Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Maoists in Bengal

Soon after the West Bengal government said, during His Majesty's visit to India that it would not allow its territory to be used against Nepal, India has banned the All India Nepali Unity Society. Also on Wednesday, the West Bengal government formed a special security taskforce to arrest Maoist terrorists and destroy their training grounds.

The State Police Directorate decided to deploy a special security taskforce after it was informed by intelligence agencies about Maoist activity in the forests in the northern parts of the state. The task force is well-trained and has modern communication equipment and weapons.

Indian newspapers have reported that Maoists fleeing into India have been hiding in the forests in northern West Bengal, where they are reportedly carrying out training activities.

Even though there has been information that Maoist activity is concentrated around Chodasahan, Daudadano, Darauli, Odar, Majhi, Sibana, Gopalgunj, Nautan and the Haduwa area of north Bihar, for now the special force is deployed to destroy training centres and hideouts in the Bagaha area. This information was seconded by Amerent Kumar Ambedkar, Assistant Superintendent of Police of Bagaha. Prior to this India had set up 73 police outposts along the 750 km stretch of the Nepal-India border. In the past, the Indian police only used to frisk Nepalis headed to India and also arrest suspects along the 750km stretch from Kisangunj to Bagaha. This is the first time that a special campaign is being carried out against the Maoists.

Earlier last week, Assistant Inspector General of Police of Bihar Rabindra Shanker told Spacetime that they had found evidence of links between Nepal's Maoists and India's Naxalites. He said that the Maoists were being trained with the help of the Naxalites, and that some senior Maoist leaders may also be hiding in Bihar, and hinted at some immediate action.

In the meantime, the Indian government has banned the All India Nepali Unity Society, Calcutta, a group affiliated with the Maosits. The central Indian government announced the ban during His Majesty's visit. An Indian Embassy official in Kathmandu told Spacetime that the ban was imposed because for the last 17 years the organisation had been functioning in India, without registering with the government, and had been providing protection and shelter to leaders of the Nepali Maoists. The group is also accused of lobbying for the Maoists by organising public meetings and raising donations from Nepalis in India, as well as Indians, to support the rebel cause.

The group is also suspected of having served as a bridge between Nepal's Maoists and India's People's War Group (PWG), the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and the Bodo separatists. A senior Indian official also told Spacetime on telephone that the government had proof that the group was aiding Nepal's Maoists in obtaining weapons and training from foreign terrorist groups such as the Sri Lankan (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam).

There is clear evidence of their links with the PWG and the MCC. The official added that there are reasons to suspect their links with LTTE and other international terrorist organisations. "Now if we come across Maoist activity, it will be easy to arrest them and take action against them as we do against other terrorists [in India], or hand them over to the Nepal government," the official said.

Hari Acharya of the Nepal Communist Party (Masal) says that because the Society was being used as a shelter for Maoists as well as a source of financial support and training, its ban would have major consequences. Acharya is a former active member of the Society and former MP. He added: "They were spreading confusion by using the name of the group, legally registered, and affiliated with our party, the All India Unity Society. Now we are assured (that the name won't be misused)."

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)