Maoists are regrouping in West Bengal's Jangalmahal area, where peace prevailed for more than a year after their leader Kishenji was killed and several other top functionaries were arrested, according to the State Intelligence Bureau.
Jangalmahal, which comprises three districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia, where killings and encounters between Maoists and security forces were almost the order of the day since 2008, saw relative peace since the middle of 2011.
But the latest intelligence reports said the ultras in small groups were trying to regroup in the area and rebuilding their movement from a scratch.
"We have specific inputs that Maoists are trying to regroup in the region. The squads of Maoist leaders Bikash in the Lalgarh area (W Midnapore), Ranjit in Ayodhya hills (Purulia), Madan Mahato in Jambani, Akash and Jayanto are trying to regroup and recruit new people," SIB ADG, Banibrata Basu, said.
One reason why the Maoists are keen to come back to the area is the topography of the area which with its deep forets and hilly terrains provide an ideal backdrop for their clandestine activity. Another factor in their favour is the ready source of cadres among the long-exploited tribal people in the entire region which is underdeveloped in terms of job availability and infrastructure.
The terrain also suits their methods of guerrilla warfare while taking on the security forces and police personnel.The area, which recorded 350 killings in 2010-11,witnessed none in 2012.
According to sources, Maoist commanders Bikash's wife Tara, Madan's wife Jaba and Jayanto are engaged in reviving the movement and rebuilding the support base among the tribals.
IG western range Gangeshwar Singh said the security forces were well prepared to combat any revival of Maoists insurgency in the area. "Bikash, Akash, Madan, Ranjit are moving with small squads in Junglemahal area. They are trying to regroup and establish contact with the people of the area," Singh told .
Reacting to the development, Maoist ideologue Vervara Rao said, "It is the natural process of an armed movement.Once you are back and once you strike back regrouping and retreating are part of any guerrilla movement. If the promised development doesn?t take place in Jangalmahal, people of the area will again rise in revolt."
KOLKATA: The state government
had bought two carriers with Rs 90 lakh to counter Maoist insurgency in the
districts. But for the past three years they have been lying idle because the
vehicles were found unsuitable for use, states a latest report by the
Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
Bought for more than Rs 90 lakh to counter
Maoist insurgency in the districts of West Bengal, two troop carriers have been
lying idle for the past three years as they were found unsuitable for use.
According to a latest report by the Comptroller
and Auditor General (CAG), the West Bengal police had made the procurement in
2009 "without considering their suitability resulting in the vehicles not
being used in anti-terrorist operations for more than two years and consequent
blockage of funds".
The Home Department had "ignored the
opinion of the district police authorities" while sanctioning the order.
"Scrutiny of records of SP Paschim
Medinipur (West Midnapore) revealed that the vehicle was not utilized for a
single operation since its deployment as it did not have bomb blast proof technology
and due to its low fuel economy and inability to move in narrow roads and
forests due to its large size," the CAG report said.
The Police Directorate had also expressed
reservations about the suitability of the vehicle on account of high cost, inconclusive
field trials and non-availability of technical certificate regarding the
vehicle being mine-proof.
The auditors also flayed the government for
making the purchase directly from Ural India Limited without calling for
By Rakhi Chakrabarty, TNN | Sep 16, 2012,
NEW DELHI: Maoist leader Kishanji's streak of
individualism and defiance hurt the party and led to his killing by the police,
said Sushil Roy, ideologue and politburo member of the banned CPI-Maoist. In
jail since 2005, Roy is currently
undergoing treatment in Delhi's AIIMS hospital.
Speaking exclusively to TOI, 78-year-old Roy said, "He (Kishanji) did not
obey party line. He thought he was next to Mao." Koteshwar Rao alias
Kishanji was killed last November in Bengal. Ahead of 2011 assembly polls in Bengal, Kishanji had reached
out to the Trinamool Congress keeping the CPI-Maoist leadership in the dark.
"The party did not know about his (Kishanji's)
meeting with Mamata (Banerjee) before the polls. It was not the party's
decision," said Roy, who has been an underground leader since 1967 after the Naxalbari movement, precursor to the
Maoists, was launched. He said that indiscriminate killings in Bengal's
Jangalmahal by Maoists was wrong.
Caste and regional bias, indiscipline and mobile
phones are hurting the Maoists, said Roy. Kishanji, for instance, would call up
all kinds of people, including journalists and political leaders. "He also
kept in touch with RSP leaders, then party to the ruling Left Front in Bengal,
though they never helped us. That was his weakness.
It harmed him," said Roy.
Use of mobile phones has hit the Maoists hard.
Calling Operation Greenhunt barbaric, he said,
"The police could not get any of our leaders in a gunbattle. They could
not have arrested our leaders had it not been for the use of mobile
phones." Due to heavy losses, the Maoists are unlikely to hold the
five-yearly party congress this year. "State plenums have been held and
preparation is on for the central plenum," added Roy.
Lying in the emergency ward of the AIIMS
hospital with his body riddled with catheter and needles, Roy mourned the loss
of Maoist spokesperson Azad who was killed in police encounter in Adilabad
forests of Andhra Pradesh in 2010.
was killed in a barbaric manner by the police. His death was a big loss for the
Roy, who had declared the formation of the
CPI-Maoist following the merger of MCC and PW on September 21, 2004, in the jungles of
Chhattisgarh, was brought to AIIMS by the Jharkhand police after his health
deteriorated. He was wanted in four cases in Bengal and eight cases in
"I was supposed to walk out of the prison on
August 18 last year, but
Jharkhand police invoked the National Security Act and put me back in
jail," said Roy suffering from a serious urinary bladder ailment.
He appealed to party leadership to lay down
arms, opt for partial ceasefire in West Bengal and Jharkhand and talk to the
government. In Chhattisgarh and Bihar though the banned party should continue
its fight against the Indian state to keep up the morale of the cadres, he
Speaking exclusively to TOI, Roy said, "A
large number of our comrades were killed or arrested in Bengal and Jharkhand.
The party is in a bad shape. Many opportunists split from the party and formed
outfits, especially, in Jharkhand.
The ceasefire would benefit the party and help
in release of cadres from jail."
He had discussed ceasefire with Narayan Sanyal,
senior Maoist politburo member lodged in Hazaribagh jail. "About
two-and-a-half months ago, we wrote to the party from jail proposing ceasefire.
I don't know if the letter reached them," Roy said.
He was not sure though if the government would
accept the Maoist offer of a ceasefire. "The state wants Maoists to adopt
ceasefire as a policy. That would mean surrender and death of revolution,"
said Roy. He wanted Maoists to offer tactical ceasefire.
After nearly eight years of its formation on
October 14, 2004, the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), admitted
that the party had ‘considerably weakened’. In a statement issued by its
Central Committee (CC), dated July 5, 2012, the group acknowledged, “Our
failures and shortcomings in studying the deceptive strategy of the enemy and
taking up counter tactics by understanding the tactics taken by them to wipe
(out) our leadership and subjective forces as part of that strategy are reasons
behind the serious losses we are facing.”
Earlier, on June 12, 2012, in a press statement
issued by Gudsa Usendi, the spokesperson of the Dandyakaranya [forest area
situated between the borders of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and
Odisha] Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC), the rebels admitted that the party had
lost 150 members, including senior leaders, cadres and guerrilla fighters,
across the country in the preceding year, of which 40 were lost in
The Maoists have lost several top leaders since
the formation of the group. According to data compiled by the Institute for
Conflict Management, the outfit has lost at least nine members out of the
16-member Politburo of 2007, the highest decision making body, as well 18
members of its 39 member CC [including the 9 politburo members, who are also
the members of the CC.] The most prominent losses include Cherukuri Rajkumar
alias Azad (Politburo member and spokesperson, killed on July 2, 2010),
Mallojula Koteswara Rao alias Kishanji (member of the Politburo and Central Military
Commission killed on November 24, 2011), Kobad Ghandy (Maoist ideologue
arrested on September 21, 2009). The Maoists have also lost at least 65 top
leaders at various levels. The most recent of these losses was Mohan
Vishwakarma, a senior member of the Maoist’s Central Technical Committee and
Technical Research and Arms Manufacturing Unit, who was arrested in Kolkata
(West Bengal) on July 26, 2012.
The impact of the loss of these leaders is
evident, for instance, in West Bengal, where the insurrection had experienced a
surge under the leadership of Koteshwar Rao in 2009-10, but has ground to a
standstill in the aftermath of his killing in November 2011. West Bengal had
registered 636 fatalities in Maoist-related violence in just under three years,
since 2009, till the time of Koteshwar Rao’s death, but has recorded just three
killings in more than eight months since.
Overall fatalities in Maoist violence across the
country have also decreased considerably over the past two years, at least
partly due to the impact of leadership losses within the Party, though also, in
some measure, due to the winding down of the Centre’s so-called “massive and
coordinated operations” against the Maoists after the Chintalnad massacre of
Security Force (SF) personnel in April 2010. Thus, just 232 fatalities have
been recorded through 2012 (till August 5) as against 602 in 2011, a peak of
1,180 in 2010, and 997 in 2009.
The loss in leadership has also affected party
unity, with increasing evidence of rising dissent within the organization,
particularly as the Telugu (Andhra Pradesh)-dominated leadership coming under
increasing challenge. In Odisha, one of the prominent Maoist leaders, who
dominated the ‘Banshadhara Divison’ – Rayagada, Gajapati and Kandhamal
Districts – Sabyasachi Panda, Secretary of the Odisha State Organizing
Committee (OSOC), has announced his defection from the party and has in a 60
page letter (including a 20 page ‘Basadara Report’ dating back to 2003)
criticizing the leadership, recent strategic failures, growing ‘deviations’ –
ideological, tactical and cultural, including an increasing proclivity to
autocratic command, regional partisanship (in favour of Telugu cadres and
leaders), the absence of grievance redressal, ‘cultural hegemony’, intolerance
of dissent, “financial anarchy” and sexual improprieties. Reports indicate that
Suresh, a ‘unit commander’ belonging to Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal
Committee (AOBSZC), backed by about 30 cadres, has been searching for Panda
across the tribal hamlets in this relatively inaccessible region. An undated
letter, signed by ‘Subhash’ of the ‘Banshadhara Divisional Committee’, notes
that “senior Maoist leaders of Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh have taken note
of the anti-organisational activities of Sabyasachi (Panda). He is suspected of
being a mole working for the Intelligence agencies of the government… There is
evidence suggest(ing) that he has embezzled party fund and has deposited money
in different banks in the name of his wife and children… All his supporters
will be given due punishment at an appropriate moment.” In his letter to
“comrades in Jail and outside” Panda had voiced his fears that he would be
‘annihilated’ by the Party.
In another index of declining morale, 145 Maoist
militia members surrendered before Police in the Khammam District of Andhra
Pradesh, at one time, among the ‘heartland’ areas of the Maoist insurrection,
on July 24, 2012. The militia members were from 30 villages on the border of
Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
With a visible weakening of the movement, even
in ‘heartland’ areas, SFs have, for the first time, begun to venture into the
Maoist ‘central guerilla zone’ in the Abujhmadh Forest, which extends across
roughly 4,000 square kilometers, between Gadchiroli in Maharashtra and
Narayanpur in Chhattisgarh. Though the SFs failed to record any major
successes, and have conducted at least one botched operation, resulting in the
death of 18 persons, most of them civilians, at Sarkeguda in Bijapur District
on June 28, 2012, the mere penetration of SFs in the jungles of Abujhmadh
symbolizes diminishing Maoist prowess. Inspector General of Police (Operations)
in Chhattisgarh, Pankaj Singh, disclosed that 33 Maoist cadres were arrested
during an operation carried out through March 5 to 20, 2012.
The Maoists have clearly recognized the crisis
within the movement, and have initiated efforts towards course correction. The
July 5, 2012, statement notes:
A change must occur in our
work methods in accordance with the material conditions, level of the movement
and our tasks. Our methods must be improved such that the three magic weapons
for victory of revolution — party, people’s army and united front — get
consolidated and strengthened. (We must) guard against losing manpower by
amending flaws that have crept into the outfit.
In an effort to unite separate groups fighting
for the same ideology, the CPI-Maoist has decided to call off violence against
various Left Wing Extremist (LWE) factions and splinter groups for three
months. The Bihar-Jharkhand-North Chhattisgarh Special Area Committee (BJNCSAC)
spokesman, Gopal, in a statement issued on June 24, 2012, disclosed that the
decision for a ‘unilateral ceasefire’ against other armed groups was taken to
invite them to work from a unified and stronger front for the common people,
instead of expending their energies in working in their individual capacities:
“We can set aside our personal differences in ideology for the betterment of
common people and when the government is harassing villagers and trying to
suppress their movement for new democracy, all the groups must understand the
need of the hour and join hands.”
On the strategic front, the Maoist leadership is
reported to have sent key leaders to the AOBSZ from Chhattisgarh to strengthen
the party and lift the sagging morale of cadres, to counter losses in the
interior forests of Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Gajarla Ashok aka Ranganna aka
Janardhan aka Aitu, in-charge of the ‘South Bastar Division’ in DKSZC, has been
assigned the crucial responsibility of reviving the party in the AOBSZ, and is
to replace current AOBSZ ‘military chief’ Pratapareddy Ramachandra Reddy alias
Anjaneyulu who, according to the party, has ‘failed miserably’.
The Maoists continue to insist that the
socio-political-economic environment in India creates an ‘excellent
revolutionary condition’ in the country, arguing:
Material conditions in our
country are increasingly turning favorable to the revolution. All kinds of
social contradictions are sharpening. The most reactionary ‘Saranda Action
Plan’ is part of this. Adivasi and other oppressed masses are advancing forward
in the revolutionary path under the leadership of the party and the PLGA
[People’s Liberation Guerilla Army] by valiantly fighting back such repressive
policies of the government. All comrades martyred in B-J [Bihar-Jharkhand] laid
down their lives in battles with the enemy while preserving the natural riches
that rightfully belonged only to the local people…. If we have to advance the
revolution towards victory by utilizing this excellent revolutionary condition,
then we must fulfill the following immediate tasks… developing guerilla warfare
into mobile warfare and developing PLGA and to turn Dandyakaranya and
Bihar-Jharkhand into liberated areas.
The Maoists gained significant momentum in West
Bengal during the course of the Nandigram and Singur agitations of 2008-09, but
appear to have entered a phase of stasis since 2011. They have created a
foothold in Arunachal Pradesh in India’s troubled Northeast, instigating the
locals to join anti-dam movements in eastern part of the State, even as reports
indicate a consolidation in parts of Assam and Manipur. Andhra Pradesh, which
had seen the Maoists virtually expelled from their traditional heartland in the
Telangana region, has seen some efforts at restoration, on back of the
Telengana agitation for separate statehood. The State recorded its first SF
fatality after 2008, on April 26, 2012. While there is evidence of a retraction
of the strategy to “extend the people’s war across the country”, in the wake of
leadership losses, efforts for consolidation in ‘heartland’ areas, and
extension into vulnerable areas, are in evidence along faultlines across the
nation, even as the infirmities of governance continue to provide ample
opportunities for the resurrection of their ‘dwindling movement’.
Union Minister of State for Home, Jitendra
Singh, thus observed, on May 27, 2012:
The Government and the
political system is to be blamed for the Maoist problem in India… (There has
been a) lack of communication between the government and the people in
different areas of the country, which has led to impoverishment. People with
vested interest are now taking advantage of the underdevelopment and negligence
and instigating the poor to take up arms leading to the Maoist movement in
Despite reverses, the Maoists appear to have
initiated a course correction. The Government, on the other hand, appears to
remain clueless. Despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Union Home
Minister P. Chidambaram repeatedly stressing the enormity of the internal
security threat posed by the Maoists, many, both in the States and at the
Centre, continue to articulate the position that the Maoists are “misguided
youth who have to be dealt with a soft hand”. Reports indicate that several
members of the National Advisory Council (NAC), headed by ruling United
Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, which ‘guides’ the
Government in policy making, remain committed to this notion and approach.
Several State leaders also advocate the line of ‘negotiating’ with the Maoists
to restore ‘peace’. The Odisha Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, on May 21, 2012,
thus stated, “I appeal again to my misguided young brothers and sisters who have
gone to the Maoist cause… to return to the mainstream.”
The Maoists still have an estimated 46,600 armed
cadres – 8,600 ‘hardcore’ armed squad members and 38,000 jan militia carrying
rudimentary weapons and providing logistics support to the core group of the
PLGA. If the present and whimsical approach of clueless state agencies and
Governments persist, the Maoist ‘course correction’ is likely to create new
dangers in the foreseeable future.
Ajit Kumar Singh
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict
New Delhi: CPI (M) group leader in
Lok Sabha Basudeb Acharia today initiated a discussion on effective steps to
curb rising incidents of violation of human rights in the country. Initiating
the discussion on the increase in Naxalite and Maoist activities in the country
over nine states, Acharia said, this threat is the greatest threat to internal
security. The situation is very bad in two or three states where the state
governments are not in a position to tackle the Maoist threat. More than 3000
people were killed between 2008 and 2011 in Maoist violence.
Acharia said, In West Bengal there was no Maoist
activity prior to 2005. But from 2006 these started in three districts with
organisation of squad. These Maoists were utilised in Nandigram and Singur. In
West Bengal, there were 26 deaths in 2008 but they increased to 158 in 2009.
Then in 2011, these further increased to 258. Nearly 500 people were killed
during 2008-11 in Maoist violence. Some 90 per cent of them were poor people. A
so-called People’s Committee against Police Atrocities was formed in 2008 and
the then home minister said in this house that this committee was nothing but
the frontal organisation of the Maoists. Now Maoist violence is increasing in
Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Acharia also said there was rise in incidents of
human rights violations from 82,233 in 2006-07 to 90,446 in 2008-09.
The CPI (M) leader hit out at the West Bengal
Chief Minister, without naming her, for arresting a farmer for questioning her
at a public rally on rise in fertiliser prices. Acharia said the Chief Minister
dubbed the farmer as a Maoist and immediately got him arrested.
He pointed out that the Press Council of India
Chairman Markandeya Katju had described the Chief Minister as
"dictatorial, intolerant and whimsical". Maintaining that the right
to expression was a fundamental right, Acharia said this was a violation of
human rights. He also recounted the incident where in a Jadavpur University
professor was arrested for circulating a cartoon. Acharia said when the
professor was manhandled by "TMC hoodlums", the police picked him up
and not the miscreant. He pointed out that the State Human Rights Commission
had made certain observations against the incident.
He said, Often it is said that Maoists spread
their tentacles where there is no development. But this is not based on facts,
Acharia said. As for the government’s strategy, this cannot be tackled only by
use of police or paramilitary. An Expert Committee constituted by the Planning
Commission on why this problem is getting accentuated, said that commitment to
land reforms has weakened and it remains an unfinished agenda. Mostly the
tribals and dalits have been affected in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia
areas of West Bengal and in Jharkhand. Whenever there is a mining project,
tribals have been affected and uprooted, with no rehabilitation. They have no
right to land. The Forest Rights Act has not been implemented in spirit.
Acharia said, the second important point is that
there is a need for a re-look into our policy. We have opened our minerals,
mines and natural resources. These natural resources should be re-nationalised.
Tribals have become land oustees. Alternative employment is not being given
them. So there is a need to change the neo-liberal policy of the government.
The constitutional mandate to prevent concentration of wealth in a few hands is
being ignored in policy-making. Because of the neo-liberal economic policy
being pursued since 1991, the gap between the rich and the poor has sharply
widened. Therefore the government would not be able to tackle this problem
unless it addresses it sincerely and seriously. There is need for land reforms
so that the poor landless labour can get land. Without it, the problem of
Maoist violence cannot be tackled.
He said there was no need for the resolution as
the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was empowered to deal with such
incidents. Acharia, however, refused withdraw the resolution, which was later
put to vote and negated.
Winding up the debate, Minister of State for
Home Affairs Jitendra Singh said structures and institutions were in place to
deal with all kinds of human right violations.
ULTIMATELY, the truth
has come out. Not that it was not known; but now that it has come
straight from the, so to say, horse’s mouth; the chief minister of
West Bengal and the Trinamool Congress supremo has eventually lashed out at the
‘Maoists’ for their heinous crime of engineering the Ganeshwari Express
tragedy which took the toll of 148 innocent lives. Contrary to what
she has been claiming all this while that the CPI(M) and the Left was
responsible for the tragedy to defame her and the Railway ministry – she has
ultimately conceded that it was clearly the handiwork of the ‘Maoists’.
What is the provocation
for this belated ‘discovery’? Two activists of the Trinamool Congress had been
gunned down by a ‘Maoist’ squad in a hamlet on the foothills of Ajodhya in
Purulia district – an integral part of the jangal mahal area
in West Bengal which continues to remain infested by ‘Maoist’
activity. There is no doubt that these were murders most vile and all right
thinking people would condemn these with all the strength that one can
muster. The bodies of these hapless victims were brought to Kolkata
and in front of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi – the `apostle of peace’ – that
the chief minister blurted out her ‘pearls of wisdom’.
The travails of the TMC and
its maverick supremo are not only bizarre as one would think. It is at the same
time extremely sinister. The growth of the ‘Maoists’ – obviously, not in
terms of popular support but its depredations and mindless violence in the
districts adjoining the Jharkhand and Orissa borders – was quite strange. Any
avid reading of the history of Left adventurism in the country makes one to
come to an interesting conclusion. While Naxalbari was the cradle of the Left
adventurist movement in the country and the CPI(M) and the Left
suffered most due to its violence in the late sixties and early seventies, the
movement completely petered out, particularly after the Left Front assumed
office in West Bengal in 1977. The agrarian reforms and the protection
and consolidation of the democratic rights of the working people completely
isolated the Naxalites in the state. The resumption of their
activities in early parts of the first decade of the new century started as
armed incursions from Jharkhand initially and later on from Orissa. The thickly
forested jungles on the borders of these states provided the natural cover, as
well as, the strategic base that the ‘Maoists’ needed to move on to West
The Left had from the
very beginning, maintained that the ‘Maoist’ movement cannot be treated merely
as a challenge to law and order. Their involvement in these forest
fringe areas was not because of their compassion for the poor and the tribals
who suffered from locational disadvantage and consequent comparative lack of development. Despite
this, the agrarian reforms and other benefits of decentralisation had expanded
social sector development. It is because of this, the Left had
always been politically strong in these areas. Premised on these
experiences, the Left, therefore, argued for facing the challenge of ‘Maoist’
violence through a three pronged response; first, on the question of targeted
socio-economic development, secondly on the question of political-ideological
offensive to isolate them from the people- and finally, based on these two, to
initiate administrative actions of the security forces that would finally be
successful in containing the violence.
As opposed to this, the
central government had always pitched for all out administrative
confrontation. The home minister, P Chidambaram, the fountainhead of
such an exclusively confrontationist approach even mooted the idea of deploying
the military and the air force to snuff out the ‘Maoists’.
However, the maverick
TMC supremo was totally opposed to the very idea of taking on the
‘Maoists’. Because she understood that in order to undermine and
weaken the Left in these areas which have traditionally been the bastion of the
Left, the ‘Maoists’ could prove to be her hatchet men. The ‘Maoists’
– the opportunists that they are – found these to be extremely
convenient. Their complete ideological bankruptcy and penchant for
military strategy created conditions for the coming together of these two
forces. West Bengal’s recent history – from the ‘Maoists’ involvement in
the Nandigram agitation and the present West Bengal chief minister’s open
dalliance with the ‘Maoists’ in Lalgarh - the alliance was eventually made
official. The media savvy ‘Maoist’ Polit Bureau member Kishanji
announced from behind his masked face that the ‘Maoists’ would love to see the
TMC supremo as the next chief minister of West Bengal in an interview to Ananda
Bazar Patrika before elections.
This was music to her
ears. This made her to claim that there are no ‘Maoists’
in West Bengal. And, she was not even acknowledging the
killings of hundreds of CPI(M) and Left activists and leaders who were being
snuffed out by these ‘Maoist’ marauders. And, she did everything
possible to politically delegitimise the operation of the state and central
joint security forces to protect the life and livelihood of innocent citizens
who were at the receiving end of the mindless ‘Maoist’ violence.
The complicity was so
complete that while the ‘Maoists’ had hijacked a train, the Rajdhani Express,
the Railways under her charge did not even mention the ‘Maoist’ involvement in
the complaint that the department filed. And, finally, came the
shocking allegation in the wake of the Gyaneshwari tragedy. Not only did she
claim that these gruesome deaths of the Ganeshwari passengers were not the
result of ‘Maoist’ depredation but actually they have been done by the CPI(M)
and the Left to discredit the Railway Ministry! The intellectuals – the `civil
society’ her close band of trumpeters for `political change’ in fact went a
step further. They actually called a press conference on the eve of
a crucial municipal election in Kolkata and directly charged the CPI(M) of
engineering the tragedy. These intellectuals – of whom some are now
even part of the cabinet of the present West Bengal government –
justified their position by claiming that ‘Maoists’ did not explicitly take the
responsibility for the incident.
Now that the TMC supremo
has assumed the chief minister’s office, she has to reconcile with the harsh
cold reality. She thought that the zeal with which the ‘Maoists’ had worked
overtime to see her in the office that she holds today would continue to do so
even after the objective has been secured. But, as we know, the
‘Maoists’ show extreme opportunism in siding with this or that bourgeois
political party for carrying on with violent methods to physically eliminate
all political opposition. The ‘Maoists’ clearly had an agenda that
they would use the TMC to ensure the physical elimination of the CPI(M) and the
Left to facilitate their own physical stranglehold over a region
which had remained a bastion of the Left.
CHICKENS COME HOME TO
But, now the chickens
have come home to roost. The latest dramatic turn of events saw the
felling of that very ‘Maoist’ leader who once wanted to anoint the TMC supremo
as the incumbent chief minister of West Bengal. This is the
real irony. The operation of the joint security forces which was
held back for almost five months had to be ultimately allowed since the
‘Maoists’ were not sparing the TMC functionaries once they had been able to
regroup with the relief that the new government had provided. The
process of the so-called negotiations which was bound to fail because of the
pan Indian nature of the ‘Maoist’ activity also further emboldened them.
It is in this background
that the gun battle ensured in the forests of Burisole which has by now become
a household name – as the site which marked the elimination of
Kishanji. In a way, this was inevitable. Far from being a
revolutionary movement, which the ‘Maoists’ claim to lead, apparently he found
himself thoroughly isolated and encircled – that is what the security forces
But strangely, neither
the chief minister nor any of her top ranking officials from the police or the
general administration had come out with any authentic version over the
sequence of events which led to the elimination of Kishanji immediately after
the announcement of the incident. More than anybody else, it is their
supporters – particularly those sections of liberal persuasion – some of them
even sympathetic to the ‘Maoist’ cause have come out quite sharply against the
same government and the security forces for having done what they did.
In doing this, they seem
to have taken a leaf out of chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s book of records.
She did exactly this in questioning the elimination of Azad – the spokesman of
the ‘Maoists’. She had actually demanded enquiry into Azad’s `murder’ not only
outside but also in the parliament itself. In fact, directed by the court, an
inquiry is still going on about this incident.
Now that Kishanji has
been eliminated, the same charges are being leveled. It is being
alleged that the security forces had him in custody and this amounts to a `cold
blooded murder of a prisoner in custody’. It is now for the state
government to clarify the real course of development
transparently. Rule of law would require that of her government.
However, in a public
meeting recently, the chief minister has claimed that the security forces had
encircled Kishanji for three continuous days. The forces had also
made an announcement over a public address system that he would be allowed a
safe way out . But according to her, he did not respond positively and fired
back. This is what led to the armed confrontation which saw her one
time `well wisher’ dead.
The convergence of
purpose which brought the TMC and the ‘Maoists’ together to eliminate the Left
– does no longer exist. The functional alliance appears to have come
unstuck. And, therefore, this belated admission over Gyneshwari Express
tragedy and this renewed restoration of the joint security forces’ operation
leading to the elimination of Kishanji.
But the tenuous exercise
to try and balance the relationship between these two sinister forces had
continued for the last few months since the new government in West
Bengal had assumed office, now seems to be finally over. The
group of interlocutors who had been officially appointed by the state
government to carry out the discussions with the ‘Maoists’ have finally thrown
up their hands. And, in the statement issued recently expressing their
inability to carry on the process, they have squarely blamed the state
government for having killed Kishanji `in cold blood’.
The course of the
sinister alliance has really come to complete its vicious circle. Sadly,
the TMC and some of their grassroot level activists who are also poor and
vulnerable have also now come to suffer from the mindless violence of the
But the chief minister
is not prepared to accept the reality. While she has lambasted the ‘Maoists’
and their liberal sympathisers who don the mantle of the human
rights organisations for failing to condemn the death and killings of hapless
victims of the mindless ‘Maoist’ violence – even going to the extent of
pointing out that a large number of activists of the Left
had suffered – she failed to concede that she herself had shown
To compound her almost
criminal negligence in shielding the ‘Maoists’ – she is actually still
maintaining that the CPI(M) and the ‘Maoists’ are in league. This is
not withstanding the fact that after the Lok Sabha elections alone almost 250
CPI(M) activists and leaders mostly poor and tribals laid down their lives in
the course of taking on the political and ideological challenge of the
‘Maoists’. But still there is time. The threat that
‘Maoist’ violence poses to the life and livelihood of the most downtrodden
sections of the society in the remotest jungles of West Bengal can
only be repulsed by the joining of forces. The unity of all political parties
who believe in the rule of law and securing life of the people must act
together to isolate the ‘Maoists’. It is the only enduring way to
establish peace. And, elimination of a single individual –
however important he may be – cannot mark the end to the mindless violence
which the ‘Maoists’ had been perpetrating. The restoration of
legitimate political activities of all political forces in the affected areas
of jangal mahal area is the only rational course to achieve that