These Maoists have a kickass army all right. You don’t often hear of other revolutionaries like the FARC in Colombia, Sendero in Peru or the NPA in the Philippines carrying out such devastating blows.
The state paramilitary police force of 82 men was ambushed with by a Maoist force of 500 with IED’s, bombs, hand grenades and automatic weapons fire in the forests near Raipur, Chattisargh. Reinforcements rushing to the scene were surrounded and attacked. A heavily armored “mine-resistant” vehicle sent in to gather the wounded was blown up by an IED.
An incredible 76 Indian police were killed. The other 44 were wounded. All police in the column were either killed or wounded.
Chattisargh is Maoist Ground Zero in India. This Operation Green Hunt is obviously not going as planned, and these Maoists are a far more competent force than most people assume.
Also, the Maoists’ numbers are downplayed. There are said to be only 20,000 armed Maoists in India. But if you count unarmed party member, it must be more than that. One of India’s largest women’s organizations has 90,000 members and they are all Maoists. Also many of the villages in Maoist territory are controlled by heavily armed village militia who do not wear uniforms. The 20,000 figure does not appear to include village militia.
The state has been issuing a lot of statements lately releasing the names of various leftwing intellectuals, often professors and students in Delhi, and accusing them of being Maoists. I’m not sure if they are, but I believe the CPI-M definitely has supporters on university campuses across India. It will be interesting to see how well they can expand to the cities, because so far they have just been a rural based insurgency.
The latest rumor is that an Indian government official said that the Maoists could conquer India by 2050. A Maoist leader is said to have replied that it would be more like 2020.
Statement from PUDR (People’s Union for Democratic Rights) here.