Indian Maoists: the Political Struggle with Adivasi “Special Police Officers”

Indian SPOs in training



[There have been interesting developments in India, where the formal police and army forces involved in “Operation Green Hunt” have in recent years been supplanted by rogue forces (para-military and para-police) recruited from among the oppressed tribal people.  Now the official disbanding of various “Salwa Judum,” “SPO” and Kova commando forces has been raised, as–at the same time–the formal entry of army units into rebellious regions is expanded.  The following statement is on the political struggle which Maoists in Dandakaranya are waging with the adivasis who have been involved in these anti-people rogue forces. — Frontlines ed.]



Press Release

July 7, 2011
An Appeal from Maoists to SPOs (Special Police Officers):

Defeat the ploys of the government to divide us and rule!
Stop fighting for the exploiters and oppressors
and come back to your villages!!

The Supreme Court delivered a judgment on the petition filed by social activist Nandini Sundar, historian Ramchandra Guha and ex-bureaucrat E.A.S. Sharma on July 4, 2011 and ordered the Chhattisgarh government that appointment of Adivasis as SPOs on the pretext of fighting Maoists and arming them with guns should be stopped. The SC opined that the very appointment of SPOs is unconstitutional. Previously too it had commented several times in the negative about Salwa Judum, SPO and Koya commandos.
In fact, since the launch of the fascist repressive campaign in the name of Salwa Judum (SJ) by the central and state governments in a planned manner, the process of appointing Adivasi youth as SPOs began. Since then in a series of repressive campaigns in the name of SJ and later in the name of Operation Green Hunt (OGH) nearly 700 villages were destroyed. Each village was burnt down in phases. More than 1200 people were killed. Hundreds of women were gang raped. Many of them were murdered too. Granaries were razed to ground. Properties were looted. Hens, pigs and goats were whisked away. In all these terrorizing acts SPOs recruited from Adivasis were pushed to the forefront. It was the SPOs that were pushed to the forefront to act as guides to the paramilitary forces and to identify the people and their houses when they attack villages. Later due to the decision taken to recruit SPOs on a huge scale their numbers increased to nearly 5,000. Some selected SPOs were given training by Greyhounds and Rashtriya Rifles of Indian Army and a new force called Koya commando was constituted. As it was not possible to suppress the Maoist movement even with the repressive methods employed by all these types of armed forces, the state has now deployed the Army as its last resort. Though this deployment is done in the name of `training’ at present, in fact the process of directly using the Army in the `War on People’ has started.
The ruling classes have launched this unjust war against the people with the evil design of turning the whole of Dandakaranya which is home to immense natural resources into the grazing field for MNC and big bourgeoisie corporate loot. They took up a policy of displacing people from the villages and forests on a huge scale to implement this plan. Local Adivasi youth were appointed as SPOs and Koya commandos and countless atrocities were perpetrated through them.
Our party believes that many of the SPOs had not gone on their own will and that they had turned into SPOs due to several kinds of pressures. Several of them were arrested, forcefully shifted to `relief’ camps, beaten, abused, threatened that they would be killed and thus turned into SPOs. Though at first they turned into SPOs fearing state terror, later gradually they became part of the force and have participated in all the atrocities perpetrated on the people. Some of the SPOs have participated in violence and atrocities on people against their will. They are feeling sorry for that. Several of the SPOs are not even aware that they have been used as pawns in the brutal orgy of terror and violence unleashed by white and khaki robed compradors like Mahendra Karma, Raman Singh, Viswaranjan, Nankiram by deploying thousands of police, paramilitary, Naga-Mizo battalions etc.
Home minister Chidambaram who is acting as the CEO of OGH, the war on people announced that he would conduct a meeting with chief ministers of the states where the Maoist movement is strong in the light of the above judgment. It is obvious that this meeting is being conducted with the conspiracy of finding out ways to continue this system of SPOs and Koya commandos under a different name. Politicians, top police brass and bureaucrats from Delhi and Raipur are now cracking their heads to somehow continue this SPO system in this unjust war on the people.
We want to make it clear to all the SPOs that this war is not between them and us. This war is being fought between a small minority of exploiters and the entire toiling masses of this country. On one side are the 95 percent of oppressed masses – the workers, peasants, middle classes, dalits, Adivasis, petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie; on the other side are the big landlords and the comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie. These enemy classes have the complete support of the imperialists. These exploiting classes are using you as pawns by recruiting you into their repressive machinery. You are made into guinea pigs. As part of their `divide and rule’ policy they are bringing a section of the people to the forefront and are trying to portray this as a `civil war’ between the people. They stood you against the very people of whom you were once a part. `Patriotism’ and `defence of the country’ are some of the lies used by the ruling classes to incite you against the people’s movements that are fought with just demands. In fact, it is these very classes which are using you as cannon fodder that are the biggest enemies to our country. They are scamsters who have resorted to scams worth billions of rupees; they have mortgaged not only the riches of our country but also its sovereignty for the sake of kickbacks; they have stashed away billions of rupees of black money in Swiss banks by indiscriminate loot of the people of our country. It is due to these scamsters and gangsters that 77 percent of our population is not able to eat even two times per day. They have pushed us into the quagmire of poverty, price rises, unemployment, epidemics, starvation deaths, malnutrition etc. So do identify your real enemies. Don’t forget that your barrels are pointing at your very own people at present.
Dandakaranya Special Zonal committee of CPI (Maoist) calls upon all the SPOs to leave their jobs and come back to their villages. We, the party and the people, promise to rehabilitate all those SPOs who come back to their villages, accept all the crimes they have committed and seek the mercy of the people while severing all kinds of connections with the government machinery. Janatana Sarkar, the people’s government, would provide them lands and other instruments of production. They would be provided a guarantee for livelihood. So, we appeal to all the SPOs to come out of the vicious circle and the false propaganda of these exploitative governments. Do not crave for the morsels thrown by them, try to stand on your own feet and live with raised heads among the people of your villages. Do not live a life of insecurity and restlessness. Stand in support of the just struggles of the people of Dandakaranya fought against the absolute corporate loot of invaluable natural riches and for right over Jal-Jungle-Zameen.

(Gudsa Usendi)
Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee
CPI (Maoist)

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