INDIA'S FORGOTTEN WAR – blogging naxalism.

Archive for the ‘Indian Election’ Category

Indian Election Phase IV

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Polling in Phase IV of the Indian election was (largely) peaceful. Aside from some districts in Bihar, voting took place in areas largely devoid of Naxalite activity.

Written by Michael

May 7, 2009 at 11:30 am

Phase III Indian Election Violence

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Voting in the 30 April polls of the Indian election was largely free of the Naxalite violence that affected Phase II. There were a few isolated incidents but minimal loss of life and damage was reported. Polling was, however, cancelled in a number of districts in West Bengal as a result of an agitation by tribal groups allied with the Maoists.

Did the Naxalites exhaust all of their logistics resources in their poll disruption during Phase I?

Phase III will be held on 7 May. Voting will be held in districts of West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Harayana, and Rajasthan.

Return to West Bengal (2)

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In West Bengal the Maoists have been riding the wave of rural discontent against land acquisition for some time. Now they are also mobilising tribal communities.

Following a series of assassinations of cadres affiliated with West Bengal’s governing communist party, Friday saw a large anti-government mobilisation in Kolkata. According to the Times of India, the demonstration was composed of groups affiliated with the Maoists.

India is rife with disaffected, oppressed and angry groups. By exploiting numerous local issues, the Maoist octopus threatens to  bring together the millions of small fires into a blazing inferno that could consume India. Hyperbole? Maybe.

Written by Michael

April 26, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Election Numbers- Did the Maoists Matter?

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Apparently not, according to preliminary polling data from Jharkhand.

Voter turnout was higher in the regions considered Maoist strongholds, whereas some places with little rebel presence recorded lower polling percentage.

Initial figures show that polling percentage in the eight Lok Sabha seats varied between 42 and 58 percent as people braved Maoist violence as well as the mercury soaring to 42-46 degree Celsius in various parts.

I haven’t found anything which supports these numbers, but it does seem that there was minimal disruption by the Naxalites. There were a few scattered attacks on Wednesday and another yesterday, but overall Phase II was more tranquil than I had expected.  The killer heatwave gripping much of the country undoubtedly did more to dampen voter enthusiasm than any other factor.

Update: According to the Hindu, overall turnout for Phase II was 55%. Higher than in 2004.

Post-Election Decompression

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No updates for the next day or two. I’m taking a break after a marathon session.

I started India’s Forgotten War earlier this week as my first foray into blogging (about four years two late!). I’m happy with the results so far. Considering how much of a minority interest Naxalism is, it’s amazing  how many hits I’ve had. I hope you come by often to see the blog develop and grow. Thanks everyone!

Written by Michael

April 23, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Indian Election Phase II

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UPDATE: Polling in Bihar “peaceful“.

UPDATE: Various skirmishes in polling areas. The Times of India reports that there have been numerous gunbattles between Maoists and the police and bomb attacks on election officials in Jhrakhand. Also some reports of violence in Orissa and Andhra.

UPDATE: A Naxalite landmine has been defused by police. The mine was buried under an electoral boycott banner at a polling station in Madhya Pradesh.

UPDATE: The chart disaggregates rural/urban turnout in major states during the last election. Unfortunately, most of the heavily Naxal affected states aren’t included. I’m curious to see what impact, if any, their call for an electoral boycott has had on rural voters. A decline in the percentages would underscore the insurgents strength. If voting turnout isn’t significantly affected, it would suggest that the the string of high profile attacks amount to little more than a bit of good media PR.

Turnout: Urban versus rural constituencies in 2004
Major State Turnout in urban
constituencies (%)
Turnout in rural
constituencies (%)
Turnout in entire
state (%)
Andhra Pradesh 60 72 69.9
Bihar 55 58 57.9
Gujarat 38 48 45.2
Karnataka 54 67 64.9
Kerala 68 72 71.5
Madhya Pradesh 48 47 48.1
Maharashtra 46 56 54.4
Orissa 69 67 66
Rajasthan 50 48 49.9
Uttar Pradesh 42 48 48.2
Tamil Nadu 54 63 60.8
West Bengal 75 79 78.2
Year of Lok Sabha
Election
Turnout in Urban
constituencies (%)
Turnout in Rural
constituencies (%)
All India
turnout (%)
2004 54 59 58
Source: http://www.pib.nic.in

Update: The BBC has a great interactive map of the election. What’s interesting is that half of Andhra Pradesh is voting today. Until a few years ago the state was the heart of Naxalite activity in the country. I haven’t heard of a single attack anywhere in the state since the beginning of the election. The hub of the so-called ‘red corrider’ has shifted to Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Elements of the Andhra government’s approach to counter-insurgency (raising and effectively training the anti-Naxalite Greyhound police force coupled with strong financial incentives for fighters wishing to quite the movement) sh0uld be emulated. I was in Warangal district (Andhra Pradesh) in 2008 and met with the district police commander. She had nothing but contempt for the Salwa Judum and Chhattisgarh’s ‘civilian’ militias.

Update: First reports of Maoist disruptions. Ongoing gun battle after a CRPF camp was attacked in West Singhbum, Jharkhand. Train station bombed in Palamau, also in Jharkhand.

Polls in phase 2 of the Indian election opened 30 minutes ago.

I found a UPI story on yesterday’s train hijacking claiming that the Naxalites were, “protest[ing] over some former Maoists participating in India’s general elections”.

Interesting. I interpreted the highjacking as a show of strength. Maybe it wasn’t. Also wondering who or what faction has jumped into legal politics. UPDATE: Could it be the 3000 ex-Maoists who joined the Prajarajyam Party (PP) in February? The hijack took place in Jhrkhand and the PP is based in Andhra. Maybe not?

Live blogging the Indian election (kinda… sorta, well… ok not really. frequent updates though!)

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I’m going to stay awake all night to blog and twitter Phase II of the Indian election. Should be interesting and after today’s Naxalite demonstration of strength (the train hijacking) I’m more convinced that there will be more violence than there was in Phase I. I hope I’m wrong and I hope that my night is  boring .

Written by Michael

April 22, 2009 at 1:24 pm