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Left Wing Extremism In India

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1. Naxal violence continues to pose a serious challenge to internal security in the country. Presently, 55 districts in 9 States, namely, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh are afflicted with naxalism. Naxal outfits have laid special emphasis on militarization of their fighting formations by acquiring new technology, particularly relating to fabrication and firing mechanism for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and weapons. The naxal outfits continue to augment their armed strength by embarking on extensive induction of misguided youth into their formation and forming alliances with foreign and regional terrorist organisations [1] .

2. The Government has adopted a multipronged strategy to tackle the problem of naxal violence which include, inter-alia, modernisation and strengthening of State Police Forces, long-term deployment of Central Police Forces, intensified intelligence-based well-coordinated anti-naxal operations, removal of socio-cultural alienation of the people, focussed attention on development and public grievances redressal system and creation of local resistance groups at grass root levels. But there's still lot to be done in terms of strangling foreign financial aid and severing of internal, regional and international links of Left Wing Extremist groups.

3. Recognising that the menace of naxal violence has to be tackled on both security and development fronts, the Government of India continues to focus attention of the State Governments on ensuring integrated development of the affected districts of the States. Also, the Planning Commission has included all the naxal violence affected 55 districts under Backward District Initiative (BDI) component so as to fill the critical gaps in physical and social infrastructure in these areas. The scheme provides for an additionality of Rs. 15 crore per year per district for a period of three years. This works out to Rs. 2475 crore

this amount, if properly utilised, will help accelerate the process of development in these districts. Keeping in view the overall dimensions of naxalite extremism in the afore mentioned States, a high level coordination centre, headed by the Union Home Secretary and with Chief Secretaries and DGPs of Police of these States as its members, meets every six months and reviews and coordinates steps taken by the States to check naxalite activities. The last two meetings of the Coordination Centre was held on March 19, 2004 and Apr 2005 at New Delhi, where it was decided to deploy 23 battalions of CRPF on long-term basis (3-5 years) in naxal affected areas to undertake intensive, focussed and coordinated intelligence-based anti-naxal operations jointly with the State Police Forces. The pattern of violence perpetuated by Left Wing Extremism is an indicator of an emerging serious challenge to the internal security and economic stability of the nation which merits our immediate attention [2] .

4. Peace Talks: Hope for new beginning ? Andhra Pradesh goverment in its gestures declared an unofficial ceasefire with the Naxalites. Since the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh has been the primary victim of the Naxalite violence and the People's War Group (PWG) has been the most prominent among the (existing 40 odd left wing extremist groups) Naxalite groups operating in India, with a strong base in Andhra Pradesh, the peace talks centered around these two actors only [3] .

METHODOLOGY

Statement of the Problem [4] 

5. To identify the security ramifications of commited linkages of left wing extremists with other insurgent gps within and outside India in view of its recent spurge and carryout a future prognosis.

6. The Indian Maoists continued their linkage with Nepalese Maoists with increased coordinated activities in areas along the India-Nepal border particularly in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttaranchal. The expansion of Maoist activities in border areas has certainly facilitated the use of Indian territory by Nepalese Maoists. Many Maoist cadres and leaders hiding in India were arrested on a number of occasions and handed over to the Nepalese authorities, or detained in Indian prisons. Apart from this, a number

of incidents in the recent past have suggested that Maoists injured during encounters with the security forces had been treated in Indian hospitals. Besides, the India-Nepal border is also being used for supplying logistics to the Maoists.

7. In this context, reported apprehensions about the CPN-M and Indian Naxalites forming what is known as the Revolutionary Corridor or the Compact Revolutionary Zone (CRZ) are not entirely misplaced. The purpose of the CRZ is to facilitate easy transportation of arms across their areas of influence and quick retreat to safe havens during times of intense security force operations in any part of the CRZ. The pattern of Maoist violence in the last few years suggests that the expansion of Naxal violence in the Indian hinterland and along the border areas is broadly in conformity with the concept of the CRZ. The creation of this 'Red Corridor' will have serious internal security implications, as this would not only result in an area of disorder from Nepal in the north to Tamil Nadu in the south, but would also have the potential to cause instability in other areas in the Indian hinterland.

8. Another dimension to the Maoist use of Indian territory is their attempt to establish a network in certain border areas and areas populated by Nepali population in West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh. In these areas, the Maoists already enjoy the support of a section of people belonging to Nepal origin through outfits such as the Akhil Bhartiya Nepali Ekta Samaj (ABNES).

9. As far as linkages with other terrorist groups to procure arms are concerned, the links with the LTTE was reported during the current year as well. Quoting Coast Guard sources, media reports on June 18, 2004 said that the LTTE regularly supply PWG cadres with gun and munitions. The landing happens on the coastline in Krishna and Guntur districts in Andhra Pradesh. In the past also, the LTTE supplied arms and imparted training in using IEDs to the PWG.

10. As far as linkage for mutual benefits are concerned, reports of Maoist connection with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) have added new dimensions to the Indian internal security scenario. On March 24, 2004, a senior Nepalese Maoist leader, Mohan Kiran Vaidya, was arrested near Siliguri town in West Bengal.

Subsequent interrogation confirmed linkages between the Nepalese Maoists and these groups. According to media reports, the relationship assumed significance after the Royal Bhutanese Army launched an offensive on December 15, 2003 to flush out the ULFA, KLO and the NDFB. After the crackdown, a number of senior Maoist leaders reportedly met top leaders of the ULFA in north-western Bhutan and extended an invitation to them

to set up camps in Nepal. The ULFA, in turn, agreed to train the Maoist cadres and provide arms.

11. The situation is further complicated by the apprehension that the ISI and other Pakistan-backed entities might incorporate the Maoist and Naxalite groups in their larger strategy to destabilise India. On November 25, 2004, media reports said that police have unearthed Maoist links with "contacts" based in Karachi in Pakistan, from an encounter site at Kukkalagondi Thanda in Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh. It assumes significance in the light of reports of increased ISI activities in Nepal, and use of the unprotected India-Nepal border to infiltrate terrorists, arms and fake currency into India in the past. If the security situation in Nepal continues to deteriorate and the government is unable to maintain effective control, then the possibility of an unstable Nepal being used as a sanctuary or a staging ground by anti-India terrorist groupings cannot be ruled out.

12. Indian Left Wing Extremism has witnessed rapid growth and expansion in the past decade. The movement seems to have reached a landmark stage, with merger of two major outfits Communist Party Marxist- Leninist (Peoples War)/CPML (PW) and Maoist Communist Centre (India)/ MCC (I) announced on 14 Oct 04, a day prior to the commencement of talks between Left Wing Extremist groups and Government of Andhra Pradesh. The new outfit has been named Communist Party of India (Maoist)/CPI (Maoist) or simply referred to as "Maoists". The new party has proclaimed continuation of "armed struggle" as the means to achieve their envisioned goals as well as amalgamation of their armed wings into People's Guerilla Liberation Army (PLGA).

13. CPI (Maoist) also announced solidarity with Communist Party of Nepal (CPN (Maoist)). The near similar names given to Maoist groups of India and Nepal [CPI (Maoist) and CPN (Maoist)] seem to be a deliberate step indicating the depth of their relationship and interdependence. This has grave security implications for India. Thus, there is an urgent need to review Left Wing Extremism in India.

14. This study is aimed to identify the security ramifications of various linkages of left wing extremists with other insurgent gps within and outside India and its repercussions.

Justification of the Study

15. Despite the efforts to resolve the 35 year long Left Wing Extremism in the Indian subcontinent, the violence has been continuing and we are witnessing a gradual increase in the Left Wing Extremism (commonly termed as Naxalites) activities in the region. The recently held peace talks between the state governments and Naxalites clearly exemplifies the lack of vision while addressing the problems in the society.

16. Resurgence of Left Wing Extremism. Indian Left Wing Extremism in its nascent phase of Telengana Armed Peasant Revolution withered away, but many states are now a hot-bed of Left Wing Extremism as socio-economic problems of these areas are yet to be resolved. The resurgence phase in Left Wing Extremism that commenced in early 80s and gained momentum in late 90s has emerged strongest in its history. As a sequel to successful unification efforts, the movement expanded rapidly from 2001. Today approximately 13 states are affected by Left Wing Extremism (125 Districts). Four states witness high levels of violence (Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar), five states have moderate levels of violence (Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh,

West Bengal and Orissa) and four states have active Left Wing Extremism violence though at low levels (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttranchal and Karnataka). The resurgence of Left Wing Extremism has worsen the internal security situation in Central and Eastern parts of India.

17. Indian Maoists continue to maintain deep linkages with the CPN-M to further expand, consolidate and unify Maoist movements in India and across South Asia. The growing relationship of Maoists with insurgent groups operating in eastern and northeastern parts of India has become an additional cause of concern with serious implications for internal security. The border areas, both inter-state borders and India-Nepal border remain more vulnerable. Taking advantage of the peace process in Andhra Pradesh, the lack of proper co-ordination among law enforcement agencies of the two Maoist-affected states and the difficulties in managing the open India-Nepal border, the Maoists have consolidated their presence in these areas. Several front organisations such as the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia

(CCOMPOSA) and the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), remained active during the decade to provide greater coherence and focus to Maoist movements in South

Asia. In view of the merger of Naxalite groups and greater ideological coherence provided by the CCOMPOSA, RIM and other front organizations, any further consolidation of the idea of the CRZ would give a boost to LWE groups and could make the Naxalite movement in India more violent than what it currently is. The networking of Maoist organisations presents a challenge for individual states to find a way to contain or eliminate such networks beyond the boundaries of specific theatres of conflict. Disruption of such links would be effective in countering insurgencies if there is a common understanding both within India, with Nepal and with other countries, on the nature and trajectory of this violence, the group dynamics, their support structure, and external linkages and initiation of a series of coordinated responses. Such joint responses must come as part of a comprehensive strategy, which objectively addresses the underlying economic and socio-political issues that give rise to and sustain such movements [5] .

Scope

18. This study concentrates on the security ramifications of linkages of left wing extremists groups with other insurgent groups within and outside India. In doing so a close watch would be maintained by carrying out progressive analysis/prognosis of present, future and possible future scenarios.

Methods of Data Collection

19. Details of the sources of data collection for this dissertation are as follows:-

(a) Books, periodicals, journals and newspapers available at the Defence Services Staff College Library.

(b) Data available in electronic form on the world wide web, the British Council Online E Library and the commercial television channels.

(c) Unclassified reference material gathered by the author of the dissertation during the course of service in the Indian Army.

20. The relevant bibliography has been appended at the end of the text.

Organisation of the Dissertation

21. In keeping with the scope of the study, the subject has been addressed in the following manner:-

(a) Genesis and Growth of Left Wing Extremism in India. The first chapter of the dissertation deals with the rise of Left Wing Extremism and its changing face over five decades.

(b) Present Status/Analytical Affect of Left Wing Extremism in CRZ. This section gives out predominant groups in various states, their pattern of violence over last decade andrecent formation of CPI (Maoist).

(c) Linkages of Left Wing Extremists Groups. It brings out the Compact Revolutionary Zone and its implication. It also gives out links of Left Wing Extremist

groups of India with other terrorist groups, regional groups and international organisations.

(d) Ramification of Left Wing Extremism. Gives out impact of linkages of Left Wing Extremist groups of India with other groups and organisations and analysis of various scenarios to incl present and other possible future scenarios, with their implications.

(e) Recommendations. Recommendations and suggestions emerging from the dissertation are put forth in this section before it reaches its logical conclusion.

(f) Conclusion. The last section emphasizes on certain key assessments and gives out current strategy.


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