November 16, 2010

Maoist key result area: Destruction of 33 schools, 105 roads, 13 rly properties

12 Nov, 2010, 03.50AM IST, Bharti Jain, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: Maoists continue to hit at symbols of welfare and development while carrying on with their rhetoric about neglect of tribal areas by the state. Over the last 10 months, the Left-wing extremists unleashed 278 attacks on government buildings and infrastructure works across seven states, destroying 33 schools, 20 panchayat offices, 105 roads/culverts and 38 communication towers.

Railways continue to be a favoured target, having recorded 22 Naxal attacks until October 31, 2010. Of these, Chhattisgarh witnessed 13 attacks on railway properties, Maharashtra 12, West Bengal 7 and Jharkhand 6.

Majority of Naxalite attacks in 2010 focused on forest roads and culverts. As many as 105 forest roads and culverts were destroyed by Maoists, as compared 126 in the whole of 2009, in an apparent bid to instill a sense of fear in contractors to meet extortion demands.

Public sector units and works in Maoist-infested areas witnessed 22 attacks, up from 17 through 2009. NMDC’s premises in Chhattisgarh were targeted in 11 different incidents in the first 10 months of 2010. Eight attacks were directed at the Gramin Sadak Nirman Yojana in three states. Essar Pipelines, which faced 6 attacks last year, saw only one attack in 2010.

There was also some respite from Naxalites’ targeting of communication towers, with attacks coming down from 67 last year to 38 in the first ten months of 2010. Of these, Jharkhand accounted for 14 attacks and Bihar for 12 attacks.

Government’s psychological warfare highlighting “mindless” attacks on schools by Maoists appears to have had some positive effect. Such incidents were down from 67 in 2009 to 38 until October 31 this year. However, panchayat offices and buildings continued to bear the brunt, with 20 of them coming under Maoist fire as compared to 23 in the whole of last year.

Mining units saw nine attacks in the first 10 months of 2010, a three-fold rise from 3 attacks witnessed through 2009. Six of the nine incidents of mines being targeted this year were reported from Jharkhand.

Power plants were not spared either. Maoists attacked 3 power plants, one each in Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Orissa. Last year, two attacks on power plants were reported, both in Maharashtra. Maoists also destroyed pole/transmission towers in two different incidents in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

Maoists’ targeting of key infrastructure and development works stands in direct conflict with their so-called struggle against neglect and deprivation by the state. “It only proves that the Left-wing extremism is nothing more than red terror, devoid of any reasoning or ideology,” noted a senior official of the security establishment.

As many as 577 civilians and 264 security forces have been killed in a total of 1842 incidents of Maoist violence in the first 10 months of 2010.

November 15, 2010

Unite in fight against Maoists: Buddhadeb

Balarampur(Purulia),Nov14(IANS): West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Sunday urged the people to unite in the fight against the Maoists and uproot them from the state.

'Maoist activity is the biggest problem in our state. They are creating hindrance in development work. They are also obstructing the schools and panchayats from running smoothly, besides killing innocent people,' Bhattacharjee said at a rally organised by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

'It's high time we all come together to fight against the Maoists. People will not forgive them for their politics of killings,' he said in this Maoist-affected belt of Purulia district.

Bhattacharjee said the Left-wing ultras have shifted their base to the Ayodhya Hills area after finding the going tough in West Midnapore's Lalgarh in the face of strong action by security forces.

'They are now committing atrocities in Arsa, Balarampur, Jhalda, Bandwan and Bagmundi areas during the night. They have killed several of our party supporters and leaders.

'The Maoists think that by killing innocent people, they will come to power in Bengal or they will be able to rule in Delhi, but we will not let them carry out their activities,' he said.

Despite repeated denials from the rebels, the chief minister maintained that Intelligence Branch officer Partha Biswas and school teacher Soumyajit Basu had been abducted by the Maoists.

'Both of them came here to teach the tribal people the usage of furnace, but they were abducted by the Maoists. I am trying my best to free them,' Bhattacharjee said.

The chief minister's meeting at Purulia was part of his tour to win back the support of rural population prior to the assembly elections - scheduled to be held in the first half of 2011.

Maoist Leadership is Divided: Buddhadeb

Kolkata: Nov 12, 2010- Amid speculation whether top Maoist leader Kisheji was dead, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee tonight stated he has heard about the same and that the Maoist leadership was now divided.

"I also heard about it (Kishenji is dead). The Maoist leadership is now divided. They (Maoists) are now cornered," he said.

Posters alluding to 'martyrdom' of Kishenji found by the police have intensified speculation over whether the Maoist top leader, who has not made any public appearance for eight months, is dead.

"Change has taken place in some areas of West Midnapore and Bankura where people are resisting the ultras, but recently in Purulia the Maoist problem has aggravated. They have kidnapped two persons. We are trying to free them although we have not yet succeeded", Bhattacharjee told a TV channel here.

"Politically we have achieved some success but the situation is still tough," he said.

He also rubbished Trinamool Congress' charge that CPI (M) 'harmads' (goons) were killing people in the guise of joint forces.

Bhattacharjee said that his party indirectly benefited from the operation of the joint forces but "it is wrong to say that joint force were sent to give benefit to us".

Not only in West Bengal, central force was sent to Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh to combat the Maoists, he said.

On Union Home Minister P Chidambaram's assurance to TC leaders that the role of the joint force would be inquired, Bhattacharjee quipped, "what will he say? They don't have time to listen to all these bogus things. Those who are directing the joint force are not so foolish".(PTI)

OUTLOOK, Filed On: Nov 12, 2010 23:17 IST


A protest michil agaist 'Maoist's' in Salboni (in junglemahal area of West Midnapore District)

October 31, 2010

Forces won't be withdrawn, says Pranab

TNN, Oct 31, 2010, 06.59am IST

NABAGRAM: Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday ruled out any possibility of withdrawing the joint forces from Bengal despite his Cabinet colleague Mamata Banerjee going public with the demand that the Centre should give marching orders to the forces stationed in Maoist-hit Jangalmahal. 

The Trinamool Congress chief has argued that the joint security forces have come to the advantage of the CPM cadres trying to regain grounds in the trouble-torn districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia. 

Talking to mediapersons after inaugurating a national integration camp at Nabagram organised by the Nehru Youth Centre, Mukherjee said: "Joint forces will remain in Jangalmahal till it is required. They have a presence in other states as well. They will stay as long as Maoists and forces like them continue to pose a threat to the government." 

Mukherjee's comment comes within days of Trinamool partymen hitting the streets demanding withdrawal of the forces. A Trinamool delegation, led by minister of state Mukul Roy, had called on Union home minister P Chidambaram, explaining how CPM cadres were taking the forces' help to gain foothold in the area.

October 29, 2010



 Political Resolution
(Adopted at the Extended Meeting of the Central Committee,
August 7 to 10, 2010, Vijayawada)

Maoist Violence

2.18 There has been heightened Maoist violence and attacks in the past two years. The Maoist activities are concentrated in the tribal areas of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar Andhra Pradesh and parts of Maharashtra and West Bengal. The Maoists do not target the police forces alone, they are indulging in indiscriminate violence targeting political opponents, disrupting rail and road communications and destroying schools and panchayat buildings.

2.19 The anarchic and terrorist nature of the Maoist violence was graphically illustrated by the exploding of a bus in Dantewada in which civilians were traveling and the horrific attack on the Gyaneshwari Express which led to its derailment killing 149 passengers.

2.20 The Maoist squads are responsible for the brutal killings of around 150 CPI(M) members and supporters in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts of West Bengal since the last Lok Sabha elections. These attacks are coordinated with the Trinamul Congress’ violence against the CPI(M). In other places too, the Maoist groups are known to strike deals with various bourgeois parties during elections for mercenary motives. Extortion of “taxes” and money from contractors, local businessmen and various officials rake in huge amounts of money to finance their armed depredations.

2.21 The Maoists represent a degenerated form of ultra-Left adventurism. They serve the interests of the ruling classes by targeting the CPI(M). They have links with other extremist and separatist forces. The Maoist tactics of armed struggle to overthrow the State results in severe repression of innocent tribals and the disruption of the democratic movements and political mobilization.

2.22 The Maoists stop all developmental activity thereby increasing the deprivation of the tribal people. To tackle the Maoist menace, civil administration has to be restored in these areas for political and developmental work.

• The Party has to combat the Maoists by exposing their disruptive politics and bankrupt ideological positions. Their revolutionary rhetoric must be shown up for what it is, as there are illusions among a section of the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia.
• Democratic opinion should be mobilized against their insensate violence, their intolerance of political opponents and the killings of CPI(M) cadres and supporters in West Bengal.
• The Party should pay urgent attention to work in the tribal areas in the major tribal populated states and build up the mass organizations and the influence of the Party.


Political Resolution
Adopted At the XIX Congress of the
Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 29 to April 3, 2008

Naxalite Activities

2.46 The main naxalite stream which still relies on armed
struggle and mindless violence are the self–styled Maoists
who formed the CPI (Maoist) with the merger of the PWG
and the MCC. They have concentrated their activities in parts
of Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and
Bihar. The threat of these forces is particularly strong in
Chattisgarh and Jharkhand where the administration and the
law and order machinery is weak in the most backward
regions. Their areas of operation are the forested and hilly
terrain where the tribal population predominates. These are
areas which are the most poverty-stricken and exploited. But
their anarchist terrorist actions lead to more sufferings for
the tribal people as seen in the case of the Salva Judum,
sponsored by the BJP government in Chattisgarh.

The self-styled Maoists cannot be treated in any manner
as a Left force as they actually harm the Left movement.
They target the CPI(M), as seen in the assassination of CPI
(M) leaders and cadres in the border districts of West Bengal
by their squads who operate from the Jharkhand border.

The CPI(M) will firmly combat the Maoist’s activities, which
actually end up as an instrument of the reactionary forces as
seen in Nandigram. It will wage a determined political and
ideological struggle against this sectarian anarchist force.
The Party will also counter the anti–CPI(M) propaganda and
activities of other varieties of naxalites whose main aim is to
malign the CPI(M). 

October 28, 2010

INDIA-Maoists: Women in the Camp

Thursday, 28 October 2010 11:53

By Fakir Mohan Pradhan, Analysis by SATP

In a gruesome attack on the Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) camp at Shilda in West Midnapore District of West Bengal on February 15, 2010, the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) killed 24 personnel of this State paramilitary formation. Significantly woman Maoist cadres played a major role in the attack, which was led by Jagori Baske, a woman ‘commander’. Baske usually operates along the borders with Jharkhand and Orissa, under the supervision of Koteswar Rao alias Kishan, Maoist Politburo and Central Military Commission member. Three woman cadres had made the final recee of the site in the guise of tribal dancers a few hours before the attack. Shobha Mandi alias Uma (23), the Jhargram (West Midnapore District of West Bengal) ‘area commander’, who later surrendered on August 27, 2010, also played an active role in the attack.

Earlier, the attack on the Sankrail Police Station in the same District on October 20, 2009, in which two Police personnel were killed and the officer-in-charge abducted, was also led by a woman cadre, Suchitra Mahato.

Another high profile attack, in which 18 Policemen were killed in the Gadchiroli District of Maharashtra on October 8, 2009, was also led by a woman cadre Tarakka (42), a member of the South Gadchiroli Divisional Committee, which is also headed by a woman, Narmada (52), from Andhra Pradesh. Police believe, about 40 per cent of dalam (armed squad) cadres in Gadchiroli and adjacent areas are women. Apart from Tarakka, other women ‘commanders’ in Gadchiroli include Jyoti (in Tipagadh), Raneeta (Chatgaon), Sujita (Deori) and Ranjita (Surjagarh). Saroja, who was ‘commander’ of the Jimalgatta dalam, was arrested in 2009. Her husband, Lanka Papi Reddy aka Lachanna, who was a Central Committee member, later surrendered before Warangal Police in Andhra Pradesh. Radhakka, a senior Maoist cadre working in Bastar in Chhattisgarh for many years, hails from Rajaram Khanla village in south Gadchiroli.

Women cadres have long had a significant role in Maoist attacks. In 2004, several woman cadres were spotted in the gang that looted the armoury at Koraput in Orissa. In 2008, woman cadres again prominently featured in the killing of Policemen during the looting of the armoury at Nayagarh (Orissa). An unnamed senior leader of the CPI-Maoist, questioned by a reporter about the position of women in their ranks, declared, "We treat women on par even in our military struggle. Our women cadres are provided training just like their men counterparts. There is no discrimination in their diet or exercises." It is mandatory for all new recruits to the outfit to take a nine-point oath that declares, inter alia, that he or she would not discriminate on the basis of religion, caste, gender, race, or ethnicity.

While women have played a crucial role in Maoist operations and organisation, however, the reality is far from the declared ideal of equality and equity. The story of Shobha Mandi alias Uma (23), the Jhargram ‘area commander’, illustrates a reality that is far off from the ‘solemn pledges’ of gender justice taken by the Maoists. After being sexually exploited by some senior leaders of the outfit, Shobha, who commanded a squad of 25 to 30 armed Maoists, eventually mustered courage and deserted her command post on the plea of seeing a doctor. She remained a fugitive for nearly four months and then surrendered before the Superintendent of Police (West Midnapore District) Manoj Kumar Verma in Midnapore town on August 27. Shobha is a native of Bankura District. Shobha joined the Communist Party of India – Marxist-Leninist – People's War (also know as the People’s War Group, PWG) in 2003 [the PWG later merged with Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) on October 14, 2004, to constitute the CPI-Maoist]. Shobha disclosed that it was Bikash (now, head of the West Bengal State Military Commission) who raped her when she was just 17-years-old. Describing her ordeal, she said, "I reported the matter to Akash (West Bengal State Committee Member and a confidant of Koteswar Rao alias Kishan). He did nothing other than giving me an assurance to look into the matter. In fact, Akash's wife, Anu, lives with Kishanji." She also revealed that stories of sexual exploitation of women cadres by senior Maoists are not uncommon. Seema (then a recruit) told Shobha that Akash had raped her as well. Rahul alias Ranjit Pal, a key weapons’ trainer, raped Belpahari ‘squad commander’ Madan Mahato's wife Jaba. In this case, the party ‘punished’ Rahul, by removing him from the regional committee for three months. West Bengal State Committee Secretary Sudip Chongdar alias Goutam was also ‘punished’ for similar acts, with a transfer to Jharkhand's West Singhbhum District. Significantly, the slain Maoist leader Sakhamuri Appa Rao, who was a State Committee member and was believed to be in charge of the Andhra Pradesh State Military Commission, was demoted several ranks for misbehaviour with women cadres before his rise through the ranks.

Shobha soon recognized an unpleasant reality – a woman cadre is protected against sexual exploitation only if she is ‘with’ a senior leader. So, when Kamal Maity, a Bengal-Jharkhand-Orissa regional committee member, proposed a relationship with her at a meeting attended by Kishan and other top Maoists, she could not refuse. The leaders also agreed to this relationship. That was a turning point in her ‘career’ and, in what is a recurrent pattern, she rose steadily through the Maoist ranks.

Unsurprisingly, some woman ‘commanders’ who have led recent major Maoist attacks are wives or ‘partners’ of senior leaders of the outfit. Notably, Tarakka (42) who led the October 8, 2009, attack in Gadchiroli, is the wife of Central Committee member Mallojula Venugopal alias Bhupathi. Narmada (52), under whom Tarakka worked, is the wife of CPI-Maoist ideologue Sudhakar aka Kiran. The attack on Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) personnel at Gidhni in West Midnapore District on November 8, 2009, in which four EFR personnel were killed, was led by two women – one of them believed to be Tara, a Lalgarh native and Maoist leader Bikash's partner. Likewise, Suchitra Mahato, who led the October 20, 2009, attack on the Sankrail Police Station, is the wife of Sasadhar Mahato, the prime accused in the Salboni landmine attack on Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on November 2, 2008.

Sonu Gawde (24), another woman cadre who surrendered in 2008, claims, "Sex is demanded at gunpoint (in the Maoist camps). It is so rampant that often it is difficult to say who is sleeping with whom in the jungles." Sabita Munda (20), an ‘area commander’ who surrendered with a young male cadre, Rahul Juang, in Orissa on February 11, 2010, claimed that Maoist woman cadres who raise their voice against sexual exploitation were instructed by senior leaders to remain silent. Two woman Maoist cadres, Geeta Murmu and Anju Murmu, who were arrested on February 12, 2010, in the Banka District of Bihar, claimed they were also sexually exploited in the Maoist camps. Geeta gave details of how a group of 200 woman Maoists was exploited in the dense forest areas of Belhar, a Maoist ‘stronghold’.

Disgusted by the sexual exploitation and camp life, many woman cadres have preferred to surrender. According to the partial data complied by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), at least 74 woman Maoist cadres have surrendered before the SFs since 2005. After two married Maoist couples surrendered in Rayagada District of Orissa [Ghumusur ‘divisional commander’ Akash alias Dora alias Ghasiram Majhi and his wife Jharana on June 8, 2009, and Surendra Vekwara (19) and his wife Ruby (18) on July 22, 2009], the Maoists in south Orissa started using force to marry off their women cadres to cadres from Chhattisgarh deputed to Orissa. This was part of an effort not to let the disillusioned women cadres get away from the outfit. The apprehension was that, if both partners were from Orissa, they may choose to surrender. Significantly, woman Maoist, Laxmi Pidkaka alias Sunita (18), surrendered before Police in Rayagada District on December 30, 2009, to escape from a forced marriage to a cadre from Chhattisgarh.

A senior Maoist leader Narsimha Reddy, conceded that only those young girls belonging to Dalit, extremely backward class, and tribal communities, were recruited and then left to fend for themselves within the organisation. These women were mainly engaged in cooking, serving as couriers and nursing the injured cadres. Pongi Sillo alias Lalita alias Chinnari, a Maoist militia member who surrendered on July 7, 2010, in Andhra Pradesh, disclosed that girls were forced to cook food, carry luggage and do menial jobs, apart from carrying kit bags and luggage of wives of top Maoist leaders. According to media reports published on October 13, eight tribal women hailing from the Naxal-affected areas of Kaimur range [which includes Robertsganj, Mirzapur, Sonebhadra and Chandauli of Uttar Pradesh (UP)], sought UP Chief Minister Mayawati's intervention to help in their rehabilitation. These women had joined the Naxalite outfit between 2000-2005. They were sexually exploited and the Naxalites abandoned them when they got pregnant. Woman cadres who become pregnant ‘naturally’ end up as liability to the Maoist ‘people’s war’. Gender equality has a utility only to the extent that woman cadres help in the ‘struggle’ by various means, including ‘entertaining’ fighting cadres.

Fakir Mohan Pradhan, Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management

About SATP: The South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) publishes the South Asia Intelligence Review, and is a product of The Institute for Conflict Management, a non-Profit Society set up in 1997 in New Delhi, and which is committed to the continuous evaluation and resolution of problems of internal security in South Asia. The Institute was set up on the initiative of, and is presently headed by, its President, Mr. K.P.S. Gill, IPS (Retd).

October 23, 2010

Naxalism today pose a great threat to national security: Prime Minister

We won't let Maoists challenge us, says Manmohan

New Delhi, October 22 
Describing Naxalism as a grave threat to national security, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asserted that the Indian State cannot and will not allow its authority to be challenged.

Addressing at the Golden Jubilee function of the National Defence College in the national capital, Manmohan Singh asked the armed forces to remain a step ahead of terrorists to ensure their defeat, as terrorism was being used to destroy the core values of the country.

Terrorism has been used as a means to destroy the values on which the nation is built, he said adding that terrorist groups enjoy patronage and sanctuaries and do not lack in resources.

"We therefore have to ensure that our capabilities to combat terrorism remain a step ahead of those of the terrorists. They should be left in no doubt whatsoever about our ability and resolve to defeat them," Dr Singh said.

Acknowledging that there was a development deficit in all parts of the country and Naxalism was posing a threat to national security, the Prime Minister said: "But we should be equally clear that the Indian State cannot and will not allow its authority to be challenged."

Citing the incidents of piracy off the Somalia coast, Dr. Singh said non-state actors were becoming increasingly fused and employing the best technologies to target open and democratic societies like India.

"We have therefore to modernize our defence doctrines to respond to new and non-traditional threats to our national security," he said.

Despite a complex regional and global environment, Singh said India's policies were marked by a sense of responsibility and restraint.

"India's military spending has been assessed to be just below the world average as a percentage of GDP," he said.

At the same time, he said, government would not hesitate in ensuring that all necessary resources are provided for national security needs.

Keeping in mind the issue of the expansion of the UN Security Council, Dr. Singh said the reality of international relations is that power is unevenly distributed.

"We should not expect those who have power to willingly part with it. We have to stand up on our own feet to defend the values that define us as a nation," he said.

Stating India has always opposed the unilateral use of force in resolving disputes between states, Dr. Singh said, “We have worked consistently for a rule-based international order, whether in the field of security, trade or climate change. We have worked to strengthen global security."
Noting that energy security was another major challenge, Dr Singh said that the country must keep all options open including nuclear energy.

"Till such time as we are dependent on fossil fuels we must have the capability of safeguarding the security of the sea lanes of communication. The bulk of international oil cargoes pass through the Indian Ocean and this is a region of vital interest to us," he said.

Recalling that wars over oil have already been witnessed, the Prime Minister cautioned that injudicious and inequitable exploitation and distribution of scarce natural resources could sow the seed of greater conflict among nations and community in the future.

"Our development ambitions need a favourable external environment. Global interdependence of nations is a growing economic and political reality," he said.

"It is therefore essential for India to remain actively engaged with the rest of the world so that we can access capital, high technology, energy and knowledge to propel our growth process," he said.

Describing cyber warfare as an area of emerging concern, the Prime Minister said, "I am glad that our Armed Forces and our other agencies are paying increasing attention to building capabilities and expertise in this very essential area."

Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, an alumnus of the NDC, was also present on the occasion along with Defence Minister A K Antony, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and the three services chiefs.

Full text of the PRIME MINISTER's Valedictory Address at the Seminar on the Occasion of Golden Jubilee of National Defence College on October 22, 2010

I am very happy to have this privilege of participating in the Golden Jubilee celebrations of one of India's premier institutions that the National Defence College is. The National Defence College has shaped the thought processes of many generations of officers of our Armed Forces and Civil Services and has fostered a culture of strategic thinking amongst our policy makers.
In many international exchange programmes it has contributed to strengthening understanding and friendship with key partners. The presence of His Majesty the King of Bhutan at the Golden Jubilee celebrations is a matter of great pride for the National Defence College.

When we look around us, we find that the world of today is not what it was when this illustrious College was established. A lot has changed, both within our country as well as in the global arena. The role of force, which is the topical subject of this seminar, itself has evolved with time – how we define it, the operating environment in which we use it and its place in our larger strategic calculus.

Firstly, the internal and external aspects of national security are getting increasingly inter-linked. Secondly, we must understand the concept of contemporary national security within a wider strategic and economic and social matrix. An enlightened national security policy should therefore be based on a holistic appreciation of the many inter-related aspects and concerns that impinge on a nation’s overall wellbeing.

These imperatives have not, however, necessarily changed the importance and role of military power as an essential indispensible component of a nation’s power and stability. Defence capabilities buttress the ability of a State to defend itself against armed aggression or insurgency. They act as a deterrence to the use of force by others.

Despite a complex regional and global environment, India’s policies are marked by a sense of responsibility and restraint. India’s military spending has been assessed to be below the world average as a percentage of GDP. Nevertheless, our Government of India will not hesitate in ensuring that all necessary resources are provided for meeting our essential national security needs.

India has always opposed the unilateral use of force in resolving disputes between States. We have worked consistently for a rule based international order, whether in the field of security, trade or climate change. We have worked to strengthen global security with collective thinking and collective action. Our troop contributions to the United Nations have been noteworthy and have received world wide acclaim. We have been working towards global, universal and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament and we are for a world free of nuclear weapons. We have consistently advocated the adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

Within our country, a new generation is taking charge of its destiny. The desire for change is much more palpable in every village, in every town and in every city. There is a growing sense of impatience with our working methods just as new impulses of growth and social justice are emerging in India’s hinterland. The communications and information technology revolutions are upon us and their effects are visible in our daily lives. I am confident that all things being equal, with a predominantly young population we can expect our economic fundamentals to remain strong in the foreseeable future and we have to work to ensure that this outcome indeed becomes a reality.

The Indian economy has reverted to its higher growth path. This is important because it is only a rapidly growing economy that can create the wealth we need for redistributive measures and increased public spending on education, health, food security and environmental protection.

We have to bring all our resources to bear on tackling the problem of mass poverty in our country. But we also have to use our scarce resources efficiently and give due emphasis to conservation and the management of environment and our biodiversity. This is an area of potential conflict. We have already witnessed wars over oil. The injudicious and inequitable exploitation and distribution of scarce natural resources can sow the seeds of greater conflict among nations and communities in the future and we ought to be aware of these possibilities.

Our development ambitions need a favourable external environment. Global interdependence of nations is a growing economic and political reality. It is therefore essential for India to remain actively engaged with the rest of the world so that we can access capital, high technology, energy and knowledge to propel our growth process.

However, we have to be conscious that just as military power alone cannot assure national security, growth by itself is not the ultimate answer to the multiple challenges we face as a nation. Our ability to develop at the pace and in the direction that we wish to will depend on how well we are able to maintain the internal stability and cohesion of our country.

Naxalism and Left Wing Extremism today pose a great threat to our national security. We recognize that there is a development deficit in all parts of our country. But we should be equally clear that the Indian State cannot and will not allow its authority to be challenged.

Our country has been a victim of terrorism for the past more than two decades. Terrorism has been used as a means to destroy the values on which our nation is built. Terrorist groups enjoy patronage and sanctuaries and do not lack in resources. We therefore have to ensure that our capabilities to combat terrorism remain a step ahead of those of the terrorists. They should be left in no doubt whatsoever about our ability and resolve to defeat them.

We have to be prepared to deal with threats to our security from non-state actors and groups. The problem of piracy off the coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden is a case in point. Non-state actors are becoming increasingly fused and employing the best technologies to target open and democratic societies like ours. We have therefore to modernize our defence doctrines to respond to new and non-traditional threats to our national security.

Cyber warfare is an area of emerging concern. I am glad that our Armed Forces and our other agencies are paying increasing attention to building capabilities and expertise in this very essential area.
Assuring our energy security is another major challenge. We do not have the luxury of choosing between one source of energy and another. We must keep all options open, including that of the nuclear energy. Till such time as we are dependent on fossil fuels we must have the capability of safeguarding the security of the sea lanes of communication. The bulk of international oil cargoes pass through the Indian Ocean and this therefore happens to be a region of vital interest and concern to us.

The scale of social and economic transformation that we seek to achieve for our country is unprecedented. If we succeed in this ambitious enterprise within the framework of an open, democratic and pluralistic society we will I sincerely believe profoundly influence the history of nations in the 21st century. For this to happen, we need peace in our hinterland and in our neighbourhood. We need to strengthen our efforts to make the world a more level playing field. The reality of international relations is that power is unevenly distributed. We should not expect those who have power to willingly part with it. We have therefore to stand up on our own feet to defend the values that define us as a nation.

I would like to conclude by placing on record our country’s deep appreciation to our gallant Armed Forces for their professionalism, valour and contributions to processes of nation building. The military preparedness and modernization of our Forces are matters of the highest priority for Government.

I end by wishing the National Defence College even greater glory in the next half century.


Dangerous Repeat of History

By Prabir Purkayastha,

Newsclick, 13th August, 2010

History is repeating itself in West Bengal, with Maoists, the Trinamool and the Congress doing what they had done in the late 60's and early 70's. And it will not be history repeating itself, first time as a tragedy, the second time as a farce. This time around, it will be a much bigger tragedy.

The modus is identical to the pattern set 40 years back. Use the ultra-left to attack the left, giving all political cover and implicit state support. The Congress then, and its splinter Trinamool now has combined forces at the ground level. And the game is to physically liquidate the CPI(M) cadre so that what this combine cannot do ideologically, they can try and do physically.

For me personally, it is a sense of complete deja vu. I remember my student days, when we were personally targeted for “liquidation” as “class enemies”. Killing class enemies was supposed to be the “festival” for the Maoists. And anybody that did not share their views and was active in politics, especially in the CPI(M), was a class enemy.

The pattern of killings are exactly what they are now – you could be killed any time any place. People are killed at tea shops, dragged out of their houses and “executed”, with their bodies left on the road. Local activists, area level leaders, party sympathisers, it did not matter then and it does not matter now. They “target”, track and kill, preferably under cover of darkness and while the “target is alone. Specifically choose soft targets – they are easier to kill. With this terror, the Maoists hope that the bulk of CPI(M) supporters will leave the area, making this CPI(M) free.

How can people who claim that they are making the revolution, target individual activists for assassination? This can be done only if you first de-humanise your opponents. So all CPI(M) activists are “agents” by definition. After that, joining hands with Trinamool or Congress to fight the CPI(M) is simple. Old slogans of enemies' enemy can then be pulled out for this purpose. But all this requires forgetting the fundamental tenets of marxism, which opposes individual terrorism and calls for mass action and mass politics. This mindless glorification of violence – individual and anonymous violence, this killing of CPI(M) activists and others, is what it always been – a hall mark of lumpen politics.

What Mamata Bannerjee has done through her rally in Lalgarh is to cloak this politics of individual assassination with central protection. The areas where the Maoists had been beaten back by the people, saw the police escorting the leaders and the supporters of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) into the rally. The hope was that through this, they would “recapture” these areas and drive the CPI(M) out. The rally was ostensibly called by “apolitical” forum called Santras Birodhi Mancha (Anti-Atrocities Platform), which allowed Mamta and Trinamool to claim that they were not in league with the Maoists. Unfortunately for them, the Maoist and PCPA banners far outnumbered the Trinamool flags, making clear that this was a rally of the Maoists held under the protection of Trinamool and therefore the UPA Government.

The UPA Government is quite happy to condemn Maoists for their violence and run with Mamata and her politics of murder. Mr. Chidambaram had informed the Rajya Sabha that the inquiry by the CBI into the Jnaneswari Express derailment killing more than 150, had revealed that the railway track was damaged by the PCPA, the frontal organisation of the Maoists and the main support for Lalgarh rally. It is symbolic of the Mamata brand of poltics that she can be the Rail Minister and yet consort with those who derail trains. Manoj Mahato and Asit Mahato – both wanted for the derailment of Jnaneswari Express, were openly mobilising for Mamata's so-called “apolitical” rally. And if there was any doubt left of the meaning of the rally, it became quite clear from the speeches – it was a meeting geared for next year's elections. The call from the podium was defeat the CPI(M) –from Medha Patkar to Mamata.

Medha Patkar and Agnivesh are of course “apolitical”. We have to grant that they are truly apolitical and do not know what it means to be “apolitical” and simultaneously ask for the ouster of the CPI(M) in Bengal. More than 250 CPI(M) cadre have been killed in the last 6 months alone. If there are any doubts where this section of “civil” society is going, it has become crystal clear now. They will be with fascist forces in Bengal in the coming period. They and the human rights “intellectuals” from Kolkata are clear – any method to get rid of the CPI(M) in Bengal is OK: human rights obviously do not apply to the CPI(M) cadre.

The violence of Naxalites combined with murderous gangs of the Congress was the hall-mark of the early 70's. The Congress used the state machinery and its lumpen cadre after the Naxalites first did their job. This was in clearing large parts of urban areas of CPI(M)'s cadre. Individual killings led to people vacating different areas to seek shelter somewhere else. Getting people to leave their homes under threat of liquidation was the first step. Once this was done, the Congress stepped in with its lumpen cadre drawn largely from the underworld. This was the Youth Congress and the Chatra Parishad – the youth and student wing of the Congress. Lest we forget, Mamata Bannerjee was a youth leader then and very much a part of these murderous attacks. The Naxalite groups were liquidated by the Congress, once their utility was over. This was the period of semi-fascist terror , which ended with the Congress finally being thrown out of the centre and Bengal, post-emergency.

It is important to note how the CPI(M) handled the post-emergency scenario. There were no reprisals. All police cases, even those including the murders of CPI(M) cadre were also dropped as a part of a general amnesty. This was well before South Africa's experiment with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Effectively, the CPI(M) carried out what it felt was needed – to break the cycle of violence by not using state power even to prosecute those who had killed its cadre.

What is the game plan of Mamata and the Congress? Mamata's game plan is clear and has been so for quite some time. She stands for physical liquidation of the CPI(M) and allying with any force who agrees to this game plan. Not surprising that the Maoists and Mamata/Trinamool are on the same side. They have the same objective and the same methods. Except one is openly fascist, the other calls itself “revolutionary”.

Why is a section of the civil society so happy to go along with these forces? Here again, there are different reasons for different people. For some, they would like to be identified with the “polemic” of revolution. If the current model of development is leaving the major sections of the people out, the middle class expresses its own alienation through calls for revolution. Others have always been wary of the organised left – for them joining hands with the Left during BJP rule -- was very much against their grain. Currently, their deep anti-CPI(M) antipathy is ruling their political direction. Co-existing with Trinamool, giving her a “radical” cover, all of it hide their real feelings – deep hatred of the CPI(M).

The Congress is playing the most devious game in Bengal. Their agenda is to use Trinamool and the Maoists to physically eliminate the CPI(M) from large parts of Bengal. Once this happens, they calculate Mamata will self-destruct within a short-time. It is then that the Congress will enter and pick up the pieces in Bengal.

The problem in all this is to believe that West Bengal is an island unto itself and all this will not have any impact in the rest of the country. That we can have a Railway Minister who is hand in gloves with forces who kill innocent people and derail trains. That we can have semi fascist forces in collusion with Maoists who do not recognise the writ of the state. Who have attacked all development activities in areas they control while levying “taxes” on the illegal mining Mafia, for example in Jahrakhand and Chattisgarh. That this will not spill over to other areas under the patronage of the Trinamool and the UPA Government. All this is gambling with the future of our country.

For Mamata, the issue is clear, she wants to rule in Bengal, even if for a short duration. Her limited aim is to liquidate CPI(M), she could not care less for its implications for the larger polity. It is the Congress, which claims to have a larger and longer term agenda which will have to answer for what happens to the country and the people in West Bengal

Those who believe that CPI(M) can be liquidated in Bengal are living in a fool's paradise. The Semi-fascist terror of the 70's did not finish the CPI(M), nor will their progenies today. Politics of assassination and individual violence has a limited shelf life. Let us see how long this combine lasts. Meanwhile let us hope that they will not do irreparable damage to the country.

October 22, 2010


'Maoists' are today Politically and Ideologically Cornered'

The 'Maoists' in Bengal are today politically and ideologically cornered due to the sustained ongoing campaign against them by the CPI(M), felt the Party West Medinipur district secretary, Deepak Sarkar. In an interview given to  N S Arjun recently, he spoke about the people's resistance against the 'Maoists' gaining ground in many parts of the district.

Below we give excerpts of the interview:

(Q) What is the latest situation in 'Maoist' terror affected villages in the district?

DEEPAK SARKAR: Situation in one part of the affected areas is happily improving because people have been able to overcome their fear and come out courageously against the 'Maoists'. But in other part where they are trying to penetrate, new methods of resistance have to be adopted.

(Q) There has been marked increase in the people's resistance to the 'Maoists' in the recent period. What has changed on the ground to result in this?

DEEPAK SARKAR:  First of all the continuous campaign undertaken by the Party and Left forces  against the 'Maoists' has helped. Secondly, our constant contact with the people and our support and reassurance to them not to be afraid as the democratic forces of not only the district but the entire state were with them gave the people confidence. Thirdly, people have become fed up  because of the continuous torture for the last one and half years. So they came out desperately against the TMC-'Maoists' and got some success. This coming out against these forces is increasing in the recent past.

(Q) The 'Maoists' are nowhere in the country facing such organised people's resistance as is going on here. Can you explain how the Party is leading such resistance?

DEEPAK SARKAR: The CPI(M) and Left forces are well organised and strong in West Bengal. The Party is tackling the 'Maoists' politically, ideologically and organisationally. Naturally they are isolated from the people and their political manoeuvring capacity has decreased sharply. They are today ideologically and politically cornered.

(Q) How do you see the role of Trinamool Congress in this violence?

DEEPAK SARKAR: Their union ministers are demanding withdrawal of joint security forces from jangal mahal area.Trinamool party has directly colluded with the 'Maoists' because they have a one-point programme – oust the Left Front government. They have realised after many attempts that their aim cannot be achieved by democratic means. Now they are resorting to violent means for achieving their aim. They are therefore hand-in-glove with the 'Maoists'.

(Q) The opposition is charging that the CPI(M) is running armed camps in jangal mahal area and terrorising the people. Your response.

DEEPAK SARKAR: This is an old story. Our people are just now coming out of shelters and returning to the villages.They are protecting themselves and their villages with their traditional weapons. In Radhangar village in Jhargram area, one night hundreds of people came out against the 'Maoists',  most of them being women. They chased the goons away with their traditional weapons. When they became successful the next day adjoining villages also witnessed similar resistance actions. Today the people are guarding their villages day and night. When this way the people are reclaiming their villages, the so-called independent media and Trinamool Congress are levelling baseless charges. Recently, the English daily 'The Hindu' exposed how Trinamool Congress MPs falsely depicted 'Maoist' training camp pictures as 'CPI(M) armed camps' ones.

(Q) How does the Party plan to defend these villages knowing the barbarity of 'Maoists' could return?

DEEPAK SARKAR: Party depends on mass mobilisation, mass activity and normal developmental work. With these the confidence of people will be high to face any sort of barbarity.

(Q) How do you view the recent solidarity campaign across the country in defence of the struggle being waged here?

DEEPAK SARKAR: Well, it has been very encouraging for us to find that people across the country are with us in this struggle. Moreover, this campaign would remove the misgivings and misconceptions through out the country about the Left Front government and the 'Maoists' activity.
People's Democracy    
October 03, 2010 

September 24, 2010

“Trinamool Provides List, Maoists Carry out Execution”


N S Arjun from West Medinipur

THAT the Trinamool Congress is hand in glove with the 'Maoists' in Bengal is common knowledge. It has been proved repeatedly through their actions – the close coordination of activity by the TMC with the 'Maoist' frontal organisation PCPA, the coming to defence of PCPA leader Chhatradhar Mahato, the demands for withdrawal of central forces, the 'Maoists' endorsement of Mamata Banarjee as chief minister etc.

But now proof comes from two persons who joined the 'Maoists' with the sole aim of escaping death and have now escaped from their clutches. One of them, Mongol Mahato belonging to Nutandehi village in Salboni, in fact worked for the top 'Maoist' leader, Kishenji, as an assistant for around two months. They stayed in the jungle along with the 'Maoists' and had witnessed many of their barbaric actions.

Presently, taking shelter outside their village, these two persons spoke to People's Democracy recently on their experience with the 'Maoists'. When the 'Maoists' entered their village last year, they had threatened to kill Mongol Mahato, along with many others they suspected of being CPI(M) supporters. After being underground for few days, Mahato approached the TMC-'Maoists' and professed to work for them. They made him participate in meetings and rallies in the village. Later he was taken into the jungle where he got an opportunity to work for the notorious Kishenji for around two months. He used to make tea for them and also worked as a barber for Kishenji.

Asked to describe what he saw during this period, Mahato told us that the Trinamool leaders would regularly drop by and hold talks with Kishenji for hours together. There would also be leaders from the PCPA participating in such meetings. They used to provide list of CPI(M) workers to be killed in such meetings. He says PCPA, its armed outfit, the Gana Militia, and 'Maoists' are all one and the same with different nomenclature. Asked why he chose to desert them, Mahato said that he could not bear to see ordinary village folk – the tribals, agricultural labourers, petty vendors etc – being tortured brutally and shot after being tied to the trees in the jungle. They were usually suspected of being police informers or being supporters of CPI(M).

The other such person, Sapan Chalok, also from the same village, recounted his story. He was also threatened with death by TMC-'Maoists' goons when they took over the village. By then all CPI(M) leaders had left the village and sensing danger to himself and his family, he approached a known TMC contact and professed to work for them. He not only participated in meetings in his village but was also taken to nearby villages to take part in activity, including to Kolsibhanga where many CPI(M) supporters and workers were killed by TMC-'Maoists'. He worked as an informer to them on the developments in the villages.

“TMC leaders used to conduct secret meetings with the 'Maoists' in the jungles. They used to torture innocent villagers until their demands were met”, said Sapan Chalok. He also cited the same reason as Mahato for leaving the 'Maoists', adding that he never went with them willingly but only to save his and his family's lives.


As part of creating terror among the villagers and ensure their frightened support, the TMC-'Maoist' goons indulged in brutal torture of CPI(M) supporters and others whom they doubted. They organised a so-called people's court in Dakhinsole village near Pirakata. This was a place with a small rocky surface on the outskirts of the village and nearby the jungle. They used to order that at least ten people from nearby twenty villages must attend the “sessions” of this court. Jaba Singh, whose father Nalin Singh was severely beaten in one such session, told us that the “accused” in these court were usually those they suspected of being police informers or those who had defied their diktats to participate in the meetings. “The kind of torture they inflicted is hard to describe in any language. One day an old man of around 70 years was beaten up by two persons in front of everyone. Some were also brutally executed in front of us while those beaten up severely had to be admitted into hospitals”, he said.

No wonder that Jaba Singh is now active with fellow villagers who are constantly on the vigil to safeguard the peace that has returned to the village through mass resistance. (INN)