The Maoist rebels are trying to make inroad into universities. It is a major concern not only for the law enforcement agencies but for common citizens of the country. Recently an attempt was made by Maoists to kill the Vice-Chancellor of the Hyderabad University. Two persons with Maoist leanings were arrested by East Godavari police on the charge of hatching a plot to assassinate the Vice-Chancellor. Police claimed the accused were acting on the orders of Maoist top guns of Telangana to avenge the death of Dalit research scholar Rohit Vemula, who committed suicide on the campus two years ago.
There are more evidences which narrate the story of Naxal entrenchment in the cities. In 2016, the Naxal-affected States held a meeting in which Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The fights are not in (Maoist hotbeds of) Gadchiroli or Sukma, but it is in universities of Delhi, Pune or Patna or Hyderabad. They (sympathisers) are chalking out strategies for Naxals.” An army of Naxal sympathisers is as dangerous as the militant operatives. Last month killings of seven CRPF jawans are latest in the series of blood trail and crimes committed by Maoists. Leftwing extremists have killed more than 12,000 people, including over 2,700 security force personnel in different parts of the country between 1994 and 2014. Quite often victims of the Leftwing bullets are innocent tribal people and poor villagers. There are also instances of VIPs murder by Maoists. On May 25, 2013, a Maoist attack resulted in the death of Congress leader and former Chhattisgarh Minister Mahendra Karma and Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nanda Kumar Patel. Veteran Congress leader VC Shukla too was killed by the Maoists.
What is disquieting is the presence of Maoist rebels on the campus. The strategy has been crafted with long-term vision. Moreover, Maoists’ top mission is to penetrate the mega cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Earlier JNU was the only university which continuously produced Naxal ideologues. Now there are many. According to the Maoist Strategy and Tactics document adopted at the Ninth Congress of 2001, there is a need for “Secret Revolutionary Mass Organisations”. The document says “secret organisations may be formed in any section of the masses; we have so far, in the urban areas, mainly set them up among the youth, students, and workers.”
Banshidhar, alias Chintan Da, a politburo member, was perhaps the first case of a JNU student having links with Maoists. He was arrested in 2006. He received PhD and MPhil degrees from JNU.
The documents, which have been seized by police, entailed a nefarious design of the Maoist outfits. Whether it is the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Warangal, Jadavpur University in Kolkata, Allahabad University or universities in Hyderabad, Dakshin Kannada, Mangalore and Shimoga, campuses have been a preferred hunting ground for Maoists. The advantage with DU and JNU is that they lie at the centre of economic and political activities in India: Delhi. Maoist strategies emphasize on expansion in urban areas like Delhi, which have great political and economic significance for the ruling class. Their document advocates strong movements in big cities to paralyse the ruling class in order to induce greater impact on the movement. In Karnataka, educational campuses are the new hunting grounds for Naxals. The Intelligence dossier of the State Police reveals that Naxals scour campuses in Mangalore and Shimoga for new recruits and sympathisers. Universities in Dakshina Kannada have become potential training grounds to strike. Universities like Kuvempu and Mangalore have turned into potential recruiting zones for Maoists.
The North-East region has been targeted by Maoists to establish its bases. The insurgent groups and Maoist connections came into light in 2006. Primarily the North-East region has been used as a transit route to ferry arms and ammunition from China. Second, the region has also figured in the geographical expansion strategy of the extremists. The Indian Intelligence agencies have come up with reports revealing Maoist leaders’ secret visits to China’s Yunnan province for arms training. ABVP national general secretary Sunil Ambekar has expressed his concern on convergences of Maoists and insurgents in the North-Eastern States. Now the BJP is in power in most of the States of the North East. Therefore, there has been deliberate attempts by combined Opposition parties to disrupt the law and order in the respective North-Eastern States with the help of local militants and Maoists. As per the reports, China had set up a weapon manufacturing facility in Myanmar’s Kachin province, which produced near-exact replicas of AK 47 rifles which were supplied to Maoists. In November 2009, then Home Secretary GK Pillai had said that he was confident that there was a supply of arms from China to the Maoists in India.
The trends seem more vicious and serpentine. The mainstream political parties are hand in glove with the Maoist forces. Nandigram and other violent episodes in West Bengal have proved that the Trinmool Congress and other regional parties have been using Maoist rebels for their vested interests. The percolation of Maoist forces have dipped down to the urban issues. The urban-based cadre of the party fight for basic amenities like water, electricity, toilets and sewerage, against corruption and exploitation of ration-shop owners. They organise struggles on these issues through the local committees and the slum-dwellers’ organisations. As women and unemployed youth play a leading role in most of these struggles, the mahila mandals (women’s associations) and youth clubs are asked to be involved.
Therefore, Sukma is not merely a concerned for the nation which is the epicentre of the Maoist activity. This entire region is unmanned and it’s the nerve centre of Naxals. Maoists are now expanding their base beyond Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district to the tri-junction of Madhya Pradesh-Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh in order to support their existing strongholds in Sukma and Dantewada districts. The entire Dandakaranya region, which includes vast areas of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, considerable parts of Chhattisgarh, especially southern Chhattisgarh, as also large spaces in Odisha and, in addition, Jharkhand and parts of Maharashtra, are Maoist infested. The dense population of the urban parts are the new targets. Maoists adapt to different shades. They could be found in candlelight processions in JNU or at the violent procession at Jantar Mantar. They have intruded into Delhi’s ruling party in Jhuggi Jhopri to the top decision-making bodies under the grand old party umbrella.
To accomplish their urban objectives, Naxal have employed multi-pronged tactics to recruit or install Naxal sympathisers in key public sector industries. To infiltrate into the enemy camps in sensitive departments like finance, military, police, power, IT, Defence production and disrupt the activities from within by gaining control over the workers. To create cadre in urban areas who are technically qualified to handle the latest arms and ammunition. To create groups of highly-motivated individuals who constitute what the Naxal call as “city action teams”. The Maoist rebels try to use modern electronic means to infiltrate into the enemy’s networks and collect vital information. All these requirements could only be fulfilled if there is a large chunk of Maoists trained in the universities. JNU model for them is the most adorable model. The teachers and students with proper mutual understanding work as a united force. Their immediate target is to destabilise the current Central Government. Most of the political parties are directly or indirectly promoting the cause of Maoist forces. The recent farmers’ agitation or sporadic killings on the verdict of the Supreme Court, everywhere Maoist forces are involved. The Intelligence reports have indicated these groups are linked with the insurgents and terrorist organisations of other countries.
If any political party is promoting Maoists for short-term gain, they are inflicting long-term harm on the national interests. The infiltration of Maoists into campuses will break the backbone of the nation.
By Satish Kumar
(The writer is Head of the Department of Political Science, Central University of Haryana)
Courtesy: The Pioneer