The top rung Maoist leadership has every reason to be worried now as intelligence agencies in different Left Wing Extremism affected States have been striking gold in either arresting or killing the top leadership.
The Maoist movement faced a series of setbacks in 2011 as the security forces managed to arrest four Central Committee members earlier and the fifth blow to the rebel movement was dealt in the killing of Kishenji, who singlehandedly nurtured the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist movement in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar.
The series of killings or arrests of members of the Maoist Central Committee (CC), the all powerful body of the most secretive organisation, is an indication that the core principle of counter insurgency strategy is to hit the leadership. The arrest of four CC members was due to highly accurate inputs provided by the intelligence agencies of different States.
Those arrested this year include Jhantu Mukherjee alias Sahebda, Vijay Arya alias Jaspalji, Varanasi Subramaniam and Akhilesh Yadav alias Bhupesh. The fifth and latest strike by the security forces in West Bengal was again backed by ‘actionable' intelligence inputs.
Though the rebels managed to pull off some spectacular attacks on the security forces in different States, they too began bleeding in all States, save for Chhattisgarh. In a way, the security forces backed by fully functional intelligence units in Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha managed to turn the tide, though these States continue to face intensified rebel activity.
However, the qualitative change is that concerted efforts in these States led the counter-insurgency operations from a stage of ‘strategic defensive' to ‘strategic equilibrium.' The only exception in this change is Chhattisgarh, where the Maoist movement is in a ‘strategic offensive' stage.
If one were to look at the arrests or killings of top leaders, a pattern is very much visible. The CCMs/ PBMs killed included: Patel Sudhakar Reddy, chief of the Maoist intelligence wing (May 2009); and Cherukuri Raj Kumar alias Azad, CCM/PBM and spokesperson (July 2010).