WASHINGTON DC, July 24, 2005 | ISSN: 1684-2057 | www.satribune.com

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Maoist women fighters stop for lunch west of Kathmandu. Below, a Bhutanese refugee

The Maoists are Working Hard to Carve Out Their Own Country

By Arun Rajnath

JALPAIGURI (Indo-Nepal-Bhutan-Bangladesh Border), July 24: Over 165 Maoist cadres are being trained in Bhutan at present, as Bhutan has been included in the future Maoist country, ‘Dandkaranya Desam’. The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) are imparting the training. A senior leader of the Standing Committee of a Maoist outfit confirmed this to the South Asia Tribune.

The next meeting of the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA) is likely to be held in Bangladesh by the end of this year to chalk out the future strategy. The Maoists of the Purba Bangla Sarbhara Party (PBSP) of Bangladesh are coordinating.

Bhutan has been included in ‘Dandkaranya Desam’, a Maoist El Dorado in South Asia. Maoists in Bhutan have already formed Bhutan Communist Party against the imperative rule of King Jigme Singye Vancgchuk. Over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees in Nepal have also supported them.

A meeting between KLO Chief Sunil Biswas and the Maoist source of the South Asia Tribune was held somewhere in the Jalpaiguri region a few months ago for the training of the Maoist recruits in Bhutan.

The training is going on at several places in Bhutan. The source did not disclose the localities as the Royal Army of Bhutan had attacked their camps and had destroyed them two years back.

According to the sources, 3-4 days training capsules are being provided to the Maoist recruits in guerilla warfare, bomb-manufacturing techniques and arms training. The militiamen of the ULFA and KLO are imparting the training.

Maoist sources say that the combined strength of the Indian and Nepali Maoists is gradually increasing, and they are trying to raise armies in Bangladesh and Bhutan. At present there are about 16,000 Combatants, 32,000 Militia, 14,000 Cadres, 70,000 hardcore followers and 600,000 Sympathizers.

They have also united more than a dozen ethnic and regional classes, such as Bhutanese of Nepali origins (refugees in Nepal), dalits, majhis, kols, etc. These are the classes that work as informers.

India, particularly the Northeastern region, has become the hotbed of insurgency. The Maoist forces of Bhutan, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh held a meeting with the communist leaders of Nepal and Bangladesh during the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) that took place in April 2005 at New Delhi.

Chhabilal Bishwokarma, Rajan Bhattari of the Communist Party of Nepal; Rashid Khan Menon, Haider Akbar Khan Rono, Manoj Saha of the Workers Party of Bangladesh; Mujahidul Islam Selim, Shah Alam, Syed Abu Jafar Ahmed of the Communist Party of Bangladesh attended the convention.

Raja Collure, T. Kugada, Nadarajah Bhavan of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka and Somawansa Amara Singha and Sunil of the Janatha Vimukthi Permuna, Sri Lanka were other leaders who participated in the Congress. Indian Maoist sources told the South Asia Tribune that the Maoist leaders met some of the world communist leaders for their support and help.

Though these leaders do not reconcile with the extremist approach of the ultras, yet they have sympathies with ultra outfits as both of them have the same goal of ‘salvation of the masses’.

The Maoists of the region have included Bhutan as a part of ‘Dandkaranya Desam’ that starts from Nepal-Bhutan and covers the whole region of North Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, South Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

Secondly, the Maoists have also planned to intensify their activities in Tamilnadu and Karnataka to complete the region. They are also planning to gain ground in Bangladesh where they have some influence. Keeping this strategy in mind they would meet in Bangladesh by the end of this year.

As far as Bhutan is concerned, it had initiated cleaning up operations within its borders to eliminate the anti-India forces. The Bhutanese army had conducted combing operations and destroyed the training camps of the United Liberation Force of Assam (ULFA).

Bhutan had launched operations against three anti-India outfits, viz, ULFA, National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), and the Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) in December 2003. Before the attack, the Indian Army had also sealed the Bhutan Gate near Phuntsholing, the entry point to Bhutan from West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district. This is known to be one of the most commonly used transit points for militants.

At Barovisa near the West Bengal-Assam border check post, the Indian Army had deployed at least one tank along with medical units and other combat equipment. Five ULFA and two Bodo militant camps were destroyed during the day’s operations.

While King Jigme Singye Wangchuk might have informed the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee about the action a day before, the fact is that the two had discussed military action when they had met on September 14, 2003.

It was not without reason that the Indian Army had started quietly moving troops from Tezpur-based IV Corps and equipment to the Indo-Bhutan borders in Assam in October itself. The Siliguri-based 33 Corps had also been placed on alert. The entire operation was kept top secret with the West Bengal police told to seal the borders this month.

According to highly placed sources, the Bhutan Army had destroyed 20 militant camps of the three groups, but the menace is not finished yet. While the top leadership of ULFA, NDFB and KLO is safe in Bangladesh, the total number of Northeast armed militants in the Jalpaiguri (India) region is around 4,500. Jalpaiguri is adjacent to Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

Government sources told the South Asia Tribune that the Bhutanese government was told at that time that these organizations were linked with Maoists, who were out to uproot the monarchy in Nepal.

Bhutan fears that militants would take counter-action and target its communication lines. This could lead to scarcity and may spark off unrest within. As it is, Bhutan largely relies on India for its supplies, trade and exports. Though the UPA Government has also assured Vangchuk of all support, including strengthening his royal army, yet the Maoist menace in Bhutan has increased manifold and Bhutanese Maoists would participate in the next meeting of the CCOMPOSA.

Over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees of Nepali origin have been hounded out of Bhutan after the promulgation of the Citizenship Act, 1985 and nation wide census in 1988 in Bhutan. These refugees are now living in dingy and sub-human conditions in Nepal. Some of the refugees are in West Bengal and especially in the region of Jalpaiguri.

Bhutanese refugees are mostly settled in the Eastern region of Nepal which is one of the strongholds of Maoists. This correspondent met with some Bhutanese refugees in Jalpaiguri, which told me that more than 2000 refugees have joined the Maoist outfits of Nepal and India.

The newly formed Bhutanese Maoist outfit, the Bhutan Communist Party-Marxist-Leninist-Maoist (BCP-MLM) has already issued the warning to the King of Bhutan “to mend his ways and pave way for the rule of the different Nationalities in Bhutan.”

The Chief of the BCP-MLM is someone with an alias of ‘Vikalpa’ on the line of Nepali Maoist Chief ‘Prachanda’. The word ‘Prachanda’ means ‘Fiery’ whereas ‘Vikalpa’ is ‘Alternative’. The combination of both i.e. ‘Prachanda Vikalpa’ would mean the ‘Fiery alternative’ to other forms of administration.

A large number of frustrated youth in the refugee camps in Nepal are joining them. These youth have also joined the Maoist rebels of Nepal. The BCP-MLM is constantly raising voice for their early repatriation to Bhutan where they legally belong.

For the next meeting of the CCOMPOSA in Bangladesh the Maoist rebels of the region have established contacts with the Maoist forces of Bangladesh. Maoist parties of the region are rendering important assistance to the initiatives of the Maoist rebels of Bangladesh to spearhead their revolutionary activities.

Sources said: “Their assistance and specially the examples of unification of various different Maoist centers and efforts towards such unification in Bangladesh played and will continue to play an important and positive influential role. PBSP appreciates on advancing this process to the whole region.”

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