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Communist Party of India (Maoist)

The Indian groups known as the Maoist Communist Center of India and People’s War (a.k.a. People’s War Group) joined together in September 2004 to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist), or CPI (Maoist). The MCCI was originally formed in the early 1970s, while People’s War was founded in 1975. Both groups are referred to as Naxalites, after the West Bengal village where a revolutionary radical Left movement originated in 1967.

The new organization continues to employ violence to achieve its goals — peasant revolution, abolition of class hierarchies, and expansion of Maoist-controlled “liberated zones,” eventually leading to the creation of an independent “Maoist” state. The CPI (Maoist) reportedly has a significant cadre of women. Important leaders include Ganapati (the PW leader from Andhra Pradesh), Pramod Mishra, Uma Shankar, and P.N.G. (alias Nathuni Mistry, arrested by Jharkhand police in 2002).

Prior to its consolidation with the PW, the MCCI ran a virtual parallel government in remote areas, where it collected a “tax” from the villagers and, in turn, provided infrastructure improvements such as building hospitals, schools, and irrigation projects. It ran a parallel court system wherein allegedly corrupt block development officials and landlords — frequent MCCI targets — had been punished by amputation and even death. People’s War conducted a low-intensity insurgency that included attempted political assassination, theft of weapons from police stations, kidnapping police officers, assaulting civilians, extorting money from construction firms, and vandalizing the property of multinational corporations. Together the two groups were reportedly responsible for the deaths of up to 170 civilians and police a year.

Although difficult to assess with any accuracy, media reports and local authorities suggest the CPI (Maoist)’s membership may be as high as 31,000, including both hard-core militants and dedicated sympathizers. The CPI (Maoist), believed to be enlarging the scope of its influence, operates in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and parts of West Bengal. It also has a presence on the Bihar-Nepal border.

The CPI (Maoist) has loose links to other Maoist groups in the region, including the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists). The MCCI was a founding member of the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA).




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