Indian Police Note Women’s Role in Maoist Leadership

[The year 2014 in India has seen an intensification of the class struggle, mass resistance and democratic activism, armed resistance and revolutionary struggle in growing areas throughout India.  And the news has often focused on the state repression, mass arrests and police killings, and the increased incidence and prominence of attacks on women.  In two articles here, the police acknowledge the ever-growing role of women in Maoist leadership, as women are now a majority of combat fighters in the revolutionary party and armed units.  The first article appeared soon after International Women’s Day (March 8), and the second appeared this week.  It should be said that while the police talk of noticing this trend now, women have long played a significant role in the Maoist organization. — Frontlines ed.]    …………….

Women Maoist commanders play big role in encounters

Written by Vijaita SinghIndianExpress | New Delhi | March 17, 2014

Women commanders have come to constitute almost half of the armed cadre of Maoists and are playing a major role in encounters, like they had done in the Sukma encounter in Chhattisgarh on March 11, security forces believe.

A Maoist poster pays homage to their women cadre on International Women’s Day

A Maoist poster pays homage to their women cadre on International Women’s Day

It is difficult to get a headcount but a rough number of women killed in encounters last year was available after security forces stumbled upon Maoist posters and pamphlets to pay them homage on International Women’s Day. One poster in Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra paid homage to 17 women commanders killed in encounters over the year.

In the past one year, there has been a significant increase in women joining the armed wing of Maoists.  Maoists do not leave behind their dead and take away the bodies. The posters enabled security forces to get a headcount.
Posters recovered from Gadchiroli identified some of the women as Indra, Dhanni, Geeta, Anita, Swarupa, Santila, Pramila, Seema, Reshma, Vasanti, Champa and Mamta. It said, “mahila bina kranti nahin, kranti bina shoshan mukt samaj nahin (no revolution without women and without revolution there can’t be an exploitation-free society).
In the March 11 encounter in Sukma in Chhattisgarh where 15 security personnel were killed, women Maoist commanders played a role, according to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) which lost 11 men. The state police personnel lost four men. In a presentation to the MHA, the CRPF had said Maoists were divided into three groups, and one group comprised mainly of women commanders in black uniform who fired from behind. After a drop in male recruits and desertion, Maoists have started recruiting women on a large scale.

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“Female Naxals Get Combat Role”

The Asian Age, October 14, 2014 – Rabindra Nath Choudhury | Raipur

The CPI (Maoist) leadership has of late effected a radical structural change in the outfit by drafting more and more women cadre in combat roles besides ensuring their fast rise in the rebel hierarchy, intelligence sources said on Monday.
The sea change in the organisational structure has been brought on strategic point of view to transform it from a male-dominated outfit to women-centric one, a senior police officer quoting intelligence reports told this newspaper here. “In 2008, Maoists’ top hierarchy comprised barely 25 per cent women. The women representation in Maoist top hierarchy has now grown by leap and bounds to a staggering 60 per cent. This clearly indicates that the CPI (Maoist) is heading towards a women-dominated radical force in coming days”, the police officer said requesting anonymity.
Intelligence reports have revealed that the trend of male Maoists leading combat units has been reversed of late with women leaders currently heading several platoons and companies of People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) as wells as many area committees and divisional committees of CPI (Maoist).
The recent appointments Sujata as head of Dandakaranya state military committee, Niti as head of South Bastar divisional committee and Madhavi as West Bastar divisional committee are a case in point.

“Earlier, women cadres’ roles used to be confined to assist their male counterparts in their respective units. Now, the female cadres have been drafted in combat roles. Last year’s Naxal ambush on Congress convoy at Jiram Ghati in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district in which 27 Congressmen were killed was a testimony to it. Women rebels were found to have been outnumbered male rebels in the combat group”, he added.

Women cadres have also been given significant places in lower rung positions.

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