The nauseating culture of negotiations was injected into the Indian security discourse by Rubaiya Sayeed, and her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the then Home Minister of India.
He, apparently a distraught father, allowed his filial concerns to dominate his sacred national obligations: His daughter was freed, but 13 years down the line, there have been a series of humiliating capitulations by the Indian state.
In each of these, the State appeared ineffectual. With every "surrender" by the Indian State, the terrorist organizations, inimical to India, within and outside, grew in stature, strength and sway.
Jihadi terror spawned SIMI (Student Islamic Movement of India) and latter IM (Indian Mujahideen). Consequently, this terror traveled from Kashmir into the Indian heartland.
Meanwhile, the Maoist terror consumed one district after another, moving from its traditional strongholds into the mineral heartland of India. One-third of India, i.e. 232 districts out of 608 districts, is now impaled by Maoist terror, some of these districts are dying, and some are dead. The dead ones are referred to by the Maoists as 'Liberated Zone'.
Tryst of Terrors
It was only a matter of time for the tryst between jihadi terror and Maoist terror to begin.
On 21 October 2010, a seminar, 'Azadi: The Only Way', was held in the capital. The participants were essentially separatists, jihadis and over-ground Maoists.
It included Syed Ali Shah Geelani of the Hurriyat Conference; People's War Group supporter poet Varavara Rao; Dr. N. Venu, secretary general of the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR); Harcharanjit Singh, president of Dal Khalsa; Malem Ningthouja from the Committee for Peace and Democracy, Manipur; G N Saibaba, deputy secretary, Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF); Sujato Bhadra, Gursharan Singh and writer Arundhati Roy.
The seminar was conducted by none other than SAR Geelani of parliament attack fame.
During the seminar, Arundhati Roy had made a statement to this effect: "A direct confrontation with the state is not enough. It is necessary to know one's enemy and make alliances locally, as well as internationally."
Therefore, the frequent visits of French and Italians nationals belonging to ultra-leftist organizations should be seen in this backdrop. The internal links, as Arundhati Roy suggested, has manifested in forging links between Maoists and insurgent outfits in the Northeast and Kashmiri militants.
Externally, the links have been extended to ISI, Dawood Ibrahim, fundamentalist groups in Bangladesh, insurgent groups in Myanmar, and China.
Assault on Democracy
With every capitulation, the stature, the audacity and reach of the terrorist groups is increasing. The Pakistan-based jihadi groups became audacious enough to wreak a Mumbai 26/11.
The Maoists, meanwhile, graduated from abducting and killing policemen to inspectors, to collectors and MLAs. They have openly declared that their targets are now elected representatives.
As per one Congress MP, 10 MPs and 70 MLAs of Odhisa are under constant threat of the Maoists. This constitutes 50 percent of the elected representatives in Odhisa at the level of parliament and its state legislature.
Democracy in India at this rate will capitulate in the near future. The Maoists are about to rob from us Indians, the very culture of tolerance, and snuff us to death by cutting the very supply of the 'freedom of air' we breathe.
Nepal, our closest neighbour, is gasping for breath on account of the Maoists.
The prevailing situation in the so-called 'liberated zones' of the Maoists has strong resonance in the early stages of Communist capture of China led by Mao.
In the book Mao: The Unknown Story, authored by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, the nature of the first 'Red State' with its capital at Rujin is thus described: "China's first Red state was run by terror and guarded like a prison. A pass was needed to leave one's village and sentries were ubiquitous around the clock. One person who did have a chance of getting away was the manager of state monument, building who had access to cash. He took 246.7 yuan -- enough to buy a pass and pay contacts. But before he could make his gateway, he was arrested.
"He then managed to break out of jail, with the collusion of two senior cadres, one of them a man who had seen his brother killed as AB. The manager was caught and brought before a kangaroo court attended by hundreds of people, then executed. Old-timers recalled that not only was anyone 'trying to flee to the White area' killed, but sometimes if a prisoner escaped, the jailer was executed… In this prison-like universe, suicide was common -- an early wave of what was later to grow to a flood throughout Mao's reign. The number of suicides was so staggering, even among officials…"
The above specter is a dire warning for those Indians who value freedom and democracy.
The Legitimate and the Illegitimate
Today, the Maoists have acquired the stature wherein terms like 'negotiation', 'talks', 'interlocutors', and 'agreement', which should have been pejorative terms in the country's internal security discourse, have entered the lexicon of the government.
The government has abandoned the sacred constitutional duties of discriminating illegitimate against legitimate. Thus, the security forces have been pulled down to occupy the same lowly and criminal pedestal as illegitimate terrorist organizations like Maoists. The day when there will be negotiations, talks, and agreements with the 'D' Gang is not far.
In the criminal business of investing legitimacy to illegitimate terrorist groups, we have white-collared criminals in form of lawyers, teachers, journalists, social-activists and so-called intellectuals -- all on pay-roll from the extortion industry of the Maoists. Some of these have farm-houses near Delhi and some have hill-resorts.
Some of them frequently masquerade as professional interlocutors, and offer their services to resolve the very unfolding crime that they have scripted. These criminals have been taking advantage of the innate intellectual innocence of Indians, who by very virtue of their cultural moorings treat people with 'formal education' as sensitive and well meaning human beings.
They cannot even perceive in their wildest dreams the kind of criminals that these over-ground Maoists are and how diabolical are their designs. Allegedly, one of the master-minds of Parliament attack continues to teach as a professor.
The over-ground Terrorists
Most jihadi terrorists today flaunt respectable educational degrees. The over-ground Maoists have traditionally been better on attracting criminals with vitiated and diabolical intellect. Amongst them there are sizeable number of teachers and professors, polluting the minds of one generation after another.
The nodes of such indoctrination have traditionally been some universities in Andhra, West Bengal and even in New Delhi. These nodes are now only proliferating at a frightening pace. The products of these nodes are in every influential segment of the national discourse, more importantly media and academia.
The white-collared criminals exploit both the legitimate and illegitimate. In fact they have best of both the worlds. While they and their families thrive by engaging in legitimate and respectful pursuits of civilized society, concomitantly they are constantly corroding the very edifice of the Indian nation-state. They require the state apparatus for their own protection and legitimacy, but advocate swap deals when terrorists carryout abductions.
Hypothetically speaking, if some Maoists were to be taken prisoners by some antagonistic group, they would clamour for State intervention. If their children were to be abducted, they would not go to the politburo of the Area Commander of the Maoists, but to the police, the same police that they never cease to vilify.
This brings us to the phenomenon of criminal disregard for the diligence and sacrifice of the security forces. When 76 CRPF personnel were killed in Dantewada, some students in a university in Delhi celebrated.
If the university were to come under a Mumbai 26/11 kind of attack, the same students would pray and implore for the State to intervene through its security forces.
Truth, the First Casualty
In most abduction cases, the truth is the first casualty. It was so in the case of abduction of Rubaiya Sayeed in 1989, it was so in the case of Vinil Krishna in 2011, and it is so in the recent Alex Menon case. These two collectors shamelessly allowed themselves to be garlanded, like 'war-heroes' after their so-called release.
In the latter case, there are some searching questions being asked, i.e.
- Was the Chief Minister warned by the IB of this abduction plot?
- Was the entire plot hatched by a lady, who is essentially an over-ground Maoist masquerading as a social-activist?
- Did this lady visit Chhattisgarh to coordinate the plot?
- Was the collector at any point upbraided by the Chief Minister ?
Subversion of State Apparatus
It may be reiterated that in the entire history of insurgency and terrorism in Kashmir, no Collector or police official has been abducted. It is because there has never been any subversion of the 'objective' from within the establishment.
Nobody is expected to have a better perception of existing level of threat than the District Collector. If his or her perception is flawed, then every single person, every single government servant in the district is in danger and nothing, nothing at all can move in that district. So is the case in the so-called 'liberated zones' or Maoist strong holds.
Yet, if a Collector decides to play foolhardy, he must be prepared to sacrifice his life, because with his abduction and consequent capitulation of the State, a part of the State dies. It constitutes a sinful negation of the hard work and sacrifices of the security forces.
The benefit of doubt can be given to the first case, that of Vinil Krishna's. But thereafter any such incident amounts to willful compromise with the integrity of the Indian State. The offender must be appropriately punished.
Two policemen deputed as bodyguards for the Sukma Collector were killed at point blank range. Was it to give the veneer of 'genuine abduction'? As in the case of the Collector, their lives being spared would have made no difference to the shameless bargaining process by the interlocutors with the Indian State.
Even before their bodies were interned in the graves, politicians, government officials, journalists, human-right activists began to make beeline for the Collector's house and the Indian establishment began to talk about 'agreement', 'talks', and 'negotiations', notwithstanding that to any security analyst, it was a foregone conclusion that the Collector would return 'hale and hearty'.
Not a flower was offered to the dead-bodies of the slain bodyguards. That is the value we ascribe to the lives of security personnel.
What stands between Maoists and North Block are the sacrifices of the simple patriotic and dedicated security personnel.
Interlocutors or Terrorists?
Who are these social-activists or interlocutors? What are their antecedents? Why are they given so much respectability? Why is their assistance sought, when they need to be in prison for their links and patronage of the Maoists?
The agenda of the over-ground Maoists masquerading as social-activists is to advance the Maoists cause by plotting these abductions and killings, and then offer to 'mediate', or 'negotiate' to bring the criminals, i.e. Maoists and the security forces to the same level of respectability.
If this discourse continues -- we have a revolt at hand. There was some disquiet in the security establishment of Odhisa when swap deals were being negotiated for the release of the MLA, Jhina Hikaka.
Maoist terror is overwhelmingly dependent on diabolical educated criminals and international groups under the garb of social-outfits for survival, propagation and expansion.
Through them the tremors of the Maoist terror has reached the Western Ghats in Karnataka. At this rate, the country is going to capitulate to the internal enemies of India, i.e. the Maoists in near future.
A few white-collared terrorists are easily able to neutralize the gains made after a lot of sacrifices by the security forces.
The Indian establishment has been criminally remiss in not acting against them. One SHO in a police station in a Maoist dominated area lamented that Maoist cadres involved in several murder cases are given bail while ordinary criminals are not.
It is time that the Indian establishment and also large number of Indians are disabused of the notion that 'Red means Revolution'.
Having English speaking criminals under the garb of social-activists and intellectuals should no longer be insulation and guarantee against prosecution.
If the State fails to do so, the people may be forced to neutralize the 'Red' terror discourse with counter-terrorism under banners of other colours across the spectrum barring red and white.
The country then would be pushed into anarchy.
Whenever there is abduction in future and the State agrees to 'negotiate' with the Maoists with the same terrorists as interlocutors, who in the first place plotted the crisis, remember we have conceded a part of India. If we continue to negotiate, we will perish.
Army Chief's age: Personal matter or conspiracy?
Is India turning into a banana republic?
'Hindu terror': India the sole loser
The nauseating campaign against Baba Ramdev
RSN Singh is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW. The author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan, he is also Associate Editor, Indian Defence Review.