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Delhi Games paralyzed by threats of Ayodhya violence

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By: Rohit Kumar

If terrorists wanted a city paralyzed and panic-stricken about security, they have already won the propaganda battle ahead of Sunday’s opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. Tourist numbers are down, the organizing committee are having difficulty selling tickets and hoteliers are complaining of empty rooms. On top of that, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has passed a decision dividing the contested Ayodhya temple (Ram Janambhoomi)/Babri mosque land into three; a judgment that will raise tempers between Hindus and Muslims throughout India, and is likely to set up a juridical precedent of bias, communalism and inter-religious hatred.

The projected bonanza of 100,000 extra people flocking to Delhi to celebrate the Games has failed to materialize. Local tourist bodies say that only about 10,000 people have travelled here because of the Games. Over and above that, states like UP have been transformed into fortresses to repel any outbreak of violence due to the Ayodhya tensions, as was witnessed in Mumbai in 1992. About 3000 “troublemakers” have already been arrested in Mumbai, according to Deputy Police Commissioner (Operations) Rajkumar Vhatkar.

The Commonwealth Games athletes are virtually bunkered in the Games village and the training venues. Many countries have banned their teams from leaving the security-fenced area. The Games have their own security problems keeping everyone is on tenterhooks; fearing that the 300 tonnes of explosives that went missing from a convoy of 61 trucks last month in India could be used to target the Games.

On top of that, the Ayodhya dispute hearing was not postponed, despite fervent pleas from all sides of the spectrum. The decision has the capacity to sway public opinion both ways; but based on historical evidence, it is more likely to exacerbate the Hindu-Muslim divide than allow both communities to worship in a common area.

The sense of fear is as thick as the chemicals being sprayed on to all the nearby pools of stagnant water, which are to be used for the Commonwealth Games events, to rid the area of Dengue fever-carrying mosquitoes.

The Delhi police have, however, upped their security presence at the athletes’ village – in addition to sending all sweepers and cleaners home to further secure the Games site. The reason? Theft of bathroom fittings by the hordes of workers recruited to clean up the accommodation mess in the past week.

One example of the tension over security occurred Monday, when two England field hockey players found themselves stuck outside a security checkpoint in the sun for nearly an hour near the athletes’ village without the accreditation needed to get through an entrance dedicated for VIPs.

They casually mentioned their hotel accommodation and I wrote it down to be able to find them later on for a comment. The team manager, David Faulkner, saw the name of the hotel on a notepad and furiously demanded that the information be crossed out “for security purposes”.

He later apologized for being so aggressive, but acknowledged that the security was the biggest concern for everyone in Delhi.

Some international delegations have complained to their embassy security experts about suspicious characters lurking in and around the Games village. Yesterday, alleged leaked intelligence documents from Delhi authorities surfaced, which reportedly claimed the feared Naxalite terrorist group, from east India, and a local Mars militant group had been heard in phone intercepts organizing the supply of explosives to unleash at the Games.

Local police have not yet confirmed whether the documents, which surfaced on a Pakistani website, are genuine.

The document purports to state: “Conversations of the group indicated the Mars has fronted for someone to acquire especially from the police, the group, as per raw intelligence, the supply explosives, gelatin sticks and detonators to the Naxalites and structured pay-offs transactions for attacks on CWG, Delhi including foreign teams and officials”. The document also says the group comprises a large network and supply line.

Meanwhile the organizing committee has come under fire for hiring 38 middle and top-level staff who are related to more than a dozen of its most senior officials.

And in another leak, exposing the tensions between the organizing committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation, the CGF chief executive, Mike Hooper, was alleged to have had six staff at his Delhi accommodation and his income tax paid for by the government.

The Indian government and the Commonwealth Games organizers have also “deployed” langur monkeys for “security” purposes, like keeping snakes and insects away, and scaring away bonnet monkeys which are known to attack humans. More than 10 trained langurs were brought to the headquarters of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee on Monday before being assigned to particular venues.

Amidst the continued embarrassment over the CWG, India was already mired in the Maoist/Naxalite insurgency, and a fresh insurrection in Kashmir that is barely three months old and shows no sign of abating. The Ayodhya judgment is likely to add fuel to this fire.


Israel as big supplier of weapons to India

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The cooperation between Israel and India, with US blessing, is really destroying the peace and starting a new arms race in south Asia, due to such intensive Israel Cooperation with India, Pakistan and India came at the brink of war 3 times since 1998. These arms sales were part of a declared NDA policy to forge an alliance among India, the United States, and Israel. India is one of the 39 countries with whom Israel has signed “secret co-operative agreements” to prevent information leaks from joint security projects. India and Israel are two democratic countries who killed more than I million people on the name of insurgency from 1947 to 2008.

In the 2001-2006 India had purchased arms worth nearly $15 billion from Israel and has been its largest client for military hardware.2006 to 2009 $9 billion arms purchased by India from Israel. According to figures released in 2008 by the Israeli Defense Ministry India accounted for 50% of Israel’s military exports .The report of 1992 to 2001 is available. Brajesh Mishra, outlined a proposal in a speech to the American Jewish Committee in Washington in May 2003 that India, Israel, and the United States should unite to combat the common threat of Islamic fundamentalism. Israel is most probably behind the Kargill war, Indian parliament attack in 2002 and now in Mumbai terrors attacks in 2008 to Accelerating the arms sale to India and safe his arms industry and destabilized the integrity of Pakistan who is consider great threat to Israel security and stability? Israel does not have direct conflict with Pakistan. All three serving chiefs of India have now visited Israel in the last 2 years. From anti-missile systems to hi-tech radars, from sky drones to night-vision equipment, Indo-Israeli defense cooperation has known no bounds in recent times. Israel Mossad may infiltrated in Jihad Organization structure through Indian influence in Afghanistan and helping and training them to safe his defense industry to die down and start a Proxy war against Pakistan in Balouchistan and in FATA and plunge India and Pakistan to brink of war . There is already an on-going relationship between Israeli Intelligence agencies and their Indian counterparts. It is well known that Mossad routinely infiltrates even “friendly” intelligence agencies and uses them to plant information which helps Israel .Mossad working on project called A Clean Break. Reason behind defense ties between India and Israel. Pakistan’s missile and nuclear weapon technologies are main concern to Israel. Pakistani a supplier of intermediate-range missiles and may be transfer of technology to boost it’s arm industry really great threat to Israel such countries as Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia, UAE,and Syria.

India helped Israel during the 1967, Middle Eastern conflict, by covertly sending military equipment to Israel. Before that in 1963, General Shalfid, Israel Chief of Army staff, visited India for discussions with his Indian counterpart In the military field in India’s critical hour of need of the 1971 war with Pakistan, India sought Israel’s help to supply it with the devastating artillery weapon, 160 mm mortars and ammunition, exclusively manufactured in Israel.

India embarked on its nuclear tests with the support of the international community, namely the United States and Israel, because the US desired a nuclear force to balance China as a nuclear power in Asia and central Asia. Israel benefited from this cooperation-according to some sources-by being permitted to conduct two nuclear tests on Indian territory, the components transferred on board an Israeli C130 military aircraft that landed in India two weeks prior to the tests. India also makes use of its nuclear cooperation with Israel in maintaining qualitative superiority over its enemy, Pakistan. During India’s 1999 Kargil war with Pakistan, Israel rushed military support to India, cementing the nascent defense relationship. Israel sent its laser guided missiles to India during the Indo-Pak Kargil war of 1999, making it possible for the Indian Mirages to destroy Pakistani bunkers in the mountains. Jane’s Defense Weekly, which gave details on the supplies. Israel, the scoundrel nation & illegal child of America supplied missiles, portable radars & other weapons during Kargil War in 1999 as confirmed by Shri Rahul Bedi on BBC and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – 8 in 1999 for surveillance purposes (Army) – 20 in 2000 during the Kargil war UAVs for high altitude surveillance, laser – guided systems and many other items were supplied within 24 hours. After September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre, and attack on Indian Parliament Israel has been selling defense supplies to India, just from 2002 to 2008 India buy more than $25 billion dollars worth weapon and transfer of technology from Israel.

In June 2002 as part of “Operation Parakram,” after the attack on Indian Parliament, Israel supplied hardware through special planes after a visit by the Director-General of Israeli Defense ministry. Israel helping the Indian forces in Kashmir and in Maoist area against right of self determination, Indian version Counter Insurgency. Israeli deputy chief of general staff, Major General Moshe Kaplinsky, visited J&K, including the 16 Corps headquarters in Nagrota for it would seem helping India with “counter- insurgency” India has signed a $30 million contract with Israel Military Industries (IMI) for 3,400 Tavor assault rifles and 200 Galil sniper rifles, as well as night vision and laser range finding and targeting equipment .Tavor assault rifles, Galil sniper rifles, and night vision and laser range finding and targeting equipment to kill the innocent Kashmiri on the name of insurgency 90000 Kashmiri is killed by Indian force from 1988 to 2008 by these weapon from Israel . India buys the counter-infiltration devices Israel uses on Golan Heights and in the Negev Desert. 4 battalion (3000) was send to Israel for special training against insurgency in Kashmir Ghatak force.

Despite this, however, it is remarkable that India and Israel managed to come together on a range of issues, especially the close collaboration between the Indian intelligence agency, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) and Israel’s Mossad. While India got tacit help and support from Israel during its 1962 war with China and 1965 war with Pakistan. India and Israeli defence officials have initiated work on an unmanned helicopter. Being developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) unmanned air vehicle division malat. According to latest report, Pakistan army has captured Israel made weapon in balouch insurgency and in ongoing operation in Fata and in Swat. Uzi diplomacy to press hard to Pakistan for diplomatic relation through supporting insurgency and DR A.Q Khan (NPT) matter in Pakistan by Israel (Jews) lobby to investigate him by FBI. According to JINSA, India has had to significantly boost its defense budget in order to finance all its new Israeli arms purchases: By 2010 New Delhi’s annual military budget is expected to reach $100 billion.

Israeli arms experts are also seeking to sell the Arrow II anti-tactical ballistic missile system to India, which would require U.S. approval due to shared technology in the ATBM system.

‘Bringing On The Army Against The Naxals Will Be A Disaster’

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EN Rammohan, former Director General of the BSF, has fought insurgencies in Kashmir and the Northeast. Recently, Home Minister P Chidambaram picked him to probe the Dantewada massacre of CRPF jawans by Naxals. Yet, crucially, in a forthright interview with SHOMA CHAUDHURY, he says the Centre’s strategy for fighting Naxals is a recipe for civil war

After the train tragedy in Bengal, there is renewed talk of bringing on the army and air force in the fight against the Maoists. What is your view on this?
I think it would be a terrible mistake. The more you try to deal with this issue through military options, the more it will spread and grow in strength.

You were asked by the Home Ministry to investigate the recent Maoist ambush of CRPF jawans in Dantewada. The government obviously thinks well of your judgement, track record and integrity. So how do you read the Maoist crisis facing the country today?

I think it is first and foremost an issue of social justice. I first came across the problem when I was posted in Hyderabad in the 1980s as DIG, CBI. My batchmate Ajay Deora was DG, Intelligence and he was struggling to control things. I am from the Assam cadre and have handled insurgencies before. I was in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, which was set up with the objective of fighting behind enemy lines, so we have all been trained in guerrilla warfare. Insurgencies are my abiding interest.

Most of the Maoist leadership comes from Andhra. Why do you think this is the case?

From what I saw in Andhra the primary problem is land. The upper castes have been exploiting tribals and Scheduled Castes (SCs) for generations. Before Independence there was no land ceiling, so the upper castes had huge land holdings that often ran into over a 1,000 acres, while the SCs and tribals had no land, or very small holdings. Yet even these small holdings were taken over forcibly by the upper castes who would buy their produce then fudge the accounts, to keep them indebted. The tribals were turned into tenant farmers who had to till the land but give 2/3rd of the produce to the upper castes. It is against this backdrop in 1946 that the CPI first started working in the Telangana areas. They would collect a group of tribals with bows and arrows, surround an upper caste granary and distribute the grain. Then they would tell the landowner that from now on 2/3rds would go to the tillers, 1/3rd to the landowner. Of course the landowners would complain to the police who would round up the locals and arrest and beat them.

After Independence, land ceiling laws were legislated but they were never implemented in Andhra. In 1989, when the government changed, I told my friend Deora, let’s go meet the Revenue Minister. I told the minister, you’ll never be able to solve this problem. He was very unhappy with the way I spoke and said, why not? I told him if you want to stub out this movement, impose land ceiling. He said, that’s impossible, we can never do that. He gave the example of Sudhakar Rao, one of his colleagues from Adilabad. That fellow has got 1,100 acres, he said, and he won’t be willing to part with even one.

The risk of a counter-action now is that our forces can go mad. They’ll seek
revenge for their 76 mates killed

So the caste structure in Andhra Pradesh is such. There are many police stations even today where a Scheduled Caste will not dare to file an FIR – it just won’t be registered or investigated. Then of course, the women were being misused. Labourers on a farm had to offer their bride on the first night to the landlord. This is reflected even in the folk songs of the Adivasis. There is no hope for women in this country, they sing. So unless these wrongs are righted, how are you expecting a solution to this problem? There can be no military solution to this problem.

The media has gone hoarse speaking of them as terrorists. Are you comfortable with this description?

You see everyone talks about the Naxalites but very few people understand there are two parts to this. There are the Adivasis and Scheduled Castes at the lowest strata. Then there are the leaders from the CPI, CPI Marxist-Leninist and now CPI-Maoist. These are all communists and 99 percent of them are upper caste. But because of their political philosophy they have no caste and are lending a hand to the poor. Now they have a political agenda and their objective is to come to power in this country. I don’t want to live in a Maoist State but if we continue with our current arrogance, that’s exactly what will happen. There will be great upheaval in society. Go to communist countries like Russia or China. If you look at all the top class people there now – men like Kruschev – you’ll see everyone in power today were all peasants once, and the upper class people have all disappeared somewhere. In India also, there will be a complete upheaval in society. So I don’t see why we are so hesitant to rectify our course and address issues of social justice.

You have spoken of Andhra. How do you read Chhattisgarh?

In Chhattisgarh, it’s mostly to do with rights over forests. The Adivasis have been pushed into the forests over thousands of years by caste domination, and are now almost entirely confined to it. They have no land and can only collect forest produce. But they still have to sell it and when they come out of the forest to the market place, they have to find a buyer. And who’s the buyer? The Vaishya trader. At the root of this trouble, I say, is this trio – the wily Brahmin, the arrogant Kshatriya, the avaricious Vaishya. Chidambaram, incidentally, is a Vaishya. These three social groups have been trampling on these people for centuries, so why blame them if the CPI has lent a hand? They help the poor by inspecting the Vaishya’s books and ensuring tribals get a correct price. You should investigate the tendu leaf trade – I am told the money from that reaches politicians in Delhi, while the poor man who picks the leaf gets nothing.

DEADLY CONFRONTATION A CRPF jawan keeps watch near the remains of the bus blown up by Naxals.

The point is, in any insurgency, people take to guns because they feel they have no choice. In this case, the tribals are being taught by the Maoists to fight for their rights. And in Marxist teaching, guerrilla warfare is one of the subjects. All these escalating incidents, the ambushes etc, is designed to get hold of weapons. But the risk of a counter-action now is that our forces can go beserk. They will say we’ve lost 76 people and they will just shoot anyone, they’ll kill everybody, even innocent people, unless there is a very strong leadership to keep them in control. And I am afraid that leadership does not exist. This is something the government must understand.

So what do you see as solutions? And what do you think is holding up those solutions?

There are two acts pending in Parliament – one is to do with land acquisition, the other is to do with forest rights. But the interesting thing is, minerals have been found in these forests and for the party in power, this is a big bonanza. If you sign a MOU worth millions of dollars for excavating minerals, a percentage of it will go to your Swiss Bank account. The poor man in the forest is conveniently forgotten. In Bihar, the Bhumihars openly say, “Hamare patte hum billi aur kutte ke naam pe lagate hain (We list our land titles in the names of our cats and dogs)”. How long can such a situation continue without protest? And you say you want to bring in the army? Why don’t you look inwards and rectify this? If the government has any sense in its head, it will, otherwise it will be a terrible situation. It will be a disaster.

TEHELKA has doggedly tracked stories of atrocities by the police and paramilitary. Rapes, killings, beatings, stealing of hens and goats. If one raises these issues with the government, they see it as a betrayal, as “intellectual support” for the Maoists. What is your view of the conduct of the SPOs, police and paramilitary?

The Salwa Judum was the government’s creation and it has compounded the situation badly. What the landlords were doing earlier, the police and SPOs are doing now. So is the CRPF. I believe counter-insurgencies must be fought legally. This is something most people don’t talk of. But the bible on fighting counter-insurgencies, Robert Thompson’s Defeating Communist Insurgencies starts with one line: A counter insurgency must be scrupulously legal. I was lucky because I was trained in guerrilla warfare by instructors who were trained by people like Robert Thompson. I’ve quoted this in many places and letters to the government. The quality of leadership is the most crucial thing in such conflicts. Set aside the bigger accusations of rape and killings, the Adivasis often even complain about the forces stealing their chickens and goats. This is terrible. If the company commander is good, they would not dare to do it. If ever any boys in uniform are caught doing anything wrong, they should be punished and word should go out to the villagers that such behaviour will not be tolerated. That is the only way you can get the upper hand.

Is Delhi ready to give ownership of minerals to tribals, when each MoU is attached to a Swiss Bank account?

I have worked in all these forces – the CRPF, ITBP, BSF. The CRPF used to be a law-and-order force, good at lathi charge. Now they are not even that. You must have seen what’s happening in Kashmir – they are throwing stones back at the crowd. That should never happen. Otherwise you just have two mobs on either side – one mob is in uniform, the other is not.The main problem with the CRPF is that they are handed over to the state police when they arrive anywhere, and the SHO uses them for clearing a crowd or for controlling a communal situation. This business of handling them to police has bereft them of leadership. They have functioned better in places like Mizoram and Nagaland because there they have been under army leadership which is more disciplined. But I am impressed with the training Brigadier Powar is giving in the jungle warfare school that’s been set up in Kanker.You have said bringing the army in against the Naxals will be a disaster. Can you spell out the reasons why.
The first problem the army will face is that the Bihar regiment has a very strong component of Adivasis. What do you think will happen when such a battalion is facing Adivasis on the other side? His home may be there, he may have relatives on the other side, his tribe could be involved. It’s a recipe for disaster. The army should never ever come in to this conflict. The point is very clear, there are root causes. The government has to address them.In any case, who are you going to attack? Who are you going to catch? You will not find anyone there. The moment they know such an operation is going on, they will vanish in a 100 different directions. Their weapons will disappear. You’ll find innocent people living there and our forces will go and shoot 30 of them and say we have shot so many Naxalites. Every child born in the area then will become an insurgent after that. Do you believe there can be a lasting ceasefire?

I can guarantee there will not be any ceasefire – because the Maoists organising or leading this are on the run. If they stop, it will be very difficult to start again. I don’t think they are going to give up their guns. We have to convince the cadres that the government has changed its policy on land and forest rights and mining.Wean away the support base. Make Indian democracy more attractive than Maoist revolution.

Dula Bhima of Mukram village in Dantewada shows the I-card of his son Nuppa who was picked up by the CRPF.

Absolutely right. I think the only thing to do now is raise these issues in every forum and force the government’s hand. If you don’t rectify the ground realities, you can’t turn this around. The more military force you put, the bigger the crisis will become.Have you told the government this?

I speak openly about it at every forum I can.The government says it wants to bring development to these regions.

It is not about development. It is about rights. This government has to understand – how is it that land ceiling was implemented in Kerala? Why is there no Maoist movement there? You know what happened there? Under EMS Namboodiripad, the law was so strong that anyone who was a tenant farmer for 12 years, the ownership of the land passed to him without compensation to the owner. We are now in 2010, but in most parts of the country, we are behaving as though we are in 1610 or something. Do you know in Australia and the US now, they say that if any minerals or oil is found in the Reservation areas, that resource belongs to the Aborigines and Native Americans. In India also, the first thing that should be declared is that if minerals are found in the forest, it belongs to the people of that forest. The MOUs should be signed by all the people of that village with that company. After that, give them legal guidance and see that the profit comes to their accounts. Is the government in Delhi prepared to do that? Why should they? Every MOU has a Swiss Bank account attached.You say you don’t want to live in a Maoist State. One cannot evade the fact that they have a highly efficient and armed wing, or that 200-odd districts are in their control. So to ask a question many people might have in their heads – do you think the use paramilitary or other forces has any role at all to play in containing the Maoists, even as one incorporates the issues of justice they have raised?

Let’s take a model area. I would say put about 10 battalions in that area. Have good leaders so that the jawans don’t go and steal chickens and rape women and burn houses. When I was IG, BSF in Kashmir, I had 50 BSF battalions under me. I used to go around the city everyday, visiting one or two of the battalions by turn. Then I would talk to the local people and get feedback, especially if any of my battalions had done an operation. If the public there would tell me, “Sahib sab theek gaya, aapke ladke koi galti nahi kiya”, I’d feel things were under control. That is leadership. My commanders knew that if they did anything wrong, they were going to get punished and punished hard. So they behaved. This is what you need – a strong IG or DG. And men highly trained in field craft. One mistake this government has been making is that it wants yes-men.You said army leadership is better than the paramilitary, but the army’s record in handling internal insurgencies in the Northeast or Kashmir hasn’t exactly been sterling.

Yes, the army has done wrong things in the Northeast, very wrong things. I’ve worked in Nagaland, I’ve worked in Manipur. Because it is in a remote corner, people here don’t know what’s happening there. No wonder they don’t like to be with us. But still, generally speaking, the army leadership is better because their general is not appointed by a politician. He comes on merit, on courage, on fitness, and how much he looks after his men. In the paramilitary, you get to the top by the amount of bootlicking you do. The system is different.

Massacre Prompts Debate Over India’s Maoist War

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Sumon K. Chakrabarti

The undulating hills and thick vegetation of Dandakaranya Forest – nearly 50,000 sq km of jungle straddling parts of central-Indian states Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra and the southern state of Andhra Pradesh – have for decades been a forsaken, off-the-map region frequented only by corporate India looking to make a killing from the iron-ore reserves of the land. Indeed, for close to 10 years now, the area has remained off limits for the Indian government and its agencies, including the police and military. It is one of the few pockets of India that has not been topographically surveyed. No good maps exist of the region. The only “government” the tribal people of these forests are acquainted with is provided by a fearsome band of insurgents: “Janatana Sarkar,” the people’s government run by the guerrillas of the Communist Party of India-Maoists (CPI-Maoists), for whom most of the forest is a de facto military headquarters. (See how India is stepping up its fight against the Maoists.)

A paramilitary soldier who was injured by Maoist rebels is hoisted into an ambulance in Jagdalpur, India

But just weeks ago, New Delhi decided to challenge the rebels who carry Mao Zedong’s name and who are waging the bloodiest insurgency India has ever seen. The government announced that 50,000 paramilitary troops would be part of Operation Greenhunt, with tough-talking Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram promising to “wipe off the Maoist movement in the next two [to] three years.” As part of this campaign, police and paramilitary forces last week engaged in a four-day “area domination” exercise near the village of Dantewada in the Dandakaranya Forest. But the Maoists were not about to let this incursion into their territory pass with impunity.

The 80 members of the government’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were taking a break on April 6 at around 6 a.m. after traveling all night, when they were ambushed by what some officials estimate to be 400 Maoists positioned on a neighboring hilltop. The Maoists executed their attack with fierce precision, giving the soldiers no chance to react. They blew up an anti-land-mine vehicle and then began firing indiscriminately. The shocked and exhausted soldiers, who had not been able to follow standard procedures like checking the road for land mines ahead of time, were massacred within minutes. The guerrillas – both men and women – then took away AK-47 and Insas rifles, mortars, magazines of ammunition and bulletproof jackets from their victims. Of the 80 Indian troops on exercise, 76 were killed. (See “India Steps Up Its Fight Against Naxalites.”)

While admitting that it lost eight fighters in the three-hour attack, a Maoist spokesman justified the massacre in a three-page faxed statement, saying, “The CRPF battalion deployed in [Chhattisgarh] were killing innocent people, burning villages, raping women and displacing … people. We also wanted to take revenge of the killing of our top leaders.” (See how India’s schools have been caught in the cross-fire in the fight against the Maoists.)

It was the most significant government setback in the undeclared war between the two Indias. The Maoists thrive in the “other” India – the one that is impoverished and left behind as one-fifth of the country’s populace has begun to thrive, while the other 800 million suffer with growing resentment from chronic poverty and live without electricity, roads, hospitals, proper sanitation or clean water – the classic breeding ground for left-wing extremist violence. As Mao himself prescribed in 1927, “It’s necessary to bring about a brief reign of terror in every rural area … To right a wrong it is necessary to exceed the proper limit.” Naxalism, as Indian Maoism is also called – after a village named Naxalbari at the movement’s origins – has rapidly outstripped the insurgencies in Jammu and Kashmir and northeast India. Maoists have a presence in at least 16 of India’s 28 states, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described Naxalism as the “biggest internal security challenge” that faces the country.

India is groping for answers on how to respond to the Maoist attack. Chidambaram’s strategy had appeared to be working. Many top Maoist leaders, including Politburo members, were arrested, and the Maoists offered to negotiate. Their chief military officer, Kishanji – the nom de guerre of Mallojula Koteswara Rao – even gave out his cell-phone number to Chidambaram to facilitate talks. “But actually they were retreating so that they can regroup. This is how the Maoists always operate. But still we have not learned anything,” says K.P.S. Gill, formerly one of India’s top police officers, who advised the Chhattisgarh government in a previous anti-Maoist operation.

Privately, many senior leaders in the ruling Congress party had complained to their party president, Sonia Gandhi, that Chidambaram used unnecessarily provocative language when talking about the Maoists. But Singh refused to accept Chidambaram’s offer to resign after the massacre. With the central government still debating how to deal with the Maoists, there is confusion on the ground about how to tackle the insurgency. Gill says it’s time to rethink the entire strategy and criticizes Chidambaram for giving the go-ahead to a “flawed operation.” (See pictures of India’s turning points.)

Those in India who perceive Chidambaram to be a warmonger say the growing social disparities caused by India’s economic growth have been a major factor behind the rebels’ expansion. They say the government needs to provide a more equitable distribution of its growing wealth. “Let’s not forget the killing of more than a hundred tribal villagers by the security forces since June 2009 … It’s time the nation starts to work towards cease-fire and cessation of hostilities so as to help initiate dialogue with the Maoists, and to address the real issues affecting the people like forced corporate or state acquisition of land, displacement, tribal rights and the lack of governance,” says Dr. Ranabir Samaddar, director of Calcutta Research Group.

Meanwhile, India’s armed forces are not anxious to join the fight. The new Indian army chief, General V.K. Singh, has blamed the lack of training and tactics in jungle warfare as well as command and control for the loss of the 76 troopers. He ruled out any role of the military – that is, the security forces of India’s federal government – in the ongoing operation. “The Naxalite problem is a law and order problem, which is a state subject. It stems from certain issues on the ground, be it of governance, be it of administration, be it of socioeconomic factors. And since it is not a secessionist movement, I think our polity is astute and wise enough to know the implications of using the army against their own people.” Likewise, the chief of the Indian air force, Air Marshal P V Naik, expressed an unwillingness to use the air force and its unmanned drones in ongoing anti-Maoist operations. “Unless we are 120% sure that the Naxals are the country’s enemies, it will not be fair to use the air force within our borders.”

Chhattisgarh’s director general of police, Vishwa Ranjan, admits that “the [paramilitary] forces need to be trained specifically for this, which unfortunately we don’t do. It’s time all of us sit up and act.” Still, he insists that he is “prepared to take casualties.” He tells TIME, “We are in a war. And no war is won without people dying.”

India: power or downfall

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By Sajjad Shaukat

One of the major causes that led to the First World War was Emperor Wilhelm’s ambitions for the German Empire to be a world power. He believed in an uncompromising policy of ‘power or downfall’ which ultimately resulted in the ‘downfall’ of the empire. Similarly, it is the misfortune of South Asia that India has been trying to endanger the region’s peace by aspiring to become a ‘world power’, or at least a ‘regional power’, in wake of modern world trends like renunciation of war, peaceful settlement of disputes and economic development.

Over the years, India has not only been developing its conventional and nuclear arsenals, but is also obtaining latest weapons from the US, Russia and Israel in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In this context, presuming a peace-loving China as an enemy New Delhi often justifies arms accumulation, while in practice India has constantly deployed its forces along the Pakistani border. As regards Indian belligerent approach, it is the result of India’s shattered hope of intimidating other neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan which the former considers a continuous obstacle in the way of its designs.

Under the pretext of Talibinisation, the Indian secret agency, RAW, has well established its tentacles in Afghanistan, and has been running secret operations against Pakistan from its consulates located near the Pak-Afghan border. It has spent millions of dollars in Afghanistan to strengthen its grip in order to get strategic depth against Islamabad. Meanwhile, PM Gilani and FM Qureshi have repeatedly stated: “India supports terrorism in Pakistan, and its evidence will be shown to the western countries at the right occasion.” Indeed, this is in coordination with the statements of the ISPR spokesman Major General Athar Abbas who revealed that during the ongoing military operations huge cache of arms and ammunition had been captured while it was being shifted from Afghanistan.

Perhaps, frustrated in achieving its aims of becoming a world power, and a permanent seat in the UNSC, now the Indian rulers have started openly threatening nuclear powers like Pakistan and China. In this backdrop, the Indian Army Chief, General Deepak Kapoor, vocally revealed on December 29 that the Indian army “is now revising its five-year old doctrine” and is preparing for a “possible two-front war with China and Pakistan.” However in response to New Delhi’s threat, Pakistan’s JCSC chairman, General Tariq Majeed, stated: “The Indian army chief’s statement exhibits a lack of strategic acumen…[such a path could] fix India on a self-destructive mechanism.”

It is surprising to note that in more than seven states, India itself faces separatist movements which are the result of acute poverty and social injustices. Particularly, Maoist movement that has been raging in West Bengal, and has now expanded to other regions including Maharashtra. At present, it is a popular insurgency by the downtrodden who have massive support of the people for their ideology. On October 31 last year, the New York Times wrote: “India’s Maoist rebels are now present in 20 states and have killed more than 900 Indian security officers…India’s rapid economic growth has made it an emerging global power but also deepened stark inequalities in society.” Thus, by neglecting all these ground realties New Delhi has been advancing towards a self-destructive path.

Notably, USA’s dependence on Pakistan for war against terrorism and for close economic cooperation with China will roll back the Indian clandestine agenda which is part of its regional ambition against Islamabad and Beijing. Nonetheless, like the failed foreign policy of Emperor Wilhelm II, the Indian policy of ‘power or downfall’ is bound to result in a nuclear catastrophe in the region as ‘nuclearised’ Pakistan and China cannot ignore their defence, while their adversary is determined to act upon its aggressive designs.

The writer is a foreign affairs analyst.