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: Punjab – a report on Jan Myrdal’s talk in Ludhiana

February 12, 2012

“The Political organization has the Central Role in Raising the Consciousness of People”

by Buta Singh, Sanhati

In America, and especially in Europe, the class consciousness of people has taken a downturn and this is the cause for domination of bourgeois ideology and in organizing public opinion for unjust imperialist wars. That is why there is no strong opposition to these wars and aggressions among the people of imperialist countries.”

This was stated by Jan Myrdal, a famous Marxist thinker and literary figure, in a heavily attended program in Punjabi Bhavan in Ludhiana which was held under the chairmanship of Prof. AK Maleri, Prof. Jagmohan Singh, Satnam, Prof. Ajmer Aulakh and Gautam Navlakha. He was introduced by Prof. Jagmohan Singh to the audience as an anti-imperialist activist and literary authority known throughout the world. In his key-note address Myrdal said that the imperialist wars have assumed an important role in the world due to weakened working class movement. He stressed that the people do not gain political consciousness spontaneously rather it is imparted by the political organization of the working class. He said that the Nazis had achieved success in elections by corrupting the consciousness of their people promising them gains in the loot of Europe. The genocides being carried out by the imperialist USA is not a new thing and one should remember that it is built on the mass scale extermination of the Red Indians. It attacks other countries to control them but is careful to not destroy their oil resources and installations and instead destroys their cultural heritages, history and civilizations. Quoting Mao Zedong he said that though the US imperialism is a paper tiger but it has a great capability of inflicting heavy casualties and destruction to maintain its imperialist grip on the people of the world. In spite of great changes in the world system the plunder of wage labour still holds the key to imperialist exploitation though the mental labour has assumed huge proportions. The developing of the war machine has always been an important aspect of imperialism. The struggles like “occupy Wall Street” are important but the they lack the required political perspective and direction as the political organization which can lead the people to victory is not present. He said that the imperialists have succeeded in splitting up the people of Syria, Iraq and other Arab countries on religious and sectarian lines thus sidetracking the struggles of the people and pitching them one against the other. While answering the questions of the audience he stressed that it is duty of the movements in various countries to enact change in the system in accordance with the objective situation prevailing in respective countries and no single center can lead the movements in various countries. While briefing on his meetings with Mao Zedong he said that he was a genius who could creatively apply Marxist theory according to the social conditions and history of China. Gautam Navlakha translated his speech and his answers to the questions raised by the listeners. Continue reading

Gautam Navlakha and Arundhati Roy: India’s War on People at Home

From MRzine

This forum, held in Mumbai on 2 June 2010, was sponsored by the Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights. Video by Satyen K. Bordoloi.  The text below is a brief partial transcript of the forum.

For the the first of 18 segments of the video see:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQHEQOZ-q4I&feature=player_embedded

Gautam Navlakha: How many of us have dared raise fundamental issues about what the state has been doing since 1947, since the transfer of power?  There’s not a single year in the last 63 that we have had since the transfer of power when the state has not been engaged in a war in one or another part of this country.  Today . . . [we have] 235 districts — 122 districts in Jammu and Kashmir, 79 districts in the northeast, and 34 districts according to the government of India — where some form of armed conflict is going on.  In 235 districts out of 636, there is an armed conflict going on.  Does it matter to us?  No.  I think we are the biggest hypocrites. . . .

We talk about peace, we talk about non-violence, we talk about peaceful transformation, we’re against political violence and everything, but we don’t mean it.  I’m sorry we don’t mean it, because if that had been so, we would be out on the streets, we would be out on the streets protesting against . . . the wars that the state has launched against our people.  In every year that a war has been launched, we have been quiet, because we accept war. . . . Continue reading