Not only are Pakistan-based elements training and funding insurgents in India, together they are also plotting to radicalise the Muslims here to eventually dismember the country
In the aftermath of the recent Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh, the time has come to question the Union Government’s studied silence on the enormous evidence that is now available pointing to definite linkages between the Maoists and the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan. The well-known global intelligence company, Stratfor, had warned as early as 2009 that the ISI is forging an alliance with the Maoists in a bid to destabilise the Indian state.
In fact, Mr Ben West, a Stratfor analyst, had written in 2010 that, according to the then Director General of Police for Chhattisgarh, the Maoists had even been in touch with the lashkar-e-Tayyeba. It has also been reported that at least two leT operatives attended a Maoist meeting in April or May 2010.
The ISI’s dalliance with the Maoists can be traced as far back as 2005. An analysis of the empties of nearly three hundred bullets fired by Maoists during a fierce encounter with the police on January 8 that year showed that many had the markings of a Pakistani ordnance factory. Moreover, several of these empties matched those that were recovered in New Delhi on December 13, 2001, after the notorious ISI-sponsored attack on the Parliament complex.
In 2009, the Intelligence Bureau apprised the Union Ministry of Home Affairs about the growing links between the Maoists and the ISI. It believed that both groups intended to establish a joint base in south India. In a confidential report, the IB pointed out that, in 2008, nearly 500 Maoists had undergone training with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India in the Vagamon hills on the Idduki-Kottayam border.
The arrest of lashkar-e-Tayyeba’s notorious Nepal-based head, Mohammed Omer Madani, by Delhi Police in 2009 further confirmed the ISI’s support to the Maoist insurgency. His diaries also gave a clear idea of the plans being made by the ISI to dismember India through Maoist insurgents. In fact, Madani himself had carried out extensive research into the Maoists’ organisational structure and functioning, and had also been receiving fake currency to fund terror activities in India.
Madani’s 2009 arrest was followed by the arrest of six members of the Dawood gang by Bangalore police in August 2010. These men were in touch with at least two top Maoist leaders in Bangalore, making it amply clear that D Company was now making inroads into the southern States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala as well. Then, in October 2010, two Muslim militants belonging to a larger group from Mallalapuram in Kerala were killed in the lolab mountains of Kashmir.
In his November 2010 article, Mr West had also pointed out that the Maoist insurgents had acquired a vast and diverse assortment of foreign weapons. One zonal commander had spent more than $70,214 on procuring weapons and armaments while another $20,604 was spent on supplies. This indicated that the Maoists were flush with funds remitted from abroad through hawala channels.
Stratfor’s Global Intelligence files, accessed and released by Wikileaks in March 2012, have also copiously referred to several instances of cooperation between Maoists and leT operatives in India. There is ample proof that the Pakistan-based jihadis and their foot soldiers in India are desperately trying to set up sleeper-cells in the hinterland with the help of the Maoists as the areas dominated by the insurgents “have enough Muslim population which would serve both the parties as a recruiting ground…”
Against this backdrop, it is interesting to note that the slain Maoist leader Koteswara Rao, popularly known as Kishenji, had made clear that he did not support the manner in which the 26 /11 Mumbai massacre was carried out as “most of the victims were Muslims”. In June 2009, he also openly declared his support for the Islamic upsurge in India. Finally, he had also said that his comrades intend to concentrate on Uttar Pradesh because they would like to capitalise on the Muslim population in that State.
Reportedly, Indian intelligence agencies are aware of the ISI-Maoist nexus and how it plans to manipulate Indian Muslims but the Home Ministry is reluctant to make it public. This could be in part because of minority vote-bank considerations and in part due to the adverse effect such a revelation may have on India-Pakistan relations. Still, it does not change the fact that unless the Indian Government comes clean on the subject and takes the bull by its horns, ISI-sponsored Maoist mayhem will continue.
No one should think that the insurgency can be effectively curbed by idle talk on development. Neither should they waste their time blaming State Governments for their failure to prevent Maoist attacks. The vast area now controlled by the Red terrorists can only be reclaimed if the Union Government chokes the supply of arms and funds being pumped into the ‘movement’ by the ISI.
(The author is a retired Indian Police Service officer)