and expertise in use of weapons, SPOs are unlikely to be effective even in the defensive line of action.

    May 18, 2011

    Understanding the Maoist Challenge through the Development Debate

    The sense of a liberated zone is apparent as one enters Chitrakonda, with three storey tombs painted in red with the comrades’ name and a hammer and sickle dotting the arid landscape.

    May 12, 2011

    Neeraj Kapoor asked: Is there any solution possible for naxalism as what has happened in Sri Lanka with LTTE?

    Nihar Nayak replies: To begin with, it is essential to identify the basic differences and similarities between the two movements. The first and foremost difference is the LTTE was fighting for a sovereign and separate State. It was an ethnic conflict. On the other hand, the Naxalite/Maoists/LWE in India is fighting for equality, social justice and dignity of marginalized people, tribal rights and good governance. Second, while the LTTE was identified as a terrorist organization, this is not the case with Maoists. They have very limited trans-boundary activities. However, there are incidents of Maoists targeting civilians. These occasional incidents can not be compared with the LTTE. The Maoist movement has been thriving because of their nexus with political leaders. That was not the case with LTTE. Finally, in terms of lethality, till date, the Maoists use firearms looted from police and other security agencies. On the other hand, LTTE has been one of the dreaded organisations in the world with military might -Army/Navy and Air force and it was fighting and operating like a Rogue state. LTTE was responsible for killing of top political leaders, including former PM of India, Rajiv Gandhi.

    However, they have some basic similarities like political goal, indoctrination and training programmes, guerilla tactics, mobilization of front organizations, formation of military wings, etc.

    Considering these basic differences between these organisations/movements, only military or police action is not a viable solution to the Maoist problem. Military action could suppress the movement. However, that may not bring a permanent solution to the problem. Earlier, on two occasions (1970s and 2002-03 in Andhra Pradesh), police actions were taken against the Maoists. Interestingly, the movement revived with more vigour. There are also strong possibilities of collateral damage if military action is taken against the Maoists. Adopting the LTTE or Sri Lankan model against the Maoists in India is not advisable. Rather, this problem can be tackled through both development and police action (only in high conflict zones) depending on the local situation. There is also a need of strong political will to resolve the menace by taking appropriate action against the nexus between Maoists and some political leaders.

    J. Singh asked: Who is more dangerous for India Islamic Terrorism, Hindu Terrorism or Naxal?

    S. Kalyanraman replies: Naxals pose the more serious challenge to India today because they seem to enjoy a measure of popular support particuarly among the tribal people. Naxals have gained popular support among the tribals because they have taken up the tribal cause and tribal discontent -- tribal peoples in India's heartland feel that they have not adequately benefited from the mineral wealth being extracted from their "land"; and that they have been generally neglected by the government which has not been providing them with governanance and civic amenities; etc. Popular support has enabled Naxals to expand their armed cadre, given them the advantage of operating more freely in tribal-dominated areas and to gather adequate intelligence about the movements of the security forces. If the Naxals manage to consolidate their presence and entrench themselves in these areas, then it will be natural for them to seek to expand the areas under their influence. While it may be too early to say whether the Naxals will be able to expand thus, what can be said with greater assurance is that a Naxal consolidation in tribal areas will prolong the insurgency, militarise the people of the area, and generally hold back the region's and the country's progress.

    In contrast, neither militant Islamists nor Hindu radicals enjoy any degree of popular support within India, which makes them that much less dangerous. But this is not to discount that they pose a serious security challenge given that they mainly target innocenet civilians in places of worship, markets, suburban trains, hotels, etc. Here, the threat from militant Islamists is more dangerous than that posed by Hindu radicals because militant Islamists are much better organised and trained and linked, going back to the Afghan jihad of the 1980s. India faces a terrorist threat not only from Indian militant Islamists but also from Pakistani militant Islamists. In addition, linkages exist between Indian and Pakistani militant Islamists on one hand and criminal networks like the D-Company on the other. And all these actors have links with the Pakistani Establishment -- Dawood and his lieutenants are based in Karachi and are under Pakistan's protection, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and other anti-India groups continue to enjoy protection in Pakistan, and Indian Islamists receive training in Pakistan and their travel is facilitated by Indian criminal networks.

    In contrast, Hindu radicals are new to this game, and, under the present circumstances, it appears unlikely that there will be state support or international support for the organisation of a group or groups committed to waging a holy war of any sort. Nor do these groups appear to enjoy any popular support.