Thursday, April 17, 2008

Naxalites Turn to cannabis

NEW DELHI: The Maoists have now ventured into the highly profitable and illegal trade of cannabis to finance their terror operations across the country, the government said on Wednesday.

Cannabis cultivation and its trade have become a source of finance for the CPI (Maoist) in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa, minister of state for home affairs, Prakash Jaiswal, informed the Rajya Sabha.

Jaiswal said that Maoists also get protection money from narcotics traders who engage in trafficking and also safe passage money from narcotics smugglers.

"In its strongholds, the CPI (Maoist) collects 'levy' from licensee cannabis cultivators who cultivate excess land over and above the permitted limits," Jaiswal added.

Analysis of data provided to Lok Sabha regarding Naxalite violence and its casualties point to the fact that the Naxals have been able to make inroads into states where their activities were hitherto unknown.

As per data provided by the home Ministry, 1,565 incidents of Naxalite violence were reported from 13 states in 2007 whereas 1509 incidents were reported from 11 states in the preceding year.

Jaiswal also said there is no specific evidence available to indicate any nexus between the country's Naxals, the Maoists of Nepal and Pakistan's ISI.

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