INDIA'S FORGOTTEN WAR – blogging naxalism.

Archive for the ‘Andhra Pradesh’ Category

Operation Green Hunt Updates

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Things have been relatively quiet since the April attack which killed 76 paramilitary members. Both sides were likely taking stock of the situation. Things are once again heating up. Here are a few of the latest developments:

Security forces have ambushed a party of Maoists in Orissa. While it is difficult to verify body counts (as the Naxalites remove their dead), the government is claiming to have killed at least a dozen rebels and suffered no casualties. The interesting thing is that the Greyhound forces, Andhra Pradesh’s much lauded anti-Naxalite force, has been involved. This suggests a level of cross-border collaboration which has been largely absent in the past.

The Maoists inflicted their first significant casualties since early April. An IED on one Chhattisgarh’s busiest highways killed 8 paramilitaries riding in an armoured vehicle. Apparently the explosive device had been planted months earlier once again demonstrating the discipline and patience of the rebels.

Continuing the field dominance approach of Operation Green Hunt, Delhi has promised to send even more paramilitary units to West Bengal this month. If anyone has current numbers on deployment in the Red Corridor, I’d be grateful if you could send them on to me.

Finally, the Maoists have threatened to kill Congress Party members in Jharkhand. Notably, neither BJP nor JMM politicians have been targeted.

Telangana as Farce

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Since my last post on the ongoing battle for an independent Telangana the story has taken a turn for the absurd. In early December, the central government unilaterally (and suddenly) declared their support for the creation of a new state to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh, leading to anger and sporadic violence. Opponents of the decision were particularly concerned with the status of Andhra’s capital, the wealthy technology hub Hyderabad situated deep inside Telangana. After the resignations of a number of Congress politicians in protest at the decision, the central government backtracked and announced that Telangana would only come into being after a process of talks involving all of the local political parties. Again, this lead to violence and resignations, only this time by disappointed Telangana activists. The talks are scheduled to begin on 5 January.

The central government’s handling of the issue has been inept and farcical. First, by rushing through a unilateral decision on the creation of a new state, the government alienated much of the population of Andhra. Then, by backtracking on their decision, they effectively alienated and angered all of those who had supported the initial decision. It’s a mess. Furthermore, the decisions of the government have greatly strengthened the hand of the Maoists.  As this (excessively pessimistic) piece in Pragati states:

Telangana is not only being formed with the support of the Naxalites, but will be encompassing the districts that are their stronghold. The security situation is bound to worsen further.

Not only is the creation of Telangana a potential boon for the Maoists, the muddled process that has so far marked its birth is tailor-made for strengthening their position. The Maoists have strongly supported calls for an independent Telangana. The central government’s moves have created a volatile situation in the state marked by a high degree of political mobilisation. By supporting the pro-Telangana forces, the Maoists have positioned themselves as an armed and disciplined force which can help a popular movement struggle against the central government’s duplicity. They have, for example, already called for a general strike for the 2 January.

If the Maoists play their hand well, they will be in position to gain a tremendous goodwill and popular support by acting as a force which is willing to fight for the sentiments and aspirations of the local population. They will be in an even stronger position to capture the newly independent state once it is created. Delhi could not have created conditions more beneficial for the Naxalites had it been closely collaborating with the Maoist leadership.

Written by Michael

January 1, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Telangana- The New Chhattisgarh?

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The central government has given into the demand for a separate Telangana state. Telangana, currently part of Andhra Pradesh state, has had an active independence movement since the late 1960s. Considering India’s proclivity for linguistic and cultural separation, the decision is not at all unexpected.

Far be it for me to disparage the aspirations of the people of the region,but I do think it’s important to note that Telangana is the traditional Naxalite heartland of Andhra, if not of the entire country. Their grip has weakened in recent years largely because of the state government’s effective deployment of the Greyhound para-police coupled with a policy of generous rehabilitation for surrendered rebels. Will this now change? I think that there is a very real risk of the new state becoming as insurgent affected as Chhattisgarh (which itself was created recently from a part of Madhya Pradesh). There are parallels. The new Telangana, like Chhattisgarh, will have fewer resources at its disposal than does Andhra. They will also need time to set-up an effective system of governance- time which they will not have in the Naxalite’s surge. Finally, what of the Greyhounds and the broader (and largely successful) Andhra counter-insurgency programme. Are we witnessing the beginning of India’s newest failed state?

UPDATE:

An interesting piece on how the Andhra police claimed the Maoists had infiltrated the recent protests for Telangana independence at Osmania University in Hyderabad. While the police may just be making this claim for political expediency, it wouldn’t surprise me if it were true.

Written by Michael

December 9, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Chief Minister Dead

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Unconfirmed reports suggest that the body of YSR Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, and four others have been recovered from the crash site.

Written by Michael

September 3, 2009 at 1:30 am

Posted in Andhra Pradesh

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Andhra CM Missing… Update 5

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A couple of things before I turn in for the night. As more information comes in, it seems increasingly likely that the helicopter crash was the result of a number of factors entirely unrelated to the Naxalites. A reader of mine who is a professional helicopter pilot suggested that it was likely that, given the inclement weather, the helicopter was flying low (possibly at high speeds) to avoid the clouds. Comparable weather and terrain contributed to a fatal crash of a similar helicopter in the neighbouring Bastar forests last year.

Furthermore, some reports claim that the CM’s chopper was not airworthy, although at this point claims such as this ought to be met with a great deal of skepticism.

Finally, it has been pointed out that even if the Naxals did possess anti-aircraft or other high-calibre weaponry, the density of the areas forest cover makes it nearly impossible to secure an adequate field of vision. And while it is possible to bring down a chopper with small arms fire, it’s unlikely especially if the target is moving at a high speed.

Written by Michael

September 3, 2009 at 1:24 am

Live Updates- YSR Crash

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A good site which has up-to-the-minute coverage of all relevant information on the crash of the CM of Andhra’s helicopter near Kurnool.

Written by Michael

September 3, 2009 at 1:05 am

Andhra CM Missing… Update 4

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Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s helicopter has apparently been located by Indian authorities 70 km west of Kurnool. There are no reports on either the state of the helicopter or the passengers.

Written by Michael

September 3, 2009 at 12:52 am