Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Naxal ideologue Harbhajan Sohi passes away

K. Srinivas Reddy



HYDERABAD: Harbhajan Singh Sohi, a senior naxalite leader in the country who was instrumental in the formation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) in 1969 after the Naxalbari revolt, died in Punjab on June 15. He was 70.

The death of Sohi, an ideologue, went unnoticed in Punjab despite his four-decade toil to build-up a revolutionary movement that did not believe in the annihilation of the class enemy school of thought. Rather, the movement concentrated on organising and revolutionising the masses.

Sohi, popularly known as “Professor,” was a contemporary of another legendary naxal leader Tarimela Nagi Reddy of Andhra Pradesh. Both Reddy and Sohi veered towards the mass line, opposing those following the annihilation of the enemy line.

Sohi quit the CPI(M) as the Naxalbari revolt erupted in West Bengal. For some time, he was part of the All-India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries of India led by Charu Mazumdar, later christened the CPI-ML.

Firmly believing that the annihilation line of the CPI-ML was unfavourable to the interests of a revolutionary movement, Sohi formed the Bhatinda Ferozepur Committee of Communist Revolutionaries.

Subsequently, he formed the Unity Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India (Marxist-Leninist) which split in the late 1980s.

Interestingly, though Sohi’s group never participated in violent activities, “it remained underground without having any substantial cases against its activists,” recalls Professor Chaman Lal of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, an acquaintance of Sohi.

Paying a glowing tribute to Sohi, Professor Lal said that unlike several ML organisations that participated in parliamentary elections, Sohi’s group neither participated in nor called for a boycott of the elections. He said a meeting in memory of Sohi will be held in Bhatinda on Friday.

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