Faced with Losses, India’s Maoists Shift Military Tactics, Step Up Internet Recruiting

Faced with Losses, India’s Maoists Shift Military Tactics, Step Up Internet Recruiting

RAIPUR, India -- To reverse military setbacks in key backcountry areas, India's Maoist insurgents have adopted a new strategy that favors coordinated mass attacks over hit-and-run guerilla warfare, and they have stepped up their recruitment efforts on the Internet.

Pro-Maoist spokesmen say the move towards larger, less-frequent strikes is the result of recent setbacks in states like Andhra Pradesh, where police forces have killed hundreds of fighters and arrested top leaders since peace talks collapsed in late 2004. But they cite the spread of activities to more states as a sign the movement is down but far from out.

"The Naxalites have suffered some losses," said Varavara Rao, a revolutionary poet and Maoist representative at the talks. Maoist guerillas are called Naxalites after the West Bengal town of Naxalbari, where an armed communist uprising began 40 years ago. "However, there has been some progress in other states," he stressed. "The mobile war stage is moving forward [in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand]."

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