Saturday, May 08, 2021

Naxalism: The Red Terror In India – Analysis



The word Naxal comes from the village of Naxalbari in West Bengal, which was the site of the Naxalite peasant revolt in 1967. Naxalists believe in uprooting the discriminative system of haves and have not and create a society of equality based on the ideology of Karl Marx. Its epicenter was in West Bengal but rapidly it spread into other states of India such as Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana through the activities of underground groups like the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Also Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district is highly affected by the Naxalists. 

Types of Naxalism

1. Urban Naxalism- Urban Naxals believes in ideological change and influence people to stand against the state. They provide full support to Rural Naxals.  

2. Rural Naxalism- Rural Naxals are indulged in armed struggle with the state. 

Naxalism Vs Maoism 

Naxalism is an internal aggression that emerged due to extreme exploitation and lack of governmental efforts in terms of development. It should not be confused with Maoism as Maoism referred to the ideology of Mao Zedong in China although it has the same way of forcing the government but Naxalism emerged in India from three different regions Naxalbari, Kharibari and Phasideva. First it emerged in Naxalbari that is why it was named Naxalism. Their goal is to through the existing government system out and creates a new social order.

History of Naxalism

Historical if we look it started around 1964 in its first phase and eradicated by Indira Gandhi government and later in 1980’s it emerged again with its second phase eventually in 2004 it got its third phase with the merger of MCC of Bihar and PWG of Andhra Pradesh as CPI-Maoist later it bifurcated in many other groups one of them was CPI-ML Janasakti.

Current Status On Naxalism in India

Comparative statistics of Naxal violence (2005-2018)State Initiatives to deal with Naxalism

Government has adopted surrender policy for Naxalists, the state has given opportunities to the youth to join the security forces in Naxal affected regions with ease, started talks with the insurgent groups, promoted primary and higher education also initiated the developing works of road constructions and bridge constructions etc.

Why Eradicate Naxalism?

Now the issue is that it has lost its values and often targets civilians, extort money from them and often put fire on their houses and whenever government tries to start developing works they fail them by abducting government officials and even killing the officials and arson the JCB and other construction machines.


The state has to cut the main sources of funding to Naxalism and smuggling of weapons to the Naxals. Finally security forces need to locate the Naxalists from the Jungles and deep forest areas, where the Naxal camps are active. The state can take help from the local people and increase the number of Salwa Judums. 

*Pankaj Kumar Sain, is a Political Analyst and has a Masters in Political Science

Seek help if you have Covid: Cops to Maoists

TNN | May 9, 2021, 00:29 IST

Hyderabad: For the first time, state police have appealed to Covid-19 affected Maoists to approach police for medical help. The appeal has come from the police of 


 affected Bhadradri Kothagudem district.

Senior police officials of Bhadradri-Kothagudem district have appealed to Covid-19 affected Maoists to approach the police for medical help, offering best possible medical aid.

“We have heard that some of the Maoist party members including a few leaders operating in Telangana-Chattisgarh border areas and Dandakaranya special zonal committee are suffering from Covid-19. If they need medical help, they can approach the police,” Kothagudem SP Sunil Dutt said.

As per the information of police, Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee member Sujata along with few others have been affected with Covid-19. “Top leadership of Maoist party get dedicated medical attention but the lower rung suffers a lot. We appeal to the lower rung Maoist party workers to join the mainstream if the leadership tries to prevent them from seeking medical help for Covid-19. We will provide all possible assistance including medical aid,” the SP said

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Landmine Planted By Maoists Defused By Security Forces After Controlled Blast

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Narrow escape for security forces from the deadly explosives laid by the Naxals. Security forces were able to foil the Naxal plot after detecting a powerful landmine. The explosive was planted in Minapa jungle in Chhattisgarh bordering on Odisha’s Malkangiri district. According to reports, the landmine was around 10 kgs in weight and was detected during an operation by CRPF. The landmine was detected through a metal detector. The landmine was then retrieved by the security personnel. Later it was defused by triggering a controlled-blast and a major disaster was averted. It is reported that the police & security forces had information about Maoist movement in the area. Following this an operation was launched in the area during which the explosives were detected

Five Maoists nabbed in Telangana

Special CorrespondentBHADRADRI-KOTHAGUDEM 05 MAY 2021 08:01 IST
UPDATED: 05 MAY 2021 08:16 IST

Five militia members of the proscribed CPI (Maoist) from neighbouring Chhattisgarh were arrested by a combined squad of police and CRPF personnel in Kurnapalli forest area in Charla mandal on Tuesday morning.

Police said the arrested militia members were tasked by Maoists to conduct a recce on the movement of combing parties in remote forest fringe villages across the Telangana-Chhattisgarh border.

They hail from Nimmalagudem village in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district.



They were allegedly involved in subversive activities along with local militia members of the outlawed organisation in the border villages including Chennapuram and Battigudem

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case | NIA disputes U.S. firm’s report

A view of National Investigation Agency (NIA), in New Delhi. FileA view of National Investigation Agency (NIA), in New Delhi. File | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma
PTIMUMBAI 01 MAY 2021 17:30 IST
UPDATED: 01 MAY 2021 17:34 IST

It says the U.S. firm had no business giving such an opinion without the permission of the court at a time when the trial was pending and the issue was sub-juice.

The National Investigation Agency has disputed a forensic report by a U.S. firm which suggested that electronic evidence was planted on the computer device belonging to activist Rona Wilson, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case.

In an affidavit filed before the Bombay High Court on Friday, the NIA said it "stoutly" denied the contents of the U.S. firm's report, adding that Mr. Wilson's allegations of fabrication of evidence and planting of electronic evidence could not be accepted.

The central agency said Mr. Wilson's plea based on the U.S. firm's report was not maintainable, and urged the High Court to dismiss it as well as impose cost on the activist for filing such a plea.


In an affidavit filed through its officer Vikram Jhakate, the NIA said, "I stoutly deny the report. I say since the contention made in the petition regarding the aforesaid facts are not admitted by me, they are disputed questions of fact and hence cannot be entertained in the present writ petition," the affidavit reads.

The NIA further said the firm's report and a news story carried in a magazine were not part of the chargesheet, and Mr. Wilson could not rely on them to seek quashing of charges.


It further said that since the U.S. firm's report itself claimed it was difficult to identify the person who allegedly planted such evidence, it was on Mr. Wilson to prove allegations of fabrication of evidence at the time of trial.

The NIA said the onus of explaining and identifying when and how evidence was planted was on Mr. Wilson himself since the alleged planting of electronic evidence took place before the FIR in the case was registered.

"As far as the contention of the petitioner that there is fabrication of documents, planting of false evidence and scant regards to procedure established by law is concerned, the same is uncalled for at this stage," the affidavit stated.

It said Mr. Wilson's plea was vague and based on "ifs and buts" and he himself was not sure of the person who allegedly planted the document.

The NIA said Mr. Wilson had an alternate remedy of filing an application for discharge under Section 227 or 239 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

It also said the U.S. firm had no business giving such an opinion without the permission of the court at a time when the trial was pending and the issue was sub-juice.

The central agency also said the purpose of Mr. Wilson's plea was to delay the trial.

Mr. Wilson approached High Court earlier this year seeking quashing of charges as well as directions to appoint a Special Investigation Team, headed by a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge and consisting of digital forensic analysis experts, to probe the planting of documents on his computer by using malware

Maoists blow up portion of Howrah-Mumbai rail track in Jharkhand

About a meter of the railway track on the Howrah-Mumbai main line was blown away in Jharkhand early on Monday by suspected Maoists, who gave a call for Bharat Bandh on April 26 in support of farmers protests against the three Central farm laws
UPDATED ON APR 26, 2021 01:06 PM IST

Jharkhand: Several mail,express and passenger trains were held up after the blast was detected.

About a meter of the railway track on the Howrah-Mumbai main line was blown away in Jharkhand early on Monday by suspected Maoists, who gave a call for Bharat Bandh on April 26 in support of farmers protests against the three Central farm laws. The traffic on the section under Chakradharpur division of South Eastern Railway (SER) in West Singhbhum district was suspended for hours following the blast, said railway officials.

A senior railway official indicated that a goods train passing through the damaged section between Lotapahar and Sonua stations alerted the authorities and reported a “heavy jerk”, which led to at least 8 mail/express/passenger trains being stopped at different stations to prevent any untoward incident.

“On receiving information, all movement in the Rourkela-Chakradharpur section was immediately stopped and 8 mail express/passengers trains and several goods trains were controlled at different stations as security measures,” Manish Kumar Pathak, senior divisional commercial manager (Sr DCM), Chakradharpur division of SER, said Monday morning.

He said patrolling teams accompanied by security personnel were sent to the blast site first and it started investigating the ‘heavy jerk’ reported by the goods train loco driver after arriving at the site

How to end Maoist violence

Maoists would like the state to respond from a security rather than developmental perspective, as they know that only in poverty can they sustain a captive support base.

Maoists, Naxalism
A national policy to end Naxalist violence has to emanate out of economic, developmental and internal security considerations. (Representational Photo/PTI)

When former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in 2010 flagged Naxalism as the important internal security challenge, the insurgency was at its peak. In line with that assessment, the government of India reinforced security and development assistance to state governments faced with this problem. This combined effort is yielding positive results. The number of civilians and security forces killed has come down. So is the number of severely affected districts, which are no more than 30. What is catastrophic though is the sporadic high fatalities suffered by security forces in the well-planned offensive ambushes laid by Naxalites. Is this an insurmountable challenge? Analysing this menace from ideological, strategical and tactical frameworks is likely to throw some convincing answers.

According to Maoist ideology, economically oppressed peasants/working class will triumph over the oppressive capitalist bourgeois class to establish a classless society. For them, the only strategy to establish a classless society is through armed revolution. The operational tactics to give shape to that strategy is protracted guerrilla warfare.


The ideological fountain of Maoism, class struggle, that erupted as a small armed rebellion between the landless peasants and the landed aristocracy in Naxalbari village in West Bengal in 1967, could not sustain. Rapid economic growth, aspirational youth and opportunities created by communication and mobility act as a strong counter for economic class-based division.

The strategy of organising the oppressed class into a people’s army and a bottom-up approach of encircling the urban areas from the hinterland periphery to overthrow the ruling elite, remained a pipe-dream. If anything, armed class struggle which appeared to be taking roots in north Telangana, Srikakulam of Andhra Pradesh and south Vidarbha in the1980s, instead of expanding from villages to urban centres has retreated further into the core forested area.


With their ideology and strategy not getting much traction, the Maoists are seemingly succeeding in their tactics. It is showing in the support and sustenance Maoists receive from the local population and their ability to mobilise their village defence forces and armed dhalams into a kind of mobile army for a virulent attack. This is the nature of mobile guerrilla warfare. Fortunately for the security forces, the so-called liberated zone is confined to about 50,000 sqkm of forested area of Bastar, Bijapur, Dantewada, Kanker, Kondagaon, Narayanpur and Sukma districts of Chhattisgarh, with little spillover into adjoining Maharashtra and Odissa.

Strategic victory over them calls for clarity on the role and responsibility of the central and state and governments; honest assessment of capabilities, operational philosophy, mindset, willingness, compulsions and resolve of security forces involved in anti-Naxalite operations; and a realistic timeframe to root out this menace.


This warfare at the tactical level can be successfully fought by an equally agile, stealthy, enduring and disciplined commando force of the state police, recruited trained and raised primarily out of the local youth. The most acclaimed of such a commando force is the Greyhounds of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh police. This is a success story to build on.

Achieving strategic victory is no guarantee for lasting peace. Maoism is a social, economic and developmental issue manifesting as a violent internal security problem. Even the Maoists would like the state to respond from security rather than developmental perspective, as they know that only in relative poverty and severe infrastructure deficit, they have their captive support base of the population.

It is not merely for tactical reasons the Maoist influence thrives in contiguous forested areas spread over Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. There is a deep-rooted financial interest. This region is richly endowed with minerals of bauxite, iron ore, limestone, marble, dolomite, coal and copper and of pristine forests rich in timber and Minor Forest Produce (MFP). The MFP, which includes bamboo and tendu leaf (for rolling beedi), contrary to the nomenclature is a huge source of revenue estimated at over Rs 20,000 crore a year. The value chain in these natural resources leaves a huge profit margin for the extractive industry/contractors and scope for extortion/protection money to the Maoists. The unit of auction for extraction of MFP is a block of forest area. Quantity extracted out of a block is left to the ability of the contractor, thus leaving huge profit. The Maoists pose as Robin Hoods by seemingly negotiating a better wage for the labour or price for the produce.

With many state governments notifying the Panchayat (Extension of Scheduled Areas) Act 1996, the gram panchayats now auction the MFP, including bamboo and tendu leaves. Thus, substantial revenue goes to the village panchayats for development works. In theory, it is the most decentralised and financially empowered local self-government model. With little institutional support, it needs an independent study on the ability of the tribal village panchayats in managing these entrenched bunch of contractors, threats posed by Naxalites and possibilities it leaves for extortion. It is not for nothing that the panchayat elections are keenly contested in the Naxal-affected districts and the Naxalites, who are otherwise against electoral democracy, generally do not disturb these elections.

A national policy to end Naxalist violence has to emanate out of economic, developmental and internal security considerations. There has to be a judicious and environmentally sustainable extraction of natural resources, leaving no scope for value capture by unscrupulous elements. An integrated approach spearheaded by counter-offensive operations led by well trained, disciplined, agile and stealthy commando force of state police; expansion of road networks from the periphery to core of liberated zone constructed under security cover of central forces or even constructed by the specially raised engineering units of central forces; quick expansion of mobile communication and commercialisation of economic activities are slow but sure and irrevocable process to success.

(The writer is additional DGP (Planning & Coordination), Maharashtra State Police)

The Maoist challengeSS

The battle has an ideological dimension, but there is no need to overstate it or counter it with right-wing political groups.

The government must keep penetrating deeper into Dandakaranya, which arguably is the last bastion of Maoists. (Photo: Reuters)

The recent setback to anti-Naxal operations (ANO) in Chhattisgarh, where 22 personnel of Central para-military forces (CPMFs) were killed in an encounter with Maoists in the Dandakaranya forest of Bastar region, is undoubtedly a grim reminder of our security forces’ repeated failure to measure up to the challenges posed by the guerrillas. It must force the ANO strategists, particularly in Chhattisgarh, to rethink their approach to the battle.

As rightly said by senior RSS leader Ram Madhav (‘Meet the doctrinal challenge’, IE, April 13), the battle doesn’t have only a military solution but a counter-ideological one. There is no denying that the Maoists indoctrinate their captive audience, mostly poor and illiterate tribals who have remained on the fringes of socio-economic changes and are hardly able to make informed choices about their worldview. Madhav, however, doesn’t stop at this claim and suggests that the government should involve civil society, that is Gandhians and the RSS, to free the Maoist supporters from the clutches of their ideological masters. Involving civil society is a good idea but to suggest in the same breath involvement of two diametrically opposite ideologies to woo the people in Maoist influence areas not only defies logic but is also deeply problematic.


Let’s first get our basic ideas clear. The Maoist insurgency is more of a law and order problem than an ideological one. It is always so in areas in the throes of insurgency of any kind. We shouldn’t overstate the tribal support for Maoists being ideological rather than being a largely forced one or one that has to do with their daily struggles of life during which the state hardly plays an assuaging role. On the contrary, the state inflicts or tends to inflict what many non-Maoist and even anti-Maoist activists call state violence. The tribals still feel unsafe when the police enter their villages during ANOs. Clearly, support for the Maoists, forced or voluntary, is a product of state’s failure to reach out to them rather than being one born out of some commitment to the Maoist ideology. Interviews by journalists, including this writer, with several former high-ranking Maoist cadres have underscored their naive understanding about the basic tenets of Communist or Maoist thought. It always comes across as some kind of rote learning that struggles to respond to posers they were never exposed to.

Once varied choices of world views are made available to them, the so-called Maoist indoctrination will start wearing thin. That their perceived commitment to Maoists is more existential than ideological has been proven time and again with tribal youths queueing up by hundreds during police recruitment drives in Naxal-affected districts.


Thus, although the ideological factor does play a role in swelling the Maoist ranks, there is no need to overstate it and no urgency for a counter-ideological blitz, least of it from the religious right. Actually, involving organisations like the RSS will only complicate matters. Reasons are not far to seek. The RSS is focused on religious revivalism. It insists that tribals are Hindus. Concerns of people in the so-called Red Corridor have, however, have nothing to do with religion. We don’t have anything to offer to them in terms of religion as they do have their pristine religious practices that have more to do with tribal culture than with mainstream Hindu culture.

The real concerns of the captive populations under Maoist control are of bread and butter on one hand and the existential crisis engendered by being torn between Maoists and civic and police administration on the other. Caught between the proverbial devil-and-deep-sea, they are nobody’s people.


So, let’s be clear that if we must put an end to the violent Maoist movement, we must go by the time-tested “clear and hold” strategy.

The government must keep penetrating deeper into Dandakaranya, which arguably is the last bastion of Maoists. There is no reason to believe that the Maoists power hasn’t depleted and they are still a force to reckon with. It is a well documented fact that they have been marginalised in various states, thanks to intensive ANOs carried out by a determined and competent police force like the greyhounds in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. Dandakaranya is their last bastion but there, too, the security forces have made deep inroads. Of course that has come at a huge cost with thousands of common men, security personnel and political leaders being killed. But for that, repeated mistakes and errors of judgement by strategists and security forces are responsible. These failures, too, have often been well-documented to merit any repetition here. It’s just that it will take a bit longer to defeat the Maoists in their stronghold in a war that’s so heavily asymmetrical.

Having said that any attempt to introduce forces like the RSS into the Maoist hinterland to counter insurgents is fraught with dangers of only invigorating the trouble. Maoists are ideologically opposed to even Gandhian philosophy and their hatred for the RSS-BJP is well known. The Gandhian ideology at least believes in non-violence and can potentially be an antidote to Maoist violence. But the RSS believes in reactionary violence that is now threatening to blow up into full-scale proactive violence against all its adversaries. This proactive violence has already acquired forms of vigilantism as witnessed in several cases of anti-minority violence in the country during the past seven years. Clearly, putting one vigilante force against the other is never likely to succeed as has been proved by the infamous Salva Judum movement in Chhattisgarh, which had resulted in a terrible fratricide among tribals. It’s too well-known a fact that Salva Judum only strengthened the Maoist hands with hundreds of its victims joining the Naxal ranks. It is also pertinent to note that Salva Judum was actively sponsored by a BJP government in Chhattisgarh.

Forget defeating the Maoists in a field war in Dandkaranya, right-wing vigilantism will also hugely strengthen their urban bases. Right-wing violence invariably alienates affected sections of the society, who need some refuge somewhere for their defence. The Maoists offer it like no one else in the present circumstances when the mainstream political opposition has failed to provide them any security against the vigilante groups supported by the powers that be. So, far from introducing the RSS as a counter to the Maoists, we need to rein in the right-wing zealots first if we are serious about neutralising Maoism

Two Maoists killed in encounter with Gadchiroli Police

The deceases Maoists were identified as Vinay Narote (31) and Vivek Narote (age not stated). They had rewards of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 6 lakh respectively against their capture and they were involved in several offences including murders, attack on police station and encounters.

The press note stated that more Maoist cadres may have been injured in the encounter.

Two Maoists were killed in an encounter with Gadchiroli Police in the Gatta-Jambia forest in Etapalli tahsil on Wednesday morning.

According to a press note issued by Gadchiroli Police, a congregation of Maoists was reported to have been noticed in the forest. “Upon receiving the information, C60 commandos were pressed into operation. Around 7.30 am, an encounter ensued between police and Maoists after the latter started firing at the police party. The exchange of fire went on for about 30 minutes, after which the Maoists decamped. A search of the spot revealed that two of their cadres had died. Apart from their bodies, a pistol, a country-made rifle, a few explosives and a lot of daily use material was recovered from the spot,” read the press note.


The deceases Maoists were identified as Vinay Narote (31) and Vivek Narote (age not stated). They had rewards of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 6 lakh respectively against their capture and they were involved in several offences including murders, attack on police station and encounters.

The press note stated that more Maoist cadres may have been injured in the encounter.

With this, the number of Maoists killed in police encounters this year so far has gone up to seven. On March 30, five Maoists had been killed in an operation in Abujmad

Jalandhar Reddy ditched us by surrendering, say Maoists

Rajulapudi SrinivasVIJAYAWADA 28 APRIL 2021 23:54 IST
UPDATED: 28 APRIL 2021 23:54 IST

‘It is not correct to say that the movement has weakened’

The Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOB SZC) of the banned CPI (Maoist) has condemned the statements made by surrendered Moaist Muttannagari Jalandhar Reddy that the movement had weakened.

Jalandhar Reddy, who joined in the erstwhile People’s War Group (PWG) in 2000, surrendered before Director General of Police (DGP) D. Gautam Sawang at the A.P. Police Headquarters, at Mangalagiri in Guntur district, on April 20.



Jalandhar Reddy, who was wanted in many cases including the Balimela attack, kidnap of former Malkangiri Collector Vineel Krishna and attack on many police stations, claimed that many changes had come in Maoist party which made him disillusioned with the ideology.

“I had served the party in various capacities in united Andhra Pradesh and in Malkangiri-Koraput-Visakha Border (MKVB) and in AOB SZC. I had observed many changes in the past few years and disagreed with my leaders in the party on various issues. So, I decided to shun violence and join the mainstream,” Jalandhar Reddy had said.

“Due to some reasons, I could not render justice. There were no fresh recruitment in the Maoist party, and the banned outfit is facing struggle,” the surrendered Maoist had said.

‘False statements’

In a letter released by AOB SZC official spokesperson Ganesh, while condemning the comments of Jalandhar Reddy, alleged that the latter had deceived ditched the Maoists.

“Jalandhar Reddy had lost his commitment to the movement. He surrendered before police to protect himself. He had made false statements on the Maoists before the media and the police,” Ganesh alleged. “It is not correct to say that the movement has weakened. We are still fighting against the anti-people’s policies of the State and Central governments with the support of the people. We will teach him a lesson,” he added

Friday, April 16, 2021

Kamal Davar | Ramping security or building trust, how best to tame India’s Maoists?

The Asian Age. | Kamal Davar


With alacrity, the Centre will have to re-energise its security strategies to combat the Naxals

The Indian Army must train police and paramilitary commandos in special operations and leadership skills at the combat levels. (Representational Photo: PTI)

The Indian Army must train police and paramilitary commandos in special operations and leadership skills at the combat levels. (Representational Photo: PTI)

The audacious ambush by Naxals in the Bijapur badlands of the Chhattisgarh state, killing 22 Special Forces policemen and injuring 30 others on April 3, 2021, brought forth the discomforting reality of India’s inadequate preparedness in dealing with its most serious internal security affliction, namely, the Naxal-Maoist challenge. That these avoidable casualties are attributed to an operation which was mounted by our own forces to nab the charismatic young Naxal leader, Madvi Hidma, in the Tekulguda region of Bastar — a hotbed of Naxal activities since decades — makes this tragic incident all the more embarrassing for those who conceived and mounted it.

 The video released by the Naxals, of the release ceremony of police commando, Rakeshwar Singh Minhas, captured by them in this botched-up police operation with a large turnout of cheering local villagers should warn the Indian state to streamline its strategy to combat Left Wing Extremism (LWE) — the generic and official name for the Naxal-Maoist insurgency.

Though some in the security establishment have felt that over the years the Maoist-Naxal threat has reduced considerably with the “Red Corridor” shrinking gradually, the official statistics of India’s ministry of home affairs do not convey the same improvement in the internal security operations to counter LWE. MHA figures reveal that only 46 districts are now seriously affected by LWE while 90 districts over 11 states are covered under the special security-related expenditure scheme of the government. The official MHA website also conveys that between 2004 and 2019, 8,197 civilians have been killed by the Naxals, mostly tribals, after brutal tortures as they were branded as “police informers”. In addition, between 2018 and November 2020, 460 Naxals were eliminated whilst 161 security forces personnel lost their lives in the same period.

During the past 15 years or so, the deadly dimensions of Naxal-related violence have manifested many times, surprising our security forces dealing with the Naxal insurgency, primarily in states like Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkand and Bihar. It cannot be ever forgotten how in one of the largest Naxal attacks on security forces personnel, Maoists had killed 75 CRPF personnel in Dantewada district on April 6, 2010. Similarly, on May 25, 2013, 25 senior Congress leaders including former Union Minister Vidya Charan Shukla were massacred in Darbha Valley in Chhatisgarh. The Naxals have successfully snatched weapons from security personnel after killing them, continue employing high-intensity IEDs at will in various innovative ambushes and even managed to hijack a train! The list of Naxal successes is, unfortunately, rather exhaustive.
It will be prudent for India’s security establishment to factor in the reality that the burgeoning Maoist-Naxal threat has a distinct external dimension with the wily Chinese supplying arms and ammunition to the Naxals through the “Red Corridor” via our North-East and the Nepal border. These insurgents derive their inspiration from the late Chinese Communist supremo, Mao Zedong, who had once declared that “revolutionary warfare is never confined within the bounds of military action because the purpose is to destroy an existing society and its institutions and replace them with a completely new structure”. It is not surprising thus that the Naxal movement, which emerged from the cauldron of agrarian unrest in an unknown West Bengal village of Naxalbari has, over the years, acquired a separatist and a grave violent orientation.  
Though, unquestionably, governments at the Centre and the concerned states have brought in some improvements in the fight to counter LWE, yet the recurrence of deadly incidents, occurring off and on, should propel the Centre to conceive and implement a National Strategy. Basic factors, including shameful economic and social disparities that exist in our nation, may give rise to rural and urban unrest but remain largely unaddressed in most of the states. Some well-meaning people have argued that a major root cause of growing Naxalism has been the willful reluctance of the states and the Centre to not promulgate the Ninth and Fifth Schedules of the Constitution which enforces relevant land laws and which will benefit the tribals and the poor inhabiting the forests. However, to merely attribute the spread of LWE to poverty and lack of development will be a rather simplistic formulation.   
As the Centre and state governments reach out to the poor and hapless to alleviate their sufferings, Naxal leadership must be contacted to give up their armed struggles, embrace the amnesty announced by the governments and join the national mainstream. In the past, unfortunately, it has been experienced that the LWE leadership has not only refused the administration’s peace and rehabilitation efforts, but also deliberately targeted developmental activities of the government in the remote areas. Schools, hospitals, post offices and even the labour force engaged in some construction works have been violently attacked.

With alacrity, the Centre will have to re-energise its security strategies to combat the Naxals. Better training, modern light equipment and weaponry for the police and the central forces earmarked for these operations have to ensured. Above all, ground-level intelligence structure using locals needs to be re-invigorated. High-tech gadgetry including sophisticated communication and monitoring equipment, helicopters and drones need to be extensively fielded. The Indian Army must train police and paramilitary commandos in special operations and leadership skills at the combat levels. Finally, synergy between the Centre and states machinery to effectively combat the highly motivated Naxals is paramount

Jharkhand Cops Killing: NIA Names 18 Maoists In 2nd Charge Sheet


New Delhi:  The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday said that it has filed second supplementary charge sheet against 18 accused, most of them members of the banned CPI-Maoist in the case of killing of five police personnel in Jharkhand in June 2019.

An NIA spokesperson here said that the agency has named Sunil Tudu, Budhram Mardi aka Budhuram Mardi, Shriram Manjhi, Naresh Lohar aka Ramu Lohar, Alamgir Ansari, Lakhan Sardar, Joshep Purty aka Tipu, Annem Hassa Purti aka Anem Hassa Purty, Tabarak Ansari, Mangal Topno aka Lalu Sardar, Soyna Singh Sardar, Jitrai Munda, Boyda Pahan, Rakesh Munda, Naina, Maharaj Pramanik, Amit Munda and Anal Da, all residents of Jharkhand, under several sections of the IPC, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Arms Act and the Explosive Substances Act.

The case pertains to deadly attack on the police patrolling party by Maoists at Kukru Haat in Saraikela-Kharswan district on June 14, 2019. The rebels also looted arms and ammunition of the killed policemen.

A case was registered by Jharkhand Police and it had filed a charge sheet against 11 accused. The NIA took over the probe December on 9, 2020.

The NIA official said that investigation has revealed that Anal Da, the Central Committee Member and Secretary of Bihar Jharkhand Special Area Committee CPI-Maoist, in collusion with other leaders, had conspired and planned the attack.

“The recce of the place of incident was carried for around a month and final planning for execution was done at Arhanja forest on June 13. Maoists had planned minute details and had carried out extensive rehearsals for the attack,” the official said.

“Investigation also established that the plan was executed under the leadership of Maharaj Pramanik, Zonal Commander of Bundu Chandil Sub Zone, who had also enlisted the help of over ground workers and sympathisers of CPI-Maoist,” the official said.

The attack was carried out in order to loot the arms and ammunition, further strengthen their organisation and also as a retaliation for the killing of one of their cadres, Pradeep Swasi, by the security forces in that area, he added.


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Left Wing Extremism: Neutralizing India’s internal threats

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) raised Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), to combat the Naxals but time and again the force has suffered at the hands of these Naxals.


The most lethal fighting unit of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA), Battalion No. 1 headed by Madvi Hidma; has its base in Bastar Division. (Representational image: IE)

By Brig Akhelesh Bhargava (Retd)

Among the many threats that our country witnesses, internal threat by Left Wing Extremism (LWE) is one that has been simmering for long. Over the decades, our Paramilitary Forces (PMF) have been given a free hand to equip themselves with improved weapons and support technology, as required to combat the Naxals in Central India. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) raised Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), to combat the Naxals but time and again the force has suffered at the hands of these Naxals.

The most lethal fighting unit of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA), Battalion No. 1 headed by Madvi Hidma; has its base in Bastar Division. The Gondi speaking tribes residing in the dense forest of Bastar, Dantewada, Sukma, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Kanker and Kondagaon are known to be exploited by the Naxals. The Naxals are adapt in living off the land and have become a messiah to these tribes in the absence of governance and development. Further the terrain is ideal for hit and run and Naxals have adapted to the tactics; surprising the forces at will. CRPF, the lead agency for anti-Naxal operations, has suffered many setbacks at the hands of the Maoists.

On the night of April 2, around 1900 plus security personnel left their camps in Tarrem, (Bijapur district of Bastar Division), for an operation. The multi-force group included men from the state police’s Special Task Force (STF), the District Reserve Guard (DRG), the Bastar Battalion and the CRPF’s CoBRAs. The operation was planned against Maoist commander, Madvi Hidma, mastermind of several ambushes. The planning for operation was apparently done by IG Operations Nalin Prabhat, IPS. He was DIG during the April 2010 massacre of 76 CRPF personnel in Dantewada.

The operation has been analysed by many and an after-action report will also be submitted. Four new camps (equivalent of company operating base or COB) were established by the forces, months preceding the operation. The forces were expected to carry out area domination by patrolling on different routes and getting to know their respective area of responsibility (AOR). Middle rung officers were supposed to accompany the platoon and company size forces for such activity. A log of such activity should be available if it was done at all. The media could reach the sight, before the forces could retrieve their martyrs. How come, they could not find any Maoist casualty, though the DG CRPF claim that a large number of Maoist were also killed. If the force strength was so big, a counter attack should have been launched albeit if the leadership was present on ground. For such an operation, few Quick Reaction Teams (QRT) should have been deployed, foreseeing such an eventuality (taking a cue from the past) to get behind the Maoist and encounter them from the rear. Apparently, there were none. The withdrawal from operations site should have been bound to bound in small parties; keeping ones back covered. The men were perhaps in great hurry to get back to safe confines of their camp – clearly reflecting that the senior leadership was not in control and had left the personnel to their fate.The availability of drones, jammers, snooping devices, satellite imagery, et all; is available in the country. When an operation of this size was being planned, was the employment of these gadgets to provide real time picture to junior leadership on ground considered? Looks like this was overlooked too!

The release ceremony of the captured CRPF commando in front of the huge gathering of villagers and the photo-ops; is a great demoraliser. Hope it is avenged soon. For that to happen, the CRPF hierarchy and the Indian Police Service (IPS) officers have to carry out some introspection. Some suggestions that should be incorporated are listed below:

Administrative Aspects: CRPF should move complete battalion to operational location instead of just the operating companies. The battalion headquarters are hundreds of miles away from ground realities. The Battalion Commander (60 to 70 % IPS) is disconnected from the troops on ground. He should lead from the front rather than from the precincts of his office. The administrative requirements of the troops deployed in intense operational environment are a plenty including proper relief planning. In the Bilaspur Division Gondi language is spoken. By now CRPF should have a sizeable number of Gondi speaking troops to act as interpreters. Basic understanding of the language should be compulsory for all officers posted in the region.

Operational :The top hierarchy while planning operation at such large scale should stay in AOR for considerable time, walk on foot to see the ground realities and not rely on intelligence which is weeks old. A grid of company sized camps be established in Naxal prone areas to give a honey-comb effect. Just a few camps which are far spread, won’t reap much help. Company officers should stay within camps and not in rest houses. They should have tenures of minimum two years in operational area and know their men in detail. The camps should be located within the AOR and troops should carry out area domination in a random manner.

Tactics: When troops move for an operation, they should never stay close to villages as they are generally infested with over ground workers (OGW) and they act as ears and eyes for Naxals. Small teams are better than single large one and they should operate from multiple direction. Thorough use of navigational aids, good inter team communication with provision for continuous surveillance and intelligence inputs should be ensured. Route out and route in should be different as to mislead the Naxals. Post operations the troops are fatigued, sleepy and restless and therefore calls for extra caution. Higher ground has a definite advantage in a fire fight and therefore it is a must that troops should choose routes along high ground or atleast have their spotters at vantage points. When a large force is being deployed, surprise is compromised due to noise factor. Diversionary operations would keep the Naxals guessing regarding the real intentions of the forces. A few QRTs at key location must be earmarked to act as reinforcement as well as get behind the Naxals and hit them from another direction.

Post Ambush: It is known that the primary task of Naxals is to inflict maximum casualties on the forces and secondary task is to capture maximum arms and ammunition and live to fight another day. However, past records show that the CRPF personnel never make an attempt to counter-strike the Naxals in the act of ‘looting weapons’.

Technology: With the availability of high-resolution drone and helicopter mounted cameras in the country, adequate real time surveillance should be provided before such a massive operation. For specific periods, resources such as battlefield surveillance radars (BFSRs), satellite imagery, and jammer detachments should be made available and utilised innovatively.

Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) (Madhya Bharat): Based on the ‘son of the soil’ concept, Madhya Bharat IRB Battalion should be raised to assist CRPF. These battalions must recruit men from the Naxal infested areas. The men should be trained to operate in deeper jungles of Bilaspur Division and similar places.

Accountability: The failure of operations will surely be studied by the chain of command. It is important to pin point responsibility to avoid many more fiascos that may happen in the future. In the instant case, leaving the martyrs behind and reporting them as missing, is a ‘recipe for promoting poor leadership’ and needs to be ‘nipped in the bud’.

What happened in Tarrem, Bijapur should not be repeated again. It is time that the plan to avenge the act in a quick time frame should be put in place, for the ‘CoBRAs’ to salvage their image and sting.

(The author is Indian Army Veteran. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online.

Tackling Left Wing Extremism: 12 deadliest Maoist attacks in the last decade

NEW DELHI, INDIA - APRIL 6: United Hindu Front activist protesting against Naxalites attack on CRPF in Chhattisgarh at jantar Mantar on April 6, 2021 in New Delhi, India. At least 21 security personnel were killed, 31 injured and one jawan was missing after the armed forces twice came under attack by Maoists using country-made grenades, rocket launchers and machine guns near Jonaguda village in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - APRIL 6: United Hindu Front activist protesting against Naxalites attack on CRPF in Chhattisgarh at jantar Mantar on April 6, 2021 in New Delhi, India. At least 21 security personnel were killed, 31 injured and one jawan was missing after the armed forces twice came under attack by Maoists using country-made grenades, rocket launchers and machine guns near Jonaguda village in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

A day after Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, commando from the Central Reserve Police Force’s CoBRA unit was released by Maoists who had kidnapped him during the April 3rd attack in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district, an ASHA trainer and two Anganwadi workers were abducted in the latest among a series of attacks perpetrated by the Naxals.

The incident follows one of the bloodiest Maoist attacks earlier this month which left 22 members of the Indian force dead – the heaviest toll inflicted by the Maoist outfit since 2017. As per reports, the attack was masterminded by Madvi Hidma, the shadowy commander of the Maoists Peoples Liberation Guerilla Army Battalion 1.

This is also the second Naxal attack in less than a month in the area. Sukma, in Chhattisgarh, a part of the Naxal hotbed, has seen a number of Maoist attacks in the past.

The last decade has seen numerous Left-Wing Extremis attacks which have injured and killed many security personnel, civilians and Maoists as well. As per data from the Union Government, there were at least 2,168 incidents of LWE violence between 2018 and 2020 in the country, alone. Around 162 security personnel and 463 civilians have been killed in LWE violence, along with 473 Naxal deaths. Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have been the two most affected states in the country. 

We take a look at some of the deadliest Maoist attacks over the last decade:

2010 Maoist attacks:

The year 2010 was one of the worst in terms of the number of LWE incidents and lives lost. 

On February 15, 2010, Maoists attacked and killed 24 personnel of the Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) in Silda, West Midnapore district of West Bengal, in one of the deadliest Maoist massacres in the state.

On April 6, 2010, Maoists killed 76 security personnel, which included 74 members of the CRPF and two policemen, in the Mukrana forest of Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada region. This was also one of the biggest losses of life for security forces since launching the large-scale offensive against the rebel outfit. In the ambush, eight Maoists were also killed.

The attack took place during a joint operation between 80 officers of the CRPF and the local police in an area domination exercise in the Bastar region of Chhatisgarh. As per reports, Maoists attacked the CRPF convoy, opening indiscriminate firing and triggering IED blasts.

On May 8, 2010, Naxals blew up a bullet-proof vehicle in the Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, killing eight CRPF jawans.

On May 17, 2010, a bus hit a landmine around 50 kms away from Dantewada. The explosion killed between 31 to 44 people, including Special Police Officers (SPOs) and civilians.

On June 29, 2010, Naxals ambushed and killed atleast 26 CRPF personnel in the Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh.

2013 Naxal attack in Darbha Valley: On May 25, 2013, days before the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, Maoists ambushed and attacked a convoy carrying several Chattisgarh Congress leaders, including state secretary Nand Kumar Patel, former Union minister VC Shukla and former state minister Mahendra Karma. 

Atleast 17 people were killed in the ambush, wiping out nearly the entire Congress leadership in the state. The attack was conducted in retaliation to an offensive that the UPA government in power had launched against Naxals. At least 10 security personnel officers, all personal security officers of the leaders, were also killed during the ambush.

ALLAHABAD, INDIA - 2014/12/03: Family members and villagers mourn over the death of  CRPF soldier Mukesh Kumar who was killed in the Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh, at his residence Bajara village near Allahabad. About 15 CRPF people killed in a Maoist attack in Sukma district in Chhattisgarh. (Photo by Prabhat Kumar Verma/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
ALLAHABAD, INDIA - 2014/12/03: Family members and villagers mourn over the death of CRPF soldier Mukesh Kumar who was killed in the Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh, at his residence Bajara village near Allahabad. About 15 CRPF people killed in a Maoist attack in Sukma district in Chhattisgarh. (Photo by Prabhat Kumar Verma/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

2014Sukma: On March 11, 2014, a joint team of CRPF personnel and police consisting of around 50 personnel in total, had been moving from Tongpal Village to Jeeram Ghati when around 100 Maoists opened fire at them.

The Maoists ambushed and killed 15 CRPF personnel, including two officers, in the same area where the 2010 attacks, which killed 76 people, took place. 

2017, Sukma: In another deadly attack in the Sukma region, hundreds of Maoists surrounded and killed at least 26 CRPF personnel on April 24, 2017. The 99-member CRPF had been patrolling the region to provide security for a road construction project when Maoists ambushed and opened fire at them.

With a total of 49 deaths occurring due to Maoist attacks, April 2017 also became the deadliest month for security forces in Chhattisgarh in seven years.

2018, Sukma: At least nine CRPF personnel were killed and six others injured as Maoists blew up a patrolling vehicle using an IED. The team was travelling in an anti-landmine vehicle when the attack, which came almost 11 days after security personnel killed 10 alleged Naxals, in Chattisgarh’s Bijapur region, took place. 

2019, Gadichiroli: 15 security personnel and a civilian were killed in an IED explosion on May 1, 2019, hours after Maoists set fire to around 30 vehicles in the Gdichiroli district of Maharashtra. The construction vehicles that were torched, were part of a trap laid by the Maoists to bring the police on the road.

2020, Sukma: On March 21, 2020, Maoists ambushed and killed 17 security personnel, including 12 from the District Reserve Guard (DRG) in the Minpa area of Sukma district. The incident happened during a major joint offensive of around 600 personnel, with separate teams belonging to the DRG Special Task Force (STF) and Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA)- an elite unit of CRPF, against People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) — the military wing of CPI (Maoist).

Narayanpur attack, 2021: On March 23, this year, Naxals blew up a bus containing personnel of the DRG who were returning in the bus to Narayanpur town, in Chattisgarh, after a counter-insurgency operation. The incident killed five police personnel and injured 13 others.

The US State Department’s ‘Country Report on Terrorism 2018’ had termed the banned CPI (Maoist) outfit as the “sixth deadliest terror groups in the world," placing the group after terror outfits such as the Taliban, ISIS, Al- Shabaab, Boko Haram and the Communist Party of Philippines