There has been rising concern amongst the security agencies, intelligentsia and civil society bodies over the Maoists latent intention of making the hill state of Uttarakhand , a part of their 'Red Corridor' linking up to Nepal. There have been protests in the state over the intrusion of Nepali laborers alleged to have links with Maoists. Police officials have instructed landlords to keep a watch on the suspicious activities of the Nepali laborers.
Nine-year old Maoist conflict in Nepal has forced several Nepalis to leave the country and settle in India. Under the `India-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950', Nepal citizens have the right to live and work in India. However, Nepali laborers rising influx has perceived by certain quarters as a part of the Maoists' strategy to expand and open a new front in relatively peaceful Uttarakhand state after gaining major ground with the help of their Indian counterparts in central and eastern Indian states, including Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.
A major chunk of Nepali population in India including Nepali population from present Uttarkhand state had formed a national level organization called the Akhil Bharatiya Nepal Ekta Samaj (ABNES) which was outlawed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) in 2002 by the Government of India. Although, the objective of ABNES was to attain unity among immigrant Nepalese residing in India but off late, it has been accused of its involvement in subversive activities and working as a front for Nepali Maoist.
It was in last December, estimated four hundred Nepal Maoist rebels belonging to the Young Communist League (YCL) had intruded into the bordering Tanakpur area in Champawat district and raised anti-Indian government slogans for allegedly encroaching bordering lands of Nepal. However, security personnel had foiled the Maoists' plan to raise their party flag and didn't fall into their trap who tried their best to provoke the Indian Border security forces to open fire on them so that any causality would have internationalized the issue. Earlier, a journalist of a leading Indian News paper alleged to have well established link with Nepal Maoist was arrested from Uddham Singh Nagar. According intelligence report, rural areas of the state in Pithoragarh, Udham Singh, Nagar, Champawat, Pithoragarh, and Nainital used to be a meeting point of Nepal and Indian Maoists nearly two years back.
Meanwhile, Hindutva forces like that of the Hindu Jagaran Manch have started whipping up anti-Nepali sentiments in the state and have reportedly formed Gram Rakshak samiti in bordering villages to enlighten the villagers of nefarious Maoist design. They have been demanding that the border land should be declared as `High Security Zone'. Even, the Chief Minister of Uttarkhand, Major General (Retd.) B. C Khanduri had recently raised the issue of vulnerable border security at a meeting of Chief Ministers on Internal Security chaired by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. He demanded a major financial grant from the centre to modernize its security agencies and effective center-state coordination in sharing specific intelligence inputs on Maoist elements in the state.
Infact, to say that Indian Maoists and Nepal Maoists have no links will be erroneous. Nepal Maoists and their counterpart in India are the members of the `Revolutionary Internationalist Movement' (RIM). It was in July 2001, at least 10 radical Left Wing (Maoist) groups in South Asia had formed the `Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organization of South Asia' (CCOMPOSA), in which the Nepalese as well as Indian Maoists have been members.
It seems tension in the bordering Nepal is yet to die down. Disturbances will definitely have wider ramifications in Uttarkhand. The Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) has threatened to re-launch its armed revolt against the Nepal government if Constituent Assembly elections, presently scheduled for April 10, are postponed again. The CPN-M has accused pro-monarchy supporters of using civil unrest in the Terai region as a pretext to justify another postponement of the elections.
Ethnic group in Nepal's Terai region which borders Uttarakhand had warned of violence before parliamentary elections in April unless the government grants greater rights to the area and its people. The Hindi-speaking Madhesi community of the Terai, in reality a heterogeneous mix of various marginalized ethnic groups each with its own narrow agenda, has long been discriminated mainstream national politics. Through a multitude of political fronts, some representing little more than criminal interests, these groups are now seeking a voice and influence at the national level to offer redress for their legitimate grievances. Many are led by former Maoists. Meanwhile, the Nepal Police have declared eight districts of the Terai region as 'highly sensitive' and 13 other districts as 'sensitive' areas.
Nepal Maoists latest threat to renew its armed rebellion in Nepal, problems in bordering Terai region, rising numerical strength of Nepali laborers in Uttarakhand, Indo-Nepal border dispute and domestic simmering discontentment are likely to accentuate security vulnerability in Uttarakhand in the coming days.