September 5, 2007: The Indian
state of Andhra Pradesh is forming a special intelligence and commando unit to
go after the Maoist rebels who have been a growing problem in eastern and
southern India. There is already a national level organization for this, called
the Greyhounds. This force has about 2,000 personnel. Half are dedicated to
intelligence work and administration, while the other half are field
operatives, who conduct surveillance, scouting and raids. The Andhra Pradesh
organization will have a few hundred personnel and a similar organization.
Members, recruited from the police, will be paid bonuses of up to 50 percent of
the current police pay.
The Maoist troubles began in
1969, when a faction of the Communist Party of India got violent. In the last
three years, Maoist violence has killed over 10,000 Maoists, civilians and
security personnel. Many leftist politicians are in favor of a negotiated peace
with the Maoists (who want to establish a communist dictatorship in India.) But
the continued Maoist violence has made all communists unpopular.
Statistics on how many armed
Maoist are out there are difficult to come by. The best estimates are that
15,000 armed Maoists are operating in eastern and southern India. The national
police report that about five percent of the 8,000 police stations in the
country report problems with Maoist violence. For the Maoists progress has
obviously been slow. The number of violent incidents has been declining, from
453 for the first seven months of last year, to 399 for the same period this
year. The death toll from these encounters is also down, from 306 to 259.
But the violence is growing in
some areas, and Andhra Pradesh wants to make their Maoists go away as quickly