Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More attacks, new areas is Naxal plan

Soumyajit Pattnaik, Hindustan Times

Bhubaneswar, July 14, 2009
First Published: 01:02 IST(14/7/2009)
Last Updated: 01:04 IST(14/7/2009)

If you’ve been wondering why the Naxalites have stepped up attacks on security forces in recent months – most recently in Rajnandgaon in Chattisgarh on Sunday – here’s the answer: the Communist Party of India (Maoist) has specifically ordered its cadres to do so as a means of “expanding the guerilla war and Naxal influence to newer areas”.

A circular to this effect was issued by the CPI (Maoist) politburo to its cadre in June. HT has a copy of the circular in its possession.

The Naxals, banned by the Centre recently, wield considerable influence in 150 of India’s 600 districts, where the civil administration is present only nominally, or not at all.

Want proof? Since January this year, Naxals, also called Maoists, have killed more than 200 security personnel in Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Maharashtra and West Bengal – all states they have a strong presence in. They are also active in Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Hardly a week passes without one or more reports of Naxalite atrocities.

No wonder Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called them “the biggest threat to India’s internal security.”

The circular shows that the Naxal leadership is extremely well informed, if hopelessly biased, about the state of politics in the country. It labels the Congress and the BJP as parties of crorepatis (millionaires) and criminals and dismisses the recent Lok Sabha elections as “an undemocratic exercise held under feudal conditions”.

But the politburo is better informed about issues that affect Naxals. It notes that the government’s counter-offensive is hamstrung by the lack of adequate forces and logistics support.

“The government plans to set up and train special forces like the Cobras (an elite anti-Naxal commando force) in the next few years… but is facing severe difficulty implementing this plan,” says the circular.

“Keeping this in mind, we have to further aggravate the situation and create more difficulties for the enemy by dispersing its forces over a sufficiently wider area.”

In plain English, this means: We will keep up our attacks.

But it took care to warn its cadres to guard against high-handedness.

“We should take extra precautions not to be reckless, not to cause damage to people’s property or cause inconvenience to people. We must also apologize promptly for our mistakes,” the circular says, adding that the “enemy” would use any slip-ups to brand them terrorists and rally the masses against them.

As in most communist insurgencies, The CPI (Maoist) leadership has also been keeping abreast of, and analyzing, international events.

The circular asks cadres to learn from the LTTE’s “mistakes” in Sri Lanka. It says: “The LTTE’s mistake lay in its lack of study of the changes in its enemy’s tactics, capabilities, international support and open assistance by imperialist powers, ie., an underestimation of its enemy along with an overestimation of its own forces and capabilities.”

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