Dialogue October-December, 2009 , Volume 11 No. 2
India: Tackling Terror-net
India suffers from ethnic, religious and ideological terrorism. There are insurgent outfits following only one kind of insurgency, while some others have overlapping ideological moorings. Nagaland developed as the epi-centre of insurgency in the North-East. The seed of the Communist insurgency was sown, almost simultaneously, by Hijam Irabot Singh in Manipur. Wrong handling of the Naga ethnic problem resulted into upsurge of ethic demands and increase in the number of insurgent outfits in North-East India. Today, there are almost one hundred insurgent outfits in the region, inspite of region’s re-organization. Most of the North-Eastern insurgents are ethnicity-oriented. But many, such as NSCN (IM), ULFA, some Meithei and Tripuri outfits have communist ideological claims/pretensions also.
The objectives of various outfits vary from secession to claims of Statehood or the formation of autonomous District/Tribal Councils. Maoists aim at capturing State-power by violent means, which they describe as New Democratic Revolution. However, they support both ethnic and religious secessionist groups in the North-East and Jammu & Kashmir.
The modus-operandi of different kinds of insurgent outfits is mostly identical, which is based on generation of terror. In reality, the distinction between insurgency and terrorism is blurred in India. Thus terrorism and insurgency have become synonymous terms. As the followers of the ‘murder manual’ of Charu Majumdar, violence has been integrated in the thinking, cult and action of the Maoists. Like other terrorists, they barbarically kill men, women and children. Even CPI (ML) leader, Vinod Mishra, himself a Naxalite, labeled one of their factions “Madhya-yugin katilon ka samuh” (medieval band of murderers). The naxalites act both as actors and promoters of violence, terror and anarchy. Islamist and ethnic terrorists/insurgents are not better.
These outfits mobilize resources by extortion, other criminal acts, such as bank robberies, smuggling, drug-trafficking. ISI-supported outfits receive funds derived from fake currency notes and smuggling of drugs. Poppy cultivation was vastly promoted by Taliban in Afghanistan. It is reported that Maoists are also trying to promote the same. It may be pointed out that an important reason of the conflict between NSCN (IM) and Kuki insurgents in Manipur was the benefits of the drug trade. An important source of funding of the insurgent outfits is the massive leakage of the development funds. It needs mention that insurgents are the greatest hurdle in the path of development in the backward areas of the country today; they are also the greatest protectors of the corrupt officials.
The funding to the insurgent outfits comes from various sources. As for example, the estimated percentage of funding for Islamist outfits in India, as reported, is: 20% straight funding from Pakistan, 25% from the sale of narcotics, 20% from the sale of arms, 10% through counterfeit currency, 5% through zakat (Islamic tax), 5% from international Islamic organizations, 5% from “Organization of Islamic countries”, 5% from extortion and remaining 5% through donations.
Insurgent outfits pay their cadre regularly and provide other monetary benefits also. The funding pattern for the terrorist activities in J&K, for example, is worth noting. The foreign/Pakistani recruits get upfront money upto Rs. 50,000/- at the time of recruitment; the Kashmiri recruits get upto Rs.25,000/-. The monthly payment varies from Rs.10-12 thousands for the foreigners and 8-10 thousand for the locals. The terrorist mercenaries get 2 to 2.5 lakhs and one to 1.5 lakhs respectively as end of tenure payment. A supreme or top leader gets upto Rs. Fifty thousands per month. Rs. One to two lakhs is given for spectacular act of terrorism. The other expenses per terrorists are: cost of training (Rs. 25000/-), clothing (Rs. 5000/-), ex-gratia payment of relief to the families of deceased militants in Pakistan (Rs. 200000/-). The family of a deceased Kashmiri militant gets ex-gratia relief of Rs. 20000/- and some monthly subsistence allowance and extra money during festivals like Id.
One important aspect of the insurgency in India is the diffused support base of the outfits, which is both external and internal. We have a long history of India’a neighbours – Pakistan, Bangladesh and China – supporting Indian insurgent/terrorist outfits. The outfits of North-East continued to have their camps in Myanmar and even in Bhutan. What is most surprising is the vast internal support base of the outfits. Political parties of India often take the support, especially of the Naxalite groupps, for winning elections and in turn help them in a number of ways. Apart from the politicians, even many among bureaucrats, police officers, businessmen and student leaders have, as reported, developed vested interest in the continuance of insurgency/terrorism. ULFA and many other outfits of then North-East, as reported, received support from various corners, including the well-placed persons in the governments.
There are many left-oriented individuals in academia and media who constantly strive to establish the credibility of the insurgent outfits in public eye. Many of them have highly deficient information base. Leftist intellectuals often indulge in myth-making, distortion of facts and mis-information campaigns for the purpose. They often try to cover up their ignorance and bad motive by ‘good English’, arrogant assertions and news-paper printability. While writing about insurgents, the ‘liberal’ intellectuals assume them to be the sole and only representative of their community. For them, the voice of Muivah is the voice of the Nagas and the conflict operates in “Indian State vs insurgent” frame. In such a case, what about the moderate Nagas? What about those who ignore the threat of gun and go for massive voting ignoring the dictate of the rebels? Ironically such intellectuals and media men forget to properly place duly elected People’s representatives and the State government. This is happening not only in the North-East, but also in J&K and elsewhere.
The human-rights activists supporting terrorist outfits often ignore the suffering of the common man due to violence and terror created by the outfits. Their selective sensitivity and double-dealing is too obvious and well-known. Not only the state agencies, but even the civil society groups are blamed if they organize themselves to counter the violence and terror.
I would like to conclude by bringing a reference to an article by Ramachandra Guha, a left-liberal writer and columnist, appearing in Telegraph (7.11.09), a Kolkata based news-paper, highlighting K. Balagopal – who expired recently –as the conscience of the Andhra society. Incidentally, I would like to mention that Balagopal was also a contributor of this journal and was supposed to write for this issue also. He was an exception and had a balanced approach although a Maoist sympathising advocate. Guha mentions about Balagopal’s Kashmir visit, about which he once referred to as the only “foreign country I have visited.” A Typical ‘liberal’ perception of Kashmir’s status by the “honest leftist”, which Balagopala was, according to Guha!
Guha, in his paper, brings a reference of the Union Home Minister, P. Chidambaram’s Nani Palkhivala Memorial lecture delivered in Mumbai. P. Chidambaram, according to Guha, attacked “left-leaning intellectuals” and “human rights groups”, who in former’s view, “plead the Naxalite cause ignoring the violence unleashed by the naxalites on innocent men, women and children”. The home minister asked “Why are the human rights activists silent?” Guha replies: “The short answer is that they aren’t and haven’t been silent. There are very many intellectuals and right activists who have regularly condemned – in newspapers as well as in specialist journals – Maoist methods such as …´. What Guha forgets to write is that there are many more who have failed to do so. Even K. Balagopal’s following statement shows that he was not outright averse to violence, but only to the way of killing: “(If) Naxalites had any respect for the humanistic values or the sentiments of those close to whom they kill, they will not kill them by smashing their faces in such a way that they are virtually unrecognizable.”
Guha’s reply does not only show his ignorance, but also his arrogance, when he writes about Chidambaram thus: “It may be that Chidambaram is new to the job, and that in his previous assignments his reading chiefly consisted of business magazines and stock market reports. It seems that he has been ill served by his assistants, who are paid precisely to avoid their ministers making such obvious factual mistakes in public.” Guha, while making such statement, forgets that Chidambaram, a highly intelligent and capable minister, who served in the MHA earlier, is sitting on mine of information and is served by many dedicated, capable officers, more knowledgeable than him.
Summarily, it may be said that insurgency in this country is well served by the intellectuals, who create confusion and give the insurgents/terrorists credibility, the state, which fails to deliver, directing the poor and uninformed to look with false expectation to the insurgents; the men in power taking their help and in turn helping them. We need fresh policy initiative, apart from equipping and empowering the police force. There is need of having the political will, honesty and courage of conviction to answer the slogans, propaganda even if the occasion demands the use of the language which is not politically correct.