“Those arrested in the Aarey agitation have been freed. This government should now free those arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case. They were booked on false cases. This is our government”.

This was a tweet that was put out in Marathi by NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad. It would be interesting to see, what the Maharashtra chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray would do now owing to alliance compulsions. Let us remind you that the CM had once called these persons a threat to democracy.

Last year, 10 activists were arrested on charges of instigating violence and also having links with the Naxalites or Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Most important component of the Naxal movement:

When one speaks about the Bhima-Koregaon case, the larger picture has to be looked into. It is not just a case about instigating violence. There was a larger design to it and the motive was clearly to destabilise a nation.

Pune Police during its investigation found several links between these activists and the Naxalites. Further it is these persons, who live in cities and propagate for Naxalites, who are most dangerous. They provide oxygen to Naxalites who operate in jungles and also set propaganda.

Going through investigation papers and also Intelligence Bureau files, it is clear that there is a pattern to how this works. People in the cities are brainwashed into believing that the Naxal movement is the need of the hour. These brainwashing sessions take place in clubs, WhatsApp groups, think-tanks, a section of the media and also in social circles. This has, in fact, been one of the most important components of the Naxalite movement.

The geographic spread of the Naxalites has dropped by a large extent after the NDA government took over in 2014. However, the success also lies in the fact that the key component of the Naxalite movement which is in the cities was identified. Keeping a check on such persons often referred to as urban Naxalites was one of the most important decisions in the battle against the Naxalites.

These are the persons who not only spread their ideology, but also ensure that there is a sustained fund flow that reaches the jungles. The big question is when the movement is on a decline, is there a need for such statements by the NCP MLA? When a government is trying to crush a violent movement, which has claimed so many lives, especially that of our brave soldiers, is it even fair to be complacent and issue such irresponsible statements.

History has shown that the Naxalite movement has been beaten down, but thanks to complacency and appeasement, the movement has bounced right back.

Setting the agenda:

For any movement to fail, it is the agenda that needs to be killed. The police and the agencies have described such persons as white collared infiltrators. The prosecution in the Bhima Koregaon case said that they had found letters which speak about recruiting young working professionals for Naxal related activity.

They were targeting people in the corporate sector. This was in fact a chapter in a document titled CPI (Maoist)-Urban Perspective, which is in the possession of MyNation. The chapter is titled White Collared Employees and it states that the rapid spread of computerisation and automation in the modern industry and increasing share of services sector in the economy has resulted in a significant increase in the number and proportion of white collared employees.

While all the white-collar employees are reliable allies of the working class and the revolution, certain sections sometimes tail the bourgeoisie and become victims of reactionary propaganda. It is, therefore, necessary for the industrial proletariat to always maintain close links with the employees' section and lead it away from vacillations in the class struggle, the chapter also states.

It is in this context that the activists that the NCP MLA was speaking up for come into the picture. They are the ones who strengthen the rural struggle by the Naxalites by building a strong urban force and narrative.

In the 1990s during the 9th Congress of the CPI (Maoist), it was decided to build an urban force. It was said that the force would comprise secular forces and persecuted religious minorities.

At the Congress too, there was a discussion to build this urban force. This has been discussed on several occasions, but due to the failures of the urban organisations, this project has not taken off.

The 53-page confidential document penned by Govindan Kutty also speaks about the role of the urban force in ensuring infiltration into the Indian Army, higher levels of administration, police force and paramilitary forces. The activists or urban Naxals were tasked with this job and were told that it is necessary to get information regarding the enemy and also incite a revolt within these organisations when the time is ripe.

No time for complacency:

There are numbers to show that in the past couple of years, the spread of the Naxalites has been depleting rapidly. The surrender of the Naxalites is one of the most important data to look at here. A Naxalite who surrenders is the one who has either been defeated by force or has lost faith in the ideology.

There has been a 143% increase in the number of surrenders between 2016 and 2018. The number has gone up from 1,387 to 3,373. Statistics for the year 2017 show that the number of civilian casualties had come down to 188 when compared to 720 in 2010.

Further a no-nonsense policy, better coordination and actionable intelligence has also led to the arrests of 4,123 Naxalites between 2016 and 2018. The incidents of Naxalite violence has come down by 36% from 6,524 to 4,136. The elimination of Naxalites has also increased from 445 to 510.

Security analysts explain that the figure that is most impressive is with regard to the surrenders. A CRPF official explained that several persons especially the youngsters who surrendered had told them they were brainwashed by people from the cities. The Naxalites would bring down their urban friends to spread lies about the establishment and rope in gullible rural youth into the Naxalite movement. One youth who surrendered at Chhattisgarh said that when he was recruited, he was told that this was a war for the upliftment of the poor. However, he decided to come out of the movement as he witnessed only an extortion mafia. We youngsters were left to fend for ourselves in the jungles, while the money was pocketed by the senior members, he also said at the time of his surrender.

Once again, to drive the point as to why the activists are dangerous, it is because they spread a false propaganda. They do not tell the youth about the development. A common point spoken by 80% of those surrendered was that they felt disillusioned. They felt that it was better to take up government jobs and reform instead of fighting a mindless battle, which in reality had turned into a one big extortion racket.

Pahad Singh was one of the deadliest Naxalites. He hailed from Durg in Chhattisgarh. When he surrendered in 2018, he had spoken about the discrimination among the cadres. He said that those from Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh always looked at us from other states as outsiders.

Data reveals that the Naxalite movement is fading. The investigations reveal how deadly the activists in the cities can be. A document prepared by the very same persons speaks about a deadly plan to break India. At such a time would it be fair on the part of the NCP MLA to term these cases as false and ask for it to be dropped? It is clearly not in the interest of national security.