The Red Corridor: The Maoist Threat To India’s ExistenceApril 2, 2010
Zainulabedin Ameer | PKKH
India, lauded as the largest democracy in the world, comprises a range of ethnic communities. These are held together, feebly, behind the garb of democracy, which has the world believe that all is well at home. For Indians, the harsh reality is that the long concealed fractures are now beginning to show up as large as the Grand Canyon; long term oppression through history that has been horribly justified through hierarchical order [particularly the caste system] cannot endure. The downtrodden are rising and have been doing much more than making their presence known. Amid the havoc that the Maoists have been wreaking, the Indian leadership has been putting up a bold front. However, few statements have come through that are alarming, and they actually highlight how worried India ought to be. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself has admitted that the Maoists pose “the single biggest internal security threat to the country.” This is despite the fact that his government has been relentlessly blaming Pakistan for everything that happens on Indian soil. The time for covering up their own mess was over a long time ago, and, the Indian leadership, which has been re-elected, ought to focus on its domestic threats. India’s current regime may have been the sole victors of the General Election of 2009, but they are compelled to accept a competing force on another front; Maoist rebels have also shown that they hold considerable sway in many districts of the country that now form what is known as ‘The Red Corridor.’
The Red Corridor is a wide area in India’s East; it stretches along much of its coast while covering many districts inland that meet central Indian states such as Utter Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, etc. This region has witnessed more than 4000 people losing their lives in a span of less than a decade thanks to the vicious Maoist attacks.
For a movement that holds as much control as the Maoist movement does, it is quite perceivable that it has its ideology firmly rooted in the desire of its people; they wish to break the shackles that have confined and marginalized them for decades. Indeed, this Maoist movement, which is now better known domestically as the Naxal revolution, was initiated as a red peasant uprising around May, 1967. This revolution earned its name because it began at a village in West Bengal, which is known as Naxal Bari. Apparently, this movement was a response to feudalism.
The Naxal revolution was initiated in the form of a protest that could have gone by relatively unnoticed. With injustice and oppression of peasants being a normal practice, there was enough fuel to keep the movement going. It is alleged that communism had something to do with galvanizing this movement; it is believed that the peasants have been manipulated by individuals with foreign ideology.
Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal are believed to be the two main communist revolutionaries who have spurred the Maoist movement in India. Their aim is to usurp control through a typical agrarian-based movement. Moreover, these revolutionaries consider communist China to be their inspiration, and graffiti on Kolkata walls stand testimony to this bold and brazen statement.
Perhaps more disturbing than the statements made within India by the Maoist revolutionary leaders are those that are made from beyond its borders; Radio Peking extolled the Naxal Bari uprising, and referred to it as Spring Thunder.
The Naxal peasant uprising became increasingly organized after the establishment of Communist party of by Charu Majumdar in 1969. From this point onwards, the mission appeared to become bold; the ideology began to spread to other parts of the country. However, this initial success was contained when the police killed Charu Majumdar in 1972 while he was in their custody. Without their leader, the rebels became dormant for a while. This was the time for action on the part of the Indian leadership; they could have made an attempt to win over the peasants by considering their demands and bringing justice to them. However, that opportunity was squandered, and by the late 1970s, the Naxal movement had once again gained momentum; it spread as far as Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Punjab, as a fragmented effort, but was effective. Two of the most significant factions were the Peoples War Group that was based in the villages in Andhra Pradesh, and, the Maoist Centre, which was based in the jungles of Bihar. It is these two factions that merged in 2004 to intensify the Maoist movement.
At present, the Maoist movement now operates in more than 220 districts across twenty states of India. This is a shocking fact because of the significance it holds; the Maoists have the ability to strike at targets across 40 % of India. Their main strike zone is known as the Red Corridor, which is an area covering 92,000 sqkms. The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) claims that 20,000 armed Maoists are active out of a total of 50,000 that operate under different organizations.
Regardless of how many armed militants are present, the people in India would want stiff and sustained efforts by the Indian leadership to maintain security. However, India’s feeble response to the Maoist movement, operation ‘Green hunt’, has had little success. This operation was met with a backlash in Bengal and Bihar. As a result of little thought put into the strategy to deal with their apparently largest domestic threat, many Indians have perished.
It is evident that any military action has to be accompanied by a follow-up plan by state governments in terms of appeasing the restive people in the troubled areas; concerned authorities must address the needs of those being denied their rights. While this is a rough outline of what ought to be done, the Maoists remain resolved to take control of India.
With such glaring threats in the face of Indian authorities, they ought to re-think their role as a major country in South Asia. Precisely, what they should do is get their act together and deal with their domestic disputes instead of interfering in Pakistan’s Frontier and Baluchistan provinces. This should have been the realization many years ago. However, they have sustained their efforts in the form of insurgent plans carried out by the completely Un-Islamic Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan [TTP]. The Indian Research and Analysis Wing [R.A.W] has spent a great deal of its resources running this organization along with other western clandestine intelligence agencies; in a combined effort, they have tried to make the TTP look like an offshoot of the Afghan Taliban. Indeed, there is magnanimous difference between the two, and their game-plan has been exposed along with their ‘Cold Start’ Fourth Generation Warfare Strategy. They have made a spectacle of themselves, and continue to do so, while back home their very existence at stake.