Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fight is not over, says Maoist leader

Raktima Bose


KOLKATA: Maoist leader Bikash on Saturday denied that the movement in Lalgarh suffered a setback due to the joint operation, warning that guerrilla warfare had its own tactics and that the security forces would suffer heavily in the future.

“The fight has not finished,” he said, dismissing as propaganda reports that leaders had fled the region. People would not be fooled by the government’s “hollow promises” on development projects, he added.

Speaking from his hideout in the Lalgarh area to The Hindu on the phone, Mr. Bikash said, “Kishenji and all the core leaders who are leading the guerrilla warfare against the security forces are presently in the Lalgarh region only and have not fled anywhere.”

Mr. Bikash gained prominence as a Maoist leader when he held a press conference on June 15 at Dharampur, 14 km from Lalgarh, openly declaring for the first time that the Maoists were supporting the Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee.

“We belong to the Jangalmahal [a common name for the forest area in and around Lalgarh], and are fighting for the cause of the people of this region. Why should we flee? It is a ploy of the police to mislead people,” he said.

Asked if the Maoist movement suffered a setback following the security operations, and as the security forces reclaimed almost the entire area without much resistance, Mr. Bikash said, “Guerrilla warfare has its own tactics, and just because they could set up some camps it does not mean they have won. The fight has not finished and they [security forces] will suffer heavily in future.”

On development in the region and the projects initiated by the government, he said: “People of this region have been listening to such hollow promises for the last 32 years, though nothing has materialised so far. It will be the same this time too.”

Asked if the Maoists would take up development programmes, he said certain projects like building schools and healthcare centres had already been taken up, and the process would continue.

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