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Maoist Menace:CORRECT THE WRONG DIAGNOSIS, by Prakash Nanda,22 October 2009 Print E-mail

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New Delhi, 22 October 2009

Maoist Menace


By Prakash Nanda

In imposing their so-called “bandh” in Bihar and Jharkhand mid-October, the Maoists shot dead officials of the public sector undertakings, set ablaze a railway station and took employees as hostages. Few days earlier, they had beheaded, a la Taliban style, police officials in Jharkhand and Maharashtra. Add to this the incidents of seizing the town of Lalgarh in West Bengal, killings of thousands of innocent tribals in Chhattisgarh, hijacking a train with 300 passengers in Jharkhand, deliberately initiating communal riots in Orissa and practicing many a caste riot in Bihar.

No wonder then that for the past three years Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been saying that “the Naxalites/Maoists pose the gravest threat to the country’s internal security.” His Home Minister P C Chidambaram is threatening strong action against them, who the Governments of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, openly brand as terrorists of the worst type. Even the Armed Forces have sought permission to take appropriate counter-measures against the Maoists if attacked.  

And yet, the PM seems to have a soft corner for the Maoists. Like the typical “human rights jhola- wallas”, he asserted at an election meeting in Maharashtra: “Maoists are not terrorists” and that he would be happy to talk to them. How will he define terrorism, if they are not terrorists? As a good doctor cannot treat a patient without the proper diagnosis of his disease, how can his Government deal with the Maoists if he is unsure of their crime?

For one, let us see whether the universally accepted definitions and understanding of terrorism apply to the Maoists or not. While it is true that “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter” has often haunted the debate on terrorism, we propose to cite those definitions accepted in the United Nations, of which India is a leading member:

  • UN Resolution language (1999): “1. Strongly condemns all acts, methods and practices of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, wherever and by whomsoever committed; 2. Reiterates that criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other nature that may be invoked to justify them". (GA Res. 51/210 Measures to eliminate international terrorism).


  • UN Security Council Resolution 1566 refers to terrorism as “criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a Government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act”


  • On March 17, 2005, a UN panel described terrorism as any act "intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act”.

·         The UN General Assembly resolution 49/60 titled "Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism," adopted on December 9, 1994, says: “Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them”.

Any honest reading of the above resolutions, which India has never opposed, makes it amply clear that the Maoists are nothing but terrorists. In fact, it may be recalled that while presiding over a task force of nine Maoist-hit States on February 23 2006, the then Special Secretary to the Home Ministry A K Mitra had asserted: “Maoist problem is not a simple problem of law and order. This is a terrorist and inter-State problem”.   

Manmohan Singh invariably cites the usual factors of underdevelopment, corruption in the bureaucracy, police atrocities and exploitation of tribals and the poor contributing to the growing influence of Maoists. But that is one part of the story. He invariably forgets the other part, which is that as is the case in Kashmir and many parts of the North East, people are supporting the so-called revolutionaries in the “Red Corridor” in eastern/central India not out of love and reverence but because of terror and fear.

Maoists and their leaders are flourishing because money, important for them to procure sophisticated weapons, is no longer any problem. Most Maoist leaders have over the past two decades acquired large properties in urban areas with the money that flows into them through extortion, which, according to one estimate, yields some Rs.3, 000 crores annually. And those exhorted are not only the contractors, businessmen, doctors and engineers but also the poor labourers and farmers who are forced to part with a substantial portion of their earnings. They raise funds through extortion or by setting up parallel administrations to collect taxes in rural areas where local Governments and the Indian State appear absent. This is not all. Smuggling of contrabands and wood as well as poppy cultivations also enrich their coffers.

What is worse, the Maoists have strenthened their links with the notorious terrorist groups outside the country, including the LTTE and the ISI. In a series of ariticles, the weekly Blitz of Bangladesh has already exposed how arms are secretly distributed amongst the members of small communist groups and some of the Islamist groups in Bangladesh and how Nepalese Maoists are conspiring to re-begin notorious activities of Naxalites in West Bengal.

According to the paper, “several analysts are seeing hidden cooperation between Al Qaeda and Nepalese Maoists, which helped Maoists in attaining such landslide victory in Nepal. There is reportedly a hidden agreement between the two in allowing Al Qaeda outfits in the South Asian region [in Nepal] to operate without any legal obstacles. Now, after the victory of the Maoists, it is anticipated that activities of the Al Qaeda and other Islamists terror groups will greatly increase. It is also learnt from several sources that, Al Qaeda is patronizing Maoist operatives in Nepal as well as spread of extremist Islamism in the South Asian region under the garb of communism. The international community needs to look into this extremely important issue forthwith and fix appropriate strategies in combating rise and spread of Maoism, Communism or Islamism, for the sake of regional and global security”

It may be recalled that Maoist groups in India took the initiative of forming in 2001 a Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations of South Asia, better known as CCOMPOSA, in some secret locations in the jungle of central India. Its members are Naxalite or Maoist outfits from Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. In August 2006, CCOMPOSA held its 4th conference in Nepal. Obviously with the Maoists emerging as the most important political force there, their fraternal counterpart in India have become more powerful. Recently, a truck loaded with more than 1000 Kg of explosives and large number of detonators was apprehended at the Bihar-Nepal border.

If all these acts do not make Maoists terrorists, what else does? By all means the Government can talk to them, but for the country’s sake, first defeat them. The Maoists have waged a war against the country. Talks now could at best lead a truce. But then truce is no substitute for a lasting peace. ---INFA

(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)







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