India Intelligence Report

   Naxal Violence Unseats Terrorism in J&K


Junior Home Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal admitted in Parliament that the Naxal menace in India is more threatening, cause more disruption, and resulted in more deaths that the Pakistan-inspired terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh noted that the Naxal menace in India is the largest single threat to the nation.

Covering more than 175 districts in over 13 states, terrorist acts from the Naxals have increased rapidly in the last few months. They methods seemed to have improved. Armed with sophisticated weapons and equipped with latest communication equipment, these terrorist take advantage of poorly equipped police to extort money, hijack trains, takeover stations, commit murder, and collect “taxes.” 

While the Home Ministry’s initial response was a major peoples’ movement called Salwa Judum, they realized soon that the poor peasants were being targeted by the terrorists causing large scale migration of these villagers to refugee camps in squalid conditions. Even so, the hastily released document in March espoused a Naxal policy  again called for only militia and no coordinated action against the Naxals.

Finally, there appears a more coordinated approach to handling Naxal terrorism. The Army is being recruited to train police and paramilitary in counter-insurgency operations. Former Punjab Police Chief and protagonist who broke the Punjab insurgency K.P.S. Gill has been appointed as special security advisor to the Chhattisgarh Government. Ten commando schools are being set up in Andhra Pradesh to churn out more police commandos who can fight the terrorists. Helicopter-assisted targeted surgical strikes are being planned in the forests of Chhattisgarh. It looks like the Government wants to bring down the 1000% year-on-year casualty figures from Naxal terrorist activities down in a hurry (casualties jumped from 18 in April 2005 to 187 in April 2006). 

Another major impetus is the desire to get access to minerals locked in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh so development can be taken to the largely illiterate and under-developed populations. 

The most important move needs to come from communist Government in West Bengal (WB) from the reelected and forward-looking Buddhadev Chatterjee. He will have to propose strong anti-terror legislation to bring down Naxal incidents and activities in his state. A previous version of communism-inspired Naxal violence was put down by another communist. It was Chatterjee’s predecessor Jyoti Basu who ruled WB from 1977 to 2000 who adopted radical steps to eliminate radical elements of the Naxal movements and include moderate elements in politics.