Friday, May 29, 2009

Pakistan enhances second strike N-capability: US report

WASHINGTON: Pakistan has addressed issues of survivability in a possible nuclear conflict through second strike capability, says a US congressional report.

The first part of the report, published on Friday, deals with Islamabad’s efforts to develop new weapons, while the second part studies its strategy for surviving a nuclear war.

According to the report, Pakistan has built hard and deeply buried storage and launch facilities to retain a second strike capability in a nuclear war.

It also has built road-mobile missiles, air defences around strategic sites, and concealment measures.

The report prepared by the Congressional Research Service recalls that as the United States prepared to launch an attack on the Afghan Taliban after September 11, 2001, former military dictator Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf ordered that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal be redeployed to ‘at least six secret new locations.’ This action came at a time of uncertainly about the future of the region, including the direction of US-Pakistan relations. Islamabad’s leadership was uncertain whether the US would decide to conduct military strikes against Pakistan’s nuclear assets if Islamabad did not assist the United States against the Taliban. Indeed, Musharraf cited protection of Pakistan’s nuclear and missile assets as one of the reasons for Islamabad’s dramatic policy shift.

The CRS points out that these events, in combination with the 1999 Kargil crisis, the 2002 conflict with India at the Line of Control, and revelations about the A.Q. Khan proliferation network, inspired a variety of reforms to secure the nuclear complex. Risk of nuclear war in South Asia ran high in the 1999 Kargil crisis, when the Pakistani military is believed to have begun preparing nuclear-tipped missiles.

The report, however, notes that even at the high alert levels of 2001 and 2002, there were no reports of Pakistan mating the warheads with delivery systems.

The CRS refers to a Nov 5, 2007 statement by former prime minister Benazir Bhutto who said that while Musharraf claimed he had firm control of the nuclear arsenal, she was afraid this control could weaken due to instability in the country.

The report then quotes Michael Krepon of the Henry L. Stimson Centre, Washington, as arguing that ‘a prolonged period of turbulence and infighting among the country’s president, prime minister, and army chief’ could jeopardise the army’s unity of command, which ‘is essential for nuclear security.’

During that period between late 2007 and early 2008, US military officials also expressed concern about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei also said he feared that a radical regime could take power in Pakistan, and thereby acquire nuclear weapons.

Experts also worried that while nuclear weapons were currently under firm control, with warheads disassembled, technology could be sold off by insiders during a worsened crisis.

Since then, however, US intelligence officials have expressed greater confidence regarding the security of Islamabad’s nuclear weapons.

The Pakistani military’s control of the country’s nuclear weapons is ‘a good thing because that’s an institution in Pakistan that has, in fact, withstood many of the political changes over the years,’ says Donald Kerr, Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence.

Washington has ‘no reason at this point to have any concern with regard to the security’ of Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal, argues a Pentagon spokesperson.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The state that wouldn’t fail

Its so rare that this Pakistani government do the right thing even after all the wrong options have been exhausted.

PAKISTAN is the country that just won’t fail. It threatens to, seemingly always on the brink, always giving the world a collective migraine, always on the verge of chaos, but just when you think we’re done for, when all hope is lost, when it seems nothing can save it from itself, somehow we end up doing just enough of the right thing to keep the country afloat, to live another day to drift into another crisis.

And so it is this time with the operation in Malakand division. The government wants you to believe that it had a plan all along, that the Nizam-i-Adl was a way of stripping away the last vestiges of justification for the militancy in Swat, that the negotiations with the TNSM were a necessary charade to expose the motives of Maulana Fazlullah and his band of savages.

Would that the illusion of a government with a plan in hand were the truth. The fact is, the government, and us, the people, by extension, got lucky. If the ANP government in NWFP and the PPP government in Islamabad had their way, Sufi Mohammad would still quietly be rearranging society in Malakand to his liking, with the TTP the stick with which Sufi would enforce his law in his bailiwick. And thus, with one problem confined to one area, the governments in Peshawar and Islamabad could go about their business of pretending to govern the other areas under their control.

But two things happened to spoil the plan, and while both were always likely to have occurred, it would be charitable in the extreme to argue that the provincial and federal governments anticipated them and had factored them into their plans for Malakand.

First, the militants in Swat, freed from fighting in the district, set forth and began to spread their seed in neighbouring districts. We can know the government didn’t expect this because it installed a pro-Taliban commissioner in Malakand and didn’t do anything to try and stop the militants from slipping into Buner, Lower Dir and Shangla and setting up shop for business.

Fact is, if the government’s plan always was to eventually fight the militants it would have acted to limit the theatre in which the militants were to be fought. But now, even weeks after trying to retake even a small mountain village like Pir Baba in Buner, the army is struggling. What could have been nipped in the bud by local police and administrative action, has become a full-fledged military operation.

Second, Sufi Mohammad reverted to his kooky ideas publicly. Neither the ANP nor the PPP expected it — in fact they planned for something quite the contrary. The massive gathering on that scenic grassy field in Mingora was arranged by the government to give Sufi a grand stage from which to denounce Fazlullah and declare a fatwa against his intransigent militants. But when Sufi got up on the stage, he became giddy at the sight of all those thousands gathered to listen to him and thought, ‘Heck with it, this is my moment. I’ll speak from the heart.’

And so he did, declaring everybody and everything in Pakistan un-Islamic. The cameras focused on the wild applause of the audience, but if they had looked elsewhere they would have captured the stricken faces of government officials. Things had most definitely not gone according to plan.

So, once the original plan — if it can even be called a plan — had failed, the government had to come up with something else; and by then the only option left was the military option. Criticism of the government at this stage may seem churlish, given that so rarely does a Pakistani government do the right thing even after all the wrong options have been exhausted.

But the story of how this government arrived at the military option in Malakand is important because it is not the final stop in the fight against militancy — there is a long road ahead, and it weaves through Fata and Punjab and Pakistan’s cities. The point is, if the road ahead is navigated with a similar mix of lucky breaks and nonsense planning, a fortuitous result is far more unlikely than likely.

Steering blindfolded may yet get the government around another bend or two and burnish the legend of Pakistan being the state that just won’t fail, but it won’t affect the inexorable logic of failure in the long run — you can only get away with mismanagement of a country for so long in the face of a violent threat. If not tomorrow or next year, then five, 10, 15 years down the road, at some point our luck will run out. That isn’t abject cynicism, it is a logical certainty.

But for all the sins of omission and commission, the failures of the government of today — or even the one of tomorrow — are only part of the problem. At the root of the problem of militancy is the security establishment — essentially the Pakistan Army high command with sections of the intelligence apparatus and retired officers as its instruments of policy implementation.

It is that group which sets the parameters of what the state can or cannot do against the militants, and it still cleaves to the distinction between good and bad militants. There is no reason to believe that it is not serious about eliminating the militants in Malakand this time. The militants there have proved intractable and of no utility to the state — in fact, they are a threat to it and therefore are being taken on.

But there is every reason to believe that the security establishment is serious about maintaining that distinction elsewhere. And that is especially problematic when it comes to dealing with Ground Zero of militancy — the Waziristan agencies.

Separating good from bad is tactically possible when the good and bad militants are spatially separated, in small numbers and not in control of territory. So in Punjab and the cities the state can go after Al Qaeda militants — the bad ones — while turning a blind eye to the good ones, our home-grown jihadi networks.

But in the Waziristan agencies the good and the bad are intertwined, exist in larger numbers and control the territory. Trying to whack the bad militants there while avoiding trampling the good ones is a non-starter. To succeed there — and there is no doubt that militancy in Pakistan cannot be defeated without success there — the good/bad distinction would need to be abandoned first.

And if we don’t drop that distinction soon, the legend of the state that just wouldn’t fail may eventually prove untrue.

By Cyril Almeida

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pak forces capture key area in Swat

Taliban shaving beards and are trying to mix with the local population !

Locked in fierce gun battles with the Taliban in a mountain stronghold of militants in the northwest, Pakistani troops have "fully secured" a strategic plateau in Swat even as government sought urgent global aid for two million civilians displaced by the military operation.

At least eight security personnel and several militants were killed in the fresh fighting as the troops continued their push towards Mingora, the main city in Swat district that is still controlled by the Taliban.

The military said troops had succeeded in fully securing Banai Baba Ziarat, the highest point in the area and a militant stronghold.

Troops also strengthened their positions at Kanju and Takhtaband, two key areas located near Mingora, after overcoming resistance from militants.

Militant commander Abu Tariq was among several Taliban fighters killed in the fighting. Seven militants were also apprehended, the military said in a statement.

Five soldiers were killed and seven more, including an officer, were injured in fighting across Swat valley, the statement said.

TV news channels reported that another three security personnel and four militants were killed in nearby Dir district.

A captain was among two security personnel killed when a security forces convoy was attacked by militants on the Timergarha-Maidan road in Dir. Five security personnel, including a colonel, were injured in the same attack, TV channels reported.

The heaviest casualties for the security forces were reported at Kanju and Takhtaband in Swat, where five soldiers were killed.

Vowing to root out militancy from Pakistan, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani sought urgent aid from international donors for some two million people displaced by the ongoing military operations against the Taliban.

The actions against the militants in North West Frontier Province and nearby tribal areas have "started producing positive results" but there are "grave repercussions in terms of massive dislocation of the local population," Gilani said addressing an international donors' conference in Islamabad.

His remarks came as security forces continued their offensive in Peochar, a remote valley in Swat where Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah and hundreds of his fighters are holed up, as well.

Commandos were airlifted to Peochar by helicopters last week as part of an effort to target the top leadership of the militants.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Buy Pakistan Stocks !

Pakistan best market to invest ! Buy very low and Sell very very High !
Please watch what this investor has to say about the high yielding Pakistani Stock Market !

Pakistan’s crucial role in the death of Tamil Tigers

Pakistan's annual assistance to Sri Lanka was $80 million. Pakistan supplied weapons the Sri Lankan army to wipe out the LTTE.

It was the Pakistani defence cooperation with Sri Lanka as one of the largest suppliers of high-tech military equipment that has played a major role in the ultimate defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at the hands of the Lankan army.

The three decade long quest of the LTTE to carve out a separate state for Tamils, as well as the myth that the Tamil Tigers are militarily invincible, has effectively been laid to rest, along with its supremo, Velupillai Prabhakaran, and the entire LTTE top brass. According to well placed sources in the Pakistani establishment, defence cooperation between Sri Lanka and Pakistan had grown significantly in recent years as Islamabad, unlike New Delhi, had no problems supplying the Lankan army state-of-the-art weaponry to accelerate its counter-insurgency operations against the LTTE which has finally ended with the killing of the most wanted Tamil guerilla fighter Vellupillai Prabhakaran. The sources say it was exactly a year ago in the first week of May 2008 that Sri Lankan Army Chief Lt-Gen Fonseka came to Pakistan and held detailed talks with his Pakistani counterpart Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani to finalise the purchase of high tech arms for the Lankan armed forces, which were embroiled in an intense battle with the LTTE forces even at that time.

During his talks with Pakistani military authorities, Lt-Gen Fonseka had finalised a deal as per which Pakistan sold 22 Al-Khalid tanks to Sri Lanka in a deal worth over US$100 million. General Fonseka also gave a shopping list of weaponry worth about US$65 million to the Pakistani military authorities. While the Sri Lankan army chief’s shopping list for the army was pegged at $25 million, the inventory for the Lankan Air Force was worth $40 million. He had further sought 250,000 rounds of 60mm, 81mm, 120mm and 130mm mortar ammunition worth US$ 25 million and 1, 50,000 hand grenades for immediate delivery to the Lankan army within a month. Pakistan also accepted the visiting General’s request to send one shipload of the wherewithal every 10 days to bolster the Lankan military efforts to take over Kilinochchi, the headquarters of the LTTE.

On Jan 19, 2009, in a meeting between Pakistani Defence Secretary Lt-Gen (retd) Syed Athar Ali and his visiting Lankan counterpart Gotabhaya Rajapakse in Rawalpindi, the two countries had agreed to enhance cooperation in military training, exercises and intelligence sharing regarding terrorism. The agreement came amidst Sri Lankan media reports that the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) pilots had participated in several successful air strikes against several military bases of the LTTE in August 2008. These reports further claimed that a highly trained group of the Pakistani armed forces officers is stationed in Colombo to guide the Sri Lankan security forces in their counter-insurgency operations against the LTTE.

However, it was not the first time that the Pakistan army was helping Sri Lanka militarily in its prolonged fight against the LTTE guerrilla fighters. Back in 2000, when LTTE offensive code-named Operation Ceaseless Waves overran Sri Lankan military positions in the north and captured the Elephant Pass Base and entered Jaffna, and was being feared that LTTE would run down thousands of Sri Lankan troops stationed in Jaffna, the Sri Lankans had sought Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher System (MBRLS) and other high tech weaponry from Pakistan on urgent basis.

Subsequently, MBRLS and weapons and ammunition, including artillery shells and multi-barrel rocket launchers, were airlifted in an emergency operation from Karachi to Colombo in May 2000. Later, in 2006, the Sri Lankan authorities had again sought Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher System (MBRLS) and other advanced weapons from Pakistan when Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Pakistan in March 2006 along with an 80-member delegation that included some high ranking military officials. During his talks with the Pakistani leaders, the Sri Lankan President had sought military help from Islamabad to effectively put an end to the LTTE separatist movement.

Friday, May 15, 2009

France offers civilian nuclear technology to Pakistan

Qureshi says talks in July, MOU likely in September !

PARIS: France and Pakistan have agreed to cooperate in the nuclear field, officials said Friday, with Islamabad claiming an important breakthrough in its bid to be seen as a responible nuclear power.

Following talks between France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari, the French leader's office said he had offered to help Pakistan improve its 'nuclear safety' capability.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi went further, saying France had agreed to a transfer of civilian nuclear energy technology, despite international concerns over the stability of Pakistan's government.

Sarkozy's office would not comment on Qureshi's statements, and any such deal, while a diplomatic coup for Zardari, would need the agreement of other nuclear powers and the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the IAEA.

France is a major exporter of nuclear technology, and in February agreed to supply Pakistan's rival India with between two and six modern reactors.

'France has agreed to transfer civilian nuclear technology to Pakistan,' Qureshi told reporters, explaining that Pakistan was suffering an 'energy crisis' and needed nuclear power to guarantee its electricity supply.

In addition to maintaining a small arsenal of nuclear armed missiles, Pakistan has a civilian nuclear energy programme developed with Chinese aid, with one working power station and another under construction.

A spokesman for the French presidency said Sarkozy had 'confirmed France was ready, within the framework of its international agreements, to cooperate with Pakistan in the field of nuclear safety.'

'This is so the Pakistani programme can develop in the best conditions of safety and security,' he added.

Qureshi hailed the French offer as an important sign of his government's credibility.

“That is a significant development, and we have agreed that Pakistan should be treated like India. President Sarkozy said, and I quote him, 'What can be done for India, can be done for Pakistan as well.',” he said.

Neither India nor Pakistan, which both maintain nuclear missile arsenals, have signed the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and foreign powers were therefore forbidden from sharing technology with them.

India, however, negotiated bilateral nuclear agreements with the United States, Russia and France, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has now allowed Delhi in from the nuclear cold.

Now Pakistan wants to follow suit. 'Pakistan has no issues with the IAEA, Pakistan will give all necessary international guarantees,' Qureshi insisted.

'The world recognises the steps Pakistan has taken to assure and protect its nuclear assets. Everyone who matters is confident about our arrangements, the three-layer security system that we have put in place.'

Asked when French shipments might begin, he said: 'Today, in principle, the two countries agreed that there is a necessity that has to be fulfilled. In principle they've agreed, and now the modalities will be worked out.'

'There may be concern always everywhere, but there is support and there is confidence in the world that democracy has always delivered,' said Zardari, who was elected last year after the military ceded power.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mingora the capital of Swat Encirlced !

5000 militants encircled in Mingora ! The battle begins !

Pakistani military on Thursday surrounded the Swat valley capital Mingora where around 5,000 armed Taliban fighters were dug in for a long haul with roads being mined and trenches dug and a deadly battle loomed for control of the strategic town.

Fifty-four militants and nine soldiers were killed in intense fighting in the country's rugged north western region, as the military relentlessly pounded Taliban positions.

Security forces, backed by helicopters gunships and artillery were moving towards the Taliban-controlled Mingora, from four directions and had achieved a "lot of success" while keeping collateral damage low, chief military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said.

Pakistan Army had airdropped commandos behind Taliban lines early this week and said its forces had surrounded an estimated 4,000-5,000 fighters in and around Mingora, but so far have not marched into the town.

"We have surrounded Mingora. Our strategy is to encircle them," Abbas said, implying that the military had still not come up with a plan to overcome the well-entrenched Taliban.

Fifty-four militants, including three snipers, were killed in fighting in Mingora, Udigram and Peochar, a remote mountainous region where the Taliban have their main base.

"Nine Army personnel have also embraced shahadat (martyrdom)," Abbas said.

Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited the frontline and expressed his resolve to defeat the extremists.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pakistan expanding its nuclear capability

Pakistan is developing third- and fourth-generation centrifuges to produce reactor fuel. This means four or five warheads a year which are much lighter and more complex weapons for longer-range missiles and cruise missiles. This would give Pakistan thermonuclear weapons which are plutonium-based.

On the dusty plain 110 miles southwest of Islamabad, not far from an area controlled by the Taliban, two large new structures are rising, structures that in light of Pakistan’s internal troubles must be considered ominous for the stability of South Asia and, for that matter, the world.

Without any public U.S. reproach, Pakistan is building two of the developing world’s largest plutonium production reactors, which experts say could lead to improvements in the quantity and quality of the country’s nuclear arsenal, now estimated at 60 to 80 weapons.

What makes the project even more threatening is that it is unique.
“Pakistan is really the only country rapidly building up its nuclear forces,” says a U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the issue, noting that the nations that first developed nuclear weapons are now reducing their arsenals.

Moreover, he and other U.S. officials say, there long have been concerns about those who run the facility where the reactors are being built near the town of Khushab. They note that a month before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Khushab’s former director met with Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and offered a nuclear weapons tutorial around an Afghanistan campfire.

Then there are the billions in U.S. economic and military aid that have permitted Pakistan’s military to divert resources to nuclear and other weapons projects.

First new reactor near completion
In the past several months, satellite imagery shows the first of these new reactors at Khushab nearing completion while the second is in final stages of external construction. Operations at the first may begin soon, while the second is four or five years from operation.

David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a project that studies non-proliferation issues, is one of the few in Washington who sounded the alarm about the Khushab reactors.

“It’s a lot further along than we expected,” says Albright. “We’re seeing steady progress. … We don’t know if they have the (uranium) fuel or heavy water on-site, but on the outside, major construction appears finished … We don’t know what’s going on inside.”

“We think it’s bigger than the first one,” he says of the so-called Khushab-I reactor, estimated by U.S. intelligence at 70 megawatts.

Albright estimates the new reactors are “at least on the order of 100 megawatts,” each capable of producing enough plutonium for “four or five nuclear weapons a year.” While small by power reactor standards, that’s substantially larger than the research reactors that provided material for the weapons programs of Israel, India and North Korea. He also believes that the reactors could have a separate mission: producing tritium, an element critical to the development of thermonuclear weapons, what used to be called H-bombs.

Change in nuclear strategy
Albright is not alone among non-proliferation experts. Zia Mian, of the International Panel on Fissile Materials at Princeton University, says adding a reliable and large-scale plutonium stream to the country’s long-term expertise in uranium enrichment signals a change in Pakistan’s nuclear strategy.

“The addition of the two reactors does two things,” Mian notes. “It allows them to make a lot more warheads, four or five a year, but it also allows them to make much lighter and more complex weapons for longer-range missiles and cruise missiles. ... And triggers for thermonuclear weapons are almost always plutonium-based.”

Mian notes that Pakistan already has intermediate-range and short-range missiles capable of hitting any target in India, as well as submarine-launched cruise missiles.

Moreover, Mian says he believes that Pakistan also is upgrading its uranium centrifuge program at Kahuta, outside Islamabad, which has already given the country its first 70 nuclear weapons.

“There have been a series of reports where you can find evidence of Pakistan developing third- and fourth-generation centrifuges, much more powerful,” he said, “the same as the Europeans use to produce reactor fuel.”

The Pakistani government has no official comment on the reactors or the suspected upgrade in uranium enrichment. A senior Pakistani official who worked in the nuclear weapons program would only say “these reactors are part of plutonium production for the classified program” — code for nuclear weapons development.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

India to endure another war on terror against the Maoist !

India's Naxalites
A spectre haunting India

From The Economist print edition

Maoist rebels are fighting a brutal low-level war with the Indian state

GANESH UEIKE, secretary of the West Bastar Divisional Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), seems a gentle, rather academic, man, who does not suit his green combat fatigues or clenched-fist “red salute”. He shuffles dog-eared bits of paper from a shabby file in his knapsack and writes down the questions he is asked. He answers them in slogans that he gives every appearance of believing. He wants to “liberate India from the clutches of feudalism and imperialism”.


A band of merry Naxalites
The rare interview took place last month, in a thatched shelter in a clearing in the Bastar forest in southern Chhattisgarh. The spot was some seven hours' walk from the nearest road, and there had been a day-and-a-half's wait for such a “big leader” to emerge from a hideout even deeper in the jungle. His party, he said, was facing renewed suppression, because “the resources of finance capitalism are facing sluggishness in their development, and are looking for new routes,” such as the mineral riches of this forest.

Mr Ueike did not mention that, just a few hours beforehand, at the edge of the forest, in a place called Errabore, his comrades had fought back. Several hundred had mounted a co-ordinated attack on a police station, a paramilitary base and a relief camp for displaced people. They killed more than 30 of the camp's residents, mostly by hacking them to death with axes. The scholarly Mr Ueike did boast that his army relied on “low-tech weapons”.

This was the latest battle in a year-long civil war in Dantewada district, in which more than 350 people have been killed, and nearly 50,000 moved into camps such as the one at Errabore. It is a remote, sparsely populated, under-developed region bordering three neighbouring states, and nine hours' drive from Chhattisgarh's capital, Raipur (see map). It is here that India's widespread Maoist rebellion is most intense.

On August 15th, in his National Day speech in Delhi, India's prime minister, Manmohan Singh, linked Naxalism with terrorism as the two big threats to India's internal security. The terrorism is all too familiar. India's cities have endured repeated atrocities—culminating in July's bomb attacks in Mumbai, which killed nearly 200 people. But many are surprised that Mr Singh accords Naxalism such a high priority. A primitive peasant rebellion based on an outmoded ideology is out of keeping with the modern India of soaring growth, Bollywood dreams and call-centres. Moreover, India has fought many better-known wars. A violent insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir has claimed tens of thousands of lives. Its north-eastern states are wracked by dozens of secessionist movements.

But Mr Singh may be right about the Maoists. Known as “Naxalites”, after the district of Naxalbari in West Bengal where they staged an uprising in 1967, they are these days almost a nationwide force. Greeted by China's People's Daily at the height of the Cultural Revolution as “a peal of spring thunder”, they were almost wiped out in the 1970s, as the Indian government repressed them, and Maoism went out of fashion, even in its homeland.

In India they splintered into various armed factions, of which the biggest were the People's War Group and the Maoist Communist Centre. These merged and formed the CPI (Maoist) party in September 2004. P.V. Ramana, of the Observer Research Foundation in Delhi, estimates the Naxalites now have 9,000-10,000 armed fighters, with access to about 6,500 firearms. There are perhaps a further 40,000 full-time cadres.

In nearly 1,600 violent incidents involving Naxalites last year, 669 people died. There have been spectacular attacks across a big area: a train hold-up last month involving 250 armed fighters, a jailbreak freeing 350 prisoners, a near-miss assassination attempt in 2004 against a leading politician. “Naxalism” now affects some 170 of India's 602 districts—a “red corridor” down a swathe of central India from the border with Nepal in the north to Karnataka in the south and covering more than a quarter of India's land mass.

This statistic overstates Naxalite power, since in most places they are an underground, hit-and-run force. But in the Bastar forest they are well-entrenched, controlling a large chunk of territory and staging operations across state borders into Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. In the tiny, dirt-poor villages scattered through the forest, the Indian state is almost invisible.

In one there is a hand-pump installed by the local government, but the well is dry. There are no roads, waterpipes, electricity or telephone lines. In another village a teacher does come, but, in the absence of a school, holds classes outdoors. Policemen, health workers and officials are never seen. The vacuum is filled by Naxalite committees, running village affairs and providing logistic support to the fighters camping in the forest. For the past year, those fighters—mostly local tribal people—have been battling not just the police and the six paramilitary battalions deployed in the district, but their own neighbours.

Not a dinner party
The single spark that lit this prairie fire was the formation a year ago of Salwa Judum, an anti-Maoist movement, whose name in Gondi, the language spoken by local tribes, means something like “peace hunt”. Its origins are disputed. K.R. Pisda, the district collector, or senior official, in Dantewada, dates it to a meeting in June 2005 of local villagers fed up with Naxalite intimidation and extortion. Others say that the Maoists were enforcing a boycott of trade in one of the main local forest products: tendu patta, the leaves used to wrap bidis (hand-rolled cigarettes).

Similar boycotts in the past had succeeded in forcing up prices and had earned the Naxalites some kudos. This one, the story goes, backfired. If it ever was a spontaneous movement, Salwa Judum soon became an arm of government policy—and a paramilitary force. Some 5,000 of its members have been inducted as “special police officers” (SPOs) and given some training and arms.

As the local government tells it, thousands of people started turning up by the roadside, fleeing Naxalite reprisals. There was no choice but to house them in relief camps, of which there are now 17. This is a dirty little war in which truth was long ago a casualty. Salwa Judum itself is also responsible for displacing people—a “scorched village” policy intended to starve the Maoists of local support. This recognises that the Naxalites' real strength lies not in their guerrillas in the jungle, with their peaked caps and “country-made” rifles, but in their civilian networks in the villages themselves.

In the largest camp, at Dornapal, some 17,000 people are housed in huts of mud and corrugated iron. Health workers say that many of the children are malnourished. One man, Wenjam, says he took refuge here after Naxalites in his local village beat him, and threatened him with worse, because he had a government contract to fence the pond. He had a pukka house, he said, and a herd of cattle. But, after five months in the camp, he had not been back to the village.

Armed police do sometimes escort groups home for a visit. Mr Ueike says there are no “ordinary people” in the camps, only “SPO people and their families”, whom he dismisses as “village feudal families and some lumpen elements”.

Yet some of those displaced are openly critical of Salwa Judum, which they say forced them to leave their villages. They are caught between two vicious enemies. In some villages, residents fled into the forest rather than follow the drive to the roadside. The camps are very controversial. Even K.P.S. Gill, a retired policeman known as a “supercop” for his vigorous role in putting down various insurgencies, and now an adviser to the Chhattisgarh government on dealing with the Maoists, says it would have been better to protect people in their villages.

When the Chhattisgarh government's home minister, Ramvichar Netam, visited Errabore the day after the massacre, he was surrounded by angry survivors. They pelted his helicopter with stones. Some of the bereaved even refused the money he was handing out as compensation. The Salwa Judum campaign, however, has important backers. Raman Singh, Chhattisgarh's chief minister, calls it “a success story”, a “non-violent movement against exploitation”.

The same tune is sung by the leader of the opposition in the state, Mahendra Karma of the Congress party, who is, in effect, Salwa Judum's leading light. A native of Dantewada itself, Mr Karma, like Mr Singh, sits under a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi and stresses the movement's “peaceful” origins. But he also links it to the global fight against terrorism and asks: “Are we not supposed to protect ourselves in our homeland?” Even the central government seemed at one time to endorse the campaign. In a statement in March the home ministry promised to “promote local resistance groups” against Naxalites.

Now, however, V.K. Duggal, the home ministry's top civil servant, who, like state officials, calls Salwa Judum “spontaneous”, says that at a meeting last week the central government advised the Chhattisgarh government not to extend the movement to other areas. Delhi is offering assistance: an extra paramilitary battalion; armoured vehicles; minesweeping equipment; and imaging technology to help locate remote Naxalite camps. It draws the line at helicopters for offensive operations. Its emphasis is on persuading the Maoists to join mainstream politics. In his speech this week, the prime minister said he wanted Naxalites to understand that “real power flows from the ballot box”.

Mr Karma and local officials in Dantewada make much of the Maoists' inhumanity. He says they load the corpses of their victims with mines, so those retrieving the bodies are also killed. Om Prakash Pal, the police superintendent at Dornapal, displays a gruesome photo album of mutilated bodies. Even Mr Gill, who has seen more brutality than most, thinks the Maoists stand out in this respect: “Their ideology is that the manner of killing should frighten more than the killing itself.”

Salwa Judum, too, is accused of intimidation, extortion, rape and murder. Its thugs have been manning roadblocks, supposedly to hunt for Maoists, but also to demand money. Some SPOs—like some Naxalites—may be local hoodlums, who have signed up for the money on offer, and the shiny new bicycles and motorbikes still wrapped in plastic at the Dornapal police station. Some families refusing to join Salwa Judum on its “combing” operations—rampages of arson, thuggery and pillage—have been “fined” or beaten. A report on Salwa Judum produced in April by a number of civil-liberties groups concluded that its formation had “escalated violence on all sides...Salwa Judum and the paramilitary operate with complete impunity. The rule of law has completely broken down.”

The barrel of a gun
For local officials in Dantewada, and the state government in Raipur, the Naxalites are just bandits: extortionists who hold sway through terror alone. Their ideology, they say, long ago imploded in a welter of violence. There is little doubt that they do use terror and extortion. Himanshu Kumar, who runs aid projects in the district, says he used to respect the Naxalites as working “for the betterment of the masses”. But he now found “people supporting them out of fear of their guns, or to gain power to loot others.”

Most of their young recruits—illiterate tribal people—have never read Mao. But not all support is coerced or opportunistic. And those who have studied the Naxalites credit them with far greater organisation, discipline and ideological fervour than any criminal gang. Ajai Sahni, for example, of the Institute of Conflict Management, a Delhi think-tank, points to the detailed socio-economic surveys they conduct before starting operations in a target area, helping to identify grievances they can exploit.

He also says that the Naxalites have been among the most principled of terrorist groups in selecting their targets. Their attacks are not random; though, because they so often use crude landmines, they may kill the wrong people. Their leaders are thinking far into the future, taking a 20- to 25-year view of their struggle. “Liberated” areas, such as their part of Dantewada, would be expanded until they pose a threat even to India's cities.

Nepal's Maoists, with whom the Indian party has “fraternal” links, are a model of how such a strategy can work. Having managed to exclude the state from virtually all the countryside, and waged war for a decade, the Maoists in Nepal are now negotiating, from a position of some strength, their share in government—a decision their Indian comrades quietly deplore, despite a pretence of solidarity.

Early Naxalite leaders like Mr Ueike, who has spent nearly 30 years in the movement, were students and middle-class intellectuals. But the tribal peoples among whom they find most of their new recruits are among India's poorest: “the most exploited, the bottom rung”, according to Ajit Jogi, a tribal leader and former chief minister of Chhattisgarh. Typically, they live in forests and have no rights to their land. A law to remedy this is under consideration, but resisted by conservationists. According to the 2001 census, about three-quarters of Dantewada's 1,220 villages are almost wholly tribal; 1,161 have no medical facilities; 214 have no primary school; the literacy rate is 29% for men and 14% for women.

Most of the inhabitants are subsistence farmers eking a meagre cash income from selling forest products, such as tendu patta. Markets in the forest have been closed, to throttle the Maoists' supply chain. For many inside the forest, a visit to the market is now a long hike, camping overnight on the way. A big iron mine, Bailadilla, on the edge of the forest, employs few local people and in the rainy season turns a river bright orange and undrinkable. A railway has been built to take the ore to the sea.

The government blames the Maoists for blocking development, such as road-building. But the Maoists tell people that roads are intended simply to help the state plunder the forests and take wealth out, not bring it in. Many believe them. The Maoists profit from what Mr Sahni calls “asymmetric expectations”: people expect the state to provide for them, and it is failing; any good coming from the Maoists—social work, land redistribution, a price rise for local produce—brings disproportionate gratitude.

Contradictions among the people
To bring development to these neglected reaches, the government needs to assert control. Salwa Judum is the wrong way to go about it. A larger, better-trained police force would help. In India, on average, there are 55 policemen for every 100 square kilometres; in Chhattisgarh just 17. In districts such as Dantewada, policing is an unattractive, life-threatening career. Mr Pal, the Dornapal policeman, is a young and competent-seeming officer from the state of Uttar Pradesh. But he has been criticised in the press for lacking experience.

Some 2,000 policemen have attended a Counter-Terrorism and Jungle Warfare Training School, which opened a year ago at Kanker, on the road from Raipur. The director, B.K. Ponwar, a retired army brigadier, wants to teach policemen “to fight a guerrilla like a guerrilla”. They learn to slither down ropes, as from a helicopter, practise peppering a range with live bullets, run fierce obstacle courses and study survival skills, such as “jungle cooking” (“First, catch your cobra...”).


A policeman's unhappy lot
Eradicating Naxalism, however, is more than a local policing problem. One difficulty has been that, under India's constitution, security is a matter for state governments rather than the centre. So national policy for dealing with the Naxalites has been inconsistent. In 2004, the government of Andhra Pradesh held abortive peace talks with local Naxalites, while other states continued to fight them.

Mr Ueike talks boldly of expanding Naxalite influence into new areas: Kashmir, the north-east, and India's cities. The spread of Naxalism is causing justifiable alarm. Just as Mao Zedong mounted the Gate of Heavenly Peace in Beijing in 1949 to tell the Chinese people they had stood up, Mr Ueike dreams of seeing the red flag fly over the Red Fort in Delhi in his lifetime.

It will not happen. For all their geographical reach, the Maoists' power base remains on the margins of Indian society. They are far from sparking a general insurrection. But, in places such as Dantewada, almost a hole in the map of the Indian polity, it is easy to see how a crude, violent ideology, promising land and liberation, might take root. Mr Singh had a point when in April he said the Naxalites posed “the single biggest internal-security challenge ever faced by our country”.

Other terrorists attack the Indian state at its strong points—its secularism, its inclusiveness, its democracy. Naxalism attacks where it is weakest: in delivering basic government services to those who need them most. The Naxalites do not threaten the government in Delhi, but they do have the power to deter investment and development in some of India's poorest regions, which also happen to be among the richest in some vital resources—notably iron and coal. So their movement itself has the effect of sharpening inequity, which many see as the biggest danger facing India in the next few years, and which is the Naxalites' recruiting sergeant.

Brigadier Ponwar, who joined the Indian army as it went to war in Bangladesh in 1971, says he spent the rest of his career fighting terrorists at home. After fighting low-intensity wars on its periphery for a generation, India risks having to endure another, in its very core, for the next.

Karma ? Maoist guerillas blow up school buildings in south Bihar

Indian is witnessing Taliban type violence in almost 200 districts ! Maoist Guerrillas are blowing up schools and hijacking trains. Is someone paying them back or is it Karma ?

Munger : In an attempt to scare villagers before the April 16 elections, armed Maoist guerillas blew up a two-storied primary school building at remote Bhimband area in this extremist-dominated south Bihar district early today.

Superintendent of Police Ram Anurag Singh told UNI here that about 35-40 armed ultras raided the remote village, situated about 140 km from here inside a forest area at arond 0500 hours, and blew up the newly-constructed two-storied school building.

They planted a number of powerful explosives inside the school building to cause the maximum damage, he said.

Before leaving, the guerillas fired several rounds in the air to scare the villagers and left behind a few leaflets of the underground organisation.

This was the second attack on a school building by the ultras in the district in about a week. Earlier, they had destroyed yet another school building in a simiar fashion. However, none was injured in either cases.

Police launched a massive combing operation in the area to nab the ultras, though none could be arrested so far, the SP said.

The Maoists had gunned down the then SP K C Surendra and five other police personnel in the same village a few years ago.

Bihar: Maoists attack BSF, 30 per cent voter turnout

Bihar witnessed a second round of red terror during the first phase of polling in the afternoon. Over 50 Maoist guerillas locked horns with the BSF in Rohtas district. The rebels killed two security men in Gaya in the morning.
CJ: Shyamal Sarkar, 16 Apr 2009 Views:394 Comments:0

BIHAR RECORDED a voter turnout of over 30 per cent in the first phase of the general elections in 13 of the state's 40 Lok Sabha constituencies on Thursday (April 16) even as Maoist rebels struck for the second time today.

In the afternoon Naxalites stormed a second polling station in Rohtas district. Over 50 armed Maoists attacked a polling station at Koriari in Rohtas, about 150 kilometres from Patna, the police brass told the local media. The rebels had a run in with the Border Security Force (BSF) deployed in the area. No casualty was reported till last reports came in.

Earlier in the day over a dozen Maoists opened fire at a polling station in Singhpur village, in Banke Bazaar police station area in Gaya district, nearly 130 kilometres from Patna. A policeman and a home guard were gunned down. Two police personnel were said to be missing. The rebels disappeared with electronic voting machines and four rifles. Six people including two women voters were injured and had to be hospitalised.

The two killed were identified as Vishambhar Choudhary of the Bihar police and Ramdeo Khair a home guard. In another incident a landmine explosion triggered by Maoist rebels injured the district president of Janata Dal-United (JD-U) in Jamui district.

The administration ought to have got wind of what was about to come on the polling day today because Maoists stormed a BSF camp in the wee hours of Wednesday in Rohtas.

Over a 100 Maoist guerillas, armed with rocket launchers, were reported to have attacked a BSF camp in Bhansa Ghati in Rohtas district at about 1.40 am. The encounter lasted for more than three-and-a-half hours. One BSF jawan was injured and over half a dozen Maoists were believed to have been killed in the counter-attack, police told reporters. The BSF camp was set up for the first phase of the elections.

Polling in most constituencies began on a slow note in the morning. The first four hours of polling witnessed less than 10 per cent turnout of voters in Bihar. Polling began at 7 am and after over three hours, most of the constituencies were said to have registered a measly between five to eight per cent voter turnout, while some recorded around 10 percent. The average rose to 15 to 18 percent by noon. The turnout of voters picked up in the afternoon when between 28 and 32 per cent voting was recorded.

Indian Maoist Hijack Train

Maoists have taken over a train carrying about 300 passengers, on the eve of the second round of voting in Indian national elections.

At least 200 Maoists launched their raid on the train on Wednesday in Jharkhand province and forced the driver to take it to Latehar station, police said.

The group later fled into the jungle, after which police released passengers on the Mugalsaria to Barkakana train at Daltangunj railway station, Jharkhand.

Sarvendu Tathagat, a local government official, said: "All the passengers have been released and they are safe.

"They [the Maoists] left the train and fled into the jungles."

The hijack comes five days after voters in Jharkhand went to the polls as part of the first phase of national elections. The state is set for a second stage of elections on Thursday.

Newsweek : Maoist Control of 200 Districts in India

Map indicates the areas now controlled by the Maoist !
(Click to increase the size of the map)

Like its neighbour Pakistan, India is about to get a wake up call on Maoist Guerrillas who now control 200 out of total of 602 districts of India.

A personal visit to a part of India where Mao-spouting armed rebels are the law.

Late one night recently, my phone rang. It was my sister, and her voice was trembling. A member of India's nominally Maoist insurgency had just called her husband, demanding a protection payment of more than $1,000. The caller said someone would be sent to their home to collect the payment. Don't call the police, the caller warned. There was no danger of that. For years the Maoists have practically owned the impoverished eastern state of Jharkhand, where my sister and her husband live in a rented house on the outskirts of a small, dusty town. The terrified local cops seldom venture outside their station houses.

My sister didn't know what to do. The extortionists wanted roughly five full months' pay from my brother-in-law's midlevel government job. Even if the two could scrape up so much money, they didn't expect it to solve anything. When a protection victim pays off, the Maoists come back for more. But refusing is no option. My sister's husband, a soft-spoken, bighearted man, has traveled around the state as a literacy worker. In remote villages he's seen men who defaulted on small payments to the Maoists. Some were missing an arm. Others had their ears or their nose cut off. Running away wouldn't help, either. How would the family live if my brother-in-law left his job?

After a sleepless night I boarded a long-distance train from New Delhi. I wanted to see my sister and her husband, and I hoped to find someone who could help them. I grew up in Jharkhand. Now it's part of what India's Maoists call "the liberated zone," although most of the area's desperately poor inhabitants are anything but free. Of India's estimated 1.1 billion people, 836 million live on less than 45 cents a day, according to the state-run National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector. The states where self-described Maoists operate are home to nearly 80 percent of those 836 million. In Jharkhand, one of the worst-affected states, guerrillas routinely attack police stations, assassinate "class enemies," blow up government buildings and laugh at state authorities. The campaign of violence has intensified recently; the Maoists have tried with only slight success to impose a boycott against India's monthlong parliamentary elections. The group has blown up a couple of railway stations, hijacked an entire passenger train, torched trucks on the highways and killed five civilians on suspicion of being police informers or defying Maoist rule.

It was a hot, bright morning when I got off the train in Jharkhand with a vague plan to get in touch with the rebels. I knew some of the state's original Maoist leaders about 40 years ago. The group was outlawed after it began killing landlords, moneylenders and tough cops, and it petered out entirely in the late 1970s. A new generation of Mao-spouting armed rebels appeared in the 1990s. Their so-called people's war has been spreading across India ever since. There's little direct connection between the two movements other than their joint appropriation of Mao's name, but I thought if I could find any of the old leaders, maybe they could relay a message for me.

While I waited, I set out to find an extortion victim who could tell me about dealing with the Maoists. Jharkhand is full of businessmen, private doctors and shopkeepers who pay "taxes" to the shakedown artists, but most of them prefer not to talk about it. Finally, Sanjiv, a construction man in his early 40s, agreed to talk if I didn't mention his full name and location. Last year he had a government contract to build a stretch of road, and the Maoists heard about it. They sent a man to tell him they wanted a 30 percent share of his total contract in cash before they would let him start work. Sanjiv showed up the next day with the money. He was blindfolded and escorted deep into the forest, where a man counted it as masked gunmen stood by. Since then the Maoists have come back twice for more money. Another local contractor took too long paying. He arrived at the site one morning and found his road roller destroyed by fire, Sanjiv says.

I got further background on the Maoists from a local journalist. Deepak Ambastha is the editor of Prabhat Khabar, a Hindi daily newspaper. "There is no trace of ideological purity among the Maoists these days," he told me at his office on the outskirts of Dhanbad. "They are into extortion, kidnapping and even commit rape. The state's writ runs only within city limits." When the Maoists call a general strike, railways cancel trains, truckers get off the streets and people in many parts of the state stay indoors. Ambastha and a group of fellow journalists were robbed on a highway once by a gang of armed Maoists. He and his friends fled the scene and begged for help at a local police station, he says. The cops refused to open their gate. Ambastha warned me not to leave town after dark.

Still, I hadn't seen the Jharkhand countryside in years, so I hired a car. The driver agreed to take me out of town on one condition: he had to be home before sunset. We headed out into the countryside, where the Maoists rule. Many villages are miles off the narrow, potholed main road, accessible only by dirt trails. We stopped at Muraldih, a village of 500. About 100 young men and women live there, but only one has a permanent job in town. Others make money any way they can—pick-and-shovel work, subsistence farming, selling wood and fruits from the forest. They have no electricity, no health care and only one well for drinking water. I wanted to check out a rural police station, but my driver kept reminding me of my promise. We didn't see one police patrol all day.

The Maoists finally got word that I wanted to talk. It was well past midnight when my mobile phone rang. The caller gave no name and spoke in a local Hindi dialect that I understand and speak well. He gave a little speech about "establishing a classless society." Before he could hang up, I asked him why the Maoists terrorize ordinary people. He denied harassing "the poor and the powerless." End of phone call.

It would have been nice if he had conveyed that message to the gang of Maoists who raided the house of a former village headman a few days earlier near Gaya, in the neighboring state of Bihar. The man and his son happened to be away from home when it happened, visiting a nearby village. Someone rushed to warn them that a company of Maoists had been spotted heading for their home village, and the son called the police immediately. The Maoists rolled into the village unchallenged and looted the house. Then they ordered the women out, dynamited the place to rubble and melted back into the countryside. The district police chief later claimed that a team of police was sent to the scene. Villagers said the cops showed up nearly 15 hours after the raiders left.

A few days later, nearly 100 Maoists swarmed into a village near the Jharkhand town of Hazaribagh in the dead of night. They seized a schoolteacher and dragged him away despite his wife's entreaties, accusing him of being a police informer. They tied him to a tree and tortured him to death.

The more horror stories I heard, the harder it was to understand how any government could tolerate such atrocities against its people. I decided to call on the deputy commissioner of Dhanbad district. A computer-science graduate from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Ajay Kumar Singh is the man in charge of both district development and law and order in Dhanbad. He's an earnest young man who lives in a well-guarded bungalow with a manicured lawn in the heart of the city. Singh blames the state's crushing poverty for the Maoists' influence. "It is a Catch-22 situation," he says. "There are no roads, so there is hardly any development. And when we go to build roads, the Maoists attack and destroy all efforts, because roads will expose their hideouts." Besides, he says, the state's officials don't live in the impoverished villages and therefore they have no stake in developing the backcountry areas.

For a senior government functionary, Singh is unusually candid. He's convinced that the Maoists couldn't prevent development if the politicians considered it important. "Human beings have built tunnels under the sea," he says. "Obviously we can build roads into remote villages." It's not as if the Maoist leaders were committed revolutionaries, he says; many of them are only hoodlums who use villagers as hostages and human shields. They keep the ill-paid local cops terrorized by attacking them with overwhelming force and no warning.

I asked Singh what happens when people get extortion threats. Most pay up, he said. The state can't provide armed guards for everyone who needs one. I didn't have the stomach to ask about people who don't pay. It was getting dark outside the bungalow. I asked Singh if I'd be OK driving to Giridih, about 40 miles away through some desolate stretches of forest. Wait until morning, he said. I walked out of Singh's bungalow into the dark streets. Until India's government gets serious about stopping the Maoists, I have no answer for my sister and her husband.

In India Maoists have Taliban Type Activities !

Indian Maoists hijacked a train with 800 passengers in the eastern state of Jharkhand on Wednesday morning. Although the crisis was defused within five hours, when the Maoists released the train and its passengers, the incident has sparked grave concern throughout the security establishment. The ease with which the Maoists were able to stage an operation of this magnitude - and at a time when security has been tightened for general elections - has laid bare yet again that it is the Maoists' writ, not that of the government that runs through this part of the country.
The train was on its way from Barkakana in Jharkhand to Mugalsarai in the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh when it was hijacked near Hehegarha railway station in Latehar district. Around 200 Maoists are said to have carried out the operation. A railway station in Palamu was bombed as well. In March 2006, a train was hijacked in the same district. Passengers were set free after 12 hours. The Indian Railways have been targeted repeatedly by the Maoists. Besides holding-up trains, they have blasted railway tracks, burned railway stations, looted weapons from railway police and abducted personnel.
No passengers were hurt in Wednesday's hijacking and hostage drama. The operation, which took place on the eve of the second part of India's month-long five-phase general election, was aimed at scaring voters into staying away from polling booths. Maoists have called for a boycott of the polls in the states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar. In a bid to disrupt polling during the first phase of voting last week, they detonated landmines, raided polling booths and torched electronic voting machines. Around 20 people were killed and scores injured on polling day alone.
Analysts have sought to downplay the impact of the Maoist's poll violence. Bibhu Prasad Routray, research fellow at the Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management has written that "Maoist violence on April 16 affected a meager 0.09% (71) of the 76,000 polling stations that were identified as vulnerable in the first phase." He argues that Maoists suffered damage in the violence they sought to inflict on the security forces in the run-up to voting.
While the Maoists have carried out spectacular attacks and did disrupt polls to some extent, they were not fully successful in effecting a boycott. Voter turnout in the constituencies worst hit by Maoist violence was a respectable 50%. Maoist influence runs through a stretch of territory referred to as the "Red Corridor". This extends from the Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh through Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand up to Bihar. Areas in western Orissa and eastern Uttar Pradesh are also under Maoist influence. And they have some presence in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as well.
The area where the Maoists operate has grown dramatically in recent years. In the early 1990s the number of districts affected by varying degrees of Maoist violence stood at just 15 in four states. This rose to 55 districts in nine states by the end of 2003 and to 156 districts in 13 states in 2004. Maoists are believed to be operating now in around 200 districts (of a total of 602 districts in the country) in 17 states.
Government officials point out that these statistics and the name Red Corridor have conjured up images of Maoists being in control of a large swathe of land and posing a threat to the Indian state. An official in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region told Asia Times Online that while the Maoists do control "some area" in Dantewada district and are able to carry out big attacks in several states, in most areas of the Red Corridor they operate as a hit-and-run force.
"They do not threaten the government, either at the state or the federal level and they are nowhere near sparking off a general uprising," he said, drawing attention to the diminishing public support for the Maoists and increasing resistance to their diktats. Human-rights activists argue that while the Maoist threat might "not have Delhi on its knees, it is a fact that the problem has laid bare India's failure to deliver good governance, to respond to the plight of the poorest and most marginalized sections of its population".
Unlike jihadi violence that comes from across the border in Pakistan, Maoist violence has its roots firmly in India. Indeed, the Maoist problem has left India red-faced. Districts that fall in the Red Corridor are rich in minerals like iron ore and bauxite. But the people living there, who are largely Adivasi or tribal are desperately poor. Exploited by forest officials, contractors, mining companies and middlemen and neglected by the state, villagers in the Red Corridor are among the worst off in the country.
And it is to liberate them from their oppressors and the Indian state that the Maoists claim to be waging their armed struggle. It is true the Maoists have improved life for the Adivasis by forcing local officials to dig wells or pay better wages to the villagers. But over time, the liberators have turned oppressors themselves. Villagers who don't obey the Maoists have been killed and Maoist violence stands in the way of development projects.
The scale of Maoist operations has grown dramatically over the years. In November 2005, more than 1,000 Maoists stormed a jail in Jehanabad in Bihar and freed about 350 of their jailed comrades. Armories and camps of the police and paramilitary forces have been raided. A week ago, they signaled capacity to stand and fight the security forces. Around 200 Maoists stormed a state-owned bauxite mining company in the eastern state of Orissa, taking around 100 employees hostage. They battled for more than nine hours with members of India's Special Operations Group and its Central Industrial Security Force before they finally retreated.
Analysts have drawn attention to increasing Maoist attacks on infrastructure. P Ramana, research fellow at the Delhi-based Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, has pointed out that 62 telecommunication towers were damaged by the Maoists in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Orissa in from 2005 to 2008, with 43 of these occurring in 2008. These attacks are aimed at disrupting "communication amongst the security forces, as well as between 'police informants' - who have been provided cellular telephones - and the security forces, in order that operations against the rebels get impaired," he writes.
The Maoists have also been blowing up power lines and service towers. In May 2007, they blew up three 132 KVA high-tension towers in the Bastar region, plunging six districts into darkness for a week and disrupting normal power distribution for a fortnight. "Functioning of hospitals, communication systems and rail traffic, besides iron ore mines was badly affected," Ramana points out. In June of last year, two 220 KVA towers were blasted depriving 15,000 villages of electricity.
Maoists have displayed their military capability through their high-profile attacks on railways and other infrastructure. They have been able to inflict losses running into millions of dollars on the state they are seeking to overthrow. But simultaneously they are inflicting heavy losses on the people they claim they are going to liberate. They have worsened the daily lives of some of India's most exploited people.

International Republican Institute Survey on Pakistan !

International Republican Institute Survey on Pakistan !

This survey reflects the mood of the Pakistanis' in all 4 provinces !

Interestingly the confidence level of Pakistanis' was better during the 9 years of Musharraf rule then what it is now :

Click to see the census report and graphics :,%20March%207-30,%202009.pdf