How the urban eco-system of 'liberals' helped naxals become a Rs 2,500 crore network
New Delhi, Apr 08: Naxalites have for years managed to procure sophisticated weapons have used them to battle security forces. In the recent attack at Chhattisgarh, 22 security personnel were martyred by by naxalites. Some 10-12 Naxals are also believed to have died in the fierce gunbattle that ensued.
In the attack, bullets had rained from light machine guns (LMGs) and the Naxals also used low-intensity improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to mount the attack that continued for several hours.
The manner in which the naxalites continue to procure sophisticated arms remains a concern. In 2018, a huge ammunition dump belonging to the naxalites was recovered by the security agencies in Jharkhand. As many as 10 303 rifles, a carbine and 13 other types of guns, detonators, 269 rounds of live bullets, a 12-kg improvised explosive device and Rs 3 lakh in cash was seized after the raid.
In the crackdown against naxalites, the security agencies have gone into detail as to how they are being funded and also how the weapons are being procured. From Rs 1,000 crore in 2009, the networks net worth is estimated to be anything between Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500 crore today.
Sources say that their estimated budget allocation for procurement of weapons alone is Rs 200 crore a year. The rest of the money is being spent on propaganda which is done at the highest levels in urban areas. A considerable amount of money is also being spent on recruitment and training.
The naxalites have their own arms factories, an R and D wing, propaganda wing and recruitment bureau. They rely heavily on funds from abroad and also from the urban areas. There have a dedicated network which forms part of the propaganda wing which are concentrated in the urban areas.
Those part of the propaganda wing include, lawyers, former judges, activists and students. It has been found that the naxals not only rely on these people for propaganda, but also to challenges the funds and move their equipment. It may be recalled that back in 2008 the Chattisgarh police had found that a travel agency was facilitating the movement of funds and arms to naxalites.
Intelligence Bureau officials have identified the Surat-Pune industrial corridor, Bengaluru, Coimbatore and Kolkata to be the epic-centre of the urban naxal problem. Several organisations have come up in these areas, through which desperate attempts are on to bridge the movement between the urban and rural areas.
Former officer with the Research and Analysis Wing, Amar Bhushan says that if you bring those guys in the jungles to the mainstream, how can the city based sympathisers control the movement. These city based elements provide their friends in the jungles with weapons and money. They liaison with NGOs which can fund them through hawala brackets, Bhushan also says.
These people in the urban areas work through their intermediaries and we are unable to spot them. We are able to get hold of those operating openly in the cities, but we also need to get to these faceless people who are the intermediaries because these are the persons who act as go-in-between the urban naxals and the naxals in the jungles, Bhushan also says.
Around 15 years back, the naxalites ensured that a bunch of their men trained in arms manufacturing.
They were trained by the maoists in Nepal. There were joint exercises conducted by the naxals in India and Nepal. Following this they set up their own units and made landmines, IEDs, homemade mortar rounds.