Attrition: India's Red Menace


August 26, 2007: India has been fighting a Maoist rebellion for 40 years now. Statistics on how many armed Maoist are out there are difficult to come by. The best estimates are that 15,000 armed Maoists are operating in eastern and southern India. The national police report that about five percent of the 8,000 police stations report problems with Maoist violence. The Maoists are mainly interested in starting a nationwide social revolution, and establishing a communist dictatorship. Progress has obviously been slow. The number of violent incidents has been declining, from 453 for the first seven months of last year, to 399 for the same period this year. The death toll from these encounters is also down, from 306 to 259.

The Maoists tend to avoid the police and soldiers sent after them. For that reason, they actually operate over a wider area than the police reports would indicate. Perhaps twenty percent of India is subject to visits by Maoists, often armed with nothing but rhetoric and radical ideas. The many leftist and communist politicians in the national government have prevented the government from going after the Maoists on a large scale. But patience is wearing thin with the leftists, who keep calling for negotiations (which never get anywhere).


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