Maoists moving Eastwards

An Assam Tribune report of 7 Jun 10, by R Dutta Choudhury suggests that the Maoists are now trying to spread bases and move to the North East.

 The security agencies have come across disturbing inputs of efforts by Maoist groups to make inroads in the North East and according to reports, the newly constituted Eastern Region Bureau of the rebels has been entrusted with the task of establishing foothold in the North East.

Highly placed security sources told <i>The Assam Tribune</i> that the Eastern Region Bureau of the Maoists was initially entrusted with the responsibility of launching operations in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and parts of Orissa. But recently, the Bureau has been given the additional responsibility of the North East region. The Bureau is headed by Prashanta Bose alias Kishan da, who is originally from West Bengal but now spends most of his time in Jharkhand. Interestingly, one person from Assam is also a member of the Bureau. Sources, however, refused to disclose his name and only said that he is from an area bordering West Bengal.

Sources said that the Maoists have recently adopted a resolution to support the “nationality struggles” all over the country including North East and Jammu and Kashmir and with a good number of militant outfits active in the North East, there is need for keeping a close watch on the situation. The Government of India is also keeping a close watch in North East to prevent the Maoists from making inroads as the situation in the region would deteriorate fast if the Maoists manage to establish strong links with the militant groups active in this part of the country, sources added.

Security sources said that there is enough evidence to prove the links of the Maoists with Manipur based outfit PLA and the NSCN (I-M) and there have been efforts by the Maoists to establish links with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). Though there is strong apprehension that the Maoists are getting weapons from the rebel groups of the North East, the security agencies still do not have conclusive evidence of it. “The militant groups of North East have abundance of sophisticated weapons and the Maoists have started using such kinds of weapons in recent times. This raised doubts on whether the Maoists are getting weapons from the militants of NE,” sources pointed out.

Sources pointed out that the Maoists normally go step by step while making inroad in any part of the country. They first conduct surveys of the target groups of people among which they can establish bases and normally economic struggle is the first step of movement. The economic struggle then evolves into “resistance struggle” and guerilla warfare is the final stage of their movement. In Assam, there are several groups of people whom can be targeted by the Maoists to establish their bases and the tea labourers can be the most vulnerable. Moreover, the flood and erosion hit farmers can be lured by the Maoists as they established strong foothold in Northern Bihar by working among the flood hit people. According to information available with the security forces, the Maoists formed a lower Assam Zonal committee in the 1990s but the committee could not survive and the possibility of similar attempts in near future cannot be ruled out.

It may be mentioned here that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi recently commented that the Maoists were trying to establish bases in the state but they have not yet been able to make inroads because of strong vigil maintained by police and security forces.

The ISM Team view. The team is of the view that while this expansion would be a natural course of action for any insurgency, the Maoists face the danger of overstretching themselves. The dynamics of the North East are very different from those in the Maoist heartland. In addition security presence in the form of the formidable Assam Rifles, an existing and active counter-insurgency grid and the prevalence of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act will act as major obstacles for the Maoists. Sustaining such expansion will call for diversion of resources in terms of leadership, active cadres and arms and ammunition from the heartland – the core areas – at least in the initial stages until these new areas are able to attain self sufficiency in these aspects.



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