Dual Power in a Guerrilla Zone: Two Reigns of Political Violence in Bastar

by Bernard D’Mello and Gautam Navlakha

The ambush on May 25 by Maoist guerrillas in the Darba Ghati valley (in the Sukma area of the Bastar region in southern Chhattisgarh), 345 kms south of the state capital of Raipur, of a convoy of provincial Congress Party leaders has shocked the Indian state apparatus. The Z-plus and other categories of armed security personnel — entitlements of the ‘lords’ of India’s political establishment — were no match for the guerrillas. The main targets of the attack were Mahendra Karma, founder of the state-promoted, financed and armed private vigilante force, Salwa Judum (SJ), and Nand Kumar Patel, the chief of the Congress Party in the province and a former home minister of the state.

A press statement issued by Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) (CPI [Maoist]) on May 26 states that the “goal of this attack was mainly to eliminate Mahendra Karma and some other reactionary Congress top leaders”. It pointedly reminds Chhattisgarh’s state government leaders and state police officials “who are hell-bent on crushing the revolutionary movement of Dandakaranya” that they suffer from a “big illusion that they are unbeatable”. Mahendra Karma too falsely believed “that Z-plus Security and bullet proof vehicles would save him forever”. The statement also clarifies that in Chhattisgarh “there are no differences between [the] ruling BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] and opposition Congress in terms of policies of suppressing the revolutionary movement. Only due to public pressure, as well as to gain electoral benefits, some of the local leaders of the Congress at times came [out] in condemnation of incidents like [the] Sarkeguda and Edsametta massacres”.

The convoy was returning from a “Parivartan Yatra” (“March for Change”) rally in Sukma and the Maoists knew not only that Karma and Patel were in the convoy, but even the route that it was to take. The assassinations were thus meticulously planned and executed, though they took a two-hour long gun battle with the state forces to accomplish, a clash in which many who merely serve or protect (the latter, armed personnel) the oppressors, and do so because they have little choice, were either killed or injured. The Maoist guerrillas reportedly even provided first aid to some of these persons who suffered injuries. Continue reading

India: Maoist Statement on the Elimination of death-squad “Salwa Judum” and anti-people “Op. Green Hunt” Leaders

COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MAOIST)

DANDAKARANYA SPECIAL ZONAL COMMITTEE  

May 26, 2013

Elimination of fascist Salwa Judum leader Mahendra Karma: Legitimate response to the inhuman atrocities, brutal murders and endless terror perpetrated on the Adivasis of Bastar!

Attack on top Congress leaders:Inevitable reprisal to the fascist Operation Green Hunt being carried on by the UPA government hand in glove with various state governments!

 On May 25, 2013, a detachment of the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army conducted a massive attack on the 20 plus vehicles convoy of Congress party which resulted in wiping out of at least 27 Congress leaders, activists and policemen including Mahendra Karma, the bitter enemy of the oppressed people of Bastar and Nand Kumar Patel, president of the Congress’ state unit. It took place when the Congress party leaders were touring in Bastar region as part of their ‘Parivartan Yatra’ program (i.e. March of Change) keeping their eye on forthcoming assembly elections. At least 30 others also were injured in this attack including ex-central minister and veteran Congress leader Vidya Charan Shukla. The dog’s death of Mahendra Karma, notorious tyrant, murderer, rapist, robber and maligned as corrupt, in this historic attack has created a festive atmosphere in entire Bastar region. Former state home minister Nand Kumar Patel was also had the history of suppressing the people. It was in his tenure, paramilitary force (CRPF) was deployed in Bastar region for the first time. It was also not hidden from anyone that the former central minister VC Shukla who had been in various portfolios including Home ministry, was also a people’s enemy who had acted as a loyal servant of imperialists, comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie and landlords and had played a key role in formulating and implementing exploitative government policies. The goal of this attack was mainly to eliminate Mahendra Karma and some other reactionary Congress top leaders as well. However, during this massive attack some innocent people and some lower level Congress party activists who were in fact not our enemies, were also killed and injured caught in the two-hour long gun battle that ensued between our guerrilla forces and the armed police forces. Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of Communist Party of India (Maoist) regrets for this and expresses condolence and sympathy to the families of the bereaved. Continue reading

Maoist attacks are a counter violence of resistance against the state: Arundhati Roy

 

First Post, May 28, 2013

(First Post) Editors note: This interview was originally run in April 2010 by CNN-IBN. Given the context of the recent attack in Chhattisgarh on a Congress convoy, (First Post) has republished the interview as it resurfaces some interesting points of view. 

In that interview, Arundhati Roy says that the Maoists have no choice but to indulge in ‘counter-violence’. Here is Roy’s interview with CNN-IBN Deputy Editor Sagarika Ghosh:

Arundhati Roy. AFP

Arundhati Roy. AFP

Sagarika Ghose: You wrote your article ‘Walking with the comrades’ in The Outlook before Dantewada happened. In the aftermath of the Dantewada (incident of 2010), do you still stand by the tone of sympathy that you had with the Maoist cause in that essay?

Arundhati Roy: Well, this is a odd way to frame before and after Dantewada happened, because actually you know this cycle of violence has been building on and on. This is not the first time that a large number of security personnel have been killed by the Maoists. I have written about it and the other attacks that took place between the years 2005-07. The way I look at is, people make it sound that, ‘oh, on this side are people, who are celebrating the killing of CRPF jawans, and that side of the people who are asking for the Maoists to be wiped out.’ This is not the case. I think that you got to look at the every death as a terrible tragedy in a system, in a war that’s been pushed on the people and that unfortunately is becoming a war of the rich against the poor. In which rich put forward the poorest of the poor to fight the poor. CRPF are terrible victims but they are not just victims of the Maoists. They are victims of a system of structural violence that is taking place, that sort to be drowned in this empty condemnation industry that goes on. This is entirely meaningless because most of the time people who condemn them have really no sympathy for them. They are just using them as pawns. Continue reading

India: How deep, and how intelligent, is “deep intelligence”?

[When the Indian State is caught committing massacres of adivasis, their spokesmen and mouthpieces routinely retreat to Wizard of Oz claims of legitimacy and authority, stating that their actions were based upon secret and dependable sources which cannot be revealed.  This argument is designed for the arrogant, privileged, and gullible–to enable them to dismiss adivasi experience and suffering, and to endorse the malicious acts of the state as necessary and justifiable.  This article digs into these claims of “deep intelligence,” of “collateral damage” and of the need to disregard the victims, who have been used as “human shields,” as the official invented stories go.  —  Frontlines ed.]

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“Deep Intelligence” in Bastar: Mapping The Maoists From The Skies

By Trevor Selvam

07 July, 2012
Countercurrents.org

The Chiefs of the Indian Police Paramilitary Forces have repeatedly stated
that their operations against Maoists guerillas in the Bastar/Dantewada
area are reinforced by “deep intelligence.” Initially, I had glossed over
the expression and did not pay much attention. Then I noticed it a second
and a third time. And something rang a bell or rather hit a warm spot, as
you shall soon see. It was as if something was being held up by the Para
military Police Chiefs as “irrefutable evidence” which they were not
prepared to discuss any further. They had confidently emphasized that there
was no way the 20 villagers who were killed were not Maoists. Because,
again, they had “deep intelligence.”

My curiosity had by now peaked. What was this “deep intelligence” that they
had repeatedly cited? Did they have plants amongst the villagers who were
the eyes and ears of the police? Did they have plain clothes Selwa Judum
types who had been operating in the outskirts of the jungle areas, where
the Maoists have their strongholds? Are there tribal folks whom they have
promised land and other benefits in exchange for information on the wily
Naxalites/Maoists?

For the love of deep intelligence, a term used once upon a time in the
computer world, for embedded intelligence in microchips, I was deeply
intrigued by the repetition of this term. Mr. Chidambaram, the depressing,
lugubrious Indian Home Minister has also used similar terminology in
asserting the authenticity of the now totally discredited news that
“hardcore Maoists” were killed in this spat. He also said that he had
absolute authoritative evidence that hardcore elements had been eliminated.
Mr. Chidambaram, normally, judiciously avoids commentary on such
situations. He waits for investigations to reach his desk, before he
delivers his Harvardian mulch-chewing manifests. Turns out that even the
names of the hardcore elements were disclosed to ensure that the public
understood that there was hard work done by the sleuths before they opened
up with their Galils and Tavors on the villagers. They knew who they were
targeting! They went after their kill with method and precision. These were
11-year old girls, some seventeen year old “toppers” in the local high
school, majority of them teenagers. Hellfire visited them at 10 pm that
night as they sat in a circle to discuss sowing. Of course there must have
been Maoists around. Of course the Maoists are close to them. And as one of
the villagers clearly stated, “We have no problems with Maoists. They help
us.” Continue reading

India: Maoists blow up new police station in Chhattisgarh

Dantewada: Naxals destroy newly-built police station

Press Trust of India

Raipur: Naxals destroyed a newly constructed police station using explosives in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, police said on Wednesday.

Following the incident which took place on Monday night, the state government transferred Dantewada SP Ankit Garg and posted him at police headquarters to Raipur, official sources said.

A group of 50 Naxals assembled at the police station near Geedam area and asked the labourers present there to leave. They blasted the building using huge amount of explosives, police said, adding there were no reports of any casualty.

Dantewada: Naxals destroy newly-built police station

The police station, which was completely destroyed, was recently constructed at a cost of Rs 30 lakh, but it didn’t have adequate security, they said.

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Raipur, Dec 27 (IANS)

About 50 armed Maoists blew up a two-storeyed police station under-construction  in Chhattisgarh’s restive Bastar region Tuesday, police said.

“Maoists stormed into the building at Geedam town, hardly 10 km from Dantewada town and set high-powered explosives and blew it up,” Dantewada Superintendent of Police Ankit Garg told IANS over the phone.

The two-storeyed structure was almost complete but was not handed over to the police. “It was a massive blast and the building was mostly blown up,” Garg said. Police have launched a massive search operation to apprehend the  rebels but no arrest has been made, he added.

The building was barely one km away from the Geedam police station but policemen posted at the old building had not reached the demolished site even after three hours of the blast. Continue reading

Indian Maoists on the Deployment of Army Troops to Tribal Forest

[The recent announcement that the Indian Army is deploying troops, ostensibly for “training,” into indigenous areas deemed “rebel” or “extremist” has drawn much attention and growing opposition from various sectors. (see the prior news report at https://revolutionaryfrontlines.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/army-moves-into-maoist-area-in-chhattisgarh/).  Here is the statement released by Indian Maoists. — Frontlines ed.]

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COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MAOIST), CENTRAL COMMITTEE:  Press Release (4 June, 2011)

  • Deployment Of Army In The Name Of Training Schools Puts The Very Existence Of The Aborigines and Inhabitants Of Bastar In Peril!
  • Forest Belongs To The Indigenous People (Mulvasis) – The Government Doesn’t Have Any Right Over Even An Inch Of It!
  • Indian Army GO BACK – Do Not Kill Your Own Citizens!

While the Bastar adivasi peasants are readying themselves for the monsoons to till their lands so that they can feed their children and families throughout the year – unknown to them, silently and stealthily the central and state governments have completed the preparations for another kind of monsoons. These ‘monsoons’ do not rain droplets of water but bullets and shells, rockets and cannon balls  and would irrigate their lands with the blood of children, women and men – young and old. These ‘monsoons’ promise a lifelong peace and prosperity. Peace it would – as peaceful as a graveyard could be and lifelong as their longing for life would come to an end. Of course, prosperity it would be – for the imperialists, their running dogs – the ruling classes of India, the corporate vultures, the MNC sharks, the great Indian extended family of the comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie i.e., the chief ministers, ministers, MLAs, MPs, IAS, IPS, IFS, bureaucrats etc as now they could lay their greedy hands on the immense wealth buried under this graveyard.

The home ministry says it wants to ‘clear, hold and build’ in the ‘Maoist areas.’ In our country words have long ago ceased to have their original meaning, for which they were created in the first place. Here is the new lexicon– ‘clear’ means massacres, mopping up or complete destruction of everything, ‘hold’ means a war of occupation and ‘build’ means absolute loot of people’s resources. All this ultimately results in reducing the people to a slave like existence complete with absolute surrender to the imperialist slave-owners and this has got its own word – ‘development’. And it is not just words, even institutions have changed their ‘supposed duties’ in our country (into their ‘actual duties’ for which they were created, in fact) – the government doesn’t look after the welfare of the people – it bends over backwards and crawls on its fours to protect the interests of those who exploit them; the judiciary doesn’t protect the rights of the people – it shows admirable adroitness in finding ways to deny them; the police think they are the ‘law’ and that ‘ordering around’ restores it; and the Indian Army with impeccable acumen finds ‘enemies’ in the dilapidated huts of poor adivasis, in the empty granaries of the bankrupt peasants or in the stench-filled bastis of workers and of course in every nook corner of Kashmir and North-East. Continue reading

India: “Stop War on People! Withdraw the Central Forces! Scrap the Planned Army Bases in Bastar!”

Forum Against War on People, India

The Indian state’s war on the people in the name of Operation Green Hunt (OGH) is about to complete two years. These two years have left a bloody trail of state brutalities.

Soon after the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) started its second term in 2009, it was hell bent in repressing the people’s movements for their land, water, forests, and mountains. Thus it declared war against the people in the name of OGH. In the leadership of the central government, the state governments of Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, and other states unleashed the same war on the people.

Continue reading