Deepika’s Corner

India faces a savage insurgency in as many as 223 districts in its north eastern areas. It has a total of 636 districts. The Maoists or Naxals as they are called have a presence in the jurisdiction of more than 2000 police stations out of a total of 14000 and the area involved is more than 40000 square kilometers. These are staggering statistics and a stark reminder that situations left to fester spin out of control and political remedies do not always work even in a democracy. Pakistan needs to heed this conclusion in the context of its FATA experience.

The Indian Prime Minister has disagreed with suggestions of external support to the Maoists. This leads to the question that how are the insurgents sustaining themselves. The Communist Party of India—Maoist is the umbrella organization that strategizes and directs the various cadres and factions. It is on this model that the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan sought to establish overarching control over the various Taleban and other supportive factions and groups. The Maoists have an elaborate and well planned framework for revenue generation and according to Indian media reports the revenue collection committees are active in all states but especially so in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkand, Maharashtra, Gujerat and Tamil Nadu with the Bodo insurgents dominating in Assam. They collect billions of rupees annually and these funds are then used to recruit the growing army of unemployed, bitter and poor youth.

The methodology is abductions and kidnappings for ransom, illegal taxes from legal and illegal contractors, poachers and smugglers. Looting, robberies and extortion are the other rackets. The biggest pay offs come from the large mining and timber businesses operating in those areas. They pay for their safety and to be able to work. Drugs, especially the movement of drugs, are heavily taxed and the mafias pay regularly with the web extending into political and law enforcement circles. Opium is harvested over thousands of hectares as is Cannabis. There are even reports of NGO involvement in funding insurgents. In Assam the Bodos fighting for Bodoland follow the same pattern. The Maoists have evolved a self sustaining system and so far no real inroads have been made into their activities. The Indian government allows opium cultivation in three states but the product is purchased by the government and used for medicinal purposes.

The Maoists are in the market for motor cycles, AK 47 Assault Rifles, land mines and Rocket Launchers. They have been using more and more sophisticated IED’s lately. A purchase cycle is evidently working well.


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