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Kobad Ghandhy’s Afterword in the book Hello Bastar

Posted by ajadhind on August 6, 2011

On 5 February this year, in a village in Uttar Pradesh, a 16- year old Dalit girl was attacked by three upper caste youth. While she was returning from the fields, they dragged her away in an attempt to rape her. When she resisted and shouted for help, they fled. But before running away they chopped off her ears and part of her hand with an axe and badly injured her face. The inhumanity of this action would be unthinkable in any civilised society. But here, in India, it is hardly noticed. This is routine. In our highly patriarchal system, a girl’s life is cheap; a poor Dalit girl is less than a chattel in the prevailing upper caste /upper class social thinking.

This single incident brings out three factors. First: the intolerance to any form of Dalit assertion, even if it is an assertion to resist rape. Second: the impunity with which Dalits can be attacked even in a state ruled by a Dalit leader that comes from the knowledge that the establishment will not touch the culprits. Third: it brings out the arrogance of the upper caste youth, a superiority complex instilled since birth.

Rahul Pandita’s Hello, Bastar coincides with the third death anniversary of Anuradha Ghandy. It is an occasion to remember her monumental contribution to the understanding of the caste/Dalit question in India and the significance of its resolution for the democratization of the individuals, and with it, the society. In a society where a small percentage of people consider themselves superior to all others merely due to birth, there can be no democrat consciousness. Where major sections of society are seen as inferior (and nearly 20 percent treated as untouchable) merely due to their birth, what results is a society that is hierarchical and not democratic. Even nation building and national consciousness get sacrificed at the altar of the caste. Caste consciousness supersedes national consciousness, identity, loyalty – everything.

Anuradha’s pure simplicity, her total lack of any ego or arrogance and her innate attitude to see all others as her equal drew her to the issue of caste in her early college days itself. The outbreak of the Dalit panther movement in Mumbai(1974) further helped fuel thought on this question. She began studying the caste/ Dalit question at a time when the issue was anathema to most shades of communists. And by 1980 itself she had presented extensive analytical articles on the issue. The Dalit question and Ambedkar’s role in taking it up was not in fashion amongst the left then and Anuradha’s writings resulted in hostile reactions from many of these circles. But Anuradha stood her ground. Even as a lecturer later in Nagpur, she lived in a Dalit basti and worked among them thereby getting a practical experience of their lives – the horrific humiliation they face, and their struggles for self respect much before their desperate struggle for livelihood.

Anuradha was one of the few on the 1970’s to understand the negative impact of casteism on genuine democratization of society – a disease worse than the apartheid in South Africa. Anuradha’s creativity and intellect was a product of the fact that her mind was not fettered by hundreds of ego complexes. She was modesty personified . Her child like simplicity with no element of pretence, trickery or cunning allowed her to focus fully on whatever issue she took up. Her mind was not dissipated in varied futile directions to create impressions, appearances and images. As a result, her mental sharpness and intellectual capacity continued to flower and grow even towards the last years of her life, even after she was afflicted with the deadly disease, systemic sclerosis. In the 35 years that I knew her – from a simple student leader to a mass leader – she never lost her straightforwardness and pristine honesty. I never saw her struggle to achieve this; it all came very naturally to her. One tends to see these values amongst the simple tribal folk who live with nature and have not as yet been corrupted by the system and are also outside of the caste framework.

Through all our ups and downs we were often apart for months. But the times we were together are the most cherished periods of my life. Her fiercely independent thinking acted as a great help to rational understanding of events, people and issues. There was no other person with whom I have had as vehement debates. This normally brought a balance to my often one sided views.

Back to Hello Bastar. This book by Rahul Pandita is an authentic introduction to a subject that is being much debated in the media. There have been other books on this subject, but they have primarily been based on secondary sources. But Rahul has personally investigated the issue, traversing difficult and often risky terrain. Such investigative journalism is a refreshing breeze in the stagnant air of superficiality that dominates reporting today. Having personally studied the developments in Chhattisgarh and having interacted with many revolutionaries and their sympathisers, the author has no doubt added to the reliability of the information. One may agree or disagree with the views presented, but the facts of the Maoist movement seem well elucidated. So this book becomes an important source material for anyone seeking to study the particular model of development. For even if one does not agree, it is necessary to know the efforts and viewpoints going on in the country today. This is important in order to seek effective solutions to the problems – problems that are serious.

Generally, to the ordinary reader of the mainstream media, the issue is just that of violence. This book brings out that the question of violence is secondary; the key question is how to develop the country and its people. The Maoists have one method as reflected in their policies as elaborated in this book while the established government has another, seen in their economic and political policies over the past years.

Let us now address the larger question of India’s real growth. The government’s Economic Survey 2009 – 10 has rightly commented: ‘A nation interested in inclusive growth views the same growth indifferently depending on whether the gains of the growth are heaped primarily on a small segment or shared widely by the population. The latter is cause for celebration but not the former. In other words, growth must not be treated as an end in itself, but as an instrument of spreading prosperity to all.’ Then it goes on to show how inclusive growth has taken place in the country, by showing a growth in the percapita GDP and the percapita consumption expenditure of the country. But these figures, I am afraid, do not give an accurate picture as it averages out the billionaire’s income and wealthy with that of a pauper and puts them in a common category. This is particularly skewed in India where just a few families have a wealth equivalent to 25% of our GDP. All official indicators in fact show a terrifying situation within the country that is quite contrary to the rosy picture painted by the government. In the Global Hunger Index 2010, India ranks 67th among 88 countries – it was 65 in 2009. And if we turn to the recently developed UNDP Multidimensional Poverty Index(MPI), which more accurately measures income on the basis of income, health, education etc., we find the situation even worse. India, it says, has 65 crore people who are poor on this index. It amounts to 55 % percent population. Eight states of India (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal) account for more people than those present in the 26 poorest countries of Africa.

According to the United Nations children’s fund(UNICEF), India ranks better only than Ethiopia in the number of malnourished children (under 5). In 2008, the percentage of malnourished children was 51percent in Ethiopia, 48 in India, 46 in Congo, 44 in Tanzania, 43 in Bangladesh, 42 in Pakistan, 41 in Nigeria and 37 in Indonesia. The right to food campaign says that two – thirds of our women are anaemic. India is also at the very bottom of the recently compiles ‘Quality of Death’ index. This new study, on the provision of end of life care, takes a look at the quality of life and care made available to the old and the dying in developed and ‘emerging’ economies of 40 countries. In a scale of ten, the US was at 6.2 while India figured last at 1.9. So pathetic is the situation that even a country like South Africa that got independence after India has an index that is double that of India’s.

The water in our country is so badly polluted that it has turned into one of the major killers. According to the United Nations, one lakh people die each year of waterborne diseases in India. A planning commission report adds that out of over 600 districts, one third (203) have high fluoride content in drinking water that causes flourisis among 6.5 crore people. Thirty five districts have high arsenic content that results in 50 lakh people suffering from poisoning; 206 districts have high iron content and 109 districts have high nitrate content. Then, according to a study led by the Registrar General of India, 14 lakh infants die every year of five major preventable diseases. This includes eight lakh children who die within one month of their birth. The study said 23 lakh children died before completing five years of age in 2005 alone, and of these 14 lakh children died from preventable causes like pneumonia, diarrhoea etc. Even as one can clearly see that India is a ‘sick’ nation, national expenditure on healthcare is amongst the lowest in the world. State governments now barely spend 0.5 percent of their GDP on healthcare and hygiene as compared to one percent in the 1970s. Only 34 percent of India’s population has access to government hospitals.

If one looks at the issue of food, the situation appears equally grim. Per capita food grain consumption has fallen from 177 kilos per year in 1991 to 151 kilos in 1998(it has dropped even further now). Compare this to 182 kilos recorded by the LDCs (Least developed Countries) and 196 kilos in Africa.

Such then is the horrific condition of the people of our country – that too after six decades of independence. This surely is a matter of grave concern. And, add to this the massive destruction of our land, forest and water resources, together with the total degradation of the moral fabric (corruption, greed, nepotism), is it not time to discuss various alternate models to better the policies of governance?

For those serious about our country and its future, there is an urgent need for discussion of various models and policies being put forward – like those of the National Advisory Council (NAC), various commission reports, Maoist views and from civil society. As far as the Maoist viewpoint goes, this book could be useful for any future dialogue between the government and the Maoists which is an urgent necessary.

Overall, this book will be a very useful read for varied sections of people to understand the root causes of the four decade old Maoist movement in India and their alternatives in the spheres of economy and social life. Rahul has put in enormous effort to produce a work based on an important phenomena in today’s India. This will only help any discourse to evolve a better future.

April 2011                                                                                            KOBAD GHANDY

                                                                                                            Tihar Jail, New Delhi

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Naxal suspect Arun Ferreira acquires human rights degree in jail

Posted by ajadhind on December 2, 2010

SOURCE – DNA
Suspected Naxalite and Bandra resident Arun Ferreira, arrested by the Maharashtra police in Nagpur in 2007 and in jail ever since, has passed a post-graduate diploma course with flying colours from the Indian Institute of Human Rights (IIHR), Delhi.
Currently lodged in Nagpur central jail, Ferreira appeared for the course on human rights through correspondence.
Speaking to DNA, IIHR director Rahul Rai said, “I hear that undertrial Arun has done brilliantly in the exam. He has also submitted four project reports in keeping with the demands of the course, which were very maturely written considering the lack of resources available to an undertrial.”
According to Rai, 40% of the students taking the course comprised serving policemen, IAS and judicial personnel, and government employees. “The two-year course can be completed over five years through correspondence. Every year at least 10,000 students appear for the course and approximately 4,000 certificates are given out.”
The IIHR has a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with 13 universities across the country which recognise the course on a par with a master’s programme, which makes the students eligible to pursue a doctorate in human rights from those universities.
Ferreira, along with Murli alias Ashok Satyam Reddy, Dhanendra Bhurle and Naresh Bansode, was arrested for allegedly carrying out clandestine operations for the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). In December 2009, the four were acquitted in one of the cases against them as the prosecution failed to prove that they were Naxalites or involved in any unlawful activities

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Interview with Comrade Ganapathy, the General Secretary of Communist Party of India (Maoist)

Posted by ajadhind on November 19, 2010

NOBODY CAN KILL THE IDEAS OF ‘AZAD’!

NOBODY CAN STOP THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE REVOLUTION!!

Recently some media persons including Rahul Pandita from OPEN Magazine sent some questions to Comrade Ganapathy, the General Secretary of CPI (Maoist). The martyrdom of Politburo member and party spokesperson Comrade Azad, the continuous losses to the Central leadership of the party, the issue of talks with the government, the deluge of militant mass movements in many areas, the situation of the revolutionary movement in the urban and plain areas, party stand on contemporary issues like Kashmir people’s movement, Commonwealth games, judgment on Babri Masjid are some of the issues on which Comrade Ganapathy concentrated and gave his replies. We hope this interview would be useful to know about party’s stand and understanding in the present situation.

– CC, CPI (Maoist)

Question : Many people think that your party had suffered a severe backlash with Azad’s death. What are the circumstances which led to his death? How would you assess the role played by Azad in Indian Revolution? How do you plan to overcome his loss?

COMRADE GANAPATHY : True, our party has suffered a severe backlash with the death of Comrade Azad. Azad was one of the topmost leaders in our party. He has been leading the Indian revolution since a long time. In our country, People’s War is intensifying with each passing day. With the aid and support of imperialists, particularly the American imperialists, the Indian exploiting ruling classes are trying to suppress the revolutionary movement and are carrying on ruthless atrocities in an unprecedented severe manner. In this war between the people and the ruling classes, 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. The Home minister Chidambaram, who is leading from the forefront the ‘War on People’ launched by Sonia-Manmohan-Chidambaram gang, central intelligence agencies and Andhra Pradesh SIB  are directly responsible for this gruesome murder.

Comrade Azad was leading the entire urban movement on behalf of our Central Committee and was also looking after political propaganda, party periodicals, party education and other such crucial responsibilities. He was a most reliable mass leader. He maintained close relations with many comrades at various levels and with the revolutionary masses. In the midst of severe repression, he worked selflessly and unflinchingly in spite of the many risks involved. It is under such circumstances that the enemy came to know about his whereabouts somewhere and could catch him by laying in wait.

In July, Azad was to go to Dandakaranya. He was to participate in the political education training program planned for the party leadership cadres there. He had a contact with the Dandakaranya comrades in Nagpur city on July 1. But he and a journalist named Hemchand who was traveling with him were caught even before they reached the contact place. Both of them were taken to Adilabad forests and were killed the same night. Those who have seen his dead body said that they seemed have given him some sedative injection as soon as they caught him. This means that the enemy had caught him in a planned manner with the clear aim of killing him. They killed Hemchand Pandey too so that the truth about his murder doesn’t come out. Both their bodies were thrown in the Jogapur forests in the Wankidi mandal of Adilabad district and a fake encounter story was concocted as always.

Entire people along with our Party condemned in one voice this fake encounter and comrade Azad’s murder. Many revolutionary parties, democratic and civil rights organizations had demanded judicial enquiry on this fake encounter. Intellectuals, journalists, writers and students from many states along with those in Andhra Pradesh had accused that the Central and state governments were responsible for Azad’s murder. Many wrote articles and gave statements. Thousands attended the funeral procession of comrade Azad which was held in Hyderabad on July 4th. Many Maoist parties from all over the world had condemned the murder of comrade Azad and written letters to our CC hailing his services to the Indian revolution. On this occasion, I send my revolutionary greetings and gratitude to all these organizations and individuals on behalf of our CC. It is such democratic and revolutionary consciousness which would help sustain people’s movements.

Azad was attracted to the revolutionary movement while he was studying in the Warangal Regional Engineering College in 1972. Azad who was exceptionally brilliant in his studies had played a dynamic role in the revolutionary movement too. He played a role in the formation of the Radical Students Union (RSU) in 1974. He was elected as the state president of RSU in 1978. He was one of the founders of the All India revolutionary student’s movement and guided it from its inception in 1985. He played a key role in conducting a seminar on Nationality Question in the then Madras city in 1981. Later he took up the responsibility of building the revolutionary movement in Karnataka and build up the Maoist party in Karnataka for the first time. He attracted many comrades like Saketh Rajan into the party. When opportunistic elements tried to split the party in 1985 and in 1991, comrade Azad had played a crucial role in keeping the party united and strong and in defeating their opportunist politics with a proletarian outlook. He worked tirelessly for twenty years as a CC member and Politburo member from 1990 till now. We cannot separate Azad’s life from the revolutionary movement’s history of the past forty years. Particularly, he played a key role in the ideological, political spheres, party education and running of periodicals and such. He fulfilled the responsibility of the party spokesperson since three years as ‘Azad’ in the most excellent and exemplary manner. He used his intellect and sharp pen outstandingly in fighting back the ‘War on People’ led by the Chidambaram gang. He stood as the voice of the people against the rulers and exploiters. In the development of the party’s political line, in the development of the party, people’s army and mass organizations, in extending the movement, in the emergence of new democratic power organs and in all the victories won, Azad’s ideological, political work and practice played a key role. Unflinching commitment in face of any odds and during the ebb and flow of the movement, great sacrificing nature, selflessness, simple living, indefatigable work for the revolution and for the interests of the people, astounding study, study of changing phenomena in the society from time to time, being with the people always are some of the great proletariat ideals established by Comrade Azad. Though he is no more, it is undeniable that he would serve as a revolutionary role model to every revolutionary and particularly to the youth, students and intellectuals.

It is true that it would be very difficult to fulfill the loss because comrade Azad’s life has been completely intertwined with the advancement of the revolutionary movement. He was a great revolutionary who was steeled in the ups and downs of the movement. Revolutionary movements give birth to leaders in this manner. In turn, these leaders lead the revolutionary movements down the path of victory. The sacrifice of many leaders is also inevitable in the revolutionary movement. The very conditions which give birth to the revolutionary movements and help its advancement would give birth to its leadership too. This has been proven repeatedly in the world revolutionary history. So the material conditions which are favorable for the rapid advancement of the revolutionary movement in our country today would give birth to thousands of leaders like comrade Azad. The ideological-political and practical work done by comrade Azad and the communist ideals he established have created the base for such an eventuality. The martyrdom of a Surapaneni Janardhan had placed an ideal in front of many comrades like Azad. Likewise many more revolutionaries would be born by taking the sacrifice of Azad as an ideal. They would lead the Indian revolution. The enemy could eliminate the physical presence of Azad but it would be impossible to stop the ideas he had spread in the party and among the people from turning into a material force.

In our history though we had lost important leaders many times and had faced many ups and downs, we had always stood up again and could advance the movement. We are still attracting educated cadres into our party from various parts of our country. We are confident that we would be able to fill the void created by Azad’s death by training them up well in practice. The ruling classes are ecstatic that they had broken the jar of knowledge by killing Azad. But those fools do not understand that thousands of Azads would be born from the land where that knowledge had been spilled. Azad had haunted the ruling classes with his political attacks when he was alive. Now even after his death he is haunting them. The ruling classes startle at the very mention of his name.

Before the death of Azad too, we had lost important leadership comrades in fake encounters and many more had been arrested. These losses are heavy too. But we would definitely overcome these losses and would definitely advance the revolutionary movement firmly.

Question : In the interview you gave to Jan Myrdal and Gautam Navlakha you said that your party was ready for talks with the government. In the letter written by your spokesperson Azad to Agnivesh, he said your party was ready for simultaneous ceasefire from both sides. Now that the government had killed Azad in a conspiratorial manner, do you think it is possible to hold talks? Are you still reiterating the stand taken before the death of Azad?

COMRADE GANAPATHY : In fact, you should put this question to Chidambaram and Manmohan Singh. For the past one and half year, comrades Azad, Kishenji and I have been stating our party’s stand regarding talks a number of times. The government has been hiding the endless brutal violence it had been perpetuating on the people and has been announcing each time that talks would be held only if Maoists abjure violence. Chidambaram has been repeatedly shouting these words from the roof top. Keeping in view the war declared on the people and the difficulties they are facing due to it, Azad had continued declaring till the end that our party would be ready for simultaneous cease fire if the government is ready for it. His intention was to lessen the travails of the people to any possible extent. He mentioned the same demand in the letter written to Swami Agnivesh. Chidambaram and Manmohan Singh had not only killed him in a conspiratorial manner but are shamelessly performing the same charade once again. The fact is that the government doesn’t feel any actual need for holding talks. If the peace wished by intellectuals, democrats and the people is to be established, then the most meaningless thing would be to demand that the counter-violence by people should be stopped while the government continues with its killing spree. When Chidambaram announced that Maoists should stop violence for 72 hours and Kishenji responded by giving a time of 72 days, Chidambaram’s answer was to target Kishenji and to intensify the attacks in order to kill him. Azad who had written the letter to Agnivesh was targeted and killed. As part of Operation Green Hunt nearly one lakh paramilitary forces and three lakh state forces have been deployed. Of these the major forces are Special Forces. Every day, every hour and every minute these forces are perpetuating countless atrocities on the people. They are targeting the people and democrats who are opposing this and putting them in jails under UAPA and other draconian laws of the states. Except for the reactionaries and their stooges in the media, nobody else is supporting this war on people in our country. Even if there are a few individuals who support it, it is not because they know the facts but because they innocently believe the false propaganda of the government. We feel that there is absolutely no conducive situation for holding talks now.

People like Agnivesh are asking us not to retreat from the dialogue process and to come forward for talks even after the cold-blooded murder of comrade Azad. We want to ask them if they would be able to stop such conspiracies and plots the government is hatching to kill our party leaders. Doubtless, comrade Azad was killed by the government in a conspiracy. The post-mortem and forensic reports too prove this beyond doubt. So we request all democrats, peace-loving intellectuals and human rights’ organizations to come forward with the firm demand that judicial enquiry should be conducted on Azad’s murder.

It is crystal clear that there is no conducive atmosphere for talks. In spite of this we request the people and democrats to demand the government to prove its commitment towards the process of talks by coming forward to implement the following steps.

1)  Stop Operation Green Hunt. Withdraw the paramilitary forces. If the government stops its offensive on the people, then the counter-offensive of the people would also stop. As many intellectuals are saying, if the offensive of the government doesn’t take place then there would be no need for the people to resist.

2)  Ours is a political party like many other parties in this country and the world. Our party has an ideological and military line and aim and correct, clear-cut policies on matters relating to culture, caste, gender, nationality, ecology etc. Even according to the laws formulated by these ruling classes, democratic rights would apply to our party. So the ban on our party should be lifted. Ban on our mass organizations should be lifted. Absolute democratic opportunities should be created for mass mobilization. Only in conditions where we could work democratically, we can come forward for talks.

3)  In Andhra Pradesh, comrade Riyaz who had participated in talks with the government in 2004 was caught and murdered after torturing him brutally. Others who participated in talks were targeted and attempts were made to assassinate them. Now comrade Azad who was working to facilitate the process of talks was murdered. So, it is not possible to believe the government and send underground comrades for talks. Therefore if the government releases our leadership comrades from jails, then they would directly represent our party in the talks.

So, you people should think about these three demands and place them before the government. We want to make it clear once again that any questions regarding talks should be put to the government first and not to us.

GK Pillai, Prakash Singh, Chidambaram and such likes are saying that we would come into line only if pressure is built up on us through intensification of fascist military offensive on our party and massacring the people. They are living in a fools’ paradise. Building pressure, creating illusions in the name of talks, deceiving and destroying the party – this is the strategy of the government. In fact, our party is fighting for peace too. They believe only in suppression and they are incompetent in facing us politically and ideologically. People are fighting under the leadership of our party with the lofty aim of establishing permanent peace by ending the exploitation, oppression, brutal suppression and violence in our country and in the whole human society. We see the issue of ‘talks’ and ‘peace’ as part of class struggle too. When class struggle intensifies, it would be in an armed form. In other circumstances it would be conducted in peaceful methods too. So it is completely false that our party would come for talks if pressure is built up.

And then, a false propaganda is being conducted through the media that there are differences in our party regarding talks and that they are mainly on the lines of erstwhile MCCI and erstwhile People’s War. This is hundred percent false. This is nothing but false propaganda by the enemy to create doubts in peoples’ minds about our party to carry on their aims. Our Unity Congress has taken a clear stand on the matter of talks. The struggle between correct ideas and wrong ideas is a continuous process in the party. We would solve our differences of opinion by abiding the principle of democratic centralism and in the light of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. This would only lead to the development of the party. We achieved great unity with the merger of the two parties. Now any discussions or conflict of ideas which takes place in the party would be in the form of ideological and political discussions in a united party and not in the form of differences between erstwhile MCCI and erstwhile CPI (ML) (People’s War). We categorically state that the differences would never ever take the form of conflicts before the merger.

Question : You are saying that the government has declared a war on the people. The government is saying that there is no war and that Operation Green Hunt is a figment of imagination of the media. It is very clear that coordinated attacks are carried on your party in all states. How is this offensive going on? How are you facing it and plan to face it?

COMRADE GANAPATHY : It is not just us who are saying that the government had declared a war on the people. All the people are saying so in one voice. All the people of the areas where this war is going on are saying so. All the democratic organizations, progressive forces and democrats of our country are saying very clearly that government is carrying a war on the people and are condemning it. The government is carrying on war on people and is blatantly lying that it is not the case. While Longkumer, Kalluri and Viswaranjan announce that the Operation Green Hunt is going on, on the other hand Chidambaram shamelessly declares that there is no such thing. It is increasingly getting exposed how terrible, how cruel fascist act this Green Hunt is and how dreadfully it is being carried on. In fact, in the various states where Maoist movement is present, nearly one lakh paramilitary forces are deployed. If we look at the number of police forces deployed in 9, 10 states against our movement it would be nearly three to four lakhs. What is the reason for deploying such a huge contingent of forces? What are these forces doing on a daily basis? Why are they increasing carpet security and construction of base camps, special training schools and jungle warfare schools? Why is the police budget of each state increased to such huge amounts and so rapidly? Why did the government release a package of thirteen and a half thousands of crores of rupees at once? Why huge sum of over one trillion rupees was allotted for internal security? Why are the central and state governments spending thousands of crores of rupees annually with the evil design of eliminating our movement? Why is the government carrying on mopping up campaigns in our strong areas like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Maharashtra, North Andhra and North Telangana? Mopping up means destroying everything. Anybody can be killed, arrested, missed, raped and property, houses, harvest and everything can be destroyed. All this is nothing but fascist rule.

It is as part of this war that the enemy is concentrating on our leadership and killing them in the most brutal manner and putting them in jails by arresting them in an undemocratic and illegal manner. The government has chosen armed repression as the main form and carrying on this war. However, in support of this it is carrying on the offensive in all other spheres, i.e., political, ideological, psychological, cultural spheres in a multi-pronged attack.

That is why the people are consolidating themselves under our party leadership with a clear strategy, intensifying the people’s war and establishing a new political power, new economy and new culture as an alternative to the present rule of the exploiting classes. Under our party’s leadership our PLGA, our new power organs and people are fighting a life and death struggle against MoUs worth billions of rupees which the central and state governments had signed with MNCs and big comprador corporate houses in many states such as Odisha, Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh etc. That is why, people are saying that this callous government is lying when it says that this is not a war. People, democrats and revolutionary forces are strongly and unitedly opposing and equally strongly fighting back the war on people which the government is intensifying day by day. Democratic forces, anti-imperialist forces and revolutionary proletariat all over the world are also strongly opposing and protesting this war on the people waged by the ruling classes of our country.

I want to clearly state one thing here. This war on the people is a brutal war launched by the government to suppress our just movement. This is an unjust war politically. This war by the ruling classes is carried on with a clear political aim. This would permanently continue the exploitation and oppression of the people. The self-defence war waged by the people also has a clear political aim. We are fighting with the aim of establishing a new society by destroying the exploitive and oppressive system. These two aims are completely at the opposite poles. At present revolutionary war is being waged in our country. The rulers are waging counter-revolutionary war against this revolutionary war. Both of these are seriously confronting each other. They represent the interests of two completely opposite classes.

Firstly, we want to fight back this war politically. The political aim of our resistance war is very clear. Depending on how deeply the vast masses understand this, how much they consolidate themselves, how much they arm themselves, we will be able to end this war as soon as possible. We are striving hard for the same. That is why we are fighting the enemy in a multi-pronged manner in all spheres.

Question : Chidambaram and Manmohan Singh are repeatedly asking you to ‘abjure violence’. But the attacks of your people’s liberation guerilla army are continuing. Don’t you think this is making it difficult to arrive at a solution? In the background of your recent attacks at Tadimetla (Dantewada), Kongera (Narayanpur), Silda (West Bengal) and Lakhisarai (Jharkhand), some people are expressing their anxiety that you are responding only with military means. They are saying that this would facilitate the deployment of army and that it would lead to more violence and greater loss of lives of ordinary citizens and adivasis. What do you say?

COMRADE GANAPATHY : Our central leadership has clearly stated our stand many times on this issue. I will do so one more time. It is nothing but a big deception and charade by the government to ask the people to abjure violence while the state continues its violence. It is violating its own laws and is massacring the people. So it is very necessary that every democrat and any politically conscious person questions the government on this and demands that it stop the violence and war on the people. They should demand that it is the government which should abjure violence. When the government says that we are practicing violence, it is just like a thief shouting ‘thief, thief’. It is trying to divert attention from the real issue by doing so.

People whose consciousness has risen would not sit quiet and suffer these attacks carried on with the aim of looting their resources and to turn them into permanent slaves using the government mercenary armed forces. They would resist them by arming themselves. All the members of our people’s guerilla army are none other than masses who have armed themselves voluntarily. These masses who had been exploited and oppressed like slaves since generations have understood the laws of historical development of society and are fighting by arming themselves. Our party is repeatedly making this clear – there is only one way for the people to achieve their liberation and that is the armed way. It means arming themselves, forming themselves into an army and waging an armed struggle. When crores of people of our country increase their political consciousness and build up a vast, strong army and when this army fights effectively, it would be possible to put an end to this exploitative rule. The soon this happens, the better for the people. That is why our party gives a call to the youngsters of this country every year on the occasion of the anniversary of the formation of our PLGA to arm themselves. This call is increasingly spreading widely among the people. The attacks carried on recently by our people’s army under the leadership of the party and with the active support of the people at Tadimetla (Mukaram), Silda, Lakhisarai, Kongera etc., are all military attacks. Who is anxious about these attacks? Is it the ruling classes and its mercenaries or the people? People are celebrating each occasion of a successful raid like a festival. Each such attack is giving a political message in a practical manner and showing them the path of liberation. The people understand this exactly in this manner. On the contrary seeing all these, the ruling classes are trembling with fear.

However, people who do not understand our movement and those who are not clear about it are anguished about the losses on both sides. We can understand their anguish. But the people cannot stop their war and resistance just because they are anguished. What they should understand is why is such an intense war going on? Why are hundreds of people participating in each attack? Where are we getting the active support of the people? Why are we getting it? If they try to understand this it would become clear. Then they would realize the need for such big attacks, more such big attacks and the need for more such attacks to take place more frequently. Then even they would celebrate whenever such attacks take place. They would also wish whole heartedly that such attacks should take place. But enemies of the people would always oppose them and they would resort to bigger attacks on the people in a more reactionary manner. They would foolishly choose suppression as the only way and would be hated by the people. As a result, they would again become victims of bigger attacks by the people.

As to the question if our attacks are facilitating the deployment of army – if people do not fight back, if they silently bow their heads and suffer exploitation and oppression which are going on since centuries, then there is no need even for police and paramilitary, leave alone the army. Then there would be no need for the ruling classes to carry on attacks too. As people have gained consciousness and have understood the real story behind exploitation and oppression, the fraud of parliamentary system and fake democracy, as they are fighting for land to the genuine peasants and for genuine democracy for the people, the rulers are resorting to serious suppression fearing that their foundations are being shaken. These fools who do not realize that their policies would only lead to an intensification of the people’s resistance, are making all preparations to deploy the army. In fact, the army had planned for counter-revolutionary Salwa Judum military campaign during Vajpayee’s rule when Advani was the home minister. The home ministry approved it. The Congress which came to power after Vajpayee’s government was toppled at the centre and the BJP which came to power in place of Congress in Chhattisgarh implemented this decision. From then onwards, the army has been very actively using all its commands (Northern, Central, Southern, Western and Eastern), has formed special structures in all of them and has been giving all kinds of advices to the state police departments through them. It formulated the strategy for the war on people and is providing all kinds of training, intelligence, technology and deployment plans to the central home ministry. It applied LIC policy formulated by the imperialists to suppress the Maoist movement in the concrete conditions of India and is implementing it with its own characteristic features and with increasing intensity. At present the army is not directly participating in attacks carrying guns. But army officers, some specialists and intelligence officers are directly giving guidance to the counter-guerilla operations in our strong areas. This has been happening since three, four years. So it is not true that they would be deploying the army because of us doing some attacks. They would deploy the army as part of their evil design to suppress the peoples’ struggles. Counter-insurgency forces are built inside the army for this purpose. They are building new cantonments, air-bases and helipads, as if on the borders, on a war footing. They are restructuring the whole state system in accordance with their counter-insurgency policies. This means that the rulers had made all kinds of preparations to perpetuate unprecedented level of atrocities, massacres and destruction on the people of our country. Our party feels that all revolutionary parties, democratic organizations and intellectuals, nationality liberation organizations, anti-imperialist patriotic organizations and the entire Indian people should realize this and resist this actively and intensely without any delay. The people of our movement areas are also thinking in similar terms and are hoping for it.

It is true that the deployment of the army would lead to more violence on the poor and the adivasis and would lead to greater loss of lives. When people are fighting in self-defence it is the exploiters and their stooges who constitute just five percent of the population that are suffering casualties. But in the violence perpetuated by the state, it is vast masses of oppressed people who are facing losses. People who are in the form of PLGA, the Maoist party, mass organizations and Janathana Sarkars are losing their lives. So one should understand this.  When ordinary citizens and adivasis are suffering losses on such a large scale, one should firstly question as to why this is happening? It doesn’t serve any purpose to make confused arguments, either innocently or deceivingly, that innocent people are dying. In this background of loss of lives, the oppressed people and the vast masses are putting a straight question to everybody – are you on our side or on the side of the rulers? It means there is no neutral ground left in between. So we request all those who express anguish about loss of lives to rethink in the background of this question.

On this occasion I want to bring some things to your notice. On June 12th, 2,000 state police and central paramilitary forces had attacked a political camp being held by our party’s Eastern Regional Bureau in Korhat forest of Jharkhand. Cobra forces, BSF and Jharkhand STF were involved in this attack. Three Air Force helicopters were used. Though the government said that 2,000 forces were involved, in fact more forces were involved. There were only two guerilla companies of our PLGA in that area. Our weapons were inferior. What was the reason for thousands of government forces to carry on this massive attack on our party and PLGA which are in that position? Is this war or not? Why are they hiding the glaring fact that this is a war? Why did they have to wage this war? Since the attack was done by mercenary forces, since it was done for the interests of a few exploiters, whether it was the commandos or Special Forces that had attacked, could not withstand the heroic resistance of our guerillas. Our comrades who have high political consciousness and sacrificing nature have fought back this attack bravely. In our counter-attack some Cobras have died and more were injured too. But the officers who led this attack do not even have the guts to announce how many of them were injured and how many had died. They are afraid that if the facts are announced, the morale of their forces would come down.

Between 25th and 27th of September, again in Jharkhand, the government forces attacked on a huge scale, a political camp being conducted by our Eastern Regional Bureau in Saranda forest with information. The police and paramilitary higher officials had themselves announced that five thousand (equivalent to a regiment) troops were deployed and helicopters were pressed into service. In fact, the number of troops which attacked would be much more. So one can understand how big a war the government is waging. What would you call this if not war? Once again, why are they hiding the fact that it is a war even after attacking at a regiment level? Would they perhaps agree when they attack with a division level force? On whom are they waging this war? Here too, like in Korhat, our comrades bravely retaliated this enemy attack. In Korhat comrade David lay down his life. In Saranda too a comrade was martyred. The enemy forces faced more losses. But to hide this fact, they resorted to false propaganda that three of their men were killed and ten to twelve Maoists were killed, huge quantities of weapons and other material were seized and training camps were destroyed by them.

Under the guidance of US imperialists, the number one enemy of the world people and taking the help of Israel, one of the cruelest governments of the world and a stooge of US, the Indian government is waging this war. Whatever the government may say, how much ever Sonia, Manmohan and Chidambaram gang and their boot-licking intellectuals may lie, the massive attacks in Korhat and Saranda were nothing but war. We are also candidly and clearly announcing that all our attacks have been carried out as part of our war of self-defence. Ordinary people are facing huge losses in the unjust war waged by the government. So we are once again appealing to all people to oppose and resist this unjust war.

Question : The ruling classes of our country are saying that Maoists are not sincere about people’s issues and they are not bothered about people’s welfare and that their only aim is to ‘overthrow the democratically elected government using armed force and establish communist rule.’ What is your explanation for this?

GP: The ruling classes are not at all morally qualified to hurl accusations against Maoists, who are sacrificing their lives for the people or to comment on their concern and commitment regarding people’s interests, people’s welfare and people’s development. Our aim is to overthrow this ‘democracy’ and ‘parliamentary rule’ which are nothing but means for the dictatorship of the feudals and comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie and which stand in complete opposition to 95% of the population’s interests, using armed force and to establish new people’s power. We feel it is wonder of the wonders to say that these elections and parliament are sacred and that the present rule is the highest form of democratic rule!

We are telling the people to overthrow this dictatorial government and build a government of their own which is genuine democracy of the four classes, i.e., workers, peasants, urban middle class and national bourgeoisie. People are consolidating themselves and fighting for it. Anybody who knows the ABC of politics would know this. But the rulers are saying that the constitution and parliament are sacred and above class interests. This dictatorial and bourgeois parliament and state machinery which they had established by colluding with the imperialists would serve none else than those classes. They may be sacred for those classes but they are a big menace for the people. So it is their birth right to pull them down. It is their democratic right. They should establish a genuine democratic political system which constitutes new legislative bodies and a new constitution.

And, we are not the ones who are obstructing development. It is the ruling classes who are doing so. People are performing agricultural tasks while fighting back the horrible violence and destruction perpetuated by fascist gangs like the Salwa Judum, police and paramilitary in Dandakaranya. The militia is doing sentry in defence near the fields and reaping the harvests. The People’s Liberation Guerilla Army is safeguarding the harvest of the people. The mercenary forces of the government are attacking such units and killing them. The government forces are wreaking havoc in the adivasi areas by destroying their property, burning homes and whole villages, seizing hens, pigs, cattle and what not from the hapless poor people, destroying the fields and burning the harvest. This enormous destruction is the development policy of the rulers. Here, it is crystal clear that who are the bitter enemies of the people’s welfare.

Of course, we are calling upon the people to overthrow this unholy state. We are calling upon the people to destroy this menace of the people and to liberate themselves. Only through this liberation struggle the people would be able to establish new power and be able to achieve all-round development with an alternative line in all spheres. The development we are talking of is definitely not the one dictated by the IMF and the World Bank and also not the development policy proposed by Ahluwalias, Rangarajans, Manmohan Sings, Chidambarams and Pillais. The development policy we are proposing would change the relations of production qualitatively and thus would lead to the qualitative development of the productive forces. It is a real development policy which says that one should oppose placing the sovereignty of our country at the feet of foreign firms, that it should also be an independent and a self-reliant one, that the resources in our country should be used not for the imperialists but for the people. Many intellectuals and researchers who have visited our areas had already written that an alternative political power is being established in our areas. Many are realizing that we are having an alternative line in all spheres like in ideological, political, organizational, military, economical, cultural, and ecological spheres. Observers have written clearly about the increasing development in all these spheres, though at a primary level.

Question : Many democrats had raised their voices against Operation Green Hunt. But don’t you think that your party would lose sympathy with incidents such as beheading of Francis Induvar, Jamui massacre, blasting of bus in Dantewada and Gnaneshwari Express accident? What is your explanation about these incidents?

COMRADE GANAPATHY : Firstly, I am sending my revolutionary greetings to all the democratic forces which are opposing and protesting this cruel and unjust war on the people waged by the government. Now coming to bad propaganda and the accusations on us, we do not have any hand in the incident which led to the accident of Gnaneshwari Express. Already our West Bengal party has clearly issued statements in this matter. This incident occurred due to the conspiracy hatched by CPI (M) and the central intelligence agencies. Though judicial enquiry in this matter has been handed over to the CBI, Umakant Mahato who was portrayed as the main accused was caught and killed in a fake encounter. This is also a part of that whole conspiracy. Our party which is fighting with the aim of liberation of the people had never conducted any raids or attacks targeting the people or with the aim of killing them and would never do so in future too.

Our party had already clearly given a statement stating the facts which led to the bus blasting near Chingavaram in Dantewada district. Our party had issued an apology too for the mistake. In the case of Induvar’s beheading Com. Azad had already answered clearly. Our party’s stand on such issues is very clear. When exceptions occurred our party had given explanations. But the ruling classes are intentionally doing bad propaganda to defame the revolutionary movement and the people’s resistance. The Gnaneshwari Express case is an evident example of this.

There is a lot of difference between the Induvar issue, Dantewada bus blast and the Gnaneshwari incident. Near Chingavaram, our targets were clearly the Koya Commandos and SPOs. These blood thirsty forces had raided a village named Kutrem, killed three adivasis, raped women and were returning. But we did not know that there were people inside the bus. The information we had was that SPOs had got into the bus after forcing the people to get down. On the roof top of the bus too it was these armed killer gangs who were traveling. So we considered it a military target and attacked it. We do not have any hand in the Gnaneshwari accident. In Induvar’s case, our party had given a clear explanation. While resisting the killer gangs and the endless cruel violence perpetuated on them, people may in some places, very rarely as an exception, resort to such acts as part of taking revenge. Unless we understand the uneven social conditions in our country, we will not understand this problem. The conditions in urban areas are different in one sense. In the remote rural areas, where there is the cruelest feudal and upper caste oppression, where people are suffering from the inhuman violence perpetrated by Salwa Judum, Sendra, Harmad Bahini and such killer gangs, where they are victims of the huge destructive campaigns of the state, the resistance of the people may sometimes take such forms too. Even in the urban areas, in the bastis where people are victims of the notorious usurers, slum lords, politicians, mafia gangs and police officers hand in glove with the gangsters and politicians, the resistance of the people may take such forms too. The killing of the notorious rapist and goon in Nagpur by the basti women is just one instance out of many such incidents. This is just an explanation as to why such things happen and it is very clear that our party doesn’t carry on such incidents as a policy. Our attitude is that we should educate our people and ranks in this matter. Some intellectuals who lick the boots of the corporations are doing such bad propaganda on us by making a mountain out of a molehill.

In the Jamui incident, a reactionary gang sponsored by the government had caught eight of our comrades in Phulwaria-Kodasi village and killed them in the most heinous, brutal manner by chopping off their limbs. When such incidents happen, we will never be able to safeguard our movement or our people if we keep quiet and do not act. That was why we were compelled to counter attack. In this attack, nine people died including three main goonda leaders. It is extremely sad that a woman and a child were caught in flames and had died accidentally. All the other seven were hard-core criminals, killers and lumpen elements. Our Bihar-Jharkhand Special Area Committee had issued a clear statement on this. It was published in the Bihar papers and in the Maoist Information Bulletin-17.

On the whole, the governments and some paid intellectuals in their service who blow their trumpet are falsely implicating us and trying to defame us. In some incidents where we committed mistakes, they are not even bothering to listen to our explanation and are continuing the bad propaganda on us. So our request to the people and pro-people intellectuals is not to get deceived by the government’s psy-war. Our people’s army which had been formed to defend the interests of the people would lay down lives for the people but would never try to harm the people. So try to know the facts behind each incident. We are always prepared to accept any proper criticism and are always ready to correct our mistakes, if any.

Question : The police and paramilitary forces which are losing their lives in your attacks belong to the poor and middle class families. On the one hand you say that you have taken up arms for their liberation and on the other hand you annihilate persons from these classes who join the police and paramilitary forces. Does this not send the wrong message to poor and middle class families? How do you look at this problem?

COMRADE GANAPATHY : Any politically thinking person should understand that the state and state machinery are the means of the ruling classes for carrying on exploitation and oppression. The crucial components in these are the police, paramilitary and military. The number of the exploiters is always very limited. They would not even constitute five percent of our population. But they hold the means of production under their control and have built up the police and military to exploit and suppress the vast masses who constitute the majority. The rulers are recruiting them from among the people. That is why, the majority of these forces belong to the poor and middle classes. These forces are waging war on the people on behalf of the exploiting classes. As these are the forces that stand in the forefront in the war, it is inevitable that they would die in the self-defensive war of the people. But if exploitation and oppression are to be ended, if oppressed people are to be liberated and this agonizing situation is to end, then this war of self-defence is inevitable.

In our areas some individuals from the police and paramilitary forces meet us. They help us and we help them too in various forms. Only when the government forces come to attack us carrying guns, we are attacking them in self-defence. Our repeated appeal to the lower level personnel in the police and paramilitary forces is – please do not betray your own class, don’t serve the exploiting classes, don’t attack the people and revolutionaries on your own consciously in a revengeful manner, join hands with the masses and turn your guns against the real enemies and not on your class brothers and sisters. What you are doing is not service to the people but service to the exploiting classes. So stop serving the exploiting classes like slaves. Don’t just think of your livelihood, please think about the people, think about the country.

Our appeal to their families is that they should see to it that their family members do not serve this exploiting system for temporary interests; encourage them to be on the people’s side. When these families reside in our areas, our people’s governments will ensure that they get proper livelihood and necessary help as part of whatever the oppressed people get. We want to make this clear on this occasion to those families one more time.

Question : At present it looks as if your movement is confined to the remote forest areas and adivasis. You are not getting large scale recruits from urban areas and universities as you used to get in the past. Some people are also thinking that you can never extend to urban areas. Isn’t this worrying you?

COMRADE GANAPATHY : After merger, we have emerged stronger in some areas and become weaker is some areas. Among the areas where we have become weaker, there are some plain areas and some urban areas. Among the areas where we strengthened ourselves, there are some remote areas and some plain areas. Such ups and downs may be inevitable in a protracted war. It is not true that we have been completely eliminated from the urban areas and plains as some people are propagating or as some others believe. As I had mentioned before, India is one of the countries where Maoist movements are on going in the world. Imperialists and the ruling classes of our country are together intensifying the offensive to suppress our movement. When they so concentrate and carry on attacks, we may suffer losses. And we have suffered losses. This is just one aspect of the problem.

We have gained many experiences in the urban areas. We have enriched our policy on urban work. We have studied the changes in the economic and political conditions of our country and the world and had formulated a program accordingly. Communists never work according to their wills and wishes. They work by studying objective conditions in the society. Basing on the positive and negative lessons we have learnt, we are trying to overcome the losses.

The second aspect of this problem is that we may suffer losses due to enemy attacks, but on the other hand due to their suppression campaigns, their pro-imperialist policies and anti-people acts they are getting more and more isolated from the people. This means that they themselves are creating the conditions for the people to turn against them. It is true that at present we are not able to mobilize workers, students and intellectuals as we had done in the 70s and 80s. There have been some considerable changes and phenomena in those conditions. It has become very complex to work in areas where the enemy is strong and in the trade union movement where the revisionists have entrenched themselves. This is not just the case in India. This condition is prevailing in the whole world. But revolutionaries would definitely overcome this. In order to liberate this country we have to concentrate on organizing the peasantry. At present we would strengthen our movement among the peasantry and definitely extend to the urban areas. On the other hand, this peasant movement is inspiring the urban and people and is having a great impact on them. So, the days when we would vastly organize peasantry of plain areas, the suburban people and urban people are not that far off.

Today, the workers in our country are once again facing the conditions which the workers had faced in 19th century Europe. Most of the workers are turning into contract and casual labourers. They are forced to work for 12 to 16 hours in horrible conditions. Government is changing all labor laws to facilitate the imperialist exploitation. Workers’ families are forced to live like slaves in the barracks built for them. Everything is being restructured. The enemy may be happy about the losses he has inflicted on us. But since people are suffering, they are fighting against them in various forms. Our party would definitely lead these struggles bravely and firmly. All the conditions required for the proletariat and the urban masses to rise like a storm and destroy the exploiting system are gradually ripening.

The Indian government has finished implementing the LPG policy of second generation reforms and is going to take up third generation reforms. Under these circumstances, it is bringing many kinds of changes in the education policy according to the needs of the imperialist capital. In the background of the imperialist-dictated changes taken up by the ruling classes in the education policy, education opportunities are diminishing for the poor children and for women belonging to working class, peasantry, adivasi, dalit and religious minority families. Privatization of education is decreasing the opportunities with each passing day. At present, education mainly means corporate-dominated education. This education system mainly caters to the interests of the domestic and foreign corporations. This is creating a big chasm with the students, teachers, parents on one side and the ruling classes on the other. Within a short period this would erupt. Our party is recognizing the need to study and lead this. We will do everything possible in this matter.

Allowing imperialist capital into retail market and the increasing grip of the imperialist and corporate companies over our country’s economy in order to overcome the economic crises have led to the bankruptcy of the small traders and small and medium bourgeoisie in the urban areas. In the name of beautification of cities slums are evacuated and middle class people are chased away to the suburban areas. The life of the working class and slum population is in turmoil. Among these people, there are many people who had migrated to the cities from our movement areas. All this is speeding up the process of these cities and towns turning into gun powder centres. We are studying all these phenomena and trying to work among them with proper tactics.

All the riches between villages and mega cities have been produced by people from poor rural areas. It is the poor, dalit and adivasi labourers who are spilling their sweat and blood for the construction of huge mansions and infrastructure by Indian and foreign corporate lords. The majority of the workers and employees who work in the shopping malls and companies are from rural areas. Either in terms of social, economic and cultural ties or in terms of movement relations villages and cities are not two unconnected islands as such. They both are influencing each other. This is creating a strong base for our extension. So it is ridiculous and unreal to say that we would never be able to extend to urban areas. If rural areas are liberated first, then basing on its strength and on the struggles of the working class in urban areas, cities would be liberated later. Along with the liberation of cities the comprador rule and imperialist control would also be forced to end in our country.

Question : What is your party’s response to the recent deluge of people’s movement in Kashmir and the repression carried on by the government armed forces on it? What is your solution to the Kashmir issue?

COMRADE GANAPATHY : Kashmir people have been fighting for their independence and right to self-determination for the past sixty years. Countless atrocities, massacres and violence are being perpetuated by the Indian government to suppress this struggle. More than 80,000 Kashmiris have been murdered. Though Indian rulers claim that they have eliminated militancy, the Kashmiri people have been rising in waves during various instances. Recently, in the protest marches held from June 11th, more than a hundred Kashmiri youth were killed in firings by police, paramilitary and military. With a deployment of 7 lakh military and paramilitary forces, Kashmir valley has been turned into the most militarized zone in the whole world.

Our Party strongly supports the just movement of the Kashmiri people. Their demand for ‘Azadi’ (independence) and right to self-determination is fully justified. Kashmir belongs to Kashmiris. It has never been an integral part of India. Neither India nor Pakistan has any right on it.

Our party condemns this horrible repression on the Kashmiri people in the most serious terms. Indian people should condemn in one voice the government massacres continuing in Kashmir. Our party is making it clear that without doing this, it is not possible to effectively fight back or defeat the ruthless offensive of the ruling classes on the fighting people of India. Our party is concretely putting forth the following demands to resolve the Kashmir issue.

1. The massacres by the Indian government’s armed forces in Kashmir should be immediately stopped!

2. Withdraw paramilitary and military forces from Kashmir immediately!

3. Immediately annul the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) which authorizes the military to indiscriminately kill people!

4. Conduct plebiscite in Kashmir and let the Kashmiris decide their future on their own!

5. Release all political prisoners unconditionally!

Question : Commonwealth games are creating a furor all over the country. What is your party’s stand on these?

COMRADE GANAPATHY : The ruling classes conducted a big farce in the name of Commonwealth games by spending 70,000 crores of rupees in a callous manner with least bother or concern about the poverty, hunger, illiteracy, unemployment, diseases, homelessness, displacement, floods and other such unbearable problems of the majority of our population. While 77 percent of the people are living on less than 20 rupees per day they amassed crores of rupees under the pretense of games. The crores of rupees supposed to be spent on stadiums, roads, buildings that are built for the games and in buying various equipments found their way into the pockets of corrupt officials, ministers and contractors. The labourers worked in these construction works were exploited by giving them appalling wages.

On the other hand, the lives of working class and middle class people were in turmoil due to these games. In the name of beautification of Delhi, hundreds of thousands of slum people, roadside vendors and beggars were chased away. Daily movements of the people were restricted in the name of security. All this was nothing but an exercise carried out for profits of corporations and commissions of ministers and officials. Particularly, to divert the youth from their basic problems, to make them live in an illusory beautiful world and to douse their growing discontent too, these games were held. The people gained nothing from these games except heavy tax burden.

Moreover, these Commonwealth games are themselves a remnant of the colonial past which reeks of slavery. The past colonies of Britain join it. Except the comprador rulers who serve the neo-colonialists (imperialists) none of the citizens who aspire for the country’s independence and none of the patriots could ever digest the fact that our country is a member of it. Any country with self-respect would reject membership of such an association. We appreciate the participation of players from various countries in games as part of some forums. But this could be supported only when they are held on an equal basis, without all this extravaganza and when it does not compromise the sovereignty of those respective countries.

Question : The Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court gave a judgment dividing the disputed site into three parts. What is your say on this? What is the solution you suggest for this dispute?

COMRADE GANAPATHY : Our party has stated very clearly our stand on the demolition of Babri Masjid many times in the past 18 years. Recently comrade Abhay, spokesperson of our CC has in a statement clearly stated our party’s stand on this. It is really very sad that the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court distributed the disputed site into three parts. There is no scientific basis for this at all. Nor is there any historical evidence to support this. Our party has been consistently and clearly saying from the beginning that Babri Masjid should be rebuilt on the same place where it stood. It is a crime of Himalayan proportions to demolish it. Our party’s stand is that the whole site should belong to the Muslim community. Through this judgment, injustice was done to the Muslim community.

On the question of arguments about the birth place of Rama which is supposed to be the spot where Babri Masjid was erected, when we look at the history of India, there were no Masjids at all at one time, you know! Just as Hinduism and Buddhism spread from the countries of India and Nepal to the entire Indian sub-continent and to some East Asian countries, all religions including Islam have spread to various parts of the world from their place of birth. So, by showing this reason and by making this judgment a model every Masjid can be turned into a disputed site, conflicts can be given birth to. Every minority community’s praying site can be demolished. Now this danger has come to the fore more clearly. After this judgment there is every chance for the insecurity among the minority people to increase further. As our party spokesperson Abhay has stated, the people should stay alert with the fundamentalists, particularly, the Hindu fundamentalists. In Bhiwandi, Mumbai, Karnataka, Hyderabad, Gujarat and Odisha all the incidents which took place in the name of religious riots were plotted and perpetrated by the ruling classes, particularly the Hindu religious chauvinists. This judgment has given legitimacy to the demolition of Babri Masjid. Now this court judgment has created conditions for the aggressiveness of Hindu religious chauvinists to increase in various forms on the religious minorities. So we are opposing this court judgment. Our party opines that only when people of all religious minorities including Muslim minority, secular forces, democratic forces and oppressed people of our country fight unitedly and isolate the fundamentalist forces, particularly Hindu religious chauvinist forces, a proper solution could be found for this issue or other such issues.

Question : Mamata Banerjee had demanded judicial probe into Azad’s murder. The CPI (M) party has been repeatedly hurling accusations about the close relations between Trinamool Congress and the Maoists? Are you having some undercover relations with Trinamool even while describing it as a bourgeois party? How do you justify this?

COMRADE GANAPATHY : We are not at all surprised that Mamata Banerjee had demanded judicial probe into Azad’s murder. Anybody who is familiar with the political situation of Bengal would not be surprised with this.  Democratic organizations and renowned personalities and mass organizations are demanding judicial probe and that the murderers of Azad should be held in trial for murder and punished. This demand represents the people’s aspirations. She demanded judicial probe by taking this into consideration. Why would she have any respect or affection for Azad? Who would feel that Azad had been murdered in the most unjust manner? People only who think that the political aim for which Azad had fought is justified, only those who support it and only those who are committed to genuine democracy would sincerely condemn his murder. Others may condemn it for various reasons. Mamata is also one of them. They would do so for their own interests. Though she had made this demand taking into consideration her clashes with CPI (M), and the upcoming elections, it is a welcome demand. Her demand would to some extent help the struggle of the people.

Moreover, for the past fifteen years or more, severe clashes are going on between Trinamool and CPI (M). Sometimes in some places this is taking the form of armed clashes too. The CPI (M) formed armed social fascist gangs like Harmad Bahini and is attacking Trinamool, Maoists, democrats and people to suppress them. Trinamool took up arms to fight CPI (M). So, in order to fight back these attacks and to come to power in the next elections it is natural for Mamata to speak some words to attract the people. In our country, nearly for the past 30 to 35 years the characteristic feature which is continuing in the Bengal politics is that the ruling classes have set up armed clashes with each other. We don’t find this in most of the other states. Though this contradiction between the ruling classes is very severe in various forms in other states, it is not at the level of armed clashes. This contradiction got reflected in Nandigram and it was useful for the people. In the parliament and municipal elections held later, Trinamool won more seats. Now in the upcoming assembly elections the competition would be even more tough. If she has to come to power now, she is compelled to talk as if she is on the people’s side. People who hate and abhor CPI (M) would definitely teach it a lesson. Now the entire people and democrats of Bengal want to escape from the tiger they are facing on the front side. Now for them the tiger in the front is more dangerous than the bear which is at their back. But after they chase away the tiger they cannot escape the bear’s hug. Our party would continue to caution the people about this danger too. We would ask them to chase away the bear too in the future. They would have to certainly fight against the bear too. Unless people get rid of these two menaces, any one of them would continue riding on the back of the people.

Tomorrow, even if Mamata Banerjee comes to power, she would not seize the lands of land lords and distribute them to the poor peasantry nor would she seize the industries of the imperialists and big bourgeoisie. People would not have a chance to participate freely in the elections too. This means that even if she comes to power there won’t be any fundamental change. However, if Trinamool comes to power after a long rule of social fascists, it would definitely try hard to gain a tight grip over the administration. During this period keeping in view the election promises she had made, she may temporarily stop attacks on the people. But this would be only temporary. Later, people would have to fight against her government too.

And our party doesn’t have any open or undercover relations with Trinamool. But on some occasions even ruling classes may talk in the interest of the people. They would take up some pro-people demands on some occasions for mobilizing the support of the people and for votes. They would even conduct some struggles. Such struggles also exist though their scope is very limited. When such people talk in the interests of the people, we would examine them concretely. As the contradictions among the enemies are indirect reserves for the proletariat, depending on the concrete situation our party would clearly state its stand. Our party would never support or oppose such things blindly. But people should seriously try to understand their class nature and their political and economic policies and should not entertain any illusions about them. If such illusions exist, it would be a task of our party to bring them out of it.

When our stand is so clear, it is not at all proper to say as if we have relations with her party and as if we are justifying it.

Question : The Home ministry has recently hurled accusations at you that you are getting weapons and money from foreign countries, especially from China, Myanmar and Bangladesh. They are also alleging that you are getting help from the separatist organizations in North-East. What is your explanation?

COMRADE GANAPATHY : This allegation is part of the psy-war against us by the ruling gangs to portray our Party as a terrorist and traitorous organization and isolate us from the people. Our weapons are mainly country-made. All the modern weapons we have are mainly seized from the government armed forces when we attack them. The enemy himself knows that seizure of arms is our main source for getting weapons. Our party supports the various nationality struggles waged for the liberation of their nationalities and their right to self-determination. We have political memoranda of understanding with some of the organizations which are leading the struggles there. We have published open statements about these in our magazines too. As a revolutionary political party which represents the vast masses and as a party which would lead the government that would be completely responsible for this country after we come to power, we would establish relations with countries having different political systems in the world on the basis of Panchsheel policy. Now and later too we would decide about maintaining these relations with various organizations and parties in the world in the interests of the world revolution. This is one of our candid basic policies. We have announced this policy through our party programme long back. We would also buy weapons to fulfill the needs of our people’s war from domestic and international market. This is the third and last source for our weapons. And the allegations made by Chidambaram-GK Pillai about getting weapons and money from those countries are nothing but baseless rubbish.

In fact, it is the Indian government which is buying weapons, war material and modern technology from US, Russia, France and other imperialist countries, from Israel and other countries to suppress the people’s democratic movements, nationality liberation struggles and revolutionary movements. With this huge arsenal the Indian expansionists are becoming a peril for the South Asian countries and this is also increasing the arms race with Pakistan. It is sending officers from here to notorious intelligence agencies like the Mossad and CIA for training in order to target the comrades leading the revolutionary movements and kill them. It is the ruling classes and their military higher officials who are wasting the people’s money, filling their pockets with billions of rupees in the name of commissions in these transactions and betraying the country as traitors downright. Everybody should condemn this, question this.

Question : Recently there have been allegations that the Maoist leadership is getting funds on a large scale from mining industries and other corporate companies. What is your answer to these allegations?

COMRADE GANAPATHY : This is also part of the foul propaganda of the government on us. They are even alleging that we are collecting five thousand crores of rupees annually. GK, PC and Prakash Singh never tire of harping on our ‘extortion’. This is the falsest allegation that has been made on us. We out rightly reject this. Perhaps their eyes are used to seeing commissions worth thousands of crores of rupees and out of habit they see our collections too in those terms. If we could have collected even one percent of that amount, we could have done so much for our people! In fact, our party mainly collects donations from the people and funds from the traders in our guerilla zones. We have a clear people’s financial policy. And our party also collects rational levy from contractors who take up various works in our areas. A considerable part of these funds is spent for welfare of the people through our people’s power organs. As for mining organizations, our people are fighting their best not to allow them into our strong areas. Our party is leading these struggles, it is supporting them. So the issue of collecting funds from them does not arise, you know. The police officers, government officials and ruling class parties who illegally collect crores of rupees from various organizations, pocket commissions and stack away their money in Swiss banks do not have any moral right to point a finger at us.

Question : What is your assessment about Obama’s policies regarding withdrawal of US army from Iraq and Afghanistan, Indo-US nuclear deal and nuclear liability bill which was passed recently? How do you see Obama’s visit to India who’ll be coming next month?

COMRADE GANAPATHY : The economy of US broke down as US had to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to continue the war in Iraq and with thousands of US soldiers dying by getting bogged down in this war and Bush losing his face as he waged the war with the arrogance that he would be able to take hold of it within a few months and could not do so. Due to these reasons, leave alone Obama, even Bush had to talk about withdrawal of forces long back. The very attack on Iraq by US is a heinous crime against humanity. In fact, the US had not fought any heroic war there. US has superior force. But what it did was to rain lakhs of tonnes of bombs on Iraqi cities and towns, kill millions of Iraqis, create havoc and destroy one of the oldest civilizations of the world and its rich heritage, culture and society. So from the day it occupied Iraq, US has been continuously facing the resistance of  the rebels, patriots and freedom-loving people of Iraq.

The US imperialist completely destroyed the state, army, judiciary, legislative bodies and administration machinery built by Saddam and is building a neo-colonial state by keeping their puppets in the front. It formed a new state with the puppet forces. It could destroy Saddam and his followers but it could not solve the new contradiction which had cropped up between the people and its puppets. They are unable to suppress the people’s resistance. The army withdrawn by Obama is less and that which he is continuing is more. Recently when Iraqi national forces conducted a huge raid, the US army in Iraq barracks immediately stepped out.

After Obama came to power, more than 30,000 additional troops were sent to Afghanistan by him. A fake election farce was conducted amidst severe opposition of the Afghan people and he had his puppet Hamid Karzai elected. Ninety percent of the persons dying in US bombing are ordinary citizens. NATO troops under US leadership are indiscriminately killing Afghan citizens. The atrocities committed by US are so horrible that even their puppet Karzai was forced to open his mouth. In West Pakistan, they are killing hundreds of ordinary citizens in drone attacks. Till date, Karzai’s power is confined to the cities. Afghan people have never bowed to the rule of any intruder in their whole history. They chased away the imperialists and occupiers from their land enduring all kinds of travails. Exactly as in the case of Russian imperialists, Afghan land would prove to be the graveyard of the US imperialists too. Obama is implementing the same diplomatic policies followed by Bush in Middle and South Asia, if not more callously. The US strategy for world hegemony to gain control of Caspian sea gas and establish permanent bases in Afghanistan to surround China is bound to fail.

During UPA-I, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ignoring stiff opposition from the people, had civilian nuclear deal with the US passed proving himself a trustworthy servant of the US imperialists. The Nuclear Liability Bill which has been passed by the Parliament recently is nothing but a continuation of this servility. Regarding the Bhopal gas leak accident which led to gruesome death of thousands of people and disaster for hundreds of thousands of people in Bhopal, the wounds in the hearts and minds of the people of India continue to pain till this day. And now the UPA government has in a most shameless manner dared to prepare this Bill enabling many more ‘Bhopals’ to make their way and ensuring even if such holocausts take place, the foreign capitalists responsible for those would be set free with far less ‘liability’ (just like Warren Anderson and Dow Chemicals were set free). While BJP has helped UPA government in passing this Bill, the parliamentary Left parties who call themselves Communists, have once again proved their compromising nature by not opposing this traitorous Bill firmly and not initiating people’s movement against this. Manmohan Singh worked hard to ensure this Bill passed before the arrival of Obama.

US imperialism, which has been plundering the poor countries across the world, suppressing the oppressed nationalities, pushing the notorious thugs and dictators into the power, bullying those countries who wouldn’t cooperate, going to any extent to loot oil, minerals and all other natural wealth and sources, is the no. 1 enemy of world people. Its leader Barack Obama is such a person whom the entire humanity must hate. As his predecessor George Bush had accumulated the hate across the globe, US imperialist masters brought Barack Obama in a plan that people could be deceived with his skin color. Though Obama was so much rhetorical opposing the policies of Bush, after entering into the White House, all the policies and decisions taken by him till this day are nothing but continuation of the Bush administration. In fact the difference between George Bush and Barack Obama lies just in their color and in the name of their representing parties. There is no difference between them in exploiting and suppressing the world people, oppressed nationalities, countries and working class of the US. It’s an irrefutable fact that this black color President was selected by the most notorious white vultures of US monopolistic corporations.

The comprador ruling classes of India are busy laying red carpet to welcome Obama. Welcoming Obama means nothing but a betrayal to the values of sovereignty, freedom, independence, self-reliance, peace, justice and democracy. Inviting Obama to our beloved country means showing servility to its warmongering, invasive, exploitative and hegemonic policies. Therefore, on behalf of the Central Committee of Communist Party of India (Maoist), I call upon entire people, revolutionary and democratic organizations and all patriotic forces of India to register your protest in various forms and to raise the slogan ‘OBAMA! GO BACK!!’ loudly in one voice.

Question : Finally, how do you assess the main successes and failures after you held your Unity Congress in 2007? What do you feel about the future of Indian revolution on the whole?

COMRADE GANAPATHY : Our Unity Congress held in January, 2007, took up the main, immediate and central task of intensifying the people’s war all over the country, developing guerilla war into mobile war and developing the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army into People’s Liberation Army (regular army) with the aim of establishing Base Areas. As part of it, our Congress gave us many tasks such as intensifying mass struggles, extending the movement, building and strengthening the United Front. For the past three and half years, our entire party fought by keeping everything at stake to fulfill these tasks basing itself firmly among the people. In this process, we achieved some significant successes. We faced some serious failures. We gained many valuable experiences. We learnt some important lessons. On the whole, when we look at our successes, we can surely say that the necessary foundation for advancing the Indian revolution down the path of victory by gaining more successes in future has been strengthened further.

If we look at the successes….

1. In the past three and half years, in many areas of our country a deluge of mass struggles erupted under our party’s leadership. Especially in Dandakaranya, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, people participated on a large scale in struggles against the loot of their resources by the Indian and foreign corporations and particularly against the displacement of adivasis. Though the Indian ruling classes formed goonda gangs like Salwa Judum, Sendra, Nagarik Suraksha Samiti and Harmad Bahini and perpetrated terrible violence and atrocities on the people, they fought bravely under our party’s leadership and with the support of our PLGA. In Kalinganagar, Singur, Nandigram, Lalgadh, Narayanapatna, Dumka, Polavaram, Lohandiguda, Raoghat, Pallamad and many other places people mobilized on a large scale and participated in struggles. Nandigram, Lalgadh and Narayanapatna came to the fore as new models of mass struggles. In the various programmes we took up on political issues, we mobilized lakhs of people. People responded greatly to our political programme of boycotting the elections to various state assemblies and the parliament. In our movement areas, people boycotted elections on a huge scale and brought to the fore very strongly the need for people’s political power. As part of Operation Green Hunt carried on with coordination between the central and state governments since mid-2009, people were massacred. In spite of it, thousands of oppressed people, especially the adivasis and women participated in several programmes against state repression and on various political issues in Dandakaranya, Bihar-Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

2. Another important victory is the emergence of people’s democratic political power at a primary level and its strengthening and extension as an alternative to the state system of the feudal, comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie, run with the support of the imperialists. In our main guerilla zones of Dandakaranya and Bihar-Jharkhand, Revolutionary People’s Committees (RPCs) have been formed and are functioning. They are strengthening and extending. In Lalgadh and Narayanapatna which have newly emerged on the political scene of our country, the people’s power organizations which were formed at a primary level by having people’s development at the core even amidst severe enemy offensive have attracted the attention of the people of our country. They overthrew the rule of the local exploiting classes and are running people’s rule at a primary level. These new political power organs are working in the spheres of education, health, sanitation, water facilities and agriculture development etc having people’s real development as their aim. They are a great inspiration to the oppressed people, the democratic organizations and intellectuals all over the country. They are coming to the fore as the genuine people’s alternative system. As an answer to the fake development model of the exploiters, these new political power organs are bringing forth a genuine development model of the people.

3. In the past three and half years, the guerilla warfare intensified and is continuing at a higher level. Our people’s guerillas conducted valiant attacks on the police, paramilitary and commando forces that are resorting to endless atrocities and violence and massacring people to accomplish the interests of the exploiting classes. Our guerillas eliminated hundreds of mercenary troops and seized hundreds of modern weapons and ammunition and improved our armoury. The guerilla war going on under our leadership is giving inspiration and self-confidence to the people. Defending the people’s political power which is developing at a primary level and defending the lives and properties of the people, our people’s army had emerged as the real saviour of the people. Though the enemy is carrying on many suppression campaigns, implementing carpet security by deploying lakhs of police and paramilitary forces and carrying on attacks continuously, with the active support of the people our PLGA is growing ever more.

4. Particularly, when we observe from our Unity Congress onwards, the emergence of our party on the political scene of the country as a major alternative political force is another significant success. People increasingly understand that our political line is correct. Now, citizens of our country are showing more interest in knowing about our stands and solutions regarding many problems faced by our country. For the past 63 years people are frustrated with the bankrupt politics of the various exploiting ruling class parties, revisionists who call themselves left parties and the Hindu religious chauvinists. It is now clearly seen that they are getting increasingly influenced by the politics of Maoists and moving nearer to it than in the past. We believe that this would serve as an assurance for the formation of a strong, broad and countrywide united front in the future.

Along with these main successes, we had faced some serious failures and losses too. The main ones are…

1.  As we had lost leadership forces in the enemy attack we faced serious losses. After completion of our party Congress, a considerable number of our CC members were caught by the enemy and were either killed in fake encounters or put in jails. This is the very big hindrance we are facing in achieving our goals. No doubt, this would have a grave impact on the Indian revolution.

2.  Due to the severe offensive of the enemy and our failure in understanding it properly, formulating proper counter tactics and implementing them, we were weakened in some areas and we retreated from some areas.

These are our main successes and failures. Meanwhile, the living conditions of the working class in our country are increasingly becoming worse. The peasantry is increasingly becoming penniless due to the policies imposed by the feudal and imperialist exploiters and are resorting to suicides in lakhs. In the name of new policies, the penetration of foreign capital into the fields of education, health, industry, defence, transport, media, trade etc has intensified. The exploitation, oppression and control of the imperialists increased to an unprecedented level since 1947. Severe repression is continuing on the Kashmir and North-East people who are fighting for their national liberation and right to self-determination including the right to secession. Due to the policies followed by the Indian expansionists by colluding with the US imperialists, they are bitterly hated by the people of South Asia. The socially most oppressed sections of dalits, adivasis, women and religious minorities that constitute are suffering from several problems. The state is unleashing terror on those forces which are fighting against these problems. Civil rights are becoming completely absent. None of the basic problems of the people are in a position to be solved in this present setup. The announcement by the Prime Minister that we would become a strong economic force in the 21st century and would achieve a two-digit economic growth is a big sham. While corporations belonging to the likes of Ambani, Tata, Mittal, Jindal and Essar are amassing enormous wealth and increasing their ‘development’ rate at a rapid pace, they are throwing the vast masses into the whirlpool of insufferable poverty, hunger, unemployment etc.

When we examine all these problems, it would become increasingly clear that the fundamental contradictions in our country, i.e., the contradiction between feudalism and the vast masses, between imperialism and Indian people, between capital and labour and the contradiction among the ruling classes are intensifying further. Our party is advancing forward with an attitude of taking up the problems of the people. Our political line lays emphasis on the solution to these problems. We believe that the Indian revolutionary movement would advance down the victory path only through the People’s War waged under our party leadership while strengthening our people’s army with the aim of establishing Base Areas and the United Front formed by uniting all these forces under the leadership of the proletariat. We also believe that its future would depend on how this process advances. On the whole we are looking at the future of the Indian revolutionary movement with great optimism.

Our party is serving as a beacon of hope for the oppressed masses of our country. In the midst of this decadent, corrupt and loathed system our party shines like a bright star. We are not at all saying that we have ready made solutions to all the complexities existing in the world revolution and the Indian revolution. But we have a correct political line. We are confident that we can solve all these problems in a process of making the new democratic revolution a success as the first step towards socialism and communism. We believe that all the problems faced by the society can be solved in the light of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Likewise we will learn from international experiences too. We will apply Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology to the concrete practice of Indian revolution. We will fight dogmatism and empiricism which raise their head in practice. We will firmly adhere to mass line and dedicate ourselves to fulfill the aspirations and hopes of our people. We will determinedly fight the left and right opportunist trends and revisionism which may crop up in our party and in the international communist movement. However, there are chances for mistakes and accidents to happen in the process of revolution. So, we would accept our mistakes with a genuine self-critical attitude and humility. We will correct our mistakes. We will advance in the path of revolution till the final victory in this great war waged to establish a society where there is no scope for hunger, injustice, poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, price rise, displacement, untouchbility, discrimination, social evils etc by liberating our beloved country from the exploitation and oppression of feudalism, imperialism and comprador bureaucratic capitalism. Our party has emerged out of the innumerable sacrifices of our cadres and leaders. They lay down their lives unflinchingly for people’s democracy and communism. These selfless, exemplary martyrs are the ray of hope in our society. We will definitely hold high their esteemed revolutionary tradition. We will establish their lofty human values in this society. We will steer clear of avoidable losses and display communist consciousness, courage, determination and sacrifice to fight back the cruel enemy. In this process, our party would steel itself in the flames of class struggle.

Many areas have already developed into guerilla zones in our country. In many areas people’s state power came into existence in an embryonic form. The PLGA is growing in strength and capacity. Guerilla war is intensifying. This new power is developing as the primary form of a new democratic state. But in comparison with the more than 110 crores of our population and the vastness of our country, our party is very small. We have to travel very far. True, the path is thorny. But if we continue in the revolutionary path, the future would brighten a lot.

Contrary to the parliamentary parties and all kinds of reformist organizations, the CPI (Maoist) which is based on a cadre that has unflinching faith in their aim, a sacrificing nature and dedication is shining like a bright sun, lighting up all the darkness surrounding our country. Indian people want revolution. They are advancing in the path of People’s War for building a new society. The dawn of New Democratic revolution is unfolding. Let us march into the bright sunlight of the new society which is unfolding on the horizon. Lal Salaam !

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Former IGP convicted in Verghese case

Posted by ajadhind on October 28, 2010

Central Bureau of Investigation special judge S. Vijayakumar on Wednesday convicted the former Inspector-General of Police, K. Lakshmana, in the Verghese fake encounter case. Naxalite leader A. Verghese was killed 40 years ago in Wayanad.

The judge, however, acquitted P. Vijayan, former Director-General of Police and third accused, in the absence of sufficient evidence against him.

The judge found Mr. Lakshmana, the second accused, guilty of the offence punishable under Section 302 (murder) read with Section 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

The sentence will be pronounced on Thursday.

Mr. Lakshmana and Mr. Vijayan were present in the court when the verdict was delivered. Mr. Lakshmana was later remanded to a sub-jail in Kochi.

The CBI took over the investigation on a directive from the High Court in 1999.

The directive came on a writ petition alleging that the Naxalite leader was killed in a fake encounter in 1970 in the Thirunelli forest in Wayanad.

The police version that Verghese died in an encounter was blown apart by the former police constable, P. Ramachandran Nair, who came out with an astonishing revelation in 1998 — some 28 years after the incident — that he had shot Verghese dead on the orders of the then Superintendent of Police, Mr. Vijayan, and the then Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr. Lakshmana.

Ramachandran Nair died in November 2006.

As many as 31 witnesses, including Verghese’s brother, were examined before the court after the trial began in April.

The special judge mainly relied on the evidence of A.K. Mohammed Haneef, a former policeman who was present in the forest along with Ramachandran Nair; Prabhakara Warrier, a classmate of Verghese, and agricultural labourer Jogi, for convicting the second accused.

The court observed; “It is proved beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that Verghese, who was caught alive, was brutally killed by A1 [Ramachandran Nair], who was a stooge at the hands of A2 [Mr. Lakshmana], who on his order/command brought about his plan. It is thus satisfied that the theory of Verghese’s death in police encounter is an advance defence moulded as a pretext to commit the crime.”

The court said the deposition of Mr. Haneef was sufficient to prove that it was Ramachandran Nair who fired the shot on Mr. Lakshmana’s orders. Mr. Haneef’s statement established the presence of Mr. Lakshmana on the spot.

“The offence of murder had been committed as good as by the second accused.”

The judge also said that the chances of the Naxalite leader, who was alone in the forest, engaging in an encounter with a team of armed policemen “were remote.”

Acquitting Mr. Vijayan, the judge said that the evidence “was not sufficient to prove the involvement of the third accused in the crime beyond reasonable doubt.”

 

 

Posted in Comrades, KERALA | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Shoot And Shut Up

Posted by ajadhind on September 9, 2010

source – outlook

Slash And Burn Approach

The State is bearing down on dissent by killing even those who want to talk peace

“In the Azad case an FIR has been made out against a man who has been killed by the cops. It’s as if they are judge and jury.” Colin Gonsalves, Advocate, rights activist “Azad was deputed for the peace talks by the Maoists. The home minister’s refusal to recognise his killing shows the State’s intent.” Arundhati Roy, Writer, activist

“We are moving from constitutional democracy to one that is populist. It won’t be surprising if we soon move towards mob rule.” Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah, Former chief justice of India “With Azad’s killing, it seems the State wants Operation Greenhunt to go on, keep blaming the Maoists and snuff out peace talks.” Kavita Srivastav, PUCL activist

A deafening silence from the government has greeted demands for an independent probe into the death of Chemkuri Azad Rajkumar after reports in Outlook and other media raised serious questions about the police encounter. The post-mortem indicated death by a shot fired at point-blank range. When Outlook took the post-mortem report to independent experts, not saying it was of Azad, they concurred with the earlier finding that the wounds and other signs indicated death from a shot fired from “less than 7.5 cm” away.

Azad’s death is not the death of just any Maoist leader. Some may say the state is well within its rights to kill the leader of an armed rebellion, but his death could well perpetuate a conflict without end.

“I don’t think people have fully grasped the true significance of the killing of Azad. There have been killings like this before in Andhra Pradesh. Fake encounter killings have a fixed format. They just change the name of the person killed. So why should it be any more or less significant in Azad’s case?” asks Arundhati Roy. The writer-activist, who has  spent considerable time with the Maoists, reporting on them, says Azad’s death indicates “the government desperately needs this war to clear the land and push ahead with what it wants to”.

“Azad,” says Arundhati, “was the man deputed by the Maoist party to represent them in the proposed peace talks. For the police to kill him in this way, and for the Union home minister to refuse to take cognisance of this extra-judicial killing, tells a great deal about the government’s real attitude towards the peace talks.” The hundreds of MoUs signed by the government with corporates “are waiting to be actualised. The government wants to escalate this war to sort out what it views as a problem. Peace talks would interfere with the momentum and be an unnecessary impediment”.

“We are moving away from a constitutional democracy to a populist democracy, and mob rule is just a step away,” says M.N. Venkatachaliah, former chief justice of India. A constitutional democracy, he says, works under institutional safeguards. It was under Venkatachaliah’s tenure as chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (nhrc) that guidelines on encounter deaths were spelt out and states were expected to follow them. As encounter deaths—more recently that of Azad—continue unabated at the hands of the State, Venkatachaliah is perturbed that the guidelines are not being followed at all. In fact, he says the attitude of the State can be summed up as follows: “Show me the man, and I will show you the law.”

But Union home secretary G.K. Pillai rejects any calls for an independent inquiry into Azad’s death (see following interview). While Pillai supports the state government’s version of the encounter, the state’s dgp, R.R. Girish Kumar, reiterates “whatever allegations made by Maoists or their frontal organisations are baseless”. The Maoists, he says, are taking some point in the post-mortem report and trying to blow it up in a disproportionate manner. “The allegations on the post-mortem report contents are not true,” he says.

But Kavita Srivastav, of the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), feels otherwise. “This is called faking the encounter. And there has been no magisterial inquiry till date. With Azad’s killing it appears that the government wants to continue Operation Greenhunt, continue denouncing the Maoists and snuff out any chance of a peace process. The implications of his killing are sinister and dangerous.”

Kavita is clear that as a first step, “the Supreme Court should uphold the Andhra Pradesh High Court order of 2009, which states that every encounter killing must be investigated. That will have far-reaching implications on such killings. Having done that, the apex court should suo motu take note of such killings and order a judicial inquiry. Parliament must also legislate to check such killings by the state.” That may not happen in a hurry.

Arundhati feels that Azad’s killing, along with the others who have been killed so far, is a cause for concern and needs to be challenged. “The way the peace talks are being approached by both sides is amateurish. It’s true that the talks held in Andhra were a debacle. But still, there were important lessons for both sides to be learnt from the debacle. It took more than a year just to finalise a committee of concerned citizens to initiate the talks. Each person on that committee had impeccable credentials and public standing. It wasn’t a question of arbitrarily suggesting names to the media (like the Maoists are doing), nor of arbitrarily selecting a person like Swami Agnivesh (like home minister P. Chidambaram did).”

She also says, “Finally, there are many other groups who have been raising the same issues as the Maoists are—but peacefully and within the ambit of the law. However, the government doesn’t seem to be even pretending to be interested in peace talks with them. That says something about the waging of an armed struggle.”

In Azad’s case, “two FIRs should have been registered by the police. In this case an FIR has been registered against the man who was killed by the police. It’s like the police are the judge and the jury and Azad is the accused person. It’s a travesty of law,” says Supreme Court lawyer and human rights activist Colin Gonsalves. He, too, draws attention to the Andhra Pradesh High Court order of 2009, which clearly stated that an FIR has to be registered in case of an encounter killing and this is the law of the country. But with the Supreme Court granting a stay on that judgement following an appeal by the Andhra Pradesh government and its police, encounter deaths continue to remain outside the pale of an independent inquiry. So, ironically, while it seems to be good in law to gun down a man in cold blood, it conveys the impression that it is  bad in law to order an independent inquiry into such executions.

Posted in ANDHRAPRADESH, Comrades, ENCOUNTER, GREEN HUNT | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

SOLIADRITY MESSAGE FROM COMMUNIST PARTY OF AFGHANISTAN

Posted by ajadhind on August 30, 2010

On the Occasion of Martyrdom of Comrade Azad:

Expressing solidarity with Communist Party of India (Maoist)

Comrade Azad, spokesperson for Communist Party of India (Maoist), was murdered on July 1st 2010. Let us honour his memory and continue on his path!
Comrade Azad was a member of central committee and also a member of the politbureau of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). His death is a big loss for the CPI (Maoist), the Indian revolution, the revolutions of the region, and also the global revolution. He would have played a very critical and decisive role at the current juncture: at a time when the reactionary Indian state on one hand has mobilized more than 250000 police and mercenary forces against the Maoist peoples war within the framework of a large military campaign called Operation Green Hunt, and on the other hand it is espousing a deceptive propaganda about “peace talks” and “ceasefire.” His murder at the hands of Andra Pardesh’s special forces, and that even in another state, which is even illegal under the laws of the Indian state, illustrates the fact that the reactionary state is using the false propaganda around “ceasefire” and “peace talks” as a façade for hiding its anti-people brutal repression and for this purpose they would even break their own laws. The resistance of the masses under the leadership of CPI (Maoist) against “Operation Green Hunt” that spreads across twenty states out of 28 Indian states is a resistance against the comprador policies of the reactionary Indian state which is making possible the vast plunder and pillage of the natural resources of India by multinational corporations. In the process of the ongoing resistance, which continuously expands and spreads, the masses of people are selflessly giving sacrifices and also give tough blows to the vicious and repressive forces of the reactionary state. The officials of the reactionary Indian state and at its helm the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, since the last few years is continuously declaring that the Maoist peoples war is the biggest threat to the Indian state.
The armed struggle and the current peoples war in India that is being led by CPI (Maoist) is the continuation of the Naxalite uprising that began a few decades ago in that country. Now this revolutionary war has spread across the vast and populous country and directly affects the lives of hundreds of millions of Indian masses, the martyrdom of comrade Azad, as one of the central and top leaders of the movement is considered an important success for the reactionary and atrocious Indian armed forces. But, among the hundreds of millions of the revolutionary Indian masses, there are many more `Azads’ and many other `Azads’ will join the battle. The people’s war in India can and should successfully overcome this loss and continue ahead until the total victory of the revolution.
Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan on the path of struggle for starting the peoples war in Afghanistan, whose specific character at the current juncture is the people’s revolutionary national war of resistance against the imperialist occupiers and their puppet regime will commemorate comrade Azad and expresses its solidarity with CPI (Maoist) and the peoples war in that country on the occasion of this loss.

Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan
July 15, 2010

Posted in AFGHANISTAN, Comrades, solidarity | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Azad killing was murder: Mamata

Posted by ajadhind on August 10, 2010

LALGARH: Trinamool Congress chief and railway minister Mamata Banerjee lived up to her reputation of being a maverick politician at a rally in Lalgarh, West Bengal, on Monday.

Putting herself at odds with her own government’s assessment that Naxalism is India’s biggest internal security threat, Mamata Banerjee on Monday questioned the killing of a Maoist leader and virtually offered them an olive branch. “Give me a date and time for the talks. Let this politics of murder and terror stop. If need be, the joint operations have to stop during the negotiations,” she said.

Referring to the encounter death of Maoist chief spokesman Cherukuri Rajkumar, popularly known as Azad, in Andhra Pradesh on July 2, Mamata described it as ‘khoon (murder)’. “Azad’s killing was not right. Swami Agnivesh has told me they want to talk again.”

Mamata clearly does not mind if her comments raise eyebrows in Delhi. She is ready to bear with the unease — as long as it serves to mobilize people against the ruling CPM in rural West Bengal.

Posted in ANDHRAPRADESH, Comrades, GREEN HUNT, IN NEWS, NAXALISM, WESTBENGAL | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Killing Azad: Silencing the Voice of Revolution

Posted by ajadhind on July 26, 2010

By

N Venugopal

In a deliberate attempt to suppress the most powerful and articulate voice of Indian revolutionary movement, the state has indulged in cold-blooded, brutal assassination of Cherukuri Rajkumar, popularly known as Azad, spokesperson of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), along with freelance journalist Hemchandra Pandey on July 2. Azad was supposed to meet a courier at Sitabardi in Nagpur , Maharashtra at 11 am on July 1, to go to Dandakaranya forest from there. The courier returned back to the forest after missing him at the appointed time and place. Thus Azad might have met Pandey before that and might have been picked up either before they reached the place or at the place before the courier reached there. Dead bodies of both of them were shown on a hillock in the forest between Jogapur and Sarkepalli villages in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh, about 250 kms from Nagpur , with a story of an encounter that took place in the early hours of July 2. Since the “encounter” stories are very common and Azad is a very important functionary in the Maoist movement, this killing raises several questions that remain unanswered.

Andhra Pradesh is a state with about a dozen television news channels and one gets information flashes within minutes of happening. Around 9 in the morning on July 2 the channels started flashing that there was an “encounter” in which two Maoists were killed. Slowly the news developed to identify the dead bodies of two “top leaders” in the beginning and a “top leader” (“because there was one AK-47”) and his courier later. Within the next few hours it was speculated that the deceased were Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and Pulluri Prasada Rao alias Chandranna, secretary of North Telangana Special Zonal Committee. By afternoon Gudsa Usendi, spokesperson of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee came online and told the channels that the second person might be Sahadev, an adivasi courier sent to fetch Azad, after an appointment in Nagpur . By the next day Usendi came again online and told that Sahadev returned back safely after not finding Azad at the rendezvous. Almost at the same time, friends of Hemchandra Pandey recognized the picture of his dead body that appeared in New Delhi edition of Telugu daily Eenadu and Pandey’s wife Babita announced that at a press conference in Delhi . Pandey was not identified for the first two days and passed off as a Maoist and once he was identified, police started denying that he was a journalist, implying that killing a Maoist cannot be an issue.

The official version of the incident goes like this: On the night of July 1 police got information that there was some movement of Maoists in Maharashtra – Andhra Pradesh border forests for the last 10-15 days and a combing party consisting of police from both the states went in search of them. Around 10.30 in the night the police party identified the Maoists and asked them to surrender, but the intransigent Maoists, numbering around 20, started firing at them. In order to defend themselves the police returned the fire and the exchange of fire continued till 2.30 in the morning. The police party could not search the area due to pitch darkness and came back next morning to find out two unidentified dead bodies, along with an AK-47, a 9 mm pistol, two kit bags and revolutionary literature.

However, newspaper readers in Andhra Pradesh are sick of this version that they have been reading the same sentences over and over again for the last forty years with changes in proper nouns alone. That nobody believed the version handed out by police and accepted Usendi’s statement was a commentary on the credibility of state machinery.

There are a number of reasons even usual believers in police stories could not trust this time round: Azad is known for his vigilant and alert attitude so much that police do not even have his recent photograph and content with a 30-year old picture of him. Given the importance of Azad as a member of politbureau and central committee, he would not be alone and would be protected by a well-guarded team if he were in forests. He could have been unarmed and single only if he were in an urban area. Newspersons who visited the site where dead bodies were shown also said that it was difficult terrain and would have been impossible for police coming out without a bruise, if it were a real exchange of fire. More over, there were no tell-tale signs of exchange of fire at the place except two bullets and the nearby villagers did not hear any sounds of gun fire, even as police claim that cross firing lasted for four hours.

The ruling class’ wrath against Rajkumar was so much that even his dead body was not allowed to be accorded due honour. Rajkumar’s mother, an ailing 75-year old Cherukuri Karuna, pleaded with the High Court to direct the government to bring the body from the remote Jogapur forest to Hyderabad , instead of a nearby hospital that does not have necessary equipment to protect the body from decomposition. She told the court that her age and health would not permit her to go all the way to Adilabad district and hence her request should be considered sympathetically. The court directed the police to postpone the post-mortem till the mother sees the dead body of her son, as if it was benevolently granting permission to a mother to see her son’s dead body. Even at the ill-equipped hospital at Mancherial, where hundreds of people gathered to pay their last respects to Azad, heavy police force was deployed and people were dispersed with lathicharge. Finally the police allowed mother and brothers only inside the hospital.

Azad is a very popular leader of the CPI (Maoist) and in his capacity as spokesperson of the central committee of the party he interacted with a number of media organisations, including EPW, as well as with important members of civil society during the lat couple of years. People who know Azad for a long time describe him as the personification of commitment, experience and expertise.

Cherukuri Rajkumar was born into a middle class family of Krishna district in May 1954. His father, an ex-service man, shifted to Hyderabad to run a small restaurant to raise a family of four sons and a daughter, Rajkumar being the second son. Rajkumar had his primary education in Hyderabad and secondary education at Sainik School , Korukonda in Vizianagaram district. He did his graduation in chemical engineering at Regional Engineering College (REC), Warangal and post graduation in marine engineering at Andhra University , Visakhapatnam . He was a brilliant student throughout and his mother remembers: “He suffered from eyesight problem when he was in class X and had to begin using contact lenses. Initially he could not adjust to the lenses and arranged a friend to read out the lessons to him. By just listening, he secured distinction in seven subjects that year.” Even when he was an activist, his teachers and friends say, he was a meritorious student as well as a prize winner in elocution and essay writing contests.

Srikakulam struggle broke out when Rajkumar was in high school and several of his family members were influenced by the struggle. His maternal grandfather’s family settled in Adilabad district and some of them were part of peasant struggles in that area along with Kondapalli Seetaramaiah, one of the founders of the Naxalite movement in Andhra Pradesh. Rajkumar used to spend his summer vacation in that area and was influenced by the revolutionary environment around.

By the time he joined REC in 1972, it was a hot bed of revolutionary student movement, inspired by peasant movements in Warangal district, and being a very sensitive and sharp person, he became a part of that fervour. He was two years junior to and follower of Surapaneni Janardhan, a very effective radical student leader. Not only the impact of Janardhan, but also the peasant and working class movements in and around Warangal in the pre-Emergency days made a lasting impression on Rajkumar. Students of REC were in the forefront in forming Andhra Pradesh Radical Students Union (RSU) at state level in October 1974 and Rajkumar was part of that group. While the RSU held its first conference in February 1975 in Hyderabad , it had to undergo severe repression within three months, with the imposition of Emergency. Several radical students went underground to avoid arrest as well as to organise peasants. Rajkumar was also arrested under the MISA and let off after a couple of months. Janardhan, along with three other student activists, were killed in a fake encounter in July 1975 in Giraipalli forest in Medak district.

Giraipalli killing, along with several other killings, created furore in post-Emergency period. Janardhan, like Rajan, another REC student from Calicut , became a symbol of democratic rights movement then. Jayaprakash Narayan set up a people’s fact finding committee under the leadership of V M Tarkunde to enquire the fake encounters in Andhra Pradesh. It was Rajkumar who helped Tarkunde Committee in gathering the necessary information and protecting the witnesses in Giraipalli forest and surrounding villages. Tarkunde Committee’s report led to the constitution of Justice V Bhargava Commission which held its enquiry during 1977-78. It was again Rajkumar who helped the defence team led by K G Kannabiran in arguing the case before the commission. K G Kannabiran fondly remembered the help and efficient assistance rendered by Rajkumar during those days, in his autobiography 24 Gantalu, published in 2009.

Radical Students Union was revived after Emergency and held its second conference in Warangal in February 1978 and Rajkumar, by that time doing his M Tech in Visakhapatnam , became its state president. It was at this conference, RSU gave the famous call of “Go to Villages” to students. These village campaigns of students brought out a sea change in the outlook of participating students as well as spreading the revolutionary message at the grassroots. The campaign was a prelude to Karminagar – Adilabad peasant struggles and in turn RSU gained strength through the peasant movement.  The ‘Go to Villages’ campaigns directly led to the formation of Radical Youth League in May 1978 and Raithucooli Sangham in 1980. During these historic years, Rajkumar was the president of RSU. He was re-elected twice at the third conference in Anantapur in February 1979 and fourth conference in Guntur in February 1981. However, by the time of Guntur conference he was being hunted by police and he could not even attend the public proceedings.

In the meanwhile, both as the president of RSU and as a student of M Tech at Andhra University he led a number of struggles in Visakhapatnam in particular and throughout the state in general. Struggle against private local transport system in Visakhapatnam , under his leadership, resulted in nationalisation of city buses. He was a powerful public speaker and addressed hundreds of meetings of students and others till 1981. All these activities made him a dangerous person in the eyes of state and he was implicated in a number of cases, beginning from his arrest under the MISA in 1975 till arrest in a case of exceeding permitted time of a public meeting in Narsapur and burning national flag in Visakhapatnam .

During the second half of 1980 itself he chose to become whole timer and began his underground life and there was no looking back. However, even working clandestinely he never lost touch with people and his activity spread far and wide. In August 1981, RSU organised an all India seminar on the nationality question in India in Madras . Rajkumar wrote an introductory pamphlet as well as a paper to be presented at the seminar on behalf of APRSU. This seminar connected various students’ organisations of different nationality struggles as well as radical democratic movements. As a follow up of the seminar, Revolutionary Students’ Organisations Co-ordination Committee (RSOCC) was formed and culminating four years of deliberations, All India Revolutionary Students’ Federation (AIRSF) held its first conference in Hyderabad in 1985. Rajkumar was one of the major forces that coordinated all these efforts.

For the next 25 years, he worked in different areas like Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Dandakaranya, giving theoretical, political and organisational inputs to struggles in all these places. He guided party units and committees in all these states as well as South-western Regional Bureau. He is known to have acquired fluency in at least six languages during this time. It is learnt that he used different names at different points of time for the sake of camouflage or depending on the nature of the job. He was known as Uday, Madhu, Janardhan, Prakash, and Gangadhar at different points of time. Though he was part of a collective decision-making body of the party, his personal contribution in terms of vision, expertise in several fields and a sharp insight into different developing themes helped the movement quite a bit. He was a voracious reader and a prolific writer. Given the nature of his clandestine activity he wrote under different pseudonyms, and more often credited his writings to collective, but one could easily identify his style in numerous writings in Voice of the Vanguard, People’s March, People’s Truth, Maoist Information Bulletin, etc. His hand could be identified in various documents of the party also. It is reported that he began thinking of international activity and solidarity about 15 years ago, demonstrating that he looked much ahead. There is an unconfirmed report that he participated in an international conclave of Maoist parties held in Brazil a few years ago. It is also reported that he was instrumental in setting up Co-ordination Committee of Maoist Parties in South Asia (CCOMPOSA) and addressed its meetings several times.

A couple of instances of his theoretical, political and organisational guidance and coordination are worth mentioning:

When K Balagopal raised some fundamental questions on the relevance of Marxism as an instrument of social transformation, even as accepting it as an efficient tool of analysis, in 1993, a number of revolutionary sympathisers felt disillusioned and a theoretical rebuttal was expected from the party. It was Rajkumar who wrote a critical essay in 1995 and another in 2001 answering all the philosophical questions of Balagopal. Despite being so critical on the questions of perspective, Azad paid rich tributes to Balagopal after the latter’s demise. The condolence statement stands as a model in recording both positive and negative aspects – respecting the significance of Balagopal’s contributions to people’s movements as well as mentioning post-modernist tendencies in him.

Consistently exploring the importance of the nationality question in India , he was again instrumental in holding an international seminar on nationality question, under the auspices of All India People’s Resistance Forum (AIPRF) in February 1996. Participated by scholars like William Hinton, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Luis Jalandoni, Raymond Lotta, Jalil Andrabi, Manoranjan Mohanty, this seminar had more than 30 papers on various nationality movements in India and across the globe. The seminar led to the formation of the Committee for Co-ordination of Nationalities and Democratic Movements (CCNDM), an important milestone in the expansion of revolutionary people’s movement in the country.

In 2002, the government of Andhra Pradesh accepted the proposal of some well-meaning intellectuals and Committee of Concerned Citizens (CCC) to hold talks with the then CPI (ML) Peoples War to bring about peace. It was Rajkumar who guided the efforts of peace negotiations on the part of the revolutionary party and he wrote a number of statements, gave interviews to newspapers clarifying the party’s position. The talks could not go ahead at that time, except a preliminary round between the emissaries proposed by the party and the government representatives.

Rajkumar was also part of the collective that guided Mumbai Resistance 2004, an event organised parallel to World Social Forum, which attracted quite a few revolutionary organisations from various countries towards the people’s movements in India under the leadership of the CPI (ML) Peoples War.

Again in 2004, in Andhra Pradesh the Congress party made an election promise to hold talks with the revolutionary parties and came to power. This time round the talks moved a little forward till the first round of negotiations between the representatives of CPI (Maoist) and CPI (ML) Janasakthi on one hand and the representatives of the government on the other. Beginning in May 2004 when Congress acquired power till January 2005, when the party withdrew from the process after gross violations of cease-fire agreement and spate of encounters on the part of the government, it was again Rajkumar who guided and prepared a lot of statements and documents for the talks. In fact, the party was so well prepared for the effort that it wrote the agenda, it prepared background papers on the three issues that were discussed and it circulated a number of documents and met with different sections of people to share the party’s point of view, while the government, with its mammoth machinery and all resources at its disposal, could not even prepare a single sheet of information throughout and the government representative did not do any home work.

Then again beginning with 2007 when the Prime Minister described the Maoist movement as the biggest internal threat, Rajkumar consistently exposed the real intentions of mining mafia behind the onslaught, including Operation Greenhunt. Through various writings and interviews in several media, he elaborated the party’s positions on various issues including the peace process. Indeed, a number of statements given by him, an 18-page interview along with audio sent to press in October 2009, his 12,262-word interview given to the Hindu in April 2010 and his letter of May 31, 2010 in response to Home Minister P Chidambaram’s letter of May 10 to Swami Agnivesh are crystal clear expositions of what the CPI (Maoist) thinks and does right now.

Azad’s killing is an integral part of the Operation Greenhunt and by killing him the government wanted to scuttle the voice of resistance and revolution. The Operation Greenhunt is a mission of the Indian ruling classes to surrender rich resources of Indian people to MNCs and their Indian junior partners. Rajkumar was also a great resource of Indian people and the ruling classes have eliminated this resource since he was a powerful expression among those obstructing the outright plunder of people’s natural resources.

nvenugopal61@ gmail.com

N Venugopal is Editor, Veekshanam, Telugu monthly journal of political economy and society.

Posted in ANDHRAPRADESH, Comrades, GREEN HUNT, MADHYAPRADESH, NAXALISM, ORISSA | Leave a Comment »

6 Naxals killed in an encounter in West Bengal

Posted by ajadhind on July 26, 2010

Six Naxals, including a woman cadre, were killed after night long encounter between the security forces and the Naxals near the Motera jungle in West Bengal.

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Reportedly, a CRPF commando was also killed in the encounter.

The CRPF sources said, “Acting on a specific intelligence, a joint-team of the CRPF and special anti-Naxal force SAF went into the operation in the dense forests under Golatore police station last night.”

Maoists were unaware of the attack
As the Maoists had not anticipated this move, they were surprised by the attack by the security forces.

The encounter ended in the wee hours of today morning. Twelve weapons, including SLRs and INSAS rifles, were recovered from the spot.

As per the reports from the officials, one of the persons killed was Siddhu Soren.

Siddhu Soren was the top Naxal commander in the state. He was also the secretary of the Maoist based People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA).

Another encounter in Jharkhand
Besides an encounter in West Bengal, a 20-hour long gunfight also took place in Jharkhand between the Naxals and security forces, which resulted in the destruction of a Maoist camp.

The police officials had suspected the presence of Pahan, well-known as Veerappan of Karnataka, along with 45 other Maoists in Jaranburu hill in the area bordering Khuti and Seraikela districts.

Reportedly, the gun battle started on Sunday in areas bordering Khuti, Seraikela and Kharsawa districts and continued overnight.

Nearly, 900 security personnel including CRPF and STF were involved in the operation.

Posted in Comrades, GREEN HUNT, NAXALISM | 1 Comment »

Azad’s assassination: An insight into the Indian state’s response to peoples’ resistance

Posted by ajadhind on July 26, 2010

by Gautam Navlakha, sanhati

The assassination of Cherukuri Raj Kumar a.k.a Azad on July 1-2, 2010 killed a senior leader of the CPI (Maoist) and scuttled a peace process thus virtually destroying the hopes of millions of Indians who wanted the government offensive against the Maoists to be halted. In this sense it was a double killing.

We were encouraged by the news reports that the Union Home Minister had written to Swami Agnivesh on May 11, 2010 to explore the possibility of a 72 hour ceasefire to pave the way for talks between the Maoists and the Indian State and the letter sent by Cherukuri Rajkumar a.k.a Azad, on 31st May, 2010 reiterated that Maoist party was serious about talks. In particular, unlike in the past, party’s response was unambiguously positive. Azad wrote that “to ensure the establishment of peace there should be ceasefire or cessation of hostilities by both sides simultaneously instead of asking one side to abjure violence … lift the ban on the party and mass organizations so as to facilitate them to take up open forms of struggle …. initiate measures to release Party leaders as a prelude to the release of political prisoners …. and …. stop all its efforts to escalate the war including the measures of calling back all the para military forces deployed in the war zones.” Indeed even in his interview given to The Hindu (April 14,2010) he had stated in response to the question whether by engaging in talks the Maoists wanted “to buy time” or is it a “re-evaluation of political strategy” he had been candid. He had said that “it does not need much of a common sense to understand that both sides will utilize a situation of ceasefire to strengthen their respective sides.” But he pointed out that “talks will give some respite to the people who are oppressed and suppressed under the fascist jackboots of the Indian state and state-sponsored terrorist organizations…”. In the same interview he also reminded that it was the “imposition of the ban that had led the Party and the mass organizations to take up arms in the first place…….What shook the rulers at that time (in 1978) and compelled them to declare Jagtyala and Sircila taluks in Karimnagar district of North Telengana as disturbed areas in 1978 was not the armed struggle of the Maoists (which had suffered a complete setback …by 1972) but the powerful (movement against) anti-feudal order in the countryside….” In short the manner in which the party responded this time further inspired hopes in the possibility of ending the war.

Granted that hope generated about prospects of talk had weak foundation. No political party in government power has ever shown willingness to engage in sincere dialogue with the revolutionary left. This should caution us against raising our hope. The 2004-05 peace talks between the Maoists and the Andhra Pradesh government ended because fake encounters continued to be carried out by the AP police and so did Maoists retaliation. Thus even before substantive issues could be taken up talks got sabotaged and AP police crackdown ensued which dealt a severe setback to Maoists in AP. However, we also know that sooner or later both sides have to talk.

The assassination of Azad on July 1-2 has made the already difficult task bleak.

It is evident from facts available in the public domain that Cherukuri Raj Kumar a.k.a Azad and Hem Pande were unarmed when they travelled to Nagpur where Azad was to meet a courier between 11.30-1.30 pm of July 1, 2010. They left on June 30th from somewhere in north India and were disappeared most likely on the morning of 1st July either before the train reached Nagpur or on reaching Nagpur. It appears that he was on his way, among other reasons, to meet other senior leaders of CPI (Maoist) to decide on the date from which 72 hour ceasefire was to commence. Swami Agnivesh had communicated to him on June 26 that “Maoists should set a date for abjuring violence for 72 hours. In my letter I had suggested three dates: July 10, 15 and 20. Before he could respond, the police killed him.” (The Sunday Times, 18 July, 2010).

It is alleged that Azad was killed because the Maoists did not cease their ambushes causing fatalities which demoralized security force personnel, such as the June 29 ambush in Narayanpur district of Bastar in which 29 CRPF jawans lost their lives. While ceasefire had not commenced and both sides were engaged in attacking each other it is one thing for such attacks and counter-attacks to continue. However, the greyhound which kidnapped Azad and then killed him were aware of his identity (but not of his companion) and therefore knew that he was engaged in talks with the government. They could have either allowed him to travel or else to arrest him and his companion. The fact that they chose to do neither meant that they had sanction to liquidate him. And therefore, it is likely that the AP greyhound knew that by doing so they would be scuttling the incipient peace process.

After this it would be difficult for Maoists to heed the demand for cessation of hostilities if a leader engaged in these backchannel contacts can be eliminated. Because it sends a message that no one is safe at the hands of trigger happy security forces. On the other hand it imperils the efforts of all those who wanted to end this war from escalating. From circumstantial evidence it is clear that warmongers have won this round. The July 14th 2010 meeting of the chief ministers of Naxalite-affected states makes it clear that the Indian government post-Azad assassination is going ahead with escalating its war efforts. For instance it was announced at the meeting that 36 battallions of India Reserve force will be added to the 105 already raised along with 16,000 more Special police officers (SPOs – civilians trained and armed by the government to combat Maoists) bringing their strength to 30,000. However, this falls short of the numbers touted by no less than Union Home Secretary who told Economic Times (April 19th, 2010) that “our (armed) police requirement today is roughly three and half lakhs short….we want to reach the UN average and to get to it I need another five lakh policemen. So we need to recruit eight lakh over next five years…” or 175,000 jawans annually.

Also in order to prepare the way for army deployment four unified commands are being setup headed by the chief secretary and with a retired major general as an advisor. Indeed the army chief, two days after the meeting of the CMs, told his senior officers to be “mentally prepared to step into the fight against Naxalism….It might be in six months or in a year or two but if we have to maintain our relevance as a tool of the state, we will have to undertake things that the nation wants us to.” (Indian Express 17 July 2010).

This may persuade some to question the political strategy of the Maoists and blame them for widening the war. This would be a grossly erroneous exercise. To essentialise the issue of Maoist violence is the way in which class society dehumanizes struggles and movements. If the bottomline is that reproduction of social inequality is unacceptable then those who believe in step-by-step process, and others in leap or qualitative jump, from one stage to another, must accept that there will remain a divide and yet both are also symbiotically linked to each other. Those who decry armed struggle claim that popular movements can make existing institutions responsive to people’s needs.

The point is such efforts were being made even when Maoists had not emerged as the biggest threat to the Indian ruling classes and have not ceased because of Maoist rebellion. Except such efforts have actually gained more leverage thanks to the Maoist movement emerging strong. This becomes even more remarkable because in 2004-05 when Maoists were dealt a blow in Andhra Pradesh and more or less wiped out with mere presence in a single district followed by Salwa Judum type repression in Chattisgarh. No one believed that they would emerge stronger this time around. Well they did. So much so that almost all the contemporary social welfare legislations, be it NREGA, Forest Act, enforcement of PESA, proposal to make joint forest management committees managed by the gram sabha…and the Planning Commission’s “Special Problems of Tribal Development” have all been inspired or advocated by referring to the need to wean away the poorest among the poor from the Maoists/ Naxalites? Consider that the Prime Minister had drawn attention to the need to withdraw lakhs of cases filed against the tribals for petty crimes, since 1980, lest such persecution of tribals drive them to join Maoists/Naxalites. The union law minister had opined that “(t)here is a feeling among the common citizens, especially the poor, women, the elderly and the weaker sections, that the legal and judicial process is far removed from them.” He added that common man’s disenchantment was manifesting itself in “new form of violence and strife – civil unrest, armed peasant and tribal movement, Naxalite and Maoist rebellion.” (HT 25/10/2009). One can go on and on….

Thus even peaceful or non-violent movements owe their credibility or their relative effectiveness to the Maoists armed resistance. Then why should anyone decry Maoists for their armed resistance or want them to stop the war when resistance itself derives succor from this? It is important, I believe, to keep exploring possibilities of peace which can enable the Maoists to work openly and launch mass struggles because they have captured the imagination of the poorest among the poor.

Moreover, while violence will continue to play a role, as long as State pursues militaristic approach, violence also has its limits. These limits are set by politics. It is one thing to resist but another to promote alternative politics. While displacement, land grab by and for mining and mineral based conglomerates, forest rights, welfare needs have received spotlight, alternative to the present order of things is somehow missing. Why is it that ten thousand suicides by farmers evokes less revulsion than a criminal act committed by the Maoists? Consider that received wisdom which regards prospects of agriculture playing a role in the growth process to be negligible, particularly, from the viewpoint of employment generation and as driver of economic growth. What does the revolutionary left, in particular the Maoists, have to offer to reverse the decline of agriculture, which accounts for livelihood needs of 60% of the rural workforce? Do we not need the alternative and not just a critique of this received wisdom. Will land reform/distribution invigorate production and generate employment? On the other hand if manufacturing is the key sector to bring about equitable development is it to be an unbridled growth or be planned? Wherein should investments go? What should be the mineral policy? Should we, for instance, halt mining of bauxite? Why must it be the case? Do we need poverty reduction so that state can play benevolent role? Or is there an alternate vision for removal of poverty and empowering the people? How is it that decade long military suppression in NE and J&K does not encourage us to ponder the nature of our State which can year in and year out crush movements which demand right of self-determination, an eminently democratic and peaceful approach? Is the Indian state anti-Muslim, pro-Hindu, racist….or a repressive state which presents itself as one or the other depending on which section of people it is engaged in crushing and therefore demonizing. The point is that for left to be credible it must go beyond surface manifestation of wrong and address the underlying causes and processes which account for skewed and unequal and stunted growth. Regrettably, parliamentary left despite 58 years of open politics and despite holding government power at provincial level, has not offered an alternate vision. Yes they have some achievement but these are hardly of the kind which inspires anyone to claim that they present a different vision of politics. While their failure does not cancel out open politics what it does is reminds us of where we fail and what we lack.

Now Indian State propagates that Naxalites are irredeemably bent upon waging a war against the Indian State and short of suppressing them there is no other option. Of course Maoists want to seize power. That is a perfectly legitimate objective. In the last four decades several Naxalite parties gave up this path to pursue non-violent parliamentary or extra parliamentary struggle. Their experience hardly inspires confidence that the Indian state has become amenable to people’s concerns now that some of these left wing rebels gave up arms. Appeal and prospect of non-violence has been undermined, by the state itself. Lest we forget be it NREGA, the forest bill or the decision to enforce Panchayat Extension to Schedule Areas, which was passed in 1996 but not implemented and so many other such issues figure on the agenda thanks to the fear that were this not done the poorest among the poor will continue to turn to Maoists.

The point is that so long as State monopolises means of violence they will remain enabled to subject people to a life of indignity and enslavement. Freedoms and liberties would remain prerogative of the middle classes to enjoy. Working people are vulnerable; no sooner they appear to have succeeded in mobilizing people and begin to question the inequalities and inadequacies of the system they become target of State’s oppressive ways. Therefore, it would be a recipe for disaster to surrender the right to offer armed resistance until such time that the State outlaws war against the people. Indeed unless people get armed one cannot neutralize the great advantage the ruling classes enjoy over means of violence, which is primarily employed against the masses.

India, for all its verbosity about non-violence, is one of the most heavily armed state both in terms of accumulation of destructive power of its arsenal as well as size of its military force, which gets force multiplied by draconian laws, and thus enables the ruling classes to practice ‘slow genocide’. Consider that 45% of children below 6 years suffer from malnutrition, malnourishment and stunted growth, or that by playing around with calorie intake, bringing it down from 2400 to 1800 or even less to 1500, one can statistically reduce the number of people living below poverty line and thus reduce Food Security entitlement for hundreds of millions of Indians! This exposes our own people to a slow death. To then argue that violence has no role to play is quite wrong. It is as good telling people to wait patiently for the fruit to fall into their lap. This may be touching display of fortitude and of religious faith, but for the fact those at the receiving end may be getting desperate after 63 years of practicing it. Ironically, whereas India dropped to 134th position in global human development index we moved up the ladder, to occupy ninth position, in military spending and 12th largest economy! Take another example whereas 126,700 High Networth Individuals (billionaires and multi-millionaires) in India own one third of gross national income of the country, 645 million Indians suffer pangs of poverty and deprivation!

Despite being weak and with patchy urban presence it is clear that Maoists enjoy legitimacy in the eyes of the poorest of the poor. Thus were the ban on the party removed they could emerge as a fulcrum around which resistance could become vigorous. Indian rulers do not want this to happen. By assassinating Azad security apparatus has thus killed a senior leader of the Maoist party, scuttled peace process and throttled the possibility of Maoists coming overground anytime in near future.

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