Revolution in South Asia

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India’s Maoists: The ban will not effect us

Posted by n3wday on June 25, 2009

lalgarh_3-1

This article was published on the revolutionary blog Ajadhind.

The ban will not effect us.

The Centre on Monday banned the Communist Party of India-Maoist as a terror organisation to avoid any ambiguity after the merger of the Communist Party of India-(Marxist Leninist) Liberation and Maoist Communist Centre in 2004. However, West Bengal’s Left Front government feels the Centre’s move would make the outfit more aggressive.

A large section of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) feels banning the Maoists will hardly make any difference on the ground and it is better to counter them politically.

On Monday, Gour Chakraborty, the CPI (Maoist) spokesman, told rediff.com over the telephone that the Centre’s stand would have no effect whatsoever on his party.

This is what he had to say:

The Centre’s stand is not a new move. It had made a similar announcement in 2004. This time it just repeated itself in the context of the Lalgarh crisis.

We, the Maoists, believe in class struggle. We make no mistake in identifying our class enemies. The government that we have at the Centre now is a capitalist government run on the maxim: The poor should get poorer and rich the richer.

It is quite, natural, therefore, that the government won’t like the existence of a people-friendly outfit like ours in an area like Jangalmahal, rich in foreset reserve, minerals and other natural resources.

Ever since we started our operations, we posed obstructions to the government’s ambition of minting money by exploiting the resources of this area. Also, it saw in us a barricade that prevented them from taking undue advantage of the residents of Jangalmahal.
The government knows that unlike the Jangalmahal people, we are armed and that we know how to deal with violence, hence a ban seems to be the best option to put a check on our activities.

However, let me tell you, the central government is thoroughly mistaken. Since inception, the CPI (Maoist) has been an underground party. It has always carried out its operations clandestinely.

Therefore, a prohibition is not going to have any influence on our party’s activities. In fact, it will only infuse into us a new sense of grit to counter the government opposition.
Interestingly, the central ban on us has put the Left Front government of West Bengal in a spot. One of the main constituents of the front happens to be the CPI-M .It is common knowledge that one Communist party can never ban another Communist party.

Therefore, the CPI-M as also a few other members of the Front, are against the ban as they have been in the past.

However, the ruling government of West Bengal, I am sure, will continue to arrest our men on the pretext of ‘fighting violence’, bring fictitious charges against them and will carry on their anti-Maoist activities across the state.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee too would not oppose the Left Front’s anti-Maoist moves as she wants most of us to be either arrested or killed prior to the 2011 assembly election.

As the spokesperson of the CPI (Maoist), all I want to say is that these ever-changing political equations amuse us greatly; crafty politicians and their shifting loyalties entertain us.

As we stand united to put up a brave fight against our class enemies, we express our deepest hatred for the ‘rotten’ political system of our country.

As told to Indrani Roy Mitra

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9 Responses to “India’s Maoists: The ban will not effect us”

  1. CPSA said

    Very interesting piece by Saroj Giri on the “dissident left’s” self-proclaimed role in balancing between the Maoist rebelion and the (neo-)liberal Indian partisan establishment: http://sanhati.com/excerpted/1602/

    Nandini Chandra’s paper presented at the Left Forum in NYC back in April on Hindu P Sainath, Indian journalism and the Maoists. Let me note this was my favorite paper at the conference: http://sanhati.com/excerpted/1601/

    I urge people interested in the Indian Maoist movement and Lalgarh and Bengal generally to peruse Sanhati’s site regularly. It’s a bit academic at times (like EPW), but they’re very good analytically and solidly Marxist in much of their content, especially strong on Bengal.

  2. fact check said

    “merger of the Communist Party of India-(Marxist Leninist) Liberation and Maoist Communist Centre in 2004.”

    Just FYI, this is factually wrong. The merger was between CPindia(ML)(People’s War) and MCCI, not CPI(ML)Liberation.

  3. red road said

    Ban on CPI (Maoist) insignificant to us: Gajurel
    Kantipur Report
    KATHMANDU, June 26 – A senior Unified CPN (Maoist) leader on Friday said the declaration of the Indian Maoist party as a terrorist organisation and ban on it does not hold any significance to the Nepali Maoists. CP Gajurel, who oversees the UCPNM’s foreign department, however, said that the decision to ban the Communist Party of India (Maoist) on the part of Indian government was wrong. Claiming that there is no connection between the worsening relationship between the Nepali Maoists and India and the declaration of CPI (Maoist) as terrorist, Gajurel, who is known as a hardliner Maoist leader, said his party prefers treating the events separately. “As far as our knowledge is concerned, the ban on the Indian Maoists has been imposed after the Lalgarh incident,” Gajurel who is also Secretariat member of the UCPNM, adding the decision of the Indian government to declare the CPI (Maoist), who are striving for social transformation, as terrorist was wrong.

  4. red road said

    FROM SOUTH ASIAN MEDIA NET

    KATHMANDU: A Nepali Maoist party on Friday urged the Indian government to lift the ban and terrorist tag imposed on the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Stating that declaration of the CPI (Maoist) which is fighting for the suppressed people and against the imperialist power as a terrorist organisation and banning it have raised its concerns, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) — a party formed by the dissident Maoist leaders like Matrika Yadav and Mani Thapa — said the decision has depicted the true face of the Indian democracy.

    Issuing a press statement here in Kathmandu signed by Mani Thapa, the central co-co-ordinator of the party, the CPN (Maoist) urged the Indian government to find the solution through dialogue and lift the ban on and accusation against the Indian Maoist party at the earliest.

    Also, the CPN (Maoist) expressed its unanimity with the movement launched by the Indian Maoist party.

    The Indian central government on Monday banned the CPI (Maoist), which was formed after the merger of CPI (ML) People’s War and MCC, as a terror oganisation after they took over the entire city of Lalgarh in West Bengal.

  5. red road said

    Solidarity Message from the Communist Party of Greece (marxist-leninist)
    Jun 26, 2009

    STOP THE IMPENDING MASSACRE IN WEST BENGAL!

    The Communist Party of Greece (marxist-leninist) strongly denounces
    the mass criminal offensive conducted by the security forces and the
    paramilitary gangs ordered by the West Bengal government against the
    fighting peasants and adivasis in Lalgarh, West Midnapor. The
    administration in Kolkata, in collaboration with the federal state
    and police forces have surrounded villages and rural areas,
    exercising brutal violence and have launched a huge tide of state
    terror along with prohibiting journalists, NGOs, and fact finding
    committees to visit Lalgarh aiming to wear down the resistance of
    poor peasants and adivasis in order to implement the land-grabbing
    policy of their lands by the multinational corporations. They have
    the impertinence to characterize as terrorists the revolutionaries,
    who under the leadership of the Communist Party of India (Maoist),
    fight in the forefront of this just struggle against the fierce
    capitalist assault of the Kalkota and New Delhi governments.
    The Communist Party of Greece (marxist-leninist) strongly denounces
    the decision of the New Delhi and Kalkota government to ban the
    Communist Party of India (Maoist), terming it a terrorist organization.
    The Communist Party of Greece (marxist-leninist) calls all the
    progressive people across the world to express their solidarity to
    the just struggle of poor peasants and adivasis in West Bengal and
    demand to stop the military assault that has been launched in the
    most brutal way.

    Communist Party of Greece (marxist-leninist)
    International Bureau
    Athens 24/6/2009

  6. CPSA said

    Fact Check you’re right, that’s a pretty glaring mistake, isn’t it? Haha. One which Liberation wouldn’t be too happy with either.

  7. Paul said

    The Solidarity Message from the Communist Party of Greece (Marxist-Leninist) and the statements by the newly formed Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) led by Mani Thapa and the Unified Communist party of Nepal (Maoist) led by Prachanda, condemning the ban on CPI (Maoist) are the real examples of proletarian Internationalism.

    Within a couple of days of the ban on CPI(Maoist) by the union government of India under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the state government of West Bengal led by CPI(Marxist) baned CPI(Maoist) under under the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1908. By banning a Communist party under a draconian law used by the British colonial rulers to crush the revolutionaries of the Indian freedom struggle,the CPI(Marxist) that has been leading the ‘Left Front’ government in West Bengal state for 30 years, has shown its real colours. It has proved its loyalty to the feudal class and the comprador big bourgeois of India and the American and British Imperialists.

    It is time for all progressive people around the world to condemn the draconian acts of Indian and West Bengal governments, who are trying to crush the revolutionary movement led by CPI(Maoist), the Peoples’ Liberation Guerrilla Army and the peoples’ militia made-up of landless peasants and tribes of Central and Eastern India.

  8. Paul said

    West Bengal tribal adviser resigns after Lalgarh ‘atrocities’

    Kolkata, June 28 (IANS) A senior adviser to West Bengal’s Left Front government resigned Saturday to protest against the “torture” of tribals in the state’s Lalgarh area that has just been cleared of armed Maoists who had declared it a “liberated” zone.

    “I have served this government with all sincerity. But the way the tribals in Lalgarh are being tortured, I never expected this from this government,” Dhirendra Nath Baske, a leading Santhali scholar, told IANS here.
    Baske, adviser to the state government’s Santhali publication Pachhim Bangla, sent in his resignation to the director of information.
    “I know the tribal psyche. They never want violence. But look at this government. Their police tortured women and innocent people after the landmine explosion on the chief minister’s convoy at Salboni in November.
    “The tribals had only demanded that police tender an apology for the atrocities. But police did not. The government also did nothing. That means the government is supporting the police action,” said Baske, a former editor of Pachhim Bangla and a one-time acting editor of Adibasi Barta – a representative magazine of West Bengal Tribal Welfare Cooperative Board.
    Security forces have launched a major offensive on the Maoists in the West Midnapore district enclave of Lalgarh, 200 km west of state capital Kolkata.
    Baske was also cut up with the government for the neglect of the Santhali Academy.
    “About seven years back, I had made arrangements to bring to Kolkata a rare miscrofilm from Oslo university on the history, society, culture and behavioural pattern of tribals 100 years back. But there was no follow-up.”

  9. red road said

    Once upon a place: Dispatches from Lalgarh

    Rahul Pandita

    From http://sanitysucks.blogspot.com/search/label/Cobra%20forces

    Every fire starts from the belly, says Ranjit Mahato. Sitting on a string cot, and occasionally caressing his bandaged leg, Mahato awaits police fury. There is just a large tree and one order between him and the police. A day before, the security personnel have liberated the Lalgarh police station. Now they wait for the order to move forward. Beyond this they dare not go. Two kilometres ahead, the road has been closed by a tree felled by the Maoists. The Maoist leaders had been camping in this area, monitoring the agitation. They have moved ahead. But Ranjit Mahato cannot go anywhere. Where does one go, leaving his home behind, he mumbles. But it is only to himself that he talks.

    A month ago, Mahato was seriously injured while escaping from the police who fired at a group of people in the Jhitka forest near his village. The people were planning their further course of action. Lalgarh was virtually cut off from the rest of West Bengal after angry villagers cut roads to protest police excesses against the tribals. On 2 November, 2008,Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee narrowly survived a landmine blast near Lalgarh. The whole agitation in Lalgarh erupted after the police action that followed. But Mahato says the fire had been simmering for quite a while – in their bellies.

    For more than three decades Lalgarh had been a CPM bastion. In the neat and tidy tribal houses, the CPM flag shared space with their deities. “We were all CPM,” Mahato says.

    But over the years, life had become tougher. In most of the villages there is no electricity. The local CPM leaders would distribute cards meant for people living below the poverty line only among a chosen few – their friends and relatives. In the ration shop the two rupee per kg. rice would be available all the time. But Mahato and many others like him would have no access to it. “We were forced to buy the same rice for seven rupees and it was scarcely available at the shop,” Mahato says. There were job cards of the rural employment guarantee scheme (NREGS). But there was no work. Many people went hungry.

    And, then, villagers started noticing a few unknown men. They would just hang around, occasionally asking people if they needed anything. They would ferry sick villagers to the town, and after few days, follow up again, offering free medicine and even monetary help. They demanded nothing in return, except the odd request to help cook a bag of rice which they would bring with them.

    In the 2008 panchayat elections, insecure CPM leaders began clamping down on villages in Lalgarh. They forcibly asked villagers to nominate CPM leaders. “One night the CPM workers came with police. They said: ‘CPM supporters stand towards the left and others to the right’. Those at the right were all taken away,” says Mahato. In the Lalgarh block, 70 people were arrested. Meanwhile, the unknown men would pay a visit to the weekly haat in the village, with a rifle now slung on their shoulders. One of them would speak about how the tribals were being exploited, and how the politicians were becoming richer. “The people would listen to them,” says Mahato. By the time the police swung into action, Lalgarh had turned into a Maoist stronghold.

    As the police deserted their positions in Lalgarh, the Maoists took over. “They encouraged us to fight with whatever was in our possession,” says a villager.

    As the security forces inched forward in Lalgarh, the Maoists retreated deeper, leaving behind villagers. The police along with the central security forces swooped upon village after village, beating up and torturing people, accusing them of being Maoist supporters.

    The police have not been issued any specific guidelines except orders to ‘flush out’ the Maoists. Since the Maoists are hardly indulging in direct encounters, the police treats every villager as a suspected Maoist. And that suspicion shows in the way they are dealing with the situation.

    The police came to Kuldiha village where they first beat up 45-year-old Vijay Mahato. They didn’t spare anyone – not even an 80-year-old woman, who was dragged by her hair by a policeman. They vandalised everything. Two motorcycles were damaged and then thrown into the village pond. A jackfruit tree was destroyed. “One of them ordered me to raise my hands, and the other started beating me up,” says Vijay. Before leaving, the policemen took away his radio and torch. Shortly afterwards, the entire village fled away, taking shelter in a nearby school. Vijay and his family stayed behind, because they had to tend to their cows. Many young men were picked up. Dozens of such villages are empty now.

    Such is the beating Ranjit Mahato has been anticipating.

    In Kamarpara village, an old man is the only one left behind. He curls up the moment he sees us entering the village. “I have done nothing,” he pleads. He is too scared after what he has witnessed. Though he does not reveal anything, other villagers who now are in the school, speak of the police brutality. In another nearby village, Janardhan Mahato watched helplessly as policemen beat up his son, and as his daughter-in-law fell at a policeman’s feet, she was kicked away. Even after she had lost consciousness, a police woman kept on slapping her senseless body.

    All schools are closed. Some of them have been taken over by the police force. The one such as in Pirakata houses the refugees now.

    From a village near Pirakata, Tarun began his walk at dawn. The night before, CPM workers came and beat up many villagers. They escaped in the dawn fearing yet another round of beating by the police. The shops have been closed for many days, and food had been hard to come by. “God only knows how we have survived all these days,” he said, on the way to Midnapore with his wife and three children. They carried a few utensils and a change of clothes. Their most prized possession was a packet of Britannia Tiger biscuits. Midnapore town is about 40 kilometres from their village. They would have to walk it down for many hours in extreme heat.

    The heat is so extreme it could kill you in few hours, sapping all water from your body. Before the Lalgarh police station is taken over by the police force, journalists wait with their notebooks and mikes, waiting for the police force to move ahead. A hen flutters around cautiously, stopping, every now and then, on one leg. There is nothing to do except wait. As they do that, journalists pass on bottles of water and potato wafers among themselves. The security men have nothing except their weapons. Some of them have dirty water bottles which they carry with string attached to their belts.

    A few stretches secured earlier by the police have been taken hold of by the angry villagers backed by the Maoists. A few armed Maoists have been spotted nearby. Some journalists and a police party rush towards that area. There is a confrontation. From a village nearby, tribals make traditional battle cries to scare the policemen. “Doesn’t it look like as if they are fighting the British?” a photographer says.

    Five minutes after the media persons leave for Midnapore town, where they are putting up in two hotels which have doubled their rates ever since, there is a landmine blast. Two policemen are injured. Deep into the forest, the COBRA Special Forces are hunting for Maoists. But the senior cadre has already shifted.

    From his hideout, the Maoist’s second-in-command, Comrade Kishenji is readying the Maoist bulletin. He is on phone continuously, giving interviews to news channels. The day police storm into the Lalgarh town, Kishenji has been interviewed by at least two dozen media organisations. That morning, newspapers have quoted the founder of the Naxalbari uprising, Kanu Sanyal saying that Lalgarh is not a communist movement. Kishenji thunders back, his mellow voice turning hard for a while. “Kanu Sanyal is a pheriwala, a hawker for the CPM,” he says. “If you have further questions, please call me in the morning,” he says. “I have two more interviews lined up.” It is already way past midnight.

    The Colonypara village is just behind the Lalgarh police station, a small cluster of about 20 houses. There is no electricity, and the only source of water is a lone hand pump. Manju Sen has a NREGS job card, and she got work for three days, last year. But she didn’t receive a penny for it. A month ago, a local Trinamool leader came to her house and took the card away. “I have not seen it ever since,” she says. “At least they could have paid me for those three days.”

    The heat has intensified. The temperature hovers around 40 degree Celsius but the relative humidity is about 90 percent. On both sides of the thin stretch of road leading to Lalgarh, there is a dense jungle of Sal trees. The Police and paramilitary jawans sit on both sides, taking positions against an enemy they cannot see. They have no clarity about the operation. “We are not doing anything except wait in this dense jungle, and that is killing us,” said a paramilitary jawan.

    But it is not the wait or the Maoists which killed Nabakanta Roy, a jawan of the Central Reserve Police. It was the Union of India. In the absence of any basic facilities like water, he died of a heat stroke. A jawan, who had been walking for miles with a heavy bag of explosives, a bullet proof jacket and two rifles, and without access to drinking water, collapsed just before the Lalgarh police station. We offered him a lift in our vehicle, and some glucose water. About 50 soldiers have been admitted to the hospital with dehydration. Six of them had to be airlifted for urgent medical intervention.

    Sitting with his back against a tree, a CRP jawan waits for food to arrive. A fellow soldier has gone searching for water. “There is no action, and this heat is killing me,” he says. There is a pause, and in the silence of the Jhitka jungle, I think I heard his stomach rumble.

    He looks at me. His voice is unsoldierly. “I cannot fight when I am hungry.”

    Some fires die in the belly.

    (The report first appeared as cover story for OPEN magazine, July 3 issue)

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