The Politics of Naxalism
The Bihar elections ongoing through the month of October and going through in November highlighted the irony of the Naxal militancy in India with guerrillas on one hand calling for a boycott of elections while on the other supporting their favourite candidates. In the previous rounds in Bihar, the voting percentage has been touching around 50 percent which is very high considering that Maoists had given a call for boycott and in one incident in Sheohar have been accused of deaths to a number of policemen in an IED attack. The paradox of the boycott and support underlines the political contours of the militancy which would pose challenges to security forces to counter the same with full vigour and thus may assume more of a terror profile than insurgency with a simmering violent mode. Dr Satish Kumar provides an in depth review of the phenomenon of Naxalism in Bihar.
With West Bengal in state election mode though it is due only in 2011, there is some move there by the parties to maximize their gains by either linking themselves with the Maoists or opposing them. The Trinamool Congress is hoping to win the seat of power in Kolkata and is strongly placed at the moment as per local grape vine but is having challenges in the Naxal affected Western districts of the state. Here rival and present ruling alliance led by the CPI M has been holding sway even though a large number of pockets of sympathizers of Maoists have emerged which the Trinamool Congress wants to cash in on. Thus the call for pull out of the central forces by the Trinamool leader which is contradictory to the Central Government policy of strong arm action against the guerrillas is being made by Ms Mamta Banerjee, the Railway Minister. This political contradiction is providing space to the Maoists who are exploiting the same to advantage.
The sixth anniversary of the CPI (Maoist) was celebrated in the jungles of Dandakaranya between September 21 and 27. The CPI (Maoists) released a document highlighting measures for countering the government push, the Green Hunt on 4 October as reported by the Times of India which also claimed to have a copy of the report signed by party spokesperson Abhay. The report seems to have accepted that the Maoists had lost 1500 men after formation of the party in September 2004 and 300 in the last one year. The Green Hunt was identified as "War on People" in Andhra-Odissa, Telangana-Chattisgarh, Jharkhand-Odissa, Jharkhand-Bihar and Dandakaranya regions and compared with the "War on Terror" by the US. It was accepted that there were set backs in Andhra Pradesh and north Chhattisgarh and north Odissa. Eight top leaders, including Azad, were killed between May 2009 and June 2010 and another 10 state-level leaders were either killed or were arrested. The party counts attacks of Singanamadugu, Tadimetla, Kongera (Chattishgarh), Laheri (Maharashtra), Sankrel and Silda (Bengal), Gumla, Vishnupur, Latehar (Jharkhand) Tandwa Bazar (Bihar) as successful leading to added support. The report called for repetition of such attacks across the Naxal bases in Central India. [Based on Times of India Report 09 October 2010].