Is this the start of a bloody revolution by the poor, left-behind Indian masses?
Gajurel, a senior leader of the Nepalese Maoists, has recently been quoted by Rajdhani daily as saying, "We have extended our full support and cooperation to the Indian Maoists, who are launching armed revolt."
There has been a surge in Maoist violence in India in recent months - the rebels have kidnapped and killed policemen, help up an express train, attacked police stations, and blown up railway lines and communication links in affected states.
The Maoist insurgency started in 1967 and has spread to cover a third of India's districts, forming a so-called "red corridor" in mainly central areas.
The rebels have a presence in more than 223 of India's 600-odd districts across 20 states, according to the government.
There have been more than 1,400 cases related to violence by Maoists between January and August, according to official records. Nearly 600 civilians have died over that period.
India’s rapid economic growth has made it an emerging global power but also deepened stark i nequalities in society. Maoists accuse the government of trying to push tribal groups off their land to gain access to raw materials and have sabotaged roads, bridges and even an energy pipeline, according to the NY Times.
Such is the hatred of the Naxalites for the ruling elite that their leader Ganapathi, a former schoolteacher, branded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaran as "terrorists." In a recent interview at his secret jungle hideout with the weekly magazine Open, he said "the people will rise up like a tornado under our party's leadership to wipe out the reactionary blood-sucking vampires ruling our country." At another point, the 59-year old Ganapathi declared: "Those (government) sharks want to loot the wealth and drive the tribal people of the region to further impoverishment."
The Maoists were once dismissed as a ragtag band of outdated ideologues, but the Indian government is now preparing to deploy nearly 70,000 paramilitary officers for a prolonged counterinsurgency campaign to hunt down the guerrillas in some of the country’s most rugged, isolated terrain.
By threatening to unleash a "tornado" of violence if the Indian government went ahead with its planned large-scale offensive against his insurgent forces, Maoists leader Ganapathi has made the intentions of the rebels obvious. Already, his men, and even some women cadres, have carried out actions that are now normally associated with the Taliban. They have kidnapped and beheaded government officials, blown up electricity and telephone towers, destroyed roads and railway tracks, killed political opponents and attacked police stations and other official installations. The offensive against the Naxalites will certainly weaken and deprive them of some of their bases and hideouts, but the issue cannot be resolved by the use of force alone. Many members of the Indian intelligentsia sympathize with the cause of the Maoists and objective analysts see it as an economic issue and one concerning lack of justice. The Indian ruling elite needs to tackle the root-cause of the insurgency instead of applying force through the state apparatus to crush the rebels.
Haq's Musings: Bloody Revolution in India?