Opinion: Why Maoists chose soft targets to prove their dominance

Representative Image Photograph:( PTI )

Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India Dec 20, 2017, 10.48 AM (IST) Major Amit Bansal

The Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Mr Raghubar Das and his counterpart in Bihar, Mr Nitish Kumar were confident that the Maoist movement in Bihar has been brought under control. However, both have been proven to be wrong. Just after midnight today, a group of armed Moist insurgents killed one deputy head of village committee and abducted two staff of the Indian Railways, including an ASM. The irony is that this incident happened at Masudan Railway station which is just 164kms away from the heart of Bihar's capital city, Patna.

 

There is a purpose in selecting the place and the action. They want to convey the message that they can reach anywhere, anytime and even in the proximity of the capital, spreading terror and insecurity in the minds of people.

 

It is a matter of concern. Indeed, it is a matter of serious concern.

 

Bihar and Jharkhand are important transit points for Maoists. It connects two important strongholds of the red corridor, the Dandakaranya in Chhattisgarh and Junglemahal in West Bengal and, hence, carries very high value for the Maoist movement. The entire leadership of the Maoist movement emphasises on controlling this corridor at all costs or else their movement will split and die.

 

But what compelled Maoist to kill innocent civilians, burn the railway station and abduct the staff? 

 

The answer lies in the recent developments in Bihar, Dandakaranya (Chhattisgarh) and Jharkhand. Over last three years, Bihar and Jharkhand Police have been cracking down on the Maoists in the bordering areas of the two states. So far, they have recovered a huge quantity of arms, ammunition and incendiary literature. 

 

Also, their ideologue and member of Polit Bureau, Kobad Ghandy was re-arrested by Police. As the Central Police Forces are cracking down on the Maoist leadership and their ideology, while the civil administration is making inroads in the rural and underdeveloped areas, they are constantly losing moral ground among the local population. The poor tribal and villagers who used to help Maoist movement selflessly, are now getting away from them because they have understood the reality of the movement.

 

A few years back, any shutdown declared by the Maoists used to be totally successful because of a whole-hearted local support. But things have changed now, and Maoists have no option but to undertake forceful measures to make their shutdown successful. 

 

The recent incident of Lakhisarai reflects the highest level of frustration among the Maoist leadership. They demanded that the railway traffic on this route would be stopped till their shutdown is over. In his letter issued to the common public, some Suraj who claimed to be the secretary of Bihar-Jharkhand Special Area Committee says, "Join for protests on 18th and 19th December and follow the total Shutdown on 20th December 2017."

 

The message is clear. The movement which earlier claimed to be the movement of public has already turned into a terrorist movement. Not for the people but for their own prestige, money and power.

 

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL).

Major Amit Bansal

Major Amit Bansal is is a Defence Strategist with keen interests in International Relations and Internal Security. He is also an author, blogger and poet.