Communist Party of India (Maoist)

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Not to be confused with Communist Party of India or Communist Party of India (Marxist).

For other uses, see Naxalism.

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Communist Party of India (Maoist)
South Asian Communist Banner.svg
Logo of Communist Party of India (Maoist)
Leader(s) Muppala Lakshmana Rao
Active region(s) India
Ideology Marxism–Leninism
Maoism
Communism
Status active as of 2013
Size 10,000–20,000 operatives (2010)[1]

The Communist Party of India (Maoist) is an underground political party in India which aims to overthrow the government of India through people's war.[2] It was founded on 21 September 2004, through the merger of the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) People's War (People's War Group), and the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI). The merger was announced on 14 October the same year. In the merger a provisional central committee was constituted, with the erstwhile People's War Group leader Muppala Lakshmana Rao, alias "Ganapathi", as general secretary.

The CPI (Maoist) are often referred to as Naxalites in reference to the Naxalbari insurrection conducted by radical Maoists in West Bengal in 1967.

The present draft document of their joint platform was finalised by Joint CC of the erstwhile CPI (ML)[PW] and the MCCI in September 2004 after extensive discussions. Five draft documents were prepared after intense discussions in a series of bilateral meetings held between the high-level delegations of the two erstwhile parties between February 2003 and September 2004. The Joint CC meeting deeply studied these five draft documents, freely exchanged the rich experiences acquired through the revolutionary practice during the past three decades and more, and arrived at a common understanding on several vexed questions confronting the Indian revolution in the backdrop of the international developments.

The present document – Party Constitution – is the synthesis of all the positive points in the documents of the two erstwhile parties, as well as their experiences in the course of waging the people’s war, fighting against revisionism, and right and left opportunist trends in the Indian and international communist movement, and building a stable and consistent revolutionary movement in various parts of the country.

They claim to be fighting for the rights of the tribes in the forest belt around central India-Chattisgharh, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharastra, and West Bengal. New organizational expansion has been reported in Uttarakhand, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. That region contains deposits of minerals[3] which are of interest to mining companies like Tata and Essar.

Ideology

Communism in India
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Communist Party of India
AITUC - AIKS - AIYF
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Communist Party of India (Marxist)

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Communist Ghadar Party of India
Naxalbari uprising
Communist Party of India (M-L)
Liberation - New Democracy
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Communist Party of India (Maoist)

Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist)
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M. N. Roy
Abani Mukherji
A. K. Gopalan
P. Krishna Pillai
P. C. Joshi
P. Sundarayya
Ajoy Ghosh
K. Damodaran
E. M. S. Namboodiripad
Chandra Rajeshwar Rao Azhikodan Raghavan
Bhupesh Gupta V. S. Achuthanandan
E. K. Nayanar
Guru Radha Kishan
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Tebhaga movement
CCOMPOSA
Telangana Rebellion
Comrades Association
Communist Party of French India

Communism
World Communist Movement

The People's War Group (PWG) maintained a Marxist-Leninist stance, while the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI) took a Maoist stance. After the merger, the PWG secretary of Andhra Pradesh announced that the newly formed CPI-Maoist would follow Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as its "ideological basis guiding its thinking in all spheres of its activities." Included in this ideology is a commitment to "protracted armed struggle" to undermine and to seize power from the state.

The ideology of the party is contained in a "Party Programme." In the document, the Maoists denounce globalisation as a war on the people by market fundamentalists and the caste system as a form of social oppression.[4]

The Communist Party of India (Maoist) claim that they are conducting a "people's war", a strategic approach developed by Mao Zedong during the guerrilla warfare phase of the Communist Party of China. Their eventual objective is to install a "people’s government" via a New Democratic Revolution.[4]

Views on Islamic upsurge

The CPI (Maoist) views the Islamic upsurge as a struggle towards national liberation against imperialism, rather than as a clash of civilisations, and Vinod Anand claims that in the past, some of the party members have described it as "a progressive anti-imperialist force in the contemporary world."[4] In the words of Kishenji: "The Islamic upsurge should not be opposed as it is basically anti-US and anti-imperialist in nature. We, therefore, want it to grow".[4]

Location

Currently the Party has a presence in remote regions of Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh, as well as in Bihar and the tribal-dominated areas in the borderlands of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Odisha. The CPI (Maoist) aims to consolidate its power in this area and establish a Compact Revolutionary Zone from which to advance the people's war in other parts of India. A 2005 Frontline cover story called the Bhamragad Taluka, where the Madia Gond, Adivasis, live, the heart of the Naxalite region in Maharashtra.[5]

Organization

The current General Secretary of CPI (Maoist) is Muppala Lakshmana Rao, who uses the alias "Ganapathy".[6] The party hierarchy consists of the Regional Bureaus, which look after two or three states each, the State Committees, the Zonal Committees, the District Committees, and the "dalams" (armed squads).[7]

Politburo

The highest decision making body of the ultra-leftist political party is the Politburo, comprising thirteen or fourteen[8] members, six of whom were killed or arrested between 2007 and 2010. Prashant Bose alias "Kishan-da" and Katakam Sudarshan alias Anand,[9] are the two most prominent Politburo members of CPI (Maoist). Sudhakar alias "Kiran" is another Politburo member of CPI (Maoist).[10] Amongst those jailed, Kobad Ghandy is the one of most momentous Politburo member of the party.[11] Other arrested Politburo members of the party between 2005 to 2011 include Pramod Mishra, Akhilesh Yadav, Amitabh Bagchi, Baccha Prasad Singh, Narayan Sanyal and Sushil Roy.[12] Ashutosh Tudu is another one of the captured Politburo members of the party.[8] Among those assassinated, Cherukuri Rajkumar alias "Azad"[13][8] and Mallojula Koteswara Rao alias "Kishenji",[14] were the two senior-most prominent members of the CPI (Maoist)'s Politburo.

Central Committee

The Central Committee of the political party takes command from the Politburo and passes on the information to its members, and has 32 members. During an interview in 2010, Anand told media personnels that out of the 45 members of the Central Committee of CPI (Maoist), 8 has been arrested and 22 has been killed by the agencies of the Indian government.[15] Anuradha Ghandy, who passed away on 12 April 2008, was an eminent member of CPI (Maoist)'s Central Committee.[16] Kadari Satyanarayan alias "Kosa", Thippiri Tirupathi alias "Devuji" and Mallojula Venugopal alias "Bhupati" are another three cadres and Central Committee members of the party.[17] Narmada Akka who was killed on 4 December 2012 by the State's police forces, was also a Central Committee member of the party, and reportedly, the in charge of the female cadres of CPI (Maoist).[10]

Publication division

CPI (Maoist) also has a publication division. Besides volunteering as a polit bureau member of the party, Sudhakar alias "Kiran" also works for its publication division.[10]

Estimated strength

The military wings of the founding organisations, the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (the military wing of the MCCI) and the People's Guerrilla Army (the military wing of the PW), also underwent a merger. The name of the unified military organisation is the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army.

P.V. Ramana, of the Observer Research Foundation in Delhi, estimates the Naxilities' current strength at 9,000–10,000 armed fighters, with access to about 6,500 firearms.[18] Other estimates by Indian intelligence officials and Maoist leaders suggest that the rebel ranks in India number between 10,000 and 20,000, with at least 50,000 active supporters.[19]

Front organisations

Front organisations of the party included the Radical Youth League, Rythu Coolie Sangham, Radical Students Union, Singareni Karmika Samakhya, Viplava Karmika Samakhya and All India Revolutionary Students Federation.[20]

Strategy

Governance tactics

The Naxalites tax local villagers and businesses, abduct and kill "class enemies" such as government officials and police officers, and regulate the flow of aid and goods. To help fill their ranks, the Maoists require each family under their domain to supply one family member.[21]

The organisation has been holding "Public Courts"[22] in trials of their opponents. These "courts" function in the areas under de facto Maoist control.[23] The Maoists have also taken care to demolish government institutions under their de facto jurisdiction.

Military tactics

The Party retains the tactics of its predecessor, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People's War, of rejecting parliamentary democracy and capturing political power through protracted armed struggle based on guerrilla warfare. This strategy entails building up bases in rural and remote areas and transforming them first into guerrilla zones, and then into "liberated zones", in addition to encircling cities.

The military hardware used by Maoists, as indicated through a number of seizures, include RDX cable wires, gelatine sticks, detonators, country-made weapons, INSAS rifles, AK-47s, SLRs, and improvised explosive devices. According to MHA reports, as of October 2008, the CRPF has seized over 6,000 kilograms (13,000 lb) of explosives in Bihar and 893 kilograms (1,970 lb) in Jharkhand. Security forces also recovered codex wire in Jharkhand; this is a highly potent explosive with a blast-range of up to 720 metres (2,360 ft), which has so far been used only by modern national armies.[24]

Funding

Funding comes from setting up unofficial administrations to collect taxes in rural areas where official government appears absent. According to Ganapathy[25] who e-mailed The Hindu's correspondent:
“The party mainly collects donations from the people and funds from the traders in our guerrilla zones... [We] also collect rational levy from contractors who take up various works in our areas.”[25]

Legal status

The party is regarded as a terrorist outfit by the Indian government. Several of their members have been arrested under the now-defunct Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act.[26] The group is officially banned by the state governments of Odisha,[27] Chattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh, among others. The party has protested these bans.[28] On 22 June 2009, the central home ministry, keeping in mind the growing unlawful activities by the group, banned it under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).[29] Earlier, the union home minister, P. Chidambaram had asked the West Bengal Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, to ban the Maoists following the Operation Lalgarh violence.[30]

Following the ban, the Maoists were liable for arrest under the UAPA. After the ban, they were barred from holding rallies, public meetings and demonstrations, and their offices, if any, will be sealed and their bank accounts frozen.[citation needed]

Controversies

Opposition

The Party is regarded as a serious security threat by the Indian government which is taking countermeasures, pulling the affected states together to coordinate their response. It says it will combine improved policing with socio-economic measures to defuse grievances that fuel the Maoist cause.[21] In 2005, Chattisgarh State sponsored an anti-Maoist movement called the Salwa Judum. The group, which the BBC alleges is "government backed", [31] an allegation rejected by the Indian government[32][33] has come under criticism for "perpetrating atrocities and abuse against women",[34] using child soldiers,[23] and the looting of property and destruction of homes.[34] These allegations were rejected by a fact-finding commission of the National Human Rights Commission of India, appointed by the Supreme Court of India, who determined that the Salwa Judum was a spontaneous reaction by tribes against Maoist atrocities perpetrated against them.[35][36] The camps are guarded by police officers, paramilitary forces and child soldiers[21][23] empowered with the official title "special police officer."[23][37] However, on 5 July 2011, the Supreme Court of India declared the Salwa Judum as illegal and unconstitutional. The court directed the Chhattisgarh government to recover all the firearms given to the militia along with the ammunition and accessories. It also ordered the government to investigate all instances of alleged criminal activities of Salwa Judum.[38]

International connections

The CPI (Maoist) maintains a dialogue with the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) which control most of Nepal through the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA), according to several intelligence sources and think tanks. These links are, however, denied by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)[39]

While under detention in June 2009, a suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative indicated that the LeT and the CPI (Maoist) had attempted to coordinate activities in Jharkhand state.[40] Reports in 2010 indicate that the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines, Southeast Asia’s longest-lived communist insurgent group, has been reported to have engaged in training activities for guerrilla warfare with Indian Maoists.[41]

The Indian Maoists deny operational links with foreign groups, such as the Nepalese Maoists, but do claim comradeship.[42] Some members of the Indian government accept this,[43] while others argue that operational links do exist, with training coming from Sri-Lankan Maoists and small arms from China.[44] China denies, and is embarrassed by, any suggestion that it supports foreign Maoist rebels, citing improvements in relations between India and China, including movement towards resolving their border disputes. Maoists in Nepal, India, and the Philippines are less reticent about their shared goals.[45]

Timeline of incidents

See Timeline of the Naxalite-Maoist insurgency

See also

References

  1. http://www.news24.com/World/News/India-Maoists-bad-human-rights-20100413.
  2. Ridge, Mian. "Maoists' hijacking of Indian train reveals new audacity", The Christian Science Monitor, 29 October 2009. Retrieved on 2009-12-14. 
  3. Chhattisgarh state – Mining
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Anand, Vinod (2009). "Naxalite ideology, strategy and tactics" (PDF). Studies & Comments 9 – Security in South Asia: Conventional and Unconventional Factors of Destabilization (Munich: Hanns Seidel Foundation) 9: 19–32. http://www.hss.de/uploads/tx_ddceventsbrowser/SC-9_South-Asia_01.pdf. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  5. Guerilla zone, Frontline, 22(21), 8–21 October 2005 DIONNE BUNSHA in Gadchiroli
  6. Pandita, Rahul “We Shall Certainly Defeat the Government” - Somewhere in the impregnable jungles of Dandakaranya, the supreme commander of CPI (Maoist) spoke to Open on issues ranging from the Government’s proposed anti-Naxal offensive to Islamist Jihadist movements. OPEN. URL accessed on 1 June 2013.
  7. Mohan, Vishwa. "A band of eight that calls the shots", The Times of India, 7 April 2010. Retrieved on 7 April 2010.  [dead link]
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Bhattacharya,, Snigdhendu. "‘Will take revenge if Azad is harmed’", Hindustan Times, 21 March 2010. Retrieved on 8 April 2010. 
  9. Bhattacharya, Ravik. "Hardline strategist to replace Kishenji", Hindustan Times, 23 November 2012. Retrieved on 31 May 2013. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Maitra, Pradip Kumar. "Woman naxal leader killed in Gadchiroli", Hindustan Times, 27 December 2012. Retrieved on 31 May 2013. 
  11. Bhatt, Sheila. "Kobad Ghandy: The gentle revolutionary", Rediff, 23 September 2009. Retrieved on 31 May 2013. 
  12. Jain, Bharti. "Ganapathy, Kishanji on top of government's most-wanted Maoists list", The Economic Times, 22 September 2011. Retrieved on 1 June 2013. 
  13. "Azad's killing: Some unanswered questions", Rediff, Rediff. Retrieved on 31 May 2013. 
  14. "Hundreds pay last respects to Kishenji in Andhra Pradesh", Press Trust of India, India Today Group, 27 November 2011. Retrieved on 31 May 2013. 
  15. Radhakrishna, G. S.. "Portrait of ‘mastermind’", 7 April 2010. Retrieved on 31 May 2013. 
  16. Pandita, Rahul The Rebel - She was born into privilege and could easily have chosen the easy life. But Anuradha Ghandy chose guns over roses to fight for the dispossessed.. OPEN. URL accessed on 31 May 2013.
  17. Reddy, K. Srinivas. "Maoists from Andhra Pradesh may have planned Chhattisgarh ambush", The Hindu, 6 April 2010. Retrieved on 1 June 2013. 
  18. "A spectre haunting India", the Economist Volume 380 Number 8491 (19-25 August 2006)
  19. Sengupta, Somini. "In India, Maoist Guerrillas Widen 'People's War'", The New York Times Company, 16 April, 2006. Retrieved on 2010-01-28. 
  20. Andrapradesh: Ban on CPI Maoist and front organisations extended for one more year. Indian Vanguard. URL accessed on 2012-04-26.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 "Caught between Rebels and Vigilantes", Reuters, 27 August 2008. Retrieved on 2010-01-30. 
  22. The Telegraph, Calcutta, 14 April 2010
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 "The Adivasis of Chhattisgarh: Victims of the Naxalite Movement and Salwa Judum Campaign." (PDF). Asian Centre for Human Rights (New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights): 42. 2006. http://www.achrweb.org/reports/india/Chattis0106.pdf. Retrieved 2010-04-12. 
  24. The Telegraph, 16 October 2008
  25. 25.0 25.1 Sethi, Aman. "Maoists consolidating control, says CPI (Maoist) leader", 10 November 2010. Retrieved on 26 May 2013. 
  26. Article on CPI_M,MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base
  27. Eastern Indian state bans communist rebel group,The China Post
  28. Maoists plan stir,The Hindu
  29. "Centre bans CPI (Maoist), declares it a terror organisation", Zee News. Retrieved on 2009-06-22. 
  30. "Centre declares Maoists a terrorist organisation", Times of India, 22 June 2009. Retrieved on 2009-06-22. 
  31. "Indian state 'backing vigilantes'", BBC, 15 July 2008. Retrieved on 2010-04-12. 
  32. Hearing plea against Salwa Judum, SC says State cannot arm civilians to kill Indian Express, 1 April 2008.
  33. SC raps Chattisgarh on Salwa Judum Rediff.com, 31 March 2008.
  34. 34.0 34.1 "Report recommends withdrawal of Salwa Judum", The Hindu Group, 19 January 2007. Retrieved on 2010-04-12.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "The_Hindu" defined multiple times with different content
  35. 'Existence of Salwa Judum necessary' The Economic Times, 6 October 2008.
  36. DNAIndia
  37. Child Soldiers in Chhattisgarh: Issues, Challenges and FFDA’s Response. Other India Press. URL accessed on 2010-04-12.
  38. Venkatesan, J.. "Salwa Judum is illegal, says SC", The Hindu Group, 5 July 2011. Retrieved on 2011-11-26. 
  39. "Nepali Maoists Deny Ongoing Links with Indian Counterparts" by Jason Motlagh, World Politics Review. 6/12/08 [dead link]
  40. Madni revealed LeT links with Maoists: Police – India – The Times of India
  41. RP Reds now train Maoist rebs in India – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos
  42. Naxalites hosted Nepalese Maoist leader in Kolkata
  43. Chennai Centre for China Studies – B.Raman, Cabinet Secretariat (retd), Govt. of India
  44. India probes Maoists' foreign links – Asia Times – Nov 11, 2009
  45. Nepal Maoists, India & China – by B.Raman

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