Thursday, October 11, 2007

Analysis: Maoists plan new strategy

Published: Oct. 10, 2007 at 11:40 AM
UPI Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- India’s Maoists, in a bid to regroup, are moving their fighters from states where they are strong to those in which they have been weakened.

“The Maoist rebels, who have of late suffered large-scale depletion in states like Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, have begun bringing in platoons of activists from Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh to regroup the organizational structure in the provinces where they have been weakened,” said K. Srinavas Reddy, a Hyderabad-based expert on the Maoist movement in India.

Intelligence and security agencies in states that have launched successful offensives against the rebels say they have information about the new strategy and are keeping a close watch on rebel activities. Security agents are sharing information with interior ministries of states in which there has been an influx of rebel fighters.

“The latest move of the Maoists in Andhra Pradesh would boomerang on the rebels because the presence of outsiders will not go down well with the native tribals and they will stop cooperating with them,” said Jitendra, deputy director general of police of Vishakapatnam district, in Andhra Pradesh, from where security forces successfully chased out rebels.

“The tribals may not be cooperating with the police but now they have also stopped helping the Naxalites as they feel the outsiders will only increase if they receive support,” Jitendra, who goes by only one name, said.

Maoists are known as Naxalites in India, named for the region in West Bengal state where their movement began.

Intelligence agencies recently alerted all 13 rebel-hit states about rebel efforts to regroup in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Bihar. The agencies informed police in less-affected states that the movement of Maoists was noticed on the borders along Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh.

Concerted government efforts have resulted in the killing of several top Maoist rebels and the arrest of many more, dealing a blow to the rebel movement that wants to set up a Maoist state across India.

The governments of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh say their strategy of tackling the rebels has yielded results.

“The police are well aware of the Maoist efforts to recruit and regroup,” said D. Tirumala Rao, deputy inspector general of the special intelligence branch. “While we continue with our present strategy due to which many top leaders have surrendered, we are devising new ways to check their fresh efforts.”

Top security, intelligence and police officials say forces say the surrender policy adopted by almost all rebel-hit states is transparent and the government fulfils promises made to surrendering rebels. They say except a few top leaders, almost all the second-rung leadership surrendered in Andhra Pradesh. In Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, the top leadership has either been killed or arrested.

The federal Interior Ministry recently formed a Naxal management division, headed by an additional secretary. The division reviews and monitors action plans drawn up by states to deal with the Naxal problem.

The head of the division has directed all officials under his jurisdiction to frequently visit rebel-hit states and make coordinated efforts to advise and guide state government officials to effectively deal with the issue. States have been asked to formulate action plans and fine-tune them to ensure they are effectively implemented.

The Maoist problem dominated the proceedings of a three-day conference of top police and intelligence officials organized by the Intelligence Bureau.

“Intelligence can be the most useful instrument in containing crime, violence and terrorism,” said Interior Minister Shivraj Patil.

He said the Naxal problem had become more difficult in some states, and a coordinated approach was needed to meet the challenge.

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