[It is not hard to imagine that the government’s counter-insurgency “hearts and minds” campaign is very different from the liberatory “development” of the Naxals. — Frontlines ed.]
Vivek Deshpande, Indian Express: Nagpur, Monday June 03 2013
The government move to win the hearts of tribals to tackle the Naxal issue may be gaining pace, but the Naxals too claim to have started their own development programmes.
In an interview published in April 2013 issue of Pahat (Dawn), a mouthpiece of Maharashtra State Committee of CPI (Maoist), Katakam Sudarshan, secretary of Central Regional Bureau of Maoists and alleged mastermind of the Darbha Valley massacre in Chhattisgarh, says that lands of over 1,000 farmers were levelled and 50 new reservoirs and farm-bunds have been built in the “liberated” Dandakaranya zone.
The programme reportedly was launched in 2011 on the occasion of Bhumkal Diwas on February 10. It was on this day in 1910 that the tribals revolted against the British in Bhumkal, Bastar.
Sudarshan has claimed that in the zone, that cover parts of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, houses have been built for 136 homeless. “Only one-third of the Rs 1.5 crore allotted by zonal government (Jantaana Sarkar) was spent on the works. Since the funds don’t get lapsed, the amount will be spent for further works,” he says.
Sudarshan claims that over 1.2 lakh people participated in the three-week-long activity. With this initiative, Sudarshan says, people are finding it less necessary to travel to adjoining states to fetch anything. Trying to emphasise that the villagers are participants in the armed conflict, he says, “And in such times, it has become possible for the people to unitedly fight police attacks.”
The Maoist leader also expounded on industrial growth based on agriculture. “The current exploitative ruling classes are afraid that if this alternative model of development succeeds, it will pose a danger for their existence. So they are trying to crush it,” he said.
Rubbishing various Acts like the 1970 Land Ceiling Act and the 2006 Forest Rights Act, he says such laws have done no good to tribal farmers.
Supporting the Telangana cause, he says, “Deceitful conspiracy by Nehru and Patel saw annexation of Telangana. Communists and Muslims continued to be massacred even after the Nizam surrendered. After creating Andhra Pradesh, people from coastal Andhra started exploiting poor Telangana farmers leading to agitation in 1969.”
Marri Chenna Reddy rode the wave of dissent and won 11 Lok Sabha seats but he later ditched the Telangana people and joined the Congress, says Sudarshan.
According to him even what Chandrashekhara Rao of TRS is doing is nothing beyond elections, resignations and lobbying. “We are supporting it since it is necessary for real people’s Telangana and prevent it from being reduced to the same state of affairs as other states,” he says in the interview.