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India Plagued by Maoist Rebels

Posted March. 11, 2008 03:05,   


India, the world’s largest democratic country, is under constant attacks by armed Maoists. Experts say that as Western businesses made their inroads into India, many farmers who have lost their farmland are joining the Maoist rebels who follow the Marxist-Leninist teachings of Chinese leader Mao Zedong.

“The biggest threat to the security of India”

India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently said that the leftists are the biggest threat to the security of India. “No single day passes by without their attack,” he said.

According to the statistics released by the Indian government, since October 2004 when their attacks began in earnest, 598 soldiers and 1,894 civilians were killed.

India’s daily, The Times of India, reported that the rebel troops killed 14 police officers and stole around 1,000 weapons from five police stations in Nayagar, Orissa, on Feb. 15.

Last March, 55 policemen lost their lives when the terrorists raided a police station in Rani Bodly, Chhattisgarh. Some 29 people were killed at a first-aid station located in Dantewa, Chhattisgarh in July 2006.

The Maoists are now widening the sphere of their influence in West Bengal of eastern India, Maharashtra of western India, Utarpradesh of northern India and Andrapradesh of southern India.

Another daily, Indian Press, reported that a Maoist militant group, CPI-M, has branches in 17 of 28 states in India, with its budget, combining the year 2007 and 2008, amounting to 600 million rupees (around 14.1 billion won).

An Indian think tank, the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA), estimated that the rebel group has AK rifles, rocket guns and antipersonnel ground mines. It added that the group has at least 15,000 members.

“Globalization is the cause of poverty”

Maoists insist that laborers and farmers should form a class alliance to accomplish a revolution through a long-term guerrilla war based in rural communities.

The Maoist movement in India started from Naxalite, a peasants’ uprising in Naxalbari of West Bengal in May 1967. For this reason, the terrorists are also called Naxal.

Until 2004, two groups — MCG and PWG — led the war against the Indian government. As they were united into CPI-M in September 2004, they began a full-fledged war, attacking government offices.

The Indian government is strengthening their efforts to crack down on the militants. Somen (Himadri Sen Ray), a key leader of CPI-M, was arrested on Feb. 23. Indian Express pointed out that although more than 15,000 policemen and troops are fighting against the leftists, that is just not enough.

Bloomberg quoted a local resident in Andrapradesh as saying that as the special economic zones (SEZ) expanded in India, farmers who have lost their land to multinational companies are joining CPI-M. In other words, globalization is the main cause of the thriving Maoist movement.

Dr. Bela Bhatia at the Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) urged the government to devise better measures, saying that Dalits (the lowest rank in India) and the poor support Maoists because of social oppression, not because of their support for Maoism.