US embassy cable - 04CHENNAI1395

NAXALITE CONSOLIDATION A CAUSE FOR WORRY

Identifier: 04CHENNAI1395
Wikileaks: View 04CHENNAI1395 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Chennai
Created: 2004-11-09 10:04:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: PGOV PINR PTER IN Indian Domestic Politics
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 CHENNAI 001395 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV, PINR, PTER, IN, Indian Domestic Politics 
SUBJECT: NAXALITE CONSOLIDATION A CAUSE FOR WORRY 
 
REF: A) 03 Calcutta 516, B) Chennai 1244 
 
1.  (SBU) SUMMARY: The merger of India's two largest 
and best organized Maoist groups, the Peoples' War 
(PW) and Maoist Communist Center (MCC), into the 
Communist Party of India (Maoist) is likely to expand 
the horizon of their ambitions.  It will help these 
"Naxalites" knit together their areas of entrenchment 
in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand, 
and Bihar right up to Nepal and work toward their goal 
of a "Compact Revolutionary Zone."  The PW and MCC are 
believed to have at least 4,000 armed guerillas, and 
may have considerably more than that with some Indian 
think tanks putting the number of armed PW-MCC 
militants at 6,500 to 7,000.  They could become a 
serious threat to stability and prosperity at the sub- 
regional level.  END SUMMARY. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
We Have Already Merged, Say Indian Ultra Leftists 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
2.  (SBU) On October 14, Ramakrishna, State General 
Secretary of Andhra Pradesh's most successful Maoist 
 
SIPDIS 
group, Peoples War (PW), announced in Hyderabad that 
his organization had merged with the Maoist Communist 
Center (MCC), to create the Communist Party of India 
(Maoist), aka CPI (Maoist), and not to be confused 
with the CPI (Marxist) that currently governs in West 
Bengal and Tripura.  In 2003, the PW and MCCI had been 
added to the list of "Other Terrorist Groups" in the 
State Department's "Patterns of Global Terrorism" 
report.  According to Ramakrishna, the merger took 
place on September 21.  The Maoists thus appear to 
have thumbed their noses at the Indian intelligence 
officials who reportedly urged a meeting of Chief 
Ministers and officials of several Indian states on 
September 21, to prevent the long expected merger (Ref 
A).  Ramakrishna also announced that the military 
wings of these organizations - Peoples' Guerrilla Army 
of PW and the Peoples' Liberation Guerrilla Army of 
MCC - would merge in December and retain the latter 
name, PLGA. 
 
--------------------------------------- 
PW: The Deadliest Maoist Group In India 
--------------------------------------- 
 
3.  (SBU) The PW has about 2,000 armed guerillas in 
different states of India, according to a senior 
intelligence officer of Andhra Pradesh (AP).  They 
have a formidable presence in 12 of AP's 23 districts, 
particularly in the "Telengana" areas and northern 
coastal districts, running parallel administrations in 
over a hundred villages.  In recent years, PW presence 
has spread to most other districts of AP.  According 
to AP sources, PW is also strong in several districts 
of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, and Madhya 
Pradesh.  A GOI presentation made during a conference 
of Chief Ministers in Hyderabad suggested that as many 
as 125 of India's 602 districts may now be affected. 
Security think tanks report that PW possesses AK 
series rifles, LMGs, SLRs, carbines, .303s, grenades, 
revolvers, pistols and landmines.  Additionally, in 
2004 they used crude, inaccurate, three-stage rockets 
to attack police stations in the Guntur and Prakasam 
districts.  A technical squad manufactures 12-bore 
guns and ammunition, repairs all kinds of weapons and 
assembles grenades.  The newspaper The Hindu and two 
think tank organizations have reported that former 
LTTE militants have provided arms training to PW 
guerrillas, including training in claymore mine 
technology.  In October 2003, PW triggered nine 
claymore mines that nearly killed former AP Chief 
Minister Chandrababu Naidu, providing clear evidence 
of its lethal powers. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
MCC: Less Cohesive But With More External Links 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
4.  (SBU) AP Intelligence sources believe that MCC has 
cadre and weapon strength almost equal to the PW, but 
that the ranks are less cohesive and disciplined.  The 
MCC is strongest in Bihar and Jharkhand with some 
presence in Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Chhattisgarh, 
Orissa, West Bengal and a few districts of 
Maharashtra.  The MCC is believed to have played a 
major role in uniting the major Maoist groups in India 
and Nepal.  Indian think tanks have reported increased 
cooperation between MCC and the Communist Party of 
Nepal (Maoist) since 1996, including joint training 
camps in India.  AP intelligence sources said that 
MCC's better connection with transnational channels is 
worrisome to Indian law enforcement agencies as it 
will now be available to the more effective PW as 
well. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
Good-bye to Turf Wars: Consolidation Is In 
------------------------------------------ 
 
5.  (SBU) The notoriously splintered Naxalites of 
India have been on a consolidation path since the late 
Nineties.  In 1998, the CPI (ML) Party Unity of Bihar, 
a major opponent of the MCC, merged with the PW, 
eventually reducing the infighting between various 
Naxalite groups in the region.  PW and MCC had been 
talking merger for a long time but discussions broke 
down in 1995 following internecine turf wars.  About 
2001, both sides announced a truce and started 
operational coordination leading to the recent merger. 
In the recently launched talks between the AP 
Government and the state's Maoists, another Naxalite 
organization, CPI (ML) Janashakthi, participated in 
coordination with PW leaders.  Thus, the recent 
mergers and coordination efforts have brought together 
four of India's largest and most well organized Maoist 
groups. 
 
6.  (SBU) In 2001, the MCC, Nepalese Maoists and PW 
formed a South Asia umbrella organization of ultra 
left groups, The Coordination Committee of Maoist 
Parties and Organizations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA). 
According to a CCOMPOSA press statement issued on July 
1, 2001, the nine founding members of the CCOMPOSA 
include the following three parties from Bangladesh: 
Vanga Purba Bangala Sarbahara Party (CC), Purba 
Bangala Sarbahara Party (Maoist Punargathan Kendra), 
Bangaladesh Samyabadi Party (ML); the following four 
parties from India: MCC, Peoples War, Revolutionary 
Communist Center of India (MLM), Revolutionary 
Communist Center of India (Maoist); one party from 
Nepal: Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist); and one 
party from Sri Lanka: Communist Party of Ceylon 
(Maoist).  The CCOMPOSA has had three international 
conferences so far, the latest of which was held March 
16-18, 2004, according to a press release published on 
the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) website on April 
10, 2004.  The release said that Kishore, a Maoist 
leader from Nepal, works as Convener of the CCOMPOSA. 
The political resolution of the third conference vowed 
to "unite all the Maoist forces in the region ever 
more closely, build greater bonds of unity with the 
struggling forces of the region and turn the 
respective countries of South Asia into a strong 
bastion of world revolution," according to the press 
release. 
 
------------------------------ 
"They Will Begin To Think Big" 
------------------------------ 
 
7.  (SBU) AP Intelligence Deputy Inspector General 
Poornachandra Rao told Post that he worries that, 
after the merger, "the Naxalites will now begin to 
think big, and thinking big is important."  According 
to Rao, a PW Naxalite hitherto holed up in a jungle in 
central Andhra Pradesh will now dream of a larger area 
under the militants that extends beyond the state or 
the country's boundaries.  For years, Indian security 
experts have been giving warnings of a larger leftist 
agenda to create a "Compact Revolutionary Zone" 
stretching across Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, 
Jharkhand, and Bihar to Nepal.  Rao does not regard 
the present strength of the "armies" of PW and MCC as 
a daunting force, but believes that it could grow. 
 
----------------------- 
Conflict On Caste Lines 
----------------------- 
 
8. (SBU) Rao told Post that despite the merger 
conflicts between MCC and PW continue at the ground 
level.  He believes that one of the areas of conflict 
is the fact that the PW leadership, largely of upper 
caste Hindu background, rules over the lower 
caste/Dalit rank and file while in MCC, the leadership 
and rank and file are alike of lower caste background. 
Such tensions will probably to make coordinated 
activity more difficult, according to Rao.  In 
addition, some of the groups that are nominally part 
of the CPI (Maoist) may be reluctant to relinquish 
power at the local level and may continue acts of 
extortion outside of the organization's umbrella. 
 
---------------------- 
PW Is the Clear Winner 
---------------------- 
 
9.  (SBU) Rao also told post that in the new entity, 
CPI (Maoist), the PW leadership clearly retains the 
upper hand.  General Secretary of the PW, Ganapathy, 
remains General Secretary of CPI (Maoist).  Ganpathy 
(real name Muppala Lakshmana Rao) was born around 1950 
in the Karimnagar District of Andhra Pradesh.  He has 
been a hardcore leftist for over 35 years and has 
operated underground for 25 years, waging war on 
police, police-informants, political leaders and 
"feudalists".  In 1992, he took over the PW leadership 
ousting its founder Kondappalli Seetharamaiah. 
------------------- 
The Naxalite Agenda 
------------------- 
 
10.  (SBU) The Naxalites reject parliamentary 
democracy and wage a protracted "people's war" to 
usher in a "New Democratic Revolution" that would 
establish "People's Government."  To that end, they 
engage in guerrilla warfare, inspired by Maoist 
thought.  The successive stages of their declared 
program are to build "bases" in villages, form 
"guerrilla zones" on the way to declaring them as 
"liberated zones," encircle towns and cities and seize 
political power.  Ramakrishna, the AP State Secretary 
of the former PW, told the press on October 12 that 
"Using the Dandakaranya region (which covers 
continuous forest tracts in Maharashtra, AP, MP, 
Chattisgarh, and Orissa) as a lever, we will liberate 
the people of this country to establish people's 
rule." 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
11.  (SBU) Although the Naxalites are numerically not 
strong enough to operate the prospective "Compact 
Revolutionary Zone" running across the contiguous 
jungles in several states, India's socially and 
economically disadvantaged millions could feed these 
insurrectionist forces.  Certainly the success of 
Nepal's Maoists in undermining the governance of that 
nation serves as an inspiration and a goal for India's 
CPI (Maoist).  Post notes that PMO internal security 
advisor MK Naryanan has described Naxalism as the 
single largest internal security threat to India.  The 
PW-MCC consolidation can only add to the threat. 
 
12.  (SBU) The Maoists have relentlessly attacked 
India's "mainstream communist" parties, CPI(M) and the 
CPI, for their "capitulation to imperialism" - meaning 
their market-friendly policies.  Already pressed by 
their own cadre and ideologues who do not have to cope 
with issues of governance in the real world, the 
CPI(M) and CPI will now have now to defend themselves 
from the increasingly articulate Maoists, too.  The 
mainstream leftist parties are likely to be now 
increasingly wary of market liberalization for fear of 
concerted attacks from the consolidating Naxalites. 
With 62 MPs in the national parliament, the CPI(M) and 
CPI have a major influence on GOI policies. 
 
13.  (SBU) The Naxalites are flourishing where there 
is a vacuum in state governance - primarily in remote 
tribal areas.  Given the intra-state reach of the CPI 
(Maoist) it appears that the GOI operates at a 
disadvantage in leaving it to the states to address 
them.  A successful strategy to combat the Naxalites 
must have two prongs:  one, the security aspect 
whereby police and paramilitary forces confront them 
directly; and two, the development aspect, whereby the 
state dries up their support and reasserts control 
through the provision of services to the people.  We 
do not believe that the CPI (Maoist) is likely to 
become an existential threat to the GOI at any time in 
the foreseeable future.  However, if governance issues 
are not addressed, there is a substantial possibility 
of the CPI (Maoist) becoming a more serious threat to 
stability and prosperity at the sub-regional level. 
END COMMENT. 
 
14.  (U) This message was coordinated with Embassy New 
Delhi and ConGen Calcutta. 
 
Haynes 

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