Urban Maoists slip through government’s intel network
The war on Red Terror is no longer limited to remote jungles in faroff districts as urban Maoists have become a clear and present danger. Maoist front organsiations, functioning far from their strongholds in the jungle tracts of central India, have succeeded in penetrating urban India and have managed to give a slip to intelligence agencies for some years. The government is now planning a crackdown on them. A new policy drafted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to combat Red terror also talks of the threat posed by these organisations that need to be dealt with strongly. A note on the policy says that such “front organisations” of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) are active in 21 states of the country.
Sources say the Union home ministry has directed intelligence wings of states and also central intelligence agencies to track the activities of these organisations closely and gather evidence against them. There are 128 such organisations that are on the radar of intelligence agencies for their links with the red rebels. “These organsiations carry out over ground agitational activities in an attempt to expand the mass base of the party and prepare the stage for armed insurrection,” the note on the new policy says. Home Ministry officials say that cracking down on such organisations is a priority. Intelligence reports suggest that many of these front organsiations are based in urban centres and provide logistical support to the movement ensuring fusion between overground and underground activities. They are responsible for recruitment of educated youth who go to field areas to keep the movement alive and play the role of ideologues, sources say.
“Such organisations have been identified but we need to establish that these are the urban faces of the armed rebellion and not mere sympathisers,” said a home ministry official. The ministry has planned a crackdown on these organisations and asked intelligence agencies to bring out evidence of their support to the Maoists. Initiating strong action against them has been a problem area since they operate by making inroads into workers’ groups, social forums and NGOs. Intelligence agencies stumbled upon the Maoist strategy of setting urban bases in cities like Delhi in 2009 with the arrest of Kobad Ghandy from Delhi.
“We want to treat them like Maoists, but that is only possible if we can get solid evidence that they are providing the armed rebels logistical support, carrying out recruitment drives in urban areas and providing financial assistance to them as well,” the official added. Other than states hit by left-wing extremism like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, these front organisations are also active in Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Kerala. Sources say several organisations in Delhi and the National Capital Region have been identified as Maoist front organisations. According to the home ministry, Maoist ideologues in cities and towns have undertaken a concerted and systematic propaganda against the state.
“In fact, it is these ideologues who have kept the Maoist movement alive and are in many ways more dangerous than the cadres of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army,” a home ministry report on Maoist activities in urban area says. The home ministry is of the opinion that the Maoists want to capture territory in the countryside and gradually encircle the urban centres. Intelligence agencies stumbled upon the Maoist strategy of setting urban bases in cities like Delhi in 2009 with the arrest of Kobad Ghandy from Delhi. Ghandy is allegedly responsible for recruiting people from urban centres. More recently, Hem Mishra, a student of Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, was arrested by the Maharashtra Police last year for allegedly helping Maoists.
Earlier this year, Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba, belonging to the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), was also arrested by Maharshtra police on allegations of supporting the rebels. Intelligence inputs indicate that these groups are working with an objective to enter the cadres of workers’ associations and work from within and motivate them to carry out violent protests. Intelligence sources say their cadres work in layers. The modus operandi of some of these groups is aimed at provoking violence. Starting from distributing material related to the Maoist ideology to holding rallies, they finally want to penetrate into protest demonstrations and trigger violence