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Maoist Strategy Wakes Up Assam Government from Slumber

POSTED ON 1 JUNE 2013

wasbir Hussain
executive director,
centre for development and peace studies

A five–point strategy for Assam and the rest of the Northeast formulated by the CPI (Maoist) has come as a jolt to the security establishment in Assam, forcing the State Government to wake up from its slumber and approach the Centre to declare as many as nine districts as Maoist affected. The Maoists’ specific agenda for the region was adopted at a Central Committee meeting of the CPI (Maoist) in the jungles of Jharkhand towards the end of 2011.

Interrogation of Aklanta Rabha, alias Mahesh ji, a Central Committee member of the CPI (Maoist) arrested from Jorabat near Guwahati in May has led to some startling revelations that include the group’s five–point agenda. The Maoists’ strategy was to (i) unite all the insurgent groups in the Northeast (ii) to coordinate closely with the anti–talk ULFA faction headed by Paresh Baruah (iii) to raise a people’s guerilla army (iv) to set up training camps in the dense jungles of Arunachal Pradesh, and (v) procurement of arms and ammunition.

The disclosure clearly means that the CPI (Maoist) was bent on expanding and consolidating their base in the Northeast. Security agencies in Assam have assessed that the Maoist threat ‘looms large’ and that it is a ‘threat to internal security’ in the State. That is the reason why the Assam Government has been quick to move the Centre to declare the districts of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Golaghat, Sivasagar, Goalpara, Cachar and Karimganj as affected by Left Wing Extremism. There are a total of 103 Police Stations in these nine districts, of which 35 Police Stations are said to be Maoist affected.

The interrogation of the Maoist Central Committee members Aklanta Rabha and Anukul Naskar, alias Paresh da, have revealed that Maoists have been making inroads into Assam since 1995. It was in 1996 that Aklanta Rabha had first visited Jharkhand (then Bihar). When he arrived at the Jalenga Training Camp of the Maoists in Gumla district, he was surprised to find seven cadres from Assam, six men and a woman, already undergoing training there.
These details have brought to light the fact that the Maoists were actively operating in Assam for at least 17 years now, contrary to the general belief that they had opened shop, mainly in the Sadiya Sub–Division of Tinsukia district and across the border of Arunachal Pradesh, three to four years ago.

Assessments by the Assam Police say that the Maoist rebellion in the State is at its earliest phase, known in the CPI (Maoist) parlance as the ‘latent phase—strategic defensive’. The ‘latent phase’ involves mobilization of the masses, political awakening, visiting villages, engaging in small struggles on local issues, picking up students’ issues, fighting corruption, short–listing shelter and arms dumps and identification of local militant elements, etc.

However, there is no scope for complacency because the Maoists have already been locked in as many as five encounters with the Assam Police in which the red rebels had managed to snatch weapons that include AK–series rifles. However, during the last encounter on 9 May 2012, at Borgora village in the Sadiya Sub Division of Tinsukia district, the Maoists have suffered a major setback. An Assam police team which raided a house in the remote village shot dead four Maoists and recovered three AK 47 rifles, three grenades, six mobile phones, 16 sim cards and several extortion letters. Siddhartha Borgohain, Commander, CPI (Maoist), Upper Assam Leading Committee, was among the four Maoist cadres killed.

The Assam Police may be taking solace with the arrest of 70 Maoist cadres from across the State so far and having in its possession a list containing names of 180 Maoist cadres. But they must realize that without a proper anti–Maoist strategy and training in place, the force may come to have a tough time in the near future. (courtesy: The Sentinel)