Thursday, November 11, 2004

Naxal merger a threat: Report

Naxal merger a threat: Report

New Delhi, Nov. 10: The recent merger of the People’s War and the Maoist Communist Centre of India will “amplify” the Naxal threat, the Centre has said in a recent assessment made for a committee of MPs. When the two Naxalite groups joined to become the Communist Party of India-Maoist, Home Minister Shivraj Patil’s immediate reaction had been cautious. He told reporters that the development could even turn out to be good. The PWG has begun a dialogue with Andhra Pradesh government, and he implied that the MCCI, too, could become part of the peace effort.

But the Home Ministry’s “initial analysis” — which figured in a paper prepared for last week’s meeting of the consultative committee attached to the ministry — said the merger would “amplify the Naxal violence”, particularly in West Be-ngal, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh. In these States, the “military prowess” of People‘s War will combine with “mass activities” of the MCCI. It said the merger aimed at “strengthening the movement to meet the aspirations of the masses“’.

“Overall, it wo-uld augment the organisational, military and technological capabilities of the two outfits in a vast geographical spread, posing a serious challenge to the security scenario,” the Ministry said. The two groups account for 90 per cent of deaths countrywide due to Naxalite violence, the paper said. Up to September-end this year, Naxalite violence had claimed 436 lives in 1,215 incidents — compared to 388 deaths in a similar number of cases during the same period last year.

Twelve States are affected. Apart from the PW-MCCI merger, the Ministry paper also drew attention to “linkages” of Naxalite groups in India with the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). “CPN (Maoist), Nepal has increased its activities in the Tarai region of Nepal bordering India,” it said. There was “regular exchange of men and material” between the Maoists in Nepal and local Naxal outfits. The PW, MCCI and the CPN (Maoists) planned to spread into new areas to carve out a “compact revolutionary group”, spreading from Nepal, through Bihar and to the Dandakaranya region of AP.

According to the Home Ministry assessment, there were about 7,000 hard-core Naxalites in the country. They hold about 6,300 regular weapons “and a large number of unlicensed country-made weapons”. The PW and the MCCI had built up expertise in making IEDs and landmines, it said. The Ministry also noted an increase in “people’s courts” held by Naxalites. During 2002, 100 ‘Jan Adalats’ were held and eight executions ordered.

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