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

Indian Maoists expose and denounce the latest “peace” trap

COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MAOIST), CENTRAL COMMITTEE

Press Release (June 24, 2011)

The offer for peace talks by the President of India is nothing but a ploy to divert the people from the reality of OGH Phase -2!

On June 24, the President Pratibha Patil who came on a visit to Chhattisgarh capital Raipur proposed that Maoists should shun violence
and come forward for talks and that they should join the mainstream and work for the development of Adivasis. This proposal came exactly at a time when thousand Indian Army soldiers had entered Bastar to participate in the Operation Green Hunt (OGH) against the poorest people of India. In the backdrop of the signing of MoUs worth billions of rupees worth to loot the natural resources of our mineral-rich country after many rounds of talks, the President is talking about `peace talks’. She is proposing these `talks’ when already 750 sq kms of forest land where dozens of villages and thousands of Mariya Adivasi community reside have been handed over to the Army without any `talks’ whatsoever.

Pratibha Patil, incidentally the first woman President of India, is advising us to shun violence even before the wounds of women of
Tadimetla, Morpalli, Pulanpadu and Timmapur villages at the southern tip of Chhattisgarh have healed after the brutal atrocities and violence of the government forces perpetrated on them. She is advising us to abjure violence when state violence is a daily occurrence in Dandakaranya, Bihar-Jharkhand, Odisha, Maharashtra and many other areas, particularly the Maoist movement areas or Adivasi areas. In fact, state violence expresses itself in many forms. It is carried on in various methods at various times. For example, today it hiked the price of kerosene by two rupees, diesel by three rupees and cooking gas by 50 rupees. This is one form of violence which makes the lives of people even more unbearable. Continue reading