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Maoists consolidating control: CPI (Maoist) leader

Aman Sethi

New Delhi: More than a year after the intensification of military operations directed against the Communist Party of India (Maoist), its general secretary Muppalla Laxman Rao alias Ganapathy says his party had consolidated control over areas under their influence, raided hundreds of weapons and ammunition rounds from State armouries and developed West Bengal's Lalgarh and Orissa's Narayanpatnam into emergent “guerrilla zones”.

Ganapathy made these comments in a statement emailed to this correspondent. The statement was composed in question-and-answer format. Conceding that the loss of top Maoist leaders like Central Committee spokesperson Azad had caused a “very big hindrance…in achieving our goals” and had had a “grave impact on the Indian revolution,” Ganapathy nonetheless insisted that the party was “still attracting educated cadres [that] would be able to fill the void created by Azad by training.” Azad was killed in a controversial police firing on July 2 this year in Adilabad, Andhra Pradesh.

Ganapathy also addressed two important questions regarding CPI (Maoist) sources of funds and weapons.

Dismissing press reports that the Maoists were sourcing weapons from China, Myanmar and Bangladesh, Ganapathy said, “Our weapons are mainly country-made. All the modern weapons we have are mainly seized from the government armed forces when we attack them.” Photographs emailed to this correspondent document the array of 2-inch mortars, Kalashnikovs, INSAS and self-loading rifles captured when the Maoists killed more than 100 CRPF personnel in two separate raids in Chhattisgarh in April and June this year.

Ganapathy denied allegations that the Maoists had been extorting money from the mining industry and corporations, but admitted that the party extracts levies from local businesses.

He said that Maoists were fighting hard to keep mining companies out of areas under Maoist control and that the party “mainly collects donations from the people and funds from the traders in our guerrilla zones... [We] also collect rational levy from contractors who take up various works in our areas.”

The Maoist urban network has long been of interest to Intelligence officials across the country. The last six months have seen a number of arrests of suspected Maoists in urban areas, including Chhattisgarh's capital Raipur. Ganapathy conceded that the Maoists have been unable to mobilise students, factory workers and intellectuals as they had done in the 1970s.

However, he noted that “in terms of social, economic and cultural ties or in terms of movements and relations, villages and cities are not two unconnected islands.” This connection between cities and villages, Ganapathy believes, could create a base for the expansion of the Maoist urban network.

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