The far-left Maoist militant movement is one of India’s gravest security threat. Part 3 of our series on Maoism explains the process of intelligence gathering followed by the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
CPI (Maoist)’s Research and Development (R&D)
Earlier, for arms and ammunitions, Maoists primarily depended on snatching the arms and ammunitions from police stations and security forces. The practice still continues. Reportedly, since 2007 up to July 15, 2015, a total of 2208 arms were snatched by the Maoists. However, the then CPI (ML) People’s War, which merged with MCC in 2014 to form the today’s CPI (Maoist), made parallel attempts in the 1990s to develop arms and ammunitions (including area weapons such as Rocket Launchers) to be less dependent on snatching the arms from the security forces.
It aimed at boosting ‘strategic autonomy’ by manufacturing arms compatible with guerrilla/jungle warfare to intensify the People’s Protracted War against the Indian state. With this aim in mind, Technical Development Committee (TDC) was formed in 1994 “to coordinate the technical units producing light articles outside the field/combat zone”. But it seems it failed to perform the functions entrusted to it. After that, according to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Central Technical Committee (CTC) was formed in July 2001.
Following the creation of CPI (Maoist) in 2004, the CTC was also renamed as Technical Research Arms Manufacturing Unit (TRAM) in 2005. It is reported that from 2002 to 2006, under the aegis of CTC/TRAM, technical units were established at several places like Pune, Rourkela, Indore, Bhopal and Bhubaneswar. In a breakthrough for the security agencies, the Chief of TRAM and four other CTC members were arrested in 2012. The NIA which has come now under the CPI (Maoist) radar has now charge-sheeted them in a special court in Kolkata. The NIA in its press note on August 23, 2012, claimed:
Several incriminating items recovered from the accused which included Cash of Rs. 96,66,755/-as the Proceeds of Terrorism, Prohibited Ammunition, Explosive Materials, Maoist Literatures, Several Diagrams and Literature on Rocket Launchers and on other area Weapons, Documents connected with the transport of components and assembly tools and materials to Raipur, Chhattisgarh from Kolkata and Mumbai, and several finished components of Rocket Launchers and other area weapons including sixty-nine wooden crates at a godown in Raipur and the recoveries from a workshop established by the accused in Kolkata.
Arrests of the TRAM/CTC members from various places in the country suggest that the Maoists have diversified the manufacturing process of the arms so as not to lose the whole know-how and technology/resources in case of raids by security forces. It seems the TRAM has succeeded to have its presence in the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.
The Maoists started their ‘revolutionary’ attacks on security forces with crowbars, sickles and spears as main weapons in 1967 and have now switched to the use of Rockets, Mortars, etc. They are now using much more sophisticated weapons to attack the security forces. In a press release on July 23, 2014, the Ministry of Home Affairs noted:
The LWE outfits are using weapons/equipment like LMG, AK-47, SLR, .303 Rifles, GF Rifles, HE Grenades and VHF & HF sets for attacks on security forces. Further, there are reports that the CPI (Maoist) is focusing on further augmentation of its military capability to increase the lethality of its armory. The use of Rockets, Mortars and Molotov Cocktails through indigenously manufactured launchers have also been witnessed during some attacks on security forces in the Bastar region.
Intelligence gathering plays a central role in the Maoist strategy of tactical counter offensive. Based on the intelligence inputs, they deploy their guerrilla army to attack the enemy forces i.e. Indian police forces, in line with the guerrilla doctrine of hit and run. They depend more on human intelligence (HUMINT) rather than technical intelligence (TECHINT), which could be traced to security agencies. It is believed that Maoists have developed a strong intelligence network in their areas of influence. The intelligence responsible for intelligence gathering for the Maoists’ tactical counter offensive campaign (operational use) is known as Military Intelligence, which works under the direct command of CPI (Maoist)’s Central Military Commission.
Another wing of the CPI (Maoist) responsible for intelligence gathering is known as the People’s Security Service (PSS). The PSS gathers information to make an assessment of the prevailing situation in the country. It prepares the plans for future action plan (short, medium and long terms). The PSS does so by penetrating various government departments such as Home, Finance and Defence.
To counter the intelligence gathering by the security forces in the Maoist-dominated areas, Maoists have been targeting the ‘police informers.’ This is clear from a large number of killings of the ‘police informers’. Ministry of Home Affairs reports that from 2010 up to July 15, 2015, a total of 921 ‘police informers’ have been killed by the Maoists.