Friday, July 3, 2009

Grievance guerrillas -- KPS GIll

Crack tactics, tackle Maoists


K.P.S. GILL (4 July 2009)

Wherever I have confronted terrorism and insurgency, from early encounters with Naxalism in Assam, through the multiple insurgencies in that state, then, in Kashmir, Punjab and, eventually, in Chhattisgarh, my first effort was always to develop a fair understanding of motive, intent and ideology of the groups. It is out of these that their strategies and tactics flow.
The degree of force, the nature of targets, the tactics and weapons deployed — each of these is defined by the underlying character and objectives of the group’s leadership.
Despite the fact that the Khalistani terrorists claimed to be fighting for Sikh rights, the reality was that this was an opportunistic platform for people who were trying to seize power through the use of limitless and indiscriminate violence. Significantly, a majority of their targets were, in fact, the very Sikhs they claimed to be “protecting”.
On the other hand, I recall, that when local explosives were used in the serial blasts in Hyderabad in August 2007 — at that juncture, for the first time — there was some speculation that the attack may have been engineered by the Maoists. This was a line of conjecture that I rejected immediately. The Maoists have many sins to their name, but putting bombs in public places to target random civilians are not among these.
There was evidently a comprehensive failure of assessment on the part of the Marxists, not only in Lalgarh, but in the preceding proclivity to deny or distort the reality of the Maoist gains in the state. This can partly be explained in terms of the utterly polarised and muddied discourse in India.
What we see is a whole spectrum of perspectives from the ultra-romantic to sweeping condemnation: intellectuals and political players have alternately projected the Maoists as heroic defenders of the oppressed masses, or as “mere” criminals, thugs and extortionists.
The reality lies elsewhere. This is an ideologically motivated grouping – though not all its members could conceivably have a full comprehension of ideology and strategy. This is no different from the agencies of the state: how many footsoldiers of the paramilitary forces or police, for instance, understand the Constitution of India? The core leadership of the Maoists certainly has a coherent vision of ideology and approach. At lower levels, what we have is the mobilisation of “grievance guerrillas”, people who join the ranks because of specific wrongs, deficits and needs.
The crucial element that must be grasped is that the Maoists have never been able to create a “liberated area” anywhere in India. Once the security forces enter, they simply cede territories. There is never a direct and wider confrontation, though small police parties may be opportunistically ambushed.
What was seen at Lalgarh — despite panicked assessments of a Maoist “liberated zone” being carved out — was a transient and tactical disruption based on a specific local incident and through the creation of militant front organisation activity.
Even here, the dominance of the Maoists was vastly exaggerated. While I was in Midnapore — though I was prevented from entering the affected areas — I was able to talk to several villagers coming from what was generally thought to be “Maoist-dominated” territory. Oddly, when they were questioned, the replies encountered were that their village was free from Maoist influence, but others “10 to 15 kilometres away” were controlled by the rebels. Those familiar with such matters will confirm that this is the standard response across India for all unverified rumours.
By and large, the Maoists are essentially making inroads into regions of governmental neglect by trying to dominate areas that are either very lightly governed as a matter of policy, or where the reach of governance has diminished. This was dramatically visible during my tenure in Chhattisgarh.
There was much talk about the situation in Bastar, and how the Maoists had established “dominance” across this vast administrative division — the heart of violence in the state. What I found, however, was that the total presence of police forces in the area was abysmal. Across 39,114 square kilometres was a total sanctioned strength of 2,197 policemen (5.62 per 100 square kilometres). Actual availability was just 1,389, yielding a ratio of just 3.55 policemen per 100 square kilometres.
I recall that I travelled long distances through Chhattisgarh, often late at night, but would not see a single policeman on duty. Another signal abdication was police officers turning up for meetings in civilian clothes to avoid detection by the Maoists.
Much of current discourse attributes far more popular support to the Maoists than is, in fact, the case. Thus, we are told (inaccurately) that the Maoists principally dominate tribal areas because these populations are among the poorest of the poor. What is ignored here is the sheer and demonstrative brutality of the Maoists — cold-blooded killings; the cutting off of limbs for the smallest of infractions; harsh and humiliating punishments for “co-operating” with the government, or otherwise acting against the will of the local Maoist leadership.
This, precisely, was what was on display in Lalgarh. No other tactical purpose was served through the killing of Marxist cadres and the macabre display of at least one corpse for days on end, other than to inspire widespread terror. It is notable that once the security forces had moved back into Lalgarh the thousands who had fled the Maoist terror quickly returned to their homes.
If the Maoists are to be defeated, the state and its agencies will have to develop a detailed understanding of their strategies, tactics and underlying ideology. Such an understanding is now conspicuous by its absence, with the notable exception of the police leadership in Andhra Pradesh and a few officers in the intelligence establishment. To my surprise, it appears to be evidently and abundantly lacking among the Marxists in West Bengal.

Lalgarh: fear, power and obedience

Date:03/07/2009 URL:

Lalgarh: fear, power and obedience

Praveen Swami

Can democratic institutions resist a cult of death?

Four years ago, in a newspaper interview that went unnoticed even in West Bengal, ‘Comrade Dhruba’ described plans for a guerrilla campaign that would stretch from Medinipur to Malda. But the Communist Party of India (Maoist) central committee member had words of reassurance for his impeccably bourgeois, English-speaking audience. “ We do not plan violence in Kolkata,” he said, “ because when we establish our bases there, the people will be forc ed to obey us.”

Marketed as an authentic adivasi rebellion against misrule, backwardness and human rights abuses, the still-unfolding violence in Lalgarh in fact provides graphic insights into exactly how India’s Maoists command obedience. Lalgarh’s key leaders — a caste-Hindu from Andhra Pradesh with a Kalashnikov in hand, and an affluent public-works contractor backed by the Trinamool Congress — have demonstrated that there is an intimate relationship between fear and power.

Fittingly, perhaps, the Lalgarh crisis began with a murderous act of violence — albeit an abortive one. Minutes after West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee left the site of a new steel plant on November 2, 2008, a massive improvised explosive device went off under the road he had just passed over. If rats in the fields around Salboni hadn’t chewed through the kilometre-long wire connecting the IED to the hands which controlled the explosion, Mr. Bhattacharjee would have died.

For months before the bombing, there had been localised protests against the construction of the Rs. 350 billion JSW-Bengal Steel plant at Salboni. No large-scale displacement of local residents was involved. Of the 5,000 acres needed to build the plant, 4,500 acres were owned by the State government, while the remaining 500 were purchased by the JSW-Bengal Steel at relatively high prices. But Maoist-affiliated groups argued that the State had no right to the forest land it was making over to the plant: it belonged, they insisted, to the region’s adivasis.

The police responded to the November 2 bombing by detaining over a dozen Lalgarh area residents for questioning — a far from unusual practice after a major terrorist attack. Many of those detained, predictably, had no connection with terrorists. On November 3, for example, the police held retired schoolteacher Kshmananda Mahato and three teenage school students, Eben Muru, Goutam Patra and Buddhadev Patra. Even though all four were let off the next day, some local residents were incensed.

Clash between police and locals

Matters came to a head on November 5. Early that morning, the police raided the village of Chhoto Pelia in search of Sasadhar Mahato — the fugitive CPI (Maoist) operative alleged to have commanded the attempted assassination of the Chief Minister. Fighting broke out between them and the local residents who the police claim were compelled by the Maoists present in the village to obstruct their way. Fourteen women were injured; one woman, Chhitmani Murmu, lost an eye.

From November 7, the anger transformed into street protests. Led by the Bharat Jakat Majhi Marwa (BJMM), a body of traditional adivasi community leaders, Salboni residents closed roads and blockaded the Lalgarh police station. On November 14, though, the BJMM leadership reached an agreement with the local authorities. But its workers were now attacked by members of the newly-formed Police Santrosh Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities: PSBJC), which accused the traditional adivasi leadership of selling out the people it represented.

Who constituted the PSBJC? Its principal leader, Chattradhar Mahato, was a long-standing Trinamool Congress supporter who had made a small fortune from public-works contracts — and fugitive Maoist Sasadhar Mahato’s brother. Trinamool leaders claim he was expelled two years ago, but have produced no evidence to back this claim. Notably, Trinamool Congress flags were regularly flown by the PSBJC cadre at their protests; at many places in Lalgarh, the party’s banners still share space with those of the CPI (Maoist).

From the outset, it was clear that the PSBJC had no intention of making peace. Its demands were designed to invite rejection: that West Medinipur’s Superintendent of Police do penance by performing “sit-ups holding his ears;” that all policemen in Lalgarh crawl on all fours from Dalilpur to Chhoto Pelia, rubbing their noses in the dirt; that all those arrested on terrorism-related charges since 1998 be released.

Even then, the State government attempted to stave off a confrontation. On November 27, the day of the deadline set by the PSBJC, the West Bengal police shut down 13 posts and camps in the Lalgarh area. Later, on December 1, two more police posts were abandoned. But West Bengal’s increasingly desperate efforts to make peace failed — and a murderous meltdown followed.

The PSBJC announced the suspension of its struggle — but on ground, formed a parallel administration. Its Maoist allies prevented the entry of the police and administration in the villages of Belpahari, Binpur, Lalgarh, Jamboni, Salboni and Goaltore.

From here, the Maoist death squads launched a series of increasingly brutal attacks. BJMM’s Sudhir Mandal, who organised a massive anti-Maoist rally in December, was shot dead. In February 2009, Maoists fired on the funeral procession of the assassinated Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader, Nandalal Pal, killing three. Five more CPI(M) supporters were killed in April, as were four poll staff and police personnel. June brought a fresh wave of attacks.

“The Maoists did not capture Lalgarh,” counter-terrorism analyst Ajai Sahni observes, “the State deserted the people.”

Maoist groups had long been preparing the ground for just such a situation. In 2005, following the assassination of CPI(M) leaders Raghunath Murmu, Bablu Mudi and Mahendra Mahato, the prestigious South Asia Intelligence Review warned of the possibility of a “Naxalbari Redux” — a reference to the Darjeeling district hamlet from where, in March 1967, began a six-year Maoist insurgency that claimed hundreds of lives.

Documents seized from three CPI (Maoist) leaders, researcher Saji Cherian noted in the article, showed plans to attack or blow up police stations. There were also notebooks with details of how adivasis in Bankura, Purulia and West Medinipur were to be educated about their exploitation — and how they could be “freed.”

Starting with an October 14, 2004, attack which claimed the lives of six Eastern Frontier Rifles personnel in West Medinipur district, the CPI (Maoist) launched increasingly ferocious attacks.

Political allies

It also made political allies. In February last year, the West Bengal police arrested Himadri Sen-Roy, the Bengal state secretary of the CPI (Maoist). From Roy’s interrogation, the police acquired a mass of details on how the Maoists were developing a symbiotic relationship with the Trinamool Congress and the welter of so-called civil society movements that had sprung up to oppose West Bengal’s industrialisation drive.

Top Maoist leaders, Sen-Roy is said to have told the police, visited Nandigram in 2006, soon after the Trinamool Congress and Islamist groups initiated what would turn into a bloody confrontation. They sensed opportunity. Sen-Roy claims to have persuaded a range of political figures that their interests and those of the CPI (Maoist) were similar: among them, Trinamool leader Subendhu Adhikari and eminent writer and activist Mahashweta Devi.

Early in 2007, Sen-Roy is alleged to have said, Maoist military commanders purchased Rs. 8 lakh worth of weapons — six .315-bore rifles and ammunition — to set up an armed unit in Nandigram. Dozens of locally-made weapons were also purchased to arm new cadre. The weapons were stored at Sonachura in East Medinipur, an area which saw some of the worst violence during the Nandigram agitation.

Meanwhile, top CPI (Maoist) commander Molajella Koteswar Rao set about constructing military infrastructure in the Lalgarh area. According to Sen-Roy’s testimony to the police — which, under the law, is not admissible in a court — Rao extorted between Rs. 8 lakh every month from roads, construction and forest-produce contracts operating in the districts of Paschim Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia. In addition, CPI (Maoist) units outside West Bengal pumped in a further Rs. 1.5 lakh a month to train recruits in Jharkhand and Orissa’s Mayurbhanj forests.

By 2008, the Intelligence Bureau was reporting Maoist activity in all but one of West Bengal’s 18 districts. Three districts — Bankura, West Medinipur and Purulia —were graded among the most affected in the country. Between January and October 2008, 21 fatalities were reported from the districts in 34 Maoist attacks.

Like the Lalgarh violence, these killings did nothing for the poor adivasis in whose name they were executed: but the CPI (Maoist) doesn’t seem to care.

In one recent interview, Koteswar Rao candidly admitted that his party was willing to endorse almost any form of violence:
“ We do not support the way they attacked the Victoria station [sic.]”, he said of the Lashkar-e-Taiba jihadists who executed November’s carnage in Mumbai, “ where most of the victims were Muslims. At the same time, we feel that the Islamic upsurge should not be opposed as it is basically anti-U.S. and anti-imperialist in nature. We, therefore, want it to grow.”

West Bengal will be a test of whether democratic institutions prove capable of resisting this cult of death.


The ' Observer Research Foundation - Chennai ', a non-profit think-tank, conducted a two day seminar - " The Naxalite Movement " in Chennai between 28 - 29 Jan 2005.

A number of well researched papers were read out at the seminar. It was an intellectually stimulating fare.

That the Naxalite Movement is wedded to the ideology of violence can be clearly discerned from the following interview (excerpts) given by the People's War Group (PWG) Leader - M. Lakshmana Rao to a Telugu daily:

Q. The PWG has today come to be identified as another militant outfit, another sore on India's troubled landscape. You are being equated with the insurgents of the N.E. / J&K.
How is your fight different from theirs?

A. The movements of the N.E. AND J&K have a very restricted aim. They are fighting to protect their NATIONAL INTERESTS. Our aim is to DISLODGE THE IMPERIALISTS WITH THE GUN. The party, which is based on the communist ideology, is building a movement that will bring forth the rule of the proleteriat. PROLETERIAT DICTATORSHIP. In that sense we have a wider, all encompassing view.

Q. Why have you chosen the path of violence? Why not democratic means to acheive your aim?

A. Because the rule of the masses cannot be acheived through normal political means. The Indian people have only one way to usher in modern democracy: ARMED STRUGGLE.

Q. Both the State and your party are using violence. And caught in the crossfire are innocent Indians. Innocent proleteriat Indians. Are you being fair to them?

A. Terming our activities as violence is not correct. Ours is counter-violence. We are resisting the violence unleashed by the State on the proleteriat. Again, I would like to remind you that it is not the PWG who is fighting the imperialists. It is the masses against the State. The PWG is only leading them. So it is the people against the repression. Its the people's war. And who else will be killed in a people's war - but people? Over 1300 people have been killed in the crossfire. OF THIS ONLY A VERY SMALL NUMBER WERE GUERRILLAS. The rest were all prey to the violence unleashed by the State. The State is responsible for their deaths.

Q. Wouldn't the right to self-determination lead to the disintegration of the country?


Marxists invent false histories

Marxists invent false histories – KPS Gill

The suspension of common sense and the astonishing embrace of nonsense

KPS Gill reports on Lalgarh for The Telegraph, Armed with the experience that tackled Punjab militancy

K.P.S Gill, dubbed ‘Supercop’ for bringing the Punjab militancy to its knees, reached Calcutta on June 26 on the invitation of The Telegraph to assess the Lalgarh operation against the backdrop of his strategic and tactical experience in the field. Gill spent the day in Calcutta, doing “extended homework” on Lalgarh. “Till now, I have been watching the situation from afar. Now I will be following the developments more closely,” he said before interacting with some people in the city familiar with the Lalgarh operation. The next morning, when the security forces were trying to recapture Ramgarh that fell later in the day, Gill proceeded to Lalgarh. As Gill’s vehicle entered Midnapore town, police personnel waved the vehicle down and asked him to follow them to the police superintendent’s office. Gill was called in with a request to stay away from Lalgarh but soon the session became a full-fledged discussion with a steady stream of officers walking up to him, saluting him and sharing their experiences with him. The administration told Gill that he would be escorted back to Calcutta after lunch because of his Z-plus security tag and because the roads were heavily mined. However, setting out for lunch, Gill made a detour and travelled towards Lalgarh, interacting with several people on the way. Eventually, at a check post, Gill ran into a wall of police and paramilitary personnel. By then, the veteran who once sent shivers down extremist belts had collected enough information to fulfil his assignment for The Telegraph.

Truth about Lalgarh1
As I briefly toured West Midnapore district during the police action in Lalgarh (I was prevented from going into the affected area on “security” grounds), the most dramatic lessons of the crisis, through all its phases — the slow build-up over seven months of state denial, appeasement and progressive error; paralysis in the face of rising Maoist violence; and the final, almost effortless resolution, as the rebels simply melted away in the face of the first evidence of determined use of force — were abundantly clear to me: the complete absence of historical memory in the institutions of the state, and the need for each administration to repeatedly reinvent the wheel.
The West Bengal government is not the first to go through this fruitless cycle; or the first to allow immeasurable harm to be inflicted on its citizens as a result of what is nothing more than the suspension of common sense. Right from my days in Assam, I have seen this cycle afflict virtually every administration confronted with the threat of terrorism across the country — even in theatres of eventual and exceptional counter-terrorism success.
After visiting Midnapore and talking to various people, including police officers, I learned that the operations essentially comprised marching into areas supposedly infested by Naxalites. In the early 1970s, when the Naxalites started setting up cells in the district that I was then heading in Assam, we had relied on building up intelligence so as to pinpoint the hideouts of the Naxalite leadership. I recall that we had identified 85 such places, and when we raided these places, we were able to arrest 74 Naxalites, virtually breaking the back of the movement in the state.
In the current situation, the operations are not intelligence-based but only aimed at area dominance. This is a strikingly inferior response to intelligence-based operations. I still remember a remark made by the last British inspector-general of Assam in an inspection note at the Sonari police station, that “one proper arrest is equivalent to six months of patrolling by a company of policemen”. This, incidentally, had been written shortly after a movement launched by the Revolutionary Communist Party of India (well known for the Dum Dum-Basirhat raid in West Bengal) had been put down by Assam Police.
The government and its agencies go into a state of denial during initial manifestations of extremist violence and terrorism — and “initial” here may mean years and decades. Administrative inaction is couched in a wide range of alibis; agencies connected with the state and the “intelligentsia” add to this by putting forward “solutions” which serve as apologetics for anti-state forces. The debate is taken over by these knee-jerk, inchoate “political” and “developmental” solutions and by the “root cause” argument: that extremism is the result of national issues like poverty and injustice rather than being driven by any ideological motive.
Indeed, the Marxist leadership in West Bengal has been exceptionally imaginative in the invention of false histories, claiming that the Naxalite movement of the 1967-75 phase was defeated by their government’s administrative and land reforms that cut away the Naxalite recruitment base (the CPM-led Left Front incidentally came to power in 1977). Anyone who is even superficially familiar with the history of that phase would, however, immediately recall that the Naxalites were crushed — indeed, brutally crushed — by the Congress government of Siddhartha Shankar Ray. If at all reforms had a salutary impact, it was only after the capacities of the rebels had been comprehensively neutralised by relentless police action.
As the Maoists now restore progressive ascendancy in parts of the state, however, such nonsense continues to be given wide publicity, not only by ill-informed “intellectuals”, but, astonishingly, by the Marxist party leadership as well, even as the real magnitude of the threat is denied, and the basics of policing and wide deficits in police and intelligence capacities are ignored.
I have seen this, again and again, in theatre after theatre. The state and police paralysis witnessed at Lalgarh was, for instance, much in evidence in the early phases of the Khalistani movement in Punjab. Among the hundreds of incidents illustrating the collapse of administration, perhaps the most humiliating was the February 1984 episode, when six fully armed policemen were dragged into the Golden Temple by militants. The response — 24 hours later — came from senior police officials who begged Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale to release the men and hand over their weapons.
After protracted negotiations, the dead body of one policeman was handed over, and five policemen were released. Their weapons were never returned. No action was ever taken on the murder of the policeman.
Andhra Pradesh has now become a model of effective police response to Naxalism, but few recall the decades of Maoist dominance in wide areas of this state, and the apologetics that were advanced in favour of the extremists in the highest echelons of government. Then chief minister N.T. Rama Rao, for instance, described the Naxalites as “true patriots”; he and his successors, across party lines, found it expedient (as the Trinamul Congress recently has), to form opportunistic electoral alliances with the Naxalites — to the inevitable advantage of the rebels.
Those who now celebrate the prowess of the Greyhounds forget that this force was created as far back as in 1989, and it is only under unambiguous political mandate after 2005 that an enormously empowered Andhra Pradesh police and this special force have been able to inflict near-comprehensive defeat on the Maoists in the state.
Political leaders in West Bengal must see through their own platitudes and falsifications to comprehend the core of state infirmity that constitutes the foundations of the Maoist power. The absurd alibis that have been advanced to evade the necessity of response must be abandoned at the earliest, and not after the sheer quantum of the loss of innocent lives — as has been the case in other theatres — simply forces the state to respond.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Marxists, Maoists... Is there a difference?

Marxists, Maoists... Is there a difference?
Balbir K. Punj
June.19 : The "liberation" of Lalgarh by Maoists is a logical upshot of the politics of violence and savagery that the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) successfully practised against its political opponents in West Bengal for over three decades. The state, in the not too distant past, was known for its high intellectual content in public discourse. Today, violence is intrinsic to its politics.
While a part of West Bengal burns, two key actors in state politics, the Congress and the CPI(M), are busy playing the blame game. The ruling Marxists and their fellow travellers (in the media and numerous NGOs) are paralysed in this crisis because of ideological confusion. The rebel Maoists are doing in Lalgarh what the Marxists have been preaching and selectively practising while dealing with dissent in West Bengal and Kerala — the Left’s two stronghold states.
Of course, the Congress is living up to its record of hunting with the hound and running with the hare for short-term political gain, but this will cost the nation dearly.
The CPI(M)-Maoist nexus snapped when the chief minister of West Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, was sought to be assassinated by Maoists weeks before the recent Lok Sabha polls.
According to the latest news reports, the Maoists have dug up roads at several places and blocked others with tree trunks in Lalgarh. The houses and offices of CPI(M) leaders are being vandalised. Fresh violence has killed one CPI(M) leader and two party activists and left several others injured. There is a complete breakdown of law and order in the area.
Last week, people surrounded Marxist leader Subrata Kar’s house in Khejuri, in West Bengal’s East Midnapore district, asking the police to search the house for evidence of corruption in several state and Central government schemes. The police did not arrive so the people themselves ransacked the house and recovered some 20 National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) work cards meant for below-poverty-line families.
The CPI(M) branch office at Gholabari was burnt and in the debris many half-burnt government documents were found. In another party office in Kalaghachia there was an entire file regarding the appointment of 350 Integrated Child Development Scheme workers in Khejuri. A few months ago, fair price shops became the target of public ire as the foodgrain distribution system broke down and several leads linking shopowners with the CPI(M) were exposed. The CPI(M) domination that went on for over three decades survived and thrived mainly because people were afraid of revolting against their tyranny.
Newspapers reported that it was the discovery of government appointment files, NREGS cards and other benefit cards for the poor in the houses of prominent CPI(M) panchayat leaders that fuelled villagers’ fury against them. When the police was compelled to search these houses, it was found that most of them had also concealed illegal firearms and ammunitions. For instance, in Haludbari, panchayat chief Pranabesh Pradhan had to flee from his house as angry villagers surrounded it. His house, according to news reports, is the best in the village. Villagers said they knew that he was a corrupt man, but did not protest earlier for "fear of being booked by the police in false cases". The police recovered two guns and two pistols from his house.
There is a definite link between the Maoists in West Bengal with the ones in neighbouring Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Several well-planned attacks against police outposts have taken place in these three states recently. The administration seems to be unable to trace the supply of arms and ammunition to these Maoist groups. The heightened activity of these groups, read with the discovery of arms and ammunition at village level in CPI(M)-governed West Bengal, may provide leads in this dead-end investigation.
Nepal seems to be the transit point for these supplies. The Delhi police recently nabbed an Indian national who was a conduit for money, counterfeit notes, arms and recruiting agents for Pakistan-based militants operating from Nepal. Despite the election victory of the Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Orissa, the increasing strength of Naxalites and Maoists in his state cannot be overlooked. It seems the whole of east India, extending as far as eastern Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, is being run by parallel administrations of various Marxist and Maoist groups.
In West Bengal, the Congress-Trinamul Congress combine has successfully beaten the Marxists in their own game. So far only the Marxists had stoked violence against either "class enemies" or "deviationists" exploiting occasionally genuine but mostly imaginary grievances of the masses. While fighting a relentless battle against the Marxists, Mamata Banerjee has internalised many of these traits and in the process the Marxists are getting a taste of their own medicine.
Incidentally, what has happened to all the NGOs who had screamed hoarse following the roughing up of some young men and women at the hands of some ruffians styling themselves as activists of Ram Sene in a Mangalore pub? None of these rent-a-cause activists were seen when human rights and the rule of the law are being trampled upon in Lalgarh so brazenly. Their silence speaks loudly about their hypocrisy.
The occasional clashes between Maoists and Marxists, however, do not mean that there’s any real difference between the two. Both believe in dictatorship and snuffing out of dissent. They may differ on strategy, but not about goals. Also, at times, Marxists and Maoists kill each other, not because of sharp differences on fundamentals but because violence is central to their creed.
While the Congress in New Delhi celebrates its return to power, the ground situation is not improving in the violence-affected eastern parts of the country. In fact, the only state government that has succeeded in building up a counter-force to Naxalites is of Chhattisgarh, which is under pressure from Left intellectuals and the Centre to disband this counter-terror force. But now that the West Bengal ruling party’s secret storage of arms and ammunition at village level has been exposed, it would be worth watching how the Centre will act.
Balbir K. Punj can be contacted at,-maoists-is-there-a-difference.aspx

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

At work for war -- cooking CPM goose

At work for war
Maoists, state begin drill

June 17: Late last night, at a small camp in Lalgarh’s Kantapahari, six Maoists held a meeting when word reached that central forces had started arriving in Midnapore.
The meeting, headed by Bikash who runs the Maoists’ Lalgarh operations and guided over the phone apparently by Kishanji who heads their armed wing in the country, decided to set up the first line of defence by this morning.
The task was completed by the time home secretary Ardhendu Sen arrived in Midnapore to review the situation in Lalgarh.
By 9am, the only two arterial roads leading to Lalgarh from Midnapore town, capable of carrying heavy vehicles, had been dug up at 11 points. Each trench across the road was 4ft deep and 3ft wide, making it impossible for any vehicle to cross over.
The Maoists bragged of a more diabolical plan, too. If the police smash through the defences and reach Lalgarh, the rebels said, they would have a four-tier barricade in place.
In the first layer, there will be children, followed by women. Tribals armed with bows and arrows will bring up the third layer. Armed Maoists will position themselves in the fourth layer, they said, seemingly oblivious to the macabre irony in the “people’s war”.
Aware of the plan, chief secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti appealed to the people of Lalgarh not to allow themselves to be used as “human shields”. Police sources later said they would try to disperse the shields using rubber bullets and tear gas.
By the end of the day, the state government, too, announced that it would act. But the time of the launch is being kept confidential, not for tactical reasons alone — the state government has yet to overcome its indecisiveness.
After returning to Calcutta, Sen announced: “An operation against the Maoists will take place. It will be led by state police with the central forces providing the back-up. Our main aim will be to ensure minimum bloodshed. But I cannot reveal when it will take place.”
Sources said 18 companies would be involved in the operation, of which 13 will be central forces and five from the state police.
Each company has about 100 policemen who can go into action — which means around 1,800 personnel will be pitted against the Maoists. The rebels’ number is put at 250 but more guerrillas are said to be moving towards Lalgarh from Orissa and Jharkhand. Kishanji has apparently reached Belpahari, 20km from Lalgarh. Besides, the Maoists are counting on some of the villagers they have trained since November last year.
The police sources said it would not be a “swift and short” operation. “We know the area is mined and dug up, so we have to move forward carefully,” an officer said. “We will have a minesweeper at the head of the convoy and a truck carrying sandbags along with us. After the minesweeper has cleared the way, we will bridge the dug-up roads with the sandbags and then move on.”
The officer said the objective would be to “reoccupy” an area, consolidate their position there and then push forward. The plan is largely in tune with the tactics being focused upon since P. Chidambaram took over as home minister at the Centre.
In the police’s arsenal will be AK-47 and AK-56 rifles, grenade launchers and rocket launchers. Senior police officers from Calcutta, like IG (co-ordination), have moved to Midnapore.
The rebels acknowledge the police’s superiority in firepower and supply of ammunition but said they were banking on familiarity with the terrain and local support.
It was not possible to verify the claims by the Maoists. At every dug-up point, the Maoists said, they would be setting up “checkposts” which will be guarded by “50 to 60” armed supporters.
“They will all have cellphones and at the first sign of any activity, they will warn other checkposts along the way,” a Maoist leader said.
Knowing that the policemen will be wearing bulletproof jackets, the Maoist cadres have been trained to shoot at the face, arms and legs, another leader said.
If the police decide to skip the arterial roads and use forest trails, they may have to abandon armoured vehicles while ferrying themselves across the Kangshabati river in the absence of bridges.
The five CRPF companies stayed put at the Midnapore police lines today, drawing up maps to chalk out operational routes.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Contain Maoist menace -- Sandhya Jain

Contain Maoist menace

Sandhya Jain (Pioneer, 12 May 2009)

When Chinese wish the wrath of heaven upon one, they invoke it gently: ‘May you live in interesting times’, a euphemism for living without peace and stability. A prolonged spell of ‘interesting times’ is now upon our Himalayan neighbour, ironically Beijing’s budding ally.

At the time of writing, Nepal’s President Ram Baran Yadav’s deadline for Government formation seemed unlikely to fructify, though CPN (UML), with 109 seats, and Nepali Congress, with 114 seats, were frontrunners in forging a new coalition. Yet former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, alias Prachanda, whose attempts to grab totalitarian power by infiltrating and taking over the Army triggered the current crisis, may also succeed in sticking to power.

Prachanda has made overtures to CPN (UML) leader Jhalanath Khanal, the likely Opposition candidate for the Prime Minister’s job. The Nepali Congress and 22 other political parties support him, though the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (53 seats) is undecided. A major hitch is Prachanda’s determination to block Government formation until the exit of the Army chief, and threat to return to the violence that rent the once-Hindu kingdom for over a decade.

Nepali Hindu backlash against the Christian-Maoist leadership has now unfurled, and will continue no matter what political deals are struck in the immediate future. The mask of secular-atheist democracy worn by Maoists in their decade-long assault upon the Hindu kingdom is off; the monarchy has paid the price of conspiracy married to its own ineptitude. But now political parties, institutions like the Army, temples and devotees, and the people in general, recognise that they face a Christian tyrant in Prachanda. China can ignore this Western-Christian infiltration in it’s ‘near abroad’ at its own peril; fresh attempts to evangelise in Afghanistan have recently come to light.

Nepal’s quest for Hindu reaffirmation shows in the timely surfacing of a video of Prachanda revealing plans to permanently capture state power by stuffing the Army with PLA cadre. The video pertains to a meeting with PLA cadre in Chitwan on January 2, 2008, when Mr GP Koirala led the interim Government.

Prachanda’s bragging that Maoists had tricked everyone into believing their armed combatants numbered 35,000, when they were less than 8,000, exposes the complicity of the United Nation’s Mission in Nepal in validating 20,000 Maoist soldiers for induction into the regular Army. The integration of Maoist goons into the professional Army was resisted by Army chief Gen Rukmangad Katawal, which triggered the current crisis.

The UNMIN is no innocent taken for a ride. The UN is neither neutral nor apolitical; it was conceived, like the League of Nations before it, as an instrument for continuing Western domination in the post-World War II era. Racism is subtly institutionalised in its mandate, as witnessed by its relentless usage against former colonies and regions that could not be tamed in the pre-war era. Anyone who does not agree with this assessment should explain why the services of South Africa Apartheid expert, Gen Jan Smuts, were utilised in preparing the Charter of both the League of Nations and the United Nations! South Africa was not a member of either body - but Smuts was a racist par excellence.

To return to Nepal, Gen Katawal had a royal upbringing as adopted son of the late King Mahendra. He and the loyalist Nepali Congress to which Mr Ram Baran Yadav belongs would recognise the danger Maoists pose to the autonomy of the Himalayan kingdom and the integrity of its ancient ethos.

Prachanda showed his true face blatantly with the dismissal of south Indian Brahmin priests of the famed Pashupatinath Temple on January 1, 2009. Their replacement with Nepali citizens without religious lineage or training enraged Nepali Bhandari priests (protectors of the temple’s assets and managers of its administrative affairs), who roused devotees and took up cudgels against this gross interference in the nation’s holiest shrine. An appeal by deposed King Gyanendra to the people to not politicise the temple issue made Prachanda beat a tactical retreat.

But soon after this episode, Hindu devotees returning from Gorakhpur in India were humiliated by the seizure of their copies of the Bhagwat Gita. These incidents underline the persisting threat to Nepal’s millennia-old Hindu culture and civilisational ethos since the political ascent of the Maoists and the abolition of the Hindu Kingdom.

It is pertinent that immediately after the Maoist takeover the Vatican appointed a Bishop and expanded evangelical activity in Nepal. The top Maoist leadership is Christian; hence evangelism could be complicit in the temple crisis and the current political crisis.

The video showed Prachanda bragging that Maoists formed the Young Communist League with thousands of youth (goons hated in civil society for kidnappings, extortions, even murder, and grabbing property worth millions which has still not been restored to their rightful owners) “who now add to our strength,” a euphemism for their skills in street violence. He admitted having “enough money” to prepare a good battle plan for revolt and state takeover.

The current crisis began when Prachanda suddenly dismissed Gen Katawal on May 3 and appointed loyalist Gen Kul Bahadur Khadka in his place. That the move was intrinsically divisive was evident when four ruling alliance partners, the CPN (UML), Madhesi People’s Rights’ Forum, Sadbhavana Party and CPN (United), boycotted the Cabinet meeting that took the decision. Maoist urgency followed Gen Katawal’s decision to reinstate eight Generals retired by the Government, halt military recruitments, and not participate in the National Games.

The CPN (UML) exited the Government and threatened a no-confidence motion; the General refused to step down; Mr Ram Baran Yadav, on the appeal of 22 out of 24 political parties to “protect the Constitution” and prevent total capture of power by Maoists, asked the Army chief to stay put. The main Opposition Nepali Congress rejected the sacking of the Army chief and warned of street protests.

The Prachanda-gate video makes it clear that Maoists cadre strength was always grossly exaggerated. As the fighters validated by UN are still confined in UN-monitored barracks, it is clear that the crowds on the streets are simply rented, like those seen in the coloured revolutions of Central Asia, which could suggest foreign funding. Now that the truth is known, there is no need to be intimidated; the Army and nationalist political parties should do the needful to contain this menace.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We don't want to be Congress' palanquin bearers: Karat

This is a concession by Karat that CPM was in fact a palanquin bearer of Congress during the UPA regime. kalyan

We don't want to be Congress' palanquin bearers: Karat
Agencies Posted online: Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 at 1503 hrs

New Delhi : CPI(M) foresees a realignment of political forces after the Lok Sabha elections in favour of the Third Front and rules out supporting Congress in government formation as it does not not want to be its "palanquin bearers". The party says it will also "very seriously" consider joining a non-Congress secular government and does not outrightly rule out the possibility of heading such a formation.
In a wide-ranging interview to PTI, CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat spoke on various issues including on how the Left parties would approach the Indo-US nuclear deal, an issue on which they withdrew support to the UPA government, and on the Sri Lankan issue. He was not in agreement with NCP leader Sharad Pawar that the Left parties would have to support the Congress and the UPA it heads in the post-poll scenario to keep the BJP out.
"We don't have to be palanquin bearers for anyone. There is no danger of BJP coming to power at the Centre this time. The choice will be a non-Congress secular government or a Congress-led government. I don't think the BJP is going to be in the picture," Karat said. He said in fact more parties would join the Third
Front after the elections. "We expect a realignment of forces after the elections. I am saying parties which are not with us now will come towards us," he said.
The overall trend, Karat said, has been very clear that the UPA has practically ceased to exist. Most of the parties (of the UPA) are finding their own way and parting company with the Congress as far as the elections are concerned. "All these parties will have to decide after the elections what they propose to do," he said. But when asked whether the realignment could also affect his combination, the CPI(M) leader said the parties of the Front have come into the grouping with the aim of defeating both the Congress and the BJP and their respective allies in the states.
"We have already discussed that we need to carry forward this after the Lok Sabha elections and to see that we form a government at the Centre. The regional parties that have joined with the Left parties have a stake in this project," he said. Asked if he had parties like RJD and LJP in mind when he talked about realignment, Karat said the Front has made a general appeal to all non-Congress secular parties to come together on a joint platform for pro-people economic and independent foreign policies and in defence of secularism. "Many of these parties share this approach and it is up to them to decide," he said.
To another question about Pawar's statement that the Congress and the UPA cannot ignore the Left and have to do business with it after the elections, Karat said "his intentions are good. "But as far as we are concerned, we cannot accept and support a Congress-led government. We are working for a government which will be a non-Congress secular one."
Asked if he would mind the Congress being part of it, the CPI(M) leader said it was for the Congress to decide whether it would facilitate formation of a secular government. "It is for them to decide." He dismissed a view that the position of Congress and the Left was only posturing before elections. "Let us see what happens. After the elections, everybody's position will become clear. My party adopts a political line. It is not some on-the-spur of the moment decision. "We have adopted a political line in which we have called for the defeat of Congress and the BJP and the formation of an alternative secular government. We will work for that to succeed. Let us see."
Asked about the possibility of the CPI(M) joining government at the Centre unlike in 1996 when it spurned an offer, Karat said it had been a long-standing policy (not to join a government if it cannot influence its policies) and it would take a decision after the elections.
Karat said "but we cannot say what type of government will be formed after the elections. If a non-Congress and secular government is feasible, then the matter will be taken up by us." He said last time, the matter was not not taken up very seriously because it was a Congress-led government and the party did not want to join it. "As I said, if there is a non-Congress government, the matter will be considered very seriously," he said.
Asked if the party would agree to have its own Prime Minister if an opportunity came its way, Karat said "first of all, let us discuss whether we will join a government. Then we will see what is to be done. "There are various factors we have to take into account when we decide to join a government. So let us first see what are those circumstances and then we will take a decision," the CPI(M) leader said.
On his assessment of the polls so far, he said it was clear there was a three-way contest between Congress and its allies, BJP and its allies and the non-Congress, non-BJP combination. In states like Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, the parties of the Third Front were ahead, he said. To a question about Pawar's view that CPI(M) and BSP together would not cross 65-70 seats and the Third Front would not be in a position to form a government, he said Pawar has forgotten parties like BJD, TDP, JD(S), AIADMK, PMK and others of this front.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Left in the lurch

Left in the lurch

Karats can seek succour in Venezuela to repent for their chamcha-ing Antonia.


Left could go down to 22 seats in Bengal

Kanchan Gupta | Kolkata (Pioneer, Sunday, April 26, 2009 )

Muslims, one in 3 voters, desert CPM

As people in West Bengal prepare to vote on April 30 in the first of three rounds of polling for the 15th Lok Sabha, the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Front faces what could turn out to be its worst-ever electoral performance.

According to conservative estimates cutting across party lines, the Trinamool Congress-Congress alliance could notch up an impressive tally of 14 to 17 of the 42 seats in the State. If the popular mood prevailing from north to south Bengal is any indication, the Opposition could end up winning anything between 18 and 20 seats.

Whatever the final tally, there is mounting apprehension at Alimuddin Street, where the CPI(M)’s headquarters is located, that the Marxists will suffer a setback worse than that of 1984 when the Congress won 16 seats in the election that followed Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

In that election, the Left suffered reverses in urban areas. This time, the losses are stacking up in rural constituencies. The projected losses are largely concentrated in south Bengal where the Trinamool Congress is running an aggressive campaign.

Little over a fortnight ago, the CPI(M)’s election strategists were horrified to find that the Left Front’s 2004 tally of 35 seats was at risk of being whittled down to 20 to 22 seats.

All hands were called to deck and a massive effort was launched to paper over differences within the CPI(M) and between the party and its allies in the Left Front. Simultaneously, zonal and local committees were asked to reach out to disgruntled party supporters who were toying with the idea of voting against the Left. Third, the counter-attack on the Trinamool Congress was sharpened, focusing on Mamata Banerjee's inability to come up with a positive agenda.

These steps appear to have had some impact in preventing the Left’s electoral fortunes from declining further. What has helped the CPI(M) recover some lost ground is the Trinamool’s over-emphasis on running a vitriolic campaign which includes large posters and banners that are graphically illustrated with gory visuals of charred bodies, allegedly victims of Marxist violence.

Two visuals that have been used repeatedly are those of Tapashi Mullick, who was raped and killed in Singur. The first visual shows an innocent faced teenaged girl. The second shows her half-burnt body. In a variation of this theme, some posters show four men pinning down Tapashi Mullick while a fifth man rapes her.

Such graphic depiction of violence has begun to put off people. Sensing the disquiet over the Opposition’s campaign, the CPI(M) has used all available space to publicise its ‘development agenda’ and how Mamata Banerjee is preventing the State from moving ahead. “We have a positive agenda. She is running a negative campaign,” says CPI(M) State secretary Biman Bose.

But nothing that the CPI(M) does or says at this stage will stop this poll from turning out to be the tipping point that has eluded the Opposition in West Bengal for three decades.

The push that will enable Banerjee to cross the hump which stands between victory and defeat will be provided by Bengal’s Muslims who are said to comprise 26% of the electorate but in reality could account for one in every three voters. Banerjee claims (since it suits her to do so) and most people believe (since they are

influenced by TV news) that Muslim alienation from the Marxists is on account of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s farmland-for-industry policy, which has been kept in limbo ever since the Singur disaster. But the real reason why Muslims have decided to disown the Marxists lies elsewhere.

Ironically, that reason is the revelation by the Sachar Committee, which was supported by the Left to spite the BJP, about how Muslims in West Bengal are far worse off than in any other State, including Narendra Modi’s Gujarat. Confronted with this reality, Bengal’s Muslims have begun to question the wisdom of supporting the Left.

The man who took the Sachar Committee’s revelation to the Muslim masses is Siddiqullah Chowdhury of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind. He has put up a dozen candidates in Muslim-dominated constituencies. But that could be a red herring, meant to divert attention as the community quietly consolidates behind Banerjee. And gives her the cutting edge she needs to defeat the CPI(M) in West Bengal.

How the table has turned
• CPM will take rural hit
• Mamata-Cong eye windfall of up to 17 seats
• Overkill of graphic imagery of Singur rape case may hit Cong

Array and disarray in the Left

MJ Akbar (Pioneer, Sunday, April 26, 2009 )

Leaders come in two cultures. One sort of leader accepts the necessity of accountability in public life. This group is in a minority. The majority follows a law, which their followers know only too well: “If we win, I get the credit; if we lose, you get the blame”.

It is ironic that the best democrats in Indian democracy are the Marxists, whose ideology demands class war rather than the more genteel business of planting your finger on a symbol. They treat their party as an institution, not an individual’s or family’s private property. Decisions are made through a collective system, not sent to a single individual for a royal assent or dissent. Responsibility is assigned to individuals, and individuals are stripped (as far as is humanly possible) of their ego. This is perhaps why ex-Marxists become so egotistic; all those decades of suppressed ego is suddenly let loose upon the world. There are rewards for success, even when this leads to stagnation. During 33 years of Marxist rule in West Bengal there have been only two Chief Ministers, Mr Jyoti Basu and Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. Mr Basu left because of age; he was not pushed out. No one is pushed out. More remarkably, there have been only two Finance Ministers, Mr Ashok Mitra and Mr Ashim Dasgupta. Mr Mitra resigned on an issue of principle, otherwise he might have retired only along with his friend, Mr Jyoti Basu, once again because of age. If you win elections you can do no wrong.

And that is what the problem might be in 2009. Mr Bhattacharjee could lead the Left in West Bengal to its first major setback in three decades.

The buzz in Kolkata has already moved towards post-modern: Mr Bhattacharjee has decided to resign if he cannot ensure 25 seats out of 42 for his side. How do the Kolkata addawallahs know? Political information is always porous. The man at the top of the pyramid has merely to make an observation to a confidant or two; the latter discuss the possibility with their close comrades, and word rolls down along the sides of the pyramid to reach the dabblers and journalists on the lower ledges.

There are at least three distinctive aspects of this story.

First, a Chief Minister is planning to take responsibility for failure. Politicians across the country will do badly; after all, someone has to lose for another to win. Every other politician is thinking deep thoughts on how to cling on despite defeat. This of course does not apply to dynasts, who will look for generals to hang.

Second, 25 seats out of 42 is still a clear majority. But the Left has set the bar high and will not lower it.

Third, by levelling the bar at 25, the Left has already psychologically conceded 17 seats to the Trinamool-Congress combine. Even at the height of the Congress wave following the assassination of Mrs Indira Gandhi, the Left had conceded fewer seats.

There are two reasons for this. The Muslim vote, estimated to be over 35 per cent, has switched away in large numbers. And there is no split in the anti-Left vote after the Congress accepted the slightly humiliating terms that Ms Mamata Banerjee offered during seat-sharing talks. The Marxists tried, with Mr Pranab Mukherjee’s help, to sabotage this, but final orders came from Ms Sonia Gandhi in Delhi and it went ahead. The Congress, which had six MPs in the last Lok Sabha, accepted only 16 seats out of 42. Ms Mamata, who had only one, catapulted to 28.

The Left read a clear message in this decision. The Congress was treating the Left, rather than the BJP, as its principal enemy in this general election. How? Because in the States where an alliance would have hurt the BJP, like Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the Congress rejected an alliance with leaders who could have helped defeat the BJP, like Mr Shibu Soren, Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan and Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav. The distribution of seats in Jharkhand had even been announced, but the arrangement collapsed suddenly, and inexplicably, at the last minute. As a consequence, the BJP will pick up vital extra seats in a State where it was comprehensively defeated five years ago.

The Marxists do not consider this accidental. They believe this to be part of a careful Congress strategy to marginalise the Left. There is nothing personal or sentimental about their response. They will not permit the Congress to lead another Government because they are convinced that it will use every tactic, political and administrative, behind a screen of conciliatory words, to pursue the same objective if it returns to Government. They know it is a battle of survival and they intend to survive.

They can also sense an opportunity to do unto the Congress precisely what the Congress did unto them: Use power, with the Congress support in Parliament, to target policies which the Congress has made part of its core personality, economic reform and the India-US nuclear deal. That is the dilemma which the Congress faces. Can it support a Government with a Marxist Foreign Minister who announces an abrogation of the nuclear deal? Surely Mr Manmohan Singh would never find the flexibility to support a Government in Parliament that sabotaged his main achievement. What would the Congress do in such circumstances? It is not a question of swallowing one’s pride. It would be political suicide.

Nor should anyone believe that Marxists would compromise in order to save a non-Congress, non-BJP patchwork Government. They have an agenda, which is in the public domain. They will implement it. The CPI(M) is not going to enter the history books — this is the first time they will join a Government in Delhi, if the chance arises — as having betrayed its core commitment, anti-imperialism, in order to stick to office. This is high on its list of campaign themes, as anyone interested in West Bengal and Kerala will know.

The Left will not do well. It will be mowed down in both Kerala and West Bengal, but it will still have around 40 seats in the next Parliament. Both Mr Sharad Pawar and Mr Manmohan Singh acknowledge, the first happily and the second reluctantly, that a non-BJP Government is impossible without the support of the Left. Curiously, the Left, with 60 MPs, may have been less relevant to a Government’s survival in 2004 than it could be with 35 or 40 in 2009.

It would be paradoxical, would it not, if Mr Prakash Karat were being sworn in as Foreign Minister in Delhi and Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee were submitting his resignation in Kolkata? But stranger things have happened.

Let me suggest one of them. If the BJP becomes the single largest party, you would be surprised by the number of small parties which suddenly discover the virtues of stability at a moment of economic crisis. The Left will be actually relieved: It can be where it is happiest — in the Opposition.

-- MJ Akbar is chairman of the fortnightly news magazine Covert.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Combat red terror -- Former Chief of Army Staff
To combat red terror, tackle its root causes
Shankar Roychowdhury (Asian Age, 21 April 2009)
April.21: Many people might have missed the small news item on the inside pages of newspapers, and the brief mention on the news wires scrolling at the bottom of certain television channels. Nine personnel of the CRPF’s 55th Battalion killed and 11, including an assistant commandant, injured in a two-hour clash with Naxalites on April 10 in Dantewada district of the southern Bastar region of Chhattisgarh. A couple of days earlier two police constables had been killed in the same area when their jeep was blown up by a landmine. A fairly major encounter in terms of casualties, but passing almost unnoticed with national attention focused on the elections and IPL.
Then, a couple of days later, bigger news: Naxalites in strength, between 70 and 120 of them, attacked the National Aluminium Company’s bauxite mining complex at Damanjodi in Orissa’s Koraput district, in a bid to hijack explosives, weapons and ammunition. The information is sketchy, but up to 10 or 11 CISF persons were reported killed, around the same number injured, while the attackers reportedly suffered up to seven casualties. They ransacked the CISF armoury and appeared to have got away with some amount of explosives.
But the full fury was to come four days later, April 16, the first day of the five-part general election across the country. The Naxalites struck in many of their old battlegrounds — in a series of rapid-fire attacks across Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa and Maharashtra. Eleven police and paramilitary personnel as well as eight civilians, including personnel on election duty, were killed. Just a day earlier, the Election Commission had pronounced itself "totally satisfied" with the poll arrangements. There are four phases of the election still to go — what lies ahead for us?
The electoral processes of our democracy have never held much appeal, or relevance, for many original inhabitants of this land — adivasi tribals of many ethnicities — who have often found any encounter with the Indian State a cruel and humiliating experience. Many of them have now decided to take matters into their own hands.
Welcome to the "people’s war" raging inside the guts of our country, inhabited by its most desperately poor and marginalised communities. The heartland of this faraway conflict is the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, almost a "dark continent" to much of the rest of India, where the Abujmarh, a huge forest, unsurveyed and unmapped even six decades after Independence, is virtually a "no-go" area for government forces. Comparisons with the Iron Triangle and "Special Zone D" set up near Saigon by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War are obvious and irresistible. Are we too headed in that direction?
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently described the Naxalites, officially categorised as "left-wing extremists" (LWE), as the "greatest internal security threat to the country". Let there be no doubt, Naxalism is a totally home-grown problem which we have brought upon ourselves, and for which no external elements can be blamed. Venally corrupt local administrations, particularly at the state level, have maintained a vacuum of total neglect in rural areas over the past six decades, and more specifically in the adivasi zones of extreme deprivation. Maoist LWE began in these regions, and this is now well on its way to becoming a rural insurgency in the classic Maoist mode: holding significant control of a strategic "compact revolutionary zone" (CRZ) stretching over 12 to 14 states and up to 156 districts, all predominantly of tribal communities, astride a Golden Quadrilateral deep in the Indian heartland.
More dangerously, the CRZ has created a "red corridor" of internal instability, stretching from Prachanda’s Maobadi Nepal right down to the dry and desiccated forest regions of peninsular India. In relative terms, the Maoist CRZ poses a much greater potential threat to India’s national security than either the jihadis in Kashmir, the Indian Mujahideen, or the Naga and Meitei underground in Nagaland and Manipur. The reasons are obvious — Kashmir, Nagaland, Manipur and indeed the entire Northeast are all located on the external peripheries of the country, and events there have only a limited impact on the nation’s heartland. But Maoist LWE is active deep within the geographical and geo-political gut of the heartland, and can more directly and immediately impact and disrupt the country’s political, economic, transportation, communications and security infrastructure.
Therefore, of all the internal conflicts which plague India, Maoist LWE offers the most attractive high-value low-cost strategic option for external exploitation. Rest assured: Pakistan, Bangladesh, and perhaps even "Maobadi Nepal" — as a proxy for the People’s Republic of China — are eyeing it very closely indeed.
The functional contrasts between the Maoists and the government could not be more striking, or startling. The Maoists function through a fairly centralised hierarchy and reasonably well-coordinated politico-military command and control structure for inter-state coordination, which extends right down to the villages through a network of political and military committees at central, regional, state, and zonal levels. The policy of the Union government can best be described as perplexing experimentation with decentralised anti-Naxal operations by individual state governments within their respective boundaries, according to their respective political agendas and initiatives, coordinated through a system of bureaucratic consultation through inter-state committees, where participation is often optional. State police forces and the paramilitary units they are allotted are often tied down by jurisdiction issues and problems in inter-state movement, whereas their opponents, the Naxals, can concentrate and disperse swiftly according to operational needs.
History is repeating itself: Shivaji is running rings around Aurangzeb. Time is precious, but is being wasted in a policy of drift, while the Maoists consolidate their hold in the so-called "liberated zones". Policies to alleviate the situation have to be urgently initiated. "Alleviate" is the keyword, not "defeat" — because attempts to defeat a people’s movement, which has arisen due to genuine problems, will ultimately end up defeating the nation itself, and tearing it apart in the process. Central intervention or executive direction, preferably direct, is essential in such a diverse and fragmented political milieu of totally divergent ideologies, with each state nursing problems of local personality cults and ego-perceptions. But none of this appears to be forthcoming. The Government of India and the governments of the affected states look as if they are losing this war. Whichever government comes to power after the elections, this drift has to be stopped.
Gen. Shankar Roychowdhury (Retd) is a former Chief of Army Staff and a former Member of Parliament,-tackle-its-root-causes.aspx

Friday, April 10, 2009

Karat doesn't know how to count.

The drift and decline of the Left

T V R Shenoy | April 09, 2009 | 20:53 IST

Prakash Karat told an election rally in Agartala on April 5 that it was 'thousand per cent confirmed' that the Third Front would form the government in Delhi after the Lok Sabha polls.
'Thousand per cent'? For India's sake I hope the general secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist is just as good a soothsayer as he is a mathematician.
India could fool around -- a little bit anyway -- with Third Front ministries back in the days when the global economy was booming; the dinosaur economics of the Left will lead only to drift and decline.
But drift and decline seem to be in the DNA of the Left. Look at the records, and you can see how the Communists have been losing ground.
Jawaharlal Nehru's Congress sprawled over the benches when the first Lok Sabha met in 1952, occupying 361 of the 489 seats. The other parties were in such disarray that the next largest category consisted of Independents, 37 MPs in all.
You could count the seats won by the Jan Sangh and the Hindu Mahasabha, the ancestors of today's Bharatiya Janata Party, on two hands -- and still have a few fingers left over. The Jan Sangh had only three MPs, the Hindu Mahasabha was slightly better off with four.
The single largest party on the Opposition benches was the undivided Communist Party of India, 16-strong and led by the late A K Gopalan. The Revolutionary Socialist Party had three MPs and the Forward Bloc added a solitary representative.
The title of 'Leader of the Opposition' was not in vogue in those days. Gopalan would not have qualified in any case since the CPI did not have 10 percent of the seats, not even close to that. But it was generally assumed back then that the party would develop into a national alternative to the Congress.
The Congress is now a pale imitation of its old self; the party cannot win 361 seats, probably not even half of that. The BJP has expanded almost twentyfold since the Jan Sangh and the Hindu Mahasabha days of 1952. But what of the Left?
Technically, the Left Front now has three times the number of MPs that it did back in the first Lok Sabha. But in some ways the Left has conceded space instead of going forward. In 1952 five of the CPI's 16 seats were from West Bengal and two from Tripura, both still Leftist bastions. But one MP was elected from Orissa and the other eight, half the total, were from the then Madras presidency. (The CPI drew a blank in Travancore-Cochin.)
The name 'Madras' is slightly misleading since the giant state included most of what is now Andhra Pradesh along with chunks of modern Kerala and Karnataka. Most of the Communist MPs won from Telugu-speaking areas, the exceptions being Gopalan from Cannanore and K Ananda Nambiar from Mayuram (Mayiladuthurai).
The point is that the CPI back then was strong enough to win seats on its own from Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. These are states where it now plays second fiddle to regional parties.
The CPI actually improved in the 1957 polls, both geographically as well as in absolute numbers. It had 27 MPs in the second Lok Sabha, expanding into new areas -- winning four seats in the old state of Bombay and one each in Uttar Pradesh and in Punjab. In 1962 the CPI tally went up to 29, with the party now making its parliamentary debut from Bihar too.
The Congress still dreams of winning back Uttar Pradesh though it has been whipped there in every election since 1989. The BJP has long-term plans of building a strong presence in the south, with Karnataka of course already in the party's bag. Can you imagine the CPI-M on its own managing to get a single MP elected from Uttar Pradesh, or Punjab, or Gujarat and Maharashtra (collectively the old state of Bombay)?
Fellow travellers may argue that in 2004 the Left Front registered its best performance ever in terms of numbers. How do those numbers stack up?
The CPI-M won 43 seats. Twenty-six of those were from West Bengal, 12 were from Kerala, two each from Tripura and Andhra Pradesh, and one from Tamil Nadu.
The CPI-M's junior partner the CPI won ten seats. West Bengal and Kerala each contributed three, it won two in Tamil Nadu, and one each in Jharkhand and in Andhra Pradesh. (It is a disgrace that this tattered rag of an outfit continues to be given the status of a 'national' party.)
The Forward Bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist Party each won three seats in West Bengal. Sebastian Paul, running as an independent candidate backed by the Left, won the Ernakulam seat in Kerala, as did the Janata Dal-Secular's M P Veerendra Kumar in Calicut.
Going through the lists above it is clear that the bulk of these 61 seats came courtesy of West Bengal (35) and Kerala (17). I suppose it is possible that the Left Front shall do fairly well once again in West Bengal. But it is hard to see a repeat performance in Kerala where the CPI-M chief minister and the local party boss can barely bring themselves to be civil to each other.
The problem for the Left Front is that, for all practical purposes, it does not exist outside West Bengal, Kerala, and tiny Tripura. Any major losses in West Bengal and Kerala simply cannot be made up by gains in other states.
Forget about the Third Front, there is a possibility that either the Bahujan Samaj Party or the Samajwadi Party shall overtake the CPI-M as the third-largest party in the Lok Sabha behind the BJP and the Congress. Will Comrade Karat then run around trying to create a Fourth Front?
Rereading Prakash Karat's statement, I note that the CPI-M boss spoke only of 'forming a government', not of winning a majority. That is the story of the Communist movement in India in a nutshell, it is a group that prefers to cut deals behind closed doors rather than reach out to India to win the people's mandate.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

CPM terror nexus

Squirming, CPM tells Kerala unit: stay off Abdul Madhani
Manoj C G Posted online: Mar 28, 2009 at 0114 hrs

New Delhi : With its electoral association with the PDP becoming an embarrassment and a target for attack from allies, the CPI(M) central leadership has directed its Kerala unit not to share the stage with Abdul Nassar Madhani, who is accused of having links with Islamic extremist groups, during campaigning.
It is learnt that the CPI(M)’s central leadership has taken a view that although there is nothing wrong in accepting PDP’s support, the party should not be seen as diluting its secular credentials for votes by unnecessarily promoting the PDP chief. This directive comes at a time when Muslim outfits like the Jamaat-i-Islami-Hind are upset with CPI(M)’s open flirting with Madhani.
While the Kerala unit was actively involved in defending Madhani, with state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan sharing a stage with a PDP leader in Ponnani, the central leadership has been trying hard to sell the line that the PDP is not a part of the LDF and the CPI(M) has only accepted support offered by it. This line, however, has not found favour with allies CPI and RSP, who have been maintaining that the PDP is a communal outfit. There are also reports that Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan is unhappy with the CPI(M)-PDP tie-up and has complained to the Politburo, a development though denied by general secretary Prakash Karat and VS himself.
CPI(M) leaders including Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan have been arguing that the cases against Madhani, who was acquitted in the 1998 Coimbatore serial blast case, are politically motivated at a time when a probe into Kerala’s terror links with Kashmir has revealed that many key players in the network had close links with his family or were his followers.
While it has already enlisted the support of the PDP, the CPI(M) is also wooing the Jamaat in Kerala and West Bengal and has even made a mention of the Ranganath Mishra Committee in its campaign documents. The Jamaat has been demanding implementation of the Mishra committee report which recommended 15 per cent reservation for minorities with 10 per cent exclusively for Muslims.
The CPI(M) recently held a round of discussion with the Jamaat leadership in Kerala and it is learnt that the party’s central leadership has sent a message to the outfits’s top brass here that West Bengal state secretary Biman Basu would also like to meet Jamaat leaders in the state. Interestingly, while the Jamaat’s central leadership is in favour of supporting the Left for ensuring a third alternative, the state units of the outfit are not that enthused.
Sources in the Jamaat said, it has not taken a decision so far and is weighing all options as talks are also on with the Congress. During the meeting Jamaat’s Kerala state chief T Arifali had with CPI(M) leaders, led by state minister Elamaram Kareem, it has been clearly stated that the outfit is not happy with the functioning of the Education Ministry and the CPI(M)’s decision to field PDP favourite Hussain Randathani from Ponnani, sources said. Similar is the case with West Bengal, where local Jamaat leaders have already met Trinamool chief Mamata Bannerjee. “The CPI(M) central leadership has conveyed that Basu would like to meet us. We are working out the dates and time,” a senior Jamaat leader told The Indian Express.

Friday, March 27, 2009

CPI-M is a threat to democracy & India: Book

CPI-M is a threat to democracy & India: Book

Usha Manohar in Kochi | PTI | March 27, 2009 | 12:31 IST

As the Lok Sabha poll campaign gathers steam in the Left-ruled Kerala, a top Church official has described the CPI-M as a 'threat' to democracy and warned that India will suffer the same fate as China under Mao Zedong.

'The Marxist party will use all kinds of tactics to strengthen itself in places where it is in power. That they will do throughout India once they get to power at the Centre, will be no different from Mao or Stalin,' says Cardinal Mar Varkey Vithayathil in his book Straight From Heart.

The influential Cardinal, known for his critical views even on the church establishment, says, 'The Marxist fundamentalism is a greater threat than the religious fundamentalism of the BJP. The Navy, the Army and the Air Force will come under their complete control. We can reasonably expect that what happened in China under Mao will happen in India under their rule.'

'Where is the logic of democracy if they are convinced atheists? But if they are atheists against their conscience and belief, then they are not true to themselves. Convinced atheists cannot be democratic. Democracy is based on respect for the individual and on the rule 'of the people, by the people, for the people,' Vithayathil, also the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, says.

The first Communist government of Kerala, Vithayathil says, was dismissed because they took recourse to some Marxist techniques like rule by party cadre when they came to power.

'But even now, it is the party that rules in Kerala and not the government,' the Cardinal says.

Vithayathil, who is also the president of Catholic Bishops Conference of India, says he disagrees with Marxism, mainly on the issue of 'atheism' and their 'use of violence'.

'From my Catholic faith, I sometimes see Marxism as a chastisement allowed by God on the Church for not living what it preaches,' he says in the book.

Catholic Church has often come in conflict with CPI-M-led LDF government on different issues, including proposals of the state Law Reforms Panel on topics like legalisation of mercy killing, small family norm and formation of a body to manage church properties.

Praising the Congress and its allies, the book says, they have 'more respect' for an individual and his fundamental rights.

Putting his views on BJP, the Cardinal in the book says, 'The commendable thing about the party is that they want to preserve the good aspects of Indian culture like modesty of women and promoting certain moral values, for which they would opt for stricter media censorship. For them religion is very important and they support democracy and human rights.

'Besides protecting ancient culture and heritage of India, like Vedas, Upanishads and the great philosophical teachings to the six systems of Indian philosophy, BJP respects, preserves and promotes knowledge of Sanskrit and Ayurveda.'

The party is a 'great defender of our many achievements of the past', the book says.
However the saffron party, Vithayathil says, 'has forgotten that Catholics of the country also regard Indian culture, philosophy, literature and science as their heritage. The Catholic Church will certainly protect them just as it has responsibly protected and preserved Greek and Roman cultures.'

The Communists of India

The Communist's of India

March 10th, 2009

Communism historically has a very unique twin track approach. On paper the ideals of communism are just wonderful and almost utopist in nature. When one walks through the utopian stage and dons the role of a full fledged communist the finer details emerge. The “The communist Manifesto” written by the demigod of communism Mr. Karl Marx makes quite an impact. His objectives did leave an impression on many and inspired a lot many after his time. He was a profound thinker and like most thinkers he was successful in drawing many to his thoughts. His writings appealed to the rebel in each Individual, by questioning everything. It questions civil and human rights, capitalism, and amongst others religion. It talks about class struggle. It promised a solution, an almost perfect solution that aims to rid the world of poverty, & class struggle and by bringing in an equal society. Almost like the speeches of today's politicians before elections in a democratic set up. It has an appeal that was and is hard to resist.
For a young heart, any kind of rebellion is adventurous, daring and fun because it promises action against today's evils and offers the solution that can change the world. That fatal attraction has drawn many a youth across various parts of the world to the ideology called communism. These youth fought with a song of revolution on their lips in the many of their battles against regimes across the world.
Since communist thinking was to change the existing set up, any one who prefers the continuation of the present set up is its enemy, and enemies are not ordinary enemies but enemies of the state, so they have to be eliminated. And that was done with great fervor. Consider these statistics
61 million killed in the Soviet Union
35 million killed in the People's Republic of China
2 million killed in North Korea
2 million killed in Cambodia
1 million killed in Vietnam
1 million killed in the Communist states of Eastern Europe
1.7 million killed In Africa
1.5 million killed In Afghanistan
150,000 in killed Latin America

Indian communists have haven't been able to beat those numbers but the Nandi-gramam episode recently in West Bengal / India, demonstrated that given a chance they are capable of catching up to the numbers above and may compete quite passionately to propel themselves into the top 5. The communist chief minister of west Bengal said this statement after police firing on farmers who were protesting the take over the land, “They have been paid in their own coin”. Basically what he was saying was that we do thuggery in the form of governance. Indian Media would react in a principled way against any errors in governance but it’s natural to expect them to play safe when writing about all forms of thuggery in the form of governance.
Coming back to communism, unfortunately for Mr. Karl Marx his theory of communism though had a strong run seems to be on the ebb today, with the break of Soviet Union and a systemic break down approach by the west, both by psychological intimidation and capitalistic development platform. The other big communist country China is still going strong as a communist because it has shown remarkable pragmatism in blending communism with capitalism, in a way that doesn't upset the communist grip over the nation but at the same time moving in the direction of progress and prosperity. Cuba is set up in the communist mould because people may be tired of another revolution and more over its leaders have mastered the lust and privileges of being in power. Talking about lust, yahoo online reported that the Cuban leader Mr. Fidel Castro had had sex with a different woman each day all through his regime. Unlike Indian communists who show a tendency to stop socialism at their doorsteps, he welcomed it even to his bedroom. That was his passion for socialism.
Communism & Religion: There is famous statement in communism, "Religion is the opium of the masses”. Communism has had this fundamentally strong dislike towards religion. It appears that religion comes in the way of the communists exercising their control over the masses. They prefer to be the sole authority when it comes to having a control over the masses. That is the reason the communist rulers of the former Soviet Union banned religious practices and most of the orthodox Soviet church went underground and there were hardly any services. However with the break up of the communist regime, true feelings are coming out openly and the Russian Orthodox church is active once again, with even the supremo of Russia Mr.Putin, an ex KGB agent proclaiming his religion without fear or prejudice. Closer to home, in China the only path to God was taking a membership of the communist party of China. Indian communists however seem to quite confused. While publicly they are forced by their chosen ideology to be atheists, we all know that quite a few times their mask has come out. They participate in religious activities while their families visit religious places as any devout religious person would do. However in India communism does not seem to have a uniform policy against religion. They show surprising agility when it comes to influencing Hindu behavior and Hindu religious practices with communist ideology while simultaneously displaying an almost servile respect when it comes to minority religions in India. This seems be a primary bone of contention between communists and Hindus.
Dr Babu Suseelan writes, “For several years, Marxists in Kerala and West Bengal have been tinkering with our education, revising temple festivals, rituals, and spiritual practices. Their goal is to obliterate our culture and our customs by systematic deconstruction. Marxists have introduced Devasom Bill in Kerala for the takeover of Hindu temples including Guruvayoorappan Temple, Sabarimala Temple and various high income producing Hindu temples. Marxist government has introduced several restrictive ordinances to permanently ban traditional percussion, fireworks and timeline to permanently ban temple festivals and traditional cultural programs. For Hindus, the temple is the abode of God, the focus for all aspects in life of Hindus-religious, spiritual, cultural and social. It is a center where God can be approached and where divine knowledge can be discovered. Marxists are keen on destroying our temples founded on a platform with a devilish mixture of deception, coercion, and propaganda and government power. It represents one of the most deceptive and dangerous cultural destruction plan in India- a fact which most pseudo secularists and political leaders either do not know or choose to ignore. There is something sick in these destructive plans to loot temple wealth and permanently destroy and exterminate or vanquish our cultural values. These morally aberrant policies have the infinite capacity to inflict harm to Hindu society”.
This philosophy of communists manifests itself into a multitude of anti- Hindu activities at the street level which are being absorbed by the ever tolerant Hindu, albeit in quite disbelief. Hindu anger is building up as tiny rivulets from across the streets, towns and cities of communist ruled India. These tiny rivulets are then further attacked by a combination of anti Hindu forces. The attacks are in the form of a smear campaign. The attackers are emboldened by the passive non-confrontationist approach lifestyle of the average Hindu. Any practicing Christian or Muslim would erupt in anger when the control of their religious places of worship is taken away by the communist or other government's, but the passivity of Hindus seems like a deep spring from which the fountain of patience, kindness, endurance and in-difference flows incessantly. This fountain can have the inherent power to work against its adherents even before the rivulet of anger takes shape into a flood of meaningful thinking.
The eruption of Christian and Muslim anger and its backlash has been demonstrated time and again in India and most Indian politicians, the communist included respect the gene of servility in them and hence stay clear. The "Anger of Indian Christian's" is backed by support of Christian western governments and "Anger of Indian Muslim's" is backed by support of Muslim countries of the Gulf. A classic example of Christian international support is the “advice” by US against the toothless anti conversion bill introduced by some states in India and the example of International Muslim support is the routine IOC resolutions against India on various matters relating to the internal affairs of India. The combination of home-grown protests and the international backing for such protests could be the reason for the absolutely zero interference by Communist governments of India in the religious affairs of Christians and Muslims. While there are a multitude of organizations and groups operating freely in India who have their "valid" reasons to molest Hinduism, for communists of India its communist ideology. This anti-religious fervor of communists seems to waft to and fro from the northern border. The recent attempt to take over the Hindu temple of Nepal by the new born communists of Nepal, is a page from the leaf of what China has been doing to religious Tibet for the past 50 + years. The levels of in-sensivity to the aspirations, sentiment and self-dignity of the common man by communist governments, may make Mr Karl Marx re-think his thoughts on communism.

Primary Objective of Communism in India: Indian Prime Minister Mr.Man Mohan Singh has said that Marxist violence in parts of the country is the biggest threat sweeping the nation. An entire patch from central India to southern India is under the grip of Marxist violent movements known in India as naxalism. There is no government administration in such areas as no government official dares to go there. This is a complex issue where the mis governance of successive governments has given place to deep resentment against the government. This resentment has been hijacked by the communist movement under the guise of socialism. They wage war against the government with real arms and ammunition.Its interesting to note that there is little or no naxalism in states which are governed by Communist parties like West Bengal or Kerala, because the goal has been achieved, that is to gain power. It’s equally interesting that they use their mantra of revolution only in states they are not in power. They indulge in Marxist propaganda with positive sounding slogans such as "inclusion", "human rights", "feminist empowerment", "classless society", "women's rights", “ equality”, “ fight against oppression” to mobilize the poor people. For the poor and oppressed this seems like the divine opening they have been praying all their lives and are moulded into believing that take cudgels against the government of India on behalf of the communist parties will bring in a solution to their problems. They have invited the security forces of India to their door step thus pushing them into being enemies of the democratic state.The poor who have endured the worst of corruption in governance are now forced to bear the baton and bullet of the security forces. There is an extension of their inherited suffering. All this in the name of socialism.

While on one had the communists enjoy power both at states and in the centre by some clever political maneuvering, they at the same time engineer unrest in states they don't rule with the sole aim of coming to power. So is communist ideology in India just a rue to come to power. This unfortunately seems to be the reality as is with any other political party of India. If we assume that what we are writing cannot be true, then quality of life and governance in communist ruled states of India must be on par with developed countries.. right? To challenge us please take a walk through the communist ruled states of India and advice us that we are wrong. We will concede if proven wrong. Rich and powerful Marxist leaders live in luxury houses, drive deluxe limousines, send their children at expensive boarding schools and lead an elite life. The Marxist political leaders are at a huge, incalculable distance from the average citizen deeply ensconced in the twin towers of power and communist ideology.

It is said that winning elections is done in true communist traditions. Elections are under the tight grip of the communist party member’s right down to the street level. People are gently advised to vote for the communist party and offered "pleasant" experiences if they do not. Every movement of the ordinary people is tracked to make sure that votes are cast only for the communist party. Its authoritarian rule under the mask of democracy. That may explain the reason why the communist parties have managed to remain in power for as long as memory can know in West Bengal. The communist parties of India are on the same platform as other political parties of India. They indulge in corruption, work towards gaining personal wealth, demonstrate bad governance, display lack of vision on issues of welfare, infrastructure development and prosperity. They also give selective holidays to their communist ideology and engage in multiple forms of political alignments in order to capture / retain political power.
Nationalism vs. Ideology: Two things come to mind, The Nuclear deal with USA episode and the silent support of Indian communists to China on the 1962 war and subsequent non resolved border dispute between India and china. The vehement opposition of the Indian communist parties to the nuclear deal was based on the cold war ideology of the communist movement to oppose any dealings with the progressive west. So when they opposed it, the primary objective was its adherence to its ideology over what can be a perceived benefit to the Nation. It’s said at least on paper that the nuclear deal with US would open the door to overcome the power shortage that India is currently facing and also address the future power needs of the power hungry India. We don't know if that objective would really be achieved or if that stated objective is the real objective. But the communists of India opposed it. They had a chance to poke a thumb at the west, their eternal enemy. It did not matter to them that opposition would mean depriving the nation of that extra wattage of power. That adherence to ideology even it means working against national interest is a shocking reality that seems to have got immersed unquestioned and un challenged into the torrid waters of great churning lake called “the Kurushetra of modern Indian politics”. The communists of India seem to have given ideology a preference over common sense thinking of neighboring china. If china were to follow the same communist ideology of opposing any dealing with the west, would it have registered a trade surplus? Consider this report from the China daily,According to China customs statistics, China's exports to the United States were US$52.1 billion in 2000 and reached US$162.9 billion in 2005, an increase of 212 per cent. According to US customs statistics, the US exports to China were US$16.2 billion in 2000 and reached US$41.8 billion in 2005, an increase of 157 per cent. Had Indian communists raised issues like nuclear safety, it would amount to showing interest in the safety and welfare of Indians, but they did not do that. This approach of not blending national priorities as part of their Ideology can be a hindering factor in the development of India. Wish the commonsense nationalistic approach of communist china rubs onto to Indian communists.
As for the support of Indian communists to China, It was reported that during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971, China more or less asked the Indian naxalites to support the side of Pakistan. An interesting paper by Mr.D.S.Rajan (He was earlier Director, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, and New Delhi ) in the online portal presents the collusion between communists of India and China. That makes quite an insightful reading. As a starter it would be nice if at least on public platforms Indian communists blend nationalism with communist ideologies. They should step out of their cocoon of ambiguity and come out strongly in support of India on the border dispute with China.

The passive and non-mainstream communists of India scattered across the nation in various "avatars" are effectively complementing the "work" of main stream communists by an gusto that combines ignorance and misinterpreted affinity to ideology. This includes the "The Hindu" God "Shri Ram" who resides on the Mount road of Chennai, south India. Surprisingly there also seems to be a preference for " communist anonymity" and also a tendency to present a "secular" face to the public.

Indian communists haven't been air-dropped onto India.Its the blood of India that runs in them.They are Indians at heart, body and soul..Look at this picture of Ms. Brinda Karat, one of the leaders of one of the communist parties in India.
In spite of being both an atheist and an communist this picture of the Indian communist leader identifies itself with Hindu culture, much to the dismay of the pink chaddi spirit of modern India. The question is why don't Indian communists come out in open and acknowledge their Hinduistic true form which is their inherent foundation. If all or some choose to come out in the open and acknowledge both, their communist avatar and the inherent Hindutvam then we would extend a warm welcome with open hands to The communists of India!.
The Communist Chinese Ant Hill Suzanne Labin, Edward Fitzgerald
The Marxist invasion of India : Dr Babu Suseelan