There are signs that the feared 'spillover\' of the Nepali Maoist insurgency across the open border into northern India is beginning.
The spate of coordinated assaults on three police stations in Bihar in the past week have been so sudden and serious that Indian officials who were caught offguard suspect involvement of Nepali Maoists. Indeed, the tactics of overwhelming police stations and destroying government buildings with human wave attacks were eerily similar to the method rebels have used here.
Immediately after the attacks, Bihar police blamed Nepali Maoists and said there were "Nepali-looking people with Mongoloid features" among the dead attackers. Maoist spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara immediately denied his party\'s involvement but there are fears of unprecedented coordination between Nepali Maoists and the Maoist Communist Cell (MCC) in India.
Three Indian security personnel and 18 Naxalites died in the attack on the town of Madhuban on 23 June in which six government buildings and a police station were destroyed. Three days later, the town of Bairgania 75 km south of the Nepal border was attacked. That very night on 26 June, the rebels moved to the town of Piparahi. Nine Naxalites, one more soldier and a civilian were killed in the two attacks.
On Monday, reports reached here saying there was a daylong firefight at Pachpokhariya 10 km south of the border. Seven Naxalites were captured.
"There were definitely Nepali Maoists involved," maintains Bihar Police Chief Ashish Ranjan Singh whose initial statements were carried widely by the Indian and Nepali media. Independent analysts doubt Nepalis were involved and say Indian police are just trying to coverup their inability to prevent the attacks.
They say it is more likely that the MCC has seen how effective the tactics have been in Nepal and have borrowed them in launching what looks like a monsoon offensive when security response is slower in Bihar due to floods. Nepali and Indian Maoists could also be using each other\'s territories to escape hot pursuit by security forces.
Last week\'s attacks took place in north Bihar where Naxalite activity has not been as pronounced, and follows a big landmine attack in northern Uttar Pradesh in November in which 15 policemen were killed.
India\'s paramilitary Sasastra Seema Bal (SSB) has now sealed the border immediately to the north of its base in Chekana and asked for reinforcements. An official at the Jayanagar base of the SSB told us there are plans to restrict travel all along the Bihar border.