Are the Maoists gaining ground in West Bengal?

October 28, 2009

Hundreds of tribal people backed by the Maoist guerrillas stormed the high-speed Rajdhani Express, one of the country’s most prestigious passenger trains, in West Bengal on Tuesday. Police and security forces could free the train and its driver after a five-hour-long hostage drama, including a gunfight with the rebels in the forest.Maoists have stepped up violence across eastern and central India and internal security experts say it indicates a growing dominance of the insurgents in the state.The rebels raided a police station in West Bengal this month and abducted a senior official after gunning down two of his colleagues.Police officer Atindranath Dutta was held captive for two days and freed in exchange for 23 tribal women lodged in prisons for suspected Maoist links.Maoist attacks on police posts are nothing new in an area that has witnessed an anti-insurgency operation since June and the rebels have taken effective control of large swathes of the countryside.The insurgents say they are waging war on behalf of the poor and the landless against the state. The attack has raised concerns and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said the swap was an “exception, not a norm.”Security experts say the Maoists, whom Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has identified as the country’s biggest internal threat, have thrown an open challenge to the authorities.In June a combined force of central paramilitary troops and state police retook control of Lalgarh, a town captured by the Maoists in West Midnapore district of West Bengal.The government began cracking down on the rebel leaders and sympathisers since then.The policeman abduction episode has apparently galvanised the communist government in West Bengal which has said it will heavily weaponise policemen and fortify its police stations. The NGOs working in Maoist-affected areas blame the government for the state of affairs.Is increasing Maoist violence in West Bengal indicative of a growing clout of the rebels?


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Whatever these folks have done, is commendable. At least someone is there to kick the incompetent politicians out and show them their place. The stupid politics, education, white supremacist theories that Britishers left us with by creating Congress, who then furthered it with NCERT books, Secularism, the Christianity thought process, next stage of their mental development. I hope that these folks just work towards achieving good governance by upholding faith native to our nation which is MERITOCRACY. People are fed up with politics especially that of Congressis which has got no iota of nationalism.

Posted by Bharatwasi | Report as abusive

These Maoists are not doing the poor any favours and they will suffer at their own hands and achieve nothing worthwhile. The country is developing despite a global recession and the last thing we need is a rag-tag group of ‘terrorists’ using outdated ideology which has its own systematic suppression.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Regarding the title: Maoists are gaining ground in large part of India and there is a red corridor from Nepal to Kerala. It will spread to haryana now.Maoists and those who love “native faith” must know that after Maoist govt is established (hypothetical), Chinese men and money will pour in and everyone will learn Chinese and soon the Chinese will claim the land as theirs since they need as little excuse as language, monastery. But Chinese will bring in capitalism and it will be start of another movement.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Country is developingMy foot. After 5 years every politician jumps in net worth 2 to 10 times. Entire nation is hostage to providing of healthcare by Christian Missionaries. Equally breathing hot on neck are Islamic Terrorists. The Government is controlled by Rome or Mecca. US is actively supporting funding and conversion to Christianity via Rome. One can read it’s religion statement on world and India. Providing Jerusalem Trips is commendable. Kandhamal riots are blamed on Hindus. Christians are innocent. As if Hillary Clinton was witnessing riots.Even if Maoists are controlled by China, it is culturally similar to India. Whatever they do, they do it on meritocracy.

Posted by Bharatwasi | Report as abusive

Meritocracy does not come through the barrel of a gun.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

@the last thing we need is a rag-tag group of ‘terrorists’ using outdated ideology which has its own systematic suppression.- Posted by bulletfishbulletfish: Actually Maoist problem is very big problem. They may appear rag-tag, but they are committed. The reasons are genuine issues they have, ignoring for a moment the politics of Maoism. Poor are sandwiched between Indian state who claims 9% growth and gun-totting Maoists. Indian govt does not seem to have a non-military plan to deal with the issue and Maoists will not let the poor shun the gun. If they do not shoot, they are shot. Everybody is at fault.I have a Bihari friend from Delhi whose parents recently chose to settle in native a Bihari village to help the poor in the village. But the rising violence by Maoism has forced them to move back to Delhi. Maoists militants are contributing themselves to the poor-rich gap.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive