The Rising Naxalite Rage
12-01-2008, 03:35 PM (This post was last modified: 12-01-2008 05:14 PM by ---.)
The Rising Naxalite Rage
The Rising Naxalite Rage
As published in the November 2007 issue of Pragati magazine.
A resurgent Maoist uprising is about to be unleashed on India. Its forces will emerge from the Dandakaranya forest and the ensuing battle will rage for years across hundreds of underdeveloped districts and Special Economic Zones (SEZ). The viability of the government encouraging economic development in or even maintaining hold of the “Red Corridor” will be drawn into question. Any infrastructure network, be it privately or publicly backed, is marked for disruption. The once suppressed Naxalite insurgency is poised to set ablaze the flows of globalization and destabilize the economic expansion of almost half the country.
The Compact Revolutionary Zone (CRZ) or “Red Corridor” is comprised of districts that remain unaffected by India’s rapid economic growth. Even as the economy explodes at a rate approaching ten percent annually, almost sixty percent of the population still relies on agrarian means as a primary source of income. The Maoist insurgency exploits this reality by operating in areas lacking efficient state services to build popular support and parallel governments. Governments of Naxalite-infected states hope that a projected $112 billion in foreign investment over the next decade will curtail and eventually eradicate the CRZ. This acknowledgement of the social and economic dimensions of the conflict by public officials is important, and has not escaped the notice of insurgent strategists. As development grinds forward, fueled by the transmission of ideas, people, fiscal and physical resources from abroad, it places increasing amounts of existential pressure on the Naxalite movement. If development takes hold, the insurgency will be rendered powerless. If the Maoists have their way, the projected billions of foreign investment dollars will plummet to zero.
The traditional approach of the Indian government has been to recognize the Naxalite insurgency as a police problem to be addressed by individual states. This has resulted in a decentralized, incoherent set of responses that range from inaction to the deployment of ruthless paramilitary units. In the absence of an imperative to invest the significant amounts of political and fiscal capital required to execute a full socioeconomic counterinsurgency campaign, many states opted to fund and equip armed militias to counter the virulent spread of the Naxalites. By fostering a low-intensity conflict between multiple popular movements, the states sought to contain the red menace on the cheap. Chhattisgarh’s 50,000 strong Salwa Judum is the largest and most visible implementation of this strategy, though smaller units such as the Green Tigers of Andhra Pradesh are older. The strategy of limited war allowed the political leaders of these states to claim that some progress was being made without having to commit the resources necessary to actually combat the threat. This approach allowed the country to muddle through the late 1980s and part of the 1990s.
The Indian security paradigm rapidly shifted when the economy was pried open in the 1990s. In a world where stability was required to gain foreign and domestic confidence and funding in order to garner votes, any solution including a degree of chaos was no longer viable. With the emergence of the security imperative, most affected states have begun investing in ramping up elite counterinsurgency units, funding joint commissions and clamoring for more central government support. As a result of this militarization, according to government and media sources, the Naxals have taken heavy losses in the last decade. Bolstered by these reports, the ramp-up continues. Interstate jungle warfare and counterinsurgency schools are being stood-up in states with experienced units, such as the Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh, to capitalize on their knowledge. More central government forces and weapons are finding their way to the Compact Revolutionary Zone. Experienced intelligence officers are being transferred to engage a new enemy. In short, India’s security establishment is mobilizing to confront the Naxalite threat.
The Maoists are also organizing. Over the past decade, the insurgency has come to understand the strategic value of interrupting the flows of globalization. In addition to their traditional tactics of assassination, outpost overruns and extortion, the Naxals have repeatedly and systematically disrupted critical infrastructure networks to undermine state legitimacy. Nodes on cellular, power, road, and railway networks have been shut down or destroyed and resulted in, on several occasions, sustained failure of service and significant economic loss. Naxals have taken the systems disruption strategy to its logical conclusion by utilizing economic shutdowns, called bandhs, to disrupt entire social systems. To illustrate, a blockade of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar was declared in June of this year to protest the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) for foreign investment. The economic cost of the bandh of the mining industry and the railway system reached upwards of 1.1 billion rupees in two days. The Naxalite tactics of systems disruption and economic bandhs have spread and made a tremendous impact on the Indian security environment. Organized movements such as Orissa’s anti-mineral exploitation POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) have utilized bandhs to seal off the potential site of a major mineral processing facility and have begun to kidnap corporate officers of steel firms to discourage investment. Ad-hoc insurgencies such as the Gujjar campaign in early June adopted Naxalite strategy when they declared a Delhi bandh and followed up with an attempt to seal off the city, by cutting off 17 railway routes with only shovels and picks.
The Naxals are co-opting the flows of globalization by consolidating and expanding their reach. The hundreds of subgroups that make up the movement have already taken steps to leverage their collective power. The grouping of major Maoist organizations under the Communist Party of India (Maoist) was by no means an attempt to legitimize the extreme leftist movement. Instead, it was designed to exploit the lack of political will to integrate the party into the political process and maximize the target population’s alienation from the country. By banning the party, states like Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh have played right into the hands of the Naxalite strategists. In this context, a new structure based around convergent interests has allowed the movement to link up with other sub national groups around the country and globe including the Tamil Tigers and other regional separatist groups.
Though security forces have been able to claim some degree of victory by killing hundreds of Naxal fighters in the last year alone, solutions are still far off. The leaders of the movement have declared their intention to move past the traditional guerrilla model of warfare and instead implement a strategy centered on heavy shock troops conducting fewer but massive attacks. When the lessons learned from this new model are synthesized with the hard-won knowledge of economic systems disruption, the resulting bleeding- edge variant of Maoist insurgency campaign could prove devastating to India’s economic future.
Quote:Latest operation in India is pivotal because it reveals the complex interconnected nature of the multiple threats the country faces.
Jharkhand NGOs under scanner over funding naxals
Author: Nityanand Shukla/ Ranchi
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: June 19, 2003
The Function of some Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), alleged to be funding banned Maoist groups in the State, is being probed by the state intelligence department.
"A preliminary inquiry has revealed that some of the NGOs are funding the banned Maoist Groups in Jharkhand," said an intelligence official on the condition of anonymity. He further said, "Our investigation is based on two theories. First, there are few NGOs who are working as conduit to the funding to extremists. These funds are channelled from South East Asian countries as well as from inside the country to Jharkhand where it is used for procuring arms and other things for extremist groups. "In the name of upliftment of poverty-ridden tribals, the foreign agencies pump money which are diverted to promote extremism in the State. In some cases the Maoist groups from other parts of the country and foreign countries channel their funds through theses NGOs. And the Government allows these funds as it is taken in the name of development," the intelligence official revealed.
Second, there are NGOs who are funding extremist groups to do their work comfortably in rural areas. The state intelligence department is also trying to find if any extremist group has registered any NGO for its purpose. "There are possibilities that extremist groups might have registered some NGOs and are using them for their own purpose," said another senior police official of intelligence department. Despite the State Government's action against the Naxalites their activities are being carried out uninterrupted in the State.
According to police, extremists are still holding people's court in rural areas, calling shots and taking cuts.
The police officials privately admit that the extremists are in possession of sophisticated weapons, bullet proofs jackets and devices used to track the movement of police. The state intelligence department is also investigating the role of Christian missionaries in funding the extremist groups.
"No church, priests or nuns have been attacked despite the fact that they are working in extremist infested areas. The role of Christian missionaries is under scanner too. "Missionaries have their own interest. They might be funding the extremists to create unrest in the rural areas so as to prevent the Government agencies from reaching there which will help them in conversion and other things," said a top police officials. According to an police estimate, the extremists are earning about Rs 3 billion per annum from levy from big business houses, smuggling and taking cuts from development funds.
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