In a huge success for the security forces operating in the naxal-hit areas, a close nexus between the naxals working on ground and the urban naxals has been exposed. A joint team of the CRPF, NIA and local police has recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition from naxal stronghold, Lugu Pahar in Bokaro district of Jharkhand. The successful raids were carried out on the basis of the information provided by hardcore Maoist Sunil Majhi alias Charles. He had been arrested a couple of months ago and it seems that the security personnel are now using him to good effect.
10 ‘303’ rifles, a carbine, a 9 mm pistol, 12 rifles, a couple of double barrel guns, massive ammunition of INSAS rifles and 9 mm pistols, one land mine, two detonators and wireless handsets were seized during the course of this operation. In the course of the crackdown against naxals, the security forces have discovered how the naxals are being funded by their urban comrades and how they procure ammunition. Funding towards naxalism has seen a massive surge from Rs. 1,000 crore in 2009 to somewhere between Rs. 2,000 crores to 2,500 crores in today’s time. Weapons and ammunition combined form a major part of the total funding the naxals receive. According to sources, Rs. 200 crore is being spent on procurement of weapons alone. Rest is being spent on recruitment and training of naxalites as well as propaganda at the highest level in urban areas.
According to a One India report, the naxals have their own arms factories, a Research and Development wing, propaganda wing and a recruitment branch. Naxalism is far more organised than one could imagine, and there is greater involvement from urban centres though it is almost invisible. As per the report, naxals have a dedicated network which functions as the propaganda wing concentrated in the urban areas. This wing includes lawyers, former judges, activists and students. These urban comrades not only act as propaganda machinery evoking sympathy for naxals as ‘victims’ and portraying the establishment as oppressors, but also aid the movement of men, funds and ammunition in naxal controlled areas. In 2008, Chhattisgarh police had discovered that a travel agency had been helping the naxals in moving their arms and men.
Urban centres have emerged as critical for naxals as they want to recruit cadres who are adept at performing military tasks and at the same time developing international networks, providing medical aid and conducting cyber warfare. Certain universities have been constantly targeted by the naxals and the narrative that they have been trying to create is that there is a student unrest in wake of the apparent undermining of democratic and constitutional values by the union government. Under the garb of saving democracy, there has been an attempt to stir anti-India sentiments in India’s premier university campuses. Another reason for this emergent trend is that those living in the tribal areas have slowly began to see through the hollowness of the Maoist ideology. Naxals have been left with no option but to target urban centres and have actually found quite a few urban sympathisers.
Security forces are constantly attacking naxal strongholds and have made sure that naxals are made to feel the heat. As a result, both the area under naxal control and intensity of naxal attacks have gone down. Nonetheless, we must not take assume that we have already won. We are facing naxals on two fronts- urban centres and the tribal areas. While the security forces are dismantling their tribal strongholds, urban naxals are still operating with impunity to keep naxalism alive. Unlike naxals operating on the ground in the tribal areas, urban naxals are invisible forces and have immersed themselves in normal civilian life. It is difficult to spot and neutralise them because they pursue their agenda in a deceitful manner impersonating as ordinary citizens. This makes them as dangerous as the armed naxals, if not more. Naxalism is being uprooted from the tribal areas but the ideological battle is still on with urban naxals and we must not take this challenge lightly.