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Archive for category NAXALITE FREEDOM MOVEMENT

The Naxal threat to India – Sabena Siddiqui

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Naxal threat to India.
The Naxalite/Maoist
is India’s most violent insurgency
movement after Kashmir. It has continued
to defy the state for longer than any
other uprising in
India , the
insurgent strategy of the Naxalites can be compared to
that of the Maoists in China .

Naxal movement in India started on 25th May 1967 from Naxalbari village
of Siliguri sub-division of Darjeeling
district of west Bengal, as a violent
struggle of natives .At that time there was a world-
wide stance against capitalism.
Marxism-
Leninism-Maoism is the ideological
basis ,immediate aim
of the Communist Party was
to complete a new
democratic revolution in India as a part
of the world proletarian revolution by
overthrowing th e semi-colonial, semi-
feudal system under neo- colonial form
of indirect rule, exploitation and control
and the three targets were ;
—imperialism, feudalism and
big bourgeoisie.The elite rich was to be overthrown and there would be
an equal distribution of wealth.
The revolution would be carried
out and completed through armed
agrarian revolutionary war i.e. the
Protracted People’s War with area wise
seizure of power remaining as its
central task.
Encircling the cities from
the countryside and thereby finally
capturing them was the main strategy .
The Naxalbari upsurge was sparked by
the fact that land
reforms were still ineffectual. Its
sustenance was fuelled by class and
caste tensions and the sense of
desperation due to the prevailing
economic and social conditions.
The ideology gained
momentum in the seventies, among the
youth and the intellectual circles in
many parts of India.
Communism is not that popular any more , specially after the downfall
of the USSR . It has been somewhat modified and consumerism has now
been introduced in China where it was previously unheard of .
The Naxalites endorse Maoism /Leninism /Marxism , it still has to be
seen how they apply it wherever they are in control.
Since its inception its support fluctuated in each decade , its most
recent manifestation is the result of a
2004 decision by two Maoist groupings,
the People’s War Group and the Maoist
Communist Centre, to join forces to
form the Communist Party of India
(Maoist).
It has significant presence in
the states of Kerala, West Bengal
and Tripura. As of 2011, CPI(M) is
leading the state government in
Tripura. It leads the Left Front
coalition of leftist parties in other
states and the national parliament
of India,they have 543 seats .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post-2004 incarnation of
the Naxalite insurgency has been one of
the most sustained — and perhaps the
most lethal.
They are much more successful in their objectives now than in the past .
the present Maoist insurgents are
better equipped and properly trained to
wage guerilla warfare.

The present Maoist insurgents are
better equipped and properly trained to
wage guerilla warfare. They have learnt
from their past mistakes, which
were committed by their leaders.
According to guerilla
warfare principle, the leaders should
learn from mistakes and change the
strategy accordingly.

Until now, urban terrorism has
been avoided, the mistake and defeat of
the urban Maoist insurgency is
remembered by the new learners of the
revolution.

The Naxal,s prime weakness was lack of
weapons ,standardized
weapons are a key advantage for
organized militias , an advantage the Naxalites lack. Parts and ammunition
of a random assortment of weapons are not interchangeable, which is an
important tactical limitation.

Another factor was their primary focus on villages , concentrating on
the urban poor would have been more effective and speeded up the
revolution .
The Naxalite style of
killing asked for revenge and retribution which made the backlash
worse for them .
Many fake encounters occured with police forces in a vengeful mood
with so many policemen
being killed.
‘Bandh ‘ when the Maoists want a strike or want to close down anything
.Khatam line’ – is the policy of targeted
killing of individuals.
These two practices also caused unnecessary complications and gave the
whole movement a Mafia image .
When a bandh is declared
by the Naxalites, it has an
implied threat of violence to enforce
work stoppage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new breed of Naxalites is far
better grounded in ideology. Their
weaponry is much better and
they are better equipped to take
advantage of the administration’s
failings.
Down the years the
whole movement has acquired a
predominantly rural or tribal character
where lower castes and marginal
groups in the social hierarchy now
form the core of its support base.
The movement is on the rise and
its influence among the poor and
downtrodden is growing. Despite
tremendous state repression
accompanied by martyrdoms and
killings, the flow of fresh cadres to its
ranks is not dwindling. Today it can claim to be
one of the strongest revolutionary left
movements in the world, those only
next to the Philippines, Peru and Nepal.

They are working in accordance with Mao’s “protracted
people’s war” strategy.
The method of t he Naxal/ Maoist movement is to
organize revolution on the pattern of
Maoist revolution of China through
armed and violent struggle. Their main
strategy is to control first rural then
urban area and finally capture political
authority. They do not have faith in
parliament and peaceful changes. The Naxalite organization
is a sophisticated one that relies not
only on militant tactics but also on
social unrest and political tactics to
increase its power.
Naxalites have
formed sympathetic student groups in
universities, and human-rights groups
This ideology has attracted not only peasants but urban educated
middleclass youth as well. Medical and engineering students are also
part of the rebellion dis-illusioned by the corrupt political system .
They seize
political power by initially transforming
rural areas into guerrilla zones
and subsequently into liberated zones.

It is a paradox that ‘Shining India ‘ finds itself in the throes of an
agrarian rebellion inspired by an ideology that is passé în most of
the world .
India is a fast
growing economy but does not
benefit the poor who are in overwhelming majority.
India houses one of the
largest poorest populations in the world.
India grows only sector-wise, it has been called the poorest nation in
the world according to a World Bank report this year .
Nehru´s policies of idolizing
heavy industries before developing
the man-power infrastructure have
harmed the Indian economy.
Despite liberalisation the benefits
of ‘India Shining’ do not reach 90 per
cent of Indians,economic growth in India has
not trickled down, a political liability
that the Naxalites have taken advantage of.

The fiery
ideologies work by
envisioning a spontaneous mass
upsurge all over India that would create
a ‘liberated zone’. The Naxalite movement came into
being as a result of prevailing social and
economic issues.
They were highly repressed, tortured and
their leaders were killed
today 14 out of the 28 States of India feel
the dangerous presence of these
Naxalites .

They want to topple the Indian state by force and intended to achieve
this by 1975 but have since compromised
and now aspire to control India by 2016.
Naxalite-Maoist insurgency
is establishing itself as the biggest threat
to the internal security of
India.

Naxals attacked a political
rally in state of Chattisgarh on
25th May , killing 28 ministers. The Maoists blamed chief
minister Raman Singh,
Manmohan Singh , Sonia
Gandhi and others for keeping mum
when innocent people were killed what
they termed as state sponsored
violence.
Nothing has exposed the inherent flaws
in India’s anti-Naxalite policy and
in its implementation on the ground
more vividly than this brutal massacre of
the top brass of
the Congress in Chhattisgarh.

The Indian security forces have begun a
major offensive against Naxalites. Using
satellite technology large areas of India
have been mapped . Altogether more
than 80000 security forces are
deployed to recapture Naxalite areas
Indian government has ordered number
of sophisticated UAVs from U.S to spearhead the
operation.
Two months ago Indian
security forces started a major
operation in West Bengal state to
recapture hundreds of villages
occupied by Communist Party (Maoist)
aka Naxalites. Previously dubious schemes such as the Salwa
Judum, an anti-Naxalite militia ,failed to get the security
agencies to work in tandem within an
institutionalised framework.
An ambush was carried out by the Communist
Party of India ,
in the Karmatiya forests in
Latehar District, Jharkhand in January
2013.
The new tactic of the Maoists is
implanting IEDs in dead bodies of their adversaries to cause more casualties .
This ‘Body trap’ strategy of the Maoists
has never been witnessed before in the
history of the Naxal Movement .
They keep employing new tactics constantly which makes them even more
unpredictable and dangerous , it has even been claimed they learn
tactics from Hollywood action movies and their mercenaries are given
CDs to watch and pick up methods from.
They employ a wide range of low-intensity
guerrilla tactics against government
institutions, officials, security forces
and paramilitary groups.
An average of almost 500-600 people are killed every year in the past
decade due to Naxal violent clashes , a good percentage of which is
always civilians.
The biggest Naxal attack up till now was in April , 2010,at least 75
personnel of CRPF were killed in an
ambush by Naxalites in
Chhattisgarh .
According to officials, the Naxalites
attacked a CRPF convoy in the
Tademetla forests. Waiting on hilltops,
they opened indiscriminate fire and
triggered an IED blast as the convoy
appeared. 1,000 Naxals were part of the
attack while the CRPF team had only
120 personnel.
Vietnamese and
Israeli help has been sought by the Indian government in the latest
counterinsurgency
operations against the Naxalites .
The Naxals are a big threat to business
and industry as some of the railways
and mining towns are in their
strongholds , they can close down railway lines and entire cities with
‘Bandh’ and ‘Khatam’ is used for exterminating enemies .Some of the
most
violent attacks conducted by the
Naxalites have been against freight and
police transport trains, killing dozens of
people at a time. Naxalites’ constantly sabotage roads by planting
improvised explosive
devices under road surfaces or
simply digging roads up.
Naxalites view roads as a means for the
government to send its forces into their
territory and does not let the Indian government start any development
projects.

Home minister has banned
Communist Party (Maoist) and called
Naxalites as the biggest threat to
Indian State.Indeed,
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
has labeled the Naxalites “the biggest
internal security challenge” to India.
It is the most topical and fastest-
growing movement in India , Naxalites are often referred to by the state as a
“virus”.
Now Naxalites are active in 40% of
India’s land area. They are active in
Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh,
Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar
Pradesh, and West Bengal states. Out of
these states they control more than
40% of the land area in Chhattisgarh
and Jharkhand states and they spread fast .
They
have virtually spread to over 20 per cent
of the total districts in India.
The Maoists almost run a parallel government ,anyone who understands
Maoist tactics needs no
specific intelligence inputs to know that
anyone could be the target of an attack in
what is referred to as the Red Corridor.Most political parties survive
in Naxal areas by bribing them to stay safe.

Naxal rebellion also benefited from
the ongoing drought in India which
affected peasants drastically .
Difficulties like starvation and disease brought more farmers into the
folds of the Naxalite movement .
The government has not given peasants any relief ,270,000 farmers have
committed suicide since 1995 .
Naxalites claim support by the
poorest rural populations, especially
Adivasis.

On a grander geopolitical level, the
Naxalites can be viewed through the
prism of Chinese-Indian rivalry.
In the beginning there was mutual rhetorical
support between the Maoist regime in
China and the Naxalites in India.The advent and
growth of the Naxalite movement
certainly did serve China’s goal of
weakening its largest neighbor to the
south.
The Indians have always feared
outside powers would manipulate
grassroots rebel groups in India and further
destabilize an already regionalized
country.
In 2011, Indian police
accused the Chinese government of
providing sanctuary to the
movement’s leaders, and accused
Pakistani ISI of providing financial
support.
When the Naxalite movement
began in the 1960s, New Delhi feared
Beijing was trying to get a foothold in
India, and for the past 50 years India
has demonized Pakistan’s Inter-Services
Intelligence directorate (ISI) for
allegedly supporting militant operations
in India
.There is no evidence available to prove these allegations. Naxalite leaders in
India deny cooperating with Pakistan
but have very publicly pledged their
support for all separatist movements in
India.
Alarmist visions linking Naxalites to militant groups
supposedly backed by Pakistan, India’s main
geopolitical rival is the ultimate
“nightmare” scenario for India.
The Naxalite arsenal is vast and diverse,
consisting of weapons manufactured in
China, Russia, the United States,
Pakistan and India.
The lack of
weapons uniformity among Naxalite
groups indicates they have
no benefactor to bestow a reliable, standardized arsenal
and have had to build up their own from
scratch.
Naxals are making money from their various resources and are trying to
upgrade their weaponry though.
The present-day
Naxalites are no more confined to
traditional weapons and are better
equipped than state police forces and
use latest modern communication
gadgets to track police movements.
Gathering intelligence
Naxilites interact with Maoists from Nepal,
secessionists in India’s restive
northeast, Islamists from
Bangladesh, criminals from Myanmar
and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka.
The Naxalites are a low-
maintenance, self-sustaining
movement that will continue to
undermine Indian rule in the country’s
east .

“Naxalism” now affects
some 170 of India’s 602 districts—a
“red corridor” down a swathe of central
India from the border with Nepal in the
north to Karnataka in the south and
covering more than a quarter of India’s
land mass.
A vast portion of India, from
West Bengal in the northeast to Andhra
Pradesh in the south, has come under
the influence of the Naxalites — the
“Red Taliban” as they have been called.

A primitive peasant rebellion
based on an outmoded ideology is out
of keeping with the modern India of
soaring growth, Bollywood dreams and
call-centres.
Sheer injustice in Indian society has created insurgencies, eg. Dalits
make up for the most
part of Indian population yet they remained deprived of the benefits of
the current economic boom.
They are
forced into menial jobs, denied entry to
temples, cremation grounds and river
bathing points and cannot even share a
barber with the upper caste Hindu.
Punishments are severe when these
boundaries are transgressed.
In Tamil
Nadu, for instance, 45 special types of
‘untouchability’ practices are common.
A violent
insurgency in Indian-administered
Kashmir has claimed tens of thousands
of lives. Its north-eastern states are
wracked by dozens of secessionist
movements.
The seven states of northeastern India
also called the Seven Sisters are
significantly different, ethnically and
linguistically from the rest of India.
These states are rocked by numerous
armed and violent insurgencies,
seeking separate statehood, autonomy
or outright independence, mostly for
government neglect. These include
Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya,
Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and
Tripura. The Tamil struggle continues
till date and is gaining momentum each
passing day.
India has in all, an estimated 30 armed
insurgency movements are sweeping
across the country, reflecting an acute
sense of alienation on the part of the
people involved. Broadly, these can be
divided into movements for political
rights e.g. Assam, Kashmir and
Khalistan Punjab, movements for
social and economic justice e.g. Maoist
Naxalite and north-eastern states,
and religious grounds eg. Ladakh.
These causes overlap at times.
There are 16 belligerent groups
and 68 major organization as terrorist
groups in India, which include: nine in
the northeast Seven Sisters, four in
the center & the east including Maoist/
Naxalites, seventeen in the west Sikh
separatist groups, and 38 in the
northwest Kashmir.

India has an unjust system and no amount of face -saving can hide the
barbaric and primitive streak in its very ethos .
India has a bad experience of
army deployment in the past to
address domestic threats. In the 1980s,
use of the army to deal with Sikh
militancy was too
brutal and brought in a lot of criticism . Military action at the
Golden Temple in Amritsar, codenamed
Operation Blue Star, also fanned the
flames of Sikh militancy and sparked a
series of serious counter-attacks like the assassination of Indian
PM.
The Indian army is
currently fighting
separatist forces in
Kashmir , along the
disputed border with Pakistan, and is
dealing with multiple ethno-separatist
movements in the northeast region of
India surrounded by China and
Bangladesh.
The Naxalite problem is in certain
respects more serious than the Kashmir
problem.
India certainly needs to develop an effective strategy to deal with
the Naxal movement now ,it needed to be ‘nipped in the bud ‘ but
instead it was left to fester .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the same time this
year due to the delay in monsoon ,
drought is feared in many states. Only
40% of agricultural land is irrigated.
Drought coupled with
global recession will be a disaster to
Indian economy. These conditions will
only strengthen and exacerbate the Naxalite movement.

Naxalites have
been among the most principled of
terrorist groups in selecting their
targets. Their leaders are
thinking far into the future, taking a
20- to 25-year view of their struggle.
“Liberated” areas would be expanded until
they pose a threat even to India’s
cities.They talk boldly of expanding
Naxalite influence into new areas:
Kashmir, the north-east, and India’s
cities. The spread of Naxalism is
causing justifiable alarm.They dream of seeing the red flag fly
over the Red Fort in Delhi in their
lifetime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rise of insurgencies in India presents a
very disturbing scenario, Suhas Chakma, Director of
Asian Centre for Human Rights, New
Delhi, says that ‘India is at war with
itself’.

In the present globalized world where
terrorism and human rights are talked
about a lot, surprisingly Naxalite
movement is overlooked on both counts.
Neither terrorist acts by Naxalites nor
their deliberate oppression by the
Indian Government has attracted
international attention.
Thinktank Stratfor informed India a few years back that
irrespective of the Maoist
movement appearing to be fairly
contained in India, the rebel
group’s leaders could develop the
“tradecraft for urban terrorism”,’
The groups leader s and bomb-makers could develop the capability to
strike outside the ‘Red Corridor ‘.

Naxal corridor could
become a breeding ground for
terrorism, stakeholders
may be exporting terror from this
region to fulfill ambitions across borders
on all sides of India.
The Naxalite
challenge to the state could materialize
in other unpredictable ,unforeseen ways.

“Naxalites are honing their capacity to
construct and deploy IEDs, conduct
armed raids and maintain an extensive,
agile and responsive intelligence
network,” warned Stratfor.
Naxalites have expressed the intention
to drive multinational corporations
out of India and that they would
use violence to do so. This
threat is backed by a
proven tactical ability to strike
economic targets , which is a top
concern for the Indian government.
If India cannot provide security to multi-nationals and corporates its
economy could suffer a setback.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strong Maoist movement in India is a
threat to western capitalism as well , maybe that is why the corporate
owned Western media ignores this growing phenomenon ,it is probably
percieved as a threat to capitalist powers.
Moreover ,as the balance of power tilts towards China in the 21st
century , it is possible that a Communist or even semi -Communist
India would be more acceptable to the new world power .China does seem
to have a specific strategy concerning India as it has proceeded to
encircle it completely and the Ladakh incident seemed like an
experiment to test India .
The ideal would of course be a system which incorporates good points
of both communism and capitalism ,this would make it infinitely more
practical as both systems have well-exposed weak points .
It is very much possible that communism could become an even stronger
movement in the future in India.

At home , Indian media presents a censored version of the news aimed
at downplaying the Naxal crisis brewing at home .
It is highly unlikely that this ostrich in the sand attitude will wish
away the Naxalites .
It is becoming more and more obvious that India is struggling
unsuccessfully to control all these rebellions .
India has to do much more than
plan counter-insurgency operations or
support violent vigilante groups to
suppress the Naxalite movement.
Poor strategies and
inadequate studies of Naxal principles
account for a lack of an effective
counter terrorism action.
An effective
riposte to their violence was a judicious
mix of counterterror action and the
empowerment of the tribals
which would have reduced Naxalite influence.
It is clear that there is a wide chasm
between promises and their eventual
deliverance.Until the Indian government
implements employment, poverty
alleviation and land reform
programmes, counterinsurgency
measures cannot achieve much..
Using strong-arm tactics on
Naxalites is not advisable as they have
grassroots support of millions of
victimised Indians.
The Maoist insurgency is an
obstacle in the way of India’s
emergence as a world power.
, according to one estimate
40% of India’s territory is
under some form of Maoist influence.
India does not seem willing to combat the Naxals militarily yet
;whenever it decides to start an operation it would face a tough
fight against a well-entrenched
movement –

Further Reading

 

References 


http://www.google.com.pk/url?q=http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20100707_closer_look_indias_naxalite_threat&sa=U&ei=-VKoUd2WEubU4QTR6ICIBw&ved=0CAcQFjAA&sig2=5nsmejUnKDBDuZmOuzrvfw&usg=AFQjCNH9OopfjXuoGMxpm6tecPydEnn7-g

http://www.google.com.pk/url?q=http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20101117_pakistan_and_naxalite_movement_india&sa=U&ei=-VKoUd2WEubU4QTR6ICIBw&ved=0CAoQFjAB&sig2=Qu7BLt1B_JrNxbzTQOXtBw&usg=AFQjCNFy6YdN9cahUGuuTDGLo_7TugWcaA

http://www.google.com.pk/url?q=http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2010-07-09/news/27609669_1_stratfor-naxal-problem-naxalite&sa=U&ei=-VKoUd2WEubU4QTR6ICIBw&ved=0CA0QFjAC&sig2=vGscdF_PXE4Wdcx-lN6Srw&usg=AFQjCNHD4TLasV2zdfrmwW20VeA__bJiaQ
http://www.google.com.pk/url?q=http://dawn.com/2011/02/13/rise-of-armed-insurgencies-in-india/&sa=U&ei=8IioUeuDBsjy4QT-_4DIDQ&ved=0CBEQFjAC&sig2=oWWPAGTx9hZbCc0U7KL-9g&usg=AFQjCNFOPEnqoSFStqVmm5IBeEO4kOUzzQ
http://www.google.com.pk/url?q=http://www.dnaindia.com/india/1793064/report-naxals-turn-to-hollywood-for-training&sa=U&ei=uYmoUeiRJuPX4ASKlYCgCQ&ved=0CAcQFjAA&sig2=esWTXxQtXn1-UEGuyg2v_A&usg=AFQjCNF5_orrFKK5ILq09zWLQ0Ls0l92IA
http://www.google.com.pk/url?q=http://www.ipcs.org/article/naxalite-violence/naxal-violence-the-latehar-carnage-and-the-forgotten-lessons-3808.html&sa=

 

Food For Thought: 

India’s Nuclear Weapons May Fall Into Naxal Communists Hands

 

For Terrorism Against US & NATO Nations

 

, , , ,

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Insurgency Movements in India. Failure of the Indian Government to address the root causes could lead to a domino effect in South Asia

Insurgency Movements in India. Failure of the Indian Government to address the root causes could lead to a domino effect in South Asia By Shahid R. Siddiqi. Axis of Logic
Sunday, Dec 26, 2010

2 days ago
2 days ago

 

Insurgencies do not emerge in a vacuum. Their underlying root causes are invariably to be found in political, socio-economic or religious domains, their nature and scope depending upon the nature of the grievances, motivations and demands of the people.

India has had its share of insurgencies. In all, an estimated 30 armed insurgency movements are sweeping across the country, reflecting an acute sense of alienation on the part of the people involved. Broadly, these can be divided into movements for political rights – e.g. Assam, Kashmir and Khalistan (Punjab), movements for social and economic justice – e.g. Maoist (Naxalite) and north-eastern states, and religious grounds – e.g. Laddakh. These causes overlap at times.

Wikipedia lists 16 belligerent groups and 68 major organization as terrorist groups in India, which include: nine in the northeast (Seven Sisters), four in centre & the east (including Maoist/Naxalites), seventeen in the west (Sikh separatist groups), and thirty eight in the northwest (Kashmir).

Political Causes

By the very nature of its population mix, one that began evolving thousands of years ago with waves of migrants pouring in from adjoining lands at different periods in history, South Asia has never been a homogenous society. The multiplicity of races, ethnicities, tribes, religions, and languages led to the creation of hundreds of sovereign entities all over the subcontinent ruled by tribal and religious leaders and conquerors of all sorts. Like Europe over the centuries, the map of South Asia also kept changing owing to internecine warfare.  

One must remember that India in its entire history, until colonized by the British and united at gun point, was never a single nation, nor a united country. The numerous entities were in many cases territorially and population-wise much larger than several European countries, were independently ruled and qualified for nationhood by any modern standards.

During and after the colonial rule, such territorial entities were lumped together to form new administrative and political units – or states, without, in many cases, taking into account the preferences and aspirations of the people. For the people of these territories, which ranged from small fiefdoms to large princely states, and who had for centuries enjoyed independent existence, this administrative and political amalgam amounted to loss of identity and freedom and being ruled by aliens. The new dispensation – democracy, in many cases brought no political or economic advantage. 

To complicate matters, hundreds of religious and ethnic groups, some of which are fiercely sectarian and independent in nature, found themselves passionately defending their religions, ethnicities, languages and cultures, at times clashing fiercely with rival groups, challenging even the writ of the state in the process. As the time passes, it is becoming clear that keeping a conglomerate of nationalities and sub-nationalities together as one nation would be an impossibility, given the absence of a common thread that could weave them together.   

Thus the artificial nature of the modern state created by the British colonialists and adopted by post colonial India also triggers violent reactions in different hotspots.

Caste Based Social Discrimination

images-59India’s caste system, which tears apart its social fabric and divides people into potential warring groups, is unique to that country, and has no place in the modern world. This sinister game has historically been played by the Brahmans in collaboration with the ruling class to their mutual benefit. The issue assumes more horrific dimensions when those who practice it among the Hindus insist that it is a divinely sanctioned concept and cannot be abrogated by humans. Even the anti-caste activist – Dr. Ambedkar, acknowledges that ‘to destroy caste, all the Hindu shastras would have to be done away with’.

The system confers on the ‘higher’ castes the absolute right to plunder the wealth of those belonging to the ‘lower’ caste or Dalits (or the ‘untouchables’). For over four thousand years, the system has been driven by the intense hatred and by the yearning of the ‘higher’ castes to accept nothing less than abject subservience from the ‘lower’ castes. Ironically, its defenders have argued that it has kept a sense of order and peace among the people and has prevented society from disintegrating into chaos.

Although dalits make up for the most part of Indian population, they have remained deprived of the benefits of the current economic boom. This is because of the barricades that bar them from having access to education, job opportunities and even state provided healthcare and food. They are forced into menial jobs, denied entry to temples, cremation grounds and river bathing points and cannot even share a barber with the upper caste Hindu. Punishments are severe when these boundaries are transgressed. In Tamil Nadu, for instance, 45 special types of ‘untouchability’ practices are common.      

Despite the fact that the Indian Constitution has abolished it, this caste based discrimination continues because it has infiltrated into the Indian polity, serves the vested interests of a powerful minority and gives it a hold over a helpless majority in the name of religion and ancient social customs. It has even been glorified by M.K. Gandhi who is reported to have said that ‘caste is an integral part of Hinduism and cannot be eradicated if Hinduism is to be preserved’. 
 
The mentality of hate this creates in the lower castes in an age when the concepts of socialism, awareness about human rights and equality and dignity of man are spreading fast, this ‘helpless majority’ has begun to resort to violence to overthrow this yoke. The Maoist/ Naxalite uprising in eastern India is just one case in point.

Economic Disparity

Of India’s population of 1.1 billion, about 800 million – more than 60% – are poor, many living on the margins of life, lacking some or all of the basic necessities. Despite its emergence as Asia’s third biggest economy, India has the highest illiteracy rate in the world – 70%, and the people lack adequate shelter, sanitation, clean water, nutrition, healthcare and job opportunities. The groups that are mostly left behind are minorities. There is a growing concern that unless this situation is addressed, the country will be torn apart by the despair and rage of the poor sooner or later.

Hindutva – The Hindu Political Philosophy Steeped in Prejudice 

The so called nationalist philosophy – Hindutva, is actually a euphemistic effort to conceal communal beliefs and practices. Many Indian Marxist sociologues describe the Hindutva movement as fascist in classical sense, in its ideology and class support, methods and programs, specially targeting the concept of homogenized majority and cultural hegemony. Others raise issues with regards to sometimes-vacillating attitudes of its adherents towards non-Hindus and secularism. 

Defining Hindutva, “The struggle for India’s Soul” (World Policy Journal, fall 2002) states that India is “not only the [Hindu] fatherland but also …. their punyabhumi, their holy land”. To Hindu extremists all others on this land are viewed as “aliens” who do not belong there.

Hindutva is identified as the guiding ideology of the Sangh Parivar, a family of Hindu nationalist organizations of which Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bajrang Dal and Vishva Hindu Parishad are part. Not part of Sangh Parivar, but closely associated with it, is Shiv Sena, a highly controversial political party of Maharashtra. The record of all these right wing radical parties in pursuing discriminatory policies towards minorities, particularly the Muslims, and engaging in their frequent massacres is no secret. This record alone is enough to show the true colors of Hindutvavadis (followers of Hindutva) and what Hindutva stands for.

Explaining the mindset of Shiv Sena, sociologist Dipankar Gupta says: “A good Hindu for the Shiv Sena is not necessarily a person well versed in Hindu scriptures, but one who is ready and willing to go out and attack Muslims … To be a good Hindu is to hate Muslims and nothing else.” This is borne out by the 2002 indiscriminate killings of Muslims in Gujarat for which Shiv Sena was held responsible.

The adherents of Hindutva demonise those who do not subscribe to that philosophy or are opposed to its pre-eminence and dub them anti-state or terrorists just as the Hindu scriptures in earlier times branded such people as rakshasas. As always, these groups have been ‘red in tooth and claw’ in violently resolving all their social, religious and political differences and killing, raping, burning and lynching those who show the audacity to stand up to them for their rights.

In 1947, these groups preferred violent upheaval and vivisection of India to sharing power with the Muslims and killed more people in communal violence, including Sikhs, Muslims, Christians and dalits than ever before in recent history. Citing ‘ekta and akhandata’ (unity and integrity) of India, they have refused to allow self rule to Sikhs (86%) in the Punjab, to Muslims (80%) in Kashmir, to Buddhists (90%) in Laddakh, to Christians in the North East of India and to the tribal population of central India.

It is this intolerance and bigotry that has generated alienation and hate among minorities, dalits and people of other faiths – Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists. It lays the ground for angry and rebellious reaction among those who are targeted.

Insurgent Movements

Naxalites or Maoists: The Maoist Movement of Nepal, supported ironically by the Indian Government, came home to roost. Inspired by the Nepalese Maoist forest dwellers who took over and ruled their forests, the lowest of Indian forest dwellers of Naxalbari (West Bengal) – the ‘adivasis’, launched their own Maoist movement and took control of their forests too. 

According to one of the legends that support India’s diabolical caste system, the adivasis were punished by the gods for killing a Brahmin (member of the highest caste – the 5% which more or less rules and controls India). As a punishment, the adivasis were expelled to live like animals in the forest and, like them, survive by preying on the weaker, owning nothing.

When huge mineral deposits were discovered in some of the forested areas, the authorities decided to relocate the adivasis in 1967. They refused. Having no other title, they did not want to give up what they held and this set in motion a cycle of resistance and reprisals, including rapes and murders by the powerful vested interests.

It is now recognised that exploitation of billions of dollars worth of mineral wealth of the central and eastern Indian tribal area by the capitalists without giving a share to the poorest of the poor forest dwellers whose home it has been for ages, lay at the root of the Maoist insurgency, modelled after the teachings of the great Chinese revolutionary leader.

These Maoists now inhabit an area known as the ‘Red Corridor’ that stretches from West Bengal to Karnataka state in the southwest. They are active across 220 districts in 20 states – about 40% of India’s geographical area. They also threaten to extend operations in major urban centers, including New Delhi. Indian intelligence reports say that insurgents include 20,000 armed men and 50,000 regular or fulltime organizers and mobilizers, with the numbers growing. In 2007 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh acknowledged the growing influence of Maoist insurgency as “the most serious internal threat to India’s national security.”

The Seven Sisters: The seven states of northeastern India called the Seven Sisters are significantly different, ethnically and linguistically, from the rest of the country. These states are rocked by a large number of armed and violent rebellions, some seeking separate states, some fighting for autonomy and others demanding complete independence, keeping the entire region is a state of turmoil. These states include Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.

These states accuse New Delhi of apathy towards their issues. Illiteracy, poverty and lack of economic opportunities have fueled the natives’ demand for autonomy and independence. There also exist territorial disputes among states and tensions between natives and immigrants from other states which the governments have not attended to, accentuating the problems.  
 
The Assam state has been the hotbed of active militancy for many years, ULFA (United Liberation Front of Assam) has been in the forefront of a liberation struggle since 1979, along with two dozen other militant groups, on the grounds of neglect and economic disparity. Over 10,000 people have lost their lives and thousand have been displaced during the last 25 years. The army has been unable to subdue the insurgents. 

The divide between the tribals and non tribal settlers is the cause of the trouble in Meghalaya. Absence of effective governance gives rise to identity issues, mismanagement and growing corruption. Like other states in the region there is a demand for independence along tribal lines. The Achik National Volunteer Council has pursued since 1995 the formation of an Achik Land in the Caro Hills, whereas the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council seeks to free the state from Garo domination.

The Arunachal Dragon Force, also known as the East India Liberation Front, is a violent secessionist movement in the eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. The ADF seeks to create an independent state resembling the pre-British Teola Country that would include area currently in Arunachal Pradesh as well as neighboring Assam.

Mizoram’s tensions have arisen largely due to the Assamese domination and the neglect of the Mizo people by India. In 1986, the main secessionist movement led by the Mizo National Front ended after a peace accord, bringing peace to the region. However, secessionist demands by some groups continue to insist on an independent Hmar State. 

Nagaland was created in 1963 as the 16th state of Indian Union after carving it out of Assam. It happens to be the oldest of insurgencies of India (since 1947) and is believed to have inspired almost all others ethnic groups in the region, demanding full independence. The state is marked by multiplicity of tribes, ethnicities, cultures and religion. It is home to around 400 tribes or sub tribes and has witnessed conflicts, including infighting amongst various villages, tribes and other warring factions, most of them seeking a separate homeland comprising Christian dominated areas of Nagaland and certain areas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The area is rich in oil reserves worth billions and government efforts to strike deals with the rebel groups have yielded no results. Thousands have died since the insurgency began. 

The struggle for the independence of Manipur has been actively pursued by several insurgent groups since 1964, some of them with socialist leanings, arising out of neglect by the state and central governments of the issues and concerns of the people. For lack of education and economic opportunities, many people have been forced to join these separatists groups. The disturbed conditions have only added to the sufferings of the general population. The controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (or AFSPA) has been extensively criticized, as it gives wide and unrestricted powers to the army, which invariably leads to serious violations of human rights.

It was the ethnic tensions between the Bengali immigrants after the 1971 war and the native tribal population in Tripura and the building of a fence by the government along the Bangladesh border that led to a rebellion in the 1970s. Very active insurgency now goes on amid very harsh living conditions for thousands of homeless refugees. The National Liberation Front of Tripura and the All Tripura Tiger Force demand expulsion of Bengali speaking immigrants.

Tamil Nadu: In the wake of their defeat by the Sri Lankan military in the Jaffna peninsula, the Tamil LTTE freedom fighters took refuge in the adjoining Tamil Nadu state of India, where on account of common ethnicity, religion, language and culture they mixed easily and enjoyed mass support for their cause. Overtime LTTE regrouped and recruited volunteers from amongst the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees and the local population and began to amass weapons and explosives.

There is a strong anti-India and pro-secessionist sentiment in Tamil Nadu. Most people want independence from India despite sharing a common religion – Hinduism, with the rest of Hindu dominated India. Their argument: religion is not a binding force that can override other considerations, such as language, culture, ethnicity, people’s aspirations and an identity that entitles them to an independent existence. They argue that if Nepal can have an independent existence as a Hindu state right next to India why can’t Tamil Nadu? And they argue that one religion does not necessarily translate into one nationality. If that were so, there would not have been so many Christian and Muslim states enjoying independent status. Tamils are inspired by the Maoist/Naxalite movement but their secessionist organizations have been shut down after being labeled as terrorists.  

Khalistan Movement of the Sikhs: The Sikh community has long nurtured a grudge against the Hindu dominated governments in New Delhi for having gone back on their word given at the time of partition in 1947, promising autonomy to their state of Punjab, renaming it Khalistan, which the Sikhs considered to be very important from their religious and political standpoint. Real as well as perceived discrimination and a feeling of betrayal by the central government of Indira Gandhi brought matters to the head and fearing a rebellion from the Sikh militant groups, she ordered a military crackdown on their most revered shrine – the Golden Temple, in 1981, where armed Sikhs put up stiff resistance. An estimated 3000 people, including a large number of pilgrims, died. This ended in a military victory but a political disaster for Indira Gandhi. Soon afterwards in 1984, she was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards and this in turn led to a general massacre of the Sikhs across India. Although the situation has returned to normal, the Sikh community has not forgiven the Hindus for this sacrilege and tensions continue. The demand for Khalistan is still alive and about 17 movements for a separate Sikh state remain active.

Another factor that has added to the existing tensions between the central government and the Sikhs is the diversion to the neighbouring states of their most important natural resource – river water, which belonged only to Punjab under the prevalent national and international law. This deprived Punjab of billions of rupees annually. With 80% of the state population – the poor farming community, adversely affected, there has been a great deal of unrest. The military was used to suppress this unrest but there are fears that the issue could become the moot point of another Maoist uprising, this time in Punjab.

Kashmir: The Kashmir issue is as old as the history of India and Pakistan’s independence. It arose out of India’s forcible occupation of this predominantly Muslim state against the wishes of its people and in violation of the principle of partition of British India. A fierce struggle for independence continues unabated in the valley in which hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives at the hands of the central and state government’s security forces and have been displaced. There has been international condemnation of human rights violations. India has defied the resolutions of the UN Security Council that have called for demilitarization of the valley and holding of plebiscite to determine the will of the people.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars and efforts at reaching a solution through negotiations have not been fruitful.

Consequences for South Asia

The Indian internal scene presents a very disturbing scenario, one that has prompted Suhas Chakma, Director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights in New Delhi, to say that ‘India is at war with itself’. Alan Hart, the British journalist, while speaking about insurgencies in India at LISA seminar in July this year, agreed with this characterization. There is a consensus that this situation seriously threatens India’s stability and consequently its democracy.

In a changing world, as the poor of India become more and more aware of the affluence of the relative few who reap the benefits from the country’s development boom, the rich-poor division assumes greater significance and cannot not be ignored. “The insurgency in all of its manifestations and the counter-insurgency operations of the security forces in all of their manifestations are only the casing of the ticking time-bomb under India’s democracy. The explosive substance inside the casing is, in a word, POVERTY” said Alan Hart, and said it rightly.

It is also important to understand that newly undertaken unification of India has not yet taken firm roots and it would be a bad idea for it to try and trigger fragmentation among its neighbours. There is imminent danger of the Domino effect taking the whole of South Asia down.

Contact the Author 

Read his bio and more analyses and essays by 

Axis of Logic Columnist, Shahid R. Siddiqi

 
 
 

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SECESSIONIST FREEDOM FIGHTERS OF NAXAL MOVEMENT OF EASTERN INDIA

 

Who are India’s Maoists and why they are in the news

By Reuters Staff

 

MAY 29, 2013 

By Shashank Chouhan and Sankalp Phartiyal

A weekend ambush in the dense forests of Chhattisgarh that targeted several Congress leaders has put the spotlight on India’s Maoist rebels.

Among those killed in the attack was Mahendra Karma, a senior state leader who founded a vigilante movement against the Maoists.His was a gruesome death: media reports said Karma had 78 stab wounds and his killers danced around his body.

 

Here’s a ready reckoner on the Maoist movement in India.

WHO ARE THE MAOISTS?

The Maoists, also known as Naxals in India, are inspired by the political philosophy of China’s late Chairman Mao Zedong. They say they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers. In 2004, several Maoist groups merged to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist), which is now the largest left-wing extremist organization in the country. Their aim is to overthrow the state and usher in a classless society. The Maoists are banned in India. They are not to be confused with the mainstream communist parties in India who regularly get elected to legislatures and parliament.

ARE THEY GETTING STRONGER?
The May 25, 2013 ambush was perhaps their most brazen attack on politicians. On April 6, 2010, the rebels killed at least 75 policemen in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh. The same year, Maoists were blamed for a sabotaging a crowded train in West Bengal, with around 100 passengers killed when it derailed. Maoists have also kidnapped bureaucrats and foreigners to force their demands on the state. Government data shows they have also destroyed hundreds ofschools and infrastructure such as telephone towers.

HAVE MANY PEOPLE HAVE DIED SO FAR?
It is difficult to arrive at an exact number butgovernment data shows nearly 8,000 people have been killed between 2001 and 2012.

HOW DID THIS MOVEMENT BEGIN?
The peasant movement in Andhra Pradesh just after India’s independence was a precursor to the rise of Maoist thought. But it was an attack on a tribal man in the Naxalbari village of West Bengal on March 2, 1967 that sparked the violent, extremist left-wing movement. A policeresearch paper says the movement was subdued for two decades till 1991.

ARE MAOISTS GETTING FOREIGN HELP?
Media reports suggest the Maoists may be getting training and support from China. There are also reports of their links with Maoist cadres in Nepal, the Philippines and Turkey.

IS THE WHOLE OF INDIA AFFECTED?
No. Maoists are mostly active in what has come to be known as the “red corridor” from Andhra Pradesh in the south to West Bengal in the east. But they do have some sort of presence in 21 out of 28 states in India.

ARE SOME AREAS UNDER MAOIST CONTROL?
Some small remote regions in eastern India are under Maoist influence. Many officials do not want to be posted in Maoist-dominated areas. The government has repeatedly referred to areas being reclaimed from Maoist control. In these “liberated zones”, Maoists run their own people’s court (62 Jan Adalats were held last year) and levy taxes on traders.

HOW MANY MAOIST REBELS ARE THERE?
Various estimates suggest Maoist rebels could number up to 40,000. Of these, thousands may be armed with weapons ranging from AK-47s to light machine-guns raided from police stations or bought from dealers in Nepal. The cadre mostly comprises farmers, landless labourers, tribals and the extremely poor, including women and children.

WHAT IS BEING DONE ABOUT THIS PROBLEM?
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has repeatedly referred to Naxalism as India’s single biggest internal security challenge. Governments – both state and central – are tackling the problem on two fronts: development in remote areas and security. While law and order is essentially a state issue, the central government has a Naxal Management Division that provides funds, additional security forces, logistics and coordinates between states. The government’s strategy has beencriticised as being weak, ill-conceived and even unsympathetic towards tribals. There is debate over involving the army and the air force to drive out Maoists hiding in dense forests.

IS THE GOVERNMENT TALKING TO THE MAOISTS?
The Andhra Pradesh government initiated peace talks in 2004 but the ceasefire did not hold for long. The Maoists made an offer in 2010 but the central government rejected it.

(Source: Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, newspapers and research reports)

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