Friday, June 10, 2011

Indian Army Deployed In The Maoist Heartland

More than 500 Indian soldiers have landed last week in the central state of Chhattisgarh, the nerve centre of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist).    The government said the troops will be trained in guerrilla jungle warfare. More troops will be coming in phases at the training centre on 750 sq km in the forested area, about 300 km away from the state capital Raipur. Retired Brigadier BK Ponwar, director of the Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College, said the soldiers have stepped into the Maoist territory only for jungle warfare training, not for anti- Maoist operation. "Maoists will feel the heat of the army's entry in their terrain because the insurgents will have a feeling all the time that tigers have been positioned just outside their den."    No immediate reaction of the Maoist was available on the presence of the Army in its citadel. Many doubt the necessity of soldiers undergoing training in jungle guerrilla warfare. It is likely that the army after training in jungle war will be deployed to root out the Maoist menace. About 2.5 lakh paramilitary forces had been deployed three years ago to combat the Maoists. It was said the Operation Green Hunt was launched with the target of ending the insurgency in two years. But the Maoist movement is now escalated to 20 out of 28 states of India with more and more encounters and casualties. Maoists have acquired sophisticated weapons including AK-47 rifles and rocket launchers.    Police intelligence reports said Maoists have advanced their strategy with formation of Golden Corridor Control Committee in different areas - create bases in urban areas, industrial belts. They have now sleeper cells in such areas. Suspected Maoist activists are mostly students. Yashwant Sumant, professor of Pune University observed that a fairly large section of urban youths finds politico-economic system stifling. Political authority is concentrated in the hands of few families. They are turning Maoist sympathizers.    The presence of Army in the Maoist heartland has given a moral boost to the demoralized paramilitary forces. They have reportedly prepared for a large- scale operation against the red rebels, especially in forest areas of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and adjoining states.         Ceasefire in W. Bengal    In West Bengal, Maoists have decided to declare a ceasefire in the state. State Committee member Bikram in a statement on June 4 said the ceasefire is to give Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee time to fulfil her election pledges, including withdrawal of joint forces and release of tribe members arrested for their suspected involvement in the Maoist movement. He said they are also ready for talks with the government and will not attack security forces for the time being. " But their soft stand will not continue for an indefinite period."    In fact, there was no report of clash between the Maoists and paramilitary forces since Mamta Banerjee assumed power in the state. But withdrawal of paramilitary forces from the state will be tough challenge for Mamata Benarjee as central Home Minister P Chidambaram strongly opposed the idea. If she fails, the well entranced Maoists in the forest areas of West Midnapore are likely to turn the guns to her party Trinamul Congress.    Intelligence officials in the state claim that the Maoists decision of ceasefire is intended to regrouping themselves and motivate the rebels. Koteshwar Rao alias Kishenji, in-charge of the Maoists in West Bengal is believed to be visiting northeast states (seven sisters) to coordinate the movement with the insurgents groups of Assam, Nagaland and Monipur.