Dialogue April-June, 2005, Volume 6 No. 4
Internal and International Linkages of Naxalites
This paper seeks to present an overview of the internal linkages of the Naxalites1, especially of the Communist Party of India-Maoist, or CPI-Maoist, and discuss its external linkages in a somewhat greater detail.
In India, the CPI-Maoist is the most lethal Naxalite outfit. It is an amalgam of the Communist Party of India—Marxist-Leninist (People’s War) [CPI-ML (PW)], or PW, and the Maoist Communist Center of India (MCCI). The two groups merged on September 21, 2004.2 Earlier, the then CPI-ML (People’s War Group), or PWG as it is better known, merged with the Party Unity (PU) of Bihar, and the resultant outfit was known as PW. The merger between the PWG and the PU had taken place after some years of negotiations3. Moreover, over time, a large number of CPI-ML (Naxalbari) rebels had joined the then PWG4. On the other hand, the Revolutionary Communist Center of India (Maoist), that operated largely in Punjab, merged with the MCC, and the outfit that thus emerged was named as the MCCI5.
As would be explained in the subsequent passages in this paper, rebels of the CPI-Maoist have, over time, formed a broad and expanding range of linkages within India and abroad. In the country, on the one extreme, a strikingly noticeable trend is the ongoing process of the joining together of forces among the various splintered Naxalite formations––merger and consolidation of unity. Besides, and both interesting as well as worrying is the evidence that these Naxalite groups have established links with ideologically incompatible groups––terrorist-insurgent groups in India’s North East region.
As if this was not enough, the Naxalites have established opportunistic and unprincipled ties with mainstream political parties, on the one hand, and, on the other, formed, at times, a collusive partnership with a wide variety of businesses.
At the international level, the Indian Naxalite groups have ties with both fraternal and non-fraternal groups in the South Asian region, and with like-minded groups farther beyond South Asia, especially in Europe.
In short, the linkages with fraternal groups range between forging bilateral ties to floating broad fronts, on the one hand, and sending formal messages and ‘revolutionary’ greetings during conferences to exchanging skills and weapons, on the other. The non-fraternal ties are essentially expeditious and extend to training and acquiring weapons.
The objective of these Maoist groups is to wage a protracted, guerrilla war on the lines propounded by Mao Zedong in order to herald a New Democratic Revolution (NDR).
Linkages with the Mainstream
In various States in India, the Naxalites have formed purely opportunistic linkages with political leaders belonging to various mainstream political parties. It is a mutually beneficial ‘partnership’ for the two, and is particularly visible at the grass-roots level. The Naxalites help the political leaders during elections, as well as act as strongmen for the latter to intimidate or liquidate political rivals. On their part, the political leaders help the Naxalites by arranging for logistics, ‘bailing out’ arrested Naxalite sympathizers and even influencing government policies towards the Naxalites. Moreover, even as political expedience is an important factor, the ‘fear’ of violent retribution from the Naxalites plays a significant role in ‘persuading’ some political leaders to enter into a ‘partnership’ with the Naxalites.
According to a former member of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and senior leader from Andhra Pradesh: “In our experience, the political parties that have been in power in the State for the last three or four decades have been trying to utilise or use [the] services of these extremist groups, either to come to power or to perpetuate their power.6”
In Bihar and Jharkhand, leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Pary (BJP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress (I), and the Left parties have received support from the Naxalites and had, in return, either paid vast sums of money or offered “concessions”. A media report of April 30, 2005 claimed that the Welfare Minister of Jharkhand, Ramesh Singh Munda, paid INR 2.5 million to the Naxalites “in exchange for support” and “help” during the elections to the State Legislature during January-February 20057. Furthermore, according to some informed sources, a former Union Minister, Chandradeo Verma, one of the accused in the fodder scam, successfully contested the polls with the help of the erstwhile PW defeating his CPI (ML) rival. Besides, another Jharkhand leader reportedly paid rupees two crore to the then MCCI during the 1999 parliamentary elections and went on to become a Union Minister. Also, addressing an election rally in Garwah on April 14, 2004, during the parliamentary elections, the RJD chief, Laloo Prasad Yadav, reportedly asked the erstwhile MCCI to target BJP candidates. Immediately, a BJP leader, Kiran Ghai, said he had no doubt that Lalu Prasad Yadav had linkages with the Naxalites. However, it is difficult to state conclusively whether or not the charge was politically motivated. Also, there have been allegations that "the RJD and [the erstwhile] PW have ganged up to target its [CPI-ML Liberation] men and women activists alike" to erode the hold of the CPI-ML Liberation in some areas in Bihar8.
Furthermore, a Member of the Legislative Assembly from Warangal district, Andhra Pradesh, went and paid ‘homage’ to a Naxalite leader, Polam Sudarshan Reddy ‘Rama Krishna’ ‘RK’, following his demise in an encounter with the police. Reportedly, the MLA’s husband maintained links with RK, and they had helped one another in various ways. In fact, RK was a member of the North Telengana Special Zone Committee, the Committee that oversees the PW’s activities in its flagship guerrilla zone.
Also, Paritala Ravindra, a serving Telegu Desam Legislator from Andhra Pradesh, who was killed in January 2005 in faction rivalry, actually used his links with the Naxals to liquidate his political rivals. According to P Vara Vara Rao, Naxalite ideologue and revolutionary poet: “Ravi managed… to give an impression that the movement must take care of Ravi and his family since they had two martyrs for our cause––his father and brother... he used the movement to plant a TV bomb to wipe out his rival’s family…”9 The founder of the erstwhile PW, late Kondapalli Seetharamaiah, too, was similarly ‘taken-in’ by Ravi.
Besides, in late-2001, the police arrested a few village-level leaders for assisting the Naxalites in their plot to launch an attack on Kataram police station, Karimnagar district, Andhra Pradesh, ahead of its inaugural in February 200210. Kataram is a model police station specially built to withstand an armed attack and is said to be among the largest police stations in Asia. In a planned manner, the political leaders established a cordial relationship with the police. They made a number of visits to the police station, memorized its architecture and passed on the information to the Naxalites.
In another instance, Nanam Rajareddy, a local-level elected representative of Karimanagr Zilla Praja Parishad, was arrested on September 18, 2003 night11. Reportedly, his links with the rebels were 15 years old. He had, in the past, provided shelter to the Karimangar district committee secretary of the erstwhile PW, Nelakonda Rajitha ‘Padma’, and other leaders and cadres. He was further involved in arranging logistics for the Naxalites, including clothing, medicine and explosives. In the past, he had reportedly used the Naxalites against his rivals.
Besides, it is well known that the Maoist rebels frequently interfere in local-level politics in order to get ‘their’ candidate elected to the local bodies. “After establishing their presence in an area, even as they engage the security forces in pitched battles, the Naxalites seek to bring political institutions under their control: through infiltrating them with sympathizers, intimidating opponents into submission or coercing them to resign from their posts”12. For instance, the Naxalites sought to “gain control over the Belluru Gram Panchayat”, in Tumkur district, Karnataka13. Subsequently, they would strive to establish their unquestioned hold and sway over the area in order that they would be able to run a parallel government, hold jan adalats (people’s courts) that deliver instant justice, which might entail inhuman and harsh punishment, kill citizens branding them ‘police informers’, and indulge in extortion.
Moreover, it is important to remember that the ultimate objective of the Maoist rebels is to capture political power. However, they do not subscribe to parliamentary politics, but consider it a sham. They have consistently voiced their avowed commitment to waging a protracted armed struggle in order to capture political power and herald what they call is a New Democratic Revolution (NDR). In the words of ‘Ganapathy’ and ‘Kishan’, the general secretaries respectively of the erstwhile PW and MCCI14:
“The immediate aim and programme of the Maoist party is to carry on and complete the already ongoing and advancing New Democratic Revolution… This revolution will be carried out and completed through … protracted people’s war with the armed seizure of power remaining as its central and principal task…”
Thus, the Maoist rebels’ interference in political processes and the linkages that they form with political leaders of various hues, and belonging to different levels, should be seen in the context, and in pursuit, of their ‘ultimate objective of seizing political (state) power.
As a matter of routine, the Naxalites extort money from various businesses. As a result, while the businesses ‘insure’ their safe operation, the Naxalites have a steady source of income to finance their unlawful activities. During a field visit in 2002 February to Naxalite affected Karinmagar and Warangal districts of Andhra Pradesh, this researcher was given to understand from a senior police officer, on conditions of anonymity, that a reputed factory in the tribal dominated Naxal stronghold of Eturunagarma area paid an amount of INR ten million to the then PW. In interviews conducted during successive field visits to the State, senior police officials variously estimated, and believed, that the then PW alone ‘earned’ some INR 45 million to 70 million through extortion from businesses in the State. Furthermore, one well-known journalist wrote that the Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh earn INR four hundred and eighty million annually through extortion15.
To cite another example, the Andhra Pradesh Paper Mills, a jointly-owned industry between the Andra Pradesh government and the private sector was said to be paying INR sixty million to the then PW16. Speaking recently, a former Director of the Intelligence Bureau disclosed that the Naxalites collect an amount of INR one-and-a-half to two billion annually, from various sources, across the country. He said, “The budget of these Naxal groups is over 150-200 crores of Rupees per year which is largely collected through extortion17.”
Moreover, there have also been instances when those refusing to pay-up were shot dead mercilessly. The smaller Naxalite groups are especially notorious for such actions. One sometimes, indeed, wonders, if extortion is the only rationale for the existence and operation of such groups.
Interestingly, tendu (similar to tobacco) leaf contractors are the ‘richest single source’ of finances for the Naxalites. A disturbing aspect of this ‘business’ of extortion is that if those contractors failed to meet with the Naxalite demand they would fall victim to violent retribution, and if they paid, as was the case in Andhra Pradesh, the police would register cases against them. As a result, tendu leaf collection business suffered a set-back in the State, while neighbouring Chhattisgarh and, to some extent, Maharashtra had gained.
PI-Maoist -CPN-M nexus
The CPI-Maoist has formed a variety of linkages with the Maoists of Nepal. “Over the years, this association has evolved into a strategic alliance with a steady exchange of men and material, extension of training facilities and safe havens and facilitation and procurement of arms and explosives”18. Indeed, as Ranjit Kumar Gupta, the Police Commissioner of Calcutta, now Kolkata, notes in his recently published book, “of the two Indian Maoist parties, the association of the CPN [Maoist] has been mainly through the [then] MCC[I] on the Indian areas bordering Nepal”19
Also, the Provisional Central Committee of the CPI (Maoist) issued a statement, ahead of the visit by King Gyanendra of Nepal, which has since been deferred, stating and declaring that they would “mobilize” the Indian people in support of the insurgent movement in Nepal and against the assistance that India was rendering to the Government there in its fight against the insurgents. Apprehending that Indian Government might render increased military assistance to Nepal, the CPI-Maoist asked Indian troops “not to involve themselves in killing their class brethren by participating in the unjust military campaign of the Indian Government”20.
Earlier, the Nepal Maoists had sent a delegate, Chandra Prakash Gajurel ‘Gaurav’, to the 9th Congress of the then PW held between March 3 and 22, 2001. Gaurav, a Politbureau member of the Maoists, was later arrested at Chennai airport on August 20, 2003, while seeking to go to Europe on a fake passport21.
On a number of occasions the then PW and the CPN-M had issued joint statements. For instance, on January 25, 2002, the Politbureau of the CPN-M condemned the Indian government’s proscription of the then PW and the then MCCI under the now-defunct Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) 2002, and resolved to work together with the Indian Maoists to oppose the ban, as well as to build opinion against it22. Another report held that the Maoists and the then PW established the Indo-Nepal Border Regional Committee (INBRC) “to coordinate their activities” in Bihar23.
Also, a detained Maoist insurgent had admitted on Nepal’s state-run television on November 17, 2003-night that he and some of his colleagues were trained in handling weapons and explosives by the erstwhile PW. Similar reports of the nexus between the Nepalese and Indian Maoists surfaced, subsequently, too. It has been reported widely that the Maoists had been trained together with the then PW and the then MCCI24. Indeed, there have also been reports that the Indian Maoists had shifted their training camps to Nepal from Andhra Pradesh.25
Besides, many Maoist cadres and leaders hiding in India were arrested on a number of occasions and were either handed over to the Nepalese authorities, or detained in Indian prisons. These include: Gajurel (mentioned in the preceding lines); Central Committee members of the United Revolutionary People’s Council; Kumar Dahal and Hitbahadur Tamang, Central Committee Members of the CPN (Maoist); Kulaprasad KC, Lokendra Bista and Anil Sharma, general secretary of All Nepal Peasant Organisation (Revolutionary); Chitra Bahadur Shrestha and some other leaders on June 2, 2004); Maoist ideologue Mohan Vaidya ‘Kiran’ arrested on March 28, 2004 in Siliguri, West Bengal26; top leaders Matrika Prasad Yadav and Suresh Ale Magar arrested in Lucknow on February 8, 2004; Bamdev Chatri, CPN-M Central Committee member and general secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Nepali Ekta Samaj, a Maoist front outfit, arrested on September 6, 2002. Some other arrests included: eight insurgents undergoing treatment in private clinics in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh in April 2002; nine insurgents in the same State in Balarampur district on June 12, 2002; two more in Bihar’s Madhubani district, and eight insurgents in Bihar’s capital Patna in February 200327.
Not only this, the Nepalese Maoists have been conducting propaganda for the Indian Naxalite groups. Evidence of this is clearly available on the website of the CPN-M: www.cpnm.org. Some months ago, they had put a joint call given by the then MCCI and PW and the Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist (Janaskathi) to boycott the April 2004 general elections in India. Similarly, there is evidence to indicate equally clearly that Indian Naxalite elements, too, publicise the activities of the Maoists of Nepal. For instance, People’s March, a mouth-piece has repeatedly carried articles and reports on the violent activities of the Nepalese Maoists, as well as interviews with and articles by the leadership of the CPN-M. For instance, People’s March gave a vivid description in its March 2004 issue of the stunningly successful onslaught of the Maoists at Beni Bazaar, the district headquarter of Myagdi, western Nepal28. While the latest issue, January 2005, carries the statement by the CPI-Maoist against Indian assistance to the Nepalese Government. The October 2004 issue carried an interview with Hisila Yami ‘Parvati’, the highest ranking woman leader in the CPN (Maoist) and wife of Baburan Bhattarai, the No. 2 in the CPN (Maoist) hierarchy29.
Revolutionary Corridor, CRZ30
The Nepalese Maoists and the Indian Maoists are in the process of forming what is known as a Revolutionary Corridor stretching from Maoist strongholds in Nepal and extending down into the Dandakaranya forests ending somewhere in Andhra Pradesh after running across contiguous parts of Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The entire zone that comprises these areas is what is being termed as the Compact Revolutionary Zone (CRZ)31. It might be noted that the Indian Maoists have been operating in these areas since several years and already have a significant presence along the length of the corridor. Therefore, as one avid Naxalite watcher wrote, long before the CPI (Maoist) was formed following the merger between the PW and the MCCI, “If the merger efforts succeed, the PW's plans to establish a revolutionary corridor between Nepal and Dandakaranya… could fructify. The setting up of such a corridor would certainly fuel the extremist movement in the country what with the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) already having a broad understanding with the PWG.”32 The formation of the corridor and establishment of the CRZ would help the insurgent groups in at least three ways. One, arms could be easily transported across the sub-continent. Two, during times of intense security force operations against the insurgents in any parts of the CRZ they could quickly be relocated to distant and safer areas. Three, with increased presence of Maoist cadres along the length of the corridor, the Naxalites and Maoists might expand their influence to newer areas and, thus, increase the instability in existing as well as fresh areas. These developments would, eventually, require greater attention on the part of the security forces to contain and foil rebel activities. Moreover, there is also the apprehension that33:
Once achieved, this CRZ will virtually drive a wedge through the vital areas of the country, cutting-off the rich north-eastern part of India from the rest of the country. This very large zone will have control over huge deposits of minerals, oils and industrialized territory. This will provide the [Maoists] a powerful bargaining chip”.
Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA)
As part of the networking efforts of the Maoists in South Asia a broad front known as the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA) has been formed and a formal announcement to the effect was made on July 21, 2001. The objective in forming CCOMPOSA is to “coordinate the activities of the Maoist parties and organizations in south Asia… by spreading [p]rotracted [p]eople’s war in the region, in the context of hastening and advancing of the World Proletarian Socialist Revolution.” Members also seek to ‘fight Indian expansionism, world imperialism, especially American imperialism, build solidarity with anti-imperialist struggles through out the world, ‘build a broad front with the ongoing armed struggles of the various nationality movements in the subcontinent, and lend mutual assistance and exchange experiences and deepen bilateral and multilateral relations among Maoist forces in the subcontinent (emphasis mine).
Moreover, there is, indeed, evidence to suggest that some of the decisions made at annual meetings of CCOMPOSA have been subsequently implemented. The Communist Party of Bhutan-Marxist-Leninist received substantial help from the Nepalese Maoists, finally leading to the formal announcement of its birth. Reports also indicate that 200 CPB-ML cadres had worked in the underground ranks of the Nepalese Maoists for sometime before the group was formally founded. Also, it has been said that these are disgruntled Bhutanese refugees of Nepalese origin staying in camps in Nepal awaiting repatriation to Bhutan34. Also, at the first Annual Conference of CCOMPOSA it was decided to launch a journal by the same name35. The journal was subsequently launched. Indeed, in an internal circular the PW asked its cadres to widely sell CCOMPOSA throughout India and had issued some other directives, too. Among these, it had resolved at a meeting of the Central Committee to, distribute pamphlets and posters on CCOMPOSA in all areas where it has a presence, as well as hold meetings and rallies through over-ground fronts of CCOMPOSA members. The PW has not ruled out distributing posters and pamphlets secretly, because there is a clamp down on its activities in some areas in the country.
At the present, CCOMPOSA has 11 members. These are: Bangladesh (1) PBSP (CC) [Bangladesh] (2) PBSP (MPK) (3) BSD (ML) (4) CPEB (ML) Sri Lanka (5) CPC (Maoist) India (6) MCC (7) CPI-ML (PW) (8) CPI-ML (Naxalbari) (9) RCCI (Maoist) (10) RCCI (MLM) Nepal (11) CPN (Maoist). In fact, the membership of the grouping has expanded since its formation in 2001. At the inaugural, there were 10 members in the grouping and the new entrant was the CPEB (ML) that had joined the grouping in 200236. CCOMPOSA has conducted three annual conferences till 2004. Its third and last meeting was held in March 2004. Also, PBSP (MBRM) from Bangladesh and the Communist Party of Bhutan––Marxist-Leninist-Maoist (CPB-MLM) attended the meeting as observers.
Available information also suggests that the Indian Maoists have been able to carve out some sympathizers in the United Kingdom. For instance, a group by name Indian Workers in Britain. This group has been bringing out a journal by name Challenge Continues, sometime since 200337. The journal carries pro-Naxalite, as well as anti-West literature.
There has been a lone and unverified report in an English daily from Nepal, which claimed that the Indian Maoists were ‘trying to form an international network’. Quoting an unnamed Indian Maoist leader the report claimed: “We are talking with several Maoist outfits not only in Asia but in Europe and America. Several rounds of discussions have taken place,” It went on to claim that they had initiated discussions with similar groups in Germany, Turkey, Norway, Japan, Australia, Peru, Belgium, Mexico, Senegal, Spain, the Philippines, Argentina, Colombia and Chile38. In the absence of further reports, it would be premature to arrive at any credible conclusions in this regard.
Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM)
The Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) was founded on March 12, 1984 at the second conference of Marxist-Leninist parties. A US online magazine, Revolutionary Worker Online claims that RIM was founded with the common objective “to overthrow the old systems of exploitation and oppression and to bring into effect the new revolutionary power of the oppressed, led by the proletariat... [The constituent groups of RIM] are waging, or preparing to wage, revolutionary war, according to the conditions of their different countries.” There were 19 Maoist groups in RIM at its formation39, and there has been a decline in its membership, which stood at 13––after groups such as the Communist Party of Nepal (Mashal) were ejected from the grouping––and that number includes the erstwhile MCCI.
There is a South Asia chapter of RIM and the participating groups meet annually. Available information indicates that RIM South Asia (RIM SA) has held five meetings, thus far, with the last of these having been conducted in Bihar-Chattisgarh-Jharkhand-Orissa special area in July 2003.
When last known, the following are said to be the members of RIM SA: Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Naxalbari), CPI (ML) (NB); Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), CPN (Maoist); Maoist Communist Centre India (MCCI); Proletarian Party of Purbo Bangla-Central Committe (PBSP CC); Proletarian Party of Purbo Bangl-Maobadi Punargathan Kendro (PBSM-MPK); Revolutionary Communist Centre of India (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) (RCCI-MLM); Bangladesher Samyobadi Dal––Marxist-Leninist (BSD (ML); Communist Party of Bhutan––Marxist-Leninist-Maoist (CPB-MLM).
It is yet not clear if the CPI (Maoist) would continue to be a member of RIM. However, as has been cited earlier, CPI (Maoist) leader Kishan said: “Now… the party (CPI-Maoist) has decided to continue its deep relations with RIM.40” In fact, the erstwhile PW was not a member of RIM. The PW noted in one of its documents that ideological and political differences were surfacing among the constituent members of CCOMPOSA since its inception because a majority were RIM members, and had also noted that it did not view the Maoist movement around the world as having evolved to a stage that was satisfying enough for it to join RIM.
Indeed, meetings of the Maoist rebels of various countries, including RIM meetings, serve the function of sharpening their ideas and devising strategies to further their agenda.
World People’s Resistance
South Asia (WPRM South Asia)
This is a new formation that has been established in the South Asian region by extreme-Left leaning elements. Available information indicates that the European chapter, too, is in existence. The forum has in its fold those who support and propagate, but do not necessarily wage, an armed struggle. WPRM is, in fact, an affiliate of RIM and some members are fronts of Maoist groups. WPRM-South Asia opposes American imperialism and seeks to “unite, mobilize and lead the masses to oppose the US–led global terrorist crusade and... support[s] all just struggles, including revolutionary struggles and people’s wars led by Maoist forces, as part of building and advancing the world-wide anti-imperialist resistance movement.”41
In pursuit of its programme, WPRM South Asia has organised a few public protests rallies in India’s capital New Delhi and in other places such as the eastern Indian metropolis of Kolkatta, and has, thus, emerged as a platform to oppose state authority in different countries of the South Asian region. For instance, it had organized a rally and mass meeting in New Delhi, on February 13, 2003, ‘to protest the US war on Iraq, imperialist intervention in Nepal and Indian state repression’ and had submitted a memorandum to the officials of the US Embassy and the Royal Nepal Embassy42.
Extra-fraternal links: ULFA, ISI & LTTE
ULFA & ISI
In fact, a senior police officer from Andhra Pradesh told this researcher43 that a PWG leader had visited Dhaka and met with leaders of the Indian terrorist outfit, the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and inquired of them the fate of the money they paid to ULFA (some where to the tune of INR 10 million) for purchase of sophisticated arms. The ULFA’s links with the ISI are by now well known, and are well documented. It is probable that the ULFA had introduced the PWG to the ISI through its handlers based in Dhaka, where the top-leadership of the ULFA has established base since some years. Following the introduction, the PWG leader might have quietly traveled to Karachi and, thereafter, returned home.
Indeed, the weapons, a truck-load, were subsequently dispatched to India, but were intercepted by Indian security forces as the media report in Eenadu further informed. It, thus, emerges that the ISI has steadily been expanding its ‘client base’ in India. If Jammu and Kashmir was the first front that the ISI had opened to destabilize India, and the North East region the second, Indian Naxalite groups appear to be third.
In fact, statements have emanated in the past from responsible Indian leaders pointing the links between the then PW and the ISI. West Bengal Urban Development Minister Ashok Bhattacharya said in an interview, which was subsequently posted on the official website of India’s External Affairs Ministry, that, “[the Maoist insurgents of Nepal] with the help of ISI, [are] trying to establish… links with the India-based naxalite outfits… using the Siliguri corridor. The [then] Prime Minister [Sherbahadur Deuba] and our chief minister [Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee] discussed the problem threadbare… We are maintaining a strict vigil on the situation.”44
The Indian Maoists are, however, unwilling to admit to their links with the ISI. Their general secretary ‘Ganapathy’ denied any such links in an interview to www.rediff.com. He said, “We deny the ISI part. We do not have any relation with them. That's State propaganda to discredit us.”45
But, it is rather difficult to believe his assertion. In fact, even as late as a few days ago, a media report from Jagdalpur, on January 10, 2005, held that the Maoists had received sophisticated arms from Pakistan-based terrorist groups.46 A further consolidation of the nexus between the Indian Maoists and the ISI is likely to result in increased inflow of small and sophisticated arms into India and into the arsenal of the Maoists. Also, the ISI could supply the much-needed ammunition to suit the different weapons in the Maoist arsenal. Furthermore, the Maoists who have, thus far, fielded ordinary explosives might, eventually, procure far lethal explosive material like the RDX. In the event, their striking capability would, thus, increase enormously. This is, indeed, a cause for serious concern.
In the aftermath of the failed October 1, 2003 assassination attempt on the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, and as landmines acquired focus as a cheap and lethal form of weapon, the then Deputy Prime Minister, L K Advani said that the (erstwhile) PWG has links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and had received expertise in using Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) from the Sri Lankan outfit47. Another political leader from Andhra Pradesh held a similar position some years ago. While speaking in Parliament, Bandaru Dattatreya, the former Union Minister of State for Railways, said, in the Lok Sabha, on December 10, 1991, that the then PWG had acquired 60 AK-47s and 20 sten guns from the LTTE48. He was quoting the then Home Minister of Andhra Pradesh as having said so on the floor of the State Legislature on August 20, 1991. On another occasion, two videocassettes containing LTTE’s training modules were recovered in December 2001, from an arms dump of the erstwhile PW in Nelimaliga village of Visakhapatnam district49. Further, reports of late-December 2002 indicated that the PWG and the LTTE had some months earlier struck an arms deal, but the modalities (pricing) had to be finalised.
Alluding to such links when questioned, some time ago, about LTTE instructors conducting training camps for PWG squads, ‘Ganapathy’ said during an interview in 1998, “They were not LTTE. They were ex-LTTE. What happened was that these people came to India after leaving their organisation and formed communist groups. The PW had relations with these groups. As part of that, they held training camps for us.”50 Even as the denial was unconvincing, Ganapathy added, “We have had no relations with the LTTE till now. But we are not against having relations with them. We will certainly have links with them if an opportunity arises. We feel that such a relation would be conducive to the revolutionary movement.”51
The Indian Naxalites have benefited in more ways than one as a result of the ties they have established among themselves, with the mainstream and with fraternal and ideologically incompatible groups
They had merged their groupings, trained together, exchanged arms and have conducted propaganda for one another. Their linkages with political leaders have ‘earned’ for them’ the space to operate. This has had the dangerous consequence of destabilizing grass-roots-level democratic institutions and distorting the democratic processes in the country. Moreover, as a result of the ‘operating space’ they had earned either through ‘intimidation, infiltration or through evicting democratically elected people’s representatives they have been able to occupy space, sometimes the space that was created by the vacuum they had caused, and have, thus, been able to entrench themselves in various parts of the country. Their links with businesses and acts of extortion have enabled them to fatten their coffers and run their ‘enterprise.
On the other hand, the ties with similar groups within and outside the region had brought them the benefit of wider reach, publicity and propaganda. These latter ties have not resulted in any noteworthy transfer of arms or funds. This can be explained in the light of the fact they are underground organizations operating under conditions of what they term as ‘intense state repression’. Therefore, it is difficult for them to raise funds. Besides, they work against the wealthy classes and can not, thus, expect, let alone secure, financial contributions from them, except through extortion. Their coffers are thus limited and would be needed for their organizational expenses. These groups do not have the largesse of state-sponsorship either, unlike, for instance, the terrorist outfits operating in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir which are sponsored by Pakistan. However, it is noteworthy that even relatively smaller quantities of monies can sustain Maoist movements for very long periods, expand to newer areas, sharply enhance their lethality, and, as a consequence, increase the scale of violence.
Their weapons requirements are largely met through indigenous and, indeed, ingenious manufacture, and looting from the security forces. They are not in surplus of arms and if they had more weapons it would make better sense to expand their areas of operation and take the revolution to newer areas in the country than to donate or sell them to similar groups abroad. Thus the extra-regional linkages have a limited utility and are, therefore, not a cause for alarm.
However, the extra-fraternal linkages and the intra-regional linkages are certainly a cause for worry, though one wishes that would not be the case. The pattern of these emerging extra-fraternal linkages, and the direction of the flow of arms thus far, bear out this concern and needs to be closely monitored. Moreover, there is a huge quantity of small arms in the region that has been lying idle––after the Indian government had initiated a peace process with the Naga rebels in India’s North East and the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE began to observe a cease-fire.
Besides, the rapid successes scored by the Maoists in Nepal and the increasing possibility that they might, indeed, one day march on into the capital Kathmandu, has significant implications for the other countries in the region. The Maoist groups in these countries might feel further emboldened to take on the state and spread their activities and violence. Indeed, if the Maoists in Nepal were to capture power in Kathmandu, they could then go on to extend assistance to fraternal groups in the region, especially in the near neigbourhood in India, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
1. In May 1967, a short-lived peasant uprising was staged in Naxalbari village, Siliguri division, Darjeeling district, West Bengal, under the leadership of extreme elements of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). Subsequently, they had split from the CPI-M and formed, in April 1969, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI-ML). The CPI-ML itself had, over the years, splintered into a number of formations. All these groups, which draw ideological inspiration from Mao Zedong’s thoughts, are known variously as Naxalites, or Left-wing extremists, or, more broadly, as Maoists. Essentially, the difference between these groups could be sunmmarised as those which participate in democratic processes, and those that hold that parliamentary democracy is a sham.
2. The erstwhile PW was predominantly Andhra Pradesh based, where it was founded in 1980, and had a presence in parts of at least 14 other States, while the erstwhile MCCI was predominantly Bihar based, and operated in parts of at lest four other States. The merger was announced on October 14, 2004, simultaneously in New Delhi and at a press conference in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh. The announcement in Hyderabad was made by the state secretary of the group, Akkiraju Haragopal ‘Ramakrishna’, barely a few hours before peace talks were to begin between the AP Government and leaders of the CPI-Maoist and CPI-ML (Janasakthi), the two most prominent Naxalite groups in AP.
3. The two groups had merged in August 1998, after over-five years of extensive negotiations, which had commenced March 1993.
4. This information was gleaned from an internal document of the then PW circulated following the second meeting of the Central Committee, held in November-December 2002. The author had the opportunity to read the document during a field visit to Andhra Pradesh in January 2004.
5. The merger was announced in a joint communiqué issued on January 15, 2003. At the time, the outfits, while “wholeheartedly declaring before the toiling masses of India”, said: “Our united organization will be based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and remain firmly committed to the long cherished need for the great Indian people to carry forward the New Democratic revolution”. See “Maoist Organizations Unite in India”, Revolutionary Worker, Chicago, No. 1200, May 25, 2003, accessible at http://rwor. org/a/1200/awtwindia.htm
6. See the testimony made on June 4, 1997 by Koratla Satyanarayana to the “Advocates Committee on Naxalite Terrorism in Andhra Pradesh”. In an order dated April 4, 1997 on writ petition No. 6829/97, the High Court of Andhra Pradesh appointed the Advocates Committee on Naxalite Terrorism in Andhra Pradesh “to delve into the problem from various stipulated angles and submit its report and recommendations.”
7. See Manoj Prasad, “Jharkhand IGP says Minister oferred 25 lakh to Naxals for poll win”, Indian Express, New Delhi, April 30, 2005. Munda, however, denied the allegation and, to buttress claim, pointed to the fewer votes he had polled in Naxalite-dominated areas. Nevertheless, the media report said: “Not many in Jharkhand are surprised (about the exchange of money. Kaithal’s letter simply confirms what people have long suspected; politicians, cutting across party lines, have been turning to Naxals to secure vote banks and push their career”.
8. See P V Ramana, ‘Sleeping with Terrorists”, Pioneer, New Delhi, October 30, 2004.
9. See P V Ramana, “Revolutionaries and Criminals”, Pioneer, New Delhi, February 6, 2005.
10. Information collected during field visit to Karimnagar district, Andhra Pradesh, February 2002.
11. See P V Ramana, “Politician-Naxalite Nexus in Andhra Pradesh”, Article No. 1167, October 1, 2003, published in the online journal of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi, accessible at http://www.ipcs.org/nmt_militaryIndex2.jsp?action=showView&kValue= 1176&military=1016&status=article&mod=b.
12. See P V Ramana, “Swift remedy not procrastination needed”, Deccan Herald, Bangalore, February 27, 2005.
13. See Hindu, Chennai, February 26, 2005. This is merely one instance and several such continue to be reported with recurring frequency.
14. This was stated by ‘Ganapathy’ and Kishan’ while announcing the formation of the CPI-Maoist in a joint statement issued on October 14, 2004. See “ Statement: CPI (ML)(PW) and MCCI – Merged Communist Party of India (Maoist) Emerged”, Joint Statement signed by Kishan, general secretary, Central Committee, Maoist Communist Center of India, and Ganapathy, General Secretary, Central Committee, CPI (M-L) [People’s War] October 14, 2005, reproduced in People’s March, Ernakulam, a Naxalite mouth piece, Vol. 5, Nos. 11-12, November-December 2004. pp. 16-17.
15. See Omer Farooq, “India's Maoist Revolutionaries”, BBC News, London, November 20, 2002.
16. See Richard Mohapatra, “Forest Fury”, Down to Earth, New Delhi, Vol. 10, N0. 15, December 31, 2001, p. 34.
17. http://www.ipcs.org/newIpcsSeminars2.jsp?action=showView&kValue =1704
India-Nepal Relations- Where Do We Go from Here?.
18. Pranava K Chaudhary, “Maoists' bases in N Bihar likely”, Times of India, New Delhi, October 15, 2003. Accessible at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/233956.cms.
19. Ranjit Gupta’s The Crimson Agenda: Maoist protest and terror, New Delhi: Wordsmiths, 2004, p. 45.
20. The statement can be accessed online at http://cpnm.org/new/English/statements/stop_usa_2june04.htm and was signed by ‘Ganapathy’, the general secretary of the CPI-Maoist.
21. Commenting on the arrest and the subsequent appeal by the chairman of the Maoist insurgents, Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, not to deport Gajurel to Nepal, but set him free, an official of the Indian Embassy in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, reportedly said, “We suspect that he had gone there to meet the People’s War Group (PWG). He had certainly not gone there to teach in Chennai University.” See http://www.nepalnews.com.np/contents/englishdaily/ktmpost/2003/aug/aug25/
22. See PV Ramana, “Marching CCOMPOSA, Limping SAARC”, Article No. 855, September 12, 2002, in the online journal of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi, accessible at http://www.ipcs. org/ipcs/militaryIndex2.jsp?action=showView&kValue=108&military= 1015&status=article&mod=b
24. One report emanated even as late as in April 2004. See http://www.nepalnews.com.np/archive /apr/arc_apr04_13.htm.
25. Asian Age, New Delhi, August 19, 2002. There has been no further information if these camps were continuing. It is, therefore, difficult to state the exact, present position.
26. While arresting him the police reportedly seized several thousand books on guerrilla warfare, war maps writings of Mao, Marx and Engels, two computers, printers, radio transmitter, a telescope used by the Russian Army and a guerrilla training manual prescribed for American troops. Himalayan Times, Kathmandu, March 31, 2004.
27. Collated from various editions of http://www.nepalnews.com.
28. The report is titled “Goebellian Lies Cannot Stop the Advance of the Nepalese Revolution”, and the Editor’s note runs thus: “(This report was compiled from the internet sites giving the real information. As also the Maoists are now running four FM radio stations — earlier it was 5, but one was recently captured — the lies of the monarchy and their imperialist backers cannot go very far — Editor)”. The attack was made on March 21, 2004 and the report was prepared by the journal on March 26. The report was published in the April 2004 issue of People’s March, Vol. 5, no. 4. One by name Govindan Kutty runs the journal, from Peroor House, North Fort, Thripoonithura, Ernakulam District, Kerala. The example is meant to illustrate the range of the linkages and is not intended to exhaustively enumerate the fact.
29. See People’s March, Vol. 6, No. 1, January 2005 and Volume: 5, No. 10, October 2004.
30. Minister of State for Home ID Swamy confirmed the existence of the idea of a Compact Revolutionary Zone in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. See the ‘Press Release’ of the Press Information Bureau (PIB), on August 5, 2003, accessible at http://pib.nic.in/archieve/lreleng/lyr2003/raug2003 /05082003/ r05082 00316.html.
31. Also see Sanjay K Jha, “MCC and Maoists: Expanding Naxal Violence in Bihar”, accessible in the online journal of IPCS, at http://www.ipcs.org/ipcs/militaryIndex2.jsp? action= showView& kValue= 943& milit ary=1015&status=article&mod=b and Sanjay K Jha, “The Compact Revolutionary Zone”, South Asia Intelligence Review, Volume 1, No. 34, March 10, 2003, accessible in the archives section at http://www.satp.org.
32. See K Srinivas Reddy, “PWG-MCC merger moves launched”, Hindu, May 12, 2002.
33. See Ranjit Gupta, Crimson Agenda, p. 29.
34. See PV Ramana, “Maoism Surfaces in Druk Kingdom”, Sahara Time, New Delhi, August 23, 2003.
35. See “Publisher’s Note” in the inaugural issue of February 2003.
36. See “Resolution on the Present Political Situation Adopted by the Second Annual Conference of the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia” September 15, 2002. Copy available with the author.
37. The Editor-in0-Chief of the journal is one Azad Hoshiarpuri,
38. See The Himalayan Tines, Kathmandu, http://www.thehimalayantimes. com/fullstory.asp?filename= aFanata0sdqzpda5 Qa3sa.axamal&folder= aHaoamW&Name=Home&dtSiteDate=20041202.
39. See the “Declaration of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement”, accessible at http://www.csrp.org/ rim/rimdec.htm.
40. See People’s March, Volume 5, Nos. 11-12, November-December 2004, “Joint Interview of the General Secretaries of The Erstwhile CPI (ML) (PW) & The MCCI, on the Occasion of the Merger of the Two Parties and the Formation of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
41. See the “Statement of the World People’s Resistance Movement-South Asia”, accessible at http://www.wprm.org/wprm_sa/wprm_sa/ wprm_sa.htm.
42. Some of the participating organizations in the rally included S.F.P.R, Nepalese People's Rights Protection Committee, INDIA, Lok Sangram Morcha, Porattam, A.I.F.P.R, Jana Pratirodh Manch, I.F.T.U., Janashakti, P.U.D.R., P.U.C.L, Nari Sangram Manch and FAIG,
43. Interview with a senior police officer, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, Februaru 2002.
44. See the official website of the Ministry of External affairs, Government of India, http://www.mea.gov.in.
45. See The Rediff Interview/ Ganapathy, http://www.rediff.com/news/1998/oct/07gana1.htm.
46. See P V Ramana, “The Rediff Special––AP Maoists: The party is over!” www.rediff.com, January 25, 2005.
47. See “PWG has links with LTTE: Advani”, Hindu, October 6, 2003.
48. See India, Lok Sabha, Discussion Under Rule 193, General Deterioration of Law and Order Situation in Various Parts of the Country with Reference to Recent Spurt in Incidents of Terrorism, Secessionism and Kidnappings, December 10, 1991, `accessible at http://www.parliamentofindia.nic.in/lsdeb/ls10/ ses2/1910129105.htm#*m08.
49. See Eenadu, December 8, 2001, Warangal district edition. These were recovered, according to the news report, in the Kannavara-Eetarobbalu forests, Gudem Kotta Veedhi mandal (administrative unit, similar to a Taluk in other parts of the country).
50. See The Rediff Interview/ Ganapathy, http://www.rediff.com/news/1998/oct/07gana1.htm.