By I. Ramamohan Rao, New Delhi, Sept.2 ANI | 1 year ago

For nearly a decade, we have been hearing former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tell conferences of police officers in Delhi that Maoists are the biggest threat to internal security in the country and that the Central Government was taking steps to counter it, and asked the States to join the battle. However, the threat has been continuing.

The NDA government has stated that it will have 'zero tolerance' as far as terrorism in concerned. The country looks forward to the measures that the Central Government will take to counter the Maoists.

Going back, Naxalites were active in the 1970s in Kolkata and parts of West Bengal. The credit should go to then Chief Minister Siddartha Shankar Ray and the army led by Lt. Gen. J.F. R. Jacob , who took steps to virtually eliminate them . They have not resurfaced in Kolkata since then.

The Naxals re-emerged as the Communist Party of India (Maoist), and have strong bases in Andhra Pradesh, North Telangana, Orissa , West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, and adjacent areas of Maharashtra. They have a strong base in the Dandakaranya in Chattisgarh , where they virtually run their own administration.

According to P. V. Ramana, the author of the book, the armed underground force of the CPI(Maoist) has a strength of 13,000 fighters , both men and women.

They are well armed, and have resources which they extort from corrupt government officials, landlords, businessmen, including big industrial houses. They extort nearly Rs. 1,500 crores annually from them , the largest contribution coming from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.

In January 2007, the CPI(Maoist) conducted its first Congress following the merger of the Communist Party of India --Marxist-Leninist (People's War) and Maoist Communist Centre of India, in the Beembundh forests of Mungher District of Bihar, which was believed to have been attended by 100 delegates from different parts of the country. It marked the 'near total unification' of Maoist forces in the country.

The book also gives the documents adopted by the party after detailed discussions between February 2003 and September 2004 which contain the strategy and objectives of the movement. The Maoist objective is to establish a Communist society in India through an"armed agrarian revolutionary war" through area wise seizure of power.

The documents give details of the strategy and tactics and targets of the "Indian Revolution. " The broad targets are the landlords, the Comprador Bureaucrats and Bourgeoisie.

The documents also gives details how the 'revolutionary war' is to be conducted in urban areas. According to the document, the 'urban movement' is one of the main sources , which provides cadres and leadership , having various types of capabilities essential for the people's war and for the establishment of liberated areas. They also provide supplies, technology, expertise and information needed for the revolutionary movement. The 'urban movement' seeks to gain control over the working class movement and use it appropriately at a later stage when the ' Revolution' advances

The document also underlines the need for the establishment of "secret self-defence squads" to defend the urban mass movement, and the need for giving them proper military training. One of their responsibilities is to learn the tactics and plans of the 'enemy forces' in the area and help the rural armed struggle.

The book gives details of the "Janathana Sarkar" , which it claims was formed by Dandakaranya revolutionary masses , who have been able "to successfully go forward with the ultimate aim of establishing Socialism -Communism by destroying the semi-colonial , semi-feudal system in India through People's War and establishing a People's Democratic system."

The author also gives the text of interviews given by top leaders of the CPI (Maoist) Party, Mupalla Laxman Rao alias Ganapathy, Azad, the spokesperson of the Central Committee , and Mallojula Koteshwara Rao, popularly known as Kishenji, which gives their comments on current developments in the country as far as the movement is concerned and highlights the need to establish 'liberated areas'. The interviews also provide valuable insight into the thinking of the leaders.

The section on the text of the resolutions of the party gives a clear idea how it has grown over the years. It is followed by details of the synchronized and large scale attacks by the CPI(Maoist) forces.

It is interesting to note from the press release in August 2007 that the CPI(Maoist) party felt that the re-imposition of the ban on SIMI is a reiteration of the UPA Government's intention to continue its 'brutal war' on Muslims. Also surprising was the press release in August 2008 which claimed that "Azad Kashmir" is the "birthright of every Kashmiri" and calls on "people of India to rise up in support of the just and democratic struggle of the people and fight back the brutal onslaught of Indian Fascist State".

The book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand Maoists in the country.

Book Review: Understanding India's Maoists by P. V. Ramana . Pentagon Press. pages 398/ price Rs. 1295.

Mr. I. Ramamohan Rao is a former Principal Information Officer to the Government of India. he can be reached on his e-mail By I. Ramamohan Rao

(Posted on 02-09-2014)

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