Special Operations: Another Red Squad


September 5, 2007: The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is forming a special intelligence and commando unit to go after the Maoist rebels who have been a growing problem in eastern and southern India. There is already a national level organization for this, called the Greyhounds. This force has about 2,000 personnel. Half are dedicated to intelligence work and administration, while the other half are field operatives, who conduct surveillance, scouting and raids. The Andhra Pradesh organization will have a few hundred personnel and a similar organization. Members, recruited from the police, will be paid bonuses of up to 50 percent of the current police pay.

The Maoist troubles began in 1969, when a faction of the Communist Party of India got violent. In the last three years, Maoist violence has killed over 10,000 Maoists, civilians and security personnel. Many leftist politicians are in favor of a negotiated peace with the Maoists (who want to establish a communist dictatorship in India.) But the continued Maoist violence has made all communists unpopular.

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 in the country report problems with Maoist violence. For the Maoists 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.

But the violence is growing in some areas, and Andhra Pradesh wants to make their Maoists go away as quickly as possible.


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