Pragmatic | Kishenji’s death and Maoist threat

Maoists still pose a potent security challenge to the Indian state

The above graphic comes from Rahul Pandita’s obituary (even if it is masqueraded as an article) of dead Maoist leader Kishenji in Open magazine. An interesting extract:

It is ironic that Kishenji was killed at a time when the Mamata Banerjee government is in power, a turn of events in which Kishenji had a significant role to play. In 2000, Kishenji had helped the CPM rein in the Trinamool Congress in Keshpur. By Kishenji’s own admission, he had personally collected 5,000 cartridges from a local CPM office for use against Trinamool workers. A few years later, the tide would turn the other way, with the Maoist cadre under Kishenji eliminating CPM workers from the entire Lalgarh area. With Kishenji’s death, the real fear is that Trinamool workers will be targeted again.[Open]

As far as the CRPF operation that killed Kishenji is concerned, it has been reported that Kishenji was betrayed by his own men. Whatever be the case, his elimination is a huge positive for the Indian state. Tehelka reports that Kishenji was at the forefront of Maoists’ reach out to rebel groups in the Northeast, where Maoists were trying to spread the idea of a Strategic United Front of all rebel outfits operating in the restive region.He was also using the Manipur People’s Liberation Army to establish contact with the Chinese.

Kishenji was trying to develop secret links with other rebel groups in the Northeast, including the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Issac-Muivah) or NSCN(IM). The latter’s chief arms procurer Anthony Shimray, who is in NIA custody, confessed that a huge cache of arms for the Maoists was purchased from a Chinese company. The consignment included automatic rifles, rocket launchers and grenades. TEHELKAwas informed by an insider from the anti-talk faction of ULFA that Kishenji was in touch with ULFA army chief Paresh Barua, who led him to Shimray.

In 2008, when the PLA and the Maoists signed the joint declaration, another development was taking place that eventually was seen as ‘beneficial’ by Kishenji. According to intelligence sources, Paresh Barua and Chaoren flew to Kunming in China’s Yunan province from Dhaka and had two meetings with Chinese military intelligence brass in February. In May, they flew again to Beijing and an understanding was reached on arms dealing. At that time, the PLA had urged the Chinese to help the Maoists and an “assurance” from the Chinese was sent through the PLA.

In the sensational letter from Kishenji available with TEHELKA, the Maoists had stressed on forming a Strategic United Front as a means to “counter the physiological war” of New Delhi. The minutes of the meeting between the PLA and the Maoists where Kishenji was present clearly states: “The Maoists have agreed to the RPF/PLA proposal of maintaining contact and collaborating with foreign countries.”[Tehelka]

Unless the security forces act in concert to build upon this success, Kishenji’s death may only provide a temporary solace. While there is a lot of talk about development plans for the Maoist-affected areas, let us not forget that Maoists remain, first and foremost, a security threat to the Indian state. As this blog has constantly advocated, development is a must, but there has to be security first.

DISCLAIMER: This is an archived post from the Indian National Interest blogroll. Views expressed are those of the blogger's and do not represent The Takshashila Institution’s view.