2008: The Indian state of Jharkhand has
launched an Information War against the Maoist (communist) terrorists who have
been fighting the government, local businesses and large landlords for decades.
This is partly in response to the Maoists, who have been distributing their own CDs with
movies depicting their heroic struggle to turn India into a communist
dictatorship, and improve the lives of the poorest Indians. Now Jharkhand has
replied with their own videos showing people killed (for not joining the
revolution) and businesses destroyed (for not paying protection money, or
"revolutionary taxes", to the Maoists. The Maoist side of the story is well
know, as India still has lots of feudal practices out in the countryside,
situations that cry out for reform. India tried to outlaw a lot of these things
in the late 40s and early 50s. But customs that are centuries old, are
difficult to change quickly. Less well known to people in Jharkhand are the
details of how the Maoists operate. Those who have faced the Maoists up close
and personal, tend to become anti-Maoist.
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.
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 about 20 percent a year for the
past few years.
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
leftist politicians, who keep calling for negotiations (which never get
anywhere). The Indian Communist Party has been losing a lot of its clout
lately, and with it, the ability to restrain government response to Maoist
timely, because the Maoists have become more aggressive of late, making greater
use of landmines and mobility (massing lots of gunmen for attacks involving
hundreds of armed Maoists). The government has sent in thousands of addition police
and troops, and it's looking like some decisive battles are about to happen.