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 Military Think Tank studying Maoist strength, resilience and “secret weapon”: the masses

[The Indian mass media, which is overwhelmingly in service to reactionary forces and which loyally promotes the confusing and fabricated stories of the police and military–routinely tells horrifying stories about the Maoists, and how the Maoists are so inferior that they have nearly completely collapsed.  Such propaganda is clearly designed to discredit the growing (and diverse) political opposition and support for popular revolutionary forces.  But the Indian state does not believe its own propaganda hype.  It commissions its think tanks to make sober and realistic assessments of the growing strength and strategic course of the Maoists (to inform its generals and counter-insurgency military planners).  Such is the nature of this report. — Frontlines ed.]

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Maoist People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army

P. V. Ramana, Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses
December 12, 2011

The People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) of Naxalites of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) [CPI (Maoist) in short], marked its 11th anniversary concluding on December 5, 2011. The rebels indulged in a spree of violence blasting government office buildings, schools and railway tracks in various places. They also attacked two police stations –– Dhivra and Tandwa in Bihar, both of which were successfully repulsed.

This annual, week-long commemoration came in the immediate aftermath of the killing of Mallojula Koteswara Rao alias Kishanji in a gun battle with the security forces, on November 24, 2011, in the Burisole forest area of West Midnapore district, West Bengal. Also, the Maoists gave a call for a general shutdown, with limited success, in their strongholds in various States on December 4 and 5 to protest the killing of Kishanji.

The PLGA was founded on December 2, 2000, originally as the People’s Guerrilla Army (PGA), by the then Communist Party of India–Marxist-Leninist (People’s War), PW in short, and popularly known as the PWG. The founding day also marked the first anniversary of the killing in an encounter of three Central Committee members of the then PW, Nalla Adi Reddy, Yerramreddy Santosh Reddy and Seelam Naresh in the Koyyuru forest area of Karimnagar district. Following the merger of the PW and the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI), on September 21, 2004, the PGA was renamed as the PLGA.

At the time of launching the PLGA, Nambala Keasava Rao alias Basava Raju, who is believed to be the de facto head of the Maoist military machine, said that it was founded to “smash the rule of imperialism, feudalism, comprador bureaucrat capitalism, and to seize political power by setting up a new democratic state as a first step in the path to socialism.” Its flag signifies a resolve to overthrow the state through the force of arms. It carries a hammer and sickle cut across by a gun.

Besides, at its founding, the general secretary of the CPI (Maoist), Muppala Lakshmana Rao alias Ganapathy, who was also the general secretary of the then PW, said: “The PGA must mingle with the masses and become a part of their lives and their aspirations. In this way, the PGA will grow and equip itself to take on the multi-pronged attack by the government…” In fact, this is in consonance with what Mao Tse Tung once said: “… all the practical problems in the masses’ everyday life should claim our attention. If we attend to these problems, solve them and satisfy the needs of the masses, we shall really become organizers of the well-being of the masses, and they will truly rally round us and give us their warm support … ”1 Eventually, as the mass base of the PLGA expands to include various sections of society, the Maoists hope to transform the PLGA into the PLA. Continue reading