December 11, 2011

Maoist bid for Myanmar haven fails

Nirmalya Banerjee, TNN | Nov 19, 2011, 02.58AM IST

KOLKATA: A plan by CPI(Maoist) to use its connections with Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) of Manipur to get sanctuary in Myanmar has come to naught because of reservations of the rebel leaders from the northeast, according to an Imphal-based defence source. PLA activists in Manipur have revealed this to security forces, he says.

According to the source, CPI(Maoist) leaders had requested PLA to arrange this shelter in the middle of the current year, soon after the Maoists started feeling the heat of stepped-up pressure of joint operations against Maoists in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand as well as West Bengal.

Leaders of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), the "guardians" of assorted rebel groups from northeast India sheltered in Myanmar, did not favour this idea, security forces have learnt.

NSCN (K) leaders have reasoned that the presence of Maoists in Myanmar would be revealed in no time because the features of CPI(Maoist) members would not match with that of members of northeastern rebel groups taking shelter there.

They fear that if the Indian authorities learn of the presence of Maoists in hideouts of northeastern rebels in Myanmar, they would put pressure on the authorities in Myanmar to launch an offensive against camps of NSCN(K) and other northeastern rebels there. Otherwise, the presence of NSCN(K) camps in Myanmar is not a big threat as NSCN(K) has signed a ceasefire agreement with the Centre.

A large NSCN(K) camp is located at Taga in Myanmar where members of a number of other rebel groups from the northeast, like United Liberation Front of Asom and PLA, have also taken shelter. NSCN(K) chairman S S Khaplang, being a Myanmarese Naga himself, wields more influence there than leaders of other rebel groups.

It may be recalled that two PLA leaders arrested in Delhi in October this year revealed to the police that CPI(Maoist) leaders were wanted to joint training camps with PLA in Myanmar. Earlier, in October 2008, leaders of CPI(Maoist) and of Revolutionary eoples Front, political wing of PLA, had signed an understanding for mutual co-operation and issued a joint declaration.

Militant groups of the northeast enjoy the advantage of crossing the international border easily and take shelter in foreign soil when they find the pressure of operations by security forces too much. Maoists operating in places far from any international border find it difficult to secure such sanctuaries. Links with rebel groups of the northeast would help Maoists to secure sanctuaries as well as arms and ammunition, say sources.

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