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Terror alliances on the rise in N-E - PLA-Maoist ties sets off alarm in Delhi

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 16.10.11
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New Delhi, Oct. 15: The blossoming relationship between Northeast militant groups and outfits based in other parts of the country is setting off alarm bells here, as such “strategic relationships” are extremely undesirable from the Centre’s point of view.

Documents containing evidence culled in the past two weeks revealed that ties between the Manipur-based People’s Liberation Army/Revolutionary People’s Front (PLA/RPF) and CPI (Maoist) had grown for two years to become a full-fledged strategic relationship.

The PLA has bagged an order for rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and for 1,000 more weapons from the Maoists, who, in turn, have not only found guerrilla trainers and suppliers of world-class communication equipment in the PLA, but also see the benefits that could accrue from the Manipuri militants’ Chinese links.

This year, the PLA bought Kenwood TH-K-2AT wireless communication sets specifically for the Maoists.

PLA trainers were also in Jharkhand from August last year, imparting a two-month module on combat and communication training to Maoist cadres of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The training sessions were held in the jungles along the Jharkhand-Orissa border, sources said.

For quite some time now, Maoists have created “liberated” pockets in this belt down from northeastern Andhra Pradesh up into Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar.

The growing relationship was reconfirmed from evidence seized from PLA leader and Maoist coordinator Ningthambam Ranjit alias Wangba, and his colleague Arunkumar Salam. The duo were arrested in New Delhi on October 1.

Since arms shipments cannot be achieved alone, in September this year Ranjit is said to have sent an acquaintance to meet Raj Kumar Meghen, the UNLF chairman, in a Guwahati jail. The purpose was to explore the possibility of organising transhipment of arms from Myanmar.

Disclosures by Ranjit, the self-styled chief of the PLA’s “external affairs” department, speak of Maoists requesting training on handling of sophisticated communication equipment in Dandakaranya.

In another disturbing development, evidence also shows that there is not only a “thickening of operational relationship but also an audacious plan” to forge a Strategic United Front that includes Maoists, Northeast outfits and militant groups operating in Kashmir. A concept paper on this front was to be finalised by early 2012, sources said.

An internal report of the government of India claims that the outfit sees the front to be an instrument to “counter the psychological war” of the government against resistance movements. “The Maoists have also agreed to the RPF/PLA proposal of maintaining contact and collaborating in foreign countries,” the report states.

To cut deals and deepen and broaden relations, another meeting of PLA and CPI (Maoist) leaders was to take place later this year at the latter’s eastern regional bureau headquarters, sources said.

Such developments have only contributed to India’s eagerness in warming up to Myanmar, whose President U Thein Sein’s visit to India has made a mark in more ways than one.

Myanmar’s territory is used by PLA and others who have already forged a Northeast-specific united front led by the NSCN (K).