India: Commemorating the Life and Revolutionary Leadership of Comrade Azad (1954-2010)“India is a vast and highly complex society with uneven and varied development.  It has the universal features of any semi-colonial, semi-feudal society under the grip of finance capital; it also has many a specificity, which requires deep study and analysis.  Revolution here is no simple task.  While focusing on the axis of the armed agrarian revolution it would additionally entail dealing with and solving the varied and numerous diseases afflicting our socio-political system.  The new democratic revolution entails the total democratization of the entire system and all aspects of life – political, economic, social, cultural, educational, recreational, etc.  The standard of life has to be enhanced, not only materially but also in the sphere of outlook and values.  A new social being has to emerge in the course of the revolutionary process.” — Comrade Azad

Cherukari Rajkumar (1954-2010), popularly known as Azad, spokesperson of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), served the cause of the Indian revolution for over thirty five years till he was murdered by state forces on July 1, 2010.  His leadership concentrated the very best of revolutionary Maoism in his adherence to principle, his reliance on the revolutionary masses, and his insistence on never deviating from the revolutionary goal.  He fought against every mischaracterization of the revolutionary struggle, especially such claims that the Maoists were self-seeking, opportunistically using the masses.  The people’s war, he insisted, was not of Maoists substituting themselves for the masses, but of the masses struggling for revolution and liberation in every sphere of life, and the role of the Maoists is to serve the revolution of the masses as organizers, leaders, educators, and defenders.  He extended this view to the revolutionary overthrow of feudalism and capitalism which will establish a socialist state, in which the revolutionary Maoists will remain among the masses and continue the revolution, organizing and leading the struggle to transform every economic, political, and social relation, toward the final goal of communism.  Today, on the third anniversary of his cowardly ambush-murder by the Indian fascist state, we honor his memory with a serious, internationalist red salute, and with the determination to continue his legacy. 
We present an interview with Azad, conducted a few months before his assassination, in which he details the views of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).  Lal Salaam!
Inquilab Zindabad!  —  Frontlines ed.]


from:  Mainstream, Vol XLVIII, No 6, January 30, 2010
‘Let Us Not Make Truth A Casualty In This War’

Azad exposes Chidambaram’s Clear-and-Hold operations based on the Stratetgic Hamlet programme pursued by Britain in Malaya and the USA in Vietnam

“The following interview of Comrade Azad, spokesperson of the CPI (Maoist) Central Committee, given to the Maoist information Bulletin on October 19, 2009 reached our (Mainstream Weekly) office in late December last year. This wideranging interview—on the current Centrally-planned anti-Maoist offensive in our tribal heartland and related issues [including violence and counter-violence, Maoists’ talks with the government, the CPI (Maoist)’s stand on development, charges of extortion, beheading of Francis Induvar, recruitment of child soldiers etc.]—is being published in full here despite its length due to its importance in the present scenario and for the benefit of our readers.” —  (Mainstream Weekly Editor)

Q: There is a lot of talk about an unprecedented massive military offensive due to begin anytime now. How will your Party confront it?

Azad: The fact is, the unprecedented massive offensive has already begun. In the Chintagufa area in Dantewada district almost 4000 police and Central forces led by around 600 elite commandos of the anti-Naxal COBRA force had carried out their biggest-ever counter-revolutionary operation called Operation Green Hunt in the third week of September. Some media reporters described it as Operation Red Hunt. Whatever is the name, it was the first major attempt by the Central and State forces to wrest a part of the territory from the hands of the oppressed people led by the Maoists. This operation was a sort of a rehearsal for the forthcoming Centrally-planned countrywide simultaneous offensive on all our guerrilla zones.

When the enemy attack took place near Singanamadugu village, our forces present there were hardly 50 or 60 in number. But they fought heroically, and successfully repulsed the attack by a superior force, by totally relying on the people. It was the people who gave us the information regarding each and every movement of the enemy force. Hence our guerrillas could deal the first biggest blow to these so-called COBRAs who were specially trained in jungle warfare and sent to wage an unjust war against the Maoist revolutionaries. Six of their men including two assistant commandants—one from Manipur and another from UP—were wiped out in the real battle. These brave COBRAs demonstrated their heroism and courage by murdering seven unarmed adivasi villagers, including two aged men and a woman, and burning four villages. Not a single Maoist was killed contrary to the false claims of the police that 22 Maoists were killed. Our forces chased them for about 10 kilometres. The people of the entire area stood with us in this counter-attack on the thugs sent by Manmohan-Chidambaram’s khadi gang at the Centre and Raman Singh’s saffron gang in Chhattisgarh. This heroic resistance by a handful of Maoist guerrillas underscores the superiority of the tactics of guerrilla war and the massive mass support enjoyed by the Maoists. It demonstrates the ability of our Maoist guerrillas to confront and defeat a numerically far superior enemy force equipped with all the sophisticated weaponry, aerial support and what not, by relying on the sea of people in which we swim like fish.

In the second week of October once again Chidambaram’s men unleashed another massive offensive by amassing 10, 000 men in Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra with MI-17 choppers surveying the area from the skies. It was as if an army from an enemy country was waging war on the Indian people. In the face of it our forces had successfully carried out a massive political campaign against the farce of the Assembly elections that were held on October 13 in Maharashtra.

Here I shall not go into the concrete details of our precise tactics to confront and defeat the unprecedented, massive, brazen offensive on the most oppressed people being unleashed by the Indian ruling classes on behalf of the imperialists and the comprador big business houses. I can only confidently say one thing for the present: All our plans, policies, strategy and tactics will be based entirely on the active involvement of the vast masses of people in this war of self-defence. The enemy class cannot decimate us without decimating the entire population in the regions we control. And if it dares to go into an all-out war of extermination of the tribal population the entire socio-politico scene in India will undergo a fundamental shift and will witness a radical realignment of class forces. All peace-loving, democratic, patriotic, secular forces, all the downtrodden sections of the society will polarise into one pole while the most reactionary, anti-people, authoritarian, traitorous, jingoist counter-revolutionary forces will end up at the opposite pole. Such a polarisation is bound to take place as the war advances and the enemy’s mercenary forces attempt to turn central and eastern India into a graveyard. The warmongers will be isolated and will face unprecedented social and political crises. However, on behalf of our Party, PLGA, revolutionary mass organisations and organs of people’s democratic power, I can assure the people of our country that with their support, direct as well as indirect, we shall deal crushing blows on the enemy’s mercenary forces and defeat their plans to hand over these regions to the international and domestic bandicoots.

Q: But your forces had killed around 20 policemen, most of them C-60 commandos, in Laheri in Gadchiroli district on the eve of the elections in Maharashtra. Is it not due to incidents like this which is provoking the government to deploy huge forces in these areas? No, no. It is the other way round. It is because of the indescribable atrocities perpetrated by the specially-trained anti-Naxal forces that we are compelled to carry out such attacks. If they do not harass the poor, unarmed adivasi population; if they do not arrest, torture, murder them, and rape their women; if they do not engage in destroying the property, burn villages and crops of the adivasis; if they do not indulge in cold-blooded murders of abducted Maoists and declare them dead in so-called encounters, then why will our forces undertake such attacks? How can this be a provocation? You know who the C-60 commandos are? They are specifically formed as an elite anti-Naxal force whose one and only task is to kill Naxalites and Naxal sympathisers. If no Naxalite is found they pounce on hapless adivasi villagers, arrest them, torture them, and murder them. And adivasi women have become their objects of rape. You might have heard of the heart-chilling story of a 13-year-old girl from Pavarvel village in Dhanora tehsil who was gangraped by five or six commandos led by the notorious Munna Singh Thakur in March this year. Or the case of the gangrape and murder of 52-year-old Mynabai from Kosimi village by several policemen in Gyarapatti PS in the same Danora tehsil in May last year. For the directors of this war on adivasis —Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram, G.K. Pillai and others—the gangrapes of a 13-year-old girl or a 52-year-old woman are only collateral damage in their larger war for capturing the region to plunder its wealth. Continue reading

The Guardian (UK)–India’s Maoist Liberated Zones, part 1: “34 days with Maoists inside the forest”

Suvojit Bagchi spent over a month in Maoist hideouts in the forests of south Chhattisgarh.
SUVOJIT BAGCHI — 27th November, 2011
 After walking for eight hours in a forest that possibly had more hillocks and rivulets than trees, without any long pause, by early evening we entered a narrow barren table of land bounded on either side by two separate ridges. At the far end stood a few blue and yellow tents. Somji, one of the men who had met me at the edge of the forest, picked up speed as we approached the tents. With the amber red setting sun in the backdrop, I saw some activity in the camps as Somji reached the centre of the table.
A moderately tall man standing guard with a rifle flung over his shoulder whistled and heads in silhouette started rushing towards the centre of the narrow rectangular table. Under a minute, the camp members, a group of about 40, stood in formation and began singing a welcome song for us, which I realised through my stay, is a Maoist ritual:

Local Maoists evolved from tribals of Bastar, the Gonds. Their relationship is extremely cordial and friendly.

Lal lal salaam, lal lal salaam
Aanewale sathio ko lal lal salaam
Patrakar sathio ko lal lal salaam.
(Red salute to the friends who have come and to the journalists.)

Members in the queue raised their fist to whisper “lal salaam” — “red salute”. There were very young girls with hair cropped like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, they ended their “lal salaam” inevitably with a giggle. Rest, between 15 and 30 years, the men and women, wore rubber sandals, olive green battle fatigues and carried guns of various makes. Insas Standard rifle 5.56 mm, .303 rifles (antiquated), the Carbine 9 mm, LMG 7.62 mm, 12-bore guns, the SLR 7.62 mm rifle and standard Kalashnikovs were the recognisable ones.

The writer stayed in camps like these where life is pretty basic.

A thin and strongly built man in his 40s, armed with an AK and a whistle, introduced himself as Gudsa Usendi alias Sukhdev. Usendi is the spokesperson of the Maoist party in Dandakaranya. I was surprised. I had a different mental picture of Usendi. From the texture of his voice, which I heard over telephone, I thought of him as a tall, plump man. “But he is so thin,” I thought. “He looks like a martial arts instructor and not an irate spokesperson of a revolutionary party.”

Usendi is also one of the 20 members of the Maoists’ Chhattisgarh state committee, called the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC). He gave me the first instructions of guerrilla life: “Akash will be your guard. In case of an attack, if I say Bastar you will move towards the enemy and reverse if I say Narayanpur. Akash will cover you.”

Akash, my bodyguard, an 18-year-old Gondi boy, had an unusually pleasant smile and treated me almost like a kid while he was with me. “As we move forward or backward, while under attack, make sure that you are always behind me so that I can take the fire on me,” he repeatedly told me.

Maoist platoons normally set up their camps in a semi-circle with one tent in the centre, which was referred to as the “headquarter”. Every time a camp is set up, the camp commander does a roll call and gives a fresh set of passwords that may help to regroup later if the camp comes under attack from the security forces.

Akash slept for about four hours at night as he spent two hours every night guarding the camp from under a mohua tree in incessant rain. Nevertheless, he never failed to wake me up early for my walks through several kilometres of rain-drenched forest. Though the purpose of these walks was to take me to villages and camps in the Maoist-controlled forest, I later realised that Maoist platoons normally walked for long distances almost every day to ensure safety, collect local intelligence and imbibe a sense of purpose in young mind. Continue reading