2012-02-25 "Suicides in India linked to microfinance debts" from "Associated Press" [http://fifthworldnews.blogspot.com/2012/02/peoples-republic-of-india.html]
The People's Republic of India is composed of CPI-Maoist Liberated Zones which are a federation of nations, including Gondi, and individuals working together to form permanent areas of control for their protection against Plutocrats and their agents in the Union of India government.
The People's Republic of India is operating as a legitimate manifestation of many nations working together against fascist monopolist cartels who are seeking to control agriculture land and erect dams and other manifestations of foreign capitalist penetrations...
"Operation Green Hunt - India's War on the People", a selection of articles from "Democracy and Class Struggle" [http://democracyandclasstruggle.blogspot.com]. To buy a copy visit here: [http://www.alternativebookshop.com/BookDetails.php?bookid=1579]
Photograph from 2010-12-08 "Women in Red Corridors" by Mahima Singh
Photograph from "BBC" showing a Gondi National Militia member:
2010 map showing "The Red Corridor" within which the CPI-Maoist conducts government:
2007 map showing "The Red Corridor"
2011-03-04 "Profile: India's Maoist rebels" from "BBC"
India's bloody Maoist insurgency began in the remote forests of the state of West Bengal in the late 1960s.
Several decades later it had become, in the words of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India's "greatest internal security challenge".
Maoists are also known as "Naxalites" because of the violent left-wing uprising in 1967, which began in the West Bengal village of Naxalbari.
Although this was eventually quashed by police, over the years India's Maoists have regrouped and asserted control over vast swathes of land in central and eastern India, establishing a so-called "red corridor".
This spans the states of Jharkand, West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh and also reaches into Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka.
The Maoists and affiliated groups are active in more than a third of India's 600-odd districts, the authorities say.
And more than 6,000 people have died in the rebels' long fight for communist rule in these states.
Maoist aims -
The Maoists' military leader is Koteshwar Rao, otherwise known as Kishenji.
He reportedly suffered temporary paralysis in June 2010 when a police bullet hit him in the knee.
Normally a regular communicator with the press, Kishenji was little heard of until January 2011 when he issued a statement saying he expected India to succumb to a Maoist revolution by 2025.
Latest estimates suggest he commandes at least 20,000 armed fighters. They are said to get most of their weapons by raiding police bases.
Analysts say the longevity of the Maoist rebellion is partly due to the local support they receive.
The rebels say they are fighting for the rights of indigenous tribespeople and the rural poor who they say have been neglected by governments for decades.
Maoists claim to represent local concerns over land ownership and equitable distribution of resources.
Ultimately they say they want to establish a "communist society" by overthrowing India's "semi-colonial, semi-feudal" form of rule through armed struggle.
The BBC's Subir Bhaumik in Calcutta says that while there is little prospect of them making any headway in urban areas - or indeed non-jungle rural areas - the rebels remain a force to be reckoned with in remote areas where the security forces are thin on the ground.
Our correspondent says the key question now is whether to deploy the army against the rebels in the same way it has been used in Indian-administered Kashmir and some north-eastern states.
Such a move would be highly controversial, because it would inevitably been seen by some critics as evidence that the rebels are making headway in what is seen by some as "mainland India".
Major rebel attacks -
Over the years the Maoists have managed to launch a series of damaging attacks on Indian security forces.
In 2009, rebels gained virtual control of Lalgarh district in West Bengal barely 250km (155 miles) from the state capital, Calcutta.
For many months, rebels, supported by local villagers, held hundreds of paramilitary forces at bay. The Maoists declared it to be India's first "liberated zone" but Indian security forces finally overwhelmed the rebels.
April 2010 saw rebels ambush paramilitary troops in the dense jungles of central Chhattisgarh state, killing at least 76 soldiers. Correspondents say it was the worst-ever Maoist attack on Indian security forces.
In 2007, also in Chhattisgarh, Maoist rebels killed 55 policemen in an attack on a remote police outpost.
Almost every week, Maoist rebels are blamed for minor skirmishes and incidents across India's north-east - common tactics include blowing up railway tracks and attacking police stations.
In 2010, the Maoists faced India's biggest ever anti-Maoist offensive.
Nearly 50,000 federal paramilitary troops and tens of thousands of policemen took part in the operation across several states.
While the rebels were pushed back deep into their jungle strongholds, they have continued to carry out hit-and-run attacks and numerous high-profile kidnappings.
India's government in turn has pledged to crack down even harder unless rebels renounce violence and enter peace talks.
At the same time there have been differences not just within the central government over how to tackle the rebellion, but also between Delhi and various Indian states affected by the insurgency.
Experts say that disagreements over whether to deploy the army against the rebels is a manifestation of these tensions.
On one issue however the analysts remain united - the chances of any kind of meaningful dialogue with the rebels in the foreseeable future are slim.
2011-11-22 "Where the Maoist war is far from won" by Suvojit Bagchi from "BBC"
Bengali, Dantewada, Chhattisgarh -
More than six years since the launch of Salwa Judum, the government-sponsored anti-Maoist vigilante group and two years since Operation Green Hunt, the full-blown military offensive on Maoists, officials in the state of Chhattisgarh accept that the rebels have regrouped and consolidated their jungle base.
Central government figures suggest there has been a sharp dip in Maoist violence in 2011, compared to the past two years.
While this may be true of other states in India, in parts of Chhattisgarh, the epicentre of the Maoist movement, nothing can be further from the truth.
Here, according to police sources, the Maoists have raised new military forces from the local population.
In the past eight years, since various radical-left military factions decided to unite to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the number of Maoist military divisions here has risen from five to 10.
In Bastar district, in the south of Chhattisgarh, the Maoists recently launched a new division of the party called Mahasamund, named after a district on Bastar's eastern fringe and thus connecting Bastar with Maoist-affected districts in neighbouring Orissa.
Southern Chhattisgarh is an area just a little smaller than the Netherlands.
There are four zones dominated and governed by the Maoists here, each not less than 4,000 sq km in size.
One officer told me that the Maoists controlled 40% of the land area in southern Chhattisgarh, while the police controlled another 40%.
"The fighting is going on for control of the remaining 20%," he said.
If Maoist military activity such as ambushes has reduced here it is because the sides have cut their operations in the areas not under their control.
Retaliatory attacks by the Maoists have therefore also reduced.
In a month-long visit to one of these four "Maoist liberated zones" above the River Indravati I did not see any police camps or police personnel.
"We don't enter their areas, they don't come to ours," said one paramilitary soldier in Dantewada district.
The head constables of several police stations told the BBC that they received very little information about Maoist movement from the "kotwals", or village-level police personnel.
"The kotwals' families live in the villages and are exposed to the Maoists. So they refuse to divulge information," one head constable told me.
In the small, sleepy town of Dantewada, in southern Chhattisgarh, several people confirmed that Maoist cadres moved around in plainclothes, interacted with locals and ran errands for the party.
"I have never witnessed them so relaxed in the main town," said one local travel agent.
It could be because, locals feel, Maoists know that the police will never come out of their barracks at night.
'Carrot and stick' - So why is the Indian government's offensive going wrong here?
Its policy against the Maoists uses the anti-insurgent "carrot and stick" policy, using multiple development projects to win over locals.
This, combined with a sustained offensive to "neutralise" the top Maoist leadership and known sympathisers, worked very well in northern Andhra Pradesh, bordering southern Chhattisgarh.
Having now shifted across the state border into southern Chhattisgarh, the Maoists acknowledged that they had failed to address the developmental model introduced by the government.
In Chhattisgarh, they say they have fought back "politically" against the policy.
Jagesh, the chief of the northern regional command of the Maoist Party in Chhattisgarh, told the BBC last year: "The tribals are convinced that development is introduced to quash resistance and to take away land for mining. We have managed to impart this education."
Jagesh said that hundreds of boys from the local Gondi tribe, fearing displacement and police atrocities in the name of development, were joining them every year.
Large numbers of the boys have formed into "militias" or have become plainclothes Maoist informers and have made life difficult for the security forces.
Besides gathering information, these militias actively assist the Maoists' People's Liberation Guerrilla Army in combat by slowing down the security forces and preventing them reaching the rebels.
Indian security has so far failed to break up the ranks of the plainclothes tribal boys.
This, combined with increased Maoist forces here, have led to a series of setbacks for the security forces over the past couple of years.
Senior officials, however, told me that Maoists had won only "half the battle".
"We will turn it around," said one officer, before instructing his son not to go out of the house after five in the evening.
2011-03-06 "Life in an Indian Maoist jungle camp"
Thousands of people have been killed in the bloody Maoist insurgency across swathes of central and eastern India. The BBC's Suvojit Bagchi, who was granted unprecedented access to a Maoist camp in the depths of the Chhattisgarh jungle, describes the rebels' precarious life.
After eight hours of walking in dense forest, in the early evening we entered a narrow, barren stretch of land hemmed in by hillocks.
At the far end stood a few blue and yellow tents.
Somji, one of the men who collected me between a small town in south Chhattisgarh and the thick central Indian forest, picked up speed as we approached.
A tall man standing guard with a rifle flung over his shoulder whistled and people started rushing towards us.
In under a minute, the camp members stood in formation and began singing a welcome song.
Each member in the queue raised their fist to whisper "lal salaam" - "red salute".
Mostly aged between 15 and 30 years old, the men and women in the camp wore rubber sandals, olive green battle fatigues and carried guns of various makes.
India's Maoist rebels say they are fighting for the rights of indigenous tribespeople and the rural poor. But the battle has been brutal: they frequently launch deadly attacks on India's security forces and those thought to support them.
In April 2010 Chhattisgarh was the site of the bloodiest Maoist attack yet on the security forces - 75 troops were killed. Paramilitary forces also launched attacks on tribal communities to restrict Maoist activities.
Camp security -
Maoist platoons normally set up their camps in a semi-circle with one tent in the centre - the "headquarter".
Every time a camp is set up, the commander conducts a roll-call and updates camp members about their responsibilities if they come under attack.
Akash, 18, was in charge of my security at the first camp. He also gave me a few lessons in self defence.
He slept for about four hours each night: two hours were spent guarding the camp from under a mohua tree in drenching rain.
Nonetheless, he never failed to wake me up early for my walks through several kilometres of rain-sodden forest.
Though the purpose of these walks was to take me to villages and camps in the Maoist-controlled Dandakaranya forest, I learned the rebels walked long distances every few days for their own safety.
"If we stay in a place for long, chances are that information of our stay will get out and we will get encircled."
The constant movement, he told me, also helps them gather information about the whereabouts of security forces from villagers.
The relationship with villagers in areas they control is generally positive, but not always. Maoist will kill suspected informers and that has the potential to create a climate of fear. But they are also aware that harming ordinary villagers will simply erode their support base.
But this is a highly polarised area. In areas controlled by the paramilitary units there is little support for the Maoists - and villagers who display such sympathies have uncertain fates.
Camp routine -
On days when we were not moving camp, I would rest on my makeshift bed of a plastic sheet, and watch the "comrade-soldiers" swinging their guns to instructions being shouted out by a platoon commander.
Ganita, 18 and a deft hand with a rifle, also gave me a detailed account of their daily chores.
Maoists participate in "community service", she said, such as helping elderly farmers, digging village wells and providing basic health care to locals.
This week Ganita was assigned to kitchen work.
Her kitchen was spread under one tent. Breakfast was limited to rice cooked with turmeric and ground nuts, while both lunch and dinner were just lentil soup and rice.
However, during my stay, frog, wild boar and monitor lizard meat were served a few times.
Evenings were dedicated to the study of party literature.
Published by the publicity wing of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the writings highlighted party strategy and criticised the Indian state. They have about 12 magazines and the main one is published in the local tribal language, Gondi.
Each camp had one or two solar-powered car batteries that were used to power LED lamps that lit tents at night.
A couple of times each week, everybody assembled for a singing session in one of the plastic tents.
Local Gondi tunes were fused with revolutionary lyrics and hymns were sung to the memory of martyrs. The singing session would end with the BBC's Hindi news bulletin on the radio - its future is in doubt because of spending cuts.
"This is our only source of objective information," Maoist spokesperson in south Chhattisgarh, Gudsa Usendi, told me.
When there were no sing-songs, films would be played on a laptop late into the night.
One film that was repeatedly screened was Do Bigha Zameen or Two Acres of Land, made in 1953 about the plight of a small farmer in Nehru's India.
Another popular film was The Axis of War which includes a depiction of Mao's long march.
Interestingly, Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon is a roaring hit among the young cadres.
The guerrillas often invited locals to join their late-night soirees when they stayed near villages.
Most villagers had never seen a film before the Maoists showed them one.
"Families finish dinner early and come here to watch the late-night show whenever there is one," said one villager.
At the end of the day, I would lie down with up to a dozen guerrillas in one of the cramped tents.
As I drifted off to sleep, I couldn't help thinking how the peace of the night - despite the snoring of sleeping rebels and the buzzing of countless mosquitoes - belied the dangers that surrounded us.
News from COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MAOIST) from MAOIST_REVOLUTION@yahoogroups.com
January 12, 2011
Condemn the indiscriminate killings and fake encounters by the police and paramilitary forces in Odisha !
People would surely defeat the conspiracy of Naveen Patnaik to hand over the natural resources of Odisha to the Corporations by decimating the Maoist revolutionary movement !
As part of the massive offensive Operation Green Hunt being conducted in coordination by the central and state governments with the avowed aim of decimating the Maoist revolutionary movement completely, the special police and paramilitary forces have resorted to indiscriminate killings in the past two months in Odisha and have taken nearly 25 lives in cold-blood in various incidents. Of these most of them were fake encounters while others were incidents where hundreds of police and paramilitary were deployed with specific information about the whereabouts of the guerillas and fired indiscriminately on the guerillas and the people with them.
Recently on January 12, 2011, in an `encounter' in a forest area in Keonjhar district two Maoists had died and on January 9, 2011 in an alleged encounter in Bandhkamali mountains which fall under the Niyamgiri area of Rayagadha district, nine comrades were martyred. Ravi, one of the martyred comrades, is an important leader who has been working among the oppressed people of Odisha for the past few years. He hails from East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh. Just one week back, on January 2, 2011 in the encounter which was said to have taken place in the Rayaghati forests under Kalinganagar area in Jajpur district, five Maoists including three women comrades were martyred. One among these martyrs was an Area Committee member of the Kalinganagar area. They were in preparation for some mass activities on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the massacre of Adivasis on January 2 when this incident occurred. On 29 December, 2010, in an alleged encounter in Talpada forest area of Keonjhar district one woman comrade was martyred. Before this in the fourth week of December the police announced that three Maoists had died in an encounter at Adaba forest area in Gajapati district. In the beginning of January, in another alleged encounter in Bargarh district two persons had died but the people had declared that they were ordinary people and that the police had killed them in cold-blood. Some days before this there were news items in the media that even the encounter in Gajapati district was also a fake one and that ordinary people had died in this. Though huge scale protests were staged by people and democrats on these fake encounters, the Naveen government is not caring a damn and is resorting to murders of ordinary people and revolutionaries unscrupulously.
Odisha is a state abundantly rich in mineral, water and forest resources but it has become the abode of dire poverty and hunger deaths. Odisha is in the first place in iron reserves and it has many other valuable mineral resources. But all this wealth is filling the coffers of the wealthy while the conditions of the poor people are deteriorating. In the past 63 years of so-called independence, the oppressed people of Odisha, particularly the adivasis are getting crushed under the feudal and imperialist exploitation. The Odisha government led by the Mining Mafia Boss Naveen Patnaik has turned Odisha into the paradise of the mining corporations by signing innumerable MoUs with them. More than 49 MoUs regarding steel plants, more than 20 MoUs regarding thermal power plants, some MoUs for alumina refinery projects and a harbor were signed. The MoU worth 55,000 crores of rupees signed with the MNC Posco belonging to South Korea is the biggest foreign direct investment in India. The Odisha government had shamelessly violated its own laws while granting permissions to Tata in Kalinganagar and Vedanta in Niyamgiri apart from Posco. All these MoUs lead to untold miseries for the Odisha people. These would lead to destruction of the forests, lands, water, ecology and all aspects of their lives. This could be one of the biggest man-made disasters in the world. That is why the people of Odisha are fighting against this atrocity and exploitation.
In the recent past, Odisha people agitated and are still agitating against the exploitation and atrocities of the MNCs and big comprador bourgeoisie companies like Tata, Vedanta, Posco etc. and also against the feudal exploitation in the Narayanapatna area of Koraput district. Government used brutal force against these struggles and killed many people. On January 2, 2006, the police fired on the adivasis who refused to hand over their cultivable lands to the Tata Steel company in Kalinganagar and killed at least fourteen of them. In many other instances, people had become injured or have lost their lives in police firings. People launched agitations against bauxite mines of Vedanta company in Niyamgiri area and against Vedanta Alumina refinery in Lanjigarh. Caving in before the people's agitations, the Central government had cancelled permission to Vedanta with the reason that it had violated rules and regulations. But the people are still continuing their agitation as they feel that as long as the Vedanta refinery exists in Lanjigarh it is detrimental to their very existence and that it would adversely affect their lands and ecology. People of Odisha are fighting against such issues in many places. The Maoist party is leading these agitations in many places and supporting them in others. More important is the fact that people are welcoming the leadership of Maoists and are aspiring for it. The Odisha people have realized that there is no political party other than the Maoist party which could put an end to feudal and imperialist exploitation. The Maoist movement is expanding to many new areas. The Naveen Patnaik government with the full support of the UPA government at the centre is resorting to these massacres precisely because the Maoists constitute the main hurdle to their blanket loot of resources. Particularly, it is obvious to one and all that the callous murder of nine revolutionaries in Niyamgiri area has happened with the aim of facilitating the wholesale loot of Vedanta and under its aegis. Similarly it is also very clear that the fascist massacres resorted to by the government in the Kalinganagar area (in Jajpur and Keonjhar districts) is to facilitate the exploitation of corporations like that of Tata and others waiting in the wings to occupy this whole area. Naveen Patnaik who is gobbling billions of rupees as the stooge of the corporations and his administrative machinery are being threatened seriously by the existence of the Maoist movement. That is why they are resorting to fascist onslaught on the people and the guerilla squads spending billions of rupees on increasing police, commando forces (SOG), SPO and informer network on a huge scale.
History has proven many a times that it is impossible to suppress the people's movements with murders, offensives and suppression campaigns. The comprador Naveen Patnaik, Vedanta ex-director and the CEO of the present Operation Green Hunt Chidambaram, other ruling class oligarchs and their imperialist masters are dreaming that they would be able to put aside all the hurdles in the path of exploitation of the feudal classes and the corporations by crushing the Maoist revolutionary movement. The people are bound to come to the fore more militantly to intensify their struggles. Though the spate of encounters in the past few days indicate the intensity of the offensive on the Maoists this should be seen as part of the overall offensive on all the people's movements fighting against their loot. We can stop these massacres only by taking up arms and fighting in a united manner against the anti-people, pro-imperialist policies followed by the blood-thirsty Naveen government and against corporate exploitation.
The Central Committee of the CPI (Maoist) is appealing to all the people of our country and democrats to condemn in severe terms these atrocious massacres and fake encounters. We are appealing to the people to demand independent judicial inquiry into all these incidents of firings and to demand punishment for all the police officials involved in them. We are appealing to all that they should realize that these offensives are not carried on exclusively on the Maoist movement and that they are aimed at all those who are raising their voice or fighting against this corporate loot. Our Central Committee is calling upon all the democratic, progressive and patriotic forces to unite and fight against the corporate exploitation and against the massacres perpetrated by the central and state governments and against the Operation Green Hunt carried on for the incessant loot of our resources. (Abhay)
2010-04-14 "Revolutionaries Deal Setback to India’s ‘Operation Green Hunt’" by David Hungerford
On April 6 a battle in India’s Dantewada district claimed the lives of 76 government security personnel. A patrol of 80 soldiers was attacked by a 300-person detachment of the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA), military wing of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Eight communists were also killed in the battle.
Most of the government personnel who died were members of India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF.) 15 were members of the Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA.) These forces are organized in battalions, that is, military formations. The distinction between police and soldiers is only technical.
The communists are following the strategy of people’s war in the countryside. The strategy is to surround and eventually capture the cities. The goal is to overthrow the existing government and oppressor classes, bring about a new democratic revolution and the revolutionary transformation of society.
Since October of last year as many as 250,000 troops have been engaged in Operation Green Hunt in communist-held base areas of central India. Dantewada is in the state of Chattisgarh. When Interior Minister P. Chidambaram announced Operation Green Hunt, there was an uproar that the government would declare war on its own people, even going so far as to call it a “hunt,” and conducted by forces called CoBRAs, Greyhounds, Jaguars, and the like. Since then Chidambaram has been pretending there is no such thing as Operation Green Hunt.
Soldiers of the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army, on the other hand, are drawn from and fight for the oppressed masses. About 45% of them are women. Estimates of their numbers range from 90,000 to 150,000.
The authorities are calling their defeat in Dantewada a “massacre,” “murder,” an act of “brutality,” and the like. They are talking nonsense. Their soldiers were on patrol. They were looking for a fight. A fight found them. The Communists had planned their attack for months. In its April 12 issue Time Magazine said it was carried out with “fierce precision”.
The People’s Union for Democratic Rights, a civil liberties and democratic rights organization based in Delhi, said in a statement that, “Since war remains the preferred option of the Indian government they have no one else but themselves to blame if and when combatants die.”
Before the April 6 battle the CRPF and CoBRAs were considered elite units. Now there is a lot of grumbling about poor training, weapons and morale. Now, say the authorities, they will get serious with the Maoists. They have been saying that for years.
The General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) is known as Ganapathy. He has been the most wanted man in India for a long time but he is available to the people. In January he gave an interview to Jan Myrdal and Gautam Navlakha. He said, concerning Operation Green Hunt, “This war is meant for destroying the revolution which is gradually emerging as an alternative political power to the existing reactionary political power in the country…They are imposing this war on those who are against this war, i.e. Maoist revolutionaries, Adivasi and local people of the vast forest areas, workers, peasants, urban middle class, small and medium bourgeoisie, Dalit, women, religious minorities and oppressed nationalities, democratic organizations, progressive and patriotic forces who comprise more than 95% of the population…This war is imposed by the Comprador Bureaucratic Bourgeoisie, Feudal forces of this country and imperialists, particularly America. These are real looters, plunderers, corrupters, blackmailers, hoarders, scamsters, murderers, conspirators, oppressors, suppressers, autocrats, fascists, most reactionaries and number one traitors…”
“People will completely oppose this unjust, most cruel, inhumane and treacherous war. It will be defied by all people of our country and people of world. This unjust war is totally against the interest of the people and the interest of the country. People will unite and counter this unjust war by waging a just war. People will never tolerate any kind of unjust war. In the history of entire class society people never tolerated any kind of unjust war for ever but they fought back every unjust war by paying price of their own blood and ultimately won it…If we look at the political developments of the country, this inhumane all-out war is giving a tremendous scope to unite vast masses of people and certainly it will become counter productive to the ruling classes.”
After the battle, Interior Minister Chidambaram said, “I think we should, while we grieve the dead, hold our nerve and continue to do what we are doing.” He will surely only succeed in doing what Ganapathy said: Give a tremendous scope to unite vast masses of people - against himself and the oppressor classes.
2009-06-25 "Maoist leader leads PSBJC rally near Lalgarh; Even as Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty was holding discussions with senior officials on the joint operation" by Raktima Bose
LALGARH: Even as West Bengal’s Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty was holding meetings with senior police and administration officials here on Wednesday on the operations against Maoists and the Maoist-backed Police Santrosh Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (PSJBC), activists of the PSBJC took out a procession, led by a prominent Maoist leader, at Dharampur – not more than 10 km from here.
Starting from Goumichowk, six km from here, the PSBJC supporters marched down the narrow gravel path through villages with traditional weapons, beating drums and shouting slogans against the police and the CPI(M).
Maoist leader Bikash, who came into spotlight after holding a press conference on June 15 where he admitted that Maoists were supporting the PSBJC movement, moved around with an AK-47 toting henchman, supervised the crowd and ordered it to maintain order.
Bikash said though the security forces reached Lalgarh without much resistance, they would not find it easy to penetrate further.
Asked about their strategy against the security forces, which were camping at the Lalgarh Police Station since June 20, he said: “Time will tell. But we will stop them for sure.”
At the end of the procession, several local PSBJC leaders addressed the crowd.
One of them, a close aide of Bikash, Asit Mahato, said roads had been dug up at several places and camps set up to keep an eye on police movement.
“The joint forces have to walk over our bodies if they try to enter the area beyond Lalgarh,” he said.
More forces arrive -
Though there was no force movement on Wednesday, seventh day of the offensive against Maoists and the PSJBC, combing operations in adjacent villages continued. On the request of the State government, 10 companies of the Border Security Force reached Lalgarh.
Some companies of the Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) and the Central Reserve Police Force also reached Goaltore, 20 km from here.
Distribution of relief materials resumed on the day at the Block Development Office here and long queues of men and women were seen outside the office premises.
Ananya Dutta writes from Kolkata:
Spokesperson for the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in West Bengal Gaur Chakraborty was remanded to police custody for 14 days by a court in Kolkata on Wednesday.
He was produced at the Bankshal Court where he was remanded to custody by Acting Chief Metropolitan Magistrate C. Bhattacharya.
On Tuesday evening, the city police apprehended Mr. Chakraborty outside the office of a private news channel in the Park Street area. He was later arrested under Section 20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
The Communist Party of India (Maoist) was declared a banned organisation under the Act by the Centre on June 22.
STIFF RESISTANCE: Hundreds of supporters of the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities at a rally in Dharampur near Lalgarh on Wednesday. — Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury
2009-06-26 "Lalgarh: is it liberated or ruled by fear? Is the violence in West Medinipur district really an adivasi uprising? Land reform has given adivasis a high level of freedom and security. Poll results in the area showed no resentment against CPI(M)" by Praveen Swami
LALGARH: Early this month, as police marched into the forests around Lalgarh, the adivasi residents of Salboni were told, by Maoists, to start building barricades.
Insurgents armed with rifles and side-arms watched over the villagers as they felled trees and dug trenches. Not surprisingly, no one disputed their orders.
But on Monday, Bongaram Lohar summoned courage to speak up on behalf of the dozens of local residents who had been press-ganged into the building work. For his defiance, Mr. Lohar was brutally beaten up and forced to flee the village.
Most commentary has cast the violence in Lalgarh as an expression of primal adivasi rage: rage against being denied development and justice. One critic even claimed the Lalgarh region had, for the past three decades, been “untouched by development.”
But Mr. Lohar’s story — and a mass of empirical evidence — give reason to doubt this telling of the story.
Back in 1977, after the first Left Front government took power in West Bengal, entire villages were freed from the control of jotdars, or landlords, by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers.
Data from West Bengal’s Department of Land and Land reforms shows that till 2002-03, land measuring 16,280 hectares was redistributed to peasants in the blocks of Jhargram, Binpur and Salboni — the areas now under Maoist assault. “In the Jhargram block village where I conduct research”, says Aparajita Bakshi, Senior Research Fellow at the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata, “75 per cent of all households are land reform beneficiaries. Of Scheduled Tribe households, no less than 70 per cent gained agricultural land and 90 per cent gained homestead land as a result of land reform.”
Income poverty and deprivation continue to exist throughout the region — but land reform has given adivasis a level of freedom and security their counterparts in the rest of India do not enjoy.
Marketed as the liberation of Lalgarh, Maoist rule, in fact, made the life of most adivasis worse. Income from forest produce, on which most local residents are dependent, dried up. Government programmes intended to mitigate hardship collapsed altogether.
“In November,” says Bhumidhansola resident Manek Singh, “the Maoists forbade us to enter the forests to cut wood. The Forest Department used to pay us Rs.70 a day for this work. Now, no one even enters this area to purchase the leaf-plates we make. We have been left with nothing.”
Extortion and attacks -
Faced with extortion and attacks by Maoists, government staff also fled the area. Lalgarh residents told The Hindu that the Integrated Child Development Scheme workers were ordered to pay Rs.1,000 each month; school teachers and staff at the Block Development Office said they were compelled to part with twice as much to local Maoists.
Following the assassination of government doctor Honiran Murmu and staff nurse Bharati Majhi in October, the Lalgarh area has had almost no access to health care.
Politics and power -
Election data debunks the idea that there is a popular rebellion against the CPI(M) under way in Lalgarh.
In the 2006 elections to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly, the CPI(M) had won six of the seven Assembly seats which together make up the Jhargram Lok Sabha seat: Garhbeta East, Garhbeta West (SC), Salbani, Nayagram (ST), Gopiballavpur and Jhargram. The CPI(M) has held the Jhargram Lok Sabha seat, of which Lalgarh is a part, ever since 1977.
Police raids -
Last year, the West Bengal Police carried out raids across the Lalgarh area, following a November 2 attempt to assassinate Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. Fighting between police and Maoist supporters broke out during the raids; several people were injured.
Backed by the Maoists, Trinamool Congress leader Chhatradar Mahato — the brother of the principal accused in the November 2 bombing — set up the Police Santras Birodhi Janaganer Committee (PSBJC), or People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities.
The PSBJC activists blocked roads, shut off police access to the area, and attacked CPI(M) workers.
Prior to this year’s Lok Sabha elections, the Maoists even initiated protests insisting that the police not enter the villages of Boro Pelia, Chhoto Pelia, Dalilpur Chowk and Khas Jungle — all areas where they had a substantial armed presence.
Had the PSBJC represented widespread resentment against the CPI(M), it ought to have showed up in this year’s Lok Sabha elections. But Jhargram constituency swam against the anti-CPI(M) tide. The CPI(M) candidate, Pulin Bihar Baske, polled 5,45,231 votes, giving him a respectable lead over the 2,52,886 claimed by the Congress’ Amrit Hansda. Mr. Baske even won in the Binpur Assembly segment, of which Lalgarh is a part.
Rule of fear -
How, then, have the Maoists gained so much influence in Lalgarh? Jharkhand Party candidate Chunibala Hansda had this simple answer for one journalist reporting on the Lok Sabha elections: “People are scared of them”.
Last year, even as the PSBJC was mobilising people against the West Bengal government, the Bharat Jakat Majhi Marwa — an organisation of traditional adivasi community leaders, which is opposed to the CPI(M) — organised a rally to protest Maoist violence. More than 10,000 adivasis gathered in Bhulabheda area of Belpahari on December 9.
Sudhir Mandal, the adivasi leader who organised the rally, was shot dead less than 48 hours later.