The Maoists' renewed interest in peace talks, which were stalled after the killing of their top leader Azad, is not sincere and the organisation merely wants to buy time to re-group following crippling blows to its central leadership, police and intelligence sources told Rediff.com
The recent killing and arrest of top leaders have disturbed the Maoists, who suspect that security agencies have managed to gain valuable intelligence at a very high level within the party structure, according to communications from Communist Party of India-Maoist General Secretary Muppala Lakshmana Rao alias Ganapathy.
A cease-fire could mean that the rebels will get time to regroup from these losses at the top, intelligence sources said.
'The enemy had particularly concentrated on comrades like Azad who are leading the revolution and schemed to murder them. It is as part of that conspiracy that comrade Azad was caught and killed in the most brutal and cowardly manner,' Ganapathy said in a recently published interview.
"They are never sincere about talks. It is just a tactic to buy time and get the movement back on the rails," said a senior intelligence official, who did not want to be named. "It is obvious from the interview that they are worried about having lost too many leaders. They want to appoint some new people to central roles, and analyse their mistakes. They just need breathing space."
Speaking about Azad's death, which came at a crucial time when the government and the rebels looked all set to sit for talks, Ganapathy hinted that the party was willing to sit down for talks provided certain conditions were met.
'It is crystal clear that there is no conducive atmosphere for talks. Despite this we request the people and democrats to demand the government to prove its commitment towards the process of talks,' he said.
Ganapathy warned Azad about safety
While there was considerable speculation about how security agencies tracked down Communist Party of India-Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad, who had successfully remained underground for 35 years, Maoist communications have revealed that the security agencies may have infiltrated the party's Central Committee.
At the time of his death, Azad was in contact with Swami Agnivesh, who was exploring the possibility of a cease-fire between the central government and the Maoists.
In a letter to a fellow Central Committee member, Sitapathi, dated December 22, 2009, the party's top leader, Central Committee Secretary Ganapathy said leaders do not seem to have learned any lessons from recent setbacks.
Police sources believe that Sitapathi is Azad, who was killed on July 1.
Security forces got the letter, accessed recently by Rediff.com, in February when they arrested 11 Maoist leaders, including a Politburo member and two central committee members, in a top-secret operation.
The letter, which was seized along with crucial literature that outlined the party's tactics to counter intensified operations of the security forces, was written soon after many top leaders -- including Kobad Gandhy who was arrested in New Delhi in September 2009 -- were arrested.
'I strongly feel that remaining Central Committee members have not learnt a even small lesson from our losses suffered at the top. No one is there to save us,' Ganapathy wrote.
Alarmed by the rapid arrests of the top leadership, Ganapathy writes: 'Now onwards will maintain only one contact generally once in a month. Our plan of PB (Politburo) meeting has once again gone into indefinite condition.'
The letter also indicates that the leaders strongly suspected Gandhy's courier.
'I strongly feel it is not correct to send here the staff member of comrade Kishoreji (Believed to be Gandhy),' Ganapathy writes. 'Others also should not meet him in any condition outside. Now also I request you do not send him here without proper verification. No one should maintain or continue contacts or relations with him outside or in the cities.'
This part of the warning is crucial since the Maoists have alleged that Azad was picked up in Nagpur city and taken to Adilabad, where he was killed.
Ganapathy ends the letter, where intensifying the struggle for Telangana was also a major talking point, by saying: 'Once again I request you to take care about security.'
Asked if the intelligence agencies have infiltrated the Maoist leadership, intelligence officers refused to speak about operational details, but said the letter itself indicates that the Maoists seem to have caught on to "the enormity of the threat we pose to them."
"This letter of Ganapathy itself is indication that they basically have identified the threat. They now realise it is impossible to keep themselves away from the gaze of the intelligence agencies. Any sincere intelligence agency can pick up their trail and can succeed," said a senior intelligence officer involved in anti-Maoist operations.
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