How serious is the Naxal threat?

The central government finally recognised the serious security threat posed by the Naxalites. It has decided to provide special battalions of para-military forces to states facing the Naxal menace.

Recent media reports suggest that these Left-wing extremists have presence in as many as 22 states. Intelligence sources have also indicated that they have established contacts with terror groups like ULFA for procurement of arms. There are many Left-wing groups operating in the country but the CPI (Maoist) is considered to be the most prominent among them.

The UPA government had recently declared it a terrorist organisation. The decision of the government has come after details of the lethal power of the group became known to it.

The Maoists are fighting the Indian security forces with sophisticated weapons like Light Machine Guns (LMGs), AK-47s, Self Loading Rifles (SLRs), Mortars, grenades, and land & claymore mines.

The CPI (Maoist) has a fully fledged administrative and military infrastructure to further their goals in Naxal-infested states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar and Maharashtra. The group was formed after the merger of CPI-ML and Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) in 2004.

However, for the first time, shocking details about its structure and internal processes have come to light. The revelations were made by a very senior CPI (Maoist) leader Mihir Besra, who was captured in 2007.

According to the interrogation report of Besra, accessed by Canary Trap, the 9th Congress of the group met in January 2007 in Bihar and many important operational decisions were taken in it. As per Besra’s revelations, the event went on for 10 days and was attended by 100 delegates, including seven women delegates. He even gave the names of all the Politburo and Central Committee members who were present at the meet.

Group structure

The structure of the group based on the information given by Besra is below.

Legends

Eastern Regional Bureau (ERB):

  • AS Units: Lower Assam, Dibrugarh, and Kamrup
  • WB: West Bengal
  • B&J SAC: Bihar & Jharkhand Special Area Committee
  • OR: Orissa
  • CG: Chhattisgarh

Northern Regional Bureau (NRB):

  • DEL: Delhi
  • HAR: Haryana
  • PUN: Punjab
  • UUU (3U): Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttar Bihar

South-West Regional Bureau (SWRB):

  • KN: Karnataka
  • MH: Maharashtra
  • KR: Karnataka
  • TN: Tamil Nadu
  • GJ: Gujarat

Central Regional Bureau (CRB):

  • APSC: Andhra Pradesh State Committee
  • NTSZC: North Telangana Special Zonal Committee
  • AOBSZC: Andhra Orissa Border Special Zonal Committee

The Eastern Regional Bureau and the Central Regional Bureau were formed after the Congress. It was decided in the Congress that each regional command will maintain its own action teams, intelligence wing, tech teams, supply mechanism, medical teams and communication teams.

According to the report, the group has also proposed to form base areas in Dandakaranya (North Bastar, South Bastar and Maad), AOB (Malkangiri), Jharkhand (Surrounding areas of Saranda, Palamau, and East Singhbum), Bihar (Koyal, Kaimur), Orissa (Mayurbhanj, Sambalpur, and Deogarh), and Bengal (Midnapur and Purulia).

Urban combat

Further, Besra also revealed the member names of various departments of the group and their functions and activities.

One of them, the Central Military Commission (CMC), had nine Central Committee Members in it. Out of that, six were permanent the remaining three were temporary members. According to Besra, the CMC looked after:

  • General Technical Committee
  • Procurement of arms and ammunition,
  • Development and procurement of communication and electronic equipments for PLGA forces.
  • Central Action teams
  • Awam-E-Jung (Published twice a year)
  • Functioning of Regional Commands and PLGA
  • Military Intelligence
  • CIT (Central Military Instructors Team)

CMC’s total budget allocation for two years was Rs 60 crores. Out of this, Rs 2 crore were to be spent on intelligence, Rs 42 crores on arms & ammunition and logistics, Rs 1 crore on tech work, Rs 5 crore on communications, and Rs 10 crore on Central Technical Committee (CTC).

Some of the work done by the members of the CTC include, production of 100 shells, five launchers, 15-20 mortar launchers, and making of gelatine slurry, among others.

The weapons in the possession of the group include:

The CPI (Maoists) also has a fully fledged military intelligence department, which collects the information about the ways to procure arms and ammunition. It also gathers information about targets and studies the strategy adopted by the enemy (read Indian security forces).

The group also has a team of instructors (Central Instructors Team – CIT), which moves in all the states to impart training to its cadres. In a resolution adopted by the CMC, it was decided to form “Urban Combat Teams” wherever necessary.

Important catch

Besra also revealed the group’s assessment of security of police stations in Jharkhand. According to him, the police stations in urban/plain areas are not secure enough. The information points to a possibility of future Maoist attacks in these areas in the state. The interrogation report also details the Maoists plan to raid the police head quarters at Bargarh district in Orissa.

In another interesting revelation, Besra told his interrogators about the high profile targets identified by the group. The CMC has identified H J Dora (former DGP of Andhra Pradesh) and Anil Palta (IPS officer who worked in Bihar and was responsible for the demolition of PW and MCC cadres) as potential targets. Besides them, the Congress leader heading the Salwa Judam movement in Chhattisgarh – Mahendra Karma, is also a target. Other political leaders on the hit-list of the Maoists include Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh, former Jharkhand CM Babulal Marandi, and former Home Minister of Jharkhand Suresh.

The importance of the information provided by Besra can be gauged from the fact that he is a member of the Politburo and permanent member of the CMC. He was also the in-charge of the military intelligence wing of the CMC. Besra lead the CIT and the East Regional Command, besides being a member of the editorial board of Awam-E-Jung.

Besra was a very important catch for the security forces but the Maoists were successful in freeing him in June this year after they struck at the collectorate premises in Bihar’s Lakhisarai district.

The senior Maoists leader was brought to Bihar in connection with a 2007 case. His cadres got this information and around 50 Maoists carried out a planned attack and freed him.

But the wealth of information that Besra gave to his interrogators can be very vital for the security agencies to devise a proper strategy to tackle the Naxal problem.

(The article was published on www.newsx.com on September 01, 2009)

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