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MHA advisor says Maoist insurgency in last stage, but Centre expects more IED attacks

Home ministry’s senior special advisor said Maoists have been steadily losing their hold over territories under their control, but added that unable to effect as many ambushes or launch attacks, they could rely on Improvised Explosive Devices.

india Updated: May 24, 2018 08:11 IST
Azaan Javaid
Azaan Javaid
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Maoists,Maoist insurgency,IED attacks
The ministry of home affairs’ senior special advisor said India’s Maoist insurgency is in its “last stage”.(AP/File Photo)

India’s Maoist insurgency is in its “last stage”, but this could, paradoxically, result in a sharp spike in blasts with the Communist Party of India (Maoist) shifting its focus from direct attacks to bombings, the ministry of home affairs’ senior special adviser K Vijay Kumar said in an interview.

Kumar, who advises MHA on left-wing extremism, said Maoists have been steadily losing their hold over territories under their control, but added that unable to effect as many ambushes or launch attacks, they could, in a desperate bid to stay relevant, rely on Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

“Across the world, when you see an insurgency coming to an end, the insurgents change their tactics from direct confrontation to carrying out targeted bombings and spectacular blasts. The same can be witnessed in Maoist-affected areas of India,” said Kumar, a retired Indian Police Service officer best known for his role in the tracking and killing of forest brigand Veerappan.

Kumar’s comments come in the context of the death of seven personnel of Chhattisgarh police in a powerful blast triggered by the outlawed CPI (Maoist) on the Jagargunda-Cholnar route in Dantewada district, considered a Maoist bastion.

“The first stage of insurgency is marked by guerrilla action which happens in areas that are not fully defended. The second stage is armed mobilisation followed by mobile warfare. For the Maoists this stage came in 2009-10 when their movement was extremely strong,” Kumar said.

“Then came the decline, and by 2018, their activities are restricted to few regions such as Bastar. Maoists have lost a lot of ground and their movement is in the last stage,”he added.

Kumar was appointed as director-general of the Central Reserve Police Force back in 2010 and following his retirement was chosen as a senior advisor in the home ministry where he has been advising the central and state governments on security and development in the Naxal-affected states.

The IPS officer said that a sustained campaign against Maoists has resulted in a decrease in the number of armed workshops they conduct, hit their ability to acquire weapons, even resulted in a decline in the number of direct attacks on security forces.

“Even more significant is the fact that the ideology of left wing insurgency has weakened sharply.However we are expecting them to go all out against our jawans as their movement is nearing its end. Our strength can become our weakness for example in remote places where we are posted and carry out area domination exercises regularly. Here we are the most vulnerable (to IED attacks). But we will be prepared,” Kumar said.

Ajai Sahni, the executive director of the New Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management, agreed with Kumar’s analysis and added that the nature of violence perpetrated by left-wing insurgents suggests the “movement is in retreat”. “Clearly the data shows a tremendous shrinkage in capabilities and space of the insurgents. Activities of their political activists, overground and underground workers too have decreased and so have large ambushes,” Sahni said.

First Published: May 24, 2018 07:30 IST