Maoists Again

Maoists are in the news again. On April 3, at around 11.10 am a fire-fight broke out between the government's armed forces and the Maoist guerrillas at the Sukma-Bijapur border area. In the deadly ambush, said to be one of the worst in years, ended up claiming the lives of 22 security personnel and injuring 31. The police authorities said on 20 Maoists were gunned down, albeit the CPI (Maoist) said in their statement that only four of their squad members died in the encounter. The martyrs as per their press release were Odi Sunny, Padam Lakhma, Kowasi Badru, Nupa Suresh and Madvi Sukka. Despite the superior fire power of the security forces the guerrillas succeeded in taking Rakeshwar Singh Mishas, a COBRA battalion jawan in their custody but later released him on humanitarian ground as the 5-year- old daughter of Mr Singh appealed for the release of her father. As per a report published in The Quint, the Maoists reiterated that their fight is not with the security personnel and they are "pained" by the deaths of the personnel killed in the April 3 ambush. The people know only the government version of maoist violence while their pro-people exercise remains largely unreported.

In truth in Sukma the maoist guerrillas were retaliating to the attack launched by the forces at the behest of the Modi-Shah government. The maoists claimed that 2000 security personnel were pressed into service to wipe out the guerrillas in the Jeeragudam village on April 3 following which the maoists—the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) to be precise just "counter-attacked". The brutality of security forces defies description. Alleging vandalism, loot, imprisonment of villagers and violation of women the CPI (Maoist) statement claimed that more than 150 people have been killed under the 'operation naxal' scheme since November 2020. The security establishment, however, blamed it on the maoists for killing 50 civilians in past six months I Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Around 80-90 percent of tribals allegedly killed by the maoist guerrillas in Maharashtra, particularly in Gadchiroli are reportedly labeled police informers or special police officers. Though the police publicly distance themselves from such murders, there is every reason to believe that they discreetly help the families vindicating the maoist allegation that local policemen were clandestinely utilising villagers as informants. In Chattisgarh many have been killed for supporting the police in the on-going "Lon Varrathu" (return home) surrender campaign.

Meanwhile, the Centre is planning a massive operation against the maoists as the Union Home minister Amit Shah said the other day in Raipur that operation against Maoists would be intensified and the fight would be taken to its logical end.

The Maoists think in India an armed revolution is fighting an armed counter-revolution. Of late they are on the defensive despite sporadic actions here and there. For one thing their strategy of imitating the Chinese model of 1920s has so far failed. The tragedy is they are too dogmatic to accept the hard reality. Whether they admit it or not they are totally isolated from basic masses, particularly workers and peasants. They are in no position to participate in the historic farmers' movement, now threatening the very foundation of Modi government. In urban India they are not viewed as liberator. On the contrary people mostly believe in government propaganda that demonise them. True, tribals are the most exploited section of society but tribals alone cannot complete revolution. Without a broad-based united front of toiling people it is next to impossible to fight the mighty repressive machine of Indian government. And this united front cannot be built by parroting some quotes from Marxist classics. Nor will Mao's' New Democracy' help to improve the situation. Unless it is built in practice taking causes of diverse class interests, with an implementable common programme talking of united front makes no sense. They are boycottist of parliamentary elections right from the beginning. As a result they are in no position to utilise elections to influence people and propagate their idea of radical change of society. The far right as also the official left are in the same boat when it is the question of tackling the naxalites or maoists. The thesis that left wing extremism is the main threat to India was propounded by the Congress Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his successor Modi of Bharatiya Janata Party maintains the same idea. Without a proper mass line masses cannot be mobilised in their millions and the maoists have so far failed to initiate any mass line that could motivate masses to rise against the system.

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Vol. 53, No. 43, Apr 25 - May 1, 2021