An uneasy calm

Saturday, August 6th, 2011
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Shamsuddin Ahmed


Intelligence reports about the Maoists and the secessionist groups in the northeast states of India have made the government uneasy. Recent reports quoted by the media said the outlawed Maoist party has been extending bases in the cities. The red rebels are gaining support from sections of students, university teachers, engineers and low-paid workers. Security agencies have sounded the alert in major cities including Delhi and Kolkata. The government has identified 20 NGOs suspecting their links with the Maoists and are working as its fronts. The list was sent to the states asking them to closely monitor their activities.


Admitting the situation, Chhattisgarh state DGP G S Rath said Maoists are getting open support from various organisations representing intellectuals, professionals, prisoners and even labourers. They resort to any action to fight for their cause. “This is a dangerous trend.”


Another report said Maoists have come up with a new modus operandi to attack security forces by planting IEDs in trees. Troopers in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa have encountered explosives hung from the branches of trees, concealed in thick foliage along the patrolling tracks. It has proved deadly for the security forces.


Leaders of some 30 outfits of seven northeastern estates, including ULFA, who are fighting individually in vain for decades for independence from India, have recently converged at a safe shelter along the Myanmar border under the aegis of external friends. They were told to forge unity with assurance of necessary assistance. They were clearly told that assistance would be available only if they join hands and put up the fight together. Maoist regional leaders were also present at the meeting. All leaders of the outfits have agreed and are now believed to be planning their strategy.


ULFA army chief Paresh Baruah in association with other outfits of Manipur and Nagaland has planned violence in Assam. Maoists have already signed an accord with ULFA of Assam and PLA of Manipur. If they and other secessionist outfits join hands, the possibility of the situation deteriorating fast cannot be ruled out. Security agencies are apprehensive of a tough fight in the days to come.


The rebel groups based in the state of Manipur have recently forged unity. On Sunday (July 31) the rebels launched grenade attacks on the targets in the capital city of Imphal, which did not explode. On Monday, they exploded a powerful bomb at a market place in the capital killing at least five persons on the spot and leaving 20 badly wounded.


In the event of escalating trouble across our border, security of Bangladesh may be in danger. Rising insurgency on the east will certainly prompt vigorous military action. Indian army is already deployed in most parts of the northeast states. Militants crossing the porous border at times cannot be ruled out. On July 24 guerrillas of National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) kidnapped 8 villagers suspecting them as police informers. Haunted by the security forces the militants have allegedly sneaked into Bangladesh. Soon BSF convened a flag meeting with BGB. They pressed for action to nab NLFT rebels and rescue the villagers.


Meanwhile, the Maoists in their corridor in central India are observing weeklong strike from July 28. A fierce gunfight with security forces took place in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh on August 1. Police claimed two rebels were killed. Red rebels dug trenches in connivance with contractors early this month and some villages were cut off from road links. In Bihar, five villagers were slain for acting as police informers. Their houses were blown off by dynamites. NDFB called a 48-hour highway and railway blockade August 1-2.


In West Bengal capital Kolkata, a Maoist-backed student organisation – United Students Democratic Front took to the street in observation of death anniversary of Peoples Committee against Police Atrocities leader Shibu Soren who was killed by security forces. College Street turned into a battleground when police obstructed them. Demonstrators accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for backing out of pledges to withdraw Joint Forces from the Maoist hit areas and burnt her effigy.

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